Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When Past Meets Present
When I came to, I was lying face down. Something tickled my nose. I swatted my hand in front of my face in irritation, hoping that would remove the offending whatever-it-was. To my extreme consternation it stayed there, hovering at the end of my nose, irritating me until I finally opened my eyes and realised it was a blade of grass. Actually several. I frowned and tilted my head to the side and caught a glimpse of the corner of a block of stone. I blinked and raised my head and looked around in confusion. Where the hell am I?
There seemed to be a lot of stone in the immediate vicinity. I closed my eyes hoping that I would find myself back at the mansion I shared with Christabel. I opened my eyes again. Nope. No such luck. I was still here. Wherever here was. With that in mind I rolled over, groaning in pain as I did so. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth as a sharp pain raced through my body and lanced straight through my brain. Whoa. Must have hit the old noggin. The thought flew in my head and I sat up, instantly regretting my action as pain shot through me again.
Groaning, I looked up at the sky above me, registering the bright twinkling lights of stars with some shock. It had been daylight where I had been before. What the hell is going on? Where the hell am I?
Looking more like a baby deer as it gets to its feet for the first time, I shakily stood up, gasping as my head spun crazily. Once the world had stopped spinning wildly, I took in my surroundings. I seemed to be standing in a graveyard. Moonlight reflected off the gravestones, bouncing off the roof of a mausoleum to my left. The grass was dappled in dark shadows; the large yew trees spread throughout the ground provided enough cover for anything that hunted out there. I shivered as a cool breeze blew over my bare arms and I strained my ears listening out for any sounds. Behind me a twig snapped, the sound amplified in the silence of the night. I spun round only to be faced with a man. No…not quite a man. He was tall and fair-skinned, with short black hair and bright yellow eyes. Red lips drew back and he grinned exposing a neat set of fangs.
I gasped in shock and began backing away, glancing around for some kind of weapon. Where's a stake when you need one? I thought anxiously. The vampire, to my dismay, advanced forward, baring his fangs, his yellow eyes glinting dangerously in the dark promising a painful death. I backed away nervously, my eyes wide.
The vampire advanced until it was close enough to reach out and grab me. My back hit a grave and I bit back a groan of pain. Almost too fast for me too see, the vampire lunged at me and pinned me to the grave, his large body smothering my small frame. I struggled, kicking at his shins, hoping to dislodge him. To my dismay he stayed in place, his fangs glinting in the moonlight, his yellow eyes flashing. The vampire grabbed my small wrists in one hand, pinning them above my head. The other he fisted in my hair, yanking my head painfully to one side, baring the smooth skin at the base of my throat. I whimpered in fear, trying to frantically remember the words to the knock-back spell that would send the bloodsucker flying away from me. He leaned forward about to administer the kiss that I knew would be fatal, when his eyes travelled down my throat to rest on the faint scar that I knew lingered there. His eyes widened fearfully as they shot up to meet mine. His hold loosened on my hair for a second enabling me to twist my head out of his grasp.
"You bear Angelus' mark?" he whispered to me fearfully. Before I could even utter a sound, he exploded in a cloud of ash all around me. I blinked the dust away in surprise, and stepped away from the gravestone, bringing my hands down and rubbing my sore wrists, looking at my saviour as I did so.
A petite blonde haired girl stood in front of me dressed fashionably in a black skirt, a white v-necked strapped top and black leather jacket with matching calf-length boots on her feet, wielding a stake.
I sighed in relief. "So you'll be The Slayer then?" I asked nodding my head to her in thanks. The girl looked at me suspiciously and moved into a fighting stance, lifting her stake threateningly. "Yeah, that's me. The question is who are you?"
I smiled and raised my hands in a placating gesture. "Hey, whoa, chill. I'm a friend, Slayer. I'm on your side."
The Slayer didn't back down. "Who are you?" she asked again. I sighed. "Look. Can you put the stake down? You're kinda making me nervous." The other girl only raised an eyebrow and took a step towards me threateningly. "Okay, okay. My name is Kathryn Dubois. I'm a Balancer. You happy now? You're not gonna stake me are you?" I asked, worriedly eyeing the stake. The Slayer looked back at me blankly. "The what now?" she asked. I sighed again raising a hand to rub at the bridge of my nose in exasperation.
"A Balancer. I balance the forces of good and evil. Seriously though," I pointed at the stake still in her hand. "Can you put that thing down? I'm not going to hurt you – on your side remember? Besides stakes make me jumpy." The other girl laughed. "Right, you balance the forces of good and evil? Jeez…and I thought it was confusing enough to be The Slayer and 16 and in high school."
