Author: Paladin Steelbreaker
Title: The Long Way Home
Copyright: september 2003
Rating: PG-13 ? Definitely not more
Spoilers: Buffy: up until the end of season 3."Slayer War" and "Sending a Message".
Keywords: Vampiric slayers.
Summary: Its all about the aftermath of "Slayer War". We see Enya's way back to a livable life, and the effect it has on others.
Legalese: All characters except those noted below with their respective rights, properties and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.
The characters Enya Tompson (Death), Christopher Giles, Patrick O`Malley, The Invulnerable(Not normal Buffy),Erick Crighton, Alicia Saunders, Arthur Antonov, Constanza Gonzales, Andrea Peters. Ishmael Anderson, Rose Camden, Indra lightfoot, are mine. Did you hear that! Mine! Mine!! Mine!!! (uh,sorry. I got kind of carried away) Anyone wishing to use them may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's Notes: this is the second of my three sequels to "Slayer War" I am afraid you'll need a fairly large handkerchief for this one. But rest assured, there are some lighter moments too, especially in the end.
Dedications: I would like to dedicate this story, how ever amateurish, to the memory of maybe the best fan fiction writer the web has ever seen. He will be sorely missed.
Rest in peace Tim Knigt.
If you want to comment on my story, (please, please,PLEASE!!) Compliments, or fire spitting criticism, you are welcome to mail me at this address: email@example.com
And now finally on with the story:
The Long Way HomeGuilt
Pain, Indescribable pain
Tears through my soul
My life is pain
As it should be
Cause I caused
Torment, indescribable torment
Tears through my body
My life is torment
As it should be
Cause I caused
Emptiness, Indescribable emptiness
Suffocates my existence
My life is Empty
As it should be
Cause I am
I am Death, yet death is denied me
I am Decay, yet I am impervious
I am a monster, yet I am weeping
There is no mercy, yet I am relieved
Darkness enshrouds me, as it should
Cause I am
I was a warrior of God, now the devil is laughing
I made myself above all and everything
Now I am the lowest of creatures
As I should be
Cause I erased
August. 4. 2014. Location: Sunnydale California
The House of Rupert and Joyce Giles.
Joyce woke up, as she heard the old but not forgotten sounds of her daughter escaping from the window in her bedroom. Buffy never had realised how her footsteps resonated from the roof and down to her mother's bedroom.
For a moment the fear that had been ingrained in her for 17 years made her heart jump into her throat. But then she calmed down, as she remembered tonight. The pleasant family evening they had. Buffy was back for good, and Joyce had complete faith in her daughters ability to control the demon that lurched within. She had seen that control been exercised under extreme circumstances. And she knew what it took to break that willpower. Still a remnant of worry lingered in her. And she got out of bed carefully, so not to wake Rupert.
She looked at him for a moment. He looked remarkably boyish there he laid in peaceful sleep. He really was the sweetest man alive. She didn't understand how she could ever have misunderstood what she felt for Hank as love. It was nothing like what she felt for Rupert. Of course she cared for Hank, after all he gave her Buffy, and now after Buffy returned, he had really tried to be there for his daughter. So they had managed to settle their old differences, except on one account. He had still trouble dealing with the supernatural. She guessed he really didn't have what it took to deal with that.
She silently snuck into the kitchen, and poured herself a glass of milk, and had to smile by the note fastened on the milk bottle.
Don't worry mom, I'm going out for a talk with Willie the wimp. And then I'm going on a patrol. Don't worry. I just have some thinking to do. With Enya, Xander and the whole thing with The Council. I have some major decisions to make in my life now. Thanks for a fantastic evening and I'll see you guys in the morning.
Well, Joyce thought. It seems as if I was wrong. Buffy did know, and she also knew that her mother would worry. Joyce smiled to herself; she never had understood her daughter's tendency to downplay her own intelligence and perceptiveness. Joyce knew now, that very few things escaped her daughter. She sat down by the kitchen table, thinking about the last two months. Yeah, things had really changed lately. After the fight against Death, all of their lives had been changed tremendously, but this time for the better. Buffy was back. She still had to pinch herself to believe it. Her little daughter was back. Only she wasn't a little girl anymore. She had become a beautiful kind-hearted and courageous woman. And she was held to be one of the best in her field of work. Her work.... Joyce couldn't help worry for her, even though she knew that her daughter were virtually immune to physical harm.
With her "Mothers Heart" Joyce knew that Buffy deep down was all too vulnerable. She had seen the pain when she told about some of her missions. She knew her daughters pain when she came too late to stop somebody from getting hurt, or killed. Her thoughts were disrupted by the pitter-patter of not so small feet on the floor.
