Author: Mike Weyer
E-mail Address: SWERJ321@msn.com
Title: Anthology Series - Council at War
Copyrighted : December 2000
Rating: PG-13 - Violence and some minor Foul Language
Spoilers: A few, but who cares?
Keywords: X-Files/Highlander/Buffy the Vampire Slayer Crossover with a few guest stars.
Summary: This story takes place immediately after chapter 33 of Slayer Run as well as in between the chapter itself (don't worry, it'll make sense.) Thanks to Steve for opening up on the idea and to Tim Knight for help with story structure. Hope you enjoy.
General Disclaimer: Any character whose names and descriptions are used are the property of their original owners, and no copy right infringement is intended or meant.
No money can be made from this story. It can be distributed freely so long as it is kept in its entirety, with all notices and copyright information intact.
The characters Wanderer/Steven St. Wolf, Frank Iverson, Brother Aaron, Robert McCallister, The Knights of the Order of the Grail, Randi Jessup, Brian Jessup are the property of Steve Pantovich. Anyone wishing to use them, please contact him at his e-mail address: Steve711@concentric.net
The character, Robin Goodfellow, and this story are the property of Mike Weyer.
Comments and Criticisms are appreciated, please post to the above referenced E-mails.
X-Files Mulder and Scully are married and Immortal - So Non-Relationshippers beware.
Highlander: Richie Ryan shouldn't have died in the end of the fifth season. So here he hasn't.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy is an Immortal and this series splits from the third season show, The Judge.
Thanks and here's the Story. Enjoy. Council at War
The large table at the back of the restaurant was crowded with the fourteen people placed into the single table, talking as they went over their menus. If one looked close, they could see that the group was divided into couples, six of them sharing quick hugs and kisses, the last one simply talking. "So, what can I get you?" a waitress asked as she came up.
"Ah, here we go," Robin Goodfellow said. "Let's see, three hamburgers, plain, just ketchup, four pizzas, one cheese, two sausage, one pepperoni, four hot dogs, everything on them, two submarine sandwiches and three sodas."
"Okay," the waitress said, jotting it all down and taking Robin's menu, then turning.
"Um, excuse me?" Robin said, holding up a finger. "That was just for me. They have their own orders."
Everyone stared at him. "Hey, I'm newly human," Robin shrugged. "I've got a major appetite to kill."
As soon as all the orders were taken, Steve took his glass of beer in the hand and held it up. "A toast," he proposed. "To our newest member, Robin Goodfellow and the boost he's given us all."
"Thank you, thank you," Robin said with false modesty, his hands outstretched. "Not to be offending, but I wasn't exactly planning on staying when I agreed to do this. Nice town and all, but I've never been the type of guy who settle down in one place."
"I still can't believe what you did to these guys," Parker said, shaking her head. "They can actually go toe-to-toe with us now."
"Hey, just because I know fourteen ways to kill you with this straw doesn't make me any different," Xander said, plucking the straw out of his glass and waving it at the Amazons.
"When I'm good, I'm good," Robin grinned, a small chuckle escaping his lips.
"Well, I for one am glad to see you staying here, pal," Xander said. "Can't wait to see you in action for a change."
"What's that mean?" Cordelia frowned.
"Oh, I think Xander's referring to where Robin sat on his ass and watched us trash the Watchers," Mulder replied with a smirk.
"The Watchers?" Scully frowned. "Ours or Giles'?"
"Mine," Giles answered. "A rather bracing little affair."
"I couldn't believe it when you talked down the head of the Council," Jarod said. "And Wesley. And took out all those Special Ops guys."
"Okay, I think we need to hear this," Jenny said, peering at her lover as she did.
Robin sat back and put his hands behind his head. "Now there, my dear lady, hangs quite the interesting tale."
Several hours earlier......
Mulder's eyes slowly blinked open as he took in the sky above him, the sun beginning to peek out from behind the horizon. He felt hard rock underneath him and slowly sat up to get his bearings. He saw he was lying on one of the stone tablets set around the ancient ruin and slowly stood up. He glanced about to see Giles, Xander, Oz and Jarod all lying on identical slabs, unconscious. He shook his head and was mildly surprised to feel no ill effects. As a matter of fact, he couldn't remember a time when he felt any better.
"Well, about time," Robin's voice cut through. Mulder spun around to see him sitting about five feet off the ground, cross-legged, a book in his hands. "How you feeling, sleepy-head?"
"Um, fine, I guess," Mulder said, taking a few steps. "Was that it?"
"That's it," Robin replied with a smile. He glanced over as Giles groaned and slowly sat up at the same time Xander stirred. In a few moments, all of the men were awake and on their feet facing Robin.
"Ah, not to question you, he-who-is-not-Puck," Xander said. "But are you sure this thing took? I mean, I don't feel all super powery, if you know what I mean."
"Hmm, really?" Robin frowned as he uncrossed his legs and lowered himself to the ground, the book vanishing into thin air. "That's odd. The thing should have effected you." He turned around rubbing his chin. "Let me think, what could have gone-----" Without warning, he spun around and threw out his hand, a dozen razor-sharp blades appearing out of nowhere and flying towards the men.
