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What Remains

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

Summary: "For a minute she had felt a smidgen of madness, a madness that left her smiling above her grave, hands bleeding and caked in her burial dirt." The Tardis didn't just bring Jack to life. 2nd in the Come to Dust series.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Dr. Who/Torchwood > Buffy-CenteredthegirlinquestionFR1359,3762328,11617 Apr 1123 May 12No

What Remains

What Remains

Summary:
Buffy’s first day after being resurrected by the TARDIS.

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything in the Buffyverse or Whoniverse.

Author’s Note: Ok folks. This is number 2 in the Comes to Dust series. This fic explores the first day after Buffy is resurrected by the TARDIS, as opposed to the Scoobies bringing her back.



Her hands had healed by the next day. The wounds were gone, but the blood and dirt remained. She could guess how she looked, and she knew it wasn’t a pretty sight. It had been about 8 hours since she had clawed herself out of her own coffin, since she had first felt cold air on her hand as it broke free of the dirt. Buffy had began the walk to the home that was once hers, but found herself walking in the opposite direction instead.

She realized she had been dead, realized she had been someplace Other. A place she couldn’t really classify as Heaven, but knew that was the only name she could give it. Everything that is, was, and could be had been clamoring around in her head, fighting for her focus and attention and for a minute she had felt a smidgen of madness, a madness that left her smiling above her grave, hands bleeding and caked in her burial dirt. Those few moments after waking, those moments of perfect clarity had already faded. All that was left in her mind were echoes of what she knew she was supposed to remember.

A man in a blue box. A girl with golden hair and fiery eyes. Names, faces, years all crowded her brain. It wasn’t the incessant pounding of information as before, this was more of a quiet roar in the background of her thoughts.

There were things she couldn’t make sense of, and the harder she tried to focus on them, the more they retreated to the back of her mind until there wasn’t much left that she could remember.

She knew his name. Several of his names. The Doctor, the Oncoming Storm, the Lonely God.

The Lonely God.

It made her newly resuscitated heart hurt. Buffy knew a thing or two about loneliness. She knew what it was like, being surrounded by people, by things, and still feeling like no one was there. The Lonely Slayer. Destined to fight alone, live alone, love alone, everything alone, always alone.

Her heart thumped painfully in her chest, and she reached up to rub it, grimacing at the dirt that caked her hands and showed underneath the half moons of her fingernails. For the first time since waking up (she viewed her resurrection as “waking up” like she had just been taking a 146 day nap), she noticed what she was wearing. Her frown deepened.

“Being dead is no excuse for this mess,” she said as she looked at her shoes. “I may be dead, but I can still at least be dressed in something pretty. Why did they-” she was abruptly cut off when she reached what she had unconsciously been searching for.

The tower.

It still stood after 146 days, precariously swaying in the slight breeze. A death trap, Buffy thought, then snorted when she realized that yes, it really had been a death trap for her. The Slayer started up the shoddily built stairs, not caring about the dangers that tower represented. Her destination was the very top. It was the closest thing to the sky that she could get at the moment. The closest thing to the Other place, the not-quite-Heaven. She settled at the very edge, where she remembered jumping to her death to save her sister and, in a lesser extent, the world.

“Buffy, no!”

Dawn’s cry still echoed around her, and she could taste the bitterness in her mouth as she recalled her last words to her little sister, her little Key.

“Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live... for me."

Brave last words for a woman who knew her time had come. Death… was her gift. She understood what Sineya had meant, that night on the tower it had come to her. Death was her gift to give to her sister, to the world, and in Death was Life. She was meant to be dead.

She was alive now, with new thoughts crowding her brain, making her more confused than ever. She was alive for a reason, that she knew. Even while in the Other world, the world of soft light and soft touches and soft emotions, Buffy knew it was only a matter of Time before she was taken away and thrust back into the world of harsh light and fighting and death and sadness. She just didn’t expect it to come so soon.

“Why am I here?” She whispered into the lessening darkness. “Why did you bring me back, with no explanation, no instructions?” Buffy asked the face in her mind, the face that belonged to her Lonely God.

No answer, not that she really expected one. She sat on the tower and thought about her new knowledge, what she could remember about it.

The world was bigger than she knew. Other dimensions, other worlds, other life forms.

Her Doctor was one such life form. A Time Lord, able to travel through Time and space. So old, with so many faces. Commander of a ship that had looked for Buffy’s soul and, upon finding it, had dragged it back to her decaying body, restoring what once was.

A great war that had almost destroyed two races of beings, the Time Lords and the Daleks. A planet filled with people who could manipulate time, always going, never staying in one place too long. Exploring, governing the slipperiness of Time and all she held.

Races of aliens she couldn’t pronounce, could barely recall the faces of them. Planets, so many planets with so many names. History, not her history, not the history she knew, but real history of her planet.

The way his eyes looked as he died.

Buffy’s own eyes popped open at that. One thing she hadn’t thought of. He had died 9 times, assuming a new face and new personality characteristics every time. Never the same person. She shook her head at that. At least every time she came back from the dead, she was relatively the same person.

