A Brief Moment in Time
A Brief Moment in Time
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the copyrighted material(s) contained herein.
Setting: Somewhere in Season 5 of Buffy, pre-Glory. And in the year long gap between episodes 32 and 33 of Blood+. The times don’t match, but I’m making them… so there. Spoilers for Blood+ if you haven’t watched it yet! (You should.) I'm the first to post a story here about it, woo! I take my victories where I can find them...
Author’s Note at the bottom:
Sunnydale… it certainly didn’t look like it could live up to its reputation.
But then again, every time she looked in a mirror she could hardly believe the things she had done, the corpses she had left behind, both friend and foe. Nobody would have guessed that her sad brown eyes were indirectly responsible for the death of thousands. Nobody would have looked at her pretty features and almost shoulder-length black hair and seen the naivety that would cause her to unleash the greatest threat to humanity as an ill-planned birthday gift.
Nobody would have guessed that the young Asian girl of about sixteen or seventeen, was much older… and not even human.
Saya, Otonashi Saya, certainly didn’t look like much, which was probably the greatest mistake you could make if you were her enemy.
“Haji, are you sure this is the right town? It looks too small to be a haven for Chiroptera,” she asked her companion.
He didn’t answer, only nodding.
Saya sighed; she’d already known the answer to her question as she’d asked it. Neither of them were sure if their information was accurate, but it was also the only info they’d been able to find of something even remotely out of the ordinary occurring since the attack on Red Shield.
Many of the sightings of ‘monsters’ sounded far-fetched at best, with only a few of them vaguely resembling a Chiropteran, but there were too many bodies turning up drained of blood for it to be anything else. With luck, Diva herself would be hiding here, and she could kill her and put an end to it once and for all.
Soon they found themselves in the downtown area, the golden Californian sun playing over every surface gave the scene a slightly unreal feel. Colors were too bright, shadows too deep and the people just a little too carefree. It didn’t help that the further into the town she got, the more uneasy she felt, as if something in the air was trying to push her out like an unwelcome guest.
She ignored this, and soon found herself resting with Haji in a small coffee shop. A stage sat towards the rear, currently occupied by a distinguished looking older man, who stood in stark contrast to the classic rock song he was currently performing accompanied by his acoustic guitar. The melody washed over her, and she realized it was vaguely familiar. Her adoptive father, George, had fought in Vietnam and was fond of that era’s music.
As “Freebird” wound down, she applauded with the crowd and felt a momentary peace as she watched the older man shyly reject the money being offered to him by the crowd.
The peace was shattered by a strange growling noise, one which Saya was intimately familiar with. A slight blush colored her cheeks as her stomach complained again, this time drawing the attention and snickers of some of the teenagers at the closer tables.
“Saya, you should eat something. To regain your strength,” Haji offered, softly spoken as always.
“We don’t have any money left. It’s fine,” she replied.
Haji appeared to think for a second, before suddenly rising from his chair and striding off with a purpose. For a brief, panicked, second Saya thought she had finally driven him away with her dismissals of his concern, before she noticed he was heading directly for the stage. He was an imposing figure; pale but not unnaturally so, long dark hair and pale blue eyes, tall and athletic with a sprinter’s build and dark clothes that were strangely old-fashioned with the occasional modern touch. The chatter rose considerably when he made his presence felt, but died down quickly once they realized he was going to perform.
He swung the black and silver metal case he carried from his shoulder, and despite setting it down gently, the solid thump of it hitting the floor showed it was not nearly as light as he made it seem. Opening it he quickly and easily set up the cello to be found inside. Less than a minute after he first rose from his seat, his bandaged right hand gripping the bow, he began to play…
Saya closed her eyes as another melody took her, its deep and forbidding tones as familiar to her as her own heartbeat. A melody that she herself had taught him more than a century ago.***
“I’m telling you Buffy, you really missed out today, Giles was rocking!”
“I know, I know… I really do want to go and listen to him play, but I keep getting this totally heinous image of him dancing around in leather pants with big hair. It haunts me.”
Willow giggled at the imagery, although Giles in leather pants wasn’t totally
wigsome. Still, she had to get Buffy to show up or she’d end up hurting Giles’ feelings, since he had specifically invited her each time he went to perform. Maybe it was time to appeal to… baser instincts…
“You should’ve seen the guy who came in after him though,” she said, oh so casually, “he was pretty good too with his cello.”
“Hmmm…?” Buffy replied, distractedly, then, “Cello? Really? That’s not of the usual.”
“Yeah, he was really good too… plus a total hottie!”
Buffy turned to look at her best friend, eyebrow quirked in surprise.
“Hello? Lesbian, not blind!”