I smiled weakly and shrugged. "We are what we are. Please drop the stake. Look I work for the Powers, just like you."
The Slayer looked at me confusedly. "The Powers of what?"
This time I raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "You're kidding right? You're a Slayer and you don't know who you're actually working for?" I shook my head in disbelief. "The Powers That Be. You know? Big old mystical guys with a penchant for messing with people's lives to do their dirty work. Ring any bells?"
"Oh. Those powers." She wrinkled her nose. "Right." The girl sighed and relaxed her stance, pocketing her stake. " I'm Buffy. The Vampire Slayer. I should probably take you to my Watcher." I let out a breath thankfully. "Oh good. You know I probably could have taken you in, like, a second." I muttered under my breath. Buffy looked at me with one eye raised.
"You really have no idea who I am, do you?" I asked incredously. Buffy shrugged. "Not a clue but I'm guessing that my Watcher will." She said as she led the way out of the graveyard.
"Oh joy. The pleasure of Watchers. Fun and games." I said sarcastically as I wove my way out of the graveyard, stubbing my toe on a concealed grave. Swearing under my breath I hobbled to catch up with Buffy who had almost reached the gate. The blonde haired Slayer looked back and suppressed a smile at the sight of me limping across the darkened cemetery.
"You want to be careful. Not everyone has big old stones covering them." She called back to me. "Yeah thanks for that. Not everyone is blessed with Slayer night-vision." I called back irritably.
"So what were you muttering about Watchers earlier?" Buffy asked curiously as I came to stand beside her, wincing at the pain in my toe. She reached forward and grasped the padlock that bolted the gate shut and with hardly any effort, yanked it off. I stood there open mouthed at the blatant vandalism. "You are going to replace that right?"
"Yeah. Sure." She muttered with a roll of her eyes. "Look, what's the deal with you and Watchers?" she asked walking through the now open gate and spinning around to face me, with her arms crossed and head tilted to one side. I looked back at her for a minute, debating whether or not to tell her. With a sigh I averted my gaze and began to reluctantly tell her.
"I don't have the best track record with Watchers." I stepped through the gate to stand beside Buffy. "Why?" she asked.
"Mainly because they don't trust me. Not that I can blame them." I looked up to meet her gaze, my eyes filled with regret and pain. "I've done things, Buffy. Things I'm not necessarily proud of. It's the burden of being what I am. My life is hard and lonely and filled with death and pain. I've seen too many people die in my life." I looked away from her blinking back tears as I remembered Sebastian's blue eyes and easy smile. Taken from me only aged 14. Too young to die. To young to fall to the life that had been chosen for us.
"I'm sure you can appreciate that." I said softly looking back at her. She nodded silently, her green-blue eyes filled with sympathy and understanding. I sniffed and started walking down the road in front of us. "Plus there's the fact I can't stand tweed." I called back over my shoulder, throwing a cheeky wink at her. She laughed and ran to catch me up.
"Well, Giles does wear a lot of tweed. In fact I don't think he owns anything else," she said frowning slightly. I laughed. "Giles? That your Watcher?"
"Yeah. He's the school librarian."
I smirked. "Why does librarian and Watcher not surprise me? It's like being a Slayer and being in Law Enforcement." Buffy mock-glared at me. "Stop before I hurt you." She said jokingly.
We turned into a road at the end of which stood a fairly typical High School. It looked like any other American High School, complete with large sign over the doorway declaring it to be "Sunnydale High School". I stopped dead when I saw the sign.
"Well here we are. Sunnydale High. You know this would actually be quite a good school if not for Snyder and his evilness. I mean, seriously, I would not be surprised if he-hey are you okay?" Buffy trailed off when she realised I wasn't following her up the steps, looking back at me, noting my pale face with wide shocked eyes.
"Kathryn? Are you okay?" she asked again, coming down the steps to stand beside me. I lowered my eyes to look at Buffy. "S-Sunnydale? This- this is Sunnydale? The Hellmouth?" I asked her hoarsely, my throat dry.
Buffy glanced at me nervously. "Well yeah. I thought that's how you recognised me. It's well known that Sunnydale-the Hellmouth is my town." She said.
"Oh god. This is bad. This is not good. I gotta get out of here." I made as if to turn back, but Buffy grabbed my arm to stop me. "What? Wait! Why, what's wrong?" she asked.
"It's dangerous for me to be here. If demons found out I was here I'd be dead. My powers are not as potent here. The Hellmouth saps my strength and power. That's why I couldn't fight off that vampire before." I said only just coming to the realisation. "I have to go."
