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Summary: As if in answer to Kushina's prayer, the sky splits open and rains stars. From amongst the falling stars comes a small, blonde woman, carrying an enormous hammer.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > NarutoCrunchysunrisesFR1325,42013526,30620 Apr 1321 Apr 13Yes

Chapter Two

Content Notes: None

Disclaimer: I have no rights to or within the Naruto or Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchises, copyrights, characters or trademarks. This is for fun, not profit.

Additional Notes: This fic was written to answer Illustrationelle_blessing's prompt: Buffy sacrifices herself by jumping into the portal at the end of season five. Instead of ending up in a hell dimension, she wakes up in a world where there's hidden villages, ninja and a different kind of magic (re: bloodline limit techniques, chakra, etc.) ... How she integrates, meets either/or/both Kakashi/Itachi is up to you. (And a nifty quote for kicks. "I tried to kill a werewolf. I failed. Now I feel like I'm not living up to the best version of myself." ~ Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries) It also fills the "explosion" square on my Hurt/Comfort Bingo card, the "worship" square on my Kink Bingo card, and the "Meteor Shower/Shooting Stars" square on my Cotton Candy Bingo card.

Buffy only did it because she was cresting a wave of emotions and endorphins. Truth be told, it was probably mostly the endorphins.

But she had won! She had saved Dawn, killed a demon god, and saved her world! She had gone out on top, undefeated! She was the slayingest Slayer of them all!

And, okay, she had expected to die inside of that inter-dimensional vortex but she was okay with it. She had gotten (nearly) everything that she had ever wanted. Instead, Buffy found herself floating in a maelstrom of stars. It was one of the most amazing things that she had ever experienced.

It got really old, really quickly.

And then it got boring.

Buffy was still seeing stars when she realized that the air pressure had changed around her. She was falling.

It was still something of a surprise when she saw the ground rushing up to meet her. Honestly, she had just barely gotten her feet under her in time. The forward tumbles, a habit ingrained from cheerleading to diffuse the force of her fall, had been utterly and completely necessary under the circumstances.

And then Buffy had stood up and seen the enormous burning fox, the fallen woman, the blond man, and the screaming baby. She had felt the pulse of the fox's nature against the back of her neck, felt the pulse of her own hidden nature rise in response, and thought, Why not? I killed a demon god earlier tonight. What's a giant flaming fox against that?

And that pulse, the one that lived in her soul, thrilled.

But, on the off chance that she had misread the entire situation, Buffy asked, "Did you hurt these people?"

"I did," rumbled the fox, surprising Buffy. She had honestly not expected the fox to reply with words. Normally, demonic things just roared and threw themselves at her. A demon capable of human speech was a nice variation on the theme. "What're you going to do about it, Slayer?"

And it knows who I am, Buffy thought, as she threw herself at the giant fox. It's too bad that I'm going to kill it.

Their fight was intensely, epically awesome. It was by far one of the best of Buffy's life. And yeah, she got hurt. And yeah, she got burned. But, in those moments, it was all completely and totally worth it.

It feels way less worth it several hours later, when she is sharing an old-fashioned hospital room with the redheaded woman and about five dozen other people. The hospital room, which is long and narrow and was designed to hold maybe three dozen patients, is overcrowded. Buffy is so close to her neighbors that she could reach through the sidebars of her hospital bed and grab the sidebars on their hospital beds if she wanted to.

Buffy definitely does not want to.

Everyone else in the ward looks pretty awful in their miles of bandages, casts, and jury-rigged tents. Judging by the wide array of burns that she can see (and smell) on the other patients, they are all victims of the demonic fire-fox. Buffy wonders if she is in with them because she got hurt fighting the demon-fox, too. The other option, that she is in with them because she looks as badly off as they do (even if she feels miles better), is unpalatable to Buffy.

It might also be true.

Every inch of Buffy's body hurts, her ribs are broken, her leg is badly sprained, and she has too many cuts, burns, and scrapes to count. Worst of all, her hair has been burned or shaved off. (Buffy honestly tries not to think about the state of her hair. And, when she does, Buffy prays that she has some hair left under the bandages. Or, at least, retains the ability to grow more hair.)

To add insult to injury, they have taken away her clothes, stuffed her into a paper dress with no back, and doped her up with too few painkillers. (Her Slayer's metabolism makes short work of just about everything, including medication.) This means that Buffy is horribly aware of her surroundings and has been horribly aware of them for the last two days.

