New Buffy. That's Weird
AN: Let it begin. And I'm putting it up incomplete, heaven help me. Cause quite frankly, I don't exactly know how this one's going to go about getting to the end I have envisioned. It's taking its sweet time: this fic is already almost as long as its predecessor, and I'm barely done introducing its characters, chatty little fiends. Maybe by the end they'll have their own ideas. So feedback will probably be important.
Our saga resumes after the story arc "The Long Way Home" from the Buffy Series Eight comics. Haven't read them? Grab the trade paperback! They're fantastic. Otherwise, the wikipedia summary isn't bad. Either way, you'll be confused if you haven't read them. And really confused if you haven't already read "Another Side of the Sky".
Anyway, I own nothing, but if Joss and Russell want to take on my student debt for me, that'd be fine.
After resting and regrouping, Buffy searched the castle to find Willow in the infirmary. “Anything to be done about Dawnie?”
Willow smiled. “Oh that? I’ve made her a giant vat of tea, out of several ingredients that I’m not going to tell her about – ever. It was hard enough to get her to drink it as is. The dose will get smaller as she does, and, I’d say give it ten days and she’ll be back to normal Dawn-size. And a little wiser to boot.”
Buffy nodded, arms crossed. “Great. Could you teach someone else the recipe?”
“Tanya already helped me with it, she could do it on her own.”
“Which one is Tanya again?”
“Tanya Price. Tall. Shows some witchy potential?” Buffy shook her head. “Likes spears?”
“Oh. That’s right. She’s scary.”
“Just a little intense. And wait till she gets past elementary spell-casting. She’s got the chops for some serious soul-magic. Then she will probably be scary. Anyway, what’s up?”
Buffy put her arm around Willow’s shoulders and whispered. “I need you for something. May take some time, I’m not sure. It’s a big something.”
Willow gulped. “Big something? What kind of big something?”
“Most-powerful-witch-in-the-world big something. The sort of big something where the smartest guy I ever met said we could blow up a galaxy and never manage it.” Willow began to object, but Buffy stopped her, “Oh, don’t worry, you’ve done it before and there was no galactic destruction. Mostly, I need you to find something for me.”
“A blue box.”
Xander clapped hands on the girls’ shoulders and popped his head between them. “Galactic destruction for a little Tiffany’s? Buffy, we really do need to get you dating again.” He winked, or maybe he blinked. “What’re we doing?”
The Doctor set the pictures into scrapbooks. This one looked like her sister, lying in a field of flowers. He placed it beside a faded ad that starred a Xander-clone modeling new fall fashions. As he pulled the next page off the wall, a photo of Buffy and him came into view. It was taken at Martha’s place. Buffy’s lips were to his ear as she told him about her many nicknames for Captain Jack. He was flushed, and smirking. After staring awhile he tucked the photo in his jacket pocket.
He set the book aside and descended the ladder. It didn’t do, to be so maudlin. He should have finished this weeks ago. Buffy was gone for good, the way humans went, as he knew she’d go all along.
Well, maybe not exactly the way they usually went. But it wasn’t like she was his first separation across dimensions either. It was time to quit hanging around here, get out and mess about the universe.
He’d visited Martha, a few days after Buffy’s disappearance, to let her know. She was the first person he’d taken Buffy to, she needed to know that the illness hadn’t been an illness at all. Martha made him tea, and those little mini-quiche nibblies she knew he loved, and they shared the grief of widows together.
Widower. The word felt unnatural, but somehow right. He and Buffy never married; it wasn’t necessary. But they’d been together, longer than any of his other companions, just as Martha and Colin had been, and Martha, in her wisdom, knew that this time it was real, this time it didn’t look like Buffy would come back.
The Doctor asked Martha to come with him; how many times had he done that? She was always there when Buffy died, each time. Her feelings had changed after she’d left the first time, she met Colin and claimed that she’d known that Buffy was going to go snog the Doctor the moment they said goodbye. When they told her it had only been about two hours after she left, oh how she laughed. But Martha didn’t resent it, she and Buffy always ganged up on him, and she was always there for him when Buffy wasn’t.
