Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel the TV Series. They belong to Joss Whedon and are his wonderful characters. The title of this chapter is taken from a poem by Thomas Hood, a 19th century poet while the remaining chapter titles are from sonnets by William Shakespeare. However, I do own any and all original characters mentioned here. Please do not use them without my consent. I also hope that no one will be offended by my using numerous myths and legends as background, as well as religious deities and other such things.
Rating: R for violence, language, and sexual situations.
Pairings: Spuffy, mentions of Angel/Cordelia, Angel/Original Character.
Summary: What if you could change the future? That question begins a chain of events that that has changes happening in the lives of Buffy Summers, the Slayer, and her sister, Dawn, the Key. And it all starts with the arrival of a young woman with surprisingly familiar eyes.
Author's Note: This starts during the Glory debacle, right after Forever. Also, there is no Buffy-bot, Joyce is gone, Dawn knows she's the Key, but Buffy doesn't know about Spike being in love with her, and the Council hasn't informed Buffy about Glory being a Hellgod. And on with the show!
Chapter One: There is A Silence
It is a well known fact that as long as there has been a good, there has been evil to counteract it. The equality of balance: light and dark, good and evil, yin and yang. Today, this is balanced out by the demons and the Slayer. Before the Slayer was created though, there is also testament to another power. A purer power. After all, a force created to fight demons from demons isn't quite capable of withstanding the darkness, is it?
This power was neither demonic or angelic in nature; it simply was. Perhaps it was the remainder of the old Earth Magic that Merlin was so adept at manipulating. Or perhaps it was deeper than that; deeper than Time or Space or even reality itself.
It is said that perhaps Arthur himself was connected this power. A mere man who became one of the greatest kings ever to live. A kingdom flush with power and riches. Merlin stood by Arthur's side for many years and Excalibur, the great sword, was Arthur's alone to wield.
Perhaps it was even behind the journey of Achilles and his conquering of Troy. The seer Calchas prophesied what was to be and it was. No other power could have done that.
There have been moments, of course, where that power stayed hidden. Waiting for something.
Waiting for someone.
Because of course, the future of the Earth and its inhabitants depend on this power. Sadly to say the last real sight of this power was centuries ago during a nameless war between men. And it has now returned to this time. The twenty-first century.
Of course, the Slayer is a part of it, but so is her sister, the Key, and the Protector, the Vampire. And, no, I am not talking of the one with the soul. Not yet, anyway.
And I feel quite foolish. I have not introduced myself, have I? I have many names, actually. Athena, which is what the Greeks have called me. Minerva is the name that the Romans bestowed upon me. And ridiculously difficult versions that the Chinese and Japanese have given me. Personally, I prefer whichever one you like. I'm not that picky.
Why am I taking my precious time to tell you this tale? To be perfectly frank, I'm bored. Living forever isn't quite what it used to be. Besides that, Selene, or Diana, would never tell this story. She's far too busy.
I'm getting off the subject, aren't I? All right then, let me begin with one simple question:
What if you could change the future?
I see I've caught your attention. I'm sure you're quite familiar with Buffy Summers, the current Slayer on the Hellmouth. Lovely girl, a bit slow on the emotional maturity though. I suspect Artemis didn't want to make her warrior too wimpy. Regardless, she isn't the main character of this tale; although she'll have her moment.
No, this story is about a girl, a power, and a very annoying little being who calls itself the First.
I'm a goddess. The First is little to me. I've been around since before it was even a part of the Good versus Evil tree. And you're trying to distract me with your silly questions. I won't be, you know.
Again, a girl. Normal girl, I suppose. Of course, she was bestowed with the gift of Sight at a young age, around four actually. Well, she always had the power but she couldn't use it. And no, it isn't anything like the vampiress Drusilla's Sight or that stupid little ability the Chase girl was cursed with. No, I am talking of pure Sight. Unhindered, unsullied.
This mysterious power I've been talking about.
