Author: UnderminetheAuthority PM
Post Angel: Those who have died arrive in the Soul Society. Those who are lost become found. Those who are devestated become ruined. Old friends return, and now a new war threatens all. Borders between dimensions start to fall, and those who are chosen have burdens thrust upon them. This is definitely a strange new story, with characters from BtVS, Angel, and Bleach. Many pairings.Rated: Fiction M - English - Supernatural/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 7,180 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 12-29-12 - Published: 12-28-12 - id: 8846372
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 3: Waking Up
She felt pain. Pain everywhere. Pain at each second, first strong, then weak, then even stronger than the first fiery pulse. Her arms and legs were sore. They were powerful inside, but felt so crippled. Her eyes were wide open, but they could only see darkness. Then, a voice sounded through whatever hell hole she was in, and the darkness configured into the muddled texture of stone, a figure, and energy radiating from the figure like a flame ready to devour.
She rose and bent down, poised like an animal on hands and feet. Her mouth opened, and involuntarily, a just as feral snarl ripped the air. More voices, all from that single figure, came, but she interpreted them as nothing but noise. She hated noise, and she hated white. This figure was all white, no red. Not right. Not right.
She'll make it right.
Dashing forward, claws growing, fangs elongating. Energy bursting from her chest, covering her hands. Teeth gnashing, desperately trying to sink into the figure. Now, she realized, it was a man person, not a woman person. Not that it was a difference, really. It was never a difference to her.
She was prepared to taste the flow of copper, but instead felt a cold slam at the back of her head. It was hard, but not hard enough to penetrate the toughness of her skin. Somehow, she felt like the hit should have knocked her out, but it didn't.
The man person stared her down with eyes of pure ice, condescending, fresh, hers almost as chilled. He had an air of dominance, like an alpha wolf. She was an alpha, too, though, and had turned her fair share red. She could beat him. However, no sooner had she jumped to strike had she been slammed down again. It was infuriating.
Once more. Another hit. That turned into a flurry of clawing, all her power in a skill-less blast of rage. It succeeded in shredding the clothing on his arm, put out to block her, but there was no red. The man person remained unharmed. Man person spoke some more, lips moving, revealing deadly white fangs of his own. They scared her, his fangs. She backed away, snarling some more, noise bleeding her eardrums, shooting up her spine. Dangerous man. Deadly man.
Then the man was behind her. She didn't see him move—one minute there, next, gone. She felt him, though, as he sank his long cutter into her armor, slicing through it like butter. Then there were more voices, all erupting at once, as if they were held behind a dam then came crashing down.
Something glowed, bright, shiny, pretty.
The voices stopped.
Willow, Buffy, Xander, Kennedy, Giles and Andrew sat with the rest of the watcher's council, faces serious. Willow retold her story to everyone else, and apparently, everything in her vision was true. Those who she saw died were truly dead. The wars that played in her mind had happened. In fact, some were still happening.
"This is worse than I imagined…" Breathed Mr. Wyndam-Pryce, looking suddenly lost. "I knew my son had died. I got a call from that vampire just yesterday…Good God."
He spaced out, at that point looking eighty years older. Mr. Robson, one of Giles' closer watcher friends, spoke up next.
"It was anticipated in a prophecy—all of this—that one particular breed of demon and half demon will wreck havoc upon the world. It was not anticipated, however, that it would be so soon." He paused, frowning. "Or perhaps it was anticipated, but never told."
"It can't be that bad, can it? We've saved the world how many times? Tell me what to do and I'll do it," Buffy replied. Giles gave her a stoic look.
"It's not that simple this time. Like Willow said, it's more than the world. It's the infinite dimensions, all of them, at stake."
"One wrong move and kabloey…" Xander muttered. "Why does everyone hate us? I mean, the least the Powers could do is cut back on the apocalypses ever once in a while."
"Only this time it's the powers who are in the predicament," Giles sighed. He had a book in his hand, one of the ancient ones, and read from it—"All chaos will break free, borders will fall and the champions must rise'. That's one part of it. The champions are known to be those chosen by the powers, and the powers can't do anything directly to win this war."
"Are the champions supposed to be the slayers?" Questioned Kennedy, unsure of what really to say. "I don't think all of us are prepared for a fight so soon, a real one, I mean."
"I don't know. Only the powers can tell us what they mean."
"And the powers reside in a higher plane," stated Andrew, reminding them of what they knew already. "But if it's a plane, then Willow can get there. Well…you know…if the plane is even stable enough to…get on."