"Hi mom. I see you couldn't sleep either." Ashley slumped down on a chair. "You are thinking of Buffy, aren't you?"
She nodded, and took a sip of the milk. Then she looked up at her son. "I know it is stupid, but I do worry about her. Even though she probably is the most powerful being in the world, she is vulnerable. In here," she said and poked her fist to the hart. "Those times she has slept over here, I have noticed her ragged look in the morning. And I know, I just know, that she isn't sleeping well. She is still blaming herself for what The Invulnerable did. And it is so wrong."
She became quiet for a while. Then she ruffled Ashley's hair. "But what about you, why can't you sleep? Are you afraid of her?"
"No, no! That's not it. It took a while, but now the fear is gone. I still don't think of her as my sister though. Not yet. I mean with the age difference and that I only have known of her for a couple of months. And yes, sometimes I feel a bit awkward towards her because of what she is, and what her demon has done in the past. I feel like I'm having trouble figuring her out. But I have come to consider her a very good friend. No, it is something different that's keeping me awake tonight. Whenever I look into her eyes, I see the same sadness. She may smile and laugh. She may even be in a genuinely good mood, mom. But deep down, there's always this sadness and deep pain, an unfathomable pain. And I can't help thinking, if Buffy still feels like this. Even after 17 years, and especially the last couple of months. How much worse mustn't it be for Enya? There must be something we can do for her. What can I do?"
Joyce could feel tears of pride water her eyes, as she saw the fire in her son's eyes, the same fire that she had seen time after time in her daughter. And she knew then, with fear in her heart that Ashley too, was to become a Warrior of the Light.
"I don't know." She then managed to croak out. "We just have to give them our full support and friendship. To be there, if they need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to talk to, and hope it will ease at least some of their pain."
"Yeah," he said after a while. "I guess that's all that we can do. And that's what I'll do then. Thanks mom," he said as he stood up. "I think it helped just to say out loud what I was thinking of, so I guess Ill head back to bed. Night mom."
"Night sweetie," she said as she followed her son's example and went back to bed.
August 4. 2014. Location: The Council's Tower
Outside The City of Swansea, Wales.
Finally...At long last he was finished with the days work. Christopher Giles tiredly rubbed at his eyes and grabbed for his trench coat. Ever since his health had allowed it, he had spent insanely long workdays rebuilding The Council. And before that, Wesley had done an excellent job substituting for him. Now they finally could see an end to the work.
As he walked out of the only partially finished council headquarter, he thought of all that had happened for the last two months. Miss Summers and Mr Harris had become a couple, as he had suspected they would. He prided himself in being a good judge of people. And if two people ever were attracted towards one another, it was they. They had moved together, and it was decided that they would adopt Enya Thompson. Who ever was better to take care of her now, than the only person to ever go through the same?
But still he had been unsuccessful in finding her a Watcher. He would have become her Watcher himself, if he only had time. In fact he wanted to but, as said, he just didn't have the time for it".
His recovery had given him lots of time to think. After long talks with Enya, Miss Summers and Mr O'Rourke he felt he had a deeper understanding of their special situation. When thinking of what they had gone through he had an unfamiliar feeling of helplessness. With all the resources he had to his disposal, he felt as if it was nothing he could do to ease their pain. And he realized with great sadness that The Council was to blame for much of it.
The Council was originally meant as a support network for The Slayer, and, as he looked back at the history of The Council, he realised that they in many ways had done the exact opposite, in a megalomaniac search for power over and through The Slayer. They had taken the Slayers away from friends and family, basically everything that made their lives worth living. They had treated them as a tool to be used and thrown away.
Somewhere over the years they had lost sight of the main reason for them existing as an organisation. The reason both Slayers and Watchers existed, to protect the earth against The Darkness. And he was deeply ashamed that he had participated in this crime. He had refused to see that his brother was right, that the old ways had to be changed. And it had led humanity to the brink of Armageddon. That was a burden of guilt he would never be relived of.
The only thing he could do was to attempt to atone for his sins with trying to change what was wrong. With the help of Rupert and Wesley, he had worked out a plan that the younger Watcher had eagerly started up on. And when Christopher finally was back, he continued where his second in charge had come. Together the three of them had started reforming The Council in a way never seen since The Society of Watchers broke apart from The Council, about thousand years ago.
They had gone to the other extremity, with a strict rule of non-interference just observation of The Immortals. Something that in Chris's opinion was just as wrong. There never would be too much interference, as long as it was done in the best interests, be it for Slayers, or Immortals. They may be supernatural beings, but they were not omnipotent, as time had shown so bitterly. Many a Slayer and Immortal had died because the two organisations had looked the other way, instead of helping out.
