: Fresh StartAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupDisclaimer
: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.Rating
: B:tVS, SG-1. Buffy settles in at Sam's house and meets Janet Frasier
. 1200 words.Spoilers
: B:tVS through 2.22 "Becoming, Part 2". Stargate SG-1 through 2.02 "In the Line of Duty".Notes
: Sequel to "Can I Keep You?" Written for TwistedShorts #50 "Beat the Clock", from 11:45pm to 12:45am July 30/31. Also fills TtH100 #47, Fantasies.
Buffy's first day or so with her birth mother-- with Sam-- was very nearly idyllic. Sam had asked only a few questions about why she was there-- had something happened to Joyce, was she in physical danger back home, that kind of thing-- and then promised to give her space, let her spill the rest in her own time. They had at least until school started up again to get things settled, after all, and Sam thankfully appeared to be in no hurry to get rid of her.
Sam was also on medical leave for something classified she couldn't talk about, which made Buffy a little nervous, but it also meant a lot of uninterrupted getting-to-know-you time. They watched sappy movies together, discovering similar tastes in the old classics, ate a lot of ice cream, and talked in general terms about safe topics. Sam had a guest bedroom that she insisted Buffy take, and on Buffy's second day there she took her shopping for a few basic decorations to make the space more hers.
Buffy was busy hanging up the ice skating poster she'd picked for nostalgia value when the doorbell rang unexpectedly. She dropped the hammer in shock, then swore as it bounced off her foot; advanced Slayer healing didn't make the initial pain any less, from either cause. She should have known it wouldn't just be she and Sam in a bubble forever, no matter how protected and cared for it made her feel. Of course Sam had friends, and they'd want to know who she was.
Buffy picked up the hammer again, tension thrumming through the muscles in her back, as she waited for Sam to knock on her bedroom door and ask her to come out. She got the last tack in before it came; then she took a deep breath, admiring the elegant figure of Michelle Kwan curving her way across the Nagano ice, and went to the door to open it.
"Beth?" Sam looked almost as nervous as she did, which made her feel better. "I'd like to introduce you to someone, if you don't mind. A friend of mine-- she's also my doctor, and works at the same base I do. She, um, she has an adopted daughter a few years younger than you--"
"Cassie," Buffy said, realizing who it must be. "I saw her name in one of the letters you sent Mom, I mean, Joyce."
"You read the letters?" Sam asked in surprise, blonde eyebrows raised high. Then she shook her head and gave her an apologetic glance. "Sorry, I promised I wouldn't ask yet. Yes, this is Cassie's mom, Janet Frasier."
Buffy bit her lip, considering, then nodded. If she wanted to stay here-- if she wanted Sam to keep her-- it would probably be best to go along with whatever she wanted, at least for now. And really, there probably wasn't anything to be scared of. Dr. Frasier was Sam's friend; she wouldn't, couldn't, make Buffy go back to Sunnydale.
Buffy followed Sam back to the living room, a nervous, plastic smile pasted in place, then blinked and gave an actual smile as she saw the lady she was going to meet. The doctor had on heeled shoes at least two inches high, but without them she would have been shorter than Buffy by at least an inch. Finally, someone besides Jonathan Levinson who wasn't taller than she was!
"Janet, I want to introduce you to, um, Elizabeth Carter," Sam said. "Beth. Though she's been going by Buffy Summers for the last seventeen years." Then Sam fidgeted a little, glancing between Buffy and Dr. Frasier. She looked fairly calm, but Buffy could see the worry in her eyes.
"Carter?" Janet asked, surprise in her voice as she smiled pleasantly at Buffy, then turned a questioning gaze on Sam.
"Yes," Sam said quietly. "She's my daughter."
"Daughter?" That set Dr. Frasier back on her heels; her eyes widened a little, and she stared at Sam a little longer before turning back to Buffy. Then the calculating lines went out of her expression and she smiled at Buffy again, genuine welcome in the curve of her lips and the twinkle in her eyes. "I'm pleased to meet you," she said. "Do you go by Buffy now, or Beth?"
Buffy cleared her throat, glancing nervously at Sam again, as much to reassure her mother as herself. "I'm going by Beth," she said. "At least-- as long as I can stay. I came here for a fresh start." That was more than she'd even told Sam before, but she figured it was fairly safe to admit it.
"I see," Janet said. "Well, if you do settle here, I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more of you," she said, a warmth of welcome in her voice that Buffy wanted very badly to trust. "I'll bring Cassie to meet you, and when Sam's gone on longer missions you'll probably be staying with me."
"Missions?" Buffy asked, turning to Sam in alarm. She knew Sam was in the Air Force, but she'd thought that since the Captain was stationed up at Cheyenne Mountain that she must have something like a desk job doing scientific research.
Sam winced. "Usually just short ones," she said apologetically. "Field surveying, stuff like that. It isn't always safe, but it's very valuable work-- I haven't had a chance to talk to my team leader yet, but I'll see if we can arrange something so I can stay back from the more dangerous missions from now on. There have to be other astrophysicists employed by the Air Force who can substitute for me occasionally."
She didn't look very enthusiastic about that-- it must really be an amazing job, though it didn't sound like much from her description-- but she was offering to bend her work to Buffy's needs, something that Hank Summers had never been willing to do. Even Joyce, with her more flexible schedule at the art gallery, had moved to Sunnydale as much because the financial climate was better there as from any concern that it would be the best for her daughter.
Buffy blinked as tears welled unexpectedly in her eyes, and she gave Sam a wavering smile. "Okay," she said. "I can deal."
Sam made a hesitant gesture, then rolled her eyes at herself and stepped toward Buffy, wrapping her up in a hug. Buffy leaned against her shoulder, feeling strangely safe there, and sniffled a little.
She knew she was going to have to mention the Slayer thing eventually, lay it out up front and honest. But until then, she was going to enjoy as much of this normal-girl fantasy as she could get. She had felt more loved and appreciated in the past twenty-four hours than she had in a long time back home. She missed her friends, and Giles, and even Joyce-- but they also reminded her too much of the tragedies and betrayals and grief she'd so recently endured. Colorado was
a fresh start, and Buffy intended to take as much advantage of that as she was allowed.
Maybe, in a couple of months, she'd write her friends-- but not just yet.