The Slayer 314 Project: Whispers

by Philip S.

Summary: The Initiative is not what it seems, as Riley Finn's discovery of the Slayer's identity rings in the final stage of the 314 project.

Spoilers: 4th Season up to the episode "Hush" on Buffy and "Hero" on Angel. After that it's AU.

Rating: R


Part 1: Buffy


There is fire everywhere around me. So much fire. I can feel it crawling across my skin, eating away at my body, drowning me in pain. Why does it hurt so much? I am on fire and there is nothing I can do to stop the pain. Can't someone stop the pain?

Flash. Someone is screaming directly in front of me. A man in a white lab coat. He is on fire, just like me. He is screaming his pain out into the world for everyone to hear. I don't scream. Why can't I scream? The burning body is running around, the man within desperately looking for a way to escape from the flames. Why can't I run away?

Flash. The room around me has become an inferno. The white walls are bubbling and cracking, the flames devouring them like a kid does candy, reaching up to the ceiling, halogen lights exploding in showers of white- hot plastic and glass.

There is so much screaming.

People are everywhere, burning, screaming, dying. Some of them are wearing white lab coats, the flames like those very much. They catch fire so easily. Others are in uniform, green clothes that burn just as brightly. Alarms are blaring in the distance, drowned out by the screams.

There is so much pain. The air around me seems to bleed and still I can't even scream. Glaring fingers of agony are stabbing into my eyes, cutting through my flesh like blades. Pain a thousand times worse than the feeling of razor-sharp fangs sinking into my throat. I want to scream.

Without warning the force that has held me immobile suddenly falls away and I crumble to the ground, my arms and legs useless. The room spins around me, burning bodies, blackened walls, flames, a wild dance that makes me dizzy. I can feel the hot metal floor beneath me, but it seems a distant sensation.

The pain fades and pleasant numbness takes its place.

It takes me a while to realize that the absence of pain is probably not a good thing.

A body is lying close by. A young woman, her face turned toward me. Her eyes are open and she stares at me with the supreme disinterest only the departed manage. There is a terrible emptiness in those eyes even as I can see the flames that have already devoured half her body.

Someone starts to scream, someone close by. Who is screaming now? There are so many screams but this one is so close, I can almost feel it against my ears. The flames are coming closer, pressing in on me from all sides, and I can't see who is screaming.

A second scream joins in, a scream so terrible it tears my thoughts apart. Someone is dying horribly, a thousand demons tearing away her flesh and she wants to share her pain with all the world. Her scream sends fresh waves of agony through my veins and my blood feels like molten lava.

I have to get up. The flames are all around me, licking at me, trying to devour me. I have to get out, I have to get away. I don't want to die! I am not even nineteen years old, I don't want to die! There is no strength in my legs and arms, though. How can there be such pain if I can't even move my arms and legs?

Somewhere in between I realize that one of the screaming voices so close to me is my own.

The ground beneath me heaves and trembles, the rumbling of explosions echo through the room. There are still people screaming, I can hear them, but they are more distant now. Those that can still scream are those that are still running, running to get away from here. The fire is all around me now. I have to get to my feet!

My skin seems to crawl off my body, tearing bloody pieces of flesh with it, but I finally manage to move. Another body is next to me. Is that the other one who is still screaming along with my own voice? Is it one or more voices? I can't tell anymore. I can't stop screaming. Why can't I stop screaming? Who is the other one?

No time, I can't stay here! Every movement is pure agony, but I have to get out. I can see my arms and flames are dancing across them, my skin is blackened and starting to bubble. Can't concern myself with that now! Too much pain! Need to get out of here! My eyes find a door and in between waves of violent seizures I manage to get moving. Door! A way out!

Corridors pass by me in a blur. Flames are everywhere, the tremble of more explosions is cracking the ceiling, the floors, everything is coming apart. More people are screaming, running, trying to get out of this underground death trap. Faces come into my field of vision and vanish again, all of them screaming, panicked, some are on fire. So much fire.

A mirror, warped by the flames. I am no longer in the underground lab, I am on the surface. Yes, I recognize this. Lowell house, the building that hides the entrance. How did I get up here? I have no memory of climbing stairs. The warped mirror shows me something that can't possibly be me.

How can I still be on fire without being dead yet?

The house is crumbling around me, more fire, more screaming people. The floor gives way beneath me and I run without thinking, the pain fading into the background. Get out! Need to get out!

Flash! I remember being taken here. Someone took me here, betrayed me. A man, someone I liked. Riley? Agony shooting through me, a bolt of electricity. What did he do to me? Why did he do that?

Something explodes directly behind me and the shock wave picks me up like a leave in the wind. Fire, walls, suddenly outside. Pavement coming up to meet me, something hard impacts against my face. More screaming, fire, pain.

Why is there so much pain?

A soft coldness embraces me and I realize that it is raining outside, raindrops caressing my burning skin. It feels so very good. I feel something moving inside my head, something that reaches out to me, embracing me with tender arms, cradling me like an infant against a body of soft nothingness, soothing the pain with a beautiful singing voice.

Darkness comes to swallow me and I don't resist.