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Bright Little Girl

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Summary: A what if... what if Buffy had dealings with a different kind of Death.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Buffy-Centered > Alternate UniverseshadansaFR15413,2501610327,19022 Oct 0529 Jan 07No

A Reckoning

This chapter has been a complete pain in my ass. Her Vacation is being a pain in my ass, and the Harry Potter cross over I have in mind isn’t being much better. And right now the whole thing is flooded with so many Stargate crossovers that I’ve put that one on hold until I’m at least 20 chapters into it. Yes, it has taken me a lot of time to update this and I’m probably more pissed off about it than any of you, because it shouldn’t be this difficult. The plot bunnies seem to have gorged themselves and are being greedy. Someone poke them with a stick and make them move!

* * * * * *
* * * * * *

It was the comforting stroke of someone’s fingers through her hair that brought her away from the numbing blackness. She didn’t want to wake up; it had been so long since she had been able to reach a point of not feeling pain. She always had to be the strong one, but that didn’t mean she was. Still the fingers stroked through her hair, and that comfort was better than the blackness anyway.

It was a change in the breeze that brought the scent to her. Warmth and home wrapped up in a scent that surrounded her, sinking her further into rebelling against waking and losing this dream. The scent was distinctly her mother, and the soft chuckle she heard had her eyes snapping open. There sat her mother, calm and peaceful, and smiling down at her little girl.

“Hey baby,” Joyce whispered softly, and memories of that voice rushed up and overcame her. Warmth, comfort, home, all those feelings settled within her. Buffy looked around and the landscape was indistinct, the blanket she was laying on the checkered one they always used for picnics. “I’ve missed you,” Joyce said with a smile.

“Mommy?” Buffy whispered it hoarsely.

Joyce nodded, “It’s me baby.” Another stroke through her hair reassured Buffy in a way that a million words could not. “I don’t have much time, but I thought this was a good memory.”

Buffy sniffed back her tears and smiled, scooting over just enough to put her head in her mother’s lap. “It is a good memory; always a good dream to have right after you left. I haven’t been able to come here in such a long time.”

Joyce sighed a bit, “Well it will get better now.”

Buffy shook her head, “There is no guarantee of that.”

“No, there isn’t, but the possibility has to be realized before the reality can happen.” They sat in silence for a moment and then Joyce spoke again, “I don’t have much time and there is something you need to know.”

Buffy looked up at her mother and sighed, “What is it Mommy? What message do the PTB want me to agonize over now?”

“None,” was the whispered answer, and a smile lit that beloved face, “You just have to be you now baby. You don’t have to be the Slayer any longer.”

Buffy felt the fight within her when she heard that, and blurted out her answer before the thought was complete in her mind, “But it’s who I am!”

Joyce nodded, “I understand that. You’ve accepted your destiny and that is always a great thing. However, you need time to heal.” Joyce’s face became pinched. “We held onto each other so tightly when you were pulled back to life that all the good that could have happened was tainted by sorrow.” She smiled, a sad little smile, “I miss you, my bright little girl, and I will wait until we can be together again, but I will not stand for you to be so unhappy.”

Buffy nodded, “I’ll try Mommy.”

“I know you will, baby. I know, but don’t try to do it all on your own. Let your father help you.”

Buffy smiled, “He actually came to take care of me.”

Joyce smiled brightly, “Yes he did. And now you have to let him do what is necessary, but only to the point you allow. Don’t let him take total control.”

Buffy giggled, “Yeah, it would be so hard to sell the house with red carpets.”

Joyce laughed, “I knew you were bright and now I know you’re smart too!”

Buffy smiled as the scene began to fade around her, “I’m a blend of the best parts of my parents,” she whispered softly before her mom completely disappeared.

Buffy jerked upright in bed, a light sheen of sweat on her skin and tears ready in her eyes. “Mommy, I miss you,” she whispered and let the tears fall for a minute. Still, even with the tears, a small smile graced her lips as she allowed the happy memories to surface in her mind, each one helping to dry her tears, and she felt like her soul was lighter than it had been in months.

