A Date for the Fourth of July (A Sequel to "Dates of Wars" and, kind of, "What Child is This" & "Like a Shepherd")
By LastScorpion

Disclaimer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is owned by UPN and/or Mutant Enemy and/or Fox and/or Joss Whedon. "Smallville" is owned by DC Comics and/or the WB and/or Millar & Gough and/or Tollin & Robbins. "Forever Knight" was invented by James Parriott, and the rights to it and all its characters probably belong to Sony or Columbia/TriStar. "The X-Files" and all its characters were invented by Chris Carter and aired on Fox -- they probably own the rights. "Superman" was invented by Shuster & Siegel. I don't own any of the characters. I'm just fooling around. Please don't sue. Goes AU right around the middle of Buffy season 7 and Smallville season 2.

Author's Note Regarding the AU'ness of it All: "Forever Knight" and "The X-Files" are pretty much going to be regarded as having gone exactly as they did, as far as I can recall. LOL! No guarantees of accuracy, though I'll probably be better on the FK than the XF. This version of Buffy and her friends used a clever plan to wedge the First Evil into the Hellmouth, thus leaving it partially blocked off like it was when she first came to Sunnydale and the Master was wedged into it. This version of Lex was never put into Belle Reve; I think I'm going to take Smallville AU around the Helex wedding episode - there's a version on the DVD where they just ran off together instead of actually tying the knot; I'll go with that. Also, Martha's baby didn't die; Clark saved her as per "What Child is This," and he didn't blow up the ship.


"That's a good look for you."

Martha's friendly voice sounded very amused. Lex's eyes snapped open. He found himself settled in the corner of the Kents' sturdy old living room davenport, covered with sleeping blondes. Well, actually, there was one little strawberry blonde curled up asleep in his lap, and a thin, worn bottle-blonde leaning asleep on his shoulder. His right hand rested on Cara's baby-soft curls, and his left was tucked around Buffy's hard sharp little shoulder. It was hot -- he was surprised any of them had remained asleep so long like that.

Lex licked dry lips. He was thirsty. "What time is it?" he asked.

"Almost noon. I've finished my morning's work, and I was coming to see if you all wanted lunch."

Her mother's voice appeared to wake Cara up. She zoomed over faster than Lex could see and grabbed Martha's leg with exaggerated gentleness. "Mama!" she squealed.

"Cara," Martha rebuked her mildly. "You know better than to do that in front of people." She gave Lex an uneasy look. It hurt. He bit down on his questions, but Martha answered them anyway. "I'm sorry, Lex. It's habit -- she needs to get used to behaving in public. Fortunately you already know about Clark." She turned to her daughter. "Go wash your hands, sweetie."

Then she came over to the couch and touched Lex on the shoulder. "I do trust you. It's just habit. Cara's not from Krypton. When I was pregnant with her, Clark used the meteor rock and electricity to transfer some of his powers to us, to save our lives. On me, it wore off, but for Cara, it stuck."

"The time he was so sick -- that guy with a knife," Lex realized.

"Yes. When he admitted you hit him with your car."

"I thought he was just sick. He was stabbed. I saw the blood."

"Yes. He was. He got better." Martha smiled at him warmly. "Wash up for lunch, please, Lex. You should wake Buffy, too. She looks like she could use a good meal, and I think she said she had some phone calls to make." Martha went back into the kitchen.


Buffy was dreaming. It was hot where she was. There was sand all around, and nothing moved for miles in every direction. The sky was that blue that's so pale it's almost white. There were no clouds. There was no wind.

She wanted to stay there, but she knew there was something she needed to do.

Suddenly a drop of blood appeared on her coarse white pajamas. Another followed, and another. Blood was raining down on the Slayer, from a clear hot sky.

Buffy gasped and woke up. Lex was gently shaking her shoulder.

"Buffy?" he asked. He looked concerned. How long had she been asleep?

It was hot. She didn't recognize the room. She was wearing a sleeveless blue cotton nightdress, not blood-stained institutional whites. "Where am I?"

Lex smiled crookedly at her. "That's a little cliched, isn't it? We're in Smallville, Kansas. The Kents' house."

"I remember now." Buffy wanted to lean on Lex's shoulder again and go back to sleep. Instead she drew away from him, and he let her go. She rubbed her face and pulled her hair back, out of her eyes. "What time is it? I need to call Xander."

