The Beginning (Prologue-Chapter 4)
Keeping The Dream Alive
Summary: The end times have come and on the final day, only 15 champions remain. The PTB burden them with one final mission: prevent the coming apocalypse in Tribeworld AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Yes I know it sounds dumb, but im going to make tribeworld much darker, starting with the Chosen actually being demonic.
It also occurred to me the absurd notion that with all adults gone, no one thought to raid armories for guns? Well they will now.
Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy and Angel, Kripke owns Supernatural, Someone in Canada owns Ginger Snaps, and Cloud 9 owns The Tribe. James Foley is my character and he appears in several of my fics.
Warning: Language, Character Death
Prologue: The End Time
December 21st, 2012 – The Cleveland Wasteland
We gave it our all, really we did, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. Maybe it was never meant to be. We were an army when we got into this war, now we’re just sixteen.. no wait I fucked up, we lost Riley Finn two nights ago. Fifteen of us left, a few just barely hanging on. May whatever power is out there please protect our souls.
Faith opened her eyes wearily at the sounds of distant explosions. She took a look around the cavern that the remaining few United States based champions of the light were taking refuge for the moment, taking a mental count to make sure that all the other fourteen that came in last night were still there. James Foley and Daniel Osbourne were keeping watch by the entrance, guns at the ready. Dawn Summers was looking over the wounds of Gwen Raiden, who had been stabbed by a lucky vampire. Sam and Dean Winchester, Jo Harvelle, and Vi MacKenzie were taking the opportunity to sleep for a couple hours. Ginger Fitzgerald and Spike were further back in the cavern, both smoking a cigarette. She didn’t see Gunn or Connor, but she spied Xander sitting by Cordelia Chase. She walked over to them as Xander kissed Cordelia’s forehead and then closed her eyes. Faith helped him cover the corpse. Cordy had succumbed to the poison that they had all been exposed to the week prior, at the battle of Chicago. They had lost Robin Wood, Shannon Campbell and Ava Wilson there. All the others were dead before that.
“I’m sorry Xan.” Faith says. “I know how much she meant to you.”
Xander shrugged. “Yeah well we won’t be apart long, will we? I’d be highly shocked if we made it the next ten days to actually see next year. We’re all dead Faith, we just haven’t realized it. Whistler knew it two years ago, he tried to get us to change it but we just fucked it up even worse.”
Faith nodded softly. She knew that there wasn’t much time left for them, even though they had technically won the war, the price of victory was ultimately their lives.
“Where’s Gunn and Connor?” she asked, hoping to get Xander’s mind off the topic of death and their waning mortality.
“They went on a food run. We lost most of it when Riley’s rig got blown up.” He replies solemnly, then glances down at Cordelia’s covered body. “They should be back soon, and then we can head out.”
Faith laid a hand on Xander’s shoulder, trying to comfort him.
“We can bury her down by that riverbed we saw on the way up here. She’ll love it there.” Faith says softly, and is relieved when he allows her to pull him away from the body.
Gunn and Connor take that moment to burst into the cavern, followed quickly by James and Oz, both still wielding their guns. The commotion causes Dean, Sam, Jo and Vi to wake up.
“Whazz going on?” Vi asks, still exhausted and half asleep. The others make their way over and form a crude circle.
Gunn is still catching his breath so Connor speaks.
“There’s about fifty ubervamps about six miles from here, heading right at us. They’re moving fast, so we need to leave right now!” Connor wheezes out.
“How long do we have?” Xander asks. Connor exchanges a quick look with Gunn, then stares Xander dead in the eye. “Given the time it’ll take to run to the convoy, I’d say ten minutes. At best.”
What happened next was a flurry of pandemonium. James, Oz, Dean, Sam, Jo and Ginger burst into a frenzy, grabbing up all the guns and ammunition that were strewn around. Vi and Dawn start rolling up sleeping bags and stuffing them into their backpacks. Spike runs further down the cave to keep watch on the tunnels. Connor and Gunn grab up the swords and other close combat weapons and pile them in a trunk. Faith and Xander gather up the little food and other essentials, then they wrap Cordelia in a thick blanket. As everyone is finishing up. Spike returns from the tunnel.
“I could hear them in the tunnels, they’re not far off now. You lot best be getting the bloody hell out of here.” Spike reports. The other thirteen survivors look at him incredulously.
“You’re not coming?” Faith asks, for the group.
“Can’t very well go running in the sun can I?” Spike reasons. “No worries now, I’ve lived longer than anyone here several times over. Besides I’ve got a little surprise for the little bastards that me, Foley and Finn cooked up in Chicago.”
Faith glances from the British vampire to the Irish werewolf. James eyes are slightly wide.
“Didn’t you lot hear me, they’re almost here. GO!” Spike yelled at the group, and everyone but Faith, Xander, James and Spike run out, heading for the convoy.
“I suspect I’ll be seeing you lot down the road.” Spike says trying to ease the mood. James hands him a automatic pistol.
“It’ll be one hell of a party. I’ll even let you buy the first round.” James replies, in a monotone. He then hands over a odd looking gadget to the vampire. “Give them hell.”
“Always do.” Spike snorted. “Now get out of here.”
Xander and James run off first. Faith lingers for a moment more.
“I will.” Spike nods, already knowing what Faith was going to say. She turns and runs out of the cavern, following James and Xander.
Spike hears the ubervamps at the tunnel entrance of the cavern and turns around. He starts counting down in his head from 30, looking at the horde rushing him and grins.
Faith darts down the worn path that leads to where the group had hidden their vehicles, hearing the growing faint yell of Spike addressing the ubervamps. Then she is thrown forward off her feet from an huge explosion originating from the cavern. She lands with a thud, and quickly rights herself, looking quickly at the cloud of smoke billowing from the entrance to the cavern and knows Spike is gone.
“Bye Spike.” Faith whispers, then continues running towards the convoy. When she gets there, the others are all waiting. She starts towards the group and all hell breaks loose.
Jo is dead before she hits the ground, an arrow protruding from the back of her skull. Dean screams in anguish and starts shooting wildly in the direction that the arrow came from. Oz springs towards a Mohra demon, who unfortunately had anticipated the attack and drives his silver sword through the werewolf, fatally wounding him. Faith can see many more demons coming towards them, and knows they can’t win.
“We gotta retreat, it’s our only shot!” Faith yells and she and the other ten remaining survivors start running in the direction away from the oncoming demons. Dean being forced to run away from Jo’s body reluctantly by Sam and James. Gwen being helped along by Gunn, slower than the others. Sadly for those two they weren’t running fast enough and got incinerated by a magical grenade thrown by one of the demons. Dean sees this and stops running. He raises his guns and starts shooting wildly, and when he is out of ammo he is quickly over taken by the dark army.
None of the others stop running until they reach the edge of the city of Cleveland. When they regroup, they realize the loss they had been dealt. Two hours previously they had been fifteen of them, now there were eight.
“So what now? We’re dead right.” Vi asks, looking up in the direction they came. Smoke is still billowing from the trees, most likely from the explosion Spike made, or possibly the demons blew up the convoy so they couldn’t double back and escape.
“We keep moving. We won’t let the sacrifices we and our lost friends have made.” Faith says. “We’ll find transport in the city and head south.”
Faith doesn’t allow for a reply before she turns and starts walking towards the buildings off in the distance, the others trailing behind with guns at the ready.
After about twenty minutes of walking the small group reaches the main part of the city, which is completely desolate. Faith sees Ginger sniffing the air out of the corner of her eye.
“There’s no one else here.” The female lycanthrope announces, “No one alive anyway. The smell of decay is everywhere. It’s choking.”
“Lets get to the Prudential building. There’s a couple of city buses in the garage there, and I know that Gunn and Rondell hid a crate full of guns in one of the high rise apartments.” James tells the group. “It’s only a couple of blocks away.”
The eight head for the old hotel and business center, keeping lookout for any demons. They don’t see any, but they can sense them out there. They reach the Prudential in only a few minutes and James kicks open the doors, allowing them entry. Once inside, James, Sam and Xander quickly barricade the doors again.
“There’s something here.” Connor tells them, coming back from scoping out the adjoining hallways. “The high rise elevators are down the west corridor, we should hurry.”
They all start walking, heading over to the hallway that Connor had pointed out, Faith leading the way and Ginger and Connor taking up the rear. They are halfway to the elevator when several doors around their current position open and a couple dozen zombies come pouring into the hallway, seperating Connor and Ginger from the rest of the group. Ginger is immediately pounced upon by three of the zombies, and despite her valiant struggles she is bitten numerous times, roaring with pain as she is pulled down. Connor fairs a little bit better, managing to get around the zombies as the others reach the elevator. He starts running towards them, the group in the elevator waiting as long as possible.
“He’s not gonna make it.” Dawn cries, and as if to prove her point one of the zombies jumps forward, crashing into Connor and sending both to the ground where they are both swarmed upon by the other zombies.
“GO!!!” Connor screams at them as the teeth of the zombies tear into him. Sam presses the door close button rapidly, and the metal slabs slide shut, enclosing the six fighters in the box, going up.
They reach the high rise and disembark from the elevator, James leading the way to the apartment where Gunn and Rondell stashed the weapons. Vi finds the trunk and calls out to the others, then opens it. The trunk turns out to have been rigged and Vi is blown back from the force of a shotgun blast to the torso and chest. Faith and Sam, who are the closest, are beside her in seconds, but Vi’s eyes are already glazing over. She’s dead.
“Goddamn son of a bitch!” Sam rounds on James who is standing in front of Dawn and Xander a few feet away. “Why the fuck didn’t you tell us it was rigged for protection.”
“Because it wasn’t rigged, not when Gunn and Rondell left it.” James snaps back, tearing his gaze away from Vi’s corpse. “Which means that we have to leave now, cause someone’s watching us.”
James was looking past Sam at something, so Sam and the others follow his gaze to see a cc camera hanging in the corner of the room. A red light is blinking under the lens. Faith flips the camera the bird as the five survivors leave the room.
“How much ammo do we have left?” Faith inquires as they reconvene in the hallway.
“Not nearly enough.” James replies, checking the magazine of his ak47. “There was about a thousand rounds in the trunk that-”
He stops abruptly and his eyes dart around. “Do you hear that?”
“Yeah, the rumbling?” Faith answers and he nods.
“I don’t hear anything.” Sam says shortly, “I’ll be at the elevator.”
He walks off, Dawn following and the others not far behind. Faith looks at Xander and James with tears in her eyes.
“Vi was right earlier, we’re all dead. We just haven’t figured it out yet.” She announces with utter defeat. Up ahead the elevator opens and Sam and Dawn get on. Sam presses the button for the first floor and recoils as he is shocked by electrical feedback. The elevator car begins to shake.
“Shit!” Sam yells and grabs Dawn, then throws her out of the death trap right as the cable snaps. Dawn hits the floor hard but relatively unharmed. Sam’s yells grow dimmer as the elevator plummets.
“Noooooo!!!” Dawn screams, crawling over to the edge and looking down. James and Faith pull her away from the gap. Dawn curls into Faith’s embrace, weeping in despair.
“There’s no way down.” Xander intones gravely.
“I’m going up to the roof, maybe there’s a stairwell.” James says, then walks toward the staircase that leads to the roof. Xander follows, then Faith and Dawn make their way up slowly after.
When the two women reach the roof, both Xander and James are staring skyward at a dark shape that seems to be getting bigger.
“What the hell is that?” Faith demanded, having had enough shit for the rest of her lifetime, this day alone.
“I’d say it was a meteor.” Xander deadpans. “I’d also say we’re fucked.”
“December 21, 2012. The Mayans had it right after all.” Dawn sputters out.
“What are you talking about?” came from Faith.
The rumbling was at a growing roar at this point. The meteor is now very large and baring down to Earth.
“The true apocalypse. There was never any stopping it.” Dawn says.
“Well fuck me then, did they have to put us right at the impact point?” James questions.
“Well the powers did always enjoy their entertainment.” Xander responds bitterly. He turns to the other three.
Xander: It was an honor to fight alongside you all these past fifteen years.