She sat there dangling her legs off the side of the ill constructed tower, fingers grasping the grating underneath her. Buffy didn’t move until the sky slowly started to turn pink, then gold; while the shadows were cast away she tucked the Doctor into the back of her mind as the sun warmed her body.

Time to go home.



By the time Buffy reached her house across town, it was after 8am and the place was empty. She breathed a sigh of relief, glad she can get a few more moments of peace before she revealed her very not dead self to her family. At least she can take a shower, and change, then evaluate what her next steps will be.

Stepping in her house, she waited for a feeling of home to come over her, feeling a slight disappointment when it didn’t come. It just felt like a normal house. No feelings of safety she usually associated with the place. It looked different, felt different. Everything was where she remembered, with the addition of a few pieces she recognized as belonging to Willow and Tara. They must have moved in while she was gone.

Buffy let out a little laugh. Gone. Like she had gone away on holiday. The Slayer shook off her feelings of trepidation and headed upstairs to shower.

The hot water felt good on her skin that had been feeling too cold. The dirt and grime and blood that had covered her like paint swirled around her feet before disappearing into the drain. Buffy washed her long hair, noticing that it was a bit darker than she remembered, more gold than blonde.

Gold.

It made her think of the gold dust that she could still feel on her skin, in her skin. Deep in her bones. She scrubbed, scrubbed her skin until it turned pink, expecting it to break open at any moment and spill out the gold dust of the dead.

“Everything dies. All things, everything turns to dust.”

She spent over an hour under the water, hot water long gone, tears leaking from her eyes.

~~~~~~~~

She instinctively knew where to find them. After changing her clothes and shoes, Buffy headed out to the magic shop. She was feeling anxious, and a little sick at the thought of approaching her friends.

What if they didn’t believe it was her?

But they had to. It was her, she was alive, they couldn’t dispute that.

Buffy paused mid step when a flash of red distracted her. It was Willow, short red hair swinging around her face. Buffy ran her eyes down her red shirt and jeans, and back up again to her red hair as the witch disappeared into the Magic Box. She rubbed her suddenly sweaty hands on her jeans and took a deep breath.

“Now or never,” she said, stepping to the door. She watched her hand reach forward and push open the door, heard the little bell ding as she entered. There they were. Xander, Willow and Tara sitting at the table, back to the door, and Anya behind the register, eyes on her friends. Xander was talking, playing cards in hand.

“-felt weird hanging out on our own,” Xander was saying as he glanced towards the door, then back to Willow and Tara.

“It’s better if we stay together,” Tara said, and Willow nodded her head, eyes on her girlfriend. Neither of them noticed Xander’s double take as his head swung back to look at the door again, nor did they take notice when the cards flew out of his hands and slid across the table. They did notice when he let out a shaky laugh.

Willow and Tara stared at him in slight confusion, not able to see what he was seeing, a bookcase blocking the door from view. Anya looked over at the door, then back to her boyfriend.

“What?” She asked, coming out from behind the register, a piece of paper in hand. “It’s just the Buffybot. Look what I found.” Anya approached the group, waving a piece of paper at them.

“I know, but she just… looks so realistic. For a second there…” Xander shook his head and turned his eyes away from the Buffybot and back to Anya. “What is it?”

None of them noticed Buffy stride over to them, false confidence in her stop, words stuck in her throat. She opened her mouth to speak, to say something, anything, but felt her breath stop. Like she couldn’t breathe. She gasped for air, and Willow looked up and frowned at her.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, reaching out and grabbing Buffy by the wrist. The witch stared down and the arm she had grabbed before Buffy yanked herself free and covered her face with her hands. “You’re heating up. We need to open you up, see what’s going on, make sure you don’t have any malfunctioning circuits.” Her words went unheeded.

The new knowledge shoved to the back of her head was trying to claw it’s way out, trying to overpower her brain, but she knew that allowing it to break free wasn’t wise. That way lay madness.

Her friends looked at her in shock, noticing for the first time that she her chest was moving, she was drawing in actual air. Noticing the red tint to her cheeks, the clothes that Buffybot wouldn’t normally wear, noticed the cross around her neck. The same cross they had laid to rest with the real Buffy.

Anya took a step towards her, hand raised as if to touch her, but stopped when Buffy’s wild eyes swung to look at her. “Buffy?” She asked, the first one to come to terms that it really was her, it couldn’t be anything but her. Nobody else had those eyes that looked like they had seen a million lives, a million deaths. Nobody else looked at the world with that clear gaze, cutting through the shame and the lies and the wicked.

Buffy nodded her head once, and that was enough. She was then surrounded by arms, hands touching her hair, her arms, her cheek as if to verify she was real. As if to prove she wasn’t.

The knowledge of a million worlds and stars retreated to the back of her mind, leaving nothing but Buffy Summers, the Slayer.

It would lie dormant, it would bide it’s time. But it wouldn’t stay quiet forever.

The Stars were calling out to her, and the Doctor was waiting.



End
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