Welcome in Cardiff
Disclaimer: I don't a thing of these two great universes.
A friend of mine came about one month ago with Doctor Who and Torchwood. I knew it was two of her favorite shows but I never saw them - being French, it's broadcasting on the cable television only, so they're not famous here. But when she left the next day, I had two more shows to watch.
Then, two weeks ago, I read the challenge list by curiosity and came accross this one :
Challenge Issuer: winterd
Challenge Name: Rift in Cardiff. Hellmouth in Sunnydale. Same Difference. (Torchwood/Buffy x-over)
Category: Dr. Who/Torchwood
Description: About two years after the Sunnydale Hellmouth was closed, Giles decides that the supposedly inactive rift in Cardiff, which only occasionally acts up, needs to be guarded. Since its supposed to be a quiet, easy job worthy of retirement, Buffy volunteers. It isn’t until after she’s been there for awhile that she realizes that this quiet, easy job isn’t that at all and that the Watchers Council isn’t the only ones interested in the rift.
Would like to see some real tension between the Watchers Council and Torchwood, as well as Torchwood being relatively ignorant to what the Council does, but it’s really up to the writer. Okay, that’s it. Go have fun.
And here I am now, publishing the first chapter. I have to thank that friend who made me discover Dr Who/Torchwood and helped me with this fic. I'm writing Chapter Ten right now but before publishing the rest, I really need to find a beta reader! So if you're interested, don't hesitate.
I'm going to let you discover the first chapter. But before, a little reminder: don't forget to vote for the CoA!
Enjoy, Read and Review ! ¤
Buffy put the last frame on the wall and stepped back. She frowned, moved it a little to the right, then smiled. That was it. She looked around her new apartment with pride and let herself fall back onto her big new coach.
“Home sweet home,” she whispered.
Her new home was great. Big, spacious and luminous. It was a loft. An open area with a really big living room and an open kitchen. One section had huge windows, giving the apartment a beautiful view of Cardiff. There were three other rooms: her own, the bathroom and a guest room. The building was in the middle of Cardiff, and she was on the eighth floor. She had arrived last week and had just finished with the final touch to her apartment: a photo of herself with her mother and Dawn. It was taken in their garden in Sunnydale, a few months before her mother’s death. They were smiling. It seemed like another life time ago.
Since then, there had been Glory, the infernal Trio and the First. She had died and then been resurrected, she had struggled to find her place in this brutal world, a meaning for her life. And she had closed the Hellmouth and woken up all the Slayers. There were eighty-seven of them now, spread out across the planet. The youngest were living in the Joyce Summers Institute for Gifted Girls, just outside of Cleveland, where the new Hellmouth was. They closed one and another opened. But now, there were a lot more warriors. Protectors.
It had been two years since the collapse of Sunnydale. Two very busy years. They had rebuilt the Council, a brand new one with Giles at its head. Robin and Faith were in charge of the Institute in Cleveland. Willow was living in a Coven, trying to live a healthy life, helping other witches to develop their gifts without turning to the dark side like she had. For a while, Willow had been dating Kennedy but they had broken up. Buffy didn’t know why. Xander was traveling, trying to recover from Anya’s death. He had gathered Slayers at first. Now, he was helping out wherever he could, going where help was needed. Dawn was entering University this year, studying ancient languages or something like that. She wanted to become a Watcher. Yeah, a lot had happened since Sunnydale.
They had changed the world. There were a lot of Slayers now. The best part was that so many Slayers meant the girls had a choice whether to fight or not. Sure, they would attract demons regardless, but they wouldn't have to search for them, to fight all their lives. They could be more than the Slayer; they could go to school, have a job, get married… There were so many possibilities! When they found the girls, they explained what was happening to them and what that meant for their future. Some of the girls decided to join the Institute full time. Others came during holidays or week-ends to learn about their new gifts. After that, they could work for the Council, or have a life of their own.
The New Council was working with the government as well. A few hours after Sunnydale collapsed, the US army had arrived. Thanks to a little reminder of the Initiative fiasco, they had explained the new situation to the government and decided to work with them. They were independent but everything related to the supernatural would fall under the Councils jurisdiction.
Oh, and leaving the Sunnydale bubble had led them to another major discovery: aliens! They couldn’t believe their ears when they heard. Invasions, Cybermen, Daleks, and some battle at Canary Wharf. At first, they thought it was a big joke. Except Andrew who was jumping everywhere with a one million watt smile. How they could not have heard of something so huge, they did not know. But, they were quite busy with a Hell goddess, an infernal Trio, and the First. Rapidly, the government made it clear: aliens were theirs. And the Council was fine with that. They had enough work with the supernatural without adding aliens. Or so they thought until three weeks ago.
