A/N: I originally had planned on writing more of this story before posting any but my continued problem with the nerves in my wrist that has stopped me writing for over two weeks now... So anyway I figured I would post the first part.
Title: Broken 1/?
Author: David A. Knapton
Archived: If you want but it is polite to let the author know you are doing so
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The characters of BtVS and Gilmore Girls belong to Joss Whedon and Amy Sherman-Palladino (and various companies) who in this writer’s opinion should be worshipped as gods.
Spoiler: Season 5 of Buffy and Season 1 of GG starting at the end of 1.21 Love, Daisies, and Troubadours.
Rating: This part 12A/PG-13 but overall 15/R
Pairing: Do not want to tell you until the end of this part. But will have a slash pairing.
Summery: See challenge. I am making Buffy and the gang’s confrontation with Glory about a month earlier than the show i.e. April not May.
Notes on various things that happened, or not, on GG: The PJ Harvey ticket thing did not happen. Rory is also back with Dean. And although this is set after 1.21 Max’s marriage proposal has not happened yet?
Notes: I thought I would finally have a go at the challenge that inspired my story A Time to Live but this time actually following it more or less???? I decided that Rory is away for the night at her grandparents at the start of the first part, because oh let’s just say she is doing a project at school early Saturday morning and does not want the hassle of an early morning bus ride. Also Rune left town as Jackson had hoped and did not get the ‘handyman’ job at the Inn.
In this World Giles died of his injuries in Weight of the World.
And Dawn succeeds in sacrificing herself in the Gift.
Having had enough pain.
Buffy leaves Sunnydale and whether through chance or divine intervention.
She ends up in Stars Hallow.
Staying at the Inn.
The girls end up getting close to the Broken Slayer.
Sort of becoming a Surrogate Mother and Sister to her and help her heal.
Can Be any Pairing. Het or Slash
Thanks so much to my great beta Tamara.
‘’ = Thought. [Flashback] = Ah duh Flashback
Feedback: If you wish
Please note I am English, so is my spelling. Live with it.
She stumbled into the square, her leather jacket in one hand trailing along the ground and a half-empty bottle of Tequila in the other. She had no idea how she got here or even where here was. She had spent the better part of a month in the bottom of a bottle. Her jacket fell to the ground, staggering to the nearby bench she fell sideways onto it, only her enhanced agility preventing the contents of the bottle spilling onto the ground.
Sitting back up, she brought the bottle to her lips, emptying a good portion down her throat, tears running down her cheeks again. She lowered the bottle to the bench, letting it go, it tipped over and the remaining alcohol began running out and through the slats onto the ground unnoticed.
“Are you alright honey?” asked a voice.
The drunken woman looked up with bleary eyes to see a woman of indeterminate age standing in front of her. All she could make out in her present condition was the head of brunette hair. “Dawn?” she whispered.
“No honey, my names Lorelai,” said the woman sitting on the opposite side to the bottle. “I asked if you are okay, only you look like hell?”
The woman barked out a laugh, “Been there, didn’t wait for the t-shirt.”
“What’s your name honey?” asked Lorelai gently placing her hand on the blonde’s forearm.
“B-oofy,” slurred Boofy as she past out.
Lorelai caught the tiny blonde before she could fall onto the almost empty bottle of Tequila. “Okay Boofy. Who the hell names there kid Boofy. I think you should come home with me, Taylor would probably have you locked up if he saw you.”
Lorelai managed to get the blonde to her feet, almost falling when she stopped to retrieve the leather jacket. However much the young woman had drunk, and by the smell of her breath and clothes, it was a lot. She still seemed capable of at least staggering along so it only took a couple of minutes for Lorelai to get them both to her car and strap the blonde in. “Please don’t be sick,” she pleaded before closing the passenger door and hurrying around to the driver’s side.
Some ten minutes later, Lorelai was helping Boofy through her front door, “This is just for one night, okay hon. once you’re sober in the morning, you leave okay.” She helped the blonde to the couch and eased her down. She then set about removing some of Boofy’s clothes, stripping her down to a red halter-top and panties. Lorelai wrinkled her nose at the smell coming from the clothes on the floor, it seemed likely that the blonde, quietly snoring on the couch, had not changed or washed in some weeks? “Okay I’ll see what Rory has clean you can sleep in and I’ll put your things in the wash, okay hon?”
All Lorelai received was a low groan. “Okay I’ll take that as a yes,” she said. She stopped at the closet to grab a blanket and pillow before going to Rory’s room, coming back a few minutes later with one of the oversized Harvard t-shirts her daughter would occasionally use as sleepwear. Lorelai sat Boofy up and pulled the halter-top over her head; frowning at the numerous scars marring what was otherwise perfect skin. “God how did you get those?”
“Duty,” mumbled Boofy. “Soo tired.”
Lorelai’s eyes misted up at the total despair in the blonde’s voice, not sure if Boofy meant she was tired of life or just tired. She quickly put the t-shirt over the blonde’s head, she then reached behind Boofy and unclipped her bra and eased it off before putting Boofy’s arms into the arm holes.
“Not gay,” Boofy mumbled.
Lorelai smiled, “That’s okay honey, I’m not either.” She pulled the shirt down over Boofy and laying her down again, she reached up under it and pulled the blonde’s panties off. She then placed the pillow under Boofy’s head and put the blanket over her. Gathering the dirty clothes, she headed for the laundry room.
Lorelai got up Saturday morning and checked on her houseguest, finding that she was still asleep. Lorelai headed straight for the kitchen and her coffee fix. While waiting for the coffee to filter through, she stood in the hallway looking at the unmoving lump under the blanket, occasionally hearing a whimper coming from her.
“What the hell happened to you?” murmured Lorelai quietly. The night before Lorelai had lain in bed wondering about the numerous scars over Boofy’s body. Had a parent abused her or a boyfriend, or had they happened after she found the bottom of a bottle. Lorelai was still not sure why she had brought the blonde home, she had always been willing to help anyone, but this was the first time she had brought a complete stranger home with her.
