Sam and the Revelation
A/N: See chapter 1 for disclaimer, spoilers, notes on AU, and why Xander has his eye back.
A/N2: A special thanks to Methos for the amazing artwork. I'm going to put it up Real Soon Now.
Sam looked at Xander’s relaxed posture, and assumed he really wasn’t worried about being in a room with a… She made herself think the word. A vampire. A real, live – well, un-live – vampire. Who hadn’t physically aged since she died. Who was walking and talking and thinking, even though she was dead, and so cold that normal body functions and biochemical systems wouldn’t work.
It couldn’t be ‘magic’. It was some manner of scientific system that she didn’t know. Yet. Like the Asgard technologies she had first had trouble believing, then had trouble adapting, then finally begun to understand well enough to manipulate in the lab.
She finally managed to ask, “Is Harmony a normal… vampire?”
Xander grinned at her obvious difficulty in saying the word. “No, not even close. There happen to be two vamps who have souls now, and they’re fighting on the side of the good guys. And Harmony’s the way you see her. Willow has a theory about that, but it’s completely untestable. Every other vamp in the world? Just imagine Hannibal Lecter, but with superpowers. They’re amoral monsters who can’t get enough of the human blood and the torturing for fun. To them we’re just Happy Meals with legs.”
Harmony giggled. A vampire was standing in front of her and giggling. “Ooh, that’s Spikey’s line!”
Sam asked, “Spikey?”
Harmony said, “Oh, I used to date Spike. For a couple months. A little after I got turned.”
Sam looked at Harmony and felt like her head was going to explode.
Xander apparently was taking pity on her now. He said, “Don’t ask. That way leads to madness. Once you start hearing about who dated who when, and who broke up whose relationship, including some human-demon relationships I really don’t want to discuss, it starts sounding less like ‘Dracula Rises From the Grave’ and more like ‘Days of Our Lives’. It’s deeply disturbing.”
Sam tried again. She needed some sort of rational explanation. “So, Harmony’s personality?”
Xander nodded a little, while Harmony accepted a coffee mug full of blood that had been warmed to roughly 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Harmony took a big swallow and purred, “Mmm! Yummy! Thanks, Xander.”
Hailey made a sound from the back wall that sounded like it was part whimper and part gagging noise.
Xander said, “The thing about vampires is that they’re a demonic spirit that possesses a dead body, under certain circumstances. A vampire kills someone, say Harmony Kendall, drinking her blood until she’s just about to die and then feeding her some of his own, to pass along the demonic essence. Harmony doesn’t get enough new blood to survive, and it goes into her stomach instead of her arteries anyway, and so she dies on the spot. Her soul leaves the body. A demon possesses the corpse. The demon now has the same memories and a lot of the same personality of the body, and in most cases thinks of itself as the original person, because of all the personality and memories. But it’s not. It’s a childe of the thing that killed the person. It’s a serial killer in a Harmony suit.”
Sam had a feeling there was a movie reference in that last sentence, just by the way he said it.
Xander went on, “Harmony was insecure, and anxious to be part of the in crowd, and a complete bimbo.”
“Oh yeah, I used to be really stupid!” Harmony said brainlessly.
Xander added, “She took out her insecurities on the outcasts of the school. Once she was turned, the insecure and anxious part was largely gone, and so it turns out she’s not as mean as she used to be. Not true in general. Willow thinks it also has something to do with when and where she was turned, since some major black magic was being performed only forty yards away at the moment she died.
“But in general, a vampire is the psychotic serial killer version of you. We once encountered a vampire Willow Rosenberg from an alternate reality. Vamp Willow was brilliant, and sleazy, and ruthless, and bi, and made herself into a Master Vampire in about two years, which is about one fiftieth the time even the really motivated vamps normally need. Real Willow was brilliant and repressed and introverted… and made herself into a master mage in about three years, which is about one tenth or one twentieth the time mages usually need, plus eventually coming out of the closet. And she has shown just as much ruthlessness when she needed to. Moral: a vampire is a sociopathic killer who’s ready to chow down, and you’re a Hot Pocket. Moral two: a vamp can pass as the person it used to be, for at least a while. Moral three: unless we say they’re okay, any vampire is a threat to life and limb.”
Daniel finally said, “Wait… wait a minute… ‘The dead who walk.’ I’ve seen that phrase before. In class we were told it was a metaphor for how the sins of the past would follow you through life, but now… I’ve got a book I need to find. I’ll be right back.”
While they waited, Xander asked about the ‘ray gun’ Jennifer Hailey was still holding in a deathgrip. Sam explained that it imparted a high-energy charge that was actually partially electromagnetic but primarily tied to the strong nuclear force.
Jennifer said, “Usually, one shot knocks you out, but it does that by disrupting your electrical signals in your nervous system. Two shots then do enough disruption to your bio-electric field and your electrochemical processes that it’s fatal. Three shots in a short time do enough damage to your body that the strong nuclear force breaks down and you disintegrate.”
“Wow, a real disintegrator pistol,” muttered Xander.
Sam had a feeling that there was plenty of sci-fi geek in him, despite his complaints about Andrew. Sam also had a theory that two shots with a zat wouldn’t stop a vampire either, since there was no electrical system behind the operation of the… corpse. That meant that three shots might disintegrate a vampire, but they might not do the job at all, since the ‘magic’ holding the body together might provide enough energy to withstand the strong nuclear force effects. But it was possible that additional shots might be enough to overcome the energy provided by the so-called ‘magic’ so that the vampire would disintegrate. And, given the speed and strength Harmony had already exhibited, Sam wouldn’t want to have to put her theory to the test in the field, because the time needed to hit a fast-moving target like Harmony three to six times would probably be longer than the time it needed to reach you and rip your throat out.
