Disclaimer: Is this really necessary? If anyone really thinks these characters belong to me, then I've got some *great* real estate investments I'd like to discuss with you. All of the Buffy characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc. There is no intent to profit from this. Only the story is mine.
Time frame: Standard Buffy-verse, diverging near the end of ‘Chosen,’ when the Scoobies and the Potentials have started taking up their positions for battle in the high school.
Character Bashing: None. Really!!!
Feedback: Of course! Constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated. Flamers will be added to the lists of those to be painfully exterminated, once I am appointed to my rightful position as King of the World. (Yeah, you wait and see if I’m kidding. Dogbert had nothing on me!)
Author’s note 1: This is a response to my own challenge.
Author’s Note 2: Thanks to Lori Bush, Tim Joy, Bill Haden and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this story.
Author’s Note 3: Some dialogue is from the BtVS Episode Guide and transcripts site, http://www.buffy-vs-angel.com/guide.shtml , from the Season Six episode, ‘Chosen.’
Title: A Second Chance to Get it Right
Sunnydale High School
Giles headed off to the lounge to join Wood while Buffy, Xander and Willow silently walked down the school corridor together side-by-side, reliving memories of the thousands of times they'd done this in the old school – the one they'd blown up when they graduated.
Willow steeled herself, then, after giving each of her two friends a hopeful smile, broke off and headed into Wood’s office, to join Kennedy.
A little further along, Xander reached out and took Buffy’s hand and gave it a small squeeze, then turned off to join Dawn in the atrium.
Alone once more, Buffy headed for the basement.
Willow was seated on the floor before a semi-circle of runes, lit candles and ritualistic totems, the scythe directly before her, while Kennedy sat directly across from her, facing her and watching as she made her final preparations.
"They should all be in place by now," the normally extremely self-confident teen noted with a tremor of nervousness evident in her voice.
"Okay," Willow laughed, an equally anxious tremor clearly audible in her voice as she considered the magnitude of the task she was about to attempt. "Magic time. You ready to kill me?"
"Starting to be," was the younger girl's half-hearted attempt at humor.
"Good. Fun. Great," the redhead muttered nervously, more to herself than in actual response to her lover's comment. She placed her hands on the Scythe in front of her, then looked up at Kennedy, the expression on her face completely serious now.
"Brace yourself," she warned the somewhat self-important Potential.
"Come on, Red. Make it happen," Kennedy muttered in a barely audible voice, watching with a combination of dread and fascination as Willow chanted silently to herself, calling upon powers she’d never before even dreamed of invoking.
So intent was her concentration that Willow never noticed a small, previously overlooked segment of her spirit that seemed to flare up within her as she focused her power and reached out towards the mystical weapon lying in front of her. That miniscule, almost imperceptible fraction of numinous energy, a barely noticeable sliver of the power that she had temporarily shared with three others three years previously, blazed furiously as it linked with the energy contained with the artifact that lay only a score of inches away.
"Oh… my… goddess!"
The witch's comment issued unconsciously from her throat as the Scythe on the floor suddenly flared with a brilliant white light and tremendous power began flowing from it into Willow’s hands across the ethereal bridge first formed by the now fully consumed fragment of spirit that had resided within her.
An instant later, an invisible wave of energy exploded outwards, inundating everything in its path.
Kennedy’s head snapped up as Willow’s spell embraced her and she realized that her time as a Potential had come to an end – she was now a Vampire Slayer! Once of many…
Below, in the shadowy cave that they had followed Buffy into, through the Hell gate formed by the Seal, Vi, Amanda and Rona sucked in a gasping breath as Willow’s spell passed through them and released their Potential.
They, too, had become Vampire Slayers.
In a softball field in Chicago, a young girl stepped up to bat and suddenly felt a surge of strength flow through her, and in Miami, a teenage schoolgirl put out a hand to steady herself against a row of lockers in her high school as a pulse of magical energy changed her forever.
In Bangalore, India, a girl fell to the floor as power and knowledge coursed through her, while in Nagasaki, Japan, a girl suddenly stood up and backed away from the dinner table, confused but excited as the power of the Slayer enveloped her, while her puzzled family looked on.
In Cuernavaca, Mexico, an abusive father raised his hand to strike his young daughter only to have his arm stopped in mid-swing, his wrist caught in a vise-like grip, as his daughter was transformed from victim to champion in an instant.