Dawn: We did have some good times, didn’t we?
James: Well all things considered, I’d rather be in Ireland with a pint.
The four friends continue to watch the meteor as it plummets towards them. The shockwave hits and a blinding white fills the world, before blissful oblivion. They didn’t even feel a thing.
Faith wakes up sometime later feeling oddly warm. She blinks her eyes to clear her vision and finds herself in a seemingly endless void of white.
“Okay if this is heaven, I’m gonna be so fucking bored.” Faith announces to no one in particular.
“Can’t be heaven luv, they let me in.” she hears a British voice speak behind her. She whirls around swiftly to find Spike standing a few feet away, smoking a cigarette.
“Spike! What the hell is going on here?”
“Beats the bloody hell out of me.” Spike replied flippantly, taking a drag of his cigarette. Faith stared at him for a moment.
“Got another one?’ She asked making doe eyes at him. He smirks at her and tosses her the pack. She eagerly takes one out and presses it to her lips, lighting it with her zippo.
“Anyways, it’s about time you woke up, the others have been waiting.”
“Yeah, Foley, the whelp, li’l bit, Ginger, Oz, Cordelia, Charlie Boy, Electro-girl, the Winchesters, Vi, Jo and Connor.”
“So what is this place then, a celestial rest stop?”
Spike chuckled at her, “Come on, I think whoever brought us here is waiting for us to all be together before they tell us the game.”
He began walking down the apparent corridor, Faith following closely behind. A few minutes later they come upon a door that has appeared seemingly out of thin air. Spike pushes it open and enters. Faith hesitates for a moment, but quickly goes through upon hearing the voices of several people she saw die.
Just as Spike said, everyone who had died on the last day was present. Faith received hugs from Dawn and Vi, then allowed herself to be pulled over to the grouping of people.
‘Welcome.’ A disembodied voice was heard, and the group ceased talking. ‘You all fought bravely in the end time, and have been chosen to receive a second life. The world you knew is gone, but there is another dimension that is in grave need of champions. A few years ago a virus was unleashed that obliterated every living person over the age of 17. Thousands of years of plans and work, and mankind almost completely wiped itself out. As a result of this we lost our champions in that reality and they are beyond our reach now. You have been chosen as the replacements, if you choose to accept this offer, that is.’
The group exchanged glances and telepathic communication for a few moments, a gift given to them by Willow to improve their fighting skill as a group. After those few moments Faith spoke up for the group.
“What exactly does this mission of yours entail?” she asked.
‘With the champions of that reality dead, there is no one to guide or train the next generation of champions to face the coming darkness. You will need to seek them out. Fortunately there are several of them that have already found each other, more will follow in the coming years, but as things stand now turmoil within the world will have them separated and divided, doomed to fight amongst themselves until their world ends as yours did.’
“Well can’t exactly let that happen again can we?” Faith questions, giving one more look around the group. “We’ll do it.”
‘We are grateful.’ The voice speaks. ‘Prepare yourself. Your journey begins now.”
The chamber begins to fill with blinding white light and when she can no longer see anyone around her, Faith feels a tug at the back of her mind and blacks out.
Chapter 1: Strange Gatherings
For the third time that day, had it only been a day? Faith wondered silently as she opened her eyes, but closed them quickly as the sun shone down on her face, hurting her sensitive eyes. She moves her hand over her eyes, giving them shade and blinks a couple times to clear her vision. When her eyes finally adjust to the light, she sat up and took a scrutinizing look at her surroundings, finding herself alone in a forest clearing.
“Great. Could have dropped me anywhere and I get stuck in the backwoods of east bumfuck.” Faith grouses as she gets to her feet. She spots a worn path a few yards away, leading out of the clearing. Not seeing any other discernable trails to possible civilization she starts walking down the pathway. After about a fifteen minute walk she reaches the edge of the woods and finds herself in a large field. A couple of buildings are off in the distance and Faith heads in the direction of them. As she reaches them a couple of male teenagers with face paint and crude improvisations of body armor come into her line of sight. She nods in way of greeting but the two boys exchange a predatory glance with each other and then rush her. Faith moves to block the swing of a thick wooden rod that the taller of the two swings at her, figuring her slayer strength will compensate for the blow, but the impact of the wood against her wrist sends numbing jolts of pain through her and she recoils in shock. She rights herself and throws a punch at the one who had hit her, but he dodges easily and uses her momentum against her to trip her up. She falls to the ground and the two boys are upon her instantly. One held her on the ground with a knee across the back, while the other roughly pulled her arms back and bound them with a length of rope that was tightly wrapped around her wrists. Faith swears violently at the two, but is silenced when the one who had tied her presses two fingers to one of the pressure points of her neck, causing her to become disoriented enough to not give much of a struggle as her legs are also bound. She struggles weakly as the taller one throws her over his shoulder, holding her in place with an arm around her middle.
The boy and his partner walk back to their apparent home with her in tow. Faith sees more teenagers and even some small children of both genders, all with face paint on as well. After about ten minutes as an unwilling passenger on the shoulder of the Braveheart wannabe, the two boys bring Faith into one of the buildings and Faith realizes it was once a police station. She is brought into the cell block, which is in need of repair. One of the cells is opened and Faith is carried in and laid on the cot. The smaller boy holds the rod that she was hit with against the back of her neck.
“If you want to retain movement in your lower body, don’t move. Raver is going to untie you and then we’re leaving this cell. Understand?” the smaller boy demands.
Faith nods a weak affirmative and feels the ropes loosen around her legs and then her wrists. Raver and Baton Boy quickly vacated the small enclosure and slid the barred door shut behind them. Faith pulled the ropes completely off of her and rubbed one hand against her sore neck. She stood from the cot and over to the bars, resting her arms against the flat surface that connected the bars in the middle. She tentatively sticks her face as far through the bars as she can and scans the now empty corridor.
“Great they’re just gonna leave me here alone then? Lousy hospitality here.” She griped.
“Faith?” she hears Jo’s voice coming from the cell next to hers.
“Jo? Is that you?” She asks already knowing it is the blonde girl.
“Yeah. They caught me trying to steal some food a few days ago.” Jo answers.
“A few days ago? I’ve only been here for a few hours.” Faith exclaims in surprise.
“I think we were sent in the order we died, although they spaced it out quite a bit.” Jo replies.
“How long have you been here then?” was Faith’s next question.
“Six weeks.” Jo answers. “I’ve seen Oz, Gwen and Connor, but no one else.” The female hunter tells the former dark slayer.
“Do they know you got caught?” Faith inquires.
“Connor does, I told him where to find Oz and Gwen and he left last night to go get them. Said he was gonna bust me out as soon as he could, hopefully tonight.”
“So all we got to do around here is wait then. Friggin wonderful.” Faith complains sourly.
“There is one other thing I found out, quite to my own shock as well as Oz, Connor and Gwen.”
To answer Faith’s question, Jo holds out a broken shard of mirror around the gap between their cells and Faith sees the reflection of what she looked like at sixteen or seventeen looking back at her.
A few miles away Connor walked into the well hidden camp that he and Gwen had set up. Gwen was sitting by the fire pit with Oz, and to his surprise Ginger and James.
“Sure took you long enough to track us.” The destroyer lightly teased the two recently arrived lycanthropes.
“Asshole powers dropped us on the other side of the mountains seventy miles north. We’ve been walking for almost two days straight.” Ginger snaps. (hehehehe)
“Well its good that you’re here. We have a rescue mission to mount.” Connor announces, getting straight to business. One of the more warlike tribes have Jo and as of this morning Faith locked up. We need to get them out and then head west towards Cape City.”
“How many are in the tribe?” James inquires.
“Upwards of thirty. I was figuring we ram the back of the building with the pickup truck I found about a half mile away, the infrastructure of the building their in is weak. The walls are crumbling, and I don’t think it had seen any maintenance since at least a decade prior to the virus.” Connor explains.
“Sounds feasible.” Gwen says. “When do we do this?”
“I’m thinking pretty much now. We still need to find the others and then the champions of this world. And we don’t even know how long we have before this coming threat is going to be here.” Connor answered and the other four nod in agreement. Gwen extinguishes the fire as the others gather up a few weapons that they were able to get a hold of, including a couple of handguns that James and Ginger had found when they had stopped for a rest at an abandoned home near the base of the mountains. When they were finished they headed out to scope out the territory that the warlike tribe had Faith and Jo prisoner.
Gunn wasn’t sure how he was able to infiltrate the tribe known as the Horde, but he was thankful, especially when he found out that Jo and Faith were there. They were being held prisoner at the moment, but Gunn was already moving to free them. He waited out of sight as the three boys guarding the old precinct wandered off to get food. He quickly shot out of the alleyway and into the station, and locking the doors up, although it would only hold them off briefly if they tried getting in. He hurried over to one of the desks and grabbed the keys off the surface, then ran to the cell block in the back.
“Gunn!” Faith called, recognizing him, even through the youth they were all reliving. She hugged him quickly after he opens the cell door and then he moves to let Jo out as well. The three of them go to the main office part and they can hear several people at the front doors, trying to pry them open, with increasing success.
Faith sees the door off to the side that reads armory and points it out to the other two. She and Gunn get into position then simultaneously kick out at the door. Faith feeling her slayer power return as she does so and lets out a sigh of relief.
“What is it?” Gunn questions her.
“My slayer powers just came back, I thought I’d lost them for good when tweedle dee and tweedle shithead got the best of me earlier.” Faith replied, and then they went into the armory. Faith grabbed a couple of pistols off a shelf and stashed them in the waistband of her pants. Jo grabbed a shotgun, and a few knives. Gunn grabbed a rifle and swung it over his shoulder, and broke the glass case protecting the antique tommy-gun, taking that as well.
The trio found themselves sufficiently armed when the gathered members of the tribe outside managed to break through, they were met with four guns aiming at them.
“We do not wish to spill blood here, but we are leaving. Your accommodations leave a whole hell of a lot to be desired.” Faith told the teenagers preventing them from leaving. There is a few moments of silence before one of the older boys lets out a feral warcry and surges forward, the others following suit. The leader is felled by a blast from Jo’s shotgun but slowly the three are pushed back. They retreat to the cell block and barricade the door quickly. Gunn looks at the deteriorating walls and gets and idea.
“Keep aim on the doors.” He tells the girls and they nod. He lifts the tommygun up and unloads a full magazine on the wall that separated them from outside, causing a section to be blown away and crumble to form a large hole. The trio run out through the hole and towards the forest, thankfully meeting little resistance from the horde.
Within twenty minutes of the escape the trio runs into the group of Connor, Gwen, Oz, Ginger and James, and pile into the back of the pickup truck Connor found. Thankfully the truck bed had one of those thick plastic coverings on it that allowed for shelter and protection against any attempts of anyone to shoot at them. Faith sat down next to James on one of the benches that lined either side of the truck bed, and laid her head on his shoulder. Gwen had earlier also smashed out the back window of the truck’s cab so that anyone in the cab could speak to the people in the back.
“Has anyone else been found?” she asks and James shakes his head.
“Not yet, We don’t have Willow’s telepathy thing anymore either, so we don’t know where exactly to look.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find them.” Connor says from the drivers seat.
“Oh I’m not worried about them, I know they’ll be find. I feel bad for any poor fool who gets in Dean’s way of finding Jo here.” Faith replied, nudging the blonde next to her good naturedly. Jo grins.
“Yeah well anyone who tries getting in my way will be in a world of pain that they never knew existed.” Jo says with a fierce determination.
Ebony watched as the brunette girl she and Zoot had found unconscious near their headquarters began to slowly stir from her slumber. It had been a long two weeks since they had brought her back to their camp, with her locked in an apparent coma.
“Hey.” She found herself speak out, trying to rouse the girl faster. “Wake up girl.”
The brunette’s eyes snapped open and Ebony could swear she caught a flash of brilliant green from her eyes and blinked, but then the girls eyes were brown.
“Who are you?” the girl asked her.
“I think I’ll be the one asking the questions here.” Ebony snapped grumpily. “What tribe are you with?”
“I don’t have a tribe.” The girl said. “I’m not even sure where I am.”
