Note: I hold no rights over any copyrighted material. All characters and creations belong to their original owners. The fandoms that I am using are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Doctor Who.
It is not necessary to read "Paradox" or "Don't Be" to understand this story.
(Although it might be more fun if you've read them.)
--000--July 20, 2001
Xander and Anya rushed at the vampire, stakes raised in the night air, but the vampire was fast — too fast for them — and quickly dodged out of sight.He's behind the mausoleum on your right,
Willow informed them, in their heads.
Xander clutched his head. "I hate it when she does that," he said to Anya.
They rushed off, their stakes raised, trying to find the evil vampire. The vampire found them first. The vampire leapt out at Anya, keeping her in a chokehold. Anya struggled and tried to free herself, but the vampire was too strong.
"You cross me, and I'll squish you into raspberry jam," came a chirpy voice from their right. The vampire turned and released Anya, as he came face-to-face with the image of Buffy Summers. Although, if the vampire had been less stupid and undead, he probably would have noticed that something was wrong with the Slayer, and not just because of the 'raspberry jam' comment.
The Buffy-bot ran forwards, a stake in hand, and slammed into — the side of the mausoleum. She frowned, and thrust her stake at the side of the mausoleum again. "Why aren't you turning to dust?" she asked it.
"Um, Willow?" Xander asked.She seems to think the gravestones are vampires,
Willow told him. She's been doing it all night. Just ignore her and…
Willow trailed off. Then: Oh, my God.
"What?" Xander and Anya asked.
The vampire lashed out at them, and Xander and Anya turned and fled. Hand in hand, they rushed across the cemetery, trying to find someplace safe to hide. But the vampire was right behind them, and they weren't able to run that fast and any second now, it was going to—
"Xander, what are you doing?" the Buffy-bot shouted. "Get down!"
Xander felt himself yanked off his feet, and fell down behind a small little gravestone, Anya tumbling after him. He looked over at the Buffy-bot, and pointed at the headstone. "Yeah, this thing? Not a good hiding spot."
"Stay there," the Buffy-bot instructed him, and jumped to her feet. She ran out into the middle of a clearing. "Hey, vampire!" she called. She started jumping up and down, waving her arms in the air. "Yoo-hoo! Over here! Hello!"
"Willow's got to do something about that programming," said Xander to Anya.
The vampire spotted the Buffy-bot, and snarled. "Slayer."
The Buffy-bot crossed her arms. "And here I was, going to be nice to you," she said. "Well, you know what? Now that you've called me Slayer — not feeling so nice anymore."
Willow's voice pierced Xander and Anya's heads.Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
"Will, could you please stop?" Xander said.Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
"Either shut up or tell us what's so important!" Anya shouted.
The vampire snapped his head around, and growled at Xander and Anya. It stalked towards them. The Buffy-bot ran forwards, reaching a hand into her jeans pocket, and took out something that looked like an oversized walkie-talkie. She pointed it at the vampire. A burst of glowing, golden light shot out of it just as the vampire grabbed Anya, and the vampire screamed, as he collapsed into ash.
Xander just stared at the Buffy-bot. Was it programmed to do that? Or was this like in all those movies, when the evil robots broke free from their programming and rose up against their human masters?
And what the hell was that golden light thingy?
The Buffy-bot came over to them, and offered Anya a hand up. "Are you all right?" she asked.
Xander felt his breath coming fast. "What did you do?"
"Something you're not allowed to tell anyone about," said the Buffy-bot.
Anya didn't take the Buffy-bot's hand, but got to her feet and clutched at Xander instead. "Well, whatever your death laser thing did, you can't use it on us!" she said to the Buffy-bot. "Because we can just get Willow to reprogram you!"
The Buffy-bot stared at Anya. "Hang on. Who are you?"
Xander put his arms around Anya, and tried to edge the two of them away from the Buffy-bot. He gave a nervous laugh. "She doesn't mean it," he said. "What she meant to say was, if you're trying to rise up against all of humanity and destroy us in a fiery Armageddon, we surrender."
"We do?" Anya asked.
Xander elbowed her.
"Oh, I mean, yes," she said. "We do. Of course we do."
The Buffy-bot dropped her hand. "Okay, Xander. Seriously. What's with the creepy?" she asked.
Xander opened his mouth to answer, but at that moment, Willow rushed out, and threw her arms around the Buffy-bot, in a hug so excited and eager it nearly tackled the Buffy-bot to the ground.
