there was evening
Disclaimer: A few of the lines of dialogue are from the BtVS Season 7 eps “End of Days” and “Chosen”. Also, as a warning, this goes AU after Chosen (but really, does anyone really count the comics as canon?).
A/N: So the first chapter didn't go over so well, but I'm going to plow ahead and post this next one anyway... *crosses fingers*
And thank you, Iceflame and romero, for the reviews! :D +++
Weird and wacky things happened on the Hellmouth – it was just a given. So when Buffy had found the Scythe where it just happened
to be buried in the vineyard, she didn’t even blink. As far as she was concerned, the universe owed her. A mystical weapon that felt like it had been made specifically for her was just the tip of the iceberg.
Then Willow and Giles had told her that the Scythe was connected to a pyramid – in Sunnydale
, smack in the middle of a cemetery she patrolled every other night yet had somehow never noticed before.
Sure, her Slayer senses were on high alert when she went to check it out, but again, zero blinkage.
But now to find out that the person inside the mystery pyramid was part of a secret group that actually watched
Hello, exciting new eye twitch.
And yet there she was, standing inside the pyramid while the woman – sorry, Guardian
– patiently waited as she digested all this information.
The scariest part was that she didn’t think the woman was lying. That didn't mean she wasn't going to make with the questioning, though.
“Why should I believe you?" Buffy finally asked, deciding to get right to the point.
“Because you don't have time to do otherwise,” the woman lightly replied. “Never before has the First’s power been greater. I fear the dimensional walls are fraying as we speak.”
"Okay, okay," Buffy conceded grudgingly. "But even if you had to stay hidden, you couldn't have lent a hand and maybe given me the Scythe before this? Because honestly? It really would've come in handy, say... five apocalypses and one resurrection ago."
And yeah, she was totally aware of how bitter she sounded.
It didn't seem to faze the woman at all, though. If anything, she looked slightly amused.
“Who said we didn’t help? Though we were unseen, we still had our hand in certain events. Perhaps some usual weather patterns, for instance,” the woman said with a gentle smile. As she continued to speak, however, the smile faded into a look of sadness. "As for the Scythe, it too had to remain hidden, until the time came when you would need such weapons of power to defeat the First."
It took a moment to sink in, but when it did, Buffy felt like she had been whacked with a troll hammer.
She and the gang had always assumed that it was the PTB who had sent the snow that Christmas day. This made so much more sense, though, because as much as they waved their ‘balance’ flag, the PTB were pretty hands off.
Still, that didn’t mean the ‘Guardians’ were completely off the hook, either, at least not in Buffy’s book.
“Alright, but can we say 'eleventh hour'?” she retorted. “Not to mention—wait, weapons
with an ‘s’?”
The smile returned as the woman held up something shiny – a necklace with a big crystal dangling at the end of it. Judging by the way she was holding it, the woman wanted to put it on her.
Buffy immediately shook her head.
“Sorry, but my mother told me never to accept mystical jewelry from a stranger,” she quipped, because, yes, she was more than a little reluctant to put it on without knowing more about it first.
The woman arched her eyebrow but said nothing; she just waited, her arms still outstretched.
After hesitating for what seemed like forever, Buffy finally relented.
"Alright," she grumbled as she held out her hand. "But I don’t have a single outfit that matches.”
The woman gently placed the necklace in her hand, and for a split second, Buffy could’ve sworn she saw the crystal start to glow. When she took a closer look, though, there was nothing there except the feel of the cold metal against her skin.
Very carefully, she put the necklace in her pocket and looked back up.
As their eyes made contact, the woman murmured something under her breath that clearly wasn’t in English. Buffy wasn’t thrilled with this, but she also wasn't too alarmed, either. She had heard enough spell-casting to know that there was usually a certain cadence to it. This sounded more like the woman was just talking to herself, and there was definitely a wistful tone to it.
Sure enough, the woman ruefully shook her head, almost like she caught herself.
