Buffy was cold. The sun was shining and it was freaking freezing! That's just unnatural. The cold and the sun are not two great tastes that go great together. And to top it off, there was snow on the ground. Which meant ice. Which meant she fell on her ass despite having slayer powers. Stupid bystanders laughing at her. It wasn't her fault! This was only the second time she'd seen snow since that last Christmas with Angel.
She was in Boston, Cambridge to be exact, walking around Harvard Square looking for a new slayer. Buffy had never been in Boston before now, and was having trouble getting used to the place. The public transportation, in particular, was really giving her a hard time. People shouldn't have to remember stuff like the Red Line, or Green Line, or any other colored lines.
Fortunately, Harvard Square is known for having a very large shopping area. It was also home to Harvard University. And as you know, campuses are a breeding ground for vampires, so at least some things were familiar. Too bad it wasn't anything she could use now. Though she did promise to come back and spend a little bit of the Watcher's Council's money.
The chilly slayer walked up to a bunch of teenagers that were hanging around an entrance to the Red Line.
"Hi. I don't suppose any of you could tell me where I can find this person, could you?" She held up a photograph. A couple of the kids looked at the photo, but most of them were staring at Buffy. She frowned. "What?"
One of the boys smirked and some of the others started laughing. They walked off. Buffy watched them leave with a confused expression. She turned to one of the remaining kids, a pregnant girl that couldn't have been older than sixteen.
Buffy winced internally. The poor girl has no fashion sense. There was too much eyeliner and eye shadow on her face, for one thing. The ensemble of baggy cargo pants and Patriots jersey did nothing to complement her condition. Though the spiky leather straps on her wrists, coupled with the leather jacket, was a step in the right direction. Her hair was something else entirely. It was like she tried all the colors in the world, and decided to wear them all at the same time.
"Nice hair," Buffy complemented.
The girl smiled. "Thanks."
"So what was their deal?" she asked, referring to the kids that left.
The girl shrugged, then sat down on a bench. "They're jackasses."
Buffy nodded. Seemed true enough. She held up the photo again. "Do you know where I can find her?"
The girl looked at the picture and shook her head. "Sorry."
"Great." Buffy sat down next to the pregnant girl and pouted. "I shouldn't even be here." She sighed. "The only reason I'm even looking for this girl is because I was in the neighborhood."
"So you're not from around here then?" The girl asked, pulling a yo-yo out from one of her many pockets.
"Nope. I'm from California. Good old not freezing my ass off sunny California." Buffy stared at the photograph. "Where is she?" she muttered to herself.
"You here on vacation?"
The slayer leaned back against the wall and watched as some of the teens began to play hacky sack. "Kinda. I was checking out the schools in the area. I'm thinking of going back to college. Get a degree. Maybe."
"That's cool. In what?"
Buffy shrugged. "I dunno. Psychology, or teaching, or maybe religion."
The girl stopped yo-yoing, and stared at the older woman questioningly. "Religion?"
"Sure, why not?" Buffy said. "You can never know too much about religion. Did you know that Mary was probably around thirteen or fifteen when she gave birth to Jesus?"
"She doesn't look it in all the paintings and stuff."
"Huh. That's pretty young." Buffy looked at the girl's swelled belly, then back to her face. "What? I'm eighteen. That's, like, way older."
"If you say so." Buffy went back to watching the hacky sack game.
"So, are you this chick's mom or something?"
Buffy spun so fast, her neck cricked. "WHAT? NO!"
"Jeez relax, lady. Just a question."
"A bad one. Do I look old enough to be her mother?" she asked, perturbed.
The girl shrugged. "Maybe you had her young. Same as Mary."
Buffy calmed down and crossed her arms in a huff. "Well I didn't."
"Whatever." The girl went back to her yo-yoing.
"Boy or girl?" Buffy asked after a few seconds.
"Your baby. Do you know if it's a boy or girl?"
She stopped yo-yoing. A worried look flittered across her face before vanishing. She shrugged. "No."
Buffy nodded. "Wanna keep it a surprise, huh? When Mom was pregnant with my sister, Dad wanted to know what the sex was before she was born. Mom didn't. Said the surprise was half the fun."
