WHAT BUFFY DID NEXT
Buffy and her friends belong to Mutant Enemy. I belong to the Inland Revenue.
She stood at the edge of the crater and just let it wash over her.
"There is another one in Cleveland. Not to spoil the moment."
Later there would be reaction, when what they had lost hit them. But for now they were high on what they had achieved. And that was good.
"We destroyed the mall? I fought on the wrong side."
Dumb jokes and stupid cracks, they were to be expected....
"We have a lot of work ahead of us."
people never lighten up.
And then finally a voice speaking to her specifically.
"The First is scrunched, so... what do you think we should do, Buffy?"
"Yeah, you're not the one and only chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a person. How's that feel?"
"Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?"
And she smiled. Felt a grin, as silly as theirs start to spread on her face....
And then tears. She kept smiling but tears ran down her cheeks as the grin spread and grew.
"Hey! Hey! What's with you?"
"Oh, nothing Dawnie. I was just remembering..."
"Mom." There was no doubt in Dawn's mind who was worth remembering at this moment.
"Yep. Mom. And all the others we lost."
"Jesse." That was Xander (not yet daring to speak of a greater loss perhaps) and Willow gave him a look that only they could share, for their friend who only they would now remember.
"Goddess! That first day, you and me and Jesse..."
"And the new blonde chick from LA..."
"I was remembering her too," said Buffy, wondering if the others would get it.
"Huh?" Faith didn't, obviously.
"All the Buffys that were. All the people I've been. The Buffy that came to Sunnydale, wanting to put all the craziness behind her, the Buffy that loved Angel and sent him to hell..."
"Cheerleader Buffy! Or Dirty Dancing Buffy!" Xander grinned. "Do you think we could start a line of miniatures? Collectables? In very good taste?"
"Pervert!" That came from Dawn but got agreement from all the assembled females.
"I remember..." Giles started but didn't seem to want to finish.
"Go on," Buffy encouraged him.
"I remember the girl who went to meet her death in her best dress the night of the Spring Fling. She met it and came back from it and ended the Master's reign. And we danced all night."
"Until the dawn came, Angel and I, we danced until the dawn." "
"Actually only until the incident with the bouncer..." But Buffy ignored Xander's appeal to actual facts.
"Oh, yes. I remember that night: how it felt to be that Buffy, at our first big victory. How much she still had to do. If only..."
"What?" Dawn put her arm around her sister and gave her a hug.
"It's nothing. It's just... I wish we could tell her, tell all of them, what they have to face, how far they have to come to be here, today...."
By the bus, Andrew was turning to go over to the group by the edge of the crater when a blaze of light brighter than the noon day sun appeared from nowhere and enveloped the group. When it had gone they were no longer there.
Andrew hesitated for a moment and then did what he always did in such situations. He quoted.
"I've got a bad feeling about this...."
Buffy looked down on the remains of her big Nemesis and felt, well, really, really good. Ever since she had awoken with the taste of Xander's lips on hers she had been feeling stronger, more alert, more alive than before. Vaguely, she wondered why there were bones... The Master just had to be different even in the way he dusted.
"Hey! I hear there's a dance at the Bronze tonight. Could be fun."
"Buffy?" Willow's voice was hesitant as if unsure whether she knew this new Buffy.
"Sure! We saved the world. I say we party!" She looked down at her best party dress. There were flecks of blood and dirt in places and she had red marks across her chest where the Master had clawed her. But that didn't matter. "I mean, I got all pretty."
"And what about him?" Ms Calendar nodded down at the Master.
Buffy sniffed. "He's not going anywhere. Loser."
People grabbed coats and stuff and started to head to the doors.
They tumbled out of the sudden blaze of light and into a semi lit corridor and the familiar smell of old socks and institutional cooking that fills school buildings everywhere.
Xander was already blazingly furious.
"You used the W word! I heard you! You used the W word! How.... I thought I
was the dumb one!"
"Yes, yes I know!
I knew it was a mistake the moment I said it but..."
At this point the doors of the library swung open and a group of happy, laughing people came tumbling out, headed for their victory celebration.
"So what's the story with the car?"
"Oh, that was me, saving the day!"
"Get something to drink."
"Is anybody else hungry?"
"Well, no, don't do that. Just hang...." Willow's voice petered off as she looked down the corridor to see a group of people standing staring at them.
"I'm really, really hungry," came a voice from out of sight at the back of the group.
"By the way, I really like your dress." Another speaker out of sight behind the group who by now were peering down the corridor.
"Yeah, yeah. Big hit with everyone.... Hey, will you guys get out of the way! You're blocking my...."
And as Buffy and Angel forced their way through where their friends were standing frozen with shock they suddenly saw....
An older man and a younger one, both looking the worse for wear, the younger one wearing an eye patch, surrounded by a group of good looking women. One was about their age, a willowy brunette and the others were in their early twenties and held themselves as if ready for a fight....
And then Buffy felt something she had never felt before. Something that meant...
"Do you feel.... Those two women at the front..."
"Yeah. That's what I thought...."
"Oh my GAHD!" The brunette suddenly had a huge grin on her face. "Will you... I mean, look
at you guys! You're cute!
"Faith! You're not making this easier...."
"Sorry, Dawnie! But I mean! That dress!"
The elder Buffy had her head in her hands.
"What did I do? What did I do??"
Willow gave it a moment's thought and then put her hand on the Slayer's shoulder.
"Buffy, you screwed up! I mean totally, utterly and without doubt and at the moment of triumph, you screwed the pooch."
"Thank you for that."
"What're friends for?" Willow strode forward and fixed a big grin on her face. "Hi! We're you! Is there a chance of a coffee? Any donuts?"