She thought back over the dream and felt confused because the dream hadn’t been confusing. A small chuckle escaped her at that. A yawn and a stretch later had her padding towards the bathroom for a warm shower. She’d worry about it later. She knew what would need to happen and just hoped that it wouldn’t be too much of a fight to mitigate what was going to happen.

* * * * * *

Edward was smiling as he walked through the front door of his daughter’s house. It had taken most of the night but he had finally finalized the details for today. Finding the last person involved in the ritual hadn’t been that difficult, but when he actually spoke to her the complications started. She was a sweet little thing, and had forced him to change his original plans. It had cost him a favor, but he had the perfect solution just waiting for these four.

She had agreed to meet him this morning. She was so hesitant about her reception that she didn’t want to arrive alone. But Edward had assured her that everything would be all right and he’d pick her up to bring her by.

Now, as they walked through the front door, he heard the distinct sound of the shower running upstairs and peeked into the living room to see everyone else passed out in various states of comfort around the room. Good, his daughter was awake. He could get all of this mess sorted out and have her on a plane for New Mexico this evening.

“Mr. Forrester?”

The hesitant voice snapped him out of his own musings and he looked over at the little blond. ’Tara,’ he thought to himself, ’her name is Tara.’ He smiled at her and saw a bit of relief blossom in her eyes, “What can I do for ya?”

She took a deep breath and seemed to steady herself, “Well you never did tell me why I was here. You told me that you were Buffy’s biological father and would be taking care of her, but what does that have to do with me?”

Edward let a pensive look flow into his eyes and the smile to fade a bit, even as he sneered at her on the inside, “Well Ms. McClay, Buffy needs some closure and you’re a part of that.”

Tara nodded and seemed to deflate a little bit. “It was just horrid, everything that happened.”

Edward shook his head. “Don’t worry about it until we can all discuss it.” He smiled at her and walked into the living room, “Let’s get everyone up and going. Buffy will be out of the shower soon.”

* * * * * *

Buffy stepped out of the shower and took a deep breath. Someone had started coffee. ’Edward must be back,’ she thought as she toweled off and dried her hair. A little shiver of discontent went down her spine. She felt so much better, but the memories of sorrow still tried to drag at her. Strength flooded her when she thought of her mother’s dream visit, but she knew this wouldn’t last. It never did. She shook herself and pushed those thoughts away, ’Just get dressed, take it one step at a time,’ she thought to herself.

“Come on Buffy!” Edward’s voice called from the hallway as she was finishing her hair. “There are things we need to get sorted out.”

“Coming, Dad,” Buffy called as she took one last deep breath before opening the bathroom door and heading down the stairs.

’Time to face it all. Time to let everything fall where it will and damn the consequences, she thought as she stepped in to the living room.

It was a shock to see what was happening though, it was nothing like she had imagined. Everyone, Edward, Giles, Anya, Xander, Willow and Tara, were all sitting there, and they looked calm. No one looked to be in pain. They seemed a little tense, but Edward was in the room, if they hadn’t been tense, they would have been dead.

Edward smiled and patted the seat next to him and Buffy carefully sat down, almost afraid to upset whatever delicate balance she had going on. “So what are we doing?” Buffy asked quietly.

Edward chuckled softly, “I didn’t think you’d be patient.” Buffy just rolled her eyes and waited, “Look at them, do you notice anything?”

Buffy turned to her friends, they all looked subdued. At least that’s what first popped into her head. Either that, or they were afraid to move. “What did you do to them?”

Edward shook his head and just motioned towards them again. Buffy got up and walked over to them, “What is going on guys?”

Xander just shook his head and didn’t say anything, though she did notice a flash of pain through his eyes. Giles opened his mouth to speak, but closed it at a glare from Edward. Buffy sighed and looked more closely, it looked like he was wearing something new, but she couldn’t really see it. She reached out and could feel it, some type of necklace, but why couldn’t she see it? Buffy turned and faced her father, “What did you do?”

Edward smiled, “I thought you would want something unique, so I went for justice instead of vengeance.”

Buffy signed and walked over to him, “That didn’t answer my question Daddy.”

His smile turned from friendly to rather terrifying and Buffy just scowled at him. “They’re just getting a taste of reality.”

“Why are you being so difficult about this?” Buffy asked softly. “Just tell me what you did.”

