Home, Sweet Home
Disclaimer: I own nothing
A/N: Yes, I know, it's been utterly forever
. But what can I say? Life interferes and I can't seem to get it to go away so I can get my muse rolling. Anyway, like always, all will be revealed in time and I hope my readers haven't lost hope in me yet! Please don't forget the feedback. ~Katie
It’s funny how in an instant your greatest fears can seem like nothing at all, and still like your worst nightmares.
It wasn’t that her surroundings were terrifying or anything. To be completely honest, there were little to no differences from what she’d expected and what she saw aside from minor details. After all, Uncle Charlie changed about as much as……well, something that didn’t change, like, ever. So after being practically dragged into his home and having her luggage taken care of after he took in her drenched figure, she couldn’t help but notice that it was pretty much exactly as she remembered. Standing in the kitchen, she couldn’t help but notice that it appeared to be distinctly unused, and at this Buffy had to let a smile slip. Charlie had never been much of a chef in his life, and according to her parents, this must have rubbed off quite efficiently on her. With a hint of wistfulness, she couldn’t help but remember those times as a little girl that her uncle would look after her, always ending the evening with a movie and a call to the nearest pizza place. Those had definitely been the good old days. No, what really grinded her bones was the feeling of unease that came along with these conclusions. The sense that for every little familiar, or- dare she dream it- normal feeling she got, they would just prove to be the calm before the storm. Which really is probably a stupid thing to come to mind when you’d just walked into someone’s home; but still, in her experience you could never be too careful.
For the time being, however, Buffy decided that now was so very much not the time for such worries. After all, she still had a whole night before she officially started her new life here in Forks, and she would have enough on her plate simply trying to prevent yet another father-figure in her life from thinking she was a whack job, not to mention the rest of town.
Probably noticing the frown marring her features, she heard the older man’s voice behind her. “So, I haven’t even gotten my hug and you’re already dreading staying with me?”
She could practically hear the smile in his voice and she couldn’t help but lend her own. Turning around, the sixteen year-old gave a look of faux dismay. “Oh, you know how it is. When the mall isn’t in proximity, neither am I.”
His grin widened immediately as she let him pull her into a bear hug, and she was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it felt. Hank had never been a touchy-feely kind of guy, and when he had comforted her, it always seemed awkward and kind of fake. She usually had to count on her mom for this kind of physical consoling. Thinking about it, it was probably her big brother that rubbed it off on her. Now she was particularly grateful.
“Hey, kiddo,” Charlie said as he pulled apart slightly to get a better look at his niece. The smile still hadn’t left his face. “Look at you, all grown up. Feels like I haven’t seen you in years, Lizzie Bear.”
The name gave her a faintly giddy feeling. He was the only one she ever let by with that any variation of that little nickname, and somehow it felt good coming from him.
“That’s because you haven’t, Charlie.”
“Well, it’s no wonder. You look even more beautiful than the last time”
“If you think charm will get you anywhere, then you’ve been paying attention.”
“Hey, I know my Summers women,” Charlie remarked with amusement sparkling in his brown eyes. Stepping past her, he looked slightly around the kitchen. “So, are you a little hungry? Tired? I know traveling non-stop with my sister isn’t always a dream come true,” he admitted.
Smiling slightly as his offer, Buffy shook her head as she slid onto a stool. “Nah, you know me Like I could go a mile without making mom stop for fast food.”
Charlie beamed with fake pride. “Ah, that’s my little trash compactor. But honestly, I can order Chinese like that,” he said with a snap of his fingers. It made Buffy chuckle. “Or if you’re just tired, I’ve been fixing up your room. All you have to do is get your blankets and pillows and crash.”
As if on cue, a big yawn escaped her before she could stop it. Rubbing her eyes, she gave him a grateful look. “I think I’ll have to take up that offer. We’ll have to save that whole bonding thing for tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry about it, Sweets. I’ll get up bright and early to fix us a big breakfast.”
The blonde couldn’t resist cocking an eyebrow, giving him a smug look. “You’re going to McDonald’s, aren’t you?” It was more statement than question.
“Hah. I’m going to Tudor’s.”
Shaking her head in bemusement, the Slayer scurried up the stairs. Spotting an open door that led to a lit up bedroom, Buffy let her gaze drift over the room she’d stayed in every time she visited. It looked about the same, with a few small differences. The bed was clearly made with some soft sheets that Charlie must have prepared for her. On top of an old wooden dresser, a TV was set up, with an old DVD player sitting next to it. It wasn’t exactly her room back in LA, but her uncle did try to make it as comfortable as possible. Sitting gently onto the edge of the mattress, Buffy couldn’t help but feel the gravity of the situation grow more and more imminent.
She was here. In Forks. There really was no going back. Starting Monday morning, she’d go to her new school, she’d be forced to make new friends, and she’d most likely barely keep her façade in place. But that was the thing that really distressed her. Could she still be the Slayer? Could she do all of this again, knowing what happened to her entire foundation the last time she got involved? She’d lost everything; her friends, her parents, her life. Even her Watcher, the only man who had any semblance as to what she was and how she could handle any of it, had ultimately been sacrificed. How could she possibly figure out the mess that was her life without all the people that made her who she was today?
Maybe she could
change. Maybe she could be like all the other girls and gossip and shop and talk about all the hotties that graced the hallways. She was Buffy Summers. Head cheerleader. Fiesta Queen. She could do the normal girl thing. She’d been one up until the point that destiny came knocking on her door. And wasn’t tha
t a kick? Destiny. How could she possibly be destined for anything? Ugh
, Buffy groaned internally, rubbing her temples. This was all far too complicated. It hadn’t even but more than an hour that she’d arrived and already she was getting a migraine from thinking about this entire mess. She should lie down and go to sleep with Mr. Gordo at her side before she drove herself into insanity.
And she did just that.