Chapter 41: An Old One
Chapter 41: An Old One
A/N: It won’t be as long as I wanted but the anniversary demands I post even a blurb of something. There is, however, a companion story (‘Into the Deeper Well’
) that acts as backstory to this chapter which might help make up a little for it. I had the companion piece written months ago, but didn’t want to post it before this chapter because it would give away the surprise.
Warning: There’s a couple Trekkie moments happening in this chapter.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
Thanks to my betas: sorry, none this time ‘cause I wanted to post on the story’s anniversary.
Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. Jack Ryan and his friends belong to Tom Clancy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.Posted in Honor of the 3rd anniversary of the story on TtH! Starting to wonder if this story will ever end.
Dreamscape… A figure came out of the blowing sand and asked, “Which one of you is my Qwa'ha Xahn?”
Buffy looked at her friends with a raised eyebrow, then replied, “Depends on what this ‘Kwah-ha-zahn’ thing is…and exactly who you are and what you want,” she added challengingly.
The figure – which currently looked very similar to Fred – studied Buffy intently before smiling at her. “You are one of mine; the one that has pulled at me within my prison,” she declared like a proud mother.
“Excuse me?” Buffy demanded. As much as she wanted to deny this…thing’s claim, she could
feel a connection to it/her, much to her annoyance. It was a very
strong connection, too.
Instead of answering Buffy, the Fred-a-like studied the other three, her eyes narrowing when they finished with Wesley. “You are from the line that imprisoned me and stole my daughters,” the being growled as she stepped towards him.
Immediately, Buffy blocked the path, somehow wielding the Scythe within the dreamscape. “Leave him alone!”
“My weapon!” the Old One exclaimed. “Wait! Why are you protecting him? Does he have you bewitched? Do I need to free you?” she asked, staring into the eyes of her daughter for the truth. She knew that if the girl were truly bewitched, the verbal response couldn’t be trusted, but the non-verbal would tell her all she needed to know. In this case, it was telling her that nobody controlled this daughter. That knowledge made her smile. She would leave the man alone if he was an ally to her daughter instead of her handler.
Tara had been silently observing the being that – according to all their research – should have been ordering them all to bow down to her/it/him already. But she/it/he wasn’t…and it was very confusing. “Who are you?” she inquired, hoping that the name would give them some clue.
“You could be my Qwa’ha Xahn, but you don’t have the markings necessary,” the Fred ‘twin’ proclaimed, then smiled at Tara warmly. “I could give them to you if you want,” she offered. Then she introduced herself, “I am Sineya, mother of the Slayers.”
“Hold on…what?!” Buffy yelled. “I thought the Shadowmen tied some girl down and shoved a demon spirit in her to create the first Slayer!”
Sineya – if that’s who she really was – gazed at Buffy with an unhappy expression. “A lie. They wanted to appear more powerful than they were, as well as wanting the Slayers to fear the source of their power. After all, what sounds more disturbing: the forcible joining those men described or a girl offering
herself to be the Champion of humankind?”
“Okay, you have a point,” Buffy conceded. “But how do we know you are telling the truth?”
“You can feel it. That bond between us tells you I am not lying to you,” Sineya replied. She turned to look at Fred, and continued sadly, “Besides, trusting me is the only chance we have to save your life.”
Fred finally spoke up and asked, “So you know what’s happening?”
Sineya nodded, “Yes. What remains of my essence is being funneled into you. My time trapped in the sarcophagus has left me too weak to stop it without my priestesses, but I can no longer feel any of them.”
“If your priestesses are the Guardians, the last one died several months ago,” Buffy said. It was a shot in the dark, but the way the Guardian talked…how she started to tell Buffy the truth of the Slayer-line before Caleb snapped her neck… It only made sense that she was Sineya’s priestess.
“Buffy? Do you believe she is who she claims to be?” Tara inquired out of the blue. The blonde Slayer nodded in reply so Tara turned back to the Old One and asked, “Would marking me as your Qwa’ha Xahn make me one of your priestesses?” Seeing the confusion on everyone’s faces, she explained, “If we have her consent, our plan has a better chance of succeeding. We won’t have to fight her to do it.”
“You had a plan to save the girl?” Sineya asked hopefully.
