: I do not own or make money off the following franchises: Buffy, Blade, Terminator (Which is only referenced way too much)Warnings
: Language, so much language. This is every bit as bad as the movie. As in, I actually used the c-word, which I hate
, but this is Hannibal King talking and he insisted. Also, blood, violence and general apocalyptic shenanigans. A/N
: I feel like everyone though have an apocafic they can point at and say, "I should really regret that one, but I don't." This is that fic. Also, ten years of writing fanfic and this is the first time I've degraded Buffy to a plot device. Personal growth of something.
+how to Terminator your way through the end of the world
The world doesn’t end with zombies.
Hannibal kind of feels like he should have seen that one coming.
He’s thirty, looking like twenty five and going on fifty when Abby fires the Daystar virus at Drake, who keels over and dies like a good little vampire dinosaur.
And that should be the end of it.
And there’s always an ‘except’ because Hannibal has known that he was the universe’s buttboy ever since Danica Fucking Talos smiled his way and then grew fucking fangs at him right in the middle of the best – and worst - fucking sex he’d ever fucking had.
Except that Sommerfield was kind of right about Drake’s DNA being pure, only not in any way she ever even thought of.
Drake’s blood is pure, his DNA undiluted and Hedges kind of said it before he bought the farm: Drake’s different. Different enough to shape change
and yet no-one sees a problem with coding the virus to him.
So Abby shoots him and he drops dead. So do the other vamps in the immediate vicinity because that stuff is
a virus designed to make little vampires go burney, except.Except
As soon as Daystar escapes the building, it spreads and the lower doses are coded to a DNA so ancient that there is nothing else like it on Earth.
At the end of the day, the bottom line is this:
Blade is damn near crippled by the virus, Dracula is dead, Hannibal has a hole through his shoulder, broken ribs, a concussion and one hell of a burning at the back of his throat, Abby looks like she wants to murder everyone, Zoe is scared to even blink and keeps asking if the Gnome King is coming back for her, Sommerfield, Hedges, Dex and Whistler Sr. are all dead. So are a couple dozen vampires and the Fucking Doublemint Twins of Terror. Trademark pending.
The Final Solution – both vampire and human – is a fucking joke and once Hannibal starts laughing, he kind of can’t stop anymore.
Blade disappears. No-one is surprised.
Zoe latches onto him like she means to never let go and Abby tries to kill herself every night.
It’s kind of horrible, but also okay.
For a while.
Compared to what comes after, it’s fucking awesome.
He’s still thirty and looking twenty-five when the universe remembers that it’s a day ending on a Y, and thus a fantastic time to fuck with him.
He’s left Zoe with Caulder and his cell to help Abby on her quest to get herself dead, except kind of the opposite, but, whatever.
He should die.
There’s too many vamps here and one of them managed to take his gun and he should really, really die. Except he’s got a stake in each hand and he blinks once and then he’s suddenly all the way across the room and there’s nothing but ash between here and there.
And Abby turns her bow on him.
Caulder says he’s reacting to Daystar, somehow. The cure, is his theory, combined with the virus, set off some sort of mutation in him, making him a little – ok, a lot – like Blade was before he went broken.
He’s got strength, speed, endurance, healing. He doesn’t have the pesky allergies and while he occasionally wonders whether the steak or the waitress would make for a tastier lunch, he’s not turned rabid yet. He’s been here before, remember? Five years as a vamp taught him a few things, besides how to recognize a cunt at fifty paces.
Caulder is pretty cool about the whole thing, but the others aren’t. And Hannibal knows why. Maybe he reacted to Daystar. Maybe something else happened in those long hours between capture and rescue. Maybe it’s a mix of both.
In any case, he’s half the enemy now and they can’t take that chance. Won’t. Some kind of auxiliary verb, anyway.
When he gets home from the supermarket on a Tuesday, Zoe is gone.
She’s safe and happy, Abby promises, but her voice is cold and he can smell the anxiety and the disgust on her, which is also new, but.
He nods and smiles and buys her crap just long enough to book it the fuck outta town and disappear.
Thirty, he decides, is a pretty shitty year.
He keeps right on thinking that until thirty-seven, which is when shitty
gets absolutely redefined. As in, his oh-fuck
-o-meter gets so broken, he doesn’t want to stop screaming.
