Chapter One: Curiosity Killed The...
To Ride a Pale Horse
by Athenewolfe and WeyrWolfen
Chapter One: Curiosity Killed The... Summary: I see no man on a pale horse, yet Death rides for us all.
It was the apocalypse no one saw coming. Now, longtime enemies must become allies, friends become foes, and death really is waiting around every corner. A tale of death, sacrifice, more death, the human (and not so human) heart, even more death, black humor, and the end of the world as we know it. Story Notes:
This story has a variety of characters and pairings, all which are important to the story. The only pairing we guarantee is Spike/Buffy, however they are not in every chapter. There are and will be several secondary pairings that develop which are just as important to the story as the primary pairing. Since the story contains love triangles, squares, and quite a few crushes, we will not spoil it with a list of pairings. If you absolutely must know before reading then please contact us and we will provide you with that list.
There are multiple character deaths throughout this story. This is dark comedy - a lot of death and angst mixed with humor. Fair warning.
Thank you to the wonderful friends who betad this and demanded more: our primary beta Spikeslovebite who has worked on every chapter with us, and for various chapters Schehrezade (ch 1-3), Betafish (various) and Eowyn (Ch 13, 15, 16-on) Without them, it would not have been as fun for us, nor as polished.
P.S. Did we mention the character deaths?
Edit June 14, 2008: This was originally classified as a crossover, with the crossover to be reveled towards the end of the story. However, while writing Chapter 13 & 14 we discovered an alternate plot which we may prefer. (We have the entire story outlined fairly well). Therefore, we have changed the category to non-crossover as we have decided we most likely will eliminate that sub-plot. Disclaimer:
We do not own Buffy, nor any books or movies which are discussed in this story. From the journal of Charles Winston the Third
Wednesday, 21 January 2004
…Someone was in my office last night.
They think I can’t tell, but I can. Everything has been moved ever so slightly. If I wasn’t so organized, I wouldn’t have noticed. But the hydrofluoric acid is on the right of the distilled Wyvern tears. Yesterday, they were on the left.
I wonder who has been in here. Who has been going through my things, and why? Is it the new administration, checking up on me? Making sure I am not doing anything ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’. I don’t trust them. The Council was steeped in tradition for centuries, and it was done so for a reason.
It is this current change in administration that will be the downfall of the Council, not the bomb that destroyed the old offices. The bomb might have taken out the previous administration and the central library, but it didn’t take out the medical and research labs. It didn’t destroy the computer files or the other libraries around the world. It didn’t destroy the Watcher’s Academy, or empty the bank accounts, or cause irreversible damage in any other way.
But the new administration, that is a different story. They activated all the Slayers, when there is only supposed to be one. They insist on coddling them and living up to ideals to which evil will never conform. It is they who will ultimately destroy the Council, and I fear for the future of this world.
In the meantime, I ponder who was in my office and why. Should I even bother to complain? I will take a closer look after returning from the infirmary appointment. Some careless technician threw out broken glass without disposing of it properly and I cut my hand.
Good help is hard to find.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Vivian snuck into the office and headed straight to the locked cabinets. She had to move fast in order to be finished by the time that stick-in-the mud council guy came back from his dinner break, but she needed some type of proof.
She wasn’t sure what exactly she was looking for--- but she would know it when she saw it.
Everyone at the Council, Watchers and Slayers alike, seemed to have this self-righteous attitude and was always on her case. She knew she was one of the best Slayer’s they had, and she was determined to find some way to prove it. After all she had been a potential before the other Slayers even knew that there was a Council. It wasn’t her fault that her Watcher ordered her into hiding before the big fight. He knew she was going to be the next Slayer, and therefore she had to be protected. Once those in Sunnydale failed, it would have been up to her to save the day and beat back the First.
The remaining Council members had gone underground and waited for the inevitable failure and death of the rogue Sunnydale contingent.