Edward stood up and walked towards her slowly, “They’re getting a taste of what it feels like to wake up and feel like you’re in hell. Every breeze scorches their skin, every movement feels heavy and painful, every thought brings them sorrow, and every feeling turns back to the fact that they no longer know the bliss of heaven.”

Buffy jerked back from him, “And how did you do this?” she whispered it softly. Hearing exactly what she had felt these many months startled her. She didn’t know that anyone else could know what it felt like.

“I had a witch I know visit your grave this morning. She pulled every last bit of memory out of the wood and earth. And with just a little bit of prodding she placed all of that into four simple little amulets.”

Buffy shook her head and turned back to her friends, “And what about limits?”

“Limits?” Edward asked softly. He turned and glared at the people sitting on the couch, “They should just be happy I didn’t eviscerate them where they stood and use their still beating hearts as pincushions.”

Willow, Xander and Tara all paled as he said it. Anya looked a little impressed at the visual, but her face quickly went from that to sorrow. Her hand came up and clutched at something near her chest, but Buffy couldn’t see it. Buffy knelt down next to Anya, avoiding touching her and just smiled, “It’ll get better,” she said softly. Disbelief showed in Anya’s eyes.

“When does it stop, Daddy?” Buffy turned, still kneeling in front of the couch. “What kind of limits did the witch put on the necklaces?”

Edward shook his head, “I had her remove them. They deserve to live a life of pain for what they did to you!”

Buffy stood slowly and walked towards Edward, “But that isn’t justice.” Edward glared at her, but Buffy continued, “Please, Daddy, please have the witch come and put some limits on it?”

He stubbornly shook his head, “I have already limited their punishment! They will live.”

Buffy shook her head, “But there has to be an end. I am alive and I will be happy again. I want them to have the same chance.”

Edward sighed and reached up pushing a strand of her hair behind her ear. “You’re not going to let this go are you?” Buffy shook her head. “And you’ll hate me if I don’t do it.”

Buffy shook her head, “I won’t hate you, but it would prove that you’re just like them.”

Edward flinched but pulled out cell phone. “Come to Buffy’s,” were the only words he uttered into it.

“Thank you, Buffy,” Giles whispered. Buffy just turned and smiled at him.

“At least Dad didn’t do this to you,” she whispered.

“Of course I didn’t,” Edward said softly. “He had nothing to do with this situation.”

Buffy just shook her head and leaned her head on her father’s shoulder. “Thank you for that.”

Edward just snorted and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, “I told you I was being fair.” Buffy giggled at the belligerent tone he used. “After all, someone needed to still be sane to take care of the other four.”

Buffy just sighed and slapped her father’s shoulder, “You are incorrigible.”

“He’s acting like a child,” Giles stated.

Buffy just smiled up at her father as he glared at Giles, “He’s just upset because I asked him to change things. He’s not used to having someone question his methods, especially not someone he cares about.”

Giles snorted and lapsed back into silence. Buffy continued to lean against Edward, thinking about what she was going to tell the witch. Edward just sat there and glared at everyone, wishing he’d gone with his first instinct and drugged the hell out of his daughter until the bodies were hidden and they were halfway to New Mexico.

The doorbell ringing jerked Buffy away from her position and towards the door. “That was quick,” Buffy commented before she’d made it out of the living room.

Edward just smiled, “It’s good to be Death.”

Buffy ushered the woman into the house and gestured towards the living room. “They’re in there. I hope you can do what I want.”

The woman just looked at Edward with a slight amount of loathing in her gaze, “Anything is better than what he ‘requested’ I do.”

Buffy just shook her head and sent a glare her father’s way. “Well I want you to put a limit on it, if that helps. I just need to know what my options are.”

The woman nodded and turned back around so that she was walking out of the living room. “The terms cannot be stated in front of those affected.”

Edward moved to follow the pair and growled at Giles on the way, “Just stay here. We can sort this out without you.”

Giles sat back down and did his best not to jostle the people next to him while doing it.

Tara whimpered softly, “I cannot believe she lived through this for all these months.” Anya and Xander both nodded their heads.

“No wonder she’s been so much more quiet,” Xander whispered.

