I don't own anything. Buffy is not owned by me. Nor is anything that is property of DC comics. They are owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me. How Oblivion Celebrates the Apocalypse
The Oblivion Bar was busy that evening; seemingly everyone who was aware of it had crammed into the room to drink, party, and generally make merry. Not that I could complain, since I was there for the same reason they were: Apocalypse Party 2012. Oblivion was the only place for anyone who was anyone in the mystical world to be that evening.
'Course, it was the place I was most evenings. I had first stumbled into its front door years ago, depressed and lonely in Rome, with my friends scattered across the world, my lover (or whatever Spike was) dead, and my sister enjoying her wonderful grownup life. I had wanted a break, and a chance to share the burden, the power, the responsibility... I hadn't expected to come out of my vacation to discover a world that didn't need me anymore.
The Council had rebuilt itself bigger, smarter, and better than it ever had been, and with over a hundred full time Slayers, and a reserve of nearly three times that number, I just wasn't needed. While they had taken me back after the whole mutiny thing, I think they were big with the happy that I was gone long enough after Sunnydale that they could rebuild without me. I wasn't needed at the Council, and, while they never said
it that way, I wasn't wanted either.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm just bitter. That maybe, they thought turning me away was for my own good, a way for me to get the normal life I always whined about in High School. Key words there: High. School. The me that wanted to be a normal girl and have never heard of Slaying? She never made it out of my grave. Hell, she never made it out of my mom's grave. By then, I was the Slayer; after Heaven, the Slayer was all I had.
I tried to build that normal life I had dreamed of, but all I got for my trouble was restlessness, uselessness, and a mounting debt to go with my spankin' new case of ennui. Guess being in Europe did help with the vocab a bit – or maybe just being away from all the people who expected me to always be willfully dumb cheerleader action Buffy made me use that gray matter holding my ears apart a bit more often.
Rambling. Happens when I drink, and the Oblivion? It's called a bar for a reason. Anyways.
I was patrolling, but mostly spending my time feeling sorry for myself, when I felt something hinky coming from this door. I just shrugged, opened it and stepped inside. Pretty stupid, huh? Still, it worked out, 'cause to this day? My favorite place in the world.
The Oblivion Bar has doors scattered all over the place. They don't look like anything, and if I had been a normal girl? That door woulda opened on some smelly ol' fish warehouse. Being pumped full of Slayer essence? One mystical doorway to Oblivion. The good kind, with the great drinks, and the better company, not some overdramatic way of saying 'death' or something.
Since only people with the whole mystical thing going for them can come in the front door, as you might expect, it's full of magic-type peoples. And since we're all in the know, we can all be ourselves, with no one to look at us funny no matter how weird we are. 'Cause honestly, no matter how much of a freak show I feel like some days? Got nothin' on my favorite drinkin' buddy.
I'm not sure what it says about me that I look forward to spending time with a surly, drunken chimpanzee, even if he can talk. Like, really talk. And talk.
Get a few beers in him (and he usually wants more than a few
) and he'll talk your ear off. Still, someone who dresses like Sherlock Holmes, minus the pants and plus a sarcastic t-shirt (tonight's message: It's the End of the World... and I still wish you'd die sooner) is my kind of people.
It helps that he's not afraid of me. Which is actually kind of funny, when you get down to it, 'cause as fighting Darth Willow taught me all those years ago, Slayer powers suck against magic users. And this place? Full of the casty types. And even some of the non-witchy types could squish me. It was wigsome when I really took in the clientele, and realized that, for the first time in many years, I wasn't the most powerful person in the room. Now? It's strangely relaxing. Not having to be the strongest? Big weight off the ol' shoulders.
I still have a heavy enough rep to get everyone to walk all softly softly 'round me though. Drac looked me up for a reason, and that was before I laid a whoopin' on a god and the First. I kinda cemented my rep my second night here, too. I had been sitting at the bar, minding my own business... and completely plastered. Like, not just drunk. Pickled. I might have had some blood in my alcohol level drunk.
I had reasons though. Good reasons! Big reason number one? Spike was alive! And hadn't bothered calling me. And was now dead... again. With Angel. As in, was alive with Angel, and now both are pushing up the metaphorical daisies together. The real kicker, and big reason number two? Everyone but me had known. It hurt
. So: drunker than... well, I can't think of a good enough analogy, so substitute your own, and multiply it by about a zillion levels of drunkenness. Honestly, only a Slayer strength liver kept me alive
at that point.