But not this time. Her bones were old, her grandchildren needy, and while she welcomed the Doctor into her home anytime, the TARDIS couldn’t be Martha’s home anymore.
It stood empty save for him.
Then it wasn’t.
Warmth and concern washed into his mind, though he felt alarm bells going off in the TARDIS. “It’s all right. I’m not here to hurt you or anything. Wow. Your mind is amazing. Buffy was right.”
He knew the voice in his mind then as though she were his oldest friend. “Willow? Is Buffy okay?”
She was smiling, he could tell. “Buffy’s fine Doctor.” Willow showed him the scene around her physical body, Buffy lying in a bed surrounded by a chalk circle while Willow sat on the ground beside her.
“Why is she – she’s so young. And bleeding. Why?”
“It’s a long story. The longer this link is open, the more trouble it is. I need to act quickly. Doctor, she needs you.”
“Okay.” He looked around. “I have responsibilities, here.”
“We know. I can return you to this very moment in time, if you survive.”
“If I survive?” He sighed before chuckling. “That’s always the way with Buffy, isn’t it?”
“But she always does Doctor.”
“Point taken. What happens next?”
“Buffy says the ship is alive.”
“Yes, the TARDIS lives.”
“Then I’m talking to the wrong person. Could you introduce us?” The Doctor obliged, and through the small part of him that was always connected to the TARDIS he felt the exchange occur, with speed and clarity that stunned him. The TARDIS understood what Willow wanted. It shuddered and shook, and for a few seconds he had the sensation of free fall before the ship settled gently. He paused a moment to adjust his paradigms of human ability, shut his gob and cleared his throat.
“Am I arrived?” The Doctor straightened his tie.
“You are. Welcome to our world.” With one last look around, he opened the TARDIS doors wide.
“Hello,” he smiled. It was the stone chamber he’d seen. Buffy was lying on a bed in the center of the room, a thin lace nightie over her very young body, a trickle of blood pouring down her arm into a silver dish which sat before Willow who had a relieved grin on her face. A one-eyed Xander stood by the door, and waved at the Doctor, before approaching Buffy with a bandage to wrap around her arm. She sat up as he tended the wound, and smiled back at the Doctor.
“Hi Doctor. Miss me?”
“Oh- oh yes.” The grin spread from his lips over his face and tears threatened at the corners of his eyes.
Buffy leapt from the bed and into his arms. The Doctor swung her around, burying his face in her neck and hair, his body warming at her touch. She giggled and clutched him, her tears only encouraging his own. He kissed her lightly. “New Buffy. That’s weird.”
She looked down at herself, drawing back a few inches. “Oh. Yeah.” She sighed. “Oh! I need to take care of something real quick. Can’t go about opening inter-dimensional portals without paying a price. Xander and Wills can fill in the basics. I’ll be right back.” She pecked him on the cheek before grabbing the silver and crimson scythe off the wall and heading out the door.
The Doctor tilted back on his heels and stared at the door. “Price?” he finally managed to ask.
“There’s always a price.” Willow’s hesitant voice was low and sweet. “The main price was her blood, freely given. That’s a pretty precious thing.” She stood with unconscious grace, wrapping her hands in her skirt. “But open a door, normally some varmint will sneak in before your guest does.” On the word varmint she made little claws at him. “I’m Willow, in the very sleepy flesh.” She stepped out of the chalk circle and hugged him. “Thank you for coming Doctor.”
He patted her back, “Anytime. And you sir, you’re the famous Xander?” Willow broke away so that the men could shake hands.
“That’s me. Famous Xander? Dare I hope that I’m famous for my wit and debonair?”
The Doctor tilted his head from side to side. “Possibly. Apparently I behave like you sometimes. Then Buffy hits me. But, in a good way.”
