Not-A-Men and Hello-Kitty Band-Aids
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy. I do not own Doctor Who. If you think I do, please make your way to the nearest insane asylum and let the nice doctors give you some medicine. Oh, wait, they have their own Maggie Walsh? So sad for you.
Timeframe: for BTVS, post-Chosen
. For DW, this story has turned AU sometime after The Poison Sky
. Since Rose was not
originally intended to have a cameo in that episode, please just ignore it.
Not-A-Men and Hello-Kitty Band-Aids
Donna swallowed, nearly gagging at the taste of her own vomit. "Closet," she said, her voice weak.
The woman...Buffy...said nothing. Donna's throat closed, her gaze lowering to the weapon in the blond's hand; a thick dark green dribble of something fell from the blade onto the grating. Inhaling sharply, it was a struggle to keep from choking on the blood-saturated air. A pervasive, cloying scent of decay crawled inside her pores, sickening her from the inside out. She clutched her gut, afraid to retch again.
A sound caught her attention, like cloth ghosting over metal. Messy brown hair poked out from behind the corridor wall. She pushed herself up, rushing forward passed the other woman. Her knees hitting the floor with a thud, Donna hauled him up into a sitting position; unable to contain her relief, she pulled him into a fierce hug. He gasped, his face twisting into a rictus of pain.
“Donna, breath mint,” he said. “Look into it, would you?”
“Poncy Martian git,” she whispered. Her breath was hot against his hair. “Don’t you dare do that to me again.”
“Not a Martian." His arms flailed around her. “And no promises,” he said, the words ground out through his teeth.
Donna sagged back against the wall, pulling him alongside. Her eyes were painfully dry. The man was absolutely infuriating! “Lie to me, then,” she whispered, tilting her head back and closing her eyes. A faint creaking sometime later brought them back to reality.
She looked up, her vision dominated by the woman covered in dark green blood. Her sharp breath was a hint to the Doctor that something was amiss. His head lifted, the lines around his eyes deepening. There was silence as he simply looked at the blond’s wary stance. He blew out a breath.
“Warrior princess, then, is it?” he said, shifting slightly. “Alright, I can work with that.” He looked to Donna. “Mind helping me up? I’m bleeding all over the place.”
Donna glanced down, her grip tightening around his waist as she slung one of his arms around her neck, and standing, pulling him upright with her. The Doctor made a small mew of pain before passing out, his dead weight startling her. She overcompensated, nearly falling face first onto the metal grating when a green-soaked hand reached out to steady her. Donna looked up, a faint smile tugging at the edge of her mouth.
“Thanks,” she said.
Buffy nodded curtly, one hand holding the parang, the other holding an armful of snoring Timelord. Donna bit her lip, barely capable of holding onto her stomach contents at the sight of all that green blood. At some point a cut had been slashed across the woman’s cheek. There were claw marks evident on her shoulders, and she didn't even want to think
about the origins of the dark splotches on the pineapple-patterned tank top.
“Got a nice little infirmary down that way,” she said, gesturing with her shoulder. “Has some wicked-looking needles, some weird disinfectant I can’t pronounce but works like a charm, even got some nice colored bandages. Want to come?”
Another hesitant nod and both women turned, walking down the corridor with the unconscious Doctor between them.
Her earlier wit drained away, Buffy was having a difficult time keeping her concentration. A dull, throbbing ache was beating in time with her heart. Its pulse thrummed, singing quietly in her mind. She dragged in a breath, shaking her head.
Donna's boots made thudding noises along the floor; Buffy was barefoot, her steps silent as the grave. She shook her head, goosebumps pimpling up and down her bare arms. Something about that seemed wrong, if only she could pin it down...
A sudden clang jarred her from her gloomy thoughts. Donna was kicking a door. “Open up, toaster strudel,” the redhead muttered.
Buffy smothered a laugh, reaching around to press down on the handle. Donna shot her a grateful look, and then they were inside.
The room was white, almost painfully bright, and fairly screamed look-at-me-me-me-nothing-germy-here-nope-absolutely-zip-nada-zilch-nothing
. Her nostrils flared: so much nothing was painful to her Slayer senses. They hoisted the skinny brown-haired not-a-man...two heartbeats do not
equal human, no siree...onto a table, Donna bustling to the side with some kind of tray. Buffy took a moment to study the not-a-man. Something about him was nagging at her memory. His nose? His skinny wrists? The awful blue suit he was wearing?
“I'm Donna, by the way.” The redhead finally turned to her, a clear tube of neon green toothpaste in her hand.
“Buffy.” Her voice was soft, tired.
