: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer
nor am I in any way associated with anyone who does. Second verse same as the first - I do not own Moonlight
nor am I in any way associated with anyone who does.Consequences VI - This is the World They Made
Buffy was deeply surprised when her eyes opened this time. The four of them were standing on Main Street Sunnydale, which was simply not possible. Sunnydale was gone, destroyed in closing the Hellmouth and defeating the First.
"Apparently not," Xander said from her side causing Buffy to realize that she'd voiced her speculation.
Coraline was looking between Xander and Buffy clearly confused.
"This is, or was, our home," Buffy started.
"Or something like it," Spike said, and he sounded unhappy. "We were told we couldn't go back there, remember? So, this can't be ours
"It's actually a really long story," Buffy finished lamely.
"Let's see," Xander said. "Buff died, was saved, then died again. That time everything changed. Though it was a few years before we
figured that out."
Coraline appeared even more confused, and Buffy couldn't really blame her.
"The first time, I drowned," Buffy said. "I was only gone for a few moments, but plenty of things changed in those few moments. The second time... Well, it felt like a long time for me, but was only a few months for everyone else," Buffy realized that for the first time she could actually think about everything without feeling even a small twinge of bitterness that had been a part of her for so very long.
Xander looked thoughtful. "I think it was her first death that opened a way for the First."
"But...," Buffy stammered. That couldn't be right, could it?
"I was only gone for a moment."
"So you've said," Xander replied.
Spike smirked. "Could have been enough. It was, after all, long enough to call a new Slayer."
"And remember the First started messing around with Deadboy before you died the second time."
Buffy blinked. She'd never thought about that before, but Xander was right. Of course, they'd been told that it wasn't because she'd died, but because she was no longer dead. That applied to her first death just as much as her second. Still everyone, herself included, had assumed that it was her second death which had opened a door for the First.
Faced with this new thought, Buffy couldn't help but wonder if she had been supposed to stay dead that first time, which was just completely depressing.
Xander grinned. "I think maybe you're second death actually slowed him down."
"Well, think about it," Xander said, and from his tone he was clearly enjoying his brief stint as Giles. "If it was because you were alive that he/it was able to gain access... Well, it stands to reason that your second death probably slammed the door in his face, at least until... Well, until we did what we did."
Buffy nodded. Xander was making a scary amount of sense.
"I know I'm not Giles, what with his fancy Brit-speak and all, but I think that's why we had over a year until the First started becoming active again."
"Makes sense," Buffy said thoughtfully. "So, you think in this reality I stayed dead?"
"Maybe," and Xander didn't seem happy about that. After a moment, Buffy realized she knew why, Xander wouldn't like the thought that there was a version of him out there that hadn't saved her. Come to think of it she didn't like it much either.
There was a chuckle from behind them, and all four of them whipped around.
For a moment, Buffy thought she was going to faint. Standing before her was clearly another version of herself, and for a very brief moment, she had flashbacks to the First. With a glance she realized that Xander and Spike were having First flashbacks, as well.
"I didn't exactly stay dead, so you aren't completely correct," the other Buffy said, then giggled. "No years supply of turtle wax for you! Though I did drown, and my White Knight did saveth me," she said.
Buffy couldn't deny that the voice was her own, though it was much lighter than she could remember her own voice ever having been.
"I don't know about you," she said with a wink to Buffy. "But I have clever friends. Willow, or possibly Giles, maybe both, came up with a plan. If my being alive was the problem, then the solution was obvious."
"Right," Buffy said slowly as the hair on the back of her neck rose.
The other Buffy smiled knowingly.
"I'm starving. You see, I haven't been up and about long," now she looked coy, and Buffy was sure she'd never looked that way, ever!
"And what do I spy with my little eyes? A Slayer, and one juicy human, both perfectly ripe for the eating," she paused, and made a step toward Xander. "My Xander shaped friend, except not."
