Disclaimer: I do NOT own BtVS or AtS. I also do Not own The Mercy Thompson Series. I am Not receiving any money for writing this story. It is fanfiction only. I write it for pleasure. I do Not claim any copyright of these fandoms or characters. I only own my own ideas and plot for this story.
A/N: AtS is only mentioned in this chapter so far. For the purpose of my story, I am ignoring everything after Season 2 for AtS. Buffy will be canon throughout the series ending and ignores the Season 8 comics. If any of this changes, I will let you know.
It was ten pm when a dirtied and bloodied group of battle weary warriors rolled to a stop in front of the Hyperion Hotel in Los Angeles. One tiny blonde woman, with dull and lifeless eyes, sat in the back of the hulking yellow bus. She appeared segregated from the rest of the group. She was a general apart from her army, listlessly staring out the dusty window next to her head. Buffy Summers was alone on a very crowded school bus.
Dark rings under exhausted eyes did not express the rage and sorrow going on in her mind. Buffy was angry at life and bitter at her ‘friends’. What had once made her the fiercest Slayer of her time had crumbled to dust around her. She had fought to save lives. Good, whole, and innocent lives that deserved to live in the bright sunshine, never knowing what lurked in the shadows. While she saved their lives, her own normalcy had faltered and died, gasping its last breathes while she shouldered the burdens of a houseful of young girls. She was now the dead Council’s perfect Slayer…alone.
A firm hand settled onto Buffy’s sagging, slight shoulder stirring her from her thoughts. This small gesture was a comfort for her. There was no pity or anger from the contact being transferred to her. It was just a simple lending of strength. She reached up and covered the hand with her own small one, a showing of her appreciation.
“Yo, B. We’re here.” Faith.
The hand started to slip from out of Buffy’s grasp. She firmed her grip to Faith’s hand. Her voice was barely a whisper in the emptying bus. Even the hearing of the newly made Slayers would not have heard it. Faith squeezed her shoulder again in understanding, her own voice just as low as her predecessors. Standing the two Senior Slayers exited the bus and entered the hotel.
For three weeks Buffy stayed at the Hyperion. She spent her nights apart from everyone. Her days were spent sequestered in Wesley’s small office behind a locked door with Wesley and Angel. Sometimes Cordelia was present in those meetings and she always left them with her head drooping and a small smile on her face. Not a single person, besides the four of them, knew what was spoken of during those times.
Buffy spoke to no one else as she meandered through the hotel’s halls. No one knew what her thoughts were about. They only knew that the shadows under her hazel eyes were beginning to lighten. Even if they had no awareness of her comings and goings, they were happy that her pity party was almost at an end. Still, they could only guess at what had become of Buffy.
She became a ghost in their midst.
One month after arriving in Los Angeles, Willow finally gained access to the old Council’s funds. The time to leave and reestablish the council had come. Giles and Willow had rounded up everyone to bounce ideas off of each other. The AI team was also included in the discussions because of Wesley’s status as a former Watcher.
Ideas flew fast and furious back and forth in the lobby air. Everything was touched upon. From the location of the new Council House to whether hired cooks should be employed to feed the mass of Watchers and new Slayers. Everything was discussed.
“There should be two teams, in two locations,” said Giles. “Faith can pick her team and head to Cleveland to the new Hell Mouth. Meanwhile, Buffy will come with us to train the new Slayers in London.”
Faith rose from the bottom step of the stairwell to pace the floor. “Yo, G. I believe we should only focus on the Cleveland Hell Mouth. After we are established, then we can branch out to other parts of the world. Now would not be a good time to stretch ourselves too thin.”
“Faith is right,” Willow chimed in. She sat on the sofa cuddled under Kennedy’s arm. “Setting up one Council will be hard enough. Setting up two at the same time, and coordinating them will be a nightmare.”
Giles rebutted. “I still think we should rebuild on the site of the old Council. There are many priceless and one-of-a-kind tomes buried beneath the ruins. We cannot take the chance that looters will not pillage the storehouses and vaults in our neglect.”
