Episode One Broken
Into the Blue Sky
By Adrian Tepes
Rating: PG-13 to R.
Summary: The actions of Champions and Chosen bring changes across their world. This is the story of how some of those changes might have gone.
Disclaimer: All properties, characters, etc… are copyright of their respective owners. I make no profit off this and am writing for my own amusement and enjoyment. BtVS is property of Joss Whedon and others, Kamen Rider is the property of Toei Animation, Shotaro Ishinimori and Bandai of Japan.
Takes place during the S8 comics and follows/replaces/adds on to the series canon from there.
Author's Note: Special thanks to everyone who helped me with this story. You know who you are. I couldn't have done it without you.
Timeline: S8 comics, just after “Long Way home Part 1” before “Long Way Home Part 2”.
‘The problem with a changed world is, you’re not quite sure where everything fits anymore,’ thought Xander Harris. The morning sun’s rays pierced the clouds overhead, giving them enough light to read the display outside of the museum.
“I bet it's Chinese,” Leah said examining the sign.
“Nah, Korean,” Rowena replied, following her lead.
“Actually, Doctor Williams just returned from a dig in Hokkaidō, so it’s probably Japanese.”
Leah and Rowena turned and mock glared at their companion, and Xander simply smiled, deftly stepping between the two of them. Without turning around, he continued, “Glare all you want. I’ve got lots of practice at withstanding angry female stares.”
The two Slayers looked at each other, shrugged and followed him into the museum. The trio paused briefly inside the entrance as Xander looked around. Apparently, Xander found what he was looking for and started walking with the girls trailing behind him.
“So,” Leah began, “why are we here again?”
“Because Doctor Williams is an ancient languages expert including some that aren’t,” he dropped his voice to a whisper, “human.” He continued, bringing his voice back up, “Besides, we’re no closer to finding out what that symbol we found means. So I’m using a lifeline.”
He turned around and faced his two charges, “Rather than figure everything out at the last minute, I’m going with a new approach.”
Striding inside the older building, the trio paused to look around. The museum’s interior was bare and slate gray. Xander kept walking, leading his two slayers past a few mundane exhibits, down a hallway. The trio made their way past a vacant guard post.
“Ah, hello Xander.”
Waving to them at the head of a flight of stairs was an older looking man. Dr. Williams was in his late fifties, overweight and balding. He shook Xander’s hand and led them back down a corridor past empty glass displays. Stepping inside, Xander and the girls glanced around at the doctor’s office. Inside, they saw a pair of crates, one already opened with the contents, an ornate chest sitting on top.
“What’s that?” Leah moved closer to examine the chest.
Williams nodded at his question. “Those are what I found in Japan.”
Xander walked nearer to chest and looked at it. He ran his hand along the surface, feeling its textures and looking more closely at the exterior.”What are these carvings?” Xander looked up to see the other man with a bemused look on his face.
“I’m not exactly sure. As you may have noticed, the design seems to tell a story.” The professor stood up and walked over to the chest. He ran his hands in the middle of the lid, saying, “Here you can see what looks like a man,” he pointed out one figure, “holding up something precious,” a carving of the male figure holding something, ”then, as you see, he begins confronting these other creatures,” Xander followed, noting that figure looked slightly different in each inscription.
“And here is the end where the man confronts… himself.” William’s hands rested on final set showing the man now very carefully carved to look like a beast meeting someone that looked like him.
“Seems kind of painful,” Rowena offered.
“Such trials are common in many ancient peoples” the doctor offered, “A warrior overcame several dangerous trials to save his tribe.” He paused. “I’m sure as slayers, you girls know that.”
Leah and Rowena glanced at each other then at him. Williams smiled, “I’ve dug many things out of the earth. Not all of them were pleasant. I learned a long time ago about slayers, vampires, demons and other things not ready to be featured in Scientific American.”
A shrill scream punctuated his statement, drawing all of their attention. The group looked at each other before glancing at the doorway.
A second scream, cut off midway through, had them moving out the door and back towards the stairs. At the bottom of the stairwell, a group of what looked like frightened museum guards were getting slaughtered by a monster.
They watched as the fiendish-looking biped batted aside a few of the living guards with two of its limbs while two more gripped another guard. The creature raised the terrified man to its snarling face and sank its fangs into his head. The guard’s body struggled for a moment, and then ceased moving. Afterwards, it tossed aside the lifeless corpse and the creature’s attention turned towards the surviving guards.
Wordlessly, Leah and Rowena drew weapons from within their coats and at a nod from Xander, they charged the monster. Xander watched as both slayers started attacking the beast.
