Disclaimer: Don't own either Buffy
. Please don't sue.
Fifteen drabbles making a single story. Just playing with the verses. This was a single drabble that exploded into this story...WARNING: NO HAPPY ENDING HERE, FOLKS. Please note this refers to the 2010 Burton version for Alice
"So what's the story with this one?"
Buffy held up a tattered journal containing a moving illustration of a young woman in armor, arm swinging towards a dragon.
"Moving pictures are new." she noted. "Or really old." she corrected, nose wrinkling at the book. "Will I get to slay a dragon? Cuz, gotta say--kinda cool."
"Ah, yes. Victorian Slayer. Died just before the Boxer Rebellion, if I recall."
"Victorian?" Buffy looked doubtfully at the armor. "You sure?"
"Hmm? Oh, yes. Quite."
Buffy was silent for a moment.
"What was her name?"
"Kingsleigh, I believe." Giles said absently. "Alice Kingsleigh."
“Stang, stupid girl!”
“This might go faster,” Alice panted, ducking a fist, “If you stopped shouting directions!”
Her opponent stopped attacking, puzzled. “Who are you talking to?” he asked in broken Pinjin.
“Not you, sir!” she cried, taking the opportunity to stake him. The branch she was using for her make-shift weapon found it’s mark, and the vampire disintegrated in a puff of ash and a half-formed scream.
“It would have undoubtedly gone faster,” Absolem huffed. “You would be dead, and thus not fighting at all.”
Eyes narrowed, Alice said, “Tell me why the Hatter couldn’t be my Watcher, again?”
“How you grip your sword is very important, girl. This is not the Vorpal! It won’t direct your strikes. You must direct it.”
Pouting, Alice dropped her arm. “Do I have to practice?”
“Do you ever wish to live long enough that returning home will ever be a glimmer of possibility?”
Sulkily, Alice said, “Of course I do. I just didn’t think my things that needed doing here would be so complex.”
“Things are seldom less complex than what we expect them to be.” Absolem replied, blowing a smoke ring into the air. “To think otherwise is foolishness, indeed.”
“The Council just allowed some random demon from another dimension to be a Watcher? Doesn’t strike me as their style.”
Giles set a cup of tea in front of Buffy, who took it gratefully. “As always with these sorts of things, there were political ramifications if they did not.” Taking the book, Giles flipped ahead until he found the page he wanted. “Ah, here he is.”
He returned the book to in front of the blonde. “A butterfly? Her Watcher was an inter-dimensional butterfly?”
“As well as a Seer and Queen’s advisor.”
Smirking, Buffy said, “Hence the Council’s caving.”
“We have a visit from your human Watcher’s Council tomorrow, Alice. I should like to see your sword work once more before meeting with them.”
The blonde made a face. “I really dislike them, Absolem. They’re so concerned with propriety, Sir Bradbury actually suggested I go about fighting in a corset! I told him that I would consider it after seeing a practical demonstration from himself. Couldn’t we just not attend the meeting?”
“No. We need to at least try. Afterwards, though, if you no longer wish to be associated with them, I believe I may have a solution.”
“So she broke with the Council as well. And here I thought I was being all rebellious and trail-blazey.”
Stirring sugar into his cup, Giles nodded. “Don’t worry, Buffy, you were quite, ah…revolutionary… in the manner in which you cut ties. There have been Slayers in the past who no longer wished to follow the Council’s edicts, though, and Alice did as they had done; she hid from them.”
Picking the book up once more, Giles said, “It says here she was partial owner of her late father’s trading company; she commandeered one of their ships and set sail.”
Slime oozed down Alice’s neck, and she grimaced in disgust. “How is it that we can be out to sea, and these fell creatures still manage to find me?”
“You are the Slayer, Champion!” Absolem shouted above the sounds of fighting. “I have told you before! They will be drawn to you! It is a Call they are unable to resist!”
With a cry and a shove, Alice twisted her knife deep into the creature’s belly. It flopped once, then lay still.