They didn't even think, they just reacted. Xander fell back, his feet stuck to the ground, leaning as far back as he could as one blade shot past his face, his arm reaching up to grab another one out of mid-air. Oz leaped up, his legs stretched out to let two blades pass under him. A blade headed straight for his heart but he caught it an inch away from his shirt. Giles spun about, catching three blades in one circle, letting the others fly past. Mulder leaped up, spinning about in the air, knives ripping at his coat as he latched onto two of them. Jarod fell onto the ground and rolled back, his feet reaching up to grip one knife, his hands shooting up to grab two more. He rolled back to his feet and, with the rest of the men, glared at the grinning Robin.
"Are you crazy?" Mulder yelled, throwing his knives to the ground. "You just threw knives at us!"
"And you caught them," Robin said, still smiling.
"We did not come here just to have you try and kill us!" Xander chimed in. "We could have been killed by these things!"
"And you caught them," Robin said, patiently.
"Have you hit your head or something?" Giles put in. "I thought the point of this was to help us not to try and skewer us! You bring us here, you knock us out, then you throw knives at us-----"
"And. You. Caught. Them." Robin had given up being patient and spelled it out.
There was a long pause as the men slowly stared at him, then at the knives they had caught, then at each other, slowly realizing what they had just done totally on instinct. "I love being me," Robin grinned as he saw the lights go on.
"Holy shit," Xander said.
"Not the eloquent reply I was looking for, but accurate," Robin nodded. "By the by, Xand-man, anything clicking in that brain of yours right now?"
Xander frowned as if he was trying to think of something, then his eyes widened. "Whoa."
"What?" Mulder frowned.
Xander looked over at Giles. "Remember I've been telling you I have dim memories of when I was soldier Boy for Halloween?"
"Yes?" Giles frowned.
"They're not dim anymore. I can remember almost every single military training move I had when I was him. Man, this is incredible, it's like I've actually been in the army."
"I think I can relate," Jarod replied. "All the knowledge of all the identities I've taken is popping up a lot clearer for me too."
"Amazing," Giles said, taking off his glasses and wiping them. He slowly began to put them on, then paused, sliding them off again as he looked about. "Good lord," he whispered. "I can see."
"So, you've been really oblivious all these years?" Xander said.
"No, no, I mean I can see clearly. I don't need my glasses anymore. In fact I can see better with them off now then I could with them." Giles took the glasses and carefully folded them together. Then he threw them up, leaped up and lashed out with a foot, smashing them to pieces. "Lord, I've been wanting to do that for years," he grinned as he landed.
"That ain't the only beneficial side effect, my friend," Robin said. "I do believe that if you go over your knowledge of spells------"
"I'll not only know them all better but I have much more control over them," Giles replied. "Oh, my."
Robin nodded, then turned towards Oz. "Hey, Danny boy, try to change."
"Um, I can't just change like that," Oz frowned.
Robin's smile grew. "Don't think about it, just do it." Oz sighed, then concentrated. His face took on a look of complete astonishment moments before it suddenly shifted into the features of a wolf, fur seeming to instantly sprout over his body as he bent over and changed completely into his wolf form. He padded about a bit on the grass, jumping onto one of the stone blocks, then slowly changed back into his human form, a look of absolute astonishment on his face. "Whoa," he said.
"I thought you couldn't control your shifts like that," Xander said, staring at his friend.
"I can't. I mean, I couldn't. I mean.....Man this was unbelievable. It's not just the change, I mean I was in full control the whole time. I wasn't blank anymore, could see and hear and smell and all those things with no problem whatsoever."
"You'll notice your clothes change with you," Robin pointed out. "Just a little thing to make it easier. Unfortunately, it'll be the same old story with a full moon, even I can't change that. But I can guarantee the rest of the month is pretty wide open."
Robin turned on his heel to face Mulder and Jarod. "I do believe you two gentlemen will find you share the same unique effects as your better halves."
"Faster healing?" Mulder asked.
"We don't stay as dead long?" Jarod chimed in. Robin smiled, his grin seeming to become wider, if such a thing was possible.
"Oh, man, how can we ever thank you for this?" Xander asked.
"Well, you can't," Robin shrugged. "So, gentlemen, what's in the cards for now? Boogie back to Sunnydale for some fun with the ladies?"
"Actually," Giles said slowly. "I'd like to stop somewhere first. If you'll take us there, of course."
"Where?" Robin frowned.
"Headquarters of the Watcher's Council," Giles answered in an even tone.
Robin raised an eyebrow. "So let me get this straight. I give you these powers and the first thing you want to do is trash your former bosses?"
"Well, yes," Giles said, shrugging.
Robin smiled. "Cool, let's go." A snap of the fingers later and they were all on their way.
"Nice digs," Xander said as their eyes cleared and they saw the large castle before them.
"You know, G-Man, I've always wondered, who budgets you guys anyway?"
"Alchemy department," Giles shrugged. "They can make their own gold but still force their agents to ride coach around the world."
The group walked towards the front gate of the castle, Giles in the lead. "So, we're planning to just knock on the door?" Mulder asked.
"In a manner of speaking," Giles replied. He paused in front of the massive wooden door, facing the small camera on top.
The mood inside the Watcher's Council chamber room was one of disbelief. The gathered Watchers stared at Owen Marshall as he finished his report of what had occurred when Quenton Travers had confronted Giles and his charges in Sunnydale. When he finished, he stepped back and awaited the Council's reaction.
