The Plot Thickens
Okay, this place was way weird. I had gone back to the "storage" room, and retrieved another cart loaded with rare books, and headed back to the where we were performing our magic.
Elliot and me did the manual labor of retrieving the original books from their locked rooms. A watcher let us into the rooms, watched as we loaded out carts up with books, and locked the doors after we left. We rolled the books down to where Hardison and Nate had sat up shop. Nate wandered around the room and spit out some garble that I guessed some old language, and then continued his rounds. He would touch this book then that and mutter under his breath. I had to say he appeared every bit the eccentric language professor. Hardison tapped away on his machine, and hemmed every once in a while as if he understood what he was "translating" into electronic form.
It was the same scene every time I brought another load into the room. Nate would wave his hand at the other cart loaded down with the books they had translated. I would push the new cart over to him, and then retrieve the "complete" cart, and head toward the "clean" room. Why did they call it a clean room? It wasn’t particularly clean, just an empty room with no windows and one door, where another Watcher watched me push the cart up to the door. He looked down his long English nose at me, then opened the door, and "allowed" me into the room to deposit my cargo. This monotonous routine had my Slayer ready to start using the books as weapons.
She wasn’t too happy with me. I had to keep her reigned in and she fought for freedom at every turn. It was probably this very situation that caused me to turn down the wrong corridor. How I could get lost in an area that I had walked through for the past week was beyond me. Sheesh, I would never hear the end of this if the others found out about it. No way was I going to tell. Now, I just had to figure out where I took the wrong turn and get back to the work before someone found me.
I could hear my Slayer snickering in my head. She thought it funny, and I probably would agree, but something about this area was causing my arms to pickle as the hair stood on end. Crapola. With my luck, I’m walk into their latest plotting to take over the world, or at least my part of it. I knew I was muttering under my breath and looked like a complete spaz to anyone that could see me. My eyes wandered up to the tall ceiling, and searched for any type surveillance equipment. Nope, they hadn’t come into the twenty-first century. Luck for me, they probably thought no one would go where they weren’t allowed. A loud snort escaped my lips before I could stop it. They really had no idea how the real world worked. And, for that I was grateful. If they were actually as smart as they thought they were then they would have caught onto us by now. They probably thought that no one would dare try anything against the great Watcher’s Council.
The last passage I had gone down led to a dead end. I cursed under my breath, still worried about getting caught. A strange pull tugged at me when I started to head back the other way. It was an irresistible urge that had me turning back to stare at the blank wall before me. What the heck was going on here? There wasn’t anything that I could see, but I sure as heck could feel it. Whatever it was, it called not only to me, but to my Slayer as well.
I walked back to the wall, and ran my hand across the smooth texture. A shiver raced down my spine, and I had to fight not to step away. I dragged in a deep breath, and stepped closer to the wall. Bringing both hands up to press them against the wall, I closed my eyes and listened with every fiber of my being. And then, it happened. I fell straight through. Oh no, Alice, you shouldn’t have drunk the potion.
There sitting calmly in a throne like chair was a woman. She gently smiled at me and waved me closer. I found my feet moving before I even realized it. A peace I hadn’t known since before I became the Slayer swept over me.
"Come child, I have been waiting for you," she said, and her voice echoed with other voices overlaid on hers.
"Who are you, and why would you be waiting for me? You’re sure its me you’re looking for? Me, as in Buffy Summers?" Doubt laced my voice, and I stepped back unsure what this woman could want with me.
"You are the Chosen One, are you not?"
I sighed with relief. It wasn’t personal. She just wanted the Slayer, any Slayer that I could deal with or so I thought.
"I am "A" Chosen One," I hedged. Couldn’t forget about my Sister Slayer, although there were times I had wanted to.
"Child, there is no need to hide from what you are, what you have become."
Those words echoed in my head. The last time I heard them was when Tara warned me about Dawn’s arrival. Dawn, my little Dawnie, was gone, and I didn’t plan on letting some freaky lady bring those memories back.
"Who are you to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do?" I tried to keep my voice calm, but so wanted snap some Slayer verbiage at her.
"Peace, child." She raised her hand as if she meant to send my way. "Come, sit with me, and I will answer your questions, and you can answer mine."
Answers, answers were of the good, and it’s been a long time since I actually got any. I went and sat down on a stool that she pulled from somewhere. I’m sitting with some lady that hides in the wall, and pulls stool out of her…well. Not going there, nope not me.
