Written because I wanted to see Travers's reaction to the new Council and how much better it is without him. I have not read the comics, and what I know about them from the internet and other fics is just being used as suggestions.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any of its characters
WORD COUNT: 2356
The rescue workers going through the debris hadn't expected to find any survivors that far in. He was badly injured and unconscious, but alive. The middle-aged man was loaded into an ambulance, and rushed to the nearest hospital. He was put into intensive care, and eventually stabilised, but remained comatose.
Almost a year and a half later, he woke up. One of his few remaining loyal subordinates intercepted the call from the hospital, and arrived to explain what had happened in the past seventeen months.
Quentin Travers was not a happy man.
Saturday, April 24th, 2004
"Rona, I don't care if she was giving you attitude, we do not hang recruits upside down from the ceiling!" Rupert Giles was insisting over the phone one Saturday evening. "Unless, of course, it's part of training, and I think we both know that this was not the case yesterday." He sighed and took off his glasses to polish them, the phone wedged between his shoulder and his ear. Rona had just transferred to the new Chicago headquarters, and was apparently having a tough time keeping some of the younger Slayers in line.
A beeping noise indicated that he had another call. He cut Rona off mid-rant: "I'm sorry, I've got a call on the other line, could you please hold on for a moment?" After she grudgingly replied in the affirmative, he switched to his incoming call. "NIWC, Director Giles speaking."
"Hello, this is Marilyn Desmond from Middlesex Hospital calling. The employee you sent to check on one Quentin Travers has just disappeared with our patient, without checking him out."
Rupert was stunned for a second. "I-I'm sorry, did you just say that one of my people abducted a comatose man from your hospital?!"
Ms. Desmond huffed. "Comatose? No, Mr. Giles, Mr. Travers woke up last week. We have it on record that you were notified and sent an employee to check on him."
"Why that- Ms. Desmond, I assure you, whomever was contacted, it was not I." He paused for a moment, anger filling him as he put two and two together. "However, I do have an idea who may be behind it all."
Monday, April 26th, 2004
Dawn Summers was having a normal Monday morning at NIWC London HQ, translating some of their Sumerian texts for the Watchers and Slayers not fluent in the language, when Bellatrix Miller, the Slayer on reception duty that afternoon, called her office. Apparently an unfamiliar man claiming to be the Head Watcher was demanding entry. Since Giles and Buffy were out trying to locate said Head Watcher, that made Dawn the most senior Council member in the building, and that made it her problem.
Huffing, the brunette put down her books, texting Buffy to alert her to Travers's apparent presence. Sure enough, the middle-aged man she recognised from pictures as Quentin Travers was arguing with Bella, while Henry Dawes waited nervously by the door. Dawes was one of the surviving members of the old Council, and was among those considered just barely trustworthy by the New. Evidently, their reservations had been correct, as he'd been number two on Giles's list of potential suspects in Travers's disappearance two days ago.
"Quentin Travers," she greeted the man coolly, "I don't believe we've been formally introduced. I'm Dawn Summers." She offered him her hand to shake.
He didn't take it. "The Slayer's brat sister? I was told I would be speaking with someone of actual authority."
"Well, with Giles and Buffy out looking for you, that does leave me in charge. Stand down, Bella." The British Slayer reluctantly tucked her Taser back under the desk. "It's good to see you all non-coma-y, though don't you think you've left the hospital a bit too soon?" He didn't look like he still belonged in a hospital, though. He'd lost a lot of weight in his coma, but appeared otherwise healthy. "I'm guessing the fact that you're already on your feet means that you found someone to help you speed the recovery process along? We have nearly every healer in the country either on our payroll or at least our contacts list, so you must've gone to one of the seedier ones, since no one alerted us."
Travers purpled a bit. "Miss Summers, I don't have time to waste on children. Have Rupert return so that we may discuss his future employment with the Council of Watchers."
