Two good things, whole lotta bad
This is answering littleoldme's "The Mommy Anita Challenge" - At some well-established point pre-Chosen, one of the major players in the Buffyverse is, for reasons that are up to you, sucked into the alternate dimension of Anita Blake. Unfortunately, cross-dimensional travel has its side effects, and aforementioned character undergoes age reversal and some additional power attributions while crossing over, so that they arrive in St. Louis as a young child with a lot of power. One of the Anitaverse characters finds the child and takes him/her in.
Disclaimers: if I owned it, it'd wouldn’t be fanfic ;-)
Tears in our Cheerios
By: Cousin Mary
Buffy knew she was in trouble when she saw all of the coffins. Actually, thinking on it, the coffins were probably the least surprising bit of her current situation. The last thing she remembered was taking a swan dive off of a makeshift tower to save Dawn and the world, so death was kind of expected. Hence coffins. Of course, she wasn’t in one. Just out in the middle of a big stone room with many, many coffins.
She was also wearing pink jean overalls circa six grade and her boobs were no were to be seen. She had pig-tails for Pete’s sakes! Buffy took a deep breath and perched on the edge of one of the table-like thingys that were holding up a lovely maplewood coffin with copper accents. It was surreal to be sure, and part of her thought she should be panicking. But, she just couldn’t seem to muster the enthusiasm for a good meltdown at the moment. She thought she might be in shock.
Absently looking down at her hands in the soft glow coming from somewhere up in the stone arches, Buffy found baby pink polish on her nails, with a small heart stenciled on her right thumb nail. She was also wearing a sting friendship bracelet, hot pink and blue. She vaguely remembered it had been a gift from Hillary Watson, her best friend when she’d been 10.
Ten years old. Buffy stuck her feet out, white Keds with puff-paint flowers. “This can’t be good,” she mumbled.
“On the other hand,” She shrugged, “Not dead is good.”
She found some strawberry BubbleYum gum in her front pocket and stuck a piece in her mouth as she circled the crypt. The quiet was deafening, only her chewing broke up the absolute deadness of everything. She searched the place, focusing on her surroundings as she let some tiny part of her mind go through what she knew and didn’t know.
She knew she looked like a child again, but had no idea why or how that’d happened. She knew she had a pulse, so she wasn’t dead. But why wasn’t she dead? She should be splattered over Sunnydale’s industrial area. She now knew she’d forgotten how good BubbleYum was. She blew a bubble, letting it pop and deflate before chewing it back into a ball. She didn’t know why there were coffins everywhere, but figured she’d better look.
She sighed, she didn’t know anything really. She couldn’t figure anything out either. Somehow she was 10 again. Was this the past? She was pretty sure she’d never been here before, especially when she’d been 10. So where was she? Had the portal done this?
“Damn,” Buffy paused, she hadn't thought of that. The portal. She could be anywhere. This might not even be her dimension! She sat down hard on top of a beautiful black lacquer number and let everything wash over her. She could be absolutely anywhere, and everyone probably thought she was dead. Maybe she was dead. Hello, coffins!
Shakily she climbed to her feet and turned to face the casket she’d just been planted on. The rivets on her back pockets had scratched the lid and her small hands trembled as they reached to open it.
“If I were just dead there’d be no reason I’d be a kid again,” She told herself reasonably. “I’d just be the same, only dead. Therefore, I must be alive. Where I’m alive, how I’m alive, that’s the question. Or questions.”
She cautiously cracked open the lid. It wasn’t her in the coffin, that’s kind of what she’d been expecting. But no, it was just some guy. She let her ‘inner Slayerness’ wash over the corpse, but there wasn’t anything interesting about it. Though she was glad to note that she was still the Slayer. So still alive and still the Slayer. See, two good things. Whole lot of bad things: a kid, no idea where she was or what happened, stupid looking overalls that went out of style a decade ago…
She let the lid drop with a loud bang. “On we go,” Buffy squared her shoulders and walked to the next coffin. Mahogany this time, lifting the lid she found another corpse.
