Seriously, Not What I Was Expecting
Down the Rabbit Hole
Chapter 1: Seriously, Not What I Expected
Summary: History is filled with inaccuracies. This is why there is no mention of Buffy or Dawn at the Battle of Badon Hill, but they were there and their presence changed the world.
Pairings: Buffy/?, Dawn/?
Disclaimer: I definitely don’t own any of these characters. King Arthur characters belong to Jerry Bruckheimer, I think...I had a difficult time finding this, so if anyone has other information, I’ll be happy to amend properly. BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon.
Thank you to my two lovely betas, MaraLiz & Rorylondra, for your invaluable assistance – and arguing with me over sentence structure when necessary…
“Hey, Buffy!” Dawn called down the hallway, stepping around girls’ backpacks and a few girls actually digging through those backpacks. It was in between classes at Slayer Central and that always spelled chaos.
Rather than join the mass of bodies, Buffy waited for Dawn at the end of the hall. When the sisters met, Buffy reached out and hugged Dawn as hard as she could without hurting her. “Hey, yourself! When did you get in? Is there an Apocalypse that I didn’t see on the schedule?”
“Well, you would know if you hadn’t fallen asleep during Monday’s weekly status meeting,” Dawn chided her with a grin.
“No, I…” Buffy began, but Dawn cut her off.
“There was drool involved, so unless you want to own up to having a secret crush on Andrew, the only male in your general vicinity during the meeting…” Dawn smirked.
“Okay, okay, so I closed my eyes for a minute…or twenty,” Buffy admitted with a sheepish grin. “Did I miss much?”
“Only an obscure prophecy from the Turkish region, well, from before it was a Turkish-region, involving a freakishly strong female warrior fighting alongside King Arthur at the Battle of Badon Hill,” Dawn informed her as Buffy led the way down to her office.
“Sounds like a Slayer to me,” Buffy commented then stopped, “Hey, how come we haven’t heard about this before? I mean, the stories about Camelot don’t mention any women fighting.”
Dawn just looked at her for a moment in amusement and, when Buffy replayed her sister’s words, she snapped her fingers, “Okay, obscure…I got that now. Okay, so what does it say?”
They sat down on the comfortable sofa in Buffy’s office and Dawn pulled out an ancient tome. Buffy reached for it, but Dawn held it away from her and demanded, “Hands!”
Buffy rolled her eyes, but showed Dawn that her hands were indeed clean. Geesh! Get demon blood on one book and they never let you forget it. Okay, so it was a regenerative demon and it kind of regenerated in all of the spells in the book and we had to burn it, but still…it was, like, seven months ago!
Once her hands were proven clean, Dawn handed over the book and the page with the translated text so Buffy could read both.
With any luck, they had just stumbled upon a new bit of Slayer history to include in the new class they were forming for the next semester. With so many new Slayers, they had decided that it was imperative that every Slayer and Watcher take a class in Slayer History. Instead of going to a formal college, Giles had pulled some strings and gotten Dawn into an independent study program linked with Oxford where she was tasked with finding as much Slayer history as possible. This was a bit slow going since The Watcher Council’s diaries were blown up along with the rest of the building. Much of the original source material was written in languages that first needed to be translated. Giles had written down every possible lead he could remember but after that, Dawn had been on her own in discovering new texts. As a result, she was also beginning to develop quite a reputation in the applied linguistics field and, now, she was on a short-list of people called in to help identify and translate newly discovered archaic texts.
As Buffy began to read the translation, something in her stomach twisted. I knew I should have skipped that third mochachino this morning,
she groaned inwardly, forcing herself to continue reading. She had just finished reading the prophecy when an invisible knife seemed to stab through her abdomen. She cried out, dropped the book, and fell to the floor. Dawn reached for her just as the light began. It started as small points on her fingertips then rapidly expanded to cover her entire body. Each point of light was accompanied by a prickling sensation, but the pain in her stomach remained the worst. She managed to glance at Dawn and saw her enveloped by the same light, a pained look on her face as well. Well, crap! This can’t be good!
Then, all light vanished along with the two sisters.
