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Herald of the Ancient Gods

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Summary: This story contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Cabin In The Woods. The only summary I can give you is this: it's an alternate take on the final scene. Specifically, what came after the discussion on the staircase. Anything more would spoil the movie.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Cabin in the Woods(Current Donor)ListenerFR1812,1415111,14722 Apr 1222 Apr 12Yes
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Cabin in the Woods. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.



This story is rated FR-18 for language, violence, and drug use. It is complete. Its canon in BtVS and AtS, and of course Cabin in the Woods. I did borrow a couple of things from the comics, though.


Herald of the Ancient Gods
by Listener



Dana looked around the room -- the giant slabs of stone bearing the avatars of her and her friends, the blood-streaked floor -- and realized something. “Y’know,” she said, “I don’t think Curt even has a cousin.

Marty thought about that. “Hah.”

She still wasn’t really able to process what had happened -- only a day earlier, she’d been lamenting the professor who’d fucked her and dumped her via e-mail. The dumping; the fucking had definitely happened in real-time. In twenty-four hours, she’d nearly been killed a variety of horrifying ways, and then had unleashed an army of nightmares on the people who’d strung her up like a marionette.

And the stabbing of that bald guy. For the rest of her short life, she’d never forget feeling the knife drive into the man’s heart, never forget him begging her to kill Marty.

Never forget what she’d almost done.

“I’m sorry,” Marty said.

No, no, that wasn’t right. “I’m so sorry I almost shot you,” Dana said. That was more accurate. “I probably wouldn’t have,” she added.

For all the blood covering Marty’s face, he actually looked reassuring. “Hey, hey, no,” he said, shushing her. “I totally get it.” Dana watched him pull a joint out of the depths of his jacket. He lit up and took a hit. “I’m sorry I let you get attacked by a werewolf, and then ended the world.”

Dana took the joint when he offered it. “I think you were right.” She took a hit, and hoped it would take effect before whatever death was coming next actually got there. “It’s time to give someone else a chance.”

The room shook. Dana made a scared noise deep in her throat, and the sound of it embarrassed her. After everything else she’d gone through tonight, a little earthquake was going to scare her?

Fuck that.

Marty took another hit. “Giant evil gods,” he mused.

“I wish I could’ve seen ‘em,” Dana said.

“I know!” Marty’s face was actually disappointed. “That would’ve been a fun weekend.”

Another rumble, stronger than the last. The walls were shaking apart.

This was it. But at least she could die knowing it was on her own terms. She took Marty’s hand and waited for the end.


Something grabbed the back of her shirt and, despite herself, she screamed.

“Come on!”

Dana twisted and looked up -- a tall, dark-haired woman was pulling her up the stairs. Another woman, this one shorter, with shorter hair and blood-streaked olive skin, had a grip on Marty’s jacket. “Get up! Now!”

Marty shook his head. “Man, don’t you get it? It’s over! We made our choice!”

A boulder tumbled toward them. The taller woman let go of Dana -- great, start rescuing me and let me get splattered, how nice -- and, as Dana watched, actually kicked the enormous rock.

The kick pushed it out of the way.

“Holy shit,” Dana said. “Who the hell are you people?”

“I’m Kennedy,” said the girl holding onto Marty. “That’s Faith. Now get your asses in gear!”

“Dude, they look pissed,” Marty said.

Kennedy slapped him, hard enough that Dana could see a fresh bruise on his face, even under the blood. “Run!”

Dana grabbed Marty’s hand and started pulling him up the stairs. Kennedy pushed them along, and Dana guessed that Faith was behind them, keeping watch. “What about the nightmares?” Dana asked. “The nightmares I unleashed?”

“That was you?” Faith sounded impressed. “Good job.”

“We got most of ‘em,” Kennedy said. They were out of the ritual chamber now, and just in time -- behind them, a massive force sent a shock wave that threw all four of them onto the bloody ground. “The non-corporeal ones, we’re working on.”

Faith was up first, and helped Dana to her feet. “This way,” she said. “We got evac. Come on!”

Still holding onto Marty, Dana followed Faith. The entire facility was rumbling, the shaking, blood-coated floor hard to walk on. Faith and Kennedy had boots, and that helped, as did Marty’s sneakers, but Jules -- oh, God, Jules, she hadn’t thought about her in hours, and she was dead, oh God, she was dead! -- had forced her to leave behind every sensible piece of clothing she had.

Dana spared a thought for Holden. Maybe, if the cabin hadn’t been part of some crazy ritual, she might have slept with him before the weekend was out. He’d been really sweet, although the “nothing you don’t want” line had sounded forced. The spike through the throat, though... not so hot.

Marty skidded as they rounded a corner and came face-to-face with the big guy they’d seen in the elevator, the one with the sad eyes and the blades through his head. A slender, red-haired woman was with him, but she looked normal. Not evil at all. “What the shit?”

Kennedy punched Marty in the shoulder. “We got ‘em,” she said. “No one else left down there. You okay, Vi?”

The redhead -- Vi -- nodded. “Fornicus says he can feel them.”

“‘Them’?” Marty’s eyes were wide. “Them who?”

“The Ancients,” said the big guy. His voice was surprisingly soft, but despite all the noise in the corridor, they heard every word. “The first of them will rise to the surface in moments.” He was twisting his little ball as he spoke. “Stop him, and you may be able to stem the tide.”

“That’s what we’re hoping,” Faith said.

“Wait just a fucking minute!” Marty pulled out of Dana’s grip and rounded on their saviors. “What the fuck is he doing on your fucking side?”

