Disclaimer: see Chapter 1
To say that the girls were worried would be wrong. No, they weren’t worried, exactly. There was a lot of fear, and excitement, and some anger for what was to come; there was even a bit of joy knowing that what they were to do would help, even if they, themselves, failed. Others could and would succeed in their place. They had to.
It was around mid afternoon when the Slayers called the Potentials to a stop. Buffy and Faith had been training them since Buffy had returned, trying to drill a lifetime of knowledge into six hours or so.
“Go inside, relax out here, call your parents,” Buffy said, “Do whatever matters to you. Just remind yourself of what you’ll be fighting for.”
“And clean your weapons, yo!” shouted Faith as everyone was walking back inside.
Kennedy was, herself, curious about the girl who had appeared right after lunch break. Having traveled with Annabelle, Kennedy knew the other Potential had been prone to mood swings, and her long silences would be dotted with periods of being unable to get the girl to shut up. It was only towards the end, when she seemed to have grabbed on to a purpose, that an actual conversation could happen. And, despite all of this, Kennedy had liked the girl.
The thing was, during a couple of her endlessly talking stages, Annabelle had told Kennedy about her family: the father that drove everyone away; the mother who just went through the motions; the caring uncle that worked too hard; and, the recently deceased aunt that only really loved money. All of that and she never once mentioned anything about a cousin Rose. The only Rose she ever mentioned was the dog of her dead money-grubbing aunt.
Stopping outside the back door to stretch, Kennedy let her mind wander to other subjects. More specifically, to the upcoming fight. They would go in tomorrow morning, all of them. A spell would be cast, and they would win or they would loose. Some of the others saw this as a game, not fully realizing what failure meant (despite all that Faith and Buffy had said and shown). Kennedy was ready, or at least liked to think she was. She had grown up knowing power, grown up enjoying the privileges and thriving on the responsibilities. And tomorrow, the ever lovely Willow would cast that spell, and Kennedy would get to enjoy further power. All she had to do was survive.
Rose, though, she was new to power and responsibility. The way she held herself, the way she spoke, gave it away. Her first inclination past any decision made, no matter how small the decision, was to doubt. And, to Kennedy, this just did not harmonize with the family she was claiming. The powerful father and the mother used to wealth was a bit too like her own family. In families like that a person either sinks or swims, and Rose was barely floating.
Finishing up her stretches, Kennedy decided it was time to figure out the puzzle that was claiming to be Annabelle’s cousin.
“That almost heartbeat I heard before. It’s back.” Spike was casting confused glances around the room. Dawn was leading the near catatonic Rose to the nearest seat.
“So,” Xander ventured, “it is Rose.”
“Why would you say that?” asked Giles.
“Well,” said Xander, “she goes all panicky-frozen over there, and suddenly Spike hears the extra heartbeat again.”
“Well, what about Dawn?” asked Andrew. “She’s all panicky, too.”
“We’ve seen Dawn get scared before,” said Xander, “and her panic doesn’t have a heartbeat all its own.
is right here, you know,” Dawn snapped, giving the all a look.
“So Spike, is it Rose?” Xander continued, ignoring Dawn.
“How the bloody hell should I know?” came the reply. “Couldn’t tell before, how am I supposed to tell now?”
“Well, I don’t know,” Xander said with an exaggerated shrug. “Maybe by following it to it’s source?”
Muttering something about a ‘bloody annoying whelp,’ Spike, nonetheless, stood up and began wandering the room. Starting with those closest to him, he stopped by each person, staring intently at nothing. On his second round, those not frozen in panic started to get restless.
“Spike?” Xander asked.
“I can’t rightly figure out where it’s coming from if certain people keep talking, can I?” came the irritated response.
After his third go around, he sighed and shook his head.
“It sounds the same no matter where I am in the room,” he said. “I can’t figure out where it is.”
“Um, Spike?” came the soft question from Willow. “Could it be you? Not that I’m saying you have a heartbeat. I mean, could the reason that it never gets louder be because the heartbeat stays with you as you walk around?”
As he was standing near Andrew, the young man decided to test the theory out for himself. He somehow managed to latch on to the vampire’s wrist, no matter how hard Spike tried to shake him off.
“Get off of me!” said Spike, desperately shaking his arm and finally dislodging the geek.
“Nope,” Andrew said, rather cheerfully, “still dead!”
“Willow’s reasoning is sound, though,” said Giles. “Do you think it could be something you’re carrying?”