From his viewpoint at the top of the stairs, Xander watched as each girl’s blows struck home, but didn’t seem to abate the beast’s fury in the least. Leah stabbed the monster through its torso even as Rowena chopped at neck level. The creature growled at the attacks, swatting and trying grab either one with its claws, but didn't seem very much bothered by the attacks.
“Come on, Doc,” Xander pulled the other man back towards his office, “They can handle it from here. “ Xander’s hand went inside his coat, reassuring himself that his gun was still there.
Back downstairs, Leah cursed, “DAMNIT! Nothing we are doing is even slowing it down.” She stabbed the monster again, her sword failing to penetrate its hide. Rowena glanced down at her own blade, “Maybe we need to hit it in a vital place, like Mr. Harris said back in training demo.”
“Or maybe we need a break,” Leah said as she blocked and parried the monster’s wild swings.
Rowena sheathed her sword, circled around the monster and leapt on its back. She grabbed the monster’s head and snapped the creature’s neck with a loud crack.
“There.” she said in an exhausted tone as she started to push herself up off the floor where they'd fallen after killing it.
Behind her, a third set of limbs attached to the creature twitched, then yanked the slayer off it and flung her to the ground as the monster screeched, spun and sprayed white liquid all over the area.
“What the f---!” Leah dodged and rolled away from the monster. Rowena wasn’t as fortunate and was caught by the blast, prompting her to shriek. “What is this?”
The spider-like beast leapt away, skittering away on that third set of legs, and headed upstairs. Leah wanted to follow but found the area blocked by now thick, solid webbing. And Rowena was caught in the middle of it.
“This sucks,” the girl declared as she struggled against the webbing, unable to tear free. “Got any ideas?” Leah glanced around, and saw something, “I’ll be right back.”
Rowena struggled again, failing to free herself, “Oh, I’m not going anywhere.”
The spider-beast crossed the gap between the top of the stairs and the doorway to the professor’s office in a single bound and knocked the door off its hinges. The creature stepped inside and promptly had a handgun shoved in its face.
Xander proceeded to empty his gun into the monster’s face. The monster wasn’t phased in the least, and backhanded him out of the way. He went sprawling into the opened crate, knocking the chest onto the ground. The side of the chest cracked open, spilling its contents onto the floor of the office.
The spider-like monster seemed to stare at the object and started towards it. That’s when the professor’s voice reached him. “Xander, Are you all right?”
“But I think Fugly wants your new treasure trinket”, he responded. “I have an idea. A really bad idea.” Xander scrabbled to his feet and snatched the chest's contents away from the monster before bolting down the hallway towards the exit door. Xander paused there to see what he was holding.
“What the...A belt?” An emphatic roar drew his attention back to the beast as it entered the hall.
”Time to go,” he decided as he bolted out the door and headed up the stairs to the roof.
Once there, he looked around for anything to use as a weapon and saw absolutely nothing useful. Xander held the belt closer and examined it. The artifact looked to be made of ceramic and was surprisingly pliable. The unearthly growl of the beast as it ripped open the door got his attention again. It saw him holding the belt and roared again.
Xander looked out into the city, teeming with people and made a choice. He put the belt around his waist, and shouted at the monster, “Hey, Ugly! I’ve got your – urk! “, he said before he collapsed to the ground.
“Almost got it.” Leah swung the axe one more time and severed the last thread, and Rowena happily ripped the last strands from her body.
Reunited, the pair of slayers charged up the stairs and found the professor in the doorway to his office. Battered and bruised, he gestured towards the exit door at the end of the hall. They raced down the hall and flew up the stairs to find an empty rooftop.
Or rather, it would have been, had Xander not been lying on the ground, clutching at his midsection. Leah was immediately by his side, crouched, and asking, “What happened?”
“Oh a random act of stupidity” he responded. The bottom of his shirt and top of his pants had been neatly sliced off. Xander looked around. “Whatever that thing was, it’s gone now, and we’d better do the same.”
Rowena asked, “And Dr. Williams?”
“I’ll be fine,” They turned and saw the older man in the doorway. “Now come along, before the bobbies start asking questions.”
The trio nodded and headed towards the door.
Hours later, during the early evening, Xander awoke from his nap. He tried to shake the rainbow images from his dreams as he mechanically undressed and took a hot shower. Visions of brightly colored figures had dominated his dreams. Red, blue, green and purple had led the way, before giving way to a final figure only shown in black.
Xander grunted as he turned the shower nozzle all the way up and basked in the hot water. Mechanically, he washed up, exiting into his steamy bathroom. He wiped the fogged up mirror, to see his reflection as he re-applied his eye patch.
"Technicolor dreams not included," he murmured to himself.