Anyway, I was also pissed, in the American way, not just the Gilesy way. 'Cause he hadn't called, and Angel and him got dead without me, and no one thought I deserved to know. So, just a good target shy of seeing red. And that's when he bumped into me. And those wacky Slayer senses? Wow. I'm not sure I wouldn't have gone at him sober.
Him being Blue Devil. Which is pretty descriptive. Big, blue, horns, stronger than me, tougher than me, etc. Not someone I would be smart to tangle with. 'Specially since, despite being a noble down below, he's actually a good guy. And the bouncer.
So Blue Devil bumped into me, and I was drunk and angry enough to go all feral Slayer on his Smurphy ass. We're talkin' screaming, biting, clawing, super strength mayhem, without any concern for survival, way too drunk to feel pain, and angry enough to fight like the First Slayer. In other words, dirty, lethal, and just plain nasty. It took six patrons to pull me off of him, and he flinched when he saw me for about a month after. I bought him a beer though, and we've been cool ever since. Still, instant confirm on the ol' rep, with a bonus dash of 'stay away she's crazy' to keep 'em guessin'.
So, as I was sayin', I've got a rep that makes even the heavy hitters wary, which is usually cool, 'specially when I'm itchin' for a good slay and haven't seen better than a fledge in days. Somethin' 'bout being scary makes my inner Slayer want to roll over and purr. Does warm and fuzzy things for my inner Buffy, too, which is somethin' I'm not too keen to examine too close. Probably all kinds of badness that enjoyment says 'bout me.
My pet theory? When you start thinkin' those kinda thoughts? You know, deep, introspective thoughts about how much you're screwed up? Time for a drink. It's like a drinking game meets self medication.
“You want another?” I asked my buddy.
Detective Chimp knocked back the rest of his drink. “Sure. I'd take a beer.”
I nodded and stood, happy that I was still steady on the feet. I'd had a few, but I wasn't drunk
. Which is definitely of the good, 'cause I decided years ago that the fine line between good evening and bad is how drunk I get. Tipsy? Good evening. Drunk? Let's look at the evidence.
First time, I hit the beer. And hit the beer. And hit it. Long story short: lotta beer. Totally drunken Buffy. Outcome? Cave Buffy. Yeah, probably woulda happened anyway, what with the cursed beer and all, but come on. That memory still puts me off the bitter and foamy stuff.
Second time I went for the booze? Spike showing me around Willy's. I tried hard liquor that time, and while no funny magic stories came out of it, I was completely wasted. Wasted, and made a total fool of myself. In a demon bar no less. Let me just say, beating up Willy the Snitch for info? Lot less fun when I had trouble lookin' him in the eye. Plus, Slayer healing? Does nothin' for hangovers. That really put me off hard liquor too.
Time in ol' Roma taught me real appreciativeness for wine though. Really, it was Dawnie that talked me into it. I was scandalized at them serving her alcohol with her meals at first, but she was right. The amount of carbs you eat in Italy totally counteracts the amount of alcohol you drink. And that stuff really goes well together, too.
Which leads us to evening three of my totally drunken stupor history. Beating the crap out of Blue Devil. Actually, skip that one, 'cause besides being a mass of hungover bruises the next day, nothing really bad happened. It was time number four that I decided 'never again'.
I had been going to Oblivion for a couple of years when I knew it was time to get plastered again. I had just run into a snot nosed, half trained, fourteen year old baby Slayer out on patrol. The reason? She was there to sweep Rome. Apparently, my old friends didn't even trust me to keep my own city clean anymore, and thought I needed a kid who'd been in diapers when I'd been sticking a stake in Lothos to do my job for me. Plus, she called me old. She was lucky I didn't strangle her.
So I was drowning my sorrows on cheap wine in the Oblivion bar. Yeah, not much money equals cheap booze, and really, time in Rome or not, I still haven't gotten to be a wine snob. Long as it tastes goodish, I'm set. So I was drunker than hell, and decided that wasn't enough. I wanted to get laid.
Yeah. You can already tell this story is going to end in tears. Trust me. Shed more than a few.
So I pick up a normalish human guy for a change, 'cause hello. Even Buffys learn eventually. So I pick up this human guy, seemed nice enough. British and snarky, 'cause I don't learn that much. But he hit on me, and not being too bad lookin', and drunk and stupid enough to want to show that punk kid Slayer I wasn't that old, I accepted. Besides, John seemed pretty nice.