He was brought out of his thoughts by the familiar tingling down his neck. The telltale sign that there was a vampire nearby. He reached under his coat and drew out a revolver-sized crossbow. He inserted a small wooden arrow and searched the deserted street, and there, right underneath a streetlamp she stood. Trying to fool some horny bugger. She couldn't be the brightest one though. In a City, that tactic could have been successful. But here, in the outskirts of a small old-fashioned British town, she would have as much chance of luck as a Chihuahua trying to get lucky with a St. Bernard. He rapidly walked towards her and as he could see the bloodlust in her eyes, he fired. Bull's eye! For a moment her eyes went wide open in shock, before she disintegrated.
"Stupid bitch," he muttered as he continued on his way home.
Yeah, they had really changed things. The first thing done, was to change the name of the Organisation to The Slayers Council. The Watchers had kept their title. But the way they were trained was entirely different. Every Watcher were ingrained that they protect the Slayer with all means at their disposal. To help her any way they could. Be it fighting by her side, preparing her for what she was up against, or simply be there for her, if she went through a rough time.
They were also taught basic psychology, to help the Slayer deal with traumatic ordeals. Adding to this they had to go through extensive physical training, endurance, strength, martial arts, and weapons use. And not only the traditional weapons as stakes, swords, holly water and so on. Fire guns, rocket launchers, grenades, and computers. You name it.
The same went for the Slayer and the potentials. But now the potential Slayers got to keep contact with their family and friends. If possible a Watcher trained her in her home environment. And if not, she would be sent to a newly built training facility for shorter periods of time. Either way it all was with the knowledge and approval of their parents, who were given thorough insight in the situation, as well as proof that vampires and demons really exist.
When it came to the current Slayer, things were somewhat different. Since she was married to Angel O'Rourke she managed pretty much on her own. But Rupert acted as a Watcher for her if needed.
Christopher smiled to himself, as he entered his house and walked up the massive staircase, towards his bedroom. Even though all this was in the starting phase, they had achieved a lot the last couple of months. And they were constantly coming up with new ideas of how to make The Council better.
Yeah, things were looking good indeed.
August 4. 2014. Location: Sunnydale.
One of many Graveyards.
Leaving Willy`s Bar, Buffy went straight for the nearest graveyard. Praying for some action. The last week she had felt like bursting from pent up frustration until she just had to get away from it all. Thank God for Xander. It was he that had suggested that she take a trip to Sunnydale. Saying he could take care of Enya for a while. But she had refused. Saying that she couldn't leave Enya, while she was in the state she was now. However' he wouldn't listen to her, telling her that she had to take a little care of her self too. Or else she would end up incapable of helping Enya at all. He had made her realise that she had steadily been wearing herself out, in her attempt of helping Enya. That she had to let him help her. After all, they were a team now, he reminded her of. And after a long discussion she had agreed, not without a certain amount of relief.
Being with her family had showed to be just what she needed. She felt better, already before she went visiting Willy. But still she was carrying this feeling of being inadequate, of don't measuring up to the task of taking care of Enya. She felt so helpless. What she wanted was to make it all go away, but she couldn't. Enya had to go through all of this on her own. The only thing Buffy could do was to be there, and make sure Enya didn't hurt herself too much. And even that Buffy needed help with. Yeah, she had learned once and for all, that no matter how powerful one was, one needed a little help sometimes. And looking back, she knew that she couldn't have had better help.
After the fight against Death, she had taken Enya home with her. The girl had cried for three days in a row, and then entered a catatonic state where she refused to drink or eat. It had gotten to the stage, that Buffy had been forced to take extreme measures. With the help of Xander she had been able to force feed Enya enough, so that she didn't wither away completely. And slowly she seemed to wake up. Xander was a constant support during this time. Helping out every day, even though Buffy said she could handle it herself. As Enya started to eat by herself and began to move around in the house, Xander uttered the hope that things had started to go the right way.
But Buffy knew better, now they were in for the worst part. As Enya now slowly regained her strength, she became increasingly depressed and self-destructive. And the day Buffy found her in the bathroom in the process of slicing her wrists, the elder Slayervampire felt it as if someone had ripped out her heart. Through a brutal onslaught of memories, she fought Enya for the knife. It had ended with Enya desperately stabbing Buffy in the stomach. For a short moment, Buffy had lost control of her self, and knocked the younger woman out cold. She had stopped herself just short of dealing a killing blow.
