Two different POV's ahead! Hope it provides some amusement.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Xander was not a religious man. If it weren't for the fact that he'd personally seen vampires burn upon contact with holy water and crosses, he would be a card-carrying atheist. At best, he could be considered a cautiously optimistic agnostic.
This did nothing to deter him from praying to God, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Allah, Danu, Sean Connery, several native American spirits and the Great Dalmuti that Cameron had gotten his message and was on her way to the hospital. Buffy was in a desperate fight with Der Kindestod and he wasn't having any of that 'being visible' foolishness. He knew that Buffy could normally take anything that the forces of evil could throw at her, but generally, the forces of evil could be touched by light photons.
He'd gathered the sick kids up and showed them the way out of the basement. He then placed himself so that the monster would have to go through him to get to them, but he was all too painfully aware that the going through process probably wouldn't stress Der Kindestod overmuch. He could hear the sounds of Buffy struggling with the invisible monster down the corridor. As much as he wanted to go help, he knew that he'd be an obstacle to Buffy at best.
He'd just chosen his spot to defend, holding up a broomstick, sans broom attachment, that he'd 'appropriated', when something touched his shoulder. It wasn't his fault that he was so keyed up that he shrieked like a movie starlet in a new installment of Friday the Thirteenth
"Please remain calm, Xander. It's only me." Cameron's voice. He was going to have to visit a lot of religious buildings in the near future.
"In order to remain calm, I'd have to have been the tiniest bit calm to begin with!" Xander replied shakily. He pointed into the basement proper. "That way! Buffy's fighting the thing that way!"
"I can hear them." Cameron stalked into the next room.
Xander began to settle down. Cameron was here.
And Cameron was back, suddenly. "What are you doing?" he hissed. "Go help Buffy!"
"It is too late," Cameron replied.
Xander could actually feel all the blood draining out of his face. "You mean..?" His voice caught.
"Buffy did not require assistance in terminating her target. Der Kindestod is dead."
His legs decided to go on vacation and Xander sat down heavily on the concrete floor. "Oh my god. Next time, say that part first!"
"That Buffy did not require assistance?" Cameron seemed to look at nothing for a few moments. "I see. By my initial phrasing, you inferred that Buffy did not survive the encounter. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."
"No, no, it's cool." Xander tried and failed to lever himself onto his feet. "I like having the daylights scared out of me before dinner. Helps me work up an appetite."
His attempts to stand were aided by Cameron. She made sure he was steady on his feet before answering. "I'm really sorry," she repeated, her chin lowered slightly.
Xander let out a relieved breath. "It's alright, really. I just need to remember that Buffy's the Slayer for a reason." He reached out to slip his arms around her waist. He knew she probably didn't need it, but he definitely required one standard issue, USDA choice CameronHug.
Halfway through the hug, the penny dropped. He leaned back and peered at Cameron intently. "Wait a minute. Did you just feel guilty about worrying me?"
"I-" Cameron paused in whatever she was about to say and assumed the blank expression she took when she was processing something. "I don't know. You responded with nervous sarcasm, and I knew that I... needed to apologize to you." She cocked her head. "Do you think that was a genuine emotion?"
"I'm not the robotics expert here. But if you were a human girl, I'd definitely say you were feeling bad about worrying-slash-scaring me."
Cameron expression took on a determined air. "I shall have to analyze that exchange very thoroughly, then."
"After we get Buffy back up to her room. She kinda made herself sick on purpose so she could see the demon."
Later, Xander would fondly recall the memory of Cameron preemptively lifting Buffy into her arms and carrying her out of the basement as one of the handful of times that Buffy had actually been stunned into speechlessness.-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Joyce sighed as she came down the stairs to redo Buffy's lunch, refill Willow's soda and give that bottomless pit Xander her last bag of Cheesy Chips. Damn that boy's nose for snack food, anyhow!
Before she could begin her motherly duties, the doorbell rang. Grateful for the excuse to do anything but see the inside of her kitchen or bathroom, Joyce paused her coddling of Buffy to see who it was.
An opening of the front door revealed Buffy's new friend, Cameron. Joyce relaxed marginally. Cameron was a bit odd, but the same could be said for all of Buffy's friends here in Sunnydale. But Cameron was a thoughtful and helpful girl. Wllow was too, but Joyce was currently still in a bit of a stew about being relegated to stewardess of Buffy's sickroom.
"Hello, Cameron," Joyce greeted the girl politely.
It was odd. Cameron always seemed to hesitate for a moment before responding to any polite questions. She paused and smiled. "Hi, Mrs. Summers. I came to visit Buffy."
"You and everyone else." Joyce chuckled ruefully. "They're all piled in Buffy's room. Make yourself at home."
Cameron didn't go upstairs right away, though. She followed Joyce into the kitchen instead. As Joyce began to redo Buffy's PB&J, Cameron spoke up. "Are you okay? You seem upset."
Joyce immediately put on her motherly 'Everything Is Okay' face. "Oh, honey, no. Just a little exasperated. But that's to be expected. I imagine a lot of moms get frustrated with their kids when they're recovering from a virus or an injury."
"Is Buffy going to be okay?" Cameron tilted her head.
"Oh, she's going to be fine! It's the 'getting better' phase that's always a pain. She's not well enough to get out of bed, but not sick enough for me to dose her up with NyQuil and let her sleep." Cameron looked a little confused, so Joyce clarified. "She's in the phase where she's being a little demanding. It's nothing I haven't dealt with before."
Once she finished the sandwich, she dutifully refilled Willow's soda and very grudgingly extracted her Cheesy Chips from their hiding place and arranged everything on a serving tray.
Cameron looked at the tray. "That is not all for Buffy."
"No. It's definitely not all for Buffy." Joyce didn't quite successfully repress a sigh.
With disturbingly accurate insight, Cameron replied, "Xander and Willow have also made requests and you're feeling taken advantage of."
Joyce blushed faintly. "This is just between you and me?"
Cameron nodded. "I promise."
"Yeah, a little bit. I know they're just being kids, but sometimes..." She shook her head.
"I'll take the tray up when you're done," Cameron offered abruptly.
"Oh! Sure, if you'd like." Joyce was pleasantly surprised at the offer of help.
"I would. Later, I'll point out to Xander that he was being insensitive."
"Honey, no, you don't have to do that," Joyce protested.
"I will not do this when the others are around. I just enjoy being able to visit and if Xander does not improve his behavior as a guest, we may not be invited back." Cameron began to reach for the tray.
Joyce intercepted her and placed her hands on Cameron's shoulders. "You'll always
be welcome here. You've never caused me even the tiniest bit of trouble. And Buffy tells me that you're as good a student as Willow. I'm glad she has a friend like you."
Cameron gave Joyce a shy smile. "Thanks." She had another one of her pauses and abruptly shifted to a new line of conversation. "You should go do something for yourself for a little while. I can keep those three in line." Cameron punctuated this with a glance at the ceiling, in the general direction of Buffy's room.
Joyce wrestled with temptation and lost. "You really don't mind?"
"No." Cameron smiled. "You seem like you need a little...." she paused again, seeming to search for the right words. "Alone time."
"You're such a great kid." Joyce gathered Cameron into a hug. "Thank you."
"Happy to help." Cameron gathered up the tray once Joyce released her from the hug and proceeded to march up the stairs.
Joyce only paused for a moment before she fled to her room, already planning a long, hot bath. Thank God Buffy had one considerate friend.