Destiny Up For Grabs
Summary: BtVS/Stargate xover. Sunnydale's gone, so where do we go from here? Buffy and Co. thought they'd have time to decide, now that the Hellmouth was permanently closed, but the PTB have other plans for them. A Slayer's destiny never takes a vacation, but it can change, especially when their original line of destiny was broken by death. Buffy's destiny is up for grabs now, and even the PTB doesn't know who will get to control it.
A/N: OK…another story I hadn't planned on starting yet, but since I've written it, I thought I should be nice enough to post it. I've been running up against a brick wall on my other story "When It's Time To Change", brought on by reading too many HP/BtVS crossovers – many of which were REALLY awful, and turned my stomach enough for me to want to take a short break from it. I hope to pick it up again next weekend, so if anyone can recommend a really good, short, sweet HP/BtVS that will settle my stomach, and give me my crossover happy feelings again, I would really appreciate it.
In the mean time, I thought I would try something else to make sure that I wasn't having a writer's block moment, and this came out. I have a little over 3 chapters written, but am only posting one to test the waters. I'm not sure how many people out there like BtVS/Stargate crossovers, and don't want to waste my time if no one reads this. So, let me know if you like it, and if it's worth posting the rest of what I have so far (which I'm still tweaking a little bit).
Visions Suck, But I Could Go For a Road Trip
"What are we gonna do now?"
It kept running through Buffy's head, over and over, making her smile. What was she going to do? She didn't know. She didn't care. All she knew was that she was no longer driven by destiny…she had a future now. A long one, she hoped.
She, her Watcher, Faith, the Scoobies, and the mini-Slayers had just finished battling The First Evil, whose defeat also took out her home town of Sunnydale, California, and all they had left to show for it were their lives, and a very lethal looking scythe. No complaining there, though…Buffy hadn't been looking to become a martyr again.
She looked out the window of the bus as they headed towards the only place she knew they would be welcomed…all of them. As much as it would pain her to see him again, Buffy knew they wouldn't make it far without regrouping, hence the decision to head toward L.A., the Hyperion…and Angel.
Xander was the only dissenting vote.
"Too bad, 'Cyclops'. We don't know how much money there is between us, we have exactly three vehicles, the bus included, we're all exhausted, many of us need medical attention, and we have nowhere else to go." Buffy thought, grimacing at the remembered reaction of her (now) one-eyed friend…it wasn't pretty.
Their battle with The First had been devastating, and had exacted a large toll on the group. Buffy didn't know how many deaths there had been among them, what with all her running around town after being asked to leave her own home. She wasn't sure how many Potentials she had started out with, but knew that there were a heck of a lot more than what was left on the bus.
I need a vacation.
Hyperion Hotel [a few days later]
Buffy was exhausted. Who knew that having 17 hormonal teenagers would be so difficult to handle, Dawn not included. It was driving her crazy, what with the demands, the hissy-fits, multiple PMSers with unfamiliar super-strength, and every one of the girls wanting to borrow from her wardrobe.
Oh, yes, Buffy had a wardrobe, as did Dawn, Giles, Xander, Willow, and Robin. Even Faith had several items that she had nicked from abandoned stores. It was only with the experienced foresight of Buffy, Giles, and the Scoobies, that they had thought to pack up Xander's car and the Summers' SUV (a U-Haul trailer attached) with as much clothing and personal items as it could carry, and drive it well outside the city limits of Sunnydale, on the off chance that something larger than the school would blow up this time. Lucky for them.
Unfortunately, the Potentials had only made it out of their own homes with either a small amount of clothing, or just the clothes on their back. And, when the group finally had time, they found out that they didn't have much in the way of funding, except for Giles, which made spending a very tight. Even Wood was fairly broke, having just recently moved to Sunnydale.
Though the Watcher was willing to share, he made the unfortunate mistake of leaving his wallet in the Summers' home, which had gone bye-bye with the rest of Sunnydale, and now had to wait for some old friends of his to help replace his ID and bank cards by taking care of the paperwork in the U.K. while he handled what he could in the U.S. Needless to say, the group from Sunnydale had to depend heavily on sweatpants, t-shirts, and the charity of Angel Investigations, who were having their own post- 'I-am-a-Goddess-so-you-must-worship-me-even-though-I-have-a-maggoty-face' Apocalypse problems.
And let's not go into the fact that Angel was just handed an evil law firm to run. There was no way that any of them wanted to put the Slayers under any financial obligation to Wolfram & Hart…the interest alone could be deadly.
So here they were…homeless, penniless, and clueless.
Buffy sighed as she made her way to the room she shared with her sister. It was still early evening, but the energy it took to keep the new Slayers from killing each other was…well...killing her.
It also didn't help that she wasn't exactly keen on making friendly with the same people that had literally kicked her out of the 'Slayer's Club'. They hadn't wanted her leadership before…why she should be the one to make the decisions now was beyond her.
She desperately needed sleep.
Buffy looked out on the devastation that was previously her home town of Sunnydale. A big crater greeted her eyes. Turning, she walked away.
