stock: typewriter

series:we find ourselves/btvs, walking dead/gen

Series Title: We Find Ourselves
Title: the difficulty of the living
Prompt: #444 – money lies
Rating: FR15
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.

Series Synopsis: Hank Summers is dealing with a dateable teenager daughter and the added stress of a zombie apocalypse. Hopefully he survives. Both.

Sweat gathered along his brow, stung his eyes as Grayson worked the screwdriver beneath a loose panel. The temperature had risen in recent days and the humidity was thick enough to choke. Combine that with the lack of circulation in the back of the ambulance and Grayson knew he only had a few more minutes before he’d sweat through his shirt.

The heat was acting like an adhesive and sticking his clothing to him in the most uncomfortable of ways. He swore under his breath before wedging the flathead deeper. A silent prayer—along with another string of colorful phrases—was presented to the Almighty and Grayson shoved with the hope that the linoleum didn’t tear. He felt a pop and with a twist of the screwdriver the panel gave with a wet noise that wrinkled his brow.

Grayson dropped the screwdriver next to his boot before he looked inside the cabinet. His next exhale was a sigh of relief when he saw the panel was still intact and he wiggled it free to be propped along the side of the door before returning to the small hole in the ambulance floor. It was a pocket of space that was about two feet long, one foot wide and only a couple inches deep. It wasn’t much, but Grayson appreciated any space that was away from prying eyes.

A photo album he’d saved from Rebecca’s car, mostly for Emma, was removed from the compartment and placed alongside the panel. He could see another shotgun and several boxes of ammunition tucked in tight beside it, but he was more interested in the prescription bottles. The supply ran from painkillers to antibiotics and Grayson had lied about them when pressed by Blount officials.

There wasn’t enough to make a difference to a camp as large as this one, but they could mean life or death to the few people left that Grayson gave a damn about. So he’d lied and allowed them to search his ambulance with the knowledge that none of them had ever worked as a paramedic and wouldn’t know about that pocket of underutilized space. They’d come up empty handed and Grayson had kept his emergency reserve.

He pulled out the prescription bottle that was tucked in the corner. Compressing the top, he unscrewed it to reveal the rolled up wad of bills his brother-in-law had insisted they hold onto. Grayson figured by this point money was an overvalued commodity, but he’d started the process when they’d first gathered together outside of Sarasota and found himself compelled to continue. He added his winnings from the previous night’s card game—not that it was much—and then returned the cash to the bottle. It settled over Rebecca and Peter’s wedding rings and, while Grayson figured the gold and diamonds might be worth more than the cash, they were for Emma. Just like the album.

The bottle was returned to the rest and Grayson laid the photo album over top before easing the panel back into the place. He struck it a few times with the side of his fist before giving it a slight wiggle. It shifted, but remained mostly in place so he returned the contents to the cabinet before closing it. Sweat gathered along his spine and his shirt stuck to it as he made his way to the doors. The screwdriver was dropped into the pen holder Velcro-ed to the end of the countertop before he opened the back.

Sunlight greeted him on the outside, blinding in its intensity, and Grayson blinked a few times as he struggled retrieve his sunglasses from his pocket. They settled into place with only one of his eyes open as he dropped himself to the dirt. He closed the back up and made his way around to the camp he shared with Hank and Buffy. The two people outside of Emma who were most important to him.

He found his niece balanced on Buffy’s hip and he smiled at the fact that it seemed like that teenager could hold her up for hours at a time. Emma didn’t weigh much, but she was solid and squirmy. Grayson had a hard time keeping her on his hip and still for more than fifteen minutes, but Buffy took to it like a natural and she always kept her on the hip furthest from her gun. It was a subtle thing and Emma had been taught gun safety by Peter—which had mostly entailed how they were not toys—but it meant more to him than she’d ever know.

As Grayson drew closer he realized they were talking with Sarah and his brows rose at the sight of her. She’d been pretty MIA since they’d made it to Blount and other than her grabbing a bite with him and Emma one afternoon he hadn’t seen her much. Not since he’d told her he didn’t intend to stay if the Summers clan didn’t and he hadn’t known his intentions until she’d attempted to press him into joining Blount.

We are not Don Quixote!” The intensity of Buffy’s assertion made Grayson hurry his stride.

