The Start As You Don't Know It
Another chapter! Yay! Inspiration struck again and I couldn't hold this one back - heh, kinda like the title? Get it? Cuz- Never mind.Edit 9/16/11:
I ended up changing Buffy's age a bit, as it kind of bothered me for a bit. Nothing drastic, just a little niggle.
Anywho. Just to be clear, any words in this jumbled mess that may vaguely sound like science is purely accidental. However, it is
Doctor Who, the epitome of turning the mystical into scientifically explainable, so I had to try. It is clearly not my area and if I got some vital stuff completely off with my explanations, well, I'm perfectly comfortable with my ignorance. Though if there is something important you think I should fix, you can leave me a not in review. One that hopefully won't shatter my soul.
Also, tenses are my nemesis, and I can't be helped if they best me now and again.
Well. I just really, really wanted to put something
out there, so this is it.
So this, she thought to herself idly, was high school.
Granted, she'd had the same sentiment replaying on a loop in her head from the moment she'd taken her first steps in front of the ominous looking building proclaiming itself to be Hemery High.
She'd glanced around at the crowds of overly excited human teenagers, eyeing them all dubiously. She then turned her back to the school in question to give her 'mother' a look that she hoped accurately said, "You're not serious. Right?"
All she got in return was a sympathetic smile, one much like all the others she'd been on the receiving end of from the moment Hank and his better half had come down the stairs and decided to take the process one step at a time, by getting to know the lost girl in question. It hadn't been as comforting as they'd thought then, and it had't gotten any better the more they did it. At least Joyce had been really trying to make a sincere effort on her behalf, and that at least endeared her to the woman who was clearly trying her best.
It had been a rather rocky couple of months before she was even able to make the venture into public school. She was wary in the first place, as she'd already managed to avoid the only educational establishment that could have taught her anything her entire life, up till its destruction. The prospect of being stuck in a building full of kids that may have looked, but were actually much
younger than her, pretending she didn't feel the Earth moving beneath her feet at over a thousand miles an hour...
Humans held a significantly profound spot in her father's heart, without a doubt. Still, she'd only ever really interacted with humans on a short-term basis, and being secret identity girl was never her strong suit.
Preconceptions aside, fitting an alien girl into a human school was hard enough without even considering what she'd have to do to get there. As Joyce had eloquently put it, they weren't in Smallville, and she was no Clark Kent.
That put a quirk on Buffy's lips. She might have been affronted by the statement if it didn't ring so true. They couldn't just pull official documents that proved her existence out of their asses, and she didn't exactly have any spandex laying around to fall back on. Or superpowers, for that matter. Unless you counted her massive intellect, but then she just sounded like her father and his enormous ego, and she couldn't quite smile at that yet without crumbling a little, so she just stopped that train of though in its tracks.
The point was, this period in time was at least modern enough to notice when a girl materialized into existence with no proof that she ever had.
All in all, she decided that psychic paper really helped. That, and the fact that some of Hank's shadier connections managed to help them fill in any of the missing gaps. After all, she didn't dare leave something as priceless as that paper with any human. She always had it in hand, stuffed in one of her limitless pockets, in case circumstances ever caused for it, but the school would need to hold onto some kind of records explaining her false history. She hadn't asked how Hank procured them, though it had caused some contention between husband and wife.
To be truthful, Buffy had just been thrown back that he'd offered his help at all.
It had taken a hell of a lot of explaining on both women's part, mostly Joyce's, naturally. The Doctor, as it happened, was a subject that had been brought up long before she'd made an appearance at the Summers' household. A childhood story, she'd explained to him briefly at the start of their relationship, an on the fly excuse she'd come up with when she slipped up and jokingly compared him to the Doctor when he thought he was being particularly clever. Just a little tale from her girlhood, nothing more.
To say he was thrown by Joyce's revelation, that the fairytale he only faintly remembered being explained was no fairytale at all, was.. Well, it hadn't exactly been a quiet night in the Summers' household, to say the least. He hadn't truly believed her, Buffy knew, until he'd actually taken the time to look
at her. At the time, she'd still been nothing more than numb and closed off, curled up under the covers of the full sized bed in their spare bedroom, and hadn't even fully registered when the couple had walked into the room. She did, however, vaguely remember the brush of his fingers through her hair, then laying gently on her neck to feel for a pulse that would lead to more questions than answers. She remembered, through her haze of sadness, briefly blinking her eyes half open to see him rubbing the other over his face, giving her a look she couldn't decipher.
