Other(semi)Parallel Lives

In (semi)Parallel Lives, Buffy had a slight accident while making the neural recording that restored Buffy Rebecca, her robotic sister...And found herself in an alternate existence...

But, just as BR herself came out of the infinite potential universe of Buffies...So Buffy's mind that night wandered through a number of alternate existences...Here's another...

(The usual disclaimers as to character ownership)

"Concept"...Part I

It had to be done under the strictest secrecy...

Buffy though still weak, was determined to restore Buffy Rebecca as quickly as possible...And she wanted it to be a surprise for her "brother-in-law"...who was conscientiously performing Slayer patrol in her place, following her recent brush with death and vampirism...

Who had no idea that she with Willow's help had retained Buffy Rebecca's memories throughout the modified Wolfram-Hart resurrection ceremony that had restored her...Ready to go into a new neural recording and pull Buffy Rebecca's soul back into her robot body...

So it had to be done at night...

With help from Spike's partner in cybernetics, Warren the robotmaker, creator of April and the unique artificial human brain that made Buffy Rebecca a true soul...The one potential Buffy in the universe who could provide Spike with salvation...

And Tara...Who had assisted Warren in reviving Buffy Rebecca's body with the old April computer brain so that the Greatest Slayer of All Time could help in the fight against Darla and Wolfram-Hart...And be ready for BR's return...

They were sure it would work...BR's soul waited merely for the call of her memories to return...

They just needed to separate the neural patterns of the two twins...human from robot...
***
Buffy reached the lab where a deactivated Buffy-April waited with the new brain ready...

She was glad to have missed poor BA's deactivation...Not that it hurt...Or amounted to more than shutting down a computer...Still...to see an exact copy of one's own body...No, she was glad to have missed it...

Willow who had just come, was also glad...And let Warren know she preferred not to see any more robots...

He agreed...One daughter a year younger than himself would be quite enough...
***
They got Buffy prepped and ready...She wasn't worried...She'd done this twice already...Once involuntarily, once voluntarily...

Besides...she was a little anxious to distance herself from BR's own memories...Of Spike, of their brief life together, of Buffy's deep unhappiness and rage at her creation...The pain after her battle with the Goddess of Glory and Victory...And the decay of her mind as a delayed result of the electroshock that had shattered the mad goddess...

Not that there weren't some...many...beautiful memories...But they were a little confusing...And she was a little...vulnerable...right now...

Spike had been so...during those days...

And so amazingly content with the little he gotten...She could never have believed...

And they'd had so much...In so short a time...In a crypt, no less...

But of course that was Buffy Rebecca...Not her...She was waiting and hoping for Riley's return...

It would not do to fall in love with William Walthrop before her sister was restored...
***
Warren ran her through the procedure...Pretty dull actually...It was basically just a set of headphones...That scan your brain from front to back...

Fortunately she could read or watch TV during it...But as it was so important to do it properly and as she wanted so much to keep it a secret from Spike...They would do it here and not at home...

Dawn had desperately wanted to come...But she had just recovered herself from Darla's little party and Buffy had refused point blank...But Dawn would be the first to be told when BR was revived...And they would reintroduce Spike and BR at the Summers'...

Mom would have liked that...

***
She grins at Warren...He loves this, I just know it...After all the trouble I gave him over BR...And here I am moving heaven and earth to get her back...for Spike...

And for me...And Dawn...

We need her too...
***
It happened just after half an hour...Willow had gone to get something for Buffy to drink...

Tara and Warren were studying the data stream from the recorder...

They were so involved they didn't notice that a thunderstorm had begun outside...

Buffy was deep in her history book...She had a ton of work to catch up on...And a brief spell of death was not likely to work as an excuse...

***
Lightening struck the lab...And knocked out the power...And caused a slight outage in the neural recorder...

Buffy passed out...
***
Joss Whedon was engaged in "research" at the Golden Arrow, famed LA "nightclub"...For a new series idea...Female PI by day, stripper by night...Untitled as yet...

At least that's what he'd tell the studio expense account boys...

The young lady currently in his lap had been explaining to him that she was only doing this until a real acting gig came along...Ms. Gellar was really into Shakespeare but one has to do what one has to do...If by any chance he had a job for her?...When she passed out...

