The characters contained here-in from the Buffy the Vampire franchise are the property of Joss Whedon et.al. The characters from the Anita Blake book series are the property of Laurell K. Hamilton. If the character cannot be described as such, they belong to me. No infringments of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission. No profit is being made from this story.Author's Note:
This story disregards all Buffy canon after the seventh season and all canon after the third book of the Anita Blake book series. As this story takes place in an alternate version of Anita's world, some of the facts may be twisted. If something is incorrect that you believe should not be, feel free to contact me.Prologue
The night was, contrary to most nights in Buffy Summer's life, calm and uneventful. Not one of the newly deceased residents of Washington D.C. seemed inclined to rise and Buffy was well on her way to perpetual boredom as she drove between the grave sites of potential vampire victims. Exiting the car for the fifth time that night, she twirled a stake into her pocket and scowled at the unlit entrance. Maybe she should look into the possibility of assigning another slayer to Carmen's area while Carmen vacationed. Even with the seductive closeness to Dawn at the N.A. Headquarters, this was becoming tedious. There had to be some young girl somewhere who needed an area like this to get used to her new gift.
Finally reaching her next destination, Buffy scuffed her foot over the fresh earth covering Nicolas Smith's last resting place and then settled in to wait for some indication that Smith would rise. Experience said that the presence of a slayer sped up the rising of a vampire, but it didn't make the process of waiting any more fun. This was what slaying was these days though - ever since all Potentials had been awakened and the First Evil thwarted, there had been fewer and fewer disasters that needed her attention and thus nightly patrolling of local graveyards was as much her normal day as it was a newbie potential's.
Smith remained silent and Buffy headed for the next grave. Maybe she could go visit Angel for a while after finding a replacement for the area - or maybe not. Their situation was still as impossible as ever and Buffy was quite frankly not willing to expose herself to the heartache attached anytime soon. Which meant staying away from dating completely, she admitted to herself in the silence of the graveyard where there was no Dawn to protest her 'pessimistic mindset'. All of her boyfriends since Pike had come with heartache and bad break-ups and the possibility of domestic happiness seemed to disappear rapidly as the years passed.
Buffy perched herself on a stone marker next to the freshly up-turned dirt marking the next spot and let her thoughts wander. How long had it been since that first serious relationship? Fifteen years? Sixteen? It seemed so long ago... It was hard to remember Pike's face these days and Merrick's was little more than a blur. She could barely remember her first vampire kill at this point.
She frowned, the thought setting something off in her mind. While the details of the encounter was fuzzy, she was fairly sure she did
remember her first kill, and-- It was strange, the image her mind supplied her with. There was no game-face, no demonic taint, no snarling. It hadn't really been like your average vampire at all. In fact
, she couldn't remember seeing another vampire like it since moving to Sunnydale.
"...the hell?" she muttered and slid off the stone, digging out her cellphone. She needed to ask Willow about this.
"You might say that," a voice agreed.
Buffy dropped the phone, her jaw going tense. She knew that voice. "Whistler." She turned and greeted him with a tense, tooth-y smile. "Long time no see. Couldn't we have kept it that way? I could deal with seeing you, oh, never again
Whistler tsked at her and shook his head. "I'm hurt! One might think you didn't trust me."
Buffy raised an eyebrow. "Is there a reason I should? It's not like you're the harbinger of bad news or anything."
Whistler scratched the back of his neck. "It's not like I decide the news I carry." He caught the look Buffy gave him and held up a hand. "No, really. I'm bound to the Powers that Be as you are. Just a messenger, slayer."
Buffy retrieved her stake. "Want to get to the point?"
Whistler winced. "Yes, yes," he said and grabbed something in his pocket. "Do you want to go somewhere to talk?" Buffy raised the stake. "Or not. Slayer, I'm just here to answer your question."
"Then answer it," she suggested. "Five minutes, then I'm out of here. I still have graveyards to visits, vampires to slay - you know, the thing."
Whistler straightened, the smile he'd worn wiped off. "So be it," he said, then met her eyes. "You were wondering about the vampires you killed in Los Angeles."
"Yeah," Buffy agreed, drawing out the word. "You've got a point?"
Whistler shot her a look. "If you would close your nattering mouth for a second," he said, then waited until she waved at him to continue. "The reason your memories tell you things were different back then, is because they were."
Buffy tensed. "What do you mean?"
"You're not from around here." Something started to build in the air, something uncomfortable and hard. "When you were Called, you lived in a neighboring dimension. After you defeat of Lothos, the Powers decided you were needed more in this dimension than the one you were born in."
It felt as if a fist had grabbed her by the heart and was squeezing
"The dimension you were born in had no need of a slayer," Whistler continued, paying her no attention. "This universe were in grave need of one. You know how it goes: few if any slayers before you lived to see their eighteenth birthday. In the dimension where you were born, a slayer is only called when the need is grave. Lothos created that need, you were the one to answer it. Only you showed a potential the world had never seen before. Even the Powers were taken by surprise."
And just like that, Buffy knew where this was going. "They wouldn't let me go."
," Whistler corrected her. "Not when someone like you were needed so badly."
Buffy gritted her teeth. "What is it then? Have all my life been a lie since I came to Sunnydale?"
"No," Whistler replied. "Everything was, is
very much real. To you, the dimensions were identical up to that moment. It was merely a question of switching you and your counterpart in this dimension."
"And what of the other me?"
Whistler shook his head.
Buffy ignored the sudden tightness of her chest and fought to keep her voice from shaking as she spoke. "You want me to return there."
"I'm sorry for what it's worth," Whistler offered. "Your work as a slayer is over. Maybe this other dimension can offer the peace you've been looking for."
Buffy shook her head. "Don't," she said, mind frantically trying to figure out what to do. Grasping at straws, she said, "Do I get to say goodbye?"
Whistler looked away. Buffy froze, something she didn't even want to consider beginning to form in her mind. When Whistler spoke again, there was nothing but shadows and stone in his voice. "You have already been transferred." He reached into a pocket, withdrew a thick package. "All you need is in here."
He tossed the package at her; she didn't catch it, moving instead towards him with narrowed eyes. With a look in his eyes Buffy had never seen before, Whistler batted her away before she had the chance to attack. She slammed into a tree, struggling to find her breath as he walked away. Just before he disappeared through the high gates of the graveyard, before she had gathered herself enough to follow, he turned towards her. "Don't try to find someone to move you through the dimensions," he warned. "The Powers won't allow it."
Then he was gone, leaving rusty gates creaking behind him as he faded into nothing. Buffy was left on her knees, fingers digging into fresh earth and eyes staring at nothing in a world she'd never knew she had left and did no longer know.TBC