In the Wake of ChaosFANDOM:
Buffy the Vampire SlayerRATING:
AU, violence, adult situationsDISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor am I making money from this story.SUMMARY:
The Powers That Be have to act fast when a random event unexpectedly throws a prophecy out the window.IN THE WAKE OF CHAOSby Scorpio
They were called the Powers That Be by their minions as that moniker often encouraged their various Champions to more readily do their bidding. However, it was a misleading name as they were only one set of powerful beings directing the lives and fates of mortals. It would be more accurate to call them the Guardians of Balance or even the Lords of Neutrality, but that just didn’t seem to inspire obedience as readily.
The truth was that the multiverse was forged using three sets of opposing forces; chaos and order, good and evil, life and death. The Powers sole concern and only duty was to maintain the balance between those diverse elements so that all of creation would not spiral out of control, or worse, become undone.
So, they empowered mortal Champions of each of those forces and then used them to provide that balance. A Champion of Chaos in a place dominated by Order, or a Champion of Order who battled Chaos. A Champion of Evil to fight Good and a Champion of Good to fight Evil.
That last one was a problem, however. Their Champion of Good was the Slayer. Only, over the past millennium, the Slayer had become less and less effective as the world changed around her while her training, philosophies, and strategies all stayed the same.The red haired girl was beautiful with her freckled skin the color of fresh cream and her jewel green eyes. She wore the rough homespun of peasants and she walked barefoot slightly behind and to the right of a tall, elegant man dressed in the rich fabrics and bright colors of the minor nobility. His graying hair was thinning on top and his eyes had a slight squint from hours of reading fading ink in dim flickering candlelight.
They were, for all appearances; a nobleman and his servant.
Suddenly, a growling animal sound came from the refuse strewn and mud coated alley between the two buildings they were passing. The man peered into the gloom briefly and then turned to the girl. He pointed into the alley and waited impatiently.
The girl’s green eyes narrowed and she pulled a stick of wood with a sharpened point out of a pocket of her skirts. Then she lifted her chin high and walked into the alley.
A clawed hand reached out of the shadows and slapped her stake away. Eyes wide, she lunged for her weapon. Her skirts tangled her legs and she fell. Her red hair was grasped from behind, her head wrenched to the side. She had a brief moment to realize her fate and then fangs sank into her throat.
She wasn’t the last.
A blonde girl with blue eyes had her neck snapped under a full moon. A river of silky raven black hair swung around and around as the short golden skinned girl tumbled through the air beside a cliff face as she fell to her death below. Rich chocolate skin turned pale and ashy as the girl’s large brown eyes closed for good in a swelteringly hot city.
Slayer after Slayer.
They fell to the darkness one after the other. Some lasted a few years, most fell within weeks. Bad training, inferior weapons, inappropriate clothing, lack of support; it all took its toll until the Slayer died in pain and alone. Then it began again with the next girl.
So, turning from the Slayer, the Powers That Be sought to raise up a new Champion. A being of both evil and goodness. A vampire with a soul.
Only, something went wrong and he denied his fate and refused to fight. So, they sent him to the Hellmouth to be inspired by the Vampire Slayer.
They watched in anticipation as the Slayer went off to confront the Master of Aurelius. And just as they planned, the boy went off to find their vampire Champion to force or trick him into helping her. This would be the first step in fulfilling his destiny. They knew that when the vampire saw proof that he really could make a difference that he would stop fighting his fate as their Champion.
That’s when it happened. A bit of unexpected chaos in a time and place that altered events dramatically.Buffy stood on the corner and looked out at the campus of Sunnydale High. The buildings, the parking lots, the grassy quad, the athletic fields. It looked so normal in the growing twilight. Just another typical modern American High School.
Buffy knew better. She was the Slayer and this normal seeming High School was built on top of the Hellmouth. Evil demons and vampires roamed around creating mayhem and destroying lives.
And tonight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was prophesied to die at the hands of the Master.
Reaching up to wipe a tear from her eye, Buffy allowed herself one moment of grief. She didn’t want to die. There were so many things she still wanted to do, so many places she wanted to see. But that was not to be.
Then she straightened her spine and lifted her chin. If she was fated to die, so be it. She was going to face her enemy and her fate like the Slayer she was. No crying. No whining. She would go down fighting to take as many vampires with her as possible.
That thought firmly in mind, Buffy smoothed out the lace on her party dress, patted her hair to make sure it was still in its elegant updo, and then she picked up her crossbow.
She was ready to dance.
On the edge of her Slayer senses, she could feel a powerful vampire approaching and figured it was the Anointed One come to lead her to her prophesied doom. So be it. Facing the direction she could feel the vampire, Buffy shifted her crossbow into a more comfortable hold and stepped off of the curb.
