Now Leaving Sunnydale
Starts at the end of Becoming pt 2 (end of BtVS series 2). For HP the worlds cross in the summer between years 4 and 5, most of the events here will come from OotP and I will not be following the cannon introduced in books 6 and 7 (although some characters and back story may be used).Pairing:
None planned, if/when they do emerge I will not be telling until the relevant point in the story (this is unlikely as pairings will not be important in this story). Disclaimer:
All characters etc. from Buffy belong to Joss, M.E., Fox, and whoever else.
I do not own the Harry Potter Septology. The characters, locations and events used from these stories belong to J.K.Rowling and Bloomsbury publishers.
I have probably used themes/ideas which originated in other fiction/fan fiction, I read too much for this not to happen, no offense/infringement is intended by this (I usually don’t know where my ideas come from but I do know better than to claim them as original). If this refers to you, please accept my apologies and remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The only thing I can claim as my own is the specific order of words which follows (mostly forming coherent sentences).Feedback:
Is what keeps me writing. I read and appreciate every review I get (yes even the ‘Update soon’ ones; although I do adore a well rounded comment/criticism, just knowing that what I write is enjoyed means a lot and encourages me to spend time on this).A/N1 - Spelling/Grammar:
Much of this story has only ever been self edited. This means that there are errors in there. I do keep reviewing it to catch them but I would be the first to admit that I’m fallible. If you spot any errors, or are confused by anything in the story please don’t hesitate to let me know. Saying that, while I am happy to accept criticism and aim to improve, this is difficult if the comments are not specific; please give me clear examples of what is wrong so I can rectify the error and do better in future.
I am British, and this is reflected in my phrasing and spelling. Please be aware that some ‘errors’ may be due to the distinctions between British and American English. I apologise if this causes any confusion.A/N2 – Acknowledgements:
Many people besides myself have assisted in creating what follows. I have been lucky enough to receive thoughtful comments in reviews and emails that have influenced the direction of the story.
I have also had help from many sources in making my writing as comprehensible as I will permit it to be. The wonderful people who over the years have been generous enough to lend me their time to beta read chapters and reviewers who provided detailed descriptions of my errors have been essential in this respect and have, I believe, improved how I write.
My eternal gratitude goes to all those who have assisted me. Any mistakes remaining are entirely my own doing.A/N3 – Updates/Completion:
This story is currently unfinished and is updated as I complete chapters. It may be a while before this is completed (note... it's taken me years to get this far). If you do not enjoy reading unfinished works I would advise against continuing. Having said that, as I have always stated; barring unforeseeable incidents making me incapable of doing so, I will (eventually) finish this. In the mean time, I hope those of you who continue to read enjoy the ride as much as I have.A/N4:
I am sorry for the lengthy notes, the above will not be repeated. Now Leaving Sunnydale
Hurriedly stuffing the last of her clothing and a few choice weapons into the bag, Buffy half climbed out of the window that she had escaped from on so many nights. Before taking off, she took one final look around the room that she had occupied for the past couple of years. It was a mess. In her hurry clothes had been randomly scattered over the furniture.
Under a short skirt, thrown over her bedside table when it was rejected as being useless in the life she planned to escape to, was a small wooden box. She hesitated; listening for any sounds in the house that indicated that her mother was moving around; that she might be caught. She heard the back door swing shut. Knowing there wasn’t much time; she swiftly moved back into the room and opened the box.
Silver and gold flashed in the bright light streaming through the open curtains before the item was stuffed into her jacket pocket. She climbed once more through the window and jumped from the roof to the ground. Without a glance back, she took off at a run down the street; her hand in her pocket, still fiercely clasped around its contents.
~ ~ ~
She hadn’t even noticed where she was running to until the buildings of her school came into view. Buffy winced in regret as she realised her former safe place was off bounds to her due to her expulsion. There would be no more late night research sessions in the library. She slowed to a quick jog, then a brisk walk, crossing the street so that her peers wouldn’t notice her.
The normal hustle and bustle of school life carried on as if nothing had happened, students chattily greeting friends and discussing assignments. They wouldn’t learn about demons or vampires unless they became their victims, or until it was too late and the world was sucked into hell. Only finding out when she failed in her duty to protect them. They would never learn of the sacrifices she had been forced to make to save the world.
