When I opened my eyes this time, everything was fuzzy yet still somehow clear.
I realize that makes no sense.
I strangely remembered everything with Mom and it made my heart sink that I couldn't just go running back to her.
I blindly felt next to me, remembering that she had said Christian was sitting in bed with me, but the space was empty. I sulked a bit more. I sat up and blinked my eyes a few times so that they could adjust to the darkness of the room.
I expected it to be Christian’s voice, so naturally it wasn’t.
My throat cracked from the dryness.
He nodded and handed me a cup of water from beside my bed. I took a long sip and tried again.
“I mean, what are you doing here?”
He shrugged. “I was in the neighborhood, doing some work for Giles. I stopped by ISC to visit you but Amelie told me what had happened.”
Damn it, Amy.
She was my third-in-command and she was going to get the lecture of a lifetime later on.
“So, who is he?”
“The guy that was laying in bed with you when I got here.”
My stomach flipped. I could only imagine the testosterone fest that went on between Christian and Angel.
“Is he your boyfriend?”
“Angel, this is really not the time or the place for this conversation.” I said, as I slowly swung my legs over the bed.
“So what if he is?” I sighed, exasperated. “My life is no longer your concern.” I put my feet down and tested standing up.
I was wobbly, but okay. I felt minimal pain. I scratched an itch on my my hand and felt the IV.
Ah. That’s why. Morphine drip.
“I care for you Buffy. Of course your life is still my concern.”
“If that were true, you never would’ve of left me.”
I took another long drink from my water.
His expression darkened.
I laughed a dry, humorless laugh.
“And here it comes! The same speech I’ve heard from you one thousand times before. ‘I love you so much, Buffy. I really do. I just don’t see how we can ever work. I’ll never ever be able to give you what you want!’
Well, try this one on for size, Angel. I don’t care for you anymore. I don‘t.”
“You’re being childish, Buffy.”
I ripped the IV out, gently, wobbled my way over and grabbed a drawstring bag from the chair at the end of the bed. It had my clothes I’d been admitted in and in the bottom, was my IPhone. Jackson must’ve brought that up because I distinctly remember leaving it in the car.
Have I mentioned how much I adore him?
My clothes were so-so. Enough for me to get home in. My brand new coat was totally ruined though and that made me sad. I sighed.
“Am I though, Angel? In all the times I’ve ever heard you say that little speech to me, you’ve never once asked how I felt about anything. It was always you
. Turn around so I can get dressed.”
He did as asked and I got dressed as quickly as I could, without causing too much pain.
“Where did Christian go?” I asked, turning back around and changing the subject.
“His mother came and made him go home for fresh clothes and food.”
Mrs. Trevelyan-Grey was here? I wonder what Christian told her….seeing as how I’d never actually met her before. I just knew the basics. Adoptive mother and pediatrician.
I shrugged it off and sent a quick text to Jackson who replied instantly that he was already outside with a warm car.
“How are you getting home?”
“My driver. Half demon, partially human. English accent. Helped us with that nasty nest of Grrawl demons. Remember?”
Angel nodded but his expression was distant.
Whatever. I didn’t have time for his issues. I had far too many of my own to deal with.
I double and triple checked before I slid out the door and slinked my way to the elevators. Angel rode down with me, in silence.
When we got outside, Jackson was indeed there waiting, car running and the door open for me.
“Ah, Miss Summers. Such a lovely night to break out of hospital.”
I decided that Jackson was like my kinda demon, kinda human Xander-away-from-home.
I smiled and started to step into the warm car.
Angel grabbed me gently by the waist, attempting to help me in. I elbowed him off, sending deep pain throughout my body. I ignored it.
“Don’t touch me.” I growled. “What I said before…I meant it. I’ll always have a place in my heart for the happy times, Angel, but after this last time…I can’t forgive you for what you did to me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. You screwed up big time and you won’t be able to fix that. Deal with the consequences. You pushed me too far and you lost. Goodbye.”