“You’re in Cape City at the Locos Headquarters.” Ebony told her. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Dawn.” Dawn answers quickly. She looks at Ebony for a few moments, studying her intently. Ebony looks uncomfortable under the scrutiny and glares at Dawn. “Your name is Sarah, but you prefer Ebony.” She states matter-of-factly.
“How the hell do you know my name? I’ve never met you before have I?” Ebony demands.
“No you haven’t, but our destinies and future have been entwined by a higher power. Our meeting was inevitable.” Dawn told her.
“Are you on drugs or something?” Ebony screeched, staring at the other girl like she should be committed.
“I tend to lean towards the something.” Dawn chuckled as her counterpart stared at her in confusion. Dawn easily recognized Ebony as this realities’ vessel for the key.
“You’re crazy.” Ebony tells her after a few long moments. Dawn unnerved her to no end, but there was something buzzing in the back of her mind, that had started when they first found Dawn.
“Yeah well I think everyone in my family has been at that point at least once in their lives.” Dawn replies. “Ebony, what do you believe in?”
“Power and chaos.” Was Ebony’s quick reply, bred in from repetitive reminders. But was that the truth of her aspirations anymore? She hadn’t been sure of it since finding Dawn. Something awoke in her that day, but she still wasn’t quite sure what it was.
“That’s not a good combination.” Dawn cautioned. “Chaos breeds disorder, and when the disorder is spread, you lose the power.”
Ebony mulled that over for a moment. “You can feel the buzz too, can’t you. You’re like me.” She stated looking at the other girl for confirmation.
“Ebony, I am you.” Dawn deadpans. “I’m from another reality, one that no longer exists.”
Ebony stared at her, a dumbstruck expression on her face.
“I can show you.” Dawn says and reaches out, placing two fingers against Ebony’s forehead before the girl can move away. Ebony gasps in shock and slight pain as her mind is assaulted brutally with images of Dawn’s world and information on the mission that Dawn and fourteen others had been sent to do. After a few seconds that seemed an eternity, the images ceased and Ebony jerked away.
“What the hell did you do to me?” Ebony accuses roughly.
“I showed you that I’m not crazy. I am part of a group that was sent here to guide and train this realities champions to face the coming darkness. You are one of those champions Ebony, but right now your path is unclear. It’s muddled by your indecision in regards to your beliefs. So it comes down to a simple choice, do you want power and chaos that will eventually lead to your own destruction or do you want the purity of peace and life?”
Ebony is silent for a few agonizingly long minutes, still fidgeting uncomfortably under Dawn’s scrutiny. Finally she cracks, her decision made.
“What do I need to do?” was the reply. Dawn just beamed.
Vi and Tai-San were sitting side by side on the deck of a boat as Dean captained it. It had been about six months since the two displaced champions had shown up at the Techno headquarters on Crescent Island, quickly integrating themselves into the Techno society, the mechanical capability of the pair had the slightly insane leader of the technos pleased and they rose through the hierarchy of the technos, soon finding themselves in Ram’s inner circle, which consisted of Java, Siva, Jay, Tai-San, Mega and Ved. Tai-San wasn’t fooled by their charade, but instead of voicing her knowledge to Ram, she confronted them, and after Vi told her about the destiny they shared, she joined them. A couple days ago, the three had been selected to go scout out the mainland, integrate themselves into a tribe, and begin preparing for the take over. Not that they had any plans to follow orders, they were aiming to misbehave, once on the mainland, they would disappear from the Technos radar. They had things they needed to do that they couldn’t afford the Technos knowing about.
Vi pointed out the mainland in the distance to Tai-San and Dean, who corrects the path of the boat to be on course with the docks. After about fifteen further minutes the boat comes up alongside a vacant dock and Vi and Tai-San quickly disembark and secure the boat to the docks. The hear the sounds of someone yelling as they’re strapping on their backpacks and look up to see a teenage boy hurrying towards them.
“Hey! You can’t just dock here! This is private property!” He calls out
“Tell you what hotshot, you keep the boat.” Vi says, grabbing the keys from Dean and thrusting them into the chest of the boy. “If anyone asks, you killed for it. Kapiesh?”
“Yeah sure. Whatever.” The boy says, shocked by his apparent good fortune. He was still staring at his new boat as the trio set off down the nearby road. He never saw them again.
Xander and Cordelia stared at the feral looking boy in front of them with thick black dreadlocks.
“You are trespassing on Eco Tribe territory. We don’t want trouble so if you came for some leave or face the consequences.” The boy says with an air of finality.
Cordelia’s jaw dropped for a few seconds. “Okay kid. We really gotta work on your people skills.” She comments, then turns to Xander and hits him on the arm.
“What was that for?” Xander asks, rubbing his shoulder dramatically.
“It’s your fault we got stuck with George of the Jungle here for a champion.” Cordelia complains.
Pride just stares at them, showing no emotion.
“What do you believe in Pride?” Xander asks, and Pride just cocks his head to the side.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean do you believe in the things that lurk at night?” Xander questioned. “I know that you’ve seen things out there. They’re preparing for something, and we aim to stop them. So how about it kid, wanna help save the world?”
Sam stood in a narrow alleyway, trying to keep out of sight of any of the savage tribes that roamed the streets. He was waiting for it to happen, it should be any minute. He thought and was proved correct as he heard yelling and the sounds of several people running slash being chased by some of the savages. He ducked into a narrow enclosure with the door open slightly, knowing that he had to time it just right and began counting down.
‘Seven, six, five,’
Zandra and Ryan ran by.
Lex ran by.
Sam’s arm shot out and grabbed the blond boy as he ran past and pulled him into the enclosure, closing and securing the door. The boy instantly rounded on him, ready to fight.
“Whoa whoa!” Sam yelled, dodging out of the way of a sloppily thrown punch. “Chill out. I just saved your ass.”
The other stops in his attempts to hit Sam and looked him over.
“You’re not with the Locos?” he questioned.
“No I’m not Glenn.” Sam replies, and the boy’s eyes widen.
“What did- How do you know my name?” Glenn looks at him suspiciously.
“Long story. I’ll tell you about it some time, but right now, you and I need to get off of the streets.” Sam said, heading over to an open manhole.
“Wait, what about my friends?” Glenn asks, looking back at the door.
“They’ll be fine, and you’ll see them again soon enough, but if you go back out there right now I cannot guarantee your safety.” Sam tells him, climbing down into the sewers. Glenn throws one last look at the door, and then follows Sam down the manhole, pulling it closed just as the door is kicked open.
The Loco that kicked the door in looks around the enclosure briefly, then shrugs and walks away.
Spike wasn’t very happy with his reduced body height and physical age, but was glad at least they let him keep his duster. He walked up to the building on the edge of Cape City, already sensing her inside. He knew that she had seen him from her hiding spot by the stairwell window. Reaching the door, he knocks loudly and after a moment the door creaks open.
“Come in slowly.” The girl he had been sent to protect instructed from within. He complied with her demand, entering slowly and keeping his hands visible to show he wasn’t a threat to her. When he was inside he turned to face her slowly and found himself on the business end of a crossbow, which from the way she was handling it, she knew how to operate.
“Easy there bit. I come in peace.” Spike said, glancing from Danni to the crossbow she had aimed at him. “Seriously could you please point that elsewhere, I’m not here to cause you trouble.”
Danni stared at him for a long moment, her eyes searching his. She slowly lowers the crossbow away from him.
“Why did you come here?” she asks guardedly. “I saw you from the window last night too, prowling around.”
“Sorry bout that, I had to make sure I was at the right place.” Spike answers.
This points Danni further on alert. “The right place for what exactly?” She asks, voice trembling slightly
“To find you.” He says. “The world needs you Danni.”
“I’m ready to be strong.” Danni finishes, eyes misting as she remembered her mother’s dying words to her. ‘The world needs heroes Danni, are you ready to be strong?’
She never knew what it meant, but now over three years later she understood. Something in her mind clicked when the bleached blond repeated her mothers words, allowing her to finish. She knew what she had to do.
“Where are the others?” Danni asked, and Spike looked at her, confused. “My mother was a seer. She foresaw this, tried to warn people but no one believed on her deathbed she said people were coming, that they would fix things. You’re one of those people, aren’t you?”
“I am.” Spike confirmed. “How much do you know?”
“A lot more than I’m comfortable knowing. I know that the creation of the virus was influenced by a demonic law firm called Wolfram and Hart. I also know that you’re much older than you appear to be.”
“Yeah, well I’ll fill you in on the rest of what I know, but right now you should get what you need cause we need to be places, you’ve got some people you need to be meeting, and I have some old friends to track down.”
It was close to midnight as the pickup truck rolled up to the outskirts of Cape City. Oz had taken the wheel as Connor caught up on a couple hours sleep. Everyone in the back was sleeping as well, except James, who sat next to the back door of the truck, gun at the ready. Faith was laying half on his lap mumbling softly in her sleep. Ginger was splayed across the backseat of the cab, snoring lightly. Jo and Gwen leaned against eachother on the bench and Gunn was laying on the floor, using a sweatshirt they had found in an abandoned car the last time they had siphoned gas.
Being on the road for four straight days, sleeping in shifts had been taxing for the eight friends and Oz was glad that the trip was pretty much over. Course that meant they would be throwing themselves right into the thick of the battleground of the warring tribes in the city. They still had to track down Dawn, Spike, Cordelia, Xander, Dean, Sam and Vi, but Oz somehow knew that they would be reunited in the very near future, and all he needed was patience, which thankfully from his time in the Tibetan Monastery, he had an abundance of.
He pulled the truck off the main road and down a dirt part leading into the woods, where he put it in neutral and turned off the ignition. He shared a glance with James in the rearview mirror and nodded. James gently shook Faith awake as Oz prodded Conner and Ginger.
“We’re here.” Oz announced, waking Jo and Gwen, who in turn woke Gunn with their movements.
The eight friends quickly gathered up their supplies and disembarked from the truck, moving as a group into the city.
“This is totally unnecessary, you know.” Dawn complained to the short redhaired boy on the other side of the mesh gating that he had brought down barring the entrance and exit of the mall, trapping Dawn in the foyer, along with Ebony, Lex, Zandra and Ryan.
“Yeah so open the gate or I’m gonna pound you into tomorrow you little dork.” Lex threatened from next to her. Dawn rounded on him angrily.
“Yeah cause that’s really gonna convince him to let us out. Were you born dumb or did you practice at it?” Dawn snapped at the punked out boy, causing the redhead to chuckle. “Are you gonna let us out or not?”
“I’m kinda leading to not, seen as how you have Ebony with you. I know exactly who she is and her being here spells trouble for me, and I try to stay away from trouble. Figure I’ll live longer that way.” The redhead replies.
“I know you think you know who I am, but I’m not that person anymore.” Ebony says. “Dawn helped me see things clearly for the first time since the Virus.”
The redhaired boy is joined by a short teen of obvious Indian decent and a tall blond girl with red and green facepaint. The blonde girl sees Dawn and does a quick double take.
“I know you. How do I know you?” the girl asks, trying to work it out in her head. Dawn shakes her head no.
“You feel the buzz don’t you?” Dawn asks, staring the other girl in the eyes. “Don’t push it away, embrace it. It will make things much clearer. Ebony embraced it and she’s a better person. I helped her leave the Locos, and trust me when I say she will be needed here in the near future.”
“I think you’re crazy.” Amber retorts boldly, but her eyes betray her. Dawn throws her arms up in exasperation.
“Didn’t we have this conversation just three days ago?” She asks Ebony, who just smirks at her. Dawn gives her a faux glare, then turns back to Amber. Look you can think I’m crazy all you want and maybe you’re right. I damn well should be crazy with the shit I’ve gone through in the last ten years. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve been sent to help you.”
“This is nonsense.” Amber turned to walk away, but Dawn’s arm shots out and grasps Amber’s wrist, giving her the jolt of awareness she needed for the buzz to consume her. It was a good feeling for her, spared of the dark images Ebony was unwillingly privy to. No Amber’s destiny was different to Ebony’s despite the fact that theirs’ were irrevocably connected. Amber stumbled slightly as the buzz exploded within and she felt new strength and vitality rush through her body. The Indian boy and the redhead rushed forward, pulling Amber free of Dawn’s grip.
