Originally written for the Ten Years Of Buffy challenge, off a prompt for the portal from "The Gift" depositing Buffy over the Rift in Cardiff.Disclaimer:
So not mine. Moore/Sci-Fi/Universal retain the rights to Battlestar Galactica, Whedon/Mutant Enemy/Fox to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This transformative work is for entertainment purposes only and no profit -- or any money whatsoever -- is being made off of it.
Superstrength or no, a face full of pavement hurt
Buffy lay for a few moments -- everything taken out of her and stuffed back in at weird angles -- just trying to figure out how to breathe.
"Yeah, there's some kind of storm going on," she heard someone shout. A girl. Listening, Buffy realized she could still hear the sound of lightning, or no -- thunder, lightning didn't make a noise, but something. Storm, that was right. Storm.
And then, "Oh my god." The same girl's voice, right next to her. "Doctor?"
Doctor. Doctors put you right again, usually. Unless you were Mom --
That thought was more of a blow than anything, and she opened her eyes.
That's not a name." The girl looked disgusted. "That's, like..."
"Means 'holy child' in Minerffian." The guy with the ears inspected her, not apparently bothered by the nakedness.
"Yeah, well, obviously it is
a name, because here I am. In the, um, flesh, and if we could maybe...you know..." He seemed to be done. Buffy drew her legs back up to her chest again, playing the game of trying to cross her ankles in just the right spot that they'd hide her crotch. Her arms, across her chest and swimming in the guy's jacket, stayed where they were. "Seriously. It's kind of cold."
"But she's not from Minerffia. She's human. Which means it's just a stupid name."
"When the Queen Mother was little, it's what they called her," the guy said.
"Yeah, but she
-- " looking pointedly at Buffy, who pulled the jacket a little closer about herself defensively -- "doesn't look like the Queen Mother to me. Not even English. Besides, the Royals did it's not exactly a ringing endorsement."
"Hello! Naked here!"
it's shaping up to be my kind of trip," said another guy, appearing from down the hallway. "Why, hello there, and where'd you
come from?" Against all reason, bewilderment, and random unexplained nudity (seriously, where the hell had her clothes gone?), Buffy found herself returning the pretty much unspeakably flirty grin he gave her. It was like some kind of weird hypnotic thing.
"Fell out of the sky," she said, as the girl and the English guy said the same thing.
She'd've been surprised at how blase they all sounded about it, but the inside was bigger than the outside, so. "Not quite raining men," Buffy said, "but maybe I'll get lucky and that'll happen too."
"That would just be too much good luck in one day." Turning up the power on that grin a little more, the American guy held out his hand. "Jack Harkness. Captain."
"Buffy Summers," Buffy said, and because it seemed like the thing to do, "Slayer."
"Slayer -- of course, Slayer!" The English guy looked thrilled at this. "Oh, this is fantastic. I haven't met a Slayer in ages."
"What's a Slayer?" The girl looked more annoyed than ever.
"Hi, clothes, please?"
"Or," said the Jack Harkness character, "we could all get naked and keep you company."
When she saw the news report on TV -- they'd even made her waffles, or the ship had (apparently it was a ship, and she didn't ask how it all fit inside of the tiny box because, well, this was her
life here). She was hungry, "Like I haven't eaten in years," and then she glanced up at the TV and noticed something weird.
"2005?" she asked. The maple syrup, slow and cloudy with butter, oozed off of the bite of waffle at the end of her fork. Buffy turned and stared at everyone else, who looked surprised. "2005?" she asked again.
It was the Rift -- that's what they called it; she called it a Hellmouth, and the Doctor said something about the Council being melodramatic, and Rose said something about ghosts, but the point is, it was 2005.
So it turned out she hadn't
eaten in years.
"And it's not your world," the Doctor said at last. "There's already a you here, one who's been dead and come back and done all sorts of things between then and now. You don't belong here, Buffy Summers, but the Rift's put you here, and I don't know how to get you back."
"Shame," Rose muttered from a corner, who yelped when Jack pinched her.
"Be nice," he said.
It seemed stupid, when she found out how close his house was to Cardiff, that they'd taken the spaceship -- the TARDIS, she found out it was called, but she was still kind of stuck on its being a freaking spaceship -- but none of them seemed to care and she didn't have money to rent a car, so there it was.
"Buffy!" He was the same as ever when he opened the door, which was a relief -- no, almost the same, there was something a little different, and she thought maybe that was why there was just, you know, the tiniest hint of a frown there. Not even a frown -- just one of those little lines in his forehead, the one that meant he was confused. "I thought you were in Budapest this week."
She shrugged, and then hugged him. Now he was definitely surprised; she could tell it by the way he tensed a little before returning it. "Not that I don't appreciate your affection, Buffy," his voice sounded kind of choked, "but I would ask you to recall that you're in possession of superhuman strength."