“I didn’t say you were.” Sarah frowned at the lot of them, “But I don’t want you wasting your lives on a pipe dream.”

“That pipe dream is my mother.”

Grayson sighed and quickly deduced Sarah’s intentions as Buffy turned to him and handed over a resisting Emma. His niece settled on his hip, but looked mournfully at Buffy while doing so and Grayson frowned a little at her antics.


“Don’t,” the teenager interrupted her father with a frown, “We’re going to Sunnydale. We promised Mom and Giles we’d at least try.”

“Except Sunnydale isn’t there anymore.” Grayson stiffened turned his attention back to Sarah who was looking at Hank. “Have you gotten ahold of them at any point in the last month?” His mouth thinned and Grayson guessed the answer was no and Sarah nodded. “Exactly. Sunnydale was bombed. Along with a town in Indiana. I think it was called Cleveland.” She shook her head, “Anyways. They’re craters now.”

“What?” Grayson snapped and quickly added, “Why?”

Sarah shrugged, “I don’t know the why, but it was ordered by people higher up than General Boyd.” She hooked a thumb back towards the main structures of the camp, “There’s a Dr. Walsh in the women’s barracks that was stationed at a base they were setting up near the town. They were evacuated and then the site was bombed.” She looked back and forth between Hank and Buffy before finishing, “I doubt there were many survivors.”

Hank’s eyes fell closed, nostrils flaring has he inhaled deep before opening his eyes to look to his daughter. “It doesn’t matter. We said we’d try. We’ll try.”

“Dad,” Buffy’s voice shook. “No.” Her left hand rose to pinch at the bridge of her nose and Grayson frowned at the vet wrap across the bend of her elbow. She’d given blood again this week, but Buffy took a step back from them. All of them. “I can’t.”

The hand dropped and Grayson saw tears gathered in her eyes. He took a step towards her and she backpedaled further. “I-I just can’t.” Her face crumbled and she looked to Hank, “I’m sorry.”

She spun, boot heels kicking up dirt as she ran from them and towards the parameter fence. Hank called after her and slipped between Grayson and Sarah to follow. They shared a look before Grayson tightened his hold on Emma and jogged after Hank. They made they made their way around the SUV and Grayson’s brows rose at the fact that Buffy was already halfway up the eighteen foot tall fence. She was over the top and climbing down the other side by the time Grayson reached the fence.

“Buffy, stop!” Hank’s grabbed for her through the fence and she pushed herself off, landing in a crouch a few feet away. “Please get back in here. Come on, kid, we need you here.”

“Buffany!” Emma’s plaintive cry stopped Hank’s urgings.

The teenager stepped forward and put her hand over her dad’s. She gave him a timid smile and a resolute dip of her chin, “Dad, you have to understand. I’ll be back. You know I’ll be back.” Her watering gaze lifted to Emma, “I promise. Pinky swear.”

She kissed the aforementioned digit and pointed it at Emma, who returned the gesture. His niece sniffled, but dropped her chin in the same manner as Buffy. “Okay.”

“Mom’s gone.” Her voice cracked and Hank caught the hand holding his. “Mom’s dead. I need to work through that.”

“You can do that here.”

She shook her head at Hank’s urgings. “I need to kill them. I’m going to kill them.”

“Are you insane?” Sarah reached them, slightly out of breath, “Get your ass back in here.”

“Fuck off,” Buffy snapped.

“Buffy,” Hank admonished some of the tension leaving his shoulders, “You can do better.”

They shared a look and Grayson assumed the last statement wasn’t a reprimand as Buffy’s face crumpled before she promised, “Three days.”

She blew Emma kiss before disappearing into the tall grass. Sarah screeched to life behind him and Grayson watched Hank’s shoulders tighten but his gaze never left the field his daughter wandered into. After a moment he finally spoke, “Sarah,” it cut through her tirade and he continued, “I believe my daughter told you to fuck off. Perhaps you should do so.”

Emma came to life in his arms and parroted the phrase, “Fuck off! Fuck off! ” until Sarah turned heel and walked away.

“She’s going to tell security.”

“I know,” Hank sighed. “Buffy will be gone by the time they get a team together.”

“She’ll be back,” Grayson reassured him, ignoring his own uncertainty.

“She will.”

“Fuck off!”

The end.