: Oh, I really love this story.
Okay, first off, I said I'd post a summary for all you who skipped "Bringer of Death". So here it is. If you read "Bringer of Death", skip the summary, it's just telling you what you already know.
Second off, this story is a cross between Torchwood, Doctor Who, and Buffy. (Although Kilgore Trout is the property of Kurt Vonnegut.) I hold no rights over any copyrighted material. All characters and creations belong to their original owners. It's AU in terms of the Buffyverse, but for a good reason. The others should be in canon, for the most part, although this is set before the Torchwood series actually begins.
Because this story is so totally enjoyable.
Previously, in Adventures of A Line Hopper:
"Death is coming; death for all."
the Bringer of Death, the Doctor is kidnapped, tortured, and pushed to breaking point by a group of brutal, heartless vampires. The First is clearly behind it. So is someone else. By the end of the story, the Doctor and Buffy are reunited, and that reunion causes the Doctor to flip out and wipe out nearly every single vampire on the planet.
Buffy gives up her position as President of the Slayer Institution to Ria Hiskaloph, a friend of the Doctor's. Ria recognizes Dawn's importance to the Institution, and Dawn is basically made second-in-command.
Buffy moves to London, where, with some help from Jack, she becomes a freelance agent for every single world-saving group out there. She is also near Giles and the Tylers, with whom she has a close relationship. She encourages Jack to call her if his Cardiff team ever needs her help and expertise.
In regards to the Doctor, Buffy tells Jack that part of her will always keep looking for him. But another part thinks… maybe it's better if she never runs into him, again. Buffy eventually decides that the Doctor part of her life is over, and she has to move on.
It's time to find her happy ending.
Prologue... "Let me tell you a story. A story with a happy ending."...
"Stop!" shouted Yvonne Hartman, running out of her glass-paneled office. "Shut down!"
Around her, the entire Torchwood team vaulted themselves into the shut-down procedures, as a group of scientists approached the object that had just emerged from the rift. A spherical black object, shiny and metallic, yet giving off an uneasy sort of energy to any nearby.
Hartman joined them.
One of the scientists ran a device across the outside. "Appears to have..." The scientist stopped, then shook the device. Then hit it against its side. "That can't be right."
"What can't be right?" asked Hartman.
"It's just a glitch," the scientist apologized. "A fault with the analyzer. I mean, obviously, the Sphere exists. It's right in front of us."
Hartman grabbed the device out of the scientist's hands. "According to these readings," she said, studying them, "it doesn't." No atomic mass. No heat. No radiation. No nothing.
Everyone in the room jumped, as a groan resounded from the far side of the Sphere, and there was a resounding thud of a body hitting the floor. Torchwood members scurried around, one agent — Lisa — lunging forwards to help.
Hartman rounded the far side of the Sphere, curious.
Lisa looked up from her position on the floor, supporting the pale, unconscious petite blond girl. "She must have been clinging onto the outside," Lisa explained. She looked down at the girl, checking her respiration and vital signs. The girl was gasping for air, shivering, her skin frosty and frozen. "We should get her to the infirmary. I think she's hurt."
Hartman looked between the girl and the Sphere. "Clinging to the outside?" she mused.
But her musings were cut off by a scream. Everyone looked back, just in time to see a Torchwood technician, having touched the Sphere, burn away to nothing in front of their eyes. They looked back at Hartman.
Hartman looked down at the girl.
Who had come through the rift, clinging to this very Sphere, and managed to survive it.
"Interesting," said Hartman. She turned back to Lisa, a small smile on her face. "Take her down to the Medical Lab for analysis. I think we should find out who she is, and what she knows."
"Oh, I don't even know, anymore," Jackie Tyler said, handing Buffy a cup of tea. "'Traveling', that's all I ever get. 'Just traveling, mum.' And don't ask me where, because she never sends a post card."
"At least she's having fun," said Buffy.
Jackie sighed, and sat down at the table, opposite Buffy. "I never even know if she's going to come home," she admitted. "That Doctor friend of hers — he's nothing but trouble. Oh, he's nice enough, don't get me wrong, and he's done some amazing things, but at the end of the day, I just don't know if he'll keep my Rose safe."