"Really," Buffy said, and finally admitted to herself that this Buffy wasn't the First at all. No this Buffy was something so much worse. The First had copied her appearance exactly, there were very subtle differences between herself and this Buffy, and one not so subtle difference.
Buffy watched as Spike seemed to come to the same realization. He moved closer to Xander, and Buffy was grateful, she hated vampires, but she wasn't sure if she could stake herself or not. On the other hand, she wasn't sure she was willing to let a vampire version of herself keep existing.
"Spike turned me," the other Buffy admitted, then giggled before doing a full twirl.
Buffy wondered if the process of becoming a vampire had actually unhinged her mind. This other Buffy didn't seem to be all there.
"Oh, he didn't want to," she turned to Coraline and stage-whispered. "You see he went out and got his-self a soul."
Buffy felt the Spike beside her tense, and completely understood. While her Spike no longer had his soul he'd had one for a brief period of time. Then he'd made a deal with the Powers, and part of the deal had forced him to give up his soul. It was crystal clear that the Spike in this reality had not made the same deal her Spike had.
"And where's the rest of the gang now?" Spike asked.
The other Buffy smiled. "You're still around, I can feel you. I think maybe you feel guilty. That's all a soul is good for, after all," she winked at Spike. "Willow and Giles left Sunnydale, though they said if they ever saw me again they would kill me. I really don't believe them."
"And me?" Xander asked, though it sounded as though he really didn't want to know.
"I sent you on a mission right after the First started messing around," the other Buffy replied, and Buffy felt herself tense. She had considered the same thing. But in the end she'd decided that she wanted Xander at her side, not off on what was probably a useless fact-finding mission. At the time Buffy believed she was being selfish, but now she was grateful that she hadn't sent Xander away.
"Mission?" Xander asked.
"A knowledge gathering mission to an old friend. I would have went myself, but we had a few problems - all those whinny and annoying Potentials running around," the other Buffy sighed dramatically. "After I killed one, the rest didn't even have the courage to try and take me. Not that I would have ate anymore, the bitch didn't even have the decency to taste good.
"And that doesn't even count the demon who became completely useless, the vampire who wasn't much better, and the witch who refused to do magic."
Buffy was actually stunned when a look of guilt stole across the other Buffy's face at the mention of Willow before quickly being replaced by what probably passed for this Buffy's normal expression.
"I had to do everything myself. But Xander, Xander was there, always at my side, and always so very eager to help out. We needed to know about the First, and wouldn't you know it there was someone out there, someone we knew well who had first-hand knowledge of the First..."
"Angel," Buffy whispered. Xander's head whipped around to face her, but Buffy couldn't bring herself to look at him. "You sent him to see Angel."
The other Buffy nodded.
"What happened?" Buffy asked, though she had to force the question out between her clenched teeth.
The other Buffy giggled again, and Buffy was almost ready to kill her just to stop the giggling.
"I didn't know it at the time, but you see the LA gang had a few problems of their own, very serious problems."
"Let's see," another voice spoke from behind them, and once again it was a voice she knew well. "There was a big honkin' reign of fire."
Coming out of the shadows side by side was Xander and Angel, except she knew it was Angelus even without checking to see if he was wearing leather pants.
"My car got smoked," Vander Two continued.
"You've got to be kidding me," Xander said, then looked toward the sky. "What is this? The many lives of vampire Xander? Do you really hate me that much?"
Buffy started to move back to comfort Xander, but Spike beat her to it.
"Too much talking, not enough dying," Angelus said, and began to circle them.
Buffy turned to glare at him, while the other Buffy giggled. "You really want to fight them?"
Angelus looked at her, but looked like he was ready to say yes to the other Buffy. However, he faced the four of them before speaking, and something in his expression changed. What Buffy didn't know, but clearly it was something that made him rethink his decision to attack.
Buffy realized that she would easily be able to kill this Angelus. Perhaps because he wasn't hers, but it might have been something else, but that might have been what he saw. Either way he backed down, though Buffy knew it wouldn't last long. This was Angelus after all, and one that had spent a good many years 'suffering' under a soul.