Buffy's face lit up in a soft smile, as she remembered what had happened then. Somehow she had managed to get herself to the phone, and called Xander. That was when Xander had decided to move in. Without hesitation he had packed a few things, and come straight over. She had tried to stop him, but that was like trying to stop a tidal wave. When Alexander Lavelle Harris went into hero mode, he became unstoppable. And God Bless him for that.
If it weren't for him, she would have given up a long time ago. Together they had managed to monitor Enya twenty-four seven. And Xander's gallows humour had made the memories easier to handle. He had helped her deal with old unhealed wounds, and thereby made her stronger. But it was a whole other game with Enya. She seemed hell-bent on self-destruction. And they really had to watch out, as she became more and more inventive.
But a small good sign was that she had stopped resisting them violently, after the fight where she had stabbed Buffy. She seemed terrified by the thought of something like that happening again. She was now showing an unnerving self-control, never showing any sign of real emotion. Except her constant suicide attempts, that is.
In spite of all the pain and worrying, Buffy had found herself more and more attracted to Xander. And their relationship had deepened for every day until now; the depth of their love scared her. Compared to this, what she once felt for Angel was nothing but a teenage crush. She now knew what real love was, and it scared her out of her wits.
What if she messed everything up, like she had done before? Every one of her former relationships had ended badly, most of them as federal disasters. She had had a couple of boyfriends at Hemery. But neither of them had staid for a whole month. And when she came to Sunnydale, there was only Angel, by far her longest relationship. And that it didn't go well, had to be the understatement of the century! And the seventeen years since she returned to the land of the living, those years had been an endless fog of alcohol and one-night stands. Only disrupted by her assignments and a few guys she had stayed with for a short while. But all of them had turned out to be complete bastards.
As Buffy thought back, she felt deeply ashamed. What right had she!!! What right had she to fall in love with someone as nice as Xander? And that he reciprocated her feelings, felt like a dream. A dream she feared she would wake from any moment. It just couldn't be true. Yet it was. The look in Xander's eyes was surely that of love. Buffy just couldn't understand why. Still she had to believe him. Her heart beat faster as she remembered what had happened a week ago.
It had been a particularly long and gruelling day, with Enya going into overdrive on the suicide front. And adding to that, were her own emotional turmoil when it came to her feelings for Xander and Angel. It had been a shock to her system, to wake up that morning to realise that she had fallen for Xander. Fallen hard, and that the only feelings left for Angel, were those for a very dear friend. It had literally turned her world upside down.
Enya had at last worn herself out, and was now sleeping soundly. Well as soundly as she could anyway. Buffy tiredly walked out in the garden, and sat down by her fishpond. Massaging her neck. Trying to work out all the kinks and aches, when suddenly skilled fingers took over, and she felt the presence of Xander. He knew how to do this, she realised. Not without a pang of jealousy. Who had taught him?
He was more than good. She felt all the tension leave her body, leaving her more relaxed than she had been in ages. That is, until other undeniable feelings started to stir in her. She had turned around and completely surprised him with a passionate kiss. Well one thing had lead to another and they had ended up in her bedroom.
Afterwards Buffy had started panicking. Believing that she had done the unforgivable, the one thing that would destroy their friendship forever. It was then that Xander promptly had told her with devastating certainness, that no matter what she did, she would always be his friend. Then he had continued with telling her in no uncertain terms that he loved her and intended to marry her. But he would not propose to her, not now. Cause he knew that she was far from ready for that. He would let her set the pace of their relationship, and wait as long as it took for her to be ready. When or if that happened, was her decision. Only then would he marry her. And again he promised, that no matter what happened, they would always be best of friends.
As Buffy now walked through the gate of one of the many graveyards of Sunnydale, she hugged her self, and her face had a look of serene joy. God! He was so sweet! Who could have thought that Xander, the foolish jokester, could evolve into a man with such insight, quiet strength and steadfast goodness?
Buffy's smile faltered as her thoughts went back to Enya, and the now renamed Slayers Council. They had yet to find someone willing to fill the position as Enya's Watcher, and Buffy was beginning to loose hope in that regard. Even though Chris had done a marvellous job remaking The Council. It now served the purpose it was supposed to.
An example was when Buffy a few days ago had decided to adopt Enya. Then Christopher had told her to just sit back and relax. And he would take care of everything. She didn't know what strings he had pulled. But they had to be major ones, cause only two days after her application everything was set. Well she had to hand it to him. He was one hell of an efficient administrator. And a good friend, she grudgingly had to admit.
Any more musings over the fact that she could consider someone from the Council a friend were abruptly put on hold, as her Slayer senses popped up big time. A Razorback demon! Great!!! Finally she could let of some steam, she thought. And with that, her face lit up in a diabolical grin as she attacked the seven foot high, muscle bound monster.
To be continued