"Owen, did you do any weed when you were in jail?" Tanner directly asked him.
"I can assure you, sir, both Own and myself are sober as a judge," Wesley Wyndham-Pryce said, pushing his glasses up. "A thoroughly terrified judge, but a judge nonetheless."
"You're saying that the Wanderer has the Order of the Grail backing him here?" Carter Marshall put in.
"That's correct," his son, Owen, replied. "And this person who claims to be Merlin."
"This is outrageous!" Zabuto hissed. "To defy the Council like this----"
Sir William Appleby, the head of the Council, slammed his gavel onto the table before him. "Order!" He cried out. He fixed a hard gaze upon Owen and Wesley. "Gentlemen, are you saying that Merlin and the Order exist and they are protecting the Slayer?"
"That would seem to be correct, sir."
"Where's Travers?" Carpelli asked, glancing about.
"He vanished after getting out of jail," Owen shrugged. "We couldn't stop him and have no idea where he went. Except it had something to do with the Slayer."
"At least someone's taking action," Sam Zabuto muttered.
"Sir, I believe that may be a mistake," Owen said.
"Are you afraid of these people?" Carpelli said mockingly.
"Carpelli, I saw one of them turn Travers into a duck with a flick of his fingers," Owen said patiently. "Wesley held him through a flight back to London, trust me, whoever this man is, if he's not Merlin, he's still powerful."
"We should send a squad into Sunnydale at once," Zabuto said. "Wipe them all out."
"We can't take direct action," Sir William pointed out. "And our attempts to hire others have been unsuccessful as of late. Perhaps if Travers is doing something, we should just let him."
"What about Giles?" Carter said. "How should we handle him?"
"Travers may not have been able to dismiss Giles but we can," Sir William sniffed. "Let's see how easy his job will be once he's lost his credentials, his educations are revoked and he won't be able to get a job reading for the blind."
"Ah, sir, there may be a slight snag with that," Wesley announced.
In answer, Wesley pointed towards the large screen above the center of the room. The men all glanced up to see a black and white security camera image of Mulder, Oz, Xander, Jarod, Giles and Robin standing before the door, smiling into the camera. With the exception of Robin, they each held up a fist and ceremoniously held up a middle finger, with the exception of Giles, who held up middle and index spread apart in a "v" sign.
"Open the doors," Sir William said in a tight voice. "And get our Special Operations men in there now." He leaned back and gazed at the other Watchers. "It's time Mr. Giles got a lesson."
The doors slowly opened before them and the men all lowered their hands. Xander glanced at Giles and shook his head. "We've got to teach you more, G-Man."
"I'll have you know that the v-sign is the same thing in England as the finger in America."
"You mean you guys have different obscene gestures?" Xander asked, his eyes wide.
"Cool! I love foreign cultures!"
Giles just sighed as the doors opened and the men entered. They had taken less than a dozen steps when they saw a large group of men standing before them. Each one had the look of a professional killer, a variety of hand weapons gathered around, ranging from clubs and brass knuckles to knives and nunchucks. "Well, this should be fun," Robin said, apros of nothing.
"This is certainly a situation fraught with possibilities," Giles said. "I don't suppose one of those possibilities is the lot of you simply stepping aside and letting us go on our way?"
"Council wants a word with you, Giles," the leader of the group announced. "Your friends had best leave while they can."
"You know, I've never been one to stand up with threats," Jarod said, gazing at the men before him. "And I've never liked bullies."
"Me either," Xander said, cracking his knuckles.
"Easy or rough, boys, it's your call," the head of the force said.
"Oh, rough," Giles smiled. "We're going to go rough."
"Come on, Giles, we've read the reports on you," one soldier said. "You couldn't hold your own against a girl scout troop."
Giles' smile turned into a smirk. "You think you have us outnumbered, outgunned and outmatched. I can't tell you what a pleasure it will be to beat the crap out of all of you."
He launched a kick that nailed the lead soldier in the chest, sending him flying back onto the rest. Xander leaped over Giles' head, somersaulting in the air, his feet extended as he flew towards the stunned soldiers. They lashed out, each foot taking one out in the face, then came forward, both feet slamming into another's face.
Oz followed his friend's lead, moving himself into the air, his body perpendicular to the floor. He landed both of his feet onto one soldier, then kicked away, moving onto the soldier next to him, then the soldier next to him, kicking at all three in quick succession, seeming to run across all the chests as he kicked. He kicked away from the third one and spun about in mid-air, his feet launching onto another pair of soldiers and knocking them down as well.
Mulder ran in a flash towards the wall, planting his feet on the flat surface and began running. The soldiers who saw him were stunned to see him run across the wall as if it was normal, the Immortal agent kicking himself off to tackle two of the guards, knocking them down to the floor. He slammed a fist into one and an elbow into the other. Without even looking, he kicked out both feet to knock another pair back onto their asses.
Nearby, Jarod had pulled out his sword and was trading blows with one of the bat-wielding guards, easily blocking the clumsy lunges and thrusts he made. Jarod held his sword sideways, catching the man off guard and allowing him to smash the butt of the sword into his face. Another man ran up with a chain, hurling it at Jarod's head. Jarod held up his sword, allowing the chain to wrap around the blade. He gave a powerful tug, pulling the man into a single large fist smashing into his face. Jarod flipped himself up, spinning in the air above the heads of the stunned soldiers as he took out another with a swift blow with the hilt of the blade.
