I don't own Buffy or Anita, their worlds, their friends, or their enemies. I'm just borrowing them for a bit. AN:
The Scoobies aren't a huge part of this story except for the first few chapters and maybe a few mentions here and there, but what there is of them is not friendly...be warned. Also, we're starting with a depressed and tired sort of Buffy...again be warned. As for the Anita world, I find Anita has gotten very slutty and very full of herself. Don't you think she needs taken down a peg or two now and again? The Darkness Within
They were all staring at her. Obviously she was expected to say something. "Crazy, huh? They're not freaky enough, but now they're like, certifiable legally?"
"W-well yes. But they are not to be taken lightly, Buffy. The Demens are dangerous. Maybe more so than anything you've yet faced." Off came Giles' glasses, out came the ever-present hanky, wipe, wipe, away with the hanky and on with the glasses.
She used to find it endearing. Now she wanted to rip the glasses off his face and smash them. Maybe even in his face. She sighed and tried to feel guilty but just couldn't muster up the energy for it. She had loved him with all her heart, trusted him with all she was and needed him with every fiber of her being and he'd left. Yet another in a long line to abandon her. As if that weren't enough, he'd been right there when they kicked her out of her own home. Not an apology from any of them. Not a single thank you from any of them. She had anger issues. Maybe she needed therapy. Hell, she knew she needed therapy. Still, a freaking apology and/or a thank you was not out of the realm of sanity here. But this wasn't the time for that. She snapped her attention back where it belonged.
"Got it. No underestimating the loony vamps. Legally whacky vampires equal danger, danger Will Robinson." Her heart just wasn't in the quipping.
Dawn rolled her eyes, leaned back in her chair and snagged a folder off the table behind her. "The Demens have been around for a long time and they're pretty scary baddies. Back in 1303, during an outbreak of a plague in London, a vampire calling himself Nemesis managed to turn an entire wing devoted to the criminally insane. No one really cared since they were sociopathic murders and they were busy with the deaths of important people. What did the deaths of 12 mass murders, rapists and various other thug-like guys really matter?
"When the vampires rose, they were still crazy, still sadistic and hell bent on mass destruction. They are responsible for turning an entire town in the early 1700s and for wiping out several others. The first American record of the Demens was in 1913, when over 2000 people in Columbus, Ohio were found massacred in one night. Wholesale slaughter." Here she paused and glanced up to see if everyone else thought this as fascinating as she did. She frowned and continued. "When Nemesis was killed, the clan was taken over by the bastard son of 1000 maniacs…."
"Dawn, really." Giles, of course, was paying attention.
"If we're dealing with Freddy we're gonna need a bigger boat."
Dawn smiled brightly. "So you were listening." It was hard to tell with Buffy these days. Things had been strained since Sunnydale became Lake Sunnydale, though none of the Scoobies could quite figure out why. They'd won and taken far fewer casualties than expected. Xander lost Anya and he wasn't the zombie Buffy was.
"Of course I was listening. I just have one question. Does being crazy give them extra powers or something?"
Giles frowned. "No, of course not. They're just very, very old and therefore very, very strong and dangerous. The fact that they're insane only makes them more so. They will be unpredictable. And they will attack in force and not just for feeding. They love the kill and nothing more."
Xander sucked the powdered sugar off his fingers. "So, if they get their jollies with the death of all, then why haven't we heard of them before now?"
Willow stood up. "They have a history of years long breaks, we don't know why. We've uncovered a prophecy..."
"I hate prophecies. It's always a prophecy." Buffy muttered under her breath.
Willow continued on while Kennedy shot her a dirty look. "The prophecy pretty much says it's apocalypse time and as Cleveland is the only active Hellmouth in the New World at the moment, it seems likely they'll be making their presence known."
She nodded and stood up. "Okay, then. A-hunting I will go." Mostly she just wanted to get out of there and away from them.
Kennedy gave her the usual sneer. "Oh, so you're going to take on 10 super strong, super old, super crazy vamps all by yourself? You haven't learned anything."
Willow sat back down. "She's right Buffy." Big shocker there. "Besides, I've been working on a spell that I think will help."
Giles nodded. "Yes, I agree. Take some of the other slayers with you, and Willow. There's no sense in taking unnecessary risks."
Buffy plastered a smile on her face and nodded. "Right then. A-hunting we will go. I'll just go get a few weapons and you appoint some people, mmkay?" It came out a little bitchier than she'd intended but all she wanted to do was get away from these people, especially Kennedy. Oh, who was she kidding? She wanted away from all of them.
Cleveland sucked. For an active Hellmouth it was ridiculously quiet when it came to nightlife of the non-nightclub kind. The first two cemeteries had been a bust. Not so much as a misplaced raccoon. Buffy glanced over at the slayer brigade that was assigned to patrol with her.
Kennedy and Willow, walking hand in hand and whispering softly. It seemed to have flown from both their minds that Slayer hearing would pick up the entire conversation.
Crystal and her twin Cathy, and wasn't that a kick in the ass for that family. Twin Potentials. She wondered what would have happened had one of them been called in the normal (ha, normal…) way. Would the other just go home and forget about her sister's death sentence?
Sydney, ever alert, eyes seemingly everywhere at once. Scared out of her mind judging by the way her hands were so clearly shaking, visible even though she had them shoved in her pockets. Who was Buffy to question the wisdom of giving a new slayer a bunch of freakishly strong sadistic undead for her first mission.