Dawn gave him a smile that was all teeth. "He's probably on his way right now," she said sweetly.
By pure coincidence, it was at that moment that Buffy, Giles, and a familiar dark-haired girl popped into the room from out of nowhere.
"Taika!" Dawn cried, running over to hug her, "I didn't know you were in England!" Taika Nurmi was a Finnish witch who'd been close friends with an undiscovered Potential. When her friend had been activated as a Slayer and scouted by the Council, Taika had come along as well. She'd been employed by the Council for months now, but the last Dawn had heard, she was in Brazil, training under Willow.
"I just got back, and wanted to surprise you all," Taika explained in her thick accent, "So... surprise!"
"It's good to see you, girl. How long are you staying?"
"A week, at least."
"Well, then, you, me, the mall, Wednesday. I'd say tomorrow, but my bad luck on Tuesdays is kinda legendary. Now, back to business. Giles, Travers came to discuss his future employment here."
"That's not what he said, and you know it!" Dawes snapped, speaking up for the first time.
"Mr. Dawes, I'd like to remind you that your employment is now subject to question as well. Quentin, if you wouldn't mind following Buffy and myself to my office? Dawn, please fetch the appropriate documents from the legal office. Bellatrix, keep an eye on Henry here. And Taika, dear, you must be famished, feel free to help yourself to whatever's available in the cafeteria, second floor." They all spilt off, Dawn hurrying to Legal, Taika wandering off in search of food, and Giles and Buffy leading Travers to Giles's office on the top floor of the office building that now served as NIWC Headquarters. Bella was left glaring at a nervous-looking Dawes.
Rupert Giles had been both looking forward to this exchange and dreading it. For one, he despised dealing with that bounder. On the other hand, it was about time someone put Quentin in his place.
"Tea?" he offered, as befit a proper English gentleman.
"No, thank you," Quentin declined. Rupert sat down behind his desk while Quentin and Buffy settled into the two chairs on the opposite side.
Rupert sighed, and began. "How much have you been told of what has transpired since your… injury?"
Quentin huffed and drew himself upright. He must have been wanting to make this coming speech for a while. "I know that the destruction of our headquarters was engineered by a follower of the First Evil, and that you, the Slayer, and some Potentials managed to defeat it, against all odds. However, I also know that in doing so, you destroyed the Slayer line and spread anarchy throughout the world. You've created hundreds of Slayers, somehow, and the Council cannot hope to control them all. I heard about that psychotic one who ran rampant last January, and how, instead of putting her down, you simply stuck her in a mental hospital, just like the one she escaped from the first time!"
"Hey!" Buffy snapped, "Dana is a victim, here. She is not some broken weapon you get to throw away!"
"Indeed," Rupert said sternly, "She is now getting the help she needs from doctors who know of her past and the full causes of her current mental state, and we have witches and Slayers watching her, all of whom are more than capable of restraining her when necessary."
"A waste of Council resources," Quentin protested.
"All Slayers are our responsibility, therefore the well-being of any one of them is not a waste. In fact, the two Slayers who are watching over Dana have actually shown interest in psychiatry, anyway, and with so many Slayers in existence, now, we can afford to allow those who want a normal life to do so. This internship is allowing them both to help their sister Slayer and to pursue their career goals."
At that moment, Dawn came in with a folder in one hand and a digital video camera in the other, interrupting Quentin's coming argument against Slayers having a life outside of Slaying. "Thought some people who aren't here will want to watch this," she explained, handing the folder to Rupert and the camera to Buffy. "I'll be in my office."
After she left, Quentin, who'd stared at her in disbelief, turned back to Rupert. "That child has her own office?"
"Of course she does. She's our top translator of Turkish and Sumerian – although I expect she'll be adding more languages to that list in the years to come – and she acts as Mission Control during large-scale Slaying assignments. She's not yet a fully-qualified Watcher, but that's simply because her eighteenth birthday isn't until June."