I carefully climbed in the car, Jackson shut the door, climbed in his side and we were on our way home. I couldn’t help the few small tears that slipped down.
Don’t be mad…Date:
December 7 2010 3:43amTo:
I’m awake. I’m fine. I left the hospital. I’m on my way to Ridgedale. Come there when you get this. Alone, preferably. I’ll explain everything.
Garage pass code-- 1996
Penthouse elevator code-- 22701
Don’t be mad. Please.Buffy Summers
Alive and still rebellious CEO, ISC, Seattle Headquarters
Jackson helped me into my place, where I collapsed in the open living area, onto a couch.
“Is there anything I can get for you, Buffy?” Jackson asked, his voice full of concern. He’d never called me by my first name before.
I almost asked him if he could get me some different clothes, but I didn’t want him rummaging through my closet and coming across my underwear. Talk about weird. I just shook my head.
“As far as the hospital, you know what to do. Other than that, I’ll be okay. I’m sure that my stalker will be bursting through the door any minute now.”
He nodded and grinned. “The human one or the vampire one, if I may ask?“
“I’d appreciate it if you could keep the vampire one away. Forever.”
“As you wish, Miss Summers. If you need anything else…”
“You’ll be the first demon-slash-person I call.”
He smiled and left.
I sat up slowly, the pain more now that the last of my morphine was wearing off, and pulled my coat off, tossing it to the side with a sigh. It was so
I tried to stand up, but my legs had gone wobbly again. Or perhaps they were still wobbly from before?
Anyway, it was no use. A few minutes after that, I heard the elevator ping outside my front door and I held my breath.
Oh God was he going to be so mad. I had visions of the canes and belts that we never used due to my hard limits.
My door burst open and he sauntered in, half awake and looking just…horrible.
He was in a white t-shirt and jeans, no coat. His face was stubbly, well, past stubbly moving onto a light beard. His expression was filled with worry and anger. His hair twisted and turned every which way.
“What the fucking hell do you think you are doing, just leaving the hospital?!?” he yelled.
I took a deep breath and gestured for him to sit.
“Buffy, you’re going back. Now.”
“No, Christian. I’m not.”
“You were seriously injured four days ago!”
“Christian, please just sit. I don’t have the strength to argue and I need to explain this to you.”
“What is there to explain?”
He was still yelling.
“Why I left. That whole conversation we were supposed to have. A lot of other things. I don’t know. Just humor me and sit the frig down.” My patience was running thin.
He seemed to take note of that and took a deep, composed breath. “Okay. I’ll sit. I’ll listen. But then I’m dragging you back to the hospital.”
I was expecting him to sit down on the chair across from me, but he sat down next to me and pulled me close. To say the least, I was surprised.
I’d hardly ever been allowed to touch him, let alone be close…like this. It felt different. Not sexual at all. Almost in a cherishing sort of way.
“A Slayer has certain…enhanced abilities. Over…others--” I stammered, still shocked by his closeness.
“Don’t interrupt me. My morphine’s drained out and I’m already cranky from it. You won‘t like me when I‘m super cranky.”
“My apologies then, Miss Summers. Please continue.”
His tone seemed a little bit more…light. Still serious as death, but…I don’t know. It was weird. His attitude towards me now seemed different than before.
I mean, seeing as how I threw myself in front of a car for him, it probably should.
“I have enhanced vision, hearing, strength….I’m fairly certain you figured that part out already, the strength. The best part, in my humble opinion, is that I heal quickly. A cut, scrape, bruise…gone in a matter of hours. This is obviously a more serious injury, but I’ll be better by tomorrow and more than likely completely healed another a day or two after that.”
He nodded, turning the small bits of information over in his head. I remembered what Mom had said about being patient with him.
“So, you can’t stay in the hospital then because the doctors will obviously perceive that you are healing at an accelerated rate.”
