: Paging EryishonAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupRating
: The words are mine; the worlds are not.Summary
: B:tVS/Terra Nova. If Buffy could bring someone from 2149 without the Sixers' help, it would make Terra Nova's position that much stronger in the inevitable conflict.
: B:tVS post-Chosen AU; Terra Nova Season 1Notes
: Middle section contains a few lines from TN 1.8, "Proof", to establish the time setting in comparison to canon; otherwise part of my post-Chosen "Dancing with Dinosaurs" AU. Intentionally temporally/dimensionally complicated.
"Hey, Josh," Buffy said casually, approaching the Sherriff's son where he sat with his back to the fence. He'd been on scutwork detail for a couple of weeks, ever since she'd reported his meeting with Mira to her nephew; his latest punishment had been weeding along the perimeter of the colony, the same job that had been assigned to his father those first couple of days after he'd crashed the Tenth Pilgrimage. Josh didn't seem to care, though; he just stared apathetically off into the distance when he wasn't up to his knuckles in dirt, the same way he'd been acting ever since Nate had questioned him.
He grunted as she sat down next to him, but didn't look up, just wrapped his arms tighter around his upraised knees. "Hey."
"I'm sorry," she said, watching him sympathetically. "Not for reporting you-- but, you know. I've left people behind before. I know how it feels."
Josh made a scoffing noise, full of teenage self-absorption. She remembered those days, both from her own perspective and from dealing with Dawn, so his next words came as no surprise. "Right. Is that supposed to make me feel better?"
"No," she replied, honestly. "I just thought you might want to talk about it." Shannon was worried about him, but Nate had the man running all over the place tightening security to make sure no one else used the routes Skye had created to get information out of the colony, and between Skye and the Sixers Nate himself was utterly distracted. Of all the people with some kind of authority over him that Josh might trust enough to talk to, that left only Buffy and Elisabeth-- and Buffy had counseled enough teenagers during her off-and-on career to know he'd see his mom as a last resort.
Of course, all the goodwill Buffy had built up working with his dad and being friendly with the family might have been wiped out by her actions when she turned him in-- but it couldn't hurt to try.
"Talking about it isn't going to make a difference," he replied, in a bitter, heavy tone. "Mira promised to save Kara. And now she won't. And there's nothing anyone can do about it."
He'd been a fool to trust Mira in the first place. He'd had no way of knowing if Mira would live up to her side of the bargain, or what kind of favor she'd ask in return. But that wasn't what Josh needed to hear, she knew. What he needed to hear-- what might actually fix things-- was something she'd been trying not to think about since she'd left 2149, but had probably been avoiding long enough.
There'd been no magic left in the future. Since the Hellmouth had closed... since Angel had taken out Wolfram and Hart's legions... since Dawn's death, and Willow's disappearance... fewer and fewer foes had turned up on Buffy's supernatural radar. She'd staked her last vampire in Detroit in 2137, and the last time she'd seen a successfully cast spell had been fifteen years before that. She'd been the last Slayer standing, and she was pretty sure the Scythe was the only reason she'd
kept her strength while Gaia decayed around her. But in 85 Million BC, back before the Old Ones had arrived to revel in the strong natural energies of her birthworld....
"Maybe," she said, slowly. "Maybe not."
That finally caught Josh's attention. He jerked his head around, staring at her intently. "What do you mean?" he asked, sharply. "Mira's the only one with a line to the future. And you can bet now she knows I can't help her anymore, her bosses will make sure Kara doesn't even make the lottery. She's worse off now than she would have been if I'd never even tried. At least then she might've had a chance."
Buffy shook her head. "There might be another way. Do you have something that belonged to her? Some kind of token she gave you before you came through the portal?"
His breath hitched, and one hand went to the pocket of his work pants. "Why?"
Buffy bit her lip, thinking. Nate had been more relaxed lately, starting to trust her more; he was opening up to Shannon more, too, as more of the Sixers' plot was uncovered. She didn't want to risk raising his hackles again, if he caught her doing something that looked questionable with the Sherriff's son. But she did
know how Josh felt, even if he'd been an idiot about it... and if she could
bring someone from 2149 without the Sixers' help, it would make Terra Nova's position that much stronger in the inevitable conflict.
She just hoped the retrieval spell really was as simple as Willow's notes made it out to be-- and that the magical energy available in an era of extreme natural biomass was as strong as she hoped. She wasn't much of a witch. But she was
supernaturally enhanced, and she'd felt the difference in her reflexes since her arrival. If she was lucky, the boost would be enough for her to make it work.
"Bring it to the Eye tonight after dark. I made an appointment to do some research, and I've got the security passcodes-- I can lock the door and loop out the camera feeds to make sure no one interrupts us," she said, decisively.
"Interrupts us doing what
?" Josh asked, half-fascinated, half-disbelieving.
"You'll see," she smiled at him, then reached over and squeezed his shoulder, briefly. "It'll be okay, Josh. Even if what I'm thinking of falls through. Your family loves you, and you didn't hurt anyone. This will all blow over soon enough."