A few seconds later, bright lights blinded her eyes and a horrible screeching sound blasted her ears. She turned her head and had half a second to realize what she had done when the car she’d stepped in front of slammed into her. Both of her legs snapped as she flew over the hood. She smashed head first into the windscreen and then went sailing over the roof of the car.
Buffy was unconscious when she hit the ground with a thud. The car skidded to a halt ten feet away and a teenager shakily got out and stumbled over to her.
“Oh no…oh, no!”
Blood streaked Buffy’s face and hair; her legs lay twisted at odd angles. The teen frantically dialed 911. And hiding off in the bushes, a powerful vampire in the form of a young boy watched and fretted. This wasn’t supposed to happen! What should he do now?
The Master was going to be so mad!
The Slayer was hit by a car before she could meet up with the Anointed One. She survived the accident only due to her Slayer enhanced physiology, yet she was still knocked unconscious and suffered several broken bones. An ambulance was called and she was whisked off to the hospital where she finally came to.
The Powers watched, horrified and helpless as her confused mutterings about vampires, prophecies and doom made the ER doctors check her for drugs and consult her medical history. They, of course, found that she had been treated for a psychotic break a year ago when she had burnt down her school’s gym and confessed to her parents about her status as the Slayer. Seeing that, the doctors drugged her heavily, set her broken bones, and then admitted her to the psych ward of Sunnydale General.
Meanwhile, their vampire Champion and the boy had entered the Master’s Lair to find him and his minions, but no Slayer. Furious at the disruptions of his plans due to the Slayer’s accident, the Master of Aurelius staked their Champion and drained the boy.
It was wrong. All so terribly wrong.
Gazing into the future of this timeline, the Powers could see how in but a few short years this world would be torn apart as the Master of Aurelius ended up locked in a war with the Olvikan demon formally known as Mayor Richard Wilkins. A wasteland bathed in moonlight. The world was painted in black and white and a thousand shades of grey.
Hundreds of vampires with glistening fangs and golden eyes shifted like the tide as they screamed and chanted and praised their leader. Across from them hundreds of scaly and slimy demons did the same as they seethed and rolled, fighting each other for the best view.
Between both groups, the Master of Aurelius battled against the sinuously twisting form of the Olvikan. Its gleaming scales deflected the Master’s powerful blows and the Master’s lightening quick reflexes prevented the Olvikan’s strikes from landing. The battle had raged for hours and was nowhere near finished.
The Prize: the whole world and all the humans in it.
That battle for supremacy would eventually lead to a race war between the humans and whichever demon ended up the victor. The race war would devastate the lands for decades until the few surviving humans were enslaved and the world drowned in darkness.
That could not be allowed to come to pass.
The solution to this problem came from one of the Seraphim. The price the Powers must pay to receive this solution was twofold. First, they would promise not to allow the ensoulment of any more vampires. Such a thing was unnatural and against the rules of creation. It also disrupted too many plans on multiple levels and would ultimately create more weaknesses than strengths. Second, they would find a way to hide and protect the Eternal Key.
The Eternal Key was a multi-dimensional artifact of immense power that would be used to open the doorway to another timeline and bring forth their salvation.
The Powers were told that in another timeline, one in which the Slayer did confront the Master yet managed to survive, the First Evil had made a bid to open the Hellmouth and succeeded. Millions of Turok-Han had swarmed the Earth and all life had been on the verge of extinction. Desperate and furious, the humans wanted to find a way to take their killers into death with them. The Rosenberg girl had cast her strongest and most powerful spell and imbued the boy with all the power and energy of the Sun.Xander shifted slightly and watched as Willow laid out the final components of the spell. Some had been ridiculously hard to find because they came from plants or animals that were now extinct. Like sunflower seeds.
Willow’s head turned to him and she rasped in her dry ruined voice, “You need to get ready, Xander.”
He paused a moment to stare at her straw like raven hair, oil black eyes, and the dark ropey veins twisting under her skin. Then he blinked and began peeling the rags off of his rail thin body.
They deserved this. He was half starved and she was lost to darkness. They deserved this pain and suffering for ripping Buffy out of Heaven and unleashing the First Evil on the world. It was all of the billions of innocent humans that had suffered and died that didn’t deserve what fate had handed to them.
Once he was naked, he used the last of their water to wash as much ash and dirt off of his skin as possible. Then he stood still as Willow painted symbols and runes all over him with ink made of sunflower oil, his own blood, and crushed lava rock dust.
When she was done, Willow positioned him in the middle of the prepared spell area and turned to gather her tools. This spell would kill Willow and transform him so completely that he might as well be dead. It would be very painful and Xander doubted his pain would ever end.
That was okay because it would destroy the First Evil’s army and trap it alone and powerless.
And they deserved this.
They broke the world…it was their duty to fix it.
