Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Wheldon and ReBoot belongs to Mainframe Entertainment. The song title doesn’t belong to me either. It’s from the song Sound the Bugle by Bryan Adams (from the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron). Please don't sue me, I'm completely and utterly broke and it's for entertainment purposes only.
Timeline: AU: post-The Gift, Buffy and during The Episode With No Name, ReBoot
Pairing(s): Dawn/Matrix (friendship), Dawn/Bob (friendship), Buffy/Bob, Matrix/AndrAIa
Author’s Note: I got the idea for this story after watching all of the Matrix story arc episodes of ReBoot. I also saw that there were very few BtVS/ReBoot crossovers so I decided to attempt to write one. So please be gentle for this is my first attempt at writing a ReBoot fan fiction story.
Summary: Just as Buffy makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister and the world, an earthquake rocks Sunnydale causing the tower to fall with Dawn on it and she falls to her death along with her sister or so she thought after she and Buffy are swept away inside the computer world but in different places. While Buffy finds herself in a dangerous place known as the Web with a certain Guardian (Bob) as her companion, Dawn is found by a certain Renegade (Matrix) and a Game Sprite (AndrAIa) with her will broken by the sudden loss of her sister. Suddenly drawn to the devastated and broken Dawn, Matrix is forced to confront the demons of his past and his fears that he would become a cold, unfeeling killer. But as they help each other deal with their demons, Dawn and Matrix form an unlikely friendship that would change them both forever.
Remember Who You Are
I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
That was all that Dawn Summers could feel at that moment. Her body and mind numb with agony over the events that had transpired over the last twenty four hours. Doc slashing her stomach to bleed her so that Glory would return to her home dimension, the portal opening and then seeing Buffy jump into it to close it. Then just as Dawn was about to leave to try to climb down the tower, a bolt of lightening hit it sending her flying into the portal and to her death. Or so she thought. She had just woken up with both her body and her mind in agonizing pain and no idea where she is. At that point, she didn’t care where she was or whether she was dead or alive. All she could see and feel is pain.
~Can’t feel anything else except pain and grief. Buffy’s dead because of me. Because I’m the Key. Because my blood opened hell on earth.. It should be me not her. Oh, Buffy. Why did you have to die? Oh, Buffy … Buffy …~
At that point, Dawn drew her knees up to her chest and wept rocking her broken body back and forth as she was crying for her sister and her mother whom she missed terribly. She had never felt so alone in her short life. As she cried, Dawn closed her eyes as the tears rushed down her cheeks but if she had kept her eyes open she would have seen that she was not alone. That someone had found her in her time of grief and despair and while she was mourning her sister’s death.
Prior to that moment …
~I hope that this is a system with ports to the Net so we can get home back to Mainframe.~
That was the one thing that entered though Matrix’s mind as he, AndrAIa and Frisket entered another system. One he was hoping that would have ports to the Net. But just as he was about to run a scan, Matrix heard a sound. It sounded like someone was whimpering. At that point, he turned to AndrAIa and saw that she also heard it. Frisket started running to look for the source of the noise. After a few nanos, the dog started to whine a little to the sound.
“What is it, boy?” Matrix asked. He knelt down and almost pulled back in shock at what Frisket had found. A girl was lying on the ground with long brown hair and the deepest blue eyes Matrix had ever seen. She was wearing a dress that looked like it was from medieval times and it looked like it was covered in blood. But it was the look on the teen’s face and her condition that concerned Matrix. She looked frightened, incorhant and not aware of her surroundings. She also looked very thin like she hadn’t eaten in seconds, and her face very pale from blood loss. At that, Matrix put two on two together.
~She’s a User!!! This girl is a User but what’s a User doing here in a system such as this?~
As much as he wanted to hate the girl because of the fact that she was a User, Matrix couldn’t bring himself to do it. There was something about this girl that he couldn’t explain. It was almost as if she had seen more horrible things than she should have in her short life and possibly suffered the loss of family and friends. At that point, Matrix gently took a step toward the girl but she slammed her body against the wall in a violent daze. Then she let out a terrible shriek that didn’t sound human.
