Intro: Buffy wakes up to find herself in Ancient Greece. Furthermore turns out to be Andromache. No matter how much she still looks like Buffy her servant is insistent she is this Andromache-chick, and seeing as she’s been given a quest to stop some war by the Gods… Things are starting to get complicated.
Struggling to adapt to her new home in Thebes, the slayer is forced to play passive, which a cranky Buffy does make. Not to mention that Gods and Goddesses seem to be pouring out her ears as they each seek to sway towards the different sides of the coming conflict, no matter that her mission is to lessen or even halt it. Not to mention she gets regular clips of the life and times of the chick she’s now parading around pretending to be. And what happened to her anyway?
Added to the fact that her supposed ‘husband-to-be’ has just shown up, and despite arms like that and eyes like that and…Well the point being…husband? Where exactly was this written into the slayer-contract? Oh yeah, most slayers don’t live past puberty, let alone until the happy nuptials. Nevertheless, her current situation isn’t exactly brilliant and the fact that an army of one-thousand ships are heading her way isn’t exactly adding to her ‘fun list’.
Disclaimer: I own neither Troy, Invictus, nor Buffy the Vampire slayer.
Pairings: To be decided.
‘Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.’
She stared forward, solemn eyed at the rising sun, even as the crack between worlds opened before them on the crazy-person-built tower.
Front row tickets to the end of the world.
One last chance…
She smiled bitterly to herself as she understood the choice laid out before, after all, the rasta-mama Slayer had told her that death was her gift.
Spike had been wrong, slayers didn’t have a death-wish, they had a life-wish. Being a slayer wasn’t a life, it was a mockery of such a thing, no matter how hard she fought against it. And those girl’s before her had been nothing but automatons longing to be freed from their council-enforced shell, without even the luxury of friends and family as she’d managed to obtain.
It was their longing to escape the slayer and to truly live that had allowed those girls to die so easily. But she, she had things to live for. Friends, family…
In the end they were things to die for.
Their blood, Summers blood. Blood which had to be ended in order to finish what had been started by that minion of Glory whilst they had been distracted during the fight. The mad-man who’d ended the world with a flick of his knife and his kindly old man smile.
An end she had to thwart no matter what the cost to herself.
‘In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.’
What was it that Whistler had said to her before she’d fought Angel?
That no-one was ever ready for the big moments? That they would come anyway, and that it all depended on how you reacted.
It was that which would tell her who she truly was.
It hadn’t been that long ago, mere years. But it felt like a lifetime.
She’d been such a child then, indeed it was her sacrifice of Angel which had ultimately claimed her innocence, not that night of passion together as they weathered the storm.
It had shown her what she was prepared to do for duty. It had shown those she knew what she was prepared to do for duty.
She would sacrifice her lover, a man she’d once believed to be her soul mate, no longer, but nevertheless, it remained that she’d loved him with all the naivety and trust of a first love.
Not this time.
She would not lose another loved one, and one infinitely more precious despite she short life.
Her baby sister.
Made of her.
But this time she did have a choice. And her friends would understand.
She turned with a smile to her sister, holding back the young girl’s advance towards the edge, holding back tears as she imagined how wonderful her clever little sister would be.
The only regret she would have was not seeing Dawn grow into the woman she could be, but Buffy knew that Giles, Xander, Willow, Tara, Anya…hell even that bleached pest Spike, would take care of her.
She would place her trust in them.
Put all her cards on the Scoobies one last time.
After all, it had never let her down before.
‘Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.’
“Dawn, listen to me, listen.” She pressed a tender kiss to her sister’s forehead, her blessing for the future, whatever the other girl wanted. “I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles… tell Giles I figured it out.” Her watcher would understand, though her sister did not, and that was good. “And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now.” They would need her sister, they would need to be together on this. “You have to take care of each other. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world… is to live in it. Be brave. Live… for me.” She spoke the words, her final words, knowing her sister would need this, and praying that the other girl understood why, that she didn’t blame herself for this ever.
That Dawn would live.
Her sister was crying, calling for her to come back, even as Buffy drew away, closer and closer as what looked to be a very good imitation of a dragon if it wasn’t the real thing, burst from the crack in the sky which gradually fractured into more and more.