Because, hey, apparently the vamps decided that, if the humans can launch a virus against them – even one that fizzles and dies out like a party favor – then that means they’re fair game.
Let the fun begin.
Not. Fucking. Likely.
They announce themselves on national television in 2011, have rights and a lobby by 2013 and are everywhere
by 2015. Hunting them is a crime, carrying silver is forbidden and wherever he goes, the fangs are already there, smiling and harmless and lulling the whole damn planet into a sense of false security.
He tries to find Abby, find Blade, hell, find Caulder. But they’re all gone.
He finds Zoe in a little suburb in New England and puts every trace he can on her while he waits for everything to go to hell.
He’s forty and still looking twenty-goddamn-five, when it does.
At dusk, vampires are a man’s best friend.
At dawn, man is dead.
They don’t declare martial law for over forty-eight hours for the very simple reason that there is no-one left who can do it. By then, he’s got Zoe, her foster parents and some random neighbor’s kid in a remote cabin up in Canada. The place is pretty much plated
in silver, UV floodlights all around the perimeter and enough weapons in the basement to start his own little war, which, wait…
Zoe is the grimmest seventeen-year-old he’s ever seen and the sight of her with a gun in her hand breaks what’s left of his semi-dead heart.
He’s forty-one when he takes her on a supply run for a first time and she’s brutal in a way that makes him want to avert his gaze.
“Do you think you could turn me?” she asks, one night. The woman she’s called Mom for years is dead, Daddy is worse and the friend they dragged along ran away in a panicked rush. They pretend they don’t know what happened to him. “Make me like you?”
He’s no Sommerfield, but he’s had a decade to play with his own DNA and, well, there’s some Talos in his blood, some Drake, something of a dozen other vampires that bled on him, that left saliva and other bodily fluids in him and on him over the years. His own DNA is buried somewhere underneath all the vampire strains and the cure and the virus are all tangled up in there and, well.
It’s really kind of disgusting, when you think about it. He doesn’t scar anymore, but inside his body is a carnival ride of every horror he’s ever lived – or died – through.
He has no idea which component reacted with what, which part of him made him a toothless monster. He doesn’t want to know.
“No,” he says, and he’s ridiculously glad that’s true.
Zoe is twenty-three and when he stops counting in his own, invisible years. He counts the lines of her face instead, her age and scars, because at least that number matters
Zoe is twenty-three and he should be dead again.
He went to take out a near-by nest that was supposed to have thirty, forty vamps tops. Instead there’s twice that many and he’s fast and vicious and deadly, but he’s only got two hands to shoot and it’s probably kind of shitty of him to go out without even telling Zoes goodbye.
Except that, suddenly, there’s screaming on the other end of the warehouse and he sees something black and gold dance through a cloud of aches and embers and then he’s fighting again because no-one has ever
accused him of knowing when to lie down and die.
Eventually, the warehouse is empty except for an ankle high layer of dead fang and a cute blonde in leather, stake in each hand, blood spatter on her cheek, grinning at him.
She says her name is Buffy. She says that he should go with her if he wants to live.
He’s a sucker for a good movie quote and her ass looks fantastic in those pants. He caves.
Zoe is going to kill him.
Turns out Buffy is head of something a lot like the Nightstalkers, except when the vamps went public and the Nightstalkers went down, her crew dug
down and settled in for the long, bitter war they knew was coming.
He can appreciate that in a post-apocalyptic, anarchist, magi-terrorist cell.
That, and they have running water.
Since eighty percent of the hideout’s population turns out to be badass chicks, Zoe fits right in. She’s not superhuman like most of the other girls, but she kicks some serious ass and he knows he gets what she calls his ‘Proud Poppa’ look a whole damn lot, but, Jesus, that kid is amazing.
And she doesn’t kill him for joining a secret club without asking her first, so that’s a plus.
Also, he’s not the only freak around.
There’s a bunch of werewolves, a singing demon, a guy who seems to be made up of skin and kittens, witches, a few lesser half-breeds. They have a flexible definition of what’s human.
As long as he doesn’t try to eat anyone, he’s golden. Zoes is in good hands, happy as someone can be after the end of the world.
She finds herself a girlfriend among the superchicks, starts wearing her hair in tiny, tiny braids and teaches the kids among the survivors to read and write.
Once upon a time, Zoe wanted to be a teacher, like her mother. “I know a teacher isn’t the same as a college prof, but I think she would have liked that.”
