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The Dead Don't Walk

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Ficlet(s)

Summary: Lara Croft buries her dead - a series of ficlets

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Other Genre > Tomb Raider(Moderator)acsFR1523,283072,69630 Aug 0416 Feb 05Yes

No. 2 - Buffy

Disclaimer: This is a derivative work using characters and intellectual property belonging to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, and Eidos and probably others.
When/Spoilers: Post BtVS Season 7 / Tomb Raider (post AOD and CoL)
Rating: Action Violence and character death but no sex. Subtext is in the eye of the beholder.
Distribution: TtH, atbvs.creative, alt.fan.lara-croft, my blog fanfic pages. Otherwise-ask.
AN[1]: See Chapter 1 for format details.
AN[2]: Feedback appreciated as always.
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[Mourning]

On a cold, windswept plain in outer Mongolia a tall, gaunt woman gazed blindly into the evening haze, her mind elsewhere. Her distant expression lasted for several long minutes before she continued with her painful task.

In a futile effort to get rid of the ever present feeling of the grit her face was bathed in by the bitter wind, Lara rubbed at her raw, tired eyes. Looking down at the small, rectangular cairn, she placed one last rock gently, almost reverently, on its top. She hoped it would be enough protection from wild dogs and the other scavengers that inhabited the plains. The cold ground had been too hard. She'd been unable to dig very deeply with the few tools she'd been able to find.

Packing her empty Browning into her pack, along with the tattered remnants of her other surviving possessions, Lara gazed intently at her surroundings, memorizing the few landmarks. When she came back, to bring her home, she wanted to be able to find this spot easily. It wasn't a task she would willingly delegate to someone else. She wished there was something she could say that would help, some spell or prayer that even an unbeliever like herself could use to keep everything away and leave the cairn undisturbed until she could return.

But it had been her companion who'd had experience with such things, who'd known how to use the few charms and other magical objects they'd packed before their trip. But she would never use them again. Never again smile in that amused way or laugh at Lara's amazement at the simple things she could accomplish with just a word in some long dead language or with an extravagant gesture. She would never again shrug and claim to be an untalented amateur. Never again insist that there were others with much more talent who could have done a better job, like a redheaded witch friend from long ago. And never again join her in exploring some half forgotten tomb half a world away from home.

With one last pensive look at her surroundings, Lara picked up her pack and threw it across her aching shoulders. Subtly shaking her lean form, she felt the pack settle into its accustomed place. Taking a deep breath and stepping forward she headed towards the setting sun, her mind still on the companion she was leaving behind and the underground tomb they'd come to find. Judging by the amulet they'd retrieved before things fell apart they'd succeeded with their task. But even though her companion had known the dangers facing them, her loss had Lara once more doubting the wisdom of her chosen profession. As her steps led her away, back towards civilization, her thoughts turned to the distant past in an attempt to forget her failure to revive her dead friend.

[Meeting]

Their friendship had begun in Roswell, New Mexico, under a cloudless winter sky. For both of them it was just a place between where they'd been and where they were going. A place where they could take a break for food and coffee. After an exhausting trip chasing rumors into the desert, Lara was headed to Albuquerque and a plane home. Buffy had never told her what brought her to New Mexico, though based on rumors and on later adventures in the company of the vital younger woman she had her suspicions.

Somehow they'd ended up sitting next to each other in a crowded diner. Lara was never sure afterward exactly how they'd started talking but she was fairly certain it had begun with something the perky, diminutive blonde had said about the pseudo-alien memorabilia decorating the diner.

They ran into each other again six months later in a London museum. And again a year after that in a small village in Peru. It was an unusual start to a friendship, even for Lara. They'd known each other for almost three years before their professional lives began to collide on a regular basis. For the next decade they seemed to run into each other three or four times a year in some obscure and dangerous corner of the world. When they met they would talk as if their last meeting had been the day before, and not weeks or months apart.

The blonde seemed to show up in Lara's life just when she needed her the most. Usually with a rescue or assistance in some particularly dangerous task. The first time Buffy had torn into a pack of small vicious demons that had cornered Lara in an ancient tomb she'd been so surprised she could only stare at the ease with which the threat was eliminated. She'd never explained, either that time or after any of the others, how she'd known Lara needed her help.

