I don’t own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.Chapter 1
Using her slayer senses, Buffy subconsciously looked for ships on the ocean below her. She was flying back to the States. To a new flat. To a new job. To a new life. Again.
And with every mile she moved away from Europe, her heart broke more about the loss of the man she loved, the man she had been going to marry, the man she had buried only a week ago.
Yet she tried to be strong, even if she didn't have any strength left.
She knew Mark wouldn't want her to waste away but to get on with her life. So, despite the protests of her friends, she had decided to take the job she had applied for a couple of month ago and leave so soon after the funeral.
A job that would bring her close to her biological mother. A job Mark had found the advertisement for and suggested she should apply for that very reason. He had helped her with the application, had flown to the States with her for her interview and had been just as pleased when Buffy got the offer as she had been.
Still, she hadn't quite made up her mind if she should accept the offer or not. Understanding how important it was, Mark had told her to take her time – and she wouldn't get rid of him either way. He'd be going were she went.
And then he had died.
Knowing she needed to get away from Rome, needed to get away from their life together if she wanted a chance to survive the pain of loosing him, she'd called and accepted the position as a physiotherapist intern. Although she already had her degree from the course in Rome, she still had to sit a licensing exam to work in the States and decided on an additional course to prepare. Study would mostly be done through online material, but more importantly, she would get a lot more praxis hours as well.
Sure, she would start almost at the bottom of the food chain, but she would inevitable gain a lot of experience in her chosen profession. Besides, if the bottom of the food chain meant long hours, then it would only leave her with less time to think. Which, right now, was a big plus. Yes, this job was the one thing keeping her going right now.
Realising the plane was starting to descend, Buffy sighed inwardly, getting ready to whoever was going to collect her from the airport.
In fact, she was pretty sure it would be Faith and Robin. Council-wise, they were heading their school in Cleveland, guarding the new Hellmouth there while also traveling the country once a new slayer had been identified. So, officially, they were probably looking for another slayer in New Jersey and thought they might just as well greet her as they were in the area. Of course, the new slayer would finally have turned out to be a false alarm.
Her heart might be shattered into a million and more pieces, but that didn't make her stupid. Knowing it was her friends way of showing their concern, she'd already accepted the fact that she'd most likely get frequent visitors in the near future. Just as she would accept Faith and Robin hanging around for a while even if all she wanted was to be left alone.
After getting her bags, she just took one look around the waiting area before finding her suspicion confirmed. Putting on a fake smile, she walked over to greet Faith and Robin.
"Surprise," Faith commented, knowing fully well it wasn't. Raising an eye-brow, Buffy nodded and turned towards the exit.
"Sorry, B." Stepping up beside her friend, Faith gave her shoulder the gentlest of touches before taking one of the bags. "We promised Red and Dawn to take you to your apartment. We already collected the keys, so it's one thing less for you to do."
"And we'll stay around for the next few days, in case you need help with anything," Robin added.
Seeing Buffy's shoulder slump even more, Faith quickly reassured her. "Look. I guess, no, I know
you rather want to be alone. And although we've promised them to stick around, I figured a nice little hotel room in Plainsboro is 'around' enough."
Looking up, Buffy gratefully nodded her head. They might have had their differences in the past, but sometimes Faith understood her better than her friends. "Thanks."
"Just remember to call when you do need someone, okay?" Seeing her friend nod again, she pointed to their car. "And no, you're not driving."
Giving only the slightest hint of a smile, Buffy let herself fall into the backseat.
The drive to Plainsboro was quiet, yet pleasant. They managed to avoid the rush hour, something Buffy was rather grateful for. Faith and Robin had come up to her apartment to show her around, but as Faith had promised, had left soon after.
Now, her belongings put away already, Buffy sighed and decided to have a look around the area. Faith had already organised a car for her, so there was even less for Buffy to do. Still, for now she was just going for a walk, figuring she might just as well check out the grocery stores and similar things around the area. No matter how down she might feel, her body always demanded food. Slayer metabolism and all that.
