Disclaimer: The Dresden Files belong to Jim Butcher, and Buffy belongs to Joss whedon. Probably.
A/N: This was originally going to be quite a bit longer, but it didn't get done in time, and now it's NaNoWriMo. I'm planning on coming back to this and finishing up Tarnished Silver season 2 in December.
Major spoilers for the end of Changes
. Kind of.
I never moved, but I saw a light ahead of me. With the light, I saw that I was mobbing down a tunnel, directly toward it. Or maybe it was moving toward me. The light looked like something warm and wonderful and I began to move toward it.
Right up until I heard a sound. Typical,
I thought. Even when you’re dead, it doesn’t get any easier.
The light rushed closer, and I distinctly heard the horn and the engine of an oncoming train.
And then I was standing on the corner of a street at twilight. I blinked. I didn’t see that coming. Dying? That hadn’t been a surprise. Okay, well, that’s not quite true, but it hadn’t been that much of a surprise.
The ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ being a train was strange; the train turning out to be a suburban street? That’s where I draw the line. Even my life has limits. Had, anyway. Feeble protests aside, I was still standing on a street corner feeling remarkably rested. Apparently death agreed with me.
It’s a sad commentary on my life that I’ve gotten so used to things like this that I have a mental check list I run through: Feet – check, legs – check, hands – both working with all fingers present and accounted for, breasts – check, duster, staff, pentacle all there. I’d apparently gotten a hat somewhere too.
It took me a second to realize what was wrong with that. My name is Harry Dresden. You can find me in the phone book under ‘Wizard.’ I don’t (usually) have breasts. Also three hours ago I’d watched my Duster crumble into dust after saving my daughter from Red Court Vampires, killing her Mother and the rest of the court in the process. Also, I don’t usually have breasts. That seemed like the bigger issue. I stared at my chest blankly. God my afterlife is fucked up. “Wasn’t I taller than this?” I muttered before grunting as a three foot tall monster decided to body-slam me.
Note to self: When waking up after dying, figure out what’s going on before being distracted by any changes your body might have undergone. Otherwise you get attacked three foot tall… stars and stones, I’d never seen anything like whatever was sitting on me outside of a bad movie. Fortunately for me, it crumpled when I hit it in the head with my staff.
I pushed it off and struggled back to standing, and prayed I still had my magic. The street around me was swarming with more of the things. I stopped and stared as a miniature Frankenstien Monster ran by. That… what? It was… I shook my head. My afterlife was an outdoor Splattercon for first graders. That’s just… “… Harry?”
A tentative, familiar, voice, one I hadn’t heard in years, at the back of my mind cut off my tangent.
It wasn’t possible. Even beyond all of this, that was not possible. I’d seen her die. Well, not precisely, but she’d taken a psychic bullet for me, killing herself in the process. “My host?”
I heard it again, louder this time. “Lash?”
I thought back, “Aren’t you dead?”
The familiar red-haired avatar of the shadow of a Fallen Angel that, once upon a time, lived in the back of my head wavered into existence next to me.
“I believed so, my…” Lash stopped and stared at my new figure, “I have missed something.”
I turned and grinned at her stupidly. “Do you like them?”
“My host,” the no longer dead shadow of Lasciel said after a long beat, “I am deeply confused.”
I nodded in response, “That makes two of us. I’m pretty sure I’m dead.”
Lash tilted her head, “That would explain very little of this.”
“Well dying then,” I replied, rolling my eyes. “Whatever.”
“Perhaps a bit more detail, my host?”
“Well, since you’re probably not really here—“
“I assure you my Host, I am. Though I do not quite understand how…”
“Lash, I died
. And this is not
my body. I don’t—“
“Buffy!” We should continue this later, my host.
Lash vanished as I spun towards the person who’d yelled, a semi-transparent red-head wearing a leather miniskirt and not much else. I wouldn’t have complained if she hadn’t been younger than Molly. It’s official. My afterlife is stranger than my real one. I hadn’t thought that was possible.
“Are you alright?” She asked again.
“Me?” I asked stupidly.
The red-head turned to a kid standing next to her. “She’s not Buffy.”
“Who’s Buffy?” he said.
“Oh this is fun,” She muttered before turning back to me, “What year is it?”
“2010?” I responded hesitantly. That’s what it had been last I checked, anyway. This was starting to seem less and less like the afterlife.
The redhead’s eyebrows rose in surprise before she sighed, saying “1998.” Well, that’s great. Nothing gets the blood flowing quite like violating the laws of magic. She turned back to her companion, “How are we supposed to get through this without a Slayer?”
“Why don’t you tell me what’s going on…” I asked her, shaking off the last of my post-death haze.
She looked at me in a ‘that’s nice, but you don’t know what you’re doing and you’ll think I’m nuts’ sort of way. Stars and stones it’s strange being on the other end of that look. “Look, Buf—whoever you are, it’s Halloween. This might come as a surprise, but, magic is real, and we’ve been all turned into our costumes.”
“Ah.” I nodded at her and fought the urge to ask what she’d gone as.
What does it say about my life that hearing something like that doesn’t even faze me anymore? My name is Harry Dresden, and I’m currently flagrantly violating not just one, but at least three of the laws of magic. Suddenly it seemed like a good thing that I was already dead.
“Look, I know you probably don’t believe but I swear magic is real and I just don’t know what to do you’re possessing my friend Buffy and she’s the slayer and she the one who…” the redhead continued mumbling under her breath.
Hells bells, that was worse than Molly. How did she do that without stopping to breathe?
“Kid! KID. Look, slow down. Tell me what’s happening. I can help. I know a little something about Magic.” Wasn’t that the understatement of the year.
The redhead stopped and stared at me incredulously. “What are you a magic cowboy?”
I grunted and shook my head. I get a lot of crap over my coat, but I’m going on record now as saying it’s not that bad. Maybe if you’d actually watched El Dorado
you had the right to say that, but there was almost no way this kid had ever seen it. “I’m a warden, kid.”
She stared at me blankly.
“Of the White Council?” I continued after a moment, “you have no idea what that means, do you.”
“Not a clue,” she smiled apologetically.
“If you two are done,” her companion looked around the street again, “we should get off the streets. I don’t know what’s going on here, but, I want out before any more of those mini-monsters come back.
“Xander’s right. we should go to your—Buffys—house. We can talk there.”
“Uh, lead the way?” I said hesitantly.
The red-head blinked before blushing, “Right, you’re not Buffy. Sorry. I’m Willow. ”
Something about that rang a bell, but I wasn’t sure why. “Harry. Harry Dresden.” I replied as I followed her, trying desperately to ignore Lash’s laughter at the back of my mind.