: 15; some violence and language.Disclaimer
: Anything you recognize is owned by someone other than me. Joss Whedon owns Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The Stargate franchise is owned by MGM and a lot of people that are not me. I just own a part of the plot. Spoilers
: Total Buffy; Stargate Atlantis, early Season 3, circa 2007. Includes some elements of Buffy Season 8 and starts about three years after. Starts post 'Misbegotten' for Atlantis.Summary
: When Earth is culled, a few survivors are offered a second chance. A chance to live or a chance to die. Will they take it? Or will they descend into darkness? This is the one chance for Buffy's vengeance, because without it, the deaths of all on Earth would mean nothing.Notes
: This idea came to me after reading Challenge 4293. While this challenge inspired the story, this story does not follow the challenge. This story is also technically an alternate universe/alternate dimension story. Warning: major character death(s) in the first chapter.>~<
PrologueWhere am I?
The thought crossed her head, even as eyes opened up to narrow beams of light. It was warm and inviting, even if, deep down, she knew they were in trouble. Somewhere in the back of her fuzzy mind, she remembered the brilliant flashes of light. She didn’t remember anything after.
She drew in a breath and tried to move. When she found she couldn’t, instinct took over. No matter how warm and comforting, it wasn’t right.
She forced her eyes open and tried to move her head from left to right. It wouldn’t budge. Something was holding her in. Something foul
that felt like thick, rotten things and smelled as bad.
Now she felt claustrophobic.
She bit back a cry as she tried to move her arms from where they lay at her sides. Her finger curled first before she pushed them forward. When she touched the slimy exterior holding her in, she recoiled in disgust. But she had to free herself. She scratched, she clawed and she tore at the thick webbing until she felt the rush of cold air. It only spurned her to try harder, ignoring the fact that her heart rate was climbing dangerously high and that her senses were on overdrive.
When she could shift her body to better rip the webbing apart, she felt the handle of a knife against her back and reached back, pulling the blade clear. She then used the knife to slash through the webbing, struggling to break free.
At last, the squelching, sticky web gave way and Buffy felt herself plummeting to a hard, metal floor. She groaned as she hit the deck, her knife skidding across the smooth surface as she pushed herself to her knees.
Again with the question – where was she? She eyed the small space she had come from and found it to be more of a cocoon than a straightjacket. There were dozens of them in the corridor.Think, Buffy, think.
She had to figure out where everyone was. She vaguely remembered someone being pushed into a ditch and recalled dark hair. Had that been Kennedy? Was Willow with her when the lights flashed overhead and she was knocked out? And what about…?
“Dawn?” Buffy murmured, reaching for the knife and scrambling to her feet. She launched herself at the nearest cocoon, hacking away at the disgustingly sticky material until a face was barely visible. The prisoner inside was male and his eyes were closed, a serene look of utter calm on his face. Buffy stepped back, tapping the knife uncertainly against her leg. She was going to have to open all of these if she wanted to find her sister, or Willow, or any one of the Slayers that were in New York.
The sunny field they had been picnicking on seemed so far away.
She moved to the next cocoon and to the next. The next. The next. There was no Dawn. She didn’t recognize any of these people. And there were so many. At the end of the row, she finally cut a hole and pulled the webbing away, trying in vain to pull the sticky material from her fingertips.
Inside, at last, was a familiar face. Eyes that were a little too bright gazed sightlessly at her, unfazed by the rush of cool oxygen.
Distinct footsteps sounded nearby. Buffy felt her sharp inhale of breath as she gazed desperately into Vi’s blank face. “Wake up,” she pleaded. “I need you to wake up
.” As she spoke the last bit, she backhanded the slayer across the face. Vi seemed to break out of the trace, blinking uncertainly as she pulled her head back up.
“Buffy?” she asked in confusion. And then she took note of her surroundings. “Oh.”
“We need to get out of here,” Buffy said, stepping back and looking over her shoulder. A row of unfamiliar faces in various stages of unconsciousness, none of which would help their situation out any. “Can you get free?”
“Trying.” Vi was already clawing at the webbing, even as Buffy handed her the knife. A moment later, Vi stumbled out of the cocoon, cringing as she pulled oozing membranes off of her clothes. “This is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Tell me about it,” Buffy said, taking back to her knife and stripping the thick purple cords off of Vi’s back. “We need to find the others. Do you remember anyone else?”
Vi’s eyes narrowed in concentration. “Rowena and Leah, I think. And Dawn.”
“Dawn,” Buffy said, her focus falling back on her troublesome sister. “There’s another row of these behind this one.”
