Chapter One (Buffy)
My first day back in the TARDIS left me with a roller coaster of emotions.
After we left the hospital, the Doctor escorted me safely back to the TARDIS.
When I stepped through the familiar double doors….well….that’s all that was really familiar about her. Okay, I’m fibbing a bit. The doors and
the console. Everything else was brand spankin’ new.
Well, okay. Not new. She was still just as ancient as my Doctor.
Different. Very different. Everything was completely redesigned.
Just like my Doctor.
I settled down on his pilot’s chair while he ran around the console, flipping switches and levers, twirling and dancing about while he rambled away.
I raised an eyebrow and let out a little laugh. He was so different!
He stopped his….dancing and stared at me.
I smiled. “It’s nothing.”
“No, it’s something. What?”
“It’s just, you’re so….different, now. I can’t figure you out.”
He stopped dancing around and leaned against the console, staring at me.
“It’s only the outside that’s different. I’m still the same on the inside.”
“Your voice is different and the last time that I checked, the voice box is located on the inside of your body. Unless it’s different with you aliens.”
“You’re making jokes at my expense. You must be feeling better.”
“I do. Feel better, that is.”
I was only partially lying. A very carefully composed half-truth. The whole truth was that yeah, I felt fine physically but emotionally I was a huge pile of messy mess.
I thought that it would’ve been easy to kill Angelus the second time, especially seeing as how he was using the Doctor as his own personal alien anatomy dummy. But it wasn’t. Not at all. It felt just the same as it did the first time I had to do it, but worse because Angel actually did still exist in this dimension and I knew that I was going to have to see him eventually, some day. And when that day came, I would have to look and see that face that I killed. Twice.
Then there was the whole deal with Spike. That completely threw me off but I have to say, it wasn’t necessarily unexpected. I knew that when I gave the amulet to Spike that night we were playing with some dangerous, unpredictable forces. On top of the Hellmouth. A riled up, feisty Hellmouth. Two very non-mixy things.
Then on top of all that, there was the little spiritual visit I had had with Dawn while I was unconscious. Part of me really wanted to just confide in the Doctor everything that Dawn had told me but I knew that I couldn’t. I didn’t exactly know what my future had in store, per se, but I did know that I had been changed somehow. Altered. I had this inkling suspicion that the Doctor wouldn’t really see the difference between the two.
He seemed to notice that I was done talking for the time being and went back to working with the console.
I leaned back in my chair. After another few minutes, the Doctor spoke up.
“There we are! Good as new. Well, she is new. Not the core, so to say. Just the interface. Oh! Look! New sonic. All ready and set for adventure. What do you say?” he rambled off incoherently.
I stared at him.
“New ship. New sonic. New adventures. Yay or nay?”
I smiled and took in a sharp, uneasy breath.
“Any other time…yeah, sure. Right now? No. Not so much.”
The Doctor’s face deflated a bit. “Why not?”
“Why not?! Oh, I don’t know. But I will say that it probably has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was just completed my longest hospital stay on record and I’m wiped out from it. Or the fact that our last little adventure nearly killed us both.” I paused in thought. “Actually, it did
get you killed. Hence Doctor New Face.”
Instead of being put off by my sourness, he smiled and turned back towards the console.
“Ahh yes. You’re definitely feeling better if you’re using sarcasm.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine. Fine. We’ll go. We’ll explore. We’ll have an adventure. New sonic doo-hickey, new ship, new…Doctor and everything. But I swear to the Powers That Be, if we get killed by something, I’m going to kick your ghosty ass.”
The Doctor ran over and pulled me into a monstrous hug. He was wearing the ‘stupid-creepy-giddy-happy-way-too-excited’ smile.
“That’s my girl! But first, there’s a thing.”
I pulled out of his hug a little bit, still leaving myself in his arms and raised my eyebrow. “A thing?”
“Yes. A thing. A very important thing. Thing one, really.”
“That thing being, technically, you’d be the only ghosty in that scenario. I’d just regenerate.”
I stared at him blankly. I couldn’t come up with a response so I just pulled myself the rest of the way out of his arms and flicked the lever on the console. The TARDIS went to work and soon, she was making her whirring-whooshing materializing noise.
“This is going to be brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. I thought for our first trip together, well, you know with this face, we could go back into history. Just like our first real trip together. But instead of Elvis or Shakespeare, I thought of something perhaps a bit…well, something you’d enjoy more.”
I stepped out of the TARDIS cautiously, peering around every corner I could as I listened to the Doctor ramble on. I stretched out my senses, hoping that they wouldn’t fail me in alerting for danger.
“Buffy, my sweetheart, welcome to 1950s Hollywood! Would you care to escort me to a Hollywood party? Just one flash of the psychic paper and we will be in mingling with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire—“
“Doctor…” I called. “I don’t mean to interrupt, well, okay, I do, but this isn’t 1950s Hollywood. This isn’t even America at all.”