Having found a wide variety of ethnic food stores and take away within walking distance, or rather her walking distance anyway, Buffy just kept wandering about. It was a pleasant day and the sun managed to chase some of the coldness, her not-so-new constant companion, away.
Looking up in surprise, she suddenly found herself in front of the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, her new workplace. Well, looks like her flat wasn't only convenient for food and stores, but for work as well. Then again, she hadn't expected anything else from Willow and Dawn.
Although her driving skills could actually be called such now, she still preferred walking over using a car. Now she only had to find the shortest way back and she was settled for starting her new job in two weeks. She couldn't wait to get busy again.
Feeling the tiniest bit of excitement for the first time after Mark's death, Buffy took another long glance at the hospital from under the tree she was leaning against. Somehow it felt like she could really work in this place. Or rather, she wasn't getting any weird vibes like it usually happened around most hospitals.
Mark used to tease her about it, especially as she had chosen a profession that was often done in hospitals. But she would just shrug her shoulders, pointing out all the other places she could work.
Yes, Mark would have loved her job, in a hospital of all places – especially with her biological mother working here as an added bonus. Jeez, who was she kidding? She finally accepted this job just as much for herself as for the knowledge that Mark would have approved. Even if he'd never pushed her one way or another, she knew he thought it was the right thing to do. So she was going to do it. For herself. But just as much in memory of her fiancé.
Sighing as those thoughts had her depression take hold again, she stepped out of the shadow in a vain attempt to re-catch the warm she had so briefly felt again. Finally giving up on it, Buffy turned to find that shortest way to her apartment.
Walking towards the second cemetery of this night, Buffy looked up at the starless night sky above her. Watching the dark clouds swirling above her, she thought just how much of a perfect visualisation of her thoughts they actually were. Looks like she wasn't the only one without any tears left for now.
A week had passed since she had moved to Plainsboro now but she hadn't found enough strength to patrol yet. For some reason, the slayer in her was keeping a low profile and she wasn't one to question it. In a weird way it felt rather good to sink deeper and deeper into the depression looming over her. Tonight, however, her inner slayer had broken out of its depression fuelled prison and not having the strength to fight back, Buffy had relented to its wishes and got ready to patrol.
There had only been two fledgling vampires on the cemetery just around the corner of her apartment building and she had watched the Slayer take over her body with morbid fascination. She had never experienced anything as strong as this. Never felt herself almost physically dissociate from her Slayer-self. Fascinated by it, she left it in control and instead watched the dark clouds above her.
She was just trying to figure out if that particular dark cloud looked more like Count Dracula or a Fyarl demon, when her thoughts were rudely interrupted.
"Looky, looky what I found," a greasy, stuck in the 60's looking vampire leered in front of her.
Looking him up and down, Buffy scrunched up her face in disgust. "Eww! You're mouth is leaking." Apparently California Buffy was sitting just under the Slayer surface, ready to come into action on a seconds notice. Unfortunately, California Buffy wasn't acting as independently as the Slayer and she had to actually take part in the conversation. Which, right now, made for a rather pissed Buffy.
"Now, now. There's no reason to get mean," Greasy's companion chastised her in a soft voice. His taste in clothing was just as bad as Greasy's, but at least he seemed to have taken a shower or two since he had died.
Crossing her arms in front of her chest, Buffy gave them her best California girl pout. "Yeah, well, Mr. Greasy-can't-keep-from-salivating over there started it."
Chuckling, the second vampire, bowed slightly in front of her. "You have to excuse my friend. He gets a bit … anxious … when he's hungry."
"Then feed him. Or give him a bib or something."
Smiling creepily, he nodded. "That's why we are here."
Looking around as if searching for something, Buffy scrunched up her face in deep concentration. "Uhm. I hate to the bringer of bad news and all, but there's no food place around here. You guys must've taken a wrong turn or something."
"Now that's where you're wrong. We're exactly where we wanted to be." The creepy smile never leaving his face, the talkative vampire and his companion slowly moved towards Buffy.