I sat there and waiting expectantly. And, a great big nothing happened. Okay, Buffy calm down and give the lady a chance. She probably doesn’t remember what she was going to say. Who knows how long she’s been sitting in this room waiting for someone to walk through the wall. Is my life crazy or what?
"Child, do you wish those answers now, or do you need longer to gather yourself?"Okay, that was rather rude.
"I’m fine, thanks for asking. You can get on with the answers at any time. I have to get back before my friends come looking for me."
She smiled at me, and for the first time I noticed that her hair was pure white. I stared at her and took in all the other things I had overlooked. Way to be observo girl? The "lady" had flowy white robes, something you might see in a roman movie. She was somewhere between young and old. The white hair made it hard to guess her age. Her skin was smooth for the most part, but her hands showed that she had known hard work. Dang it, I should have listened more when Willow watched the History Channel.
"In the beginning there were monsters that walked the Earth," she said.
"Uh, not to be rude, but Slayer here, kinda know this part."
She leveled pale blue eyes at me. I knew that look well, my mom had the look and it worked every time.
"Shutting up, now."
She bowed her head in my direction then started again. I tried to listen really, I did, but it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher – Wah, wah, wah, wah.
"There came a time that we, the Guardians, knew that we must intercede on the behalf of Sineya’s daughters."
My head jerked up, and I stared at her wide-eyed. I’m not sure I heard her correctly. She must have seen me gearing up to shoot questions at her. Her hand came up to stop me. Had to give it to her, she was almost as good at this as Mom.
Why my mother kept creeping into my thoughts, I have no idea. I missed her each and every day, but knew that I had to let her go enough to heal.
"Slayer, please know that I mean you no harm. In fact I have much to share with you, information which could change your life and those that follow after you."
Uh, what am I supposed to say to that? I kept my mouth shut and simply nodded at her to continue.
"You were born from a long line of strong women. Your mother, her mother and her mother's mother descend directly from the Guardian line. You are the first of that line to be called as the Slayer. It was foretold that when the two lines joined to create the daughter that the balance would tilt. Did you not wonder how they never knew about you, until your calling was already upon you? We have watched and waited for you to find us. I took my sister’s place many years ago, and waited for you to find me. I am only sorry that tragedy brought you to me. We had hoped that times would change the Shadowmen, but alas that has not happened."
I felt my nose wrinkle. It was an unconscious response that I stopped trying to break. It was a quirk I could live with, even if people thought I did it on purpose. Screw ‘em. I know what I know. And, right now I have no freakin’ idea what this lady is talking about.
"Who are the Shadowmen?"
It was her turn to look surprised. Two points for me, yeah. Her brow wrinkled then smoothed as her shoulders squared. I would swear that her eyes flashed. Uh, maybe no points for me, if she decided to smite me in this hidden space. Here I’ll be smited, and no one will know where to find my body.
"You know nothing of your heritage."
It was a statement not a question. I couldn’t argue with her, since it was way true.
"Please child, let me explain Slayers, and what this means for you."
She waited to see what I would do. I sat quietly, and she took that as my agreement to listen.
"The Shadowmen decided they needed to create a weapon to fight against the darkness. They took a demon's essence and forced it into a young girl. Why they chose a girl, no one knows, though there are many theories. It doesn’t matter now, because they not only changed this girl's life forever. They changed all those that inherited her power upon her death. It wasn't enough that they had robbed this young girl of her life, they decided that the demon's essence should "choose" the next Slayer, and the so it continued until it reached you."
"But," I interrupted her. "What about Faith? She's the second Slayer called after me. Isn't she the "real" Slayer?"
"No, child, you misunderstand your place. What you really are, what you have become."
Those words seemed destined to haunt my life. What was all this really about? Would she tell me the whole story, or was she going to be cryptic like everything else.
"There are no other Slayers like you child. You're the sum total of two lines joining together to create something altogether different. We have watched and waited for your birth and life to bring you to this exact moment in time. You will take back what was stolen so long ago, and right the wrongs felt by your sisters. You must know that if you don't embrace your destiny your future sisters will pay the price. Though you have proven the strongest, you have also proven to the Watchers how dangerous it is to allow Slayers free reign. They are more convinced than ever that Slayers need to be controlled. So much so that they are considering taking all girls that "might" become the Slayer. This has never happened in all the years they have existed. Yes, they would find the girl next in line, and remove her from her family, but never those that "might" after her. Do you see what you need to do, child? For it is in your hands to right these wrongs."