Lorelai went back to pour herself a cup of coffee, she sat at the table wondering what she could do to help? She could not really let the blonde stay, they did not have the room for one thing and for another, there was Rory to consider. Maybe she could find her a job at the Inn and there was always the potting shed where she and Rory lived when they first arrived in town.
“Well we’ll have to see how things work out?” sighed Lorelai finishing off her coffee before heading upstairs to dress. Returning some ten minutes later to find that Boofy was still asleep, she quickly wrote a note and left it on the coffee table before heading out for Luke’s.
She was in hell she had to be. If she were in heaven, she did not think her head would feel as if, at any moment, it was going to burst open and the contents ooze down her face. ‘Eew there’s a gross image,’ thought Buffy. She eased her head out from under the blanket quickly covering her eyes with the blanket again as the light assaulted her, making the stabbing pain in her head worse. She groaned at the pain coming from the sudden movement. Bracing herself against the inevitable, she eased her head above the blanket again. Wincing once more, but felt she could endure it as long as she avoided looking anywhere too bright.
Her eyes roamed around the portion of the room she could see, there was an open fireplace, not lit, a TV and music centre to one side and shelves with books and various knickknacks on the other, the coffee table just in front of her had various magazines on it. Her eyes travelled back to the fireplace and the mantle above, full of pictures of two brunettes, who looked similar enough that they were obviously related? One picture at the end showed the two with an elderly couple that she assumed must be their parents.
Bracing herself against the inevitable pain that would assail her head again, she slowly sat up; she closed her eyes for a moment as a wave of dizziness swept over her. On opening them again, she noticed a handwritten note on the table. Buffy picked it up, squinting a little at the bright white paper.
Just in case you wake up before I get back with breakfast. You will find coffee in the kitchen, if I am any judge, with the state I found you in last night you will need it!
The bathroom is the first door at the top of the stairs I suggest you take a bath, no offence but I think you need one!
Oh and if you are wondering where your clothes are, I put them in the wash, I will find you something to wear when I get back.
“Boofy? How the hell did my name get mangled?” she asked aloud. She looked down at what she was wearing, that was when she caught a whiff of her body odour, she grimaced, “Oh yeah,” she said as she ever so slowly rose to her feet and wobbled to the bottom of the stairs. Stopping for a moment to centre herself before slowly climbing the stairs with both hands on the banister for support all the way up.
Entering the bathroom she turned on the water and for a moment she watched it begin to fill the bath, remembering the times her mother would bathe both her and Dawn together. She smiled sadly, as she remembered how the bath would inevitably end in a splashing fight and them both giggling, as their mother would try to scold them for making a mess. “I miss you both so much,” she said softly as tears began running down her cheeks to join the quickly filling bathtub.
She wiped her eyes as she looked around the room, she realised that it was a female only bathroom. She walked over to look into the mirror, cringing at the reflection looking back, her hair looked matted and greasy, she had a light bruise on her cheek she had no idea how she got? But what made her flinch was the haunted look in her eyes. Eyes that had seen horror upon horror, Giles broken and bloody body, the look in her friends’ eyes as Xander plunged the knife into Ben’s crippled body because after sending Angel to Hell she could not condemn another innocent to such horrors herself? But the worst was the knowledge that she had allowed her sister to jump, even after she had told them all, she would not allow Dawn to be hurt.
After seeing Giles and her sister’s remains laid to rest next to her mother’s she had closed her bank account and taken the first bus to LA, only to find that Angel was nowhere to be found. So after sleeping in one of the rooms at the Hyperion for the night, she just caught another bus, slowly drifting from place to place for a couple of weeks, that she could remember, after that she had been too drunk to even know where she went.
Sighing she turned back to the bath. Turning off the water, she pulled the t-shirt over her head, only going a little dizzy from the effort due to her Slayer metabolism, realising for the first time that she was completely naked under the t-shirt. She reached over the bath to the small shelf holding various containers of bath oils; sniffing the contents, she put some back while pouring generous amounts of others into the water.
She stepped into the steaming water, allowing herself to relax a little; she grabbed the shampoo and began to wash her hair vigorously. She then allowed her head to slide below the water to wash the soap from her hair and to close-off the outside world for a few moments, a world that had been so painful to her over the last five years.
Lorelai was longer than she had planned; having run into Babette and Miss Patty as she exited the diner with breakfast for her and Buffy. Apparently, Babette had seen her helping Boofy into her house the night before and wanted to know everything about her. She had only managed to escape them by promising to tell them about her impromptu houseguest when she herself knew more.
Entering the house, she noticed that no one was on the couch, she made her way to the kitchen, not seeing her guest, she deposited the bags of food on the table and headed up the stairs.
Seeing the bathroom door ajar she quietly pushed it open, her eyes went wide in horror as she spied the blonde’s head under the water. Panic swept over Lorelai as she quickly hurried to the side of the bath and taking hold of the blonde’s arms pulled her up. “Boofy, what are you doing? Are you alright?”
Boofy was coughing up copious amounts of water she had swallowed as the crazy woman had pulled her up out of the water and who was now looking at her with panic in her eyes. “What the hell are you doing?” she eventually managed to ask angrily.
Confusion crossed Lorelai’s face as she released the blonde, “I ah... I thought you had drowned yourself ah... after what you said last night.”
“What did I say?” she asked going pale at what she may have revealed in her drunken haze.
“That you were tired,” said Lorelai quietly not able to meet the blonde’s eyes. “With the utter despair in your eyes and voice, I ah... wasn’t sure if you meant you needed rest or ah... the other thing?”
Her eyes widened as realisation dawned in her, “You thought I was trying to commit suicide?” Lorelai nodded mutely still not looking at the blonde. “Oh. No chance of that, I’m too much of a coward to do that,” she replied with self-loathing.
Lorelai realised that she was now very wet, kneeling next to a naked stranger, she stood up. “I guess I should dry off and change. Hmmm I’ll lend you some of my sweats ‘cause most of mine or my daughter’s things won’t fit you.” She stood looking down at the young woman in her bath for a moment before nodding, “Right, I’ll be back in a little while... to ah see how you are getting on,” she finished heading for her bedroom before suddenly stopping and looking back, “Oh I’m Lorelai Gilmore by the way.”