“Break as many open as you can and find them,” Buffy said urgently. She held out the knife, even as Vi pulled one from her ankle strap.
The two rounded a corner, passing what looked like a large room. As they did, Vi looked back. “Buffy?” she asked in a hushed tone. The older slayer turned to her, even as Vi pointed inside. “Wasn’t Dawn wearing a blue dress?”
shoes,” Buffy huffed. She turned back to see what Vi was pointing at.
The knife clattered to the metal floor.
“Find the others,” Buffy whispered, voice suddenly drained of all emotion, energy.
“Buffy,” Vi said, her tone more of a whimper.
“We need the others,” Buffy whispered. “Go.” She felt Vi scamper off, footsteps receding. She walked slowly into the room, feeling as though the world moved in slow motion, as in a dream.
A figure wearing her new shoes and Dawn’s blue dress was on one of the metal tables. But this person couldn’t be Dawn. Dawn didn’t have white hair and she didn’t look one hundred and sixty years old. Her skin wasn’t that white and wrinkled and old-lady-like…
Buffy reached down and pulled a frail wrist into her hand, gazing down at Dawn’s tennis bracelet with the loopy italicized writing identifying the woman on the table as Dawn Summers.
ancient Dawn Summers.
Buffy clapped a hand over her mouth in horror even as she dropped the wrist and took a step backwards.
She was struggling to breathe when Vi returned, a taller, redheaded slayer at her side. “I found Leah,” she said, panting with exertion, knife clutched tightly in her hand.
The other slayer took one look inside the room and gasped; there were bodies stretched on metal tables from one end of the room to the other, twelve in all. “Buffy?”
Buffy opened her mouth to reply when she heard footsteps coming towards them. She pulled herself out of her shock for a moment and turned away from the gruesome scene. Leah and Vi were staring in one direction just as two solid bodies appeared. But they were not like any demon she had ever seen. They wore masks over their faces in the same hideous, putrid material that they had been cocooned in. They were pulling out weapons, even as Vi and Leah stepped away from her. They weren’t stupid slayers; they knew what was coming.
The battle was over in seconds. Both were fast enough to get out of the way of whatever bullets were fired at them. Both girls double-teamed on one while Buffy charged out of the room to take on the other. Even as aggression nearly overwhelmed her, Buffy turned back to the room. “Get their weapons.” As she walked inside, she saw Leah and Vi out of the corner of her eye pulling weapons from the two dead demons.
She had just started unbinding Dawn when she heard another familiar voice calling her name.
“Buffy.” Willow’s voice was strained and her brown eyes were tear-filled and red-rimmed. She was also tied to the table with straps and looked absolutely terrified. “Buffy, I’m so glad to see you!”
“Are you alright?” Buffy asked as she approached Willow, eyeing the restraints warily.
Willow shook her head, her eyes widening. She looked up as the other two slayers ran into the room, arms full of strange-looking guns and knives. “Buffy, Dawn’s dead.”
Just hearing the words drove it home. Buffy struggled to hold her calm façade for a moment, even as her voice betrayed her. “I know.”
“I’m so, so sorry,” Willow murmured, tears spilling over. “I—I wasn’t awake, but when I…” Her gaze went to the floor. Buffy followed her eyes and saw a sword lying beneath one of the tables. “What they did to her,” she said as Buffy walked over to another body. She recognized the fair hair and Rowena’s boots. She didn’t take her eyes off the body as she pulled the sword off the ground. “All because she was trying to protect Dawnie.”
“What did they do?” Buffy asked in a hushed voice.
“They—they suck out the life from you with their hands,” Willow replied, her voice trembling as she struggled with her emotions. “They’re not demons, Buff. They’re—they’re something else.”
“Whatever they are, we’ll stop them,” Buffy said simply. If only she could believe her own words. After what they had done to Dawnie and Rowena, things had just become a lot less simple. And less simple meant more bloody. She chanced a look at the other two slayers and saw the determination in their gazes.
“Buffy, you don’t understand,” Willow replied tearfully. “What they did to me, what they put inside
me... I don’t know if I can control it.” Her body shook, as if suddenly overcome by a tremor and her eyes closed painfully. “These are ships, real ships. And since I lost my center on Earth, the only thing I have left is this. They’re organic. And there are hundreds of them, all on Earth and all…” She trailed off as she looked away.
Buffy understood. After what Willow had said about sucking the life from a body and from what she had seen of Dawn, it made sense. But that would mean—
“Whatever is left of home, whatever they left behind… it’s gone,” Willow finally said, blinking back tears. “Everyone we love, everyone we tried to help, they’re all gone.”
