Location: Sunnydale Library A comet-trail of white cloud followed the missile that had just been launched, the helicopter banked left to avoid the twin blasts fired by the crescent-shaped ship. One of the blasts missed altogether and went on to slam into a nondescript building next to the local bank, but the second glanced off the helicopter.
As the allied aircraft spun through the sky, the helicopter missile shot towards the ground. Buffy looked back up and saw it soar over her head and towards the ground a couple of hundred meters away; she cheered inwardly as she saw where its point of impact would be.
A dozen Aliens had clustered around central park, a couple of their weird ships were grounded there too; it seemed to her that they were using that as a temporary base. Well, their ‘temporary base’ was about to be become a lovely permanent wreck.
Two explosions rented the air; one was the sound of the helicopter coming to the end of its descent towards the ground, the other was the timely end of the enemy base and its occupants. The guy flying the ‘copter had managed to get in a parting shot before he’d been killed by the little spacecrafts… ‘little’ compared to the colossal ship that she’d seen land on Cheyenne Mountain from the television.
That thing had been the mother of all ships.
An Alien Mothership, maybe.
“And the Slayer wins first prize,” remarked an unfamiliar voice sardonically.
Buffy ignored the voice, she stared at the fires raging within the park, the light that the fire emitted illuminated most of the area around the wreckages; bodies, alien bodies littered the ground. She wondered what they were, they weren’t human; she didn’t think so.
They looked human.
A sigh punctuated the unnaturally still air; in spite of the smoldering ruins of the former Alien base the air was clean; free from the fumes that would normally have poisoned it. The crackling of the fire had stopped, though it still blazed brightly; it was eerie, the lack of noise gave Buffy the impression that someone had found the world’s mute button.
She turned to the owner of the voice and studied him, trying to work out where she’d seen him before; he looked to be in his mid-forties, brown hair shot through with grey. She didn’t think she’d met him before.
So, why did she feel as if she’d seen him around?
The man smirked, “You and I have never met.”
That was wiggy; an old guy who can read minds.
The man gave her an incredulous look, “Old?! You make goo goo eyes at a two-hundred year old vampire and you consider me old?!”
How did he know about Angel?
And what did he mean ‘make goo goo eyes’?! She didn’t make ‘goo goo eyes’ at anyone!
And who was he to make jabs about her and Angel!
Buffy gave the stranger her best glare, “Who the hell are you. Start talking or I’ll do the breaking.”
The man just raised an eyebrow, and leaned back against a tree; arms crossed over his chest, “You don’t pull any punches do you, kid?”
Had she ever really?
Looking at the scattered remains of one Alien she came to the conclusion that she certainly couldn’t afford to now, the times of cheerleading and strawberry lollypops had long since died; they’d died along with her mom.
Gritting her teeth, she took a step towards the strange man, “Who are you? I won’t ask again.”
Buffy hated the way the man’s eyes softened as he stared back at her, he seemed to be able to read her thoughts; could he see the dark hole torn into her heart by her mother’s death? What was he; did he work for the Powers?
The man stepped away from the tree, “You’re sharp; stay that way, the shits gonna hit the fan pretty soon.”
Right, because everything up to then had been a walk in the park!
She just shook her head, “’Pretty soon’? Try ‘now’!”
He just looked at her almost pityingly, as if he knew something she didn’t.
Well, if that was true then he should give it up!
She wanted to take a swing at the man, but she knew that it wouldn’t accomplish much of anything; he still hadn’t given her his damn name. As if she wanted it anyway, it wouldn’t help any even if she did.
None of this was helping.
Buffy was leaving; she had better things to do.
She sighed and turned away from him, “Go to hell.”
She walked away, even with the feeling that she was going nowhere; she was waiting for the man to call her back; to give her some kind of help or message.
Was he with the Powers?
Were they just screwing with her?
Buffy froze as the man’s voice echoed in her own head, she turned back quickly; frantically searching for the stranger, but he was gone.
The world suddenly seemed a lot louder; the crackling fire did nothing to distract her from the message he’d given her- the words still echoing within her head.