Following her were the same people who had followed before – the Watcher, the Witch, the Zeppo, and the Key. In addition, was a blonde-haired male figure, half hidden in the shadows, giving her a self-conscious smile, and shyly waving a mitt-covered hand.
The scene flashed away, and Buffy found herself in the Hyperion, surrounded by the newly awakened Slayers. As she looked around at the young, freshly-scrubbed faces, they gave her tearful looks as, one-by-one, they disappeared, until the only one left was Faith.
'I guess it's back to just us Chosen Two, eh, B?' Faith gave her a sad smirk, then chomped on an apple as she disappeared with a last "Be seein' ya."
A flash, and she was flying through the air, the fresh mountain air was exhilarating. The mountains rose so high…higher than any she had seen before.
A voice sang…
…For Purple Mountain Majesties
Above the Fruited Plain…
…and drifted away on the wind.
Soaring near a small city, Buffy could see several large buildings, and further north, several military complexes and a few air strips. As she flew closer to the city, she felt the evil of something…something familiar…a shiver coursed through her.
As she drew nearer, the feeling of evil grew. She veered away from the city, heading towards the mountains. Something drew her, tickling her consciousness. Flying closer, she came upon a man-made road, and followed it until it disappeared into a mountain.
Perching on a fence that barricaded the road, Buffy looked at the sign above the opening in the rocky face…'Cheyenne Mountain'.
The wind picked up, its voice whispering in her ear…
'Destiny up for grabs…who's gonna take it.'
'Me! Me! Me!' a multitude of disembodied voices cried out, each one trying to drown out the others.
'I will. It's my destiny.' Buffy's voice called out.
The voices faded away until there was only one.
'It may be your destiny, Buffy Summers, but it is not yours to take.'
A pair of gold wings glinted in the sun.
Crossing the foyer of the hotel with a tray in her hands, Buffy saw her sister-slayer coming down the stairs. Placing the tray careful on a counter, she waited for Faith to approach.
They stood before each other, staring for a moment, then clasped each other in a desperate hug…holding on for a long moment, before letting go.
Picking up the tray, which held a carafe of coffee and three mugs, Buffy used her head to gesture Faith to follow her.
Entering a side room which held a sofa and a few chairs and other furniture, the blonde woman set the tray on a table in front of the couch and sat heavily.
"So, B, where are they sending you?" Faith asked as she plopped down on the couch next to the blonde-haired woman.
Buffy took a moment to pour out two cups of coffee, handing one to the dark-haired Slayer.
"I'm not sure, but I think somewhere in Colorado. Giles should be here in a moment," Buffy said, gesturing at the third cup, "I woke him up after my vision."
As if on command, the British man walked into the room, looking just as exhausted as Buffy felt.
"Buffy, Faith." Giles nodded at the two young women, sitting in one of the chairs that faced the couch. He gave a smile of thanks to Buffy as she handed him a fresh cup of java. "Since you're both up, I assume you have had a vision also, Faith?"
"Yup, but I think I got the better deal than B here." Faith smirked.
"Where are you supposed to go?" Buffy asked curiously.
"The Big Apple, baby…New York City!"
"No fair! All those shoes!" Buffy pouted.
"And don't forget the leather!"
"Grrr….and…and…Dolce & Gabbana, and Ralph Lauren…No fair!" Buffy wailed.
Giles smiled at their antics, having (somewhat) gotten used to his Slayer's predilection for fashion. Before it could get too out of hand, he interrupted them.
"As much as I would enjoy a recap of the Summer 2003 fashion line-up, I do believe you had a reason to wake me up at this inhumanly early hour, Buffy?"
Buffy sighed, rubbing her forehead, all humor gone.
"It's over, Giles."
"Over, as in no more Slayer army…as in over for the girls upstairs, but not over for us," Buffy gestured at Faith and herself. "It's going back to…how did you put it Faith?"
"The Chosen Two, B, the Chosen…Two," Faith said, choking up and looking away.
The three sat in silence for a few minutes, Giles looked bewildered.
"Why? With the extra Slayers, we'd be able to make headway on defeating the evils that walk this Earth. We'd have an advantage over…" Giles broke off, a look of comprehension crossing his face. "Balance."
The two Slayers looked up at him, confused.
"It's all about the balance of good and evil. A delicate scale that must maintain its equilibrium in order for our world to exist…at least, until the Day of Judgement," Giles stated wearily. "I had wondered if that was why The First was allowed to manifest itself…"
The British man trailed off, shifting uncomfortably, not able to meet either woman's eyes.
"Giles?" Buffy whispered, instinctively knowing it was about herself.
"I'm sorry, Buffy. I don't want you to think this was your fault, because it's not. You had no choice in the matter." Giles leaned forward in his chair, capturing his Slayer's eyes with a serious look. "Willow's submergence into Dark Magic could have been considered evil, but for the fact that the end result highly benefited the side of good. I believe that your…return…unbalanced the scales of good and evil, tipping it heavily in favor of good, hence the appearance of The First."