When Buffy woke up, the first thing she noticed was that they were in a field. She looked down at herself and sighed with relief. Clothes still on? Check.
She looked around their surroundings. No imminent danger? Check.
She crawled over to Dawn and felt for a pulse. Unconscious sister? Check.
She stood up and tried to see if there were any landmarks she recognized. Unfortunately, there weren’t any. Absolutely no idea where we are? Check.
She heard hoofs in the distance and realized that they were coming closer. There were trees about twenty yards away, but no time to reach them and carry Dawn as well, so there would be no chance for cover. She would have to fight if they attacked her, but she didn’t have any weapons, so she was kind of hoping that these were the kind of strangers on horseback that liked to be nice and offer them directions and puppies. Buffy took one last moment to take stock of her mental faculties as the men on horseback approached. There were seven of them and they looked at her warily. They spoke a language she didn’t understand and, before she could answer, a hawk sounded above her, startling her. It landed on one of the men’s arms and he spoke to it quietly even as he kept a wary eye on her small form. I don’t think they’ll be offering me a puppy,
Movement next to her distracted her from whatever they were trying to ask. Trusting her Slayer instincts to tell her if they were in danger, she ignored the men for the time being and knelt down next to Dawn, who was beginning to regain consciousness.
“Dawn! Can you hear me?” she asked “Does anything hurt?”
Dawn reached out for Buffy and pulled herself into a sitting position using Buffy’s arm for leverage. She looked around and her eyes grew wide as she spit out, “Crap! Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, and double crap!”
“Yeah, I know,” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it. I don’t think they speak English.”
Dawn looked at the knights and back at Buffy with distress clearly written on her face, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s because English hasn’t been created yet! We’re like pre-dating Old English at this point.”
“Crap!” Buffy blurted out and Dawn nodded.
“Exactly!” Dawn agreed, gathering her feet underneath her. Buffy steadied her as she swayed when she tried to stand. “Ooh, not good with the dizzy head, here.”
She took a moment to regain her balance and then let go of Buffy cautiously. She nodded to Buffy and then looked at the men, who had now dismounted and were all staring at them. Buffy noted that their faces ranged from concerned to curious to outright suspicion and she felt an urge to step in front of Dawn protectively. Of course, Dawn had her own ideas, apparently, as she took a step toward the men and spoke a few words quietly. Buffy was sure she was the only one who could hear the actual words, but the saw ‘Hawkguy’ glaring at Dawn harder when she was finished.
The leader stepped toward them, one hand outstretched and spoke. Surprisingly, Buffy could actually understand him this time and she looked at Dawn, who simply shrugged and told her, “Easier to figure out if they are friend or foe if we can understand what they are saying. Or would you prefer to find out when one of them decides to skewer you with their pretty sword?”
Dawn’s face suddenly turned beet red and her eyes grew wide as she quickly told Buffy, “That came out a bit more lewd than it sounded in my head.”
To her surprise, one of the men threw back his head and laughed, a long-hearty laugh. The leader barked out a quick “Bors” and he instantly stopped laughing. Dawn’s head whipped around to the leader again and Buffy wondered what she had missed.
“Bors?” Dawn asked.
“Yes,” the leader confirmed, “That is Bors. Next to him is Dagonet, then Galahad and Gawain. Tristan is behind them. This is Lancelot. I have already given you my name. May I have the favor returned and would you kindly also explain what you are doing outside of the wall? It isn’t safe here.”Yeah, buddy. You gave us your name, but it was before I could understand you!
Buffy was about to answer when something piqued her Slayer senses and put them on high alert. The one named Tristan seemed to feel it as well and he called Arthur’s name. He said a word that she didn’t understand, even with the spell Dawn had performed, and instantly, all of the men were on guard. A moment later, a large number of men, all painted in some type of blue paint, charged into the clearing, brandishing weapons of all kinds.
Arthur barked out an order to arms and pulled out his sword. As he moved into the field, he told Dagonet, “Protect them.”
The large man told them gruffly, “Do not worry, ladies. Dagonet will not let them near you.”
