Disclaimer: I don't own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. No profit will be made
Summary: After Sunnydale collapsed, Buffy has rebuilt her life and is happy. Until the PTB decided only an unhappy Slayer is a good Slayer and her life is turned upside down once more, only this time it's on a much more personal level. Crossover with House MD.
A/N: Story takes place a few years after Sunnydale collapsed for BTVS and starts around the beginning of season 4 of House MD. Main character will be Buffy and the cast of House MD. The prologue sets the scene, explains quite a bit of background - including how I see the aftermath of Sunnydale. Italics indicate Buffy's thoughts.
Buffy was standing motionless on her small private roof terrace, watching the sunrise. Anyone happing to see her from afar, would have thought her to be a statue as not a single muscle was moving. Yet her brain was working overtime.
Four years ago the first evil appeared for the first time. And everything changed.
Almost laughing out loud, bitterly, Buffy thought back to that time.
She had just come back from the dead. Been ripped out from what she considered to be heaven. Sometimes, when she closed her eyes, she could still remember and feel the peace she was at there. Then, soon after she had come back and been forced to adapt to her life again, the First Evil made its entrance into her world. She and her friends had fought hard to keep it at bay. And they had lost so much during that fight. But they had won. Again.
Repairing the damage had taken so much longer though. Having been thrown out of her own house before the final battle had hurt Buffy more than she could tell. Still, she had come back and had forgiven her friends. At least until the war was over. Then, even though they had won, even though they all had lost friends during the final battle, when she finally had time to think again, the resentment towards her friends had come back.
But this time, she didn't back down or bury it deep inside just so she wouldn't hurt them. This time, she had made her feelings known, being surprised herself how much it still hurt, and all of them had made amendments. It might have been painful at first, but in the end they had been able to make a true new start with no bad feelings remaining.
And they had been busy. Suddenly there were hundreds of new Slayers emerging around the world. With the old Watcher's Council gone to provide training or any sort of advice to them, a solution had to be found. And fast. Apparently Buffy wasn't the only one to think so. Soon after Sunnydale had found its violent end, they had been approached by the few watchers that had survived due to being scattered around the world.
Even though both Buffy and Giles had left the Council a while ago, they had been the ones fighting at the front line. The ones with the most experience. The ones knowing best what was needed. Recognising this, the remaining watchers had asked them to take charge and rebuild the Council. Or maybe because they couldn't be bothered with the hassle involved. Most of them had liked where they at that time – in the field.
At first, neither of them had been pleased with that prospect. But after discussing it with Faith and the other remaining Scoobies, they had realised how big a chance it was for making a better life for the new slayers. Or rather, for making a life for them in the first place.
As there wasn't much left of the London headquarter, they first went to Rome were they council had another, smaller, office. Then they did what they had perfected through so many years together. They had researched every single aspect of the old council. Which of the watchers were still alive. What resources were at hand for them to use – which, luckily, turned out to be plenty. How to best localise the new slayers – and what to do with them. What new threats might arise from the new situation. And so on, and so on.
It had taken many sleepless nights of planning and scheming, but within a couple of month the new International Watcher's Council, IWC for short, had been founded and was taking form, although it would take several more month to get everything they had planned. It was agreed the headquarter was to return to London to its old place as the property contained many resources – some men-built, others supernatural – to just abandon it. However, with the new influx of slayers – several hundreds of them – they were also setting up regional headquarters around the world.
Most importantly, new rules, or rather guidelines, had been thought up and implemented. This time around, the slayers were given a choice of what they were going to do with their calling. Each of them was offered, and encouraged, to take part in a several week long boot-camp at any of the new regional headquarters. This would give them the basic information they'd need to adjust to their new abilities, including the importance of keeping them quiet. Then, if they chose, they could stay there and continue their slayer education while attending a local school to finish that path of education as well. In fact, Buffy had been quite adamant in that respect.
As it turned out, only potentials of a certain age had been called as slayers. The youngest being 13, the oldest having just turned 18. Also, as time passed by, they had realised the number of slayers wasn't rising and rising but stayed at a more or less constant level. It seemed like either the old rule of a new slayer being called upon the death of another one had reinstated itself or the number of potentials had simply adjusted to the new development. In the end, only time would tell which of these theories was true.