She bit her lip when she told him, her statement more of a question and he hugged her and told her all about Sommerfield’s attempts and getting him to at least get his damn GED.
It’s good. It’s all good, puppies and artificial sunshine in the middle of the apocalypse. No constant fighting, no endless fear and danger. He can sleep with only one eye open instead of two and the burden of having to keep a frail little human girl alive is gone.
He’s about to climb out of his skin.
“You know, I met dhampires before,” Buffy informs him, plopping down on her ass next to him. It’s been a year since she saved his life and he hasn’t really seen much of her at all because she’s always busy. Her older sister’s got three kids and when she isn’t running a refugee camp, she’s busy with those.
But tonight, apparently, she’s made time just for him.
“Yeah. Most of them go insane sooner or later. Well, all of them, really.” She gives him a look that clearly asks, Why aren’t you batshit insane?
He shrugs. “Sad story, that.”
She snorts a bit and adds, “You feel different from them.” Her hand finds its way onto his arm, like it’s a physical ‘feel’ she’s talking about. “Calmer. Darker. Deeper
, somehow, and no dirty jokes right now. Zoe says she’s known you all her life.”
He can’t quite keep the narrowing of his eyes away from her. She pats his arm reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I didn’t make her talk and she didn’t mean to say it. It just slipped out. So, you don’t age. Dhampires do.”
This, he guesses, is the point where he breaks down in the heroine’s arms and tells her all about how he turned into this. About the Doublemint Twins of Terror and all the ways he knows a person can break, about all the ways they broke him
, until he took the pain and humiliation they dished out and asked for more
. How Abigail saved him by chance, simply grabbing him off the street because she needed someone to test her father’s cure on.
How he woke in a dark cell and they told him he was better now even as they handed him a gun and pointed him at his former brethren and how, truthfully, he didn’t really see how anything had changed at all, except that no-one fucked him anymore. He traded one cunt for another and just kept soldiering on because that’s what he does. He screws his eyes shut and keeps fucking moving.
Tell Buffy about fighting with the NightStalkers only because he knew that Danica needed to die if he ever wanted to sleep in peace again, Blade, Drake, Daystar and all it did to him. All they
did to him.
Except this isn’t primetime fucking television and so he makes a dirty joke about deep
anyway and she smiles at him, blandly, and lets silence settle between them for a while. Then she stands, brushes off her ass and says, “I’m going on a supply run tomorrow. If you want some fresh air, meet me at the front gate after breakfast.”
Buffy smiles at him and throws him the keys.
Fighting with that woman is like nothing he’s ever done before.
He’s sparred with plenty of the superchicks to keep from going nuts, but Buffy is a whole different level of whoop-ass and he can appreciate why she’s the leader around these parts, even though she’s damn young.
John fucking Connor for the poor and hunted.
He tells her so and she laughs, bares her arms. “No barcode,” she tells him, deadpan, and he laughs, too, because no-one appreciate apocalypse movies anymore.
Between the two of them, supply runs are kind of like grocery runs, only with a lot more death and horrible punning thrown in.
She slices two fangs in half with that axe-thing of hers and then splits the head of a third right down to his sternum. “Don’t worry,” she tells the swirling mass of ashes, “Head wounds always look worse than they are.”
Hannibal slams two stakes home, throws one, ducks under her next swing and spins around to cover her back again. “I didn’t know you were a doctor,” he says, holding up his last stake for the vamp in front of him to take. The guy accepts it with a look of confusion on his face and Hannibal uses his now free hands to twist his head off. He flings it at another fang, who catches on reflex and then plucks his stake out of the – now empty - air and follows up with that.
Another fang, a bit bigger and a bit smarter than the last, oh, twenty, thinks he can get in on the punning. “You can doctor me anytime, little girl.”
Buffy rolls her eyes so hard it’s a miracle she can still see and Hannibal takes care of the idiot with a knife through the neck. “This’ll only sting a little,” he offers, rips the knife out and grins at his partner, licking his lips.
Buffy laughs and then somersaults away from him so they can move in on the horde from two sides without blocking each other.
“You grow fangs when you get excited, did you know?” she asks later, almost conversationally, and he remembers that moment, licking his lips and tasting blood and, shit.
“Don’t worry,” he says, because it’s easier than telling her that he wanted to snack on one of the walking dust-bags really badly but couldn’t, because she was there and he’s been down the road of betrayal once. The stench of Abby’s disgust still clings sour to his memory.