The girl laughed a little. "Yeah, fun." She went back to her yo-yo.
Buffy took a deep breath, then stood up. "I gotta go, but if you do see this girl, you can contact me at this number." She presented a card. "It has my name and email address." She gave her the photo too. "Show this to people. If I find her because of you, you get a finder's fee, Okay?"
The girl shrugged. "Cool."
Buffy started to leave. "Oh god! I can't believe it." She turned back to the girl with a sheepish smile on her face. "What's your name?"
"Mary." Buffy raised an eyebrow in disbelief. The girl grinned. "No really! That whole thing earlier was just an ironic coincidence."
"Okay. Well anyway, I'm Buffy." Mary smirked. Buffy rolled her eyes. "I told you. I'm from California."
A few days later, Buffy was lounging in her hotel room. The TV was on and the room service was hot. Life was good.
Then the phone rang. Grumbling at the interruption, Buffy paused the TV and pulled out her cell phone. It was turned off. Must be the contacts cell phone instead. She got it out and answered it.
"H... Hello? Is this Buffy?"
Buffy nodded. "Yes. Can I help you?"
"Um... This is Mary, the girl from the other day?"
"I remember. What's up?"
"I uh, I think I can help you find the girl you're looking for." She said.
Buffy thought for a moment. She'd found the slayer yesterday and the girl was already on her way to the nearest training school.
"I see. Where can I meet you?" she asked.
The girl on the other end of the call gave a subtle sigh of relief. "Where we first met."
"I can be there in twenty minutes." She thought for a second. "As long as I don't use the subway."
You could almost feel Mary roll her eyes. "Where are you?"
"Copley Plaza hotel."
"Woah!" she exclaimed, impressed. "That place is wicked expensive!"
Buffy shrugged. "Yeah. Too expensive, but Giles, my boss, set me up here. And if he wants to do that, who am I to argue?"
"Yeah. All you have to do to get there, is take the Green Line, switch to the Red Line at Park St, then get off at Harvard Square. I'll meet you there."
Mary hung up.
As promised, twenty minutes later, Buffy was waiting for Mary on the bench where they met.
"Have any trouble getting here?" Mary asked as she sat down.
"Nope. Your directions were spot on." Buffy noticed the girl was looking a little distressed. "Are you okay?" she asked.
Mary nodded. "Fine. Look. About that girl. I saw her yesterday walking around Central Square."
"Lotta squares in this town, huh?" Buffy remarked.
"Yeah. Listen, about that finders fee... I kinda need it now."
Buffy stared at her for a moment. "I'd need to verify your claim first," she told her.
Mary swallowed. "H... How long would that take?"
"A couple of days. At best."
"Oh. Okay." Mary looked like she was trying really hard not to cry as she stood up. "Sorry to bother you."
She made to leave, but Buffy stopped her. "Hey. Before you go, can you do me a favor?"
Mary wiped her eye discreetly. "What kind of favor?"
"Earlier, when you called me, you were able to give me these awesome directions. I'm going to be in town for a while, and I could totally use someone who's familiar with the area. You would NOT believe how easily I get lost. It's embarrassing." Buffy shook her head. "Anyway, I was hoping it could be you. I'd pay of course." She smiled temptingly.
Mary's eyes widened. "How much?"
Buffy thought for moment. "Fifty bucks sound good to you?" The girl nodded. "Great!" Buffy smiled. "So what's the deal with the Orange Line? Why do they even have one?"
Mary shrugged. "How else are you gonna get to Jamaica Plain?"
Buffy grimaced. This wasn't going to be easy.
Three hours later, in the nearest Dunkin Doughnuts, Mary was trying her best not to strangle Buffy.
"Don't worry about the Purple Line. It's the commuter rail. You only need that if you're from Rhode Island." She downed the rest of her coffee. They'd retreated into the coffee shop in order to escape the cold. Buffy treated Mary to a sandwich (or two) which the young girl ate ravenously.
"So it goes to an island?" Buffy asked. "Must be some bridge."
Mary stared at her a little funny. "Rhode Island is a state."
