Chapter one: The worlds split
Don’t own Batman or Buffy.There are a handful of quotes from a Buffy episode in this chapter and one in the summary. This story was inspired by cloudleonsgurl. Enjoy!Author Notes:
Updated 6/15/14. I would like to thank Woman of Letters for being my Beta and editor for this chapter.Chapter one: The worlds split
It was the gross, waxy demon’s fault. Buffy was sure of it. She was out looking for a couple of nerds that were being a bit of a pain, minding her own business when she was attacked by him, her, it? Ok, maybe she insulted it by asking it if it had eaten them. It wasn’t likely. Before it had poked her, she could keep the two realities separate. One was real and the other was a nightmare she only dreamed about. See? Simple.
“Let go of me!” She struggled against the nurses that had her backed into the corner of the white room. She could see a bed with straps on it behind one of the nurses. They had her arms pinned down and she had no slayer strength to aid her. And what had happened to it? If someone was drugging her again, she was going to have their rib cage as a hat.
“Elizabeth! Calm down. You’re going to hurt yourself!” The tallest nurse said as he reached for the needle in his pocket.
Her name was Buffy Summers! Not Elizabeth Winters! Not that they would listen to that. She growled and kicked him in the knee and then slammed her foot down on the second one’s foot. Jerking her left arm free, she punched the one holding the needle in the face.
He cursed and backed a couple steps away. “She’s going hurt us, if not herself. We are going to have to strap her down.”
Buffy lifted her leg to kick out again and froze as she found herself standing outside the rental house that she had been checking out before the demon had attacked. She blinked before glancing around for signs of the demon. None. Buffy frowned and began to walk towards home.
She was Buffy Anne Summers. In 1981 she was born in LA to a Joyce and Hank Summers. For the first fifteen years of her life, she had lived a normal, if slightly boring, life. Then she was called as the slayer—a mystical warrior against the forces of darkness. That was when her life turned upside down.
Buffy paused outside of a graveyard. It was the graveyard that her mother was buried in a year ago. She bit her lip in indecision before moving down the familiar paths to the grave of Joyce Summers. She stopped upon reaching the grave. Minutes passed as she stared at the tombstone. “I suck at this.” She tugged at the left sleeve of her coat. “I wis… scratch that. Evil word. I would like to say that everything is alright. That we are doing fine without you. We’re not. It’s a mess. I don’t have a first clue how you did all this—taking care of everyone and everything. I’m trying and it’s falling apart at the seams.”
She knelt down and gently traced her mother’s name. “I miss you so much. I need help and I don’t know who to turn to. Giles left and everyone else has their own problems to deal with.” She shook her head and looked up at the stars. “I put on a mask of being alright and most of them buy it, I think. That I’m getting to the point of being alright with being alive again. I’m not. A large part of me still wis—“ She bit her lip to stop the word from finishing. “Wants to be dead again.”
Buffy stood up and began to pace in front of the grave. “I know something is wrong. Since they brought me back, I keep having dreams of this girl, and they are powerful and vivid. Then I wake up and I can’t remember anything. It feels like I’m just blank. I can’t feel. I’m drowning. Then the whispers start, but before I can make out the words I remember. I’m Buffy. But it doesn’t feel like I’m supposed to be.”
She stopped in her pacing and stared down at the tombstone. “Tonight, I was attacked by a demon and something happened. One moment I was here in Sunnydale and then I wasn’t. I was her—the girl in my dreams. I still feel like I’m supposed to be her, Mom.” Buffy sighed and looked to the stars in the night sky. “I have her memories. I think that what the dreams were. Something the demon did made them clearer, I think, or removed the block. I don’t know.”
“What I do know is that she is a seventeen year old little girl who goes by the name of Elizabeth Anne Winters. You’re her mother there too, though she doesn’t know who her father is. You get pretty uncomfortable with that question, so I’m thinking that the answer is not of the good.” She shook her head. “She was born and raised in Gotham City. A city protected by the Batman. But he failed to protect her. A year ago, something attacked her, not physically, but mentally? God did it hurt.”
Buffy wrapped her arms around herself. “It hurt so badly, Mama.” A tear slipped down her face. “It was like something was trying to tear me in half and then force me into a mold two times too small. I’m… God… She’s so scared. She’s currently in a mental hospital due to a ‘mental breakdown’. Mom, she feels so helpless. It took everything I had just to remember that I’m not her, that I am Buffy, to fight.”
Buffy knelt down to touch her mother’s name one last time when her surroundings shifted. The grave yard was gone. Instead she was in a plain white room, sitting in a chair with her knees pulled against her chest.
“You mean she could be like she was? She could be Elizabeth again?” Buffy’s eyes widened when she heard her mother’s voice. Ducking her head down, she glanced through brown strands of hair. Her Mom was sitting in the chair next to her, clenching her hands together as she waited for the doctor’s response. Next to her mother was hers, no, Elizabeth’s step-father, David Winters.
