Disclaimers: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy & Fox. Numb3rs belongs to Cheryl Heuton and Nick Falacci…I think. (NOT me!)
Warnings: If you haven't read First Meeting, the first part of the Mathematics & Magic, you might want to go back to that before reading this. This story make sense without it, but you'll be missing a lot.
AN: Here's the (start of the) second part of the series!
I'll say more at the end, but for now: Enjoy! ^_^
A Call Away
Part II in Mathematics & Magic
By Jess S
Summers' House, Sunnydale, California – Tuesday, September 17, 1996
Buffy shook her head as her mom's second call came up the stairs.
"Honey, are you almost ready? You're going to be late!"
Glancing at the clock, the teenager rolled her eyes. Somehow her mom kept forgetting that even at the walking pace of a normal human being, the high school was only twenty minutes away. Plus school didn't start until 7:10 AM, and it was just a little bit past 6:30 AM. "Be right down, Mom!" she called back, hoping that none of the exasperation she was feeling leaked into her tone. The comment was meant to pacify her mother, but if the older woman recognized the exasperation another round of mother-daughter bickering might follow. If that happened Buffy would be late for school.
Finishing off her make-up with a touch of strawberry-flavored lip-gloss, Buffy closed her small make-up kit and slipped it into the front pocket of her back-pack, smoothly zipping that up also. She glanced through the larger part of the bag, nodding when she saw that all of the books she'd need were still in there, since she'd packed the bag after doing her homework—before patrol at her mom's insistence—the night before. Closing that compartment also, Buffy grabbed her purse, nodding as she confirmed by weight that everything should be there. Looking at the open side-pocket, she then glanced at her desk. Her cell phone was sitting there, turned off but fully charged.
Technically, she shouldn't need it. After all, Charlie usually only called at night and none of her other friends—or her mother, even—knew that she had a cell phone. But there was always the chance that something could happen in LA and that Charlie or Lily might call for help. So, Buffy sighed again but quickly snatched the phone off the desk, and turned it on, turning the volume to the lowest setting. That way if it rang it wouldn't attract much attention from inside her purse—she only heard it because of the enhanced senses of the Slayer.
"Coming, Mom!" Buffy smoothly swung her back-pack up onto her shoulders before grabbing her purse and dashing out the door, stopping for only a second to close it before hurrying to the stairs and down them.
Her mom was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs, a plate in hand. "I made pancakes."
"Oh, yum!" Buffy blinked, then smiled, easily setting her bags down by the counter and quickly taking a seat and accepting the plate from her mother. "Thanks, Mom!"
"You're welcome." Her mom nodded, watching as she poured syrup on the already buttered cakes and began to devour them.
After a few minutes of silence—halfway through her stack of half-a-dozen pancakes—Buffy finally decided to stop ignoring her mother and looked up, only to frown at the look of concern on the older blonde's face. "What's wrong, Mom?"
Mrs. Summers blinked, and then shook her head, quickly turning away to busy herself with cleaning up the small mess she'd made in the kitchen. "It's nothing, Buffy."
"No, really, what?" Buffy insisted, frowning as she sensed real worry radiating off her mother, only slightly over-shadowed now by discomfort at being called on it.
After a moment her mother sighed, and finally turned back to look at her. "Was I feeding you enough before?"
Buffy blinked, "Huh?"
"S-Since you became the Slayer, do you need more food?" Mrs. Summers nodded to the plate Buffy had nearly finished in under two minutes. "I remember when you were sick a few months ago—we had to hospitalize you for the flu, remember?—the doctors were concerned with your weight. And while you were always self-conscious in LA, it was never a health-problem. Is it now? Do you need more food as a Slayer?"
Buffy frowned as she considered the question, remembering how Dr. Helgen—the doctor in LA General—had been unhappy with her weight. But then again, Buffy really hadn't been eating much while she'd been caught in the throws of depression. After a few weeks of Mrs. Eppes—and occasionally her husband's—cooking, Dr. Helgen had approved her weight, though she'd still been in the lower level of her height-and-weight bracket and been encouraged to put at least ten more pounds on. Although she had done so, upon returning to Sunnydale Buffy had still found that most of her old clothes were too big for her. Sighing as she realized her silence had only made her mother more uncomfortable, Buffy shook her head. "No. I don't think so. Not really... I mean, I can eat a lot without gaining weight, which is cool. I'm always really hungry after Slaying, especially if I'm hurt. A-And yeah, I do eat more then I used to, but—"
"How much more?" her mother immediately demanded, frowning when Buffy stared at her. "I have to know, honey. Do you need twice as much food at meal times? More health snacks? More vitamins? And—Wait. Hurt? What do you mean hurt? When were you hurt?"
