*checks* Nope, not mine.Written for: August Fic A Day ChallengeSummary: Death is her gift. All that’s left is to unwrap it and discover what lies beyond.Author's notes:
Set after season five of BtVS and before season one of BSSM.
Her old adversary, the one she courted for almost six years, was a familiar friend. In its face she was comfortable, content even, knowing that as long as she won it would keep its distance. Then, one day when she was finally ready, it would embrace her with open arms and there would be peace. It was a gift even, as she had so recently learned, and she understood finally. She was ready.
So she jumped.
There was pain, agony searing through her body, an electric current that ran live along her nerves. There was light, so much light
, and sound, and colors, and noise! There was ecstasy, and knowledge, and she could see so many things, know so many things, and her mind was full of knowledge of too many worlds for her to comprehend, and nothing would ever compare, words could never describe. And there was darkness, soothing and calming as, finally, the light gave way. It was a cocoon of pitch black, the world fading away as her senses dulled. It was over.
She never felt herself fall. She never felt her body hit the ground, broken upon the broken pavement, lying still and cold as her friends gathered in tears. She was gone. Done. Death was a gift she gave and received, strung up between worlds in the ultimate sacrifice.
She woke slowly.
The world was bright, a light floating hazily above her as she lay on her back on a soft surface. It was a bed, she realized as she pushed herself up to her elbows, situated in the middle of a large room. Everything was white; the walls, the bed, the lights, even the gown she wore. Beside the bed sat a white stand, a white vase atop it with beautiful white flowers blooming. She had to wonder... Heaven?
Was this her reward for everything she'd done? Then, a white door opened- and a cotton candy blue head peeked in.
Did angels have blue hair?
"You’re awake!" The woman seemed pleasantly surprised, and she smiled softly as she fully entered the room. "You've been asleep for some time now. We were worried you would never wake."
"W- we?" Her voice cracked a little, her throat dry from seeming disuse, and the woman offered a sympathetic look, hurrying over to the bed to help Buffy rise to a sitting position.
"Yes. You really gave us quite a scare, appearing the way you did. Here," and she was fluffing pillows and gently pressing the slayer to lean back against them. In her confusion, Buffy didn't resist. "You've been asleep so long that it will take awhile for you to return to full strength. Have some water; it will help your throat."
Dazed, she took the proffered glass and sipped a bit, the cool liquid feeling wonderful as it fell down her parched throat. Once she'd had enough to soothe the dry feeling, she summoned her voice once more. "Where-" She broke off, shaking her head to try and clear the thought, but it didn't help. She had to know. "Is this heaven?"
A soft, tinkling laugh came, the woman shaking her head with an amused smile. "No, not quite. You're in the royal palace of the moon. Our princess was the one to find you, and she was quite insistent that we take care of you here."
"Oh." Right. Because that was totally with the making sense. "I guess that whole 'shoot for the moon' thing isn't just a figure of speech then?" Receiving a clearly baffled look in return, Buffy sighed. She'd
thought it was good material, but the other woman apparently didn't agree. "Never mind. So, this is the moon. Kind of spiffy, could do with a bit of color. Are you an astronaut or something?"
"An 'astronaut?'" She pronounced the word as if unfamiliar with it, then shook her head in the negative. "I am Mercury, guardian of my planet and the Princess Serenity, one of the sailor senshi."
"Mercury? As in, the planet?" She felt like a parrot, repeating the words, but it didn't make sense
. "No middle name, last name, just 'Mercury?'"
"It is the hereditary name of Mercury's heir," she explained, looking a bit confused as to why Buffy questioned it. She brushed it away after a moment though, turning to a new topic. "Can you tell me your name, and where you are from? Do you know how you got onto the palace grounds?"
"Buffy Summers, from Sunnydale, California," the blonde said easily, then added with a flippant tone, "On earth, that is." She paused again, her mind flying back to the last thing she remembered... Maybe. She wasn't sure how much she could tell Mercury, so she shrugged instead. "I don't know how I got here. Last thing I know, I was home. Then, bam! Woke up here."
"Then you know nothing of the space time fluctuations and high energy readings that surrounded the area in which you were found?" The tone was curious and disapproving at the same time, the gaze mildly stern, and she winced. So that was it after all. Mercury looked ready to press the issue, but after a moment, sighed. "You need time to rest, Buffy, and I need to let the others know you've awakened. The princess will want to come see you. Please, try to remember."
The blue haired woman gave her one last look, then disappeared out the door, leaving Buffy alone. She frowned, leaning back on the pillows and trying to find a comfortable position. She needed to have some kind of story when Mercury came back. It wasn't as if the woman would believe the truth. She almost didn’t believe it herself.
When she'd stood atop that tower and stared past her little sister at the swirling vortex in the sky, she'd truly believed it would be the end. Had been at peace with that. Slayers had a short shelf life as it was, and she'd long exceeded her own. She would jump, the portal would close, Dawn would live on, and the world would be saved, end of story. Close the Buffy chapter, let someone else take the mantle of hero.
Except here she was.
She'd accepted her gift. Now, maybe, she would unwrap it and find something she'd never expected.
The blue haired woman gave her one last look, then disappeared out the door, leaving Buffy alone. She frowned, leaning back on the pillows and trying to find a comfortable position. She needed to have some kind of story when Mercury came back. It wasn't as if the woman would believe the truth. People didn't just die and come back to life every day.