But Lara came to look forward to her guardian angel's appearances even when it clearly meant she'd somehow once more gotten into a potentially terminal situation. The small woman, with her atrocious puns and quips when faced with almost impossible odds, always seemed to bring an immeasurable feeling of safety with her arrival.

[Dying]

This trip was only the second time they'd intentionally planned to work together. Buffy had asked for Lara's assistance in retrieving a small amulet from a hidden burial complex in a remote corner of Mongolia. There had been more than the usual urgency to the task. The amulet was needed to stop a demon clan from triggering an apocalypse in Siberia. In its usual leave nothing to chance style Buffy's employer, the Council of Watchers, had placed a small jet at their disposal to take them there as soon as they had it in their possession.

Getting to the amulet hadn't been much of a problem. In hindsight, Lara thought it had actually seemed too easy. Getting into the tomb, sneaking past traps and demon guards went like clockwork, every step occurring exactly as they'd rehearsed it. The amulet had fit neatly into the small protective travel case Buffy had brought with her and they'd quietly retraced their steps.

It was while they were picking their way through the rubble at the entrance to the tomb that the two women were ambushed. Before they could react to the danger they both received multiple wounds, the rubble providing little shelter from the bullets, arrows, and rocks being showered on them from several different directions. Neither one of them had understood the demands yelled at them by the small group of humanoid looking creatures that had them pinned down. But it wasn't too hard to guess that someone or something had noticed that the amulet was missing and they weren't happy.

It wasn't until they'd managed to find a more sheltered spot further away from the tomb entrance that Lara realized how seriously injured the initial attack had left her companion. While Lara had managed to avoid anything more serious than scrapes and scratches from shards of rock thrown up by ricocheting bullets, Buffy had been directly hit several times while doing her best to protect Lara in her usual fashion, ignoring her own injuries until the danger was over.

"You need to go." Buffy weakly protested, repeating herself more than once as she struggled to sit up, blood soaking her torn shirt. "I'll distract them. Get the amulet to the plane!"

"I'm not leaving you here." Lara told her forcefully, trying to get past her waving arms so she could look at her wounds. "You won't make it on your own."

"I'll be fine. How many of them are left?"

Lara poked her head above the rocks and carefully looked across the clearing. She'd managed to kill or drive away most of the demons before her ammunition had run out. Fortunately, the demons had also run out of arrows and bullets and the few remaining creatures had been reduced to throwing rocks and taunts in their direction. "I only see five of them."

"Piece of cake!" Buffy announced with her usual smirk, and before Lara could stop her she'd managed to pull herself up and stumbled out of their shelter towards the remaining demons, brandishing her long, razor sharp knife. Lara watched in horror for a brief moment as Buffy quickly dispatched two of the surprised demons before they could react. Following her into the clearing, swinging her own knife, Lara found herself evenly matched, unable to get past her opponent to help Buffy as the creatures separated them.

It was a quick and brutal fight. Lara managed to dispatch her foe by ducking under a wild swing and catching it in the throat with a desperate thrust of her knife, nearly decapitating it. Pushing it away from her, a dozen feet away she could see a bloody Buffy facing the last demon, the other one lying in a bloody heap behind her, her left arm hanging uselessly at her side. Before she could reach them, Buffy and the creature collided with an audible crash.

Lara could only stare as time seemed to stop. Only to start again as the creature fell in pieces as Buffy's feet. She turned and took a step towards Lara, giving her a bloody smile and a tired wink before collapsing in the dirt with a boneless movement.

Lara wasn't sure how she was able to move so fast but she found herself holding the barely conscious blonde. She stared up at the sky with blank eyes, not seeming to notice the handle of the barbed knife sticking out of her side. Lara noticed her trying to speak and bent her head to catch what she was slowly saying.

"I really wanted to go out... with some inspirational speech, like last time..." Buffy said very softly into her ear. "Something my friends could remember me by...." Her eyes closed. "But I'm just too tired..."

"Buffy?" Lara desperately hugged her closer. "We need to get you to a doctor..."

"Just give me a moment," she protested, eyes still closed "and then you can take the amulet and go..." Not giving Lara a chance to protest, Buffy hunched forward and reached for the knife with her right hand. "Damn, that hurts." she whispered hoarsely as she pulled it out and collapsed unconscious back into Lara's arms. Before the shocked Lara could react, her breathing stopped and the small woman seemed to shrink even further.

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-The End-

The End

You have reached the end of "The Dead Don't Walk". This story is complete.

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