Buffy said nothing, just sipped at her tea.
A thud from downstairs.
Buffy looked up. "What was that?"
"No idea," said Jackie, sipping at her own tea. "Peggy heard this noise in the cellar just before you showed up. Went downstairs to check. Probably just a stray cat."
But Buffy could tell that Jackie wasn't thinking about stray cats in the cellar. Not at all. There was something else on her mind — namely, her daughter, and the mysterious stranger that had taken her away.
"You haven't met the Doctor, have you?" asked Jackie, tea cup in hand.
"No," Buffy lied.
"You wouldn't like him," Jackie said. "Always looking for trouble, always poking his nose in where it doesn't belong. I tell you, every time he shows up, something bad happens."
"Rose likes him," Buffy offered. "That's got to count for something."
"But what's happening to her?" Jackie said, putting down the tea cup. "Sometimes, I look at Rose, and I don't even see her anymore. All I see is him. What he's turning her into."
Buffy swirled her tea around her glass. Thinking of her own time spent with the Doctor, how it had changed her. "She's growing up."
"I mean, why couldn't Rose go out with a nice, normal man?" Jackie complained. "Like... your bloke. Benjy. Now he's a real catch."
Buffy froze. Her heart pounding a little harder. She put down the cup, unable to meet Jackie's eyes.
"Yeah," Buffy said, keeping her voice low so it wouldn't shake. "Yeah, he... really was."
Jackie paused, noticing Buffy's changed demeanor. "Oh," she said. "I didn't know. Did he...?"
"Car accident," said Buffy. "A month ago." Which is what she told everyone, because it sounded a lot more convincing than explaining that he'd been eaten by a Bankovelich Demon, while Buffy had been stopping an apocalypse.
Jackie's expression folded into that familiar mom-like sympathy. "My Pete went that way," she said. "I'll never forget him."
Buffy nodded. Not wanting to talk about it.
Jackie glanced out the window, up at the sky. "Know what I think?" she asked. She nodded at the heavens. "Someone up there ought to sit up and notice. 'S not natural, seven boyfriends in the last two years. Not when four of them go like that."
No. Not natural for anyone. Except Buffy. Who had terrible luck with boyfriends.
"I'll find the right guy, eventually," said Buffy, still not looking at Jackie. "I'm just... I'm like cookies. I'm still in the oven, baking, and you don't know what I'll wind up being when I'm done." She took in a sharp breath, thinking of the boyfriends she'd dated who hadn't broken up with her by choice. But had actually died, while trying to help her. "Or… something."
Jackie picked up the tea pot, and began pouring Buffy more tea. "Well, rest assured, you're always welcome here. Any time you need a shoulder to cry on." She paused, then set the tea pot down. "Which reminds me."
She hurried off, down the hall, and returned to the living room with a book in her hands.
"Saw this at the grocery store, and thought of you," said Jackie, handing the book to Buffy. "Don't know why. Maybe it'll take your mind off things for a bit."
Buffy took the book, and glanced at the cover. Twilight
, by Stephenie Meyer.
Jackie hesitated. "You haven't… read it already?"
"No," Buffy lied. She planted a smile on her face, and put it down next to her teacup. "No, it looks great."
Jackie grinned at her, then went to put the tea pot away.
"I'll just add it to the pile," Buffy muttered under her breath, nudging the book minutely away from her. Another copy. Another gift.
Honestly, you date two vampires…!
Jackie re-entered the room with a plate of cookies. "Really, though. I'm always here. Always good for a chat and a cup of tea. If you ever need anyone to..."
Jackie trailed off. Her eyes growing wide. She gasped in fear, and the cookies crashed to the ground.
Buffy turned in her seat, to discover a silvery, shimmery, insubstantial man-shaped ghost striding across the apartment floor, before stepping through the far wall and disappearing.
Buffy jumped to her feet and ran to the window, to discover the Powell Estates teeming with the translucent creatures, people screaming and running away from them, their eyes wide and terrified.
"What are they?" Jackie cried, peering over Buffy's shoulder. "What's happening?"
Buffy sighed. "My life," she muttered.