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Wishlist 2010

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Ficlet(s)

This story is No. 2 in the series "Wishlists". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Twenty-four gifts for twenty-four people giving me twenty-four prompts. Ficlet collection. Part II. - Now Up: To The Ground! verse Christmas fluff.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General > Ficlet Collections - Other(Moderator)FaithUnbreakableFR152440,119311736,40430 Nov 1024 Dec 10Yes

the girl who bled on me - BtVS/Mercy Thompson

Warnings: Diabetics beware!

Prompt: aerynzu asked for BtVS/Mercy Thompson Series, Buffy/Samuel, Buffy gets mauled by a werewolf, ends up in Samuel’s ER and they get some hope and peace.

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the girl who bled on me

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It’s a quiet night. Usually, Samuel would be careful with thinking things like that, fully aware that they tend to backfire spectacularly. The last time someone in the ER remarked how calm it was, they had a seven car pile-up half an hour later.

But it’s almost three in the morning and many, many years of experience tell him that humanity is least likely to explode into violence between three and five in the morning. After that, all bets are off, but his shift ends right about then, too, so, whatever.

He doesn’t really care. Not in the way he used to. It’s been a year since the woman he loved aborted the baby he never knew he had and his capacity to care for others is still immensely hampered by his depression and numb rage at the world. That, and his inner monologue is starting to sound like his beloved but stick-in-the-mud brother, which is a sure sign of doom.

Also, nonsensical.

He rubs his forehead with two fingers, pinches the bridge of his nose and wishes for an empty forest to disappear into, shedding human skin and human duties as he goes. Going wolf sounds better and better with each passing day.

Quiet nights are the worst. They leave too much space for thinking.

Just then the doors bang open and someone shouts for help, help, please, she’s dying.

.

A single look at the young woman’s injuries, a single whiff of the coppery scent of her blood, they’re enough.

She’s halfway torn to shreds, her stomach a ruin of red. Werewolf.

A werewolf did this.

Inside Samuel, something howls even as his hands move, on autopilot, pressing the wound closed, snapping orders at nurses that flutter around them like bees, busy and competent.

He asks the man who brought the woman in something but he shakes his head, says he was out jogging, couldn’t sleep, found her bleeding like this in the park. He says he thought she was dead and when he felt a pulse…

Samuel nods. Attacked and left for dead. Or worse, attacked and left alone for the change, left to see if she will survive. If she does, someone will stand at her door after the next full moon, will claim her.

We won’t let them, his wolf whispers in his ear, voice a sub-vocal rumble of rage. It’s not only humans that leave Samuel with dull disappointment these days.

But he pushes the thoughts, the feelings aside, pushes it all away and starts moving.

He’s going to save this woman.

.

She’s pretty, once Becky has taken pity and cleaned her up a bit, sponged the blood off her face and bare neck and arms. Blonde and tan, with a face somewhere between young and thirty. Her ears are pierced, studs going all the way up her cartilage. Gold, not silver, he notes. Good for her.

Her wallet says her name is Buffy Summers, but the information came from a bare business card that has only a number on it, one that belongs to the cell phone they found in her pocket, miraculously whole. Becky or Anny will try to find out more about her, family, friends, but for now, she’s alone.

She looks small in the big, white bed, swathed in bandages. Healing too fast.

He doesn’t want to stand here, in the doorway of her room, long after his shift is over, but his feet won’t seem to move, won’t obey him when he tells them go. Tells them leave her.

It’s the wolf, he knows, holding him here, pacing in the recesses of his mind, a constant rumbling growl in his ear. Protect, he says, stay.

Samuel could fight him, but this woman is the first thing either of them have taken an interest in since… in a year and he’s as curious as he is scared.

Some wolf he makes.

.

Eventually, he goes home and sleeps. Eventually, his next shift starts and he finds himself walking down the long hallway to her room at one in the morning. He just lost an old man to a heart attack and his feet are walking without his permission.

He is surprised to see her awake when he enters, even more surprised when she meets his gaze with cold green eyes and, after a second’s scrutiny, asks, “Come to finish the job?”

He reels, startled at the venom in her voice, the hostility. The strength, too. Even wolf shouldn’t be this alert. Not with the amount of drugs he knows the nurses are plying her with.

“I beg your pardon?” he asks, wide-eyed. Li, another one of the nurses, tells him he sounds like a Victorian gentlemen when he says things like that. He always smiles and tells her she’s being silly. He wasn’t anywhere close to Britain when Victoria ruled.

“I said,” she enunciates clearly, “Are you coming to finish the job your buddy started?” She waves a hand down her front, indicating her ruined torso.

