Prompt: #359 Relationship at LJ comm Tamingthemuse
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, settings, or fandoms. They are the property of their respective creators and companies.
The waiting room was quiet as Buffy waited for news about Len. For once, even Jim was calm beside her. His ever present impatient knee bounce was gone and his tall frame was draped unceremoniously in the chair beside her.
If this had been back home in her time the waiting area would be bustling with the Scoobies. Giles would be a steady presence by her side, calm and quiet while occasionally inquiring in his polite British way about the status of whoever they were waiting on. Dawn and Willow would be doing their best to distract her from their surroundings while Xander would be making sure everyone's needs were taken care of without anyone really noticing.
Their relationships had certainly become strained over the years since Sunnydale, but when they were truly needed, they never failed to come and support whoever was in need. A small frown appeared on her face without her noticing as she realized that this was the first time she had thought of the Scoobies and her time in over a year. Not since she had finally decided to join the Academy and had met Len.
“Hey, Bones will be okay,” Jim said, setting a hand on her shoulder. “You did some amazing first aid, even he said so. And you know he doesn't compliment easily.”
“You didn't see just how bad the injury on his arm was,” she said softly. “He's a surgeon, Jim. What if the nerves on his arm are too badly damaged and he can't...” Her voice drifted off as she lost the ability to finish the sentence.
“Then he will still be a hell of a doctor,” Jim said, his voice firm and soft in the quiet of the waiting room. “Don't think that just because he can't operate anymore that he can't save lives. He's smart, don't count him out yet.”
Buffy turned her head and studied him for a minute. With as much time that she hung out with him, she really didn't know him all that well, and most of what she did was filtered through Len's point of view. She always saw him as a fly by the seat of his pants kind of person who didn't form serious permanent connections. However, what she saw in his face was different. He was truly worried for his friend, but he was trying to remain calm for her. He was being a rock for her even though his friend was in the operating room.
No, not his friend, his best friend. And next to her, probably his only other true friend at the Academy.
She gave him a watery smile. “I'm not. I just...”
“I know,” he said, giving her a confident grin. He held his hand out to her and she placed hers in it. His palm was sweaty against hers as he squeezed it in encouragement.
Buffy truly did her best to convince Jim that he should be the first one in Len's room. Yes, she was his girlfriend, but he was Len's best friend and had known him longer than her. If she was being honest with herself it was because she was afraid to tell Len the truth about herself, but she had made the decision in that ravine and she wasn't going to back out of it now. That didn't mean it didn't scare the crap out of her though.
Jim was insistent that he could wait, that all of the first aid work she had performed in the woods that day trumped their years of knowing each other. She was important to Len and he wasn't going to get between them.
She sat on the left side of the biobed holding Len's hand as she waited patiently for him to wake up. The doctors had said that everything had gone well in the surgery and he would regain full use of his hand with only minimal physical therapy. She could just picture how well that would go. Despite his every present grumbling about how Jim never took care of himself, she had on several occasions reminded Len of his own body's need to eat and sleep.
It wasn't long before hazel eyes slowly blinked open and looked around the room before resting on her face. He smiled tiredly at her and said, “Hey.”
“Hey yourself,” she said with a grin, standing to get the cup of water off the nearby table. She helped him take several drinks before returning it to the smooth surface. “Doctors say you're going to be fine.”
“Of course I am,” he said gruffly. “I had the best emergency medic I've ever trained taking care of me out there.”
She felt her face heat with the blush and she dropped her gaze to where their hands were joined once again. “Yeah, about that...”
“You don't have to -”
Buffy interrupted him. “No, I do. Len, you deserve to know the truth about me. I... There is so much about me that you just don't know.”
“That's what dating is all about, darlin'. It's a chance to get to know each other, and it doesn't happen overnight. It's a slow, loving, persistent process that makes each day sweeter,” he said softly, his southern accent turning the words into honey.
“Does Jim know you're this much of a sap?” She asked with a snort, his words giving her hope despite her fears.
“What he doesn't know is less fodder for ridicule,” he said with a grin.
She returned the smile briefly before returning to a more somber expression. “What you did out there was stupid and if you had known the truth about me it could have gone a lot differently. I could have survived the landslide with barely a scratch whereas you nearly had your life derailed.”
“Darlin', you can't know that for sure,” he said soothingly.
“No, I do,” she insisted, her eyes locking onto his gaze and holding it with pure force of will. She knew what she was about to tell him was going to change their relationship forever, but she couldn't stand the thought of him being physically hurt because of her.
As best as she could, she sketched out how she wasn't really from this time, but from a different reality all together. That in her world and time there were monsters and things that go bump in the night and that it was her destiny to stand between them and the innocents. That somehow she got thrust into this world and it took her two long years to accept that she wasn't going to make it back to her own and she truly needed to make her own way here and how she finally decided on Starfleet.
Through it all, Len remained silent, letting her lay all of her cards on the table. On one hand she was thankful that there were no interruptions to prevent her from finishing her story, but on the other it was harder to judge just what he was thinking.
When she finally fell silent, he gently squeezed her hand. “Buffy, I know.”
She frowned in confusion at him. “What?”
“Well, I didn't know the specifics, but I knew there was something different about you,” he said calmly, his thumb rubbing reassuring circles on the back of her hand.
“You seem to forget that I'm a doctor,” he said with a chuckle. “Do you remember the second time I treated you in the ER?”
Her brow furrowed as she tried to remember. “It was that freak shuttle accident, wasn't it?”
Len nodded. “Yes, and I happened to notice something odd about your injuries. I saw them start to heal themselves before I had a chance to begin working on you. I should have reported it then, but I didn't really have any answers. I just did my best to heal you and kept some blood samples. I saw evidence of antibodies and strains of viruses never before seen and you had a few strange chromosome combinations – all centered around healing and muscle development.”
He paused before he continued. “At first I thought maybe you had managed to survive the Eugenics war after all these years or maybe you were a descendant. But the more research I did, the more I was convinced that while you were definitely human, you were a little more but not a Eugenic. From what I could see you genuinely wanted to help people and didn't seem to be a threat, so I never mentioned it.”
“You've known this whole time?”
“That you were different, yes. Why you were different, no. And while your story is a little hard to believe, I don't see why you'd lie to me.”
“Even though I haven't mentioned this before,” she countered.
“We've never really discussed your past, so no, you haven't lied. I figured you would tell me in your own time,” he said with a shrug.
Her eyes narrowed. “So you knew about my healing abilities and you still shoved me out of the way? You knew I had a better chance of walking away from my injuries than you.”
“Buffy, I'm just a southern gentleman whether I behave like that most days or not. I couldn't let the woman I love get hurt, not when I had a chance to prevent it.”
She felt her eyes water at his declaration as his words hit home. He knew the truth and didn't care. More importantly he loved her. Despite her hard to believe story, he loved her.
“I love you, too, Len.”