The two friends giggled together, and continued their peaceful stroll, if there was such a thing to be found late at night in a cemetery on the Hellmouth. They were patrolling from west to east, while Spike and Xander patrolled from east to west. Giles had suggested it, hoping that they could cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
“So do you think he was single?” Buffy asked, idly twirling a stake as they walked.
“Aren’t you, like, forgetting something… Riley maybe?”
Buffy rolled her eyes, “Oh c’mon Wills, It’s not like I wanna date the guy. I was just curious, and between classes, Giles, Slaying and Dawn I hardly get any time for the recommended daily allowance of girl talk, so spill it already! You said he was a hottie, describe him.”
Grinning, Willow eagerly complied, pleased to see Buffy eventually nod in agreement. Although both girls also agreed that the bandaged right hand was a little weird.
“Also, I’m not sure if he’s single. I mean, there was this girl he came in with and they had kind of a weird vibe to them, I couldn’t really figure out if they were family or dating. Honestly? My first instinct was, ‘vampire!’ but the sun was still shining when they came in. And he was actually playing for money so he could buy her something to eat. Poor thing, I could hear her stomach growling all the way across the room.”
“Actually, if you think about it, I think they could maybe be- oh! Hold that thought-“
“-could maybe be runaways, ‘cos that happens, like, all the time on Oprah.”
Willow brushed some of the dust from her jacket, nodding sagely at the mention of the Great and Wise Oprah.
They were saved from any further deep thoughts by the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. Xander quickly came into view, looking slightly worse for wear with a nasty cut across the forehead. He stopped to try and catch his breath once he found them, obviously having run all the way.
“Spike in trouble… needs help… big, strong, fast… kicking his ass… heals in seconds…”
Buffy took off right away, but Willow stayed long enough to make sure Xander was really okay.
He waved her off, “Fine, really… just a scratch…” he gasped out, then watched as she sprinted off after Buffy, “I’ll catch up later… in a few days maybe…” he groaned, as he staggered into a jog back to where he came from.
It didn’t take long for the Slayer to reach the battle, and she groaned as she saw the demon. Eight or nine feet tall at least, long arms that almost reached the ground with vicious claws to boot, big nasty teeth in an almost horse-like or cattle-like skull with evil glowing yellow eyes.
Spike was doing his considerable best, but every slash he made with the small dagger he was wielding closed up almost immediately. He wasn’t looking so good either, his clothes were little more than rags by now with the rest soaked in his own blood. She was momentarily taken aback, she’d known Spike was a lot tougher than the average vampire –he’d have to be, to survive Angelus- but she could see his rib cage sticking out through his torn flesh, and he was still fighting.
As she watched, trying to look for a way to help Spike, he faltered for a second and the demon took the opening to clobber him with an immense backhanded slap which sent him flying to land just in front of Buffy. He was on his feet again instantly, but Buffy could tell he was on his last legs and called out to him. He stared at her for a second, confusion evident even through his vamped out face, before he recognized her.
The demon appeared to be taking a breather as well, sniffing and licking at some of the larger gashes Spike had managed to inflict, but they were visibly healing.
“Bloody ‘ell, Slayer… I never thought I’d be this glad to see anybody, never mind you. This soddin’ thing is gonna take me ages to kill, an’ I’m missin’ a Passions marathon.”
He was weaving slightly from the blood loss, and had almost no teeth left in his ruined mouth, so the devil-may-care bravado didn’t fool Buffy for one bit. He thought they were about to die.
Buffy gritted her teeth and gripped her stake until her knuckles whitened. Maybe they were about die, but it wasn’t like she didn’t expect it sooner or later. They both charged at the demon at the same time, her leaping up at the last moment with the most powerful kick she could manage while Spike put everything he had behind his dagger and aimed at the knee joint.
The demon roared as its jaw was wrenched from its position, and then again as Spike buried his blade to the hilt in its knee. Her elation was brief however as its jaw seemed to snap back into position almost instantly. Instinct made her duck, and huge razor-sharp claws actually trimmed a considerable amount of hair from her head, Spike wasn’t so lucky however and for a moment Buffy thought he had been decapitated. She caught a brief glimpse of exposed vertebrae before he spun away through the air, landing somewhere out of sight.
She jumped back out of reach of the demon’s claws, and caught another glimpse of Spike on the ground, finally unconscious. A blur caught her eye and she reached out, catching the wrists of the descending claws of the demon mere inches from her face. A thrill of terror shot through her as the demon slowly and easily pushed her backwards, making it clear that it was actually toying with her.
She reached inside herself and threw everything she had into the battle, and then a little bit more. For a brief moment she stopped the creature’s advance, but she couldn’t hold it for long and she was soon back on the retreat. Suddenly there was no resistance, and she flailed madly as she tried to keep from staggering into the waiting arms of the monster.