Boofy looked up at the strange woman, “Pleased to meet you, I’m Buffy Summers.”
“Oh so your names not Boofy?”
“No. How did you come up with that anyway?” asked Buffy curiously.
“Well when I asked you your name last night that’s how it came out, only you passed out while telling it to me, sorry about that,” Lorelai blushed for some reason that evaded her.
“That’s okay that was sort of what I figured.”
“Okay then, see you in a minute with those clothes,” said Lorelai grabbing her towel and heading for her room.
Having dried and changed Lorelai returned to the bathroom, knocking this time, “Can I come in?” she asked.
“Sure, I mean it’s not as if you haven’t seen me naked twice already,” said Buffy. As Lorelai entered Buffy smiled up at her, “I assume it was you that put me to bed last night?”
“Yes,” said Lorelai returning the smile, deciding then and there that she much preferred to see the blonde smiling than the despair she saw the night before. She put some clothes on the chair in the corner, “These should do you until your things are dry.”
“Thanks,” said Buffy, she looked down for a moment before looking back at the brunette her smile gone. “Why are you doing all this for me?”
Lorelai squat on the edge of the chair leaning forward with her elbows resting on her knees, “To be honest with you, I don’t really know?” she confessed. “I’ve always considered myself a helpful person, I help at town functions, help with charities etc. but to be truthful, you are the first complete stranger I have brought home to help. Something just seemed to tell me that I had to help you.”
“Oh... Ah okay, thank you,” said Buffy. ‘Do you hafta drag more innocent people into my damned destiny you bastards,’ she threw into the Ether.
“Right well I’ll be downstairs when you’re ready,” said Lorelai rising and walking out the door.
Buffy walked slowly down the stairs looking around the room, this time without the stabbing pains in her head she had felt earlier. She could sense the love that the women who lived here had for each other. She heard the clinking of cups coming from the other end of the short hallway. Walking into what turned out to be the kitchen, she saw Lorelai in the process of pulling plates from a cupboard.
The brunette smiled on seeing her houseguest, “Hey, you feel up to breakfast?” she asked.
Buffy nodded, “Yeah... Only I can’t pay you back, at least not at the moment, I haven’t got any money.”
“That’s alright you’re my guest, after all, I invited you when you were not really in a position to refuse being only semi-conscious,” smirked Lorelai.
“Right,” smiled Buffy sitting opposite Lorelai as the brunette began pulling various food items from the bags on the table and putting them on the plates.
“I got some of everything ‘cause you know, not knowing what you liked. Plus the leftovers will be okay for tomorrow,” explained Lorelai.
“Anything’s okay,” said Buffy accepting a plate with various items of food and began to eat, consuming the items quickly.
Lorelai smiled over at the younger woman, “Hey hon. slow down a little, it isn’t going anywhere.”
Buffy blushed, looking sheepishly over at the older woman, “Sorry, it’s just that until now I hadn’t realised just how hungry I was.”
Lorelai looked sadly at her guest, “When was the last time you had a decent meal?”
Buffy shrugged, “Not sure, don’t even know what month it is.”
“Oh ah... it’s June 2nd 2001... Saturday,” answered Lorelai a little shocked that the blonde could have been drinking for so long that she was not even sure of the month.
“Oh,” said Buffy. “I guess about two months then, but I think a couple of days since I had anything to eat.”
“Okay then,” said Lorelai beginning to place most of the remaining food onto Buffy’s plate, “I think you need this more than I do.”
Buffy tried to stop her, “No I’m alright, I can’t pay you back.”
“Yes. As I said, you’re my guest. And if you really want to pay me back you can let me help you... and do my laundry,” Lorelai said with small smile.
Buffy’s eyes hardened momentarily, “Why? And how are you going to help me?”
“Like I said, I don’t know why I’m doing this... I do have a tendency to do things spontaneously,” smirked Lorelai trying to put Buffy at ease. “Well I can help you get a job for one thing, I run the Independents Inn here in town, I’m sure I can find you something there or... huh I might be able to talk Luke into hiring you as a waitress at his diner.”
“I don’t know?” edged Buffy, “You don’t even know me, for all you know I could be a serial killer?”
Lorelai shook her head, “No you’re not, I can tell. I think you’ve just lost your way and need a little help to get your life back on track.”
Buffy snorted, “What would you know about getting someone’s life back on track.”
Lorelai’s eyes flashed with anger for a moment before taking a deep breath and explaining what had happened to her. “What do I know? I know that if it hadn’t been for some of the people in this town when I first got here, I probably would not be here now and I definitely would not be the person I am now. I arrived here, a single mother with a year old child with only the clothes on my back and 20 dollars, so don’t you tell me I don’t know what it’s like.”
Buffy blushed, “Sorry, I had no right to say that,” she apologised.
“That’s okay, I’m sorry I snapped like that, I guess seeing you like you were last night sort of brought up my own situation when I got here back to me,” said Lorelai getting up. “Look you’re welcome to hang around here for a while, but I’ve got to go to work for a few hours.”
“Alright, thanks,” said Buffy beginning to dig into the food on her plate again.
After finishing her large breakfast, Buffy cleared the table and washed up the dirty plates before wandering back into the living room. She wandered around the room idly picking up various items; studying them for a moment before returning them.
As Lorelai came back down the stairs, she found Buffy once more looking at the pictures above the fireplace. “That’s me with my daughter at last year’s celebrations when the town finally came off the septic tank,” she explained joining the blonde.
“Celebrations for a septic tank, and I thought Sunnydale was weird?” smiled Buffy before doing a double take of the picture. “Your daughter?”
Lorelai smiled down at the smaller woman, “What I didn’t add to my story earlier was that I was only seventeen when I came here.” She looked fondly at the image of her daughter, “Rory is sixteen now.” She noticed the time, “Look I hafta go okay, I’ll see you around three and we’ll talk about what we can do to help you. Bye honey,” she called out as she slammed the door behind her.
Buffy replaced the picture and ran to the door, stepping out onto the porch she called out, “Lorelai, where’s your laundry?”