Willow, who had been silent and still the whole time, looked at everyone who had all eyes on her. "I can do that," she murmured. "Ascend planes. Easy."
"Are you sure that's safe?" Kennedy asked. "I can come with you. Be there. For anything."
"No, you need to find Angel," she declined. "He needs us, and we need him. No more separation. No more lies."
Kennedy nodded in understanding. But if anything happened to her, she'd go to her side no matter what happens as result. Buffy, on the other hand, was ready to be by Angel's, but Xander put his hand on hers. She couldn't go to him. She was needed here, with the slayers ,and the council, and all impending doom. Why did the end of the world have to come every other year?
As far as he could tell, the Shinigami weren't all that bad. They were mostly quiet, but not eerily quiet. I mean, what really was there to say, escorting a recently dead to the strange city within sight? Not much, apparently.
He was told little about where he was going, only that it was for the Shinigami, and that it was magnificent in comparison to the rundown place he awoke in. However, the huge, unscaleable wall that surrounded the city told him that not just anyone could go in, and that those who were out were supposed to stay out.
The red haired Shinigami, the one dressed distinctly different than the others, looked his way. He slowed so that the two of them were walking side by side, with the Shinigami just a hairs length ahead.
"Not very talkative, are you," the Shinigami stated, hands in the unseen pockets of his robe.
"I can say the same for you," Wesley replied evenly. Never show emotion to the enemy, or in his case, the potential enemy.
The Shinigami shrugged. "It's just that, well, most of you are all full of questions and never stop talking. That, or too scared to even speak right, like that girl who came in recently."
"Girl?" He echoed, hopes rising.
"Yeah, nice looking girl, blonde, all stutters, no gut."
"I see." Blonde. Why did it have to be blonde?
"I take it you were looking for someone," the Shinigami guessed. "They always are. If you get positioned there, the squad of research and development can actually track the deceased, and even the non-deceased."
That sounded better. "Really? That's possible in a place big as this?"
"Of course! What, do you think we're uncivilized or something?" He scoffed. "We do that kind of thing all the time, though it's usually hard.
"Good to know…"
"Vice-Captain Abarai, newcomer. All the newcomers meet me—it's kind of annoying half the time, though."
He nodded. "Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Vice Captain."
They hardly talked through the rest of the walk, but it wasn't heavy aired. The vice captain had a very careless, irresponsible aura to him, and half the time just yawned and complained about how he hasn't killed any hollows recently. Whatever those were. Wesley guessed they were some kind of demon breed.
When they got to the gate, a burly man let them in, literally lifting the door in the wall. It was rather impressive, and at that point Wesley prepared himself for anything. Good thing that, because otherwise he would have been blown off his feet by the exact splendor, or, rather, gigantism of the Soul Society. It was like LA, in a most abnormal appearance of white stone instead of steel towers, multiplied by fifty and condensed.
"It's too bad I can't give you the grand tour," Abarai joked. "It would cost me the rest of my dead life. Now then, let's take you to meet the big boss around here."
Grimmjow was impressed—he hadn't expected the Vasto to awaken after being flat impaled through the chest, and expected less that she'd attacked him so vigorously. In the end, though, she couldn't touch the Sexta, but affectively ruined his favorite gauntlet. It was made up for, though, because Pantera got a taste of her blood.
Or so they thought.
He'd made sure not to hit any vitals when he attacked, and put Pantera right next to her shoulder. But, as soon as he bit in, a golden light exploded from her skin. Pantera gasped in pain and Grimmjow was flung back, and both stared in confusion as the light got brighter and brighter, swallowing up the Vasto. His hair rose as it got brighter still, the energy so powerful and foreign that it threatened to rival his.
The light dimmed, flickered, and finally disappeared, but the reiatsu didn't. It was dull, but still there, inside the vasto. The vasto who was now conscious, standing up, unscathed and looking even more confused than both he and Pantera combined.
They looked at each other, Grimmjow opening his mouth several times, like he was going to speak. What was there to say, though? She looked different. The mask was still there, and she had the same armor, but her hair was longer, her eyes strangely human, and her skin covered with swirling black tattoos. They were like that red-headed Shinigami's, but less zig zag and more cool.
The Vasto spoke first, her voice a little high, hoarse, and five times as scared, tinted with an accent he'd never heard. "Who are you?"