Anya just closed her eyes tight and let the tears fall. She wished with everything in her that she was a Vengeance Demon again; she could get some type of resolution to all this mess without the need for these pesky little amulets.

Willow just sat with her eyes closed, seeming to sink into herself and forget that anyone was around her. When she didn’t respond to statements made by her friends, Giles glared at her and had a bad feeling about what was about to happen.

* * * * * *

Buffy settled in her normal chair at the dining room table and motioned for the woman to sit across from her. “So where do we need to start?”

The woman smile, “Well my name is Morgaine, and the first place we need to start is payment.”

Buffy’s eyes widened and she looked at Edward. “What the hell have you gotten me into?” Buffy asked, rolling her eyes.

Edward smirked at Buffy, “You’re the one that wants to change the terms.”

The woman held up her hands, “Let’s just say that I’m more neutral and leave it at that.” Buffy nodded and Edward sat next to his daughter. Morgaine continued, “As far as terms, I say that my debt to Death here is paid in full and he owes me a favor.”

Buffy shook her head, “No, this is me asking you, not him. If it were up to him he’d just kill them to end their suffering.”

Edward smirked and sat down next to his daughter, “See, I told you she knew me.”

Morgaine just shook her head, “And you know that I cannot have someone like her owing me a favor!”

Edward just nodded his head, “But it’s not my problem. She said exactly what she meant.”

Morgaine just shook her head and stared at Buffy. “I cannot do anything without some form of payment agreed upon.”

Buffy just looked at her with a smile, “Well, what do you want to start out with.”

Another shake of a head, “It has to be something that can be fulfilled easily but still worth something.” Morgaine seemed to think about it some more. “Do you happen to have the sword that you killed Angel with?”

Buffy’s face paled and she looked down at her hands, “Yes, I do.”

Morgaine sat quietly for a moment, analyzing the reaction, “Then that will be enough. The mystical and emotional energy that I can harvest from that will be enough to do what you’re asking and leave a little something for me.”

Buffy’s head jerked up quickly and she looked at the woman, “What exactly is it that you do?”

Morgaine smiled, “Didn’t Edward tell you?” Buffy shook her head. “I deal in emotions. I deal in retribution. I am close to completing everything I need to do to summon D’Hoffryn and become a vengeance demon.”

Buffy rolled her eyes, “Ask Anya about that when we’re done here. She’ll get you to that a lot faster than if you do it on your own.” Morgaine’s eyes widened a bit. “Yeah, didn’t you know? Anya was a vengeance demon.”

Morgaine chuckled, “Then that is the end of the bargain. I have everything I need, except for the conditions.”

Buffy took a deep breath, “What do I have to work with?”

“Mainly their emotions and their thoughts.”

Buffy nodded and sat silently for a moment. “I want whatever amulet you made this into to be permanent. It needs to sink into them and become a tattoo, I want them to have a constant reminder to think before they act.” Buffy paused and took a deep breath, “The longer it takes for them to meet the next requirement the more defined the tattoo should be.”

Morgaine nodded, “I can make it seem like the amulet was attached to them if it takes more than whatever time frame you request; the metal actually melding with their skin, instead of a different image. Otherwise the amulet will dissipate and an image will be pulled from their thoughts to anchor the moment through the tattoo.”

Buffy nodded, “That’s exactly what I want.” She looked over at her father, and he reached under the table to hold her hand when he saw the sorrow on her face. “The time limit should be the same number of days since they did the spell to this day. It’s taken me that long just to be able to function, it shouldn’t take them longer than that to realize what they put me through and truly regret it.”

Morgaine looked at Buffy in shock, “You want me to tie it to that?”

Buffy nodded. “They need to realize what they have done to me, and it needs to be more than just understanding the words.” She looked at the witch and her eyes held tears. “They need to know that no matter how much they missed me and wanted me back that pulling me from that peace was wrong. I don’t want them driven to the point of killing me to send me back to it, I’m happy here again and I want to live my life. I don’t want them driven to the point of killing themselves, is there a way to stop it before that point?”

Morgaine nodded, “This is very complex. Connecting it to the emotion instead of just the thought will be very difficult.”

Buffy just smirked, “You thought I would be easy?”

Morgaine just shook her head and chuckled, “I can see Death in you now.”

