Snakes on a PlaneAuthor:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Surprise Crossover
Story takes place in the Wishverse
—in which Cordelia make a wish that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. What was Wishverse!Buffy doing during those years? This story provides one possible answer.Genre:
Genfic, no pairings. Action/adventure, character study.Rating:
PG-13 for language/violenceDisclaimer:
Wishverse!Buffy (as is Regular!Buffy) is owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. No infringement is intended.
Written for the Snakes on a Plane Ficathon, in which the story must include snakes on a plane at some point; otherwise—anything goes.
As usual, many thanks to Makd for the beta.Chapter One
The cell phone clipped to her belt began to vibrate. Buffy ignored it as she dropped to a crouch and thrust out her leg. The vampire that had been lunging for her found his hands grasping empty air. His momentum carried him forward anyway, until he stumbled over Buffy's leg. While he was off-balance, she snap-kicked and he went flying over her head. He landed behind her. She drew her leg back under her and pushed off with both feet, launching herself into the air. She landed on the vampire; both knees drove into his abdomen as she thrust her stake into his heart. She stood and brushed the dust from her pants, unclipped her phone, checked the number and pressed the button for speed-dial #1.
“Yeah,” she said into the phone. It wasn't a question, simply a statement that she was on the line.
“We do not address our Watchers in this manner, do we, Miss Summers?”
might not, but I'm kinda busy right now. Wha'd'ya have for me, Mrs. Post?”
Two beats of annoyed silence were supposed to let Buffy now that she had pissed off Mrs. Post again. Too bad. Buffy didn't have time for her shit. She had a job to do—and proper phone etiquette wasn't part of it. She was what Mrs. Post had made her.
Buffy hadn't known anything about vampires, slayers, demons or things that go bump-in-the-night when she was first 'called'. Other than the Hollywood versions that appear in horror movies, that is. She'd thought Merrick was nuts and sort of creepy when he'd first approached her. After a few weeks as the Slayer, she wondered how she hadn't
known these things were real. She'd never asked
to be the Slayer—hell, she wasn't even consulted about the whole choosing thing.
Then her parents started yelling at her for fighting when she kept coming home with stains and rips in her clothes. Her friends started to think she was weird. Her parents began arguing a lot—she knew it was about her. How could her life change so drastically in such a short time?
She came home bruised and bloody once too often and her parents were waiting up to confront her. So she told them about the vampires and the demons and the slayer that was Chosen to stand against them. That
had gone well! They'd packed her off to a clinic to assess if she was delusional, manipulative, or just plain crazy. At first, she'd tried to convince the doctors of the truth, but she quickly learned how to play the game. She stopped talking about vampires and agreed with whatever they suggested. They let her out after 28 days, but that was 28 days too many.
Mrs. Gwendolyn Post picked her up when she was released. Mrs. Post introduced herself as Buffy's new Watcher, and she learned that while she had been killing time in the clinic, vampires had been killing her parents and her watcher, Merrick.
So she went to Cleveland with her new Watcher, and she left California behind, along with the vacuous, giggly, popular girl she had once been. She was no longer “Buffy, the Cheerleader”—she was Miss Summers, the Slayer. Mrs. Post was cold, hard, focused on slaying to the exclusion of all else, and Buffy became all those things as well. It was a match made in—not in heaven. Buffy no longer believed in heaven.
“Would you be so kind as to come to my flat at your earliest convenience, Miss Summers? I've had two requests for your services that I'd like to discuss with you.”
This was new. Mrs. Post generally didn't “discuss” jobs with Buffy. She gave Buffy orders and expected her to carry them out promptly and efficiently.
“I'm pretty much done here; I can cut patrol short and come over now, if you want.”
“That will be satisfactory.”
As usual, Mrs. Post hung up without bothering to say “good-bye”. It must be something important if Mrs. Post was willing to let her slide on patrol. Didn't matter—a job was a job.
Buffy dug in her pants pocket looking for change. Good. She had enough to take the bus to her Watcher's apartment. She brushed at her clothes once more, clipped her phone back on her belt, stretched, and then headed toward the nearest bus stop.
Buffy could feel her muscles stiffening as she sat, waiting for Mrs. Post to finish her elaborate ritual for making tea. Why the hell couldn't she just throw a tea bag in a cup and pour boiling water over it like everyone else?