The next morning, I realized there was definitely such a thing as Wine Goggles. Sure, he was still scrumptious to look at. Bit like a young Sting, really. And I could get past the chain smoking, cynical, snarky Britishness. Hell, that was a turn on. The love 'em and leave 'em assholishness? He was worse than Parker. I mean seriously, he tried to kick me out of his bed, and I mean that literally, before six the next morning, and I was hungover as all hell.
After that experience, I decided against one night stands, snarky Brits, and getting completely drunk, all in one go. He decided against picking up one night stands from magical bars, making fun of blonde's names, and generally pissing off hungover Slayers. Really not sorry 'bout what I did to his nose. Or his face. Or his crotch. The broken hand was probably too far. Still, trying for a grope while getting beaten for assholishness? Deserves a special response.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to pick up some more booze for me and my simian pal.
The bartender is also the owner. He's a good guy, and not too hard on the eyes, in an older kinda way. Plus: nice enough to overlook my going all wild kingdom on his bouncer that one time. I think it might have been 'cause he had been nice enough to listen to my sob story while he poured my many, many drinks. Probably felt sorry for me. Plus, I was sincere with the apologies afterwards. Still, classy guy, letting me back in after that.
“Hey Jim,” I said, smiling at him as I leaned against the wooden bar. “One for me and the Chimp.”
He poured quickly, giving me a small small as he handed them over. “Having a good time this evening?”
“Yup,” I answered brightly. “Gotta love a good Apocalypse party. 'Specially when I'm not the guest of honor.”
“You been at many apocalypses?” a man nearby sneered.
I paused, going completely still, before slowly turning my head to look him in the eye. It was hard keeping the wrath thing going when you're buzzed with the booze and staring at someone that stupid looking. He was wearing a somewhat tattered trenchcoat, torn jeans, a black shirt showing off some fairly impressive muscles... and a mismatched pair of oversized novelty earrings. Seriously. Lame.
“Yes,” I said very slowly. “Many.”
He quickly looked back at his drink, and I returned my gaze to a slightly nervous looking Jim. Come on! I mean, just 'cause I beat the ever loving crap out of his bouncer that one time, everyone seems to think I'm some kinda ticking time bomb. I pushed past it and smiled as I grabbed our drinks.
I'm almost back to the table I was sharing with Chimp when the room got a bit hushed as someone new strolled in. Usually that means someone really powerful, since it takes a lot to cow Oblivion's crowd. I looked around the weirdo with the huge cloak and staff that was blocking my view, and grinned at who I saw entering.
Zatanna was dressed down in comfortable clothes, and, as a modern Cali girl in good standing, she showed the kinda taste I could get behind. She had the cutest boots on, tight jeans, and a scoop neck top to die for. If I wasn't living in Rome I'd feel shabby next to her, but the money I save buying local lets me be avant garde on a Payless budget. Also helps that the fashion industry is so demon heavy, and they all like to keep me happy.
Zatanna is a good friend of mine, so I waved her down while she took in the room. She gave me a tired grin and went to the bar to grab a drink of her own. Everyone smart in the place gave her room to move, and even the dumb ones noticed the trend and stayed out of her way. She's the real big leagues, and everyone knows it.
We met during my first year in Rome, and had quite the adventure. I had been cozying up to this creep with the melodrama to actually call himself 'The Immortal', all as part of a plan to test his name. After all, he'd had his fingers in all kinds of bad pies for like, ever. Total demonic godfather dealy going on.
Anyway, I spent months cozying up to the greasy loser, until finally I had a plan to finish him off. Just as I'm about to seal the deal, along comes miss Z, wearing this ridiculous fishnets and top hat combo, looking for a lead on what happened to her dad. Cue craziness, including a foot chase, a battle in the Parthenon, flying monkeys, a mutant shark, and three nuns on a pack mule. By the end, me and Zatanna had bonded, and 'The Immortal' really wasn't.
She doesn't come to Oblivion very often, but sometimes she drops by to hang with me. I grinned at her as she came over to my table, and she gave me a tired smile in return. “Long day?” I asked.
“Ugh,” she groaned, flopping down in a chair. “Don't even get me started.”
“Apocalypse got ya down, toots?” Chimp asked.
Zatanna gave him a glare. “Like you wouldn't believe, Bobo.”
“Hey, that's my slave name,” Chimp grumbled.
The two of them never got along too well. Honestly, I think I'm the only person crazy enough to befriend an alcoholic talking monkey. Still, it's pretty funny sitting back and watching them snipe at each other, especially after a few drinks.