Her gaze trailed along the street until she saw a group of people standing by the steps move to stand around a wheelchair. She felt a twinge of remorse as she remembered the small group that weren’t ignorant to the world around them; her friends. She edged closer, hiding in the shade of the trees.
They were waiting for her. To go up to them full of smiles in the summer sun and complaints at the upcoming exams. To joke and laugh and regale them with the tale of how she had, once again, saved the world. They glanced about as they talked, hoping to catch a glimpse of golden hair bouncing towards them.
Her first instinct was to go to them. To let them know the world was safe. But then she took a closer look at the group. Her two closest friends and companions were badly injured; Willow in a wheelchair, Xander with his cast. Giles had cuts and bruises on his face; awkward gestures as he spoke, a stark contrast to his previously smooth movements, confirmed her suspicions that there were more unseen beneath his tweed suit. He raised his hand to his glasses and she saw that his fingers were broken. She only caused him… all of them, pain and disappointment.
She closed her eyes and once again saw the vision of her mother throwing her out of their home. They were all better off without her. There was nothing left here for her.
She took one final long look at the group that had helped her through so much over the past two years; standing in a loose circle silently looking about them, looking for her. Finally relenting, they disappointedly turned and slowly made their way into the school. After watching them disappear into the shadowy doorway, Buffy turned and made her way slowly back down the street. She no longer had the energy to run. She didn’t have anywhere to run to.
~ ~ ~
Half an hour later Buffy was sitting on the seat of a bus headed towards LA. She stared aimlessly out of the window hoping for anything to take her mind off thoughts of what she was leaving behind. Her eyes alighted on a sign on the roadside “Now Leaving Sunnydale, come back soon!” That was it then. She had abandoned her friends and watcher to the Hellmouth. She wouldn’t… couldn’t come back.
She turned her head away from the window and shut her eyes, listening to the quiet chatter going on around her and the rattle of the engine. After weeks of all night patrols in search of her soulless lover and stress at the thought of destroying the demon that looked out of eyes that had once been so full of love, it had ended. The relief at it all being over brought about a feeling of calm and she slowly began to doze, the gentle vibration of the bus’s movement helping her drift off.Angel’s face appeared out of the darkness, his mouth open in horror as his eyes glowed and soul was restored. When the light faded, his gaze fell upon her filled with love that overcame the confusion as to where they were and why there was a blade, lowered but ready, in Buffy’s hand. She found herself once more falling into the dreamy depths of his dark eyes. They swallowed her up and she was floating in the beautiful void that contained only their love, pure and untainted. Then his strained voice reached her through the blissful haze.
Buffy woke up with a start, grateful that her mind had made her wake up when her subconscious was about to relive the most painful part of that memory. Forcing her eyes to stay open she looked out the window. They were still rumbling along the road just out of Sunnydale, she had only slept for a moment. As they travelled on the landscape flew by, the earth baked dry and dusty in the summer heat.
~ ~ ~
When the bus jolted to a halt at a vandalized bus-stop, Buffy grabbed her bag and followed the trickle of people getting off the bus. Most were waiting to get off in a more reputable area, where they could ignore the dangers of staying in a major city just as easily as their eyes slid over all indications of Sunnydale’s deadly underworld.
The bus driver called out a worried warning as she walked past him to the steps off the bus, encouraging her to get off at a later stop where it was less dangerous for young girls to wander alone. She threw what she hoped was a reassuring smile at the kindly man, but continued her decent off the bus. She didn’t want to enter the area she had lived in before being called as a Slayer. Running into any old friends would bring back too many painful memories.
She wandered aimlessly through the streets, her bag bouncing against her leg as she meandered along, shoulders hunched over to protect from the cold emptiness in her soul that couldn’t be warmed by the sun beating down on the city. She was startled out of her reflection when a figure pushed against her, only her innate sense of balance stopping her from stumbling.
A man had pushed passed her closer than was necessary, even in the crowded streets and she felt a hand swiftly thrust into her pocket. She turned in horror as she realised what had been taken and searched the street for the thief. Her keen eyesight spotted the man ducking into an alleyway, hiding in the shadows and opening a clenched fist to examine the trinket he had acquired.
In a flash of anger she was upon him. She gripped his wrist and he felt his bones creak as they complained about the pressure being applied to them. He looked up at his attacker, pain and anger clearly written on his features. Before him was the slight girl that had seemed like such an easy target, her eyes lost and painfully unaware of her surroundings as she walked along.