“And they’ll get curious. And they’ll want to study me and do experiments or something. Also, I really
hate hospitals. They just creep me the hell out.”
“You just walked out. They’ll notice.”
“Only for like, a second. Thirty minutes from now, they won‘t even know that I was there.”
I nodded. “He’s, um, he’s….he’s………special.”
I didn’t want to elaborate too much. One, I wasn’t sure how much of this Christian could or would be willing to handle and two, I wasn’t sure that Jackson wanted me broadcasting his story.
“Okay, well, I wasn’t expecting you to want to know, but you have to promise me that you’re not going to freak out. And that you’re not going to treat him any differently. Or tell him I‘ve told you.”
He nodded is head, warily.
“Jackson is half demon, partially human. He can see bits and pieces of the future and he has this thing he can do where he can wipe memories. It comes in really handy, when you have a secret identity.”
I watched as he sucked in that information and processed it. He looked torn but seemed to shake it off.
“Half demon, partially human? What does that mean?”
“Well, that’s what he’s trying to find out. It’s one of the reasons he’s joined the Council. The
reason, actually. For help. His family was murdered by a bunch of Grrawl demons---they’re these really big peach colored things with gnashing teeth all over the place..and I mean all over
. He helped us take out a huge nest of them in London, but sadly, for him, one of my baby Slayers took out the Queen Grrawl before she could talk. I guess that she had some info he needed or something. I’m not entirely sure. He doesn’t know much about his past, I guess. He’s really only just started talking to me. I don‘t want to push him too far.”
I stared at Christian, fearing I’d said too much when I described the Grrawl, but he seemed…okay. I mean, concerned and I think a bit hesitant still, but overall, I think he was okay.
And I could understand his reaction the first time, I really honestly could. He’s a control freak. With the monster side of the world, there’s little to no control. And to a control freak, that’s terrifying.
“Why did you run away?” he asked, finally, changing the subject.
I took a deep breath and winced a little bit. Why’s it always
the ribs with me?
“You know why, Christian.” I whispered.
“If I knew, I wouldn’t of asked.” His tone was flat and a bit angrier.
I nodded. “Okay, fair point. I ran because you rejected me. Deep down, I’ve always known I was the freak. I mean, look at my life. It’s not normal at all. But I’ve managed and when you…reacted. When you said that….I don’t know. First I was rejected by…well, I like I said, previous situations, then by you. And then I wasn’t sure what part you were reacting to. The part where I told you I fight monsters? The part where I told you that I had more-than-a-submissive's feelings for you? Or all of it? I just…I couldn’t deal with that much rejection in such a short period of time. I wigged. I wigged and I bailed. It‘s kinda my thing. Sometimes.”
He pulled me in close to him, gently, and wrapped his arms around me. I leaned my head on his shoulder, careful to stay away from his chest. I felt him stiffen, unsure where I was going and then relax when my head found his shoulder.
“I’m so sorry. It kills me knowing that I hurt you so much. I…care about you too. I think. I mean, I know I do. When I couldn’t get in touch with you anymore….I got so scared. I had no idea where you were or what you were doing or who you were doing it with. I had horrible nightmares about what could’ve happened to you. This..these sort of feelings..they’re new to me.”
While that revelation did indeed shock me, I filed it away for later, when I was in less pain and a bit more coherent.
“Because you’ve never had a real relationship, right?”
He swallowed and nodded.
“I get that. I do. And like I said, I get why you freaked. I mean I freaked when I first found out about this world too. But then I adjusted. Willow and Xander, my two best friends, they freaked but then they adjusted. You just need some time. Uh, that is, I mean, if you want it. If not, I completely understand.”
“You really think I’m normal?” he said, switching the topic again.
“You’re normal to me, yes.”
“What about me is normal?” his tone switched to one of self-loathing.
Talk about your mood swings, jeez.