“Mrs. Winters, you have to understand the severity of what’s happened to your daughter. For the past year she’s been in an undifferentiated type of schizophrenia,” the doctor said, leaning forward in his chair. “Elizabeth’s delusion is multilayered. She even believes she’s some type of hero.”
It had been three years since her Mom had married David. They had been talking about trying for a child a couple of months before the attack. She was excited… NO. NO. Buffy closed her eyes. This world was not hers. She was not Elizabeth! She needed to wake up. It was getting harder to remember that she was Buffy, not Elizabeth. Being Elizabeth was starting to seem more real. Or maybe she wanted it to be.
“The slayer,” her mother commented.
She glanced at her mother again. Was one world false? Was this the demon’s fault? Or were these memories real? Was there another answer? Was she going crazy?
“Slayer, right. But that’s only one level. She’s also created an intricate latticework to support her primary delusion. In her mind, she’s the central figure in a fantastic world beyond imagination. She’s surrounded herself with friends, most with their own superpowers… who are as real to her as you and me. More so, unfortunately… Together they face grand overblown monsters… both imaginary and rooted in actual myth.”
She had died twice, and yet, she had not died at all. Two lives? One life? Same reality? Different reality? Past life or current life? Someone else’s life? Eliza… NO, Buffy grabbed at her head as the reality around her blurred out of focus. She was falling.
A pair of arms caught her. The person gently lowered her to the grassy floor. “Easy there, Slayer. I’d gotcha. It’s gonna be alright. The Powers are going to help make it right. Though I gotta say we didn’t foresee your witchy friend having the mojo to rip you out of your second life.”
Buffy blinked several times, before glancing at her surroundings. She was back in the graveyard, lying next to her mother’s tombstone. She looked back at the person that broke her fall and bit back a groan. “What do you want, Whistler?” She pushed herself up to a sitting position and paused. “And what do you mean by a second life?”
“Just that. When you died that last time, the Powers allowed your soul to be reborn in another world to give you a chance at a destiny-free life, to repay you for your duties here.” Whistler hovered over her for a moment before he leaned back against a different tombstone. “That’s why you’ve been feeling off since they brought you back. You’re neither fully here nor there. The soul is split. You might be mentally here, but the major part of your soul is there or vice a versa. You haven’t been fully in one place in a year. It’s upsetting the balance.”
Buffy frowned. “The balance?”
“The balance between good and evil.” Whistler put his hands into his pockets. “By bringing you back to this plane when you had already been reborn, Willow tipped the scale too far on the side of good. It allowed the other side to receive a blank check to do what it wants. However, when the demon attacked you tonight, it gave the side of good a small, opportune moment to void that check.”
“It broke the seal that was blocking your memories. By doing that, it tethered both your memories and your soul more tightly to your second life, hence why you keep flashing to the other world. This will allow the Powers to fully restore you to your second life and return the balance between the opposing forces back to what it was. Well, with your consent, anyways.”
“What will happen if I stay in this world?”
“The First Evil, the thing that created all the other evil things, gets to come out and play. And this time, it won’t be on a different plane while it’s working.”
Buffy closed her eyes. “The world would go to hell in hand basket, wouldn’t it?”
Whistler nodded. “That’s the gist of it.”
Buffy glanced up at the stars for several moments before she nodded to herself and stood. “When do I have to leave?”
“What?!” Buffy glared at Whistler. “What about my friends? My sister?”
Whistler raised his hands. “I’ll explain it to them and give them your goodbyes, but it has to be now. Any later and the Powers won’t be able to prevent the First from taking a foothold in this reality.”
Buffy crossed her arms. “I don’t want to forget this life when I go to the other one.”
“You won’t. The Powers had anticipated that request and agreed. It may have been easier on you if you didn’t remember.” Whistler raised his hands up in surrender at her glare and shrugged. “Just saying…You ready?”
Buffy frowned before she nodded. “If I find out you lied to me, I will be back to make your rib cage a hat.”
Whistler smiled. “Don’t doubt that. But seriously, Slayer, remember this, just because you can take the girl out of the slayer doesn’t mean you can take the slayer out of the girl. Just in case you decide that normal isn’t your thing. Oh, one last thing, the Powers are giving you a gift.”
As Buffy opened her mouth to fire back a quip, the world shifted again. She glanced around. She was sitting in a corner of a white padded room. Her mother stepped through the door seconds later and smiled at her. “Elizabeth.” Joyce knelt down next to her and gently tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. “I remember, Sweetheart.”
Tentatively, Buffy smiled back. “Mom?” Something was different. Her mother seemed relieved when she had entered. And what did she meant when she said, she remembered?
“Buffy, they…” Buffy eyes widened.
“Damn it, Joyce, admit it already.” David snapped as he stomped into the room. “You adopted her, but she is obviously his daughter. She inherited his insanity. Face facts, she is the Joker’s daughter and should stay locked up so she can’t snap and hurt someone.”
Buffy could feel her mouth dropping in shock. “What?”