Sineya and the Hunter
BtVS by Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Marvel U by the parent company and its many artists/writers.
There's a livejournal community called the TtH100 centered around the challenge of filling out a prompt list with a hundred chapters of Buffy-crossovers. I've decided to call mine the Clawed!Slayerverse. There's this group called the Shadowmen who made the First Slayer in the deep and misty backstory but, here, because of the birth of early mutants, particularly a proto-Wolverine, things are shaping up differently.
1. Hunter's Walk (#19:Pain)
Two men walked confidently along the edge of a canyon. For ages the herds their tribe depended on for food had migrated through the thin stretch of land below them. This year, none had made it through and they had been sent to find out why.
One was Gerra, named after the god of fire and light, but his chosen weapons and exploits in the dead of night meant everyone called him 'The Hunter'.
The other man had destroyed every trace of his real name - a kind of flower, according to rumor - but he was called 'Trapper' because of his stealth, his patience and his snares.
Thanks to their gifts they were the tribe's foremost defense and main provider of food doing the lean times. This saved them from being sent to allied tribes closer to the front, to fight in the war that had already claimed many of their friends. Now this crisis and their understanding of wild things had sent them far from home.
The Hunter walked a kind of loping gait, swinging his head side to side as he sniffed the night air. He was thinking of Sineya, the girl they were both in love with... The cause of much heartache.
Trapper scratched his forearms as he walked. The pressure building up behind his wrists was itching like crazy. He was muttering something to his friend about stopping for 'target practice' when the ground around them exploded.
Dust stung Trapper's eyes, making it harder for him to aim, but the attackers were close and thick. He felt the familiar burn as thick webbing erupted from his arms to cover the yellow-eyed man in front of him. Pulling his spear from behind his back, he forced his target to the ground and drove the sharp head deep into the chest. He's not dying,
Trapper thought, horrified, as he pushed even harder, until the wooden shaft made contact with the other man's heart - at which point the prone man exploded into a cloud of dust.
Trapper spun around, shouting about what had happened, only to see a powerful blow send his friend flying off the edge of the cliff.
Hearing the sickening crunch, Trapper bolted for the nearby trees, not wanting to continue this fight in the open, alone.
The attackers pursued him - faster than should have been possible - and the fight was quickly over.
Trapper felt a pain at his throat, something wet in his mouth, an ache and a tearing that went to the very core of his being... And he knew no more.
The midday sun baked the canyon where a man's body lay, contorted by the fall from the walls high above. A vulture circled lower and lower, only to break off its landing when the body gasped raggedly for air.Ouch, my head,
thought the Hunter as he dragged himself to a sitting position. What happened? I must have been laying here all night...
Gritting his teeth through the pain, he tried to rise to his feet, until he noticed his legs were bent at an odd angle.Just great,
he thought as he forced the bones back into position. Can't move for a few more hours and then I need to climb out of here... Trapper's not okay, or he'd have found me by now... Let's hope he's still alive.
The Hunter winced as his healing factor continued its slow process. The injuries were pretty severe, but he was no stranger to pain. He had to deal with it every day just to use the tools of his trade. "Speaking of which" he muttered, flexing a certain powerful set of muscles.
*SNIKT* came the sound of bone tearing through flesh as long spears erupted from behind his knuckles, three to each hand. He winced as the newly opened wounds began to leak blood, until his skin healed around the exposed bones. Sniffing the air, he laid back and closed his eyes. There was nothing to do but wait.
Drawn by the scent of fresh blood and the other smells that surrounded the man, the vulture circled closer and closer. The bird knew from experience with the area that, even though the man was still alive, those that 'survived' the fall from above never put up much of a fight.
The vulture landed and began to study the man intently, before hopping closer to its prey. The shallow breathing did not change in rate, even when the vulture perched on his chest. As it bent to feed there was a sudden burst of movement and a bone claw pierced the bird's lightweight skull.
A flash of pain and it was all over.
The Hunter grinned fiercely and began to rip into the meat; his healing factor always worked best when his belly was full...
