Disclaimer: I don't own BTVS, I don't own Dr. Who. Just having some fun with the universes.
A/N: Sorry this took so long! Got distracted with my brain exploding in different directions. Wrote this one a couple years ago, had wanted to finish the sequel to this one, but then decided that it wasn't going anywhere and I wasn't happy with the concepts, so I squashed it and left it the two stories, this one and "The Darkness in the Shadows" (which was written after this one actually).
147 days of traveling and freedom.
147 days of glorious summer.
147 days of bright shining eyes, smiling upon him.
147 days that the Doctor was not alone in the world. One of two, instead of one and only.
It started slowly, he couldn't see her out of his periphery for a moment. Then, she started flickering out as he stared at her straight on.
"Slayer," he cried out, reaching for her, grabbing her hand in a moment when she was solid.
"It's pulling," she gasped, her voice full of pain. "I can't fight it."
The TARDIS shook and sputtered, sparks filling the room.
"I will find you," was the last thing he said before she flickered out for good, leaving only her key to the TARDIS and the chameleon arch that had brought her to him on the grated flooring.
"I will find you," his voice echoed in her mind, as she struggled against the darkness.
The darkness was suffocating, something was missing, it hurt. She felt like something large that had been pressed into something small and it sent her into a panic. When she finally calmed down, she realized where she was. A coffin, her coffin. She tore through the soft fabric covering the lid, revealing the hard wood beneath, and, summoning all of her strength, pounded with her fists until the wood splintered and broke, showering her with dirt.
She would spend the rest of her life repressing the memory of digging herself out of her own grave, though she would spend just as much time contemplating the thought that possibly this particular entrance to the world had some cause on the biological evil built into the parasites her human life had been created to fight.
The feeling of being caged didn't dissipate once she'd escaped the grave and she found herself wandering towards the magic shop, incapable of feeling as though her former home fit the title, a shard of the coffin in her hand for safety. The streets were in disarray, demons everywhere, looting and burning, and so along the way she fought, protecting the people hiding away from the terror taking place, doing what her human form had been created to do.
"Buffy!" Willow yelled as she opened the door.
The arms wrapping around her felt foreign. The caged feeling remained. Her heart pounded in her chest. Her heart. One heart. The caged feeling intensified and she gasped, her body seizing, pulling away from everyone who'd surrounded her, smiling, talking too quickly."I will find you."
Her mind replayed his words like a broken record, and it was the only thing she could hold on to.
"What happened?" came scratching out of her throat, each word burning.
"We saved you!" Willow answered, blind to the suffering happening beneath the Slayer's skin.
"We thought the spell didn't work. Where were you?" Xander asked, quickly.
"Buried, trapped." Her mind raced, her body faltered. She, the Time Lord, the Slayer, had been shoved into a human body, a human body that could not hold the mind of the Time Lord. Pieces were disappearing.
Arms surrounded her, attempts to comfort her, causing only pain. They sobbed, they exclaimed, their voices tearing at her mind.
"So many walls," the words slipped from her lips before the thought had passed through her head. The pain, the feeling, so similar to when she'd awoken on the airship, and yet, that had been the pain of freedom. This was the pain of entrapment. All she saw though was his face, as he looked at her with awe and amazement. Like she hung the sun and the moon, she'd heard Martha's mother whisper. That face, as he still clung to the deceased Master, haunted her. She had to find him. "What spell? Give me the book."
They were surprised at the request, no one moved, they stared at her. She was a Time Lord, and her mind was moving far faster than her former human body could take, the watch was gone, she had only what she'd been buried in.
"Give me the book, now!" she yelled.
"It's not her, it's not really her," Anya started babbling, they all moved back from her, looking to see how they might protect themselves.
The growl formed in her throat, and she stood on shaky legs. She had to find him, but she needed to know what spell they used. Was it just her in this world, shoved back into her body? If it was, she could find the tool her mother used to get here and reverse it. All she had to do was find him and the chameleon arch and she'd be freed once more, if she could keep her mind long enough for it. The nagging fear though, tickled at the back of her mind, she tried to ignore.
