Summers on the Hellmouth

Summary: **Part of the 2020 LiveJournal's Twisted Shorts FaD** challenge. Mark and Buffy make plans for the future and it doesn't include their father or sister.

Challenge: for the livejournal 2020 August Fic-a-Day Challenge.

Timeline: pre-series BtVS and SG1; storywise, it's about 4 months or so after 'XX Origins of Buffy', Chapters 21-24

A/N: Of my past FaD stories, this is the one Musie wanted to follow-up on the most right now.

Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. Stargate SG-1 character belongs to Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright / SyFy Channel. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Carter household

April 1996

The tension around the breakfast table was so thick you'd need a chainsaw to get through it. It had been for the last several months…ever since Buffy stopped trying to play the role of peacemaker for them. Jacob knew it was his own damn fault for assuming the worst of her when some idiot school counselor tried to pin the gym fire on her – especially when she was the reason so many of the students survived that night.

But he didn't think, and now it had lost him his two youngest children. Mark had been iffy anyway but given a choice between the father he despised and the twin sister he adored, there was never any contest. Buffy would always win…even if she had been at fault.

To make matters worse, Sam sided with him and thought they should forgive him for making a rash judgment. After all, he was acting on information from what he should reasonably expect to be a reliable source. She probably didn't realize yet her mistake would haunt her the rest of her life…just like his would. Sam was just too distracted by thoughts of the Academy to see what she was losing.

With a near-silent sigh, he spoke, "I have new orders. They're sending me to the Pentagon. We need to be in D.C. by mid-summer." He knew this assignment was the next big break in his career. If it went well, he'd get a star on his shoulder in a couple years.

Mark glanced at Buffy and replied, "You need to be there. We aren't going with you." It wasn't said with anger, just determination. Before Jacob or Sam could object, he continued, "Things are bad enough here, but adding a move to a new city will just make them so much worse."

"I can't just leave you," Jacob argued, not bothering to deny something so painfully obvious.

"Just tell people that you sent us to live with family. Since we'll be together, it'll be true," Mark shot back with the barest hint of a sneer.

Sam interjected with her own argument, "You're too young to be on your own!"

Buffy finally looked up from her cereal and said, "Other than paying the bills, we already take care of everything around here. We do the cooking, the cleaning, the yardwork… With the money from Grandpa and Grandma Summers, we can do the bill-paying, too." She didn't sound mad either, but it didn't sound like a battle Jacob could win.

"The bills for this place would wipe out your trust funds before you graduated," Jacob answered. "It's too expensive for you."

"We wouldn't stay here," Mark said, getting ready to drop his own bombshell. "We're moving to Sunnydale as soon as school lets out for the summer."

Too tired to fight, Jacob simply asked, "What about not wanting to go somewhere new?"

He regretted the question as soon as it left his mouth.

Mark glared at him and responded, "We didn't want to go somewhere new with you. We're thrilled to be leaving Hemery."

"Why? Since Buffy wasn't responsible for the fire-" Sam started.

Only to be cut off by her sister. "Half the school thinks I'm some kind of superhero for risking my life to save everyone, but the other half still thinks that I'm the one to blame…regardless of who actually started the fire. It's worse there than it is here in this house."

"If you could pull off your Academy blinders for a second, you'd realize that everyone's treating you differently, too," Mark added.

Sam thought for a second and realized that people had been acting weird around her, but she just assumed it was because she was joining the Air Force. It didn't really bother her, so it couldn't be that bad…right?

Carter household

May 1996

The next week, Sam realized how wrong she was. Once she started to pay attention to what was happening, it got oppressive rather quickly. When she brought it up to her dad, he just said he wasn't surprised. Then he lectured her about maintaining situational awareness because if she had been that unobservant in the field, it could get somebody killed.

"You can't really be thinking about letting them go to that town alone," Sam protested.

"If I don't let them go, they'll just leave anyway," Jacob defended himself. "At least this way, I'll know where they are going. I've checked out Sunnydale, and I'm actually glad they are going there. It's a small town…population of less than 40,000. Crime stats are low for the size and housing is on the cheaper side. All in all, much better choice than them staying in the LA area."

Sam was floored by his decision. "But still, how can—"

He looked defeated as he interrupted her, "Because I know they would run away if I tried to force them to move with me. Sammy, even though you're focused on the Academy, you can't be blind to the tension in this house. Not when it's this bad."

"Of course not, Dad," she agreed.

"I screwed up, and the only hope I have at having some kind of relationship with Mark and Buffy is to not fight them on things I don't have a chance at winning. By helping them make their own life in Sunnydale, I might be able to get them to keep me informed on what's going on with them," he admitted. For the thousandth time, he wished that Debra hadn't died all those years ago. He just wasn't cut out to be a single parent, and it was the twins who suffered most because of it.

A/N: Hopefully I'll be able to cover quite a bit of BtVS before Musie loses interest in this bunny. I won't go episode by episode, but if there's something in particular you want me to cover, just let me know in the reviews.