With a shrug, the vampire started to empty out his pockets, leather duster and all. All but Rose gathered around the coffee table to see the contents. A few packs of cigarettes, a couple of loose cigarettes, the amulet, a lighter, some candy wrappers, a bottle of black nail polish, and a kitten’s collar had been uploaded on the table next to the carelessly discarded Revera Stone, before Rose managed to shake herself out of the horror the memory had put her in.
“What have I done?” she whispered to herself, yet still gaining the attention of those gathered around the coffee table.
“Rose?” Dawn asked, moving over to kneel in front of the other girl. “Are you okay?”
“No,” Rose said, continuing to whisper. “I killed them all. I was so angry at them for all they had done, that I just made them… stop.”
Watery eyes looked up, meeting Dawns. How could she explain that she forgot destroying an entire civilization? Especially to this girl who thought Rose could help save lives with information she had from the past?
Kennedy stood outside the door, listening to Rose’s heart shatter. She had just gotten there, more then willing to burst in there and begin her own interrogations when she heard Rose’s statement: “I killed them all.” The anguish that came from those words astounded her. Was this what she was going to feel like tomorrow, after all was said and done? Part of her couldn’t believe this. No one became this upset because of a demon, right?
Perhaps Rose had been part of the resistance back in England. Kennedy remembered hearing about that, all the lives that had been lost, in the middle of her father ranting about an investment that had been destroyed with the rest of the Cybermen. Could she feel guilty about defending herself?
“Whom did you kill?” asked Kennedy, not even realizing she had turned the corner and stepped into the living room. A few surprised looks indicated even the vampire hadn’t heard her come in.
“The Daleks,” said Rose, “I’m not from here, you see. I-I was born in another dimension. I was traveling with my… the Doctor when they attacked. There was so many of them, and so many had died already. And, then, I had the power to do something, so I did. But I didn’t just do something; I did everything. I destroyed them all.”
“It sounds to me,” said Kennedy, “that you did something right. You said they were killing people, so you were just protecting them.”
“Yes,” came the defeated response, “but it was my fault they were there in the first place.”
“What exactly does that mean?” Kennedy asked, wondering if she should go get a weapon. With a mental shrug, she dismissed the idea. Willow and the vampire could take care of the girl, if it turned out Rose was dangerous.
Rose put her head in her hands.
“We had a chance, the Doctor and I, to kill the last of the Daleks. They destroyed each other, the Daleks and the Doctor’s people, in this big war, and the Doctor thought he was the only one to survive. But, he was wrong. When we found it, he wanted to kill the last Dalek, and I stopped him. I asked him to give mercy to it, and he did. And then, it decided to go off and create an army in its image, and attack earth, my earth.”
“This doctor,” asked Dawn, trying, from her vantage point in front of the girl, to get her to look up from the ground. “Is he the one you lost?” A sob confirmed her suspicions.
“Did the Daleks kill him?” she continued.
“No,” came the muffled response. “I destroyed them before the Doctor could be harmed. I lost him when I became trapped in this dimension with my mother. I wanted to stay with him so badly, but it was not to be, I suppose.”
“Oh! Oh!” Andrew was bouncing on his chair at his realization. “The Daleks? Were they aliens? Did you actually fight aliens?!”
That got a watery chuckle from Rose, finally looking up. The unadulterated glee in the geek’s voice helped to distract her a bit.
“I don’t mean to be the voice of doubt, here,” said Kennedy, looking at the girl in front of her. “How exactly did you destroy this army of monsters? Even if you were a Slayer, an entire army is a lot to take on.”
“I… looked somewhere I shouldn’t have. When I did, I’m not sure what happened. I think I was given power over time, but it nearly killed me. I didn’t remember what happened, but the memories are starting to come back to me, after looking at that Stone.”
“So, it was when you had all this power that the army…?” Dawn trailed off, not wanting Rose to fall back down into her sadness.
“Yeah,” said Rose, feeling the sorrow become overwhelming anyway.
“Everybody has to carry something, Rose,” Willow said, the sadness and self recrimination in her eyes enough to cut. “I’m so sorry it has to be so much for you, I really am. But, you have to carry it and go on, or it will eat you up and the First won’t even have to try for you.”
“Look, I don’t think I know what this First thing is. It isn’t likely to be the Gelth, so I don’t see how I can help you.” Suddenly, something caught Rose's eye. “What is that?” she asked, pointing to the coffee table.
There was a glowing pulse coming from the amulet.
“Hmm. Guess it was with me,” said a thoughtful Spike.
Seriously, desperately seeking beta. Will pay in quotes from old 80s movies.