"Give me the book. I'm dying, this human body isn't sustainable," she finally spoke. "A heart missing, the mind too small. A day, maybe hours, I can't regenerate in this form."
"What are you?" Willow demanded with shaky breath, the preparations for a defensive spell trickling from her mind, singing such a painful song for the Slayer to hear.
"I am the Slayer, the last daughter of Gallifrey, born to the human form of Mercy, the mother, the loom weaver. She was known in human form as Joyce, and I was known as Buffy, our true names hidden, buried deep, safe from prying ears," the words came from deep inside, a mantra, a protection, her eyes unfocused, her body swaying. Finally seeing the redhead before her, she growled, "Words have power Willow. I was free, I was a Time Lord once more, and your words have taken my gift and made it my curse."
"Her aura," Tara started staring at the Slayer. "It's too big for her. Golden stardust everywhere."
"Give me the book, if he is out there, and he dies because of you, I'll tear open the hellmouth myself," Buffy snapped.
"Here, take it," Anya yelled finally, shoving the book she knew they'd used into Buffy's hands.
They hadn't even had a chance to tell her what page before she'd found it and let out the most painful yell possible.
"He's out there, you dragged him with me," she cried, her emotions just as tumultuous as her mind. "They'll tear him apart. What cemetery was I in?"
She couldn't remember where she'd walked from, she couldn't remember what route she'd taken, the demons she'd fought. Things were slipping away, bits and pieces of Time Lord knowledge were disappearing from her mind as well. What she did know was where the weapons were and how to fight. She could hear them squabbling over what to do as she armed herself, holstering an axe and a short sword on her back and filling her belt with as many knives as she could. The dress they'd buried her in would be a hindrance, but there wasn't time for her to change right now.
"Are you going to help or am I going out there blind?" she asked, finally loaded up, crossbow in her hand.
"If we go through the woods, we can avoid most of the street traffic," Xander pointed out.
"You stay here, just tell me where to go," she ordered, her voice firm.
"No, you're not fully yourself, it's not safe," Willow argued.
"Fine, lead away, but we have to be quick."
The graveyard was burning, but there he was, investigating the hole in front of her tombstone.
"Hey, get away from there," Xander yelled out, seeing the skinny Doctor shining his sonic screwdriver all over the remnants of her grave.
"Sorry, won't be long, looking for a friend," he mumbled in response, not looking up.
She pushed passed the foursome and paused a moment, waiting to see if he'd look up. However, as she'd suspected, her human body didn't attract his attention.
"I'm pretty sure this counts as me finding you, not the other way around," she said finally, breaking his concentration.
He had her in his arms, spinning her and dropping kisses all over her face before she had taken a breath. It wasn't until he'd put her down that he seemed to realize his actions and, with the slightest blush, started mumbling in a language that sounded familiar, but was just out of reach.
"English, please, Doctor."
"English? What - ?" he started to ask, then froze, staring at her. "Slayer, why can't I hear you?"
Without answering, she put his hand on the side of the chest that was now missing a heart.
"Your heart! What happened? Who did this to you?" The anger and the fire that made him so known as the Oncoming Storm roared to life and she felt the foursome step back. Fearful, she knew, she could feel it, of this man who had come with her.
"Do you have the watch? I can't find it, I think, I think that's it, but it doesn't all fit and I can't remember so much." She felt herself wilting, knowledge disappearing faster, she had it, and then she didn't.
"Chameleon arch, of course! You're brilliant, you know that," he grinned at her and placed the old pocket watch into her hands.
The voices called for her, cried out for her to open it, and when she did the light was beautiful, filling the world. She was whole again. Two hearts were definitely better than one.
"Buffy!" someone, someones, screamed out.
He immediately began tittering over her again, ignoring the others.
"Are you alright? What happened? Why does it look like someone dug out of that grave? Your name is Buffy, really?" came his endless questions.
"She fits," Tara said, loudly enough that he stopped.