“I knew you couldn’t be trusted.” Redhair snarls.
“Stop.” Amber commands forcefully, looking surprised at her own tone of voice. “She was right. What did you do?”
“I activated your slayer potential.” Dawn replies.
Everyone present looks confused except Ebony, who had already received her crash course in the supernatural. According to Dawn she might be capable of magic, seen as how she was the vessel of the key in this reality. Dawn also told her about Glory, and thanked whatever higher power for the one positive result of the virus occurring, and that being that whoever the host for Glory in this reality would have surely perished from the virus, given the age.
“What’s a slayer?” Amber inquires still trying to regain her composure in the wake of the burst of energy that filled her.
Dawn sighed. “Can you please let me out of here and I’ll explain it.”
“Oooh us too please?” Ryan piped up from where he was sitting at the back of the improvised cage. Dawn rolled her eyes.
“Only if this one behaves.” Amber says, motioning at Lex. Lex glares at her and opens his mouth to say something, but a jab to the ribs keeps him silent.
“He will behave, won’t you Lexie?” Dawn says sweetly.
“Fine.” He agrees reluctantly.
“Wonderful, maybe there’s hope for you yet.” Dawn smiles.
Amber turns to the redhead. “Let them out Jack.”
The redhead looks at her like she’s grown another head. “But-”
“Trust me Jack, I know what I’m doing.” Amber says with finality. Jack looks rebellious for a moment, but deflates quickly and goes over to the control box for the gate and raises the one blocking the entrance. It rises up and the five people inside file out into the main part of the mall.
Dawn walks over to Amber, Ebony trailing behind her.
“Is there somewhere we could go to speak in private?” Dawn asks the blonde.
“Yeah I know a spot, is it just us?” She inquires, noting the continued presence of Ebony.
“The three of us, yes.” Dawn replied. “Unless Bray is already here.”
“Who’s Bray?” Amber questions, tilting her head slightly, and Dawn is reminded strongly of the memory of Buffy.
“Someone you will meet soon.” Dawn says cryptically. “There are several people that will be joining us in the coming days, people you would have met over time, but we’ve decided to speed up the timetable. Now, where’s this private spot that we can use?”
An old out of repair Ford Mustang rolls down the road, Dean behind the wheel. Tai-San is riding shotgun, and Vi is sprawled across the backseat lazily.
“So when are we going to this Mall to meet the people you were telling me about?” The Asian girl asks.
“In time, there a couple of people we need to track down first. Their presence in the group earlier in the time line will give us the edge we need to fight the Chosen, and then The Technos.” Dean explains.
“Are they close?” Tai-San asks.
“They are both about a day’s drive away, not many hours from the mall.” Dean replies.
“Okay.” Tai-San is done her questions, and closes her eyes. Dean knows the routine by now and focuses solely on the road ahead, as the Asian drifts into her meditation.
Behind him, Vi has found a dirty old straw under the seat and is moving to poke Tai-San in the back of the head with it.
“Don’t do it Vi.” Tai-San warns, not even bothering to open her eyes.
“Awww.” Vi pouts and Dean chuckles at the redhead slayer’s expense. “Psychics are no fun. I’m fucking bored, put on the radio or something.”
“To listen to static?” Dean shoots her a look and Vi cringes.
“Right.” She says drolly. “Well, guess I’ll just go back to picking at the dried gum under the seat with the straw.”
Tai-San’s eyes snap open and she spins in her seat, all pretense of serenity gone.
“You were going to stick that in my hair. I swear Vi, as soon as you get this Dawn person to unlock this slayer potential you say I have, I am so kicking your ass!” Tai-San screeches at Vi. Dean just laughs as the car continues rumbling down the road.
Deciding it was getting too late at night to continue safely, Xander, Cordelia and Pride set up camp for the night about ten miles out of the city, if Pride’s estimations were correct. He seemed to know, so Xander didn’t question him.
“So what you’re telling me is that you’re not from this dimension, yours was destroyed and you were given the opportunity to save this one.” Pride summed up, finally having gone over everything Xander and Cordelia had told him in the last few hours in his head. “And I’m supposedly some kind of champion for the side of the light, only if I don’t prepare, I’ll be killed before the time comes that I’m needed.”
“Simply put, yes.” Xander replies after a moment. “There are others out there. People that came with me and Cordy here. Other champions of this reality too. We’re gathering, slowly. Everything is centered around Cape City.”
“It should only be a couple hours walk from here, depending on how fast we go.” Pride says.
“Well then let’s get some sleep so that we can get there by noon tomorrow.” Cordelia suggests and the other two nod agreement and they settle down for the night.
It seemed like hours as Glenn wearily trailed after Sam through the sewers. Finally he couldn’t take the silence anymore and spoke up.
“So where exactly are we going?” he asked the former hunter and pre-law student.
“The Mall.” Sam says simply. “We’re close.”
Glenn shook his head and continued following Sam, who was proved right when they came across a staircase leading up. Sam made his way up the stairs silently and motioned for Glenn to keep quiet, he didn’t know if any of the others had made it there yet, but he soon felt the presence of Dawn nearby. He let out a sigh of relief as he heard a squeal of elation coming from somewhere up ahead.
With in 20 seconds, Dawn has darted into view and launched herself at him, throwing her arms around him.
“Hey Dawnie.” Sam greets as she pulls away, and looks him over.
“Hey yourself.” She quips amicably. Sam sees three more figures enter the room behind Dawn. She turns and regards them briefly. “Sam, this is Ebony, Amber and Lex.”
“Glenn?” Lex says, upon spotting his missing friend. “Damn man, I thought for sure the Locos had gotten you.”
“They almost did, but Sam here pulled me out, and we escaped through the sewers.” Glenn tells him, then his gaze catches on Ebony. “Weren’t you with the Locos.”
“Was, past tense.” Is Ebony’s clipped reply.
Dawn looks back at Sam. “Have you seen any of the others?”
Sam shakes his head in the negative. “No, sorry Dawn. You’re the first one I’ve found. I thought I sensed Spike the other day when I was coming into the city a few days ago. How long have you been here?”
“In the mall, just tonight but I’ve been in the city for over a month, got Ebony out of the Locos, then came here. I haven’t sensed any of-” Dawn stops herself short and looks into the shadows of the stairwell. She glances at the others for a quick moment. “Keep them here. I’ll be right back.”
She strides past Sam and Glenn and goes down the stairs to the sewer, stopping just shy of the bottom of the stairs.
“Go get Trudy and come back. I’ll work it out with the people here so you’ll have a place.” Dawn says to the seemingly deserted walkway ahead of her. But she knows he’s there, she can sense him, just as she can sense Sam, Amber, Ebony, Glenn, Lex and to a lesser extent Ryan and Salene. “Come back quickly though, Trudy will want a decent place for her baby and I have a feeling that it’s going to get real crowded here in the near future.”
Bray doesn’t respond to her, but she senses his mind start moving further from her a few moments after her speech, and smiles to herself. Four champions down, two more coming, and from where she stood in the sewers Dawn could feel the faint tug in the back of her mind of several groups converging on the city, quite a few of her wayward friends amongst them. In fact the only ones she couldn’t sense were Dean and Vi, but she knew that they would be the last to arrive at the mall. Her mood lightened considerably, she made her way back up the stairs with a grin on her face. Everything was starting to come together.
Spike led Danni down a narrow alleyway about a block from the mall, the vampire planning to enter the mall through the sewer access. He kept his eyes pealed in the darkness for a manhole cover, spotting one further up the alley in the middle of a four way juncture. He grinned after sniffing the air, several scents had just assaulted his senses, scents he had come to recognize immediately and moved into the center of the juncture and just as the group of James, Faith, Oz, Ginger, Gwen, Connor, Jo and Gunn was coming up the eastern alleyway.
“Spike.” James greeted.
“Hey guys, been a while.” Spike nodded.
“Few weeks anyways.” Faith agrees, then her eyes flicker to the girl coming up behind Spike. “Which one is this?”
“Danni, meet James Foley, Faith Lehane, Daniel Osbourne, Ginger Fitzgerald, Gwen Raiden, Connor Angelus, Jo Harvelle and Charles Gunn. They’re some of the people that came with me.”
“Hi.” Danni says, giving a little wave. She was a bit nervous, it had been a long time since she was around so many people and it was making her slightly twitchy. She took a moment then shook off the unwanted sensation. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Aye.” Foley agrees, then turns back to Spike. “The sewers then?”
Spike nods and James reaches down and pulls the manhole cover off the ground, opening the entrance to the sewer. Connor is the first one down, the others following with Ginger taking up the rear. As she descends, she grabs the cover and pulls it back over the hole.
The ten quickly make their way through the catacombs and find the entrance to the mall, at the same time Bray returns with Trudy. The two groups regard each other briefly, Faith and James exchanging a brief look and nod confirming that the champions the two of them were to guide had just arrived.
“You must be Bray and Trudy.” Faith guessed.
“Who are you?” Bray demands, pushing Trudy behind him.
“We’re friends. You have nothing to fear from anyone here.” Faith assures them. “We were just going in, so come on.”
Faith turns and walks up the staircase, the others following, with Bray and Trudy cautiously taking the rear.
As they enter the mall Dawn is already there waiting with Sam. Dawn quickly embraces Faith.
“Everyone went to bed tonight, we’ll have to introduce you in the morning.” Dawn tells them. “I made a magical expansion to the building, now despite being two stories in appearance, it’s now four stories, but the entrance to the top two floors is veiled to be visible to only those who have been told about it. I figured with more people still coming, we’d need the space. I even-“ Dawn stops as Lex, Amber, Ebony and Glenn approach.
“More of your friends?” Lex asks, somewhat snidely, the question directed at Dawn. Ebony shoots him a glare. That’s when Bray recognizes her.
“Ebony.” He hisses, voice filled with undisguised dislike.
“Hello Bray.” She replies calmly. “It’s been a long time.”
“Forever wouldn’t be long enough.” Bray snaps. The rest of the group glance between the two, unsure of exactly what history the two had.
“I probably deserve that.” Ebony said with a sigh. She looked at Dawn briefly. “I’m going back to bed.”
Dawn watched as Bray glared daggers at the back of Ebony’s head as she walked off. When she was gone, Bray looked at Dawn.
“Why is she here?” He questions harshly. “She cannot be trusted. She’s a snake.”
“When exactly was the last time you even saw here?” Dawn fires back.
“I don’t know, eight months ago maybe.” Bray says after thinking for a moment.
“Well I’ve known her for a month now, and she’s not the person she was.” Dawn defends the other key.
“She’s dangerous. I don’t think having her around a heavily pregnant woman is a smart idea. Me and Trudy will find some other place.” Bray says, taking Trudy’s hand and starting for the sewers again.
“If you leave, you doom the world Bray.” Dawn’s words stop him in his tracks. “You’re needed here Bray, both you and Trudy. There are others needed here as well, and one of them is Ebony. You need to let go of childhood grudges, the world is changing around you and believe me when I say that the virus was just the beginning. You need to make a choice, and that choice is pretty much the difference between life and death. So are you staying or going?”
Bray turns and stares at Dawn with a steely glint in his eyes.
“We’ll stay.” He finally concedes, “But first sign of trouble from that little witch, and I’m taking Trudy and going.”
“I’d expect nothing less. Thankfully I can guarantee you that will never happen. Just try and be civil to her.” Dawn replies. “By the way, how’d you know that Ebony was a witch?”
“What?” Bray and Trudy both exclaim in confusion. Dawn just shared a smirk with Faith and James, then leads the group to where they bunk down for the night.
End Chapter 1
*The reason that Dawn can sense Ryan and Salene, when they are not champions will be explained later in the story. They will play a big part in the war, both being soldiers, but that’s not why.