Buffy wondered, as she thought longingly of the cracked and stained shower stall in her efficiency apartment. She dug the toe of her boot into the thick wool carpet and wished Mrs. Post would just get on with it. It didn't bother her that Mrs. Post maintained a gracious, elegant apartment, furnished with expensive antiques, while she lived in a one-room dump with sporadic heat and water pressure that dropped to nothing whenever another tenant flushed the toilet—she didn't spend enough time in her apartment for it to matter. But right now, all she wanted was to be in her own place, taking a shower for as long as the water held out, then getting a decent night's sleep on the hard, lumpy Murphy bed that opened out of a niche in the wall. Let Mrs. Post have her luxuries—Buffy didn't need them; she was the Slayer.
Buffy sat in the hard wooden chair with her elbows propped on the peeling Formica surface of her kitchen table. She absently fingered the scar on her lip as she thought about the two jobs Mrs. Post had told her about. The California one was closer, so it would make sense to take that one first . . . but she felt a strong reluctance to be so close to LA, where she'd lost everything. She'd put all that behind her—at least she thought
she had—but now she sat remembering her life before she'd become the Slayer. The life where she had a real home with parents who loved her, friends and school and nice clothes and boyfriends. And now? Now she had a crappy apartment and Mrs. Post and a 'sacred calling'. She ran her thumb over her lip again. And
a permanent scar from a peroxided vamp in black leather that she hadn't been able to beat—let's not forget that!
Buffy shoved her chair back and started to pace. The only way she could avoid Sunnydale for now was to take the other job—and that was just insane. If Mrs. Post had possessed even the smallest vestige of a sense of humor, Buffy would have been sure she was joking. But she didn't and she wasn't. She was apparently dead serious.
Some weird species of demon — Buffy could never remember demon names, and why should she bother anyway? That was Mrs Post's job; her
job was to kill them — that everyone thought had died out years ago had apparently been hibernating instead, and now was back. It was migrating northward from South America, killing everything in its path. It was virtually unstoppable, short of a nuclear strike, and even that
wasn't guaranteed. It had only one weakness; one natural enemy. It could be killed by the venom of the Lacandon viper. Unfortunately, the Lacandon viper was
extinct, and had been since 1945. Buffy figured that would be the end of it. If there was no way to actually slay the demon, the best they could hope for was a capture and containment in a secure environment for as long as possible. That part was the Council's problem, not hers. Mrs. Post, however, had a different idea.
Her calm, controlled voice gave no hint that the words she spoke were insane, Mrs. Post spelled out the plan. She would hire a small private plane with an experienced pilot to fly Buffy through the Bermuda triangle at a time the Council mystics deemed most opportune for paranormal activity. The plane would be caught in a timeslip, carrying Buffy to a pre-1945 world where the Lacandon viper still existed. Buffy would track down several of the vipers and bring them back to the present, where she would then use them to kill the whatever-its-name-was demon. All in a day's work for the Slayer.
Ri-i-i-i-i-ght. Buffy stared at her, appalled. She couldn't be serious. Time travel? Extinct snakes to kill supposed-to-be-extinct demons? What the hell was in that pot of tea? And was Earl Gray a code name for 'drugs that lead to insane troll logic'?
Buffy laughed, but Mrs. Post remained completely serious. She seemed offended that Buffy wasn't all Rah-Rah!
about the plan—if something that crazy could even be called a 'plan'.
“Uh, what happens if I get there, get the snakes, but can't make it back?” Buffy asked.
Mrs. Post took another sip of her tea and raised a delicate eyebrow. “In that case, I trust you will have enough decency to fall on your sword, as it were, so that a new slayer will be called,” she said coolly.
Buffy raised an eyebrow of her own, told Mrs. Post she'd think about it, and got out of there before the temptation to hurt the frigid bitch became overwhelming.
And now, here she was, actually considering the idea. It'd be a hell of an adventure, if it worked. And it'd be almost worth it to be in a world that didn't include Mrs. Gwendolyn Fucking Post.
Buffy got a Coke out of the ancient fridge and sat back down at the table. Son of a bitch! She was going to do it!
The small Cessna was warmed up and ready to go when Buffy arrived at the private air strip in Florida. A hard-looking operative of the Council was sitting in the pilot’s chair, waiting for her. Another operative, driving an unmarked van, had met her at the Miami airport. After ascertaining that she was indeed Miss Summers, and introducing himself as Wiggins, he proceeded to drive her to the air strip in silence. That was fine with Buffy; she wasn't looking to make conversation with the guy. He was sort of creepy, and aptly named—he gave her a wiggins. She briefly wondered what else he did for the Council besides provide transportation, but decided she really didn't want to know.