Buffy winced. "Not really bad or anything. I usually just have a few bruises from being thrown around in graveyards and, uh, stuff. Nothing my healing can't get rid of in a few hours." She shook her head at the angry helplessness she could feel now rolling off her mom. She really needed to work on mental shielding soon, sometimes too much of this empathy-thing couldn't be good for her. "Seriously, Mom. It's not a big deal." Before her mom could protest, she rose and went over to the sink, quickly washing her plate and fork to put them in the dishwasher before moving back to the counter to grab her bags. "I gotta go, Mom. Don't want to be late during my first week back. We'll talk later—this afternoon, ok?" Buffy waited for her mom's hesitant nod in response before rushing out the door, knowing that she still had five minutes to spare and that she really didn't need the extra time at the speed she could run without breaking a sweat, but it wasn't a good idea to get into a talk about what her being a Slayer means so early in the morning.
Of course, just thinking about the pluses and minuses of being a Slayer made her wonder—for probably the hundredth time since she left LA—where her sister-Slayer was and how she was doing.
Kendra had always seemed pretty self-sufficient, but she'd still been a younger girl that Buffy belatedly realized had craved any guidance the elder Slayer was willing to give her. And that vision Buffy had had in LA, seeing through the younger Slayer's eyes, feeling the sheer terror the other girl had been feeling, made that belated awareness even harder to ignore.
She couldn't help Kendra now. She could only hope that heaven was real and that that was where the younger girl was now. At peace, as Slayers could really only be in death.
Buffy paused for a moment, glancing from side to side before hurriedly crossing the street and continuing on her way. She hoped she'd be able to help the new Slayer. She was sure, thanks to the tail end of her vision, that the other girl was definitely coming to Sunnydale, to her, and that she only needed to wait for her to arrive. It was hard, but it was the only thing she could do, unless the Powers That Be decided to send her another vision, telling her how to find the other Slayer. As if they'd ever decide to be actually helpful.
She'd complained to Charlie about all of this—and a lot more—in the email she'd sent him yesterday afternoon. She'd kept it as upbeat as possible, trying to focus on the positives of being back in school and with her friends and so on, but some whining had still snuck in.
His response, which came later that evening, had once again been just what she'd really needed to hear. Basically: give everything time. Give herself time. Give her friends time. Give her sister-Slayer time. Simple, but all the more perfect for its simplicity.
School was working itself out already. A few weeks from now she'd be a normal student again, just passing in assignments and—at Charlie's insistence—studying for the SATs. He'd supposedly sent her several books in the mail to help her study for both English and Math, with notes of advice from himself in Math and his mother in English. Supposedly it should be at the post office for her some time this week, but he'd requested that they let him know when, so that he could let her know. She appreciated the extra effort, especially since she knew it bothered him that her mom and friends hadn't expressed any interest in what she'd done or who she'd met in LA.
Already, she was starting to work her way towards comfortable camaraderie with her friends. Yes, they didn't want to talk about the past summer. Or Angel. Or LA. But they helped with research. Willow went shopping with her. They chatted. Hopefully, they'd work their way towards being real friends again soon.
As for the other Slayer, Charlie pointed out that the girl could be coming from anywhere, and not necessarily by airplane. If she had to come from India or even somewhere in the Americas that was a good distance away—if she had no means of long distance transportation, it could still take a long while yet.
Still, he'd added another good piece of advice: ask Giles. After all, the Watcher's Council should know something about her, shouldn't they? Buffy knew there, also, that Charlie was really curious about the Watcher's Council: their goals, their powers, their methods—how did they find Slayers?—all things she didn't know. So she probably should ask Giles. And she probably would. Just not yet. Right now she wanted to work her way back into Sunnydale.
After a few moments of thought Buffy nodded, stopping to wait for the school's crossing guard to give her the go-ahead to cross the street.
Buffy winced as the first bell rang, alerting all students to the start of the school day and the need to be in homeroom within the next five minutes. And bothering her sensitive ears in the process.
She'd give it a week. And then—if the other Slayer hadn't shown up yet—she'd ask Giles.
End of Prologue: Worries.AN: Well, there's the start of Mathematics & Magic Part II! Again, if you're having any trouble following the storyline, etc., like if you don't know who Charlie is or how Buffy knows him? Then you started with the second story in the series. The first is listed in my profile, under the title First Meeting.
For everyone else, I hope you had liked the prologue and everyone had a great holiday season. The first chapter, which is much longer than this, will be up shortly. For now, thanks for reading and Happy New Year! :-D
NEXT: Chapter 1: Siblings.