2012 Post New York
I woke up in a hospital bed.
The last thing I remembered was the blue light as the Tesseract's energy discharged across the rooftop. Then being picked up and flung. My right arm itched, but apparently it was strapped down. The way I felt they must have a flotilla of tubes running into me. The blast threw off the roof and I seem to recall that would be a 70 story drop to Park Avenue. How the hell was I still alive? I mean I'm tough and all and I was wearing state of the art or near enough to it combat armor, but still...
Just then a doctor or at least somebody in scrubs came in. "You're awake!?!"
"Uh yeah. Where am I?" my voice sounded like I had been gargling gravel for a month.
"San Antonio Military Medical Center, the Burn Center."
"Brooke?" the rest of what he said filtered in. "How bad and how long?"
"Colonel, I don't know if..."
"How bad and how long?"
"3rd and 4th degree over 60% of your body. You've been in an induced coma for the last six months. You shouldn't be awake now."
Obviously the Slayer had finally decided that I'd had enough sleep.
"Get me my mother...and Director Fury...and some water."
"Do it now,"
I lay back and tried wiggling my extremities. I felt my toes and the fingers on my left hand. Not my right. Now I knew why it seemed like my right arm was strapped down and itching. I probably didn't have it any more. 4th degree burns mean the bone itself was charred. 3rd meant skin and muscle cooked to leather. I was reasonably certain I could heal back from 3rd. 4th with a probable amputation? I didn't think so.
A little while later a doctor with a General's star came in, "Colonel Summers, I'm Doctor Hiller, head of the Burn Center.
"Sir. Thank you for saving my life. How bad is it? I know I've lost my arm."
He had a good poker face and only nodded slightly, "You did. Along with most of the flesh on the right side of your body. The arm took the brunt though. Without that armor you would have been incinerated."
"The fall should've have killed me, armor or not."
"You were blown across the street and landed ten floors down in an ornamental aquarium in an advertising office. The water put you out and cushioned the impact. You still should have died," he pulled up the chart, "You really want to know?"
"Yes sir," I rasped.
"Eight broken ribs and cracked sternum, a collapsed lung, both femurs broken, left arm shattered, pelvis shattered, both clavicles fractured. no head damage the helmet/shock collar combination of the armor I believe."
"I'll send a Christmas card to Stark..."
"The spine was also protected. You died on the table twice though."
"What's my current condition?"
"Buffy please, sir. I won't be putting on a uniform for a while. And please don't spare my feelings."
"Buffy, first we debrided the dead flesh and cut your right arm back to the shoulder. This was to keep the chance of infection down. We were speaking with your mother about the option of skin grafts, when it was noticed you actually regrowing the previously destroyed tissue."
"I was exposed to some really weird energy when I got fried Doctor," first thing I could think of.
"That was the belief here. Doctor Banner is consulting on this with us."
"Bruce is here?"
"He is. I put in a call to him as a matter of fact when I'd heard you'd woken up. After we determined that the flesh was mending, we re-broke all the healed fractures to let them heal in a correct pattern. We of course reinflated your lung, repaired your sliced liver and the like. We've been keeping you in a induced coma which for some reason has worn off. We were going to try to bring you around at the end of the week anyway."
A minute later Bruce and my mom came in, "Mom!" I croaked.
"Oh Buffy..." I could tell she wanted to hug me but stayed back from the bed. With all the wires and tubes I can't say I was surprised. "I knew you'd make it."
"Hey yourself Paladin."
"Did we win?"
"Took a while to clear out the ones that got through and they're still hunting down stragglers. Would have been nice if they had all died when the portal closed...but yes, we won."
"How's Tasha and Selvig? They were up there with me when..."
"They were down by Stark's apartment when the blast happened. They're fine."
"Good. Doctor Hiller, can I sit up please?"
"Are you sure? You're not feeling any pain?"
"I'm good and I want to hug my mom and my friend."
The bed was actually a kind of mesh to take the strain off burns, it had a 'Stark Industries' logo of course. Mine had finished healing so I was just in the Burn Unit to monitor my 'strange' healing patterns.
