Prologue: Brave New World
Summary: The Hellmouth was closed. Her friends were gone. Vampires had rights. Potentials were missing. Buffy was pretty sure life was laughing at her right now.
Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. Southern Vampires Mysteries belongs to Charlaine Harris.
Warnings: Character Death; AU; Buffy follows through Season 7 for the most part, though there are some important differences that will be mentioned. As of now, this will not follow Southern Vampire Mysteries canon too much.
Timeline: Takes place a few months after Chosen (Episode 7x22) of Buffy. For the purpose of this story, TruBlood was invented soon after Grave (Episode 6x22).
All images were obtained from photobucket. +++
Prologue: Brave New WorldRing.Ring.Ring."Hey, this is Vi. Sorry I missed-”
“Shit!” Buffy exclaimed in frustration as she threw her cell phone down on her motel bed.
This was bad. She had been trying to get in touch with the redhead for a few weeks now with no luck. This wasn’t like Vi at all. A few days? Maybe. A week? Well, something could’ve come up, and Buffy hadn’t exactly made herself available lately. But two weeks? No way. Something was wrong, as in end of the world wrong.
Buffy could feel a knot of dread forming in the pit of her stomach. Come to think of it, she hadn’t heard back from Kennedy, either, or any of the potentials that closed the Hellmouth. Shit.
She sat down on the bed heavily, staring at the wall as she tried to think of what she should do next. Her mind kept going back to the events that brought her to this situation, however.
It all started about a year ago when TruBlood hit the open market. Suddenly the Sunnydale days of denial were over; people knew about vampires, just like that. Hell, they made the undead creatures of the night into freakin’ watercooler talk.
Then, if that wasn’t surreal enough, the government decided to make it illegal to kill vampires. Talk about putting a damper on her Calling.
Understandably, Buffy and the Scoobies were in a state of disbelief at first. Illegal to kill blood-sucking fiends? And since when did vamps become lobbyists and civil rights advocates? After a lot of research and a not so friendly ‘talk’ with Angel, however, they made a startling discovery: there was more than one kind of vampire. In fact, there were actually several different kinds, all of which had varying supernatural abilities, weaknesses, rules, and hierarchies.
Vampires were complex; color her stunned.
And still, the fun kept coming; evidently none of these other kinds were demons. Granted, they had a giant dose of moral ambiguity and a hankering for human blood, but the bottom line was that there was no demon behind the driver’s wheel. And, apparently, this lack of demon gave these vampires better impulse control. They could even play nice with humans. Mostly.
It was fair to say that this bit of information pretty much rocked Buffy’s world. It also put a strain on her relationship with Angel. Did he not think the Vampire
Slayer might find this interesting, even if these other vamps did avoid Hellmouths and slayers like the plague?
At least demons were still in the closet, crypt, cave, or wherever it was they called home. And they were probably going to stay there, too. It was one thing to acknowledge a human who had undergone some… changes. It was something totally different to accept a seven foot tall chaos demon, antlers and all. And demons on the whole were still bent on destruction. Not the easiest PR campaign.
She also felt mildly better when she realized that Giles had no clue about all this, either. Mostly, it was cold comfort, though, because it meant that the Council had purposefully been keeping this information from slayers and their watchers for centuries. They had to be; it was a pretty important detail to miss. And while those vamps obviously had the whole discretion is the better part of valor thing down, no one was that good at secrecy…
She could see why the Council would do it, too. It muddied the water. It wouldn’t do for slayers to have to ask themselves whether the vamp before them was evil or not, or even worse, to question where to draw the line and why they were the ones that got to draw it. At the very least, it took a little shine off their moral superiority.
And now that the cat was out of the bag and the TruBlood was on the shelves, the water became downright murky. Sludge-like even, especially for her. After all, she had already accepted Angel and his animal blood diet. Was that any different than demonless vamps that drank synthetic blood from a bottle?
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, she didn’t have too much time to dwell on this, because that was the same time that the proverbial shit hit the fan, namely in the guise of the First and its army of Turok-han.
As she had already known, the vamps she knew and slayed were kind of like the bastard children of the supernatural world. They weren’t demon-y enough for the demons, while other vampires thought them akin to mindless animals, corrupted by the demon within. These hybrids were also not part of the big vampy reveal, seeing as they refused to kick their whole ‘killing the innocents’ habit.
