This is a derivative work. All BtVS characters appearing in this fic belong to or were created by Joss Whedon, and Mutant Enemy. The Devil Wears Prada
was written by Lauren Weisberger and the movie adaptation was from 20th Century Fox. Facts of Life
is distributed by (and possibly owned by) Sony Pictures. But the story idea, and any original characters belong to me.Spoilers:
For all properties involved. BtVS - post Season 7 (no comic canon involved); DwP - post book/movie; FoL - Post tv series (AU some time between the series and reunion movie).Author's Note:
Only minor changes to DwP movie canon to fit it in the Buffyverse. The time frame for the movie has been moved back several years to line up with the Buffy timeline. All else will be revealed as the story progresses. The FoL time line has also been shifted (forward) slightly.Author's Note:
Begins a number of weeks before "For the benefit of Ms. Kite.
" You don't have to read that story first unless you want to, but it does explain, in the first Interlude, how the Council US headquarters ends up in NY and not Cleveland in this series.Word Count:
1,075 (1 of ?)--- --- ---
A sharp, shooting pain traveled from the center of her back and up her neck before settling just behind her eyes. Gasping desperately, Andy struggled to pull some air into her lungs. It was like trying to breath through a mouthful of soggy, burnt socks in a sauna, she thought incoherently. And with at least one broken rib, she suspected, feeling a sharp pain in her side as she fought to expand her lungs.
"God..." Andy moaned into the ground, her hands pressing against some kind of gritty surface. Taking another painful breath, she slowly pushed herself up into a sitting position, her left arm protesting as she did so. "Sitting works," she mumbled, "must not be anything too broken." Squinting in the dim light, all she could see was herself through the dense fog.
Her left wrist throbbing, Andy gingerly ran her right hand over the rest of her body, checking for any damage. She moved slowly, avoiding any sudden movement. She winced as she touched sensitive spots. One on her left ankle, another on her right thigh, and several around her ribs. Her left shoulder ached as it had the last time she'd dislocated it. But other than the pain, there was no evidence that she'd been injured. And no way to know what was causing the pain. No blood, bruises, cuts, or even raw skin.
The pain in her head was increasing, making it hard to concentrate but Andy was sure this wasn't normal. There should have been something. Even if her current job with the Council kept her in an office or in meetings on an almost constant basis, she was a slayer. She knew that there should have been some physical evidence of the pain she was feeling. Even the slayer boot camp she'd gone through after her first year of law school, not exactly a pain free experience, had left her with more bruises.
"Where am I?" she asked just to break the silence, not expecting an answer. "Is there anyone here?" she said in a louder voice. Her voice disappeared, absorbed into the fog without so much as an echo.
Wrapping her arms around her knees, she tried to think back to what might have brought her to this place. She could clearly remember getting back from that meeting with the Saudi and Egyptian ambassadors. They hadn't solved or even covered all of the unique challenges involved in trying to set up slayer coverage for that part of the world but it'd still been a productive first meeting.
After leaving that meeting she'd spent a frustrating hour mediating another tense meeting between one of the local slayers and her over protective parents. Things were foggy after that. She vaguely remembered stopping at her favorite street cart on the way back to her office but that's where her memories stopped. And no rubbing of her aching head or other attempts to clear her mind did anything to fill in the gap between then and now.
Deciding she couldn't sit there forever, Andy braced herself against the impending pain and slowly stood up. By the time she was fully erect, all of the earlier pain had been joined by a sharp prickly feeling like every nerve in her body was suddenly waking up. Taking slow, deep breaths, she concentrated on the simple act of standing.
"Hello? Is there anyone here?" she tried again an interminable time later, in a shaky voice that was just below shouting. There was no answer but after another eternity the fog started to lift, revealing her surroundings.
Andy squinted as she looked around. Stretching out as far as she could see was a treeless, rock covered plain. Turning in a circle, the constant pain making her move slowly, she saw nothing but sand and rocks.
"Not New York," she said to herself, "unless the effects of global warming are a lot faster than Al Gore claimed. And wasn't the ocean supposed to drown the city, not dry up?"
"That wasn't there earlier," she muttered, after completing her turn, when a small hill appeared off in the distance.
It's not gonna hurt; it's not gonna hurt, she thought, but didn't vocalized around gritted teeth, and cautiously took a step forward towards the hill. And then another, and another until she was moving forward, though at less than half her normal walking speed, the only sound her bare feet gripping at the gritty surface.
Time didn't seem measurable wherever this was. The light never seemed to change, the sun hidden by clouds, and the temperature was like a warm August evening in the city. Which was a good thing she realized, noticing for the first time that all she had on were scraps of leather sewn together in a shape that covered her only slightly better than her favorite bikini.
"What do they say about slayers and sunburn?" Andy asked herself, trying to remember what she knew about that aspect of slayer physiology. She always used sunscreen herself and usually skipped the 'Beauty Care and the Single Slayer' lectures sponsored by her office as unnecessary after working at 'Runway'.
It could have been an hour or many hours before she reached the base of the hill. Up close it was much larger than she'd thought. Walking slowly around it, she discovered steps cut into the hill. Can I climb it, she wondered. The pain had receded to a dull roar as her body became used to it and the prickly feeling was almost gone. "It isn't far," she said, her voice loud in the permanent silence.
She wasn't completely wrong, she thought as she reached the top at a crawl. A hundred steps wasn't very far for a healthy slayer. She, on the other hand, had a strong desire to crawl into the nearest hole and not come out until next summer.
Using the last of her energy, Andy perched on the top step and looked out across the desert at another hill far off in the distance. Squinting, she could see movement at its top. A constant stream of figures moved past someone sitting in a huge chair under an awning. She couldn't make out distinct features but she had the vague impression of Cleopatra holding audience. Or maybe Queen Elizabeth passing sentence.
She was too tired to move, she thought, closing her eyes for a minute. She just needed a break, then she would investigate.