POV: Shifts Perspective
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and Spanderverse: stories.
Notes: Story number fifteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Sunnydale Antics”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
More Notes: BIG thanks to Joss, the ME creative team and the crew of one of the best shows on television. WE MISS YOU! Be sure to check out Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic book and Angel: After the Fall out from Dark Horse!
Thanks to the authors of Fanfiction, wherever you may post. It’s probable that I’ve read at least one of your stories somewhere. I apologize for recycling concepts inadvertently from the plentitude of stories I’ve read. Also, another thank you to Twiztv(dot)com for their script assistance.
Feint and Counter-Feints
Ch 1 –
Ben Webb stumbled down the hallway, exhausted. And not only because it was the near end of a twenty-six hour shift, nor because he had just completed his end of shift rounds although that was certainly part of it. His feet ached, his back ached, his head ached…in fact he could safely say that there wasn’t a single part of his body that wasn’t aching. Interns always got stuck with the crap shifts and the nurses took particular delight in keeping them running all night. Usually on extra long shifts, there’d be time enough for a catnap here or there. Last night and into this morning though, he’d been slammed with new admits. Most of these were clearly unhinged folks. Hence, his exhaustion.
It wasn’t the physical complaints of a body pushed past its need to sleep that had him so down, but the mental strain of knowing how busy his twisted ‘sister’ had been. She must have been all over town the day before and throwing a hissy fit judging by the number of new cases of mental illness he’d logged in his shift. He wondered briefly if she just had a thing against the holidays. Not that it particularly mattered; what she did to those people was barbaric no matter when she did it. The guilt was crushing – he’d worked so hard to be a doctor because he wanted to help people and instead he was causing suffering because of the thing he shared a body with.
Ben first became aware that something wasn’t quite right when he’d turned ten. Time started to get lost for him and on several occasions he’d gone to bed only to wake up in another room, or even outside. He never remembered where he’d been or what he’d been doing, but the doctors had diagnosed him as simply suffering from sleep walking.
Things only continued to get worse. When he’d been fourteen, he’d been accosted by the scrabby demons that he now knew served ‘her’. He’d been terrified at first, but they’d wheedled and lied and made him think he had a grand destiny and they were there to serve him. It wasn’t until he had awoken in a dress he’d never seen in his home before that he suspected something seriously more wrong than simple sleep walking was the problem. He’d been fifteen and had just started to suspect that the ‘servants’ weren’t really interested in him as much as in whatever he did when he wasn’t himself.
But he had let himself be lulled into believing the dwarves when they filled his head with talk about how special he was; how he had a destiny and would be hailed as a hero. Being a driven teen with delusions of grandeur, he’d accepted this. He was so sure that his destiny was tied to his overwhelming desire to be a doctor. Many hours had been spent trying to find the worst diseases that ravaged people, trying to find the one or ones that he would find cures for when his grand Fate come calling. But there was that dress incident.
It only got worse after his parents were killed in an automobile wreck when he was sixteen. He’d accused the gremlins of being behind it, but they swore it was simple chance. In fact, they’d said, it might have been necessary for him to fulfill his Destiny; without family ties to distract him or hold him back, he’d be free to devote himself to his passion. Which, once he’d become emancipated and could get himself out of that orphanage-slash-halfway house, he’d done. He still wasn’t sure if he believed the trolls that they’d had no hand in the accident in the first place. Especially after he’d learned what his future really would hold.
He’d been at
It wasn’t long after this and a few more close calls of being stuck in public view in women’s clothes when he’d had enough. A few threatened blows to the face and one of his ‘servants’ folded and told him everything. He wasn’t the destined hero, but a prison for something called Glorificus. His ‘sister’ was apparently an exiled goddess and it was his fate to get the shaft. He’d been determined to continue his studies however and refused to allow ‘them’ to take him to some shack in the middle of nowhere and await ‘the appointed time’. Some negotiating and he got his counterpart to back off a little, taking care to get back to his room or one of several locations where he’d taken to hiding bundles of his clothes, before she relinquished his body. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave him time to start delving into his other, suddenly new interest: possession, demonology and magic.
Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to uncover how to rid himself of his parasite without dying in the process. Worse, the trolls had arranged for Glory, and therefore himself to be sent here. Sure they’d taken the care to ensure he’d have a shot at a job in town by taking care of resumes and background checks and so forth… no doubt with black magic and in the meantime, when he could, he continued to search for a way out of his predicament. But he’d feel a lot better if they were in a large city where resources would be far more plentiful. At least there was the internet and that magic shop in town.