Fornicus seemed about to explain, but Vi put her hand on his arm. “We can tell them later,” she said. She was looking up at Fornicus -- and what kind of a name was that, anyway? -- with an expression that Dana couldn’t quite believe. Unless Dana was wrong, Vi actually liked the... the... demon? Was it a demon?

“What the hell is going on?” Dana asked.

“We must go,” Fornicus said. “Quickly, lest the Ancients destroy us as well.”

Vi turned and started to run; Dana, despite the fact that they were being rescued in part by a huge demonic creature, marshalled up what little strength she had left and got moving.

It took several minutes, but eventually Dana and Marty and the others were led to the surface. They were on the other side of the lake, and got out just in time to see a gigantic hand shoot up from the ground, throwing the cabin into the air. “Holy shit!” Marty screamed. “Holy shit! What the fuck!”

“The Ancients,” Fornicus said in that same soft, sad tone. “Their herald. He is here.”

Faith pulled out a cellphone and pressed it to her ear. “Please tell me she’s here, B.” A pause. Then Faith’s body sagged with relief. “Thank God. We got the kids out, and Vi made friends with one of the demons. Fornicus.” Another pause. “Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Little Shiva gonna get you guys out?”

Dana turned to Marty and mouthed, “Little Shiva?” Marty shrugged and went for his pocket, but came up empty. That seemed to scare him more than anything.

“All right, B. Good luck. Rule one.” She put the phone back in her pocket. “I’m not gonna do an Arnold accent, but we gotta get to the chopper.”

“What about the wall?”

“The what?”

Dana moved closer to Marty. “Curt was going to jump the canyon, go get help, but he hit an invisible wall and fell in.”

“We saw that,” Kennedy said. “It’s taken care of.”

Dana didn’t even bother to ask how. She just followed Faith and Kennedy, not bothering to watch what was happening across the lake. If these people could take down that wall, they could probably do just about anything.

She only hoped this wasn’t another layer in the ritual.


Buffy and Spike watched the enormous hand come down, right at Illyria. The blue-skinned goddess gave Spike a smile before leaping into the air. She grabbed the hand by its middle finger and wrenched; the crack of broken bone was like a redwood snapped at its center.

“That’s my girl,” Spike said. In his eyes, Buffy saw admiration and... and was that love..?

“She’s kind of small, compared to that thing,” Buffy said.

“You should talk.” Spike elbowed her gently, and she elbowed him back. Over the past few years, they’d become friends again, and Buffy had found she’d missed having the vampire around. “Everyone does say they thought you’d be taller.”

“I should invest in some lifts and what the hell is that?”

Spike looked up. Where Illyria had been was a massive squid-thing, its tentacles wrapped around the hand and arm of the thing. “My girl changes shape,” he said, his tone totally conversational. “You should see what she can do with those tentacles when--”

“Ew!” Buffy put her hands to her ears. “God, Spike! Ew!”

Spike grinned -- no, leered -- at her. “Hey, slayer, you asked what she was.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t need to know that--”

“Oi! You didn’t so much mind sticking your finger--”

“Damn it, Spike!”

He laughed. The ground shook, and Buffy stumbled, but Spike caught her before she could fall. “Hang on, slayer,” he said, all business now. “Almost time.”

Buffy watched as Illyria wrapped several tentacles around a stand of trees that she was sure hadn’t been quite that massive only moments ago. “I knew she could talk to plants, but... she can make them grow too?”

“Certainly can.”

Illyria’s squid-form braced itself on the trees and wrenched again on the arm. Buffy and Spike were driven to their knees as the Old One tore the giant creature further and further upward. Its massive head broke the surface, the entire area suddenly angling upward.

It screamed.

“That’s our cue, love,” Spike said, pushing to his feet. He held out his hand and Buffy took it without hesitation. “Time to save the world again.”

Buffy unshipped the scythe and, with Spike in the lead, started to run.


The chopper had evacuated Dana and the others to a safe distance -- at least, Dana assumed it was safe -- but they were still close enough to see and feel the explosion of light and energy as the giant squid-creature and whoever this “B” person was defeated the Ancient.

“Is it over?” Dana asked through the headset she’d been given. She was spent, almost unable to move, and she wanted nothing more than to sleep for a week. “Please, tell me it’s over.”

Faith looked to Fornicus, who nodded. He wasn’t wearing a headset, though the dark-haired woman was. “It’s over.” She glanced at Kennedy. “How many apocalypses is that now?”

Kennedy started counting on her fingers, mouthing words, but Dana didn’t actually hear the answer. She’d taken off her headset and closed her eyes.

The worst night of her life was over.

The chopper flew toward the sunrise.


Author’s Note

As I walked out of the theater with my friend, I gave voice to something that I’d been hoping for since the moment we learned that the whole thing was a ritual to either raise or stop raising demons. I said to him, “does it make me a bad person for wishing that, at the very end, just after the last lines, the camera panned up to show Buffy at the top of the staircase?”

He said, “yes, it does. Just let it go, man.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, though. I realize Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan are on other shows now, but given the fact that Whedon made an entire film with no one knowing about it (Much Ado About Nothing), it wouldn’t have surprised me if he was secretly working on a Buffy film and this was the lead-in.

It didn’t happen. But what if it had...?

Originally, Buffy was supposed to be standing at the top of the staircase. But it didn't work out that way. Somehow, stories I try to write about Buffy always end up being about someone else.

Thanks for reading. Your feedback is appreciated.

The End

You have reached the end of "Herald of the Ancient Gods". This story is complete.

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