Giles leaped straight up, his right leg fully extended and straight, a whirlwind that knocked four guards down. Landing, he waved a hand at the floor and whispered and in seconds the floor had become as slick as ice, causing several soldiers to trip on it.
Jarod ran forward, falling to his knees and sliding on the ice. He slid past a pair of guards and with two quick chops to the backs of their legs, took them out of the fight. He got back to his feet and, without checking his momentum, planted both feet on the wall, kicking off it and spinning about, tackling another guard to the ground.
Faced with two guards on either side, Oz jumped up and twisted his entire body, sending a foot into the face of one guard, the other foot crashing on his head. Without even falling an inch, Oz spun the other way and repeated the move on the other guard.
Nearby, Xander grabbed a nunchuck from a fallen soldier and began moving it wildly, spinning it about his body as if he had used one for years. Finally, he connected the ends with a pair of guards and sent them down.
Mulder was trading karate blows with another soldier, the man barely able to block Mulder's lightning fast moves. Mulder suddenly flipped up and backwards, his feet slamming into the man's jaw, dislocating it. Mulder did a perfect somersault in mid-air, his feet flying down to nail the man in the chest, sending him down.
He spun about to see Giles punch out the last remaining soldier. The five men simply stood among the unconscious bodies, hardly even out of breath. "Damn, I'm good," Robin whispered.
"Well, that was bracing," Giles shrugged. "Let's be off, shall we?"
Inside the Council room, everyone was in shocked silence as they watched on the monitors. Each member of the guard was capable of going toe-to-toe with an elite SAS operative, yet they had been decimated in record time by five men showing moves that should have been humanly impossible to achieve. "Oh, shit," Owen muttered. "What the hell do we do now?"
"I think a strategic withdrawal------" Before Lord Tanner could finish, the doors to the
Council chambers were kicked open. The men glanced up to see Giles, Mulder, Jarod, Oz,
Xander and Robin standing in the doorway. Mulder and Jarod had their swords drawn and held casually. Xander absent-mindedly spun one end of the nunchuck in his hands. Oz balanced a staff stolen from one of the soldiers on his shoulders. Robin hung in the back, trying, for once, not to be noticed. Giles stood in front, arms crossed, glaring at the group behind the massive table. "Please," he said in a flat tone. "Don't get up."
"This is the Watcher's Council?" Mulder said, barely able to get the distaste out of his voice.
"What were you expecting?"
"Not the casting call for the London production of '12 Angry Men.'"
"Giles," Sir William said, trying to keep the nervousness out of his voice. "We were just talking about you."
"Well, that's a relief, usually you're screaming about me," Giles said as he led the group forward towards the center of the room. "Gentlemen. I do believe we have a situation that must be discussed."
"Council business isn't to be discussed before outsiders," Sir William said, glancing with disdain at the Americans.
"Oh, they already know all about it," Giles calmly said. "Wesley and Owen can attest to that."
"Um, those teenagers were among the group with Giles when we were there," Wesley stammered out. "I don't recognize the two men, though."
"We're friends with Amazon mates," Mulder said smiling. "That makes us part of the club."
Giles took a few steps forward to face the Council. "I hadn't wanted to bring this up to you all, but I do believe that the Council does not have the best interests in mind for either myself or the Slayers and Travers' business in Sunnydale seemed to confirm that."
Sir William cleared his throat and moved forward, trying to put his best authorative voice on and more than a bit thrown when Giles didn't react at all to it. "Now, see here, Rupert. Quenton was sent to determine just what had happened in Los Angeles. As you can imagine, we were most interested in why the Slayer would abandon her duties in Sunnydale to attempt such a foolhardy mission. And you....."
"Told the bugger my friends had joined the fight of their own choice," Giles broke in, stunning Appleby. He couldn't remember the last time someone had actually dared to interrupt him in the Council Chambers. "And then Travers had the unmitigated gall to threaten the Wanderer in his own home and actually threaten to kill Buffy as well!"
"He did no such thing!" Owen called out, angry.
"Sure, dude," Xander said, his face dark. "All he did was say that recalcitrant Slayers, whatever the hell that means, were known to have *very* short careers. What was he talking about, laying her off?"
"Young man, your humor is not appropriate," Zabuto glowered.
"Hasn't stopped him before," Oz noted.
"Order!" Sir William said, slamming the gavel on the table. He turned towards Owen and Wesley. "Is what Giles saying true, gentlemen?"
The two Watchers exchanged nervous glances and coughed, shuffling their feet. "Well, he did say that," Wesley said. "But that was only after one of those women assaulted him."
"Trust me, dude, she let him off easy," Xander smirked.
"She practically ripped in half," Owen said. "She was as strong as a Slayer!"
"Well, perhaps you should take that as an object lesson not to piss of an Amazon," Giles said calmly. A dead silence filled the room as every man on the Council stared at him in shock.
"A what?" Carpelli said in a quiet voice.
"Amazon," Giles calmly said. "Blessed with superior fighting abilities by Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt. We have quite a few working with us in Sunnydale now."