Also, with the discovered funds – and there was still another property or shareholding popping up from time to time – slayers were now paid according to their work. If they decided to work for the IWC, a proper contract was drawn up, containing the details of their employment. Moreover, most of the remaining watchers of the old council had voted for the Sunnydale crew to have their payment back-dated for all the time they had fought on the frontline, making for a nice and unexpected lump sum for all of them.
As Dawn had wanted to stay in Rome to finish her high school education at an international school, Buffy did too and helped reorganise the IWC from their base there. But while Willow, Xander, Faith and Robin decided to now work full-time for the IWC around the world, Buffy was dividing her time between the IWC and her wish – no, need – to do something else. The last seven years had left her drained and mentally exhausted and with the new slayers raising, she had finally time to step back a bit and learn to live somewhat normal again.
The first step had been her enrolling in a course at the Sapienza University of Rome. After much contemplation and talks with her friends she had finally decided on doing a bachelor degree in physiotherapy. With the fight going on, there would always be a need for this profession within the IWC but she also had the opportunity to work somewhere else.
Now, watching the sun slowly rise over the roofs of Rome, Buffy knew it had been the right decision.
Three years ago I met Mark.
Her thoughts continuing at fast speed, she thought back to that fateful day that had changed her life so completely.
It had been during her first year at the university. Mark had been one of the instructors in their course, when they hard started to apply the first learned techniques on each other.
Being a few years older than most of her fellow students, who started this course usually directly after finishing high school, and oh so much more experienced in the thing called life, Buffy had had some difficulties finding friends in her course. Working for the IWC while not studying hadn't helped either, as she only had managed to juggle both responsibilities thanks to her lesser need for sleep and therefore had no time at all for socialising.
Still, she had picked things up much easier then most. Willow thought that the slayer in her helped with it, or rather the body awareness that came with it. And Buffy had to agree. It had turned out to help tremendously in remembering the human physiology. Well, apart from the correct names, that is. She still had managed to massacre almost every name for said parts, but she was getting better. Or so she had thought.
After the second day of their first practical, Mark had taken her aside and offered to help her studying. In the beginning Buffy had been quite hesitant, but when he had started to smile openly and admitted that he was afraid of inappropriately breaking out laughing if she mangled just one more name, she had returned his smile. And accepted his offer.
They had started out meeting twice a week and study. It had turned out to not only help Buffy's grades but his joy of life started to affect Buffy positively as well. Soon they had not only been studying but talking about family and life in general as well. Or just enjoying each others company.
He had told her about is family. All related by blood. All, but one of his cousins, considering him the black sheep of the family. All, but one, breaking off all contact with him. And he had told her how he couldn't care less about it. He was happy with his friends, his profession, his life. Besides, if he would have catered to their wishes, he would never have met Buffy.
She had told him about her family. A couple related by blood, most chosen by life. She told him about those she had lost. He had held her when she had shed some more tears for them, even though she had thought herself all cried out already. She had found comfort in the normality of him.
And then they were dating. It wasn't something any of them had planned, but as it came so naturally, they weren't going to question it either. It just felt right.
Remembering the gentleness of their first kiss now, Buffy lifted her face into the morning sun and, closing her eyes, let the gently warmth of the sun chase the morning chill away.
Two years ago I told him about my slayer-ness and he didn't run away.
It had been just after Dawn had left Rome for the land of tweed to study something along the lines of ancient languages and mythology in Oxford. That was something Buffy had been quite adamant about. Dawn could join the IWC if she really wanted to, but first she had to go and enjoy student life. Buffy's experience of it had only been short and she didn't want to rob her sister of yet another so-called normal thing.
It had been just after Buffy moved out of their Rome headquarter and into her own little apartment, paid for with the money she got for her work as slayer. Lovingly fixed up and refurbished by Buffy and Dawn – no men allowed.
It hadn't been a special day or occasion. Although she had found a small nest of vampires on her patrol, she hadn't been injured while taken care of them. Her clothes hadn't been ripped either, yet when she arrived at her apartment and found him sleeping peacefully in her bed, she had woken him gently and told her story.
He hadn't interrupted her, but held her when she had struggled to explain. He hadn't talked for a long time after her revelations, yet he hadn't let go of her either. Then he had kissed her forehead, saying only one word.
And he had accepted it. No questions asked but the promise given to listen whenever she needed to talk. The promise to hold her whenever she needed to be held. The promise to not let it interfere with their relationship.
