From Whence It Came - Part I
I own nothing. All Buffy-related material belongs to Joss Whedon and all Naruto-related material is owned by Kishimoto. Warning:
Mentions of near Super!Buffyness. Slice of life and all the inane things we face in life. Stories are based on Canon, but are changed to better integrate Buffy. Slightly skewed timeline in Naruto-verse - if events and people don't match up, make a note and comment. All questions, comments and concerns can be addressed in the review section.
Darkness enveloped her.
It ate away at her senses. She couldn't touch. She couldn't feel. Try as she might, she couldn't even make out her own hand that hovered mere inches from the mask others called a face. Seeing the futility in her actions, the woman slowly lowered her hand until they came to rest in her lap.
Left in the prison crafted by the confines of her own mind, she couldn't do anything but listen to the sound of her own uneven breaths. The breaths that bore testament to her life, if it could even be called that, in the here and now. It was a life built upon lies and even more lies until the day she died. Which is never,
she thought sardonically. At the thought, the corners of her mouth twitched, the beginnings of a crooked smile blooming. How truly ironic her so called life had become. Before the Rising, every night was a fight for her life, a fight to push back the forces of Darkness that dared to thread upon human life.
Those of her Calling were chosen to fight, and fight they would. It was kill or be killed. None of them ever had a choice, it just wasn't an option. They would fight and they would die.
Alone. Always alone.
But that had changed with Spell, the Scythe and her Witch. The crimson haired Witch that stood against the Darkness and changed the tides despite her own insecurities. The Witch that empowered her fellow Sisters with age old Magics.
She made them stronger. Faster. Tied them to one another in ways no one could really understand. They would willingly kill for one another. Willingly died if it could save the other. They were beyond friends. They were Family. One girl in all the World no more,
the woman thought as tears sprang forth unwittingly to once dry eyes.
It's finally over, thought Buffy as she stared at the crater that use to be Sunnydale. When she had first approached Willow regarding the Spell, she hadn't thought things would work out the way they did. Honestly, she was expecting to die a third death. A final death. But she had been wrong. Wrong, just like everything else in her royally screwed up life but for once, she was grateful for it. She was alive. Her friends and family were alive. The eldest Slayer smiled at the irony as she fingered the wound that should have left her at Death's Door.
"Looks like the Hellmouth is officially closed for business," Faith said as she raised her hand, shielding her eyes from the bright morning light. "There's another one in Cleveland," was Gile's retort, which totally ruined the post-Apocalyptic battle high that she was experiencing. She couldn't help but roll her eyes at the statement and turned, just like everyone else, towards the man to express her displeasure. When her mentor noticed he had garnered everyone's attention, negative at that, he seemed to close into himself, returning to what he did best when faced with awkward situations - clean his glasses. "Not to spoil the moment."
Too late, Watcher-mine, moment officially spoiled. She hid the growing smile behind her hand. "We saved the world," Xander suddenly added, the wide grin taking years off his face, reminding her of the endearingly goofy teen that she had met all those years ago. And then her eyes flittered to the pirate patch and the feelings of guilt came flooding back. Another mistake on her part. Another mistake in a still growing list it would seem. "We
changed the world. I can feel them, Buffy. All over. Slayers are awakening everywhere," Willow, her witchy friend, corrected, effectively shifting the attention onto her and in the process, breaking her out of her musings. "We'll have to find them," her sister said, finally speaking up for the first time since their escape when she noticed Buffy's silence. It seemed Dawn had picked up on her sudden bout of depression and for that, she was grateful. It was difficult pretending all the time. "We have a lot of work ahead of us," her Watcher lectured, finally entering the conversation again. "Can I push him in?" the dark haired Slayer stated jokingly. At least, Buffy thought she was joking. You never could tell with Faith. That girl was just plain unpredictable and she hoped she would never change. "You've got my vote," added the Witch, raising her finger in definite agreement of the Giles-pushing. "I just want to sleep, yo, for like a week!" Buffy could see from the corner of her eye Faith definitely getting into Gile's personal space the more she talked and snorted at the affronted look the usually prim and proper Watch sported at the perceived crime as he hastily backed away lest he fall flat on his butt. Now
that, would be a sight Buffy wouldn't mind seeing. "I guess we all could. If we wanted to," Dawn agreed, her hair flowing freely in the wind. "Yeah! The First is scrunched, so, what do you think we should do, Buffy?" Willow asked turning to Buffy, as she tucked a stray strand of her crimson locks behind her ear. "Yeah, you're not the one and only Chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a person. How's that feel?" "Yeah, Buffy. What
are we going to do now?" Faith and Dawnie definitely brought up valid questions, but she didn't have any answers to give. Ever since she was called, the future had looked so grim. How could it not? Slayers lived hard and died fast. Her entire life had been proof of that. But now, now things were different. The future didn't look so grim to her anymore. They suddenly had a world full of girls just like her. Girls newly tasked with defending the race of Man against the Evil. Girls that were no doubt left shaken with the changes around them and it was their job to find them. To train them. To give them the resources to aid them. To give them a chance at living their own lives free of Destiny, Fate and Prophecy. To give them -
Yeah, a girl could definitely get use to that.
