Legal Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and all characters belong to Joss Whedon, Fox, UPN and the WB. The Dead Zone
and all characters belong to Shawn & Michael Piller, Stephen King, Lion's Gate Television and USA Network. No profit is being made off of this and no copyright infringement is intended.A/N about this story:
A sequel to Real
. Takes place BTVS post-S7 "Chosen" and DZ post-S4 "Vanguard." (Thanks for all the great feedback).
Ev-o-lu-tion (ev¡¯loo¨shen) [noun]
1. One set of prescribed movements.
2. The action or instance of forming or giving something off.
3. The theory that groups of organisms change with passage of time, mainly as a result of natural selection and necessity, so that descendants differ morphologically and physiologically from their ancestors. 1: Losing Battle
Johnny Smith sat in a chair in his basement, glaring at a bulletin board littered with images and news clippings about one single subject: the end of the world. He stared at the pictures of Greg Stillson and those affiliated with him with growing disgust. This wall – the Armageddon wall – reflected the crowded, confused and incomplete state of his mind.
It had been nearly three years since he first received the infamous psychic vision predicting the coming apocalypse. And every day since then he has never been able to pry himself from it. But it seemed like every moment he got closer and closer to saving the world – Stillson somehow took it all away from him again. All that was left at the end of this day was this confused psychic musing in front of the Armageddon wall, adding one more broken piece of the dire puzzle.
Johnny’s eyes found the face of a new addition to the wall – the face of his now deceased former science student prodigy, Alex Connors. After receiving a vision linking Alex’s new invention to the end of the world, Johnny unwillingly told him about Stillson and Armageddon. Alex then sacrificed himself to protect his technology and the world from what could be.
Only hours had passed since Alex’s funeral and Johnny found himself back here with a heavy, bitter heart. For the good of the world, at least it may have put Johnny one step ahead. But in his heart, he wished that he had never told Alex the future. Another thought passed through his mind – Rebecca.
Rebecca Caldwell had become the closest thing that Johnny had to “moving on” after waking up from his coma and realizing that he had lost the love of his life, Sarah, to destiny and another man. It had been the most serious relationship outside of Sarah that he had in over ten years. The one mistake that he made was to tell Rebecca why he was so obsessed with Greg Stillson and her murdered sister, Rachel Caldwell. Armageddon. His destiny to save mankind.
Rebecca, like any caring person, took the most drastic step. She bought a gun, traveled to Washington and was moments away from assassinating Stillson and getting herself killed when Johnny stormed in and stopped the situation. Rebecca and Stillson were both saved, but not Rebecca’s romance with Johnny, which ended that day when she decided to return to her normal life. That was something that Johnny didn’t have the luxury of returning to.
The fact is neither Rebecca nor Alex, nor could the only other person who knew the truth – his best friend, Bruce Lewis – truly understand the weight of the world. How could someone with so much to do have so little power to do it?
Johnny sighed, running his hands back through his blonde hair, and closed his blue eyes, shutting out Armageddon – but never completely. In the darkness he thought angrily and enviously.
Some superhero he was. He didn’t really have any power. Not that of a politician or well-known reverend. The only thing he was well-known for is being a freak. He wished that he could have the power to stop Stillson, to save the world, to save his friends, and to save his son, J.J.
But the truth was cruel and simple. Even if the world was not destroyed, everyone he cared about – in one way or another – would pay. His destiny was final: to be alone.
Johnny opened his eyes as a gleam of light caught his attention. He gazed at the Armageddon wall curiously at a piece of the puzzle which he had never seen before. He stood up from the chair and walked over to the wall, eyeing an object dangling from a push pin. It was a simple silver cross a little less than three inches long, that hung from a silver chain. He was sure he’d never seen it before – but how did it get on the board?
He reached out for the cross, but hesitated briefly before making contacts. Johnny stared at the cross ominously for a few moments, considering the things he might find. He then reached out and made contact, triggering a vision. A young, petite woman with blonde hair collapsed on the floor, her neck covered in blood. Behind her, an old painting of a crowded town square with bright vivid colors stuck in Johnny’s mind. The woman on the floor looked up at Johnny helplessly, her green eyes flashing with fear as she lost consciousness and died.
Johnny jumped as he dropped the cross on the ground and stared at it in fear. He reached up for his neck and swallowed hard as he bent down and picked the necklace up by the chain and gazed at it in confusion.
Johnny paced around his living room as Bruce sat on his couch, flipping through an art history book. “Thanks for coming again, Bruce,” Johnny declared. “I really appreciate it.”
“Hey, man, you call me in the middle of the night in my deepest of sleep,” Bruce answered as he continued to scan through the pages, “of course I’m gonna come over.” He sighed, “Besides, sleep is overrated.”
“Coffee?” John offered with a hint of guilt.
“No, thanks,” he replied. “Now you said you saw a girl dying in front of this painting?”
Johnny nodded, crossing his arms as he came to a still stand, “Yeah. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. She was so scared and confused…” He pushed the horror of her death out of his mind momentarily. “We have to find her.”
“And how did her necklace randomly pop up in your house?”
“Not sure,” Johnny said, shaking his head. “It’s literally like I closed my eyes and it was there.”
Bruce shook his head. “That’s impossible, Johnny. Not unless you’ve undertaken the supreme power of teleporting.” He turned the page as a color picture sprang up at him. “Got it. Is this what you saw?” He lifted up the picture of the painting and Johnny recognized it instantly.
“Manet’s La Musique aux Tuileries,” he declared. “A classic.” Bruce opened his laptop and typed the information into a search engine. “Found it,” Bruce said a few moments later, then paused with a curious expression. “Johnny, this painting’s in L.A. right now. If the painting and the necklace are linked, how could it have gotten here?”
