The Chosen One: Chapter 1
Created: 01/12/01 Revised: 11/06/02
Legalese: The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters and material belong to a lot of important people. I am not one of these people. I claim ownership solely of the story idea - no profit will be made by this.
Author's Note: This story is AU post-season 4 and takes place during Buffy's senior year at UC Sunnydale. In other words no Dawn, Glory, the Magic Box, Joyce's death or Spike's Buffy-obsession - also, Oz has been returned to the fold.
Brief Description: The future starts to look up for the Slayer as she realizes that perhaps she can actually have a future. Then everything changes forever in a series of devastating events that Buffy is powerless to prevent. Can the Slayer survive to fight another day?
Rating: R for violence
Do you know what it's like to be The Chosen One?
It means being the One Chosen to fight...
Fight for the Cause that was made to be yours.
Fight for everything you hold dear to you - everything you love.
Fight for those that you will never meet - those you will never know.
Fight against an evil so tangible that you know it's what nightmares are really made of.
Chosen to be immersed in death...
Death so thick that it chokes your every breath.
Death so prevalent that you begin to enjoy the killing.
Death so evident that you begin to kill your own humanity.
Death that makes you a killer like those you destroy.
Chosen to never have a normal life...
To never gain back the innocence that you lost.
To never go back to not knowing about the evil that permeates our world.
To never go back to carefree times with friends where immortality seems so real.
To never be able to use whatever degree you gain.
To never go back to being someone's daughter.
To never be able to be someone's mother... or wife.
To never know love for fear of having that love destroyed by the evil that you hunt.
To being so alone when surrounded by so many.
It means being the One Chosen to die...
I've died once already for this cause that was not mine - for the cause I didn't want. I never asked to be the Chosen One. I never asked to say goodbye to my hopes and dreams for the future...
I didn't ask to be The Slayer...
I've died once already for this cause that I never asked for... that I never wanted... and I can't help but wonder when the faceless mask of Death will hunt me down again...
The Chosen One
"Hello?" a proper British voice rang out into the room, sounding a bit breathless and scattered.
"Ah, Mister Giles! So good to hear your voice again. It has been a while, has it not?"
"-and the rest of the Senior Core of the Watcher's Council," James Longchamp III agreed as he leaned away from the speaker phone that connected them to Sunnydale, California, his dark eyes shifting to the others that sat around the large oak table. Like himself, the other twelve men that gathered in the room were dressed in impeccable dark suits, perfectly groomed and looking like the British gentlemen they had all been raised to be - groomed to someday fill the spots that they did, just as their fathers and their fathers before them.
"Why are you-" the tinny voice of Rupert Giles finally began, the tension in his voice evident.
"And how is our Slayer?" James interrupted as he steeped his fingers below his chin, his starchly pressed suit rustling slightly.
"Our.. our Slayer?" the voice immediately stuttered back before a thick silence fell over the connection. Finally, that silence was broken by a hefty sigh that carried through the line. To everyone, it was obvious that it was a sigh of frustration and anger. "Well, Mister Longchamp," Giles continued, his voice turning indignant. "First of all, she is certainly not your Slayer and the last time that I had checked, I had been fired from the Watcher's Council, meaning that I shouldn't even be rece-."
"Mister Giles," James quickly interrupted, a small smile pulling at his lips, "need I remind you that once a Watcher, you are forever a Watcher?" he continued, watching as his fellow Watchers nodded silently in agreement.
"Now, the Slayer's 22nd birthday is fast approaching, is it not?" he interrupted once again, a coy smile playing across his thin lips.
After a slight pause, Rupert Giles replied, his voice low and steady. "Why do you ask?"
Ignoring the question, Longchamp shared a look with the men at the table. "And how has her dedication to The Cause been as of late?" Once more, you could almost hear the gears turn in the ex-Watcher's head as another thick silence fell over the line. "Mister Giles?" Longchamp prompted, his voice low and dangerous - almost daring the other man to maintain the silence.
Finally a throat was cleared. "I... I do not see how this is of any concern to you. Buffy wants nothing more to do with The Council. I thought that she had made that abundantly clear to you all years ago."
Feeling his gaze harden, Longchamp slowly shook his head at the phone. "It would be good of you to remember and to remind Miss Summers that the Council never forgets our Slayer," he whispered icily before reaching one hand forward. "Good day, Mister Giles," he added before jabbing one thick finger down, terminating the connection.
As a thick silence fell over the room, one man slowly leaned forward, his eyes locking with Longchamp's. "So?" he prompted, arching a bushy white eyebrow as he eyed the group.
"The warning has been given-"
"But the Slayer accepted the proposal - her loyalties must be questioned..."