Buffy squeezed her father’s hand, “He’s always been a part of me, I just wasn’t ready to show it.”

Morgaine smiled, “Is that it?”

Buffy stopped and thought for a moment, “Make sure the limits are there. I don’t want them to kill themselves or others to try to make it stop. If they realize it within the timeframe, just a small mark left on them, in remembrance. And tie it to the emotion instead of just the thought so they can’t fake their way out.”

Morgaine nodded and stood, “I’ve got what I need, let’s go get this done.”

* * * * * *

Anya looked at the witch with barely concealed longing. Every part of her was screaming to do anything to make this stop. She didn’t know how Buffy had stood it for as long as she had.

The woman knelt there, whispering so softly that Anya could not hear her and holding the amulet in her hand. It took a good minute for the words to stop and the woman looked at Anya and smiled, “You’re well on your way.” She stood and patted Anya softly on the head. Anya looked at her in confusion, but that shifted to fascination as she watched her do the same thing for Xander.

The same kneeling and pulling the amulet out from under his shirt and away from his skin, but it didn’t take as long before she was standing up. He smiled at the woman and nodded his head when she told him the same thing. “Anything for the Buffster,” he said back to her.

The woman nodded and knelt in front of Tara next. The soft chant took longer, but when the woman uttered the final word and stood, the amulet melted into dust and settled onto Tara’s neck, a small tattoo, a golden butterfly, imprinted there. “You have a bright soul,” the woman said to Tara, standing and stepping back, “Don’t let anyone shadow that with thoughtless words.” Tara nodded and smiled at her shyly.

She knelt in front of Willow and took a moment to snap the poor girl out of the trance she had placed herself into. “You will not be like the others,” the woman predicted and started her chant. The words picked up speed and volume the longer she held the amulet, and when she was done she slipped the now visible jewelry under Willow’s shirt and smirked at the girl. “You are no where near being done.” She stood and backed away. “You, I will have to re-visit as the binding I placed upon you is not complete. But it will be,” the woman said with a smile, “and I will enjoy every moment of it.”

She nodded to Buffy, “Please have Death deliver the agreed upon price before you leave.”

Buffy nodded and stood to walk the woman to the door. “Thank you for assisting me with this.”

Morgaine smiled and hugged Buffy lightly, “I got my price, even more than you expect.” She smiled as she stepped back from Buffy.

Buffy looked at her with questioning eyes, “Your little friend, Willow?” Buffy nodded. “I know some Wiccans that will owe me a lot for putting a stop to her.”

Buffy saw Willow jerk out of the corner of her eye, “What do you mean?” Buffy asked softly.

“Don’t worry about it dear, it’s nothing for the Slayer and Death to worry over.” Morgaine looked at Edward and glared, “And just remember that.” Edward nodded. Morgaine turned her gaze to Giles, “And you should be ashamed of yourself, allowing that child to continue as she has!”

Giles took his glasses off and sighed, “I hoped, but I guess that was in vane. It shall be dealt with.”

Morgaine shook her head, “I will see that it is dealt with. You need to return to England and let your Council know that this bright one is now out of their hands.” She said the last while motioning to Buffy. “And you,” she said, turning back to Buffy, “go and leave this place behind. The Dark Slayer will awaken and be much better for some time away from your Light.”

Buffy smiled and shook her head, “Whatever you say.”

Morgaine laughed as she let herself out of the house.

* * * * * *

Everyone sat in the living room, waiting for Edward to finish talking to Buffy in the dining room. Willow kept trying to talk to Giles, but he would just glare at her until she closed her mouth.

“So what now?” Tara asked softly finally breaking the silence, her hand caressing the butterfly tattoo on her neck.

“We go on,” Buffy whispered, as she walked back in the room. “You heard her.”

Willow jumped up, “You can’t just go on what she said! We need you!”

Xander looked sad as he turned to his long time friend, and then to Buffy. “You’re leaving aren’t you?”

Buffy nodded and smiled, “There’s nothing left for me here. Faith will wake up soon, and by what Morgaine said, she’ll be better if I’m not here. Giles will get everything cleared with the Council and I’ll be with my father. It’s time for me to find my place again.”

Xander smiled a bit and stood. “I’ll miss you, alright?”

