early morning summons
Title: early morning summons
Word Count: 1900
Prompt: #359 relationships
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright of Joss Whedon and ME. The Walking Dead and all related characters are copyright of Robert Kirkman, Image Comics and AMC. No infringement intended.
Synopsis: Jacob knew that meant Bradley was uncomfortable and thought, perhaps, it had most to do with Buffy’s careful study of them.
The crunch of leaves and the snapping of twigs accompanied Hank’s fall as he tumbled down a steep incline and away from the infected roaming the hillside. His weight speed up his momentum; quicker than he’d anticipated as the foliage gave way to grass and he continued his way downward in an uncontrolled free fall. His eyes closed, nausea rearing its head with the rotating view of sky and dirt until his body impacted and the spasm awoke him.
His brows tugged downward as Hank blinked up at the swollen moon above him and the sensation of falling slipped away leaving behind a tingling sensation in his extremities. He lifted a hand to wipe at the perspiration lining his forehead as he sat up; body incredibly tired for reasons that were beyond him as he dropped his booted feet to the grass and looked across the small opening between his cot and Grayson’s. The younger man was still asleep, undisturbed by the pounding in Hank’s chest or sounds he made as he forced him onto unsteady feet.
Hank made his way quickly to the tent in search of the girls and found Emma, fast asleep on Buffy’s cot, but no signs of his daughter and his heart reenacted the dream before he spun and looked to the SUV. The full moon allowed him to locate his daughter easily enough. She was watching him from the hood of the vehicle and he exhaled, eyes falling close a moment as he thanked whatever deity was still listening, before heading towards her. He allowed himself a few calming breaths as he forced himself to slow his steps, suddenly noticing how unbearably hot it was now that the rain had come and gone and the humidity wouldn’t allow them another break until the next summer shower.
His daughter’s head inclined and her eyes looked brown in the low light of the moon, but she smiled a welcome at him and patted the empty hood space beside her. He climbed up, mindless of the paintjob, and settled himself, legs stretching out in front of him. He watched as she dug a fork into the last can of tuna fish, which explained why she was awake so early in the morning, and offered him the fork.
He accepted it—regardless of the time or preference one did not refuse offerings of food these days—and chewed on the warm bit of fish-flavored meat. Hank found himself suddenly missing the few rabbits his daughter had managed to hunt up while they were on their own. He’d learned through trial and error how to skin and butcher them. It’d been the least he could do after Buffy had managed to hunt them—hunt, not kill, he’d tried to voice the difference often for his daughter’s sake. The first one had been the hardest for the both of them but after the initial tears, Buffy’s not his own, they’d eventually stumbled into a routine of sorts.
Warm meat, that was supposed to be warm, was leaps and bounds better than the canned meat they shared on occasion. He handed the fork back to his daughter and watched her spear herself another bite and they shared the remainder of the can and the rest of the night in silence and each other’s company.
He didn’t speak of his dreams, his nightmares and Buffy didn’t ask.
They simply enjoyed the quiet and each another’s company.
Grass crunched beneath the wheels of the golf cart, yesterday’s rain had brought some green to the previously brown field that Jacob found himself driving upon. Bradley sat shotgun, humming along to a song only he could hear in his head with his Remington on his lap and his gaze trained on the fence line they were passing in the early morning hours. Col. Boyd had put out a request for two of the newest members of the Blount to be brought to Dr. Garcia—again—and Bradley had volunteered them for the task before their shift at the front gate.
Jacob wasn’t complaining, though he found the need for the Summers family presence at the CDC building suspect, but he’d learned not to ask too many questions. Especially this early in the morning and since Bradley seemed completely at ease with the request Jacob followed the soldier’s lead, per usual, and drove them towards the section of the compound reserved for those unwilling to fully acclimate to the military lifestyle.
Brown eyes swept down the rows of vehicles, on the lookout for an ambulance since Col. Boyd had stated the group had remained together for the most part. Only one of them, who had previous military experience, had joined the compound and she’d volunteered for patrol. Sarah seemed nice enough, but she said the oddest damn things during their morning classes and Jacob had noticed her lack of tact tended to annoy the others more often than not.
His foot left the gas when he heard a dog bark and Bradley’s hum tampered off as he leaned forward. Both of them searched the surrounding area for the animal. Bradley leaned forward as he looked under cars before straightening and his gaze trained on the field beyond the fence. A frown, tugged Jacob’s brows low at the thought of the poor thing being so close to safety and yet so far away from it. They waited another moment, but the morning remained quiet and relatively still which forced them onward and further away from the main section of the compound.