And for a moment of utter nonsensicality she was remained of her childhood.
‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling!’
Apparently chicken-lickin was right.
A small smile curved her lips upward, even as she threw herself forward into the air in a swan dive, her final moment: her swan song.
For the flimsiest second as she gained height it was as if she were hovering over the rippling portal, almost like a brilliant white ocean.
She was reminded of coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons, as it seemed as though gravity was deciding whether to work on her or not, how many times had that poor bastard hung suspended in mid-air before crashing to impact with the canyon below. All that work and nothing to show for it, but how crappy acme inc. products truly were.
Still, gravity had apparently not decided to make an exception for her either.
And down she fell, shattering through the portal, which rippled eagerly, dragging at her, clutching like a long lost friend, and then everything was blackness.
‘It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.’
She groaned quietly, trying desperately to push aside the…blur that was poking her arm.
She knocked it aside, curling in on herself. Now was sleepy time, she ached all over and was in no mood to be woken.
The slayer problem or what ever could reschedule itself till later. She’d promised herself when she’d defeated Glory and stopped them from using Dawn to open the portal she would sleep for a week.
And that was what she intended to do…
She hadn’t stopped them opening the portal, had she?
It had nearly killed everyone until she’d made her choice, and she really hoped said choice had worked.
She’d thrown herself forward. Silly for her to have forgotten, but that didn’t really seem to matter now. It also meant she didn’t have to get up.
“G’way…m’dead now…” She grumbled quietly.
“Well…great…what a champion you’ve picked for us! What great wonderment she’ll bring. What regal bearing. I mean really, the way she’s snoring away on the floor, is our salvation in a matchbox. She’ll snore the opposition into submission…ow!”
Her eyes fluttered open in time to witness the man speaking, who looked an awful lot like that idiot Ethan. Which really wasn’t a comfort, especially considering the fact that the last she’d heard, he was being transported to some mysterious prison located somewhere in the Nevada desert.
Equally disorientating was the fact that he’d just been smacked over the head by Kendra…
She blinked blearily up at the scene before, putting her hand to her forehead, as she tried to make some sense of the situation before her.
She opened her mouth to make what would undoubtedly have been a comment of such witty punnage that she would have stunned the now bickering pair of Kendra and Ethan, into silence.
What instead came out was a dry rasp, which had her hacking a cough until a bottle of cold water was passed into her hand, and she gratefully took a swallow, and gasped in relief, looking up to thank her source of aid only to gape.
“Whistler!?” She choked in surprise.
And sure enough it was Whistler, in the same old fedora and ugly polyester shirt, complete with the suit that screamed 1940’s to anyone with any ounce of a fashion sense.
Which apparently he lacked.
He tipped his hat to her with a familiarly ironic grin.
She was about to demand an answer as to her current situation, only to be cut off by ’Ethan’ starting to what could only be described as cackle.
It was around that point that Buffy decided that this was all some elaborate hallucination.
Who knew, maybe she hadn’t beaten Glory and was still stuck in that damn coma, she just hoped Willow would be hurrying up with the waking up because this was getting majorly creepy.
She subtly pinched her arm even as Whistler shot her an amused flash of a grin, before her reached out to help her to her feet.
So much for the wake-up theory.
“You called yourself Whistler?” Snorted Ethan dryly, “that piece of information might well have made my decade. I changed my mind, we’re keeping the girl.”
Buffy bristled at the idea of being kept by that slimy piece of urrgh, before Kendra cut off her train of though with her next words.
“You cannot keep ’er. You know dat.” She snorted regally, in a way that assured Buffy that this was NOT Kendra. The girl had been cool and collected sure, but she hadn’t acted like Queenie over there.
“Who are you people?” She managed to query, raising the heel of her hand to her forehead, which was aching as though a whole troop of those fyra-lly demons were doing ballet in there, and wasn‘t that a cringe worthy image that had her wincing internally.
“See, no respect, there was a time where people knew who we were at once, even if we were playing barnyard tales, though admittedly that was more dear old daddy’s gig than ours.” ’Ethan’ snorted, clearly disgruntled, as he began to tap out a tune on his belt.