“You can wash up in there,” Donna continued, pointing to a room off to the left. “The TARDIS should have another outfit for you, no problem.”
Buffy made it to the little closet with only a little difficulty, stripping off her bloody clothing once inside and stepping into the shower proper. She spent a minute staring blankly at the wall, suddenly intimidated by the mass of knobs and twirly-thingamajigs set into the tile. How hard could it be?
Donna's voice suddenly pierced the little room. “Slide the purple to the left and shove the yellow up twice!”
She didn't know how long it took to rid herself of the blood and grime, but by the time she felt squeaky-clean, her fingers had long since died and gone to pruney heaven. Switching off the water...“Punch the purple!...she looked around, light shivers wracking her skin as she searched for a towel. With a slight popping sound, one appeared off to the side, on a rack that she was pretty sure had not been there when she had come in.
Buffy looked around again, softly whispering, “Thank you.” A low hum was her only response.
A bizarre combination of yellow and orange, the towel was fluffy and warm. And huge. She buried her nose into the fabric, feeling the fibers tickle. A soft thump caused her to turn once more; a pile of black clothes had landed on a bench she was also fairly certain hadn't been there when she had entered. Smiling softly, she removed the towel and pulled on the clothes that somehow fit just right. Feeling somewhat better, she exited, inhaling sharply, the nothing
of the room once again screaming at her senses.
Reaching Donna, she was surprised when the woman handed her a green tube of toothpaste. Confused, she tilted her head to the side, a questioning look in her eyes as she studied first the tube and then the redhead.
Donna nodded, a small smile on her face. “It works, trust me.” She held up her arm, pointing to a tiny scar along her outer elbow. “See this? Had a whip slice clean to the bone. He dosed it with a bit of that, and I only got this tiny little souvenir. Squirt on a bit, wait a few ticks, then wipe it off with a warm washcloth. It'll still be sore, so you can wrap up with the bandages on the table.”
With that, she turned back to the skinny man, pulling out another set of hand-cloths and some foul-smelling purple goop. Buffy looked at her own goop and sighed. One look at the bandages, longs strips with a cottony underside and a garishly bright patterned overside sent her snorting. Bandages? More like Hello-Kitty on steroids. Certainly, the only thing different from the creature on the bandage and the pop icon of Earth were the tentacles sprouting from its head.
Once Donna had finished with the not-a-man...and she really
needed to find him a name, this was ridiculous even by her
standards...the redhead turned to her. “I'm going to grab a quick shower. I'll be back in a few minutes.”
Buffy nodded absently, her attention on the scratches on her arms, wiping away the green goo. And staring in surprise. The blood was gone. She lifted her arm, turning it slightly. Nope, not a trick of the light. A small scar and dried green blood was all that was left of a nasty gash along her forearm. Feeling a little foolish, she pressed a finger to the scar, pulling away with a hiss of pain. Hello-Kitty on steroids, it is, then.
She worked quietly, squirting a bit of the goop along a wound, waiting, wiping it off, staring, and repeating as needed.
Consciously ignoring the not-a-man on the nearby table, she had nearly finished when Donna came back.
“Always love that thing,” the redhead declared, a smile on her face which quickly fell to a scowl when she saw the not-a-man. “Men.”
Buffy smiled slightly, her grin crooked. “I'm--”
“Getting off as soon as possible,” the not-a-man said, sitting up with a growl in his voice.
Instead of backing down, the blond's chin tilted up. “You're all opinion-y for being half-dead,” she said, her own voice cool and detached. One golden eyebrow arched up. The not-a-man's nostrils flared. Donna stood between the two, chewing her bottom lip as she looked first at one, then the other. There was an awkward silence, before the redhead seemed to take matters into her own hands and cleared her throat. Both pairs of blazing eyes settled on her.
“You’re here,” she said, her voice quiet. “And from what that man, what was his name, Whistle-something...from what he said, there isn’t much chance of getting you home.”
Donna's eyes were gentle; she jerked a thumb toward the not-a-man. “But I’ve been around him
for too long to believe in 'impossible.' If anyone can find a way, the Doctor can.”
Buffy blinked, relaxing slightly. She looked at Donna, uncertain, with one eye watching the not-a-man...the Doctor. “Any plans on where to drop the bodies? 'Cuz I don't do dumpster detail.”
Donna chewed a lip, looking to the Doctor. He was glaring at the blond yet again, and being very non-helpful. “Any idea on what those things were, Doctor? Could we toss 'em down the garbage chute?”
“The TARDIS doesn't have a garbage chute, Donna,” he said, exasperated. “It has an atypical Cortallite de-atomizing matrix.”