“Oh, good,” Buffy answered, looking over at Dawn, who was staring back at her, trying to communicate something to her silently. The Slayer in her called for her to join in the battle, but she couldn’t leave Dawn here unprotected. Plus, she didn’t know exactly what was going on yet and that might be a problem. What if she helped out the wrong side?
Dawn edged closer to her. Dagonet was busy defending their location and Buffy itched to do it for herself, but Dawn grabbed her arm. “I know what happened,” she said.
“Mind telling me?” Buffy asked through gritted teeth.
“Well, I did say, ‘freakishly strong female warrior’ before. I just didn’t realize that it was you!”
Dawn informed her, a note of hysteria in her voice.
“Are you saying…?” Buffy began.
“Yep,” Dawn replied quickly. “Welcome to Arthurian Times in the flesh!”
“So, basically, now I’m not allowed to read the books either, huh?” Buffy commented.
“Try it and I’ll do a spell to make you illiterate,” Dawn retorted.
Both sisters looked out onto the field to watch the battle. The knights seemed to be fairing pretty well, even though they were significantly outnumbered. Their armor seemed to be functional enough to protect them while still allowing them to move well and Buffy took a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship. Although she still preferred her halter top and leather pants, she had to admit, there was definitely something to be said for the good, quality battle gear. Oops, lost focus for a second,
Buffy reprimanded herself as she focused on the battle again.
“This is before Arthur is king,” Dawn whispered to her. “Right now, he’s a general holding Britain for the Romans, with knights from a place called Sarmatia. Rome beat the Sarmatians, like generations ago, and as part of their tithe to Rome, their boys all have to serve Rome for fifteen years. Apparently, the Sarmatians were really good fighters, even though Rome won.”
“Hmmm…” Buffy contemplated. She had an idea of why they did that, but kept it to herself for the time being. There were times when it really sucked to think like a general of an army.
Instead, she searched out Arthur on the battlefield. She studied him and scrunched up her nose, “This is King Arthur? Really? I always pictured someone more…more…” Buffy struggled to find the right word.
“Sean Connery-er?” Dawn supplied and Buffy nodded.
“Exactly,” Buffy confirmed, then huffed. “And, you know, even though he’s a definite hottie, Lancelot doesn’t really look like Richard Gere either.”
“Sorry, Buffy, I’m pretty sure we’ve stepped out of the world of fiction here,” Dawn commented, then pointed to the battlefield. “Look, crossbow pointed at that guy over there. Probably not good.”
“Yup, that would be my cue,” Buffy told her as she ducked under the arm of their ‘protector.’ He called after her, but Buffy just yelled to her sister, “Keep him busy, huh? I’ve got a blue-faced guy to pummel.”
Buffy tried to get a ‘Blue Man Group’ song out of her head as she entered the fray. Two steps into the battlefield, another ‘blue-face’ turned toward her conveniently so she could simultaneously punch him in the face and take his weapon before it hit the ground. She kept her eye on the one with the crossbow. He was trying to line up a shot without hitting any of his people, which was proving to be more difficult than it seemed. As she made her way through the battle, her hand shot out and grabbed the handle of an ax as it was coming toward her neck. The ‘blue-face’ on the other end looked startled as she pulled him and turned his body, yanking his shoulder out of the socket at the same time. He fell to the ground in agony and she confiscated his ax, immediately throwing it in the opposite direction to imbed it in the trunk of a tree three feet away from Dawn. She spared a grim smile for her sister as she saw her retrieve the ax. Good, now Dawn is armed, too.
So far, she had managed to avoid killing anyone, but she knew that wouldn’t last. Dawn was sure that the ‘blue-faces’ were the ones to fight off, and to be honest, it did look like they had attacked seven men—knights, she supposed—with about forty of their own warriors. Plus, Dawn was insistent that this was King Arthur and his knights, so they were the side to be fighting on, right? Her reverie almost turned into her decapitation and she quickly ducked out of the way, automatically bringing her weapon to bear on the ‘blue-face’ in front of her. The sword sliced through him cleanly and he dropped to the ground unceremoniously, sightless eyes staring back at her. Suddenly, some Slayer instinct switched on as the sounds of the battle stopped around her. The fight raged on, but all of her senses zoomed in on the ‘blue-face’ with the crossbow. She didn’t know how she knew, but she was suddenly aware that he had found his shot and she reacted without thinking. Thrown end over end, like a knife, in the blink of an eye, her sword was imbedded to the hilt in his chest. Crap! Now I don’t have a weapon.