“Ignore me brother, ‘e spent too long in de sun as a child.” Snorted ‘Kendra’ coolly, shifting slightly, so Buffy caught a glimpse of the impressive silver bow strapped to her back. Giving a wary respect for the chick wearing her sister slayer’s face, anyone that petite who could draw a bow like that deserved to have at least an opponents esteem. “As you may of noticed, we are not de true bearers of these forms, but they’re ones we ’oped would make you most comfortable, daughter-mine.”
“Wait…backup…what?” Buffy blinked in bemusement, wondering exactly who the hell this woman was.
Was she the first slayer in a new form?
“Oh for the love of me.” ’Ethan’ groaned, rolling his eyes expressively. “Sister-dear is the representation of warrior women everywhere, so she looks upon you as one of her own. End of.”
“Must you be so blunt?” Queried ’Kendra’ dryly.
“Part of my charm.” Was the response, which came complete with a complementary eye-waggle in Buffy’s direction, with such a leer, that it made her wonder if it was scientifically possible to remove a layer of skin in a quick and painless process.
“The things I do…” Came a quiet mutter from behind her, even as the two doppelgangers began bickering in a way only true siblings could manage, and she turned to glance suspiciously at Whistler, who shot her a reassuring grin. Clearly catching her line of thought.
“Don’t worry kid, I’m all me.” He smirked, making her sigh in silent exasperation.
“You know I couldn’t say whether or not that was a good thing.” She replied archly.
“Ouch kitten, claws away if you please, especially if you want to hear a small proposition which could send you back to the land of the living and save countless lives.” Whistler snorted, clearly realising that she was interested as he continued to speak. “An…interesting…little opportunity has just popped up, which myself and my associates are planning on taking advantage of, to…turn the tables if you will.”
“I’m listening.” Buffy nodded thoughtfully.
“See, the Powers-that-Be-Stupid exist to do one thing, keep balance. Right?”
“Yeah…you work for them.” Buffy nodded as if speaking to a small child, ignoring ’Ethan’s’ little mutter of ‘not always’ which earning him a smack from his sister.
“What would you say if I told you the powers existed only because the original beings of omnipotence in this realm lost their power, and that a group of bottom feeders took advantage of it to increase the power of the demonic element by creating their definition of ‘balance’ over the original?” Whistler tilted his head, querying, even as she blinked.
“Oh look at the human’s brain trying to comprehend…ow. Hades, ‘Temis!”
“Ignore the peanut gallery.” Whistler shook his head in blatant exasperation. “My siblings have been…bored of late.”
“I will. So these…beings lost their power. Why?” Buffy persisted.
“A major FUBAR is what kiddo. Though don’t make me repeat it.” Whistler shifted awkwardly, as his gaze flickered upwards slightly, clearly nervous.
“Look, kid. What do you know about Troy?” Whistler pressed his hands onto her shoulders, staring seriously into her eyes, eyes piercing in a way she’d never noticed when they were hidden behind the brim of his hat. Inhuman was the only way to describe the ethereal glow that clung to them.
“Troy as in the city? With the horse that launched a thousand ships?” Buffy blinked in bemusement.
“Oh…we’re doomed.” ’Ethan’ deadpanned in the background. “Eternal servants to those bootlickers because we picked the slayer whose never even bothered to pick up a book. The Odyssey, it’s a classic for Zeus’ sake, don’t mortals read these days? It took forever to inspire that intransigent arse Homer to write the damn thing.”
“Gee, that’s an interesting story Grandpa.” Buffy deadpanned, before flicking her gaze back to Whistler. “There was a guy…Achilles…they had to attack his heel to kill him. And a really pretty girl called Helen who ran off with the Prince of Troy because she hated her husband?” She trailed of questioningly.
“Close enough.” Whistler sighed.
“De point is that de conflict of Troy was influenced on both sides, by de Gods of de Pantheon.” ’Kendra’ interjected. “Zeus had planned Troy to be de end of de Age of heroes. Widout de heroes, he thought dat it would be easier to rule over mankind.”