Giles had gathered them in his office and told them about some cities where strange things were happening. One of them was Cardiff. A few months back, people died. Witnesses were talking about a shadow that killed what it touched. Over the years, similar strange things had been occurring with increasing regularity.
“I do not know exactly what it means,” the Watcher confessed. “Great Britain is known for its alien activity. So, maybe it is not our jurisdiction. But I would like to have someone posted there to survey the area and determine if the problem is supernatural or not.”
Two hours later, it was agreed that Buffy would be the one to live in Cardiff. It was a great opportunity for her! She was tired of fighting. It had been too long. Now that she could, she wanted a quiet life away from violence and monsters. Cardiff was ideal. It was a surveillance job, with some action once in a while. That was perfect. A quiet, easy job worthy of retirement. No one tried to dissuade her. And here she was. In her new apartment in Cardiff, at the beginning of her new life. Her own life.
She stood up and looked at a photograph of the Scoobies on the wall. They were so young and innocent back then. The goodbyes had been quick. Their friendship wasn’t as strong as it was. They had never discussed that night, when they had kicked her out of her own home. She had never talked to them about it and they had never excused themselves. That had destroyed them, their group. They had lost the friendship, the trust they had in each other. Buffy had never been able to forgive them or to forget what they had done. She had acted like nothing happened but it was always there. The betrayal. Sometimes, Willow, Xander, Dawn, or Giles would try to talk to her but she had brushed them off and they hadn’t pushed. In their eyes, she had read the shame and the remorse they were feeling but she had said nothing. It was their punishment.
Now, it was time to start her own life.
A glance out the window showed night had fallen. She smiled. Time to explore her new city.
¤ ¤ ¤
One week later, Buffy was sitting on her couch, watching television. Sighing, she threw the remote to the side after the tenth channel. She was bored out of her mind. What did normal people do all day? She had explored Cardiff, night and day. She had bought new clothes, new shoes, and new weapons. She had called the Scoobies. She could walk around in her apartment with her eyes closed. She had bought a gym membership. God, she even had a library card now! Her kitchen was so full of food that she could survive a month long siege!
And where were all the monsters? The supernatural beings, and the aliens? She wanted to see a nice little alien… After all, she was in Britain, alien’s land, right? But no, nothing happened! Not even a vampire… She would be the first Slayer killed by boredom.
“Oh my god! I have to find a job!”
She let her head fall into her hands. How could she find a job? She had no diploma! And no real experience. She couldn’t seriously add in her CV that she had fought the things that hid in the dark and saved the world a few times since she was fifteen years old. Being a Slayer was so not easy. She couldn’t be a waitress. Could she? Maybe a salesclerk? She couldn’t work full-time. She had to be available if something weird happened. Maybe she could do temporary work…
The doorbell interrupted her thoughts. She got up, wondering who it could be. Opening the door, her guest surprised her.
“Giles! What are you doing here?”
“Hello to you too Buffy.”
He let himself into her apartment, not waiting for an invitation that he knew wouldn’t come. She never invited someone inside verbally. Her time on the Hellmouth had taught her better. She went to the kitchen and prepared some tea, watching him study her new home.
“It’s a beautiful place Buffy,” he said after a while, looking through the large window.
“I was lucky. And the Council helped.”
She put her tray on the table and he joined her.
“You’ve even got tea.”
“I’m in Britain now, so I suppose having some tea in stock is a normal thing. So, what are you doing in Cardiff?”
He put a big file in front of her before sipping his tea.
“I have gathered some information on the city which might help you. Being at the head of the Council is quite useful.”
She leafed through the rather substantial file and made a face.
The Watcher laughed.
“Yes, it is. Perhaps I could summarize it for you.”
She smiled at him. Their eyes locked and embarrassment filled the air. He started polishing his glasses. With him too, what happened in Sunnydale had destroyed their bond. But he wasn’t the only guilty party. She had said some really harsh things to him.
She listened intently as he explained to her the basics of extraterrestrial life. How Great Britain had been aware of it for more than a century and had started to study it, gathering information and technology over the years thanks to a secret group named Torchwood. Then, he told her that Cardiff was on a rift through time and space. This rift was expelling alien weirdness on a daily basis as well as attracting attention. It was dangerous and unpredictable.
