Title: Slayer Camp
Warnings: Olivia (‘cause some people don’t like her.)
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss and co.
Word count: 1,500
Summary: Giles updates his new summer camp counselor on what’s been going on since the destruction of Sunnydale. (A/N: I originally wrote this as a fun letter from Giles to strangexgirl, who made this banner and is indeed a counselor at a summer camp. It’s set in the same post-Chosen Buffyverse as my other stories, so there are references to events from those tales, but no need to read them to get this -- it’s just a quick look at what might have happened in the year after the destruction of Sunnydale.)
I wanted to update you on any happenings you may have missed while you and the junior slayers are away at camp. I’m aware that many, if not most, of the campers are upset that they’re not allowed cell phones, but we felt it important that you get a complete break from the outside world during your summer there.
While you yourself can receive e-mail, I’m still not entirely trustful of those infernal machines that seem so easy to tamper with. Despite Willow’s assertion that the US Postal Service is just as susceptible, I’d prefer to trust paper to arrive unmolested, rather than an electronic signal that could bounce anywhere in the world before showing up just one state over.
Thank you again for taking the position of camp counselor. The fact that I wasn’t aware you’d actually held that position when you were younger makes me realize we didn’t know each other as well as I’d always assumed we did, for which I’m sorry. Possibly our relationship was -- shall we say -- shallow?
Water under the bridge, of course. I’m well aware of your reticence to get involved in my world now, and once again I’d like to say how very grateful I am that you accepted a teaching position at the school, and for your willingness to spend the summer here in the States.
We’re still adjusting to a world with many slayers and few watchers, rather than the other way around. The only declared Senior Slayers are those who survived the Battle of Sunnydale, and for Buffy and Faith we’ve settled on the term Master Slayer. There was some contention about that; the comparison to the term Master Vampire bothered Buffy, while Faith thought it was appropriate -- rather like general versus general.
The new watchers will likely see a similar designation. Andrew’s continued agitation to use the word Padwan for those in training remains unacceptable -- and rather annoying.
My point is, the offer to make you a watcher in training remains on the table; there’s no rule that says watchers have to do field work, after all. We’re making up an entirely new rulebook, now. Just the same, I understand your desire to be thought of as a teacher. We’re dealing with girls who become slayers automatically upon reaching puberty; that age varies, of course, but some of them are very young. Your experience and training as both a teacher and counselor will be vital.
I must confess, I was leery of this idea of a Slayer Camp when it was first presented. Perhaps that was disingenuous of me; after all, the original Council encouraged a watcher’s retreat, which was quite successful. Such an idea seems even more important now, with hundreds of slayers cooped up inside a Chicago high-rise when they’re not on assignment. Since we’re well on our way to establishing the new branch offices, that overcrowding will be alleviated, but in the meantime Robin was quite right in pointing out the slayers were getting, as he put it, “cabin fever”.
The food fight of April 23rd -- a day which, I assure you, shall remain embedded in my memory -- was the last straw. On a related note, Clem was able to get the stains out of the sound absorbing ceiling tiles.
And no, before you ask, I have no desire to know where Buffy found a demon who would be willing to cook for an army of slayers.
Where was I? Oh, yes -- you might pass on to the girls that Faith should not be expected at the camp, as was originally planned. As you know, she was hesitant about going to a place with no city nightlife. I suspect that was the reason behind the latest tiff between her and Robin -- not that they need a reason -- and so she elected not to join him as he plays the role of camp leader. This may come as a relief to some of the younger campers, who I understand are somewhat intimidated by her, um, style.
Dawn was just looking over my shoulder, and wishes me to tell you that the Faith-Robin relationship has now outlasted all the bets in the pool. Andrew guessed they would last the longest, and they’re now debating whether that means he wins, or no one does.