The older man took a moment to contemplate other details of their latest encounter before continuing.
"If The First had kept his followers to those who already walked the Earth, our last fight may have ended differently. But by bringing the Turok-Han into the equation, creatures from the greatest depths of Hell, it allowed us to activate the Potentials. Now that the Turok-Han are either dead or back where they belong…"
"…the newly activated Slayers are unbalancing the scales," Buffy finished softly.
"But what about me?" Faith asked, confused. "Why wasn't I deactivated also?"
"The others were forced by magic, Faith. Your activation was a…uh…natural progression." Giles shifted uncomfortably, giving a brief glance at Buffy.
"He means that you were activated because I died, Faith. Or should I say, Kendra was. And, on her death, you were activated," Buffy clarified with a slight smile. "And I have to say that, even though the others will be de-activated, I'm glad to know that I won't be alone."
The two women shared a grin.
"The Chosen Two, B. Sounds better than The Chosen One, 'cuz, ya know…One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do." Faith smirked.
Buffy laughed. And even Giles snorted in amusement.
"So, what do we do now, Big G? This changes everything," Faith said, getting straight to the purpose of their early morning meeting.
"Well, first, I would like to hear an account of your visions. From there, we can decide on a course of action."
Buffy and Faith imparted what they knew, the dark-haired Slayer's vision being different in that she would be going to New York City, followed only by Robin Wood.
"Hmmm…it appears that we'll be heading towards Colorado Springs, Buffy. That is the nearest location to Cheyenne Mountain that I know of, and is also known for its military presence," Giles confirmed. "But what has me concerned is the feeling of evil you mentioned. You said it felt familiar. Do you know what it is?"
"I think it's another Hellmouth, Giles. But it felt kinda…new. As if it was testing its boundaries." Buffy's brow furrowed as she concentrated on the remembered feelings. "I think we should get out there as soon as possible…see if we need to do something to contain it before it explodes all over the place."
"Agreed," Giles firmly said. "I have a feeling that it will also be drawing dark creatures soon, if it isn't already, and the town will be quite unprepared. Your presence as a resident Slayer will be needed quickly, to make it known that the town is protected."
"Well, visions suck, but I could go for a road trip," Faith smirked. "Count me in for a temporary stop in the land of mucho-military men."
The three got down to business of organizing their next moves, the return of the Potentials to their home towns, money issues, and splitting the weapons among the two Slayers (Buffy was gleeful at getting to keep both the scythe and the troll hammer – after all, a Hellmouth is a lot more dangerous than off-off-Broadway musicals).
Later that morning, seventeen frantic young women clunked ungracefully down the stairs, yelling out for Buffy and Giles. It was confirmed…they were no longer Slayers, and had gone back to being Potentials again.
Most of them looked relieved, but a couple were tearful, and one was flaming mad.
"After all we did, they take it away just like that?!" Kennedy snapped her fingers in front of Buffy's face.
"I'm sorry, Kennedy, it wasn't our decision. The Powers That Be had to make things balanced again, or our next fight could have been our last…for the entire world." Buffy explained, trying to keep calm in the face of the girl's anger.
Kennedy stomped off in a snit, muttering something about having earned the right to the Slayer power.
After calming the Potentials' fears, the two remaining Slayers and the Watcher began their first step of getting the young girls back home…having them call their parents to arrange transportation (hoping that the parents would pay for it themselves), and coming up with excuses for their absence.
Once that was progressing well, the three then called a meeting with the older members of their group, and those from Angel Investigations. After much debate, it was decided that Buffy, Xander, Faith, Robin, and Andrew would drive the SUV and trailer out to Colorado Springs. In addition to making their presence known to any resident vampires and demons, they would scout out the location of the new Hellmouth, find accommodations for those who would be staying there, and look for work (except for Faith and Robin, who would be moving on after the Colorado group got settled). The others would follow as soon as the last potential left, driving out in Xander's car.
Angel and his employees found a way around the immediate money issues. As CEO of Wolfram & Hart, he gave himself, Fred, Gunn, and Wesley a generous (but not too generous) signing on bonus, which they promptly turned over to Giles, who was handling their group's finances.
Things would still be tight, but it was a good start.
Robin anonymously dropped off the bus at the nearest school before they left.
"I spy, with my little eye, something that begins with 'T'," Andrew said cheerfully.
"If you say tumbleweed again, I'm gonna hit you," Xander griped from his seat next to the annoying blonde. "Why is he here again, Buff? 'Cuz I'm thinkin'…open door, throw out annoying boy."
Buffy turned around from her seat in the front. "He was in my vision, Xand."
"Again I ask…why? It's not like he does anything important!"
Buffy caught Andrew's eye and gave him a small smile.
Buffy's face is wet with tears. "Don't...be afraid to lead them. Whether you wanted it or not, their lives are yours. It's only gonna get harder. Protect them," she looked at Faith, "but lead them. "
Faith walked back inside the house. Buffy walked down the front walk alone, her face streaked with tears. She hadn't gotten very far, maybe a block from the house, when she heard a voice calling out frantically to her.
