Characters: Buffy, Joyce, mentions Willow and OCs
Spoilers: General for the first 3 series.
Summary: Sunnydale is baking in a heatwave, and the high temperatures are affecting everybody.
Word Count: 914
Disclaimer: I don’t own BTVS, or the characters. They belong to Joss Whedon.
Sunnydale is baking in an unprecedented heatwave; the whole town seems to have been hit by an epidemic of lethargy and somnolence. School lessons are torture, despite Sunnydale High’s a/c units running full blast. The students are listless, dressed as skimpily as school rules will allow, and even the teachers can’t seem to find much enthusiasm for their subjects. Time ticks by with glacial slowness, winding down to the end of the school day.
Glacial. Buffy likes that word, it conjures visions of vast expanses of snow and ice, and she wishes she could feel the coolness against her burning skin. The air is hot and heavy with humidity; breathing takes all the energy even the Slayer can muster. She wonders vaguely if it’s possible for the human body to melt, because she feels like she might. Even Willow is drooping, taking notes at snail’s pace, her hand sticking to the page.
When the school bell finally rings, it takes several minutes before it registers with anyone. Instead of the grabbing of bags and books that usually precedes the end of day stampede, Buffy and her classmates peel themselves off their desks and chairs, scrape schoolbooks into bags and shuffle like zombies towards the door. Half of them have already left the classroom before the teacher’s brain kicks into gear and she remembers homework.
“Oh, homework assignments…” She stares at the slowly retreating backs and shrugs. “Never mind, forget it, it’s not like anyone would do it anyway.” She shoves a damp lock of hair behind her ear, picks up her own books, and trudges towards the door in her students’ wake. There are bottles of water in the staff room refrigerator, if the other teachers haven’t already drunk them all.
Buffy meanders home, the sun scorching through her blouse and making the top of her head feel like it might spontaneously combust. Even her hair feels limp and disinterested.
“Should’ve worn a hat.” Except then her head would probably be even hotter. Thinking is too much of an effort when her brain is getting slowly cooked, she’s running on autopilot and it’s sort of surprising to find herself at her own front door. She scrabbles through her bag for her keys, lets herself in to a house only slightly cooler than outdoors.
“Buffy?” her mom calls. “Is that you?”
“Not sure,” she replies, voice a bit raspy from the heat. “Possibly?” Her book bag falls from her hand and she leaves it where it drops, making her way to the kitchen. “Juice?” she asks hopefully.
Her mom is standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, trying to keep cool. She reaches in for a bottle and hands it to Buffy. “Good day?”
“Hot day.” Buffy drains half her juice and sits on a stool at the breakfast bar, pressing the cold bottle against her forehead. “I’m for taking a cool shower.” She thought for a minute. “When I can find enough energy to make it up the stairs.”
“Are you patrolling tonight?”
“Got to. Vamps don’t take vacations.”
“I made salad for dinner.”
Cold food. Perfect.
“With the salad or after?”
“I can live with that. Might taste a bit odd though. Do you have homework?”
Buffy shakes her head. “No one remembered to set any.”
“Go shower then we’ll eat.”
Silence descends on the kitchen and neither of them moves.
Ten minutes later, Buffy drags herself upstairs to shower. In the end, she and her mom decide to have the ice cream after the salad. Some food groups just shouldn’t be mixed.
The sun goes down and Buffy sets out on patrol. It’s scarcely cooler than it was during the day and the idea of battling vamps is repugnant. There’s not a hint of a breeze, like the night is holding its breath, and Buffy’s clothes are sticking unpleasantly to her body again. She peels her shirt away for the umpteenth time.
In spite of the heat, Sunnydale’s teens are still out to have fun, even if ‘fun’ seems to consist of sitting anywhere convenient, sipping cold drinks and eating various kinds of icy consumables. The vamps are out too; they’re just not doing anything. She spots a dozen or more leaning against walls and lampposts; they wander away when they spot her, it’s weird. Seems they’re not enthusiastic about fighting either. They don’t have any body heat of their own, except after feeding, but they take on the temperature of their surroundings. Hot vamps are lazy vamps.
Pulling out a stake, she walks towards a solitary one in the cemetery. He looks at her, looks at the stake, doesn’t move. She hadn’t expected the lethargy gripping Sunnydale’s living population to affect the dead too. She throws the stake end over end like a knife and the vamp doesn’t so much as blink, just goes poof. Easiest dusting ever.
She does a full sweep at half speed, choosing to ignore any vamps not actually trying to terrorise the living. None of them do, or at least none that she sees. It’s almost a pleasant stroll. When the other kids start drifting away to their homes, Buffy calls it a day too, wondering how long the heat wave will last. It’s school again tomorrow, but it’s too hot to sleep well, so she lies on top of the covers and dozes. Thunder rumbles far in the distance. She hopes the weather will break soon.