Lorelai stopped as she was about to climb into her car, “You don’t have to do that hon.”
“Yeah I do, I want to do something to pay you back.”
“Okay if that’s what you want! You’ll find everything in the small room off the kitchen porch.”
“Ah okay... And thank you,” said Buffy.
“You’re welcome Buffy, bye.”
Lorelai was just driving through the square when she spotted Babette and Miss Patty, quickly pulling into a vacate parking space, she jumped out and hurried over to her friends. “Babette, Patty, you got a moment?”
“Sure thing sugar,” answered Babette, turning with Miss Patty. “This something to do with the girl at your house, ah Boofy? Really weird name.”
“Yeah and it turns out her names Buffy, not Boofy,” explained Lorelai. “Anyway she started opening up to me a little this morning, I don’t know what’s happened to her, but whatever it was, was very traumatic. If you see her around town, could you hold off on pumping her for information? When she thought I was pushing, which I wasn’t, she reacted badly. We’re going to talk more after work, so please be extra careful around her okay?”
“Of course Lorelai,” nodded Miss Patty. “You’ll let us know if we can help in anyway?”
“Yeah,” agreed Lorelai glancing at her watch. “Okay I hafta get to the Inn before Michel has a cow. Bye,” she waved as she hurried back to her car.
Buffy had finished washing the clothes she found in the laundry room and had decided to empty the bathroom hamper, as she descended the stairs she heard the front door open and close. As she got to the bottom she saw the back of a girl with long brown hair, so much like her sister that the greeting she was about to utter stuck in her throat and came out rather croaky, “Hello!”
The girl jumped and screamed in surprise, turning to confront the stranger in her house, “W-who are you? W-what are you doing in my house?”
Buffy fought down the emotions she had felt moments before on seeing Lorelai’s daughter and smiled in what she hoped would reassure the teenager. “Sorry for making you jump. I’m Buffy. Hmm you’re Rory, right?” the girl nodded. “Ah your mum found me in town last night and sort of offered me a place to crash last night. She said I could hang here for a bit and I offered to do your laundry to pay her back,” she explained.
“Oh ah... pleased to meet you,” said Rory coming forward and offering her hand to the blonde who shook it. Rory frowned, “What exactly do you mean by found?”
Buffy blushed a little, “Ah she found me drunk, I was half out of it so I’m not completely sure what happened, I just woke up on your couch this morning.”
“That sounds like Lorelai,” smiled Rory a twinkle in her eyes.
“Right well I better finish the laundry,” said Buffy.
“I’ll help, I have some things in my room,” said Rory.
“Oh okay,” said Buffy stopping by the teenager’s door looking in as Rory grabbed various items that however much she tidied her room, always seemed to be laying around waiting for her to wash. “I would have collected things from your mum’s room but...”
“But it’s cluttered and you can’t work out what is dirty and what isn’t,” giggled Rory joining Buffy at the door with a small armful of dirty clothing.
“Ah yeah,” laughed Buffy, although Rory noticed it did not reach the blonde’s eyes.
“Well if we’re doing the laundry, we might as well do it all,” commented Rory dumping the laundry she held into the basket in Buffy’s arms. “I’ll go see what I can find in her room,” she said as she walked towards the stairs.
Lorelai’s morning at work had not started well, first, Michel started griping as soon as she arrived telling her she was taking advantage of his good nature by being ten minutes late. Then after pointing out that he did not have a good-natured bone in his body, he sulked for the rest of his shift, not that that was unusual.
Then of course, there had been the problem with the double, double booking, when not two but four couples had turned up for the same room, apparently three of the couples had spent their honeymoon in the room, which before Mia expanded the Inn, had been the honeymoon suite. The other couple were newlyweds and wanted it because apparently the husband had been conceived in that very room.
Lorelai had finally managed to sort it out by getting the newlyweds to take the newer honeymoon suite at no extra charge by asking the husband if he really wanted to sleep with his new wife in the same bed that his mother and father had had sex. He went a little green at that, of course Lorelai did not point out that over the twenty plus years since his parents had been to the Inn the mattresses had been changed several times.
She had managed to get two of the other couples to accept other rooms when she offered them a free honeymoon type breakfast prepared by Sookie as well as a free dinner that evening.
And then when she had gone to the kitchen to make the arrangements with Sookie she ended up not only refereeing the almost daily arguments between Sookie and Jackson but also stepping in when one of Sookie’s assistants had not added the correct ingredients to a sauce that Sookie had been making and had to leave when Jackson had turned up.
All through this, Lorelai had this nagging feeling she had forgotten something. As she returned to the front desk, with the inevitable cup of coffee, it suddenly came to her. “Damn! Rory,” she exclaimed as she pulled her phone out and pressed speed dial. “Come on hon. pick up...” on hearing her daughter’s voice she smiled, “Rory honey, mummy forgot to phone you and tell you that we have a guest.”
“Yes I know I’m at home now. You should have warned me, I came in and as I went to go to my room, there was a ‘hello’ behind me. Mum I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” exclaimed Rory sitting on the stairs. “So I have one question.”
“As I told Buffy, when she asked the same thing, I honestly don’t know? I’d just stopped at Luke’s for coffee after leaving you in Hartford, I had to park on the far side of the square. Well as I was walking back, I saw this woman sitting on a bench drinking from a bottle. I walked up and just asked her if she was okay, since she seemed to be crying. Rory I don’t know what she’s been through but there was so much pain in the look she gave me that I just had to try to help,” explained Lorelai her voice becoming emotional as she remembered the look Buffy had given her.
“Yeah okay I get that,” said Rory quietly. “I saw some of it in her eyes when I first saw her. Okay so what’s gonna happen?”
“Well I said I’d sit down with her after I get home and we’d talk about what I could do? I told her that I could probably find her something to do at the Inn and there is always the old potting shed, she could stay there until she finds her feet,” said Lorelai.
“Yeah that might work, but do you think it would be such a good idea for her to be alone in the potting shed if she is so depressed?” asked Rory quietly. “Look mum I should go, I think she just came through the backdoor?”
