A BTVS/DOTD 2k Fanfic Crossover by Locathah
Timeline : Takes place shortly after season 5 episode 1 (sorry... for some reason I had written season 4 ep 1), in which Buffy slew the infamous Dracula. No Dawn, No Glory.
Summary : Even the Powers that Be can't protect mankind from itself. Civilization falls apart beneath the brunt of an unscheduled apocalypse and the Slayer finds herself struggling not only to survive, but to understand what purpose a savior has in a world that has already been lost.
Rating : R
Disclaimer : Stating the obvious but none of the characters associated with Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dawn of the Dead belong to me.
It was three in the morning when Rupert Giles received a very unexpected phone call. Not that this was unusual. As a scholar versed in legends and lore of the daemon underworld the unexpected had often been a matter of course for the aging watcher. It was actually during the rare periods of calm where he was at his worst. When every shadow failed to reveal some sinister new foe and every sewer grate remained closed without sign of something slimy and demonic that was when he truly became his most nervous and irritable. This stance, not an uncommon one among those in his profession, was based on a generally acknowledged golden rule. The quieter life was and the longer you had to wait for a new evil to show its face, the darker and more world threatening that inevitable evil tended to be. So, despite the fact that a middle of the night phone call was significantly less startling than the kind of surprise he was used to receiving, he still reacted rather harshly. One flailing fist nearly demolished the ringing contraption before his sleep muddled brain managed to identify the source as something completely inanimate and non-threatening. Picking up the handset he tried to calm himself as well as forget his embarrassment. It was all an indication of just how quiet it had been for the past three months, Dracula's demise having elevated his charge’s legend to such heights that the local vampire population was driven by fear, almost in entirety, to a quick retreat in an effort to reach places far, far away. While this had delighted Buffy, Giles had been waiting expectantly ever since for something to fill the rather large power vacuum.
"Giles?" The voice of his slayer cleared the last bit of confusion from his sleep fogged brain and he tried to wake up enough to answer what had apparently not been her first repetition of his name.
"Yes, Buffy. I do hope you aren't calling at three in the morning for anything short of an apocalypse?" He found himself complaining just for the sake of propriety. It wouldn’t do to admit that he didn’t mind being woken up at all if it resulted in his vague wariness finally receiving focus. That way lead to even more late night phone calls, many of which would undoubtedly be about more trivial matters that he would probably regret hearing of, generally a slippery slope best avoided if one wanted to ever manage a decent night’s rest.
"Would a head pounding skull breaking vision be sufficient?" He could hear it now - the slight shaking in her normally confidant voice – and if she was spooked then they really did have something to worry about. He forced his voice to remain calm. Letting her know that the idea of a new threat finally surfacing both excited and relieved him probably wouldn’t be considered the wisest course of action..
"Buffy are you saying that you received a Slayer Dream of such intensity that it caused you physical pain? This is important now Buffy, has this ever happened before?"
"Yes but without the British librarian speak and no, normally my head isn't on the verge of exploding afterward. Isn't this the point where you ask me how the worlds going to end?"
"Dear lord, you did see an apocalypse? Really, I was only joking…" A nasty daemon setting up shop on the hell mouth would have been far more palatable.
"Well, no, not exactly."
If he'd had his glasses on Giles would have taken them off to clean them at this point out of vexation. His hand had actually reached up to do so before he noticed the absence. Sometimes getting information from his young charge was like pulling teeth "Buffy…"
"It was more of a … you know, on second thought, I don't want to do this more than once. Why don't you go get Xander and I'll go get Willow and then we can all meet back at your place. 'Kay? 'Kay."
"Are you sure this can't wait until a more civilized hour?" He made sure his voice sounded annoyed. Again, best not to encourage them or he’d never get a full night of sleep again.
"Giles were you not listening? Skull breaking. Pay attention! Besides I already tried going back to sleep and it didn't work."
"Buffy just because you have insomnia doesn't mean…" He began only to be interrupted.
"Oh. I got back to sleep. No problem." Buffy replied bitterly.
"Then what was the problem?"
"It started out as Skull throbbing. Skull breaking was the punishment for being lazy."
"Oh dear. Well in that case I'll be sure to make Xander get a box of donuts on the way back." He’d almost hung up before the discrepancy in one of her earlier statements finally registered and he put the receiver back to his ear. "Did you say you had to get Willow? Isn't she in your dorm with you?"