She had transformed, all innocence lost as she snarled at him, her eyes full of anger. There was no fear in her gaze despite his height and robust build making her seem even more childlike in comparison. She was well aware of her superior strength, which the force she was inflicting without any sign of effort on his arm made obvious. He sank to his knees at the pain that streaked through his nervous system as the bones finally broke with a snap that seemed to echo in his ears.
Buffy looked coldly into his eyes then glanced down at his hand. It had clenched into a tight fist around his prize in his body’s attempts to cope with the pain. She opened his hand and took back the one thing that she could never bare to lose. Letting go of his wrist, she slipped the silver chain over her head, tucking the heavy gold pendant under her top to hide it from any others who might attempt to take it, comforted as she felt it safe against her skin.
As she adjusted its position she felt another necklace slide against her skin. Pulling it out, she lightly caressed the silver cross in a way that spoke more of love than any religious leanings, and then reached back to undo the clasp. Buffy couldn’t bear to have a constant reminder of her lost love.
She was about to shove it into her pocket, switching it’s place with the chain now hanging around her neck, when her attention was brought to the man whimpering at her feet as he cradled his arm. She frowned, and took out her purse, placing the cross safely among the loose coins. She looked up guiltily at the thief’s pain ridden face and took out some small change. He flinched away from her as she held out her hand to him, greed soon overcame fear and he grabbed the change.
“Call yourself an ambulance.” She started out of the alley into the sunlight, then paused and glanced back “Oh, and be careful who’s pocket you pick next time” she smirked evilly at the man; his wistful looks at the zipped pocket of the bag in which she had stored her purse and his lack of remorse somewhat alleviating the guilt she felt over the pain she had caused him.
~ ~ ~
She stepped out onto the street squinting up at the midday sun, momentarily blinded by the sudden change. When her vision cleared she took in her surroundings. Each side was lined with rundown shops, paint peeling on most signs, the only windows that looked clean were those of the shops from well known chains that were dotted along the street.
Some of the people walking past sent her calculating looks, assessing the difficulty of taking her bag. She slipped it off her shoulder and gripped the handle. It would be hard, if not impossible, for anyone to wrench it out of a slayers grasp.
Across the street she noticed a sign in a grocery store window “Apartment to Rent, enquire within”. It wasn’t the nicest area, but there was nothing that a slayer couldn’t handle, besides, it would be cheap, and she needed to stretch out the time she could spend living off her savings. She crossed the street and, after minimal questions, was taken up to the apartment by the manager.
As he showed her around the compact space, she half listened to his mocking story of the tenant who’d just moved out; yet another kid in search of stardom. The previous girl had left after finally realising that she wasn’t going to be spotted working 12 hour shifts at a cheap cafe. The man looked Buffy up and down, leering despite her unflattering clothes, taking her for yet another small-town hopeful.
The apartment was shabby to say the least; paint peeled off the walls in places where the damp had gotten too bad. When tested, the shower groaned for a while then finally spurted out water at the ceiling and walls. The door looked like it had been kicked in at least once; the cracks in the frame obvious to Buffy, despite the paint over them. Two years of slaying in Sunnydale had made her well aware of the effects of breaking a lock. It would take a major clean to before it was habitable, but the price mentioned was reasonable enough, and would leave her enough to live on while she searched for work.
She got out her purse as the manager talked over the rent and charges. When he saw its contents she saw his eyes come alight at the wad of cash. She had taken out all of her savings before leaving Sunnydale so that her mother wouldn’t be able to track her through bank statements. He smoothly changed the required upfront rent from one to two months and suddenly mentioned a cleaning deposit.
Buffy looked cynically around the room at that, but knew that there was no point arguing now that he knew how much money she had on her. She should have separated out the cash when she got it, hiding most in pockets of her bag, but at that point she’d been in no state to think straight and had just put it all in her purse. As soon as she agreed to his price, he scurried off to get the paperwork, not wanting to lose a potential tenant who would give him that much in advance.
She looked after him with a bemused expression; he expected her to give up and go home before the rent was used up and leave him with more cash in hand. Buffy wandered through the dingy rooms, noting the things she would have to search for to make it liveable. There was no going back. She had to make this her home.