"Oh," Buffy said sheepishly. "I knew that. Besides, Rhode Island is a misleading name anyway. Betcha it isn't a road either."
"Okay," Mary said noncommittally. She refrained from saying what was really on her mind, as she didn't want to alienate the lady that was giving her fifty bucks.
Buffy looked at her watch. It was almost 4 o'clock. The sun would be setting soon. "Oh shoot!"
"What?" Mary asked, a little alarmed.
Buffy pulled out some money and handed the girl her payment.
"I gotta go take care of some things."
"Oh." Mary looked a little forlorn. "Okay. Sure, no prob." She smiled gratefully. "Thanks for the fifty bucks."
"Believe me. You've earned it," Buffy said, smiling self-deprecatingly. "I don't suppose you can meet me here tomorrow, could you?" she asked a little pleadingly. "I understand if you couldn't but..."
"Why?" Mary asked a little warily.
"You told me tons about the subways and stuff, but I still don't know anything about walking around. Maybe you could show me where all the neat shops are. Ooh! And where all the kids hang out."
"Why do you wanna know that?"
"I'm still looking for that girl," Buffy lied. The real reason she wanted to know that, was so she could hunt for vampires better. "There'd be another fifty bucks in it for you."
"You want what?!" Giles asked loudly. Buffy had to pull the phone from her ear.
"To stay here for awhile." She frowned. "What's with the shouting? I thought you wanted me to take in the sights. Go to a museum, visit Symphony Hall, walk the Freedom Trail."
"Buffy, while the mere idea of you taking in some culture that didn't come from television or a fashion magazine would most likely give me fits of joy, I really don't know how much more the Council's purse can handle your staying there."
"I'm sorry," Buffy said in a wounded voice.
Giles sighed. Buffy could almost smell him polishing his glasses. "No, don't be ridiculous. There's nothing for you to be sorry about. Please. Stay as long as you want." There was a smile in his voice. "I dare say there's no amount you can spend that we can't manage. And that bloody well isn't a challenge!" He added semi-jokingly.
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. Xander and Willow have been traveling together finding dangerous artifacts and the like. More often than not coming across benign objects that we can sell for a tidy sum," he said happily.
Buffy was impressed. "Cool. Indiana Jones, eat your heart out."
"...And over there is Au Bon Pain. They filmed part of 'Good Will Hunting' there."
Buffy shrugged. "Never saw it."
"Really?" Mary asked. "It's a wicked good flick."
Buffy shrugged again. "As much as I adore cute cafes, I was kinda hoping for something a little different when I asked about hang outs."
"Well, like where do all you kids go when you stay out way past your bed time?"
Mary scratched her head. "What d'you mean?"
"Clubs, party places, make out points, things like that."
Mary leaned against a railing. "Well, unless you got cash, we mostly just hang out at the T stations. At least during winter. It's warm there. As for the clubs, most of them won't let you in unless you're 21. Though, sometimes they'll let the girls who are 18 in on weekends."
"So you just hang out in front of the train station all day?" Buffy frowned. "Must be boring."
"Eh," Mary shrugged. "Beats being in school."
A few hours later, Buffy and Mary were eating in a small multi-story shopping center called 'The Garage'.
"Why do they call it that anyway?" Buffy asked around a mouthful of cheeseburger.
"Cuz it used to be one," Mary told her while wolfishly devouring a medium cheese pizza.
Buffy looked over at one of the stores and her eyes bugged out. "OH MY GOD!"
Mary almost choked on her food. "What?"
"Look at that place!" The vampire slayer squealed. "It's sooo cute!"
Mary turned around to see what all the fuss was about. "Oh. That's just an anime store. My brother shops there sometimes."
"I have to go in there!" Buffy said vehemently.
It was almost sundown and Buffy and Mary were walking back to the Red Line. Buffy was absolutely enamored with the too cute for words 'Hello Kitty' plushie she'd bought for Dawn.
"I almost don't want to give it away," she said while snuggling it.
Mary rolled her eyes and shook her head.
They reached their destination. Buffy gave Mary her payment.
"Thanks again for helping me," Buffy told her.
She shrugged. "No problem. I could always use some extra dough."
