Disclaimer: Not mine. Never was. Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon and Anita belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton. I make no money off this.
A/N: Midnight musings that turned into a plot bunny, that turned into a story that was cut down to drabble size because I do have a life. This story is not betaed, nor will it ever be. It's just a Buffy-dumped-in-different-dimension exercise. Don't sue. And before you ask, the next part of the Sky Series is currently undergoing beta.
Reviews wildly appreciated. Ideas, too. 01/11/09:
Fixing some wonky parts, original A/Ns to be deleted as I go. Art by Pax. Isn't it the prettiest?
It was Friday afternoon and she was leaning against the same wall she always leant against. Sometimes Richard was sure the wall would collapse should she decide to suddenly sulk somewhere else. But then the wall had
at one point in time stood on its own. Only nine months earlier, to be exact.
He was standing with his satchel slung over one shoulder only a few dozen feet from her, watching the hordes of teenagers he taught flee into the early afternoon sunshine. They were all chattering, laughing, hollering at friends. They were happy. Not so Elisabeth Summers. She stood with her backpack at her feet, one arm held in front of her stomach, the other dangling at her side, cigarette between her fingers. She was wearing faded jeans and a long sleeved shirt, far too much for a teenaged girl in this weather but she didn’t seem concerned. Her hair was a peculiar shade of white blonde that reminded Richard of his late grandmother. Except for the red streaks tumbling out of the messy bun.
All in all, Summers looked every bit the social outcast she was. She’d appeared in his class nine months ago, in the middle of the school year, speaking to no-one, keeping her distance from everyone and everything. She was smart, scarily so, answering questions directed at her with a bored superior air and stunning brevity. She spoke when spoken to by teachers and glared at every pubescent teenager daring to even get within a five feet radius of her. Rumor had it she’d kicked a guy in the private parts on her first day because he’d tried to call her Liz.
She was, long story short, the riddle that had kept the teachers room aflame with rumors and speculations for the better part of a year now. And still there was no end in sight, especially since most of Richard’s colleagues had taken to treating the girl like a science project, asking her questions far beyond high school level, trying to trick her into contact with her fellow students and whatnot.
So far, he had refused to get involved. Usually people who acted the way she did had reasons for it and Richard, teacher at day, werewolf at night, knew all about secrets and keeping them.
Today, however, he had watched as a student, a jock if he was honest, but a bearable one, had dropped his pencil during class. It had landed at Summers’ feet. The six foot three, two hundred pound footballer with social status at stake had actually preferred borrowing another pencil from his amused friends over getting close to Summers.
He waited until most of the students were gone and only a few groups of lazy slow pokes remained. Then he made his way across the lawn to Summers and her piece of wall. He stopped about six feet from her, hands in his pockets. She watched him with vaguely curious eyes as she took another drag of her cigarette. He was about to start fidgeting when he remembered that, for Christ’s sake, this girl was eighteen and her was her teacher!
“Smoking’s forbidden on school grounds,” he told her, trying to regain his equilibrium.
“Good thing I’m not smoking then,” she said, a slow amused smile playing around her lips. If he hadn’t known better, he’d have thought she was a vampire. Only they seemed capable of the casual arrogance and cruel amusement at watching people flounder that the blonde seemed to have perfected. She made everyone around her, even grown men, feel inadequate and small, without even trying.
Refusing to back down he pointed at the almost burnt down cigarette and demanded, “What would you call that then?”
She grinned. He’d walked right into her trap. Great. “Why, Mister Zeeman, I’m only cultivating my rebel image. Smoking seems to be expected of me.”
There! That was exactly what disturbed him about the tiny girl! How did she pull these things off? How did she know that smoking did indeed fit exactly with the picture everyone seemed to have of her? And how could she so casually talk about her status at school? Any other teenager would have been devastated, but no, not her!
And now here he was, after promising himself to stay out of her case, doing exactly what he had sworn he wouldn’t. Getting involved.
“Do you like playing the rebel?”
She gave him another one of those unreadable looks as she dumped her smoke and stepped on it with a worn sneaker. Then she picked up her bag and pointed behind him. “My ride’s here,” she offered before slipping past him and down the stairs to a battered red convertible waiting on the curb.
There were two boys, early twenties probably, sitting in the front, fighting over the radio station while a third leaned against the trunk of the car, arms crossed in front of him, smirking at Summers as she approached. She flung her bag into the car with one fluid motion and hugged the tall man, smiling and more open than Richard had ever seen her. She seemed…younger suddenly. More like the girl she was supposed to be.
Still, he narrowed his eyes. The kid seemed familiar from somewhere. Dark hair, tall frame, somewhat Asian features. Where had he seen that face? And the car? Just then he looked at Richard over the blonde girl’s shoulder and smirked a silent greeting before slinging an arm over Summer’s shoulder and pulling her around to the side of the car.
A moment later, the two were bundled into the backseat, joining the fight over the radio as the car took off.
Richard stood at the top of the stairs, staring after it down the road. The guy, the one Summers had hugged. He was a weretiger.