A Grave Turn of Events
I would warn you that this chapter contains character death, but unless your some sort of weirdo that likes to start reading stories at chapter 3, then you knew that already. However, it is a bit distasteful this time around, but then what would you expect – honour and respect from the Thoroughbred of Sin?
Buffy stood with her sister, who had not stopped sobbing since they had left home earlier that morning. They were waiting alongside the two open graves that were to be the final resting places of Xander and Faith Harris, surrounded by the what remained of their Scooby family, and many of the ex-slayers and newly recruited watchers. Graveyards, she decided, were definitely places best only visited at night.
She still couldn't quite come to terms with it: they had, as a group, cheated death successfully for so long that she had become detached from their mortality. Then last month, Willow's tragic accident had brought that illusion crashing down around them. Now, the powers that suck had taken her other best friend, and her sister slayer from her too.
As if all the pain and loss itself wasn't enough for them to deal with, they'd also had to endure the inevitable posting of Xander and Faith's final moments on YouTube. It hadn't been on the site for long before being taken down, but it was long enough for copies to be made, which spread virally around the Internet. Everyone was laughing at the crazy coachman who'd tried to jump Tower Bridge in a Horse & Carriage – laughing at the death of two people, without whom, they wouldn't be alive to laugh in the first place. She wanted to scream from the rooftops, and let everyone know what heroes the newlyweds that had been taken from them really were – what they had fought, for no reward other than the knowledge that it was the right thing to do. It wasn't fair that they should die without the respect the world owed them. Then, there was that stupid fake photograph of the horse that turned up in the National Enquirer. It had bolted after somehow becoming free from the carriage and making the jump, never to be seen again. However, some loser had created a photoshop of it making its escape water-skiing down the Thames. Tabloid journalists, she felt, had no sense of shame.
She looked up, alerted by the arrival of the antique hearse that carried the last remains of the two lovers, and watched as was backed up towards the graves. It came to a stop about eight feet away from them, and Giles and Andrew, who are acting as pallbearers waited while the funeral director released the clamps the fastened the coffins to the base of the carriage, ready to lift them down. Buffy could no longer hold back the tears, and turned toward Dawn, burying her head in her sister's shoulder. Dawn reached around to hug Buffy, both sisters giving and receiving comfort.
Both of their heads shot up as, just at the moment Xander's coffin was being unloaded, the horse that had drawn the hearse took a step back and reared up on its hind legs, giving out a terrifying whinny. The carriage backed into the end of the coffin, pushing it back toward the open grave. “Giles!” yelled Dawn, but there was nothing the watcher could do: he was stood at the end of the coffin, and was pushed back into the six foot hole. Caught unaware, Andrew and the two mortuary attendants were unable to hold back the weight of the coffin as it was pushed from their hands, and fell on top of Giles.
Buffy leapt over Faith's Grave and fell to the ground next to Xander's. She reached down, and in an act that would be impossible for anyone else on the planet, reached down, leaning her whole body right into the grave, to grab a handle on the side of the coffin. Then with only one hand and one foot clinging to the surface lifted the coffin, not to mention her own bodyweight back, out on the grass. She immediately jumped back down into the grave, her feet landing either side of Giles prone body, and crouched over him. She put her ear to his mouth, but her slayer hearing already told her the news she didn't want to hear: he wasn't breathing and his heart wasn't beating. She was about to try mouth-to-mouth when she noticed the angle his head was pressed against the graveside; like Willow a month earlier, Giles' neck had been broken.
As the anger welled up inside her, she could hear hoofbeats receding. This wasn't a co-incidence, she realised. Four members of her family killed by horses inside a month. Or what looked like horses. It must be some kind of horse-shaped demon clan. Boiling with rage, the slayer somersaulted out of the grave, twisting through one hundred and eighty degrees in mid-air, and took off after the equine demon.
Bad horse looked back as he galloped through the gates to the graveyard, just in time to see the slayer's dramatic beginning to her pursuit. So, she'd finally put two and two together; that would make his next move all the more fun! But first, there was the small matter of his escape to deal with. Normally, being a horse, he wouldn't even consider it a problem to outrun a human, but an enraged slayer was a different prospect entirely. Fortunately, he had planned for exactly this outcome – something the slayer came to realise as she heard the helicopter approach.
She was catching the demon, and once she did, then she would make it talk, and then she would make it pay. Then she noticed the noise above them, and cast her eyes skyward, where she was shocked to see a helicopter diving towards the stallion in front of her. Dangling from its underside was an electromagnet, which Fury Leika activated from the pilot's seat. The magnet immediately sought out the steel plate that had been embedded in the specially designed saddle, and an extremely frustrated Slayer drew to a halt and fell to her knees in anguish as Bad Horse took to the air.
Back at the graveyard, Dawn was in hysterics, her whole world collapsing around her. The priest, who had been waiting to perform the funeral ceremony when the tragedy occurred, put an arm around her, and led her away from the graveside.
“Come on my dear, let's get you into the rectory,where you can rest.” Dawn allowed herself to be guided by the priest, still crying into her handkerchief. “That must be soaking, here take mine.” Dawn took the proffered piece of cloth, glad for something dry to wipe her tears on, but as she brought it up to her nose, the priest suddenly wrapped his hand around hers and pressed the handkerchief firmly against her. As the chloroform took effect, he pulled her into the back of a waiting car, and closed the door behind them. The driver slowly pulled away so as not to draw any attention to their getaway, while Fake Thomas Jefferson removed the false beard he wore, before placing his favourite cocked hat back upon his head.
Dawn awoke to find herself in a deserted stable. She was dressed in a white blouse with cream jodhpurs, and on her head she wore a black riding cap. Her feet were encased in leather boots, and fastened around her left ankle was a manacle, attached by a chain to a railing. Hearing hoof-beats, she turned and, trembling, she looked into the eyes of the creature that was killing everyone she loved.
Bad Horse, Bad Horse,
Bad Horse, he's bad.
Giles has kicked the bucket; situation's looking grave,
And the Evil League of Evil has made Dawn their slave.
So will the Bad Horse kill her, or will Buffy make a save?
Perhaps Andrew faced with no recourse, will use the power of the force,
Against Bad Horse.