Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey’s Anatomy, John Doe (look very closely at the final scene) or “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++
ON ALICE AND SHERRIE'S TRIP TO SEATTLE GRACE
+++++Continuity Notes: The following story takes place in June 2010. All the slayers mentioned appeared in the first chapter of “On Doctors Named Allison and Witches Named Sarah”, the second story in this series. Alice was inspired by a character in DaveTurner’s The Seattle Slayers series.
This story is about 2800 words in length (so, no chapter divisions), and has not been beta'd; any mistakes are mine and mine alone.+++++
Sherrie quickly retuned her guitar to E while Frank, the keyboardist, introduced the band. “And,” he said, “on guitar, Sherrie Lewis.”
She smiled and, just in time, played a bluesy riff that went along with the beat Toro was laying down on the drums. Along with him, Frank, and Drew on bass, the four of them played the Neighborhood Club every Tuesday and Wednesday night. Mostly it was jazz, blues, and the occasional rock tune, but on Wednesdays the patrons could peruse a catalog of songs and sing karaoke with the live band.
At first, Sherrie hadn’t been too keen on the idea, but the owner assured her it would bring in the tips. Not that Sherrie needed them, what with being second-in-command of the Seattle slayers, but she’d been a musician long before she’d been a slayer and she -- like any other musician worth her salt -- wouldn’t say no to a little extra cash. And the owner had been right; Wednesdays were the best night for tips, according to Frank -- he played five or six nights a week.
Things had been going kind of slowly on the singing front tonight -- only a couple of volunteers -- and Sherrie was enjoying the chance to branch out a little bit with her traditionally-bluesy style. Then she saw the two women sitting at a table near the front, heads close together. She smiled -- not at them, but because of them -- and threw a little something extra into the next riff.
Clearly the brunette -- a tall woman with black hair and lightly-golden skin -- appreciated music. Sherrie saw her fingers drum on the table in what was clearly a piano riff. She raised her eyebrow at the brunette, who grinned at her and brought her lips to her blonde companion’s ear before getting up and moving to the little podium at the side of the stage. She found what she was looking for and gave Frank a nod; Frank and Toro took them home, and to the sound of light applause -- and a very embarrassed expression on the blonde’s face -- they wrapped up the song.
The brunette stepped up onto the stage. She exuded confidence and easy sexuality, and Sherrie envied her lips. “I’m Callie,” she said softly as the musicians gathered around Toro’s drum set.
“Hey, Callie.” Frank shook her hand. “What are we playin’ for you?”
Callie told them the song and the artist -- it wasn’t terribly challenging, as far as songs went, but Sherrie was afraid that, unless Callie could really belt it out, the number would be a little disappointing.
As it turned out, Callie’s voice knocked the audience dead. When she hit the last verse, Sherrie felt tears come to her eyes -- not just from the power and passion in Callie’s voice, but because of the look in the blonde’s eyes. These women were totally, completely in love, and Callie was telling the blonde -- and the entire bar -- exactly how she felt.
It was beautiful.+
The band took a short break after that song, and Sherrie set her guitar in its stand before jumping down from the stage and moving to Callie’s table. “May I?”
“Sure,” Callie said. “This is Arizona.”
“Hi. I’m Sherrie.” She held out her hand, and Arizona took it. She turned to Callie. “That was amazing,” she said. “Do you sing professionally?”
“No. I just like to do it.”
“Well, she’s right,” Arizona said, and Callie put her arm around the blonde. “You are amazing.”
Sherrie smiled. “I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “Anytime you want to sit in with us, I’m sure Frank will be okay with it.”
“Thanks.” Callie sipped her drink. “I haven’t been here in a long time. How long have you been playing here?”
“Only a year,” Sherrie said. “I haven’t really had the time, with work and all.”
“Oh? What do you do?” Arizona asked.
Time to trot out the cover story. “I work with the local branch of the ICW.”
“Really?” She blinked blue eyes at Sherrie. “What do you do?”
“Administration.” Simple enough. And it had the bonus of being relatively true. “It’s a boring job,” she lied, “but I like to help people in any way I can.” Okay, that part was accurate. “What do you do?”
“We’re doctors,” Arizona said. “Surgeons. I’m in pediatrics; Callie does orthopedics.”
“We like to help people.” Callie smiled.
A beat of silence. Sherrie nodded, then got up. “Well, it was nice to meet you. Hope to see you on stage again soon, Callie.”
“Count on it.”
Sherrie went over to the bar, where Mei handed her a club soda with lime. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it.” Mei blinked expressive dark eyes at her. “She’s really something, huh?”
Sherrie looked back at the table; Arizona and Callie were kissing each other now. “She sure is.”
It had been a long time since someone had kissed Sherrie like that. She found herself jealous and turned away; the two women were gone when Sherrie got back up on stage for the next set.+
Sherrie was on her way home when she got a call from Monica, the head of the local slayer house. “I need you to get to Seattle Grace Hospital,” she said without preamble. “There was a vampire attack, and Alice was brought in.”