"Rupert, you have the aid of Amazons?" Sir William said. As the head of the Council, he was far more informed about such mystical matters and could see in the eyes of the men that they were utterly serious. "True Amazons?"
"The real thing, buddy boy," Mulder smiled. "And we have the scars to prove it. Well, actually, Jarod and I don't but you get the idea."
"Well, that doesn't sit well with you, does it, Giles?" Carpelli said with a nasty sneer. "Not like those bitches are into men anymore."
Giles slowly narrowed his eyes at Carpelli and muttered something under his breath. Instantly, Carpelli shot out of his seat, screaming, his shoes smoking as if on fire.
"A hotfoot, Giles?" Mulder said, raising an eyebrow.
"What can I say?" Giles shrugged. "Hanging around a high school has rubbed off on me."
"Hey, don't put it all on Giles," Robin said, stepping forward. "Arty came down from Olympus and gave the girls her blessing personally. I'll tell you, I can hear Ares scream all the way in the Faery Kingdom when they much up his plans."
"The Faery Kingdom?" A bewildered Wesley said. "Who in God's name are you?"
Robin made a wonderful show of looking shocked. "That's right, amidst all the hubbub of the guys kicking the shit out of your team, we never had time for formal introductions. Please allow me to correct that horrible faux pas."
In a flash, he was hovering in the air before the Council, his feet on a level with the top of their table so they had to look up at him in shock. "Robin Goodfellow, servant of the Lord Oberon, High King of the Faery Kingdom, live and in person." He gave a short bow as he lowered himself down to the floor, enjoying the shocked looks of the men in front of him.
"You're Puck?" Lord Tanner whispered.
Robin's face grew grim. "Please don't bring that up again. I'm not him, let's just leave it at that."
A sharp laugh suddenly cut through the air. Robin looked up, frowning as he saw Zabuto laughing with a mirthless tone at him. "Amazons, faeries, gods, do you really expect us to believe all that?"
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, as one of my old friends used to say." Robin nodded back at him.
"All right, prove it," Zabuto said, crossing his arms.
"Okay, give me five minutes and I'll have Smaug and Fragnar in here to say 'hi.'"
"NO!" Sir William said, holding up a hand.
Zabuto stared at him in surprise. "Sir William, who is he talking about?"
"Um, a pair of.....dragons," Sir William said softly.
Zabuto stared at him, then at Robin. "Are you as mad as he is?"
Robin let out a long sigh, shaking his head. "There's always one disbeliever in the bunch."
His eyes flashed out and suddenly Zabuto's face turned into a donkey's head, his eyes wide and his ears twisting about as he let out a snort of shock. Everyone on the Council immediately leaped back as they stared in fascination at Zabuto. Robin blinked his eyes and Zabuto's head shifted back to normal, save for a shocked expression. "Never get tired of that trick," Robin smiled.
"Now that the bona fides have been established, let's get down to business," Giles said, crossing his arms.
"I agree," Sir William said, managing to shake off the shock of seeing Zabuto with an ass's head. "Rupert, if you are dealing with Amazons as you claim, you had a duty to report this to us."
"Oh, so you could try and bring these women under your control like you do with the Slayers?" Giles said in an angry voice. "I won't have that."
"You won't have it?" Carpelli said in disbelief. "Loose cannons such as these women destabilize the balance of power. We have to rein them in, no matter what the cost. Do you have any idea what kind of chaos can be caused by these women running around loose?"
"No, but if you try to do anything with my girlfriend, you'll have a pretty good idea what kind of sound is caused by seventeen of your teeth hitting the back of your mouth," Oz said in a flat tone.
"And he's the mellow one," Xander smiled, nodding to his friend.
"One of those Amazons is my wife," Mulder said. "I work for the FBI, boys, I know who to call to make your lives miserable."
"You actually work with these people, Giles?" Carpelli asked.
"And I'm damn proud of it," Giles added.
"Hey, we've done more in two years than you assholes have in the last two centuries to waste demons," Xander pointed out.
"We are trying to handle this in our own fashion," Sir William said.
"Really?" Robin asked. "By trying to hire the Order of Teraka to kill Buffy and Giles after you heard about Travers' failure?"
"How did you know about that?" Sir William asked in shock.
"I didn't. I took a wild guess and hoped you'd be stupid enough
to confirm it for me. Thanks for living up to my expectations."
Giles stared at the Council in shock. "The Order of Teraka?" he said. "You do business with the very things we fight against? You use them to do your dirty work?"
"What this Council does to ensure our survival is not your affair, Giles."
"Oh, it bloody well is. Especially when you go after my people."
"Your friends?" Carpelli sneered.
"No," Giles answered harshly. "My family."
"Well, I'm touched," Xander said. "Anyone else wants to hug right now?"
"We are the Council," Carpelli said. "It is our decision how the Slayer should and should not behave-----"
"Blah, blah, blah, I'm British, I'm so stuffy, someone give me a scone!"
"Is that Giles?" Jarod said, his eyes as wide as Mulder's.
"Oh, yeah, that's right, you guys haven't met," Xander nodded. "Mulder, Jarod, say hello to the Ripper."
"I like him already," Mulder grinned. "Hell of a lot more guts than any of these assholes have shown."