“Alright honey, I’ll be home by three okay,” said Lorelai. “Oh and Rory don’t ask Buffy too much about herself,” she advised.
“Okay, see you,” said Rory disconnecting the line. Carrying her mother’s dirty laundry through to the kitchen she saw Buffy looking out the window, just staring into space! Unsure what to say she just went with her first thought. “So I found mum’s dirty clothes.”
“Okay Da... Rory, I think a couple more loads will do it,” said Buffy.
“Right,” said Rory, “Ah I’ll ah just dump this then hmm maybe you’d like to go to the diner for something to eat?”
Buffy smiled sadly at Rory, giving the teenager the impression that she was seeing someone else in her place, “I’d rather not just now, but if you like I’ll cook something for you?”
“That would be good, only we haven’t got anything here,” smiled Rory.
Buffy frowned, “Why not? Does your mum still have to do the shopping?”
Rory laughed lightly, “No, we are both bad at cooking, or lazy take your pick. Anyway, we always order takeout or eat at the diner, unless mum gets Sookie to cook us something, Sookie’s mum’s best friend and chef at the Independence Inn... And I’m babbling,” blushed Rory.
Rory was happy to see Buffy’s smile reach her eyes, even if it was only fleeting. “I’ve heard worse,” she reassured gently.
“Oh,” said Rory. “So do you wanna order pizza?”
“I haven’t got any money, sorry.”
“That’s okay I got enough,” smiled Rory.
“I can’t let you do that, it’s hard enough to accept it from your mum, I can’t accept it from you as well.”
“Okay if that’s what you want, why don’t we call it a loan, when you get a job you can pay me back. You are gonna get a job right?”
“I guess,” said Buffy quietly. “Alright, a loan then, I’ll pay you back as soon as I can.”
“Great, so what do you want on it?” said Rory happily.
“I’m fine with whatever you like; I’ll pretty much eat anything.”
Rory beamed at her for a moment. “You’re really gonna get on with mum and me, we’re the same... well except mum won’t let me have Indian in the house ‘cause of the smell... babbling again,” she laughed. “Right, I’ll phone Pete, if you wanna take this to the laundry,” she said handing over the dirty clothes before heading for the hall phone.
Having paid for the pizza, Rory grabbed some kitchen towels to use as serviettes and joined Buffy on the couch, where the blonde had retreated to after putting the last load of washing into the machine.
As Rory approached the couch, she noticed Buffy was holding a picture and seemed to be staring at it, finally, when she realised that the teenager was near, Buffy hurriedly put the picture away.
Sitting down, Rory opened the box and placed it on the coffee table. She grabbed a slice and sat back into the seat. “So where do you come from originally?” she asked taking a bite.
Grabbing a slice herself Buffy smiled at Rory, “Originally, LA, but recently a small town up the coast from there called Sunnydale,” she answered sitting back. “How about you and your mum? She said she came here with you when you were a baby.”
“Hartford, we lived with my grandparents until I was about a year old. She and grandma don’t really get along most of the time, it really upset her to have to go to grandpa and ask them to loan her the money for my school fees.”
“Oh so you don’t go to the local high school?”
Rory shook her head as she took another slice of pizza. “Up until the beginning of last October I did, but then I finally won a place at Chilton Academy in Hartford.”
“Oh, I almost got sent to private school in Sunnydale after I was kicked out of Sunnydale high...”
“You got expelled from school, for what?” asked Rory.
“Actually, it turned out that the troll of a Principal didn’t like me and used the first excuse he could to kick me out, but when a friend...” Rory saw the blonde’s eyes mist up for a moment before she wiped her eyes, “I don’t think that piece of pizza agreed with me!” she said smiling weakly at the teenager. “Anyway, a friend pointed out that I was a minor and entitled to an education and threatened to take it all the way to the State Supreme Court. So no kilts for Buffy.”
“I like wearing a uniform; it takes away all that hassle of trying to decide what to wear each day,” said Rory.
“I guess you’re right,” said Buffy taking a third slice. “So do you like it at Chilton?”
“Yeah I do, the work can get a little much sometimes. Chilton isn’t the sort of school you can leave your homework for a day or two because if you do, you suddenly find you have to work even harder to catch up. When I started, I was so far behind my classmates that it was Christmas before I had managed to claw my way back up the academic ladder.”
“I was never interested in the academic side of school, although I was offered a place at North Western, but went to UC Sunnydale instead.”
“So when did you graduate?” asked Rory finishing off her slice of pizza. She inwardly groaned as she saw the sadness in the blonde’s eyes.
“I didn’t. I had to leave to look after my sister when our mother died,” Buffy said.
“Oh ah... sorry. So mum said she might be able to find you something at the Inn,” said Rory quickly changing the subject.
“Yeah,” replied Buffy not meeting the teenager’s eyes as they lapsed into silence.
After lunch, Rory cleared away the mess, when she came back to the living room, she again saw Buffy, still sitting on the couch with a faraway look on her face. Rory was not sure what to do? She did not want to leave Buffy on her own but on the other hand, she still had work to do on her joint project with Paris, Madeline and Louise. If she did not finish she just knew Paris would not let her forget it.
She sighed, “Hmm did you want to watch TV or listen to music, only if I don’t finish my project, Paris will kill me, she’s a friend, well sort of, and I’m babbling again, sorry,” Rory said when Buffy looked at her curiously. “The thing is I’m not sure I should leave you on your own...”
“Why?” asked Buffy, “If I was going to steal anything I would have done it before you got here.”
Rory sat next to the blonde a serious look on her face, “Please don’t get mad. Only you keep on getting all introspective and I don’t think it’s good for you... yet! I mean it’s obvious to mum and me that you have been through something very traumatic, and if you ever feel like talking about it we’ll listen. But I seem to be babbling again, I don’t know what it is about me today that has me babbling, and I’m doing it again, sorry...”
Rory could not decide whether to be annoyed or happy as she watched the blonde laugh at her, “I don’t know why you think it’s so funny,” she smiled. “I’m not usually like this, I’m a very good debater and use to delivering clear, precise arguments yet all I’ve done today is babble.”