Thinking back on it made her realize there might be a little more to the man than she gave him credit. That wasn't to say there weren't a lot of rough patches, because there were. Rassilon, there were. She still didn't know the specifics on how exactly Hank had come up with half the things needed to integrate her into their Southern California lives.
The fact was that Hank Summers probably wouldn't win a father of the year award in his lifetime, but he could have left her and possibly Joyce to fend for themselves and his willingness to help didn't go unnoticed. Although things had certainly changed after that.
What proceeded was her enrollment at Hemery High School.
What proceeded then was a series of events that all led to this particular moment: her fidgeting uncomfortably in a plastic chair she suspected was made to be so, outside the principle's office waiting for Joyce to make an appearance. Which was all just for show, of course, as she already knew where all this was headed.
Buffy inhaled deeply and allowed her head to fall back on the wall behind her. The thunk that resulted attracted the middle-aged woman sitting behind a wooden desk occupying the room, a plaque that read 'Counselor' sitting upon it. She paused in whatever task she'd been working on, giving Buffy a glance before continuing. Buffy frowned and glanced away as well.
She didn't need to read out psychically to know the other was just emanating disapproval. It was the same look the woman had given her over a dozen times before when a teacher recommended the help of the (not even closely) older woman, after she'd acted in what her peers or supervisors would call 'bizarrely,' or said something seemingly nonsensical.
Like it was her fault their entire species couldn't stop fiddling their thumbs long enough to figure out they weren't the center of the universe. All in due time, a voice rang in her head, but she didn't need that at the moment.
What she needed was probably a lawyer.
Well, possibly not. Definitely not, actually. She prided herself on being a pretty swift talker. Then again, that was a major understatement. She had, after all learned from the most talkative man in the known universe, and had become quite adept at running her mouth in necessary situations until the other party couldn't even really remember why they'd been in an argument in the first place. Or were at least flustered enough to no longer care as long as they got away from the conversation as quickly as possible.
No, she wasn't actually in any legal trouble. That was definitely thanks to her swift tongue, and no matter how many baffled looks she'd gotten from her 'parents,' she continued to keep her lips sealed on how exactly she'd convinced the authorities that mice were responsible for starting a fire in a school building. They may not have been entirely convinced, but she'd gotten that usual perplexed I-don't-even-know-how-we-got-here expression that came with the territory, and they'd really had no solid proof. Buffy's conversational skills had thankfully gotten her out of any too serious trouble, but that hadn't stopped the school from blaming her for the incident. No matter who she'd convinced otherwise.
The investigation really hadn't lasted long, being that the other students had been all too willing to feed her to the sharks, going on about her 'hanging with the wrong crowd.' Not that they needed any prodding to find her guilty. Her existing reputation as something of a freak (to both faculty and students) had only solidified the school's opinion.
Maybe, Buffy considered, Hank would have helped more had he not started to fade from her and Joyce's lives quite some time ago. Although, if he'd have had any sway whatsoever it would have been with the police, and since that was sorted out and she wasn't facing any charges, it would still have been the school he'd have to convince, and she'd lost all favors with the establishment a long time ago. Even if that wasn't the case, she wasn't about to tread that water for her life.
She was already certain she was the cause of their marriage's upheaval. She had no intentions of picking at old wounds; especially when the divorce was so recent.
The more Buffy thought about it, the more she decided it was all the vampires' fault.
That thought made her snort, and she didn't even turn her head to note the glare the counselor was almost certainly directing her way.
Brushing a stray hair out of her face, she covered her face with the palm of her left hand. If only that word had never entered any of her explanations with Joyce and Hank. But what could she have done, really?
That explanation was the most easily acceptable to humans, to her eternal amusement. It would truly never cease to amaze her how readily humans would grab onto the mystical, and how carelessly they'd disregard ideas like alien life. The so-called 'Watcher's Council' had been fooled for over millennia, so she supposed it was only logical that when the self proclaimed experts accepted the impossible, all the world would follow. And even at that even the lies became a big secret.