"Buffy! Buffy!" Andrew caught up with her, pausing to catch his breath.
"What are you doing out here, Andrew? You need to go back inside before something makes a snack out of you." Buffy said tonelessly, not looking at him.
"I know, but…" the blonde boy hesitated, "I want to go with you."
The Slayer looked at him in surprise.
"I know I won't be very helpful…in fact, you'll probably have to save my butt from one of those super-vampires, but I'll do what I can to help out, even if it's just to make you dinner..."
"Andrew…Andrew!" Buffy finally cut off his rambling, a faint smile gracing her lips.
"I just want to go with you, Buffy. What the others did is wrong…they won't be able to win without you. I know I can't do much, but I don't think you should have to do this alone," Andrew said shyly, but sincerely.
"In this, I have to be alone, Andrew," Buffy responded softly, but continued after seeing his shoulders droop in rejection, "But you can do one thing for me…take care of the others. Do what you can for them – cook, clean, let them yell at you to relieve their tension. Just watch over them for me. Can you do that?"
When Andrew nodded his head enthusiastically, Buffy gave him a hug in thanks before turning to make her way to…wherever.
Before she had taken but a few steps, she heard the young man call out to her again.
Turning back, she cocked her head, a questioning look on her face.
Andrew gave her another shy, but bright, smile, saying, "I just wanted you to know…I believe in you."
With one last smile, he ran back toward the Summers' house, leaving a surprised Slayer in his wake.
"Everyone does at least one thing in life that's important, Xand, even if most would think of it as nothing," Buffy responded, giving a blushing Andrew a wink.
Xander looked confused for a moment before waving his hand, saying, "Whatever. But if I kill him, I'll just have you know that you can't hold it against me…I'll plead Andrew-caused insanity."
Buffy shook her head in amusement, then grimaced when she realized…they still had 10 hours to go.
Surprisingly enough, it was Andrew who got a job first…and in an odd way, at that.
The group of five were strolling just south of Downtown Colorado Springs, trying to narrow down the location of the new Hellmouth by the vibes it was giving out, but could tell they were still too far away.
While they were walking, the conversations jumped from looking for work, finding a place to live, Faith and Robin's future move to New York, and the general opinions of the Scoobies' new home town.
*Sniff* "Hmm…too much curry, and they soooo need to have Rosemary control. The chives aren't too bad, though…adds a subtle flavor, if the proper amount is added."
Four gazes stared at Andrew like he had just grown two heads, until the young man blushed and looked away.
"I'm just saying…this place is a little too heavy-handed with their spices," Andrew self-consciously clarified, waving a hand at what looked like a posh restaurant, at least posh for such a small city.
"And what makes you the expert, boy?" A smooth voice spoke up behind the group, causing them all to jump.
Swiftly turning, they relaxed after seeing there was no threat, just a tall, dark-haired man coming out the doorway of the restaurant, his clothing clearly stating that he either had the right to be a customer, or maybe even owned it.
"Expert? I'm not an expert, at least I don't think so. I just know what I like to eat, and how to prepare it…and it's not food with too much spice on it." Andrew responded, confused.
The tall man gave him a piercing look. "Would you care to show me?"
"Would you care to show me, boy?" the man chuckled. "From the little I overhead, you're new in town, and looking for work. If you can show me that you know what you're talking about, I'll give you a job as junior chef. You're right in the fact that the chefs use too much spices. But, as most of them are Hispanic, that's no surprise…they burnt off most of their taste-buds with all those chili-peppers they eat."
"But…but…" Andrew gaped in surprise.
"That would be a yes, Mr….?" Buffy queried, an amused look on her face.
"Preston. David Preston. And you are?" Preston held out his hand to the young woman.
"Buffy Summers, Mr. Preston…and this gentleman, who's doing a great fish imitation, is Andrew Wells," Buffy responded, taking Preston's hand and giving it a firm, but friendly shake. "I can already tell you that he makes a great soufflé."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Summers. Would you mind if I borrow Mr. Wells for a couple of hours? If he wishes to take work in my establishment, he will need to prove he knows what he's doing." Preston's lips quirked in amusement at the still gaping young man. Nodding his head at the rest of the group, he said, "You are all welcome to return at 8:00pm and taste-test his endeavors with me."
Buffy grinned, and agreed to return. Leaving the young blonde man in Preston's care, the group continued to travel on, following the vibes of the Hellmouth as best they could.
Needless to say, the group ended their evening well fed, and one of them now had a job.
"This so cannot be true."
*Mmph* *Snurt* "Bahahahahahahaha…" Xander couldn't hold it back any longer…it was too ironic.
*Sigh* "Well at least I know where Dawn will be going in the fall," Buffy said in defeat.
Faith and Robin stood with looks of amusement on their faces as they all read the sign above the main doors of the building.
Coronado High School.
"…home of the new Hellmouth," Buffy finished silently. Some all powerful being really didn't like her up there.