Hours later, well past nightfall, the panting hunter pulled himself over the lip of the canyon and laid there for a moment, exhausted.
2. Hunter's Run (#86:Forest)
Fresh scent wafted towards the black-haired man, from deeper within the forest that surrounded the cliff, overlaying the day-old traces of battle.There were six of them, at least,
thought the Hunter as he unsteadily made his way forward, using the trunks for balance. They were breathing so quietly, I didn't notice them before they sprang. Trapper seems to have put up quite a struggle, the dried threads of his webs are everywhere, but without my claws to back him up...
Underneath the thickest canopy of leaves, which would have been dark and shadowy, even in the daytime, Trapper's body lay parallel to the ground, held aloft by his own webbing.
"This isn't right," the Hunter said aloud in his native tongue. "Trapper's threads are white and pure. This stuff is grey and still goopy after what must have been hours... Worse, it smells faintly like blood..."
He grimaced and stepped closer to his friend's body, noting how it had been suspended with the head back and the sightless, unblinking eyes left wide open. "Peace be to you, my brother," he stated solemnly as he reached out and closed the brown-haired man's eyes. "At least this resolves the question of Sineya. She liked my personality the best, but you were always the fairest to her eyes... Those who did this will pay dearly."
As he turned around to see about cutting his friend's body down, Trapper's recently-closed eyelids sprang open, revealing yellow orbs.
Before the black-haired man could turn and investigate the swift movement behind him, sharp and jagged teeth were piercing the flesh of his neck.
*SNIKT* came the Hunter's claws, but only as a reflex action. He was more interested in throwing himself forward, towards the ground, as the heel of his foot and one of his elbows connected with the flesh of the taller man behind him...
The Hunter's upper body barely connected with the leaf-covered ground before he was up again, spinning, his arm cutting an arc through the air, his claws severing the veins in the front part of Trapper's neck...
Trapper sank to his knees, blood oozing from the wound, his face and eyes going back to normal as his hands weakly reached for the gaping tear.
"Oh, my God!" yelled the Hunter, kneeling, staring at his own claws in horror. "What have I done?"
Twin streams of grey goop erupted from Trapper's arms, one covering the Hunter's eyes, the other aimed at his chest. "Don't worry," what was left of Trapper growled mockingly. "I don't need those any more."
As the black-haired man's hands instinctively went to wipe the goop out of his eyes, Trapper walked around him, increasing the intensity of his webbing. It dried fast, pinning the Hunter's legs together and holding his arms in place. "Fool," Trapper stated, as he planted his foot at the back of his friend's neck and shoved his face into the dirt. "We went though this years ago! Accidents happen from time to time and when they do, you can't let let yourself react that strongly, or you'll get yourself killed!
Trapper laughed evilly as he began to pace around the smaller man. "You know, this is a great feeling this power, this control over life and death. I might just let you join me, but you'd probably just betray me in a couple years, so I think I'll just take Sineya and her mom... Maybe, just maybe, I'll keep you alive long enough for you to be her first kill. Wouldn't that be sweet?" He paused, his back to his victim, waiting for a response.
He received none, so he continued, with genuine feeling: "Oh, sorry. I guess I'll have to peel off some of that web, so you can talk-" He turned around and his mouth snapped shut with an audible click, because the black-haired man, unable to stand up, had somehow managed to roll away into the bushes. "There is something to be said for shutting up and getting the job done, though..."
"You can't hide forever, you know. My own tracking ability has gotten a lot better, now that I don't have to compete with the sound of my own breathing.
" Trapper announced as he stalked forward, beginning his search... only to have a sharpened branch pierce the back of his neck, severing his spine.
The Hunter kicked the prone body of his friend over, only to come to the horrible realization that while the brown-haired man was mostly paralyzed his face was in chaos and showed no signs of passing away quietly... The Hunter began to dig into Trapper's chest with his claws, shouting: "Oh, why won't you just die!"
After a bit, Trapper's heart was exposed to the air, so his friend reached in and pulled it out with his bare hands. As it left the brown-haired man's chest, both it and the rest of him exploded into a cloud of dust.
