Racing With Destiny: Chapter 1
Legalese: The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all things Harry Potter belong to a lot of important people. I am not one of these important people. I claim ownership solely of the story idea, and no profit will be made by this.
Author's Note: This is a sequel to Twist of Fate and is set three months later, and during the 7th year of the HP verse. Consider everything post Book 4 to be AU.
Brief Description: BtVS/HP Crossover - As a shattered slayer begins to fade away it's up to those who love her most to give her a new purpose in life - and a new evil to fight.
Rating: R for Content
Racing With Destiny
"Life without meaning cannot be borne. We find a mission to which we're sworn -
Or answer the call of Death's dark horn. Without a gleaning of purpose in life,
We have no vision, we live in strife - or let blood fall on a suicide knife."
-The Book of Counted Sorrows-
The harsh ringing of the telephone echoed in the empty apartment, erasing all traces of sleep from the man's mind. Stirring, he turned on the lamp beside his bed, green eyes darting around the loft, eyes taking in nothing as he blearily reached for his glasses before his other hand finally found the telephone. "Hello?" he asked around a wide yawn.
"Rupert, old chap!"
"Samuel?" Giles asked, his friend's greeting driving his lingering sleep even further away as he slowly pushed back his covers and climbed to his feet, moving silently to the stairs that would lead down to his open living room below, his eyes tracing over the empty couch. Buffy was still out, it seemed. Sighing softly, he slowly settled on one stair, his hand wearily massaging his forehead. "Do you realize what time it is here?"
"Late, I'd imagine," his friend agreed, his voice soft. "But I had to be sure that I could reach you. I wanted to know how you've been."
"Not well, actually," Giles answered truthfully as his eyes skipped once more to the empty couch.
"Is it something with the Hellmouth?"
"No, no... nothing like that," Giles demurred, his hand slowly gripping the banister and pulling him to his feet. "No, it's... it's Buffy," he finally acknowledged as he began making his way to the kitchen.
"Is she alright?" his friend quickly replied, his tone sharing in his worry. "She has fully recovered, has she not?"
"Physically, yes," Giles murmured, smiling softly. "All of hair has even grown back, much to her amazement," he added. "You'd never know that anything had happened to her by looking at her..."
Sighing softly, Buffy slowly moved to Giles' bathroom, her steps hesitant. It had been a week since she had been allowed to leave the hospital, and Jarod had promised her that the bandages could finally come off then. The thought scared her - the thought of her bald head scared her even worse than the potential scars. Closing the door firmly behind her, she slowly met green eyes in the mirror and began to unwind the bandages, thick locks of golden blonde hair tumbling free, haloing her face.
"The Watcher guy wasn't kidding when he said that the icky potion stuff would make the hair come back faster," she murmured, tentatively lifting a hand to touch her head. Even the scars from the operation were gone. Sighing, she forced her green eyes to take in the reflection that faced her - one that was a mirror image to her reflection before any of this had happened... before her mother had been killed, before she had been taken, before she had been tortured, before she had killed a man... She looked the same. Only her eyes betrayed all that had happened. She could see it in her green eyes. They no longer sparkled. No longer shined. Ever since being called as the Slayer, her eyes had always contained far more wisdom and sadness then anyone her age should know. Now, the eyes that looked back at her were the eyes of an old woman. An old woman who had led a hard, painful life and was now merely waiting for the end to come. It was wrong for those eyes to sit in such a young, beautiful face. Wrong that her body showed no scars.
As tears burned at those aged green eyes, Buffy felt a sob choke her. Before she could stop herself her fist flew from her side and buried itself in the mirror before her, shattering the glass and slicing her knuckles. Sobbing, tears streaming down her face from the fragmented eyes that stared back at her, Buffy slowly lowered herself to the cold, tiled floor, ignorant to the pounding on the door beside her. Ignorant of everything.
"However, emotionally," Giles murmured, his tone wavering. "Not at all," he finished as he set to work making himself a glass of tea, more from habit than anything else. He certainly didn't need the caffeine to keep him awake. The topic of conversation was more than enough to provide many, many sleepless nights. "If anything, she seems to be getting worse and to be honest, I'm at a loss as to what to do."
"Were you able to reach her father?"
Snorting at the idea, Giles quickly shook his head before he realized that his friend wouldn't be able to see the movement. "No, the bastard's office keeps saying that he's unavailable in Spain - unavailable to his own daughter!"
"Where has she been staying?"
"With me, of course," Giles replied, eyes skipping once more to his empty couch. Not that she really stayed on the couch through the whole night, at least at first. Although they never talked about it, Giles knew that sometime during the night Buffy would abandon the couch and creep upstairs, curling up beside him only to leave again before dawn would break. This unwillingness to be alone in the dark hours of the night, more than anything, spoke to him of the danger his Slayer was in. Lately, though, even these efforts to reach out had diminished, the girl disappearing more times than not, returning only when dawn would break. "But she's not the same girl she once was," Giles continued with a soft sigh, "more of a shell of her former self than anything."