“Is she okay?” Sherrie hung a quick right and headed toward the interstate.
“I’m sure she will be. Francine and Jane were with her, and they said she just got knocked out. A few bumps and bruises, but they couldn’t stop the paramedics from loading her into an ambulance. They just barely got her weapons away from her.”
“At least they did that.” She sighed. “Did they call down the list?”
“I told them you’re coming.”
Sherrie made a sound of assent. All the under-age slayers had an emergency contact card that they had with them at all times. Monica and Sherrie were listed as their guardians, along with the head watcher and the head witch. “I’m about twenty minutes away. Bet you she’s awake when I get there.”
“Maybe. Text me when you know more.”
“Of course. See you later.”
Sherrie clicked off her phone and set it in the cup-holder. Wouldn’t do to get pulled over on the way to a rescue.+
“I’m telling you, I’m fine!”
Well, that was Alice all right. She hated doctors, hated hospitals, hated most authority figures. But more than that, she hated being helpless. At least she wasn’t just getting up and getting out of there; that would’ve raised too many questions.
“You came in with one heck of a bump on your head.” That voice was familiar. “Just because the swelling’s gone down doesn’t mean that we don’t need to keep you here for observation.”
“But Dr. Robbins--”
Ah. That’s why.
“No buts, Alice,” she said. “Not until your guardian gets here.”
“I’m here.” Sherrie adjusted her jacket and moved to Alice’s bedside. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” she complained. “I just got knocked out, that’s all!”
Sherrie smiled at Arizona. “Fancy meeting you here.”
“Small world.” She checked the chart. “Sherrie Lewis. You’re listed as one of Alice’s guardians, along with a Monica Carver.” The doctor gave her a grin. “Have you been together long?”
“You and Monica.” But then Arizona quickly apologized. “I’m sorry; I shouldn’t pry. It’s not my business.”
“No, it’s okay,” Sherrie said. “Actually--”
“Actually, they’ve been together for a few years,” Alice put in. Sherrie gave her a dirty look, but tried to keep it brief, for the doctor’s benefit. “They’re pretty private, but they sure love each other a lot.”
“That’s great,” Arizona said. To Sherrie: “Alice here came in unconscious. The paramedics said she was bruised, and had a gash on her arm, but we didn’t find it.” She frowned. “We did a portable x-ray, just to make sure, and we found evidence of old injuries.”
Crap. Time for another lie of omission. “Alice had it rough before we took her in,” Sherrie said. “It took a while for her to trust us, so if you call in a social worker, you might see evidence of her running away.”
“Not anymore, though,” Alice added. “Sherrie and Monica are the moms I always wished I had.”
Sherrie sighed. Arizona hung up the chart at the end of the bed. “Let me just check on your tests, and then we’ll talk about what we’re going to do, okay?”
Alice harrumphed and folded her arms.
Once the doctor had moved away from the bed, Sherrie lowered her mouth to Alice’s ear. “You, my dear, just earned yourself a week of bathroom duty.”
“Worth it for the look on your face,” Alice whispered, her expression like the cat who ate the canary.
“If I really was your mom,” Sherrie said, “you’d probably be sleeping on your stomach for that comment.”
“If you could catch me first.” Alice stuck out her tongue, then grinned. In that moment she was so gamine, so innocent, that Sherrie just couldn’t stay mad. She liked Alice, liked the girl who’d gotten her powers at ten and run away from her foster home when some of the bigger girls who’d used to beat up on her suddenly found themselves with broken arms and busted noses. It had taken three years of bouncing around other homes before she’d come to the attention of the slayers, and, at thirteen, she’d come to live with them. Now, a year later, Sherrie knew Alice was finally able to call the slayer house her home.
If only she could stop goading Sherrie all the time. She swore the girl had done more bathroom duty in the past six months than any of the other girls had done since the house had been founded. Sherrie was starting to think that Alice liked cleaning the bathrooms. She made a mental note to discuss alternate forms of punishment with Monica -- she remembered Buffy once doing something disturbingly inventive with ropes, pulleys, and boulders; the trainee, who’d been part of Sherrie’s class, had never gotten out of line again.
Sherrie sighed and sat in the small chair beside Alice’s bed. “Just try and be good, okay?” Sherrie said. “The sooner we get out of here, the sooner we can get away from doctors asking probing questions.”
Alice nodded. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Besides, I don’t think Monica’s the type to share her boyfriend with you.”
The girl held up her hands, grinning again... but then the grin melted away.
“What is it?”
“I feel something,” she said, her voice suddenly soft and serious. “Vampire, I think.”
“Damn.” Sherrie reached under the hem of her jacket and slipped out a stake, tucking it under the blanket and against Alice’s side. The trainee slayer moved her hand under the blanket and gripped it tight. “Stay here,” she said. “I’ll take care of it.”
Alice nodded. “It’s below us. Basement, storage room, something like that.”
