All in the Golden Afternoon
The Grace of Fate
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and all related characters are copyright Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, Showtime and the SciFi Network. No infringement intended. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright Joss Whedon and ME. No infringement intended.
Spoilers: All of BTVS and Stargate seasons 1-8 and the first episode of season 9 ‘Avalon’
Synopsis: Mitchell has some rehabilitation to deal with and gets a visit from the longest living Slayer. All in the Golden Afternoon
It was Alice’s first day as a candy striper and she walked the chemically staled halls of the Cleveland Clinic with her short black hair in artful curls around Bettie Page bangs. She blinked her heavily-lined eyes and reread her instructions for the day. Alice’s brow rose high as she realized her chores ranged from pillow fluffing to reading to a few elderly patients. Cakewalk.
Her pale arms just peeked out from beneath the bundle of blankets she carried her first room, and she scanned the name listed on the chart before entering. Mitchell, Cameron was absently watching a basketball game, his legs held up in a series of loose pulleys to help hinder mobility so that his surgery would have a higher rate of success, allowing only enough movement should his legs fall into spasm.
The blue of his eyes warmed at the sight of another person as they flicked toward her and Alice was offered the sweetest smile by a man twice her age. She blushed and thanked whatever God there was that her friends weren’t there to see it.
“Hi.” Did her voice just crack?
His smile widened. “Hello.” It did, damn.
Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell watched as the cute teen tried her hardest to compose herself and arched a brow. She carried a pile of thin blankets and she bit her bottom lip nervously causing her labret piercing to wink in the florescent lighting. He nearly shook his head at the daringness of youth and their constant struggle to be different.
“Did you need something?”
Cameron smiled and motioned with his arm to the table only a few feet from his side, “If you don’t mind too much, I can’t seem to reach the remote. My soaps will be on soon. I never miss an episode.”
He sighed, “I’m kidding.”
“Oh…sure.” Another nervous smile pulled at the corners of her mouth as a second blush stole up her cheeks. Cameron wondered vaguely if she was going to pass out.
Alice took a few hesitant steps forward and as she neared his bed one arm freed itself to grasp the remote while the other juggled the blankets. Now the teenager had never been known for her fine motor skills and while she was trying, Alice felt the sheets slip through her arms. As she took the last step forward and moved to hand Cameron the remote one of the blankets unraveled to tangle at her feet. The raven-haired girl stumbled and bumped against the bed. Dropping the load of blankets to brace her other arm against the gurney was the only way she could stay upright.
Unfortunately she dropped them at just the right angle to have one catch on the edge of Cameron’s right leg. The pulley wretched with the added weight and he jerked forward reaching to knock the offending cloth for his thigh. His fingertips brushed the soft fabric but it remained stubbornly in place causing wave after wave of fire to pulse through his hips.
Alice stumbled back, tears filling her eyes, and echoed him. “Oh God!”
He turned toward her, “Help…”
She was gone and the pain radiating from his thigh was both wonderful and agonizing. He could feel. Oh god, could he feel. Cameron fell back against the bed and tried to slow his breathing, while ignoring the throbbing focused in his lower back as it brought his leg back to life with needle pricks. Sweat broke out across his brow and he muttered in pain.
“Oh God!” He closed his eyes tight and never thought to press the call button beside his left hand.
The petite woman walking steadily down the desolate corridor hated hospitals, with their too-clean halls and white-wearing-after-Labor Day doctors. Buffy Summers’ eyes narrowed at just the thought of doctors and their scalpel wielding power. She shuddered and continued on her way down the nearly deserted hallway, her heels making an oddly comforting knocking against the linoleum tiled floor.
Nancy, one of Faith’s newbie Slayers and a student at the high school where Buffy worked, was currently in a perpetual state of unconsciousness. Stupid vampires with baseball bats and good aim. It didn’t matter that Faith staked him right after he swung. It mattered that one of their girls was currently stuck in a vegetative state and would remain there until the doctors were sure that the swelling in her brain had subsided. Stupid helpful doctors.
The blonde sighed and slowed her hurried pace as she neared the elevators. Her green eyes flickered across the hall at a sudden shout from inside one of the patient rooms. Then, a sobbing girl, no older than Nancy, raced out into the corridor.
The girl streaked past and quickly ran down the hall, her heavy boots making for an awkward gallop. Buffy’s gaze was drawn back toward the room at the heated mumbles from inside, and the moan of pain. Ignoring the little voice in her head to get a nurse, she stepped up to the entrance and shifted her gaze around the small, private room.
A man lay supine on his hospital bed, legs pulled up in traction with a pale pink blanket caught on the limb closest to her. Without thinking she walked forward and gently removed the offending piece of cloth; her hand instinctively steadied his leg as it shuddered from the slight movement.