There's no name for it. None of the gods have been able to find it or name it or see it. Not even the Jewish God, Yahweh, and he/she's a perfectly good one. No offense to those of you who believe in him/her out there. Wonderful being, Yahweh. Should invite he/she over for drinks...
Oops. I'm doing it again, aren't I? Well, don't look at me like that! I'm a goddess, I can very well take my sweet time!
Oh, fine, fine. I'll tell you the story.
Once upon a time...
And no, I wasn't joking with that opening. Well, it's a perfectly good opening damn it! No, I won't change it! Do you want to hear this story or not? I thought so.
Ahem, once up on a time...
She paused at the words, turning her head slightly as she waited. The man, dressed sharply in a business suit, approached her, his expression filled with nervousness. He held out a handful of bills and said, "Take it."
She arched her brow at the money and said, her voice soft, "I'm not a hooker."
He snorted. "Right," he said spitefully. "An escort. I've dealt with your kind before." He held the money out, the bills trembling. "Take it!"
She turned slowly and the man screamed at the disfigurement of her face, the amber eyes that glittered maliciously as she said, "If you insist..." before lunging forward, fangs latching onto his throat. She drank greedily, the man's body jerking in her arms, the scent of arousal and fear in the air. When she was done with her meal, she let the body drop and wiped her lips with dainty fingers.
"That," a voice said. "Was sickening."
The vampiress paused as she narrowed her eyes, turning slightly. The voice continued, matter-of-factly as she spun around, trying to locate it. "I mean, really," it said. "He jerked off to your biting him? Sick fuck, I'd have to say."
"Who is that?" the vampiress snarled. "Show yourself!"
"Okay!" the voice said cheerily and the vampiress found herself staring at a young woman around the age of seventeen. She had dark blonde hair pulled into a bun and hazel eyes. Wearing black cargo pants and a black turtleneck with a knee-length black leather coat, the young woman said, "Hi. I'll be the last thing you see this evening."
"Little girl," the vampiress said dangerously. "You don't know who you're dealing with."
"And," the girl said. "You don't know what you're about to see. But that's neither here nor there, is it?"
The vampiress snarled and lunged. She never made it to the girl; in fact, the girl's hands flared with silvery-white light as she shoved them forward quickly, her mouth breaking into a smirk as she said, "Told you so!" as the vamp evaporated into nothing. She dusted her hands off and sighed, saying to the empty street, "A girl's work is never done, is it?"
Kneeling, she studied the dead body and shook her head. "This'll teach you," she said to it as she hooked her hands underneath the arms, dragging it a few feet, and placed it in a nearby dumpster. "To not approach strangers." She plucked the wad of bills from his hand and added, "And thanks for the cash."
Reaching behind the dumpers, she pulled out her duffel bag, a guitar case, and slung the bag over her shoulder, stuffing the money into her pocket. Walking off down the street, humming under her breath as she carried the guitar case in her hand. "Sunnydale," she murmured. "Or bust."
As she walked she let her mind wander and found herself at the bus station without realizing it. Shaking her head, she told herself sternly, "So need to remember that I cannot teleport like that..." as she went up to the ticket broker. She bought herself a ticket to Sunnydale, with a stopover in Bakersfield, and went to wait.
Sitting down, she looked around the station, taking in the lack of people and sighing as she realized it was a prime spot for vamps and other such creatures. Looking around, she went over to the bathroom and entered, pausing long enough to expand her senses and finding that no one, living or dead, was present.
Swiftly, she moved, pulling out herbs and a pristine white bowl roughly the size of a basketball. Crushing the herbs in her left hand, she waved her right over it, the same silvery-white light appearing as she chanted softly. The herbs evaporated into the air as gold shimmer and she smiled as she got to her feet, the bowl stowed away in her bag. Leaving the restroom, she looked around again and grinned as she thought, 'And now protection spells for every passenger in here, demon and human alike.'
"Bus 7584 leaving for Sunnydale, California now leaving gate four," the voice over the speaks intoned. "Again, bus 7584 leaving for..."