They had been so happy, so hopeful that a better tomorrow had finally come. But what fools they had been. Looking back, Buffy couldn't help but wince at their arrogance; did they truly believe they were different, that they were special, that they could invoke the powers of the Gods as they pleased to change the Balance and not face retribution for actions?
If anyone had told her that her choices on that fateful day would lead to the Fall of Mankind as they all knew it and to the birth of an age of violence and bloodshed, an age of Shinobi, she would have promptly laughed in their face. That and promptly kicked some major ass for the daily disruption of her Me Time,
aka, shoe shopping. She would have done all that and more with new heels that were just to die for.
"And die they did," she whispered. "What's on the agenda this fine morning, Watcher-mine? What foul dastardly deed has the demon population committed this time that needs my own personal brand of slayage?" Buffy grumbled without humor as she stood with her hands on her hips in Gile's office. She had just been about to embark on a journey of enlightenment, a journey self-exploration to find inner peace, not unlike Oz had once done, but that was now officially ruined. If that trip involved the Mall and their new collection of Jimmy Choos, well, no one else needed to know that,
especially not Giles. "Terribly sorry for the inconvenience my dear, what with your busy schedule and all; I suppose those things you call shoes must wait another day to be purchased," was Gile's dry answer. He didn't bat an eyelash at her less than enthusiastic mood, as he continued to go over the papers that littered his desk. She almost gave into the urge to pout, almost. "You wound me, Giles! They're Jimmy Choo! The man's a genius, the greatest of our generation! I'll have you know they aren't
just shoes, they're works of
art, a gift from the Heavens; I would know," she quipped, the smile on her face brightening with every passing minute as she continued to close the distance between the two until she was perched on his desk. Seeing her mentor's unimpressed look, she couldn't help but shrug her shoulders before adding, "Meh, I guess it's a young people's thing, you wouldn't understand." "Yes, dear girl, forgive this old man his shortcomings; I'm not sure how I'll ever live with myself for failing to recognize the genius that is the Chimmy Goos, was it?" He cocked his head to the side, a thoughtful adorning his face at the name. "Chimmy Goos, odd name, that." "Jimmy Choos Giles, Jimmy Choos!" She yelled, jumping off the desk in her excitement until she saw his smile, proof that he was having her on and this time, she gave into her urge to pout. "Totally uncalled for Giles! Totally uncalled for." Giles looked at her, his right brow raised. "Buffy, you know as well as I do that, that look doesn't work on me anymore." "Can't blame a girl for trying," she replied, shrugging her shoulders once more. "So, what's the sitch?" In an instant, she had gone from bleached blonde bimbo to Head Slayer, ready for anything Giles had to say. "Buffy. Rona and Violet, they've gone miss-" "Impossible." But she hadn't been quite ready for that.
But the impossible became possible.
One after the other, her Slayers went missing across the globe, presumed dead, and she was powerless to stop it. With their dwindling forces, it didn't take long for the Demons to come, lured by the Slayer Army's sudden weakness and by then, it was too late.