“Hellmouth in Sunnydale. Rift in Cardiff. Same difference,” she concluded.
“Yes, that's a way to say it. You don’t have to get involved with the alien cases. But I am afraid that the energy produced by the rift could
attract, at some time, some unwanted attention.”
“Yes. It is why you are here.”
He pulled a box out of his suitcase and gave it to her. She opened it and found a black wallet containing an ID card: Buffy Summers, INC. She was an official agent of the International New Council. She had a badge! That was so cool. There was also a cellphone and some kind of PDA.
“You will receive a salary from the Council. You will be working with the police. They have the number of this phone and will call you if they find anything unusual at crime scenes. The little device there is able to identify residual rift energy and is linked to the Council database. If there is any, it is not our jurisdiction; it would go to Torchwood. I would like you to keep a low profile with them. They don’t know what we’re dealing with and we don’t have the best history together.”
“Yes. You are above the police. If the case is supernatural, it’s yours. They will answer to your commands.”
“Whoa… I’m actually going to work with the police? That’s a weird thought.”
“Here, people are less narrow-minded than in Sunnydale. Alien life has been proven and everyone is aware of it so they tend to be
“You know I’m not good at keeping a low profile, right?”
“I would like you to at least try.”
“Just for you watcher-mine.”
She got up and missed the look in the older mans eyes. She hadn’t used that nickname in years. She cleared off the table; putting the dishes in the sink and the file on desk she had in the corner of the room. Then, she watched Giles.
“Do you want to sleep in the guestroom? I don’t know if you have a place to stay.”
“Thank you for the offer but I am going back to Cleveland tonight. I have many meetings scheduled for the next few days.”
“You have a few hours left. Would you like to see some of Cardiff?”
“I would love too.”
During the next two hours, they walked around Cardiff making small talk. Then, Buffy decided to accompany him to the airport. They were
waiting for his plane when he suddenly said:
“I am sorry for what happened in Sunnydale Buffy.”
She gasped in surprise. He went on:
“We asked you to be a General, to make all the decisions and when you assumed that role, we turned our back on you. It wasn't easy, for any of us. But what we did… It was wrong. We were weak. You were great. And I am sorry for the hurt we caused you.”
Her throat was tight and her eyes were burning now. She sniffled. A voice announced Giles’ flight.
She looked at him, trying to stay calm.
“I am proud of you.”
She let the tears fall freely and her voice shook badly when she said:
“You kicked me out of my own house. After everything I did for you, you kicked me out. My friends, my own sister. It hurt then and it still
hurts now. I can’t forget. I can’t forgive. Not now. Maybe someday. But thank you. It means a lot to me. And I said some pretty mean things to you back then too and I’m sorry.”
“All is forgiven. I hope this new life will suit you.”
They hugged and she watched him until he disappeared in the crowd. His visit was unexpected and had left her shaken. Leaving her wanting
to hide in her bed and cry for the next few days. She made it home without even realizing it. She was entering the building when she suddenly ran into someone. Only her Slayer reflexes saved her from the fall. The other person was swearing fiercely while collecting the
stack of papers that had fallen to the floor. She opened her mouth to-
“Watch where you’re going!”
All her apologies disappeared.
“Me? Who the Hell was moving like a hurricane trying to get out? Maybe you should take your own advice Mister!”
The man’s eyes were as wide as saucers. He was more than surprised by the response. And now, she was pissed. She blocked his way out
and put her hands on her hips.
“Are you going to excuse yourself?” she asked, angry.
“Me? Why should I be the bloody one to do the excuses?”
“Because you were the rude one!”
“I’m not rude!”
“Yes, you are!”
“You're bloody crazy!”
“You swear too much.”
He tried to go past her but she moved each time and blocked him. Finally, he stopped and spoke through clenched teeth.
Putting a big smile on her face, she cleared the path with a wide gesture. He glared at her and went away. Out of the corner of her eye, she
saw a white envelope on the floor, surely belonging to Mister Rudeness. She took it and frowned at it. She searched for the man’s mailbox and put the letter in it, whispering:
“I’m being too nice to you Mister Owen Rude Harper.”
She made her way to the lift. Once she reached her apartment, Buffy decided it had been a strange day. She made herself some lasagna.
Going to the table, she ate while reading the file Giles had given her, learning a bit more about her new city. After a while she decided to go to bed. Tomorrow, she would go to the police station and introduce herself.tbc