She can smell (and practically taste) her roommates' burnt flesh and growing infections despite the nearly overpowering scents of stringent disinfectants and harsh cleaning supplies. Their ragged breaths and half-utterances fill her ears and disrupt her dreams. When she sleeps, Buffy does it lightly, poorly, or all of the above. It is not just their sounds that disrupt Buffy's dreams, though. Trying to sleep in a room with all of these people feels a lot like trying to sleep in a room filled with vampires or other lesser demonic types.

They all make the back of her neck tingle.

Buffy wonders if she has fallen into a world filled with (greater and lesser) demons or if humans who are not from her world just feel different to her Slayer senses.

Going out into public with her butt hanging out of a crappy paper hospital gown seems like less and less of deterrent with every passing minute. Honestly, Buffy would probably already be gone except for one, minor thing.

She really likes watching that blond guy and the redheaded woman with her baby.

Maybe it is because her own dad ran out about the time that Buffy turned up different from everyone else. Maybe it is Buffy has so recently lost her own mom. Or maybe it is because of the way they look at their kid, despite the giant, fiery demon fox in his stomach. These people, this blond guy that everyone defers to and this redheaded woman who talks incessantly to her baby when she is awake, clearly think the world of their kid, even though he had been normal for all of fifteen minutes, tops.

Buffy's own parents had stopped looking at Buffy like that after (the first time that) she confessed to being the Slayer. Buffy had been normal for all of her first fifteen years. (And she had pretended to be normal for another two years after that. Not well, granted, but she had made the effort.) Her second confession of Slayerly-ness had done nothing to improve her home life.

But these other parents, the blond man and his redheaded wife, seem to genuinely love each other and their kid. No divorces or naughty secretaries or kicking their kid out for being different, here. Hell, the redheaded woman does not even seem mad at the blond guy for locking a demon into her baby's stomach. (Admittedly, Buffy is pretty sure that he did it to save the village. And, as the Slayer, she gets that. As Dawn's big sister, though, the entire idea is a no-go. No one is going to get away with locking a demon inside of Dawnie's belly button.)

It's too bad that Buffy is pretty sure that the redheaded woman is dying.

And it just seems like such a shame for someone with a mom like that to never know her.

Which is why, instead of getting the hell out of the (maybe lesser demons') hospital, Buffy finds herself wrapping her thin, hospital-issue blanket around her waist a few times and then sneaking over to the cupboard with all of the supplies in it. She has seen a lot of blood transfusions since she became the Slayer but, thanks to her nature, seeing just one would have been enough. Buffy gets the supplies that she needs and approaches the redheaded woman's bed.

The redheaded woman's bed is at the far end of the room, between a window and Buffy's empty bed. Her son's bassinet is to the side of the woman's bed, between her bed and Buffy's bed. A glance at the kid shows him to be sleeping. (And a moment's hesitation by the bassinet proves that the kid feels no more or less tingly than anyone else to her. Apparently, whatever that blond man did to seal the demon into the baby's stomach worked. The demon is contained and the boy seems okay. But Buffy has to wonders about the long term consequences of the magic. In her experience, there's always some sort of truly nasty consequence to magic, especially the big or complicated stuff.)

The redheaded woman, who is nearly as pale as her pillows and blankets, is sleeping too. Buffy finds that super impressive because she is nearly certain from her observations of the small family that the woman has not only broken most of the bones in her lower body but also refused pain killers on top of that. Since the redheaded woman is breastfeeding her baby, Buffy can understand why she did it. Still, it's super impressive stuff.

This woman is meant to be that weird kid's mom, Buffy decides as she sets up her equipment. That gives her the push that she needs to go through with it and start the transfusion.

If the woman really is a demon, she will respond to Buffy's Slayer blood like all demons do. She will probably live and get healthy and raise her cute demon baby. If the woman is human, well, no harm done. Buffy is a universal donor. And, even though no Watcher has ever seen fit to document the effects of Slayer blood on a regular human, Buffy cannot help but think that her Slayer's blood will help a human woman just the same as a demon one.

It could be Slayerly intuition.

More likely, it is wishful thinking on her part.

Buffy transfuses the blood, anyway.

Once, the woman wakes up while Buffy is transferring her blood into the other woman. She blinks at Buffy with dazed eyes and says something questioning in her own language, which has too many vowels in it to Buffy's ears. Since she has no idea what the woman is saying, Buffy strokes the woman's long, red hair with her free hand and says comforting things in English, even though the woman probably has no idea what Buffy is saying to her, either.