Slapping her forehead, Buffy shook her head regretfully. "Don't tell me you believe people still provide their loved ones with food for their after life. I mean that stopped like ages ago! Besides, grave robbing? Eww! For food? Double eww!" Searching through her pockets, she finally pulled out a five dollar note and handed it over. "Here, go and get yourself some real food."
Seeing the confused face of Mr. Greasy vampire, she mentally rolled her eyes. No matter where she went, vampires just didn't seem to appreciate her witty replies.
Making a shooing motion with her hands, she added, "Now go. Shoo. See you later. Got thoughts to think, people to avoid, places to be."
Not waiting for a reply, she turned and started to walk away. However, no matter how uninterested she seemed in them, Buffy new exactly where they were for every second her back was turned to them.
"Hey! We weren't finished yet!" Greasy vampire shouted and before Buffy could make another step, he jumped in front of her, face in full game mode.
Without batting an eyelash, Buffy replied, "Oy. You really should show that to a doctor. That looks really
"What the-!" Greasy vampire replied rather shocked.
"You tell me," Buffy pouted indignantly. "I'm
the one blinded by your ugliness."
"Enough!" Not-so-greasy vampire interrupted annoyed. "No more talking. It's time to feed."
"Who you're feeding?" Buffy asked innocently. She couldn't help but admit that she enjoyed the little banter with Greasy and Not-so-greasy in front of her. For once she was glad for the Slayer having taking over tonight, for the Slayer in her having her forced to patrol.
. But on
whom we are feeding."
"Now that's just wrong. Grammatically speaking."
"No it's not." Greasy said just before leaping forward – right into Mr Pointy.
"Yes it is." Brushing off Greasy's dusty remains, Buffy's eyes turned from dreamy to hard as steel. "You've got anything else to add?"
His evil smile never leaving his face, Not-so-greasy started to slowly circling the slayer. "Guess I get his share too, then."
Snorting, Buffy shook her head in disbelieve. "Arrogant much?"
Not bothering to reply, the vampire started his attack instead. Unlike the two fledglings earlier that night, this vampire actually provided an, albeit tiny, challenge for the Slayer. A challenge it more than welcomed. A challenge that had endorphins running through Buffy's system, suppressing her depression for the time being. So, instead of finishing the vampire off, Buffy kept fighting, preventing the Slayer in her from executing that final blow.
From the darkness, a pair of brown eyes watched the fight with interest, cross-bow ready if need be. But as ten minutes passed and Buffy still showed no intention of finishing off the fight, Faith stepped closer to the fighting pair, casually leaning against a nearby tree.
"You know, B, if you wanted somebody to spar with all you had to do was ask."
Stopping mid-motion, the vampire looked from his opponent to the other young woman. Finally, realisation dawning, he looked back at Buffy, snarling, "Slayer."
Snorting, Buffy shook her head in disappointment. "And here I thought you were the smart one. But no, it takes him a full five minutes of fighting to figure that one out."
"Ten." Faith corrected.
"You've been fighting ten minutes."
Turning back to the stunned vampire in front of her, she put both her arms on her hips. "Now that's downright insulting."
Chuckling, Faith absently balanced a stake on her forefinger. "Maybe if you had actually been fighting properly it wouldn't have taken him so long?"
"So I'm not even allowed to play anymore?" Buffy pouted.
"Sorry." Moving her head to the left, Faith added, "By the way, Mr. Not-so-smart is trying to leave without saying goodbye."
"Now that's just rude." Turning towards the running vampire, Buffy adjusted the stake in her hand and threw it after him. Watching him turn into dust, Buffy walked over to Faith, picking up Mr Pointy on the way. "That was rather anti-climatic."
"Vampires simply aren't what they used to be." Giving Buffy a quick glance over, Faith handed her a clean tissue for her split lip. "Feeling better?"
"Yeah." Sighing, Buffy slid down the tree trunk. "For a little while."