“She goes for the ribs, doesn’t she?” The taller man gave a hearty nod. “That’s our Buffy. Wow. You’re the Doctor. Great title. I’ve always wanted a title. Welcome to Jolly Ol’ Scotland, otherwise known as Slayer Command Central.”
Xander looked puzzled, but Willow supplied, “2007. It’s been a few years since Buffy came back from your universe.”
“Yeah,” finished Xander. “We brought her back a few months after she died, in 2001. So maybe a little less than six years.” Seeing the change in the Doctor’s face, he explained, “She’s been busy.”
The Doctor leaned up against the TARDIS. “I suppose, and it’s appropriate. So, Willow, what on Earth did you do to my ship?”
The witch grinned. “Oh. Her? She’s amazing. I basically just showed her the secret handshake for entering this dimension, she did the leg work herself.” Willow stroked one panel.
“That’s my beautiful ship, always ready to find that next plain, with just a little guidance of course.” The door swung open, and Buffy wiped some green goo off of the scythe before returning it to its place on the wall. “Hello there.” Their smiles were contagious as Buffy indulged in another embrace with him. “Hmmm, Buffy, your friends-“
Buffy turned to them, not leaving the circle of the Doctor’s arms. “Oh. Sorry guys. Long time no see,” she offered by way of explanation.
Willow took Xander’s elbow, scuffing the chalk circle with her foot and retrieving her platter. “We’ll let you guys get reacquainted some. Breakfast will be in a couple of hours. Nice to meet you Doctor.”
“Yeah, Doctor.” Xander shut the door behind them and Buffy and the Doctor were alone. For a long while, they simply held one another, but that led to kissing, and kissing led to other things. Then they just laid next to each other, until the Doctor decided to make a more thorough investigation.
“Your scars are different too.” He dropped the sheet back down as Buffy smashed a pillow over his head.
“First night in bed we’ve had in years and all you can say is my scars are different. I missed you too.”
The Doctor caressed her side. “I’m just starting to understand why everyone gets all weird around me after I regenerate. And you didn’t even change your face.” A little of the smile dimmed from his eyes. “Anyway, you were so anxious, why not send Willow after me before? Six years is a good long wait.”
Buffy crawled on top of him, planting her elbows to either side and holding his face in her hands. “It was a long six years. At first, Willow was having troubles with the magics. We weren’t sure whether I was still a human or whether I was… something else.” Her eyes focused at some point past him, then returned to his gaze and she kissed him softly. “Plus there was this whole thing with the First Evil, and when I crawled out of the crater that had been Sunnydale, I discovered I was the general of an army of Slayers.”
“An army of Slayers?”
“Yup. See that scythe on the wall? Willow was able to channel energy through it. Every potential Slayer in the world is a full Slayer now.”
“General Buffy,” he giggled, and she stifled it with another kiss.
“Yeah, exactly. Next thing I knew, it was six years later, and I realized that I needed my Doctor. So I sent my Earth-Mother-Witch-Goddess best friend to go find him for me. What else are friends for?”
“That’ll do.” He pulled her down for a long kiss. “And am I here for any other particular reason other than to be with you, Miss no-longer-one-girl-in-all-the-world?”
Buffy sighed. “Yes. We’ve got a new enemy. Some military group, using high technology against us. They seem to think we’re a threat to humanity.”
“And are you?”
Buffy scowled. “No. Our hands are too full with threats to humanity to find the time to be threats to humanity. Anyway, we’re human. And you, you’re not, but you’re really good with technology. So yes. Come be my tech support, my genius, my judge, my concubine domestic.” She was working kisses up his sternum. “It’s going to mean a lot of staying in one place. You can leave whenever you get bored.”
“Why would I do that?” He rolled her under him. “Buffy, life is never boring with you around.”
“You’re so sweet. And so skinny. I’d forgotten.” She pressed her fingers into his sides.