"Well of course she fits," he responded with a frown. Then with a grin, "She's brilliant, absolutely brilliant."
Once again there was that awed look again, as if he expected her to disappear any second. That she had done just that only a short time before seemed to have only emphasized the intensity.
"They're both surrounded in stardust," Tara continued. "It's everywhere."
"Time vortex," they both replied automatically.
"Oh, that reminds me, the TARDIS took a hit, but I managed to find a small bit still going, always do, she's a good old girl."
"I was going to ask if that's a glow in your pocket or you're just happy to see me," she grinned, unable to help herself, and very much enjoyed it as a light flush graced his cheeks and his eyebrows lifted.
"Glow, definitely a glow, the last flickering glow," he stumbled over the words, just a bit, as he pulled a crystal like piece from his pocket. It was indeed glowing.
"How long before we're powered up and ready to go?" she asked, hovering over his hand. Instinctually, she breathed on it, the gold dust flowing from her mouth into the piece of the TARDIS.
"I told you, it's not her, you brought her back wrong," Anya yelled from her spot behind Xander. "It doesn't even look like her. It was that watch that he gave her."
"You did this!" the Oncoming Storm growled. "You dragged her through time and space across the void to shove her into a body that wasn't even hers anymore."
"We saved her, she was in hell," Willow yelled back, the air around her crackling. "And you did something to her!"
"You child! You amateur! You have no idea what you were doing. She could have died, she could have been trapped in the void, a hell from which there is no return, all because you got it in your head to play God."
"Stop it, right now, all of you!" she yelled, interrupting what she knew was only starting. "Where's Dawn? Sunnydale is burning right now, where is she?"
"She's with Spike, we couldn't reach them, we were going to go looking for them when you walked in," Xander explained.
"Doctor, how long till that thing's charged?" she asked, picking up the crossbow she'd dropped upon finding him.
"With our combined energies, 12 hours, more or less." Her doctor, affable and smart, stood before her again.
"Ok, you take that, and go to the TARDIS, go inside, lock the door, and wait for me. If I'm not back in 12 hours, go home," she ordered, with a tone that broached no argument, as if he might actually listen. "I've loaded mom's memories about the loom into the TARDIS memory bank. You don't have to be alone."
He waited patiently for her to finish, realizing for a moment just what it sounded like to his companions when he prepared to charge in and said his goodbyes first, not that he would ever take it to heart.
"Please don't tell me you think even for a second I'm staying behind while you go charging into battle, Slayer. I'm the Doctor, I save planets, galaxies, entire universes on about a weekly basis. I'm the Oncoming Storm and you’re the Darkness in the Shadows, one little town isn't that scary."
"Yeah, well, it was worth a try," she shrugged, and grinned. "Will you at least carry a weapon of some sort? Crossbow's pretty nice."
"Sonic screwdriver," he answered, holding up the mentioned item. "And no, we're not building you a sonic crossbow. I will not be traversing the universe you and a sonic crossbow."
"But it could be-"
"Alright!" she huffed a moment before moving on, seeing the disbelieving looks of her friends. She could understand, when one wasn't used to the Doctor, it could feel a bit weird. "So, they're hitting the main street, seems to be a gang of sort, meaning they're all mostly connected. Demons, not vampires, they can break into homes as well. Plan?"
"Wing it?" the Doctor suggested with a shrug.
"Sounds good," she agreed, hefting the crossbow onto her shoulder.
Winging it resulted in her standing atop a burned out car, calling out the leader, giving him and his gang a choice. She didn't for a second expect them to make the right choice, which she'd warned the Doctor, but she offered it, as he had made her promise to do when they'd started traveling together.
In the ensuing fight, the fluidity of her movements made her so much harder to follow than she had been even as just the Slayer. The enhancement in the binding of the Primal and the Time Lord parts of her made her natural grace all the more ethereal. As usual, the Doctor avoided hand to hand combat, but instead found other ways to hold his own. It was the fact that she knew he could fight if he needed to that allowed her to not hover around him throughout, though both maintained nearly constant psychic connection.