Suddenly concerned at what it meant for the being in front of them, Tara stuttered, “Umm, yes…but it probably would destroy…umm…you
“No!” Buffy declared immediately, surprising everyone. “We can’t take the risk of what it would mean to the Slayer-line if Sineya was destroyed!” She paused for a moment, hanging her head as she thought. When she raised it again, they saw a look of determination, mixed with sadness, take over her features. “Tara, become her priestess, then move the essence from Fred into me.”
“It would kill you!” Tara reminded her friend, causing Fred to cry out softly.
“I know,” Buffy acknowledged, “but the world needs the Slayer-line to continue. If we destroy Sineya, there’s a good chance it goes with her.”
Despite the offer being made to her, Sineya did not want to lie to her daughter. “I have not directly affected the line since I sent my essence and weapon to the first girl. All the others were Chosen because they were descendants of my priestesses. It’s possible that my death would have no bearing on the line.”
“It’s not a risk I’m willing to take,” Buffy shot back stubbornly. A line from a movie Xander made her watch years ago sprang to mind. “‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one.’
The world needs the Slayer-line more than it needs Buffy Summers.”
“You’re quoting Spock?!” Fred declared incredulously.
Buffy shrugged. “Seems to apply, don’t you think? Hey, I’ve died for the world two times already; what’s once more? There are some kick ass fighters helping out against the demons, but unfortunately, some things still require a Slayer’s touch.”
Humbled by Buffy’s actions, Sineya spoke to Tara, “Do the spell as you intended to; I will make sure enough of my essence goes into my daughter here.” Looking at said daughter, she went on, “The world would miss Buffy Summers as well.”
When Buffy nodded her agreement, Sineya quickly marked Tara with the symbols needed to become a Qwa’ha Xahn. Then they set up in a picture image of the real world, with Fred lying in the center, the Scythe on top of her. Wes, Buffy and Tara resumed their positions and Sineya stood in Faith’s place. As Faith’s voice seeped into the dreamscape, Sineya and Tara joined the chant, allowing the spell to work its magic.
Oddly enough, Buffy was reminded once again of that Star Trek movie when Sineya’s ‘body’ turned into what looked like transporter molecules. The molecules hovered in place for several moments, then moved in different directions.
About one-third of them went into Tara, causing her to glow for a couple minutes. Then a mist surrounded her before evaporating into the air. Another third did the same to Buffy.
The remaining third split again.
A small portion went into Fred and stayed there. Surprisingly, another portion went into Wes. Given her feelings about the Shadowmen, it stunned them that she would offer part of herself to one of their descendants.
Wes, Fred and Tara watched as the last piece soaked into Buffy’s body and remained in her. They were startled when she changed into Faith. Before they could say anything, though, she became Kendra, then herself again, then a line of other girls they didn’t recognize. Wes made the logical assumption that they were past Slayers.~~~~~~
It took them several minutes to realize that they were no longer in the dreamscape watching this happen, but back in the field where they began.
Angel was the first one to speak up, “What happened in there? Why isn’t Buffy waking up with the rest of you? Why is she changing appearances?”
When he saw the two Slayers he had killed flash by quickly, Spike guessed part of the answer to the last question, but remained silent.
“I felt the spell do its thing, so I stopped chanting. Should I have kept going? Is something bad gonna happen to B because I didn’t?” Faith asked worriedly.
While they were discussing the spell, Oz quietly called Gibbs to explain the spell was over, but they were still waiting for Buffy to wake up. As soon as he learned more – or when she did wake up – he’d call again.~~~~~~Back in DC
Gibbs wasn’t happy about the lack of information, but at least took comfort in the fact that they weren’t killed immediately. He would need his father and Jordy around to keep him from drinking too much while he waited for more news. That, or to keep him from jumping on the first plane to California to be there when she woke up.
When she got home, they’d be having a long discussion about this Slayer thing and if this was something he should expect to happen often in the future. The urge to demand that she give it up almost overwhelmed him…until he remembered that his late wife had done the same thing several years back.
He took a deep breath in an effort to calm himself.
Gibbs would have to be very careful how he worded his concerns to Buffy. And above all, he’d have to remember that this wasn’t something she could quit; just like he couldn’t quit being an NCIS agent without giving up a large part of himself. He wouldn’t make Buffy choose between being a daughter and being a Slayer.
Her choice wasn’t something he could live with – either for her sake and his own.
A/N: I kept having Sineya refer to Buffy as her daughter just because it sounded nicer than vessel or weapon. She honestly thought of the Slayers and Guardians as family.
A/N2: Next…The fallout of the spell.