"Slayer chocolate," Faith replied knowingly. It was a description Dawn had come up with after one of the newbie slayers explained the elevation she felt during her fight with her first vampire. And as it was as good as anything they could come up with, it had stuck.
Nodding, Buffy closed her eyes and leaned her head against the tree. "Yeah. Today was the first patrol since… you know."
"I do." In fact, Faith had been watching Buffy's apartment for the past week, making sure she wouldn't get herself killed by being too distracted.
"Fighting the fledglings, it was almost like watching myself from within myself. But these guys, it was like the Slayer in me knew it could do with some additional help of, well, of me."
"Yeah. The fledglings, that was mechanically. Clean. No emotion involved. Dumb and Dumber here was more like a game, seeing how far you could go."
Opening her eyes again, Buffy stared into the distance, thinking about the truth in Faith' observation. Finally she spoke again, "I wasn't trying to get myself killed, you know."
"It almost looked like the slayer wouldn't let you in any case. You know, when he got too close to actually hurting you, you kinda switched to that mechanic fighting style again." Sitting down next to Buffy, Faith casually put her arm around the blonde's shoulder in silent support.
Pondering Faith reply, subconsciously leaning into her, Buffy slowly agreed. "Maybe. Like the slayer's fight for survival overriding anything else and keeping me alive."
Faith nodded. She'd been at that point herself before, wanting to die but the Slayer in her not really complying with said wish.
In her case, Angel had been there to catch her in one of her darkest hours. Had been there to help her face her inner demons and help her survive all the things she had done. It had been the turning point in her life. Later, in the years since the final battle with The First, she and Buffy had buried any remaining differences and become closer friends than they had ever been.
Sometimes only The Chosen One could truly understand The Chosen One.
Now it was her turn to return Angel's favour, only the recipient being Buffy. That's why she was still in Plainsboro, making sure Buffy wouldn't do anything stupid. Or at least that she was there in case Buffy did.
Both pondering their respective thoughts, the two slayers sat unmoving in comfortable silence until the sun started to rise in the east.
"We are leaving for Cleveland tomorrow."
"Okay. Thanks for … you know. Watching out for me while-"
"Not watching you?"
"Yeah, something like that."
Offering her hand, Faith pulled Buffy up and gave her a quick hug. "Just don't be a stranger, okay?"
"Good. Anyway, the demon population is certainly sparse around here. So if you feel like a real fight, give me a call."
Looking at her friend for a long time, Faith finally nodded. "Don't second guess yourself. This is the right decision."
Giving her the tiniest of smiles, Buffy eventually agreed. "Yeah. I think this place is going to be good for me."
Another week later found Buffy standing in front of her wardrobe, contemplating on what to wear. Today was her first day and she wanted to make a good impression. Especially as people here didn't know her, didn't expect her to be the superhero, saving the day – every day. No, she just had to turn up and use her learned skills and add to them.
The part of her not battling her major depression was looking forward to it.
To be honest, ever since the night in the cemetery a week ago, she slowly but surely gained ground on that battlefield as well. She had only be out on one more patrol, but as the area seemed to be indeed quiet, the Slayer in her was happy enough.
Putting on her make-up, she eyed herself critically in the bathroom mirror. Well, there weren't any dark shadows under her eyes as she seemed to have slept longer since moving to Plainsboro ever since becoming the Slayer. She might be depressed, but at least her face wasn't showing any signs of it. All those time of keeping a double life came in quite handy right about now.
Checking her slacks and stylish but comfortable top, she nodded to herself.
She was ready to start another chapter in her life.
Or so she hoped.
---A/N: Wow. Thanks for all the reviews! I had almost forgotten how addictive they can get… Anyway, I've neither written Buffy nor House MD fanfiction before, so if I get their voices wrong (or anything else), please tell me. It's a learning curve for me too. That said, I hope Faith isn't too off in this chapter – I added the whole cemetery scene while editing the chapter. This also means the characters of House get another few days rest before they've to come to work…