“What? Why? How? Rubbish.” he responded, jumping back from the console and joining me outside the doors.
I pointed to a street sign that was on the corner of the street adjacent to us.
I turned around and searched behind me. I spotted what I was looking for and grabbed it out of the top of the rubbish bin.
“Local Cardiff newspaper. Dated January 20, 2010.”
He grabbed the paper from me and examined it, thoroughly. The old him, the one I’d seen just days ago, would’ve had his specs on at this point.
He examined it for all of three seconds before tossing it back in the bin.
“Okay, so. We know several things.”
“Number one- we are, in fact, in Cardiff. Number two—The TARDIS must need to refuel after her…ordeals. Obviously, with the Rift and all, why not Cardiff?”
“And number three?”
“Oh number three! Number three is my favorite. Number three is the best. Number three is excellent
“I’m scared to ask now.”
“Happy Birthday! Well, belated. It was yesterday, Sorry. Busy regenerating and saving the planet yesterday.”
I sighed. Great. We all know how my birthdays work out.
Just as well as the Doctor’s Christmases.
“Question. Did you know it was going to be my birthday? Or, well, the day after.”
“Course not! I was aiming for 1950s Hollywood, remember?”
“I’m pretty sure that my birthday, and the day after, existed in the 1950s.”
“Complete coincidence.” he assured.
“You know my theory on coincidences.” I deadpanned.
His tone of voice changed and that stupid-creepy-giddy-happy smile reappeared.
“Let’s explore the city, shall we? The TARDIS’ll take a while to refuel. No use in sitting around like old bumpy filled logs!”
We were sitting on a bench outside of a chip shop. I was devouring a basket of said deliciousness while the Doctor stared at his, rambling away.
“What kind of chip shop doesn’t serve custard with their fish fingers? Absolutely ridiculous.”
I giggled. “Um..normal ones? Who eats that anyways?”
“Me. I do. It’s who I am now. Fish finger and custard…guy.”
“Does this mean I’ll never have to look at another banana again?” I grinned.
“Oh very funny. I invented the banana daiquiri, you know. During pre-Revolutionary France.”
I raised a skeptical eyebrow.
“I did! Madame du Pompadour was being chased around by some gorgeous clockwork aliens. I met a wonderful horse too. Arthur. Mickey and…” his voice trailed off and he got quiet.
I got the message loud and clear.
While he did love me very much, Rose was still tough to talk about and I understood that perfectly.
See Angel and Spike.
“And Rose.” I said, gently squeezing his hand.
He jumped up suddenly, dumping chips and fish fingers everywhere.
“Birthday celebrations! What would you like to do next?” he asked, clapping his hands together excitedly.
I sighed at his lack of wanting to actually share his troubled thoughts with me for once and sat in thought for a moment.
“Umm….how about a movie?”
“A movie? A movie
? Movies are boring! They’re so long and you have to sit and…ugh…they’re so boring
“Okay okay. No movie. Jeez. I feel like a mom that just suggested dental surgery on Christmas. Uhhh….how about a walk around the city then? This is my first time in Cardiff. We can sightsee and you can tell me stories?”
He grinned and held his arm out to me. “Would you care to accompany me for a stroll, my dear?”
“Let’s see….2010……..so I just turned…..twenty-nine. Oh, ew. Yuck. That’s so old.” I cringed.
“Try over nine-hundred.” the Doctor smiled.
I laughed and pecked him on the cheek.
He stopped walking for a moment and looked at me oddly.
“Oh, nothing. Nothing at all. That was just…odd. No. Not odd. Please don’t hit me. Just…new body. Weird.”
“I think it’s safe if we pretend that little ramble never existed.”
Out of nowhere, a deafening crack followed by a burst of bright, white light burst across the sky, followed by several more loud cracks.
I want to say the Doctor squealed, but I’m not entirely sure what the noise he emitted was.
All I know is that he was far, far too giddy. And I knew what that meant.
“We’re checking that out, aren’t we?”
He answered by dragging me on a dead run.
I followed the Doctor on his dead run, expecting to see some ridiculous alien or monster we were going to have to defeat. What I did not expect, however, was to see Jack.
Jack. Captain Jack.
He was standing with his gun raised. There was a younger, handsome man in a top nines type of suit, standing behind him. He also had a gun raised.
I followed the line of vision from their gun barrels and saw a pretty, small-ish Asian woman looking worriedly on at a redhead that was bent over another body on the ground.
A redhead that I knew very well to be my best friend.
“Willow?! What the.. who is that she’s bent over? Can you see, Doctor?”
Before he could answer, we watched as Jack lowered his gun and walked over to Willow’s side. They shared a look of—I want to say worry—and then flipped the body over.
Jack’s breath of relief was completely audible, even back to where the Doctor and I were standing. Willow….she was a different story. All the color drained out of her face. I watched her body go rigid. She slowly moved her hand up to her mouth, in shock and possibly some horror.
Jack and the other two shouted after her, with concern.
And then she whispered a name that made my body stand still.