Too late for anything.
No matter how much they fought, no matter how many they killed, no matter how much destruction they left in their wake, it was never enough. Would never be enough. It was the Turok-Han all over again, but this time, there wasn't a magical amulet to save the day.
They were eventually forced on the run, forced to hide their faces, hide their identities for the Slayers were eventually known far and wide. Evil had seeped its way into the hearts of Man and poisoned their minds against its very own Protectors. The world that they had sacrificed everything to protect had suddenly turned its back.
They said the Slayers were unnatural, that they were Sin in the highest order, and that they would only bring calamity to those that housed them. They could trust no one, no one but each other. Every settlement that they visited turned them away, and this one was no different. Despite their quiet entry, they had soon been discovered and before long, the entire town, if it could even be called that, was there to greet them. They were battered and worn, their clothes nothing but rags, their bodies long ago left to whither in this post-Apocalyptic world but their eyes were different. They still held a fire, and it burned with an intensity that spoke volumes of their misfortunes. Of their hate. For
Them. Her. Beside the golden haired Champion of Light, her companions shifted, uneasy with all the attention that they had garnered. Slender fingers gripped her own, seeking comfort that she was sure was long gone. She gave an answering squeeze and lifted the corners of her lips into a semblance of a smile. She was the General, there was no way she could appear weak. "You're not welcome here
, Slayers!" A male voice spat, the venom practically dripping from every syllable uttered. Swiftly, the crowd parted until a lone man stood before her. She wasn't surprised at the deference these people showed the owner of the voice, for he was tall and of sturdy build, a miraculous feat if she ever saw one during these times. Buffy was surprised, however, when the man aimed a gun at them. At her. The thought alone was chuckle worthy. "Surprised, Demon Bitch?! Thought we'd roll'ver and die? Think again!" He shouted, his anger quickly coloring his cheeks. "That's right!" "You tell them!" "Put 'em in der place!" Seeing the increasingly agitated crowd, her Sisters quickly moved to intercept the man, clearly hoping that without their self-appointed leader, the group would disperse but the shake of her head had them backing down.
So not the time for this, she thought solemnly. "We're just passing through," she replied calmly and patiently to his rage. "We're not here to cause any trouble." Buffy raised her hands as she talked, showing herself weaponless, showing herself vulnerable. She was met with a bullet for her troubles. The sound was deafening to her Slayer enhanced ears, and while she could feel her comrades moving, dodging, escaping the bullet's path, she stood in place. She didn't move an inch. She just didn't see the point. It impacted her left shoulder with sickening squelch, inches away from her still beating heart and a shower of her own blood flowed freely. Screams permeated the air. "You did it!" "We're free!" "Saved!" "Buffy! Buffy! Look at me! Look at me dammit!" her sister shrieked as she supported her sister's sudden weight. She tugged away at the satin blouse, trying to get at the wounds but the Head Slayer remained unresponsive. Buffy merely gazed at the blood that stained her fingertips in the early morning light.
Beautiful, she thought, transfixed with the sight. She couldn't take her eyes away; she could look at it forever. The world slowly began to lose its focus until the only thing that was left was the blood and her.