"Yep," Buffy said somewhat unenthusiastically, having started the recording, "My baby sister's growing up."
"Indeed she is. Now, on to the matter at hand. After we began rebuilding the Council last May, we had to gain access to the Council's funds, and we found that, since many of your immediate successors were killed in the explosion, I was, in fact, the next in line eligible to act as the Head. Though we did modernise the title; I am now Director Giles of the New International Watchers' Council. Since then, however, we went over the files we could find that were kept at other locations, and found that you have been authorising harsh methods in dealing with various Slayers and Potentials for the past twenty years, mainly ones that demonstrated significant free will. One girl actually died after you instructed her Watcher to have her starved until she agreed to obey him. Other girls as young as eight have been punished in cruel ways according to your orders, and that is just the Potentials. Need I remind you of the incredibly poor handling of Faith Lehane's trauma? Sending machine gun-wielding assassins after her in LA, instead of simply getting her some counselling, really? One would think her crimes gave you carte blanche for murder.
"All this points to the conclusion that you will not allow any young girl under the care of the Council to gain any level of independence just above the ability to fight without being coached through each move. You have violated their rights and ordered your people to do the same, and legally have no business being in charge of this organisation." Rupert flipped through the documents Dawn left until he found the appropriate section, helpfully highlighted in bright yellow, and showed it to Quentin. His membership in the Council allowed him some leeway at the Council's discretion (thanks to a contract made with the Crown by the Watchers a few centuries ago), but under no circumstances would he ever be allowed a position of power. The man paled as he read this. "The Council on its own is not the force that fights evil, and the Slayer is most certainly not your instrument. It is the strictest policy of the New International Watchers' Council that all its operatives are entitled basic human rights and equality – this extends to the part- and non-humans on our payroll, as well.
"Now, if you are still interested in continuing with the Council, we are always looking for more research Watchers. I believe our division in Cleveland has a low-level spot open. However, we will not, under any circumstances, put you in a position where you could be in charge of a Slayer. In fact, you'll be as far removed from their training as possible. Your other option, of course, is retirement. We may disagree with many of your methods, but your years of service will earn you a generous severance package."
Quentin Travers was livid. Did Rupert really think that he could get away with this?! "This is absurd!" he declared, standing, "You all work for me! How dare you! You cannot possibly hope to control all those Slayers with your lax methods! They will completely corrupt the Council in no time, and when they do, I will hold you responsible!"
Miss Summers glared at him, but for some reason she was also smirking, keeping her camera trained on him. She was the root of all this, he knew. Rupert's fatherly attachment to her had to be what had corrupted him against the noble values of the Council.
Rupert's face grew stone-cold in return. "If you insist on being difficult, Quentin, then I will have no choice but to exercise our third option. I have to hand you over to the authorities for numerous counts of kidnapping and blackmail, among other charges. Many of our Slayers who were separated from their families were removed either by force or under false pretenses, all on your orders. The decision is yours."
In the end, Travers had to be escorted off the premises by a pair of uniformed officers, with some assistance from Buffy and Bellatrix.
Dawes was fired and stripped of his pension. He eventually found work at a fast food joint.
Dawn, Buffy, Taika, and a couple Slayerettes enjoyed their Wednesday afternoon shopping trip.
The staff of Middlesex Hospital received a large donation from the NIWC as an apology for the troubles caused.
Xander, Willow, Wesley, and Faith greatly appreciated the footage Dawn sent them.
This fic is set in early spring 2004, shortly before the series finale of Angel, so Wes is still alive to appreciate it. For now. Expanding on what I said above, I only use events from the actual shows as concrete canon in my stories. Any other Buffyverse media is used for inspiration and suggestions.
Bellatrix 'Bella' Miller is a minor character in 'Ai to Ketsueki', which is not in the same universe as this fic. Taika Nurmi is a random character thrown in, and I have no future plans as of now for her. Taika is a rare Finnish name meaning 'Magic'.