Laying Down Arms & Everything Else For That Matter
Disclaimer: These characters and these worlds are not my own. They belong to Joss Whedon. Some of these lines are Joss's too.
Author's note: I am shortening the time between the Incident on Miranda and the landing of Serenity. Enjoy.
"Mom? I'm worried abou-", Buffy cut off as she bounded into her mom's room.
"You too, huh?", she asked seeing her mom in bed midday.
Lately it seemed that everyone was resting a lot more. Buffy didn't know what the fuss was about. She felt better than ever. A few days before, she woke up feeling wired and, weirdly, like she could take on anything. Not usually the way a fifteen year old feels. She shrugged it off as just being in a good mood and quickly forgot that she had ever felt any other way.
"What is it, honey?" , Joyce Summers asked her daughter looking serene yet tired at the same time.
"I was just going to say that I'm worried about Dawn. She's been loafing about a lot lately. She hasn't even been trying to listen in on my calls. But you seem to be acting the same way. Are you feeling okay?"
"Sure, sweetie. Every thing's fine. I don't think you need to worry about your sister either. We aren't sick, we're just... comfortable.", Joyce tried to sound reassuring for Buffy but even that seemed to drain her. Buffy noticed but she didn't want to cause her mother anymore energy so she just acted like she hadn't.
"Okay. Well I'm going over to Willow's. Can I get you anything before I go?"
"No, thank you sweetheart."
And with that Buffy left idly wishing that everyone would just snap out of whatever funk they were in.
That whole week Buffy had to make her own dinner. She was convinced her mother and Dawn were sick so she kept making them soup. In fact, it seemed everyone was sick. Most of the kids hadn't been to school in days. Her friends weren't answering her calls. Her father had missed picking her up for the weekend and hadn't even called to tell her he wasn't coming. Buffy was glad that she had a strong immune system because, despite how at peace her mother looked just staring off into space, she knew it would probably get a lot worse before it got better. She didn't know how right she was.
After a few days of feeding her mother and Dawn their dinner (again soup), Buffy woke up to a quieter house than usual. Right away she was on edge. She looked in on Dawn first only to find her little sister still sleeping. Then, on the way to check on her mother she realized that she didn't hear her soft snore. Knowing that, she walked a little faster. Having finally reached her mother's side, Buffy reached out and shook her. Softly at first and then harder.
"Mom! Mom, wake up!", Buffy was almost frantic.
"Huh, what is it?", Joyce finally asked sounding very groggy.
"Oh, Mom! Thank God!", Buffy cried in relief reaching to embrace her mother. It was a long hug.
After that little upset, Buffy made sure that her mother and Dawn were comfortable and eventually began the short walk to school.
It was colder than normal that morning but still nice out. Buffy barely felt the need for a jacket so she couldn't fathom why there were so few people out. None of her friends had been to school in days so she knew not to expect them but was everyone sick? There were a few people sitting at a retro outdoor cafe and a young man walking rather sluggishly not far ahead but Buffy saw no one else in the street. As she closed the distance between herself and the strange man, Buffy was getting more and more anxious about this sickness that had gotten a hold of so many people. Her mother and sister included.
Buffy barely noticed when the man, now almost right in front of her, slowly bent forward but she did notice when he kept going until he was lying face down on the pavement. She hurried over to him.
"Sir, are you all right? Do you need me to get someone for you?", she asked bending over him to make sure he could hear her. When he didn't answer, she realized he wasn't breathing.
"Oh, God.", she whispered trying not to panic. She tried CPR but it didn't seem to be working. Finally, she remembered the people at the cafe and called out to them.
"Hey! Help! Call for help! He's not breathing!", she yelled pointing at the stranger on the ground.
They didn't even turn to look in her direction. Muttering Chinese profanities she briskly walked over to them only to be horrified at what she found. Bodies. They were all just dead bodies sitting there for everyone to see. Only everyone wasn't seeing them. She was. Alone.
In a flurry of panic Buffy ran home. Again, she checked on her mother. This time she couldn't wake her. Buffy started crying profusely. She went to Dawn's room next with little hope. She hadn't checked on her sister very closely that morning so, when she found her sister not breathing either, she had no idea how long Dawn had been that way.
Buffy tried calling the paramedics for hours. Then, she tried calling anyone. No one was answering. Panic was lost on her now. Buffy had tried everything she could think of to help her mother and sister. They were long gone and she was utterly and hopelessly alone.
Still crying, Buffy went around pounding on people's front doors though she knew it would do no good. When her hands were numb from knocking and her legs were too tired to go any further, Buffy sat down on someone's porch steps. She knew she couldn't go home. Couldn't return to where her mother and sister's bodies were. She didn't have the strength to see them that way again. Not just yet. So, she stopped knocking on doors and started opening them. After finding several more bodies and vomiting several times, Buffy found a house that was empty. Apparently the occupants had decided to die elsewhere.
It was a long time before Buffy slept that night. She thought about the events of the day and all that she had lost. She had nothing left and no one to share it with.
Filled with a world of sorrow Buffy finally fell into a dreamless and fitful sleep.