“What Zeus forgot was the whole free-will aspect of humanity. Without any heroes to provide proof of the God’s presence, belief began to fade and their power with it. Then the Romans came, and then Christianity kicked off and the Greek Gods lost their…oomph. Along with pretty much all their influence to a group of lower level spirits who were now depressingly stronger than them.” Whistler sighed, his Bronx accent becoming stronger as he continued to speak, showing clear signs of stress even as he twirled his fedora in his hands.
“And this has what exactly to do with me, other than the fact that I’m being twittered at by ex-Greek-Gods?” Buffy arched an eyebrow, even as ‘Ethan’ started in surprise, even as ‘Kendra’ chuckled.
“Told you the blonde bit was only an act.” Crowed Whistler with a grin, before he turned solemn. “Long story short, without the heroes and I’m not talking about your super-secret-girlband (Harris an’ Captain Peroxide included), I’m talkin’ the real deal. The big kahunas! Heracles, Hector, Achilles, Jason, Perseus, Theseus and the like. Magnificent bastards the lot of ’em, but the point is that they were unique in a way that’s never been seen since. Sure Artorius’ lot tried with that corner-less-table of theirs, but the point is that it wasn’t the same. The large majority of the fighting force that held back demonic interlopers was decimated in an instant. All because one puffed up little Prince stole another man’s chick.”
“I thought you said the God’s had arranged it?” Buffy drawled wryly at what was pretty much a clear cut case of denial.
“Half and half, free will remember kid?” Whistler shot her a grin. “Anyways, the point bein’ that the system which governed the forces of this world pretty much went through the equivalent of a nuclear meltdown, knocked the world into a slow decline into the dark ages and meant that this world’s system of supernatural is out of whack, hence the emergence of the friendly neighbourhood hell mouths. And the importance of the slayer. ”
“Before Troy, de slayer was not de main champion relied upon for everyting, if anyting dey were underused by de Gods. But wit de loss of de heroes and de Pantheon, the burden of many fell on de one. And she became de one girl in all de world.” ‘Kendra’ frowned solemnly.
“If the pantheon hadn’t fallen countless little girls would have lived. The council would have never have been allowed to pervert the slayer’s calling and more importantly, the hell mouth’s would never have opened.” Finished ’Ethan with a flourish, complete with jazz hands, that dislocated her brain with the bizarreness of watching a man who was identical to Ethan Rayne in every way performing Jazz hands.
It was like watching Giles doing the snoopy dance, something you’d always wondered about but never actually wanted to see.
“So Troy bad. Heroes good.” Buffy nodded flatly. “Still not seeing how this applies to yours truly.”
“Long story short, me and the twins here are planning for a do-over of epic proportions but we kind of need you to do it.” Whistler scuffed his shoes awkwardly, and she caught a glimpse of a pair of emerald green converse with what looked to be wings stuck to the sides. Something echoed in her memory before she was brought back to the present with a crash at the realisation that she was expected to save the world…again.
Did she just have a sign stuck to her back, ’Cosmic repair for hire’ or something equally depressing?
“And you picked me because…? I mean it clearly wasn’t on my foreknowledge of the situation.”
“You’re de only one who can.” ‘Kendra’ sighed. “De energy from de portal which killed you, along wit your…unique situation means dat it can be done.”
“Unique situ…so 'cos I’m the slayer I’m the perfect poster-girl for time travel ‘r’ us?” Buffy flailed slightly.
“No, for once it has nothing to do with the slayer spirit and everything to do with you. And I bet that already impressive ego of yours raised itself up some more notches from that, didn’t it.” Snorted ‘Ethan’ dryly. “You mortals are all the same.”
“Ignore him, he’s cranky.” Whistler waved a hand. “He got stuck in the PtB’s filing department after the big turnover.”
“Do you have any idea how many of you pathetic little insects have names between the letters A and F?” ‘Ethan’ twitched slightly.
“It’s done nothing for his personality.” Whistler muttered quietly. Before a wicked grin was shot her way, eyes sparking with mischief. “Anywho, the higher up on the scale former-Gods are either off moping or under guard. We three however are-”
“Bearing gifts we travel afar.” ‘Ethan’ burst into song, before being smacked over the head by his supposed twin once more.
“’E’s quirky.” The dark-skinned, ex-goddess shrugged lightly.