Leave Sunnydale, follow the signs.
Had it been the Powers?
Had they given her a message?
Buffy awoke with the questions still nagging at her, she felt a hand grip her arm; she was still in the library in the middle of a decimated Sunnydale, her Slayer-mode kicked in as she came fully awake; she grabbed the owner of the offending hand.
She blinked at Willow and felt her heartbeat slow a little as her best friend eyed her nervously, she slackened her grip; her grip had been strong, she hoped that she hadn’t hurt her friend. She had to protect her friends, make sure they got out of the nightmare in one piece.
Buffy sat up as her friend fell away from her hold, she touched the redhead’s shoulder lightly, “Sorry, Will. Bad dream.”
Willow looked kinda pale; a whiter shade of pale, anyway.
She was looking at her with wide eyes and an expression that screamed urgency, Buffy let the redhead grasp her arm and pull her up; she stared at Willow, concerned, “What’s going on?”
The children were crowded into the section between the stacks off to her right, they were talking amongst themselves; their voices were hushed.
Okay, she was getting a little edgy.
Willow swallowed nervously, “Lizzie, s-she’s gone.”
“Get Xander,” she exclaimed, endless possibilities cycling through her mind. “Scour the place from top to bottom; Ricky looks after the kids.”
The kids fell silent and stared at her, as always she did a quick headcount, her heart almost stopped; they were two kids down; two?!
“’Tasha’s gone too,” Lisa’s voice was thin and shaky.
What the hell had happened?!
If they’d been kidnapped she would have heard; she wouldn’t have slept through it, for crying out loud!
But that hadn’t been a normal dream, had it?
Shaking the questions away, she shot a look at Willow, “Look after the kids.”
Without waiting for a reply she turned and strode off, the idea of getting the kids to help locate Natasha and Lizzie held some appeal; but she couldn’t risk losing more of them. She hoped that Will could keep them in line.
How quickly could they find the two missing members of their group?
She didn’t want to lose any more time; what if another one of those spacecrafts hit?
Damn it, why’d she fallen asleep?!
Finally she came to a door with the word ‘Basement’ emblazoned on the tile, she glanced at Xander who was coming up behind her, “Xan, take the basement. I’m taking the first floor and the roof.”
Xander nodded, “Got it.”
She hoped finding the two girls wouldn’t take long; already she was listening out for the tell-tale sounds of a spacecraft screeching overhead and the resulting explosion. She prayed that if they were attacked that no one would be killed, if the library was hit they’d be in trouble.
They needed to leave the building; odds were that if the Aliens found a building that they’d hadn’t yet obliterated they’d immediately rectify that.
Xander’s voice stopped her as she turned towards the wooden staircase that led to the first floor- so much like Sunnydale High’s library; she felt a pang.
“Buffy, do you hear that?”
Frowning, Buffy took a moment to listen intently; she heard a couple of voices, both of which she recognized. The noise was coming from above them, on the roof, “They’re on the roof; let’s go.”
Without waiting to see if Xander followed, Buffy raced up the staircase, taking two at a time; she absently hoped that the steps wouldn’t give out under her heavy footfalls; Slayer strength may be an issue. Buffy ascended to the first floor, leaving the staircase intact and quickly spied the second set of steps; whatever was going on above them, she hoped the girls were okay.
She couldn’t lose any more people; any more children.
She was Buffy the Vampire Slayer; slayer of evil; better yet- protector of good.
A/N: Hope you liked the chapter. My family and I are moving house tomorrow morning, and it will take a while for me to get an internet connection; it may take a week or two- possibly, but hopefully not, it may take a little longer.
Fortunately I still have my writing pads, so I will be working on the 35 chapter of NKotB; and maybe the fifth chapter of this fic too :)
Anyway, I managed to get this chapter completed beforehand- if anyone feels like sending me some feedback (pretty please [-; ) I'll respond pretty soon... I'm not sure what the library's policy is on bringing in laptops... they ought to have Wi Fi...