It's always about the blood. Seeing Buffy's incapacitated state, one of her Sister Slayers made a quick decision and charged forward, effectively silencing the once rowdy crowd. By the time the shooter realized what was happening and prepared himself for another shot, his gun was already torn from his fingers and a blade was at his throat. The Normals gave her a wide berth and stood still as statues lest her wrath fall upon them. "I wouldn't try that again, sweet cheeks," a sultry voice reprimanded, a smirk painted her crimson lips. "You might lose more than just your gun, if ya know what I mean." "Bitch!" the man roared, disregarding her warning, and struggled. "I'll kill you, I'll kill you all just like I did to her! You're nothing! Nothing, ya hear me?! Nothing!" He ended his words by jutting his chin towards Buffy, the stretching of lips that spoke of his pride at his actions clear to the dark haired Slayer. "Is that right?" Those were her only words before the Slayer promptly swept the man off his feet. Literally. He landed on his back, gasping for breath but before he could recover, the woman quickly brought her blade down - "Faith!" "Stop!" "You can't!" - and impacted the broken pavement, sending debris flying everywhere. Turning to his right, Buffy's shooter immediately spotted the blade that could have easily taken his life and immediately passed out, his eyes rolling back into his head. The stench of urine hit the air, and the dark haired Slayer immediately vacated the vicinity, the disgust evident on her face. "You girls," Faith stated, addressing all the other Slayers present, "take point and watch them. No one makes a move without my say so, got it?" The aforementioned girls immediately recognized an order when they saw one and rushed to restore the balance that was disturbed with the man's rashness. One of them approached the now prone figure, and hoisted him up with no visible effort, depositing him none too gently at the feet of mob. Her task finished, she joined her Sisters in keeping watch. The Normals, seeing the defeat of their finest so easily, wept at the injustice of it all, their wails heard above all else. "My baby, my baby!" "My husband!" "Your fault! Your fault! It's all your fault!" With one last look at the crowd, the brunette made her way to her wounded Sister, a soft sigh escaping her lips. "How's she doing little D? Red? She gone off the deep end yet?" The dark haired Slayer asked roughly as she ran her hands through her hair. Her latter statement received glares from all around, but despite her blasé comment, the tapping of her foot against the pavement easily gave way to her own worry. "I-I-I just don't know. She's fine, physically fine. The wound's already healing, but I just don't know. She's not responding at all, it's like she's just gone," Dawn confessed, her eyes sparkling with unshed tears as she worked to bandage her sister's shoulder. The Red Witch laid a hand on Dawn's shoulder, giving a gentle squeeze, silently telling her to cease her words before facing the once Dark Slayer. "We really don't know Faith. Like Dawnie mentioned, the wounds are healing fast. Too fast even with the Slayer healing factor. Without the proper diagnostic spells, we can't ascertain anything at this point; we don't know what's causing her to lose touch with reality. We don't know why she didn't avoid the bullet and just stood there. We don't know anything. Nothing at all." "Well, get with the mojo and fix it, we haven't got all day for Sleepy Beauty to get her rest," Faith drawled as she shifted her weight onto her right side, all the while never ceasing her tapping.
Tap. Tap. Tap. "But we can't just use Magic Faith! You know that! Even the tiniest drop of Earth Magic will be like a beacon, signing over our deaths! Free-Meal-R-Us! We've been over this a thousand times! We can't deal with the problems we
already have and you want to invite
more? This is so like you! Is that what you really wan-" "What else do ya suppose we do then?! HUH?!" Faith snarled cruelly in the Witch's face. "We're on the run from Demons that keep coming back no matter what we do, the entire's world's already putty in that Bastard's hands and now B's out of commission off in Lala-Land. Don't see much of an option, Red, do you?!" "I-I-I don't know, ok?! I don't, but using Magic won't solve anything. It never does," Willow sobbed, breaking down entirely as the walls she had built to protect herself came tumbling down. Her hands covered her face in shame, shame at her own inability to save her friend. The others looked away, not willing to see one of their strongest in tears. Faith included. "Faith, you've said enough, don'cha think?" Dawn mumbled as she wiped a speck of blood from Buffy's too pale cheeks. "No," the woman replied, tonelessly. That wasn't what Dawn had been expecting."Wha-" "Don't you get it little D?" Faith exclaimed as she looked to her surrogate sisters. "Don't you all get it?" At this, she looked at the rest of the Slayers, making eye contact with each and everyone, willing them to understand. "It's never going to be enough." The once Dark Slayer had started out strong, passionate but by the end, she had lost whatever steam she had and fell silent. For the longest time, none from the Slayer camp moved. The only sounds that permeated the air were the curses that the Normals let loose. And then, Faith was in motion. She was fluid grace. Deadly. A Predator. A Slayer. And she was set straight for Buffy. Dawn was immediately on her feet. She raised both her arms out, effectively blocking her sister from view. "What are you doing?" "What we should have done from the beginning, little D." Too fast for even Slayer enhanced eyes to see, Faith easily bypassed the human shield before latching onto Buffy's throat. She pushed her onto the concrete pavement and climbed on top of her, bringing them chest to chest. Face to face. Eye to eye."If your Magic won't do the trick, we'll be doing it my way. Sorry B, but this is definitely going'ta hurt you more than it does me."