But the woman seems to get Buffy's intentions, if not her words, because she nods and closes her eyes and relaxes back into sleep. Or maybe she is just too tired and weak to stay awake. Buffy likes to think that it is the former, though, instead of the latter.

She has just finished the transfusion and put band-aids on their respective needle marks when one of the weird nurses (or doctors?) comes into the ward. Whatever her position, she scowls at Buffy and shoves her away from the redheaded woman.

Punching the nurse-or-maybe-a-doctor in the face is a reflex. Honestly.

(It is also super satisfying.)

Buffy catches the woman before she hits the ground, despite the way that her own damaged ribs scream a sincere protest. As she lugs the woman over to her own hospital bed, Buffy thinks, Geez, she's heavy. Way heavier than me. Bigger than me, too.

Stealing the nurse's clothes seems like a natural extension of that observation.

Buffy also strips the pillowcase from her pillow. She leaves the nurse wearing her own stupid paper dress and tucked up in Buffy's own bed. Buffy raids the supply cupboard again, taking bandages, disinfectant, and salve for her own wounds. Buffy dumps her medical supplies into the pillowcase and heads for the nearest window. On her way to the window, Buffy snatches up her troll hammer from where it is resting against the foot of her bed. The weight of the weapon makes her ribs ache but it feels right to have it resting against her shoulder, ready for action.

The window's sash slides up on suspiciously silent pulleys. Nevertheless, Buffy leans out and has a look around. The hospital itself seems to be in a more business oriented part of town because she sees no houses or apartment buildings when she looks around. Thankfully, it is late at night and most of the offices' windows are dark and empty. When she looks down, Buffy discovers that her room is on the hospital's third floor.

Buffy could easily jump that distance to the ground but, in deference to her ribs, she opts to climb it. Buffy twists her pillowcase shut, bites onto the twisted fabric, and slips her wrist through the worn leather thong looped through the base of the hammer. Her descent down the side of the hospital is slow and arduous. Her sandals, which are a couple of sizes too big, are not much help with finding purchase or toeholds. But the grip on their soles is phenomenal, which makes balancing on the thin ledge in front of each window relatively easy.

The climb irritates her leg and her ribs but the pain is nowhere near as terrible as it would have been had she simply jumped.

When Buffy reaches the ground she tucks her pillowcase and hammer under one arm then takes a moment to catch her breath. When she feels better, Buffy casually strolls across the hospital's grounds and out the front gates. Even though she knows that her escape attempt has been seen by several locals, no one raises an alarm.

Maybe they think I'm one of them because of these clothes. And maybe people break out of the hospital all of the time around here, Buffy thinks and a spring finds its way into her step. Or maybe they just don't care. Whatever's going on, this could work.

She wanders through a sleeping village that looks like something out of one of Xander or Tara's badly dubbed Kung-Fu movies. Buffy can see where the demon fox did its rampaging and escaping that way might honestly be easier. But people always say that criminals return to the scene of their crimes and, while Buffy is no criminal, she does not intend to make it easier for these people to find her.

(She does not think that she was a prisoner because they kept her with their people and let her keep her troll hammer at the foot of her hospital bed. But, then again, no one else in Sunnydale could lift the thing. Maybe they just could not physically move her troll hammer from where she had left it. Or maybe they thought her too banged up to escape. Maybe they thought the third floor was high enough to keep her in line. Surviving the Initiative has left Buffy with a healthy sense of paranoia.)

Eventually, Buffy finds an enormous, open gate. Her shoulders tense, Buffy strolls through it. The guards standing on the walls and on either side of the gates say nothing to her and do nothing to stop her. They barely even look at her.

Joy and accomplishment bubble up in Buffy's heart. She walks until she can no longer see the village's gates and then stops, trusting that if she cannot see them then they cannot see her, either.

I'm free! Buffy thinks and does a little spin right then and there on a darkened dirt path outside of a Kung-Fu village that was half-leveled by a giant burning fox demon. Laughing, Buffy tilts her head back as she spins. Above her stretches an enormous expanse of stars picked out against a dark sky. As she spins, they seem to whirl and twirl about her, reminding Buffy of the place between this world and her own.

When her ribs begin to really hurt, Buffy stops being silly. Instead, she slings her pillowcase of purloined goodies over her shoulder and starts walking again.

There is a whole big new world out there. And Buffy, who finds herself suddenly free from the burdens of her duties, destiny, and even her family, friends, and Watcher, is just the person to explore it. Humming a jaunty tune, Buffy sets out to see everything that there is to see in this new world of hers.

The End

You have reached the end of "Zenith". This story is complete.

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