Shocked, Whedon could only picture the headlines... "Producer drugs young girl in strip club"..."Film exec murders 'dancer' in club"...

Actually it might make a great TV movie...

But it would not go over well at the head office...

Fortunately she began to revive before anyone came over...
***

Buffy screamed and kept screaming despite Whedon's efforts for the better part of ten minutes...

The manager came over, angry...What the hell was he doing?...This was a respectable place...

And as for her...If she didn't like her job...

Whedon quickly realized the girl had no idea what was going on...

"Ms. Gellar?...You were telling me about your acting work?..." That was usually guaranteed to calm a young actress down...But not in this case...

"Who are you?...What am I doing here?..." Buffy kept repeating...And was more shocked than anything else to find she was having trouble breaking out of the two men's grips...Where had her strength gone?...

Great...thought the manager...Another drugged out psycho...And she seemed relatively normal when I hired her...

"Bernie..." he called to his bouncer... "The girl here needs to lie down...Take her backstage..."

Bernie came over, large, hulking...He liked Ms. Gellar quite a bit, actually...Be happy to do it...

Buffy pulled back, nervous...Choosing the least gruesome and weakest-looking of the three men...she turned to Whedon and asked him to let her stay...She'd be alright in a moment...And she'd make no more trouble, she told the manager...

Whedon interceded for her...He wanted no more trouble either...Was mildly concerned...And rather curious...about her...

The manager left it to Whedon...Bernie was sent back...disappointed...

Whedon tried making a joke out of it... "So, a little demonstration of your acting skills?...Very impressive..."

Buffy frowned at the moron...The rather randy moron, she noted, taking care to stay a few feet away from him...

Still he seemed a little easier to handle than the others...And she had to get some information...Try to piece things together...

Obviously she was not in the lab with Warren and Tara...

Definitely something had gone wrong with the recording...

Where was she?...she asked Whedon...

She was serious, he realized...She really didn't know...A stroke or some psychological trauma, maybe...

Hmmn, young girl wakes in strip club with no memory...He liked it...

He suggested she let him take her to a hospital...Maybe call someone?...

Call someone?...Yeah, she'd like to do that...And if not go to a hospital, at least get out of here...

The manager was happy to let her go... After making sure she'd got her stuff and was not a cop...

She tried calling Giles, Willow, Xander from the phone in the front lobby...None listed for Sunnydale...

She thanked Whedon and started to leave...

"Wait, Ms. Gellar...You really should go to an ER...You're not well..." he told her...

She sighed...It might well be true...Maybe she should get checked over...If she could trust creepo here...

Still, she was the Slayer...Even if her strength was dimmed a bit for now...She could handle one little creepo if he got bothersome...

She agreed to let him take her to the nearest ER...

***
Other(semi)Parallel Lives..."Concept"...Part II

Whedon took the disturbed Ms. Gellar to the nearest ER...He still hadn't ruled out the possibility that this was a stunt...A young actor out to impress a potential boss...

But...well, he wasn't that well known in town...And she certainly seemed normal enough just before her collapse...While now...Anyway, better safe than sorry...

Besides her performance, if it was that, was getting pretty good...There might be potential here...

And with deadlines for new project development closing in, Joss Whedon needed "potential"...

***

Buffy ignored the hovering Mr. Whedon and tried to pull things together...

She couldn't reach anyone by phone...No one seemed to even have a phone number listed...

Well, who knows...Maybe she was crazy...Best to let the docs here give her the once-over while she tried to get a handle on...

The young doc approaching her was good ole Ben...Who seemed a little startled at seeing her...

And was truly shocked when she called out to him...

"Ben!...Thank God, it's you..."

"Ummh?...Ms.?" he was uncertain...

"Buffy...Buffy Summers...You don't know me?..." she was getting desperate...But he seemed to recognize her for a second...

"Buffy Summers?...The Slayer?..." he asked her, shocked... "What are you doing here?..."

Whedon tried to follow the conversation...It was definitely showing "potential"...
***

Ben had a vague knowledge of who Buffy was...he explained after getting them to a secluded room...