It was during the fight that Dawn and Spike rode up on his bike, saving them the further adventure of chasing after them once they'd handled the gang. Spike immediately launched into battle as well and between she, him, and the Doctor, the majority of the gang members that had come running as soon as the fight had started were taken down, either dead or unconscious. It was as she defeated the leader though that the remaining demons took off running.
"I gave him a choice," she reminded him, speaking Gallifreyan, as he returned to her side.
"I know," he whispered in her ear, pulling her into him, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
"Buffy!" Dawn called out, running towards her, as Spike grabbed her, lifting her off the ground to keep her away from the Slayer and the Doctor.
"It's not her, they're something else," Spike growled, staring at the two aliens, though it was obvious to them he had no idea what they were.
"Would you look at that, no heart rate. He's an animated body," the Doctor exclaimed, letting her go, no fear in his eyes, just the usual intense curiosity.
"Vampire," she told him. "They're a parasitic life form, which survive off of blood."
"Interesting, and do you pump your own blood or consumed blood?" the Doctor asked, pulling his glasses out and approaching Spike with the sonic screwdriver. "Do you even pump blood?"
"That screwdriver isn't UV is it?"
"Of course not, it's sonic."
"Ok, just checking."
"Allergies to UV rays?" he asked.
"Yep," she nodded, as he began shining the light at Spikes face.
"Step back, mate, or you'll have one less heart beating in there," Spike growled, moving Dawn behind him.
"Doctor, leave Spike alone," she chided, pulling him back away from the quickly angering vampire. "We've got a lot to do if we're going to be ready to go when the ship's charged."
"Buffy, you can't go anywhere, we need you," Willow interrupted, once again getting the Doctor's attention.
"Is that why you created a rift in dimensions to drag her into a body she didn't fit? Because you needed her?" he snapped.
"Doctor, not now," she told him in Gallifreyan.
"You woke up in a coffin in a body that started killing you immediately," he whispered, hands on her cheeks, and she knew he wanted to slip in and take those memories away, but he wouldn't.
"Ok, we go back to the house, we figure things out, and then, when the ship's charged, we go home," she repeated louder, her voice broking no arguments from anyone about the plan.
"Just stay away from Dawn," Spike snapped.
"Spike, now is not the time for this," she glared at him.
"Did you bring her back wrong? But that's Buffy, she saved us!" Dawn tried again to get to her sister, still fighting against Spike.
"She's not human, neither of them are," Spike pointed out.
"But she's not a zombie, not like mom was."
"Excuse me, right here," she interrupted, tired of people talking about her like she wasn't there, wasn't real. "By the way, talking about this, on the street, not the best idea."
There was grumbling, but she was right, and everyone seemed to pick up the pace. Letting the others walk ahead, the Doctor walked along side of her.
"We can't stay," he pointed out in hushed tones and words the others wouldn't understand.
"I know, they just need help. A few months and a gang of demons try to take over the whole town. Willow's using magic like it's going out of style. I can't leave them like this," she sighed, comforted as he took her hand in his. "Nothing drastic, just some phone calls, try to get someone here to help till things stabilize."
"We don't have to leave right away, but the rift, there's only so much time before it's sealed off for good."
"No, the rift here is pretty permanent, it's why the town's all crazy. It's called a hellmouth. Apparently it opens directly into a number of hell dimensions." She watched as his eyebrows lifted in surprise and no small amount of interest. She leaned into his side lightly, reassuringly, "We're not staying. Promise."
"Good, adventures to have, time to travel and all that," he nodded. Nudging her back, he added, "First we have to get rid of all those weapons you're carrying."
She smiled and laughed. The smile she got in return made her remember just how important the last few months had been.
"Could you guys at least be speaking English, it's pretty hard to trust you when you're speaking a language we can't even recognize," Xander interrupted as they started climbing the steps.
"Leave her alone," Dawn yelled from the doorway.
There was some grumbling, then the door test, to see that both she and the Doctor could cross the threshold without an invitation, and they were settling in the living room, both she and the Doctor standing, him hovering protectively by her side.