Things were progressing well for the ex-Sunnydalers. Within a week, they had found a place large enough for the six of them at a reasonable price – one that, between all of them, they would be able to afford…unfortunately, some of them would have to double up.
It was decided that, due to the relatively odd hours that came from the Slaying gig, both Giles and Buffy should have their own rooms. The double-ups would be Dawn/Willow and Xander/Andrew.
Unfortunately, the sleeping arrangements were thrown out the window when Giles arrived with the remaining Scoobies…plus guest. Kennedy.
Needless to say, Buffy wasn't pleased. Things would be hard enough without an extra mouth to feed, not to mention the personality clash between Kennedy and herself.
Giving the dark-haired girl an expressionless look, Buffy turned to her sister and gruffly said, "Dawnie, you're with me, but we're going to have to move things around now."
Grabbing some of her sister's bags, she walked up the stairs to the Master Bedroom, which, set-up with two full-size beds, was originally going to be for Willow and Dawn.
Kennedy's eyes followed their progress with a smug look.
Willow, catching her lover's expression, fluttered her hands in nervousness…this was not going to be pretty.
Buffy was drawing away from them, had drawn away…Giles could see it, but didn't know why, nor what he could do about it.
Faith and Robin had left for New York City two days earlier, and the rest of them were all wrapped up in getting themselves settled in their new lives. Within a week, Xander had found construction work and was gone for most of the day. Dawn was busy making new friends and getting familiar with the town. Willow was either wrapped up in her relationship with Kennedy, or looking for a job that would accommodate college life. Even Giles himself was kept busy, what with organizing his new office, having just been hired on as the librarian…on the new Hellmouth, of course.
No one but Giles noticed that Buffy hadn't spoken at length with any of them since they had arrived and gotten settled…only Andrew seemed to be exempt from the silent treatment, though God knows why.
With nothing left to loose, Giles roped everyone into committing to a Scooby dinner out on the town, hoping it would break them all out of the cycle of avoidance, and draw them back into the tight-knit group he remembered.
O'Malley's Bar & Grill
"Is it me, or is something up with the people at the table over there," Col. Jack O'Neill subtly jutted his chin at the group in a corner of the restaurant.
"I too believe they are acting oddly, though not obviously so, Colonel O'Neill," Teal'c agreed in his usual toneless manner. "They have a watchful air, and each has taken a seat that faces the door. Their actions speak of seasoned warriors."
"Actually, I was going to say that they all have weird bulges in their clothing, as if they were packing. But the bulges are too odd-shaped for handguns," Jack replied. "But if you say they're acting oddly (he let his gaze roam quickly over the group)…I'd have to say you're right."
Daniel and Sam couldn't look at the group directly, as it would require an obvious turning in their seats, but they took advantage of the mirrored walls above the bar to take a good look at the group.
"Is it just me, or is the blonde girl watching the two guys at the bar? It's hard to tell from this angle." Sam said.
"She is," Teal'c confirmed. "She is also watching the man and woman nearest the door."
The dark-skinned man turned to speak directly towards the Colonel. "The two men feel different to me, O'Neill. It is very strange, and unlike anything I have felt before."
"Could you elaborate, Teal'c?" Sam said, giving him a concerned look – If Teal'c said something felt strange, it usually meant something bad.
"I would have to say that, without even speaking with them, they are my enemies."
His three companions blinked at him in surprise.
"Isn't that a little harsh, Teal'c?" Daniel asked.
"It is not, Daniel Jackson. There are some enemies that a Jaffa knows immediately, as is the case with those two men," Teal'c responded matter-of-factly. "They feel evil."
"Sir, they're leaving." Sam brought their attention to the fact that the two men at the bar were heading towards the restaurant doors.
They also noticed that the couple who had been sitting near the door had also left.
Unsure of what it all meant, they subtly watched the group the Colonel had originally brought to their attention.
The blonde girl was whispering something in the ear of the older man in their group. She stood, but was held back by his hand on her arm as he quietly whispered to her. He removed his hand after she shook her head as she whispered something back.
As she walked towards the door, Colonel Jack O'Neill and the others took in the fact that her stride was both graceful and reminiscent of a predator…and people moved out of her way without thinking.
"She is dangerous, O'Neill," Teal'c stated the obvious.
Watching the leather-clad backside of the woman as she walked out of the restaurant, O'Neill replied, "In more ways than one, Teal'c."
Daniel, also watching, cocked his head, grinning. "I have to agree."
Sam rolled her eyes.
"Vamps in the house, Giles. Check out the bar." Buffy mumbled as she took a bite of her salad.
"Have they targeted anyone?" Giles murmured back to her, acting as if they were having a quiet chat between them, so as not to tip off the two vampires.
"The tasty couple near the door," Buffy replied. "We're also being watched by the four at the table in the back. I don't know what their deal is, but two of them are screaming 'military', one reminds me of a younger you, and the last is giving off some very weird vibes…both human and something else."
On the pretense of looking for a waitress, Giles took a look in their direction.
"You better not be comparing me to the expressionless dark-skinned one, or we're going to have words later," Giles smiled humorously at his younger charge.