I sat there stunned. Yes, I knew the Watchers were dangerous and power hungry, but never even considered that my actions would have such horrible long term effects on those that came after me. Way to go Buffy, they not only decided to kill you mom, but to take any that had the slightest chance of being called away from their families.
Fury unlike any I have ever known raced through me. They weren't going to get away with this. My plans just expanded ten-fold. The team may not know it, but they were about to pull off the biggest job that they had ever done. It wasn't as if a little more stealth and subterfuge was outside their wheel well.
"I have something for you child."
She stood up with such inherent grace that I had to force myself not to stare. I saw that she actually was wearing some type Grecian robe, and that it had odd markings around the hem. The symbols reminded me of the ones in the book that unraveled to become words earlier today. Hmm, curiouser and curiouser. She went behind the throne, and bent down moving out of sight. She straightened and I saw that she carried something wrapped in the same material as her dress.
It was an odd shape, and wasn't much large than Mr Pointy. Was she going to give me some ancient stake? The suspense was killing me. I loved prezzies, even from strange women. How weird am I?
"The Guardians have protected this for centuries. It has waited for you arrival child. It is for you alone to wield."
She carefully unwrapped it, and I couldn't stop the gasp that escaped my lips. My hands automatically reached for it. I pulled them back before I snatched it from her. It called to me, and somehow I knew exactly how it would feel in my hands. The thought of not taking it seemed unimaginable, yet I still fought my instinct. She sent me a gentle smile, and resolved my dilemma by placing it in my hands. My fingers wrapped around it, and peace filled me. I stared at it, and then looked back up to say something to her, only to find that I was alone and standing facing the blank wall.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. I found the others with no problem, and they hadn't noticed my absence. I was unusually quiet, but no one seemed to notice this either. It was finally time to go home, and I was exhausted, yet exhilarated.
I flew from the van before it even came to a complete stop. Sophie called out to me, but I ignored her and headed straight to my room. The object had lain flat against my back all day, and I thought I would lose my mind if I wasn't able to see what it was before getting home. The only thing that kept me from unwrapping my prize was the knowledge that if a Watcher somehow saw me with it they would take it away before I could escape the compound.
It wasn't something I was willing to risk, and held my curiosity at bay until now. The door to my room closed behind me, and I automatically reached out to lock it. I ignored the soft footsteps that had followed me from the van. I knew it was Elliot, but had no intention of playing our little game of cat and mouse.
I walked straight into the bathroom, and locked this door as well. I moved about as if in a fog. I slowly walked over and placed my prize down on the large vanity. Stepping away, I just stared at it for several long minutes. My fingers slowly pulled the cloth away, and my breath caught in my throat.
There sitting in all its silvery glory was an object made from wisps of dreams. It called to me like nothing I had ever felt before. It wasn't much bigger than Mr. Pointy, and somehow fit my hand perfectly. I nearly jumped out of my skin when it changed once my skin touched it. The small cylindrical shape stretched and grew into the most beautiful double-edged Roman battle-axe that I had ever seen.
My Slayer roared to life, and before I could stop her, she broke free and grabbed the axe with both hands. She had me running for the window, and leaping down two stories to the ground. We were off at a full out run, and I decided to let her have her head. She leapt in joy, and pushed for more power. The world flew by as I realized that she was heading for the woods that skirted the property.
I could slap my own head at not realizing why she had been so restless. There was something out there, something that needed hunting. My burdens fell away and I simply enjoyed the hunt. I felt it way before we reached the tree line. Excitement filled me, and I gave full control to my Slayer.
The weapon worked like a dream. Its double-edged head allowed for cutting in both directions, and its sharpened point cut into the Baddies like they were butter. I had always thought the weres and vampires weren't compatible. Maybe they were different away from the Hellmouth, who knows. We broke into the dark wooded area only to find them working together to herd a small group of teens further away from civilization.
We jumped into the middle, and before they could react we dispatched the two closest to us. I motioned for the kids to run, and they needed no further prodding. They took off in different directions. Before the weres could regroup and go after their quarry we were on top of them. The blade cut them down as if they were blades of grass. I had never considered a silver-edged blade except when fighting Polgoras. My new weapon showed me the error of my ways. Its pointed end took out vampires even better than Mr. Pointy.
My Slayer and I danced until there was nothing more to slay. We headed deeper into the woods, looking for more prey. We stayed out until it was almost dawn. Walking back toward the house, I felt completely at peace. My Slayer was content and lay dormant within me.
I climbed back up to my room. As I turned back to close the window, and nearly jumped out of my skin, when I heard someone clearing their throat.
"Did you have a nice night?"