She hurried over to the gate, duffel slung over her shoulder as she pulled the guitar case close to her breasts. Swallowing sudden fear, she thought, 'Please, let me not be too late...' as she climbed aboard the bus, which held only four other people. Sighing, she sank into a seat in the very back and closed her eyes.
And she Saw.
Light cracking in the sky, forming from a single drop of blood. Large blue eyes that were staring at the light with fear written in them, fear and understanding. Sorrow and sadness at the fate befalling her...
Long, golden hair flying back as she falls...
"Live. For me."
And Hell comes.
She gasped as she awoke, her heart pounding in her ears as her eyes snapped open suddenly. Her body thrummed with power and she saw the glimmer in her skin, the pale silvery-white hue and peered towards the front. No one noticed, all the other passengers sleeping, and the driver too busy singing along with a tape of Elvis Presley's Greatest Hits. She blinked, slowly, as reality came back to her and exhaled shakily as she murmured, "I won't let that happen. I won't let her die..." as she turned her eyes to stare at the scenery passing by.
The stopover in Bakersfield seemed long and pointless. She stayed in her seat, staring at her hands, at the scar on her right palm, remembering...
Remembering her Calling.
Remembering her Sight.
Remembering her sisters.
She knew them, had known them since she was a child. Since she'd first dreamt of a young girl with blonde hair and eyes like hers in pain. She'd seen it all, from the beginning...
She opened her eyes and murmured, "My name is Luna Summers..."
Her scarred hand reached up and touched the single silver cross around her neck. Her eyes flashed silver as she murmured, "And I'm coming Buffy."
Buffy Summers paused in her kick, pausing as she turned her head slightly. Her Watcher, Rupert Giles, arched his brows at the confusion written in his Slayer's eyes and said, "Buffy?" startling the young woman. She blinked, shaking her head, and turned to him, saying, "Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Giles asked worry filling him. A memory of Buffy hearing voices, long ago, came to him and he said, "It isn't the mind reading again, is it?"
"What?" Buffy blinked again, then said, "Oh. No, I thought I heard someone say my name..." She trailed off and sighed, saying, "Guess I was hearing things. Sorry Giles. I'm just not up to training today."
Giles smiled slightly and said, "I noticed. I swept you off your feet twice with the staff. That doesn't happen to you. What's bothering you?"
Buffy sighed wearily and said, "Everything. Dawn. Glory. Mom being gone..." She closed her eyes at the pain and shook her head, saying, "I just...how am I supposed to do it all? I can't..."
"Buffy," Giles gently held her by the shoulders. "I am here for anything you need. Anything at all."
She smiled at him. "Thank you," she said. "I just wish I had someone strong to help me with Glory. How am I supposed to fight a demon stronger than me?"
"We'll find a way," Giles promised. "We always do."
Buffy nodded and sighed. Inwardly, she wondered if they would find a way or if they were merely clinging to foolish hope...
After leaving the Magic Box, she wandered around the town, staking a vamp here and there. Realizing she had made her way to Spike's cemetery without realizing, she paused and shrugged, walking to his crypt. She stopped in front of the door and hesitated, something tingling inside of her. While she didn't trust Spike in the slightest, she knew he was the second strongest next to her, therefore the only other of her group who stood a chance against Glory...
Suddenly, the door swung open and the vampire in question stood in the doorway, cigarette dangling from his mouth. He arched his scarred brow at her and said, "What is it? Bit all right?"
"She's fine," Buffy said after recovering from his sudden appearance. "I just came to talk to you. About Glory."
Spike nodded and said, "Come in Slayer." He turned and walked inside, Buffy following and shutting the cement door shut. She hesitated as Spike went over to his fridge and pulled out a beer. He glanced at her and held out the bottle, saying, "You want?"
"No," she said shortly after frowning. "No. I'm fine."
Spike shrugged and turned sitting down in his only chair. He took a swig of his beer and Buffy sighed irritably before sitting on the sarcophagus. They settled in silence for a few minutes before Spike said irritably, "Well? If you came to talk, talk then. M'not stopping you."
