FIC: Hellmouth’s Heroes (1/?)
Title: Hellmouth Heroes
Rating: R (For Language later)
Feedback: In lieu of a Faithbot yeah.
Disclaimer: If I own the chars, why don't Faith and Cordy do as
their master tells them? Woe is me. All the characters from BtVs
& AtS belong to Mutant Enemy, all the other recognisible chars belong
Earth, The Near Future.
“They’re coming through! It doesn’t matter what we do!”
“I know.” Xander forced a smile even as he loaded shells into his shotgun. “Just make them pay for every inch of ground.”
The young Slayer stared back at him, eyes frightened. “Mr. Harris, there’s too many -.”
“I know,” he nodded. “Just make them pay.”
“Yes sir,” the Slayer squared her shoulders before making for the door. And then it exploded open, shards of wood flying everywhere, and they stormed in.
* * *
The Higher Planes
”NO! NO! NO!” Zeus shook his head even as he glared around the hushed assembly room; his fellow remaining Pantheon members watching events unfold in the All-Seeing Globe. “This is unacceptable! We did not fight for so many eons to see it end like this!”
“Someone has to have interfered with the timeline,” Seaxneat concluded. “The Goa’uld, Sebaceans, Jem'Hadar, and the Predators were to have slowed their advance.”
“He’s right,” Dagda agreed. “The Dark Storm weren’t to reach earth for four centuries yet. Earth should be far more advanced to face them.”
“It must be The Elder Gods!” Camulos spat. “An outrage! The Non-Interference Pact we forced upon them quarter of a billion years ago has always chafed!”
“The more important question is what do we do about this?” asked Brahma. “The earth has always been this universe’s nexus, should it fall, the entire universe will descend into an unimaginable chaos.”
Zeus stared around the hall. It was a hall that had once seated over a thousand, but now held less than a tenth of that number. Wars with The Dread-Lords, The Thundering Cabal, Pain’s Hordes, The Steely Swarm, and lastly The Elder Gods had decimated his people. They, who had been the caretakers of the universe since its inception, stood at the edge of an abyss that not even they with all their great powers could easily climb out of. Immortal yes, invunerable no. They could and had died in great numbers for this universe, but since The Non-Interference Pact they had merely watched and gritted their teeth against what they had seen.
Perhaps that should end now. “If the other side can play around with the Fates then so can we,” Zeus decided.
”What do you suggest?” Camulos asked.
”The Slayers are this world’s most powerful warriors and its only true super-powered army. There are other super-powered indvividuals – the Charmed Ones and their ilk, but they are not organised for the most part.” Zeus smiled. “Perhaps we need to further empower our Slayer army and those who fight alongside them.”
“What are you hinting at?” Brahma demanded. “We must be careful not to bring the Fates down on us, they will not tolerate overt and major tampering with the timeline.”
“I know, we will leave much up to chance, what powers our Slayers will get for example,” Zeus replied.
“You know I like games of chance as much as the next person,” Othin’s chuckle sounded like a mountain falling. “I’m intrigued, what is your plan?”
“You recall the Sunnydale Halloween incident?” Zeus replied. “Perhaps we should organise it so that spell had more permament effects?”
”The spell only effected a handful of those that would be at the final battle,” Apsu put in. “And there’s always the chance they pick up costumes without powers.”
”Then we elimnate that chance,” Ra suggested.
“We cannot interfere too much,” Othin warned.
”Better we err on the side of too much that too little,” Zeus countered.
”Perhaps you would do us the honour of wiping that grin off your face and sharing your grand idea.”
“As you wish.” Zeus smirked at Perun’s impatient suggestion. “Firstly we will ensure that only the chaos mage’s comstume shop will be open in the day in question, random accidents, illnesses to the other shops’ workers, that sort of thing. Secondly, we influence some of Sunnydale’s other residents to use their new-found powers to fight the city’s demonic inhabitants. Thirdly, we will influence some of those who will be at the last battle to move to Sunnydale – future Watchers, Potentials. And finally, we will compell them to attend the shop.”
“That will get the subjects in place,” Ra slowly commented. “But what of powers? We cannot be so blatant as to give them specific powers ourselves.”
“Super-heroes?” Othin chuckled as his fellow higher beings turned towards him. “Over the past half century or so, the Americas in particular has developed an interesting tradition of comic books depicting the exploits of heroes.”
“A fine idea,” Zeus approved before pausing. “Rayne uses a higher-level demon for the spell, if we focus our power through him, we can force some of the spell’s effects to be more long-lasting.”
“Some of the spell’s effects?” Aspu queried.
”As Othin said we cannot interefere too much,” Zeus replied. “We have to leave some things up to chance. Perhaps we should consider how best to optimise our world’s defenders?”
“Do you mean what mythology to use?” Ra asked.
“That is part of what I was suggesting,” Zeus paused and glanced at Othin before continuing. “Though I am sure that Othin would be better suited to making that decision?”
“I would chose the Marvel tradition, its rich and varied in heroes with great powers and abilities.” Othin replied before looking towards him. “What did you wholly mean, optimise the world’s defenders?”