That much power and energy was never meant to be in the hands of a human. The boy exploded even as the Sun went dark and crumpled in on itself. An entire solar system destroyed in an instant of overwhelming fire and chaos.
The boy had been flung across the galaxy like a shooting star and got sucked up into the black hole at the center. He was then spit out into a totally separate timeline and he would’ve settled into his fate as a new star, but something…or rather someone, intervened.
Given over to Helios, the boy had undergone extensive training in the use of his powers. No one wanted him to accidently blow up another star system if his emotions got the best of him.
The Seraphim suggested letting the boy turned Sun God wander about the Hellmouth destroying vampires and demons for a while. Then when things were better and his purpose fulfilled, they could let him go back to drifting through the cosmos as a giant ball of burning gas.
Unsure of which choice to make, the Powers watched helplessly as the Slayer lay sedated in her hospital bed and the Master raged in his confinement, the magics of his failed ritual ripping the Hellmouth open.The Anointed One was crouched down and cringing away from the raw dark magic and rage that rolled off the Master in chilling waves of darkness.
“What do you mean the Slayer’s in the hospital? She was fated to come to me and release me from this prison!”
The Anointed One licked his lips even as his eyes shifted around, searching out avenues of escape.
“A car, Master. A car slammed into her up above. Her he…” he trailed off as a rough angry growl began to fill the air. Golden eyes pierced his and he swallowed hard before continuing. “Her, uh, her head was bleeding and it looked like both of her legs were broken.”
The Master’s hands clenched into fists and his lip curled back in a snarl.
“An…an ambulance came and took her away before I could grab her and drag her to you.”
A long pause while the Master glared at him and he shivered in terror.
“Are you telling me that some oblivious human has denied me the chance to fulfill the prophecy and escape my prison by running the Slayer down with his automobile?”
The Anointed One blinked.
The Master threw back his head and screamed a wordless note of primal rage and loss. Waves of dark magic rolled off of him, battering the Anointed One, the wailing minions, and the Hellmouth itself. A small earthquake rattled the world with the Master’s fury and all the power of a thwarted prophecy.
The Master spun and pointed one taloned hand at the Anointed One.
“Take a pack of minions and hunt that human down. Kill him! Kill his family! Kill his friends! Destroy everything that he loves in repayment for destroying my chance at freedom!”
The Anointed One was scrambling backwards even as he nodded in frantic agreement. He was almost giddy with relief at not being dusted for this failure.
Without a Champion to fight the Master’s minions back in the Library, the Watcher and his helpers wouldn’t be able to battle the Hellmouth Guardian and seal that infernal portal once more. The Powers had to act fast.
Even as they prepared to use the dimensional energy of the Eternal Key to retrieve the other more powerful version of the boy, they watched as the Master ordered his minions to carry the boy’s dead body to the Watcher. They were ordered to tell him the boy’s death was the price paid for the Slayer not coming to him as prophecy dictated.
With a sense of urgency rarely felt by beings of such age and power, the Powers That Be ruthlessly latched onto the dimensional energy of the Eternal Key and used it to rip open a portal in space/time. Without their usual care or precision, they latched onto the signature of the boy turned Sun God and yanked him across time and dimensions and then tied his being to the dead body of his alternate mortal self. In effect, they made him an Avatar of himself. Then, they tied the Eternal Key to him as well. The Powers would let him protect it for them.
Maybe if the Powers That Be had just asked for his help? Maybe if they had grabbed him fresh out of Helio’s training when he could still remember and miss his mortal life? Maybe if he hadn’t awoken feeling the raw evil and darkness of the Hellmouth?
Whichever factor it was, it made certain that Xander; immortal God of the Sun, awoke in the middle of a battle for the Sunnydale High School Library enraged.Willow screamed and back peddled into Cordelia when the doors to the Library finally broke and fell inward. Giles cursed viscously and swung the axe he was holding at the tentacle from the monster trying to crawl out of the open Hellmouth.
“Willow! Grab the crossbow!”
Willow trembled against Cordelia and looked about frantically for the crossbow while desperately trying not to think about the howling pack of snarling vampires in the hallway. She was just about to give up searching for the missing weapon when a tall vampire in a dirty football jersey pushed forward into the Library.
It had a body up over its shoulder and with a soulless laugh; it shifted the body off its shoulder and tossed it over a tentacle to land at Miss Calendar’s feet.
“A gift for the cowardly Slayer, with love from the Master.”
Unable to stop herself, Willow looked over just in time to see Miss Calendar roll the body over and expose its torn open throat. For a long moment her mind refused to acknowledge what her eyes were seeing.
Then, with a wail of “XANDER!”, Willow collapsed to her knees and began to sob hysterically.