Most of it went straight up the black-haired man's nostrils, so he turned around, retching...
After he'd finished throwing up what was left of the vulture, the Hunter stood up and began running through the forest, towards home. His mission would have to wait. There was no way he'd go deeper into the country without back-up, especially with those things
around. They were worse than the fire-breathing thunderbeast he and Trapper had dispatched last year...
His steps slowed momentarily as he thought aloud: "One of those dead things must have known - while he was still alive - about our quest and set a trap for us. This is not of the Good."
Much later, he was within sight of his tribe's ancestral home when he smelled a pungent smell. He skidded to a halt and backed up a few steps, looking for tracks.
There in the distance, towards the scrublands, a few men stood. He could tell by their elaborate costumes that they were the shadowy Elders of his tribe.
He raced towards them, catching a few words about a 'much needed sacrifice' 'one that would have been worth so much to us' 'to our future' before they noticed his presence.
His story spilled from his lips, but he couldn't help noticing how much stronger the strange, acrid smell was now that he was next to the men... It seemed to be coming from a pouch hanging from one of their waists... The one that one of them was reaching into...
"Thank you, my son," an Elder said, sadly and regretfully. "Now you have confirmed our worst fear - that one such as you, empowered by a fluke of birth rather then by magic or demon blood, would retain power even after being consumed by the Enemy... Now we have to change our plans."
"We truly are sorry," the one with the pouch said as he lifted up his palm and blew the foul-smelling dust into the Hunter's face.
He was so surprised, he didn't even notice the staff aimed for the back of his head until it connected.
In his haste to warn the Elders of his tribe, he had missed the forest for the trees.
3. Hunter's Death (#97:Bonds)
Three men stood in a circle, hitting their staffs to the ground in a cadence that sounded like drumbeats summoning an army to battle...
In the center of the circle, a young dark-skinned man - the Hunter - lay chained. As the rhythmic sounds grew louder, he stirred and opened his eyes.
He was vaguely aware of a draft against his lower back and of sticks piled beneath his legs and shoulders to keep him slightly elevated above the ground. Two chains were wrapped around his waist, one around his neck and two more about each arm and leg... His mind was still too cloudy for him to panic.
He gazed uncomprehendingly around the cavern, the stone ceiling, the tall and dark Elders, until he turned his head slightly and saw a young woman, seemingly half-asleep... A chain on each arm tethering her in place.
On seeing her, his nostrils flared, his eyes lost their muddled look, and he reached out to her, earnestly calling: "Sineya!"
Her eyes widened as she struggled to her feet, straining against the chain to be as close to him as possible. She cried out his true name, "Gerra!" as she struggled to touch his fingers, but her reach fell several inches short.
This gap was made wider as a lightly bearded Elder strode forward and forcibly pulled her away. "It would be best not to stand so close," he warned. "Or you risk being consumed as well... You must understand, we have no choice. We have a great source of power that would defend this place - once - but without the herds we are fleeing this land. In its current form, the demon's heart is too unstable to be carried with us. If we do not use it now, change its shape, it will be lost forever - and with it our hopes."
Terrified and unmindful of his words, she howled and clawed at the large man... Below them, the Hunter let loose a feral growl and extended his claws... Neither did much good.
The Elder with the kindest face stepped forward and - ignoring the protests of the chained youth - slid a carved box into the space between the Hunter's back and the ground, then pulled back the lid.
Slipping back to his place in the circle, the ornately garbed Elder raised his staff and began to chant, as the other two provided the background music.What is before our eyes?
One young woman
Hope of children and life
Our best Hunter
Food for our hearts and minds
The demon's force
As one being they shall rise.
As the tempo increased, the Hunter felt something sharp emerge from the box and bore into his back.
"I will always love you
!" he shouted to Sineya, fearing he would never get another chance to say what was in his heart.
He had a moment more to scream in agony before he disintegrated.What next when she is dead,
Her soul has fled?