Could it be… does she know what happened to her? She looks sure of herself, not scared but angry. Still, he stays on safe ground. To be sure. “I am your doctor.”

She snorts and then clutches at her stomach with a grimace of pain when she should be howling in agony after the attempt to use muscles that are, quite simply, not there anymore. Cut to pieces. It’s a miracle she survived in the first place. “A werewolf as a doctor? I haven’t heard that one before.”

He guesses that means that yes, she knows what happened to her. Very much so, in fact. Wolf makes a pleased sound and Samuel wants to smack him.

“I assure you,” he manages somehow without choking on the words, “That I mean you no harm. Do you know why you were attacked?”

She relaxes marginally and he can make out lines on pain under her limp fringe, at the corners of her eyes. Not as healed as she would have him believe. Hiding her weakness. Mentally, he changes her status from ‘victim’ to ‘survivor’.

She snorts again, carefully this time. “I’ll take a wild guess and say the guy didn’t like me waving a tranq gun at him very much.”

Tranquilizer?

“Why were you trying to take down a werewolf?” He’s careful now, too, because humans hunting werewolves are never a good thing.

“You don’t read the newspaper much, do you?” she asks rhetorically and then goes on to explain, “There were three deaths during the last three full moons and since there’s no pack in this city, for whatever weird reason, someone had to step in. Unfortunately, the wind changed before I got my shot in. We tangled. I lost.”

He takes a moment to work through all that. A long moment. She was hunting the wolf? With a tranquilizer instead of silver? There have been murders? And he missed them? How did he miss something like that? Guilt rises like the tide as he realizes that if he weren’t so wrapped up in his own misery, this woman’s life might not be ruined.

And then he blurts out, “You’re infected.”

She squeezes her eyes shut tightly and slumps into her pillows. She looks young and hurt. “I know,” she whispers.

He barely hears it over the sound of the AC.

.

Two shifts later Becky tells him that Miss Summers asked her to stop looking for her next of kin. That she wants to heal without them knowing. No point in scaring them she says and Becky, who has been working ER for twenty years says there’s something off about that.

So Samuel, against his better judgment, goes to talk the blonde around to calling someone. Or at least pretend to. Deep down, he’s just glad he won’t have to give her the whole ‘keep it secret, and never forget you’re dangerous now’ speech.

He finds her in her room and in her bed, where he knows she should be but he did not expect her. She has been sneaking around, he knows, when no-one’s looking her way. Secretly, because she should still be too weak to reach the bathroom on her own.

“Becky says you don’t want to call your family,” he starts, noncommittally and without a greeting.

She shrugs, the movement more fluid than it was two days ago. “No point, really. Damage is already done and they’ll all start fretting when they figure out I’ll turn furry in a few weeks.”

She says it like it’s understood that they will figure out, and that they won’t run the other way but fret. She’s becoming more and more complicated and fascinating every time he speaks to her.

“They know about…” he spins a finger in a circle, indicating whatever. She nods.

“To quote a very fun but terribly unrealistic show: It’s the family business.”

“Hunting werewolves?”

“Catching them. Showing them how to avoid cutting up people. Although I’m pretty sure this one is perfectly aware of what he’s doing.” She calls the wolf a ‘he’, perfectly at ease with it. “Demons though, vampires, evil witches, those we deal with more permanently. We’re pretty good at it, too.”

She looks down at her stomach, at bandages he changes every day at the beginning of his shift so no-one else will see how fast she’s healing. “I guess I’ll be even better now.”

“I’ll help you. To get control over the wolf.”

.

After that, he starts visiting her every night, telling her things. About the lore, the culture, the rules. Strengths and weaknesses and sometimes, bits and pieces about his life, about his father, his brother. Tiny things.

It scares him, how well she listens, how her quiet attention and wry humor keeps drawing secrets out of him like they are loose change.

She returns his stories with her own and he figures out that she’s not quite human, even without the wolf taking form in her belly and head. She tells about her family made of friends, her sister who gets into trouble, her loves and their penchant for dying and leaving her, even if those tales are vague and short.

One night, the night before she is due to be released, she sits cross-legged on her bed, wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt he retrieved from her hotel room on her request, looking healthier than she has any right to, even though her tan in waning.

“I can feel her now,” she informs him, crisply. He’s learning that she sounds increasingly businesslike when she gets scared or worried. Right now, she’s very worried. Or scared. Or both. It’s hard to tell and her scent rarely gives her away. “She’s like, this ball in my stomach, heavy, you know. And she wants things.” Her nose scrunches up cutely. “She’s demanding as hell, actually.”