“Least they’re pretty dead people,” She mused, blowing dirty blonde bangs out of her eyes. “Pretty, pretty dead people.”
She looked in a few more, all pretty, all really dressed up too. “Must have been a fantastic party, until all the dying happened.”
She was talking to herself, but she figured that was the least of her worries. Finally, after going through all of the dead people she decided to try the door. It was locked, but by jerking the handle and throwing her shoulder into it, she was out. Out into a dimly lit hall.
She looked to the left, looked to the right, looked down at the expensive Oriental rug on the floor. Her spidey senses weren’t telling her anything, so she chose left and started walking. She tried doors as she past them, some were locked but she didn’t force those, “Probably just more dead people anyway.”
She started humming to herself, mostly to keep herself from panicking. She needed to find someone soon. Maybe it was because she was a child again, but part of her just wanted to sit down in one of the gilded chairs lining the hall and wait for Giles or someone to come get her.
“You can do this,” She told herself, trying another door and finding a janitor’s closet. Unfortunately, all of the mops and brooms had plastic handles, which sucked because she could sooo use a stake about now.
The next door was unlocked and led to lavishly decorated bedroom, something straight out of ‘Cribs.’ Buffy glanced back up the deserted hall and then slipped in. Hoping to find a phone, she turned on the lights and found another corpse.
“Great,” Buffy rolled her eyes. There on the huge canopy was another well-dressed dead body. He’d probably have to be the prettiest one she’d seen so far though. Dark dress pants, black silk shirt, blonde hair to die for. Eyeing the phone by the bedside she crept closer. He really had gorgeous hair, longer than hers it was almost a metallic gold rather than any normal blonde she’d seen. She wondered if when she got home she could get her hairdresser to duplicate that color. Her stylist was always after her to try new things.
“This can’t be natural,” She found herself touching his hair and frowned, dropping the wavy lock. As the Slayer she wasn’t too upset by all the death around her, but even she had to draw the line at playing with their hair. Then she noticed something, “What the-?”
Under the mass of hair she’d disturbed were scars, bad ones. She pushed the hair aside, aghast at what she saw. Half his face was perfect, better than perfect, he was gorgeous. But the other side… deep, painful looking scars. She stared at the hollowed out gutters than ran across his checks, pulled at his eyelid and traced all the way down his neck. She’d bet money they went further, but she wasn’t about to peek.
Forcing herself to look away, she took a steadying breath and picked up the phone. It’d been awhile since she’d been so effected by a death, only they’d been scarred up so that meant they’d happened long before he’d died. She shuddered.
Another deep breath and she started dialing. The number on the phone had an area code she didn’t recognize so she at least knew she wasn’t in California anymore. She tried her house first.
“The number you have dialed is not in service. Please hang up and try again.”
Buffy nodded, she’d been halfway expecting that. She tried the Magic Shop and Xander’s house to the same end. Willow’s cell was answered by someone who was not her red-headed friend and didn’t know her. Finally, mostly out of desperation, thinking maybe it was just Sunnydale numbers that didn’t work, she dialed Cordelia in L.A.
“Mario’s Pizza, anyway you like it 24/7!”
She hung up without a sound. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes and couldn’t help the half hysterical giggle that escaped. At least, she thought, since she was a kid and wasn’t wearing any make-up, she could cry all she wanted and not worry about it running. She giggled again, which turned into a sob as the hopelessness of the situation caught up with her.
What was she going to do? She didn’t know where she was, she didn’t know anyone here. She was almost certainly in a different dimension. She was surrounded by dead people and she didn’t have the faintest idea how to get home. Somehow she ended up on her side, curled into a ball as sobs wracked her whole body. She could barely breath she was crying so hard.
“Shhh, cheri,” A deep, accented voice somehow filtered past her tears, “Please, do not weep so.”
Buffy froze instantly. A second later she was on her feet, crouched and ready to strike. The corpse was awake.
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