Chapter 2: Unforeseen Possibilities
It was about eleven in the morning as Xander, Cordelia and Pride finally emerged from the edge of the forest that bordered Cape City. They quickly made their way to the old church on the border of town that the youngest of the living champions of this reality lived. When they arrived, Xander motioned for Pride and Cordy to wait for him while he collected the kid that Connor would be the guide for. He walked casually through the slightly open doors.
He is almost immediately assaulted by a small boy, who comes at him with a wood 2x4. Xander jumps back to avoid getting hit.
“Jesus Christ kid, relax!” Xander exclaims as he dodges another swing, then grabs ahold of it before the kid could raise it for any further attacks. He easily wrestles it away from the boy, and throws it up over the second floor balcony. “I’m not here to fight you KC.”
“Oh yeah, well how do you know my name then. Have you been spying on me or something?!” KC demands, suspicion clear in his voice.
“No I haven’t been spying on you, I assure you.” Xander tells him. “I was sent to help you.”
“I’m doing just fine on my own.” KC retorts.
“You’re gonna be homeless within the next month. The Demon Dog tribe is gonna burn this place down.” Xander informs the twelve year old.
“What, you can see the future or something?” KC asks dubiously, slowly edging backwards.
“Not exactly, but I do know some of what is coming and that you will be needed on the front lines to fight it. I’m part of a group that was sent to guide you and the others.” Xander tells him.
“Others?” KC repeats, staring Xander down.
“Champions of the light.” Xander explains. “I’m not sure if this will work very well, but it will have to do until we get to Dawn.”
“Who’s Dawn?” KC inquires. Xander doesn’t respond, his arm shoots out quick and he presses a finger against KC’s forehead. KC for his part, tries to back away, but finds himself transfixed as several images fly through his mind and he knows the truth of Xander’s words. KC’s eyes glow red for a moment and glaze over.
“The Twelve must stand united, At the edge of eternity, staring down the darkness, strengthened by the power of those guiding and fighting alongside them. Only if they are as one will they prevail.” KC intones in a voice much deeper than his own. As soon as he finishes speaking he seems to snap out of it.
“What exactly just happened?” KC shakes his head to clear it.
“I gave you a taste of what’s coming, and what you are to become.” Xander answers simply. “Now come on, there’s a couple of people waiting for us outside and we have places to be, things to do.”
Xander turned and led the way outside, KC following after taking a few moments to grab what few possessions he owned.
Ebony stood on the roof of the mall, looking down at the street, shaking her head regretfully as she watched several members of her old tribe chasing a pair of teens up the street, with Zoot egging them on with the familiar war cry of ‘Power and Chaos!’. She felt Bray approaching through the buzz at the back of her mind.
“Hello Bray.” She says with indifference as he joins her at the edge of the roof, looking down as well.
He nods curtly in way of greeting.
“How has he been?” He asks after a moment, his eyes locked on the form of his brother below.
“I fear for him.” Ebony says honestly. “He’s become self-destructive since you and Trudy left. I think he’s using drugs. PCP maybe.”
“You’re not sure?” Bray pressed.
Ebony turns away from the edge and walks a few feet away, then turns to face Bray, crossing her arms.
“I wasn’t able to find anything as far as drugs, but Martin always was good with keeping his secrets to himself. You know that better than anyone.” Ebony reminds him.
Bray stared down at his brother for a few more moments, then tore his gaze away to glare at Ebony. “Yeah well you have plenty of your own secrets Sarah.” He tells her snidely.
“Don’t call me that.” She snaps back. “What the hell do you want from me Bray? I know you hate me for what I did, and I apologized several times before you left. You didn’t want to hear it then and I can see in your eyes that you’re still not ready to trust me, but I’m not the girl I used to be. Dawn showed me a better way. So I refuse to apologize if I’m just going to be wasting my breath.” Ebony informs him angrily, then turns and stalks away, going into the stairwell and leaving Bray standing alone on the roof.
Vi was leaning against the side of the Mustang, Tai-San sitting on the roof, her legs dangling over the exterior of the passenger side door as Dean converses with a motorcyclist that the buzz in the back of their minds telling them that the biker was Slade, the brother of Mega and the Champion Dean was assigned to guide. A few minutes later, both Dean and Slade walk over to the girls.
“He’s coming then?” Vi questions.
“Not much of a choice is there?” Slade grumbles. He looks less then pleased at the thought of his destiny being predetermined beyond his control, but yet resigned to do what is needed.
“Cheer up there.” Vi tells him. “Once we kick evil’s ass, you can go back to trying to find your brother. Who knows, maybe he’ll turn up even.” Vi shared a look with Dean behind Slade’s back.
“All we need to do now is find Serena.” Dean says. From what Powers said, she was never able to unite with the others, her journey cut short in the original timeline by her capture by the chosen and later death in the labor camps. Ryan and Danni had been there as well, all three forced to work in the mines. “She should be in the town of Catherby, just south of the mountains, about 40 miles from here. We can be there in an hour, if the gas doesn’t run out.”
Vi nods and flicks Tai-San in the leg, and the Asian girl hopes down from the roof. “Let’s get on the road then.”
“I’ll follow you.” Slade tells the other three as Dean moves around to the driver’s side, and Vi and Tai-San get in the back and passenger seats. The Mustang roars to life and starts down the road, Slade’s motorcycle tailing them at a safe distance.
Amber walked into the food court that they were utilizing as a dining area, finding Dawn, Ginger and Oz sitting around one of the tables, having coffee and talking amongst themselves. She moved to join them, but then spotted Dal sitting alone at a table on the other end of the room. She changed course and dropped into a seat across from him.
“Hey Dal.” She chirps amicably.
“Hi Amber.” Is his sullen reply.
“What’s wrong?” Amber asks, concern flashing across her features.
“Nothing.” Dal denies, then from a look from Amber he sighs. “It’s just that we were going to get out of this city, and now all this talk of coming darkness, and all these strange people popping up with their talk of destiny and champions. This Dawn girl and her friends seem to especially interested in you. For whatever destiny lies ahead, whatever the hell that even means. I’m starting to doubt I’m even going to be in your future.”
“Don’t talk like that Dal. Whatever is coming, we’re going to face it together.” Amber tells him with certainty in her voice. “You and me against the world, right?”
She reaches out and gently punches him in the shoulder, careful not to let her slayer strength cause any damage. The nudge serves it’s purpose and Dal gives her a small grin.
“Til the end of time Ambs.” He agrees, with a firm nod of his head.
“Glad to hear it.” Amber says. Her gaze flickers over to Dawn, who silently motions for her to join her. “I have to talk to Dawn about something, but I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Alright.” Dal concedes, glancing behind him at the tall brunette girl that had become entangled in the life of his best friend. Amber gets up and walks over to Dawn’s table. Oz stands up as she approaches and excuses himself, but both Dawn and Ginger remain.
“What did you need?” Amber questions as she sits down opposite the other two girls.
“I was only supposed to awaken the slayer in you. My real job is to train Ebony in what she will need for the coming war. Ginger here is the one who has been tasked with your guidance and training. In time, you will help to train other fighters that will be vital at points in the war. Of the champions available at this time, there are only twelve and seven of them are here. You are one of those twelve Amber. So are Bray, Ebony, Danni, Glenn, Trudy, and if he can ever grow up, Lex.”
Amber snorts at the thought of possibly the most immature and unrealistic ass that she had ever met being one of the driving forces holding off the darkness.
“So where are the other five then?” She inquires out of curiousity.
“They will be coming very soon.” Dawn answers, then reaches out with her magic, seeking the mystical signatures of the twelve. She grins at her findings. “Two more just entered the city, along with two of the four friends of mine that aren’t here yet. They’re nearby.”
“Who?” Ginger questions, not having the same far reaching sensitivity to mystical beings that Dawn has.
“It’s Xander and Cordelia.” Dawn replies, her mind snapping back to her present company. “They found the Huntsman and the Thief.”
“A thief? Why would you want to bring a thief here?” Amber demanded causing Dawn chuckle.
“That’s just how the prophesy named them.” She explains. “The twelve consist of The Knight, The Fire Bird, The Wolf, The Huntsman, The Mother, the Thief, The Dreamer, The Nomad, The Guru, The War Maiden, The Elemental, and The Hidden Emerald.”
“Which one am I?” Amber asks softly.
“The Fire Bird.” Dawn answers, just as softly. “You have a long road in front of you Amber. We will help you as much as we can, but there are some things that you will need to face on your own.”
“What if I don’t measure up?” Amber muses aloud.
“We won’t let that happen.” Dawn promises. “We have several months to prepare for the first challenge. You’ll be ready for what’s ahead. I promise.”
“But how can you be so sure?” Amber is still unsure.
“Because she does not fear the night.” Ginger speaks. “We’ve all locked away the doubt and uncertainty that leads to fear. Once you do that, you can do anything.”
“There’s also the fact that failure means death, and I have no intention of dying again anytime soon.” Dawn adds, leading Amber to pale at the ‘dying again’ part of Dawn’s declaration. Ginger grimaces at her friend’s poor choice of words.
“Way to ease her into it Dawnie.” She chastises lightly.
“Well we can’t exactly coddle them can we?” Dawn retorts, then takes hold of one of Amber’s hands with her own and looks the blonde girl in the eyes. “It’s gonna be okay.”
Xander and Cordelia finally made it to the sewer access behind the Mall, with Pride and KC in tow. They were surprised when Faith poked her head out of the manhole as they came close.
“Hey Xan, Cordy.” She greets with a nod. “Dawn told me to meet you here and bring you inside. Apparently, a couple of the people living here, namely a guy named Lex, are kinda weary of newcomers. I kind of almost feel for Gunn and Gwen having to train him. The kid’s got an attitude problem worse then mine way back when.” Faith babbled for a moment, then stopped herself. “Sorry, must have been channeling Willow for a moment. Come on.” She disappears down the hole again. Xander and Cordelia descending into the sewer quickly. Both KC and Pride lingered for a moment.
“You know, running off to find and join a circus is looking real good right now.” KC says, glancing at the older boy.
“What good would that do if what they told us is true.” Pride asked, not looking for an answer, then quickly leapt onto the platform and climbs down into the manhole.
“Less chance of dying young?” KC says with a shrug. He takes a final look around and then climbs up onto the platform. He starts descending the ladder, stopping to pull the cover shut, before joining the others at the bottom.
A couple hundred miles away, well north of the mountains, the humanoid demon known in this realm as Jaffa brands his mark on the first of his disciples in this day and age.
“Rise Luke.” Jaffa commands, and his lieutenant obeys. “Today we begin our glorious journey to ascension.”
Vi pulled the car up to the old estate in the middle of the large farm and parked on the edge of the dirt driveway. She kills the engine and gets out, Dean and Tai-San following suit. Slade pulls to a stop on his motorcycle a few yards behind them and also dismounts. The four are about to go up to the large house in front of them, but are stopped as a slim girl with long red hair, partially streaked with black and green dye emerges out of the door. The girl has a large backpack strapped around her shoulders.
“Are you Serena?” Vi asks, and the girl nods.
“You didn’t really need for me to tell you that though.” Serena accuses lightly. “I foresaw your coming in my dreams, and I’ve been waiting.”
The girl strides over to them, nodding her head in greeting at the four light warriors. “I’ve got everything I need in the bag, so we can leave once we get the two cans of gasoline in the north barn. I think we’ll be needing it to make Cape City by tonight. There’s also something else there, that I think may help us.”
“You’re very informed.” Dean notes, trying to keep the amusement at the boldness of the pixyish redhead.
“Well I am the Dreamer.” Serena reminds him. “You should have anticipated it.”
“Somehow I think it would be extremely difficult for anyone to anticipate you.” Dean mumbles, just loud enough for the others to hear.
Vi whacks him in the back of the head. “You’re incorrigible Dean Winchester.”
She then turns to Serena. “How do we get to the north barn?”
Serena smiles. “You can drive us there, I’ll give you the directions.” Serena opens the trunk and puts her backpack in, alongside Dean, Vi, and Tai-San’s clothes and techno gear. She closes the trunk lid and gets into the backseat beside Vi, with Dean getting in the drivers seat and Tai-San riding shotgun.