"Er. No. She's… elsewhere. But I know which elsewhere so that's not a problem as I can make that elsewhere herewhere so then…"
"She's with Tara. Right then. We’ll bring a couple of extra donuts."
Hanging up the phone he fumbled for his glasses and grabbed something casual to wear, dialing Xander’s number at the same time. The world was probably on the verge of ending again, from the sounds of things. Armageddon and Mayhem might be just around the corner and whatever higher beings were responsible for Buffy's callings were so frantic they were actually metaphysically nagging her to do something and do it immediately.
Giles felt more at peace than he had in weeks.
"So let me get this straight. You're getting blinding, 911, Red Alert the Klingons are coming, visions of dire warning but instead of an open hell mouth or an army of daemons all you’re seeing is one lousy scientist?" No one could ever put things in quite the same perspective Xander did and Buffy couldn't help but agree with him.
"Pretty much. Well, there aren’t any aliens or the phone call but someone was definitely swinging a sledgehammer inside my head. Oh! And there’s more than one scientist but the rest come across like background scenery." She answered.
"Did it show the scientist here?" This comment came from the only person in the group who had ever been a daemon. Buffy didn't really understand Anya, or rather she did but her conclusions concerning the Ex-Daemon always ended up leaving her very, very confused. For example she knew the next words out of her mouth would be something utterly selfish, but predictable and logical in her case did not go hand in hand. "Because if it did then perhaps we should all be somewhere else. Soon. Like now. Xander go steal your parents car and their money."
Good old Anya. She was kind of like a cockroach Buffy decided. Except… not quite so yucky. If she had to bet on someone managing to live through an apocalypse it would have to be Anya. Of course Xander just stared at her like she was nuts while Willow sent a dirty look in her direction. Buffy was fairly sure that Willow still considered Anya to be significantly below Xander’s potential standards. Willow was biased though. Xander had dated a mummy and a giant preying mantas, and if that wasn’t bad enough he’d even gone out with Cordelia. As far as Buffy was concerned Anya was the cream of that particular crop.
"Xander. Now. When the Powers that Be hit the panic button you don't stick around and wait for the world to blow up!" Anya shook her head in disgust. "Car. Money. Now!"
"Anya don't you think you might be over-reacting just a little bit?" Willow patronized, "This is what, our, umpteenth apocalypse? And what do you mean 'Powers'"
"Well where did you think her visions came from? Bad takeout?" Anya responded with exasperation.
"I think, Anya, what Willow is asking is who exactly the Powers that Be are." Giles interjected. Buffy had to admit she was getting kind of curious herself. It'd be nice to know who to beat up as a thank you for the fact that her brain still felt like it was trying to get out through her eyeballs. She was fairly sure that brains were supposed to stay put right where they were. Unless she was extracting them from daemons with the aid of a sledgehammer but that was an entirely different issue – one which was much more entertaining than her current skull splitting status.
"Oh my God. Are you all stupid?" Anyone other than Anya would have stirred up some hard feelings with that comment. With Anya it was just par for the course and they were all too numb to her unequaled bluntness to care. "You run around saving the world and you don’t even know who your boss is?"
"You know," Buffy felt required to interrupt here. "I don't recall having a boss because, hey, if I do I'd love to make a couple of complaints. Bad hours, no pay, no vacation time…"
"The Powers that Be are the goody two shoes of the metaphysical world. They manipulate champions to try and keep the balance, or as mortals might put it to keep everything from getting sucked into one of a large variety of hell dimensions." Despite her annoyance it was obvious that Anya was loving being the smart one. Not that Buffy cared but she could see Willow debating between excitement at the information and annoyance at the source as her facial expression moved back and forth between the two mindsets until the little red-headed witch ended up just looking likes she'd eaten something sour.
"So why don't they talk to me directly." Buffy asked. Anya was right on one account, she’d rarely if ever considered the possibility that there was some reachable higher being directing her movements. She really didn’t like the idea. She liked it even less that they weren’t up front about it.
"These are higher powers Buffy. Manipulating the universe and all that. If you were playing a million games of chess at once would you stop to have a chat with one of the pawns or just move the damn thing and check out the next board?"
