Transitions (or Tipsy Turvy Sky)Fandom:
BtVS/The Dark Knight RisesCharacter(s):
John Blake, Buffy SummersRating:
She no longer treats him like a visitor, but like John belonged.Length:
Only the words are mine, and that’s probably up for philosophical debate.§§§
The first time John got the drop on Buffy, effectively bringing the fight that had taken them all over the ground floor of the castle to a standstill, the Slayer laughed despite her face pressed into the floor.
Using a show of strength John hadn’t fully comprehended until the moment he went flying across the room, she pushed up and forward. He went flying from her shoulders into a wall several feet away. She landed on her back.
And she laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed. When he finished giving his ribs a mental once-over and clearing the cobwebs to make sure the room wouldn’t tilt when he stood, he checked on Buffy. No one talked to him about it, but he could see the way the others sometimes gave her the kid-glove treatment. And she’d been laughing a long time. At home that was usually a bad sign.
Indeed, Buffy was still lying on the floor when he made his way to her, although her laughter had been reduced to sporadic chuckles. Spying him standing above her sent Buffy curling into herself as a fit of giggles overtook her. John found himself standing with his hands on his hips, waiting for her to get over herself.
She did. Eventually. "Help me up," she said, most of the laughter gone from her voice. Wary, John did just that, but the only thing she surprised him with was a bright, beautiful smile that creased the corners of her eyes and smoothed the tension from her brow. John had to stomp on the urge to touch her, suddenly beautiful, cheek.
"You finally got it, Detective Grumpy-Pants." Buffy gently punched his shoulder. "You thunk out of the box, you used your knowledge of the terrain to your advantage, and you got the drop on the guy! I’m kinda proud. I thought this day would never come! How’s it feel to not suck?"
John shrugged, but found a smile tugging at his lips. "Not bad."
Buffy snorted. "Not bad, he says. Not bad. Oh, hey, what was that leap-y, climb-y thing you did to get out of the upper window? Because that was the beginning of all my joy right there."
"Oh, I, uh..." He could feel himself blushing. John had briefly flirted with gymnastics as a child, but St. Swithens hadn’t had the money to fund even a casual interest in the sport. A training school had given them a grant for a season when he’d been ten, and John had gone to every session, but after that... After that the only apparatus he’d had were a broken down jungle gym and, later, chasing down criminals with a penchant for trying to go over walls or up fire-escapes. "You chase bad guys in lots of weird places in Gotham."
"Uh huh, sure. Whatevs. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want." Buffy shrugged, but John could see she was still curious. "My cheerleading skills came in random handy, too, especially when I first started. Those high-kicks, not just for flashing the football players anymore." She walked away from him, toward a nook carved out of the stone wall. Water bottles were lined up on a shelf, and above them a built-in rod held several fluffy towels. Buffy wrapped a towel around her neck then grabbed one of the waters. She cracked the seal but didn’t drink. "Anyway, we’ll move you on to more gymnastics training than we had been giving you, step up your strength and endurance training, and then we’ll kick you over to Oz and you can go--"
John watched as she mentally backtracked, taking a swallow of her water as she did so. He approached, reaching for a towel and water himself.
Buffy shook her head. "Sorry, Captain Testy, you’ll have to tell me which part of that you weren’t too keen on. Was it the high-kicks not being for football players any more? Boys always get a little sad when I bring that up. Even Andrew. Although, maybe not for the same reasons as everyone else." She shrugged, taking another pull from her water bottle. Eyes wide, she gestured to him with her chin.
The more he’d loosened up and accepted that he couldn’t solely rely on what he’d known as a cop, the more casual their relationship had become. John could tell that there were still levels of interpersonal interaction they had yet to cross, but she related to him the way she did with the other slayers. She no longer treated him like a long-term visitor, but like John belonged in the castle with the rest of the core group that had come with her to the Czech Republic. He still wasn’t sure whether finding out that the quips were part of what she did, and had little to do with her personal feelings about him, was a good or bad thing.
John took a few healthy pulls of his own water bottle before answering. "What’s this about ‘kick you over to Oz’? The gymnastics training and endurance training I get, although I wonder why we didn’t do more of that before--"
"A. I didn’t know you had rubber-arms in you, and (2) if you couldn’t get past this then why should I teach you how to die slower?" She shrugged.
"Okay." Maybe, but... "Okay. But I don’t understand why I’m going to see Oz. He sent me to you."
All business, Buffy nodded. "Great first step, but now that you’ve broken out of that coffin-shaped flashing blue box you liked so much, you’re almost done here. Which is a shame because you were kinda fun when you got out of that shirt and tie."
John stuffed her wistful tone into the place where he was hiding all the questions he’d been storing up over the eight months of his training with the Slayer. "That doesn’t explain Oz."
"Thing is, when a slayer goes out at night to beat up demons she is literally beating up demons. The catharsis factor can be really high. But when Batman goes out, he gets weirdos and maniacal freaks bent on destruction." Shaking her head, she pointed at him with the water bottle. "It’s not the same. So you’ve gotta learn to deal with your demons some other way."
"Why not learn how to do that here? Look, I’m tired of waiting. Not that all of this hasn’t been necessary, but I need to get back to my city."
Buffy nodded. "Trust me, I hear you. I’m anxious to get my girls and their Watcher back, too. But this is something you gotta get a grip on first. You don’t and..." She waved her arm in the general direction of the wider world. "It’s not pretty. Look up Faith’s file, or mine, or Willow’s...who used to be the nicest, sweetest person you ever met before she got into the hero business.
"The truth is slayers aren’t all that great at dealing with their issues. I think it’s a pre-req or something, so it’s not the kinda help we can help you with. The only person that I know that’s got it halfway figured out is Oz. Plus, he keeps a mighty good secret. So you finish up here with us, then go chat with Oz, then I give your benefactor a signed note clearing you for duty, soldier."
"Um, yeah? The mystery person that’s been checking on your progress and insisted on funding the Gotham team while they’re there? You knew about him or her or it. Right? Popped up about three months after you did?"
His surprise was clearly making her agitated, so he nodded, clearing his expression. "Absolutely. I didn’t think he’d contact you, though. He never mentioned it." Heck, Wayne hadn’t spoken to him at all.
Eying him, Buffy shrugged. "Not me personally, but there are channels and some of them flow through me. Would you rather we didn’t report on your progress? We all just assumed--"
"No, no it’s fine. Like I said, I wasn’t expecting to hear from him until I got back."
She nodded, seeming to take his explanation at face value. "Although, knowing that Batman’s got backers explains so much." Buffy polished off the bottle then tossed it over John’s head into the garbage can. "All right then..."
John’s eyes caught the movement of Buffy’s towel as he turned away from her, but didn’t register it for what it was.
"...let’s hit the showers."
Until the swat on his butt had him jumping in the air. He spun around.
"Omigosh!" Buffy’s hands covered her mouth. She lowered her hands. "I am so sorry! I meant to get your side, but you turned! Really fast." She covered her face. "Don’t tell Dawn!"
He didn’t know who Dawn was, but he promised himself to find out. Glowering, he said, "Showers, Slayer."
Blushing furiously, from both embarrassment and poorly concealed laughter it seemed to John, Buffy uncovered her face and nodded.
John stepped to the side as she approached. "Nuh uh, you first."
"Sir, yes, sir!" She saluted as she passed, that broad grin back on her face.
He almost forgave her.
Special thanks to everyone at twistedshorts for their, ahem, insight into Buffy's and John's interaction :)