“As I was saying, we slipped under the radar, and are here to well…Basically Troy fucked you over too shrimp.” Whistler nodded solemnly, wincing slightly under her quelling glare at the mention of her height. “And before you mention ribcage hats, remember, immortal. It’ll hurt but it’ll grow back as fast as Dionysus would down a Yeager.”
“There are other ways.” Buffy’s eyes narrowed threateningly, as Whistler shrunk back slightly.
“Moving on.” Squeaked Whistler.
“No, this is fast becoming entertaining, please, continue.” ‘Ethan’ encouraged, even as Buffy rolled her eyes.
“Exactly how did Troy mess up my life in particular when it was a bajillion years ago…only slightly more like a thousand or so…?” Buffy asked coolly, her patience growing thin.
“A soul is reborn when it remains incomplete. They don’t pass onto the Elysium fields and eventually the cycle works around and badda-bing, rebirth. Your life at Troy was quite possibly the closest your soul ever came to Elysium, not to mention you met your soul mate.” ’Ethan’ suddenly grew serious, and for a moment in his eyes she caught a glimpse of fire and brilliance and music that tripped off the tongue like honey.
Of the God he had once been.
And she found herself speechless.
If only for a second.
“Soulmate?” She tilted her head, intrigued at the thought, having during her earlier years been convinced that Angel had been her soul mate, she was curious as to who it was really.
“Ah-ah-ah.” ’Ethan’ waggled a finger as though scolding a child. “Sometimes surprises are best saved till last.”
“We can use de power of de portal to send you back to your life back den. But dis is de only time it can be done.” ’Kendra’ informed her with a solemn frown. “Choose wisely.”
“We’ll send gifts to help you out of course kid.” Whistler interjected, shooting the woman an irritable look. “But before you choose there is one thing you should know. If, and I do mean if, no buts about it. If you chose to continue on to rebirth you’ll go into what some mortals call heaven as your body prepares to be reborn. A heaven your friends will rip you from before your time, and force you into your old form, damaging your soul and staining theirs with the mark of Osiris, and believe me, that one always calls for back-payment. And its never pretty, a life for a life. It will also directly lead to an imbalance to such a scale that the PtB’s will be able to bring about what they’ve always intended even as they chipped away at the power structures, the full opening of the hell mouth and judgment day on Earth.”
“So much for having a choice.” Buffy growled.
“Never said it would be a fair one.” Whistler gave her a feral grin that was positively wicked. That spoke of mischief and cunning.
“Who were you?” Buffy found herself breathing aloud.
“Hermes, former God of Travellers and Thieves, I’ve bin watchin’ over you for a while.” He shot her a wry smirk. “Time’s a-wasting its time to make a choice, are you ready to be strong?”
“You know, I’m almost impressed at how badass you are right now.” Buffy tilted her head thoughtfully.
“What can I say Kid, I’m bad to the bone” Whistler dusted his nails on his suit jacket, but the effect was ruined by his brightly patterned lime green shirt.
"What do you need me to do?" Buffy sighed, resigned, even as ‘Ethan’ punched the air, and a genuine smile crossed ‘Kendra’s’ face.
“Troy left behind a legacy of greatness, we don‘t so much need you to stop the war so much as lessen the damage. Key players who never should have died.” Whistler informed her. “The deaths of Hector, Achilles and Patrolocus especially. Odysseus should be kicking around afterwards too. They alone should be enough to support the next generation. Though as many as you can get would be acceptable too.”
“Not to mention that you’ll have to stay in the background, at least for a while, they were very patriarchal back then.” ’Ethan’ muttered with a sigh, as though he missed such times, making her almost sneer, almost.
“So keep things quiet. Secret-identity girl?” Buffy nodded thoughtfully, her mind swiftly running over the situation. “I suppose seeing as I’ll be living out other-me’s life I’ll have to stick to the script for a while?”
“Atta girl” Grinned Whistler, whilst something that looked a lot like pride glinted in his inhuman blue eyes. “Basically till you get to Troy at the very least, don’t want you sacrificed for not ‘correctly honouring the Gods’ or something.”
“Those were the days.” Sighed ’Ethan’ with an almost dreamy grin.