“You’ve had a rough, yes, but mostly normal life. Your family is normal. Your job is normal. Your interests…okay, a bit less normal, but still….well, my first and last boyfriend, Angel, who I’m sorry to say you had the displeasure of meeting in the hospital, and by the way, I apologize for anything he may have said or done--”
“I didn’t meet anyone new of yours in the hospital. Only Jackson, Lily and Amy were there. I didn‘t know how to contact your family, where to even begin looking for them or if you even had a family to contact. Lily told me that she was going to have it taken care of.”
I pulled out of Christian’s arms and stood up, momentarily forgetting my pain thanks to some new anger that was bubbling. I started pacing.
“Ugh! And I thought you
were a stalker! Jesus Christ. He must’ve just been hiding and waiting for you to leave.”
“Buffy, what is it?” Christian sounded alarmed now.
I sighed and sat back down. “Look, there’s not enough time in the world for me to explain about mine and Angel’s past. Let’s just say it’s ugly. Very very ugly. Some happy parts. Mostly though…really ugly. When we were first together…I was sixteen. He was two hundred and forty three. He’s a vampire. Some…things happened. Some intimate things…he changed. Reverted to his former evil self. Went on a murderous rampage. I killed him. I killed him right as he was reverting back to his good self….like I said, there’s not enough time to explain everything about our former relationships. We’ve tried several times and it just doesn’t work. And it never will.”
He nodded and urged me to continue. I veered off the Angel topic as I was royally pissed at him. Like, to the point that, had I been feeling better, I would’ve gone out, found him and beat the shit out of him.
“I dated this boy in my senior year…Scott. He was nice for awhile, normal. but eventually he left too. After that, there wasn’t really anybody till college. Well, I mean, Angel and I tried it again after Scott but…he left me. There was this total ass-hat named Parker. I don’t want to think about him or else I’ll have to find him and punch him. Then came Riley. Riley was the closest thing I’ve ever had to normal. And he’s one of my secret governmental ins now, so you can see that’s not very close. Then there was…Spike…but that’s really messy and I don’t want to get into that. I went on a few dates with this, uh, the, um, well, The Immortal in Rome but that was really just to piss Angel off….nothing ever really clicked with him. He‘s nothing more than a vain ass-hat. Worse than Drac---er, a….King. Or something.”
I stopped short because Christian’s head looked like it might explode. He didn’t need to know about Dracula being real. Not yet, anyway.
“Sorry. It’s a lot to take in.” I murmured.
“It is.” he nodded, in serious thought mode.
I grabbed his hand and pulled him up.
“Come with me…I have an idea.”
He stood up and regarded me curiously, but followed, leaving his hand intertwined with mine.
I walked to the left of my kitchen and down the hallway. I stopped at the first door on the right and punched in a code on the keypad.
The door clicked open and I led him into my office-slash-library.
“This is my Slayer-y library. It has all sorts of books and information on…well, my lifestyle, I guess. Whatever you want to know. Pick up a book and start reading it. Though, um, I do suggest not reciting Latin, or any foreign languages for that matter, in front of them. The books, that is. Also, don’t read any of the spells in the magic books out loud. Actually, you know what? I would just stay away from the magic books all together.”
Christian shook his head. “Come again?”
“There’s only six other people in the entire world that can get into this library. The code is 52003.”
“You trust me that much?”
His tone was surprised.
“Yes. Like I said…I know how it is to hear what I’ve told you for the first time. I was only fifteen when I heard it. I just figure, that, you know, this way might be easier for you. You can know only what you want to. You have all the codes to get in my place and now you have the code to get in here. Whenever you want. Night or day. Four-thirty in the morning or six o’clock at night. Whenever. Free reign.”
He smiled and pulled me in for a hug. “Thank you.” he breathed, kissing me on the forehead.
“This. Understanding. Coming home. Saving my life. Being alive.”
“Meh. Just a semi-normal week in the Buffyverse.”
“Semi-normal? I’d hate to see what a normal week is like.”