Serena gave the directions to the barn and they were pulling up to the barn and getting out again. Serena led the group into the large loft barn, pointing out the two large cans of gasoline on the floor along the east wall next to the doors as she walked past.
“We’ll get those on the way out.” She says, moving further into the barn. She opens the door to an empty horse stall and goes in, the others following her. Serena bends down to the dirt and starts shifting the dirt and straw around until she lifts a metal handle out of the dirt. The handle is connected to a hidden trapdoor, and Serena is trying unsuccessfully to pull up the heavy iron door. Dean and Vi move in and working together they pull the heavy iron door up and off the hole it was concealing to reveal a staircase leading down. Serena steps in and ducks down into the dark tunnel. Dean goes next, then Tai-San and Vi taking up the rear after Slade.
The staircase descends into a narrow hallway with a set of blast doors at the end of it. Serena goes over to the keypad and presses a couple of the buttons and then the light over the blast doors turn from red to green and slowly slide open.
Serena leads them over to a cargo elevator beyond the blast doors. They all get on and Serena presses the button to go down. About forty seconds later the elevator doors open again and the group find themselves at the mouth of a corridor that was decorated as if it was in an upper crust hotel. The hallway connected to another down at the end.
“What is this place?” Vi asks in wonder. The powers had not told them about this.
“Several members of my family were in the government before the virus. They offered the family farm as a location for a fallout shelter for Political and Government VIPs. Only there wasn’t enough time to spread the warning. My uncle called this place Morlock City. There’s five levels to the compound, consisting of dozens apartments and single rooms, offices, one or two conference rooms, a twenty car garage, workout gym, several storerooms of food, stocked to last fifty people three years if rationed properly, an armory, a-”
“Where is this armory?” Dean interrupts suddenly and Vi rolls her eyes at him. Of course he would spark up at the chance to get hold of a gun or two.
“Follow me.” Serena instructs, setting off down the hallway and turning to the right. She leads the group down several different hallways, until she finally stops in front of a sealed door with a keypad lock on it. “This is it, problem is I never was told the code to get in. Sorry.”
Dean looks at the locked door, and wished that Gwen was here, that girl would make short work of the circuitry and they would be in.
Vi turned to Serena with a thoughtful expression on her face. “How many people can this compound hold at maximum?”
Serena was quiet for a moment, thinking it over in her head. “Twenty full apartments, and forty or fifty single units connected by shared bathrooms.”
“Maybe we should get everyone to come here.” Slade suggests.
“No, at least not yet. Several things will be happening in the next few months that we will need to be in Cape City for.” Dean said shaking his head, but internally coming up with ideas for turning the compound into the headquarters for the resistance against the cult of the chosen and the technos they had been sent to spy for, even though there had never been any plans to do so. “Down the road maybe.”
A few days for him at most. Dean would tell Gwen about the armory and get a few of the other fifteen that he figured would go along with the plan to get into the armory. James, Faith, Gunn, Ginger, Spike and Jo were the best bets, though from the way he had seen Vi subtly glancing at the armory door out of the corner of her eye, he could probably convince her too. He pushed the plans to the back of his head as the group began to move back towards the elevator, deciding to deal with it when they got to the mall.
“Don’t worry Dean. There’s a small gun closet down in the garage. I’m sure we can find you something to play with.” Serena informed him teasingly. Dean stared at her, stopping in his tracks as she continued.
A few minutes later Dean opens the door to the twelve by twenty foot ‘closet’, stocked wall to wall with shelves of guns. Dean walked a few feet into the room, gazing over the shelves of guns and blades. He falls to his knees and pats the cold concrete floor lovingly.
Vi and Serena stand behind him, just past the closet door, looking in at him.
“He’s quite crazed.” Serena states, forcing down a giggle. “You do know that, right?”
“I’m constantly reminded.” Vi says with a huge smirk on her face. She enters the armory as well and grabs a duffel bag up from its place on the floor. She unzips it and begins loading it up with various handguns and ammo clips. One the other side of the room, Dean has recovered from his ecstasy from being around so many different guns for the first time since they had arrived in this reality. Vi zips up the duffel bag she has filled, as Serena and Slade enter the room, wanting a gun for themselves as well.
Serena grabs a shotgun and starts stuffing shells into her pockets of her leather jacket. She also grabs a pair of glocks and stuffs them into the large pockets on the interior of the jacket. Slade removes his denim jacket and folds it to create a makeshift bag. He loads eight or nine handguns and about twenty clips. He also grabs a rifle and slings it over his shoulder. Vi and Dean both grabs shotguns as well, and then the four exit the closet, rejoining Tai-San in the garage.
“Maybe we should take one of the Hummers.” Tai-San suggests, looking at the assortment of guns the other four had. “Store the Mustang here.”
“Yeah, we’ll have more room.” Dean agrees. He walks over to the closest of the four Hummers. He opens the rear door, lifts it up and stores the duffel he filled in the back, leaning the shotgun on the metal rack against the side of the vehicle. Slade does the same, then follows Dean back to the gun closet to grab six more shotguns and three rifles.
Within the next twenty minutes, the group has driven the hummer out of the underground complex, stored the old Mustang in it, and closed the entrance. They retrieved the gas cans, and Slade took two of the handguns he took in each saddle bag on his motorcycle. The group then began the twenty mile drive to Cape City, and the mall.
Azazeal grinned as he looked down at his soon-to-be host as the boy-king of the Technos slumbered in his extravagant looking wheelchair. He was about to invade the boy’s mind to make it his own but was stopped short by a sharp jolt at the back of his mind.
‘Not this one?’ he pondered. ‘No, I see the better choice. This one has much more potential to cause destruction.’
He leaves the one known as Ram, off to seek out the one he felt would be the better one to possess.
End Chapter 2
*If anyone can tell me what movie that Dean’s little scene in the gun closet parodies, I’ll smoke a joint with you.
Also the underground compound will play a huge part throughout the series. This is only the first story of five, or possibly more, it covers the first season of the tribe, with obvious and sometime drastic changes.
The third night at the mall came the arrival of Dean and Vi’s group. They had been met outside by Faith, James, Dawn, Lex, Ryan, Ebony, Jo and Sam. Serena immediately recognized Jo as her guide, and introduced herself. Dawn looked at the assortment of weaponry stocked in the back of the Hummer with a grimace.
“I thought we were going to ease them into this whole thing.” Dawn says with a sigh.
“I’ve found that I have better success jumping headlong into it.” Dean snarks, and begins unloading the guns. The others save Dawn and Tai-San move to help him, and begin to move the guns into the mall.
Ebony, Slade and Vi are the first to get back into the mall, each carrying a couple of guns each. They are met by Bray, Amber and Salene, all of whom eyes widen at the sight of the guns.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, bringing guns here?” Bray demands, not looking pleased.
“He’s right, there are small children here, remember?” Salene reminds them.
“Keep them away from the gear then.” Ebony says in a bored tone. Bray looks like he wants to say something, but remains silent. “Look, we’re about to be dragged into war, and it’s not gonna be a slap fight. We need to be able to protect ourselves, and the innocents. These guns will help, that’s why we have them.”
Bray looks almost mutinous. “We don’t need them.” He insists.
“Oh wake up Bray!” Dawn commands as she leads the rest of the gun toting group into the room. “There will be plenty of time to perfect your pacifism later, right now there is too much at stake.”
“You’d know all about that.” Bray mutters low, but Vi hears him and gets right in his face.
“Dawn damn well would know about that, you dumbass.” Vi snarls at him. “We tried that route for awhile in our world. Guess what, it didn’t work, and because of our failure our world is gone. We’ve been sent here to make sure that your sorry ass, and the rest of this world doesn’t follow suit. So pull your head out of your ass and get with the times. The guns stay.”
Vi thrust one of her handguns into Bray’s chest, making him take it and then stalks away. Most of the group follows her, until Bray is left alone with Dawn, Faith and James. Bray doesn’t acknowledge them, he just stares at the gun Vi forced him to take, unblinkingly.
“Bray, I know you’ve had a lot to take in the last couple days, and I do feel for you. Maybe there will come a day when the guns won’t be needed, but they are for now.” Dawn tells him gently. “Imagine if your friend Trudy and you got cornered by the people we need to fight, and there’s too many to fight hand to hand, how are you going to protect her and her baby?”
Bray is silent for a moment, mulling things over. After a few seconds, a glint appears in his eyes and he looks up.
“I’ll shoot every last motherfucking one of them.” He responds. *(1)
“That’s the spirit.” James commends from behind Dawn. She just rolls her eyes.
Far to the North, far past Jaffa’s growing army of the Chosen, in the unpopulated wilderness that used to be the home of several ancient temple, long since submerged underground by time and erosion, a cloaked man sits on the trunk of an uprooted tree. He hums softly to himself for a few moments, seemingly mesmerized by his own tune as he rocks side to side with the rhythm of the song. After several moments he ceases his melody and grins under his hood.
“The twelve properly united, standing strong amidst the Fifteen. Champions one and all, blazing candles against the night. A door opens-”
“And the circle expands one final time. Twelve becomes Twenty, and the Messengers roam.” Tai-San mumbles, eyes completely white. Amber, Ginger, Vi, Ebony and Dawn all stare at her silently, Dawn having explained that Tai-San was slightly empathic, and capable of receiving visions from time to time.
Tai-san gasps suddenly, her eyes screwing shut. When she opens them again they have returned to normal. She looks at the others gathering around her.
“I left for a bit there, didn’t I?” she inquires. Dawn nods.
“Side effect of the visions you get. They tend to grab hold.” Dawn explains. “You should talk to Cordelia. She was vision-girl in our world.”
The six girls look to the door as it opens and Zandra enters, looking furious. She marches right up to Dawn, getting in her face. Ebony and Ginger move to intervene but Dawn waves them off.
“Can I help you Zandra?” Dawn asks the pink and blue haired girl facing her.
“You can leave Lex alone, for starters. He’s mine and all he’s done the last few days is follow you around like an obedient puppy and I’m sick of it!” Zandra snarls at her.
“Well shouldn’t that tell you something?” Dawn asks with malice evidence in her voice. She was loathe to do it, but Zandra’s life depended on whether or not she could get herself out of Lex’s life. She was meant to be someone in this war, but if she continued to pursue Lex, her destiny would end, lost to a premature grave. “I don’t tell Lex what to do, if he wants to follow me around, it’s hardly my fault.”
Zandra looks enraged, she moves to slap Dawn, but is intercepted by Ginger and Ebony. Vi lurks nearby, ready to pounce as well.
“Easy.” Dawn commands as Zandra struggles to get out of the grasp of Ginger and Ebony. “Let her go. Leave Zandra. I have nothing for Lex, but he obviously doesn’t see you in that way. Give it up for your own sake, there’s someone out there for you. Lex isn’t him.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about!” Zandra yells at her, storming from the room.
“She loves Lex, it’s gonna be hard to get her to see reason.” Vi notes, knowing what Dawn is trying to do.
“Why does she need to give up Lex?” Amber asked.
“Because her continued pursuit of Lex will set in motion a series of events ending in her death. I aim to prevent that.” Dawn explains. “I feel bad for doing it, but it must be done. For her to live.”
Zandra was fuming. ‘How dare that hussy!’ She huffed silently and rubbed her arms as she walked down the hall. She leans against the wall and stares at her feet, getting lost in her own thoughts. She remains there for a few long moments before the sound of a dull thud and a short cry of pain draws her back into reality.
“What the hell?” she wonders aloud, she hears someone grunt from the room across the hall from her. The door is slightly ajar, so she walks forward and opens the door. Her eyes widen at the sight of Serena and Danni attacking eachother, while Jo and Spike watched and gave pointers.
“Who the hell are you people?” Zandra demands, before she stop herself, causing four sets of eyes to lock onto her. Serena and Danni frozen in the middle of a grapple.
“We’re preparing.” Jo says simply.
“What the hell are you talking about? As if my life wasn’t complicated enough, now all you crazy people show up and draw Lex into your little club, cult whatever the hell you are. Why couldn’t you have just stayed out of our lives?!” Zandra screams, losing her composure from the continued stress and resentment over being kept out of the loop as far as what the hell was going on here. With Lex. With Amber and Bray. Even that ex-Loco bitch Ebony knew something. They all knew and wouldn’t tell her.