Buffy wiped her eyes, a smile still on her face, “It’s probably me, I use to make my best friend babble like an idiot sometimes, she got better after she got to know me. I think it must be a special power I have, I’ll have to make sure I only use it for good,” she giggled.
Rory smiled at the giggling blonde, this had been the longest period that Buffy had seemed happy since the teenager had met her. “Right, if you wanna watch TV or play music be my guest, I’ll be in my room finishing my project if you need anything,” she said heading out the living room.
Buffy smiled after the teenager. She glanced towards the TV and music centre. ‘No, I don’t think so!’ she got up and headed for the laundry room to sort out the final load, which should have finished a while ago. She saw Rory look up from her desk as she saw her, “Don’t worry, just gonna get the last load of laundry out.”
Rory smiled, nodding before returning to her homework.
Having sorted out the laundry as best she could, not sure which clothes belonged to which house occupant, she sat for a few minutes on the back porch just listening to nature around her. Her Slayer senses picking up several squirrels in the trees beyond the house’s back fence, she could hear a dog barking excitedly several miles outside of town as well as the numerous birds. ‘It’s so peaceful here; it would be so easy to lose myself here?’
“Maybe I’ll stay for awhile,” Buffy said to herself as she rose. She walked into the Gilmore’s backyard and facing the house closed her eyes and sat cross-legged on the grass. Clearing her mind of all thought she took several deep breaths, letting them out slowly as she sought her centre. When she felt ready, she stood and took the starting stance to start Tai Chi.
When half an hour had passed without Buffy passing her door, Rory grew concerned, putting down her pen she walked out into the kitchen. Seeing movement from outside, she headed out the backdoor, a look of surprise coming to her face as she watched Buffy’s graceful movements.
Rory sat on the top step of the porch watching as Buffy went through a very complex routine moving faster and faster until her movements seemed to blur into one. After a few more minutes the blonde began to slow down, as she finally came to a stop, she stood motionless breathing deeply before exhaling several times. Smiled at the teenager and joined her on the porch.
“Wow,” exclaimed Rory climbing to her feet. “That was amazing. Where did you learn that?”
“I had a couple of good teachers plus an ex-boyfriend helped as well,” explained Buffy. “If you’d like, I could teach you... if you want?”
“I don’t know?” mused Rory, “I get quite a lot of homework, I’m not sure I’d ever have the time to get any good at it?”
“That’s not really the point,” smiled Buffy. “It helps with concentration. Might even help you get through all that homework, plus it is a good starting point for self-defence.”
“Okay, you’re on,” said Rory. “Tomorrow then. I should probably get back to my project,” she said heading back to her room.
Lorelai arrived home just after three to find Buffy sitting on the couch reading a magazine. The blonde looked over at her smiling slightly. Lorelai could still see the pain behind her eyes but at the moment she appeared to be a little happier, “Hey,” said Buffy.
“Hi,” said Lorelai dropping her purse and keys on the small table next to the door. She walked over and sat down next to the blonde. “So how you feeling? No residue headache or vomiting? The state you were in last night I was amazed you recovered so quickly this morning, the last time that happened to me I missed the following day altogether.”
“I’m fine. I have a high metabolism, I was pretty much recovered by the time I finished my bath this morning,” explained Buffy. “By the way thanks for helping me last night... for letting me stay here, even though you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into?”
“Like I’ve said before, I had to do what I could,” said Lorelai smiling, she looked around, “So where’s Rory?”
“Taking a bath, she said something about meeting her boyfriend,” answered Buffy. “I had to assure her three times that I’d be okay on my own, she’s been checking on me pretty much all day. I think she thinks I am going to start getting all broody.”
“Sorry about that,” blushed Lorelai. “She’s very astute, I told her how I found you last night and that you were upset and obviously depressed, so to be careful around you. Sorry,” she said looking down at the floor.
“That’s okay, she told me that both of you thought I had been traumatised by something,” replied Buffy sadly. “You’re both right, but I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”
Lorelai nodded, “Right, I can understand that. But when... I mean if you want to ever tell someone, I’ll be here.”
“Thank you,” smiled Buffy, feeling a lightness to her heart that she had not felt since before her mother had died.
“Okay, well on the job front,” said Lorelai. “I didn’t speak to Luke about you working at the diner, I will if you want, although with how you are obviously feeling right now, I’m guessing you don’t wanna be around a lot of people and this being a small town there will be lots of talk as well as questions.”
“No I don’t feel up to meeting and talking to a lot of people... especially about me?” said Buffy.
“Right, that’s what I figured,” smiled Lorelai. “So that leaves the Inn. One of the maids is starting maternity leave the week after next so I could set you up with that, only that would be temporary until Julie comes back, but might give you enough of a start to get back on your feet? Or I’m always looking for kitchen hands as Sookie seems to frighten them with the ah... accidents that always seem to happen to her. Don’t get me wrong I love Sookie like a sister but she does have a lot of hmm mishaps.”
Buffy smirked at Lorelai, “Well as interesting as that sounds, I think I would prefer the maid’s job, if you don’t mind.” She blushed slightly and looked at the floor, “Thanks for everything you’re doing, I-I do a-appreciate it.”
“That’s alright honey, I really want to help however I can,” smiled Lorelai. “Now about living arrangements, we only have the two rooms, mine and Rory’s so I can’t really offer to put you up here! But if you are willing, there’s an old potting shed in the grounds of the Inn, Rory and I stayed there when we first came here. It has a bath and heating as well as electricity, so it’s actually better than it sounds.”
Buffy nodded, “I’ll take it. It actually sounds better than most of the places I have woken up in over the last month.”
“Great, well I don’t have to work tomorrow so what say you sleep here again tonight and Rory and I will help you sort it out tomorrow?”
“Why not today?” asked Buffy frowning.
“Well it hasn’t been used much in the last few years, one of Sookie’s assistants stayed in it when he was fighting with his wife. Terrible woman, good right hook though, Manny was out for a good three minutes,” laughed Lorelai. “Anyway it will need a good clean, we have some paint left over from the last time the Inn was decorated so we can give the walls and door a new coat.”
“Okay, tomorrow then,” agreed Buffy.
