Timeline - After BtVS S7 and around the first and second SVM books.

Disclaimer - I own nothing, am making no money from this and am doing it purely for enjoyment.

The Cure for Boredom

Chapter One

"'Don't worry about it, Buffster. The girls have everything covered'," Buffy mocked Xander's cheerful voice as she strode through the cemetery. "'Yeah, B. You're still in New York right? Why don't you find you a hot Wall Street type to take the edge off'," she went on, repeating Faith's words this time as she settled into full out pout-mode.

Actually, she wasn't in New York, and the fact that no one knew that seemed to just enforce her new status as a nonentity.

Why did Faith still get to be part of the action while Buffy was bound for the Slayer Retirement Home? Because Faith went evil and had redemption to work for? Maybe she should go evil too, if that's what it took to get any action these days. And, boy, did that come out wrong - or maybe not so wrong, or maybe just wrong and true. But that was a whole different set of issues.

In all honesty, life since the Hellmouth closed and the other Slayers came out had been boring. Here was Buffy's chance to have that normal life she'd always wished for and nothing could be more unappealing. The others seemed to think she needed that normality now though, and kept trying to shove peace and quiet down her throat. There were Slayers all over, Hellmouths were covered, the new Council was up and running. Complete organization. Nothing for her to do. And to make matters worse, it seemed like her friends had all found a niche - she was the only one floundering.

Willow was in South America, still with Kennedy and busy doing all those big witchy things Buffy knew nothing about. Xander was heading up Ops from Slayer central in Scotland, finally putting all that soldiery knowledge to good use. Giles was there too, big wigging it as the head of the Watchers - making sure none of them got out of line and started with the old Council crap. Dawn was going to school in Rome, living with her boyfriend. Buffy talked to her about once a week, but hadn't seen her in months - didn't want to taint her sisters new happy, normal, monster free life.

Buffy just felt kind of… left behind. Out of place. She'd told them all she was just traveling, "enjoying her new freedom". When in fact she was just roaming from one place to the next, looking for things that needed slaying. It was pretty sad.

"Used to save the world, now I'm on lame voodoo hunts and talking to myself," she mumbled, still scanning the seemingly unending cemetery.

She wasn't even hunting a demon, just some crazy chick. Hell, she didn't even know that the crazy chick was up to anything! All she knew was the local voodoo…ites? Voodooese? Voodians? Whatever. The other voodoo people in town were worried about what this person was up to, and Buffy, being pathetically bored, had decided to check it out. When she'd finally tracked her down, the woman, Mary or Marie or Marty, had taken one look at Buffy, made some weird sign with her hands, yelled something in French and taken off like the hounds of hell were on her tail. Buffy had gaped at her for a minute before following.

So that led to now - where crazy-pathetic-talking-to-herself-Buffy was looking for crazy-chicken feet-wearing-voodoo-chick in the cemetery, or "City of the Dead", as they liked to call it down here in New Orleans (which, wow, creepy visual).

A sound carried in on the light breeze pulled her from her self-pity. She stopped and cocked her head, listening for it again. There! Sounded like… chanting. Buffy almost groaned out loud - chanting in a cemetery never led to anything good. Following the sound, she came over a slight hill and stood looking down at the voodoo lady. She was doing a little dance around some circle that might or might-not have been drawn in blood. Random items that looked suspiciously like bones were scattered around its perimeter.

The woman - tall, dark skinned and looking to be in her late thirties - stopped what she was doing when she spotted Buffy. Her chanting cut off abruptly and she ended her hokey-pokey like movements, leaving only the sound of her numerous necklaces clinking together to fill the air between them. They studied each other tensely for a moment before she finally spoke.

"It is too late," she said with a heavy accent and a cocky smirk as she watched Buffy approach.

"Yeah, heard that one before. There's no tentacles shooting out of the ground and nothing's exploded, so I'm going to put this one in the 'not too late' column."

Buffy held her position across from her, not willing to step into the circle. She had a sudden vision of her chasing the woman around the circle like she used to chase Dawn around the dining room table when she stole her favorite earrings. Wouldn't that just make the night even better?

"Listen lady," Buffy said, trying to keep the exasperation out of her voice. "I don't know what you're doing, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say its of the bad. Whatever you're trying to gain here, it won't be worth it, I promise."

"You know nothing," the woman sneered. "I will be the strongest priestess that ever lived."

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure whatever told you that is lying."

"Nothing told me that, silly girl. I am not some amateur making deals with lowly demons," she said, untying a pouch from around her wrist and smirking at Buffy's surprise. "Yes, I know what you are. All things of the night are known to me. I am Marie Laveau, daughter of-"

"I really don't care," Buffy interrupted with an eye roll. As she got older she found her patience for pompous speeches had dwindled to nil. "What's the what with all this then if you're not getting all demon summon-y?"