"So, have you thought of any names for the baby?" Buffy asked, out of the blue.
"Oh, um..." She shrugged again, clearly uncomfortable with the question. "Not really."
"You'd better hurry up. Looks like you don't have much time left to think of some."
A brief, but noticeable, expression of worry graced Mary's face. "I'm sure I'll think of something."
"When my sister was born, Gramma must've suggested about a hundred names. All of them were really horrible, like Helga, and Mildred, and Gertrude." Buffy smiled at the memory. "She thought it was tragic that the older names were dying out. Wanted to keep them around. Has your mom suggested anything yet?"
"Ah... no." She shifted uncomfortably. "Listen, I gotta go... do stuff. Bye." Mary walked off.
Buffy watched her go sadly.
The next day, Buffy went back to Harvard Square. She didn't approach Mary, just watched her from a distance. She was far enough away so the kids wouldn't notice her. She watched her for a long time. Buffy had followed Mary throughout her daily routine. Which, for the most part, seemed to be goofing around the Red Line entrance and fighting with a boy who had purple hair.
She narrowed her eyes. That guy better not do anything other than raise his voice. Actually, he shouldn't even be doing that! The guy left. Mary sat down on the bench and, from where Buffy sat, it looked like she began crying. Buffy was about to break cover and go over there, but one of the other kids beat her to it. Another girl sat down next to Mary and gave her a hug.
"Excuse me Miss?" Buffy turned around at the interruption. It was some waiter. She'd been at this cafe all afternoon. "You've been sitting here for quite some time. Were you planning on ordering anything?"
Buffy glared at him. He swallowed nervously. "Regular coffee and a croissant. Buttery." She went back to observing her friend.
Night was descending upon the Boston skyline. The sun had gone to sleep, and the city was coming to life. The streets became full of people coming home, leaving work, going out and having fun. In the commotion, Buffy lost track of Mary. She got up from her perch, and ran across the street as best she could. She kept on being impeded by cars that wouldn't let her by. Buffy was half tempted to leap the rest of the way. She would've too, if not for the lecture Giles would most certainly give her.
Buffy managed to get to the group of kids. She smiled. "Hi. I was looking for Mary. Have any of you guys seen her?"
One of the stoner boys said she went after her boyfriend. Buffy asked where he was. The kid shrugged. She waved a twenty under his face and suddenly, he was more than happy to tell her an address.
It was only a few blocks away. And thanks to Mary, Buffy would be able to get there without getting lost.
As she approached her destination, Buffy heard a loud crash, followed by a yell. She ran up to the front steps and tried the door. It was locked. She could hear a girl crying inside. Buffy broke the lock, and went in.
It was quiet all of a sudden. Which made sense when you think about it. She didn't exactly try to hide her presence when she noisily broke in.
"Who's there!" a male voice demanded. The boy she saw arguing with Mary came walking down the stairs holding a gun. He was dressed in tight black jeans, a spiky belt, and a 'Sex Pistols' t-shirt. He saw Buffy standing at the entrance, and pointed his weapon. "Who the hell are you?"
Buffy put her arms up in surrender. "I'm a friend of Mary's. I was looking for her."
"Buffy?" Mary had heard her voice and appeared behind her boyfriend. "What...?"
The boyfriend nudged her back. "What did I tell you? I told you to stay put!"
"But I know her," she pointed out.
Meanwhile, Buffy began to creep up the steps. Unfortunately, he noticed.
"Nuh-uh! You stay there! I'm calling the cops!"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Right. Because I'm sure you've got a license for that thing," she said, gesturing to the gun.
"Bobby, put that away! She's a friend of mine!" Mary pleaded.
Buffy looked closely at Mary's face. She had indeed been crying. Black streaks from her eyeliner ran down her face. She didn't look hurt, but Buffy wanted to know what that crash was she heard earlier.
"Well, what the hell is she doing here?" Bobby wanted to know.
"I told you, I was looking for Mary," Buffy reminded him in a reasonable tone. "I wanted to thank her again for helping me out these last couple of days."