The real truth was much more complicated. Though also so much less.
To explain it in an understandable fashion, vampires are probably more like parasites than anything else. Alien parasites, to be exact, whose arrival was pinpointed hundreds of thousands of years previously. Buffy remembered when she was a girl, as interested in the possibly of magic as a child of any species, being given a rushed and (as always) manic explanation on the origin of the Earth legend by her father. Like any other parasite, he'd explain, they spread, and these particular buggers have a deep-rooted urge to do so. To no one's surprise, their method of travel is through blood. This is clearly most easily achieved through a bite, thus satisfying both the parasite's need for blood and the need to spread in one go.
So far the explanation doesn't stray particularly far from fairytale. Except for the alien part, obviously, and the more scientific explanation. The real difference lies within the host. Most believe that once an exchange of blood has taken place, the person is then changed
into a 'vampire,' retaining his self but with a deadly addiction.
The reason that theory is so easily believed, however, is most likely because vampires themselves believe it for the most part, barring a few exceptions.
Once a person is bitten, or more precisely, once they'd taken in the blood of the vampire, the parasite then spreads to them, becoming them, taking their memories entirely. The victims truly die in every sense of the word. They don't 'become' anything. Vampires, parasites, whatever term you fancy, they are the sole occupant of the body. Yet they very much believe that they are in fact the poor soul that had been killed so that they could exist. So not exactly as symbiotic as a typical parasite, as they replace the person all together… Complicated, that. Really not enough words is the simplistic language to properly describe them, or anything else for that matter. Still, she'd fair better without everyone staring at her when she spoke as if she'd sprouted another head, so she stuck with English, mostly. Ahem.
But enough with that part of the history lesson.
No secret, the vampire is strong, fast, and mostly indestructible. Buffy still wasn't clear on how the cross repelled them, but sue her. She'd only been half-listening anyway, and she didn't have nine hundred years of universal science under her belt.
Besides, she had a faint idea anyway, and she didn't have to obsess over every little detail until she had it all figured out. Unlike someone.
That made her smile a bit. She kept trying not to, but every once in a while she just couldn't help. Maybe it was genetic…
She'd been thinking about vampires.
As usual, that led to the existence of Slayers, a term she visibly cringed at. She didn't like killing, even the thought or idea. The way she'd been raised, she couldn't react any other way. But here she was…
Slayers, unlike the beings they fought against, Buffy wasn't so schooled on until she gradually learned more about them in her time on Earth. Somehow, the elusive group that called themselves Watchers had long ago harnessed the strength, speed, and other powers of the vamps, and attached them to the life-force of some innocent girl. No surprise why, honestly. They needed someone to fight the growing epidemic, and a young woman would never be suspected to have such power.
And when that young girl died, her power passed to another, and so on, and so on.
She'd bet anything the Carrionites had a part in it, the use of "magic" on Earth. They must have found their way to the blue-green planet quite some time ago, and the people must have caught on to the whole "right place and right time" thing. There were far too many so-called witches and wizards across the globe tapping into that power to be coincidence. Yet another topic she only party remembered being explained to her.
She sighed once again in what seemed like the tenth time in a row. Her own mind couldn't stay on track.
More on point? Buffy met the real Slayer about five months ago. She'd been a nice enough girl, all in all. No, actually she'd been a rather fantastic girl. A dear friend, even, as hard as it hurt to think of yet another painful death.
Anna, was her name. Anna Smith. She had dark, chestnut colored hair, and was mostly average, except when she smiled she turned absolutely lovely, and when she got excited about something her whole demeanor was open and animated in way you wouldn't have guessed from the shy, polite exterior strangers witnessed. She'd been one of the few people Buffy almost felt genuinely relaxed with, like when she talked she was sharing more than she was keeping secret, even though her friend never found out a thing to do with her past. They spent the night at each other's houses, and when Joyce saw how happy she was during that time it touched her heart to see her healing a bit.
She should have suspected it would all go horribly, horribly wrong.
Anna had become more secretive, in subtle ways. Buffy was more well versed than almost everyone when it came to keeping things sealed tight, and it didn't take her long to notice her friends odd behavior. At the time, vampires had started making more and more appearances, and it wasn't until it was too late that she finally connected the dots.