As a pandimensional being, a God of Mercy and Healing, he maintained some limited contact with his manifestations in other dimensions, particularly with the one in the dimension that mattered most, where the Key had been sent...

His sister's more manic extensions did not bother to manifest in nonKey dimensions...At least since the Master had opened the Hellgates just enough to let her dangerous selves unite against the Ben extension of Buffy's home dimension and weaken the restraints holding her...

Of course, his sister being a complex character, there were some nicer versions of Glory who had not participated in the fight and stayed in their dimensions doing at least some good...

He was aware that Buffy or her sister had stopped the united Glories from capturing the Key and had shattered her link to the home dimension, stranding both Glory and Ben...As well as leaving the various extensions of Ben and Glory in their own various dimensions...

Which he actually was pleased about, having always preferred life with humans to the rather boring existence of the minor gods dimension...

But how had she managed to wind up here?...

Buffy explained what she understood of the neural recording process...

Thank God for dependable ole Ben, the one constant across the dimensions...she thought...

***
Whedon saw it all now...What a show they were putting on for him...

The boyfriend, clearly...How had they been sure he'd bring her here?...Of course, it was the nearest ER...

Well, he was impressed...A couple of fine actors, no doubt...And Ms. Gellar had seemed...well, a little dumb...back at the club before she began the game...

What next?...he wondered...
***
Buffy explained to Ben that the creepo who'd brought her was nobody...In fact, best to get rid of him asap...

She thanked Whedon for bringing her...Wasn't it a nice coincidence that her friend worked here and would help her...She was beginning to get things straight and would be fine now...Bye...

Bye?...Whedon thought...But...

He got it...Tomorrow she'd show up at his office, all smiles and ask how he'd liked the show...

Still...he wouldn't mind hearing more...A little explanation about this "Glory" and "Slayer" business...

Maybe he should talk to the guy...Let him know he was interested...

Unless of course they were a couple of psychos...You can't be too careful in this town...

***

Buffy and Ben noticed Mr. Whedon wasn't in a hurry to go...Ben didn't want to risk attracting attention by throwing him out, so he agreed to speak to him alone when Whedon asked...

Buffy looked over Ms. Geller's "stuff" in the bag the manager had given her...

Fifty copies of her acting resume...Condoms, lots of them...Two scripts with very minor parts underlined...Appointments book, practically empty...Wallet with forty bucks, California driver's license with address, and Mom's photo...

Wait?! Mom's here?!...

***
"So 'doc' the little lady ok?..." Whedon grinned...And handed him his card...

Great, thought Ben...A TeeVee producer...Just the guy we need around right now...Well, LA is full of them...

He thought quick...Try scaring the guy off...

"Well...Ms. Sum...er Ms. Geller is my patient...She suffers from occasional delusions...Believes she's some sort of superhero or something..." he grinned at Whedon... "You know how these actors can get..."

"Tell me about it...Say, she's ok, isn't she?...She doesn't get violent?..."
"Well..." Ben sighed... "We try to keep her on medication...But, every now and then..."

That's bad, thought Whedon...Still, she can't be worse than most...And what the hell is the publicity department for anyway...

Look at how they handled Robert Downey...I mean till it got really bad...

***
Other (semi)Parallel Lives... "Concept"...Part III

They couldn't shake Mr. Whedon...At least not without hurting him...

And as Buffy was a little unsure as to her condition, Ben arranged for her to run through a battery of tests, including an MRI and CAT-scan...Fortunately she'd picked a quiet day in an alternate universe where Glory had not stricken dozens...

She was worried about her strength...And it was strange, being night, that she hadn't sensed the presence of any vamps...

Ben explained that, so far as he knew, there were no vamps in this dimension...And therefore no Slayers...

No Slayers?...Buffy thought...Oh...Well, good...In fact, great...No pressure...

No Slayers at all?...

"Well, you're the first Slayer here..." Ben told her, to cheer her...Realizing she was a little...

A God of Mercy and Healing senses these things...

Powerless with no duties...Great...thought Buffy...

And my counterpart is an actor...And not much shakes as one, either...Judging from her current performance venue...

Great...just great...