Xander had saved her again, but possibly at the cost of his own life. Seeing the demon’s full focus was on Buffy, he’d torn out Spike’s dagger, which had almost completely been pushed out already by the healing flesh of the demon, and jammed it right into its puss-yellow eye. He ducked immediately, but he only had human speed to work with and he still caught most of the blow from the creature’s arm.
To Buffy’s horror, he collided with Willow, knocking her out cold mid-chant. She felt slightly queasy as she watched her last hopes collapsed in a heap. She knew she was going to die now. She could probably run, might even get away, but that would mean leaving her friends to die. And she couldn’t do that, not ever.
Damnit! Why did they have to get involved?!
Something warm and wet dripped on her face, and she looked up to see the monster looming over her, drool dripping from its disgusting mouth.
“Bastard, I’m gonna make you choke on me…” she growled, and tensed herself for one last-ditch attack.
Nobody was more confused than her, then, when the demon suddenly seemed to lose interest in her, turning away and sniffing at the air. She watched, not daring to hope as it took a step away from her while continuing to sniff the air. It was then that she noticed its eyes changing color, from a sickly yellow to a vibrant malevolent red. And then it opened its mouth, and Buffy suddenly realized she’d been wrong to think something earlier…
The noises it made as they fought, those were not roars. This
was a roar.
She never even realized she’d automatically clapped her hands to her ears, but it didn’t help at all anyway. She could hear nothing else, not the sound of her pounding heart, the rushing of her blood through her veins or even the sound of her own shout as it felt like her ears were about to explode from the all consuming noise.
And then suddenly it was quiet.
Buffy almost jumped out of her skin when a coffin-shaped metal case suddenly flattened the demon, the force of the thing actually driving it into the ground. A figure dropped from the sky, landing lightly despite having been high enough that he was out of sight. The demon returned to it’s feet quickly, tossing aside the metal case, but Buffy could see it was much more sluggish than it had been.
She noticed the man, or human looking demon at least, had a bandage around his right hand, which he quickly stripped off as she watched, revealing a vicious looking claw. The two demons charged each other, the human looking demon easily blocking and dodging the monsters swipes.For an obvious demon, he’s kind of a hottie,
she thought, that bandage was a little weird though… uh-oh…
He was almost certainly the guy from the Espresso Pump that Willow had described, but as long as he was busy fighting the big demon and not her she was going to ignore him and think about getting her friends to safety.
She turned to go to Xander and Willow’s side, she’d come back for Spike later… maybe, she was still undecided. But she quickly froze again, as she noticed someone else kneeling beside the prone forms of her friends. It was a beautiful young Asian girl, and seemed to be checking their pulses. Buffy almost charged at the girl in reflex when she looked up though, revealing eyes that were glowing just as red as the large demon’s and a vicious looking sword in her right hand.
She rose to her feet and narrowed her eyes as she looked at Buffy, then at a cry from her companion blurred towards the fight faster than Buffy could follow. She took her chance and sidled over to her friends as fast as she could, while still keeping an eye on the fight. Which was over before she was even halfway across the few yards separating them.
The girl spun around the two figures, lashing out with her sword, the blade moving so fast it was almost invisible bar the glowing red jewel set in the blade just below the pommel. Buffy blinked, and it was over. The demon was convulsing around the sword embedded in its side, the pain apparently so great it barely even noticed the severed arm gushing with an amazing quantity of blood.
She watched some more, wondering how a demon that healed almost instantly could die from a stab wound, but eventually noticed that the sword had a groove in its center, a groove which seemed to be channeling the demon-girl’s blood from a cut on her hand into the wound. When the demon began to turn to stone or crystal from the blood making contact with the wound, she realized that she’d wasted too much time.
She leapt at her still unconscious friends, managing to pull of an impressive impersonation of the girl’s speed, but still wasn’t quick enough.
She spun around instinctively and caught the blade as it descended, trapping it in the palms of her hands. She grunted with the effort, the girl was just as strong as the larger demon! But she lacked one crucial advantage; its mass.
Grateful that this was one of the few times she was fighting something she actually outweighed, she used her lower center of gravity to turn the girl’s strength against her, throwing her off balance. The girl grunted as she hit the ground but quickly rolled back on her feet. Out of the corner of her eye Buffy could see her companion standing over the corpse of the large demon, apparently content to observe the fight, his vaguely coffin shaped case already back on his shoulder.
The sword whistled through the air, cutting at the wind as Buffy dodged for all she was worth. This girl was even better with a sword than Angelus and was all business. But Buffy was no slouch herself, and was used to fighting at a disadvantage. She trapped the girl’s arm under hers after narrowly avoiding a thrust and started punching her in the face as hard as she could.