“Now clothes,” Lorelai then said. “I’ll give you an advance on your first month’s salary and we can get you some things so you don’t have to wear the same clothes all the time plus kinda embarrassing walking around town naked while they are in the wash,” she laughed again. “Although I’d love to see Taylor’s face if you did?”
Even though she did not know who Taylor was, it did sound funny. “Okay. So as a thank you for all you are doing. How about you let me cook dinner for you tonight, although you’ll have to pay for the ingredients.”
“Okay, what can you cook?”
“Well I’m not a master chef or anything but I can cook things like spaghetti and meatballs, I make a mean chilli and I once did a Thanksgiving dinner for me and my friends with all the trimmings,” Buffy told her.
“Well okay then,” smiled Lorelai, “How about spaghetti and meatballs? Give me a list of the ingredients and I’ll get them from Doose’s market,” she handed the blonde a pad and pen.
“Okay,” smiled Buffy flipping open the pad and beginning to write.
“You made enough so that there’ll be some for Rory later right?” asked Lorelai as she sat at the kitchen table watching as Buffy started placing the spaghetti on the plates.
“Yes,” said Buffy glancing over at the older woman. “She told me how much you both eat, so I made enough for eight normal people or the three of us,” she laughed as she started lifting the meatballs and sauce out of the saucepan.
“I better let all the take-outs around here know so they can start getting extra supplies or there might be a shortage with the three of us in town,” laughed Lorelai.
“Might not be a bad idea,” said Buffy placing a plate piled high with Spaghetti and meatballs in front of Lorelai before retrieving a second for herself. She waited for a moment to see Lorelai’s reaction, “Well, what do you think?”
Lorelai looked at the blonde a small smile on her face, “Can I marry you? This is great,” she said beginning to dig into the food before her.
“Sorry but I think you may be a little high maintenance and I’m carrying too much baggage.”
Lorelai smirked, “Yeah you’re probably right. Anyway I’m dating one of Rory’s teachers at the moment.”
“And how does Rory feel about that?”
“I think she’s fine with it, she likes Max. We went through a little problem early in our relationship because it was encroaching on Rory’s life at school. I had planned to break up with him at Chilton’s Parents day, but hmm... things didn’t work out that way. One of Rory’s classmates saw us kissing and told everyone. Anyway, Chilton isn’t the type of school that will tolerate scandal, so we did end up breaking up, until a few months ago when we got back together, although we are being a lot more discreet this time.”
“So what do you do for fun around here?” asked Buffy.
“Well there’s the daily fights between Luke and Taylor or... well that’s about it,” laughed Lorelai. “No only joking. Although Stars Hollow is a small town, there is always something going on, we’ll use any excuse to have a festival.”
“Like coming off the septic tank?”
“Yes,” smiled Lorelai. “The town meeting can be fun too, especially when Taylor is annoyed at something and Rory and I can make fun of him.”
“What about movies, any theatres in town?”
“Only one in a side room of the bookstore,” explained Lorelai. “They only have a few films, but it’s only a dollar and if no one else objects they’ll show any film you want. I know it sounds rather dull but we’re only thirty minutes from Hartford and Meriden is only down the road so you can always go there.”
“Well when I feel up to it maybe you can show me around?”
“I’d love to,” said Lorelai smiling a little shyly before continuing with her meal.
She had finally beaten Glory down. She looked down on the broken body of the Hell god’s human host Ben. “I'm sorry,” he choked.
“Tell her it's over. She missed her shot. She goes. She ever, ‘ever’ comes near me and mine again...”
“We won't. I swear,” said Ben the pain on his face.
She dropped the hammer and hurried towards the tower.
Ben lay there, as he coughed painfully and smiled but still did not move. “I guess we're stuck with each other, huh baby?” he said.
Even as she ran up the steps of the tower, she was aware of Xander walking over and kneeling beside Ben. “Can you move?”
“Need a-a minute. She could've killed me,” said the former Intern.
“No she couldn't. Giles warned me before he died. And sooner or later Glory will come back and make Buffy pay for that. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that... and still she can't kill a human. The last time she chose the world over her lover, sending him to hell. But not this time. That’s why Giles asked me to do this for her, if he didn’t make it,” explained Xander with resolve in his eyes as he plunged a dagger into Ben’s chest.
As Xander rose, he saw Anya, Willow and Tara looking at him with horror on their faces. “She's a hero. She's not like us,” he explained to them as he walked towards where Spike lay groaning, having been pushed off the tower by Doc.
“Dawn,” she called out.
“Buffy!” Dawn gasped in pain.
She watched as Doc whirled around as she strode down the platform.
“This should be interesting,” observed Doc taking a half step towards her.
She did not even pause; she just walked right past him, giving him a push as she sidestepped him. He fell over the edge. She could hear his scream as she approached her sister, who continued crying. “Here,” she said solemnly.
“Buffy, it hurts,” whimpered Dawn as she continued to bleed.
“I got it. Come here. You're gonna be okay,” she said as a few drops of Dawn's blood dripped over the edge and met something in midair. A small circle of energy appeared, and began to grow quickly.
She gently guided her limping sister across the platform to the tower entrance. Dawn stopped, turning to her sister, worry in her eyes.
“Go,” she prompted Dawn to continue off the tower.
Dawn shook her head, “Buffy, it's started.”
She turned to see what her sister had seen. She could see the light of the growing portal. She turned back to her sister as Dawn continued staring at the portal. “I'm sorry,” said Dawn tearfully.
“It doesn't matter,” she replied in resignation.
Dawn tried to run past her but she grabbed her. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“I have to jump. The energy,” Dawn tried to explain.
“It'll kill you,” she countered.
“I know,” Dawn said softly. “Buffy, I know about the ritual. I have to stop it.”
“No,” she said adamantly, as the tower shook underneath them, making them both stumble.
“I have to,” insisted Dawn. “Look at what's happening.”
She looked up; the portal was much larger now. She watched as a huge dragon flew out of it and buzzed the tower before flying away as they watched.
“Buffy, you have to let me go. Blood starts it, and until the blood stops flowing, it'll never stop,” Dawn told her.