***

Whedon couldn't stay through the tests but while Buffy and Ben were occupied he pawed through her bag and got Ms. Gellar's address and phone...

After all, just doing the kid a favor...She had "potential"...

Buffy watched him leave with relief...Creepy guy, if well-meaning...Still he had put her in touch with Benedictus, the one link to her old world...

But she could stand never seeing him again...

***

Early next morning, after the tests turned up negative, Ben took her over to Ms. Gellar's...An apartment in an "ok" part of the city...Nothing special, but reasonably safe...

After all she had to stay somewhere...And if Mom was there...Or an address for her...

She checked through the bag again on the way over...There was something else...

Xander...Or at least his counterpart...A small photo...but signed...It looked more like a star's autograph...

She couldn't make out the signature well... "Regards to Sarah..." Fredie Pruznce?...Prinze?...

But the face was her Xander's...

Ben recognized the fellow, an actor, a teen idol type named Freddie Prinze...

"Your counterpart must be a fan..." he smiled...

Hmmn, maybe...Maybe it was more serious...A phone number was written on the back...

Might be worth contacting the fellow...If he was anything like her Xander, maybe he'd be of help...

Ben didn't remember Xander or her friends...After all, his link to his multidimensional counterparts was, of necessity, limited...

But she was grateful he remembered her...

They reached the apartment...Ben insisted on coming up...Buffy was not superhuman in this dimension and who knew what was waiting there for her...

***

Mom was there...Or at least she looked like Mom...

Buffy struggled to suppress her urge to run to her...And to remember her name was supposed to be Sarah...

"Mom" looked at her... And at Ben...

"Sallie...You've been out a while..." she grinned at her...

"Ummn...Well, I had a little accident..." Buffy told her...

Ben explained that Sarah had collapsed at work and he had treated her...And insisted on taking her home...

"But I'm fine now, Mom..." Buffy concluded...

"Mom" seemed amused... "Mom?..." she asked, grinning... "Doc, I think you'd better take Sallie back in..."

Uh-oh, not Mom...Aunt?...Cousin?...Sis?...Buffy thought desperately...

"Just kidding..." Buffy said quickly... "Really, I'm fine..."

"Thanks for bringing the roomie home", notMom told Ben...Looking him over...

Ben left, after asking "Sarah" if he could stop by later...

Yes, definitely, absolutely, please...He smiled at notMom and left...

NotMom grinned at Buffy...

"Cute one, that...Got yourself a nice doctor, eh?..."

She looked at her, a little more concerned... "You sure you're ok?"

Fine, Buffy told her...Roomie?...she wondered...

"So?...Where's my kiss?..." notMom came over to her...

And embraced her...Rather passionately...

Uh-oh...

***
Kristine accepted Buffy's polite pleas that she was not quite up to lovemaking just right now...

She was concerned for her...Her Sallie should watch it, working at a place like the Golden Arrow...God knows what some of the clientele, not to mention the management are pulling...Hypno drugs and the like...She just saw something on Channel 10 News...

Buffy had managed to get her roomie's name out of her purse in a convenient moment...Kristine Sutherland...

Kristine told her there were some messages for her...Including one from her mom...And she had good news...She'd landed that small part in the Disney sequel...Just a noisy neighbor again...But, hey..

Buffy checked Sarah's messages...One from her mom...Whoever Mrs. Geller was...One from the creepy Mr. Whedon...How'd he get her number?...Well, maybe Sarah had given it to him at the club before Buffy's arrival...And one from "Freddie"?...

Hmmn...the Xander lookalike?...But if she was "involved" with Ms. Sutherland here?...

Oh...right, he's a movie star...

My counterpart Sarah has an ambitious eye on the future...The little tramp...Buffy thinks...

Still, if he's at all like Xander...

***
Ben dropped by that evening...And took her to dinner...

Buffy had tried to find anything she could about the gang via Kristine's computer...No dice...

No records of any of them...

Except for Ben...she was alone...

She told him about Kristine...Nice lady, but not the relationship Buffy was looking for right now...

Ben gallantly offered her his place until she could either get a place or return home...He wasn't there that much in any case and there was an extra room...