In all of these instances and in hundreds of other cases throughout the world, the young woman who had been empowered had heard an ethereal-sounding woman's voice asking them, "Are you ready to be strong?"
In three specific instances, however, circumstances did not go as anticipated.
On the ground floor of Sunnydale High School, inside both the teacher's lounge and the school atrium, Rupert Giles and Xander Harris felt the almost unnoticeable fragment of the Slayer Spirit that had remained within them after the mystical Joining that had allowed them to defeat the demonic cyborg, Adam, flare up and they, too, heard Willow's voice asking them, "Are you ready to be strong?"
Giles' response, "Yes, I am," came simultaneously with Xander's "Sure, Will. Give me the juice!" and the power of the Slayer that had, for untold thousands of years, previously empowered only women, now coursed through men's bodies, strengthening and enhancing them as it had its previous bearers.
The Slayer Spirit watched all that occurred with reserved approval, having met, evaluated and reluctantly approved of both males in the course of its incensed semi-rampage through their psyches during the night following the Joining some three years earlier.
While not at all pleased with the apparent 'contamination' that it had initially worried that its essence had been exposed to as a result of the never anticipated merger, it had been forced to grudgingly admit that both of the males possessed instincts that were just as fierce and protective as those possessed by any of its former avatars and, as such, were arguably entitled to a portion of its power. Its primary purpose, after all, was to protect humanity from the demonic forces threatening it, and both of its new vessels were committed to that ideal with a fervor and intensity that made it smile with feral approval.
In the third instance, however, the being touched by the arcane energy held within the Scythe reacted in a completely different manner.
"Will?" Dawn Summers gasped as she heard the witch's voice inside her head posing the same question asked all of the others, and her response was reflexive and immediate.
"Yes!" she nearly shouted her answer aloud, even as she noticed the faint aura surrounding her companion as he, too, accepted the offer presented to him.
A virtually indescribable torrent of energy poured through the younger Summers and she gloried in the power now enhancing her slim form and facilitating her newly gained awareness of each element comprising her being, along with a newfound perception of the Key’s energy that had, until this moment, been secreted within her but without any provision for her to either access or utilize it.
Tapping into the well of power now available to her, Dawn took a moment to focus her new awareness and then she gestured and a rift opened before her, revealing the rocky cavern containing her sister and the other now-empowered women who had willingly set themselves against almost insurmountable odds, and who were now engaged in a literal life-or-death struggle with the uber-vamps they'd come to destroy.
"It's okay, guys," she reassured to her fellow warriors as she and Xander stepped through the gap and moved to join the desperate battle before them. "Fall back – I'll take care of this!"
Turning her gaze to the stone ceiling above them while Buffy, Xander and the other Slayers formed a ring of protection around her, Dawn frowned as she took a brief moment to look around and determine everyone’s positions, then focused her attention again and another aperture opened up to allow the blazing brilliance of the desert sun to shine down onto the vampiric hordes threatening them. Off to one side, Spike was far enough away from the area she’d chosen to illuminate that he was relatively safe from the lethal radiation pouring down from above.
Bestial screams of agony rang out and filled the cavern as the ragtag group gathered by the Seal’s opening watched as their opponents began to combust under the unbearable light of day, and within the span of a few minutes, the army that had threatened the surface world was reduced to ashes.
Off to one side, the First’s incorporeal form watched, unseen by any of the small group of humanity’s defenders as its plans were turned, literally, to ashes.
“Well,” it said with a small frown, staring at the devastation that only a moment before had been the army it had planned to use in its opening gambit for world conquest.
“I certainly didn’t see *that* happening.”
After another brief moment’s consideration, it vanished from this plane completely.
“Guess it’s time to implement Plan B.”
Okay, people, this was a minor plot bunny that I wrote to try and get my muse refocused and distracted from the myriad plot bunnies that have been plaguing me lately.
I’ve set things up in a very general way, so if anyone is interested in launching their own story from this point, feel free to do so.
Maybe the empowerment pulse also activated other people than just the Potentials and Xander and Giles?
What additional effects, other than the enhanced strength, speed, endurance, healing and fighting skills might their empowerment provide Xander and Giles?
Will the male Slayers (Shall we call them Hunters, maybe?) now pass their abilities onto other suitable male candidates when they die?
What abilities might the offspring of a Hunter and an activated Slayer possess?
Whatever you want to do, just let me know you’re doing it, okay, so I can follow the story, okay?