Dawn sat in the floor at Xander’s feet. “Why don’t you send a team over to retrieve the items and send them to Cleveland? That way the vaults are safe and the Hell Mouth is still covered.”
“Yea,” Xander added. “Faith can accompany you, and Buffy can keep an eye on the Hell Mouth in the mean time.”
“The other Slayers can go with Giles. Faith will have to patrol Cleveland.” Angel sat on the arm rest of Cordelia’s chair. When all eyes turned to him he explained. “Buffy will not be going.”
“Fine, Angel,” Xander caved. “If you don’t want Buffy on the Hell Mouth, she can go with the Giles.”
Angel shook his head, small frown lines appearing between his eyes. “Buffy’s gone.”
“Wh-what,” Willow stuttered. “When?”
Angel sighed and Cordelia laid a comforting hand on his thigh. “She left last week.”
Buffy hitched her green back pack higher onto her shoulder. Even though the large pack now carried everything she owned it was considerably lighter than the weight of the world. She had plenty of money in her wallet and credit cards if she needed them, but still, she had just wanted to be alone for awhile. So she had hitched a ride out of California instead of driving because her and driving were still very much unmixy.
Two hours ago, her ride had dropped her off on a secondary road just seventy miles across the border of Washington State. She was headed to Richland to maybe catch another ride. Eventually she hoped to make it to somewhere she could settle down for awhile. Wherever that was, she hadn’t found it yet.
Cordelia had had a vision; the Powers were sending her to find peace. She didn’t know exactly where to search for it, but They assured her she would know it when she found it. No time limit was implied so she just moseyed her way to and fro. She figured that if it became imperative that she arrive where They wanted her, the Powers would find a way to get her there faster.
She stopped by the roadside and dropped her pack and her duffle. Leaning against a guardrail, she fished out her water bottle. Buffy took three long pulls from the bottle as she surveyed her surroundings. Replacing her water bottle into her pack she pulled out a map from the little pouch on the front. She must be getting closer to Richland. She could see more vegetation and smell the moistness of a river. She glanced at her map. She may have four or five more hours of walking to go.
Buffy put the map back into the pocket and zipped it up. Shouldering her pack and her retrieving her duffle she continued walking.
It was sunset and quiet when Buffy entered Richland. For a moment, it saddened her that she had no family or friends in this town to greet her, but only for a moment. Stopping under a street light Buffy gazed down the brightly lit street.
There were still people out and about. This surprised her until she remembered that not every town was like Sunnydale. Here, people did not live on a Hell Mouth. In towns like this, people had even less understanding of what truly lingered in the dark. Not that the people in Sunnydale really knew, they just had self-preservation instincts to help them along.
Buffy theorized that instincts where stronger on the Hell Mouth. Self-preservation instincts, the protective instinct of parents, the guarded instincts of neighbors warily watching neighbors: All of these were stronger there. She was no witch, but she figured that it had to do with the evil and the magic resonating with people’s more primitive selves.
She spotted a motel just down the street. Now would be a good time to rent a room for the night.
Freshly showered, Buffy pulled a clean blue cotton t-shirt from her pack. She pulled the soft fabric over her still damp skin. After shimmying into her dark jeans, she fished a pair of trainers from the bottom of her duffle. She should probably go to a laundry mat soon. She was getting low on clean clothes.
After she dressed she gazed at her reflection in the small mirror over the bathroom sink. While the dark circles under her eyes had almost faded completely, her cheeks were a little red from walking in the sun today. She brushed out her hair and pulled it into a ponytail.
Buffy went back to her bags and began to hide stakes and knives on her person. She pulled out a lightweight duster that hung to the backs of her knees. The dark brown material would keep the late night chill away and allow her to conceal her Scythe.
Wanting to check out the local nightlife in Washington, Buffy pocketed her cash. She would stop for a bite to eat and then hit the cemeteries.
A/N: This is my first Buffy fanfiction!! I'm nervous and kinda scared. I would like feedback if you feel that I need to improve something, but, please, do not flame me because you do not like the pairing I have chosen or the way I 'treated' your favorite character. Thank you!