"Angelus here saw something that put a real dent in his soul," Buffy said, then leaned in close and stage-whispered again. "His girl was making it
with his son."
"You?" Buffy asked, feeling shocked.
The other Buffy shook her head. "I'm not his girl anymore."
Sadness washed over Buffy, and it was weird to be feeling exactly what vampire Buffy was feeling.
"Xander showed up just after soul-boy had his little peep-show," Angelus said. "And the rest as they say is history."
"Just my luck really," Vander Two said. "It's my lot in life. Terrible timing. Of course, this time it wasn't so bad, though I was ready to crap my pants before. I was such a wimp."
"Not to mention whinny," Xander grumbled from beside her, which almost made Buffy smile.
"I was grateful, really," Angelus replied. "It's why I turned him. If he hadn't shown up soul-boy might have got control of himself, and that would have really sucked."
Xander tensed as Angelus ran a hand down the side of Vander Two's face.
"It was an interesting moment," Angelus continued. "I always thought my salvation lay with you
," a hard look was directed at the other Buffy. "Not him
Buffy almost laughed as a sour look crossed Xander's face while Vander Two preened under Angelus' attention.
Angelus looked around, then smirked. "Still William needs to be punished. He knows better than to play with daddies toys while he's away," while speaking he'd moved closer to the other Buffy, and now he wrapped his right arm around her pulling her close all the while glaring at Spike.
Spike held his gaze, which seemed to disturb Angelus.
"You know, William," Angelus called out suddenly. "It would be so much better to just come out and take your medicine like a good little boy while I'm feeling merciful."
"Yeah, right," Xander said, and Buffy decided Spike was a bad influence on Xander. Not that Xander couldn't be sarcastic enough on his own, but he sounded so much like Spike at the moment that Buffy wondered if maybe she should separate the two of them.
"Even Spike isn't quite that
touched in the head."
"Hey," Spike yelped, and Buffy saw him lightly smack the back of Xander's head.
Angelus chucked, and Buffy didn't like the way he was looking her Xander over.
"My boy here was much more fun than I was expecting," he said, turning to face Vander Two. "What do you think? Would he be as much fun?"
Vander Two grinned. "Maybe, but I like to think I'm one of a kind."
"Of course you are, but perhaps with him we could rule not just Sunnydale, but the entire world."
"And that'll be enough of that," Xander said firmly. "I'm quite happy being plain ol' human Xander, thank you very much."
"So," the other Buffy said, while Vander Two and Angelus continued to watch Xander. "If you faced the First, but didn't die
, how did you
Buffy felt herself grin. "Well, there was a rock, a weapon, and a woman. With Willow's help we made every potential in the world a Slayer, and thanks to Angel and Spike we closed the Hellmouth for good."
The three in front of Buffy all frowned. In another situation it would have been amusing. Even now Buffy almost chuckled, probably would have but didn't want to sound anything like her other self.
"One more question," the other Buffy asked. "He said you died twice."
Buffy frowned. "You didn't? What happened to Dawn?"
The other Buffy looked sad, but only for a moment. "Glory, that bitch, I couldn't beat her, I tried," she paused. "I did manage to make her weak, but it was too late. When I looked up..."
Buffy felt her insides tighten.
"The portal was open," Buffy was surprised to see a tear run down the other Buffy's face. "Before I could react, I saw that Dawn had freed herself. She looked down at me from the tower, told me she loved me, and then she just jumped.
"We never found her body," the other Buffy said.
Buffy felt faint again, until she realized that no body strongly implied that her sister, or this version of her sister, wasn't dead, or worse trapped in trapped in a hell dimension. Perhaps this Dawn was out there traveling the multi-verse just as she, Xander, Spike, and now Coraline were. She had to believe that.
"Now if you'll excuse me," the other Buffy sounded completely normal again. "I really must find someone to eat."