What she didn’t know, however, was that the demonic world was slowly giving way to a new order. Hybrid vampires and demons were dying out. They stuck close to the Hellmouth as their demonic safe house of sorts, but it wasn’t enough. They lacked the ability to adapt, to evolve, and they drew attention to themselves with their rampage-y ways. Coupled with this was the harsh reality that the ‘outed’ vampires wanted to retain their tentative truce with humans and would do so by any means necessary. Needless to say, this did not inspire goodwill between the two groups.
The final battle in Sunnydale was a last hurrah of sorts. If the Turok-han succeeded in opening the Hellmouth, they could repopulate the earth and reassert themselves in the supernatural hierarchy. But if they failed, Buffy could potentially have a lot more free time on her hands, or at least only have to stop an apocalypse every other year.
Basically, it was a turf war, and she and the Scoobies were stuck smack in the middle of it, as unleashing of the Hellmouth meant badness for the world in general. Then the First started to go after potential slayers, and it became personal.
The battle in the Hellmouth against the Turok-han was so fierce, it was a wonder that any of them made it out alive. As it was, they lost too many. Only Buffy, Xander and a handful of mini-slayers made it out.
At first, the survivors clung together in their shock and grief. After a few days, however, the potentials-turned-slayers were turned back into potentials again, and that’s when the fissures within the group began to form.
No one was exactly sure why it happened. They could only guess that a spell that powerful was probably also pretty unstable. Without Willow there, it simply fell apart. Or maybe it was only a temporary spell to begin with and they just didn’t know it. Or maybe it was because the Scythe had been lost in the battle, buried somewhere in the Hellmouth. Or maybe it was just the PTB’s cruel yet efficient way of balancing out the defeat of the First and the Turok-han. They just didn’t know. What they did know was that they no longer had a reason to stick together.
Kennedy was the first to leave. Buffy couldn’t blame her, even though she really, really wanted to. The outspoken girl had been a thorn in Buffy’s side right from the start, but she was obviously extremely broken up about Willow; this just pushed her over the edge. Buffy had asked her to be strong, and she was. All she got in return, however, was a taste of power, of realizing her full potential, before it was taken away without so much as a warning. She left, full of bitterness and anger.
Soon after that, the other girls left, too, most heading back home to reconnect with their pre-Hellmouth lives, if that were even possible. And she let them go. It was selfish and callous of her, but she couldn’t bring herself to care.
It was Xander’s departure that stung. He had lost so much, and he wanted to get away from the memories, from the vampires, from her. He needed some happiness in his life to balance all the grief, and he couldn’t get that with her. She remembered how his liquid, brown eye silently begged her to understand.
And she did. It stung like hell, but she understood. It wasn’t like it was for forever anyway; they both knew that. He just needed time to heal, and so did she.
The only problem was that once he left, she was alone. And in a bad place. Which generally just equals more badness.
And so for the first few weeks, Buffy did more of the wallowing and less of the healing. She wasn’t proud of this, but there it was. She felt herself teetering on the edge, suddenly unsure of her place in the world anymore.
She ignored Angel’s attempts to reach out to her. She didn’t want pity or softness. And she only kept in touch with the potentials out of a sense of guilt. Except for Vi. The spunky girl had become a genuine friend in a time when Buffy definitely wasn’t looking for one. And then she disappeared, along with the others.
And just like that, Buffy’s pity party was officially over with. No going quietly into that dark good night crap for her, not anymore. Some baddie was targeting potentials and she was damned well going to find out who and make them pay dearly. She was the Slayer, dammit, and she was going to go down swinging.
For the past 8 years, she had dreamt of living a Slayer-free life. Now, it was all she had left.
Buffy could feel a new fire burning in her. It wasn’t totally healthy, it definitely wasn’t noble, and she was frayed around the edges, but it was enough. For now anyway.
Feeling more like herself than she had in months, she began packing her bags. She was going to find out what was happening to her girls, starting with Vi.
She stopped at an internet café and quickly logged on to her e-mail account. First she sent a message to Xander, hoping that he had internet access wherever he was. Then she browsed through her inbox until she found what she was looking for: Vi’s last e-mail to her, complete with her summer travel plans.
First stop: Shreveport, Louisiana.+++