Who Loves You?
Summary: When almost everyone turns on her, Buffy races into the night. She runs into a demon and killing it, only to suffer a serious injury. WARNING: Seriously not Joyce-friendly – or really Scooby for that matter.
Timeline: Season 3 'Dead Man's Party' – BtVS
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. CSI: Miami characters belong to Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue and CBS. Diagnosis Murder characters belong to Joyce Burditt and CBS. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
A/N: AU in that Faith comes to town early with her Watcher.
A/N2: I'm sorry for starting another story without finishing the others, but I just received my 100th recommendation on TtH and just had to celebrate. Bizarrely enough, posting a new fic does that for me.
Warning: Joyce definitely comes out looking bad here. Very, very bad! I have as many issues with this episode as I do 'Empty Places', so beware of how I handle that.
Chapter 1: Cause and Effect
Xander snapped at the blonde Slayer, "God, don't you ever think of anyone but yourself? 'Oh poor, me…I had to send my demon boyfriend to hell. Boo-hoo-hoo.' Get over it already!"
"Didn't you even stop to think of the danger you left us all in by running away? Guess not, since you didn't even bother to check!" Cordelia added in her most haughty voice.
Shaken at the idea that Buffy almost left again, Joyce couldn't stop herself from saying, "You think that leaving me a note excuses you for not letting me know that you were alright? God, the nights of endless worrying about if you were alive or dead! Then you just come strolling back in like nothing happened and expect me to be okay with it?"
With tearful puppy eyes, Willow put in her own opinion, "I really thought that we were friends, Buffy. The fact that you left us like that just proves that you only care about us when we can do something for you. Maybe you should have just stayed away."
The others nodded their agreement.
Buffy stood there in shock for a full minute, just blinking at the anger and resentment pouring off her mother and 'friends'. She saw Oz and Giles walking back into the room from the kitchen, rage in both their eyes. Before they could start in on her too, she turned and fled the house – not caring that it was dark and she was unarmed.
However, the two men in question did. Giles was the first to speak, "What the hell were you all thinking? The whole point of tonight was to show Buffy that we wanted her home! Not only did you have a party that basically excluded her, you ganged up and drove her out into the night…without weapons!" Then he raced out the door, stopping to grab two of the swords laying on the floor from the earlier battle.
"Watcher's pet," Xander spat. "He feels the same way, but since she's the Slayer, he won't do anything about it. Maybe if he'd had better control over her, she wouldn't have screwed up so badly then run away."
Oz felt like growling at the guy; he really didn't get how much he hurt her – none of them did. "Not cool, man. Giles is right; you all crossed the line."
"But you agreed before," Willow pointed out, wondering why her boyfriend was taking her side all of a sudden.
Still fighting the urge, Oz kept his face calm while he explained his apparent change of attitude, "I should have said something earlier, but I was hoping you'd wake up on your own. Guess I was wrong." He gave Willow a sad look, then shook his head in disappointment and went out the door as well – weapons in hand.
Giles and Oz hurried to the sounds of fighting in the nearest cemetery. Oz had caught up with Giles almost immediately, then used his wolfy sniffer to find where Buffy was. Their faces were determined, yet concerned, as they raced towards the battle. Once they arrived, they froze momentarily at the sight of the eight foot demon batting Buffy around like a rag doll.
Quickly shaking himself out of his stupor, Giles called out to the fallen Slayer as he tossed her his sword. Only her will to survive allowed her the strength to catch it, then use it on her enemy. At the same time she shakily took its head, Buffy was struck one last time…flying headfirst into a nearby mausleoum.
The sight snapped Oz into action as well. He rushed to her side, checking for signs of a broken neck. When he didn't find any, he carefully lifted her in his arms, making sure that her head and neck were adequately supported.
Under normal circumstances, he knew that you shouldn't move someone when you were worried about spinal injury. But these were hardly normal circumstances. She needed medical attention quickly, and they couldn't count on an ambulance to come to a cemetery in the middle of the night. A house maybe, but never a cemetery.
A quick glance at Giles showed that he agreed with the action. Once outside the gates, Giles ran back to the house to get his car so they could take her to the hospital. Oz walked behind him slowly, so as not to risk hurting Buffy any further.
Minutes later, Giles arrived, and they raced to the hospital, each hoping that this wouldn't be the night the small blonde fell for good. As it was, only their concern for her well-being kept them from turning around and showing the people gathered at 1630 Revello Drive what their harsh words caused to happen.
Sunnydale Memorial Hospital
After they handed Buffy off to the ER personnel, Giles reluctantly made his way to the phone to inform Joyce about Buffy's condition. If it were up to him, she could just spend the night wondering where Buffy was. Unfortunately though, she was the girl's legal guardian – he refused to use the term 'mother' – and therefore was the person needed for medical decisions.
When the woman answered, he tersely told her to get to the hospital then hung up before he said anything he might not regret.
Many hours later, the doctor walked out to the waiting area to find a crowd sitting there.
"I'm looking for the family of Buffy Summers," she called out.
Joyce stood up immediately. "I'm her mother. These are family friends. How is my daughter doing?" she begged, the picture of maternal concern.
"She's hanging in there. Apparently, she's quite the fighter," the doctor said with a small amount of awe in her voice. "Given the broken bones and internal injuries, I'm surprised that she survived her attackers. However, it's her head injury that concerns me the most. She has a lot of swelling, and we've had to put her into a false coma to give her time to recover. If the swelling doesn't go down soon though, we'll have to operate again to relieve the pressure."
Feeling a tight clenching in his stomach, Giles stammered, "What do you mean, 'operate again'?"
The doctor looked at the poor man with sympathy; it was clear he was devastated by the girl's injuries. "We had to go in immediately to relieve the build up. Unfortunately, it has started to build again."
"Can we go see her?" Joyce asked, trying to draw the attention away from the man she held responsible for her daughter's life and pain.
The doctor nodded at her. "Just you for now. And only for a few minutes. I feel I must warn you though – she doesn't look good. So, try not to be alarmed when you see her."
When Buffy didn't wake up right away, everyone started fearing the worst. However, her condition did improve, and she was allowed visitors as long as they weren't disruptive. And even though they were still mad, Giles and Oz saw the anguish on the others' faces and decided to let it go…for now. Besides, Joyce was the next of kin; only she had the right to bar them.
One afternoon, everyone had the same idea and showed up at the same time to visit Buffy. It was only a few minutes later that the machines started beeping. Giles ran out to get a nurse, a doctor, an orderly…just someone to help his darling girl! By the time he came back in the room, her eyelids started fluttering as she slowly woke up.
Before anyone could say anything, the doctor shooed them all out so she could examine Buffy. Not surprisingly – at least to the doctor – Buffy first complained about the pain in her head, then responded in confusion and fear when the doctor asked for her name.
"I don't remember. Why can't I remember?" she started to panic.
The doctor put a hand on her shoulder to ease her worries. "Calm down. You had a serious head injury with some major damage to your brain; it's completely understandable that you would have some memory loss," she explained rationally. "Maybe seeing your friends and family will jog your memory."
Buffy answered in a scared, small voice, "Okay."
If The doctor knew Buffy at all, that would have concerned her more than the physical injuries did. But she didn't, so she simply left to bring the gang in.
A/N: Next… Hearing thoughts. (Us, not them. No 'aspect of the demon' going on here.)