By the time Harmony had two coffee mugs full of blood and had changed into a champagne-colored business suit with a miniskirt, Daniel was back with one of his ancient tomes. Sam could tell from the front that it was in Latin, even if she wasn’t fluent. It still bugged her that Jack and Teal’c could read Ancient and translate Latin, when she couldn’t. Yet. She was going to make the time one of these days. Stupid timeloops.
Daniel sat down and carefully searched through the yellowed pages until he found the passage he was seeking. Then he began translating on the fly. “Listen to this. ‘Into each period a... Destroyer is born: one maiden in all the world, a… Chosen One. She alone will have the strength and… abilities to combat the dead who walk… the threats of the night, and the forces of evil, to stop their spreading and the swelling of their numbers. She is the… umm…’” He looked at Harmony and guessed, “I suppose, in light of this development, the next part ought to be translated as ‘vampire slayer’ or something close.”
Harmony beamed, “That’s exactly what we call her! The Vampire Slayer! You’re really smart.”
Xander did a face-palm, which was all the verification Sam needed. Sam said, “So Buffy was the Vampire Slayer, and somehow when you guys… caused Sunnydale to collapse into the ground, the energy signature… empowered Vampire Slayers all over the planet.”
Xander winced, “You guys are way too good at what you do. You know that? It was a Hellmouth, a literal gateway into a host of hell dimensions, and when we closed it, everything collapsed. We almost didn’t make it out in time. Some of us didn’t.”
Sam said, “So there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Faith the Vampire Slayer…” Xander winced again, so she knew she was right on target. “…and now we have dozens of vampire slayers all over the world, like Vi. And Rona. And all the girls at the Joyce Summers School for Gifted Young Women.”
Xander gasped, “Damn! You guys are way too smart!”
Sam realized something else. ‘Slayer’ started with ‘S’, and they had been looking for an S-word… “So the NSAWC is the New Slayers And Watchers Council?”
Xander just stared at her. “You are totally under-rated super-geniuses. You know that? Both of you.” He glanced over at Daniel and said, “Nothing personal, because your ability to translate stuff like that on the fly is somewhere between awesome and astonishing. After dealing with the dorks in the Initiative, it’s really reassuring to see you guys have the brain trust down here.”
Hailey asked, “And your eye?”
Xander looked shocked as he asked, “How the heck did you find out about my eye?”
Hailey admitted, “HMO records submitted by the attending physician at the hospital.”
Xander nodded in thought. “Yeah, that’d do it. There was this psycho serial killer who got a demonic upgrade so he was a lot stronger and tougher than a Slayer. He was supposed to kill the Slayers and all the potential Slayers he could get his mitts on. I kind of got in the way when he was trying to kill a couple girls, and he gouged out my eye instead of, you know, just ripping off my arms and legs and feeding ‘em to me. So after Sunnydale, Will needed to convince a whole roomful of brand spanking new Slayers that magic and demons and stuff were real, and she used me as Exhibit A. Nothing says ‘freaky magic’ like taking some dork with a ruined face and fixing it right in front of you.”
Sam said, “We were assuming alien technologies were used.”
He asked, “Do they always work right for you?”
She slowly shook her head.
He said, “Triple that for magic. And magic doesn’t usually work right around me anyway, so I was expecting to end up with a new eyeball the size of a melon, or an octopus eyeball, or something else totally freaky. But Willow gave me the Resolve Face and I ended up letting her do the demo on my head in front of a whole room full of Slayers, even if I didn’t really want to. Wacky thing? It worked. Hurt like crazy and took a week to get my depth perception working right again, but it worked.”
Sam wasn’t sure she really believed his story, but she had to accept that it was one possibility. While she was getting so much intel out of Xander, she asked, “And the DRI was…”
Xander frowned, “The Demon Research Initiative. Supposedly they were going to study demons and vamps and other things that go bump in the night, and figure out how to do something soldier-y with the intel.”
Sam managed not to cringe, because she could guess what the NID would do with intelligence like that. Super-soldiers for fighting the Gou’a’uld.
He went on, “Only the head scientist…”
Jennifer supplied, “Margaret K. Walsh, M.D., Ph.D.”
Xander looked over at her and said, “You are
good. Yeah, that wacky Maggie decided she wanted to one-up Victor Frankenstein, and she built a super-soldier out of the corpse of one of her own soldiers, plus a ton of cybernetic components, plus as many different demons as she could, plus
a nuclear reactor for energy requirements. She named it Adam, which tells you all you need to know about her and her ego. And she got it working.”
“Was she insane
?” Daniel choked.
“I’d sure say so, but I’m not the one with the psych degree,” Xander said. “So, in the great tradition of all horror movies, Adam killed her, went on a rampage, and then figured out how to make lots more Adam-ettes, using bits and pieces of captured demons, spare parts Maggie had squirreled away, and the dead bodies of all the people working in the Initiative. It took a magic spell by Willow, using her and me and Giles’ spirits to empower Buffy, to stop him. And then the after-effects of the spell nearly killed us all.”
Sam was satisfied that she finally had enough information on the DRI, so she reminded him, “But you’re not supposed to tell anything about the DRI. Remember their NDAs?”
Xander smirked wickedly. “Giles and Willow magicked some trap pieces out of their NDAs, and so what was left when we actually signed gives us the flexibility to tell others in cases of national security or looming apocalypse. If this isn’t national security, then I don’t know what it is.”
Daniel asked, “Did you do that to our papers?”
Xander waved away his concern. “Nah, didn’t need to. Your stuff is way too straightforward. I’ve seen more complicated NDAs on architectural designs.”