Ben left the doctor’s locker room and wandered the hospital corridors, not ready to return to the room that Glory’s minions ‘generously’ provided to him. It was bleak and depressing and just reminded him how basically unfair the universe was. You couldn’t believe in God when you were stuck carrying around a death-goddess inside yourself and waiting to die when she was reborn permanently. That would happen when she returned home. He wasn’t completely clear on the details and the scabby wonders refused to tell him no matter how many times he’d threatened them with pointy objects. He only knew it was tied to some celestial arrangement or another. Every time he felt her presence sublimating his own, he feared it would be for the last time.
Now, he feared the appointed time was close. She’d been far less careful about where the two of them switched positions lately and he’d seen the inflicted injuries on some of the ‘helpers’ that he hadn’t caused. One of them had told him before that ‘gods’ could get a little impatient when things didn’t go their way. It was hard to feel sorry for them though, considering his position in their scheme. The fact that they were so utterly devoted to their goddess despite their obvious abuse only made things that much more frustrating for him. They would be no help in stopping whatever ‘big sis’ was doing.
After checking the psych ward and seeing the zombified patients, all heavily medicated to keep them from hurting themselves or others, he rushed from the floor. Guilt gnawed at him for their conditions, but so did fear for himself.
As he crossed the parking lot toward his clunky car, he saw Buffy leaving the main hospital entrance. Watching, he determined that her mother must not have had a relapse as she was smiling up at the sunlight. It was still cold, just less than forty degrees today, but she looked radiant even in a bulky winter coat. She looked a bit different than last time he’d seen her and he realized she’d colored her hair a jet black. It didn’t seem to suit her. But, thinking that maybe the universe owed him one, he jogged over to her. As he approached he saw the little pharmacy bag she was carrying.
“Oh, Ben! How are you doing? Are you just getting off shift?”
“Yeah, actually, how did you know,” Ben said as he hoped maybe she’d asked about him.
“You’ve got ‘up all night’ face,” she said, disappointing him.
“Oh, yeah… well, internship isn’t easy. So, your mom,” he questioned as he pointed to the bag she held.
“Oh, yeah…, last refill, thankfully.”
“She’s doing good, then?”
Buffy broke into a wide grin that nearly took his breath away.
“She’s doing excellent. Except for complaining still that she has too much work to do to keep slacking off. She’s used to working six or so hours at the gallery and then doing another four or five going through catalogs or talking to other galleries or customers. This part time stuff is chewing at her nerves.”
“Well, if you ever need a doctor’s note ordering her to take it easy, you’ve got an inside man here,” Ben tried to charm. “And how’s the boyfriend?”
“Oh, uh,” she looked a little embarrassed to Ben and he had the good grace to instantly regret asking. “Uh, we’ve sort of decided that things weren’t working so good. We were both just looking for different things right now and we think we need a break.”
“Oh, man, I’m sorry. I feel like a heel now, bringing it up.”
“Oh, no! No, it’s okay. I mean, I’m okay. About the split, I mean. We’re still going to try to get together next year and see where we stand… he’s off on a military assignment,” she clarified.
“Well, then… as a strictly non-date; can I offer to take you out for a ‘hey, I have this new friend’ celebratory coffee?”
“A non-date coffee,” Buffy smiled again and he felt weak in the knees. “Yeah, I think I can do that. Coffee is, after all, the world recognized ‘friendship’ drink.”
“I thought that was chocolate,” Ben said, now grinning himself. He knew he probably looked like a complete dweeb, but he couldn’t stop himself.
“Hot chocolate or chocolate milk? Not so much. Now, if we are talking about cake or chocolate chip muffins, then that is absolutely the ‘friendship’ food.”
“Then you’re just going to have to let me treat you to a chocolate chip muffin, as well. How about tomorrow night? I haven’t had a chance yet to wish you happy holidays, so this can be my lame attempt and about all I can afford on a resident’s paycheck,” he grinned, pleased with himself.
“You are on,” Buffy agreed before pointing out that she had to get back to the house with her mother’s tablets.
Deep in a thicket bush, being pickered and splintered, Granier struggled to make out what Ben and the Slayer were saying. He was deeply disturbed by their easy laughter and was even more so at the thought that it was his duty to inform Her Most Astonishing Beauty of this development. If only they could have waited until tomorrow, it would have been Goru in this mess.
End Ch 1