A Few Weeks Earlier - Christmas Eve
Sighing, Buffy absently twirled a sharpened wooden stake as her eyes slid lazily over the crumbling graves around her. Even in the peak of winter, a scattering of leaves still decorated the trees and the stars twinkled down on her and the dead from high above in a cloudless sky. All in all, it was a beautiful night for a patrol... but what a way to spend Christmas: doing patrol in a creepy graveyard when she should be snuggled up at home with Riley, drinking eggnog and relaxing with her mom. At least she got one part of her wish right.
"Buffy, why do you think it so ridiculous that I patrol with you tonight?" Riley asked as he quickened his pace to that of his girlfriend, a warm leather jacket keeping the unseasonably cold winter night at bay.
Sighing, Buffy quickly shook her head. "Because this is the first Christmas that you've spent here in Sunnydale and you shouldn't have to spend it traipsing through graveyards. And more importantly, because this is my 'sacred duty,' not yours," she shot back as she crested a large hill, the moonlight causing her long blond hair to glow like silver. "Your sacred duty... or job, in this case," she amended with a slight frown as she finally stopped to turn and look up into Riley's warm brown eyes, "is to protect people during the day from regular bad guys - not run through graveyards with me at night," she added, waving her hand dramatically and indicating the silent tombs that surrounded them.
"My only job," Riley cut in as he gently lifted Buffy's chin, her hands falling to her side, "is to be by the one that I love wherever she might be," he continued, forcing her to hold his gaze - not that he really had the ability to force Buffy to do anything that she didn't want. But as he looked down into her beautiful eyes, he couldn't help but realize once again why he loved her so very much. Sure, she fought evil at night and saved the world from destruction on a pretty regular basis, but that was only part of the reason that he loved her. She was a beautiful light that caused the world to spin forever on, the general populous never learning of her gifts and sacrifices, and that knowledge caused his love to burn so brightly for her. Smiling, he knew that the time had come. "And you're the one that I love," he continued softly as he lowered himself to one knee, gripping one of Buffy's small hands in his own.
"What are you doing?" she murmured, her green eyes widening in confusion.
Ignoring her question, Riley slowly reached a hand into his jacket and pulled out a small, black velvet box. Smiling, he watched as realization pulled at her lips... she was so beautiful. An angel with the moon revealing her in all of her glory. Yet the long coat that she wore hid the power that she contained - hid the fact that her innocence had been shattered so long ago and was replaced by a fierce determination to save their world single-handedly, time and time again. "Buffy... will you marry me?"
Speechless, Buffy watched as Riley gently opened the box and pulled out a small band of silver, the moon causing its small diamond to sparkle with light. For the first time in her life, Buffy Summers had no idea what to do. She was a senior now at the University of California in Sunnydale, finally deciding on a major, to her advisor's great relief, in ancient mythology. Then again, seeing as how Giles had been hired as the main professor in this new department (more of an off-shoot of the History department), it was an obvious choice - and the most useful one for a Slayer.
The Scooby Gang had stuck together through the years, fighting evil along the way as they took hold of their futures. Willow was majoring in Computer Science and was looking at the possibility of teaching at the UC after graduation. After all, staying in Sunnydale seemed to make the most sense for her: after Oz's permanent return and their recent engagement, she could settle anywhere while he toured. Even Xander had finally gotten his act together, taking night classes to catch up with the others. Now, he'd be graduating with them in May, a law degree under his belt and ready for whatever Anya would bring to their marriage while he began protecting Sunnydale during the day with Riley on the police force... Riley.
After Angel had disappeared again, lord only knew where, her relationship with Riley had strengthened. After his graduation he had joined up with the police force in Sunnydale, but Buffy knew that he was giving serious consideration to a job offer from the Secret Service. Everyone's future was going somewhere but hers. Everyone was moving forward with their lives as she was rooted in place, amazed that she had managed to survive this long.
"Buffy?" Riley prompted softly as snow flakes began filling the air around him - an anomaly for Southern California.
Torn from her thoughts, the cold flakes sent her reeling in another direction. The last time she had seen snow fall on Christmas was years ago... when she was with Angel. Damn how very much she still loved him - she doubted that she'd ever stop. Then again, she also knew that she truly loved Riley. But it was a different kind of love. Her love with Angel was impossible from the start, the classic story of Romeo and Juliet. She was cursed by Fate in that way. And she was cursed with no hope for a future... or did she?
Sighing, Buffy looked away from the glittering diamond and into his eyes. She did love him... yet it felt like a betrayal to Angel to even be considering such a thing, even though she knew that she had no future with the souled vampire and it was what Angel wanted by leaving her... for her to have a chance for a normal life. And with Riley, maybe such a thing was possible. When she was little, Buffy had dreamed about her wedding: the dresses, the flowers... she had played house like any other little girl, toying with the idea of someday becoming a mother. She had even dreamt about a career and growing old - but that was before the end of her innocence; before she learned that all of her fears about what hid in the darkness were justified. Before she became The Chosen One.