"Ha Ha, Mr. Librarian. You wish. He looks as if he could kill someone by frowning at them," Buffy quirked a small smile at her Watcher. "Oops, looks like I'm up."
The two vampires at the bar stood, following the couple who had just left.
She leaned close to whisper in Giles' ear, "Tell the others what's going on, but don't let them follow. The group that's watching might decide to join the party, and we don't need military attention again."
She stood to leave, but Giles placed a hand on her arm, holding her in place.
"Do you want me to come with you?"
Buffy shook her head. "There's only two, Giles. I'll be OK."
Walking towards the door, she unconsciously went into Slayer-mode, pinpointing the direction the vampires took before she had even left the restaurant.
Exiting, she immediately turned right.
Back in the restaurant, Giles quietly explained Buffy's absence to the rest, but muttered an 'Oh Dear' as he noticed the group that had been watching them leaving the restaurant a couple minutes after Buffy. They also turned right.
With a sharp 'Damn', Giles quickly caught the attention of the waitress and asked for the bill. Tossing the car keys to Willow, he instructed her to bring the SUV around quickly. Xander followed her to get his car also, as both vehicles carried weapons that might be needed.
Not ten minutes after Buffy left, the rest of the Scoobies were mobile, and keeping a sharp eye out for the Slayer, or the group that had followed her out of the restaurant.
"Is this a double date, or can anyone join?" Buffy quipped from the entrance into a fairly empty parking lot.
The two vampires looked up from their victims.
"Go away, little girl. Isn't it past your bedtime?" one of the vampires snarled at her, tightening his grip on the helpless man.
"Gee, my vacation must have done wonders. I haven't been mistaken for a little girl since I killed the Master." Buffy took out a stake, using it to pick her fingernails.
The vampires laughed.
"You? I don't think so, little girl. The Slayer that killed the Master went down with the Hellmouth in Sunnydale," the same vampire responded, amused. "Besides, she was a lot bigger than you."
"Yeah, almost seven feet tall," chimed the other vampire, almost losing his grip on the struggling woman he held.
Buffy pouted. "Aw man…I thought all you evil guys knew me by sight by now. Even The First knew who I was. I'm gonna have to talk with my promotion agent about this."
"The-the First?" the second vampire stuttered. "If you've met The First, then that would make you…"
"Met, defeated, no t-shirts available 'cuz I left a big ol' hole in the ground." Buffy gave them a small curtsey. "Buffy Summers, at your service…your memorial service, that is."
Quickly punching the second vampire, Buffy caused him to let go of the woman, who scrambled out of arms reach. Round-housing the first vampire freed the man. The couple ran from the parking lot, leaving the blonde woman alone with their attackers.
"Shall we dance, boys?" Buffy gave them an evil grin.
The two vampires snarled, advancing on her. The Slayer was able to quickly dust the second vampire, but the first one took a little more time. Throwing several punches, Buffy kept him on the defensive, waiting for a good opening to finish the fight.
Seeing his death in her eyes, the remaining vampire made to escape by the same route as his intended victims, but got no further than the entrance before Buffy caught up to him. With one quick stab, the vampire was dust.
Waving the gritty cloud away from her face, she muttered about getting cancer from second-hand dust and wondering if health insurance would cover it.
She didn't notice the four figures in front of her until the haze cleared.
"Woah," the older man said in surprise.
"Indeed," the dark-skinned man intoned, eyebrow raised.
In a delayed response, Buffy not-so-subtly hid the stake behind her back as she smiled cheerfully, and gave a small wave with her other hand.
"Where did she disappear to?" Colonel O'Neill ground out in frustration. "We couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes behind her."
"I do not know, O'Neill, but I can sense the strange feeling those two men gave me in that direction." Teal'c waved his hand to the street on the right.
The four moved quickly in the direction the Jaffa had indicated. They hadn't gotten very far before the couple they had seen in the restaurant ran into them from a parking lot on their right.
Quickly apologizing, the man and woman continued to run back towards the restaurant.
"We must be close," Daniel said.
"Obviously," O'Neill responded sarcastically.
They turned into the parking lot just in time to hear the blonde woman say 'Shall we dance, boys?'. She came into their line of vision soon after, a dust cloud dissipating in front of her, taking on a man that was almost twice her size.
With looks of amazement, they watched the small woman kick the larger man's ass all over the place, until, having enough, the man broke off from the fight and ran in their direction.
Less than five feet away from them, the man disappeared in a puff of dust, leaving the group of four bewildered over what just happened.
"Woah," O'Neill said in surprise.
"Indeed," Teal'c intoned, eyebrow raised.
The young woman not-so-subtly hid something behind her back as she smiled cheerfully, and gave a small wave with her other hand.
"What…just happened here?" O'Neill held his hands up, palms facing outward.
"I don't know what you mean," the young woman replied, giving O'Neill a vacant look.
"Don't give me that. There was a guy running towards us, and he just went…poof. Please tell me that I wasn't the only one to see that," O'Neill said, turning to his companions.