“I violently dislike you.” Buffy deadpanned before returning her attention to the former-God turned messenger boy in front of her. “Let me guess, he lost a whole bunch of his male pride when Troy fell?” Buffy sighed, it was an old but effective cliché.
“You have no idea.” Whistler chuckled. “Needless to say though, in a dog-eat-dog world like Greece, you’ve got all the permission to kill humans we can give, believe me you’ll need it with all the nut jobs around back them. Some of them are worse monsters than the demons you fight now.”
Buffy swallowed at the thought, all her years as the slayer being so careful not to take a human life, and now it was kill or watch thousands die and an apocalypse occur.
Fate really didn’t like her, had she kicked lots of puppies or something in a past life?
She’d find herself unsurprised.
“But first you’ll need to dress the part.” Whistler smirked at her, clicking his fingers to add flair to his words.
Though still distracted at the thought of killing humans, something she’d always feared doing, she still looked down to find her stylish scoop neck sweater, beige trousers and Jimmy choos gone. Replaced by a girl-toga of soft white material, with golden beads about her wrists and a necklace which bore a golden moon upon it. Her hair was pinned out of her face and her feet were shod with sandals.
She felt like an extra from that movie with Russell Crowe and the swords, and mentioned as such.
“Move over Fredricks of Hollywood.” ‘Ethan’ smirked, earning a smack on the arm from his ‘sister’.
“Now. Gifts.” ‘Kendra’ nodded solemnly.
“I get presents?” Buffy perked up slightly at the thought, maybe this gig wouldn’t be all bad, though the thought of her soon to be mall-less existence brought her swiftly back to Earth with a thud.
“A gift from Apollo, God of the Sun, to you child.” ‘Ethan’ stepped forward, his previous form rippling away to reveal a man who was every definition of a ‘Greek God’ rolled into one, and she had to stop herself drooling on her shoes. Determined not to give him the satisfaction despite that head of sun-yellow hair, strong chin, muscles, and glowing eyes that seared like fire. Skin that was a rich tan and clad in the brightest armour imaginable. He was so very blinding to look at, like a sun himself. “A flame from the wake of my sky chariot to forge a blade worthy of a champion.” A shimmering silver blade patterned with flames, along with a scabbard appeared in her hands so swiftly that she almost dropped them. Clutching them carefully to her chest she knew it was the best sword she had ever and would ever own. “To be drawn only by you. A sword of fire to match your soul-bonded’s sword of air. A fitting pair are they not?”
“Th-thanks…” She stammered slightly. Buckling the blade to her waist.
“And from me…” The Jamaican accent disappeared with the disguise of Kendra, revealing a girl that glowed white to her brother’s gold. Hair the colour of the moon, to her brother’s sun-spun locks. A diadem marked with the crescent moon hung on her brow and her eyes glittered like stars. She was petite but dressed in the garb of a fighter, bow at her back and braces on her wrist. “Artemis of the hunt and more importantly chastity. Something which you will need for your wedding night should you follow your destiny.”
Buffy found herself flushing, not to mention at ‘Apollo’s’ murmured ‘what a pity’.
Seriously, did these people have any sense of shame?
Or was it just orgies and bacchae back then?
Oh yeah, she’d learnt something from being research girl. Not much, but enough to get her by, nothing that mentioned Troy though. And she found herself wondering if that hadn’t been the doing of the PtB.
It was then that a hand was pressed across her eyes, and she started, reaching for her new sword when it was pulled away to reveal Whistler smiling cheekily down at her, as she‘d never seen him before.
“Eyes to see through any deception.” Hermes finished with a smile, odd suit and hat replaced by glittering armour of bronze, and a pair of winged sandals at his feet. Oddly enough it was the most attractive her odd guide/messenger had ever been.
“See ya ‘round Kid. Though we probably won’t recognise you, so maybe not.” Whistler shrugged idly, even as he pressed a kiss to her forehead, that she never knew glowed silver for a moment, before sinking into her skin, marking her.
“Good luck Andromache.”
And with those words she was falling down…
A/N: The poem at the start is Invictus, by William Ernest Henley and doesn‘t belong to me.