"Oh, my God," said Willow. "You're alive! You're alive!"
The Buffy-bot tried to pry Willow off. "I was last time I checked," she said. "What's…?" She trailed off, as her eyes fixed on a distant point. They grew wide. "Hang on," she said. "Is that a robot?"
Xander and Anya looked over, and found…
The Buffy-bot coming towards them, still merrily trying to stake the gravestones.
Xander looked from the real Buffy-bot, to the fake Buffy-bot. "But if that's… then that means you…"
Willow pulled out of the hug, and turned to Xander. "She just appeared," Willow explained. "I saw it. She stepped out from some trees, and I don't know how, but she's back, Xander! She came back!"
"Yeah," said Buffy, putting her hands into her jeans pockets. "I went into some trees, and then I came out again. All with the clappy and the fun times. Why's it such a big deal?"
"Well, normal people don't usually come back from being dead," said Anya.
Buffy froze. Her eyes widened. She looked from Xander, to Anya, to Willow. "Dead?" she asked.
"You… don't remember?" Willow asked her.
Buffy breathed, heavily. "What year is this?"
"You've been dead about 60 days," Xander said. "It's still the same—"
"What year is this?" Buffy demanded.
"It's 2001," said Willow.
The shock on Buffy's face melted into confusion. "But I don't die in 2001."
"We all saw it happen," said Anya. "If you weren't dead, you definitely knew how to hold your breath."
"I saw it happen, too!" Buffy said. "I was there! Twice! And it wasn't in 2001! It was in…" She trailed off, then looked around. "Wait a sec. This is Sunnydale." She turned back to Xander and Anya and Willow. "If this is still Sunnydale, then I can't
be dead. See? It makes sense!"
Willow and Anya and Xander looked at one another, not really sure what to say to this. Then a shout came up from the other end of the cemetery. Everyone snapped their heads around, to find Tara rushing towards them, panting. She pointed behind her.
"Big… drippy things…" she panted, leaning over, hands on knees. "Just… appeared. They… they got…" She trailed off, as she spotted Buffy. She stared. "What?"
Buffy peered off into the distance. "Sounds like evil monster killing fun-time," she muttered.
She darted off, away from them, towards a nearby street lamp. She jerked the panel at the bottom of the street lamp open, and started wiring the walkie-talkie gold shooty device into the lamp.
The lamp beam flickered, and then went out. When it zapped back on again, the beam radiated with gold flecks, tumbling through the air and seeking out the two green droopy demon things that had backed Giles into a corner of the cemetery. Spike was nowhere to be seen.
The moment the streetlamp's wandering light beam found the green droopy demon things, it plunged downwards, surrounding them. They struggled, but the light seemed to be keeping them frozen in place, and they couldn't move.
Buffy ran over to them. She crossed her arms, and gave them a pointed stare.
They hissed at her.
"What? It's the hair, right?" she asked. She flicked her ponytail. "I knew I should have gone with the braids."
"This technology is not of your world," one of the creatures spat at her. "Where did you get it?"
"Wal-Mart," she said. She raised her eyebrows at them. "Oh, come on, where d'you think I got it? It's not like there's a Snadazankers-R-Us on Earth. Not in this century, anyways."
The creature's eyes widened, and they struggled a little more, trying even harder to break free from the light beams. "You are an off-worlder?"
"I'm a human being," said Buffy. "And I'm here to get you off my planet. That clear?"
"You cannot be human," said the second creature. "No human being could possibly have the intelligence to understand—"
"Yeah, can we save that whole 'humans are inferior' thing for after you're done leaving?" said Buffy. "Because, tell you what — it didn't work with the Daleks, and it's not going to work with you."
Willow, Xander, and Anya all raced up to Buffy. Xander stared at the alien creatures, trapped in the gold light. "Woah, weird and drippy is right," he said. He turned to Buffy. "What… exactly are they?"
"The ones I was telling you about," said Buffy. "You know. With the army of militaristic space ships waiting for their signal to destroy the Earth? The whole apocalypse-bad-got-to-prevent thing we do on, like, a weekly basis?"
Giles got up to his feet, adjusting his glasses as he stared at Buffy. "But that's…"
"And how do you think you will stop us?" asked the first creature. "You already used up most of the power of the Snadazanker saving your two friends." He nodded over at Anya and Xander. "Even now, we can feel the effects wearing off. And when the power fails, we will kill you and feast on your innards."