Buffy might have objected, but her mind was stuck on Dawn. She knew this realities Dawn wasn't her Dawn, but she suspected the differences would have been few. Suddenly Buffy was trapped in memories that were not her own.
She could easily picture Dawn looking down at her from the tower. The wind blowing her hair, just the same as it had her Dawn, who had also planned to jump. Would have jumped if Buffy hadn't got to her first.
Buffy felt her eyes water.
"I love you!" She could hear her phantom sister scream.
Then clear as day, Buffy could see Dawn run from the back of the tower and dive into the maelstrom.
She knew these memories were not hers, and that this Dawn was not her Dawn, and finally she managed to break free of them. In her reality she had saved her sister and that's all that mattered.
"Um," Xander said, and Buffy sighed. There were times when she knew Xander could take care of himself, this wasn't one of those times.
"I would be willing to donate."
Now Angelus and Vander Two were looking at Xander as though he'd done something very interesting.
Buffy started to point out that Xander wasn't trying to be a hero, he just had a hard-on for her vampire self. But she was afraid Xander might think she was angry. Perhaps she should have been, but she couldn't exactly cast the first stone since she'd been just a teeny bit attracted to the original Vander.
Xander turned to Buffy. "Just don't let her, or those two, turn me."
"I've said it before," Buffy said, but she was smiling. "I worry for you."
"Hey," Xander said. "You did the same for Vander, I believe it's only fair that I do the same for Vuffy," Xander frowned. "Vuffy just doesn't work as well as Vander, does it?"
"BuffyV, maybe," Buffy replied, and shared another smile with Xander.
"Another me?" Vander Two asked, as the other Buffy moved in closer to Xander.
"Yeah," Buffy said, and forced herself not to look away as her other self revealed her other face. The face of her demon. It wasn't pleasant to see her own face transformed, down right disturbing is what it was, but at least she didn't have to worry about Xander, because Spike was watching BuffyV and Xander like a hawk.
Buffy realized that Vander Two was waiting for more information.
"That version of Xander was turned because I never came to Sunnydale," Buffy replied. "You and Willow both became vampires."
"I remember that," Vander Two said with a smirk, which Buffy had to admit looked good on him. "Vamp Willow was hot."
"We should find our
little witch," Angelus said, as the other Buffy continued to feed. "Just in case she decides to do something none of us will like."
Finally, the other Buffy pulled away from the still living Xander, and while she'd never admit it out loud, Buffy was impressed with the amount of self-control her other self seemed to have. Usually young vampires killed, not just because they could, but because they had to.
Of course, old vampires almost always killed, but that was because they wanted to not necessarily because they had to.
Xander looked like he'd just had the most amazing sexual experience of his life, and Buffy knew she was blushing. She'd known after feeding Angel before graduation day that the feeling was very much pleasant. Somehow though she managed to keep her face from getting any redder.
When she looked up, she was face to face with her other self, who was grinning wickedly.
"You lucky girl," she said, then turned back to Xander. "You sure you don't want to join us? We could have lots of fun together."
Buffy couldn't help herself, she glanced at Spike, and she knew simply from the expression on his face that he was very much turned on, and for once Buffy found herself not exactly caring how perverted that made everything seem.
"Tempted," Xander replied, his voice was heavy, satisfied. "But I'm happy with who and what I am."
"Great," Buffy said, and managed to keep her voice light, or as light as her voice got, but not as light as the other Buffy. "I'm surrounded by sickos."
Spike snorted, and wrapped his arms around her, then he ground his hips against her ass, proving what she all ready knew. He was hard and ready.
"I know you enjoy it," and this time Buffy couldn't stop herself from blushing bright red. "You aren't just surrounded by sickos sweetheart, you're one of us."
"Do tell," Vander Two said.
Angelus was also smirking.
"Not ever," Buffy snapped. "And this conversation is over."
"Well, then...," Angelus began, and stepped forward, both Coraline and Spike tensed.~ * ~ * ~