Laughter echoed through the darkness and Buffy wasn't surprised to realize it was her own. No matter the situation, Faith was able to make her smile, laugh even, no matter how hallow it may be and this situation was no different.
The other woman had been such force of nature that nothing could keep her down. Even faced with the impossible, she had confronted it head on, with what Faith revealed was all swagger.
The only remaining Slayer snorted just thinking of the word.
But no matter how strong she had been, the bottom line was that Faith had still failed. And then there was one. Me.
The girls continued to die but something odd happened; with every death, Buffy suddenly found herself stronger. Faster. Timeless. Limits stretched beyond her imagination, she had suddenly become a force to be reckoned with, a force that was beginning to turn the tides of battle in their favor, but the power had too high of a cost. Her humanity.
Even back then, she could feel Evil establishing itself a foothold deep within. It was a parasite, one that festered and grew, gaining sustenance from the Fallen. From her very own sisters. It became the source of her strength and her greatest shame.
Fists clenched, brows furrowed and eyes closed tightly, she couldn't help but get angrier and angrier the more she dwelled on her past. How dare it!
she raged, pushing her palms into her eyes, rubbing them raw. She had cried enough in her past, she wouldn't be doing it again. Especially not now, but she found it hard to listen to her own advice. The death of her Sisters had fueled the Monster, the Abomination, the Beast into being.
She couldn't just let that go and she wouldn't. That's why she was even here in the first place, why she wa-
Cold finger tips stopped her train of thought. They ran themselves over her features. Her nose, her eyes, her lips until they stopped at her cheeks, cupping them with the gentleness only a mother could possess.
Her eyes widened with shock before they clouded over with rage. Deceptively soft looking fingernail pressed harshly into the palms of her hands, the pressure applied strong enough to draw blood.
"Buffy, you've been a naughty, naughty girl lately haven't you? Surprised to see me dear?" the Beast asked, its head turned to the side questioningly as its lips pulled back into a mocking smile. It even had the audacity to laugh, the sound sending shivers down her spine. This was just so
wrong. "It's just been so
long, hasn't it dear? I've missed you."
Or more accurately, an abomination wearing her mother's face.
She met its taunting with silence, a million questions flittering across the forefront of her mind. The Beast had developed as a result of the Slayer's sacrifice and had become the source of her power, but it was never this strong. It could never take form, could never hope to wrestle control away. She was always able to dominate it and confine it, always able to control it. But that's not entirely true is it?
a voice inside told her, and she couldn't help but think back to that day at the Academy, to the day she had almost lost control, the day she had almost slaughtered a child. She had been so close to losing it, so close.
Everything was moving too fast. Too fast.
It shouldn't have had the power to manifest, much less dominion over the corporeal world. Unless. Unless. Unless!
A gasp escaped without her consent as her eyes widened.
Her not-mother's smile only widened before leaning in, its mouth mere inches from the shell of her ear. "Finally realized it dear?" it cooed. "Say its name dear, living in dreams and delaying the inevitable will only hurt. You, that is." She could practically hear the glee in its voice.
When the ageless Slayer remained silent, the once gentle touches grew rougher. Those fingers that had carefully carded through her hair so lovingly now pulled painfully against her golden tresses, until the force of her not-mother's grip forced her head back with an audible snap, exposing her vulnerable neck. She couldn't help but wince as she whispered, "The First."
"Good girl, I knew you had it in you," it quickly exclaimed and released its hold; Buffy almost toppled over were it not for reflexes honed through her years as an active Slayer. Balance regained, she found her not-mother with a serene smile on her face, her hands tucked securely under her chin as her eyes closed in bliss.
"Stop it," Buffy whispered, catching the Beast's attention.
"Stop what dear?" it asked, giving the Slayer its attention. Its voice was slow and steady and the now open eyes gained a gentleness she had long ago forgotten. The parasite reached its hand out, attempting to cup her cheeks against no doubt, but Buffy quickly slapped her hands away.