He frowned skeptically, but there was a spark of hope in his eyes as she walked away.
Buffy smiled, then started calculating what she'd need to do before nightfall. She had the grimoire Willow had left behind, but that particular spell had been an early attempt-- and not even one she'd come up with on her own.
It was too bad the colony predated even Vengeance demons. The whole situation would've been right up Halfrek's alley.
She entered the Eye a little while later to do the setup, clutching a bag full of the requisite herbs, powders, sand, candles, and bones. According to Willow's notes, the spell was a petition to Eryishon, the so-called Endless One, who should still be accessible even that far in the past. Even if she hadn't yet moved into Buffy's home dimension, what were a few million years to a being with control over temporal and spatial magic? She was tentatively optimistic about the outcome.
She wasn't the only one there, though; and it wasn't Josh, come early. Buffy slowed as she heard voices ahead, and took care to place her feet as noiselessly as possible as she approached the core room. It sounded as though Josh's sister Madelyn had snuck in there to research something-- and as she peered inside, she could see that Horton's Who guy standing behind the access chair, perving on her.
"Oh, my God," she heard Maddy whisper. "He didn't just steal his identity, he killed him."
"Reading material like that's liable to give you nightmares," the white-haired guy spoke up then, prompting Maddy to twist her body around in a panic.
"I should go, my mom's expecting me," she blurted, bolting from the chair like she was on fire.
"Your mother's in surgery. No one's expecting you," the doc replied, catching her arm before she could reach the door.
Buffy scowled, taking that as her cue, and made her entrance. "But someone is
scheduled to use the Eye all afternoon. You got a problem with that, Mister
--? You know what, I don't think I caught your name."
He stiffened, taken aback by her tone, and Maddy took the opportunity to eel out of his grasp and throw herself into Buffy's arms. "Ms. Summers, thank God! He's not who he says he is! He killed Dr. Horton!"
"Shhh, it's all right," she said, patting the girl's back as she glared down the furious scientist. "C'mon. Let's make sure this guy gets a chance to meet your dad."
It was hours before she was free to go back, and when she did, she found Josh curled up in the chair waiting for her, viewing images from 2149. His family was in some of them; a blonde-haired girl in others, presumably the Kara he was desperate to help.
Everything seemed so life and death at that age. But that didn't mean he was wrong. And there was no way Buffy was going to allow the locusts who'd ruined the future to use people she cared about to ruin the past, regardless. Small-scale lunatics like the ersatz Dr. Horton, who'd threatened to kill Maddy when she put enough clues together to figure out that he wasn't actually her hero, were bad enough.
"Did you bring it?" she asked, closing the door behind her and initiating the secure lockdown procedures.
Josh looked up at her, eyes red and a little wet, and held out a hand, fingers curled around a braided leather friendship bracelet. "She made this for me."
Buffy pursed her lips. Emotional connection was key in the choice of imagery; it might work. "Pull one of those pictures of her up front and center; that should help, too."
He frowned at her, but did what she said. Or-- she thought he had; but when she looked up from upending her bag in front of the chair she realized he'd asked for the wrong one.
Her own face stared back at her, looking exactly the same, in a photo from twenty
-forty-nine, arm slung around the very red-head whose work she was trying to emulate. Willow hadn't aged since the spell cast with the Slayer Scythe, any more than Buffy had; it could have been any photo of them, taken from the early two thousands up until Willow's disappearance, if not for the timestamp.
"Who are you, really?" Josh scowled at her. "You're not Taylor's niece. Are you a time traveler? Does that have something to do with how you plan to help Kara?"
She shook her head. Of all the people she'd thought might pick up on her secret, Josh hadn't even made the list. "Josh...."
"Don't lie to me," he cut her objection short. "Enough people have been lying around here lately, don't you think?"
Buffy considered that a moment, then nodded reluctantly. "I am
related to Taylor. It's... kind of complicated. And if I told you the how before you see what I can do, you won't believe me. Let's just get Kara first, okay? And then we'll talk."
His frown deepened, but he finally nodded back. "If you don't, I'll tell my dad," he said, then took a seat on the floor in front of the eclectic arrangement she was setting up. "What do you need me to do?"
"Just follow along, and do what I tell you," Buffy told him, then lit the candles and took a deep breath.
She'd forgotten to have him change the photo back, though. And her mind was full of Willow-- shared memories, the origin of the spell ingredients, the suddenness of her best friend's loss-- as she held her hand out and began the chant. When the ritual concluded a few moments later with a rumble and a bright pillar of energy, the body that appeared within the circle she'd marked out was most emphatically not
Josh gulped, a shocked expression on his face; but all he said was, "Uh... that's not Kara."
Buffy stared at the pale, slumped form on the floor between them, and swallowed as a horrible suspicion shot through her. The day the witch had disappeared, she'd been wearing exactly that outfit
"Willow?" she gasped, clasping a hand over her mouth in denial.
It looked like the Scooby Quotient of 85 Million BC had just increased by one.