Rating:  PG, though not much objectionable actually happens

Feedback:  Thank you kindly Melpomenethalia@aol.com

Spoilers:  For "The Gift"

Distribution: Here.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  Buffy jumped through the big old portal and died. This is my take on what happens to her next.

Author's Note:  I started writing this over the summer… and quite honestly, I still am writing it.  Consequently, some of this doesn't quite mesh with what Joss told us happened. 

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Dedication:  To my poor, put-upon group of readers who have been waiting so dang long for me to get off my duff and finish this.

The Other Side

Part 1

Oddly enough, Buffy thought of when she was twelve years old and had gone scuba diving in the Caribbean with her father on a family vacation.  The sense of weightlessness, the odd blurring of sound, the rippling of images, and the strange hyper-awareness of each movement made her remember that experience vividly. 

Yes, dying seemed to be a lot like scuba diving, except, of course, for the blinding white light, the electric shocks traveling through her body, and the complete absence of any cute little fishies.  In addition to those insignificant differences, what she'd thought was mind-numbing fear at age twelve was nothing compared to how scared she was right now. 

For a split second that seemed to hold an eternity, the slayer saw the ground rushing towards her as the portal closed and she fell towards the earth.  Bracing herself, she prepared for the inevitable bone shattering impact, but it never came.  Instead, she suddenly found herself outside of her body, watching it land with a dull thud some twenty feet beneath her.  Almost immediately, the surrounding landscape of Sunnydale drifted away like fog in the morning sunlight and she found herself in the middle of a very large expanse of swirling violet mist.  Her feet appeared to be on something solid, but looking down she saw nothing but more of the same eddying light purple vapor.

"Um, hello?  Anybody here?" she called in alarm.  Shouldn't she be seeing a white light or a tunnel or something by now?  "Anybody?"

"Not a bad exit," commented an instantly recognizable accent behind her.  "I always did tink you'd last longer dan I did."

Whirling around, Buffy was so relieved she almost felt like laughing. "Kendra!"

"Who were you expecting?  De Easter Bunny?" the girl replied casually.

Now Buffy really did laugh.  "Only if I was Anya and thought I'd ended up in hell."

"Yes, I can imagine dat perfectly.  I've never quite understood her ting about rabbits."

"You-you know Anya?  But how?  By the time she came around you were…" she stopped abruptly, not wanting to sound rude.

"Dead?  It's all right to say dat here.  After all, you're dead too, now," she paused for a moment.  "Well, mostly.  But to answer your question, I keep an eye on how tings are going down der. You've done quite a job."

It was at this point that Buffy realized something very strange.  Although she could hear Kendra perfectly well, she had yet to see her.

"Uh, where are you?" Buffy asked with a small note of nervousness in her voice.  She'd only been dead once before, and it hadn't been for long, so this was all very new to her. 

"Well, der seems to be a little problem.  Notting to worry about.  It's just dat you're still somehow connected to de oder side, de world of de living."

"So I'm not completely dead yet?" she asked in confusion.

"No, you're dead.  Der's no question aboot dat.  But der's someting a little strange going on.  I'm not too clear on details, but I was sent to make you feel more comfortable here.  But, because of de circumstances, since I'm completely on de oder side of the boundary of life and death, and you're not, you can't see me.  At least, not yet."

"So, basically, I'm stuck in the waiting room of the Great Beyond?"

There was an amused silence for a moment.  "Dat's about de size of it.  But around here, we call it Limbo."

"I guess seeing my mom is kind of a big no then too, huh?" Buffy said in disappointment.

"I am sorry, Buffy, but no, she cannot come to you just now," was Kendra's gentle reply.  "But she does send you her love.  She is very proud of you."

"Is there anybody here that I know?  I mean, it's really nice talking to you again, but I'd kind of like to be able to see somebody, if you know what I mean.  All this whirling purple stuff is making me crave Dramamine."

"I can't stay for very much longer meself, but yes, der are oders here.  We didn't want to startle you by having dem be de first ones to greet you, but now dat you know der is notting here dat will harm you, dey will come forward.  I am glad dat I had de chance to know you as a friend, even if it was for a short time.  Maybe we will be able to speak again soon.  Goodbye, Buffy."

The silence that followed the statement made Buffy feel even more alone than before for a few moments.  However, as she was just beginning to wonder if Kendra had known what she was talking about when she mentioned others, a change began to come over her surroundings.  As she watched, the mist began to twist itself into solid shapes and take on breathtakingly beautiful colors. Grey-green hills started to form in the distance, followed by a vast expanse of emerald, grassy fields dotted with colorful wildflowers and tall, graceful trees in full leaf.  The sky appeared overhead, the startlingly clear blue almost a shock, and cotton candy clouds of snowy white drifted lazily in a warm breeze.  As though in an afterthought, a river of sparkling, clear water began to run across the meadow before her, tumbling over rocks and making a cheerful burbling song.  A narrow stone footbridge suddenly sprang up across it, linking one half of the field to the other.

"Well, at least Limbo is pretty," she said aloud. 

Suddenly, the Slayer became aware of three indistinct figures approaching her across the grasslands.  They were too distant to perceive clearly, but she noticed that they appeared to be human.  As they came closer, she was able to tell that there were two women and one man.  The women wore long, pastel dresses that seemed to float in the gentle breeze and changed colors from moment to moment, while the man, who walked between the other two, offering an arm to each, wore an old-fashioned suit of pale gray.  Although she was able to see their clothing fairly well, their faces remained oddly blurred.  When they reached the bridge, they stopped for a moment and appeared to have a brief conference.  Despite her intense curiosity, Buffy was unable to hear what they were saying.