“Whoa, easy. It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.” Matrix said in what he hoped was a soothing voice trying to calm the frightened girl down. That seemed to have no effect because the teen kept on screaming in terror and fear. At that point, Matrix turned to see AndrAIa running toward him and the girl.
“Enzo, what was …” AndrAIa stopped and her eyes widened when she saw the girl. “Who is she? What happened to her?”
“I don’t know.” Matrix replied. “By the looks of her injuries, she looks like she has been tortured.” Whoever she is, something horrible must have happened to her for her to act like that toward us. She must have been tortured. But who would do that to a kid?
Cautiously, AndrAIa took a step toward the girl. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. My friend and I want to help you.”
At the sound of AndrAIa’s voice, the girl stopped screaming but she still glanced at her and Matrix with a frightened and tormented expression on her face. AndrAIa’s eyes filled with tears at the condition that the poor girl was in and at her facial expression but she still remained cautious as she took several more steps toward the girl. The teen didn’t move away but she didn’t lean forward either remaining as still as a stature. As she got closer to her, AndrAIa got a closer look at the girl’s injuries. The dress, she was wearing, was covered in blood which indicated to her that she was probably slashed in the stomach. Matrix and AndrAIa were only a foot away when the girl burst into tears and started sobbing like a lost child. Fighting back a lump in his throat, Matrix knelt down in front of the crying girl. To his surprise, she got up and threw herself into his arms then wrapped her own around him sobbing uncontrollably.
“Please.” The girl cried out in between sobs. “Please don’t leave me alone. I don’t want to be alone. My sister’s gone and left me all alone. I don’t want to be alone. Please.”
Matrix felt his heart constrict at the pain and grief in the girl’s voice and before he realized what he was doing, he wrapped his arms around the girl trying to comfort her. She seemed to accept his attempt to comfort her because she relaxed against him. Her sobs turned into whimpers as she started to calm down. At that point, Matrix turned to AndrAIa and they looked at each other before looking back at the girl. Then they considered their options. They couldn’t leave her but if this wasn’t a system with ports to the Net, they wouldn’t be able to take her with them into the Games.
~But if this system does have ports to the Net, we’ll be able to take her with us back to Mainframe. I think AndrAIa and I will take our chances.~
As he looked deep into AndrAIa’s eyes, Matrix knew that she was thinking the same thing. At that, he gently lifted the girl into his arms and with AndrAIa and Frisket at his side, he began to explore the system that they had landed in and for medical help for the girl.
“What’s your name?” AndrAIa asked her.
“D-D-Dawn.” The girl stuttered. “My name is Dawn.”
“Dawn. That’s a pretty name.” AndrAIa replied with a smile on her face. At that point, AndrAIa saw that Dawn was trying in vain not to blush at her words.
“Thanks.” Dawn said uncertainly.
~A very pretty name.~ Matrix thought to himself as he carried Dawn carefully in his arms. Sensing that the Game Sprite was about to start introductions, he nodded at her.
“I’m AndrAIa.” The Game Sprite said with the smile still on her face. “The big sprite carrying you is Enzo but he prefers to be called Matrix.”
“A pleasure.” Dawn said in a quiet voice. “Where am I and what are you guys?”
Matrix and AndrAIa glanced at each other worriedly before they looked at Dawn. Neither of them were sure how she was going to take what they were about to reveal to her but they knew that it was futile trying to lie to her. At that point, Matrix cleared his throat to speak.
“AndrAIa and I are Sprites. As for where we are, it’s a very long story …”
Somewhere in the Web …
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
in the moonlight
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne,
she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Bob drifted his gaze on a pod of Web creatures as they floated on by. It had been a very long time since he was shot into the Web. Cut off from his friends and the home he had defended for five hours. He was still haunted by the memory of what happened and nightmares often plagued him every night. He missed everyone back in Mainframe terribly and it broke his heart thinking of Dot and Enzo. Although he was rescued by Web Riders and had stuck with them since, Bob wanted nothing more than to return to Mainframe but until he could find a way back or wait for rescue for come, he had to remain.