The slayer stared at the boy before her. His hands were shaking, causing the gun to rattle. His eyes were darting nervously from it to her. His face was pale, and he was sweating. Buffy recognized the symptoms.
Bobby was in withdrawal.
He looked just like Willow when she stopped the magic. Granted, it probably something a little more conventional, but it was withdrawal just the same.
"Why don't you put the gun down and we can have a conversation, okay?"
Bobby shook his head. "Nuh, no! You just keep those freaking hands up!"
"Bobby! I told you! She's my friend!" Mary tried to force him to lower his arm.
"MARY NO!" Buffy shrieked.
It seemed like it happened in slow motion. Buffy was about one fourth the way up the stairs. Bobby and Mary were at the top. Mary was trying to get around Bobby, and in his state, he wasn't too sure about what he was doing. He just wanted her to back off, that's all. He honestly didn't mean for it to happen. When Mary put her hands on his arm, he shoved her. Hard and to the left. Mary's back slammed into the banister. The banister was old and needed to be repaired. It broke when she hit it, and Mary fell from the second floor. She was too stunned to even scream.
"MARY!!" Buffy jumped over the banister to her. "Oh God. Mary!" She was frantically checking for a pulse. She sighed in relief. There was one.
"Mary!" Bobby was running down the stairs, panic evident on his face. Amazingly, he pointed his gun at Buffy! "Get away from her!" His hands were shaking even worse now.
"Point that thing somewhere else! Do you want to shoot Mary this time? Is that it? Because I guarantee you'll miss me." It was a lie of course. She would gladly take a bullet if it meant sparing Mary and her baby getting shot instead. But he didn't need to know that. Buffy leveled her best slayer glare at the stupid boy. He didn't have a chance.
"Oh God," Bobby said in despair. He lowered his weapon and began to cry. "Oh what do I do?" he asked brokenly, staring up at the ceiling.
"I'll tell you what to do!" Buffy said, checking Mary for injuries. "Call 911!" He stared at her dumbly. Buffy whirled around to face him. "NOW!" she commanded.
It was a few hours later, and Buffy was in a waiting room of Boston City Hospital.
"Miss Summers?" One of the doctors walked up to her.
Buffy stood up. "How is she?"
The doctor smiled. "She's just fine. Nothing more than a bump on the head."
"We did an ultrasound. The baby's fine too."
Buffy sagged in relief. "Oh thank God. Were you able to get in touch with her family?"
Buffy checked in on Mary. The doctors were kind enough to let her visit. The girl was lying on the hospital bed. She looked much younger without the make up.
Mary smiled when she saw her. "Hey."
"Hey. How are you feeling?"
Mary shrugged. "Okay I guess. What happened to Bobby?"
"Is he the father?" Mary shook her head no. Buffy sighed. "Well, he got arrested."
"Oh. What were the charges?"
"They got him for having the gun. They found evidence of drugs in his bedroom. And he pushed you."
"That was an accident!" Mary said earnestly.
Buffy nodded. "I told the cops that. Still, it was his fault you got hurt."
Mary's eyes began to water.
Buffy sat next to her. "Were you living with him?"
Mary nodded, wiping her cheeks. "Sometimes."
"What about the rest of the time?" Mary looked away. "You lived on the street, didn't you?" Buffy asked sadly.
The girl nodded. "Usually I'd stay with a group of kids who sleep in shifts behind the book store."
"Is that why you needed the money so badly?" She looked at Buffy questioningly. "I know you lied to me when you said you saw the girl I was looking for." She admitted. "I'd found her the day before."
"Then why'd you show up?" Mary asked, bewildered.
Buffy shrugged. "I wanted to see what the deal was."
Mary was getting agitated. "So what? You decided to take pity on the poor homeless pregnant girl?"
"No. I took advantage of the poor homeless pregnant girl." She said evenly. "Who else would know the stuff you showed me? It wasn't a handout. I don't do those. You earned that money by putting up with me for a few days." Buffy smiled. "Though I was kinda hoping you'd by a better outfit. That Patriots jersey is really unflattering."
Slightly mollified, Mary admitted that she needed the work.
"Bobby wanted the money. I had to give him some so I could stay with him."