"What do you mean?"
"Buffy..." Giles began, trying to best decide how to put his feelings into words, how best to describe the girl that was more of a daughter to him than he could ever imagine. "Ever since she was called," he began, trying a different track, "and learned of the fate of the past Slayers, she has lived her life with the knowledge that she will never grow old," he explained as he picked up his fresh cup of tea and headed towards the living room. "She has lived each day to the fullest and has taken more joy from her life than most anyone that I have ever known. She cherishes life, and her friends give her the drive to keep fighting. But now," he murmured, his eyes growing dim. "Now she lives each day not as a blessing and another step towards life and defying fate, but as a curse... as though it's another step towards death and her finish," he murmured as he slowly eased his long frame onto the couch. "I... I don't know if it happened all at once at the instant that that man shot Joyce before Buffy's eyes," he continued, his voice hollow, "or if it was beaten out of her a little each day during the months of her imprisonment, but I do know that her fire is going out. Is out," he murmured, correcting himself as he placed his tea, forgotten, on the end table before him. "And what scares me most is that I don't know if she'll ever regain what she lost."
For a moment, a thick silence fell between the two men before Samuel cleared his throat. "What did happen to her while she was in their hands? Has she talked about it yet?"
"No, not to anyone," Giles murmured, knowing the truth of his words in the way her friends still looked at her - as if they didn't know how to treat her. How to approach her any longer. "Although I know that she dreams about it every night... if you can call it dreaming," he muttered, his tone dark. "Her screams wake us both," he added, the memory of his slayer's cries, so terrifying to hear, haunting his every thought. "And many times," he added, "the smallest and most ordinary thing can set her off. I mean, I can understand her aversion to needles..."
"Get the first aid kit, quick!" Buffy called out as she helped Faith into the room, the dark haired girl leaning heavily on the smaller blond.
"Good Lord, what happened?" Giles demanded as he hurried into the room, the large kit in hand. While Buffy appeared unharmed, Faith's shirt was soaked in blood, the fluid running down one arm.
"Hey, no big," Faith croaked as she settled heavily onto the chair provided, Buffy kneeling lightly beside her. "The other guy's just dust floating in the wind, right B?" she panted as Giles quickly began searching through the kit, looking for the roll of gauze and tossing the other supplies to the side.
Muttering to himself, he quickly grabbed a syringe and was about to put it to the side when he was knocked back and pinned to the wall behind him. Gasping, Giles' wide eyes locked on Buffy's green, her gaze glazed and ferocious. "Buffy," he croaked, eyeing the large knife that she held in one hand, bringing it back to strike.
"Not again," she murmured, obviously somewhere else. And then she was being pulled back, Faith wrestling her to the ground and finally knocking the knife from her hands. Suddenly, it was as though all of the fight went out of her as she just lay beneath Faith, unmoving and eyes closed tightly.
"But cold water?..."
Startled, Giles dropped the cup of tea he had been holding, the mug shattering on the kitchen floor as he sped through the apartment and out the open front door, through the courtyard and to the street beyond. "Oh God," he muttered, freezing at the sight that greeted him. From the looks of it, Xander, Willow, and Buffy had been helping Oz to wash his van. After all, it was a beautiful, warm spring day in southern California. It had seemed like a nice, ordinary and fun idea for the teens. But apparently something had gone wrong. "What happened?" he demanded as he crossed to his slayer in a few quick strides, dropping to his knees before her.
"We.. we were just playing around," Xander explained in a choked voice, "and when I turned the hose on her she just kind of collapsed like this."
Confused, Giles' eyes drifted over Buffy's small form, curled into a little ball on the muddy ground, arms wrapped protectively over her head and words slipping from her lips, over and over again. Tentatively, he bent forward, waiting as her words washed over him.
"Please, no," she murmured, her voice choked and pained, "no more, please no more, please no more, please no more..."
Sighing, Giles slowly shook his head. "Although," he added, his tone thoughtful, "I think that Faith knows, at least a little more than the rest of us, what Buffy went through. The way that she looks at Buffy now, the way she acts towards her... it's as if she understands firsthand how broken Buffy has become."
"And how is Faith?"
"Good," Giles murmured, somewhat distracted before he quickly revaluated his earlier estimate. "No, wonderful even."
"Really?" Samuel asked, his doubts carrying through the connection. "Then there haven't been any... regressions?"