"Oh god," she said. "I'm sorry, I can't do anything right."
That look -- that total Giles
-look, the one of worry and affection and just-give-me-a-minute-I'll-figure-it-out -- came over him again, but he didn't say anything about it, just looked past her. When he froze up, she turned, saw the Doctor leaning against the box and glowering at them.
"Good lord, it's him." Buffy didn't think he even knew he was talking, but then he looked back at her. "Buffy-- " his voice was different this time. He stared at her more closely. "Buffy -- "
"I'm sorry," she said, again -- it seemed like she'd said it to him a lot in her life, now she thought about it, but not as much as she should have, so she said it again -- "I'm sorry. I just -- I wanted to see you before we went."
And then, somehow, he got it, she could tell. "You aren't my Buffy," he said quietly.
The wind picked up then, smelling like green and safe places. Buffy crossed her arms over her chest, wondering if he was going to try to stake her or something. "I just -- I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to you, there, and -- and this was the best I could do. So, you know," she managed a smile this time, and even felt it, kind of, "if you see a Giles from an alternate universe, pass the message along, okay? You guys are probably all the same anyway."
He laughed at that, and he was Giles for a second, different reality notwithstanding. "I will," he said, and stroked her cheek. "And having said that, I suppose I ought to tell you on his behalf that you must take care -- eat all your green vegetables, and so on."
"Kinda late to give me the not-taking-rides-from-strangers talk, I gotta tell you."
"Yes, clearly alternate-universe Giles has fallen down on the job," he said, and kissed her forehead. "Do take care, Buffy, promise me."
And that was close enough. "I will," she said, and turned away until the door had closed. She sat down on his step then, and looked at the narrow road that led down a way-too-picturesque-to-be-real-only-there-it-was English country road, and wondered if maybe she could start walking.
She didn't, of course; she just stood up and headed back towards the TARDIS, where the entire gang was now standing and waiting for her.
"I, um, you can just drop me off wherever, I guess. He doesn't need another Buffy in his life." He might've taken her if she'd asked, but hello, one Buffy was more than enough for anyone. Still, it was as hard to say as she thought it would be, and Buffy didn't say much of anything for a few minutes after that, mostly because she was afraid she'd start slobbering and crying all over herself.
The presence of a hand on her shoulder -- of Rose's hand on her shoulder, of all people -- made her jump, and it was the surprise, the sudden shock to the equilibrium she'd been trying to create, that made the tears spill over in the end.
"Hey..." And then Rose was hugging her. "It's all right." She sounded -- she sounded like she didn't know quite what she was doing, but like she was still glad to do it. And then, "It's not like you're alone."
"Except it is." She couldn't help it; she didn't say it loudly but it slipped out nonetheless.
Rose pulled back and looked at her, and laughed. "'Course it's not." Jerking a thumb at the Doctor, "Just like he ain't, no matter what he tries to tell me."
"Cheer up, buttercup," Jack said, taking her face into his hands and kissing her on the forehead. "You really think we're going to leave you all alone?"
"You -- what?" Buffy sniffed (embarrassingly), and looked at the three of them. "What do you mean?"
"You always this stupid, or is it just the Rift-travel?" Rose was smiling this time, and whacked Buffy on the arm. "You should come with us." But she looked at the Doctor, and there was doubt in her eyes.
"Come on, Doctor," Jack added, putting an arm around Buffy, placing her snugly between him and Rose. "I'll walk her and feed her and play with her every day, I promise!"
The Doctor looked at her for a few moments. "I've heard of you, Slayer," he said softly, like he wasn't even really talking to any of them. Then, sudden as death, a grin appeared on his face. "Welcome aboard."
"So I guess you know my reputation." It was later, and Rose and Jack's celebration of a new member had mostly turned into Rose and Jack in the hot tub, and Buffy'd managed to beg off joining them just long enough to corner the Doctor.
(Who was he trying to impress with the 'just the title' thing, anyway? 'The Doctor'? Doctor who
He frowned at her for a second, then went back to fiddling with some little piece of machinery or other.
"That's why you didn't want to bring me at first," she prompted.
At least this time he fell still, put his little gadget down. "It's nothing personal," he said.
"No." It pretty much never was. "It pretty much never is. Slayer means death, it's what I do. Might even say I have a gift for it." She paused. "That was funny if you're me. Not really
funny, granted, but -- "
"My planet's gone." His voice was quiet, quieter than she'd heard it. Then he looked at her, and gave a little smile, one that was kind of outweighed by the freaking universe
of pain in his eyes. "But you never even had one, did you?"
"No," Buffy said, and thought maybe he understood, or she did, or they both did. "Chosen One Syndrome, huh?"
He laughed then, outright laughed, and pressed a button. "A little bit, yeah."