Pass on to the staff and campers that all is well here, and quiet on the supernatural front at present. Xander has left for another trip to Africa, taking Vi with him this time; that continent seems to be a breeding ground for the creation of new slayers. The reason remains uncertain, but might relate to the original Slayer coming from there. In any case, a move is underway to establish a branch office in South Africa, and once it’s up and running we may not be seeing much more of Xander in person.
Buffy is still in Tokyo, working on the new office there and, I’m told, shopping. She took Hiroko with her, which perhaps will serve the duel purpose of both defeating the language barrier and smoothing things over with Hiroko’s family. Buffy informs me she’s now learned a few dozen Japanese words, as well as an entire sentence: “How much does this cost?”
Willow and Kennedy are investigating the best location for an east coast branch office. New York would seem the obvious choice, but real estate there is expensive even by our standards. In between visiting cities they’re staying in that charming inn at Star’s Hollow, Connecticut, which I suspect is why they volunteered for the assignment to begin with. The owner has forgiven them for an earlier incident in which Kennedy got into an altercation with the owner of a local market; when I called, all Miss Gilmore would tell me was “Taylor probably deserved it”. Apparently there are issues between the two of them.
I’ve elected to keep Tara and her group here in Chicago while most of the slayers are at camp. Tara continually reminds me that, as a spirit, she doesn’t need vacations, although I’m not sure her situation is as simple as all that. In any case, she’s been traveling with the Buffybot, and we’re taking advantage of this lull to give her -- it -- a complete overhaul. She’s had a rough time of it, after all, having been “destroyed” twice and blasted with magical energies four times, now. The overhaul is not going well, as the Buffybot seems to have developed emotions and has, in addition to being unwilling to unclothe in front of Andrew, declared her fear of needles. We’re working on it.
Meanwhile, Dana is also taking some time off, while Richard works one on one with her to improve her basic education skills. Until we’ve dealt with Dana’s phobia of small animals and outdoor toilets, camp would be problematical. Since Dawn is on summer break from the university, she’s agreed to be in the classroom because of Dana’s other deep seated fear, of being alone with males.
There’s not much else going on, except for our ongoing investigation into the events at Wolfram and Hart’s Los Angeles offices. Chao-Ahn and Suzy are there now, but they haven’t been able to get close; Wolfram and Hart has shown an alarming ability to detect slayers anywhere in the vicinity, something they no doubt perfected after the Dana incident. What Angel and his crew are up to in there is still not certain, but we shall continue our observations.
I hope you, Shannon, Rona, and the other counselors will continue to be vigilant to the possibility of supernatural goings-on during your stay. We chose that area for a camp precisely because there’s been little supernatural activity there, at least not since the slayer Galilahi and the Immortals closed the New Madrid Hellmouth in 1811. (Perhaps they’d have rethought their actions if they’d known that Hellmouth would eventually reappear under Cleveland.)
However, it must be remembered that the mystical energy of a slayer tends to attract unwanted attention, and I can only imagine how much stronger that attraction is with so many slayers together. Also, the black mage Tara’s group encountered along the banks of the Mississippi was not so far away -- so be careful.
I hope the only difficulties you encounter will be of a more traditional variety. It was good to know the shining red eyes Kara glimpsed turned out to be a deer, and that the strange noises in the night were nothing more than a resident raccoon. Slayer healing powers will be enough to deal with any wasp stings, although I’m sure they’d just as soon avoid the sting to begin with.
It’s interesting to hear that some of the girls have been dealing with issues of homesickness, considering most of them have been away from home, living in the Watcher’s Headquarters, for months. You might remind them that, as the saying goes, home is where the heart is: As they are surrounded by girls with the same issues and emotions as themselves, I would propose that for all intents they’re with sisters of the heart, if not of the blood, and that therefore they are home. It’s something they might think about.
Good luck and enjoy yourselves for the rest of your summer. I’m catching up on my research and reading and, I must confess, enjoying the relative silence before the next crisis presents itself. Just the same … well, I miss you. That’s something I should have said more often in the past.