“I've been fielding calls all... damn... day,” Zatanna ranted. “Is the world ending, Zatanna? Do you need help with the Apocalypse, Zatanna? Who are Mayans, Zatanna?”
I laughed. “Seriously?”
She nodded, looking exhausted. “Some of them wouldn't accept it from me just once, either. Blue Beetle called, I don't know, four times? Every time some crack pot villain goes on a rampage claiming the world is ending, so they might as well do whatever stupid thing they can think of, who does everyone call?”
“Ain't Detective Chimp,” he said, taking another swig of his new beer.
Zatanna snorted. “Trust me, no one
calls Detective Chimp.”
“Hey, luv, wanna get out of here and back to my place?” a familiar British voice drawled behind me. Zatanna and I both froze.
Turning as one, we delivered a scathing glare at the trenchcoat wearing loser behind us. “You,” we both growled. Blinking, we looked at each other.
The man behind us flinched, then turned around with a sleazy smile on his unshaven face. “Zee!” he started charmingly. “And... who are you again?”
I gave him a look so nasty he actually stumbled. “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Woulda thought you'd remember me, after I put you in traction.”
Zatanna snorted. “John? Who hasn't put him in traction. What'd he do to you?”
“I got drunk enough to think he
was attractive. Woke up the next morning when he tried to kick me out of his bed. Not metaphorical kicking either. How do you know this loser?”
“When I was younger and dumber I actually dated him,” Zatanna answered, shaking her head with disgust.
“Now, Zee...” John tried to insert.
“Ugh, what is wrong with us?” I said.
“Other than him?” Zatanna offered.
“Hey, I don't have to take this,” John grumbled.
“Yeah you do,” Chimp said. “The two scariest women in the bar just found out they both slept with your punk ass. Just be glad you aren't a frog, or back in traction... or both.”
“How would you put traction on a frog?” I asked curiously.
“We could find out,” Zatanna answered with a cruel grin.
“Now ladies,” John gulped. “There's no need for this...”
“No need,” I agreed cheerfully. “But plenty of want. And fun.”
“Yeah John,” Zatanna said brightly. “It's a party, so sounds like time for a party trick.”
Before we could have any fun, a college aged guy wearing a rental tux and a handmade red cloak stumbled through the door. Taking in the crowd, especially the giant banner reading 'Apocalypse 2012', he immediately started freaking. “What the hell is wrong with you people!”
The room quieted as everyone looked at him. He apparently took that as a sign to continue. “It's the end of the world! The Mayans predicted it! Why aren't any of you stopping it!”
The room burst into mocking laughter. “How stupid are you?” a woman wearing a green witch's hat asked. Seriously, a witch dressed like a witch. Willow would be pissed.
“Huh?” the kid said, confused.
“All today is is the day the Mayan calendar wraps around again,” the woman continued, shaking her head. “Did you freak out when it hit the year 2000?”
When he turned red, the room laughed at him again. “You mean... the world isn't ending? But why is everyone freaking out?”
“Strueth kid,” John said. “People are freakin' out 'cause they're dumb buggers.”
Everyone had another good laugh at the kid, before going back to the party. Next round was on John, and in exchange for not testing out frog traction, he picked up the tab for the rest of the night. Almost made me feel bad about the broken hand... almost.
Home used to be Sunnydale, a place where the Slayer was needed. Now it's Oblivion, a place where Buffy is wanted.
And I wouldn't trade it for anything. Author's Notes
Here is my response to the Foresight event on Twisting the Hellmouth. The idea is to look in on a character from Buffy as they would be today. I chose Buffy, obviously. This is a cynical, 32 year old Buffy who drinks too much and does too little, but has found some kind of peace after a life of war. I don't mean to bash anyone with this story – Buffy's opinions are rooted in her bitterness and cynicism, not necessarily reality.
This is obviously a crossover with the DC Universe. The guy at the bar who mocked Buffy was Mongrel. The woman in the witch hat who mocked the guy at the end was Enchantress. The college guy at the end was my take on an unnamed character depicted in the Day of Vengeance series as hanging out at Oblivion. Most of everyone else shown was in that special at the bar. I only added the DC characters of Zatanna and John Constantine to the mix, although they really do fit.
This is also my first stab at first person narrative, so I have no idea how it came across. If this goes over well, I could write some sequels to it – Buffy joining Shadowpact during the Day of Vengeance would be a lot of fun. And I can just see Spectre going after the Watcher's Council. Plus, this probably raises a lot of questions about how the rest of the DC comic verse relates to the Scoobies.