She gratefully accepted...Hoping that Ms. Gellar's lover was not the temperamental type...

Of course she still wanted to check out Mr. Prinze...Not much hope there but who knew...

Ben agreed...There was always a chance that by locating her old friends in this universe it might help her find a way to return...

In any case it would keep her busy doing something until she was more settled and could get her bearings...

***

Other (semi)Parallel Lives... "Concept"...Part IV

Kristine was out when Ben brought Buffy back to Ms. Gellar's apartment...

So Buffy decided to take Ben up on his offer and pack up what little might be useful to her...

After leaving a brief note to Ms. Gellar's hopefully reasonable lover...They headed over to Ben's...

A rather nice little house, with the promised extra room...With a bed which an exhausted Buffy made quick use of...

***

Ben was out to the hospital when Buffy awoke, but had left some money and a note...He hoped she'd let him know if she was headed out and when she would be back...Call him if she needed anything...

Nice guy that god...she thought...

She decided to trying reaching Mr. Prinze, the Xander-lookalike...It was probably of no use but she had to try something...

Much to her surprise it was a direct line to him...

Even greater was her surprise when he recognized her voice and knew her, as "Sarah", immediately...

That Ms. Gellar does preety well, I'd say...she thought...

Mr. Prinze was only too happy to agree to meet that afternoon...

Fortunately he agreed to meet her in a public restaurant...Given Ms. Gellar's workplace, Buffy wasn't quiet sure about the nature of their relationship...

She continued trying the computer for general information as well as the possible locations of her friends...No luck...

She left a note for Ben and called his answering service with the restaurant's address and Mr. Prinze's number...

Without superpowers and trapped in a strange world, she was more than willing to take Ben's injunctions to be cautious to heart...

***

Xander...er Mr. Prinze...came to her table...

"Sarah...Baby..." he grinned and kissed her...

Dark glasses, flashy clothes...Bodyguards discretely in the background...The whole Hollywood style...

She sighed within...Definitely not her Xander...

Still, he'd come...And maybe had some info she could use...

***

Joss Whedon was disturbed...No Ms. Gellar on his office doorstep, asking him how he'd liked yesterday's performance...

She hadn't even returned his calls...Strange...When a TV producer can't get an out-of-work actor to return his personal calls...

It was almost as if she really believed that bizarre stuff she and her boyfriend the doc had been feeding him...

He was more determined than ever to learn more about the girl...

He went to her apartment, where a distraught Kristine was tearing up everything Ms. Gellar had ever given her...

Not that she'd ever doubted the little...would leave her the moment she started to make it...But still...

She gave him the note, gladly... It was polite enough, just explaining that she had decided she had to move out and hoped Ms. Sutherland would understand...

Hmmn...Well, that left young Dr. Kildare there, if he really was a doc...
***
Buffy couldn't help feeling a little sorry for Mr. Prinze...Underneath the star's bravado, she sensed he really liked Ms. Gellar...If he only knew...

Ah, well...Hollywood...Stars marry to promote a movie or because they look good together...Good publicity, good for business...And in a year it's over, barring a messy divorce...Eventually they get older, less famous, and if lucky, marry somebody nice...

Still he seemed a little vulnerable...Just a faint touch of her Xander buried in there...

Well, Xander if he made 20 million a picture and was constantly surrounded by sycophants and guards...

***

Whedon caught up to Ben at the hospital...And told him he knew the whole thing had been a stunt...But a good one...He, Joss Whedon, was "interested"...

Lucky Buffy...Don't these clowns ever quit?...Ben thought...

Fortunately it was a hospital and Security did not take kindly to someone bothering a busy doc...

He, Joss Whedon, was, more or less politely, made to leave...

But not before he noted Ben's answering service id code...And checked his messages...

Just doing a young actress a favor...

***
Out on the street, Whedon summoned his car by cell phone and headed out to the restaurant where Buffy was trying to get info from Mr. Prinze without much success...

So...Our Ms. Gellar's out with Freddie Prinze...Well, that explained her lack of interest in Mr. W's calls...

But he still thought she had "potential"...And wanted to hear more of her bizarre stories...There was something there he could use...He was sure of it...