Empty chains rattled to the ground as the young man's body was converted to a brilliant white mist, shimmering with potential.
A cloying black vapor seeped slowly out of the box, then, with a predator's grace, it sprang at the white fog and merged with it.
The blended cloud extended a tendril to the writhing girl, searching for a way into her body.
Sineya screamed but, having no supernatural power inside her ready to defend her, she was unable to put up much of a fight.
As the power filled her, the Elders raised their staffs and began to slowly walk forward.Call each new girl to fight
To save the world
Love and death will be gifts
One at a time
Daughters will be chosen
And born anew
Red of claw, heart of night.
A mournful howl emerged from the box as if some creature was calling to be fed... As if it's meal had been stolen while it had been asleep.
Some mighty force began tugging at the dark power now housed in Sineya. Her legs and body lifted off the ground as some of that power was forcibly sucked back into the box. If had not been for the chains binding her to the Earth, she would have fallen in and disappeared as well.
Unaffected by the pull, the shadowy Elders continued forward, resolute in their duty.How much will power cost?
Us now, as well
Or all is lost.
Before the bonds could snap under the immense pressure of the vortex, the three men as one grabbed ahold of the lid of the box and began to slide it forward.
A blinding flash of light later, the box was closed, the suction had stopped and Sineya was alone in the room....
4. Sineya's Fury (#49:First Times)
Sineya couldn't remember leaving the deep shadows of the cave and emerging into the emptiness of the desert. Her first thoughts were of the whiteness of the sand around her as it gleamed in the moonlight and of the immense pressure building behind her knuckles, screaming for release.
Her cry of pain filled the night as her claws emerged, a fine mist of blood drifting towards the ground below. A memory of Gerra and thoughts comparing the pain to his tried to surface in her mind, but were shouted down by other voices. Squeezing her eyes shut, she held a hand to her head and sank to her knees trying to think clearly. A few seconds later, when she opened her eyes again, she was surrounded by shadows.
She sprang to her feet with such smoothness that it would have left a cat gazing in awe. Her next move was to stumble over her own feet, planting her face in the sand. Her body was simply unused to the new stresses it was being called to handle.
Hateful laughter surrounded her as she struggled to her feet again, her heart pounding in her chest. As she listened to her own sounds of life she realized that those surrounding her had none. She could also smell blood, familiar
blood, though her muddled mind could not place it.
One man stepped out of the crowd, his heart as dead as the rest. He stood there, sneering at her, as if mocking her very existence. "So, this is what they sacrificed their lives to bear? More than their own, I see, as you have emerged alone, with his claws upon your hands. He wasn't even supposed to be able to walk until tonight... It's his fault that Trapper isn't here to greet you. You see, your friend, the Hunter, killed his rival for your love with his own bare hands."
She cocked her head to one side and stood her ground, letting his words roll through her head.
"How do I know this, you ask? Well, the Elders of your tribe, you see, made a pact with me and my fallen tribe to see if the powers connected to some rare humans' bodies rather than their souls would remain past their first death. In exchange for proving this and letting your clawed friend make it 'safely' home, we've been allowed first crack at you. What you are is expendable. With your death the next shall be called, but your body will be added to our ranks... Fair trade in my eyes, fairer still if your web-spraying friend was still with us... No matter. We swore an oath" he paused to spit at the word. "That we would not attack without handing you this."
A leather bundle was kicked over to Sineya. She picked it up and examined the three sticks of wood inside, each sharpened to a point, before dropping them to the ground in disgust.
If the Elders had seen fit to betray her and her boyfriends like that, then she was going to have nothing whatsoever to do with their 'gifts'.
The talkative vampire grinned faintly. "So, it's going to be like that, eh?"
She ducked her head, eying the bone claws that were part
of her now.
Put off by her lack of response, he frowned and stepped slightly forward. "Got nothing to say? What are you going to do? Just stand there all damn-"
A blinding flash of movement later and Sineya was holding his severed head by the hair. She snarled her first words as a Slayer into his stunned face as it disintegrated: "Talk is cheap."