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Posted August 12, 2005
& September 14, 2006
& September 15, 2006
& September 15, 2006
& February 21, 2007

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Series: Nature, Never Spent

Title: Elemental

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG.

Summary: B:tVS, Jurassic Park. Buffy stops by a paleontological dig at Fort Peck Lake, Montana. (A ficlet told in five double-drabbles).

Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen"; "Jurassic Park III" (2001)

Notes: Originally written as five linked double drabbles for challenges. Contains references at the end from Gerard Hopkin's poem, "God's Grandeur" (1918), and from J.R.R. Tolkien.


The first time she met Dr. Alan Grant, Buffy was immediately struck by how favorably he reminded her of Giles. They were in the same age bracket, with brown hair edging toward gray, a strong, interesting face, and the solid body of a man who did more than just sit behind a desk every day. They had the same gravity of spirit when expounding on a topic close to heart, and a shadow behind the eyes that spoke of hard-won experience.

It was none of these things, however, which truly endeared Alan to her.

She'd come to his dig to examine the maybe-demonic skeleton Giles had seen pictured in his reports; she stayed to watch him kneel reverently in the dirt, a schoolboy grin on his face as he brushed a few grains from an exposed bone.

"Look at this!" he exclaimed, his voice breathless and reverent as he showed off his latest discovery.

When was the last time I faced my work with such joy? she asked herself. When was the last time I was faced with such joy?

Alan looked up, the glow of wonder lending weight to his gaze, and her heart turned over in her chest.


When the consultant from the British Museum finally showed up, she wasn't anything like what Billy had been expecting. He'd been picturing someone more Alan's age, a dried-up stick of a woman whose enthusiasm for the subject would have long since been snuffed out by long hours trapped behind a desk. Since a lot of their funding came from that museum and affiliated organizations now, news of her visit had lit a fire under the team at the dig; they'd been burning the candle at both ends for days now, trying to make as much progress in their research as possible before her arrival.

The energetic golden girl in the sexy suit and two-hundred-dollar shoes, even younger than he was, was a pleasant surprise. Not so pleasant, however, was the realization that his usual effortless charm, practiced diligently on female grad students at the dig, wasn't so much as making her blush. It was Alan, surprisingly enough, who'd inspired a spark of interest in her eyes.

Well, good for Alan, Billy decided. Dr. Grant had been alone for years, since Dr. Sattler had left him; he-- and his work-- could only benefit from a little more passion in his life.


Eric wasn't that impressed with the latest visitor to the dig, at first. He got why Dr. Grant and Dr. Brennan were falling all over her-- they were hoping she'd approve a raise in their funding-- but that meant nothing to him, except that the dig was his favorite place just now. With his parents still in jail and his aunt and uncle trying to micromanage his life, his "study" trips to Fort Peck Lake, Montana, were practically the only time he got to breathe free air.

Besides, she was blonde and pretty and kept smiling vacantly at Alan; he figured her for an airhead. At least, until Billy brought her over and introduced her.

"You're Dawn's sister?" he blurted, his mood lightening as he remembered the blue-eyed goddess he'd run into at a college preview day. They'd been the only two to sit in on the introductory archaeology class, and had eaten lunch together afterward, sharing light-hearted conversation. They'd corresponded ever since. "I'm Eric Kirby."

"Nice to finally meet you, Eric," she replied with a teasing smile. "Hmm. I'll have to tell Dawn her taste is improving."

He practically floated around the site for the rest of the afternoon.


Alan looked up from the young velociraptor skeleton his team had been uncovering-- an excellent find, remarkably preserved-- and found himself caught by the intensity of Ms. Summers' sea-green gaze.

He'd marveled earlier as she flowed smoothly around Billy's polished advances and effortlessly buoyed young Eric's mood; she was everything he'd expected of a protégé of the notorious Dr. Giles, witty and perceptive and self-possessed, though she seemed a little light on paleontological knowledge. Why she'd been sent rather than one of the museum's experts, he couldn't begin to guess.

She blushed suddenly, realizing that she'd been caught staring, and looked out toward the glittering surface of the lake. Alan wasn't so old yet that he could mistake the signs of interest in a woman, but he couldn't fathom why she should be taken with him; at her age, with her beauty, all the world was hers to fish in.

And yet... as she stole another glance, he saw a familiar weariness in the lines of her face, something left behind by experiences no human being was meant to bear.

He wondered if she'd appreciate an invitation to the local watering hole when the dig closed up for the evening.


When Buffy tells her sister she's transferring her psychology degree work from Rome to the University of Montana, Dawn laughs, then stares, then checks to see if Willow has somehow retrieved her robot double. The other Scoobies do a covert investigation and discover Alan's presence, then call to tease; Giles says little, but she can guess what he's thinking. What happened to "you're very, very old and it's gross?"

Buffy has no explanation. She flips through magazines full of white dresses, and focuses on the present.

Alan has little better luck. Billy teases incessantly; Ellie, when he tells her, asks several times if he thinks it's wise, then rolls her eyes and helps him pick out rings.

They know all the arguments against their match already: he's old enough to be her father, and her job has made her into a sword always unsheathing, a magnet for danger. But age is no obstacle for her, and he has faced velociraptors; their love is what matters.

When he looks at her, he sees only shining from shook foil; when she looks at him, she sees only ah! bright wings.

Their life together is as happy as ever afters can possibly be.


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