His phone rang as he finished dressing in silence,
"Yeah, I'm ready. Of course, I'm going with you this time. It's just a standard demon hunt."
A little while later, “Because you said you didn't do this sort of thing, anymore", Buffy reminded him. She glanced around the rooftop, looking for evidence of the escaped demon.
"A night on the town with three young, beautiful women? What single man would resist?" Xander joked.
"No sign of it, ma'am," Renee interjected.
"Nothing here,” Satsu added.
Buffy looked around dejected. "Well, that sucks. Xander, what..."
She saw him at one of the corners, gazing at another building. "What is it?"
"I was just thinking, that there's really only one building this high up, that has an accessible rooftop, that big stupid could reach very quickly."
Buffy followed his gaze and focused on the boarded windows of the nearby building. The rooftop entrance faced away from them towards the front of the structure. Renee and Satsu joined them, each peering into the gap between the buildings.
Xander mentally calculated the gap. "That's almost too far to jump."
Beside him, Satsu backed up from the edge, and then ran at top speed toward the edge of the building, jumping as soon as she reached it. Xander watched as she crossed the gap and landed with room to spare.
"Not for a slayer," Buffy grinned as she grabbed his arm. Xander very quickly figured out what was going on, "Oh no!"
"Ready, Renee?" the other slayer latched on his opposite arm, "Ready."
"Now, wait a minute," he began as they moved away from the building's edge. Buffy and Renee gripped his arms, "One, Two,"
"I'm going to regret this."
"Three." And the group raced to the edge and leaped. Xander's heart caught in his throat as they crossed over the gap and landed on the adjacent building. He immediately dropped to his knees and took a deep breath.
"Ma'am." Satsu called from where she stood in front of the entrance, "The door to this place is open. Looks like something wrenched it off the hinges."
"I think we've found our Perp-demon. You want to come with?"
"I'll wait here, thanks. One life-threatening leap per hour is my limit."
"Shall I keep an eye on him?" Renee received a nod as Buffy motioned to Satsu, "We can handle this." The duo moved inside the building as Xander stood up.
"You didn't have to come along, you know. Buffy and I have done this before."
"Satsu was determined to see this thing that got the best of Leah and Rowena."
"That’s her reasoning. What’s yours?"
She shrugged. "Girls night out."
"Yay," he deadpanned.
He moved to the entrance and peered inside. The landing was clear as he ventured inward and headed down the stairs, Renee on his heels. At the bottom of the stairwell, he found the doorway open and moved inside. The whole second floor was empty, save for covered furniture and another stairway leading downstairs.
Xander moved to the edge of the stairs, calling out as he did so.
"How's it looking down there?"
Buffy and Satsu had spread out along the lower level. Several benches covered in dusty sheets filled the area. Here and there groups of candles lit the area, while along the walls were the trappings of an old church, with crosses and pictures adorning the place.
Buffy peered under one of the wrappings, "Pew." She looked back up him. "Place looks deserted."
Her head turned in Satsu's direction, "Anything?"
Satsu frowned, "Nothing."
Behind her, a thing emerged from the shadows. The Asian slayer reacted to the expressions on Buffy’s face and whirled to face the threat.
A creature larger than a man and with grotesque claws slashed at her. As its arms extended, a thin membrane of skin was visible along its sides connecting its torso to its arms. Fast as it was, Satsu was faster and dodged the attack. She kicked the monster and plunged the blade of her dagger into its hide.
The slayer yanked the weapon away, leaving behind no mark on the skin of the monster.
Buffy hefted her own weapon of choice. "Brought the heavy hitter", she said as she hefted the silver and crimson scythe recovered in the Sunnydale ruins.
She charged, ignored the wild swings of the monster and hacked at the thing's torso and neck. Buffy felt her strikes hit home. Gripping the handle tighter, she ripped it across the body of the monster, and then finished it with a kick that sent the monster flying.
Buffy’s smirk faded as the beast rose, unharmed by her attack and charged the duo. Satsu moved to strike at the thing’s flank even as Buffy defended herself from its clumsy assault. The pair easily pierced the monster’s guard and struck it several times without consequence. Buffy's frustration grew as her confidence began to waver.
“That’s not the guy from the museum,” Xander declared as he watched them fight.
“It’s not?” Renee asked from behind him. He turned to face her and his facial expression immediately changed, “Nope. *That’s* the creature from the museum”, he said as he pointed behind her. Renee turned and found herself facing the murderous beat that had bested two slayers earlier that day. Xander unlimbered the crossbow he had brought with him even as she drew her sword and attacked it in melee combat. Loading a bolt, he shifted, trying to find a clear shot to take. Xander ended up on the other side of the beast, waiting for Renee to get clear. As soon as she back flipped away from the monster, he took a shot. The bolt briefly penetrated the monster’s hide before the monster roared and expelled it with no marks.