Cam felt the fire in his hips lessen and a delicate touch immobilize his leg once more. He peeked one eye open expecting to see one of the Nazi-like nurses hovering over him, wanting to take his blood pressure, again. The other eye opened quickly in surprise and he met a pretty blonde’s concerned stare, head on.
She gave an elegant shrug of her shoulder, “No biggie.”
His gaze fell on the hand that still lay on his thigh. Buffy followed his gaze and shifted away, slowly extracting her hand to keep from jarring him.
“Sorry.” She took a step back.
Cameron watched the blonde begin her retreat and leapt at the chance to talk to someone outside his circle of support. His family was always there and they were great, but he could only hear the same stories of Granddad’s apparently unhealthy obsession with badminton so many times, before he lost his mind.
“Not a problem. I’m Cam.”
The blonde inclined her head at the offered hand before giving him a slow smile.
He raised a brow but held back a comment. His mother had raised him better than that and his father taught him never to mock a pretty woman-scratch the pretty-you don’t mock a woman. Period.
Said pretty woman was watching his inner dialogue face with amusement and he offered her his most charming smile.
Buffy’s eyes widened, “Do you need anything else?”
She blinked and opened her mouth to comment but a Nazi nurse had the bad timing to come rushing in the room, eyes wide.
“Colonel Mitchell?” The caregiver’s eyes scanned the room and raised a brow at his guest. “Alice said there was a problem…”
Cameron smiled easily at the woman as she hurried forward. “Nah, just a little technical issue. Buffy here gave me a helping hand.”
The nurse sent a not entirely friendly look over her shoulder toward the Slayer. Buffy kept in place the neutral face she usually reserved for her counseling sessions and guessed that somebody had a crush. Her eyes floated back toward the Colonel with an apparent flirting problem. He offered her a pleading look that she recognized as one she would have had if stuck inside the white walls of hell.
With a sigh and a mental berating of being a sucker for a pair of pretty eyes, damn Spike. She moved to his other side as the nurse finished checking his stats. The other woman sent her a questioning look before exciting the room and leaving the two alone.
“So…come here often?”
A surprised laugh escaped the blonde’s lips as she shifted toward him. “Not if I can help it, Colonel.”
His smile was boyish, “You caught that, did ya?”
“Aren’t you a little young to be a Colonel?”
He raised a brow at the observation and the backhanded way of asking his age. He ignored the inquiry, “Not really.” He shrugged and shifted the pillow at his back. “Now that you know something about me, tell me something about you.”
“Quid pro quo?”
He blinked. “I’m sorry.”
“Its Latin, it means, this for that. Haven’t you ever seen ‘Silence of the Lambs’?”
“Can’t say that, I have.”
She arched a brow, high. “You’ve never seen it?”
At his affirmative nod, she said, “That’s kinda sad.”
He sent her a mocking smile. “I don’t usually like horror movies.”
Ignoring the fact that she was talking to a stranger, she asked, “Why’s that?”
“There’s enough horrible and terrifying stuff in the world as it is. Why add to it?”
“’Cause it’s a good movie?”
He snorted. “What is that you do for a living, Miss Buffy?”
“High school guidance councilor.”
“See, now that has to be horrible and terrifying.”
She laughed. “Sometimes, and that’s Ms. Summers to you, Colonel.”
He frowned at her use of his title. “I take it you dislike the military.”
“Dislike is a little harsh, I prefer iffy.” She nodded to herself. “I’m iffy about the military.”
Iffy? Cameron became a little endeared with her use of English. “Well I’m not in just any military, I’m in the Air Force.”
Without thinking she blurted out what Riley and Forest had called that particular branch of the armed forces. “The chair force!” That got her a fierce frown and she blushed, “Sorry, dated a guy who was in the Army.”
“How often did he change his beret?”
That pulled an amused smirk across her face. “About as often as he added patches to his right shoulder.”
Cameron gave her extra points for agreeing, but she was still behind with the ‘chair force’ comment. “So why have you come to lovely setting that is ‘Cleveland Clinic’?”
Her smile wilted around the edges, “A student of mine was admitted a few nights ago, she was attacked.”
She gave another Gallic shrug that meant absolutely nothing to the Col. “As you said, horrible things happen.”
Her gaze flicked over his legs before they met his head on. “It seems you’ve been on the receiving end of some of the horrible.”
“And the terrifying.” His eyes clouded for a moment before he gave a long blink. Buffy inclined her neck in agreement, and noticed that the blue of his eyes was definitely more intense up close. They were clear and sweet like a summer morning in Cali, sometimes she missed the sun.
“Enough about me, I’m more interested in you.”
A slow smile spread at his casual flirtation and the fact that she felt stable enough in her life to reciprocate it.
“Likewise, Colonel, likewise.”