Buffy nodded, “I’ll miss you too.”

Xander’s hand went to his amulet, “And I’ll figure this out. Don’t worry alright?”

Buffy nodded again, “If anyone can do it, it’s you.”

Anya stood and stepped in between the two of them. “I’ll do it too!”

Buffy smiled and stood, “I know you will Anya.” They hugged each other, “And Morgaine will be by to see you again soon. She has some questions for the famous Anyaka.”

Anya smiled briefly and turned towards Xander, “Let’s go home.”

Xander nodded. “I think we need time to ourselves.” He said this while looking at Willow.

Willow watched the two of them leave and then turned to stare at Tara and Buffy.

“I’m so happy for you Tara.” Buffy whispered it while they hugged each other. Tara opened her mouth to say something but Buffy just shook her head. “I’ll call you when I get to Dad’s and then we can talk. You can’t talk about what you know in front of anyone else with the amulet.”

Tara nodded and smiled, “Alright, I understand.”

Willow moved closer to hear what they were saying and Buffy changed the subject. “So, you still have the same phone number right?” Tara nodded. “I’m sure Dad will get me a cell phone once we get to where we’re going and I’ll call you.”

Tara hugged her again and walked towards the door, not even acknowledging Willow the entire time. “I’ll miss you Buffy.” Buffy just smiled and closed the door after Tara.

Buffy leaned her head against the door as she heard Willow walk up behind her. “I’m leaving the house to Giles and the Council,” Buffy said softly. “It will be up to him how long you stay and where you stay. This house will be for the sole use of whatever Slayer is here.”

Willow gasped, “Buffy...” she said softly.

But Buffy just turned and stared straight at her, “I can’t stay here any longer Willow. I can’t.”

Willow just shook her head. “And what are we doing with Dawn? Are you just going to abandon her just like you’re doing to the rest of us?!”

Buffy shook her head, both at Willow and at her Father who was now standing behind Willow glaring at her. “Edward has already taken care of all of that. Dawn has already been told that she is going to go live with her father. Movers will be here by the end of the week to pack up her stuff and ship it overseas. She’s already agreed that it’s the best thing for her, especially now that she knows the private school he’ll be sending her too is Co-Ed.”

Willow seemed to deflate at that. “But what will we do without you?” she whined.

“You’ll live.” Buffy whispered softly. “The movers will also pack up a majority of my stuff and send it to wherever I’m going to be. The furniture will not be coming with me, just most of my stuff and some of my mother’s. The rest is for you and Giles to deal with.” Buffy looked over Willow’s other shoulder and smiled at Giles. “You’ll come visit me right?”

Willow glared as Buffy ignored her.

“Of course I will!” Giles exclaimed. “You just go with your father and get on with your life. Just remember that you may leave Sunnydale behind, but the Vampires will always know you.”

Buffy nodded and stepped around Willow to give him a hug. “We have a late flight tonight, but I’ll let you know where I am.”

Giles smiled and hugged her back. “I’ll let you know how Faith gets along once she’s up and going.”

Buffy just took a deep breath, memorizing the comforting scent of Giles before stepping back. “My bag is already packed,” she said to her father without looking at him.

Edward moved silently up to her, and shook Giles’ hand. “Thank you,” he said softly and then turned to walk away.

“It was my pleasure,” Giles said as he stared at Buffy.

Buffy kept the smile on her face, but let the tears fall as she backed away from him, “You’re the best Watcher,” she said to him. “Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.” She stopped and stared at Willow and then looked at Giles again. “Help her as much as you can.”

Giles nodded and watched Buffy grab her bag off the stairs and run out the door after her father.

Willow ran towards the door, but stopped as she watched Buffy climb up into the passenger seat of the Hummer, chattering at her father the entire time.

“I lost her,” Willow whispered softly.

“She was never yours in the first place,” Giles said as he closed the door in front of her.

* * * * * *
* * * * * *

As always, I don’t have a Beta because I’m anal that way. Any mistakes are mine, let me know what you think of it and hopefully the plot bunnies will get poked enough for the next chapters of this and Her Vacation to come magically to my head and the next update to not take this long.

The End?

You have reached the end of "Bright Little Girl" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 29 Jan 07.

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