Zeus scowled as Othin re-introduced this most distasteful of topics. “There are certain people that it would perhaps be wise did not last until the end.”
“Oh yes?” Seaxneat leaned forward, brow furrowed. “Who might you have in mind?”
“The Summers girl for one,” Zeus replied. “Yes!” he raised a hand at the others’ exclaimed protests. “I am not doubting her mettle in battle, but she has major character flaws. Her arrogance and inability to listen will lead her to discard the advice of those far more suited to lead. Her selfishness and inability to learn will repeatedly lead her into hideous decisions that more than often than not will make things worse rather than better. Lehane at least has the wisdom to learn from her mistakes and listen to those better suited to leadership. Without Summers’ influence and mistakes to isolate her, Lehane could become a very effective ‘Scooby’.”
“Who else do you suggest should be removed from the timeline?” Ra asked after a heavy pause.
”The ensoulled vampire, the first, not the accident.” Zeus replied. “Without his presence, it is highly unlikely the second would happen.”
”He is one of this time’s greatest champions!” objected Perun. “He is without the flaws of Summers and Lehane.”
“Except when he loses his soul, then he is one of this time’s greatest villains. Because of him, the Watcher lost his true love and with her demise, much of his heart. Because of him, the Slayer’s friends were constantly divided. Remove his influence and the core unit will be some more unified and the Watcher so much decisive. And we will need the Englishman’s leadership.”
”And who would you add earlier to the timeline?” Camulos asked before anyone else could comment.
“As I said, I’d move certain personnel who would become influential in the later Council, future Slayers and Watchers.” Zeus paused. “I also hope that certain amongst Sunnydale’s population will volunteer to aid the Slayer’s team. Unfortunately while the rules that bind us can be bent, they cannot be broken. We cannot either choose their costumes for them or their actions afterwards.”
“What about protecting those who might be assets later on?” Aspu suggested.
”Who do you mean?” Zeus asked.
“The witch, the half-demon, and the African-American,” his fellow pantheon member replied.
”Perhaps we can engineer it so they meet the Sunnydalers earlier on, but we cannot protect anyone, that would be stretching the rules too far,” Camulos broke in.
”And what of the spell, how will we break it afterwards?” Ra asked.
“The way it was first broken,” Othin answered for him. “We use Miss. Rosenberg’s shyness to discourage her from donning a costume. After all, she is already arguably the most powerful magician in several centuries, she scarcely needs more power.”
”And she does not cope well with power at the best of times,” Zeus agreed. “Although perhaps with this tighter unit around her, things will be better for her.”
”One can but hope,” Ra commented.
”And how and when will these changes in the timeline be enacted?” Camulos queried.
Zeus smiled. “From little pebbles great ripples will grow.”
* * *
LA, June ‘96
“I can’t believe you want to do this!”
“You don’t understand, Francis!” Harriet’s ringlets danced around her shoulders as she shook her head. “The variety of demons in Sunnydale is staggering!”
Doyle stared at his wife and love. “Yes, that would be because it’s the Hellmouth. Note the word ‘Hellmouth’, Anywhere with ‘hell’ in the name is probably a place that won’t do a roaring tourist trade.”
“But if you’re to understand about your heritage surely it’s the place to go?”
“Couldn’t I just look ‘Brachen’ up on the internet?” Doyle sighed at his wife’s pout. He wasn’t going to win this one, he might as well give in gracefully. “They have elementary schools in Sunndyale don’t they?”
* * *
LA. July ‘96
Pike groaned as the light cut through the room’s not quite closed curtains, bathing his reluctant face. Throwing aside his unwashed sheets, he yawned and stretched, rubbing at the gritty sleep in his eyes.
It had been a month since she’d left for Sunnydale. A month that seemed like an eternity. In that month nothing had been able to fill the void within him.
It wasn’t just her absence though. It was the world she’d opened up for him. Yes, it was a dark, foul world, but it was a world in which he had a purpose, where he wasn’t just a bum. A world where he helped people.
“I have to go to Sunnydale,” Pike decided.
* * *
LA. July ‘96
“Hey, Lockley, you know that cheerleader you were tryin’ to nail for arson?”
Kate Lockley looked up from her desk, eyes bloodshot from hours spent reading arrest reports and back aching from her unyielding chair, the buzz of office conversation annoyingly audible in the background. “Buffy Summers?”
“Yeah,” the balding detective stood to the left of her desk chuckled. “Any parent who nicknames their daughter Buffy should have Child Services called on their asses.” Kate cleared her throat meaningfully. “Yeah,” the detective nodded, jowly face sobering. “My niece, she goes to school with Summers, anyhow it was a big family deal this last weekend. She’s a member of Summers’ clique and was bitching how Summers is fixing to leave town and head to Sunnydale.”
“Oh really?” Kate looked down at her reports, interest in paperwork dwindling still further. She just knew there was more to the Summers story than met the eye. Maybe she could ask for a transfer to Sunnydale….
* * *
Sunnydale, 2nd June ‘97
Xander heard his scream even as his shocked gaze took in the deathly dark cavern and the monstrous, bat-faced vampire stood over Buffy’s corpse. If he and Pike hadn’t argued about going for Angel first they might have made it in time.