"Give me a second," Buffy snapped as she flashed him a scowl. "I'm thinking."
"Don't strain yourself," Spike retorted as he got to his feet and went over to his mini fridge. Pouring himself a glass of bourbon and blood, he said, "Tried to find out some information underground about the bitch but no one knew a thing."
"Nothing?" Buffy said defeat written in her voice. "If the demon community doesn't know anything, how can we find anything?"
"Keep searching," Spike replied as he turned to face her. "We'll find something 'bout her pet. And then, you'll kick her ass like always."
Buffy smiled slightly at the roundabout compliment and sighed. "Well, then," she looked at him. "We'd better figure out a plan. Just in case."
"I don't know," she sighed wearily. "Maybe we run? Go to L.A.?"
Spike shook his head. "She'd follow eventually. And Peaches won't be of any help either. He's got humans working for him and they can't hurt Glory anymore than we can."
"Then someplace else," Buffy opted. "Like Europe? China?"
"Maybe," Spike mused as he sat back down. "Could take you and the Bit with me. Got some people who owe me favors all over the place." Spike sighed and looked at her, saying, "Your mates will be in danger if they stay pet. Best to send them all over the place too."
"Yeah," Buffy whispered as she rubbed her eyes. "Yeah. I know. God, this is so hard. I don't know what to do Spike..."
"We'll figure it out Slayer," Spike reassured her as he studied her over his glass with clear blue eyes. "I promise you, we'll figure it out."
Luna paused as she stood in front of the motel room, her senses on alert. Turning her head, she sighed wearily and entered, dropping her bag on the floor. Rummaging through it, she set to work warding her room and protecting herself. After that was done, she stripped and took a hot shower, pulling on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and a long sleeved thermal shirt. She curled up in the unfamiliar bed and a dreamless sleep overtook her.
She awoke after noon and showered again, dressing in a dark blue dress that fell to her mid thigh and simple black suede boots. Strapping her thigh holster underneath her skirt, she slid in a stake and a small dagger, checked over herself, slid on a lightweight white knit coat and braided her hair into a thick plait down her back. Sighing, she studied herself in the mirror and said to her reflection, "Well. This is it. Not much you can do now, is there?"
Sighing, she turned and grabbed her room key as she went out the door. The sun slid over her face, warming her body, and she sighed as she walked down the street. She paused as she watched the Magic Box from one side and saw a redheaded young woman enter. She frowned at the shimmer of power surrounding her and shook her head as she thought, 'She's got way too much power from someone with little control...'
She crossed the street with casual ease, the skirt swirling around her thighs as she pushed open the door of the Magic Box. She paused, letting the light stream in as she watched the group inside the shop. A smile tugged at her lips as a tall, coltish girl with long brown hair to her waist giggled loudly as the dark-haired young man wearing a plaid shirt over his broad shoulders grinned at her.
She went over to a few of the items she was interested in, perusing the herbs with casual elegance. She looked over her shoulder at the woman behind the register and smiled to herself as she took her in, allowing her gaze to travel over the familiar face and form.
Suddenly, the sound of the basement door flying open caused her to turn and her eyes widened slightly as the bleached blonde vampire said, his voice filled with irritation, "You know, Demon Girl, cleaning downstairs might not be a bad idea. Almost knocked over some rat's eyes on my way up."
"I'll make sure to make a note," Anya Jenkins said as she looked over at the woman who had been browsing for a few minutes longer than necessary. She looked over at Spike and said, "And if you had broken the jars, you'd pay for them."
"Yeah, yeah," Spike grumbled as he eyed the pretty blonde girl standing near the front of the store. She was a knockout, no doubt about it, with long hair that was a shade or two lighter than the Bit's and a shapely form that wasn't hidden beneath the short dress she wore. Her hair was pulled into a sleek braid and she held herself with a careless grace that reminded him of someone...