“Hey! Watch the ribs. Those are mine,” laughed the Doctor.
“And no butt to speak of, I swear it’s concave.” And then they were scrambling beneath the covers, giggling and happy and complete.
Willow entered Dawn’s room. The girl had receded to a much more manageable twenty feet tall over the past three days, but she was still too large to join the rest of the team at dinner in the common room. “Hey Dawnie, I brought breakfast!”
“Willow! I’d hug you if I could. Please tell me we’re done with that tea.”
“Not quite yet. Just a few more days, then you can give me that hug.” Willow pushed the cart in front of Dawn. “Bon appetit.” They dug in.
“So, where did you run off to? Some secret project? You’d barely been back from the last secret project.”
“Oh, y’know. This one wasn’t so secret.”
“Well, tell me if it’s not so secret.”
“Errm, maybe Buffy should tell you. It was a favor for her. Which, I’m proud to say, I think will make her much less grumpy for the foreseeable future.” Willow bit her toast with gusto.
“What, you can do bitchiness exorcisms now, cause I could totally use that.” Dawn sipped her tea and smirked.
“No, no.” She pursed her lips and muttered into her tea. “I brought the Doctor here.”
“The Doctor?” Dawn frowned. “I know that name. Why do I know that name? Did he try to kill me?”
Willow winced. “No, that was Doc. Remember when we brought Buffy back from the ‘dead’”?
Dawn dropped her tea, spilling the remaining three gallons all over the floor. “The imaginary-friend Doctor?”
Willow nodded her head. “I know. Not so imaginary as we all thought. More of a tall-skinny-brilliant-alien-really-real-guy.”
“The she’s-really-almost-ninety-years-old-because-she-spent-sixty-years-travelling-with-the-Doctor-in-his-magical-time-machine Doctor?”
“That’s the one. And, oh, I got to talk with his magical time machine, and whoa, was that amazing and he and your sister are up in her room now and I’m sure she’s gonna tell you about this as soon as they come out and are you gonna be mad now?”
“I’m not mad at you Willow. I’m just getting used to how things are, apparently.”
“And how are they?” The Doctor leaned over the balcony. “Hello there. You must be Dawn. I’m the Doctor, and it is just brilliant to be here.” He clambered down the stairs dragging Buffy by the hand. Buffy made an effort but couldn’t keep the grin off her face.
“Dawn, it’s good to see you this close to the ground! This is, well, I told you about him.”
Dawn looked him up and down. “He doesn’t look like a Time Lord to me.”
“What exactly is it that everyone thinks a Time Lord looks like? You all say it, and honest, I’m pretty run of the mill from Gallifrey.”
“I dunno. Just not like a skinny little British guy.”
The Doctor scratched his head. “Well, fair enough. Of course, I’d object to the little, but I guess right now I am. Anyway, pleasure to meet you.” He extended his hand, which Dawn eventually covered in hers and gave a gentle shake.
“So, you’re some sort of weird alien from another dimension here to date my sister?”
He bowed his head. “Well, yes. That’s me. Though, don’t forget I’m also here to help defend the world.”
Dawn snorted, and the Doctor felt his hair blow back. “Everyone here defends the world.’
Buffy took his elbow. “Yes, well, it’s a living. And um, the Doctor’s going to be sticking around. We were going to go get breakfast, and then I was going to show him the new defense systems, see if he can get them actually working. What are you two up to?”
Willow stepped forward. “Breakfast too, then I was going to take a turn with the grids.”
“Cool. So we’ll meet up with you after breakfast. Dawn, should I call your professors and let them know you’ll be back soon?”
“Yeah, you can do that.”
Buffy pulled the Doctor away. “I’m sure we’ll get a chance to talk again soon.” When they were in the hall, he asked, “Seems like a charming girl. What’s with the gigantism?”
“She slept with a thricewise.”
He coughed and bobbed his head. “Safe sex takes on a whole new meaning in this dimension.”