Sir William gripped his gavel hard as he looked down and glared at the men. "Gentlemen, I find you to be rude, obnoxious, inconsiderate and arrogant."
"We're American, pal," Jarod said. "What's your excuse?"
Lord Tanner leaned forward. "We are the Watchers, young man. We have a duty to guide the Slayer."
"Oh, give it up, pal," Jarod said. "This isn't about duty, this about control, about power. You're not willing to give up this control for anything. You get off on it, don't you? You've gotten so used to playing God over these girls that you're not willing to give it up for anything. This is about you guys being on top and dominating all aspects of someone's life. And believe me, I know better than anyone how that feels. And it's not good."
"Scuse me for interrupting here," Robin said, holding up a hand. "But I needed to clear up a little something that's been bothering me. Yo, Sir William, QT was just supposed to get Giles's side of what went down in L.A. so *you* being the head of the Council, could make some sort of decision, right?"
"Well, um, yes, Mr.....
"AH, just call me Robin. Anyway, instead of getting the info, QT instantly fired Giles here from the Council. Not because he broke your rules, not because he kept ass-head here from killing Kendra," he nodded towards the glowering Zabuto, "and not because Giles and Buffy had help but because his precious pride was hurt by an Amazon, the Knight General of the Grail and Merlin. Now, not only was Giles not given even the slightest chance at a hearing, but did Travers even have the authority to that?"
"Um, no, he didn't," Sir William had to admit.
"But we do," Wesley said, standing up. Giles took a few steps forward, reached up, removed Wesley's glasses, punched three times straight in the face, slapped him on both cheeks, slid the glasses back on and shoved the stunned Wesley to the ground.
"Don't argue with your betters, boy." Giles looked up at the Council. "You know, what's funny about this is that my reports over the last two years have plainly stated that Buffy and I have had some allies in our duties on the Hellmouth and not one person on the Council had any problems with that, seeing as how you were all safely ensconced here in Britain while the rest of us risk our lives on a nightly basis. That was until Quenton was struck, justifiably, for threatening the Slayer while Quenton himself has never done a single damn thing in his life to defend humanity while he thinks he can lord himself over people who have."
"Now listen to me, Giles," Sir William said, having had just about enough of this. "We are trying to defend humanity from vampires, no matter what it takes!"
"By killing how many humans in the process?" Jarod said. "You know, at least Vampires have an excuse for being murderous. You don't."
"Vampires are a threat to humanity!" Lord Tanner put in.
"And what the other threats to humanity that you turn a blind eye to?" Giles asked. "Demons, black mages, terrorists, religious fanatics? Are you saying that we have no responsibility whatsoever to protect humanity from those types of threats?"
"The Slayer is chosen to fight vampires," Owen said. "That is her duty."
"Then why do you have them hunt witches?" Robin innocently asked. As the Council fell into an uneasy silence, the faery moved forward. "Now, look. I've only known these guys a few hours but I've done my homework and I can tell you this: Since hooking up with the Wanderer, Giles here and the gang have kicked the shit out of Angelus, Spike, Dru, Katherine Plantagent and Throlog. That may sound impressive but considering you guys couldn't get the guts to fight a common mugger, that may not be having the right effect. Also, the Wanderer has fought with the Order, the C'est Die, good witches, American Special Forces units and a good number of very good fighters. Oh, and let me tell you something about him."
He glanced over at Lord Tanner. "Lord Tanner, you were a military man, am I right?"
Tanners made a surprised nod. "Well, before he battled demons, the Wanderer was with the Green Berets and won not only a Medal of Honor but a Victoria's Cross for kicking some IRA ass. Now he carries a Sword of Destiny and I'll give you this little tidbit: There was another Sword of Destiny in Los Angeles whose wielder followed the Wanderer's command."
"We know about Vampire Slayer-----" Sir William began angrily.
"Oh, sorry, I'm talking about EXCALIBUR!"
Every single jaw on the Council table dropped as one. "He's baaaaack!" Xander couldn't help saying.
"Oh and by the by, a little something to pass along to Travers', wherever he is. Seems that old Ripper here is the descendant of a Knight of the Round Table. Arthur confirmed it." Giles couldn't help but beam a bit at the Council's shocked looks. "So, let's see now," Robin said, looking up and counting off fingers. "Giles is a third generation Watcher, his grannie being one of the finest Watchers of her time and a descendant of a Knight of the Round Table. Well, if that's Quention's idea of 'gutter scrapings,' as he put it, than he must be a landfill of toxic waste. And that counts for the rest of you assholes too."
Zabuto stood up and leaned forward, rage in his eyes. "You have absolutely no right to involve outsiders in this! The Slayer's mission is a solo one!"
"Has anyone on this Council even stopped to consider that the reason Buffy has done so well its because she has allies who are willing to fight and die for her?" Giles asked. "That maybe if the Council had allowed Slayers of the past to make allies, we wouldn't be playing catch-up with the vampires right now?"
"You're out of order!" Sir William screamed.
"And you, apparently, are out of balls," Xander noted.
Zabuto sniffed at him. "I don't expect a child to understand the complexities involved in what we do."