After receiving confirmation that the other three had seen the same thing, he turned back to the blonde woman, waiting for an answer.
"I think it was a dust devil," she said, playing up the dumb-blonde act pretty well.
O'Neill wasn't buying it, and his expression clearly stated that. He crossed his arms over his chest and raised an eyebrow at the blonde woman.
"Trick of the light?"
"You're imagining things."
"All four of us?"
"Gangs on pcp?"
"You're on pcp?"
"I don't think so."
"Exploding make-up kit?"
Sam laughed at that one.
"Give me a straight answer, woman!"
The blonde woman scowled, muttering, "I wish Giles was here, he's so much better at this."
Seeing that Jack's temper was about to explode, Daniel quickly intervened.
"Um, miss…could you please explain what happened. I can assure you that whatever you have to say won't sound strange to us. There are a lot of things we ourselves have seen that most people haven't."
The blonde woman gave him a dubious look. "Are you channeling Giles? 'Cuz you sure sound like him."
"Who's Giles?" Daniel asked, confused.
He didn't get an answer as both the young woman and Teal'c tensed, heads tilted as if listening to something.
Turning her eyes back to the bespectacled man, she completely dropped the dumb-blonde act, piercing him with her gaze.
"You're about to get an answer to your first question…first-hand, unfortunately."
Turning to the large dark-skinned man, she quickly asked, "Are you evil?"
"Can you fight?"
Grabbing the item she had hidden behind her back, she tossed it to the stoic man, who easily caught it, and revealed it to be a sharp pointy stick.
"Aim for the heart. If you have anything long and sharp enough, decapitation works too. I sense about twenty of them."
Turning to peer back into the darkness of the parking lot, the young woman ignored the hushed whispering of the other three, the dark-skinned man stood silently at her side.
"What's going on, woman?!" O'Neill bit out, grabbing the young woman by the arm.
She shook him off without removing her eyes from the shadows of the empty lot, saying, "The name's Buffy Summers, not woman…use it. And before you get on a higher horse, you should know we've got about twenty bad guys heading our way. If you want to help, find something sharp and wooden, guns won't work. Aim for the heart and pick off the ones on the outside, but stay outta my way."
"What are they?"
Buffy removed an object from high up on her back. Bringing it in front of her, the others saw a bladed weapon approximately a foot long. Her fingers moved as if pressing something, startling the others when the weapon immediately extended out to about four feet in length, coming sharply to a point on the end opposite the blade. It was one deadly looking weapon.
"Welcome to my world, kiddies. Watch your neck…literally."
A large group appeared from the shadows twenty feet away. They were headed by a lean, cocky looking vampire, who reminded her a little of Spike…only less scary.
Buffy strode out to meet them, the dark-skinned man following close behind. After seeing their deformed face, the other three followed the blonde woman's instructions and scrambled to find anything that resembled wood.
The two warriors engaged the group of vampires, not giving them a chance to use their numbers to an advantage. Before the bad guys knew what happened, Buffy had taken out four with her scythe, Teal'c staked two.
"Sorry I don't have a better weapon for you to borrow, Mister, but I wasn't exactly expecting company of the helpful kind." Buffy swung her weapon, taking out two more.
"You may call me Teal'c, and this weapon, though small, is still effective, Buffy Summers." So saying, the dark-skinned man staked another vampire.
There was no time left to talk, as the remaining vampires split them up, isolating them from each other. Buffy knew that no help would be coming from Teal'c's friends, as there wasn't a sliver of wood in sight. And while she and the large man were doing well, they would tire soon if the fight didn't end quickly. Buffy could only hope that Giles was on his way once he realized she had been followed from the restaurant.
Speak of the Devil.
A screech of tires heralded the arrival of the Scoobies. The three remaining companions of Teal'c, who were about to engage in the fight regardless of not having found anything wooden, halted their steps and watched as several teenagers and an older man spilled out of two vehicles, armed to the teeth.
"What the…" O'Neill started, but broke off as the large group approached quickly, their experienced eyes taking in both the two men and one woman, and the fight that was happening twenty feet away.
A dark-haired young man yelled out, "Brave Sir Xander saved the day, bravely saved the day, the day."
A snort of amusement could clearly be heard from the small blonde, as she swung her weapon, decapitating another vampire.
"I thought it was Sir Robin, and he ran away, Xand!" She yelled back.
"Artistic license to change lyrics to suit the situation, Buffster. Need a hand?" The one now identified as Xander responded loudly.
"Nope, everything's kosher!"
"It can't be kosher if you're surrounded by dead meat, Buffy," Willow quipped.
There was a brief pause in Buffy's response, as she kicked her foot back to incapacitate a vampire that was trying to sneak up on her.
"Ooh…a Jewish joke! Way to go, Will!"
The newly arrived group chuckled, carefully watching the fight, but not engaging in it yet. The three who had followed Buffy from the restaurant examined the weapons the other group carried, taking in the archaic nature of a few of them. Most of them also held sharp wooden sticks, similar to the one Buffy had tossed to Teal'c.