Sighing, Bob was about to turn his steed around to go back to his makeshift home when he saw something in the distance. Suddenly curious but cautious, he approached the object and as he got a good look, Bob saw that it was a young woman with blonde hair and pale skin. She was dressed in a white long sleeved shirt and jeans. Getting closer, Bob saw that the young woman didn’t have an icon and his eyes widened as a realization hit him like a ton of bricks.
~She’s a User!! But that’s impossible!!! Users live outside the Net so how did she get here?~
Pushing his thoughts aside, Bob rode closer to her and he could see that she was having trouble breathing. Her face was as white as her shirt and her lips were blue from lack of air. Urgently but carefully, Bob grasped her arm and dragged her across his saddle. As he was about to turn his steed around to race back to his makeshift home, Bob saw the young woman open her eyes slightly. Her breath came out in gasps as she looked at the exiled Guardian.
“It’s okay.” Bob said in normal speech. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to help.” At that point, Bob wasn’t sure if she could understand him but then he saw that she was trying to say something.
“Help me.” The young woman said in a rasp before she slipped back into unconsciousness.
Very worried now for her, Bob repositioned the young woman on his saddle as he raced back to his makeshift home. Once he arrived and tied his steed outside of the makeshift house, he gently picked up the young woman and carried her to a bed on the other side of his room. He grabbed a blanket at the end of the bed and gently covered her up with it in an attempt to get her warmed up. Then as he looked over her, Bob saw that her breathing started to slow down to a normal rhythm and her body relaxed. Bob wasn’t sure how long she was exposed to the winds and alien atmosphere of the Web but he was amazed that she was starting to recover quickly.
After a few nanoseconds, Bob sat at the woman’s bedside and waited for her regain consciousness. As he waited, he removed a strand of hair from her face and really looked at her. She was very beautiful for a User but also Bob could see that there was something about her that made her completely different from other Users. But until she woke up, Bob could do nothing but wait.
Maybe I've been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
The first thing Buffy Summers felt as she regained consciousness was pain. Her entire body ached all over and her chest felt like it was on fire. She opened her eyes then closed them again. She felt confusion washing over her like a waterfall and all she could remember was jumping off the tower and into the portal back in Sunnydale.
~Why am I still alive? Where am I?~
At that point, Buffy opened her eyes. Only to find that she could see only darkness. Panicking, she tried to get up only for her feet to get caught on something and she fell onto the ground painfully. She let out a cry of pain as she landed onto the ground. Then Buffy felt a pair of hands on her shoulders gently holding her.
“It’s okay. Just relax. You’re safe.” A voice, Buffy knew it to be male, said. “You’re suffering from exposure sickness of the Web.”
“I can’t see.” Buffy said sounding a little fearful and frustrated.
“Your eyesight will come back in time.” The voice said.
Despite that she was blind; Buffy kept turning her head around. “Where am I?”
“You are in my makeshift house in the Web.” The voice replied.
Buffy was confused. “The what?” she asked.
“The Web.” The voice said. “I’m not surprised you don’t know what it is considering that you’re a User.”
At that point, Buffy let her hand rest on her mysterious savior’s face. Despite that she couldn’t see, she felt her fingers on his lips then she felt his hand taking hers and holding it.
“Who are you?” Buffy asked. “I mean, I need to know the name of the guy who saved my life. I also want to know what the Web is so that I can understand where I am and I also want to know what a User is.”
At first, there was only silence then after a few nanoseconds, the voice answered. “The name’s Bob.”
At his words, Buffy smiled. “Bob.” She whispered letting his name roll off the tip of her tongue.
There was a time you'd let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me do you?
Remember when I moved in you?
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah
Not bad but could be improved. Anyway, please review and no flames. I will ignore them and I don't have the patience for them. Chapter 2 will be posted sometime next week. The song in this chapter is Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright (originally performed by Leonard Cohen).