“You throw garbage in it, don't you? It's a garbage chute.” The redhead folded her arms, cocking her hip.
“De-atomizing matrix.” The Doctor had turned, his legs swinging off the bed. He folded his own arms, one eyebrow raised.
Donna raised eyebrows, grinning. “Ha!”
“What?” The Doctor scowled. “What 'ha'? You're supposed to say 'matrix.'”
“Reverse psychology?” Donna sent him a smug grin. “Not in this life, spaceman.”
“They weren't breathing,” Buffy said, her voice low. Both the Doctor and Donna swiveled their heads in her direction. “Their hearts weren't beating very fast and they weren't breathing.” She noticed their looks, and shrugged. “It's not the first time I've fought dead things that bleed. Just thought it might mean something to you.”
“Yes. Yes, yes!” The Doctor hopped off the hospital bed, bloody clothes and alien Hello-Kitty bandages flapping in his wake. “That's the only way they could have come aboard: no detected lifesigns, no detected threat, presto no automated defenses! But how did they bypass Kebr's Law? Titillian's Fifth Principle? This is fascinating, they didn't register on the scanner at all, period, ba kome, absolu-ow!”
Donna sighed, bringing her hand back to her side. At his glare and slightly hurt expression, she threw him a look. “In English, Martian-boy.”
“Oh, right. Got to start remembering that.” The Doctor rubbed at his cheek as he stared at the wall behind them, his eyes distant. Suddenly they snapped back to reality and he grinned at the two women. They, in turn, shared a wary look and took a slight step backward. “What say we get some breakfast, hmm?”
Chuckling lightly, Donna shook her head, taking the arm he held out, the two of them walking toward the door.
“Um, hello?” Both turned back to where Buffy stood, confusion and no small hint of irritation evident in her expression. “Did the big-ass pit bulls from Hell running around this place just drop off your not-a-man radar or something? Bodies in the hallways, possibly more hanging around whatever this thing is? Any of this ringing a bell?”
The Doctor turned sullen. “I had it under control,” he said, scuffing at the floor with his sneaker.
Buffy looked to Donna, who had her free hand covering her eyes. She turned back to the Doctor. “Didn't look like it. Donna here was gonna be kibbles and bits, like, mucho with the bits, if I hadn't shown up and made with the head whacking.”
His manic grin faded instantly, replaced by a solemn look of gratitude. “Thank you.” Buffy took a step back, clearly uncertain as to how to handle this not-quite-antagonistic Doctor. “You can stay for breakfast. But then it's adios, sayonara, goodbye!”
With that, he pulled Donna out of the room, calling out directions to the galley as they went.
“Doctor," said Donna, lagging slightly behind. "Why are you so set on getting rid of her?”
Uh-oh. There was exasperation in her voice, and that never ended well. Actually, usually that led to him being slapped, but then again that wasn't good either. He considered ignoring the question, pulling out two trays.
Handing one to Donna, he spoke, his voice low. “She makes my head hurt.”
There was silence as they both fixed their own meals. It lasted until they had both sat down and just started eating.
“A parallel reality,” said the Doctor, his voice going soft, his mind latching onto the possibilities. Seeds of those
thoughts began to sprout, taking root in his lonely heart, spreading tiny, softly spoken murmurs of roseroserose
...Growing angry at himself, the Doctor felt his face tense, could imagine his eyes growing harder. “I'm sick of parallel realities! Nothing good ever comes from mucking about with such things!"
Donna was silent. Satisfied, he had just plopped a spoonful of jellied eels into his mouth when she spoke. “Do you think she's
from that reality, Doctor?” she said softly. “From Rose's reality?
His hearts stopped for a full minute, the spoon lodged halfway between his mouth and the open air. The gears in his mind spun at an astronomical rate, calculating the odds, the chances, the sheer statistical improbabilities.
“Ah,” he said at last, the eels sliding down his throat feeling suddenly off.
Donna smiled, digging into her bowl of Weetabix. It was fun to catch him off-guard once in a while. “Way things happen with you, I'd bet more money on her actually knowing something about Rose than not.” Wagging her spoon in his direction, she smirked. “Might help if you act like a gentleman, I'm thinking.”
“Ah,” he said again, looking down into his bowl of jellied eels. “This could be difficult.”
------------------------------ I'm ba-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!! Can I say how truly sorry I am that I disappeared? That was truly not my intent when I posted the last chapter, but things got so busy, and then there was so much work, and then I...kinda...lost...the...plot........Gah! A great big thank-you again, to shanij for betaing this baby.
And yes, I was hopeful to a simultaneous update with Iffing Ghosts, but sadly, I had more inspiration in the end with SS and less patience with IG.