"Um, excuse me," Daniel tried to catch the attention of the older man in the group. "Could you tell us wha…"
"Giles!" A tall brown-haired girl maneuvered her way over to the older man's side and gave him a puppy-eyed expression. "Can I…?"
"You know Buffy would prefer that you didn't fight, Dawn," the man named Giles responded, shifting uncomfortably under the young girl's pleading expression.
Dawn scowled. "Well if she doesn't want me to fight, then why is she having me go to a school that's on a Hellmouth?"
"Point taken," Giles replied, waving her to go join the fray. "Be sure you stay out of swinging distance of her scythe…Buffy will never forgive me if she accidentally decapitated you."
The young girl, who couldn't be much older than sixteen or seventeen, bounced in excitement, nodding her head in agreement.
Just as she was about to run over to where the fight was taking place, the dark-haired young man named Xander placed a hand on her arm, holding her back.
"Hang on a minute, Dawnster," Xander said, fiddling with a crossbow he was carrying. Bringing it up to his shoulder, he aimed, then pulled the trigger. The bolt took out a vampire that was attempting to sneak up on a dark-skinned man that was clearly helping Buffy out.
"OK, you're clear to go. Just don't stake the large guy, though. It looks like he's helping."
"Gotcha! Though you do realize…all of them look large compared to Buffy." Dawn gave him a cheeky grin as she flounced away to help her sister, who was surrounded by six of the remaining vampires.
Staying on the fringe of the circle, she took a moment to look for the easiest opening, plunging forward to stake one of them in the back. It disappeared in a puff of smoke. Dancing back, she went back to observing the vampires, who were unaware of her presence yet.
"How can you let her fight?! She's just a child!" Daniel exclaimed.
"She's been fighting for almost two years, Mr…?"
"Jackson. Dr. Daniel Jackson. How can you let her go into such a dangerous situation?"
Giles fiddled with his glasses, keeping an eye on the younger sister of his Slayer. "Her entire life has been constantly surrounded by danger, Dr. Jackson. It's better to allow her to fight where we can keep an eye on her, than it is to have her fight on her own out of teenage rebellion. The lesser of two evils, if you will."
Daniel made a sound of understanding as he brought his attention back to the fight, where he observed Teal'c taking out the last of the vampires that had surrounded him, and the young girl, Dawn, staking one more, to leave four surrounding the blonde woman, Buffy.
With a graceful chop-chop-stab-chop, the last four vampires were gone.
Buffy scowled at her sister standing there with a big grin on her face, before finally grinning back and pulling her into a quick hug. Releasing her, she turned to the large man who had helped out, giving him a small nod, acknowledging him as a fellow warrior. He returned the nod.
The three headed back where the large group stood waiting.
Seeing the determined look on the older military man's face, Buffy thought 'Uh, oh. There's no getting out of this one.'
O'Neill stood fuming as he watched the fight draw to a close. It irked him to stand on the sidelines, especially when a child had joined in. Watching the three return to where the group was standing, he was determined to get some answers.
"OK people…I want some answers now!" O'Neill demanded, his expression letting them all know that he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.
"Um, excuse me Jack, but I think I may be able to clear some things up," Daniel interrupted, turning towards the older British man. "The young girl, uh, Dawn, mentioned a Hellmouth, Mr…"
"Giles. Rupert Giles." The two men politely shook hands, much to the amusement of the others.
"Yes, Mr. Giles. Dawn mentioned a Hellmouth. From the few readings I came across, I assumed it was a myth – one such book indicated this myth to be somewhere in California."
"Um…yes…I mean no. The Hellmouth is no myth, but it was in California. It-it no longer…um…exists there, per se," Giles stuttered.
The group that had accompanied him snickered, and O'Neill's group heard the word 'crater' being bandied about.
"Yes, well, from what I could tell, this Hellmouth was some kind of mystical energy that drew dark creatures to it, predominantly vampires, which are now clearly not a myth," Daniel waved an arm at where the fight had previously taken place.
"You are correct, Dr. Jackson."
"It sounds as though what I read has some basis in truth, Mr. Giles. Though I am unclear about one thing – some of the readings also mentioned something about a Slayer, but failed to say just who or what it is, beyond some strange statement I can't quite remember."
The younger group exchanged looks of concern, but kept silent. Giles looked down, gathering his thoughts. Looking at Buffy, he cocked his head as if asking permission. Buffy subtly shook her head in the negative.
"I'm afraid I can't help you there, Dr. Jackson," Giles said politely, face blank.
By their actions, Daniel knew that they knew something. He opened his mouth to argue with the bespectacled man, but was interrupted as a male voice came out of the shadows.
"In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. One girl in all the world, to find them where they gather and to stop the spread of their evil…the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer."
The group looked around to see who was speaking, and saw a figure in a trenchcoat and fedora approaching. On the last word, 'Slayer', he stopped a couple feet away from the large group.
Buffy decked him.
So, what did you think? Good? Bad? So-so? Review, so I can know if it's worth continuing.