Chapter 15
Life’s Surprises

“See is she not the Nimir-ra?” Nathaniel asked looking at Rafael.

“Nimir-ra?” asked Cole-Pierce, “What’s that?”

“Wereleopard Queen.” Nathaniel replied before looking back at Rafael, “Is she?”

“No, she certainly has the look, but she has not the power.” Rafael answered.

“Doesn’t have the power?” Cole-Pierce asked, “What do you mean power?”

“She is pure human, no powers at all.” Rafael answered looking at him.

“Wait did you say pure human?” Fernandez asked.

“Yes, why?” Rafael asked.

“Because she’s a slayer.” Dawn spoke up.

“No, she’s pure human, nothing preternatural at all.” Rafael told them.

“Perhaps you had better get her blood tested again.” Cole-Pierce said looking at Fernandez.

“Yes, quite.” she answered as she moved away to get a syringe.

As she drew blood from Buffy, Rafael and Nathaniel turned and approached Jennifer.

“May we have a word or two with you and your watcher?” Rafael asked.

“Sure.” Jennifer said as she led them out of the room.

“I don’t know if your watcher has told you of the reason we first came here to find you, but we want you to be a léoparde lionne.” Rafael said looking at the slayer.

“A léoparde lionne? What is that?” Jennifer asked looking between the three men standing around her.

“A léoparde lionne is the term the wereleopards use for a person who protects the pard.” Nathaniel said.

“Why do you need me to protect your pard?” Jennifer asked.

“When our previous leader, Gabriel, was hunted down and killed by the police, we lost our most powerful member.” Rafael said, “If we are attacked by another pard we will all be killed, we have no strong leader.”

“And you want me to act as a bodyguard?” Jennifer made it a question.

“Yes, we had our hopes that Buffy was our Nimir-ra, our Leopard Queen, but as Rafael said she is not.” Nathaniel said.

“Not to sound selfish but do I get anything out of this deal?” Jennifer asked as she led them to the nearest seats.

“You get the protection of the pard if and when you need it.” Rafael said as he sat next to her.

“How many members of the pard are there?” Cole-Pierce asked, taking the seat on the other side of Jennifer.

“At the present time there are twelve members including the two of us.” Nathaniel said indicating himself and Rafael.

“I want to meat with them all before I agree.” Jennifer said as she stood.

“Very well, I will arrange the meeting but it has to be soon.” Nathaniel said.

“Why soon?” Jennifer asked.

“Because in four days there is a purple moon.” Rafael said.

“A purple moon? I’ve never heard of that, what is it?” Cole-Pierce asked looking intrigued.

“The moon appears purple, and the wereleopards have an uncontrollable urge to try and take over the nearest weakest pard.” Nathaniel told them.

“And yours is the weakest for several states right?” Jennifer asked.

“Yes.” the two lycanthropes did not look happy about that.

“Okay set the meeting up for tomorrow noon.” Jennifer said.

“As good as done.” Rafael said. Then he and Nathaniel turned on their heels and headed towards the doors out of the hospital.

“I told you she would want a meeting.” Nathaniel said in almost an accusatory tone.

They were approaching Rafael’s private transport, Rafael had offered to drive Nathaniel to his home, and his wife.

“Yes, you did, and how is it you know her so well?” Rafael asked.

“I understand her mind, it is similar to mine.” Nathaniel said with a smile.

Rafael laughed heartily as he slapped his friend on the back, “You make the worst jokes I’ve ever heard.”

Forty minutes later, after a minor argument over priorities with the lab techs, Fernandez received the blood test results form Buffy’s blood.

“I’ll be damned.” she said reading the piece of paper.

“What?” Cole-Pierce said as he walked towards her.

“She’s not a slayer.” Fernandez said, “There’s no trace of the energy marker that gives the slayer her powers.”

“None at all?” the watcher said taking the paper from her.

“She’s done something impossible, she’s become human.” Fernandez said looking at the sleeping form of Buffy.

“I thought the whole idea of a slayer was that the only way they could stop was if they died?” Spike asked with a yawn, “Hey d’ya think they’d mind if I borrowed a pint of O-neg?”

Cole-Pierce raised an eyebrow at him, as Fernandez said, “I’ll go get you one.”

“But you’re right the only way for a slayer to retire is to die.” Cole-Pierce said walking towards Buffy.

“Of course I her case she’s been dead three times so far and lost in a dimensional portal once.” Dawn said with a small smile.

“She is an oddity.” came The Gatekeeper’s voice.

“What do you mean?” Dawn asked, her voice was full of concern for her sister.

“She doesn’t belong here, she was meant to have died in 2026.” he said looking down at the peaceful sleeping form of Buffy.

“No.” Dawn’s voice was barely a whisper.

“Yes, you knew it was so when she reappeared.” The Gatekeeper said.

Spike’s eyes were watery with unshed tears and his expression was almost identical to Dawn’s.

“So, what will happen?” Cole-Pierce asked, even he was touched by the scene in the room.

“Reality will try to get itself back to the original course.” The Gatekeeper said, “It will try to erase Buffy from this timeline.”

“Can I-I do anything?” Dawn’s voice was still very quiet.

“No amount of dimensional altering will help.” the old man said taking the nearest seat.

“Um, has anyone noticed that Buffy’s getting older before our eyes?” Spike said he was standing closest to Buffy’s bedside.

Dawn gasped as she looked over at her sister and saw that she look at least 80 years old.

“Dear god!” exclaimed Cole-Pierce.

“What is it?” Fernandez had returned with a blood pack, which she handed to Spike.

“I-it’s B-Buffy.” Dawn sounded like she was going into shock.

Fernandez walked towards Buffy’s bed and pushed past Cole-Pierce and Jennifer, who had been silent all this time.

“Oh. My. God.” she uttered when she say the state of the former slayer.

“She has a choice now.” came a highly cultured voice from the door.