She was about to liberate another weapon from a dead ‘blue-face’ when she saw the glint of light next to her. A sword was moving rapidly toward her head and she didn’t have time to stop it, but miraculously, another sword met the blow and pushed the ‘blue-face’ away. She looked up at her savior and, squinted against the sunlight to see his face. She noted the tattoo and the braid he wore in his hair, and when she met his eyes, she could feel him assessing her. She had already forgotten his name, but recognized him as ‘Hawkguy’ from earlier. He gave her a curt nod as he sliced through the ‘blue-face’ with his curved sword. Even as the man fell, the knight pulled his weapon from his hand and handed it to Buffy.
Their eyes met again and a small smile played on his lips as she appraised the sword. She turned and plunged it into the ‘blue-face’ sneaking up behind her before turning back to the knight and telling him, “Well, it’s not as nifty as yours, but it’ll get the job done.”
He smirked at her and they turned back-to-back and continued fighting until there were no ‘blue-faces’ left with weapons. A few of them had run off, including the one with the dislocated shoulder from earlier. A wave of sadness cut through her as she looked around at the dead bodies in the clearing. So much waste,
She shook her head to clear it and found herself standing in a large shadow. The large shadow turned out to belong to ‘Hawkguy’ as he looked down at her quizzically. Finally, he walked over to his horse and pulled out a tunic. He stopped in front of her and handed her the garment, “Your shirt is ripped.”
Buffy looked down and saw that, indeed, her shirt had a large tear in it. Nothing was showing that couldn’t be seen at the beach back home, but somehow, she got the impression that the strange knight was trying to protect her modesty. She took the shirt from him with a small smile, “Thanks.”
He studied her as she pulled the tunic on over her torn shirt. His eyes were hawkish, much like his companion’s, and she wondered what it was that he saw when he looked at her; she didn’t have to wait long. When he spoke, he did so with certainty. It came out as an intense, gravelly statement, “You are very young to be so proficient in battle. You have the eyes of a warrior.”
His eyes held a promise to find out more about her and a shiver ran through her. The intensity of the moment was broken as Dawn ran over to her side and flung her arms around her neck. She glanced at her sister and then back to ‘Hawkguy,’ but he had disappeared. When Dawn finally let go of her neck, she started talking a mile a minute. Only years of deciphering hyperactive Dawn-speak allowed her to learn that Arthur had invited them back to the fortress to clean up and rest while they figured out exactly how they came to be in the clearing. Of course, Dawn and Buffy already knew the answer to this, but they couldn’t exactly tell Arthur that some prophecy transported her back in time so she could fulfill that same prophecy and Dawn accidentally came along for the ride, so Dawn had feigned ignorance and, apparently, her innocent act worked much better on strangers than it did on Buffy.
Arthur had instructed Galahad and Gawain to escort them back to the fortress, and provide them with rooms, while the rest of the knights finished cleaning up the battlefield. While they rode back, Gawain explained that they would leave the dead for their brethren to find and bury properly, but would collect the weapons. No sense in leaving behind weapons that could be of use to people inside the wall to defend themselves, plus usually a good idea not to give back weapons to your enemy. Buffy just nodded thoughtfully at the reasoning.
Once they were back at the fortress, they were given rooms and managed to convince their escorts that they would be able to find their way to them—the directions being ‘go to the end of the hall, turn left and proceed to the last two rooms in that hall’—so the two men went off in search of a seamstress to bring them some clothing.
“Ugh! I really just want to go take a shower!” Buffy exclaimed as she walked down the stone hallway.
Dawn followed after her, “Yeah, about that. You might have a hard time finding running water. And, before you even ask, no, they don’t have any hair dryers.”
P.S. What do you think? Should I continue?