“Crap.” He dropped the crossbow and drew another weapon from his pants pocket. Holding it in his hands, he turned the dial to its maximum setting before gesturing at Renee, “Stun gun. Maybe we can’t kill it the normal way, but I bet he’ll feel this in the morning.”
Renee nodded before launching into a series of attacks, trying to distract the beast. Xander closed to within a few feet before the monster became aware of his presence. He closed the distance between him and it, jamming the taser into the thing’s torso. It shrieked as the electricity coursed through its frame. And for a second, Xander thought he had done it. Right up until the beast’s limbs knocked the taser from his grasp and lifted him up to its eye level.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” Renee interjected, stabbing the monster’s lower back even as she kicked at the legs supporting its torso. The demon howled and punched Xander hard enough that he went back through the doorway and landed at the foot of the stairs. At the same time, it expelled a quantity of webbing again, neatly ensnaring Renee in it.
Xander groaned as he tried to stand. “My next concussion is only an inch away”.
Through the remains of the door, he could see the monster was holding Renee’s tightly bound body over its head, as it prepared to pitch her to the lower level. At that moment, a lot of thoughts started running through his head.
‘Renee’s in trouble, Buffy’s in trouble. I… I have to do something.’
Unbidden, he felt something materialize around his waist, as though pulled from within his body with no discomfort. Xander glanced down and recognized it immediately.
‘The belt from the museum – it’s the key to stopping these things.’ A voice in the back in of his head insisted if he did this, there was no going back.
“Satsu, move NOW!” Buffy commanded and together they leaped forward and caught Renee as she was hurled through the air.
“Are you all right?” the Japanese girl asked her sister slayer.
“I’m fine, but Mr. Harris --” Renee began as she struggled to her feet. The trio turned to face the monster as it opened its mouth and let loose a high pitched shriek.
Immediately, all three girls collapsed holding their heads. The monster growled and knocked over some the candles. Their flames ignited the sheets covering the pews and the fire started to spread quickly throughout the room.
“I think my eardrums burst” Buffy shouted.
Xander crossed his arms in front of himself and spoke a single word. A word he knew instinctively felt ‘right’.
As soon as he said it, he felt the belt react with an audible hum and then his vision brightened. He charged into battle and launched a fist at the spider-demon.
“Ma’am, Look.” Buffy turned her gaze from the monster they were fighting to the upper level where the other demon lurked. An armored red figure was fighting that monster, and the unknown party connected with a haymaker that knocked the demon backwards, giving it enough time to pause and look down at them.
“A friend?” Satsu asked.
Buffy cocked her head, “I don’t know” she admitted. The monster they were fighting seized the opportunity and slashed at her throat, barely missing.
‘Dammit,’ Xander cursed mentally; he’d almost gotten Buffy killed by distracting her.
He quickly refocused his attention on the monster standing in front of him. Several punches to the face and body had left no discernible marks on its form, yet he could sense its weakened state. Still, it refused to die and blocked his way. Below them, the other monster had managed to grab Satsu’s head between its claws.
Xander felt a spark of anger flood through his body and growled.
“Get out of the WAY!” He cried as he kicked the spider beast’s chest with enough force to knock it off the balcony.
The beast slammed into a table, shattering it and causing enough of a distraction for Satsu to break free. The monster he'd disabled moved its head feebly as a point of yellow light on its torso intensified. Xander thought he discerned some sort of symbol there, even as energy arced towards its midsection, followed by a great cracking sound. At that, the monster stopped moving and lay still. Then its body suddenly exploded in a greenish fireball that added to the flames already starting to consume the building.
Buffy made to head upstairs but was stopped by Satsu. “Ma’am, we have to get out of here, the building is going to burn up.”
“But Xander,” Buffy began, even as Renee popped up beside her and said, “He’ll be okay. He taught us you can’t save anyone, if you’re dead”.
Buffy acquiesced and the trio of Slayers quickly made their way out of the burning and collapsing building.
Outside, they turned and watched the roof cave in on the structure and Buffy’s fears began to grow.
Hearing someone call her name, she turned and saw Xander running towards them unharmed,
“Are you all right?” she demanded as she grabbed him and hugged him,
“We thought you were still in the there.”
“Buffy, slayer strength, crushing me…” the tiny blonde relented.
“That new guy got me out before everything fell apart.”
“Any ideas what's going on?”
“Not right now. Let’s get out of here before things get really confusing.”