Janet, full of energy, completely disrespecting the innocent dead by hopping from tombstone to tombstone. Her bright blue hair practically screamed EAT ME!!! She was always great bait.
Amber, grumbling about being out when her favorite show was on. She was a reality TV junkie and had about 50 favorite shows.
She wondered, if they did find the Demens, how many of these slayers would be walking home.
A slight tingling in her stomach made her pause. Her senses told her one vampire, even told her he was less than 50 years old. Since the closing of the Hellmouth she'd noticed some of her Slayer powers were way off the scale. She peeled off from the group and almost smiled when she heard Kennedy's "Where the fuck is she going?" and the sound of many little slayer footsteps following her.
The temptation to let loose some of her pent up aggression on the seriously outmatched vampire was strong but she plunged and moved on. Giles would be proud. "Just a single vampire, guys. No need for the National Slayer Guard."
She wondered, as she continued what she strongly felt was a pointless patrol through the Holy Cross Cemetery, what they would do if she just up and left. She suspected she wouldn't get very far. The one time she'd mentioned maybe, since there were so many slayers now, taking a little vacation, Xander had a fit, Giles actually yelled at her, Willow looked at her like she was something you'd scrape off your shoe and Kennedy had actually called her a coward. She just needed a break. Time to recoup and recover. Time to get over things. Time to mourn the man who had saved them all, even though that was another thing they refused to acknowledge. She wasn't the only one anymore. It wasn't that she didn't want to fight the good fight anymore. It was just that she needed space, "me time". The littlest things seemed to set her on edge lately and she was afraid she was going to snap and say things that couldn't be taken back.
None of the other Scoobies seemed to have a problem moving on and so expected that she didn't either. What they didn't realize was that they had no right to be angry, where she had every right. Her own home. And she firmly believed that had she not come back, had Spike not given her the strength to come back, they would all be dead. It didn't seem like so much to ask for some time to deal with all of it.
As they reached the end of Holy Cross, Buffy felt it, a slight prickling underneath her skin. She closed her eyes, reached out with the part of her that was the Slayer and felt them. Their power seemed to slide over her, through her, making the Slayer want to roar up and hunt, destroy. Her skin literally crawled with their power, like thousands of ants swarming over her. She turned and began walking, heading toward Rockefeller Park. She vaguely registered the others behind her, heard their voices but her focus was on the Demens, because who else could it be? It would be a coincidence of astronomical proportion if the heretofore silent city was suddenly host to two such powers. She stopped only when Kennedy grabbed her arm.
"Where are you going? St. Mary's Cemetery is that way."
Buffy pulled her arm away. "Yes, but the Demens are this way."
"And you know this how?"
"Can't you feel it?" She started walking, a little faster and then faster still until she was flat out running, the Slayer guiding her. She felt the Slayer's urgency. She didn't know why or how she knew but she knew she had to get there and fast, or things weren't going to end happily for the people of Cleveland. She felt the other slayers behind her, felt Willow behind her, but her senses were trained on the Demens. She could feel them now, clearly, 10 separate power signatures, all frightening in their strength. She grudgingly admitted, if only to herself, that coming alone would have been suicide.
She stopped running only when she reached the middle of the park and saw them. They didn't look crazy. They looked like ten regular, clean-cut guys. Guys you would see on any college campus. Guys you would totally date.
"Gee, Buffy. Way to go. You've found a bunch of frat boys." Kennedy turned and looked at the others. "Let's go. We can still finish the patrol of the cemeteries before sunrise."
Buffy frowned. "Um..hello? Demens anyone?"
Kennedy only rolled her eyes and pushed through the other slayers, headed out of the park. The others seemed unsure who to follow, or not to follow as the case was. It was during this moment of indecision that the Demens attacked in force.
Buffy saw Amber go down but couldn't do anything to help her since she was busy trading blows with two of the vamps. Giles has been right, as always. They were strong and fast and, having had centuries to sharpen their skills, superb fighters. She blocked a particularly hard blow from one that made her arm go numb and back kicked the other in the chest, sending him sprawling to the ground, only to jump right back to his feet and circle her, coming up from behind.
She saw Sydney laying in the grass a few feet away but couldn't tell if she was alive or not. Kennedy was on her feet but losing ground rapidly. Willow had her eyes closed and was chanting, the twins doing their best to keep the vamps off of her while she completed her spell.
She dodged a fist and then a foot and connected her own fist with a jaw. She saw an opening and took full advantage, shoving Mr. Pointy into the heart. The second vamp screamed and just went with tackling her to the ground. She managed to get her foot between them and kicked him up and over her head, springing back to her feet. She took a quick second (it was all she had before he was throwing punches again) to look around. It didn't look good. All of the slayers save Kennedy were on the ground, lying still. Kennedy had moved in front of Willow. She quick-counted 7 Demens left, three of them moving towards Willow and the other four circling her.
Willow finished her spell, clapped her hands, and it seemed as if all the air in the world was gone. Or at least all the air in Buffy's lungs since no one else seemed overly effected. Well, the Demens, but Kennedy and Willow seemed fine. She felt a pull in her stomach and then the park was gone, the others were gone, everything was gone. There was nothing but blackness for what seemed like hours.