Author: M. Scott Eiland
Rating: PG-13, for intensity and language.
Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.
Original story: Weep Not For The Past by jedibuttercup
Summary: Kennedy has a secret to share--or so she thinks.
Time Frame: Just after the events in "Chosen." Spoilers for the entire run of televised BtVS.
Thank you to jedibuttercup for providing a lovely story for me to Remix.
Buffy sat quietly at her window seat, watching the scenery go back as the bus headed towards Los Angeles. They had dropped Principal Wood—the only one of the seriously injured survivors without Slayer healing—off at a hospital in Oxnard with Faith to keep him company, and they had decided to drive to LA to check in with Angel and his allies at the Hyperion. She was aware of the ache in her side from the dangerous stab wound she had received during the desperate battle at the Hellmouth, but it was fading at a speed that surprised her even given her past experiences with being wounded. Maybe I got a boost while everyone else was being empowered.
She shrugged inwardly, and had gone back to contemplating the scenery going by when she sensed someone approaching her. A now familiar scent tickled her nose—there was only one person there who would be wearing perfume that would have cost Buffy a month's salary from her most recent job: “What's up, Kennedy?”
The newly-minted Slayer blinked in mild surprise as Buffy turned to face her after the greeting. The senior Slayer nodded to the seat next to her, and Kennedy sat down, looking uncomfortable. Buffy watched her for a moment, then smiled reassuringly and commented, “I'm surprised to see you leaving Willow's side after everything that went down.”
Kennedy smiled, and Buffy was surprised at the warmth and affection in it. There's more there than just the brat she seems to be most of the time. Kennedy turned to look over her right shoulder a few rows back and replied, “She's sound asleep. Apparently, channeling enough raw magic to empower thousands of Slayers takes it out of a Wicca once the adrenaline goes away.” She turned back to Buffy and whispered, “I hope she doesn't have to do anything that intense again any time soon.”
“Me too.” Buffy agreed, feeling an affectionate impulse toward the younger Slayer. “Thanks for watching her back, Kennedy.” Kennedy nodded, acknowledging the thanks, and Buffy met her gaze as she added, “But I get the feeling you came over here to talk about something else.”
Kennedy swallowed hard, then whispered, “Yeah.” She looked at Buffy and continued, “I'm sure you noticed that I wasn't exactly a fan of yours when I first came to Sunnydale.”
Buffy shrugged. “You weren't the first to have that reaction, and I'd be willing to bet you won't be the last. Of course, given that the Watchers' Council has been almost completely wiped out, there'll probably be less gossip of the tweedy sort adding to that.” She saw Kennedy tense up and she shook her head in mild self-reproach, adding, “I'm sorry—I've lost a Watcher and I know it sucks. I didn't mean to be insensitive.”
“Thanks, but that's not why--” Kennedy paused, and was silent for a moment before continuing: “My Watcher never said anything bad about you—he admired the hell out of you, actually.” Buffy raised an eyebrow, and Kennedy took that as an invitation to get to the point: “I had heard things about you from other sources—ones I trusted. They said you weren't reliable. . .that I shouldn't depend on you to protect me if things got down to it.” Buffy's expression remained unchanged, and Kennedy sighed and began: “My name is Kennedy--”
“Calendar.” Buffy's tone was matter of fact, and she waited for the moment of bone deep shock to fade from Kennedy's face before she added, “Yeah—I had a feeling this subject would come up sooner or later, assuming we weren't all dead before then.”
“How did you know?” Kennedy whispered, staring at Buffy in confusion. “I never told any of the other girls--”
Buffy smiled sadly and shook her head. “Giles knew—he knew chapter and verse about all of the Potentials he rescued. . .and a lot he didn't make it to in time. Besides, with The First impersonating people and the dating history of my two best friends, did you really think I would voluntarily let people live in my home who I didn't have a pretty good idea of who they were? I know I've done some dumb things over the years, but come on now.”
Kennedy chuckled involuntarily and mumbled, “I suppose I had that coming.” Buffy inclined her head minutely in agreement, and Kennedy paused before asking, “Buffy. . .what happened with my aunt Jenny? What made it all go down the way it did?”
This time it was Buffy who swallowed hard, then looked back out the window as she whispered, “She was my friend—she was Willow's mentor. . .and Giles loved her. She helped us survive that place, and it got to the point where I couldn't imagine her not being part of it all.” She hesitated, then added, “She thought she was doing the right thing with Angel, and the people who gave her the mission didn't tell her the one thing that would have let her stop it all from happening. Damn them.”
Kennedy heard the raw pain in Buffy's voice, and was trying to come up with something comforting to say when the older Slayer continued, “And damn me. I pushed her away when she was doing her best to try to help, to make amends. I relented a bit when I saw what it was doing to Giles, but she was still isolated from most of us, and it left her exposed when Angelus found out what she was doing. Giles almost got himself killed that night, trying to avenge her. A few days later, we buried her—and I was ready to kill Angelus. All it took to get me there was a dead friend.”
Kennedy impulsively reached out and squeezed Buffy's hand. “She wouldn't have blamed you for it, Buffy. It was a bad situation for everyone.” She withdrew her hand and shook her head ruefully, adding, “It was easy to blame you when you were just a legend—pictures and words describing someone I never expected to meet.” She turned back to where Xander was sitting quietly, staring out the window with a drained expression, and whispered, “How do you stand being around people when you know your mistakes hurt them so badly?”
Buffy thought back to the night when Xander had lost his eye, and remembered who it was that he had saved at such a grim cost: “That wasn't your fault, Kennedy—and Xander knows it even if you won't admit it to yourself.” Kennedy shrugged, clearly not completely convinced, and Buffy added, “But the odds are you'll be there someday—we're Slayers, and when we fail people die—or worse. The thing you always need to remember is not being there means failing, too.”
Kennedy smiled gently and replied, “I know.” She glanced back at Willow—still deep in exhausted slumber—then turned back to Buffy and asked, “Buffy—could you do me a favor?”
Buffy shrugged. “I'll do my best.”
“Would you tell me what she was like when you knew her? I heard rumors about that part of her life. . .but I always wondered about the details.” Kennedy looked wistful, and it was audible in her voice as she concluded, “I don't want to bring up painful things, but. . .”
“I'd be glad to.” Buffy's tone was matter-of-fact, and Kennedy smiled as Buffy added, “If you tell me what 'Aunt Jenny' was like. Giles would probably want to hear it, too.”
Kennedy nodded. “Deal.” The two Slayers talked quietly as the light outside dimmed, as the bus carried its precious cargo to its new destiny.
Remixer's Closing Comments: The original story appealed to me on several levels, particularly the opportunity to add some depth to the much-maligned Kennedy, and riffing off of the relatively well-circulated observation that Kennedy bore at least a superficial resemblance to our favorite technopagan. I used the general outline of the original story (including borrowing Kennedy's summary quote directly), and used some of my own favorite Buffyverse fanfic tropes (Buffy perceives more than she lets on, Buffy's deep guilt about her contribution to Jenny's death) along with some allusions to my own "Slayer Central" series and related themes. Hope it all came together OK.
As always, comments are welcomed and desired.