Prompt: #369 making ends not quite meet @ taming then muse
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright of Joss Whedon and ME. Vampire Diaries and all related characters are copyright of L.J. Smith, Kevin Williams and the CW. No infringement intended.
Green eyes opened to an unfamiliar ceiling, but Buffy Summers had become accustomed to the unfamiliar in recent months and, as ceilings went, this one was well above average and the bed, with its down comforter and pillow, was a far cry from the cots she’d been laying her head upon of late. She’d appreciated those cots, they had been leaps and bounds better than the overpass she’d slept under from time to time, but they weren’t nearly as welcoming as the this particular bedroom.
Buffy rolled onto her side and brought the clean scented sheets up to tuck beneath her chin and shifted her head against the pillow, chin catching on the corner as she made herself comfortable. The sound of the forest, which edged the large expanse of lawn that made up the Lockwood Estate, was bustling just outside. The sun had yet to rise, but the birds were making themselves known as they called to one another in the predawn hours.
It was a comforting thing to hear, something she’d grown accustomed to after waking in the woods the mornings after a change. Buffy found she enjoyed the scent and sound of nature, but the feel of it against her nude form had been less than enthusing. Dirt and leaves in strange places were not high on her list of fun things to find. Though locating her stash of clothing the morning after had become somewhat of a ritual in the few short months she’d been a werewolf.
Dawn’s spell had accidently transported her into an alternate dimension in which their family had been cursed—surprising that was not—and Buffy had, of course, activated that curse. She was pretty certain she could have flourished if it was only a slight case of werewolf she had to contend with, but her inability to provide for herself had knocked her self-confidence down numerous pegs. Buffy knew the meeting of ends just wasn’t going to happen when one was jobless, homeless and newly furry, but that didn’t seem to stop the mockery filled voice in the back of her head.
Regardless or not of the fact that it sounded suspiciously like Cordelia and, for the most part, Buffy had discovered just how damn good she become at surviving. She’d known she could survive against the biggest and nastiest of hell beasts, but now she knew she could maneuver her way through the inner most workings of large cities and that most homeless communities helped out their own.
She’d learned, through them, which restaurants gave out free portions to those struggling and on what days and which stores threw out their ‘lightly’ damaged clothing that could be reused or repurposed. She had more than one set of sweater sleeves being used as boot-socks—see— legwarmers. They’d also helped her find work that paid under the table and her time on construction sites had always managed to remind her of Xander.
Thoughts of her best friend tugged her brows together as the familiar pang of homesickness made itself known in her gut and Buffy decided to pull herself from the comfort and warmth of the borrowed bed. Her toes curled into the plush rug that sat beneath that bed and she ignored the fact she was in desperate need of a pedicure and instead enjoyed the small pleasure before stepping onto cool wooden floors. She made her way between the edge of the bed and the dresser that Tyler had unpacked her meager positions into and she knew it been him by scent.
He smelled familiar because, Buffy assumed, he was family and more than likely Dawn would have a similar scent to her—if she ever got to see or smell her sister again. That thought turned the pang of homesickness into a hollow feeling in her bones and tears blurred her vision. She blinked and forced herself to focus on settling the pair of draw string shorts more comfortably on her hips. They, and the shirt she wore, were new and made of soft cotton and had been left on bed for her when she got in the previous night.
She returned to a mostly empty home and an exhausted almostcousin
who’d taken the time to show here to a spare bedroom before heading to bed himself. He hadn’t questioned where she’d been for nearly seven hours and Buffy thought, perhaps, he hadn’t cared. She spent the entire evening with Tony, the werewolf Klaus has sent her off with, and he’d been been helpful in his explanations of their abilities and of the supernatural community as whole in this new world.
While the knowledge that vampires were completely different here and had they pretty much infested Mystic Falls was unsettling he’d also supplied her with the nagging tidbit that werewolves were the only known predators of vampires. Buffy found that information suspect because she was certain Slayers had been the only know predators of vampires in her reality. Suddenly she had the feeling that higher powers were meddling in her life again and they really
needed something better to do with their time.
Buffy chose to ignore the possible hand of fate and instead focused on exiting the bedroom. Her head shook at that thought as she made her way past the dresser and towards the white door with gold molding. She found the wood floors of the hallway were even colder against her bare feet as she hurried down the hall towards the bathroom she’d used the previous day to shower since relieving herself sounded like a splendid idea.
“Good morning.” The unfamiliar voice turned Buffy around and towards the opposite end of the hallway. She found a woman closer to her mother’s age than her own wrapped in a robe that cost more than all of Buffy’s current possession combined.
“Morning,” Buffy offered in reply.
A smile curved the corners of her mouth upwards, brows rising as the corners of her eyes gathered, but something about it felt forced as she finished the space between them. “Buffy, is it?”
Nodding Buffy moved to meet her halfway, offering her hand in greeting. “Yes, it is. And you must be Mrs. Lockwood.”
Blue eyes studied first her hand and then her face before the handshake was accepted. Mrs. Lockwood’s palm was cool and smooth to the touch, the smile still forced as she replied, “Please, call me Carol.”
“Carol,” Buffy agreed and gave that smooth hand a firm shake before extracting her own. “Thank you for letting me stay here last night.”
“Thank Tyler,” she corrected.
“Believe me, I did.” Her head cocked as she recalled how annoyed she’d become with the mini-slayers as they invaded her home without so much as a ‘thanks’ and that forced her to clarify. “Regardless of who invited me, this is still your home.” She caught Carol’s gaze and held it before stating, with great feeling, “Thank you.”
The smile slipped and became a little more real and a lot more tired before her host nodded. “You’re welcome, Buffy, but something tells me it will be for longer than a night.”
Warmth filled her cheeks and Buffy shook her head, assuring her, “It doesn’t have to be. I told Tyler—”
A hand rose, palm up and nearly commanding as she corrected, “That’s not how I meant that to come out. You’re welcome to stay here for as long as you need.” Buffy arched a brow and Carol hastily tacked on, “Within reason of course.”
Buffy finally returned her half sincere smile with one of her own. “Of course.”
“I think I’m going to go make breakfast.”
“Need any help?” Carol’s head inclined and Buffy quickly added, “I make a mean French Toast if you like cinnamon.” Her eyes widened as she suddenly realized she’d invited herself to invade not only Carol’s kitchen and eat her food, but join her as well and Buffy hastily added, “Or if you prefer to eat alone I completely—”
“I do,” Carol interrupted Buffy’s backpedal before finishing, “like French Toast and
“So I’ll meet you downstairs in the kitchen in a few?” Buffy took a step back and explained. “I just need to freshen up a bit first.”
“I’ll get the coffee started.”
“Coffee is the only way to start the day.”
Her smile spread, becoming almost welcoming. “I think we might just get along.”
“I hope so.”
Buffy flinched at the sincerity of her own words, but Carol stopped her internal musings by assuring her, “Me too.”