He had kept all of his promises. He had become part of the family.
Vampires and the other creatures of the night would be settling in for the day now, the sun already being too strong for them. The city would be relatively safe until sunset. And human monsters weren't hers to hunt.
One year ago we moved in together.
It had only been natural. Despite Buffy still patrolling on a regular basis, mostly to supervise the slayers from their school in Rome, they rarely spent a night in different beds. So when Mark's landlord had asked him to move out as he needed the apartment for personal reasons, he had moved in with Buffy.
He had still made sure she didn't massacre the medical terms too badly, had helped her studying for her exams. For her, his help was what was getting her through the exams. For him, her natural ability for the subject was what was getting her through. Apparently having injured a wide array of bones, tendons and muscles throughout her slayer career gave her a very good understanding on human anatomy.
Then, when fate had decided to kick her right in the gut again, he had stood by her, listened to her, held her whenever needed.
While going through a newly discovered archive of the old Watcher's Council in London, Giles had come across papers that literally made him sick. After recovering from the initial shock, he came to Rome to talk with Buffy about it.
No, it wasn't another apocalypse. Or another prophecy predicting her death. No, it was entirely men-made. Or rather, council-made. They had, once more, interfered much more in one of their owns life then either of them would have thought possible.
As it involved Giles directly, he started with telling her his versions of events that lead up to the horrendous event that had been so meticulously documented in these secret papers.
Just after he had started to work for the Watcher's Council, Giles had been sent to train a promising potential. She was already 14 years old when she had been found by their organisation and not exactly happy with the interference.
Who would have thought.
Yes, she trained regularly with Giles. Yes, she dutifully learned all of what the Watcher's Council deemed necessary for their potential slayers to know.
But she also was a teenager having to cope with her newly developing body and all the lovely hormones coming with it. It probably didn't help that she rather quickly changed into a beautiful young woman that turned many a heads. Giles, going with the Watcher's Council guidelines, believing in them, tried to shift her focus on her fighting skills. Demanded her to focus on them.
But demanding a teenager to do something never went down well. And neither did it in this case. Now, the potential wasn't particular disobedient, but she did wanted a life outside her training. And then she fell in love. Annoying her watcher with the resulting missed training sessions was another plus. And then, like other girls before and after her, she became pregnant. At 15.
The Watcher's Council was not pleased. At all. Neither were her parents. But at least they tried to stand by her. As did Giles, much to the Watcher's Council dismay. If they would have had their way, the girl would have had an abortion and get on with her training. But she resisted. The baby might not have been what she had in mind, but she wanted it and after long and often tearful talks with her parents, they had agreed to support her wish.
Then, one month before her child was born, the potential had suddenly seemed to change her mind. She was going to give her baby up for adoption. She had already talked with an agency and they would organise everything for her. Not sure how to cope with their initial idea of bringing up her baby, her parents had been somewhat relieved by that prospect. Yes, they would have kept their promise to help their daughter in any way possible. But with a baby, the bright future they had thought up for her would have been rather difficult to achieve. So, giving that baby a future with a complete set of parents wasn't such a bad choice either. It might have been their grandchild, but somehow they that didn't seem to matter.
Again, Giles might have wondered about the complete turn around in her thinking, but he was sticking with her. She simply had grown on him. They still met regularly, even if the physical part of her training was more or less non-existent now. There had still been lots of other things he could teach her.
Giles had been there when the potential had gone into labour and brought her into the hospital. He had waited in the waiting room for news and then, when the baby, a girl, had been taken away, he had followed. And managed to take a few photographs. He wasn't even sure why he did it, but he had been unable to resist the sudden urge to do so.
The potential had been sad at first, but seemed to go back to her old self almost immediately. She had insisted to go back to her training rather quickly and glad she seemed okay, Giles complied. Three month later and another girl had been called as slayer. Another month, and Giles had been called back to London. Apparently, though still just 16, the girl was no longer being considered a potential. Or at least not a promising one. This was unusual early for a girl to drop of the radar, but it wasn't unheard of either.
So they had wished each other good luck for the future and Giles had left.
And had received a very disturbing phone call about four years later.
His potential had grown up and was studying at university now. And she woke up one morning, remembering.
Remembering how much she had and still did loved her baby.
Remembering the plans she had made, plans to help her through school and on to university despite her baby.