"Well, this is nice," Giles interrupted. "Under other circumstances I'd be fascinated Anya but it doesn't tell us why you're so scared by this one dream. A dream which fails to depict an apocalypse no less." Giles had that look in his eyes. Like he wanted to pick up a musty old book and solve all their problems. Buffy could see the first signs of frustration and knew that the glasses would be coming off any minute now. Actually she herself was twirling a stake in one hand but that was entirely different. Really. She was just being prepared should a vampire appear unexpectedly. Not that the vampire would be able to get past the front door but hey, it never hurt to be prepared.
"But you said that they hit her twice. Right. The old one two?" Anya asked with furrowed eyebrows.
"Well yes," Giles admitted, though obviously not sure what he was admitting to exactly. "When she went back to sleep she received another…"
"Dreams with blinding headaches?" Anya prompted.
Giles scowled in frustration. "As she said…"
"Well that's it then!" Anya exclaimed standing up and grabbing Xander only to fall back to the couch when jerking on his arm didn't have the desired results. "Come on. Please. I'm too young to die. I'm not even quite sure how old I am anymore but I know I'm definitely too young to die. Don't you understand? The Powers don't DO that. Slayer dreams are old news but they never ever, ever give headaches and they don't double page her. It just isn't done. That's sounds like a panic button to me people and I say we get with the panicking all ready."
"And daemons know everything there is to know about Slayer dreams?" Scoffed Willow. She was obviously starting to get Anya's point though as shown by the hand now tightly gripping that of her very silent girl friend.
"Actually Willow daemons do have an extensive tendency to gossip and the Slayer, as their resident boogey man, has always been one of their favorite topics. Unless a Slayer kept the existence of such a dream strictly to themselves then its inevitable that its existence would leak back to the daemon world." Giles explained.
"See!?" Anya exclaimed in triumph only to have her elation quickly give way to a frown. "Wait. I don’t think I want to be right about this. Do I?"
"But that does not, however, mean that we should panic." Giles finished.
"I don't know Giles." Buffy said after a moment of silence. "When gods panic, that's never good."
Xander spoke up in an inappropriately optimistic tone given the thumping in her head. "Well why don't we solve this problem instead of talking about how bad it is. Buffster, are you sure there wasn't anything useful in the dream. Like a name? Maybe even a phone number?"
"Xander it was a Slayer dream, not a little black book. All I saw were lots of initiative style mad scientists, some blue gas, and a slightly too lively for comfort corpse strapped to a table. A 411 was completely lacking." She was a little disgusted with the whole thing herself. It would probably be just about as useful as the last Slayer dream she received. That being, not at all, and having meaning only after it was far too late.
"Well." Willow's girlfriend had till then remained typically silent during the entire conversation. "Maybe we should ask the Powers for c-c-clarification?"
"Are you suggesting we try to contact the beings that give out these visions and simply… ask… for them to please be a little bit more specific?" Giles scoffed and Buffy sent a frown his way. She didn't like the way he'd said that and obviously Willow didn't either as she had initiated that stubborn defensive posture she'd developed. Tara on the other hand looked like she'd been slapped. Giles was too busy cleaning his glasses to even notice.
"I like it!" Oblivious to the subtle undertones Xander shattered the moment. "I'm sure when an omnipotent being told Moses to part the red sea he was probably NOT struck down when he turned around and asked where and when." Everyone just looked at him in shock. "What? I watched the movie when I was five."
Giles shook his head and replaced his glasses. Buffy wondered how long they'd stay there. "Xander you can't just…"
"Yes you can." Anya interrupted matter-of-factly. Odd, selfish and disturbingly blunt as Anya was, Buffy had to admit that she obviously had her uses.
"See!" Grinned Xander. "Go me! Actually go Tara!"
Tara smiled shyly at the praise.
"Well you can't actually talk to them but you can talk to their people. Sort of like asking for a meeting with their lawyers." Continued Anya. "All you have to do is find one of the designated locations, bring a tribute, and question their duly appointed representatives. I hear they tend to look down on you a bit for being lowly mortal beings but its their job to give clarification to champions so they aren't about to turn you away. They might tell you to figure it out yourself but, hey, with a panic button situation I really doubt it. Can we flee in terror now that we've helped Xander?"
"No." His word sounded bland and not particularly impressed by this latest threat.