The woman huffed, obviously annoyed at having been interrupted. "I will be taking the powers my other self possesses."

"Your other self?"

"There are many worlds, some of them have another version of ourselves. I have pinpointed one such world and will be taking my counterparts power as my own."

"Well, that's kinda crappy. What about the other you? You're just gonna leave her all… weak?" Buffy asked, biting her lip.

She wasn't sure what to do here. Was stealing mojo from yourself something she should step in and stop? Was that Slayer territory? It's not like she knew for sure the woman would use her power for bad. Jeez, she really hated moral quandaries. She liked it better when it was Slayer good; demon bad; slay.

"Then she will know how I feel," the woman snapped.

Wow, talk about someone with a chip on her shoulder.

She was done talking though, and before Buffy fully got the "Wait" on her tongue out, Marie was pulling open the pouch and throwing some kind of dust on the circle as she stepped into it. Buffy moved forward automatically, hand outstretched to stop her and the tip of her shoe stepping on the outline of the circle.

There was a bright flash and a panicked curse followed by a scream that was quickly cut off. But Buffy was more concerned with how up and down had somehow switched places, leaving her floating in a black limbo. She tried to yell, but found she couldn't even breathe. Just as panic was really starting to set in, she found her air suddenly returned to her and the black nothingness replaced by a starlit sky. Her mouth tasted like she'd been sucking on a dirty penny and there was a buzzing in her ears like a hundred pissed off bees.

"She voodooed me… that bitch," she mumbled hoarsely, sitting up.

Looking around, Buffy didn't see the woman anywhere. Gone were the circle and the bones and the other random crap. Instead there was a mausoleum that certainly hadn't been there before. She pulled herself to her feet slowly, scanning the area for danger at the same time. It was then that she noticed that the cemetery didn't look exactly the same. She couldn't pinpoint what exactly was different, beside the random appearance of the crypt, but what could really change? It was all headstones, grass and trees. Still… something was off. Turning her gaze back to the mausoleum, she walked a circle around it. Stopping by the door, she tapped on it lightly.

"Hey, voodoo lady, you in there?" She called, wondering if maybe she'd gotten the equivalent to an Acme spell that Wile E. Coyote'd her into a tomb.

There was no answer. She was thinking about breaking in when she noticed the inscription.

It read - Marie Laveau 1794-1881

"Hey, that's the voodoo lady's name…"

So… did her plan to steal her doppelganger's mojo backfire, kill her and… grow her own tomb for her dead body? That'd be new…. Nice and clean though. But the stone looked so old and weathered… Vines had grown around the doors. It looked anything but new. A tiny seed of suspicion had sprouted in Buffy's mind, but she ignored it. Shrugging it off, she decided that it was just some bad voodoo - which, like bad Chinese food, could either kill you or just give you weird dreams and the runs - whatever had happened to Marie, she obviously wasn't here anymore.

Filing it away to ask Giles about later, she turned back toward the southern entrance where she'd come in from. As she picked her way across the cemetery, she was still bothered by the fact things didn't look familiar. She'd just been through there, after all. The little seed that had sprouted grew taller, tiny wing like leaves unfurling. Then she got to the southern wall, where she knew the gate she'd entered through was located.

Except now there was no gate, just wall.

"What the…"

The little suspicious-thought-plant grew taller, but she refused to look at it closely - unwilling to entertain the idea just yet.

She scaled the wall easily and made her way down the quiet sidewalk back toward the more populated streets. Again, things looked… off. Rounding a corner onto a main road, she eyed all the passing traffic and pedestrians closely. They all looked normal enough, but her slayer sense was tingling oddly.

Just outside the French Quarter, she saw something she definitely hadn't noticed in her last few days there in New Orleans - a walled strip of blocks, the entrances sporting armed guards dressed in black swat-like uniforms. Eyeing the guards warily and trying to figure out why her spidey sense was going off, Buffy almost blew right by the tourist group without a second look. But she heard one word that stopped her in her tracks.

"-headquarters of New Orleans' most famous vampire, Sophie-Anne Leclerq." Ooh's and ahh's were heard from the crowd and a flurry of flashes went off. "As you can see, she's very well protected from possible threats by hate groups targeting vampires," the tour guide went on, gesturing to the guards. "A veritable vampire army guards the three block estate of Miss Leclerq. Feel free to take pictures, they don't mind at all. And if you ask nicely, they might even pose…"

The chatter died away as the crowd of gawkers continued down the sidewalk, leaving a frozen Buffy behind. The little seed of suspicion had fully bloomed into dreadful realization.

She wasn't in Kansas anymore.

Staring at the armed vampire guards as they smiled and talked with the tourists, Buffy's sighed in aggravation.