"He went back to England, you died, he said there wasn't anything he could do," Tara explained.
"More importantly, it seems about time to tell us what's going on," Spike interjected. "What's with the double hearts?"
"Oh, that's just the binary vascular system," the Doctor told them, as if it was a completely common characteristic.
"But that's impossible, that evolutionary advancement doesn't exist, usually demons with multiple hearts are still working on a singular vascular system," Willow exclaimed.
"Well, we're not from here, simple as that," he grinned.
"Of course Buffy's from here, she's my sister," Dawn yelled at him. "I'm made out of her."
"Still, standing right here," she reminded. "Dawn, the monks made you out of me when I was human."
"She's made out of you?" the Doctor asked, a puzzled, yet intrigued look crossing his face.
"Some form of modulated replication, using linguistic technology to reshape pure energy," she explained immediately.
"Oh, that's brilliant! Hiding energy in plain sight, except your right, if they made her out of you while the chameleon arch was still in effect, she's totally one hundred percent human." He pulled his 3D glasses out of his pocket and moved towards Dawn, leaning towards her. "Just with a little something extra."
"What do you mean not human?" Dawn glared at him. Then she was good enough to turn her anger on the others. "What did you do?"
"They didn't do anything, Dawn," Buffy finally interrupted. "Joyce Summers wasn't real."
"Like me not real?"
"No, more like witness protection not real -"
"Well if witness protection could change your entire DNA and move you across dimensions, yeah sure, we can go with that," the Doctor interrupted, earning glares from both. Stepping back, he put his hands up, "I'll stand quietly over here, promise."
"She was hiding, there was a war, and by some miracle she was pregnant, and she was scared, so she hid. Her DNA was changed, all of her memories were put a way, and she became Joyce Summers. I found them though, when she died, hidden in what looked like an old watch, and it knew me, because it hid me too. I didn't open it though, because I couldn't leave you, Dawnie, I had to stay and protect you. So when I jumped into the portal, I took it with me, because I didn't know what would happen, I just knew I wouldn't be here anymore, and it was the only way to save you. I still haven't quite worked out what happened, but something about the combination of the portal energies and the chameleon arch, split me from the human body, one was left here and I went back where I was supposed to be."
"It's simply a case of the transition of adding more dimensions to a three-dimensional being, returning you to being ten dimensional, while passing through all possible dimensions at the exact same moment," the Doctor interjected. "Had you been to other dimensions, there would be bits and pieces of you there as well."
"Thanks for that pleasant thought," she deadpanned.
"But what does that mean? You're going to stay here, right? Or I can come with you, can't I?" Watching her sister start to cry was too much, so she pulled her into her arms and held her.
"I'm sorry, that's just not possible. She's not supposed to be here. The time war, wiped our kind from all worlds, all times, according to the history of all universes, we never existed, to change dimensions would be catastrophic. You, Dawn, however, only exist here, in other dimensions, you were destroyed long before they gave you human form, to take you anywhere else would cause all universes to fold in on themselves," he explained for her, and she gave a nod of thanks.
"Then how are you two here?" Xander asked. "If this were a comic book, you'd be the guy that blew the bomb, and they were the last two in hiding, in a world far far away."
Buffy watched as he puzzled it together, her very clever friend, who stepped back and played the jokester so often.
"That's exactly what this is, isn't it? You're the guy that wiped your whole species out of time itself, and you expect us, and Buffy
, might I add, to trust you."
Not letting go of Dawn, she reached over and pulled him close. The pain he was feeling, broadcasted loud and clear through her psychic walls. She sent him words of comfort, words of understanding. She had memories of the war, her mother's memories maybe, but memories nonetheless, and it was not choice she would've wished her worst enemy, though given her enemies, it wasn't a thought process she'd go on.
"It was bad, there was no other way," she whispered finally, telling him silently that he didn't have to explain himself.
"How would you know? You weren't even there," Anya chimed in.
