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August 7: Family Business (T; Pacific Rim)

Title: Family Business
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Rating: PG-13
Challenge: twistedshorts: August 7
Crossover: Pacific Rim
Spoilers: Post-series, no comics; pre-movie
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.
Notes: 5th in the Slayer Jaeger sequence. Still no actual combat, sorry; having fun playing with the characters. I hadn't realized until I surfed the Wiki what the timestamps on the movie would mean for their ages!

Summary: The boys looked kind of like tired puppies to the Slayer General's experienced eye: wrung out, but physically intact, and palpably relieved to be home. 1800 words.

Buffy turned away from the chowline with her tray, feeling half-starved and achy after a long day of training, and flinched as she headed for the usual table. Faith was still in the Kwoon combat room with Marshal Pentecost, and Buffy was catching the fallout all the way from the mess hall. She was still pissed he hadn't sent Kaiju Slayer down to L.A. with Gipsy Danger to back up the local Jaeger team the day before-- and he maintained that they needed more than a couple of weeks of live training before going up against an actual kaiju.

Buffy didn't exactly disagree with Faith; but she didn't disagree with Stacks, either. There were around thirty Jaegers in active service at the moment; it wouldn't have made sense to send the newest one into combat before her feet were even wet when there were plenty of others ready to serve. Even if they would have had a home-court advantage, in more ways than one.

She perked up a little as she saw Raleigh and Yancy already eating, fending off the occasional pat on the shoulder or hand-shake from other pilots and techs as they passed their table. The boys looked kind of like tired puppies to the Slayer General's experienced eye: wrung out, but physically intact, and palpably relieved to be home.

"All hail the conquering heroes," she greeted them, wending through the mill of foot traffic to slide onto the bench facing Yancy. "I thought the Marshal was just supposed to be sending you guys as backup? Every news site out there is showing footage of Gipsy beheading a kaiju today."

Yancy focused on her with a tired grin, a touch of masculine appreciation briefly flashing in his eyes. It would have been a lot more flattering if he hadn't been practically young enough to be her kid; he was only twenty-two, and his brother was even younger. "We were just supposed to be backup. But Yamarashi was tougher than they were expecting; the biggest Category Three yet. The local team went down and we had to take over."

Buffy's smile faded at that. She'd known one of the pilots of the fallen Jaeger; he'd been one of Riley's soldiers, back in the day. "I heard about the Blazing Angel. Any word on survivors?"

Raleigh looked up from his tray at that, looking pale and worn. "None; sorry. They took too much damage. We nearly didn't make it, either; we barely got back to the Shatterdome in time for them to hose us down before that thing's blood ate into our Conn-Pod."

Buffy grimaced and set down her fork; she'd seen what Kaiju Blue could do up close and personal while Trespasser had been busy wrecking San Francisco. "Well then, I'm extra glad you made it back in one piece. I'm sorry we weren't there to back you up."

"We sure could have used the help," Yancy commented, then narrowed his eyes, frowning thoughtfully at her. "Which reminds me-- why weren't you there to begin with? You never told us your brother-in-law was the L.A. Marshal. Why wasn't Slayer stationed there, instead of Anchorage?"

Buffy shook her head, exasperated. She might have known someone at the L.A. Shatterdome would spill the beans. "It's a long story." She loved Xander dearly, as a best friend and her sister's husband, but it would've been a little weird for everyone involved if she and Faith had had to take orders from him.

It was strange enough taking orders from Stacks; they'd known him since he was a snot-nosed punk, a teenaged orphan attending a military school in Britain. It just so happened that he'd had a great-aunt and uncle on the old Council, and Giles had sort of folded him into the extended ISWC family in the process of negotiating with him for the esoteric library he'd inherited. He'd ended up passing over a Watcher career in favor of joining the RAF, but he'd been spending leaves up in Scotland for several years before K-Day. He'd got into the Jaeger program on raw talent, though, not through their ISWC contacts, and he'd never actually fought under Buffy's command, so she'd figured she could deal with serving under his instead. Plus, he knew what questions not to ask.

"Aw, it's not that long," Faith said lightly, announcing her presence by plunking her tray down next to Buffy's. "Blame it on me; Little D would, if you asked her."

Buffy rolled her eyes at that and elaborated. "My sister's five years younger than I am. But Xander isn't. When we were in high school, he and I were good friends--"

"--which basically means he lusted after her for years, while Dawnie panted after him, but Buffy was too dense to notice. And then I rolled into town and popped the X-Man's cherry." Faith shrugged, a thread of smugness infecting the light ghost-Drift that still lingered between them, several hours after their last training Drift.

Buffy wrinkled her nose as sweaty images rose in the back of her mind, and tried to return the favor with equally intimate memories of Angel, the closest thing to a brother-figure Faith had. "Did you have to show me that? I don't know how I'm going to look him in the eye next time I call them."

Faith chuckled, parrying verbally for the boys' sake. "You know what they say-- the Drift goes deepest where experiences are shared. Is there something you want to admit about Xander?"

Yancy blinked at that, fork drooping in his hand as the age reference she'd made finally registered. "Wait, what? We met Chief Harris, too-- there's no way you're older than she is."

"Let's just say-- we're old enough to have changed both your diapers, and leave it at that," Faith replied with a wink. One of the double-edged benefits of their mystical heritage, finally coming to light now that Slayers were starting to live past their twenties: they all seemed much younger than their birthdates implied.

"Anyway," Buffy interrupted, clearing her throat. "It would be nice to see more of my nephew and nieces, but it's easier for all of our peace of mind if we don't live under the same roof."

