Passing Strange
by Aadler
Copyright December 2019


Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: the Series are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.

Setting: Buffy, post-series
Spoilers: none


 
– i –

First rule of flying: never go near Chicago.

O’Hare doesn’t just trip you up, though, it sucks you in. So Nancy finds her flight diverted there, then she’s stranded after heavy snow cancels outgoing flights. She’s stuck in the terminal, waiting for something to open up — anything — when she unexpectedly sees someone long-forgotten.

“Marcie? Marcie Ross? Oh my God, I can’t believe this! How long has it been?”

She doesn’t actually notice the brief surprise that flits across Marcie’s face. “Nancy … Eakin?” Marcie says slowly, then smiles as if it’s an unfamiliar expression.

So they talk. Diversion and reminiscence.

 
– ii –

Marcie says she transferred to a different school (she did). She says she’s a courier now, scheduled and impromptu deliveries: lots of travel, very little personal life, not what she’d planned but it seems to suit her. (Her first-ever cover story — never needed one before — but it comes easily enough.)

She doesn’t mention infiltration and espionage, carefully focused sabotage, even the occasional hit. (She’s choosy on the last, not an indiscriminate killer, always makes sure the target deserves it. It’s just, so many do.)

Nancy says she’s a housewife. Both of them feel a little envious. Both hide it.

 
– iii –

“After junior year, I just had to get out,” Nancy says. “I mean, that place … you remember?”

Marcie nods understanding. Nancy doubts she does understand. She still doesn’t know how she wound up with two sets of memories — one regarding things that never actually happened — but it eventually turned life in Sunnydale intolerable.

She remembers making love with Devon, furtive and urgent, between White-Hat rescues and before Devon was killed. She also remembers regular-Devon looking past her without recognition, because they’d shared no such life.

“Sunnydale,” Marcie agrees. “Where normal went to die, and then wouldn’t stay dead.”

 
– iv –

Marcie keeps leaving the lounge, returning with those little airline liquor bottles. Nancy can’t figure how she gets those, but splits them happily enough. “Have you run across anybody else we knew there?” Nancy asks, upending one.

“Never did, no. It was a surprise, seeing you here.” Marcie shrugs, mutters, “And I didn’t even know you could see me.”

Nancy’s eyes catch Marcie’s, hold. “We left Sunnydale years before it went under. Ever feel like we barely made it in time?”

Marcie looks right back. “Ever feel like we never actually did make it out?”

They empty two more bottles.

 
– v –

Things shift, flights come available, and it’s time for goodbye. Marcie steps up suddenly, hugging Nancy with unexpected fierceness. Nancy stiffens, unsure how to respond, and Marcie murmurs, “No, I’m not hitting on you. Women, not my kink. It’s just been really good to talk. With somebody who’s been there, who … who sees me.”

“Yeah,” Nancy says shakily. “I think I know what you mean.” She steps back. “We’ll have to do this again sometime.”

“Run into each other by accident?” A lopsided smile. “Sure, I’ll get right on that.”

They’ll never see each other again.

Today, though, they did.
 

end
 

Questions? Comments? Any feedback is welcome!

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