He had a sixth sense about these things...In fact that movie was really his idea...They'd stolen it from him, somehow...

After all, she wasn't a name...Yet...So it wasn't like she could sneer at every offer...Even if the current teen idol was her beau...

***
Other (semi) Parallel Lives... "Concept"...Part V

Buffy realized that poor Mr. Prinze had no clue as to her counterpart's other "significant other", Ms. Sutherland...

But then, the more she learned of Ms. Gellar, the more she suspected the lady kept her heart firmly under control...

Apparently even meeting her in a place like the Golden Arrow had not prevented him from seeing her in a surprisingly idealistic light...Gallant young actress, doing what she had to to make a start in a tough business...

For a major star, the poor young fellow was a little naive...But he did seem to have a gentleman's heart, buried down in there...Clearly anxious to treat her respectfully...

His strongest Xander trait...

However, she realized he was unlikely to have any useful information for her...

Whedon appeared...

Buffy sighed...

"Ms. Gellar, just the person I wanted to see...Hey, Freddie..."

Whedon gave the startled Mr. Prinze a hearty handshake...The bodyguards closed in but Prinze waved them off...Ms. Gellar seemed to know him...

He squeezed in with them, next to Buffy...A portfolio in his hands which he quickly opened...

"So, you decided to leave 'em begging for more, eh kid?..." he smiled at Buffy...

"Mr. Whedon...Mr. Prinze..." Buffy was coolly polite... "Mr. Whedon was kind enough to bring me to the hospital yesterday when I wasn't feeling well..."

Mr. Prinze was Xanderly concerned...She'd had an accident?...

Whedon grinned...Ok...Let's keep it rolling...

He jumped in to describe Ben and "Sarah's" little acting game...And his own appreciative reaction...

Mr. Prinze was rather interested to hear about this "Dr. Ben"...Whedon had other ideas...Ms. Gellar's stories had inspired him...

Buffy explained carefully to Mr. Prinze that "Dr. Ben" was indeed a doctor and an old friend...As for Mr. Whedon...

Whedon continued...Ignoring their attempts to end his spiel...

He'd had a great idea...A whole new series concept...Just what a new network needed to grab attention...One just looking for a new young star like, he noted with a grin, their own dear Ms. Gellar...

Stripper by day...Destroyer of evil by night...

"Dark Slayer Angel"...

Ok...Title needs work...How about... "Mona and the Monsters..."?...

The bodyguards advanced...

Suddenly Buffy noticed that Willow's photo was in Whedon's portfolio...

Willow?...

She smiled at Whedon...And asked Mr. Prinze, politely, to call off the dogs...For the moment...

Which he reluctantly did...Although he was still curious about this "Ben"...

She turned back to Whedon...

Ummn...Interesting idea...By the way, who was the young red-haired lady in the portfolio?...

"Ah...Allison...Great kid, great kid...Thought she'd be great as your co-star...Sort of a side-kick..."

Well...

"Of course, if you don't like...She's outta here...As a matter of fact I also have this kid lined up..."

He pulled out...Cordelia's photo...

Two old friends...At least two possible old friends...At least the faces of two possible old friends...Well, worth a shot...

"Oh, no...Why they both seem like excellent actors...Very real, you know..." Buffy tried to cultivate a professional's... an insider's air...

She noted them to Mr. Prinze...Who was looking a little glum...He nodded...Yeah, very real...

What was she up to?...Was she just using him?...To get to this creep Whedon?...For a crummy job...

Geesh...Well, Ma warned him about dating young ambitious actresses...

***

Whedon arranged for the suddenly more cooperative Ms. Gellar to meet him at his office...

He agreed to have his other potential cast members there as well...Natch, she wants to check the chemistry...And checkout the competition...He also suggested she bring along a few more of those bizarre tales of hers...To pass on to the writing crew... And have her agent call his secretary...

If things worked out...They'd have to move...Time is money and deadlines are closing in...

***
Mr. Prinze was withdrawn after Mr. Whedon left...Within his dark glasses...

Buffy sensed he was hurt...And tried to explain that she was simply curious...Didn't mean to let Whedon intrude...

