No 'I' in Team…No Buffy, Either

Summary: Ronnie Milsap helps Buffy realize who she can trust.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way. Riley's a bit OOC, but I doubt too many people will be upset by it.

Timeline: season 4, just after Buffy's birthday.

A/N: Went to his concert awhile back, and he made the comment in the story, which made Musie think how to write it into a story somehow.

Thanks to my betas: none.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Ronnie belongs to his wife and family. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

The Bronze

When Buffy thought about going to a concert of a well-known artist, she envisioned screaming fans and wild dancing. What she was experiencing was something quite different. The music was good…if you liked country music…which apparently Giles did.

That little tidbit came as quite a surprise to the Scoobies when she told them. After she stabbed him, she tried to make sure to spend more time with her Watcher. During one of her visits, she found a poorly hidden stash of Ronnie Milsap albums. Then she found out that by some strange – almost Hellmouthy – coincidence, the man was performing at the Bronze.

Despite not knowing when Giles' birthday was – he refused to answer whenever they asked – Buffy got tickets for the group, and an extra ticket for Riley. When he said he couldn't make it, one of Willow's wiccan friends, Tara, joined them for the concert. Apparently the shy blonde was a Milsap fan as well; something to do with her mom loving the guy or something.

The night was going rather well, until Buffy saw Riley and a few of his team members sneak in the back. He told her he couldn't make it because of an Initiative thing. When he saw her, he was startled, but waved her over.

Because she wanted an answer, Buffy got up during the intermission and went over to talk to her boyfriend. He explained that they finished their official stuff and came to hang out. As the intermission was drawing to a close, Riley tried to get her to ditch the Scoobies and Giles – even though she explained it was important bonding going on.

Then he complained that she didn't need her 'childhood' friends when she had him and his buddies. All the Scoobies did was drag her down. And a bunch of other psychobabble crap that she stopped listening to after about ten seconds.

Something Milsap said at the beginning of the concert popped in her head as Riley droned on about team trust. She glanced over at her friends and suddenly realized something she had forgotten in her attempt to get past her Angel-angst.

She smiled at her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend, but it didn't make it to her eyes. This wasn't the first time he had degraded her friends, but it was going to be the last in her presence. "You're right, Riley. A team is all about trust. Between your friends and mine, I trust yours about as far as I can-" she paused to correct herself with Ronnie's earlier words, "…about as far as he can see them," Buffy finished, gesturing to the blind singer on stage.


Later that evening…

Going in through the back way, Ronnie stopped by Lorne's office. He sang 'It Was Almost Like a Song' for the Host, then waited.

Lorne smiled brightly at what he saw, and how the Slayer's group was strengthened by her return to the fold. "Thanks for going to Sunnydale, Ronnie," he said gratefully. "As I promised, here's your payment," the Host remarked, handing over a small package. Inside was a batch of the finest snickerdoodles on the West Coast – Ronnie's favorite cookie.

The blind singer opened the tin and smiled when he smelled the mixture of spices which identified the cookies to him. "Anytime, Lorne…anytime," he replied easily.

A/N: I have no clue what Milsap's favorite cookie is. But the comment about trusting his band about as far as he could see them was from the concert. Course, that was after one of the guitar players told him he had about 30 feet of stage to go out and shake hands with the audience (there was only about 5 – and there were amplifiers in the way, too). It was nice that he could laugh about his blindness.

Happy New Year's!