Anya slumped back on the couch and pouted.
The phone rang and Giles jumped as if it had caught him completely unprepared and he had expected it to attack him. He mumbled something under his breath before picking it up and wandering into the kitchen.
"A Jamba daemon?" Anya said spitefully. "Can't even tell a phone from a Jamba daemon and he expects to save the world?"
"Um. Honey. What's a Jenga daemon?" Xander asked, probably to stop her before she got started on a rant.
"Maybe it’s a daemon that doesn't do anything but sit around and play that game all day?" Willow commented enthusiastically.
"Do you think they're sore losers?" Buffy added just to see the exasperation in Anya's face escalate.
"What are you all talking about? A Jamba is a daemon with a voice that sounds distinctly like the shrill ringing of a… oh never mind. This is useless."
Several minutes of silence followed while they all waited tensely for Giles to finish what sounded like an increasingly agitated conversation.
"That was the council." Giles stated solemnly as he walked back into the room.
"The same council that fired you and from which I very thoroughly quit? I thought they weren't talking to us. I liked it better that way." Buffy joked. Giles though seemed to have misplaced his funny bone.
"Yes. Normally they wouldn’t want anything more to do with us but apparently even they can decide to bury the hatchet when every single book, scroll and post-it note that contains an unfulfilled prophecy suddenly bursts into flame. I think Anya was right. Whatever is going on now obviously involves some kind of apocalypse.
"Ooh I'm so confused." Anya Muttered but Buffy's sensitive hearing managed to make it out. "Should I be happy that I was right or in mortal terror because the world is ending and I'm no longer daemon enough to enjoy it? Decisions. Decisions."
"Ok. Here's a question. How do we stop it. Did they give you a hint?" Willow asked.
"No. I informed them of the details of Buffy's Slayer dream but they have no idea as to the source of the problem. They will be checking into it but I believe that whatever we were being warned about has already happened. The prophecies self destructed exactly one hour after you phoned me Buffy. Obviously whatever occurred was completely unexpected even by these ‘powers’ and only at the last minute did they realize fate was slipping out of their grasp."
"So they really did hit the panic button and the dreams they sent me were a last ditch effort to stop the world from ending because they didn't have any better ideas?" Buffy turned to Willow and tried to keep the look of mortification off of her face. She didn’t get the impression she was being very successful. She’s spent at least half of an hour just nursing her pounding head and meanwhile the world had come to a screeching halt. "Why am I suddenly feeling really guilty? Oh yah, that’s because the world is going to end and I didn’t even try to stop it."
"Actually Buffy according to the council your dream wasn't an isolated event. Reports have been coming in of seers receiving visions worldwide. Most of the weaker seers apparently died from the intensity and even the stronger ones were given little useful information. Scientists performing an experiment was a common theme. One in ten managed to receive images of the dead though you were apparently the first to pick up on a blue gas. Several, however, mentioned images of what appeared to be zombies. Buffy, whatever happened probably occurred someplace very far away from here and well outside your sphere of influence."
Anya deflated. "Worldwide. So we can't just run away then?" Then she brightened. "Hey. Who wants to take a trip to the dimension without shrimp? I know this guy who's really good with portals. I haven't seen him for a hundred years but he's very fond of Rome so he shouldn’t be too hard to find."
Everyone simply looked at her until she deflated again and quickly moved straight through to apparent depression.
"Anya." Buffy decided it was time to start really acting like the world was about to end. "Can you find out how we get a line to these Powers you were talking about?"
"Sure. I know some people who know some people. It might take a couple of days though."
"Fine. Tell us if you have any luck. Giles, you'll keep talking to the council? Normally this is where you'd go for the musty books but…"
"Yes I imagine a portion of my collection has probably turned to ash as well. Actually I need to check on that. The prophecies are kept isolated so the rest of the collection should be fine but - good lord if something was put back in the wrong spot…"
"Yes. That's what I worry about during the apocalypse too. Book burnings." Xander quipped.
"Meanwhile," Buffy continued "I'll just go beat up some daemons until they tell me something useful."
"And if that doesn't work?" Ventured Tara.
"If that doesn't work I'll phone Angel and see what he's got." With that she grabbed her coat, tucked an extra couple of stakes in her pockets, and headed for the door.