"Wait! No! You're not going anywhere until I've spoken with my Watcher! I can help you." Buffy gently shook me.
"No Buffy, I have to go. I felt funny before, but I assumed that was the after effects of losing consciousness. But it's not. I have to go. I already feel more of my powers draining away." As I said this, I felt my limbs become heavy as if I were underwater, fighting against a strong current, my vision swam before and I swayed on the spot drunkenly. Buffy looked at me alarmed. "Look you're in no fit state to go anywhere. Come on." And with that she proceeded to put one of my arms around her shoulders and drag me into the school. I couldn't put up more of a fight as every second that passed, I felt weaker and weaker.
Buffy pulled me through the corridor and into the library. A group of people sat at the central desk surrounded by books.
"Hey it's the Buffster! Whatcha doing Buff-?" A tall dark haired boy called out to Buffy as we passed. "Xander go get a chair! And some water!" Buffy barked orders as she propelled me towards the table. The one named Xander sprang into action, pulling out a chair for me, and reaching into his backpack for a small bottle of water, handing it to Buffy. "Thanks, Xand. Here Kathryn." She passed the bottle to me, unscrewing the cap as she went. I took it gratefully and took a sip, feeling some small amount energy fly back into my body. I blinked rapidly, pulling the room into sharper focus. Already I felt better. I looked back at Buffy. "Thank-you."
She smiled. "Hey no biggie." I smile back at her. "I almost feel strong enough to face your Watcher." I joked, though I still sounded slightly hoarse.
"Buffy? Who is she?" I looked round to the timid looking girl with red hair who had spoken. Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but another voice cut across hers, one I recognised and knew well.
"Lady Kathryn Dubois." A tall dark-haired man strode confidently from the shadows. He was handsome, with dark penetrating eyes, that once glittered malevolently, but now seemed softer somehow but with a wary hard edge. He was dressed all in black, with a dark overcoat and the look suited him well.
Buffy smiled, her facing lighting up. "Angel." She breathed. He glanced at her and his eyes seemed to light up momentarily and then they dimmed with pain. His gaze shifted back to me. At the sound of his voice, I had looked up and now my eyes locked with his. I rose up out of the chair and walked slowly to stand in front of him, our eyes still locked together. Then suddenly, I dropped my gaze submissively, and, moving my long dark hair out of the way, tilted my head to the side, baring my neck to his gaze and the scar that lingered there. Angel's eyes flickered to it. "Angelus." I whispered. Angel stepped toward me and pulled me to him, ignoring the shocked gasps throughout the room. "Kathryn." He murmured huskily, before bending his head and nuzzling my neck, placing a soft kiss to the scar there, biting gently on it with blunt teeth.
The others stood around in shocked silence. Buffy's eyes widened and just behind her Xander swore, the red-head whimpering next to him.
Angel lifted his head and looked at me. "I thought you would never return to me. I feared the worst, when you left me in Paris. I tore the city apart in my search for you." He whispered, his voice filled with emotion, stroking my hair gently, his strong fingers tangling in the long dark tresses.
"The others could not understand my rage. And then after Romania…" He stopped and pressed his lips to my forehead.
"Angelus.." I whispered using his full vampiric name. "You knew I could not stay. My duties as Balancer forced me to…" I whispered back, my eyes still resting on the floor. Angel growled low in his throat before grabbing my chin and forcing me to look at him.
"You recall what I said? As Balancer you wielded the power of darkness and light, it does not wield you."
I laughed gently a smile gracing my lips. "And you, the master of darkness, of evil. Angelus, the Scourge of Europe. Nothing could harm you. Not even I." I finished.
"Right. And yet you left." He growled. I looked up at him as his grip on me tightened. "Torture me as you must then Angelus. I submit." I lowered my eyes again and tilted my head baring his mark on my neck. Angel growled in anger, his instincts of a vampire, the need to claim me again, becoming uncontrollable and I sensed his face shift to that of the demon, he growled again and suddenly released me. He stood in front of me, his yellow eyes boring down onto me. He raised his hand and lifted my chin so that my eyes looked into his once more. In a flash, the face of the demon was gone and the handsome face was back and I stared into his soft brown eyes. "I missed you, Kathryn." He whispered to me, before bending his head again and pressing a soft chaste kiss to my lips.
"Angel?" Buffy's shocked whisper reached his ears and his head snapped up to look at her. "What's going on? How do you know her?" she questioned, fear and hurt lacing her voice.
"I think we'd all like the answer to that." Another voice came from behind Angel. Standing in the doorway of the Librarian's office, the man who had spoken cut an imposing figure.