This wasn’t happening. Not now. Not ever.
“Willow,” Buffy said, her voice carefully controlled as her overwhelming emotions were pushed away. “We need to get you off this ship.”
“You don’t understand,” Willow replied. “I—I can’t go. I’m dying.”
“No, you’re not.”
“If I die, this ship dies, along with every single alien on it,” Willow said fiercely. “Don’t you see? It’s the only way!”
“I can’t lose you too,” Buffy replied, feeling tears threaten, no matter how hard she tried to push it back, no matter how hard she tried to hold on.
“I’m already gone,” Willow replied softly. She turned her gaze away and focused on one of the walls. “You have to get out.”
“What about everyone else?” Vi asked, her voice echoing in the large room.
“There’s no time,” Willow replied, her gaze turning grim.
“Willow, what are you—“ Buffy never got the chance to finish. She felt the energy as it flowed out of Willow as easily as she saw the explosion of blue light fill the room, knocking Vi and Leah off of their feet. The blue light cast ghastly shadows over the room, even as Buffy stared at the shimmering light.
Buffy turned back to Willow. “I won’t leave you!”
“We can’t both die here,” Willow replied. “Not when there’s still a chance.”
“I don’t care!” Buffy replied. “I don’t leave anyone behind. Not…” Her voice trailed off as her eyes scanned Dawn’s body.
“You have to go,” Willow said tearfully.
“I’m not—“ Buffy began, only to be cut off by Vi’s shriek.
The blonde slayer could only watch as the shimmering circle of light began shrinking.
“The ship—it’s too strong. It’s fighting back,” Willow murmured from behind her. “I—I can’t hold this forever.”
Buffy eyed her reflection in the shimmering pool, staring at her face with large eyes, filled with shock and horror. If Willow can take us back, then we can make sure this will never happen.
“Buffy!” This time it was Leah’s frightened yell.
“Go,” Buffy whispered in a deadened voice. “Both of you, go.” She saw them exchange a look. “I’ll be right behind you.”
They didn’t need to be told twice. They both ran through the shrinking portal of light and disappeared, leaving Buffy and Willow alone. In the distance, Buffy heard approaching footsteps.
“In a minute, this portal will collapse,” Willow said, her tone weaker now. “And the Wraith will burst in here and kill us both.” She looked at Buffy, pleadingly. “Both of us can’t die here. You can still make a difference.”
“This isn’t fair,” Buffy said urgently. She knew that they didn’t always have the best relationship. The battle with the First had tested them in ways unimaginable and they had lost a lot of their closeness during that time. But, underneath it all, Willow was her best friend and she was going to watch her best friend die.
“Buffy,” Willow pleaded. “There’s no time.”
The shimmering light was almost gone now.
“I don’t want you to be alone,” Buffy replied stubbornly.
Willow suddenly smiled, her eyes shining sadly. “It’s okay, Buff. I’m going to be okay. It’ll all be over soon. You need to be the survivor I know you are or else Earth is gone for nothing.”
Buffy felt the determination return as she looked to the portal, now little more than a small circle of light. “Good luck, Will,” she mumbled as she ran forward, diving through the portal of light.
As she landed hard on the floor, she thought she heard a triumphant shriek and felt an energy wave. The sword that had been in her hand bounced from her grasp and landed a foot away.
She looked up to see a pair of boots advancing on her. Her gaze traveled up the legs and she felt a feeling of dread at the familiar, snarling face. She stretched for the sword, wrapping her fingers around the hilt just as a boot landed hard on the metal. She heard Leah gasp behind her and heard Vi’s steady breathing. Only a quick glance showed her that both girls had been pulled to their feet and were surrounded by other aliens, all of them looking as menacing as the one pinning her sword to the ground.
She turned her wrist, wrenching the sword from underneath the alien. It stumbled back a few steps when she leapt up and tackled it, driving her sword through its armor and into its chest. Vi and Leah used the distraction to attack their aliens, dodging gunfire as they used sheer, physical Slayer-type force to knock down their attackers.
Buffy got to her feet, pulling the sword from the chest armor and holding it up into the light. Then, seeing the growing mass of shadows at the end of the hall, she turned to the others with a twinkle in her eye before turning and leading the charge on.
She was going to kill them all for bringing this onto them.~ ~A/N
: Chalk this up to watching a few late night syndicated episodes and getting inspired. I'm adding myself to the list of authors who need to shoot themselves in the foot for starting something else when they've got a nice plate full already. But I'm a sucker for survivor Buffy stories. Hope you like the beginning and I hope to update soon.