Disclaimer: I own not Kendra nor Artemis. They belong to Joss Whedon and SK respectively.
The title and the little snippet of lyrics belongs to Whitesnake. Go Glam Metal!
I love the eighties! LOL :-D
I hope you enjoy the story!
Wanna say thanks for Chosenfire for encourging me to do my take on this.
And if I get a lot of reviews I might be inclined to put Ash's two-cents.
Yes. I blackmail. I'm Slythenclaw like that lol.
Oh and forgive Kendra's phrasing. I tried to make it as proper and her as possible and with the accent. I think it's pretty good. ... Doesn't mean it is though *grins*
No, I don’t know where I’m going
But, I sure known where I’ve been
Again. It was the first thing that she thought when her soul stopped screaming the angered, anguished roar of those that had been wrongly killed and she could breathe. That she could feel something other than the cold and then the numbness and then the nothing. The air, the crisp fabric of the white dress she’d worn … she’d worn. The pain on her throat. Again.
She was getting to do this again.
Dark eyes fluttered open in confusion. She shouldn't be allowed to breathe now at all, rather than again. She'd been killed doing what she'd spent her whole life knowing was right and had just recently learned was okay to do too. She'd died fighting the good fight, the Slayer's fight, and for helping out a friend. Buffy had been her friend and she had wanted to help her. It had gone beyond doing what she was supposed to and what Mr. Zabatu had ordered. It had been because she'd been scared for Buffy. She hadn't known it at first but she knew it then when Buffy had angered her. A feeling of sisterhood that she had never felt before had come to her after that quick illogical anger had grown, then dissipated. It was wrong and illogical and emotions would be what got her fellow, former fellow, Slayer killed. Funny though how following the rules had been what gotten her killed. Being weak-minded and so obedient had laid her bare; she’d been barely been a struggle for the vampiress. Drusilla.
That wouldn’t be happening anytime soon. Now that she had a new lease on life … some how.
For some reason.
Whatever it was, she would not be making the same mistakes. Not again. Not that at seventeen she’d gotten to make many mistakes. This time though she wouldn’t be making the same ones. Oh, she’d still err on the side of caution but she would do it with feeling. Moreover, she’d allow herself to daydream and have friends. To imagine and to lazy around a bit. Watch TV. To find out who or what was a pink ranger? She wouldn’t assume evil was evil. She would trust her own judgment and she … she’d be a kid. She wasn’t sure where to start with all of that but she’d learn and she’d try and she’d succeed and maybe she’d go back and ask Xander … well, erm, maybe … possibly ask him out. On a date. Like normal kids. That was if she still was normal.
“Good. You’re awake. Finally.” The patience behind the voice was thin, but it was there.
As was the concern.
She knew she’d been taught better manners than just to gape. She’d always had impeccable manners no matter what the situation but for the moment they seemed to have flown away from her and all she could do was stare. Not that anyone could blame her because she was staring at the most beautiful female she had ever seen in her life. Possibly in the entire world.
Before her stood, in all her statuesque beauty, was a woman. No. A woman was too simple a word. She wasn’t one for poetic fancies but the word was too plain for what stood before her. She was a woman, for all her own lack of passion, the female before her was …
A … a goddess? Yes. A goddess. With curling tendrils of fire for hair and the most vivid green eyes she had ever seen. Green eyes that were currently narrowed at her. Not in malice but in curious, confused amusement.
Kendra found herself blushing, but she didn’t truly feel embarrassed. She felt like she felt when she was slaying. Just those times with Buffy. At peace, yet ready for flight. Like loneliness and solidarity. Like destruction and beauty. At every point at once but as if this was where she belonged. Like she was home. “I … where am I?” She timidly asked.
Artemis cocked her head, watching the young small girl in front of her. She didn’t like them short . Hadn’t had a short one since that French girl and this one might be even smaller than her. However, she couldn’t resist coming. First reason. Because she knew, it would make Acheron angry. He’d been ignoring her and she didn’t like it; a new Dark-Hunter would be JUST what was needed to get him running.
Second reason. The second reason was so strange.
This one. This little meek thing. Her soul had called to her. Not that that was unusual.
That’s how they got her attention. The loudest and most anguished of screams shook her rafters. And she went to them before they managed to give a goddess her first migraine and gave them vengeance for their loyalty. Oh, sure some of them she dupped.
Because, well why shouldn’t she? Wulf. Sin. Others. They were such fine specimens and would be better under her, serving her. Killing the by-blows of her twin. However, it wasn’t as if they hadn’t been anguished too. They just didn’t receive their vengeance.
This one. Would be another one who wouldn’t be able to have her vengeance. It wasn’t written in the stars or the thread of the Fates. The one who had killed her fell under the domain of the PTB’s, troublesome bastards, and was needed to set so many things in motion. So she couldn’t die. Usually that didn’t bother Artemis. Either she wouldn’t bother taking the soul and making a Hunter or she just wouldn’t care and lie.
She found like she couldn’t do that with this one. This one whose cry had been one of the most anguished she had heard in centauries, not because she’d been killed. Not in want of vengeance but in pain and loss. What could have this little, innocent creature have lost to make her cry so?
Artemis hadn’t heard such a cry since Acheron had showed his suffering to her. Once long ago. It had struck her. Lanced her and forced her to remember buried pain, forced HER to yearn. Yearn for the young boy who had said he would have been her friend. Yearn for the man who could barely touch her without revulsion.