The Council may not care about your DNA, but he thinks they probably care about semi-vamp screw-ups actually giving in to their thirst, even if only in battle.
Oh god. If Buffy’s Connor, then he’s Cameron in this freaky parallel universe, isn’t he? Too bad he can’t wear heels for shit.
Buffy gives him a long look and she doesn’t really look twenty right then. “I’m not,” she informs him and that’s that over with.
Or so he thinks until she finds him again three weeks later, invites him on another supply run and promptly finds a nest for them to empty, just for kicks.
When the last of the embers on the floor fizzle out, he’s standing at the center of the room, weapons in hand, fangs out, breathing hard.
Buffy’s across the room, one hand buried in the scruffy hair of a tiny, sniveling thing of a vampire. Its scrabbling at her arm, trying to get loose, snarling like an animal. Graceless and hungry, no trace of human left.
She has a stake at the ready, prepared to plunge it home. This one is the last one.
But then she suddenly stops and looks at Hannibal. And looks. And looks.
She tucks the stake away, grabs her prey by the neck and belt and flings him at Hannibal. “Happy slurping,” she says and leaves the room before he can even think of a protest.
“Why?” he asks, later, in the car, on the way back. It’s better than how
, the answer to which is, you really need to work on your subtle, King
He spent years with Zoes, cooped up in a tiny cabin, and she never even had a clue and here some random chick figures him out within a few weeks and, well, no-one’s done that since Danica.
It gives him the freakin’ heebie-jeebies. And not in a good way. Never, ever again in a good way. Buffy’s vagina isn’t likely to be fanged, but it probably wields a mean blade.
Which, wow. Holy mental image, batman.
She shrugs. “Why not? It’s not like there are any lines left to cross.”
Her smile’s bitter and she pulls the car over to bare her neck to him, her neck and the scars he’s only ever guessed at before. She taps them in turn, “Psychopath, boyfriend, lover, enemy, lover, lover, lover.” Her lips quirk. “I killed them all.”
That’s… mildly unsettling and at the same time, weirdly calming. He needs to get his head checked. Except, wait. No more doctors. Right.
“You cross the line, you’re dead. You don’t, there’s no reason for you to go hungry.” She spreads her hands, fingers splayed wide. “Look around you. Here be only monsters now.”
She waits for him to say something and when he doesn’t after a while, she pulls back onto the road. She should have been a child when the world ended, barely a teenager. Not old enough for that much life. That much regret.
Twenty miles later he folds his hands behind his head and asks, almost idly, “So, just how old are you?”
Her smirk says that he’s finally, finally asking the right questions.
He does tell her his whole story, eventually. He doesn’t cry on her shoulder, but he’s gnawing on her neck for much of it, tracing patterns into the skin of her back for the rest of the time. Anything so he doesn’t have to look her in the face.
He’s damaged goods and knows it and he figures it’s only fair if she knows what she’s getting into because this is… well, he’s immortal, she’s immortal and everyone else just keeps fucking dying, so he figures he’s kind of signing a long term lease here and she’s got a right to test drive that stick.
It’s kind of hard to keep his inner monologue snappy and sarcastic when she’s looking at him in the dark, just looking.
Then she kisses him and he remembers her litany, boyfriend, lover, enemy, lover,
and I killed them all
Something in him settles.
Zoe turns thirty and then thirty two and there are three runts running around that call her Mom, none of them her blood.
And then it’s thirty three and a supply run has turned into a month long trip because they have a lot of mouths to feed and a finite supply, waiting in enemy territory, to get the job done.
There’s thoughts of going top-side, planting crops. But the moment they leave traces on the surface, the fangs will come for them because the humans? Aren’t the only ones running out of chow. The vamps have to be just as desperate at this point.
In any case, the only ones still allowed on supply runs are him and Buffy, because they’re the only ones they know for sure can’t be turned. Can’t be flipped. Anyone else is a security leak waiting to spring.
They kill suckers wherever they go, sometimes a hundred a night, when things get tight. When they can rig the explosives, they blow up whole city blocks at high noon and let the sun take care of the survivors.
The two of them, between them, have a kill count that would have made Blade weep with envy.
It’s not enough.
They figure there’s one, two billion vamps out there and while they’re probably ripping each other apart by now, that’s still a few billion
of the fuckers and what do a hundred of them matter in the grand scheme of things?