The sound reverberated in the darkness around them.
In an instant, the not-mother's features twisted from gentle to vengeful. "Now see here young lady, I didn't raise you to-"
"That's just it, isn't it? You didn't raise me, you're not her. You can never be her, she's dead. They all are," the Slayer interrupted, her tone flat and lifeless.
"Dead, dead, dead. Everyone's dead. All dead. And who's fault is that dear? Who? Who? Who?!
" It screamed before laughing. A wicked gleam entered its eyes before it suddenly disappeared from view. "Who's fault indeed."
All around her, Buffy could hear its laughter as the Beast faded in and out of view.
"It was you, wasn't it Buffy? It was you who killed me. You. You. You
," a girlish voice whispered into her ear as long arms draped themselves over her shoulders. The familiarity of it all prickled her eyes.
"Dawn," she half sobbed, half whispered.
"You said you would protect me! But I died anyway, didn't I? Didn't I? Just like all the rest."
"Dawn, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. So sorry!" Buffy screamed as she quickly around, her eyes wildling roaming the space before her, hoping to get a glimpse of the sister she knew had already passed from the World of the Living. But she was only met with silence.
And then she was in front of Buffy.
Large almond shaped baby blue eyes. Finely sculpted eyebrows. The traditional Summers' nose, a high bridge that ended with the tiniest bump, the tiniest of flaws making the young woman real.
And luscious chocolate curls that framed her features just right.
All in all, she was -
This was the woman her sister would have become. Should
have become, but that chance had been robbed from her. From all of them so many years ago. And then her sister's image was crying, sobbing quietly into her hands. So overcome with grief, her whole body wracked with tremors. Despite logic telling her what was right, despite it telling her that this was not
Dawn, her sister, Buffy couldn't help but extend a hand.
Closer. A little bit more. Just a bit more. And then things would be alright. And then-
-she came crashing down, not-
Dawn's hands wound tightly around her throat as she proceeded to slam Buffy's head against the cold, hard concrete pavement..Again. Again. And again.
"Bitch! This is all your fault! You killed me! You killed us all! Why do you get to be happy?! Huh?! Why?! Why?! WHY?!" the false Dawn screeched, her voice like broken glass as her eyes shone with unrestrained fury.
But even as the Beast continued its assault, even as its fingers worked to choke the very breathe out of her, the only thing on Buffy's mind was the floor. Or rather, the sudden appearance of concrete where there once had been nothing but shadows. And then from the corner of her eye, Buffy spotted a house. Her house. 1630 Rovello Drive.
Finally noticing the honeyed haired Slayer's attention elsewhere, the doppelganger stopped moving, dropping Buffy's head without a care before standing up.
"Welcome home sister."
"Ah, ah, ah," the thing
interrupted, wagging her finger back and forth, a teasing grin on her sister's features. "We're on my
turf, Buffy. I thought you'd realize this by now, but that's probably asking too much. I was
the brains in the family, wasn't I?"
Apparently, staying silent wasn't the best choice, as the parasite that wore her sister's face suddenly moved, driving her heel into the center of Buffy's open palm. Despite the pain, however, the Slayer still didn't make a sound.
"I'll make this easy for you, Slayer,
give me your body and this can all end. Your choice."
Besides the widening of her eyes, Buffy still didn't react. It was easy to tell the thing was getting frustrated and if there was anything the oldest living Slayer knew, it was that anger clouded the mind, making people do things they normally wouldn't. What she needed now was information. Then she could send this thing's ass packing.
But then she was standing, her hands and feet bound by chains to a rocky surface. "You always were the stubborn one, weren't you, B?" That voice. This could get ugly.
To Be Continued
This chapter has been quite difficult to write, as there didn't seem to be a good stopping. As a result, I've decided to split it into two sections and post them separately.
Spring Semester starts in about two weeks, so I'll be preoccupied with school again, and for that I apologize. Thanks for reading, and please continue to support my rudimentary efforts at writing. Have a great New Years!