All the Shattered Ones
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who or Torchwood. I make no profit from this and anyone who thinks I do is clearly delusional.
A/N: So another new story in the Convergence Series. I know it's taken forever but my muse just hasn't been happy with me for a whole age on top of RL and me mourning the loss of Ten. Thanks so incredibly much to everyone who reviewed and rec'd These Small Hours. The support kept pushing me to fight with my notes even when I had no clue what to do next.
And as always a very special thank you to Kerrykhat, Wolfie and AG over at Paradise Lost for putting up with me and letting me debate/bounce ideas with them. All of you over there are my lifeline and sanity when I can't even think straight.
Now, how about we start a new adventure?
"...en't been able to identify the reason for it?" her head hurt, all sharp pain and stabbing but also the feeling like it was too full and wanted to pop, too much pressure.
But pain was good, sort of. Pain meant she wasn't dead so that, at the very least, meant she hadn't broken Rule One, again. She hoped. Given her luck.....well.
But her brain, for all that it hurt to think, had a habit of working even when it should have known better and it felt like she'd taken a troll hammer to the forehead. The first thing that registered besides the 'oww oww oww' was that she was laying down. Which, given her experience, was pretty consistent with the whole pain and unconscious thing. What came after though was rapid fire, which hurt on a whole new level, but was kinda impossible for her to stop. The sound of Giles' voice, all proper London tweed coupled with other voices. Voices she knew. Voices that reminded her of what she'd been doing before she'd woken up with her head hurting.
Sitting at their camp fire having a cup of coffee and then....nothing. Nada, zip, zilch, zero.
Well that wasn't good. Nope, probably not at all.
Her brain kept working, though it still protested. She didn't remember anything past that cup of coffee and now, it was about eighteen hours later. So what had happened? And why didn't she remember what had happened to lead to her feeling like she'd had someone play whack a mole with her head?
It couldn't have been memory erasure, the tattoos on her back prevented anyone from removing her memories among other things, so what had happened? She needed answers. Which meant she had to move. Her brain didn't like the idea too much but she hadn't become the queen of denial when it came to physical pain by paying attention to her brain. She did a slight mental check. Two arms, two legs, no other pain than her head, good.
"So what exactly happened?" she sat up and opened her eyes only to find a slightly crowded room looking at her in what could only be described as shock. There was a beat and no one answered her, actually she didn't think they drew breath and she arched an eyebrow at them. "Anytime this century would be good for making with the splainy."
Oddly enough, or maybe not so much so she wasn't sure, it was Dawn and Ianto that moved first. They were across the room and on either side of her before she could even blink twice.
"Buffy, are you alright?"
Her eyebrows went down. "That's what I was asking." she enunciated very carefully, fixing Giles and Willow with a look. "What. Happened?"
"The Prime Minister of Britain, Harold Saxon announced that alien life had contacted him. Well, we're not sure what happened but he and the President went up onto the Valiant, the UNIT ship, and then things get kinda fuzzy. Not fluffy kinda fuzzy but more like the President is dead, no aliens, Harold Saxon has gone missing and everyone on the planet seems to have lost a few hours. And not 'fell asleep' lost but more like big, hellmouthy variety memory spell gone." Willow finally took a breath and she put a hand up to forestall another babble, though it was informative, kinda.
Giles had meanwhile pulled off his glasses and was already cleaning them on the hem of his blue button down shirt. "Riley has tried getting in contact with his UNIT associates and has, unfortunately, been only able to gain some small pieces of information."
She raised an eyebrow at him, the 'what?' clearly given. "They seem to be more like wild rumors than any fact but there were mentions of a doctor, Saxon and that Saxon himself was involved with the President's death. And no one has made mention of seeing any aliens."
"I haven't been able to find any footage of what happened either. Anywhere, it's just gone." Tosh had worried face, she hated it when Tosh had worried face. It was almost as bad a Willow or Dawn worried face.
Her brain went to work, not even complaining as she put it to use. A doctor, the Doctor and aliens. That coupled with a black out and she was willing to go on a little faith. Ok a lot of faith. But it was the Doctor and if there was one person in the universe she knew she could place her faith in without question it was him. She took a breath and looked over the room's occupants. Giles, Willow, Owen, Tosh, Dawn and Ianto, they all had various cases of worried going on. It was time to do what she did when she had to-lead, make the hard decisions.
"So the blackout was world wide and it directly involves UNIT and whatever Saxon did or didn't do." she left the Doctor out, there was no way for her to easily explain who he was or how she knew him. "That means it's a UNIT problem."
She cut Willow off. "No, we let them handle this in house. Just like we would want to handle our own messes in house." she leveled a look at everyone. "If something like this blackout happens again or we get aliens falling from the sky we'll step up but until then we have our own things to do." she ignored the vague sense of vertigo that she got from standing up and squared her shoulders. "Dawn, have Riley and his group take five of our Level Four slayers with him and his team and do the last bit of clean up on our mission. Torchwood, we're going home. If something was rumbling in London then that means we're going to start getting busy again too soon and we need all hands on deck."
"You're bloody insane if you think you're doing anything before I give you a full physical." Owen finally said something and she focused on him. For him to have not made any snarky comments meant he was worried and that made her furrow her brow.
"Exactly how long did everyone else lose compared to me?"
"If you add being unconscious? You were out about fifteen hours more."
Her eyes didn't widen that much, really "Oh."
