Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.
Rating: The usual.
Spoilers: A whole lot of things.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to a bunch of other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: Old friends and enemies reunite. A possible future of Knights in Crisis
Author's Note: This is only a possible future for Knights in Crisis. Characters who appear in this story are not guaranteed to survive the Knights in Crisis series.
They met at Macbeth's estate. It was the first time any of them had seen each other in years, if not decades, and it was a relief to be in the company of old friends again, to let the masks of normality fall and be themselves again.
For one, however, there was another purpose.
"I propose a toast," Macbeth said, lifting his glass, the others taking hold of theirs. "To absent friends."
"And memories still bright," Xander added, lifting his glass.
"To absent friends and memories still bright," they chorused, glasses raised.
Xander smiled faintly as his gaze swept around the table, pausing before turning to his meal. Macbeth, Logan, Anri, Dee... even Adam was here. He was half surprised to see the undying relic of an old man here. He'd gone underground about half a century ago -- again -- and not even Xander's extensive contacts had been able to keep tabs on him.
As he dug in, he idly noted that Macbeth knew his guests well. As ostentatious as the accommodations were, the food on the table included as much steak-and-potatoes fare as it did fancy caviar and such. More, actually, if you looked in terms of raw weight instead of by servings.
"So, Alexander," Macbeth spoke up as they finished their meal, "I honestly didn't expect to see you here."
Xander looked over and cleared his throat. Well, it was now or never. "I'm... actually in town on business," he said hesitantly. He reached up to his collar and fished It out.
"It" was a simple clear white crystal, but in the center was a strong, clear, and vibrant blue glow. It was the last memento he had of his best friend since forever.
"Is that...?" Anri trailed off.
Xander nodded, "Yeah. It is. Lit up a few years ago. Just now managed to narrow it down to the city."
"It's been over a century," Adam frowned. "Why now?"
"I don't know," Xander shrugged. "But she's here. In New York. I think she's probably in the lowers. I could use some help."
"If the need's enough to Call one, then help you'll get," Macbeth said.
"You know I'll always stand by you," Anri added firmly.
"We'll have to set up some sort of plan to find her," Logan said. As he took charge, Xander's gaze swept to the balcony. One other guest, part of the group, yet not, stepped out onto the balcony.
The woman heard him coming. Without turning, she said, "I should go. It will be dark soon."
"I could really use your help, Dee," he said, his voice quiet and gentle, demanding nothing.
"I told you years ago, Alexander," she said. "I'm done with crusades. I lived through them, and they brought nothing but grief and despair, to both sides." She gave a rueful chuckle, "Not that I cared at the time. And the less said about my own crusade, the better."
"C'mon, Dee," he cajoled, "you're not gonna just leave me in the lurch, are you?"
"And why not?" she challenged him, still not looking at him. She couldn't look at him. "Adam surely will, but Macbeth won't, and he is just as well-versed in magic as I am. Besides, I've done it before."
"I never did learn why you left, Dee," he murmured. "Was it because of me?"
She whirled on him "You know damn well why! I... argh!" She felt the change ripple through her body, tearing at her hands and feet. Her shoulder blades and the small of her back seared her with agony that seemed to last for hours, though it lasted only mere seconds.
After a moment to catch her breath, she straightened and looked him in the eyes, confident in her current form of how this would go, "This is what I am, Alexander, what I will always be: a monster. Why can't you see that?"
"You used to be so proud of being a gargoyle," he said, his voice sad.
"This isn't about my species, Alexander!" Demona roared. "You know that! Even now, I cannot let go of my hate!"
"Do you hate me?" he asked.
"Oh, not that again," she said with disgusted annoyance. "Believe me, Xander, it's been tried. You and Macbeth and others... no, if anything, you're the exceptions that prove the rule."
"Aren't the exceptions worth saving?" he prodded.
"Yes, but... I..." she hesitated. "I'm not the one to save them."
Xander reached up and stroked her cheek gently, "It isn't hate that bothers you, Demona, is it? It's guilt. Let it go."
"Damn you..." she whispered as she felt the walls, already shaky and fragile, collapse.
"That was very foolish, lad," Macbeth spoke quietly. He and Xander were alone now, the others having bid each other good night. "You play a dangerous game."
"Maybe," Xander shrugged. "But she deserves a chance."
"Does she?" Macbeth challenged. "She's had many. Her choices may have been bound by grief and betrayal, but 'twas her betrayal that started the cycle."
"No, actually, she never had a chance, Macbeth, any more than you did." This time, Xander's voice sounded tired, echoing all of his two hundred plus years. "Nine hundred years, the Weird Sisters worked and waited, just to craft you and her into weapons of vengeance."
Macbeth was taken aback by the blunt statement of facts, facts which only a very few knew, a very few that did not include Xander, as far as he knew. Gathering himself, he said, "Perhaps you're right. What strikes my curiousity, though, is just how you know all that?"
"I'm the One Who Sees."
Macbeth frowned, "What aren't you telling me?"
"That is my burden to bear, Macbeth," Xander said, turning away. "Mine and mine alone. Good night, old friend."
"The new Slayer," Macbeth called. Xander halted. "Do you know her name?"
"Fray. Her name's Melaka Fray."
This would not leave me alone.
FYI, the title is a nod to Babylon 5, which Xander quoted in his toast.