In a flash, Xander was leaning across the table, gripping Zabuto by the throat so hard he was nearly crushing his windpipe. Xander pulled Zabuto in close so they were eye-to-eye. "My best friend was turned into a vampire, asshole. I had to kill him. I have risked my life time and time again to help Buffy do this, to make sure no one has to go through what I had to go through. I have seen way too many people killed because you and your asshole friends were too scared to get up and do any fighting yourself. Not that you'd be any good at it. Put any of you guys in a fight with a vamp and you wouldn't last two minutes. Don't you dare lecture me on how we do what we do. Oh and I nearly forgot. When your own charge decided to take the right path and got injured for it, you were going to kill her because she didn't live up to your expectations. Which reminds me....." Xander dragged Zabuto over the table, standing him up and proceeding to nail him with five straight punches and a kick that sent him flying over the table and back into his seat. "That's for Kendra," Xander muttered.
"This is not the way we conduct business here!" Sir William shouted.
"Typical," Mulder said, shaking his head. "Getting the crap kicked out of you and you're still trying to act like you're at one of your stuffy old clubs. And you guys wonder why we rebelled."
"You know, I like Britain," Robin said. "I really do, especially London and Liverpool. But I have to tell you, you guys are ruining it for me."
"How dare you!" Sir William said.
"Oh, there is very little I don't dare, little man," Robin said and for the first time the men could see a deep and dark fire within him. "It's simply that you Brits are hypocrites."
"Robin, don't start the rhyming here," Mulder said.
"Don't knock my rhyming, Fox."
"And how are we hypocrites, Mr. Goodfellow?" Sir William asked.
"Simple. QT told Giles that the Slayer have been the property of the Council nearly since the beginning. Is that right?"
"Um, yes," Wesley said, his left eye beginning to swell closed.
"Right. So, anyway, you guys have been taking these girls from their families for centuries and training them to fight to good fight, all the while not allowing them anything but what you allow them to have. I am right here?"
"It's not that black and white-----" Lord Tanner began.
"Funny you should use that turn of phrase, buddy. You see, it doesn't matter where these girls have come from, you've cut them off from the world as they know and expected them to jump through hoops for you. If you'd only let them have some parts of a normal life, you might find they are more appreciative of what they fight to give others. As it stands now, the situation most Slayers find themselves in from your efforts are nearly identical to something your people, who are supposed to be the height of culture, did away with over a century ago."
"It is a sacred duty!" Wesley called out.
"Funny," Robin sniffed. "I thought most people called it slavery."
"You compare us to dictators?" Sir William asked angrily.
"Actually, I think the Nazis could have taken some lessons from you guys," Jarod said. "You sure you're not some subdivision of a fascist dictatorship?"
"That would explain the Cruciamentum," Robin remarked.
"The what?" Oz said in confusion.
"It's a particularly barbaric custom the Watchers have long had," Giles said, his face and voice hard as he spoke, glaring at the Council. "On her 18th birthday, the current slayer is to be depowered, via a combination of drugs, hypnosis and spells to render her without her Slayer abilities. She is then sent into a fight with a rather brutal vampire as a test." Giles' glare grew even harder. "Three out of five Slayers do not survive."
"Okay, I hate these guys as much as I possibly can right now," Xander said.
"This is not the business to discuss with children," Tanner said. "Especially immature and badly dressed ones."
"Nope, I hate them even more now," Xander said.
"How can you possibly talk about the Cruciamentum in front of them?" Owen said.
"Well, because it's the only time they'll hear about it," Giles said, crossing his arms. "If you think for one moment I'm going to put Buffy through that hell, think again."
"If you do not administer the Cruciamentum, we shall," Sir William said.
"And you're going to have to go through us first," Xander said, stepping forward with Oz alongside Giles.
"What if we decide to go through you?" Owen said.
Giles leaned forward and slowly smiled, a sight that sent fear through Marshall's body. "Try it. Please, please try it."
Sir William slowly swallowed, then held up his gavel. "Rupert Giles, I do not believe it is wise for you to continue working with us anymore."
"First thing you've said since we got here that makes sense," Giles nodded. "So, as my colleagues behind me would no doubt say, fuck this Council and the horse it rode in on."
"Way to go, G-Man!" Xander said.
"Not bad, my friend, but I think I can do better," Robin smiled. Slowly, he turned and faced the Council, the smile hardening as he took them all in. "Here's how it's going to work gentlemen. Giles will stay on as Buffy's Watcher. He'll keep reporting to you, even though you don't deserve to know shit about what he does. In return, he keeps his credentials and everything as well as access to Watcher records. Buffy and Kendra are now considered off limits to the Council. Giles talks to them both, he handles them both, that's the end of it. If any of you morons send a single agent out to Sunnydale, these guys are going to kick the shit out of them, then you. See, they carry my empowerment which means they are under my protection and by extension so are their friends." Robin leaned forward, his knuckles on the desk as he talked to each man, seeming to look each one in the eye at once. "Now, should anything out of the ordinary happen to these men, a car accident, a shooting, an asteroid falling from the sky and it doesn't involve demons or the forces of darkness.....then I am going to bury you all so deep it's going to take an archaeology team a thousand years to dig up what's left of you." He brightened suddenly. "Have a nice day."
Robin walked back towards the men, exchanging high-fives with Xander and Oz and shaking Giles' hand. "Well, an institution in terror and chaos, I think our job here is done," Robin said.