General Buffy, had to go and change the system. Vivian rolled her eyes. Buffy had defied all the predictions and actually won against the First, making all of the wanna-be’s into Slayers and ruining the rightful destiny that had belonged to her. Now there were hundreds, if not thousands, of Slayers running around, sharing a fate that rightfully belonged to her and her alone. Of course, it wasn’t all that bad. More Slayers meant longer life spans and more time for partying – but after a while everyone’s attitude got really tiring.
Especially when Vivian knew that she was better, that she would have been the only one chosen, and that she was destined to be one of the greatest Slayers to ever walk this earth. The seer and her Watcher had told her so. Then they both had to go and die, destroyed by the First’s minions.
Her watcher – the real one, not this bumbling and idiotic newbie – had been a hero. He had died to save her and, of course, through her, the world. He had once told her that all the Council’s great secrets were in its ancient books and its mystical research labs. Now she was stuck with a wet behind the ears watcher straight from the academy who knew absolutely nothing about the way the world worked, its ancient prophecies, or the true destiny that had once awaited her. He was little better then a baby-sitter, and one that she despised.
She had to show them - the baby Slayers and the arrogant Watchers.
Since it would take too long to prove her case with the books – not to mention too hard to prove to the non-believers that the slayer in the appropriate prophecies was in fact her – she was left with proving her case via mystical means.
Perhaps she could find a potion that would reveal that she was meant to be the next true Slayer – or something that would prove her destiny.
From the diary of Alistair Cross
21 March 2003
… I have never heard a reading so strong. In the time following the First’s great battle, Vivian Michaels will become the Slayer. She will travel to California, and she will alter the dynamics of power in this dimension forever. That is exactly what the seer said, word for word. All the mystics confirm her fate; this is the destiny that awaits the child.
I cannot but help think about the current Slayer and Potentials who are amassing at the Sunnydale Hellmouth. We have been called there to assist, but the seer’s message was very clear on that point. Vivian will go to the States after the battle, not before.
Hiding from the Bringers and skulking about when there is a war to be fought is galling, but I comfort myself with the knowledge that my Vivian will be called soon. Very soon, if I do not miss my mark, and when she is, we will be in the position to repair the damage that the wilfully ignorant Buffy Summers has wrought. Our names will live forever in the Diaries as the saviours of both the Council and the world.
I hope I haven’t overburdened the girl with this knowledge. She has had six years since she was removed from her parents care to adjust to the life of a Potential. I had despaired that she would never be called. An eighteen year old Slayer is almost unheard of. But my darling girl will be a Slayer, THE Slayer. To withhold her destiny would be a crime I was unwilling to participate in. She reacted well, as I have trained her.
The Council will be proud.
Vivian was growing frustrated as she searched the office. There was absolutely nothing useful in here. After she went through the trouble of lifting the key to the chemicals and potions room, one would think there would have to be something of use … or at least vaguely interesting.
She was, of course, mentally cataloging everything for future use, but even she was having trouble figuring out when she would use a truth serum or poison on a vampire. Wasn’t it simpler to kick its butt from here to the next week? How could someone spend all day researching magical and scientific products and have nothing that related to the Slayers?
She was about to give up when she noticed a small safe practically hidden in the corner of the room. It was covered in about twenty pounds of dust which looked lethal to anyone’s allergies. ‘But if it’s important enough to lock up in an already secure office – I bet there is something that relates to Slayers in there. Or maybe something that will show up the other girls. They really need to understand who the top Slayer is. After all, I was the one the seers created a prophecy about.’
Luckily the safe’s lock was relatively easy to break. It wasn’t as if anyone would notice – it looked like it hadn’t been opened in months, if not years. She quickly started to go through the safe, discarding anything that didn’t relate to Slayers. A small lock box was emblazoned with a bio-hazard warning on it, and rested on a small notebook. Grabbing the box, she laughed in delight. How many locks did the uptight Watcher have on this thing? It had to be something particular interesting. The notebook wasn’t much help, as the writing was simply atrocious. She could make out ‘subject showed increased strength’,
and ‘powerful weapon,’
but that was it.