To her surprise it took the girl some time to break free, it was obvious that she had very little experience in fighting unarmed. Of course, Buffy realized as she watched the bruises and cuts fading from the girl’s face, it would take more than a good right hook to win this fight. She almost missed the next few slashes, her opponent had suddenly stepped up to a whole new level and she could no longer see the blade at all, just a silvery blur as it spun and danced around her.
She gave herself over to her instincts, relying on the Slayer spirit to know where the next attack was going to come from. But such reliance on instinct came at a price, and she cursed herself violently as she tripped over Xander’s leg, having forgotten where exactly he was. She kept her balance, but the brief stagger was all it took and she watched as everything seemed to slow down. The girl reared back for a powerful thrust, a line of blood from her hand already filling the groove in her sword…
A charging shoulder flung her out of the way, and she rolled as she hit the ground. She looked up, and was greatly surprised to see Spike standing in her place. Grimacing in pain from the sword skewering him through the belly.
The look of surprise on his face when nothing happened to him from the blood entering his body was even more pronounced than the shock on the girl’s face. He recovered faster though, and couldn’t stop himself from taunting her.
“Thanks’ luv, but I usually prefer drinking my blood rather than takin’ a shortcut,” he rasped, the jagged wound in his throat far from healed.
The girl gasped, and the red glow faded rapidly from her eyes.
“Not a Chiropteran…” she muttered.
“No,” her companion answered softly.
“You knew?” she asked, glancing towards him before looking away, her expression unreadable. “Of course you did…” she continued, sounding only slightly resentful.
“They are not our enemies,” she said finally, and turned her back on the surprised Slayer.
Willing to take whatever chance she could get, Buffy quickly moved to her friends’ side and tried to wake them. Spike was less trusting, and was staring at the girl’s companion with a cocky grin on his face, he on the other hand couldn’t seem to care less and simply looked back without expression.
“Guys? Come on guys, wake up. Fight’s over now, damnit… guys? This is why,” Buffy said, her voice breaking slightly from a sudden tightness in her chest, “This is why I always asked you guys to stay out of it. I can’t always protect you… Why didn’t you listen? You never listened to me when I told you to stay out of it…”
“They never will.”
Buffy looked up in surprise, blinking back tears. The girl had stopped and was looking at them over her shoulder, she continued, “They don’t understand, they think you want to take their choice away from them, but they don’t get it. They’ll choose to fight no matter what, even if it’s hopeless. Friends, your family, are like that. It took me a long time to understand that.”
Buffy didn’t know what to say to that, so settled for agreeing with her, “Yeah, friends are like that.”
“But the boys are especially stupid about it,” the girl added, and Buffy surprised herself by chuckling out loud.
“They are, aren’t they?” she said, brushing a strand of hair from Xander’s face. She looked up, but the girl and her companion were already leaving.
“I’m Buffy!” she called out to them.
They stopped, and the girl turned back to face her. For a second, she seemed to be much older than she looked, like she had seen and done things that had stolen away from her everything she had left to hope for. She smiled then, shattering the brief moment, and answered, “I’m Saya, and this is Haji,” indicating her companion, who only bowed slightly.
Buffy smiled wearily back at her, “Maybe next time, we can talk about things first…?”
Saya smiled again, but this time it was filled with such profound sadness that Buffy felt her heart breaking for the girl.
“Yeah, next time!” she said, fake enthusiasm coloring her tone, and Buffy knew then that she would most likely never see the girl alive again.***
“It would be good to spend some time here.”
“We can’t, each day that goes by our enemy leaves us farther behind.”
“If that is your wish.”
“We should go to England, the news said that there is a curfew in place to catch a serial killer. It’s our next best clue.”
“…do you remember our promise?”
“…if that is your wish.”
Author’s Note: I'm the first to post a story here about Blood+, woo!
I take my victories where I can find them...
This is something I felt compelled to get out, sadly I think this will be the last fanfic I’ll be writing for some time, I finally figured out why I can’t get anything done with my other stories. I have (as a lot of the writers here do, I guess) my own original story that I’m working on, but I’ve been neglecting it for almost a year, but lately I feel re-energized about it and I can’t seem to think about anything else. I might pop out the occasional short story now and then, but for the next few months or so…
I’m not abandoning my stories, I swear on everything that’s sacred to me that I will
finish what I started.
BTW, if anyone is interested, I’ll place a link to where I’ll be posting some of my original work in my profile in the next few days.
Oh, and on the next page is a damn cool picture I found of Saya and Haji. This is starting to become a theme, isn’t it? Me posting pictures in my stories…