"What if we have you killed, Goodfellow?" Zabuto suddenly called out. Robin turned to him. "Then you'll have to deal with the Lord Oberon," he said in a flat tone. "And if you think I'm bad, you should see him on a good day." He snapped his fingers and instantly the men vanished.
The Watcher's Council watched in shock as they group disappeared, then stared at one another uncertainly. "What the hell do we do now?" Owen asked softly.
Sir William moved forward, his head in his hands, sighing with breath. "We do what they say. We leave Sunnydale alone and that includes Giles and the Slayers."
"What about Travers?" Wesley said.
"He's on his own," Sir William said. "What he does is without our knowledge or our permission or sanction. If he succeeds, fine. If not, he can't be connected to us anymore."
"What about this new Slayer in Boston?" Tanner asked.
"We keep her quiet," Sir William said. "We keep working with her and hopefully they won't hear about it at all."
"And if they do?"
Sir William let his hands drag along his face. "God help us all."
"Oh, God, that felt wonderful!" Giles said as the men appeared back in Stonehenge. "God, I should have done that years ago, I can't believe how amazing that felt!""Man, G-Man, I can't believe you used to act like those guys," Xander said.
"I was never that comfortable with them," Giles said. "Glad I never took the paths they did." He glanced over at Robin. "Thank you for what you said."
"It was the truth," Robin shrugged. "I take my empowerment seriously. And who gets them as well."
"Well, thanks for the help, Rob," Xander said. "Loved the whole damn thing."
"Oh, it gets better from here, my boy," Robin smiled. "Gentlemen, I can whip up a few dozen credit cards and transport you to any mall in this country. What say we treat ourselves to a guy's night on the town, a new wardrobe and plan just how you break the news to the ladies?"
"Oh, I like this guy. I do," Mulder grinned as they walked off.
"Oh, god," Steve said, wiping a tear from his eyes as he and the women laughed at Robin's tale. "Oh, I'd have paid anything to see that."
"Can't believe they would do that test thing," Buffy said. "Even with Immortality, that would have been rough."
"The Council's been out of the field too long," Giles said. "It's a hereditary thing, they're chosen because their ancestors were high-ranking Watchers before them. Frankly, the Watchers haven't been doing fieldwork in far too long a time. They've forgotten what it's really like out there."
"Well, I'm all for reminding them," Robin said, smiling as he took a drink from his cup. He stood up. "Be right back all. I have to get used to another intriguing facet of being human. One that involves the washroom." Shaking his head, Robin headed towards the bathroom. It took him a few moments to get the mechanics of what he had to do down but he soon finished up. He zipped up his pants and spun around to see the Greek Goddess Artemis standing before him. "God, don't do that!" he yelled as he leaped back.
"Sorry," Artemis said, not sounding sorry at all. "Just wanted to drop by quickly and see how you were."
"You don't have to rub it in, you know," Robin said, shaking his head as he headed towards the sink.
"Just making sure my charges are happy, sprite," Artemis shrugged.
"And I'm miserable, right?"
Artemis grinned. "Keep your nose clean, Goodfellow. She turned to leave but stopped as Robin spoke again. "Say, Arty, I'm curious," he said in a casual tone. "Did the Oracles actually run this by Zeus first or did they just go straight to you and Aphrodite?"
Artemis froze in place and slowly turned towards Robin, her face showing her surprise. "What?" she said softly.
Robin began washing his hands, not looking back as he spoke. "You know, for a being who's supposed to be all-seeing and all-knowing, it is ridiculously easy to pull the wool over your eyes." He turned back to Artemis. "Come on, Arty, out of all the Eternals, the Oracles pick me to handle this? You think I didn't do some checking on everything connected to Sunnydale? You guys aren't the only ones who can scroll through time and space, you know."
"But----Oberon----" Artemis stammered.
"Oh, he didn't know about you guys. Least, as far as I know, he didn't. I'll admit, turning me human was a wrinkle I wasn't expecting but I was counting on staying in Sunnydale a while longer one way or the other."
Artemis stared at her, understanding covering her features. "You knew," she said softly. "You knew all along."
"And I knew it was for a good cause," Robin said, drying his hands. "Besides, I really liked the guys and really wanted to help. Oh and by the by, did you really think I wouldn't cast a couple of protection spells on myself before I took on human form? Aphrodite gave it a good shot but not nearly good enough."
Artemis shook her head in absolute disbelief. "I can't believe this."
Robin smiled and walked up to her, giving her a light pat on the cheek. "Arty, you're a great gal and I love ya like a sister." His eyes grew hard. "But no one and I mean NO ONE puts one over on Robin Goodfellow. Don't worry, I won't tell the gang about the deal you and sis has. That's between us."
Artemis held her head and moaned as Robin headed towards the exit. He stopped and turned towards her. "Oh, Arty? When you see Aphrodite, tell her something, will you?"
"What?" Artemis groaned.
"Thank you," Robin said softly. "For Amy."
Artemis looked up at him thoughtfully. "You really like her, don't you?"
"Let's just say she may be worth being human for," Robin said as he walked out. Artemis stared at the closing door and shook her head as she vanished. "Oh, Zeus help them all," she muttered, as the idea of the Merry Wanderer being in town showing that almost anything could happen in the world.