"Also Doctor how many of these lines are necessary...honestly?"
He gave me a grin. "Well all the induced coma ones aren't. We still need to keep you catheterized though. You aren't feeling any pain?"
"Just an itching in my right arm."
Hiller looked over at the orderly, "Raise her up...slowly. If you have any pain tell us immediately. That's an order."
It didn't hurt. I was pretty sure I was as healed as I was going to get, so the Slayer had told my body to rest up and get strong, "Sir, can I get an ice cube or something to suck on?"
"Sure," he nodded at the orderly who hustled off. The doc started removing some of my tubes. I raised my left arm and pulled the sheet away from the suspension frame. I looked at the bandages wrapping my right shoulder. Then I reached over and hugged my mom and started to cry.
"I thought I'd never get to see you again...that was my last conscious thought..."
"Oh sweetheart..." then she was crying too.
My mom had left and I was talking about the aftermath with Bruce. Apparently they had gone out for shawarma after the main battle had ended. He had been working with Stark until they'd noticed my healing and he had headed straight down here. That was four months ago. Thor and Loki had headed home and Cap was working for SHIELD with Tasha and Clint.
"Lieutenant Colonel Summers. I knew they couldn't keep you down."
"Colonel Fury...may I say ouch?" he had walked in cool and calm as ever.
"You may. You certainly may. I am beginning to understand the reason for all the redaction in your files. You frequently do the impossible and live. Doctor Banner, how is she doing?"
"Her blood, energy signature, everything is completely normal and human. There is no reason she have healed this fast or this completely."
"Do you have an explanation?" Fury fixed his eye on me.
"Me? Ha!" I said, "I'm just amazed I'm still with the breathing. So it's not some weird radiation from ugly creature space that ran out when it finished doing the heal-y stuff?"
"Chitauri," Bruce said, "They're called Chitauri. Thor told us. And if it was, it's something I couldn't detect."
"So what now?" I asked
"Fossey's is in charge of PAM for the time being. Doctor Lehane made a full recovery as did Coulson," Fury glanced at Bruce, he simply shrugged. "I did come clean afterwards."
"That must've been new," I said.
"I will consider that you have been hospitalized when pondering the insubordination charges..."
I did not look apologetic.
"And Stark will be here tomorrow along with Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton. Now I have to leave and get back to work while some people are goldbricking...Get better Colonel. The world's getting more dangerous by the hour."
The next morning mom was brushing my hair, the helmet had kept my face and head from getting cooked, when Darian, Boyer, Faith, Hanna, Sam, Dutch, and David arrived...followed by Willow, Oz, Faith, and Giles. And then the Avengers arrived. It was great with all my friends there. The Austins called, as did Hannibal and his guys. Apparently my 'Buffy the human rocket' impersonation had been caught on video, and the fact that I had lived was a matter of some public interest. It was cool seeing Tony and Steve talk to my mom. Bruce had been doing it for a while. It was even cooler seeing Darian. Finally the invaders decided to head out to get some dinner and it was just me and my guy. Okay, so maybe Willow and Faith helped with the exodus.
"The Official had me out of the country working this week. I had been down here..."
"I know, my mom told me and it's okay. Darian this is going to keep on happening. Not the being blown off the top of a building thing, but the impending doom which will eventually kill me. I'm thinking about resigning my commision"
"Yeah. Go back to being a Slayer as my main occupation. The risk is lot lower then what I've wound up getting involved with and will keep me alive a lot longer."
"Well if you're sure...I'm with you a 100%."
"Thanks sweetheart," I hugged him and just held on.
For some reason physical therapy seemed to go quite quickly with the doctors and therapists putting it up to the 'weird radiation' theory and a month later I was discharged. Darian had had to get back to work, but Mom was helping me with my bag. Then we were met in the lobby by Tony and Pepper.
"Hey Colonel Buffy!"
"Not for much longer...Hi Pepper how are you?"
"Fine, Tony has a proposition for you."