“This amulet contains great power,” she explained. “But be warned, no mere mortal can wield this; only a true champion. How you might employ this against the First, I know not, only that without it, I fear the end is near.”
Buffy frowned. That really wasn't a whole heck of a lot to go on. Before she could ask for even the tiniest bit of clarification, however, a pair of hands came out of nowhere. Quick as a snake, they grabbed the woman by the head and snapped her neck cleanly.
The woman’s lifeless body hit the floor with a dull thud, and suddenly Caleb was there, standing in front of her with a smirk on his face.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that last part on account of her neck snappin’ and all. Did she say the end is near... or here
Buffy felt the tears well up in her eyes as the blindingly bright light shot through Spike.
This was it. He was going to stand there as the amulet incinerated everything in its path, including him, and because of it, the First was going to fail.
She had chosen him as her champion, and he was going to die for it.
Not caring that the Hellmouth was starting to collapse around them, Buffy reached out for his hand, entwining her fingers with his.
This got his attention, and his whole expression softened as he looked over at her.
Buffy felt a flood of emotions as their eyes locked, and even though there was blood and death and destruction all around them, it became almost peaceful for a moment.
“I love you,” she said quietly.
She truly meant it, too – just not in the way he loved her, or the way he wanted her to love him. And he knew it.
She watched as the faintest smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.
“No, you don’t. But thanks for saying it,” he replied, his voice tender and accepting
Then the ground began to shake, and he tore his hand away.
“Now go!” he ordered.
Buffy stared at him for one more second before she rushed for the stairs. She fully intended to climb out through the seal without a backwards glance, really she did; then she heard Spike laugh, and she was unable to resist one last look.
To her horror, he was almost nothing but bone and ash. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, she also noticed that the light from the amulet was fading with him.
It was too soon. The seal was still open, and she could see the remaining Turok-han starting to regroup below. Not to mention the shaking had stopped.
Buffy knew what she had to do. It was an easy decision, really. One way or another, the Hellmouth was getting shut down. Her girls, Spike, their deaths meant
something. That was all there was to it.
Then Spike was gone and the amulet began to fall to the ground.
Scythe still in one hand, Buffy shot her other hand out and grabbed it. Before the light could die completely, she threw the chain around her neck.
She didn’t bother saying her goodbyes. She had already done that, and honestly, she had nothing more to say. She simply waited.
The blindingly bright light came back almost immediately, and Buffy gripped the Scythe as she braced herself for the pain – because seriously, there was no way getting burnt to a crisp would feel nice
– but it never came. Okay, sure, it hurt, but it wasn’t the flamey-ness she was expecting. In fact, she could've sworn she felt cold. She definitely wasn’t falling, either, even though she felt the ground underneath her feet giving way as the Hellmouth collapsed in on itself.
She briefly wondered what was going on, and if that Guardian had something to do with this.
Then everything went black. +++
Dots. There were three tiny, blurry dots floating in front of her.
She frowned. That didn't seem right.
She gave a few hard blinks to clear her vision, and sure enough, two of the specks disappeared. The last one stuck around, though. In fact, it only got sharper and brighter.
A star, she realized, she was looking at a star – which meant that she had to be outside.
Well, that would explain the dark. And the cold.
It didn't explain why
she was on her back lying on what felt like grass, though. And it definitely
didn't explain why her whole body screamed with pain, so much so that she could barely pick up her head, let alone move.
She closed her eyes tight, taking a few deep breaths to try and clear away the pain and the confusion and the dizziness so she could concentrate. She needed to figure things out, like where she was and how the heck she got there...
Suddenly, she frowned. Now that she thought about it, she couldn't even remember where
she came from—
Her eyes flew open, and for a second, all three dots were back — they even brought friends – but she barely noticed. Seriously, they could’ve been doing the hokey pokey, for all she cared, because at that moment, it finally hit her.
She had no idea who
she even was. +++