"What are you doing here anyway?" Xander Harris demanded of the Cockney vamp. Spike rolled his eyes as he sprawled himself in the seat, arching his scarred eye brow at him. "So happens," he drawled. "That the Slayer invited me to this little meeting."
"Why would she-" Xander began but the training room door opened, Buffy strolling out with Willow Rosenberg and Rupert Giles behind her. Tara McClay, Willow's girlfriend came down from the upper level of the Magic Box, her face filled with curiosity as she looked over at the customer standing by the candles. She frowned slightly at the aura swirling around the young woman and blinked in surprise as the woman turned her head enough to meet her eyes.
Willow's voice broke through her concentration and Tara started, blinking as she looked at her girlfriend. "Oh," she said. "It's nothing. Really."
Willow frowned but didn't press for answers, merely followed her girlfriend's eyes to the girl standing over by the candles. She eyed the stranger curiously and blinked as she knelt down to peer at something, a pleased expression crossing her features. The young woman looked up and Anya went over to her immediately, saying, "Oh, what else is there you'd like to purchase?"
"Just these candles," she said pointing to an assortment. "I'd like six in the green, six in the silver, six in the gold, and six in the bronze."
Anya blinked and said, "That's quite a dangerous combination. A protection spell with an assault spell combined?"
"I can handle it," the girl replied her lips twisting upwards in what should have been a smile. "And I'll be paying in cash."
Anya nodded and immediately set to work. While she packaged and rang up the candles, the young woman wandered over to the books, hands hovering over them. She paused as she felt eyes watching her and turned to meet a pair of wide blue eyes. Dawn Summers blushed as she realized she had been caught staring and started as the beautiful stranger looked at her , hazel eyes twinkling with laughter.
'She looks like Buffy,' Dawn thought suddenly and started as she realized that the girl did look like her sister. Except for the hair, face, and body type, she could pass for Buffy from far away. She looked over at her sister who was busy talking heatedly with Xander and looked over at Spike, who frowned at her expression.
"Bit?" he asked quietly, leaning forward. "You all right?"
"Spike," Dawn looked over at the girl, who was still watching her with that same smile. "She doesn't remind you of someone does she?"
Spike peered over at the female and studied her for a brief moment. The girl's eyes met his with calm, cool bravery and his eyes widened as he realized that her eyes were the same shade as...
"Buffy," he murmured and Dawn nodded, her own wide with shock. "She looks like..."
"I know," Dawn peered over at her sister and then over to the strange girl. "She looks like Buffy but..."
"S'not her though," Spike said discreetly inhaling. "She's..." His eyes narrowed as he smelled the scent of the girl: spice and cinnamon with a hint of something familiar. He realized what it was with a start.
She smelled like Dawn and Buffy. She had Summers blood running in her veins.
The woman smiled.
"Hello Dawn," she said causing the entire group to stop their conversations. "It's nice to finally meet you."
Buffy rose to her feet warily but the girl didn't react, merely continued. "I admit," she said. "You're taller than I imagined. And prettier than I remember." She laughed, a hollow sound that had the group tensing up. "And still, I can't seem to think you should be six and in a Rainbow Brite sweatshirt and overalls."
The color drained from Buffy's face and she took a step forward as she hissed, "Who are you?"
The woman looked at her and Buffy took a step back as she looked into familiar eyes; eyes just like the ones she saw every day in the mirror. The woman tilted her head to the side and said, "Can't you tell? It isn't obvious? I always thought that you'd be able to tell right away. That something about me would just let you know."
Pain flickered in the girl's eyes and Buffy felt something tug at her heart at the sadness written inside of them. She was briefly reminded of Faith and she wondered why because this girl was nothing like Faith...
Of that she was certain. She didn't know why but she was certain. "Who are you?" she repeated after a moment and the woman smiled. She held out her hand and said, "I'm Luna. Luna Summers."
She paused then added, "I'm your sister Buffy. Yours and Dawn's."
Next, Chapter Two: A Phantom Arose...