"Hey...We all gotta do what we all gotta do..." Mr. Prinze replied...Rising to leave...Very much the movie prince, surrounded by his court...

But definitely a little touch of Xander hurt in there...

Buffy felt terrible...A little like the time she'd let Xander know there'd never be anything serious between them...

Rats...He had a little of that Xander hurt puppy look for sure...

***
Ben was relieved to find her safe and sound when he returned...And somewhat happy at the prospect of meeting up with Willow's and Cordelia's counterparts...

Though still feeling badly about Mr. Prinze...Poor fellow, really...Still if that Sarah had continued to string him along...

Well...
***

Next morning a car came to bring her to the studio offices of that bright new genius of TV, Joss Whedon...

A rather nervous Mr. Whedon and crew was waiting for her...He'd been reminded again by head office that deadlines were closing...fast...

The "potential" cast was also there...Willow, Cordelia...My god, Angel!...some guy about Xander's age...Giles!...Yes!...

However none seemed to recognize her...

"And here's our first supervillian...Demontos..." Whedon brought in...the Master...

Whoa...She instinctively looked for a stake...And grabbed one from a pile of props...Fortunately the actor had only some of his makeup on...Buffy got a grip just in time...

Nick Brendon..."the guy about Xander's age..." noted the new girl's stake grab...

"Hey, fast moves there, 'Mona'..."...he joked...

"Buffy..." she blurted...Before she could stop herself...Besides... 'Mona'?...Was that creepo
Whedon actually serious about using that for his heroine's name?... 'Mona'?...

Whedon felt a jolt of inspiration...Buffy...How Californian could you get?...

"Yeah, I like it...Buffy it is..." he told her...

Phew, thought Buffy...

Suck-up...Are they sleeping together?...thought Allison and Charisma, jointly...After all I went through with that creepo?...Sidekick?...He told me I was the star...

They smiled at Buffy...

The little bimbo...

***
Buffy was discouraged...It was clear to her within ten minutes that these were not the friends she knew...

Allison...Drugged out party girl... Whedon's "friend"...And not too pleased to displaced as his star...

Charisma...Trained Shakespearian actress, deeply ashamed to be in such a crappy little production...But mortgage payments will not wait... Likewise obviously not happy about Ms. Gellar's arrival...

And dear Angel...Dave...Dark and moody enough, but far more interested in Mr. Brendon than his new costar... Again not very pleased by Whedon's choice of star...Not to mention the change of direction in the upcoming series...

He'd been looking forward to playing the no-nonsense, hard-as-nails cop paired with the PI stripper...Now he was offered some unfocused, vague role as the monster-fighter's boyfriend?...

Giles...Well, Mr. Head...seemed nice enough...And glad to hear that his role would be expanded from the sleazy public prosecutor, with Mob ties, hounding the PI stripper in her work...To that of guardian-advisor of Mona...er...Buffy, monster-fighter...

***
Whedon was anxious to hear her stories...And feed them to the writers...

Who were not too happy about the prospect of getting their creative input from some untried (and they used the term in its loosest possible form), "actor"...

Buffy decided to go ahead and tell a few tales...Who knew, maybe it would jog a memory or two among the group?...

If there were any to be jogged...

***

The writers and cast were fascinated...Bizarre...

Ms. Gellar was clearly possessed of a vivid imagination...to put it mildly...

Ms. Carpenter was a little nervous...She heard of some of these psychos working in movies and TV...What had she gotten herself into here?...Coming from the legit stage and all...

David couldn't help noticing Ms. Gellar's "Buffy" figured prominently in all the tales...Great, a star vehicle for Mr. Whedon's "latest"...

Of course that vampire boyfriend sounded like an interesting character...

The blond, Spike...Not that soulful twit idiot...Was what up with that one?...Lumbering around like Christ with his cross...Give me a break...

Now that fellow Spike...A real mix of romantic and anti-hero...Requiring a first-rate actor to get the nuances just right...

Besides he'd always wanted to do blond...
***
All they needed was...A mom for Buffy...

And Whedon had the perfect choice...Met her just the other day, a wonderful actor...

In fact, Ms. Gellar knew her...

Ms. Sutherland entered, smiling...Especially at Ms. Gellar...