“You should try an abnormal week sometime.” I smiled.
“This is going to take a lot of getting used to.”
“I know it will.”
“Shall I sign an NDA?”
I laughed. “Nah. Just keep your mouth shut and we’ll be good.”
He pulled out of the hug and walked over to a small bookcase in the wall that I had dedicated to pictures of the gang.
“This is your family? Your friends?”
“Yes. This is, well, was, my mom, and me. She’s holding my baby sister, Dawn. This, I think, was taken right after Dawn was born.”
“You're blonde?” he questioned, cocking his head to the side. He had a picture of Willow, Xander and myself my second year at Sunnydale.
I nodded. “Yep.”
“Then why this?” he asked, fingering a piece of my now dark hair.
“It stems from that whole really complicated previous rejection thing. I needed something different. So I changed my hair. It’s what girls do.”
He smiled. “Who are they?”
“That’s Willow and Xander. They’re my best friends. The second half of my…absence…was spent with them, in London. We celebrate Thanksgiving together every year there.”
“And in this photo? Is this your father?”
It was a picture of Giles and I, from last year, in the meadow that surrounded the castle in Scotland.
“Close enough.” I smiled, sadly. I really missed him.
“He’s my Watcher. Uh, Watchers train Slayers. Sorry. I’ve just gotten so used to talking freely about all this that I keep forgetting this is all completely new to you.”
“Don’t apologize. I want to know. I want to learn.” His smile was sweet and caring.
“Really? You do?”
He nodded. “I find myself strangely wanting to know every single detail about your life, Miss Summers. No matter how big or how miniscule. There‘s just something about you that pulls me to you. You‘re like a magnet.”
I blushed and continued on.
“Well, Giles has been my Watcher since I was sixteen. I had another before him…Merrick, but he died. Giles is everything to me. I don’t know where I would be without him. He’s helped me through so much. He formed my first years as the Slayer. He helped me when the old Council wouldn’t. He was the first person I called after Mom died. He was the one to help me to readjust after I die…had some issues. He helped me when Dawn and I were flat broke and he helped me to change the world. Giles has been more of a father to me in the last fourteen years than my real father has.”
I was going to have to watch what I said still, a bit. I didn’t want him to know about the deaths. At least not yet. Not till I thought he would be able to handle it.
“And who is this stunning beauty next to you here?”
I smiled. “That’s my baby sister, Dawn. All grown up now.”
“I can tell. You look so similar, it’s uncanny.”Yes, because she’s literally made out of me.
I only thought it, not said it. Dawn starting life as a ball of energy was a topic best saved for, well, never. Just like Dracula. And possibly said deaths.
I spent the next thirty or so minutes telling him about the gang.
“I’ve got something else to show you.”
“Buffy, it’s nearing five-thirty. You should lie down. And get some sleep.”
I raised my eyebrow. “I was just unconscious for like, three days. I think I’m good with the sleep.”
I was loving this free-for-all, inquisitive, no-question-too-silly Christian so much. I didn’t want him to go away.
He was so unpredictable all the time that I had no idea when I would get this Christian again.
He glared down at me with those beautiful eyes smoldering. “Buffy, please. My days have been very trying recently. You can show me the rest of your world tomorrow, after we‘ve both slept.”
“Okay okay.” I said, putting up my defensive hands again. He made a valid point.
I walked, rather stiffly, back through the kitchen, to the other side of my living area, where my bedroom was located.
“No pass code for this door?” he smirked.
I rolled my eyes. “Funny.”
His eyes got dark, but there was a trace of humor in his voice. “Did you just roll your eyes at me, Miss Summers?”
“And if I did, Mr. Grey?”
His lips parted and he pulled me so we were just inches apart. He ran his hands down my body, over my back and my hips and across my backside. I winced a little bit but my body came alive and my skin felt like it was on fire.
“Always so rebellious you are.”
I grinned. “You don’t even know the half of it.”