This group had quite a ways to walk if and when they needed water and Jacob couldn’t fathom why they wouldn’t just join Blount and accept the security it could offer. He shook his head and moved his right foot from gas to brake as he caught sight of the ambulance. An SUV was parked about ten feet away and he noticed there was tent set up between the two vehicles as he brought the golf cart to a complete stop. Bradley was already up and out of the cart before he’d even turned the power off.
With another shake of his head he did just that and pocketed the keys as he followed the older man towards the small camp. He saw Mr. Summers first, the polaroid the CDC took of each survivor coming in handy since Jacob really only remembered Buffy from his encounter with the group two days ago, and Mr. Summers was talking with the younger guy who had a little girl.
Jacob glanced around the camp, searching for Buffy and the little girl and frowned when he didn’t see either, but before he offer a greeting Bradley beat him to it and with a fake Irish accent, that just sounded at odds with his actual accent, he called out, “Top of the mornin’ to ya!”
Both men turned in unison, identical looks of confusion on their faces, and Jacob shook his head before offering them a halfhearted wave and an embarrassed, “Good morning.”
“Hello,” Mr. Summers replied before stepping away from the younger guy—whose name escaped Jacob—and headed in their direction and after a moment’s hesitation the other guy followed him. Mr. Summer’s head inclined as he inquired, “Did the CDC mix up the tests again?”
Bradley shook his head and replied, “I don’t believe so, but if it’s not too much trouble we’d like you and your daughter to come with us.”
His brows tugged together and Mr. Summers’ chin dipped as he frowned at them. “There a reason why?”
“None that we are privy to,” Bradley explained.
“And that doesn’t bother you?”
The younger guy inquired, and Jacob kind of agreed with, but Bradley shook his head. “Not my place to know.”
“You’re not even curious?”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Bradley smiled with his quick retort and then offered, “If it was bad they’d send someone else to collect you. As it stands I think Dr. Garcia just wants to have a little talk.” He looked to Mr. Summers and Jacob shifted uncomfortably beside him as he offered again, “If that’s not too much trouble.”
Mr. Summers searched Bradley’s face, blue eyes narrowing in concentration before he dropped his head into a slow nod. “I don’t see why it would be.” He turned, voice rising as he called out, “Buffy! Come’re please!”
The teenager appeared in the tent’s entrance and she crouched down to escape the low opening. Jacob watched the little girl follow her through only to hesitate when she caught sight of him and Bradley. Her chin ducked low and she hurried to catch up to Buffy and quickly grasped her hand, using it as a shield to hide her face. Buffy sent her an amused look before making her way forward at a slower pace to accommodate child’s smaller steps.
She spared them a confused glance before looking to her dad and inquiring, “What’s the what?”
“Dr. Garcia would like to meet with us.”
Her brows rose and she looked back to Bradley, brow quirking as her gaze traveled over him and then she looked to Jacob. He found the weight of her gaze, the calculated look in her eyes unsettling as if she was measuring his worth the same way Col. Boyd did.
“There a why to this request?”
Her question brought Jacob back to the conversation, but it was Mr. Summers that replied, “Not yet.”
A brow quirked and her head inclined as she looked to her father and he gave her the smallest of nods. A shrug lifted the shoulder of the arm not currently attached to the little girl before she turned looked back to them and state, “Sure. Why not?”
Bradley cleared his throat and Jacob knew that meant he was uncomfortable, but whether it was from their silent exchange or Buffy’s measuring gaze he didn’t know, but he spared the blonde an encouraging smile as he greeted, “Good morning, Buffy.”
Mr. Summer’s frowned, the young guy rolled his eyes and Buffy’s mouth turned in at the corners. “Good morning, Lance Corporal Bradley J. Michaels,” her gaze flicked to Jacob and he might of imagined it but her smile seemed to widen just a little before she added, “Good morning, Jacob.”
He hesitated, sparing a glance at Mr. Summers’ thin mouth before he offered, “Morning, Buffy.”
“Have fun,” the younger guy offered as he moved forward to pick up his little girl.
“Thanks, Grayson,” Jacob did his best to place the name to memory and not frown at the even wider smile she spared for the guy in front of her as he picked up the child. She caught the little girl’s knee and gave it a gentle shake as she ordered, “Be good, Emma.”
be good,” the little girl assured her with more conviction than was necessary and that brought a smile to nearly everyone's face.
Jacob sighed when that small moment broke the tension and Bradley led them away from their camp and towards the golf cart with Jacob bringing up the rear which allowed him to hear the whispered exchange between the father and daughter.
Mr. Summers inquired, “Think she’ll actually be good?”
“So not a chance in hell.”
Jacob shook his head and ducked his chin to hide his grin of amusement as he snorted into his chest.