Sitting in the too big for her chair in Jack's office was a welcomed reprieve from the hours she'd already had to wade through since she'd woken up. Hours filled with Owen running every test possible on her and then some coupled with more questions, debates and other things than she'd wanted to deal with. Especially with her head still feeling like it was going to pop even though everything else had come back all clear. They still didn't have any clear answers about what had happened, to her or the whole world and what had happened on the Valiant but she had a feeling they didn't need them.
Some things it was better if you didn't know. And she trusted the Doctor. She trusted him and she knew that for something to touch every person on the planet he had to have been involved. Call it a ping on her slayer sense.
Her hands wrapped themselves around a familiar mug filled with coffee and she sighed. It felt like everyone was running on empty, though why it felt like that she wasn't completely sure. Hot, bitter and very welcome coffee began to fill her as she finally opened her eyes and looked out the clear glass doors and into the main part of the Hub over the rim of her mug. She could see the others moving, dealing with equipment and paperwork and a dozen different things with a sense of movement to them that usually only happened when they had a life or death thing going on.
Maybe they did. At the moment though it didn't feel like it. What it felt like was that manic energy that came when you were tired, that last push you have in you before you burned out. Only she'd spent most of her life like that, lived in that place and it didn't wear at her. She embraced it as a matter of fact, living fast and hard and with all she had because that was who she was, what she was and had always been.
Only her team wasn't like that. They didn't live on the edge of a knife, or run headfirst into the unknown because it made things feel real instead of just like a dream. Her team was so beautifully human and had all the weaknesses that came with that state and they didn't thrive on it like she did. And even though they were moving with that manic energy she could see what they really needed, more in body than in mind. So she made a choice and stood, bringing the mug of coffee with her as she pushed the glass doors open and made her way out.
The whistle was loud, very loud, something she'd picked up due to having to deal with the mini's and found was actually useful. Four sets of eyes turned in her direction. "Finish off whatever it is you're doing and then head home. I don't want any of you so much as looking at your portable monitors or comms before ten tonight."
Don't be found.
Don't hold back.
Death from the sky.
Don't give up.
Just go on, go on, go on.
The stars screaming out in pain and loss.
Her eyes snapped open, seeing but not.
Pain and death and war and the Master and the Doctor and the Havens and and and and and...
So many ands. So much, so much, so much.
Breathing, the sound of her heart beating...thunk thunk thunk thunk.
The sound of drums.
The feel of the desert.
She slipped into that heat, that place. Because the desert was safe, the desert was hers, the desert was born of her and she was born of it. There, in a place where it was just her and sand and sun she could breathe, she could think.
She could remember.
Time had rolled back on itself, a paradox broken and she remembered. And another little part of herself broke.
Air, open space, people, life, sunlight, sight, sound, smell, taste, a million little things that made up life, made up living. She needed it. To feel life, everyday ordinary-go to school, go to work, cook dinner, spend time with friends, walk the dog, buy your toilet paper-life. Parents and children, friends and coworkers, the everyday movement of beautifully vibrant and so very alive and pulsing normal. To see streets unmarred by blood and ash and pain and desertion and death. All around her life carried on as it had in some form or another for thousands of years and it was what she held on to. Life and the desert in her head. They were the two ends of the tightrope she stood on, that supported her. A fine line that, if she fell, would leave her drowning in things that had and had not ever happened.
A chuckle escaped her as she leaned on the railing that kept the masses from falling into the water as behind her the sunlight danced over the rippling surface. The sound of it, that chuckle, sounded somewhere between bitter, giddy, insane and broken even to her own ears. Maybe it was. Sometimes she couldn't even tell any more is she was any one of those things or all of them at once.
And now, after living the end of the world and then having it just go away, was she going to stop? Was that manic energy that she lived in, with just going to dry up? No, it didn't work that way. And what did it matter anyway? The worse things got, the more broken she became only served to fuel that energy. That never ending need to just keep moving because the moment she stopped was the moment all that was left of who she was, who she had been and who she was slowly becoming would just slip away.
That was all there was. To keep going and to remember. Because someone had to remember, always remember. That was why she hadn't let the images and pain and anger and blood pull her down. She had to remember and she'd made sure that no one ever could make her forget. Not ever. It didn't mean it didn't hurt, it did. Just like getting the dozens of protection symbols tattooed on her back had. And just like those dark lines and swirls and all that power that had been poured into them to ensure and prevent so many things, the memories could be covered up. Cover the tattoos with clothing. Cover the memories and scars with yet another mask. It wasn't hard. She'd spent her whole life hiding behind masks.
Would she change it? Would she be willing to?
No, not ever.
Because now she knew, really knew and understood. She had her answers and they weren't nearly as terrible as she'd imagined. How and why she knew, she didn't have the slightest clue but she did. She knew why she'd changed. She knew that given time she'd probably change even more. She also knew that once the mini slayers finally started breaking their ten year mark it would slowly start to show in them too. Just a hint of stolen Time Lord, just enough for them to be a little smarter, to age just a fraction slower than normal humans. A small gift almost to them if they survived that long.
She took a deep breath, reveled in the smell of the moist sunshine filled air and closed her eyes as she tilted her face up to catch the sunlight. Go on, go on, go—the mantra stopped abruptly in her head as her eyes snapped open and her whole body began to feel like ants were crawling under her skin.
She knew the feeling, knew it like she knew day followed night and that she would never give up. It was the feeling of time and space and new worlds and dead civilizations and wonder and pain and planets burning and whole galaxies being born. It was the feel of Time and it's Storm.
Ok so reviews.....really really could use them. A lot.
Oh and funny thing...I should never read tv tropes cause I start making my own trope sheets for my fics to see just how many I've done or think would be funny to do.