Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; Warner Bros. owns "Smallville" and related characters; I own nothing.Author's Note:
A synthesis/reinterpretation of some drabbles I wrote last year and a prequel to "I Think I've Loved You Before"
. The title is from "Walking in London" by Concrete Blonde.~*~*~
"No, Andrew, I haven't seen the Blur yet," Buffy told the man on the other end of her cell phone as she stood in line to order her coffee, trying to keep the exasperation out of her voice. Andrew had mostly redeemed himself for his actions in Sunnydale and although she would only admit it under threat of bodily harm, Buffy was actually fond of the little geek.
Then there were days like today when he tried the very last ounces of her patience and she was glad that he was in Cleveland where it was hard to hit him without breaking some fundamental concept of physics.
“Look, I’m sure you and Dawn have a lot to do with that new stuff from Egypt that just came in, so I’m gonna leave you to that.” Ignoring Andrew’s sputtered protests, Buffy hung up her cellphone and continued walking down the street.
She had been in Metropolis for the last two days trying to determine whether or not it would be in the Council's interests to open a branch here, and so far, she was getting mixed messages. There was definite weirdness going on here, but it seemed less like the things that go bump in the night variety and more like... well, when she had an accurate comparison, she’d figure it out. Slayer resources weren’t infinite, and they had to pick and choose where girls were stationed around the world. She didn’t know if Metropolis was worth setting up an outpost yet.
Paying for and retrieving her drink, Buffy left the coffee shop and started walking through the semi-crowded streets in muggy summer heat. She didn’t know why, but something about them was half-familiar, like she had seen it before when she was a kid. It was like she had lived her before, but that was impossible. Up until the collapse of Sunnydale, she’d never lived outside of California, so to say that this sudden familiarity with Metropolis was giving her the wiggins was the understatement of the year. Combine that with the dreams she’d been having of a woman named Shiera and the effects they had been having on her lately, and she felt nearly overwhelmed. It was like the beginning of junior year all over again, just with memories that weren’t hers instead of lingering issues from the Master killing her and and Xander bringing her back with CPR.
Buffy knew she hadn’t been acting like herself lately, and she’s more than positive that the others have picked up on it at this point. Of course, this lead to the classic Scooby game known as making with the avoidance, and Buffy was a past master at this. Which was why she was in Metropolis instead of Cleveland with everybody else. She had been hoping a trip to the city would help her sort herself out away from overly-invested friends, but it was the opposite. She felt like she was slipping further and further into whatever was causing this.
So caught up in her thoughts, Buffy didn’t notice the man until she bumped into him.
“Sorry,” she muttered, about to keep going when she heard him whisper, “Shiera” under his breath.
Buffy froze, her breath stilling in her chest. What? What had he just said? Turning around slowly, she saw the man she had run into standing there in the street, a shocked look on his face. “Excuse me?” Buffy asked as politely as she could, doing her best not to let her fear show through. “Do I know you?”
“Shiera?” he repeated, his voice somewhere between fearful and hopeful. It was enough to snap Buffy out of her temporary paralysis.
“You have me confused with somebody else,” she told him stiffly. “My name is Buffy. I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
He studied her, his intense blue eyes looking into hers like he was searching for something that would either prove him right or wrong about what he had said. She tried to ignore the feeling in the back of her mind that they were familiar. That she had seen them before.
“You died years ago,” he said quietly, almost too quiet for her to hear. “I thought I wouldn’t see you again until the next reincarnation cycle.”
“Shut up.” Buffy was surprised at how steady her voice was under the circumstances. He had said reincarnation, and from the way he had said it, there was destiny implied. That was wrong. He
was wrong, or crazy, or something. There was no way what he said could be true.
“I don’t know who the hell you are, or what the hell you’re talking about, but we share no destiny,” Buffy continued, her voice bordering on the deadly. “There is absolutely no sharing of destiny between us. I’m not this Shiera person you think I am.” She turned around and started to walk away, but he reached out and grabbed her arm.
“Wait,” he began before she turned around and fixed him with what she hoped was a steely glare.
“Let go of my arm before I break your hand,” she warned, her voice becoming practically arctic. “Now would be of the good.”
He let go, but he continued to study her, his intense gaze making her uneasy. Not waiting for him to say anything else, Buffy quickly fled, walking nearly two blocks before hailing a taxi to take her back to her hotel.
As soon as she closed the door, she collapsed in the nearest chair, head in her hands. It had been easy to dismiss the whole thing when it was just her dreams. It could be an overactive imagination, too much time listening to Dawn translate old legends about star-crossed lovers, too much TV. But this? That man calling her “Shiera” and talking about reincarnation? This was so much more real, and that scared her.
“I’m not her. I’m not Shiera. I’m Buffy Summers,” she told herself quietly, her voice shaking as she fought to keep from crying. “I’m me and that’s it.”
She wished with all her heart that she could believe herself.