Grimmjow blinked, got up, and picked up Pantera, who he'd dropped several feet away. Apparently that was the wrong move, 'cuz the vasto got a look of sheer horror. What, was a hollow with a sword supposed to be scary? She was a hollow, and should have a sword to. This guy mental? He sighed in mild irritation, casually walking toward her.
She, in response, backed up against the stone wall. Real powerful alright. "No, don't come any closer!" The vasto looked around as if searching for an escape, and, finding none, looked about ready to faint.
"Look here, kid," Grimmjow snapped, "You shut up and get yerself together. I don't have patience for games."
She winced visibly, but said nothing, still hugging the wall as if it was a life-line. Now he was even more doubtful that such a person could harness so much power.
"Just…just tell me what's going on…please," she begged. Now there was something else in her voice—sadness? But for what?
This doesn't feel like a hollow, Pantera remarked, almost stating the obvious. I don't even sense a zanpaktou. In fact…this feels like—
"Ichigo," he snarled. Hate and humiliation bubbled from within…that bastard was the very bane of his existence. This thing was human and hollow at the same time, with a touch of Shinigami. Just like him. Its being more hollow than Shinigami changed nothing.
"You want to know what's going on?" He said with virulence, more at his named nemesis than she. "You're dead. You were once human, now you're not. If you don't want to die a second time, get the hell out of here and pray you don't see me again, or hear my name!"
The espada lifted his sword and pointed it at her, more than ready to use it if she didn't comply. Smartly, she did, and sprinted out, tripping over herself on the way. He wanted to cut her up, itched to, and she was too lucky to have been spared that.
The vasto girl left as fast as she could, not testing the strange man's threat, dashing through weightless sands until she collapsed, weak kneed. Everything was different. Queer. Surreal. Was what he said real? Was he lying? He had to be lying, and any minute, her knight in shining armor would come riding his handsome stallion, and she'd be saved again.
However, as she lived through her memories, she knew that no such hero would emerge from the despair of this new dimension. She was alone.
She was dead.
She, Winifred Burkle, no longer belonged on Earth. She couldn't stay there, where there was Angel and Gunn and Lorne and Wesley. It wasn't her path—she was never cut out for the hero's life.
Now, looking at her arms, wrapped in tattoos that weren't there before, Fred knew also that she now had a new path, whatever it may be. A path she didn't want. The voices, locked away in the caged corner of her mind, wanted out. The tortures threatened to spill, and this new life would make them spill. Living for so long with those tortures already spilled made her paranoid, and she was paranoid before it all anyway. This path would break her, if she wasn't already broken.
…Is that why she was so tempted to stay on it?
Admit it, you want it.
So fight for it.
"Fight for what?" She asked thin air, shaking.
For everything. For life.
"The life I don't have."
No, the life of others. The lives of the ones you left behind.
"I didn't leave anyone behind!"
Yes you did. You left Gunn, and Angel, and Wesley…
"No I didn't. They don't need me."
And Lorne, and Cordelia…
"Cordelia is gone!"
Is she? Gone is powerful word, Fred.
She pushed down the tight knot in her stomach. "You're lying. Everyone's lyin' to me. Why won't you all just shut up?"
You're the only one lying, sweetie…
Pantera sighed as their last visible hope fled his master's domain, and back into the danger zone that was Hueco Mundo. Sometimes—no, scratch that, all the time—he felt like he was built with everything sane and smart, while Grimmjow was built with everything whimsical and dumb.
Look what you've done. Didn't you see that power? That potential? You had a weapon. We had a weapon! One that could very well take out the damned Shinigami…Kurosaki included. You fool!
Grimmjow, in turn, looked at the soul of his sword with absolute incredulity. "You've got to be kidding. She's a filthy half-breed, a human, and a Shinigami! Hell, if there was a such fucking thing, I'd call her a filthy tri-breed!"
Take a look at the bigger picture. If you care so much, we can just kill her when we're done.
He said nothing, digesting the thought.
"That's to say it's even possible to use her. She's got less fucking control than me! Oh, and did I mention she's got the brain of a human? Her reiatsu is frail. She's even more frail."
Then learn to handle things with care.
Grimmjow reluctantly agreed, setting out to find her, but all the while muttering strings of curses. How he was similar to his zanpaktou in any way at all was beyond him, but if it was the way to the crown, then he'd deal.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, Angel Investigations, BtVS, or any characters of Joss Whedon's.
Next: "Inside". Wesley and Will glimpse the inside.