Suddenly, she was gripped with a powerful sneeze and the box tumbled out of her hands. The vials broke and the strange green potion splattered all over her new boots. Grumbling, she reached down and began to clean them, cursing while she did it.
She rubbed her eyes and tried to focus. The chemical smell was giving her a headache and her wrist was aching from the demon she fought last night. She wasn’t too worried, as she killed the creature in a record time, with only a few scratches on her arms and hands, but perhaps she should go lay down before heading for the evening staff meeting.
She had the inane urge to stamp her foot. These Watchers were so lame when it came to weapons. It wasn’t like she found anything worthwhile in the lab...and there was absolutely nothing here to prove her destiny.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Vivian groaned as she boarded the airplane. On one hand, Los Angeles could be a lot of fun. She was so tired of the never-ending rain in England. Give her sunshine and warmth any day. But having to complete this mission with Andrew in charge was just annoying. She knew the other girls thought of him as a nice guy despite the geek factor --but please! The guy was so annoying and had a PowerPoint presentation for everything! Everyone and their extended family members had heard the stories about Buffy and Angel, and it was always followed by the Buffy and Spike saga. It was enough to make her gag. I mean come on - did the woman have a vampire fetish or something?
So on top of the Romeo and Juliet stories, she had to sit through ninety minutes of ‘should we trust Angel?’ lectures entitled, ‘Why Wolfram and Hart Are Bad.’
, not to mention the charts and graphs.
So anyway, she was off to the land of sunshine to find yet another Slayer who had stolen her destiny – this one psychotic.
On one hand, it was rather nice to have been chosen for this mission. It showed that they recognized her abilities even if they selected another thirteen slayers to go with her. Personally, she thought having twelve Slayers on the ground and two snipers flanking them was a bit much. She could certainly handle the shooting by herself, if she was even needed; however, the Council always seemed to love its overkill. Why have one Slayer go when you can send a dozen? It was as if they didn’t trust that she could do the job.
But perhaps this time she wouldn’t complain. Her head was pounding and her stomach felt like it was going to go into revolt any minute. She briefly wondered if she ate something bad, or perhaps was coming down with some super flu. She almost never got sick. ‘Superior genetics,’
she thought smugly.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Giles gazed out the window and wondered if he was doing the right thing in sending Andrew and the Slayers to California.
He knew that Buffy would be inclined to trust Angel and company, but he couldn't help believing that her trust was centered on her romantic feelings towards one or both of the vampires, and less on whether they actually deserved said trust. She was always forgiving them their actions. Perhaps it was better that she was off gathering a Slayer in Ireland. The situation should be resolved by the time she returned.
He sighed deeply. He never thought he would be in a position that he would actually feel like he understood why Travers took some of the actions he did. He didn’t know who to trust and who would be ruled by their emotions. Take Andrew for example. Most of the girls put up with him, and he was rather good about following orders, but he couldn’t be trusted to keep his mouth shut. If he knew that Buffy wasn’t even aware that Angel had taken over Wolfram and Hart, he wouldn’t be able to pull off his role. He hated to mislead the boy, but he was a terrible actor. It was also why he didn’t tell him that Spike was back. Better to conceal the knowledge that the Council was aware of that fact from both vampires. It was for everyone’s own good.
He knew his previous decision to kill Spike was rash- especially in light of the role he had played in closing the Hellmouth- but the recent reports he had been receiving were making him wonder how much of that actually was Spike’s desire to impress Buffy was. After all, his latest intel said that Angel was working for the Senior Partners, and Spike had been resurrected and was working with them as well.
It didn’t bode well that the two souled vampires were most likely compromised – and made him wonder if this had been the plan all along and perhaps that was why Spike had been so willing to give up his life.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of an alarm. Security requested to the infirmary… ‘I wonder what is going on now?’