Slayer Memorial Day
Summary: Inspired by the USA holiday, the New Watchers' Council institutes their own Memorial Day.
Challenge: just the desire to honor heroes, real or fictional this day.
Warning: somber feeling.
Timeline: post-'Chosen'; not compliant to the comics although it does have a partial storyline arc or two sorta mentioned
Thanks to my betas: none due to time constraints.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Sunnydale Crater Park
Monday, March 10, 2014…
It had taken awhile to get the new Council up and running – even longer than expected because they didn't take shortcuts that would tarnish their white hats much. The worst they did was having Willow hack what electronic files she could find of the old Council so they could track down the resources they were entitled to as the protectors of humanity.
Once they had the resources figured out and began training the girls in earnest, they learned about Angel's suicide mission to take on the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart. They arrived in LA in time to keep the army of demons from destroying the town, but could only find Illyria in the aftermath. She reported that the half-breeds and muck perished earlier. Further questioning clarified who she was referring to using those terms.
At a loss for a purpose after her Qwa Ha Xahn perished, Illyria followed the Slayers back to their base of operations. There she studied all the major players and determined that Faith was to be her new Qwa Ha Xahn, much to Faith's bemusement.
A few months later, when Harmony attempted to brand the Council as a group of terrorists who preyed on poor, innocent vampires, it was the team of Andrew and Dawn who de-fanged her effort. They interrupted one of her TV appearances and Andrew tossed her a cross, which changed her appearance from the sweet girl-next-door to a blood-thirsty monster.
As a follow-up, Dawn yelled that she looked kinda scary; maybe seeing Harmony sparkle in the sun would make her seem less frightening. Before Harmony could wonder where she was going with that statement, Dawn opened the overhead sunroof, flooding the stage with sunlight and causing Harmony to burst into flames on camera. Needless to say, the vampires and demons' hope to hamper the Council using humanity was vanquished along with their spokesvampire.
It was a conversation between Xander and Willow which was overheard by Illyria and Andrew that led to the first Slayer Memorial Day. They were listing all the apocalypses they had survived with Buffy, starting with the latest one and counting backwards towards the first. It was when they reached the end that they had an argument. Willow insisted that the end of their sophomore year was the first apocalypse, but Xander said it was when Buffy stopped the Harvest her first week in Sunnydale.
Once he finished explaining his reasoning, Willow agreed that the Harvest was the first. Andrew remarked that they should commemorate the event somehow. Illyria asked what the purpose of celebrating past events was, and as it was Memorial Day weekend, Willow explained that it was a way for humans to focus on their victories and losses and the lessons they had learned from both. With a little more brainstorming, it was determined that from then on the 10th of March would be known as Slayer Memorial Day.
The US government gave the Council the land surrounding Sunnydale – mostly because they were afraid of the Hellmouth opening again and hoped that by letting the Council own the land, the responsibility for controlling it would fall on the group destined to fight supernatural evil. That gave the Council the perfect place to build their memorial structure. Using the previous Council records, they carved stakes and personalized them with the names and dates of Slayers, Watchers and other support personnel who died fighting vampires and demons.
Once that was done, they used the stakes to line the paths of a maze covering the Hellmouth. The aerial view of the maze showed that it looked like Macedonian cross**. Every twenty-five feet or so, there were accounts of past Slayers detailed on plaques near their stakes. In the center of the maze stood a statue of a Slayer, Watcher and Witch, each with a plaque that symbolized their part in the triad of power. For the Watcher it was the oath they made; for the Witch it was the Wiccan Rede: "These Eight words the Rede fulfill: 'An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.'" For the Slayer's plaque, it gave the brief history of how she came to be along with the immortal lines: "In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer." Added to that were these words: "To save humanity, One became Many. They will fight together. They are the Slayers."
From start to finish, the Slayer Memorial project took a decade to complete. As the public face of the New Council, Buffy was pressed into giving a short speech to commemorate the day. She thought long and hard about what she wanted to say. Not only would this be for her people, but also for the people they protected.
"Seventeen years ago today, the blood of innocents was shed in an attempt to free the Master. Some were strangers, others were friends. I don't know if they were all good people or if they were the next Jeffery Dahmer. For a Slayer, the term 'innocent' can be confusing. Sometimes we're called on to save those that wish us harm. It isn't always easy to do, and as we are human, we occasionally allow ourselves to be blinded by personal feelings. We are not infallible, but hopefully we learn from our mistakes so we can make better choices the next time.
"I once asked my Watcher, Rupert Giles, to lie to me about life being simple. I yearned for a world that was unambiguous. To know with certainty who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. What I got was a world where my enemies sometimes wore the faces of those I loved and sometimes the beings I needed to protect weren't even human, but those that would be considered demons in past generations.
"So while we are heroes in the sense that we save people and the world, we aren't superheroes in the sense that we never make mistakes. All we can do is our best…and that's what these stakes represent…past protectors who were just being heroes to the best of their abilities. Let us learn from their mistakes as well as our own. Let us never forget their sacrifices that have allowed the world to keep spinning. Let us strive to be worthy of those sacrifices."
**Macedonian cross: wiki/File:Macedonian_