Oops...thought Buffy...

***
Kristine cornered her in the dressing room after the writers left...

Most of the actors were gone as well...

"So...I see you got your break, Sallie..."

Buffy sensed a little cloud of danger...

"Couldn't wait to dump old Kris...Could you?...But I suppose this is your way of throwing me a bone?...Sending Whedon to call me in...As your mother..."

She grinned at Buffy...

"So...that's what the 'Mom' was all about, eh...the other day, with that doc of yours?...Very funny, Sallie..."

"Say...Are you dumping him now, too...Or will you keep him for a fallback if this piece of crap falls through?..."

Buffy backed away...And looked for anyone available...

The actor playing her nemesis, Demontos, the Master look-alike was sheepishly leaving...Didn't want to get caught in this, thanks...

She backed over to him...And followed him back through the room...to the storeroom in back...

Kristine in slow but definite pursuit...

***
Buffy entered the storeroom but before she could close the door, a raging Kristine forced it open...

And grabbed her...

"You little tramp..." she lifted Buffy up by the throat...An actress who kept herself physically fit, that's for sure...Buffy noted...As she choked...

The actor in makeup grabbed Kristine and threw her back and down...

Buffy staggered up, clutching her throat...Phew...

"Thanks..." she told the actor...Who was examining Ms. Sutherland...

"Don't mention it, Ms. Summers..." he said...

Wait...Ms. Summers?...She never told any of the Whedon people her last name...

He turned Ms. Sutherland over...Her head flopped...A broken neck...And blocking the door, grinned at Buffy...

"So nice to see you again, Buffy..." the Master smiled at her...And grabbed her by the throat...

Ben was wrong...There was one vampire in this dimension...A multidimensional one, propelled here by the same Hellgate opening that had loosened Glory's restraints...

Whose counterpart in Buffy's world had in fact performed the opening himself...And who remembered his old friend...

***
Whedon was horrified...His new star and another actor...A bizarre murder-suicide...Before production had even begun...

What to do?...What to do?...

Knew that girl was a psycho...Charisma thought...

"I could play Buffy..." Allison volunteered...

Hmmn...Well, as along as we're already set up...

Yeah, in a blond wig...she'll do fine...

Publicity determined that Ms. Gellar was a poor unknown...Family was easily bought off...

Allison agreed to take a new stage name...Joss being rather sentimental about Ms. Gellar, who'd saved his bacon with her tales...Besides...he liked the name...It had a touch of class...

And "Allison Jones" just didn't work for his new series star...

A new red-haired sick-kick named Hannigan, oddly enough Allyson Hannigan...was quickly found...

***
Buffy awoke in the lab...Warren and Tara staring anxiously at her...

"You ok?..." Tara asked, patting her hand...

Willow came over...

"Hey...You gave us quite a shock there..."

Buffy smiled wanly...Thank God, home...

"It was quite a shock to me too..."

Funny...her voice sounded raspy...And deep...

The doorbell rang...

Willow went to get it and returned looking...sheepish...

"Ummn...Someone is here to see you..." she said guiltily... "I'm afraid we couldn't keep it a secret..."

"Will, I thought this was supposed to be a surprise?..." Buffy told her...And still that raspy, deep quality...She tried clearing her throat...

Will went to get their nervous guest...

Tara went to get her friend a mirror and comb...Hair was a mess after three hours of recording...

Warren told her the recording at least had gone well...They could try the restoration tonight...

Buffy saw Buffy approaching...looking...well, vampiral...but in a reformed sort of way...And very grateful...

Buffy?...

"Did you ever imagine Bloody Buffy...Thanking you for her redemption?..." Willow grinned at...William Walthrop, Vampire Slayer...Brother of robotic William Robert...

"William, I can't tell you how grateful William Robert and I are about this...What you've done for us..." Buffy the Bloody began...shyly...

Buffy screamed and grabbed the mirror...

William Walthrop's face looked back at her...

"Our Slayer screams just like a girl..." Buffy Summers, formerly Buffy the Bloody, reformed-by-love-and-chip vampire, noted to Willow...Grinning...

A little of the old Bloody Buf is still there I see, Willow noted...
***


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