Jo and Spike share a look, and after a moment Spike nods. Jo walks over to Zandra as Serena and Danni struggle to their feet.
“You really want to know what’s going on?” Jo asks her. “Because what we know isn’t fun, it isn’t glamorous or fancy, it’s cold, hard and will probably give you nightmares. So I ask again, do you really want to know?”
Zandra was quiet for a moment before she replied. “Please.” She whispers, “All this secrecy is driving me crazy.”
“Fine.” Jo says blithely. She reaches out and presses her hands against the sides of Zandra’s head and shows her. As the images assault her mind on all sides. Zandra lets out an unholy bloodcurdling scream and blacks out.
Later that night, Dawn has called council of the fifteen guides up on the roof. Dawn paces by the edge of the roof over looking the street.
“You shouldn’t have shown her.” Dawn tells Jo later on. “Her mind wasn’t ready.”
“It’s not our job to play god.” Jo argues. “Withholding information is detrimental in any war. Surely you remember how we lost Andrew, Rona and Bobby?”
“That’s low.” Faith interrupts hotly. “And that wasn’t Dawn’s fault. It was mine and Wood’s.”
“Nevertheless, we shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.” Sam tries to mediate, causing Faith to glare at him.
“Enough.” Xander commands. “It’s done. Zandra knows, and short of a memory spell, she will continue to know. We would have done it eventually anyways.”
“I still say it was wrong.” Dawn complains. “But at least it showed that she is capable of withstanding the insanity.”
“She was the only one I saw having problems with the transition besides the kiddies.” Spike put in.
“I agree.” Dean says. “I think we shouldn’t put off bringing in the others.”
“I am not sacrificing the innocence of anyone under thirteen.” Dawn responds quickly. “It’s bad enough that KC had to be dragged into this at his age.”
“You were younger than he was when you faced down Angelus outside Buffy’s hospital room fourteen years ago.” Cordelia reminds.
“That was way different.”
“I wasn’t suggesting bringing in the young kids Dawn.” Dean puts the conversation back on track. “Salene, Ryan, Dal, and Jack all have potential, they just need to be pointed in the right direction.”
“But-” Dawn cuts herself off.
“Be realistic here Dawn.” came from Ginger. “Jaffa isn’t gonna care about whether or not they’re ready or not. He doesn’t care about life, just power. They’ll all be nothing more than cannon fodder unless they can work as a cohesive unit. Champion or not. We’re all fighting for the same thing here.”
Dawn is silent for a few moments. “Fine.” She finally acquiesces. “But only those four.”
“And those still yet to arrive?” Vi questions.
“Alice, Ellie, May, Sasha and Hawk, Zoot too if he can be reached.” Dawn concurs. “Not anyone else, not until the Chosen are dealt with at least. Are we agreed on that?”
The group one by one confirm their agreement. Dawn nods and looks around the group.
“Are you guys really ready for this?” She questions softly.
That is the question that no one present can answer.
At Jaffa’s camp
Luke walked mechanically into the tent of his master, the demonic entity controlling him rendering him a prisoner in his own mind. He kneels in front of Jaffa, head bowed in reverence.
“You summoned me, my master?” he says, keeping his eyes low.
“Yes. Rise young Luke.” Jaffa instructs, and Luke stands, the demon within also apprehensive of the older demon, and punishment that would be rewarded with disobedience to Jaffa’s orders. The human Luke filed this away in his memory in the hopes that he could use the insecurities of the demon possessing him to his advantage someday, maybe even break free of the influence. Luke dreamed of that day.
“I have decided to step up our plans.” Jaffa informs him. “I have received news that the tides have shifted in the favor of the other side, but will only remain so if they are given the necessary time to prepare. I cannot allow them to be ready, it would be the end of the Chosen. We start populating our numbers now. By the end of the coming month, we will march on Cape City, gathering more recruits as we go. Four months from now we will attack them while they are still vulnerable.”
“Very good master.” Luke’s demon agrees with a nod of his head. “Is there anything else you require tonight?”
Jaffa remains silent for a moment. “No Luke. You may go back to your tent for the night. Sleep and dream of our victory over the weak.”
“Very well.” Luke nods once more, then exits the tent. Jaffa watches him go and then turns to face an empty corner of the large tent.
“I thought I told you that you were no longer welcome within my territory.” Jaffa snarls at the empty space, and after a moment Azazeal materializes into view.
“Such hostility.” Azazeal mocks Jaffa. “Although I guess it’s warranted, I did kill your son after all. I just thought that after two hundred years you might be willing to come to a truce.”
“It will be an ice-storm in hell before I ever agreed to a truce with you Az.” Jaffa snorted derisively.
“Well at least I can say I made the offer.” Azazeal replies with a shrug, moving to help himself to Jaffa’s liqueur. He pours out two glasses of brandy as Jaffa approaches cautiously. Azazeal picks up one of the glasses and takes a pull of it. “Of course your refusal of a truce and alliance means that you have lost already.”
“What are you talking about?” Jaffa demands, picking up his own glass and sipping at it.
“Right now you are building an army to fight these ‘Children of Hope’, it’s a noble effort and I do commend you on that, truly. But even if you manage to best them, you will just save me the extra trouble for when I overrun you.” Azazeal explains.
“Powerful threats.” Jaffa mused. “But I’m not concerned. When the time comes I will deal with you, just as I did a hundred and seventy years ago.”
“You had an ace in that battle- Loki.” Azazeal admits his earlier loss. “But Loki is gone, foolishly trapped in a dying shell, and you have been left with the meager foundations of an army, which I admit will grow in time. But I have two things you lack. One is the fact that while you build your army anew, I have found one of my own, already trained and sizeable in numbers. Once I assume control of them, they will become unstoppable.”
“We’ll see.” Jaffa challenges. “What’s the second thing?”
“The second thing you lack is the reason you will fail.” Azazeal replies. “I have patience. When you and the champions have your little war, enjoy your victories while you can. Because regardless of who wins, I’ll be there to finish the job, either meaning you failed and I kill them. Or we get to finish what we started centuries ago.”
“I look forward to that day.” Jaffa shrugs, taking a pull of his brandy.
“Your self-assuredness in your abilities will be your undoing Jaffa.” Azazeal warned. “No one is infallible. Not the powers, or their champions, and least of all us.”
He takes another pull of the brandy and with a mocking wave to Jaffa, he dematerializes from the tent, leaving Jaffa to his thoughts and plans.
Ebony stood in front of the door to Dawn’s room, arm raised to knock but her uncertainty keeps it frozen inches from the wood.
“Oh just come in already.” Dawn calls from within. Ebony grimaces and her hand moves to the doorknob. She turns it slowly and pushes the door open, entering slowly.
“Please at least tell me that I’m not the only one freaked out by the whole sensing people you can’t see thing?” Ebony requests hopefully. Dawn’s piercing green eyes are on her and she shifts nervously.
“Relax Sarah.” She tells the former Loco. “You’ll get used to it in time, we all did.”
“From what I’ve been hearing, time isn’t something we have much of.” Ebony retorts.
“That’s true, but we have enough.” Dawn says. “But time and how much of it we’ve been given isn’t what you came here for, is it?”
“It’s alarming how well you know me.” Ebony notes, pushing away her discomfort to focus on the matter at hand. “I want to talk to Zoot, I think he can be saved, but not if we wait much longer.”
“What do you suggest?” Dawn inquires of her student.
“The two of us seek him out. He was intrigued by you from the moment we found you on the beach, and his intrigue only grew from that point. We can use that to bring him in.” Ebony tells Dawn the plan she came up with.
“Sounds feasible, what is your plan b?” Dawn inquires.
“Uh…” Ebony thinks for a moment, “Run like hell?”
“A useful contingency, my young apprentice.” Dawn intones, causing Ebony to roll her eyes in bemusement. It seemed a lifetime ago, but she had seen star wars. She was a huge fan of Han Solo when she was a young child. “We’ll do it tomorrow. Get some rest, its past midnight.”
“Good night Dawn.”
“Good night Sarah.”
“It’s Ebony.” Came the clipped reply from the Hidden Emerald.
Amber couldn’t sleep that night, so she was roaming the hallways. She eventually found herself at the stairwell leading to the roof, and after a moment began to ascend them. She opens the door at the top and steps out onto the black tarred roof. She feels she is not alone and scans the roof with her eyes, spotting the small grouping of James, Ginger, Faith and Oz. Faith is sitting on an airduct smoking a cigarette, while the other three gaze skyward, the light of the full moon illuminating their features. James and Ginger also have cigarettes as well. She walks over to them slowly, not sure if they are aware of her.
Ginger is the first to notice her, the connection they share as Champion and Guide flaring in both their minds serves to snap the former werewolf out of her examination of the moon.
“Hello Amber.” Ginger greets in a friendly tone. “Trouble sleeping?”
“Yeah.” Amber replies, eyeing the cigarette. “Can I get one of those?”
“You smoke?” Faith asks dubiously, but pulls out the pack she has and removes a cigarette, offering it to the blonde girl.
“Before the virus I did.” Amber replies, taking the Marlboro. “After that there was as to much going on to even track down a pack.”
She leans over so Faith can light the cigarette, and takes a deep drag. Her eyes alight in relief.
“Thanks Faith.” She expresses her gratitude. “I can be a real cold bitch sometimes when I’m craving. I don’t suppose you know where I could get a hold of some for myself?”
“I’m still working on it. This is the last of the three packs I found in the backroom of the electronic store.” Faith tells her. “Don’t worry though, I’ll find some soon enough.”
“There was that tobacco farm we passed on the way here. I saw it from the truck.” Ginger puts in.
“That’s like fifty miles away.” Faith reminded her.
“So we grab a car and make a day trip of it.” Ginger shrugs. “You gotta figure its abandoned, given how far away from anything else it is. Maybe we’ll even get lucky and find some weed.”
“I wouldn’t mind that.” James comments, still gazing at the moon. He raises his cigarette to his mouth and inhales.
“Someday.” Faith says wistfully. “Hey when we win this war, lets stay here and go take it over.”
“Sounds good babe.” James smirks, reaching out and squeezing Faith’s hand.
“Are you two together?” Amber asks.
“It’s a thing.” Faith says not giving much information.
Amber nods and takes a drag of her cigarette. The group lapses into silence.
The cloaked teen makes his way through the crowded marketplace of the city of Seabourne. He would miss it, the easy camaraderie of the citizens here, they wouldn’t have that where he was heading. Cape City was full of wild tribes, warring for dominance. He walked into an alley way and up to a metal door. He rapped twice on it and after a couple moments the thin sliding slab opens and a pair of eyes look out.
“Let me in.” he demands and a few seconds later the door opens. “Thanks, JT.”
“Welcome back Hawk.” The slightly younger teen greets, both still in the oldest bracket of the population following the virus.
“Are you ready to leave?” Hawk asks, and JT nods.
“Carver and Cash are waiting for us. They got that old jeep running and its all gassed up.” JT informs him and Hawk nods.
“Good, we’ll leave in a few minutes.” Hawk says. “I just need to leave a letter for Shane and Ava, telling them where to find us when it’s time.”
JT waits as Hawk writes out a brief letter, and leaves it on the hallway table. He walks back to JT and nods. The two teens exit the building and make the short walk over to the apartment building where the identical twins Carver and Cash live. Both eighteen year olds had been in a military academy prior to the virus and were excellent fighters. That’s why Hawk recruited them. JT got recruited for his tracking skills, the natural instincts passed to him by his werewolf father. The twins are already waiting for them, sitting on the hood of the jeep. The pair slides off as they approach and then all four get into the vehicle, with Carver driving.
“So where are we heading anyways?” Cash asks.
“Cape City.” Hawk replies, settling into his seat.
“That’s seven hundred miles away!” Cash screeches.
“I know that.” Hawk says calmly, “Provided we can keep the gas from running out, we can be there in four or five days or so.”
Cash stared at him in disbelief. Carver just kept his eyes on the road.