“Got it.” Sherrie stood up. She didn’t have the evil-radar that Alice had gotten when she’d been called, and she envied the girl a bit at that. But then, all slayers were different; Alice, for her part, couldn’t smell disease like Monica, and she certainly didn’t have the amount of detail in her prophetic dreams that Sherrie had.
Sherrie would have traded her that power in an instant; she didn’t have a lot of slayer dreams, but she absolutely hated the ones she did.+
Sherrie kept her eyes and ears peeled as she crept through the dimly-lit basement corridors. At this time of night, there wasn’t anyone around, but it still paid to be careful; explaining that she got lost looking for the bathroom was a risky proposition at best.
Plus, the wooden stake in her hand was never an easy thing to talk around.
Sherrie paused in a doorway, listening. Just on the edge of her hearing, she caught the sound of a door closing -- years of training had taught her how to pinpoint sounds like that. It was easy to find the door; she pressed gently on the handle and it swung open, the sound overwhelmed by a rush of air from the hospital’s air conditioners.
The vampire didn’t even notice; he had a bag of blood in his hands, and was sucking on one corner of it.
The vamp dropped the blood and rounded on Sherrie, chin crimson, game face on. But, to her surprise, he held up his arms. “Don’t kill me! Please, don’t kill me!”
Sherrie adjusted the grip on the stake. “What are you doing here?”
“I... I was hungry,” he said, backing away. Except there was nowhere to go, and the vamp found himself against the cement-block wall. “I’ve only been dead for a week or two. I didn’t... I couldn’t...”
She sighed and stepped forward, picking up the bag of blood so it didn’t spill out on the floor. “Look,” she said, “you’re a vampire. You know what that means, right?”
“Well, yeah.” With what appeared to be quite the force of will, he put his game face away. The vampire had probably been in his thirties, a little overweight and a little balding. He looked like middle management in training. “Don’t go out in the day, drink blood to survive, and for some reason I feel like I’d be pretty kick-ass in a fight.” He flashed a grin. “I’ve never been very confident, but I feel a lot better now.”
“That’s nice. But you know, even if you don’t like to kill people--”
“I don’t, I promise--”
“You’ll still end up doing it.”
“But... but I couldn’t!”
“Trust me,” Sherrie said, not unkindly. “That will change.”
“I could just keep coming here,” he suggested. “Steal blood, make it last. I could be a good vampire.”
She sighed. He looked so pathetic; she’d feel bad if she slayed him now. “Look,” she said, “why don’t you just get the hell out of here? And stay out of my way, okay?”
“Oh, believe me, I want nothing to do with a slayer.”
“Good.” She tossed him the bag of blood. “And don’t tell anyone I gave you that.”
Sherrie turned her back and started walking out of the utility room. The air conditioner blasted just as she opened the door. As it did, she spun and stabbed with her stake, and the vampire, who was mid-leap, impaled himself on it. She had a second or two to see his surprised expression before he turned to dust and blew away in the wind.
“They always do that,” she grumbled, putting the stake away. The bag of blood was sitting in the corner; she picked it up with two fingers and made for the stairs. There was bound to be a medical waste bin somewhere along the way.+
As expected, Alice’s healing powers had taken care of the rest of her wounds. By the time she’d woken up the morning after being discharged -- against medical advice, naturally, and on Sherrie’s recognizance -- all that remained was a slight headache. “Just in time to start on the bathrooms,” Alice said, whistling as she retrieved the cleaning supplies and headed off to do her punishment.One of these days
, Sherrie thought, I’m going to figure out what’s up with her.+
Wednesday night again. Sherrie saw Callie and Arizona sit at the same table near the front, and she smiled at them. Toward the end of the first set, Callie came up on stage -- right after a tall detective Sherrie vaguely recognized from the homicide department finished a passable performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” -- and told them what song she wanted to sing.
Sherrie grinned. They didn’t get to do many songs by The Cure.
A few seconds later, Callie was singing directly to Arizona.Show me, show me, show me
How you do that trick
The one that makes me scream
Arizona’s blush looked bright enough to light up the room; it was adorable the way she bit her lip. Callie, for her part, just smiled seductively and kept on singing.
Sherrie decided that, if Callie and Arizona came back a third week in a row, she’d try to feel them out, see if maybe they’d be amenable to helping out with the slayers every now and then. It would be helpful to have a doctor on-call.
Especially one who could sing like Callie.+++++Author's Note:
While writing stories, if I'm hurting for a name, I'll pop open Hootsuite and pick a name off my Twitter or Facebook feed. Monica and Sherrie came from the process of writing On Allison/Sarah -- Monika is a friend from an old job, and Sherrie is my guitar/piano teacher from high school (she's now the editor of a rather well-regarded political publication). Their updates on Facebook came in one after the other, and the names were convenient. The rest just fell into place.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Please do let me know.
Thanks for reading.Listener
Marietta, GA, USA
September 13, 2012
PS: the next story in this series will hit the feed on September 20. Stay tuned.