Before he knew it, he was joing Angel and Pike in charging forward. “Aaaah!” Blood erupted from Xander’s mouth when the Master caught with a casual backhand.
Legs buckling from the sledge-hammer blow, Xander fell to his knees. Through dazed eyes he watched as the Master snatched hold of Pike’s collar and threw him head-first into the far wall, the dazed mechanic sliding down to the ground.
His hands preoccupied with dealing with them, The Master didn’t turn his attention to Angel until the enraged demon’s stake was already entering his chest. Even so, the Master still managed to reach into Angel’s chest cavity and yank out his heart, the two of them bursting into dust a half-second later
* * *
Boston, 2nd June ‘97
Faith closed out her Watcher’s stick up his ass drone as she continued to punch his sparring gloves. He was a real pain but at least in the year since he’d fostered her, he’d not made a move on her.
‘Course she wouldn’t be ‘xactly surprised if Wussley was a fag. Not that she hadn’t turned gay men straight and straight fems lesbo in her time. It was just a matter of putting a little effort in.
She gasped in mid-punch as a queasiness crashed over her. When her blow connected, her target folded in two, flew through the air, and crashed to the ground ten feet away from her. “Jesus!” She hurried over to her crumpled Watcher. “What the hell-.”
The Englishman stared up at her, eyes wide. “You’ve been Chosen! You’re the Slayer!”
Faith grinned. No-one was ever gonna push her around again.
* * *
LA, 12th July ‘97
“There’s too many of them!” Alana screamed.
“Long as we’re still breathin’ there’s a chance!” Gunn lied as he cast despairing eyes around to his ‘Lost Boys’ corpses sprawled in the darkened parking lot and the snarling vampires ringing them. This fight could only end one way.
And then a lithe figure dropped off the roof of a two storey meat factory and into the vampires. Before they were even aware of the intruder three of them were dust. A fourth managed to throw a haymaker that the brunette bombshell ducked under, glossy locks swinging, before smashing a stake into her adversary’s chest, left arm swinging behind her to cut the head off another demon. A sixth grabbed for her shoulder, but the curvy beauty was already twisting at the waist and delivering a deadly stake thrust.
Thoroughly beaten, the vampires capitulated and melted into the darkness. The beauty turned to him and his sister, full lips parted in a dazzling, dimpled smile. “Hey stud, you can handle that axe okay. I know just where it’ll be needed. Have you heard of the Hellmouth?”
* * *
Sunnydale 14th July ‘97
The brunette was clad in unfeasibly tight leather pants, the sensual countours of her legs and full sweep of her high, round butt clearly outlined. The Slayer’s black gym vest displayed a couple of inches of washboard abs and clung to her ample, pert chest.
A jet-black framed her heart shaped face. While her ruby-red lips were parted in a possibly permament smirk, her luminous black eyes carried within them a hint of heart-breaking insecurity.
Giles hid a grin as he stole a glance towards Jonathan and Xander, noting the boys’ awe-struck expressions. Not that he wouldn’t be looking at the young sexbomb in much the same way if he wasn’t their age.
Or perhaps ten years older. “You’re the new Slayer?” he commented as he returned his gaze to the coal-eyed temptress.
The Bostonian placed a hand on her hip in what he guessed she thought was a seductive pose. “That’s what he says.”
“Yes,” Giles directed his gaze to the beauty’s Watcher before returning to the far more alluring subject. “I assume you’ll be enrolling at the local high school.”
”What’s the point?” the east coast warrior arched an eyebrow. “ Slayer, ya dig?”
”I dig,” Giles dryly replied. As rebellious as early Buffy had been, it appeared this young lady was going to be even harder work. “But there is going to be more to your life than just Slaying. You’re going to get an education and mix with people your own age.” He added a note of steel to his voice. “Understand?”
Faith’s long eyelashes fluttered. “Yeah, sure. I guess.”
”Good. As for you two,” Giles looked towards the two African-Americans that the Slayer and Wesley had brought with him. “Alana, you’ll be going to school in the same grade as Faith and the others. Charles, I know you’re a couple of years past school age, but you’ll be finishing your last year as a senior.”
The black man glared at him. “Listen English, you can’t order us about!”
Giles stared evenly at the African-American, unruffled by his rebellion. “You will if you want me to fund your living expenses.”
* * *
Sunnydale, 10th August ‘97
“Your papers appear in order,” Giles stared distastefully at the shaven-headed black. “ I can’t see Faith being happy with this. I know I’m not.”
The black sniffed. “Your happiness is not required, only your obediance. In the Council’s estimation, Vivian, Kennedy, and Rona are the three most likely Potentials to be Called. It was further decided that it would be wise for them to train with the Slayer and familiarise themselves with the Hellmouth.”
Dead man’s bloody shoes. “Very well Mr. Wood.” Giles pursed his lips. “Now if that’s all.”
Giles shook his head as the African-American strode out. First Wesley and now this prat. “The Council must have a factory where they produce these pillocks!”