Faith made an amused noise at that, but didn't comment, busy making inroads on her meal. Irony laced with silent laughter chimed along the bond between them.

Silence fell as Buffy worked on her tray, too, and the exhausted brothers turned back to theirs. A few more knots of people washed up against the table, talking to the Beckets or angling for sparring matches with her and Faith-- they were popular training partners now that they'd made the cut-- and Buffy almost forgot the previous topic of conversation in the ebb and flow of camaraderie.

But then Raleigh put down his fork and cleared his throat, expression somewhere between curiosity and confusion. "She does know she doesn't have to be jealous any more, though, right? I mean, now that you're together."

He caught Faith right in the middle of tipping back her glass, and the brunette Slayer choked on her water, barely getting a hand up in time to avoid spraying half the table.

Buffy didn't know which assumption to address first: that she and Faith were necessarily lovers because they were non-related Drift partners; that they'd suddenly cease to be attracted-- or attractive-- to guys even if they were; or that past relationships didn't still affect the present. He was such a puppy; she had to resist the urge to pinch his cheek as he glanced from Faith's choking form to Buffy's lifting eyebrow, cheeks beginning to flame with embarrassment.

"And on that note," Yancy interrupted before either of the Slayers could fire off a suitable response, slapping his brother heavily across the back. "I'm for the baths; we were in harness for hours yesterday, and I'm black and blue all over. That's one thing training doesn't really prepare you for; you don't even notice while you're in the Drift, but afterward?" He winced, stretching theatrically.

"That's good to know," Buffy nodded, grateful for both the knowledge and the diversion. "I'll be sure and stock up on the Icy Hot when it's our turn."

Being the Slayer meant she and Faith healed quickly, but it didn't prevent them from getting injured in the first place, especially the repetitive type of damage that came with sustained exertion. Slayers were built for short, swift fights, and their Jaeger had been specially constructed to take advantage of their enhanced abilities to out-strike any other Jaeger currently in action several-fold. But that meant more torque in the harnesses, more feedback from the neural bridge between pilots and machine-- and higher odds of stress injuries in combat.

"Get some sleep; you'll probably be in debriefings half the day tomorrow," she added, sympathetically.

"Don't remind me," Yancy groaned. Then he picked up his tray, ushered his brother up, and left.

"Were we ever that young?" Buffy sighed, watching them go with a half-disbelieving, half-appreciative eye.

Amusement ghosted between them again, chased with wry warmth. "Nah, girl; you know we were worse."

"Speaking of which, how'd it go with the Marshal? Please tell me you didn't break him."

"Folded and spindled a little, maybe, but not mutilated," Faith shrugged. "Stacks knows what he's doing; he didn't retire from driving for lack of talent. And I do get why he held us back. It's just so frustrating. All these shiny kids, with half the life experience, risking their lives on the line. We should have been out there with them from Day One."

"You know why we weren't," Buffy reminded her. "But we're here now."

"Yeah. We're here now," Faith sighed. Then she stood again, picking up her empty tray. "C'mon-- those baths sounded good. I could use a warm soak."

Buffy could almost feel the hot water lapping blissfully on her own skin, and wasn't sure whose anticipation she was feeling. But did it really matter? They were who they were: the Chosen Two, even more literally now than before, and she'd rather find the positive aspects of it than make them both as miserable as they'd been back in Sunnyhell. "And then a trip to the bay? I wanted to talk to the techs about the sensitivity threshold on the gyros. The A.I. keeps trying to warn us we're off balance-- it's not a problem yet, but that dizzy inner-ear feedback thing it does would be a real nuisance in combat."

"To be fair, we are pulling moves that none of the other Jaegers could handle, not even Gipsy," Faith smirked. "But yeah; I know what you mean."

They fell into step, no other words needed between them as they exited the room.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)

You are made of win. Seriously.
Aug. 9th, 2013 02:18 am (UTC)
:) Thanks! I had fun with this bit.
Aug. 8th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
Day Seven - Accepted!

Love 'little brother's' verbal misstep even if it's understandable and the girl's nearly casual reaction to it. Back in the day that type of insinuation would have caused a riot. :) The bond already there and deepening between the Slayers is an added bonus.
Aug. 9th, 2013 02:20 am (UTC)
According to the Wiki, Raleigh was all of nineteen the first time he and his brother took down a Kaiju, and Buffy and Faith would be in their mid-thirties, so .... I had a lot of fun writing this conversation. :) Glad you enjoyed it!
Aug. 9th, 2013 04:00 am (UTC)
Let's hear it fore more character moments! If "Pacific Rim" is more of a Godzilla vs. Transformers flick, It's probably fairly short on those, more's the pity. One of the things I love most about your writing is that you give due attention to the characters as well as the plot and action (not to mention the research and consideration you put into everything).
Aug. 9th, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)
Pardon all of the typos. Ye gods, my brain is apparently half off-line. :-p
Aug. 9th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
There are a few more than you'd expect, for the genre. But it definitely does hit several of the generic Hero Beats as shortcut for getting us to care about the Giant Monsters vs Giant Robots action!plot. :) So I watch it, and think about what it might actually be like to live in that universe, and then certain bits of the backstory just beg to link up with some other 'verse's backstory (my current favorite, though I doubt I'll ever write it, is that the anvillicious experimental virius in Dan Brown's "Inferno" is actually the real cause of the events of the "Walking Dead" series .....)

... Anyway. Glad you're enjoying these stories!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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