She stared at Dawn in anguish. “You know you have to let me. It has to have the blood,” sobbed Dawn tearfully.
In the distance, she could see more holes beginning to open in the sky, as it grew lighter with the sun beginning to rise.
A look of peace came over her as she turned back to Dawn, who stared wide-eyed in realisation of what her sister planned. “Buffy... no!” she cried.
“Dawnie, I have to.”
“No!” said Dawn shaking her head vigorously.
“Listen to me,” she said. “Please, there's not a lot of time, listen.” Lightning continuing to crackle behind them as she stroked the side of Dawn's face, “Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it. Be brave. Live. Live for me.” She kissed Dawn on the cheek as Dawn continued to cry.
Then everything went wrong as it always did, always would, as she turned to run down the platform a bolt of energy hit the tower causing her to stumble and fall. She watched in growing horror as Dawn took advantage of the stumble to quickly sidestep her and run down the platform and swan dive off the end and into the portal.
She observed all this as if only a spectator, as she had numerous other times, but as with those other times, she could not stop the cry of utter despair leave her lips.
Lorelai sprang into a sitting position and climbed out of bed even before the cry had finished echoing off the walls of the house. A cry that she could only describe as soul deep despair.
She quickly grabbed her robe and wrapped it around her even as she hurried down the stairs, meeting Rory at the bottom. Both Gilmores looked to Buffy sitting up on the couch her head in her hands; they could hear her gentle sobs.
“What do we do?” whispered Rory.
“Go put some coffee on, I’ll handle it,” said Lorelai.
Rory nodded and headed for the kitchen as her mother slowly approached the blonde. Lorelai sat next to Buffy and put her arm around her shoulders trying to draw the smaller woman to her but she could not move her, she tried harder with the same results, before Lorelai had a chance to question the reason why? She found the blonde moving to hug her herself.
At that moment, there came an insistent knocking on the front door. “Lorelai,” Babette’s voice came from the other side, “Is everything alright? Lorelai.”
“Rory hon. can you get that,” called out Lorelai. As Rory rushed from the kitchen heading for the front door she said in a quieter voice, “Just tell her something but don’t let her in.”
“Okay mum,” said Rory just as quietly as she looked at the crying woman in her mother’s arms before going to the door. Opening it quickly she stepped out onto the porch before Babette could try to force her way in. “Babette hi. Hmm sorry if we woke you. Buffy, you do know about Buffy right?”
“Of course sugar,” said Babette. “What’s happening?”
“Oh ah Buffy just had a bad dream; mum’s taking care of it now.”
“Can I do anything hon.”
“No, thanks for offering but mum’s got it covered,” said Rory. “I should be getting back inside, mum asked me to make some coffee.”
Babette studied the teenager for a moment, “Okay sugar but call if you need any help,” she said heading down the steps.
“We will, thanks Babette,” assured Rory before opening the door and entering quickly. She looked over to where her mother was still trying to console the blonde, “She’s gone, she said to call if we needed any help.” She hurried back into the kitchen.
“Buffy,” Lorelai said softly. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No... can’t, it’s-it’s too painful, please don’t make me, please,” sobbed Buffy in the older woman’s chest.
Lorelai stroked Buffy’s hair, smiling a little sadly, as she remembered doing the same with Rory not so long ago when she broke up with Dean. “Alright honey I won’t push.”
Rory came in with two mugs of coffee. She put them in front of the two adults. She then sat in the chair looking worriedly at the blonde, “Is everything okay Buffy? Was it a bad dream?”
“Something like that,” replied Buffy vaguely. “Sorry for waking you.”
“That’s okay. No one can help having bad dreams,” said Rory understandingly.
“Why don’t you go back to bed,” said Lorelai looking at her daughter, “I’ll stay with Buffy for a little while.”
“Are you sure?” asked Rory glancing down at the blonde before meeting her mother’s eyes.
“Yeah hon.” nodded Lorelai continuing to stroke Buffy’s hair almost absently.
“Okay,” said Rory standing, “You’ll call me if you need me?”
“Of course,” smiled Lorelai. She grabbed Buffy’s pillow and placing it on her lap encouraged the blonde to lay her head on it.
Buffy lay there staring towards the fireplace seeing nothing as she thought of all she had lost, ‘Merrick, Pike, dad, Angel, Riley... though I pushed him away. Giles, mummy...’ she sniffed back more tears, ‘And Dawn,’ “Dawnie,” she whimpered crying new tears flowing now as she found herself turning on the pillow where she allowed Lorelai to pull her head into a hug.
“It’s okay Buffy, I’m here,” cooed Lorelai finding tears of her own slowly running down her cheeks as she held onto the blonde.
Lorelai groaned, pain going through her neck as she moved her head realising that she had fallen asleep sitting up. She looked down into the peaceful sleeping face of the Slayer. She remembered Buffy falling asleep facing the fireplace but sometime in the night, she had turned over and was now facing Lorelai, much to the brunette’s consternation. Because when she had arranged the pillow on her lap the night before, she now realised that part of her robe had obviously been worked apart and Buffy’s gentle breathing was stimulating a certain part of her anatomy she would rather not have stimulated under the circumstances.
Lorelai blushed slightly as she closed her eyes for a moment as she unconsciously allowed the sensation to sweep over her. She stiffened as she realised what she was doing. She felt Buffy stir. Looking down, Lorelai saw the blonde open her eyes, which went wide as she took in the view before her.
Buffy blushed profusely as she sprang off Lorelai’s lap and swung her leg down onto the floor. Having smelt the older woman’s arousal, she could not look at the other woman but did see Lorelai move the pillow aside and close her robe.
“Wow,” exclaimed Lorelai after a moment rubbing the back of her neck. “Can’t remember the last time I slept upright on the couch!” she rose slowly. “So do you want some coffee?”
Buffy nodded, “Yeah thanks,” she said, not looking at Lorelai as the Slayer grabbed the blanket off the couch and began folding it. As she sensed Lorelai walking away she glanced towards her, blushing again as she realised just how beautiful Lorelai was.
The pairing for this story will be Lorelai/Buffy.