The One Girl in All the Solar System
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAuthor’s Note: In one paragraph, I make mention of a turned Doctor Frasier Crane, this is due to inspiration from reading the story “Hello Slayer…I’m Listening…” by StarRedBane, I hope I did it justice…all else is just my Muse running amok again; I hope I made sense of this miasma.
She was alone.
Undeniably, irrevocably, she was alone.
It had begun with the activation of the Slayers worldwide. There was only ever supposed to be one, so it had been decreed by the Powers when the Shadow Men had imbued a young girl child with the essence of a demon, so that she could fight demons. So it had been for thousands of years until Buffy Summers herself was revived through cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The Slayer Essence knew what was to be done. The body was dead; it was then required to find a new vessel, a new girl to inhabit and empower. Yet the body was not entirely dead, and when Buffy revived, a part of it remained behind. One had become Two, and so in each Chosen vessel the Essence of the Slayer remained and grew strong. When Kendra died at the hand of the vampire Drusilla, the Essence within her migrated until it found Faith Lehane. Yet in Buffy the remnant of the Essence grew, as an earthworm suddenly missing most of its body will regenerate what it has lost. It had also changed, for that which it had been missing was forgotten. What it had grown into was something different, something more
And somehow that in which it had resided, the vessel that was Buffy Summers, was changed as the remnant of the Slayer Essence changed. As it regenerated itself, it had reinvented itself, and the new Essence somehow gained the ability to interact with the flesh of its vessel on a fundamental level, in a way not seen in any of the others since the beginning. It strengthened the tissues; bone, muscle and skin were toughened on an unprecedented order of magnitude, allowing the vessel to gradually, over the course of time, become invulnerable. It had taken years, certainly, and when Glorificus had risked the blending of all realities into one chaotic morass, Buffy attempted to sacrifice herself to save her sister Dawn. To the eyes of all, she had appeared dead, but the Essence within her knew better. The flesh had been critically weakened, and it would take much more time to repair the damage done to the vessel, but it would have eventually regenerated the flesh and restored that part of it which called itself Buffy, decay though it would have over the course of time. She would have clawed her way out of the grave like any vampire newly sired, and yet any vampire that would have tried to sink its teeth into her flesh afterward would have found itself with a pair of blunted, broken fangs for its effort.
It altered her DNA; along with a more pronounced aversion to hospitals, Buffy Summers had found herself over the course of time unable to age like everyone else. Like an intelligent cancer with a purpose, the cells that made up her changed body had been altered on a fundamental level so they could produce their own ATP. They constantly renewed themselves so that she no longer needed to eat or sleep. She was never tired; Powers help the poor male she would have chosen for a mate on any particular night, for the strongest man on the planet would never keep up with her. By virtue of her changed body, she had become far stronger than any Slayer in recorded history, as none of them, had they still lived, would have made it out of the sinkhole that Sunnydale was fast becoming at the end of the battle in which the Hellmouth there had been finally, permanently shut down.
It was only then that everyone started to notice. By the time the Slayers and the Watchers’ Council incorporated themselves into a new organization, the International Slayers and Watchers Council, or ISWC, Buffy, who had been named the head of the Slayers’ Directorate in the Council, had started growing less interested in eating anything when she went out with her original Scoobies to restaurants or clubs. She had started to notice the changes within herself as well, and she did her best to hide them by keeping to as regular a schedule as possible, but as time went on no one could ignore the lack of desire to sleep, or the constant level of energy at all hours, day or night
When the time came for everyone to have their annual physical exam to ensure they remained healthy and in fighting form, the most anyone could get out of Buffy was a few tests of strength and a psychological examination, as they had determined that, at some level, the mind and the body worked as one, and one aspect of a person’s health affected the rest. Each year the Prime Slayer grew stronger, and her body grew tougher, most notably her skin. Each day passed with at least a platoon’s worth of Slayers coming home with bruises or worse, but never Buffy. Over the next ten years Buffy Summers never showed so much as an impression on her skin, despite participating in the most missions out of all her operators, to use the military parlance. Not a single bruise or welt in ten years’ worth of Slaying since Sunnydale ever showed on the skin of Buffy Summers, not one. Frankly, it caused everyone no end of consternation and worry.
What was their commander becoming? Would her mental state change along with her body? Did they have to consider looking over their shoulders when she was around? In time the truth bore itself out, as they finally relaxed after about a year of worrying over her. It did nothing, though, to calm the residual anxiety they felt whenever any of them looked in a mirror and noticed the aging in themselves, as opposed to Buffy, who literally looked the same, to a day, as in her High School yearbook photo. And Buffy worried about her mental state as well, and she soon had started making more frequent appointments with their resident psychiatrist, Doctor Frasier Crane, who by an unlucky accident had been sired by Drusilla some years back. But becoming one of the creatures of the night did nothing to change his attitude toward helping people, and he had sworn, after the full realization of what he had become had set in, that he would never touch a drop of human blood. It eventually enabled him to be re-ensouled by Willow Rosenberg, and finally he resumed his practice, having been hired by the ISWC and tasked with administering to the psychological needs of the Slayers. He had had a particularly soft spot for Buffy, having noticed the change and said nothing up to the point where everyone else had started worrying.
It was he who had kept her grounded, kept her level-headed about her own unique situation, and who had possibly hinted at the idea that she was becoming something more than a human or even a Slayer. Buffy had become fearful of losing her humanity as the change within her progressed, but Doctor Crane had kept reassuring her that her confusion and fear were powerful indicators of the opposite. Even as eventually her friends and colleagues started transferring to posts elsewhere in the world, for whatever reasons, Crane helped Buffy keep her hopes up that she would retain more than a semblance of herself throughout the process. Heavens knew, but he felt he owed Buffy Summers a great debt for helping him become what he was after he had been turned. For her, he was more than a brilliant psychiatrist; he was her primary counselor after Giles and Xander. He stuck by her even after the last of her inner circle, apart from Giles, had succumbed to lung cancer. The funeral for Xander Harris had been joyful and full of conversation and stories; he had made it clear in his will that he wanted no crying or sorrow in his last hours and afterwards, and he had asked for a Viking funeral. It seemed fitting that one of the greatest warriors among the Old Guard of the Scooby Gang would have a funeral befitting a great warrior. More than one attendant wondered if perhaps the Norse myths might have been real, and whether or not they would see Xander again in Valhalla before the coming of Ragnarok. Frasier Crane had found himself wondering if Valhalla had a place for heroic vampires with souls. If so, then Spike and Angel definitely deserved one if they ever ended up dusted.
Through it all, Giles had held on to the reins of power in the ISWC, and had done magnificently up until the day, nearly seventy years after Buffy Summers had been born, when he had simply collapsed in his office. He had been taken to the hospital on the grounds, but by the time they could get him into a bed and hooked up to a vital signs monitor, he had already passed on. The ISWC medical staff had made a Herculean effort to revive him, but one look at him by the witch in charge of the Arcane Studies department, and they knew that at the ripe old age of eighty-two there was no more to be done.
That had been twenty-five years ago. In the course of time since the mass activation of the Slayers by Willow, the thousands of Slayers had dwindled back down to only a few dozen. In the course of seventy years, Slayers had been Called, had lived, fought, and eventually died. But it was she, Elizabeth Anne “Buffy” Summers, who was fated, blessed or, depending on one’s point of view, cursed to live through all of it. To be the one girl in all the Solar System who would live to serve humanity into the distant future, and wage eternal battle against the vampires, the demons, and all the forces of Darkness.
World without end, Amen.
She was alone.
Undeniably, irrevocably alone.
And she had work to do…IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII