The Fugitive Demon
Crossover: Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, settings, or mythology of either Buffy or Babylon 5. I'm just borrowing them.
A/N: I know I've left the preceding story unfinished, but it's far enough along that this will make sense.
Years, decades, even centuries had passed, identities grown and shed like so much snakeskin dozens of times in the time in between.
But the Caller, as she had become known - almost in legend - had, in her final words, said what must be done. She had bound all demonkind to the Earth itself, in this dimension. Only living humans infused with a demonic presence could travel the stars, not demons or vampires themselves - that loophole was meant for the Slayers, but unfortunately it had been impossible to avoid leaving it open for those possessed by the incorporeal.
The Caller, on her deathbed, had explained, "Thirteen years after the circle, ten years beyond the shadows, the Loophole shall be exploited. And the sunrise must go to meet it, for every lock must have a key, and every faith must have its keeper."
The head of the Interstellar Watcher's Council had been at the Caller's right hand when those words were spoken, and now, two hundred and fifty years later, she was staring into a mirror, having not aged a day since before the Caller's death.
The message had come through the most intricate of back channels, but the Council had gotten wind of what needed doing. The prisoner - the man possessed, then captured at Babylon 5, whose demon had tried to talk the only priest the station's commander could summon into doing an exorcism on the spot. It was believed that such an exorcism would break the Caller's ancient binding and allow the demon passage among the stars.
Reaching into the steel lockbox she'd had brought from the vaults, the head of the Council withdrew a few personal effects, far out of date. A California driver's license, expired in 2019, found its way into her pocket next to her Earth Alliance citizen's identicard. An elegant sterling silver necklace bearing a cold iron pendant in the shape of an old-fashioned key went around her neck. An old white nylon shoelace, its structural integrity questionable after two hundred and fifty years of storage, followed the necklace, the simple Schlage that had once unlocked a house on Revello Drive clinking against the iron key.
One final look into the mirror - she still didn't look a day over thirty, and knew she never would - and the head of the Council straightened her hair before heading out.
Father Cassidy smiled at the Anla'shoq who had been his second travelling companion. Fittingly named Faith, she had met him at Babylon 5's passenger terminal, and cryptically told him she had been sent to help transfer his prisoner back to Earth. Who had sent her, she'd never discussed, although Father Cassidy had the feeling this wasn't the sort of task the Anla'shoq were normally sent upon. Perhaps that was why Faith had come alone, and without one of the famous White Star ships.
The transfer shuttle from the starliner to Leonardo da Vinci Spaceport, just outside Rome, was cramped, but he had managed a window seat. There was one extra seat in their row, so Father Cassidy had finally been able to put some space between himself and the possessed Simon Birk. Anla'shoq Faith - she had never offered another name and he had not asked after one - had taken the seat on the opposite side, by the aisle. The rest of their party - a pair of additional priests sent by the Church - had been seated in the row behind.
Anla'shoq Faith smiled back, and whispered, "It's been a long time since I was on Earth."
Father Cassidy nodded. "How long?"
"You wouldn't believe me." Her accent was one he'd heard before, and he knew it to have come from Boston - a fact she'd confirmed - but now, it seemed slightly thicker.
"I believe a great many things, my Anla'shoq friend."
But just then, the shuttle touched down, and the recording offering helpful advice on disembarking came on - first in English, then seamlessly transitioning into Italian. The commotion of the other passengers drowned out any further attempt at conversation.
The EarthForce security officvers had been reluctant, but a quick call to EarthDome had confirmed the ancient authority of the Interstellar Watcher's Council, and now four security officers surrounded the passenger archway into the spaceport's terminal. The terminal itself was a beautiful, yet functional, structure which had been loosely designed after the flying machines in Leonardo da Vinci's own notebooks. The almost-clear spiral roof overhead filtered in the afternoon light as the doors opened, and the public address system announced, "Passengers of starliner 'Mont Ventoux' arriving from Babylon Five."
Any number of your ordinary EarthForce citizens, and others with a tourist's or businessperson's interests in Central Italy wandered out, in a scene that could easily have dated back to the zeppelin and seaplane flights of the 1930's. The Council's head remembered it more from the turn of the millenium, not including that fateful week in the fall of 2001 when the terminals had gone quiet.
The last five out the arch included three priests, and the man whose picture had been sent along, just as she'd been told to expect. And the fifth?
Well, she'd always suspected that the Caller's final words - Willow's final words - did in fact refer to Faith's return, once she had discovered her own immortality. Which was why she'd resurrected her original identity for this one. Pulling both IDs from her pocket, she stepped out from behind a silk plant, six Slayers in formation behind her like a flock of migrating geese. And the seventh, in front of her, and going pale.
Waving her cards in front of Father Cassidy and his companions, she announced, "By the authority vested in me as head of the Interstellar Watcher's Council, and recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and the Earth Alliance, we are here to take this fugitive demon into custody for the crime of escaping Earth."
Father Cassidy turned, looking to Anla'shoq Faith, expecting that perhaps she would step forward to refute this woman's statement - the man must be properly exorcised, now that they were back within the bounds set by God - and instead saw the pale look of shock on her face. "Dawn? Is that..."
The woman - apparently known as Dawn, nodded and tapped an iron key necklace she wore. "It's really me, Faith. It's been ages. And I think I'm your Watcher again."