They all looked at her in revulsion. Even when she was offering them life eternal they looked at her like she was a monster. As if they couldn’t imagine who could carry such power. As if they fancied themselves smart, that one who brought back others for vengeance had to be a creature of evil.
This one didn’t look at her in revulsion. No, this one looked at her with gratefulness and relief and awe and … friendliness?
It had been millennia but she did remember the emotion like a distant and pleasant haze.
Who was this girl to be so timid and yet so cautionless?
Oh, Artemis knew what she was. A Slayer of the other type of monsters. Hunters had been created for Daimons and Slayers had been created for the others; both in her name. One with her permission, by her hand, and the other by stupid frightened men.
As if she cared about the humans back then, as if she cared now. The only ones that had ever held her interest were the Atlanteans, and the Apollites before they became weak. The Greeks and the Romans she’d come to care for, in her own way, with time but the others could be left to themselves.
What a mistake THAT was. Take a young girl. Rape her in every way possible. Force a demon into her and then bless by the name of the Goddess of Virgins and of the Hunt. As if she had wanted that. As if that had made her care for those inconsequential humans. She still didn’t see what Acheron saw in them. That act of monstrosity alone showed how truly disgusting humans were. However, she had kept an eye on the Slayers. Perhaps not as close an eye on them as she did on the Hunters since they had been created without her immediate blessing. Nevertheless, they had been done in her name so she had created a Sycthe and blessed many things for them and created the Guardians. All women of course. Because men just sat and watched but women protected.
Like this one. She could see this one could be a protector. She knew that this one hadn’t had that chance to live up to her potential. Maybe that was what she had heard in her scream.
Maybe that was why it had called to her because despite herself being a “monster” there were those she’d do anything to protect.
“You’re on another plane of existence. Stand up … child.”
Kendra blinked. The goddess’s voice while firm and a bit harsh, seemed to have become softer.
More gentle. She quickly did what she was told.
“I have an offer for you. You have a choice,” She was going to give her a choice.
She wasn’t going to lie to this one. Because fifteen really was too young to be a warrior, even Athena and Ares would agree. Not that seventeen was much better but she would give the girl the choice. And it would be Artemis’ own secret that she’d done something right for the simple, silly humanistic beauty of doing it right. “I will make you immortal and in return you will serve under me. Hunting and killing creatures similar to your vampires.”
“Oh, no. I – I … you don’ 'ave ta do dat. I’d be happy just killin' tings.”
Then she blushed, realizing what she just said, and Artemis found her lips curving despite herself.
“All my Hunter’s are immortal. I believe it makes them harder to kill.”
Her eyes seemed to widen at that.
“'A-'arder ta kill den a slayer?” She asked timidly.
Her mind racing at the fact. She could go back. Better.
She could go help her friends. She could go and kill … Drusilla.
Drusilla. Truth be told who cared about Drusilla? As long as she had the chance to help and do her duty. As long as she had the chance to do it right this time.
“Much. You would get to keep all of your slayer gifts.
Only altered a bit to suit my purposes.”
Kendra nodded. A bit dazed. This was … this was more than she had ever imagined when she had woken up. The ability to still hunt but without having to worrying about death. It was more than any slayer could ask for. “I, uh, I … I’m no' dreamin' am I?”
It would be hard-pressed to say who was more surprised by Artemis’ small chuckle.
“No. Not dreaming. Swear your allegiance to me and you’ll forever do what you were born to do.”
Kendra frowned at that. A choice. This was a choice. She had a choice to be this Hunter, killing creatures of the Dark, or to go on to … where? To do what? Not slay? Could she do that?
Could she just go to ever-after knowing that there were things to stop and not stop them? She wouldn’t be able to do eternal rest when she had a chance to help, to continue her duty.
“O-okay.” Kendra nodded slowly.
“I will do it.” That was it. She didn’t need to know anything else.
Artemis’ felt this strange sense of relief. This being fair was giving her … nerves. She wouldn’t be trying that again. She had been counting on the girl’s honor and will to do her duty as a Slayer, however, a small part of her had been afraid the girl would turn down her offer. Good will aside, making this child a Huntress would be devastating to the daimon population wherever she was placed. Not to mention she would be a reason to get back Acheron’s attention. Sadly the being caring thing was like sex. Once you started you couldn’t stop. Except it wasn’t anywhere as pleasing. Artemis found herself saying. “You won’t be able to go back. To them. Your past.”
It would have been better to have the girl think so. Make her a Huntress and tell her afterwards.
Acheron was going to pay for that sudden kindness. Those words had obviously been his fault.
In many ways.
Kendra smiled softly.
“I didn’ tink so.” If she had been able to then it would have been just too good to be true. But she’d really hoped. It would have been nice though to be able to go back.
“You will look like them,” Artemis continued softly. Despite her good judgment. “the creatures you used to Hunt. Only living in the darkness.”
This made Kendra truly hesitate. She would be like a vampire?
She supposed she could be like Buffy’s boyfriend. As much as she would hate having anything in common with him, this was part of her new goal with her new lease on … unlife. Don’t judge.
One of her other goals, also had been to date Xander and go back to her friends but that would be impossible. However, she … she could make new friends. She could still watch TV and try out high heels. Couldn’t she?
She would, she promised herself. In addition, she would do it helping others.
Like she was born to do. Like she was re-born to do.
“Dat’s … fine. I … would like ta be dis, 'unter, please.”
And for the first time in her life Artemis willingly did what was requested of her.