"I think everyone is here," Buffy Summers announced, pushing long locks of blonde hair behind her ears. "This meeting will now come to order."
Somewhere in the spacious, suburban living room they'd chosen as a meeting place, somebody grunted. Buffy's clear blue gaze shot up, coming to rest on the noise's most likely origin: "Anakin, did you have something to say?"
The young Jedi frowned sullenly. "No," he said softly, mockingly, and then a moment later: "I just want to know who died and made you boss," he retorted snottily.
The comment hit its intended mark, as Anakin knew it would. "Who died?" Buffy hissed through clenched teeth. "Only every Slayer who came before me, in the line of duty, ridding the world of vampires, that's who died." She glared at Anakin, who was making a 'whoop-de-doo' sign with his right hand. "Not that you'd have any experience with that," she continued.
"Well, no," Anakin smirked, pleased to have found a way under her skin. "I'm afraid I just don't have the track record of boffing everything I kill. Did your Voyeur teach you that?"
"He's a Watcher," Buffy shot back. "And you're one to talk – you aren't even a real Jedi yet. Tell me, does that Bobo-Wok guy or whatever his name is lead you around by that sissy braid?"
"My Master, Obi-Wan," Anakin corrected, "personally instructs me on the path to becoming a Jedi Knight. There is absolutely no shame in being a Jedi Apprentice – it's a tradition that has been passed down for centuries within the Order. But you don't have any traditions, do you, Slayer?" he taunted, and then snorted. "I mean, besides getting killed, is that how it works?"
"Your 'Master'?" Buffy cut back swiftly, ignoring the insult. "That sounds like some kinky S&M arrangement. And it's nice that you have an entire Order to go back to and lick your wounds. There's only one Slayer, and you're looking at her." She paused. "I mean, except for the time I died for like, thirty seconds and this one chick got endowed with the mojo in my place, or that whole homicidal anti-Slayer thing after SHE kicked the bucket …" she trailed off when she realized that her audience was lost.
"Anyway," she said hurriedly, "more often than not, I'm on my own, and it's not an easy path. "Harry will agree with me," she continued, acknowledging one of the other two persons in the room for the first time. "Won't you, Harry?"
Thirteen-year-old Harry Potter blinked behind his coke-bottle spectacles, very obviously flustered at having been singled out. "I – it's not easy," he said, almost apologetically. "But I do have my friends to help, and I'm grateful for that." Beside him, Mighty Max nodded fervently in agreement.
Buffy's features softened momentarily. "Well, of course, there are friends," she conceded. "But the real trial is when they abandon you, and you have to save the world alone. You can't rely on anyone – a real hero needs nothing but themselves." She heard Anakin's sniggering and glared. "What?"
Anakin barked out a laugh. "Nothing, nothing," he said unconvincingly. Then a moment later: "don't let me disturb you, Little Miss Martyr Complex."
"Oh, you're one to talk!" Buffy exclaimed heatedly. "What was it you said at the last meeting? 'When I was just a young slave boy,'" she said in a passably whiny imitation of Anakin, "'I used to dream about freeing all the slaves.' Because that's just such a realistic view of the situation, that they're all waiting around for you to come in with your big, phallic light sword and rescue them. You're their savior, right?"
Anakin's mouthed worked to form words, but nothing came out. "Y-you dare to make jokes about my being a slave?" he finally bit out. His hands shook with barely concealed rage. "You know nothing about my past, nothing!" he hissed.
"You're right," Buffy said, "I know nothing specific. But I hang around with the whiny, emo underbelly enough that I can fill in the blanks: Mommy didn't love me, and I don't have a daddy, so I'm going to run off and kill things with my big glow stick because that will make me feel like a man."
"You're awfully fascinated by my big glow stick," Anakin smirked.
Buffy feigned a yawn. "Been there, done that, got the blood-stained shirt." She pointed at the wooden stake wedged casually in the waistband of her pants. "You don't really need the fancy light show when you have one of these babies," she said smugly.
Anakin summoned his lightsaber to him with an extraneous use of the Force. "You want to bet on that?" he said, the activated blade reflecting a soft blue light off of his skin.
Buffy's eyes glittered. "I don't need to bet that the stake is mightier than the lightsaber," she retorted, then stood up and gestured towards the door. "After you."
"Oh, no," Anakin replied with faux-courteousness. "Ladies first."
"Yes, so by all means," Buffy said again, "you first." The argument was eventually dragged outside, punctuated by a loud slamming of the front door.
Max and Harry blinked at each other. "Did they go out there to fight or screw?" Max asked. "I can't tell."
Harry just shook his head. "I don't really want to think about it." He picked up the discarded clipboard that Buffy had left behind, and glanced at the abandoned agenda. "I wonder if anybody's got any leads on new recruitment."
"Well, Virgil said he's been in contact once or twice with Sailor Moon's cat guardians, but there's nothing definite yet." They sat in silence for a minute or so. "You into video games?" Max said finally.
Harry broke out into a grin. "Yeah!" And the clipboard was once again abandoned as the two heroes padded excitedly up to Max's room.
"So while the Prophecy isn't entirely clear on how the Capbearer must go about defeating Skullmaster, I am confident that with the proper instruction …" the Lemurian fowl trailed off as a loud noise reverberated through the kitchen where the guardians sat, having their own meeting of sorts. "Heavens!"
Obi-Wan Kenobi shook his head and sighed. "Honestly, I do tell Anakin not to use the Force for unnecessary things like slamming doors. I think if he ever did listen to me, I would fall flat on the floor in a dead faint," he said ruefully.
Giles nodded. "I certainly know the feeling." Through the open window, a loud "hi-yah!" could be heard. "Do you suppose somebody should go intervene?"
Obi-Wan cocked his head thoughtfully. "No," he finally said. "Best to let them work out their aggressions now in case they have to work with one another in the future. I'm confident that Anakin won't rough Buffy up too terribly badly," he said cheerfully.
"I feel the same way for Buffy," Giles agreed, with slightly narrowed eyes.
An awkward silence swept over the room. Finally, Dumbledore coughed and gestured towards the stove. "More tea, anyone?"
"Please!" Virgil said quickly, and Obi-Wan and Giles reluctantly followed suit.