"You really know how to make a girl feel wanted, don't you?" said Buffy. She snatched up the crossbow that Giles had dropped, and aimed it at the creatures. "Now. Are you going to play nice, or are we going to put those lessons from William Tell to the test?"
"We will destroy you!" the creatures shouted, growling.
Buffy sighed. "That's what they all say." And then she shot them both in the heart, one right after another, as the light from the streetlamp faded into darkness.
A few seconds later, the streetlamp flickered back to its normal, incandescent glowiness, and Buffy set the crossbow down on the ground. She went over to Giles.
"Sorry about dragging you into this," she said. "They were… um… just forget about the whole alien end of the world thing, okay? They were just… you know. Some… bad guys I've been following for a while, now, and…" She noticed that Giles kept staring at her, and shifted uncomfortably. "I'm… a secret agent," she tried again. "And this is all completely funded by the government and I'm…" She glanced over at Xander and Anya, then back to Giles' incredulous face. "Okay, I'm just some random person who saves the world in my spare time. There, you happy?"
"Buffy?" Giles asked.
Buffy stepped backwards. "How… do you know that?"
"Buffy, is that really you?" Giles asked.
Buffy looked over at Willow. "Is this guy a friend of yours?"
"You don't remember me?" Giles asked Buffy.
Anya waved her hand. "Yeah, she doesn't remember me, either."
"Buffy, don't you remember Giles?" Willow asked.
"Remember… wait, why do you guys keep calling me Buffy?" Buffy asked. "No one's called me Buffy since—"
"Buffy?" came an English voice to her right.
Everyone looked around, and found Spike, emerging from his hiding place inside a nearby mausoleum.
Buffy took a few moments to just stare at him. "This is going to sound weird, but I'm sure I've seen you before."
"Well," said Spike. "Yeah. That's what happens when you're mortal enemies with someone."
Buffy seemed confused by this, but didn't have time to reply, before Tara came forwards and swept her into a hug. Buffy hugged her back, even more confused. "Um, hi, Tara," she said. "You know, I'm all for the tearful reunion, but seriously, I was only gone for, like, five minutes." Her eyes flicked back over to the Buffy-bot. "And what's with robo-me?"
"She's… just a decoy," said Tara, pulling out of the hug. "So that we could convince the vampires you were still around."
"Uh-huh," said Buffy. "Putting aside that whole — vampire whatever — where did you even get a robot like that?"
"It's… the Buffy-bot," said Willow. "You remember. The one that Warren made?"
"Warren…" Buffy's eyes went wide. "Wait, wait, wait. You don't mean the creepy misogynist with the robot girlfriend?" She looked back over at the Buffy-bot, disgust washing across her face. "But that means…" She gagged. "Who would do something like that?"
Everyone looked over at Spike.
Buffy followed their gazes. "You?" she asked. "I don't even know you! Why would you…?"
"Well, that makes a change," said Spike. "First you want to kill me, then I get that bloody chip in my head and I'm the butt of all your jokes. And now, you come back from the grave, and I'm downgraded to 'I don't even know you'."
Buffy glared at Spike, recognition dawning in her eyes. "Oh, it's you
," she said, her voice a low growl. "I should have killed you when I had the chance." She plucked the wooden stake out of Xander's hand, and ran towards Spike.
"Buffy, no!" Willow and Tara cried. They caught her by the arms, and hauled her back.
Buffy squirmed and struggled in their grips, but couldn't get free.
"You can't stake Spike," Anya said to Buffy, taking the stake out of her hand. "He's good — well, no, he's not. Actually, he's still pretty evil. But he's got that chip in his head."
"He's got what?" Buffy said. She struggled again. "Look, who are you, anyways?"
Willow and Tara looked at one another. "Maybe she's lost her memory," said Willow. "I mean, something like… you know, what happened… might cause some major memory loss."
"I haven't lost anything," said Buffy. "It's all of you guys who've gone crazy." She pointed at Spike. "That guy is evil! I saw what happened in Romania! You have to let me kill him!"
"Hang on," said Xander. "Something's not right, here." He watched as Buffy struggled to break free from Willow and Tara. "Buffy's super strong. She would have gotten free from you guys by now. Which means, whoever that is… it's not Buffy."