"Oh he's a sleaze!" Buffy remarked in disgust.
Mary shrugged. "It's his parents place. I could only stay there when they were away."
"Doesn't mean you have to give him money," Buffy pointed out.
"He needed it," the younger girl defended weakly.
"For his drugs?"
She nodded. "I guess."
"Why did you run away?" Buffy asked.
Mary sniffled a little. "My mom."
"Did she kick you out?"
She shook her head. "She didn't get the chance. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I took off."
"Why?" Buffy asked, exasperated.
"I didn't want her to be disappointed in me," Mary answered in a small voice. "I didn't wanna see her face when she found out how screwed up I am."
"You know, my mom actually kicked me out once." Mary looked at the older woman in surprise. "She said to me, 'If you walk out this house, don't even think about coming back.' It's probably one of the worst memories I have of her."
"Why did she do that?" Mary asked, astonished that someone like Buffy would get kicked out.
Buffy sighed. "Mostly it was because I lied to her for almost two years about what I was doing at night."
"What were you doing?"
"Fighting," Buffy said simply.
"Get out!" No way did the valley girl before her get into fights. She whined for twenty minutes about breaking a nail.
Buffy nodded. "It's true. I wasn't causing them, but I sure didn't do anything to prevent it." Her face darkened. "And then there was my boyfriend. He was the sweetest guy ever, until..." she trailed off.
"Until you guys did it?" Mary finished.
"You got it. It wasn't entirely his fault. He had some extenuating psychological issues we didn't know about, but it was still awful." She took a deep breath. "Anyway, my mom found out about the fighting, and the boyfriend and some other stuff that I had to deal with. That night, I needed to go take care of some things that were really important. She didn't want me to. That's when she said what she said. I went anyway."
"Oh wow. Where'd you go after that?"
"After everything was done, I ran away to LA. My friends spent months looking for me. By the end of the summer, some stuff went down that made me realize how much I missed my family. So I went home."
Buffy smiled, her eyes watered a little. "I knocked on the door. My sister opened it." She laughed a bit. "Dawn just yelled my name and planted herself on my stomach. Mom heard her and came running out." Buffy wiped away a few tears. "She took one look at me and pulled me into a hug." She smiled. "My relationship with her only got better after that. She knew what was up, and I didn't have to lie to her anymore."
Buffy squeezed Mary's hand. "If she's any good at her job, your mom will forgive anything."
"Except matricide. I think I'd frown on that a little. Unless I was being a real bitch," a shaky voice said from the doorway. The woman at the door launched herself forward. "Oh, baby!" She shoved Buffy aside and hugged her daughter. "I was so goddamn worried!"
"Mom? Oh my god. How...?" Mary asked, clearly stunned.
"The police called me. Do you know how many speed records I broke driving all the way here from Worcester?" Mary opened her mouth, but no words came out. She was just staring at her mother.
"Mom?" she asked in a small voice.
Mary's mom nodded her head. "Yeah, it's me." And pulled her into another hug. The floodgates broke, and Mary cried her heart out on her mother's shoulder.
Buffy smiled, and left.
It was a few days later, Buffy was just packing her things. She was ready to leave Boston. All that family drama had her missing her own family something fierce. She was planning on visiting Dawn for awhile, then tracking down Xander and Willow to engage in a wacky misadventure involving a mystical artifact, or Nazis, or something. 'There may even be spelunking,' Buffy thought hopefully.
She'd just checked out and was on her way out the door, when she saw her.
Mary was wearing a very pretty maternity shirt that clashed horribly with her hair. Her jacket and spiky wrist straps went better with it! Buffy smiled happily as she walked up to her.
"You got my message."
A horn blatted out a greeting from behind Mary. Buffy looked over and waved. It was Mary's mom.
"Yep. Mom and I figured since we were in town, we'd go to the Aquarium." She looked at Buffy a little bashfully. "Did... did you wanna come too?"
Buffy beamed. "I just love fishies."
Mary beamed back. "Plus they have penguins."
They linked arms and strode towards the car.
It took twenty seconds for Buffy to remember to grab her luggage.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all affiliated characters were created and is owned by Joss Whedon.