“That was entirely too close.” Absolem sniffed. “You need further training. Get up. We start now.”
“Thrust forward, then return to first position. Once more.”
Alice sheathed her sword, panting. “Break?”
“Very well.” the Butterfly conceded. “Your form’s improved, stupid girl. Soon you may be capable.”
Hopeful, Alice turned to him. “Does that mean we will return to Underland soon?”
Floating away, Absolem said, “No sooner Time allows, Alice Kingsleigh. First position, once again.”
Sighing, Alice fell into stance, practicing the move without further mention of Underland.
Which was just as well; Absolem didn’t know how to tell Alice she would never return. Her Destiny was to die here. The Oraculum was never wrong.
Rubbing the bridge of his nose absently, Giles said, “That and--this is purely conjecture on my part--I believe they thought she would not live long once she was Called. She was a gentleman’s daughter, you see, and not accustomed to doing very much more than being sociable and going to parties.”
“Sounds familiar.” Buffy said wryly.
Smiling in return, Giles replied, “She proved them wrong, as well, and was actually quite long-lived. She passed in 1898, after Slaying for approximately seven to eight years.”
“You’d think the Council would learn.”
“They did.” Giles said darkly. “They ordered her death.”
“Absolem!” Alice cried, as the water rapidly got higher. “We need to get above deck!”
Another board buckled behind her, shooting more water into the cabin. Slamming her shoulder into the door, Alice tumbled out onto the deck. Horror choked her at the sight that awaited them.
Three Man-o-Wars surrounded their small vessel, barrels pointed directly at them. “Absolem…” the woman whispered helplessly. There was no way to fight; for one that had lived by the sword for nearly a decade, this was a horrid ending.
The butterfly landed on her nose. “I’m…sorry, Alice.”
“But…Underland…Hatter.” Her voice broke.
“Does it make me evil to be glad I’m not the only one they tried to do that to?”
Gaze very serious, Giles said, “They didn’t try, Buffy. They succeeded.”
“So wait. They blew up her whole ship, with the entire crew, so they could have a new puppet-Slayer?”
“After what the Council’s done to you, Buffy, it shouldn’t be a surprise.”
Buffy sipped her tea. “Wasn’t wholesale destruction kinda extreme, though?”
“Alice was hard to find; she’d been sailing around the world avoiding their agents. I’m surprised it took them as long as it did to order it, actually.”
The Butterfly spoke softly.
“You were never to return, Alice. This was always how it was to end.”
Lips trembling, Alice said, “No! I need to return to Underland! I promised him, Absolem!”
“Stupid girl,” he said affectionately, “I know you did. It’s one promise, however, that was Destined to be broken.”
The roar of cannon fire sounded as the ship was rocked with another volley. Crewmen ran past, shouting orders, but she was deaf to their panic. Acceptance made her dull, yet she had one last request.
“Tell him I love him.” she whispered.
“I will.” Absolem promised.
“Why didn’t her Watcher-bug-thing take her back to his world with him? I mean, if he knew the Council wouldn’t stop until she was dead…”
Giles smiled softly. “Not all Watchers feel the way I do for their charges, Buffy.”
Buffy smiled back. “Still, seven, eight years is a long time to Watch someone. Even if he was a demon, how could he just stand back and watch her die?”
“Perhaps he felt that the good of this world outweighed the life of one human girl.” Giles said. “If he removed her, this world would be without a Slayer.”
His name was cheered as the butterfly entered Marmoreal, where an elaborate Tea-Party was underway. He studied each face sitting there, each looking at him with nauseating joy and expectation, but none more so than the man at the head of the table, top-hat askew on his head.
“Absolem?” he lisped, bow tie flaring hopefully. “Have you brought my wee laddie home?”
“I am…sorry, Tarrant.” the butterfly said, and the table fell silent. “There was nothing that could be done. She wanted me to tell you…that she loved you.”
A howl of heartbreaking anguish was his only reply.