Sure, they’re all out of humans to turn at this point, so their numbers are finite, but it’ll still take centuries, at this rate, to clean them all out.
They don’t have centuries.
When Hannibal and Zoe came here, there were almost a thousand people under Council protection. Injuries, battles, bad living conditions and illnesses that can’t be treated anymore have whittled them down to just under eight hundred since then.
There have been seven births recorded in the past five years. Three of them were stillborn.
Look at that, he thinks.
Mutual fucking genocide.
“Hang in there baby,” he mutters into a merrily burning apartment building. The screams have died off enough for him to hear Buffy’s dry, humorless chuckle.
“We gotta stop quoting that shit at each other,” she tells him and then casually aims her crossbow at a singed fang trying to slip part them in the shadows.
Buffy’s sister dies the year Zoes turns thirty-nine. There’s grey in her hair, and lines on her face and she holds onto her sister’s hand tightly as she goes.
Hannibal hangs in the doorway because he knows what’ll happen when Dawn’s lights go out.
He knows a little something about grief.
The sisters talk in ever more quiet voices for a long, long time. Dawn’s son, the last survivor of her line, sits at the foot of the bed and waits with a stoic patience Hannibal tries to copy.
And then, around midnight, it’s over.
Dawn Summers turns to nothing in a flash of green light and then it’s done.
He grabs Buffy around the waist and hauls her unresponsive form toward the garage, where he dumps her in the passenger seat of his car and then he tears out of there and drives for five hours straight until they hit what used to be Boston.
Buffy blinks awake from her stupor as she catches the first whiff of fang and doesn’t stop killing for the next week.
They don’t go back for six months.
Zoe punches him in the face when they finally return and then presses a kiss to his cheek and punches him again.
Then she introduces him to his newest nephew.
They stay for a week, most of which Buffy spends staring at a picture of Dawn.
Hannibal haunts the hallways, looking in on people eating, playing, talking, on Zoe’s classes. There’s a generation coming that doesn’t know what a Terminator
By the time Buffy stops by his room, duffel slung over one shoulder, bags under her eyes, saying, “I can’t stay,” he’s already packed.
“Do me a favor?” Zoe’s oldest asks when he returns a year later. “Don’t just disappear. Mom couldn’t take it.”
She’s tiny and pale and he remembers saving her from a blood bank the way he saved her mother from the Gnome King. He also remembers trying to teach her hopscotch and landing on his ass when she decided the game was dumb and tackled him in the crotch.
“Don’t worry, squirt,” he tells her. “I’m not gone yet.”
He always says goodbye after that.
“How long do you think,” he idly asks Buffy one night, “until we’re the last two breathers left on this marble?”
She looks at him in the dark and answers, “I don’t think you actually need to breathe anymore, King.”
Her gaze is unreadable.
“It was a fever,” one of the kids says and this time, it’s Buffy who takes him away to vent his rage.
Zoe’s youngest is twenty-eight when they pull him and Buffy into the library.
“We have a spell,” he says, tucking his feet on the chair and curling into a ball. “It’s gonna take a lot, but if we pull it off…”
He shrugs. “It’s supposed to fix this. Take a few people to where they need to go
to fix this. Actual wording’s vague, though.”
He blinks big, blue eyes at them and there’s not even a hint of a question in it.
“Time travel,” Buffy suggests.
“Come with me if you want to live,” Hannibal says, and laughs and laughs and laughs.
He wakes in a hospital bed in Honeycomb Hideout, wrapped in a hand-crafted afghan. On top of it, a bunch of Dracula comics lie, fanned out and dog-eared.
“Where we need to go,” he quotes at the black and white movie on the television.
It doesn’t answer. He wonders if he has time to find Buffy before the shit hits and then he remembers that he’s the universe’s buttboy, that Zoes is breathing again, seven years old and not yet terrified that the Gnome King will take her away, that Abby and Blade and all the others are alive, all six billion
He bites down hard on his knuckles to keep the hysterical giggling to a minimum and feels fangs he shouldn’t have yet sink into his skin.
Magic. Fucking magic and time travelling and vampires and Final Solution and, fuck.
Buffy was right.
They should have stopped quoting fucking Terminator
a long time ago.
The world ends with Drake.
Hannibal kind of feels like he should have seen that one coming.