Eros walked into the small den room, where his three compatriots are already waiting.
“Welcome Eros.” Greets Niri, with both Valdur and Corvis nodding their heads.
“The light powers have allowed their champions to gather before they were able to in the previous timeline. Their interference is shifting the balance. Already they are growing stronger, we must lend aid to our liaisons in this reality. Jaffa, Azazeal, and Kain.”
“But Kain slumbers still in his prison.” Corvis interjected.
“And he will remain there for now. We will focus on Jaffa first, he will be the first to encounter the champions of the light, and as it stands currently, he will fail. We have the Shadows at our command, let us gift him with an army to control.” Valdur says, suggesting the legions they have on standby.
“Forced conscription to our side? Such beautiful chaos.” Niri voices her opinion.
“Then we are in agreement?” Eros questions, and receives nods of consent all around. “Very good, Niri and I will go to Jaffa in the next few hours, bringing him his army.
The Shadows were a subservient group of possessor demons. They invaded bodies and assumed control. The ten tribes nearest to Jaffa’s camp were assaulted by the Shadows that night and instantly the numbers of the Chosen flew up from twenty-odd members to almost two hundred. With a thousand more Shadows waiting for bodies to possess, the Chosen’s number would almost rival that of the Technos.
Jaffa gathered Luke and five of the highest ranking Shadows, whose names were Damien, Lyssa, Abraham, Lucius and Rhiannon as the sun was rising. Today they begin the four month journey to war.
End Chapter 3
*Aside from KC, I don’t really have any real plans for the young kids, they annoyed me when they were on the show. As the story goes on through years, they may play a bigger part, but I’m not sure.
Dawn and Ebony were walking down the road that led to the old train station that house the headquarters of the Locos tribe. As they were approaching they were spotted by several of the Loco guards and quickly surrounded.
“Hey!” Dawn yelled at the guard that was binding her hands behind her, as his hand rubbed against her ass. Ebony was also bound, the guard handling her hissing insults of traitor and deserter as he tied the rope tightly around her wrists. The two keys allowed themselves to be escorted to the Loco’s headquarters.
Once there they were shoved into a sparse room that appeared to have once been an office of some sort. The guards left them alone for a few minutes before four of the group returned with Zoot himself.
“So the traitor returns with the gift she stole.” Zoot addresses them, then turns to the guards. “Leave us, stand watch on the hallway.”
Dawn and Ebony watch as the four guards quickly obey Zoot’s commands and vacate the room, shutting the door behind them. Zoot turns to Ebony.
“Why did you come back?” he asks, using a softer tone of voice. Dawn senses the shift in the air, and knows what is happening. Martin wass trying to break free of the demon controlling him., his tone proof of growing success. Dawn decided to help him break free completely. She magicks off the ropes binding her wrists and plants a hand on both sides of Martin’s head.
“Out!” She commands forcefully, exerting her powers to push the demon out of it’s unwilling host. Her efforts pay off when a black cloud of smoke surges out of Martin and rushes Ebony, forcing itself into her.
Ebony shudders from the feelings of the demon trying to possess her.
“You. Can’t Have. Me.” Ebony grits out harshly. Dawn and the recovering Martin watch as Ebony draws on her hidden energy and her eyes flash a brilliant green. All three hear the disembodied shrieks of the demon as Ebony’s power consumes it completely. Ebony slumps to her knees in exhaustion from the overuse of her powers, but looks otherwise unharmed. Martin and Dawn help her to her feet and unbind her wrists. Ebony takes a few deep breaths and looks at the other two. “Did I get it out? Are you yourself again Martin?”
“Yes. You saved me Sarah.” Martin tells her, Ebony grins weakly.
“Bray and Trudy will be happy. And stop calling me Sarah, both of you.” She whispers and slumps in their grasp, darkness claiming her. Martin takes full hold of her, gathering the smaller girl into his arms. Her head leaning against his shoulder, he walks to the door.
“Come with me,” He says over his shoulder to Dawn. “I know a place where she can rest while we talk.”
He opens the door, leading Dawn out into the hallway. One of the guards from before is stationed at the end of the corridor. The guard looks questioningly at Martin as he leads Dawn past him, the guard making eye contact with Dawn briefly, making something tingle at the back of Dawn’s mind but she dismisses it, too focused on Ebony’s wellbeing.
“Sir?” the guard questions.
“It’s okay Tommy, I have everything under control.” Martin assures him, and Tommy nods, letting them continue unimpeded.
Martin leads Dawn out of the building they are in and down the street towards the hotel. When they are out of earshot of the Loco guards, the formerly possessed leader of the Locos speaks.
“So where did you and Ebony get off to anyways?” Martin inquires. “Even the demon that had me was slightly disappointed at your departure.”
“More like he was disappointed to lose control of Ebony, given how important she will be in the coming days.” Dawn replied.
“So who are you exactly?” Martin’s next question was the one Dawn was expecting.
“I am… well I guess the best way to describe it is that I am what Ebony is. I was sent to guide her when my world was destroyed.” Dawn explains.
Martin’s eyes bulged slightly, but he seemed to be able to process it quickly enough. Faster than the others had at any rate, and with no screaming as a bonus.
“So you’re what, an alien?” he asked, glancing at her.
“Ugh no.” Dawn rolled her eyes. “I’m from another Earth in a different reality. But it’s gone now.”
“Oh.” Martin says. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay. I’m not alone here and the ones that I love that are gone are in a better place now.” Dawn says, thinking of Buffy and her mom, of Willow and Giles and Angel. She looked at Martin. “You’re taking this in remarkable well.” She noted curiously.
“In the last three years of my life I watched the entire adult population perish to a virus, civilization fell apart around us, and got possessed by a demon. Fair to say this world’s going to hell, and now that I’m free I’m not gonna stand around and let it happen.” Martin says. “I’m gonna make my stand, mold the Locos into less of a gang and more of a fighting unit, somehow I think you might be able to help with that.”
“We have a lot to discuss.” Dawn replies.
Amber and Danni were sparring lightly, each trying to get a feel for the other, while trying to keep from giving anything up at the same time. They had cleared out the old pet store, completely gutting it, putting everything in the store room and dragged a few mats from the sporting goods store in for training.
Danni grunted as Amber tripped her up, sending her to the ground landing hard on her ass.
“Oomph.” Danni gasped out. Amber reached her hand out to her. Danni takes it and is pulled up.
“Danni, can you tell me what you did wrong?” Spike asks her, moving over from where he was sitting with Ginger, Connor, KC, Serena, Jo, Faith and Trudy.
“I left my left side unprotected.” Danni replies quickly. “Sorry, I’m still getting used to this.”
“Work on it.” Spike drawls, and Danni nods. “Okay, that’s all for right now.” He dismisses the ‘class’ as he feels Dawn and Ebony returning with that Zoot bugger. No way was he gonna miss the explosion that was bound to ensue. He pulled out a cigarette as he strode towards the center of the mall just in time.
“ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?!” Lex screamed, trying to launch himself at Zoot, but being restrained by the Winchesters. Dawn and Ebony stood in front of Zoot, making sure he didn’t try anything either. The others, except Faith and Trudy from the training room come up behind Spike, having heard the yelling.
“Calm the hell down Lex. Martin has been freed of the demon possessing him. He isn’t a threat.” Dawn informs him loudly. “He’s joining up.”
“Why don’t we just put a big sign over the entrance then? It can read ‘Attention Locos! Chumps within.” Lex snarls. “Between him and the dark princess here, we might as well just give our enemies the guns.”
“Screw you Lex.” Ebony seethes. “You have no idea what you’re even talking about. Martin was possessed by the demon known as Zoot. The damn thing is gone, I killed it as it tried to possess me.”
“Sure it did.” Lex scoffs at her.
Ebony bristles with anger and her eyes flash bright green again. She looks at Lex, the emerald fire emanating from her eyes making him step back slightly in shock.
“Do not presume to mock me Wolf.” Ebony growls in a deep gutteral voice not her own.
“Ebony?” Dawn whispers, putting a hand on the smaller girl’s shoulder. Ebony turns her head to look at her and slowly the glowing green eyes fade to normal. Ebony shakes her head a few times to regain her bearings and looks around the shocked group of people staring at her.
“Sorry about that.” She says, uncharacteristically sheepish.
“Wha- what was that?” Lex stammers, still shocked.
“That was the source of Ebony’s powers. Mine as well, but I’ve bonded with the power already, Ebony is still coming into her powers so it’s going to be a while before she will be able to bond with her source.” Dawn explains.
“What was with her voice?” Martin questioned, but doesn’t get an answer as Faith, Bray and Trudy have just walked into the central part of the mall.
“Martin?!” Trudy exclaims in shock and slight distress. Her body jerks suddenly and she gasps, falling against Bray, who keeps her upright. “Oh Jesus, I.. My water just broke!” she cries, feeling wetness rolling down her thighs.
The group exploded into action. Bray and Sam quickly carried Trudy up to her room, Martin, Dawn, Ebony, Dean, Spike, Faith and Amber following. Danni and Serena ran off to get some wet towels. Lex wandered off to find Ryan and Zandra.
Sam and Bray reach Trudy’s room and bring her inside, laying her carefully on the bed. Dawn takes over from there.
“Okay if you are a member of the three legged variety leave now, not you two.” She says indicating Bray and Martin. Dean, Sam and Spike begin to leave the room. “Find Salene and Zandra for me, they can help here.”
Spike nods at her as he walks out, both Winchesters before him.
“Okay Trudy I need you to take deep breaths okay?” Dawn asks gently, and Trudy nods silently, then winces as the first contraction hits her and she lets out a whimper of pain. Dawn looks between her legs. “Okay you’re fully dilated, it should be a quick birth.”
“How do you know all this?” Bray asks, taking one of Trudy’s hands in his as she reaches for him, Martin taking her other hand.
“My friend Janice was pregnant back on my world. It was shortly after the fall, in summer 2008. I was gonna help her deliver, along with my sister’s friend Willow. I studied up but never got to do it. She was killed during her sixth month when the academy got firebombed.” Dawn explains, a tinge of sadness in her voice.
“I’m sorry.” Trudy grits out in the lapse between contractions.
“Don’t be, it was a long time ago, and I’ve had time to get over it.” Dawn waves it off. “Right now it’s time for you and your baby. Now I’m gonna need you to push.”
Trudy complies with Dawn’s instructions as Serena, Danni, Zandra and Salene enter the room.
Two hours later Trudy’s cries of pain have ceased and the first cries of her newborn daughter echo through the mall.
KC watched the other children playing in the toy store from where he sat out on a mall chair, pretending to be playing Jack’s pilfered Gameboy. Connor sees him and walks up, looking from KC to the other kids.
“I know how you feel.” He says, making his presence known to the boy. KC looks at him quizzically. “I didn’t get to enjoy my childhood either.”
“I’m okay, one of the boys I used to live with, he was always saying that his childhood ended with the virus. After a while I decided mine did too.” KC says intelligently. Connor nods. “I’m fine just amusing myself.”
Connor nods again and starts to walk off.
“Connor,” he hears KC call out and turns around to look at him. “It gets easier right?”
Connor looks at him for a long moment. “You want the truth?” KC nods slowly. “It doesn’t. It’s always hard, and then you usually die.”
KC’s face falls slightly, but quickly recovers. “Well, who wants to live forever?”
‘The sacrifice of the hidden emerald will lead to salvation for all, but the sacrifice must be made willingly or the dark will triumph.’
The dream she had during the night had Tai-san troubled as she looked down from the balcony, her eyes locked on the group of Ebony, Bray, Trudy and Martin sitting at the bottom of the grand staircase. Little Mercy was nestled in the arms of her mother, sleeping peacefully. Of all the mallrats, save the guides and maybe Serena, she was the only one that knew the prophesy. She wasn’t sure if Ebony would be as calm as she was currently if she knew what she would have to do in just a few short months. She hoped she would be ready.
End of Chapter 4
* The next chapter skips ahead two months. Hawk, JT, Carver, and Cash have joined up with the Mallrats, and Alice, Ellie, Sasha, and May will be entering the story soon as well.