btvs: we're not all gonna make it

fic:her hands were red/btvs, the walking dead/gen

Title: her hands were red
Rating: FR13
Word Count: 1430
Prompt: #505 nuance @ tamingthemuse
Disclaimer: BtVS 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.
Note: Companion piece to ‘there’s a wolf in her heart

Summary: Deanna Monroe reminded Buffy of the doctors forced upon her after the arson incident. This was most definitely not a good thing.

+

If the glossy white walls and dust free bric-a-brac were meant to make Buffy Summers feel inferior they’d missed the mark by about a mile. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d bothered with a mirror or seen anything resembling a shower. Sweat and blood and things she’d rather not ponder had accumulated on her person over the last few months and since there wasn’t anything she could do about it she’d chosen to let it go.

She’d learned to let lots of things go in recent years—and understatements were her specialty.

Her jaw clenched, head shaking as she made her way towards the chair Deanna Monroe had pointed a camera at and Buffy settled herself on the edge of it. The shoulder holster she wore shifted, the section holding a set of throwing knives slipping forward to crowd what was left of her chest after weeks low on food.

“Do you mind if I film our talk?” Deanna asked, motioning to the camera and Buffy shrugged her reply.

The red light came on and Deanna made her way around the couch to settle herself across from the teenager, but out of the camera’s view. Blue eyes met hers a long moment before they settled on her hands where Buffy absently fiddled with the leather strap holding the Mare’s Leg to her thigh.

“Are you a good shot?” Deanna’s question lifted Buffy’s head and her brows before the other woman offered her a timid smile. “I admit I’m not the best with firearms.”

That sort of explained why the idiot at the gate had attempted to confiscate their guns, the snub-nose revolver was still tucked into the back of Dawn’s jeans, but they’d refused with Dawn being the most vocal of the pair. Buffy couldn’t have been prouder.

“I hit what I aim at.” Buffy retorted before pushing her hand forward to cup her knee and not play with her weapon. That was an amateur move and she didn’t want to draw attention to it after, kindhearted and supremely stupid, Aaron had allowed them to keep their guns.

In times past Dawn would’ve pointed out that Buffy was better with the knives—little sister talked too much—but Buffy knew guns intimidated better than the knives and a bluff had saved their asses more than once. It didn’t matter that they hadn’t bullets to spare, Buffy just wanted to maintain the little leverage they had.

“Have you and Dawn been alone long?”

The question made her look towards said sister who shared the loveseat with Deanna and already had her head buried in a book. She hadn’t batted an eye at staying alone with the men while Dawn was being interviewed, but leaving Dawn alone with them had been out of the goddamn question.

“Feels like forever,” Buffy offered and turned her gaze on Deanna, “You ever been alone out there?”

She jerked her chin towards the window and watched Deanna look towards it, gaze softening before she shook her head. “I’ve been lucky,” Buffy snorted at that understatement, but Deanna didn’t bat an eye, “My family and I were directed here by the army when the outbreak first happened. They were supposed to follow and didn’t.”

“Aaron tells me you girls are survivors,” Deanna redirected and returned her focus to Buffy.

“Aaron’s a bit of a creeper.” Dawn giggled and Buffy ignored her, “Watching us for days like that.”

When he’d first approached them Buffy had thought him a drifter, in need of their food and water, but then she’d noticed how clean he was and then he’d offered them an envelope with the promise of something better. Dawn, filthy and getting thinner by the day, had looked so hopeful that Buffy had found herself climbing into the backseat of a box-like car and pointing the Mare’s Leg at his spine while he drove them to Alexandria.

“So why did you agree to come?” as questions went it was the first one Buffy found marginally interesting. Deanna leaned forward; gaze intent and face settling into a neutral mask that was leaps and bounds better than the smile she’d been faking since their arrival.

Buffy considered her response before she settled on the truth, or at least an abbreviated version of it, “Dawn deserves better than I can offer her alone,” she glanced pointedly around the room before settling her gaze on the camera and frowned, “She deserves a home.”

She caught the dipping of Deanna’s brows and looked back at her, met her gaze as those pale eyes narrowed, before she probed, “And you don’t?” Buffy shrugged, there was too much blood on her hands and death in her heart to argue for her own sake, but Deanna pushed, “Dawn tells me you’re a wolf.”

“Dawn talks too much,” Buffy countered, her gaze straying towards said sister who lifted her book high enough to cover that tattling little face. A snort escaped and Buffy shook her head before looking back to an expectant Deanna. “She’s not wrong.”

“The world hasn’t been kind lately,” the older woman agreed and settled herself back on the couch.

Buffy’s brows arched at the observation since the pristine surroundings made it look like the world was still plenty kind to some. Deanna’s head inclined, as if she could hazard a guess at her train of thought, and she brought her hands up to cross over her chest. “If you don’t mind my asking—”

“Why ask?”

Deanna blinked owlishly with Buffy’s interruption and frowned. “What do you mean?”

A sigh escaped and Buffy rolled her shoulders back, the holster tightening with the movement, as she was reminded of the doctors her parents had forced upon her after the gymnasium fire. She’d found their urge to soften probing questions with insincere pleasantries just as irritating. “If you have to start a question with asking someone to not mind said question,” she bracketed the word in air quotes with as much sarcasm as her fingers could emote, “then you probably shouldn’t ask the question. It’s sorta like saying ‘no offense’ before you say something offensive.”

The book was lowered and Dawn was starting at her with wide eyes which made Buffy roll hers before snapping. “No offense.”

Deanna studied her a long moment, mouth drawn in a straight line, and Buffy thought uncharitably that the other woman was in desperate need of a moisturizing lip-gloss. “My intent isn’t to offend, Buffy.” Her brows dropped and she learned forward, “However, I do need to ask you some questions you might find uncomfortable.”

“Fine,” Buffy huffed, some of the angry fading—mostly because it was misplaced—and sighed, “But cut the bullsh—” she caught herself and glanced at Dawn before finishing, albeit lamely, “crap. Just ask your questions.”

A smile tugged at the corners of Deanna’s mouth before she agreed, “Fair enough,” and Buffy heard the amusement with her near slip and fumbling cover up of the swear.

“What happened to your parents?”

Buffy blinked, suddenly as stunned as Deanna from a moment ago and exhaled a long, shaky breath before stating, “They didn’t make it.” The anger bubbled up again, anger with the world and with fate and with every other damn thing that had let her and Dawn down. That anger clipped her sentences, “Dad was too slow. Mom was too weak.”

A tear escaped her lashes, it startled a sniffle from her and she rubbed it away with a knuckle; smearing the dirt and dried blood on her cheek in the process. “We don’t talk about them much.”

Deanna gave her another of those long, careful studies before she asked again, “How long have you girls been alone?”

Buffy bit at the inside of her lip, hesitating to admit, “Since the beginning,” an uncomfortable shrug lifted her shoulders and looked directly at the camera before stating, “We survived. They didn’t.” She dropped her gaze to Deanna and it hardened as she finished, “That’s all the story you’re gonna get.”

“I’d say it’s enough,” Deanna searched her face again before smiling and offered, “What would you say if I offered you and Dawn a place here in Alexandria?”

Buffy scoffed, “I’d say you’re too trusting.”

“Something tells me if we’re good to you,” Deanna’s smile slipped away before she stated with more certainty than one stranger should offer to another, “You’ll be good to us.”

Buffy looked at Dawn, half-starved and in want of a bath, before she looked back to Deanna, meet her gaze and lied through her teeth, “You’re not wrong.”

+

The end.