August 19, 2012 – National Lighthouse Day
Summary: **Part of the 2012 LiveJournal's Twisted Shorts August Fic-A-Day** series, also known as the 'Wacky Holiday Series'. A simple field trip turns into a spy mission involving Buffy's pre-teen explorers club.
Challenge: for the livejournal 2012 August Fic-a-Day Challenge.
Warning: making somebody a villain who wasn't on the show.
Timeline: pre-series for BtVS; vague for SaMK, but change the dates so they line up.
A/N: This was one of my favorite shows from the 80s. Yeah, I know it's impractical that they'd be going to Virginia for a field trip, but pretend, okay?
Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. Scarecrow and Mrs. King characters belong to Brad Buckner, Eugenie Ross-Leming and CBS. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
Amanda was a little surprised to find out that her boyfriend, Dean, was handling a school-aged club tour of a lighthouse – it didn't really seem to mesh with his job as a weatherman or anything – but when he asked for her help chaperoning, she couldn't say no. It was practically a physical impossibility for her to turn down a request for assistance.
The mini-group of adolescents she was assigned were mostly boys – something she was used to herding – and two girls, Celia and Buffy, who happened to be cousins. All of the children listened intently to Dean's speech about the lighthouse's history and that when it was deemed unsafe for regular use, they built a new lighthouse which was less than 400 feet away. He also mentioned that today was the perfect day to learn about lighthouses since it was on this day back in 1789 that Congress passed a law saying that the government would run and care for lighthouses, making August 7th 'National Lighthouse Day'.
Again, Amanda was a little shocked at how attentive the kids were; after all, they genuinely seemed to care that the lighthouse was the first federally funded construction project after the Constitution was ratified. She loved her own boys, but knew that at best they would only be politely interested. She casually mentioned this to another chaperone and they mentioned that this was the Young Explorers Club…for future archeologists and that learning about history was vital for them.
Over lunch, Amanda got to know Celia and Buffy a little better since the boys thought it was gross to talk to girls and sat at the other end of the table.
"Celia and I are going to be the best archeology team ever!" Buffy declared.
"Uh-huh, and we're gonna live next door to each other…even when we're in an old folks' home!" Celia added excitedly.
Smiling fondly at the pair of girls, Amanda asked, "What if you get married and your husbands don't like that idea?"
Both girls furrowed their brows at the thought of not remaining close to each other.
Buffy answered a bit sadly, "I don't think I'd want to be an archeologist without Celia."
Before Amanda could explain that she was referring to the living situation, not the job, Celia put her arm around her cousin's shoulders to comfort her and said, "Don't worry, Buffy, our husbands won't be stupid like that or we just won't marry them."
Perking right up, Buffy nodded vigorously, "Yeah…we'll- we'll even put it in our wedding vows if we have to! Thanks for pointing that out to us before it caused trouble, Mrs. King."
Amanda smiled at the thought of the unique wedding vows the girls might have someday and hoped that if they truly wanted those things in the future, they'd get them.
A short time later…
When it came time to climb the tower, Celia begged off, saying that she wasn't feeling all that great. She had enough strength to come on the trip, but her parents made her promise that she wouldn't exert herself too much. Buffy tried to stay with her, but Celia insisted that she do the climb for both of them and take lots of pictures to show later. Dean said that he would stay with any children who couldn't climb it.
Apparently Buffy was taking that order very seriously because she stopped every two steps to take a new picture. It got to the point where the boys were getting angry about being held back by a 'stupid girl'. To keep the peace, Amanda decided to take the boys ahead and asked Buffy to be extra careful.
The amateur spy almost panicked when she saw Lee Stetson in the watch room of the lighthouse. What was he doing there?
When nobody was looking, she had a discreet conversation with him, "Why are you here, Lee?"
Scarecrow – Lee's intelligence designation – was just as startled to see Amanda as she was to see him. Although when he thought about it, he knew he shouldn't be; since that fateful day in the train station, he almost saw more of her than his regular colleagues. "I received information that a deal was going down here today. Somebody is passing along satellite photos of troop positions to our enemies. We don't know who or how, but I have to find out and stop them or a lot of soldiers will die," he explained dramatically.
"I haven't seen anyone here except our Explorers group," Amanda replied, desperate to help.
"Damn!" Scarecrow cursed. "That probably means it's a dead drop! Now I have to figure out where a good place to leave something would be in this place!"
Just then, Buffy caught up to the rest of Amanda's group and she was carrying a large manila envelope. "Mrs. King?" she quietly called out, worried about interrupting her chaperone's talk with the cute man. Yeah, she wasn't even ten yet, but she still had eyes for crying out loud! Their conversation seemed rather…what was the word? Like when she and Celia would talk about which superhero powers were the best. Her aunt told them they were getting too…intense! That was the word!
Amanda plastered on a fake smile as if nothing were wrong and turned to face the young shutterbug. "Yes, Buffy?" she prompted.
"Weatherman Dean came into the lighthouse while I was still taking pictures and left this in a crack in the wall. If he didn't mean to, I thought he would want it back; if he did mean to, then he shouldn't be littering in a historical place like this," Buffy lectured in that way kids have when they feel self-righteous about a topic. As a future archeologist, it offended her that somebody would disrespect a historical site by littering.
Scarecrow's eyes widened…what were the chances? He practically snatched the envelope out of Buffy's hands and tore it open. Inside were the troop locations they had been talking about. "This is it!" he hissed to Amanda.
They both came to the same horrible conclusion a few seconds later: Dean was passing along sensitive information to enemies of the United States. Scarecrow hoped for Amanda's sake that Dean was tricked or coerced into it; Amanda thought her mother would be heartbroken that she couldn't marry Dean now. Not that she was exactly racing to the altar even before this. And to think she thought Dean was a little boring!
"Ma'am?" Buffy said, reminding the two adults they had an audience.
"Thanks for telling me about this, Buffy," Amanda said. She tried to think of a way to keep the young girl quiet until they could take Dean into custody. "Mr. Stetson here will talk to Weatherman Dean about the importance of not littering once we've finished our tour, okay?"
Buffy thought about it for a moment, then decided that it might ruin the fun for everyone else if somebody got in trouble – even if that somebody was an adult. She'd just make sure to mention it at the next group meeting so everyone understood the importance of keeping historical places tidy. "Okay, I guess…but if he does it again, I'm going to say something to him, too!"
Scarecrow almost laughed at the small girl. She sort of reminded him of Amanda and that spunk of hers. "If you catch him littering again, you go right ahead and yell at him," he encouraged with his most charming grin. If Buffy had been even a few years older, she would have swooned at the attention.
As they were loading up on the bus, Buffy happened to look out the window and saw the cute man forcing Weatherman Dean into a police car with cuffs on. Wow, they really took littering seriously here!
A/N: I was tempted to have Buffy kick somebody in the groin if they tried to use her as a hostage, but thought I'd save that for another time. It's bound to come up again sometime, right?