He listens for her heart rate, alarmed at her confession, but finds it smooth and regular. Not like someone about to turn wolf and rip a hospital full of humans apart.

“Can you control the wolf?” he asks anyway, because he needs to be sure about this. At the back of his mind, his own wolfs sits up and takes notice, eager and curious.

She nods. “Yeah. It’s kind of like an adrenaline rush after a fight, except, totally not. I can’t really describe it, but we’re easy-peasy. Why?”

Because she’s not quite human and now she’s wolf and that combination, that control… Samuel remembers only one other woman who was more, and what came of her was Charles. A son, born to two wolves. For a moment, his mind veers wildly off course, whispering in his mind about children and mothers, about a wolf woman able to bear children, able to control the beast. About a future and a life and happiness.

He squashes the idea, shoves the wolf down, locks him away as tightly as he can and tells himself to stop being such a pathetic excuse for a man.

“That’s good,” he tells her, and flees.

.

He takes her home, to his house at the outskirts of town. There really aren’t all that many options and he’s not letting her out of sight before her first moon.

She sleeps during the day, gets up when he does and when he goes to work, she reputedly putters around the house, reading, watching TV and talking to her sister via the internet. She tells him she’s bored and he tells her there’s not much he can do, but takes her on errands with him anyway.

He tells himself it’s only sensible and ignores the way he likes to have her close and hear her laugh when he fakes dying of old age while she’s trying to pick an ice-cream flavor in Wal-Mart.

.

One morning he comes home four hours later than usual, with his shirt torn in a few places and she’s sitting on the sofa, wide awake, biting her lip. When he closes the door she’s on him like a shot, yelling about how she worries and doesn’t his ancient ass know what a phone it is and god, what the hell happened to him.

Somewhere in there, she slaps him and instead of rearing in anger, wolf howls in delight.

He grabs her hands, traps them with his own and loves the fact that he can only keep them there because she lets them. She’s his equal in strength, quite possibly stronger.

Worthy.

“The wolf who attacked you,” he tells her, calm and slow, “Was a rogue. He knew what he was doing. He attacked you on purpose.”

She stiffens and again there is no fear, only rage. She never fails to amaze him. Or confuse him.

“I dealt with him,” he finishes and waits for her verdict.

She wrenches her hands out of his grasp, takes a step back and says, “You killed him.”

“Yes. By the laws of my people, he needed to die.” Our people, he doesn’t say. Too much, too soon.

“Is that all?” she asks, accepting that a killer needs to be put down. She would have done the same, he knows, if she had been sure that the wolf was rogue, not just new and lost. But she sounds like she expects something from him, a certain answer, a certain reaction.

He simply repeats his earlier answer.

“Yes.”

If he tries hard enough, he can convince himself that is the only reason he went after a dangerous rogue on his own three days before a full moon.

.

Thirty seconds before the moon rises and rips away her humanity, she stands on tiptoe and kisses him. He stands there, frozen in surprise, and lets her.

Then she backs up and grins up at him, winking. “For good luck,” she tells him and even though he knows she’s only putting up a front, even though he knows she’s terrified of the change, he thinks he’s never met a braver creature in his life.

Then the moon rises and all human thought is lost.

.

They are sitting in his overgrown back-yard on ancient lawn chairs that came with the house. She is sitting at an angle to him, her naked feet stuffed under his calves.

“I’m cold,” she claims, when he raises an eyebrow at her in question. He decides to believe her.

“When do you plan on going home?” He asks instead, voice blank. She survived her full moon perfectly alright, as he’s sure she would have without him. Her control is a non-issue.

She shrugs and very studiously does not look at him. “I finally told Dawnie what happened.”

Which is not an answer to his question.

“She yelled, of course. And then she booked a flight. She should be here on Friday.”

“You’re staying?”

She blinks at him, owlishly. It’s dark, but they both see perfectly well and there’s no-one around to make them pretend otherwise. “Well, you’re the one who promised to be the Yoda to my… whatever.” She waves a hand wildly, “So get with the teaching.”

It’s an excuse. And not a particularly good one.

“Did you speak to your wolf friend?” She told him about the boy once, a few days ago, in passing.

Now she’s frowning. “Are you trying to get rid of me?”

From any other woman, the question would be coy, teasing. From her, it’s real. If he says yes, she’ll be gone by sunrise.

Thing is, he doesn’t want her to be gone and he has no idea when that happened.

“Maybe you should invite him. It might be good to have someone familiar around.”

He leaves it at that and she relaxes back into her chair with an ominous creak of the metal frame and stuffs her feet further under his legs.

He lifts them slightly to make room and they stay that way until they really do get cold.

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