Buffy snickered. “Tell me about it.” She stopped and pushed him up against the wall, kissing him. After a few moments, they broke it off, panting. “Thanks. You sure you’re here with me?”
“Oh yes. For as long as it takes.” His eyes were half-shut and his hands clutched her sides.
“You’ve braved my giant sister. Ready to meet the hoard of super-strong women that I lead?”
The Doctor considered. “Give me a second.” She licked his lips and he pulled her in for another kiss. “Yeah, I think I can do it.”
She grinned against his lips. “Show no weakness. Now, come on.” She led him and giggling they ran along, bursting into the dining hall, where noisy groups of slayers fresh from morning exercises chowed and chatted. At the sound of her laughter, silence fell over the room and eyes fell upon them. The Doctor gulped, and Buffy shook her head. “I haven’t been that grumbly lately have I?” A few murmurs indicated maybe she had been. “Well, um, sorry. Girls, meet the Doctor, Doctor, these are the Slayers. The Doctor here is an old friend of mine-“
She was interrupted by a series of coughs from the gallery, which she glared at until they died down. “Anyway, he’s here to help on the technology and research side of things.”
He gave a weak wave. “Hello everyone.” He looked out over two hundred-odd super-strong teenaged girls and felt a bit faint all of a sudden. “Just here to do my part.”
“And do our boss!” came a cry from the back. Where was the nearest exit?
“Well, that’s part of my part,” he squeaked.
“And other than that, we can all learn a lot from the Doctor here. So, we’ll be having breakfast now, and feel free to strike up a conversation, or if you’re working on the new security system, we’ll be checking that out this morning, you can see what he brings to the table,” finished Buffy. She squeezed his hand. “That’s all. Nothing else to see here.” They descended the steps to hoots and applause which had died down by the time they got to the chafing dishes. “I thought I told you to show no fear!” muttered Buffy.
“I tried. They caught me off guard!”
“Well, you’re going to have to get used to it. You don’t even want to think about the hormones running through this place.”
“Oh God, now you’ve got me thinking about it.”
“See!?” They took their trays to the table where Xander and Renee sat. “Doctor, this is Renee, she’s been doing a lot of work on the security grid.”
The Doctor stood again to shake her hand. “A pleasure. I’m sure we’ll get them up and running in no time.”
Renee leaned back. “We’ve been debugging for more than a week now. You some kind of genius?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Buffy was glaring at Xander. “What’ve you told the girls?”
Xander eyed them. “Nothing. You were loud and sound carries through stone.” Buffy blushed and started eating. Xander waggled his eyebrows at her, then looked at the Doctor. “So, seen much of the homestead yet?”
“Buffy took me to meet Dawn, and then we came here. I caught a little bit along the way.”
“I bet you did.” Xander took a bite of toast. “You’ll want to know your way around this place if your plan for demon attack is running away screaming, which is my normal approach.”
“Ah. I’ll work on that.”
“How did your meeting with our favorite little giant go?”
Buffy groaned. “He’s associated with me. Anything associated with me is auto-bad for Dawn lately.”
Xander pointed his fork at Buffy. “I’m associated with you and I’m totally auto-cool with Dawn.”
“She nearly drowned you with half the pond.”
Xander grinned. “Momentary lapse of judgment. Did you notice she gets touchy when you mention that Kenny was a Thricewise? So, she was a little cool towards the new man in the house?”
“I’ve had warmer receptions. But she’s a smart girl, she’s just a bit embarrassed I think. First love and all, it’s a rough thing.” He glanced at Buffy and squeezed her shoulder.
Renee stood. “Well, Doctor, Buffy, I’ll see you at the control center. Xander, thanks for helping me work out this morning.” They waved, and the moment she was out of hearing, Buffy asked:
“So, work out?”
Xander slumped over the table. “I am a living bruise.”
The Doctor smiled. “See Buffy, it’s just like our first work outs together.” He took a bite of banana. “Isn’t that cute?”