Lex wordlessly offered her his cell phone, and she thanked him.



"Xander? It's me, Buffy."

"Buffy! Thank God! Did Willow get in touch with you?"

"Dawn talked to her. Or read e-mail from her, or something. Um. Well, Dawn told me that I'm not wanted by the Nut Patrol anymore. Will fixed it."

"Are you hurt? How did you escape?"

"I'm okay. I, just, you know, escaped. Broke a window, attracted wandering vampires to kill my fellow inmates, got Lex's dad's eyeballs pulled out. Sorry. I didn't mean to bring up any... Um, I meant to call and ask about what's going on at the Hellmouth. I'm in Kansas. At Clark's house."

"Hellmouth seems to be quiet. It's almost July; I think we're having our midsummer lull. I haven't heard anything about vampires since before you disappeared. I called Chris Epps this morning and he said there weren't any mysterious deaths, even."

"Wow. Well, that's, uh, good. That's good."

"Are you sure you're okay? You sound kinda...."

Buffy blinked hard as her friend's voice trailed off.

"Tired, Buff. You sound tired."

"I guess I am," she admitted.

"So, Kansas, huh?" Xander asked cheerfully, changing the subject. "Have you seen any twisters? Wicked Witch of the West?"

"Um. Kind of. Drusilla was here."

"Drusilla!" Xander sounded alarmed again. "Are you okay?"

"You keep asking that," Buffy complained. I'm fine. She killed most of the people Lionel Luthor had locked up with me, and she turned the rest into vampires, and one of the vampires tore Lionel's eyes out, and Lex killed her."

"Wow. You've got more vamp action there in the middle of nowhere than we've got in Hell Central right now."

"Yeah. Did I... do you happen to know if I'm fired from my job yet?"

Xander's voice went all apologetic. "Yeah, you are. Sorry. I got worried when you weren't around, and I went to the shoe department to see if you were there, or if they'd heard from you. I could have called you in sick or something if I'd known you'd been kidnapped, instead of...."

"Yeah. When a Slayer disappears, she's usually just dead. I'm sorry I worried you. And forget about the job. It's totally not your fault."

"Thanks. So, when are you coming back?"

"I'll have to hitch a ride with somebody somehow. I don't have any money or anything to get a plane ticket. Or a bus ticket. I'll figure something out."

"Don't be in a hurry."


"Look, Buffy, you haven't had a vacation since the summer after sophomore year."

Buffy remembered what had happened in Los Angeles that summer, the old friends from Hemery High that she'd encountered vamped and been forced to kill. It hadn't been as much of a vacation as she'd let on to the Scoobies. She kept silent again. Xander was still talking.

"The Hellmouth is quiet. Willow says the prophecies don't show anything happening any time soon. If something big turns up, I can call Angel Investigations in L.A. I promise I won't try to handle anything all by myself. Why don't you see if Clark's folks would let you stay there for a few days, and have a little rest?"

"I couldn't impose."

"You've saved the world a dozen times. They know that. I'm sure they'll be glad to have you. Or that guy Lex Luthor -- he's richer than God; he must have a spare room."

Buffy didn't know what to say; she blanked for a minute. Finally she settled on "I'll call you later." She closed the phone and went looking for Lex to give it back to him.


Fox Mulder opened his eyes, then closed them again. He wished he were still asleep, or already dead. An end to striving -- all he'd have to pay for his Nirvana was his life, and the end of the human race.

Mulder sighed and got up. Yesterday's clothes would do. Besides, there wasn't anything else. The location of this last-ditch emergency bunker had only ever been known to four men. Three of them were dead now. No one cared about keeping the place in readiness.

He'd tried everything. He, and Scully, and Skinner, had tried so hard. They weren't the only ones. Some others had paid in blood and horror even more than they had.

All the prices had been paid in vain.

Time had run out. All the good agents had been crushed, the careful well-thought-out plans had been thwarted. Everything had failed.

Scully might have given up, given up on the world and given up on him, which she'd never done before, not really. Now that nothing mattered anymore, she was going to go spend the last few days ever with her son, with their son. He could come along if he liked, she said.

Mulder told her there was one thing more he had to try. Scully disagreed, but she wished him luck before she went.

He'd sure need it.