"I can't," Buffy whispered quietly, her voice flat as she finally tore her eyes away from his. "Being The Chosen One," she began sarcastically, feeling only bitterness inside, "comes with certain responsibilities-"
"Buffy," Riley interrupted with a smile, getting to his feet once more, "I love you - all of you. Even the Slayer side," he added with a lazy grin. "Nothing is more important to me than you and I'll stand by you through it all and will make it our sacred duty, together."
Blinking back tears, Buffy quickly shook her head and turned away even as his words warmed her heart. "Riley, this makes absolutely no sense," she muttered, wrapping her arms around her slim waist. "You have no future with me - it defies all reason that I'm alive right now... my luck is bound to run out sooner rather than later," she added darkly as she shivered slightly, remembering her own death from so many years ago at the hands of the Master - all of the near misses that she had suffered since then.
Sighing, Riley gently reached forward and turned the petite blonde until they were toe to toe once more. "Buffy, somehow we'll have a future together. I promise."
With his words, Buffy felt her simple desire for a future wash away the last of her resolve as she fell into his strong arms. "Yes," was her whispered answer as she sealed her words with a kiss. For the chance, the slim possibility that he was right, she was willing to risk everything - even her heart.
"So the Slayer is engaged," another man, short and fat, nodded slowly, "but our question is whether or not this poses a problem."
Sighing loudly, a different watcher broke his silence as he leaned back in his chair and nodded at Longchamp. Instantly, quiet reigned as the eyes of the others jumped back and forth between Longchamp and the other man, the hostility between the two evident. "The boy does seem willing to aid the Slayer," he added quietly, not surprising anyone. Just as Longchamp had always led the faction of strict adherence to policy, Edward had always been an advocate of questioning the past and making way for change.
"But will he serve as a distraction?" Longchamp quickly countered, frowning at Edward as heads began to nod in agreement. "Perhaps," he continued, answering his own question, "but we all must realize that her twenty-second birthday is almost upon us. The issue of the engagement is unimportant in relation to her birthday - for one solves the other."
Sighing, Edward tiredly shook his head. "Yes James, I am sure that we are all well aware of the upcoming date-"
"Then you should also be aware of the decision that our ancestors made - a decision that has set a precedence that we must follow," Longchamp interrupted coolly.
"A precedence that has never been needed to follow!" Edward hissed, leaning forward, his muscles tense. "This Slayer is the first that has lived this long since her predecessor in this matter. She is the best Slayer that the Watchers have ever seen. Maybe it will be different this time."
Closing his eyes briefly, Longchamp nodded curtly. He knew that his odds of winning such a drastic measure were not yet good - the sides had not yet been chosen and the factions were wavering. Instead, he knew that a compromise could be made - for now. "I'm not doubting or downplaying the capabilities of this Slayer. She has proven herself to us time and time again. We shall have to watch and see," he conceded slowly, "but if the signs appear, we must follow the decision for Pauletta. We cannot allow our ancestors' mistakes to be repeated," he said, ending the conversation with a note of finality.
"And the Rogue Slayer?" another elder asked, instantly causing the table to stir restlessly.
"Unfortunate," Longchamp cut in, his voice causing the room to fall silent - save for one.
"And why not destroy her so her duties will not be forsaken and her talents wasted?" someone spoke up, crossing his arms across his chest as his words brought on a melee of shouted agreement and anger.
"No," Longchamp cut in once again, struggling to maintain order. "It is unnatural for two slayers to exist. It will upset the balance. Since behavior modification has proven useless, the Rogue Slayer will continue to be held in secret until the end of time-"
"And why not just destroy the Rogue Slayer," one of the newer members of the Core cut in, "allow Miss Summers to pursue a normal life and allow the new Slayer to take her place? Surely she has earned this."
Instead of a reply, Longchamp merely laughed before spreading his arms wide. "What type of normal life do you think Miss Summers can have?" he asked incredulously. "She can never have a normal life. It has been almost three years since she has stopped aging - soon her friends will notice and then the alienation will begin. The cycle will be repeated and only her death can stop that."
Troubled, Giles slowly placed the handset back on the receiver, his face creased as the voice of James Longchamp the third rang through his head: the Council never forgets our slayer. It had been many years since he had heard from the Watcher's Council - apparently not long enough. And he'd been so busy teaching at the University, due to Buffy's insistence that he get out of his 'slump,' that time had almost seemed to fly.
"Who was that?"
"Hmm?" Giles asked, turning away from the phone. "Oh, no one," he continued quickly as he leaned forward to kiss Joyce Summers absently on the cheek. "Is dinner ready?"
Hiding her frown, Joyce gently slipped her arm through his and led him through their house. Their last two years together made it all but impossible for Rupert to hide the worry that he held in his eyes - the worry for her daughter, the love of whom was what brought them together in the first place. Buffy, please be safe, she pleaded silently before turning on her brightest smile. He would confide in her in time. He always did.