Upon arrival at the air strip, he handed her a lightweight, brushed aluminum case and turned to leave without another word. Buffy couldn't resist the chance to see if she could make
“Hey!” she called after him. “Aren't you gonna wish me luck?”
He turned, frowning. “You're the Slayer—you should depend on skill, not luck,” he said and then climbed back in the van and drove away.
Okay. Not exactly what she'd had in mind, but at least she'd gotten him to speak.
“Asshole!” she muttered as the taillights of the van disappeared around a turn and were lost from view.
Buffy crouched and placed the case on the tarmac, squeezed the latches and flipped it open.
“Ni-i-i-i-ce,” she hissed approvingly as she took note of the contents: a 9mm Beretta, plenty of ammo, a disassembled crossbow with a quarrel of bolts, a dozen hardwood stakes, state-of-the-art mag light, a night scope that switched to Infrared and a coiled bullwhip were visible. There was a second level to the case, but she didn't have time to check it out thoroughly, as the pilot gunned the Cessna's engine, indicating that he was ready to leave. She closed the case and slipped the strap made out of webbing over her shoulder as she ran for the plane. She could familiarize herself with her equipment later. A feeling of excitement built as she climbed into the Cessna.
“Let's get this show on the road!” she said, as her lips quirked into a grin.
They had been flying for about forty-five minutes when the sun began to set. The sky was a riot of technicolor streaks shading into each other like an Impressionistic painting. Buffy caught her breath—it was beautiful. She looked down at the empty expanse of turquoise ocean and was surprised to see a green glow running across the waves toward them. The same green glow outlined the plane and Buffy leaned forward to tap the pilot on the shoulder.
“What the hell is that?”
“St. Elmo's Fire,” he answered.St. Elmo's Fire? Wasn't that a movie with Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe? What did that have to do with this weird green glow?
She glanced at the instrument gages—they were all spinning like tops. Uh-oh. This can't be good!
She could smell the combination of nervous tension and excitement in the pilot's sweat as he tried to navigate visually, squinting against the setting sun. Buffy gripped the armrests of her seat so hard, she scored the varnished wood with her nails. They slowly began losing altitude, and she hoped to hell the pilot was doing it intentionally. The green glow was like an electric charge, making the hairs on her arms stand up, pulling at her skin. If she hadn't put her hair into its usual braid, she'd probably look like the Bride of Frankenstein by now. The tension continued to build and Buffy's teeth began to ache from clenching her jaw so tightly. The pilot was panting, trying to draw more air into his lungs. The glow increased until it exploded in a bright neon-green flash that seared her retinas, momentarily blinding her. Buffy rapidly blinked her eyes in an attempt to restore her vision, and leaned forward to grip the pilot's shoulder. She shook him roughly.
“Can you see? What the hell is going on?” she yelled. “Don't fade out on me now!”
He seemed to come out of a daze and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. The plane was hurting toward a vast expanse of green jungle, not the blue of the ocean she had expected. The pilot gripped the controls and the nose of the plane slowly edged upward, slowing their descent.
“Where the hell are we?” Buffy yelled.
“Damned if I know.”
“Oh, great! I so
didn't need to hear that.”
“Then why'd you ask?”
“I was hoping you'd know.”
“Keep your eyes peeled for an open space we can land.”
Buffy saw an area of tannish-green off to the right.
“There!” She pointed. “What's that?”
The pilot turned the plane to fly over the area Buffy indicated and nodded.
The sky was steadily darkening, and all light would be gone as soon as the sun set. They only had one shot at landing. The pilot banked and approached the open area at an angle to give them every inch of available space to land. The pilot cut back on the fuel and dropped the landing gear.
“Hang on, it's gonna be a bumpy ride”, he cautioned.
The plane landed with a bone-jarring thump, followed by a crunch, and began to list to the left. The plane hopped down the makeshift runway like a jackrabbit, as the pilot attempted to bring it under control. The engine sputtered and died, but the plane continued inexorably forward. It didn't seem like they were slowing down enough and Buffy grabbed the pilot's shoulder again. His hands fell from the controls and he slumped forward. Buffy frantically released her seatbelt and crawled over his seat. His sightless eyes stared at her and she noticed a jagged piece of metal protruding from his throat. She shoved his body to the floor as her eyes flicked over the controls, looking for something labeled 'brake' or 'stop' or 'emergency'. Not finding what she was looking for, she randomly began pushing buttons and pulling levers, and the plane did
seem to slow. She breathed a sigh of relief right before she looked up and saw a large grassy mound filling her vision.
” she breathed, and braced herself for the crash as the nose of the plane plowed into the mound.