"Mom was, and I have her memories, every thought that ever crossed her mind, every moment of her life before she became Joyce Summers, is in my head. But it doesn't matter, it doesn't change anything here. You guys need to leave, to live real lives."
"I've been trying to tell everyone that, but no one believes me. Xander won't even let me tell anyone we're engaged," Anya complained. "Alien-Buffy's right."
"But if you're an alien, how did you become the slayer?" Willow asked, and Buffy watched as she scrambled for control of the situation in a way that she was highly unused to from her redheaded friend, as the Doctor slipped back behind her, still holding her hand.
"I was still born here, the potential to be more was just too tempting to the slayer essence. The Primal One and I are bonded now, permanently a part of each other."
"A parasite in it's own right," he added.
"Dawn, could you give us a moment?" Buffy asked her sister quietly.
"I'm old enough to be part of this," Dawn argued, pulling away.
"I know, but I need Giles' number, mom and I agreed that if we couldn't protect you, he should be the one to take care of you, and you deserve so much more than this," she told her sister, holding her just as close as she had been. "And I need to talk to the others and make sure they'll be ok."
There was a moment, a brief glare, finally Dawn agreed and went to grab her phone book from her room
"Dawn is just fine here, we've been taking care of her," Willow argued, sending a glare of her own, and Buffy could feel the subtle crackle in the air, a silent agreement from the Doctor that he could feel it too.
"She's not safe. This town isn't safe, you're
not safe the way you're throwing magic around," she answered coldly, the Doctor glaring by her side, and she knew there was no love lost between her two friends. "The kind of energy she is, it's a miracle nothing's happened."
"Who are you to judge how we're surviving? You left us!" Willow yelled, the crackling in the air getting worse.
"I died, I jumped from that platform to save her, to save you all, and I died for this, for everything." The words were cold, metallic, without the slayer, they were said cleanly, dispassionately, strength far beyond brute force. "And you've squandered it, by bringing me back. You are reaching far beyond your grasp, and I won't let Dawn get dragged in."
"You weren't here!" Fire, electricity and darkness started swelling, forming in the crackling. The Doctor immediately started yelling off rather random sounding words, and almost as soon as it started things were quiet.
"You don't have any cousins that are Caronites, do you?" the Doctor asked distractedly, when she'd finally stopped, disconnected from the magic.
"Willow, what are you doing?" Xander asked, pulling her into his arms. "You're attacking Buffy."
They had brought her back to a world she wasn't made for, but she couldn't blame them. Alone and afraid as they had been. Giles understood. He blamed himself, much in a way that reminded her of the Doctor. He blame himself for leaving, for not stopping something of which he couldn't have had any knowledge. The question of taking care of Dawn had barely been necessary, he would do anything for the daughter he had lost and the daughter he had gained. He had even promised to get in touch with a coven in England that could help Willow, teach her and protect her from herself. Tara had agreed to go with her. Xander had almost convinced Anya to follow them, keep their ragtag family together, the bits and pieces of time that she could see here told her they wouldn't tarry long.
"I just don't know how to stop it, the hellmouth is just going to keep going," she told him, feeling him not far behind her.
"Do you really need to think about it up here?" he asked, his voice teasing, but she knew he wasn't very happy with the fact that she had climbed up the very tower she had jumped to her death from.
"I needed to clear my head, you could've waited," she answered, looking out on the horizon.
"It's not your job to figure out the hellmouth. It existed long before you, and will continue long after," he told her sagely. "Humans are so brilliant, they'll figure it out sooner or later."
She smiled, the words were so right, and she knew he said them more often than anyone should. The tower jerked and swayed.
"Who built this thing again? It really doesn't look up to regulations."
"Crazy people, completely nutters," she answered, inching her way back towards him.
"Time to climb down?"
"How about the fun way?"
Holding on to one another, they jumped to a rope hanging from a pulley, landed on a pile of cardboard, and managed to roll out of the way just in time to miss being hit by a falling piece of tower.
"Come on, Slayer! Universes to save, time to travel!" He grabbed her hand and dragged her in the direction of the TARDIS, grinning madly.