"None," Giles answered firmly. "It's as though Faith is a new person," he assessed before a small frown pulled at his features. "Well no, that's not quite right. It's still Faith, without a doubt," he murmured, thinking back to her fiery personality with a small smile. "But she's a different girl than the one we knew last."
"Do you think it's because of the coma?"
"No... no, I think it's because of the time that Buffy and she shared in her body - because of the chance that we're all giving her," he murmured, one hand lifting to distractedly brush through his graying hair. "In a way, it was always hard for Faith because she was second best in our eyes," Giles explained. "Everything was always about Buffy and Faith was just the back up. Buffy was the golden girl, the hero and the slayer, while Faith was just Faith. But now..." Giles murmured, his voice dying away in a sigh. "Well, Buffy is so broken that everyone has started looking to Faith to solve the problems that the Hellmouth throws our way. Everyone understands that Buffy just isn't capable, almost as if she doesn't care any longer. And so Faith has, for perhaps the first time, taken on the true role of the slayer. The responsibility is giving her confidence and leading her along the right path."
"This time, I'm not the one that's messed up," Faith murmured, a frown pulling at her lips before she slowly turned and locked eyes with the aging Watcher. "I'm not standing in Buffy's shadow anymore... and you know what? If it meant getting our Buffy back, I'd go back to being her sidekick all over again."
"And the Hellmouth?"
"Back to normal," Giles replied, shrugging slightly. "Or at least as normal as the Hellmouth can be," he amended with a small smile. "Once Buffy and Faith made their presence well known, many of the demons fled," he continued, unable to contain the note of pride that crept into his voice. "Since then, it has only taken three months for the two slayers to undo the damage that being without a chosen one had taken six months for the town to get to."
"So the Hellmouth has been keeping both Slayers busy."
At his words, a small grimace contorted Giles' features. It was as though his friend could read his mind and see all of the dark doubts that lay there. "No, there's not enough work here for two slayers, not really," he replied, "and Buffy knows this." Sighing, he slowly shook his head. "In the last few weeks she has become even more despondent and withdrawn, patrolling less because she knows that she is not needed."
"Has Faith picked up the slack?"
"Gladly, but without a cause Buffy is beginning to drift away from us all, and I don't know if there's anything we can do about it," Giles sighed as he reached forward and lifted his cup of tea to his lips, grimacing as he realized that it had gotten cold. Shaking his head, he stood and moved back towards the kitchen, cup in hand. "There have been many nights where we have found Buffy sitting alone in the plot where her house once stood," he admitted with a soft frown, his gaze drifting to the clock above the fridge. 4:30am. He was betting that Faith had turned in for the night long ago and that once again, his Slayer wandered the night alone. "She doesn't talk about what she thinks of there," he continued softly, "whether it be her mother or the man that she killed, but whatever it is I think it's slowly destroying her," he admitted as he began the familiar task of making more tea. "I know that she's trying, but she's getting worse, not better with time. The memories that this town contains are killing her day by day."
As the tea was set to boil once again, yet another heavy silence fell over the line. "I had feared as much," Samuel finally admitted, his tone indicating that he had been waiting for this admission all along. That he had been expecting it, even. "Perhaps... perhaps it's time for your Slayer to leave the Hellmouth for a time - to get away for awhile."
Instantly suspicious, Giles felt his grip tighten on the phone. "Where to?" he asked, his voice tight.
Furious now, Giles quickly turned away, his hand hurting from how tightly he was gripping the receiver. "I will not allow Buffy to be ensconced in the council, no matter how much they've changed," he hissed, his free hand reaching out to massage his forehead. But then, just as quickly as the anger came it was already melting away as thoughts of the Buffy that remained filled his thoughts. She was so broken... "Besides," he murmured, sagging back against the counter, "sometimes I think that the fight is the only thing that keeps her going any longer."
"But Rupe," Samuel began, his voice soft, "you said so yourself that two slayers aren't needed on the Hellmouth. Besides, from the sounds of it, it would only be worse for Faith and Buffy in the end for them both to remain there. Faith needs to be away from her counterpart, allowing her to stand in the spotlight for awhile. And Buffy... it sounds like Buffy needs to go someplace away from the memories of her mother and all that has happened there. Admit it Rupe, for you've been saying practically the same thing for the past hour." At Giles' heavy sigh, Samuel hesitantly continued. "Besides, I wasn't talking about the Council."
Unable to believe that he hadn't hung up yet, Giles slowly straightened. "I'm listening."
"I'll be the first to admit that the Watcher's Council never does anything without a reason - that they never have a double purpose behind every move. Likewise, my desire to bring Buffy to England isn't solely for her benefit - the slayer is needed there."
Curious despite himself, Giles slowly nodded. "Go on," he murmured.
Knowing that he now had his old friend hooked, Samuel changed tracks. "Rupe, how long have you been away from our world?"