For just a moment there was a brief stillness as all eyes bounced from the body of the dead boy to the grieving red haired girl. Then a tentacle swished through the air over Miss Calendar’s head and the battle was back on. This time it was worse because laughing vampires joined in. Several of them made their way toward Giles. One unlucky vampire was grabbed by a tentacle and pulled into the Hellmouth. Another tackled Cordelia and the two of them went rolling away, Cordelia’s screams echoing through the stacks. Two vampires bracketed Miss Calendar, chuckling cruelly as she backed away step by step.
Willow ignored all of that as she crawled over to Xander’s body, wanting nothing more than to simply die in his arms.
It was too much.
First Jesse was killed by that skank Darla. Then there was a year full of vampires, scariness, and wrongness. Now Buffy was missing and Xander was dead. Her world had ended and she just had to wait so she could end too.
Reaching out, she grasped Xander’s hand and then a sob caught in her throat. His hand was cold. Wailing, she crumpled over him and pressed her face against his still silent chest. Her tears of grief and utter loss soaked his shirt.
It was because she was touching him, however, that allowed her to be the first to realize that something unexpected and terrifying was happening.
Xander’s cold body was heating up.
Confused, Willow lifted her head and frowned. That’s when she saw the torn open flesh of his throat begin to heal at a wildly accelerated rate.
That by itself was enough to jolt her out of her grief and into a sort of numb shock. Then Xander opened his eyes and she gasped. They were solid white and glowing with power.
Slowly, Xander sat up and took a deep breath. He gazed around in confusion until his strange glowing eyes rested on Willow. Then they widened in surprise.
Willow’s eyes widened dramatically and her heart began to slam in terror behind her ribs.
“Wha…what are you?”
A look of confusion flickered across his face followed swiftly by understanding and then anger.
Very gently he pulled his hand from hers and then he stood up. He glared around the Library at the tentacle monster and the pack of vampires tormenting the humans.
Then his eyes began to glow brighter and brighter and brighter. Heat began to pour off of his body in waves that shimmered in the air and distorted everyone’s vision. The sounds of fighting slowly faded away as everyone stopped to look at the one time corpse standing there in a corona of heat and power.
Then Xander’s body burst into light. The bright glow blinding the humans and painfully dusting the vampires as they burst into flames before collapsing into ash.
The heat pouring off of Xander was getting painful and Willow could feel her face get hot and tight from instant sunburn. Whimpering from both pain and confusion, she crab walked back away from him until she hit Cordelia. The cheerleader was on the floor gasping for breath. Her face was pale and her neck was bleeding, but she was alive. Scrambling to her feet, Willow grabbed Cordelia and dragged her back behind the stacks.
She peeked around the corner just in time to see the being pretending to be Xander reach out with one hand and summon a ball of fire so hot that Xander’s clothes began to char and blacken even as the air shimmered with more heat distortions. His hand was perfectly fine despite physically holding that ball of fire, she absently noted. Then, with a sneer twisting those well-loved features, he lifted his hand and threw the ball of fire at the tentacle monster.
Instantly, two of the tentacles burned to ash and an unholy scream of utter agony rent the air. Then the remaining tentacles pulled back as the thing desperately tried to drag itself back into the Hellmouth.
The thing wearing Xander’s body like a suit raised its other hand and another ball of fire burst into life. Chuckling cruelly, he threw it at the retreating tentacles and another tortured scream ripped through the air before it disappeared, sealing the Hellmouth shut behind itself.
Willow stared out around the stacks, a woozy Cordelia propped up against her. Over on the far side of the Library Giles and Miss Calendar crouched behind the book check-out counter. One lens of Giles’ glasses was cracked and Miss Calendar had a smear of ash across one cheek.
Xander, or the being that was possessing his corpse, looked around at all of them for a long moment. Then his body flashed with a blinding bright light that made Willow’s eyes water. When she blinked away the spots, Xander was gone.
Xander appeared on a plane of existence that was pure energy. He was a large yellowish ball of fire, heat, and gravity that pulsed and flared in a steady rhythm. In this realm without form, sight or sound; force, energy and emotion ruled.
Xander’s wordless cry of “why!?”
echoed throughout the realm with all the deep sense of anger, despair, and betrayal he felt. In truth, words weren’t needed. All there understood what was in his heart and mind.
Why drag his essence from its home and tie it to the mortal body of his doppelganger?
Why tie his power to that of the Eternal Key?
Why entangle him in mortal affairs once again?
Why force him into this situation without his permission or consent?
Why wasn’t the sacrifice of his mortal shell and soul enough to pay for his sins?
Why must he suffer this too?
Absolution. Redemption. Forgiveness.
He who had helped to destroy one world was now in a position to save another. And perhaps in the doing so, he could learn to forgive himself.
Slowly, heartbeat by heartbeat, Xander calmed himself. Then, he disappeared back to the moral world.