Remembering the afternoon tea she had with another member of the Watcher's Council to discuss her future.
Remembering how she couldn't remember her plans afterwards. How she had suddenly wanted to give up her baby for adoption.
Giles had almost gotten sick that time as well. He knew then that the Watcher's Council had somehow fiddled with the girl's mind. Knew that they had basically stolen her baby. And he promised to find out as much as he could about her baby girl. Then, remembering the pictures he had taken on the day of her birth, he had send most of them to his former potential.
For years, he couldn't find anything about this baby girl. The Watcher's Council had covered their tracks too well. Still, they had documented every detail of that deed.
Documented what exact spell they had been using on the girl. Not bothering that it wouldn't hold forever. They had simply figured that by the time the spell wore off, the girl was either dead after being called the next slayer or had outlived her time as potential and was hence not of their concern anymore. Just to be sure though, they had manipulated both the birth certificate and the adoption papers and put another spell on the hand selected adoptive parents of the little girl. This time, they had chosen a spell that would grow stronger the more the parents loved they baby. Grow strong enough for them to almost forget their daughter was adopted.
At that point, Giles stopped with his story.
Looking into his face, Buffy had known that she wouldn't need to ask if he ever found the girl again. Because, every time Buffy looked into a mirror, that girl was staring right back at her.
The Watcher's Council hadn't started to interfere with her life when she became the Slayer. No, they had started even before she was born.
She hadn't needed to ask Giles if he knew all along. His feeling had been written clearly on his face and if the old Watcher's Council hadn't died in the explosion those years ago, she was pretty sure they wouldn't have much chance to survive Giles wrath. Otherwise known as Ripper. And she would have supported him all the way till the end.
That night, she and Giles had gone on patrol together to vent off some of their anger. When she had brought him to the headquarter, she came back to her apartment to find Mark waiting for her.
And she had cried for her family. The mother that had died, and the mother that had been robbed of her own child. Then, once she had calmed down, he had asked her what she was going to do about it.
First, she had been confused but then she couldn't help but smile at his practicality.
Somewhere down below, a baby started to cry, only to be quickly soothed by his mother. Her biological mother had been robbed of that.
One month ago we got engaged.
She had just finished her degree. Graduated on top of her class. To celebrate, everyone she considered her family had come to Rome and they organised a party at the Rome headquarter.
When the sun went down, Mark took her to walk in the surrounding gardens. There, with the last glimmers of sunlight brushing the top of her head, he had asked her to marry him. Tears pouring down her face, she had accepted. He was her solid rock, her life-line, in the mad world she called her life. And she loved him in a way she thought she wasn't capable of anymore.
Back inside, she told everyone the exciting news and a many more happy tears where shed that night.
She was finally living again.
Her life was finally going in the right direction.
Taking note of the birds greeting another day, she absently twirled her engagement ring around her finger.
One week ago I buried him.
The day, in fact all week, had been sunny, yet not a single sun ray had been able to reach through the darkness that had descended around Buffy once more. By the time his coffin had been lowered into his grave, her face was dry of tears. She simply had no more tears left to shed.
Surrounded by her family, she had only eyes for the dark coffin in front of her.
He was gone.
There hadn't been anything supernatural involved.
No, he had been struck by a drunk driver on his way home. He had died immediately, the flowers he'd just bought crushed beneath his broken body.
Buffy had gone to formally identify his body, her face set in stone. Unmoving. Then she had gone back home, had gone straight to bed. She hadn't moved again until Dawn arrived over 36 hours later. Then, in the comfort of her sisters arms, the wall she had built around her emotions had finally crumbled down.
They had called Mark's cousin Linda, the only member of his family he actually stayed in contact with. She had been there for the funeral, while his parents and siblings didn't seem to care.
Linda had left again, but they had exchanged email addresses. For later. If either of them wanted to stay in contact, once the pain wasn't as raw anymore.
Although Buffy didn't know if that was ever going to be the case.
Her lifeline was gone.
Mark was gone.
Listening to the sounds of the wakening city below her, she ignored the roof terrace door opening behind her. She knew it wouldn't be Mark. Frankly, she didn't care who it was.
Stepping up behind her sister, Dawn touched Buffy's shoulder gently. "It's time."
Sighing, Buffy opened her eyes and looked straight into the now fully risen sun, a single tear running down her face.
Today I'm leaving. Leaving him. Leaving Rome.