Johnny shook his head as he stared at the crowd of the painting. “I’m not sure,” he answered with uncertainty.
Bruce shook his head with a defeated sigh, full of confusion. He then shrugged and stated sarcastically, “Well, it’s only 2000 miles away…”
Johnny turned away from the computer with a dark expression, “So are our answers.”
The moon glittered down over Sunnydale Park as Buffy Summers sat tiredly on a park bench with a grim expression. She kept her white raincoat around her for warmth as she stared hopelessly at a carousel next to a jungle-gym which was littered with flowers, cards, lit candles and crosses – a makeshift memorial to two deceased children.
Buffy inhaled the night air fragilely, but then felt a comfort as she heard a familiar voice. “There’s something wrong,” her friend told her with an inquisitive tone. She looked over at the blonde, tanned, late-thirties man sitting beside her in his black leather jacket and his silver-headed cane resting beside him. His blue eyes bore a hole into her soul as they always did. Staring at them she felt a great consolation and warmth from within her heart.
“Am I that obvious?” Buffy asked with a half-smile.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” he answered.
She smiled, turning away and shaking her head. “That’s never a problem.” She stared at the altar of gifts as she mused within herself. “You’re right. Something isn’t right.”
“That’s just the problem,” she answered, turning to him. “I don’t know what it is. I just feel… like something is wrong.”
“On the inside?” he asked curiously. “Or the out?”
She turned her gentle face towards him, her blonde hair framing her soft, lost features as she quietly replied, “Both.” He gazed at her with deep concern as he turned his body towards her, giving her more than full attention. Buffy sighed, “Ever since I came back from Heaven… I knew there was no way I could ever feel as whole as I did then. I’ve come to terms with that. But now… I feel even more incomplete than before. Something really is missing, but I have no idea what it is.”
“Are things okay with Dawn?” he suggested.
“Her grades are great and she’s not stealing anything,” Buffy answered, receiving a semi-amused look from her companion before his expression turned serious. Buffy understood his expression and sobered her own. “She’s happy,” she explained. “I’m there for her.”
“And your friends?”
“When they’re not busy doing other things,” Buffy answered. “I’m right there.” A few moments of silence passed between them as Buffy listened to the crickets that hid in the blades of dark grass of the park around them.
“Are you really?” he asked. She turned to him and knew she could not avoid explanation.
Hesitantly, she began, “I don’t understand it. More and more I feel further and further away from my friends and my sister.”
He responded, “It’s not because you’re the only one.”
“I know,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s not that. It’s… beyond that. Beyond being the… or, a Slayer.” The words faded away as she stared out at the park setting, her eyes fixated on the low-hanging moon.
“What are you afraid of, Buffy?” he asked her, flat out.
She turned to him, stunned, but considered her answer for a few moments. Buffy replied, “What if… it’s not done? What if everything I’ve done has been for nothing?”
“I thought you told me it was finished.”
“But what if it’s not? What if we made it worse?” Buffy continued to mull over it, her eyes getting wide with worry. “What if everything my friends and I have ever done has been for a future that doesn’t exist? What if there’s something that we just… can’t stop?” She sighed, summing up simply, “What if it’s not over?”
“It’s not,” he replied simply. His statement was so cold and simple it chilled her to the bone. She turned to him in confusion as slowly, memories started coming back to her. The fire.
Buffy slowly stood up from the bench, staring down at him, perplexed. “You…” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “You… showed me.” He stared up at her, unmoving as she shook her head. “You’re… trying to tell me… What? I-I don’t understand…”
He came to a stand and stared directly into her eyes. “I need you.”
Fear gripped her heart as the violent, bloody images crept into her mind. She breathed, “Those people…”
“You don’t have to stop this,” he declared.
“Yes, I do,” Buffy exclaimed, tears brimming as she struggled to catch her breath. “If I don’t, who else will?”
He grabbed her by the forearms and gazed into her fiercely with desire. “I will,” he replied. “You’re not alone. I’ll protect you.” Buffy stared at him in a trance as he leaned down and kissed her gently. A blood-curdling scream ripped through her mind. She saw a blonde, chiseled man with a strong jaw in an expensive suit leaning over a desk with the Presidential Seal on it. In the next instant she saw the Washington Monument consumed with flames. The final image in her mind was the President gazing up at a fiery sky covered in a wash of blood with a maniacal smile twisting his face. A demonic, ebony color covered both eyes completely.
Buffy’s green eyes popped open with a horrified gasp as she realized that she was standing alone on the sidewalk of the park. She looked around from side to side but her friend was nowhere to be found. After the pain in her head subsided, she suddenly felt a numbing sting on the left side of her neck. She felt a tingle of warm liquid drip down her shoulder as she reached up and touched the source. When she looked down at her hand, she saw her own blood drip from her fingers.
Buffy’s eyes lifted from the sight of her blood to see her friend standing near a tree a few meters away. However he was now without his cane and dressed in a simple blue t-shirt and jeans. He gazed at her in wide-eyed horror as if he’d never seen her before as she lost consciousness and collapsed on the sidewalk.
Johnny gasped as his eyes opened revealing the ceiling of the Smith Library. He sat straight up from the chair with the book of artwork that Bruce had left for him lying on his chest. Disturbed, Johnny struggled to regain his composure from the horridly vivid nightmare.
The woman had stared straight at him as if she could see him. As if she knew him. That had never happened… except for once that he could recall. He looked at the time – it was 3:07 in the morning. He reached for the telephone on the desk and began to dial…