Anna was called as the Slayer, and had been too scared to alert friends or family of her sudden strength and quick reflexes. Remembering the last night the girl had slept over, she cursed herself for not guessing. Anna had screamed in the middle of the night, and when Buffy rushed to ask what was wrong she'd been assured it was just a nightmare. She'd had no reason to not believe her, but her perfect memory replayed the night and the deeply frightened look she'd seen and she couldn't help but kick herself. Dreams didn't come to every activated Slayer. It all depended on how much latent psychic talent lay in the person to begin with. Of course every human had that potential, but extremely few manifested it in some way. It just so happened that whatever "magic" was used to choose the girls often touched those who had more potential to unlock it than others.
It was all very complicated, and if she was human she'd have had a headache way back.
The Council, in all their infinite wisdom, hadn't found Anna before her death. Whatever they'd been relying on to identify the chosen girls clearly hadn't lead them to her in time. Though that was a questionable observation, if the Council would have been any help or have sped up her end. She couldn't properly think about it without getting enraged.
What she was trying to get to was that the Watchers had no way of knowing their Slayer was dead. There was, of course, Anna's death to go by, but there'd been an influx of deaths in the area thanks to the previously mentioned heightened vampire attacks.
She didn't think before she made the decision. Because Anna deserved more than that. All those girl dying, the responsibility falling to their shoulders because what? A bunch of old men decided some innocent young girl could fight their battles more effectively than they?
She'd just seen that man, standing outside the school, looking like he had a purpose, like there was an important reason he was there. She'd instinctively known what he was, and before he could tell her that his name was Merrick and he was looking for the Slayer it was Hi, I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, how may I help you?
That, truly, was what led to everything going to Hell, but she didn't regret the decision for a second.
She had the means to pull it off, after all.
Time Lords didn't necessarily have any super strength to speak of, but she'd had a bit of a quirk in her DNA. Her father had never went into it in great detail, but genetics were a funny thing most of the time and being a Time Lord exposed you to all sorts of circumstances that could result in her enhanced abilities. Especially in her case, as the number of planets and times she'd been taken to when she was just a time tot. He'd never made a big deal out of it, so like most things she accepted the rambling explanation he'd given her on the way to the next planet.
Given enough time, she probably would have broached the subject again, but most of her life included trying to fit in a much adventure as possible before he could be called back to Gallifrey. The war had been going on for longer than most could comprehend, of course, and hers had been an unexpected but not unwelcome birth that he'd told her had given him hope in a dreadful time.
She was so young, only a hundred fourteen when he'd left her, a hundred sixteen at the moment. Two whole years it had been since that day. To her kind, it would seem insubstantial. But since she'd been stranded every second seemed to pass by for eternity, even as her precise internal clock told her differently.
Perhaps that was also why she'd told Merrick they'd found their girl.
No matter how much it hurt to have any adventures without him, Buffy longed to have some sort of purpose that she could fight for, that might somehow make her feel as though she wouldn't just be waiting out the rest of her incredibly long existence on Earth, waiting for planetary travel, wandering aimlessly and watching everyone around her die…
She was depressing herself long before it was even due.Click, click, click, click.
The sound of heels turned her attention toward the hall visible through the glass wall. Joyce had arrived. Well.
It was all just formality, anyway. A little session so the principal could officially confirm what they all knew. Joy.
As Joyce entered the small room and gave her a small trying-to-be-reassuring smile, the counselor gave a knock on the principal's door to inform him of her arrival. Standing up, Buffy straightened her clothes and prepared for the worst, wondering what the hell they were going to do when they walked out of the building.
Besides say good riddance, that is, but Joyce had given her a look that morning when she'd said those words so she kept them to herself.
They'd fought with the school all they could have to keep her there, and here they were. Not a huge loss, as far as Buffy was concerned, but she knew it had taken its toll on her adoptive mother and she never wanted to pass on her own complications to the woman.
Putting on a figurative mask, she resolved to do nothing but nod unless talking couldn't be avoided.
She didn't know how long she could avoid mocking him without him knowing what she was saying but having a vague idea he should be insulted.Author's Note:
Also, as I've never been expelled due to being a pyromaniac (or at all) I don't know how expulsion works. Let's just go with it, shall we?