Sixteen year old Buffy Summers shuffles through an overgrown, old part of the Sunnydale graveyard. The air is crisp and clear, stars glow bright in the pitch black sky before dawn, any trace of clouds dispersed by strong wind. Brisk gusts glide over the girl's face, tracing her features like a caress. A streak of tinted-pink hair pinned with a hair-slide in the shape of a white rose breaks loose from a blond knot.
If asked, Buffy would never tell you that it might have been a sweet rosy scent wafting about that caught her attention and had her plowing through weeds sprouting from everywhere amidst old gravestones, when in all likelihood no vampire would rise down there – she should have been watching over fresh graves.
No, she would roll her eyes and cut in half through this bullshit. What bugged her in the first place was the perfect shape the rose bush out there was in. Buffy had tried giving her mom a hand at gardening soon after they'd moved. If she'd learned anything from it, it was that roses needed very careful and regular tending to or else they made your backyard into a Secret Garden.
What she'd learned in her line of work, on the other hand, was that people cared little for old graves. Most barely tended to that of their loved ones. So something was definitely off right there. This being hellmouth, probably something rooted in pure evil.
Dirt over a grave by the rose bush swirls and a slender hand breaks out. It's delicate and smooth (pretty, feminine, umber colored...), Buffy notices in her professional assessment, everything it shouldn't be after clawing its way out of coffin six feet under, so yes, something's definitely off.
No point in stalling. Buffy reaches out and takes the girl's hand in hers to pull her all the way out of her coffin.
As soon as the girl's out, Buffy reaches for her stake and almost drops it while juggling to get a better grip on it. The girl in front of her is eerily stunning. 'Eerily' being the key word right there.
Buffy tells herself to get a grip as she refuses to become a heroine of some lame fairy tale where she finds herself unable to slay a creature of unearthly beauty and promptly kicks the bucket. She runs her stake right through the girl's heart.
Nothing happens. Buffy blinks but the creature remains in place in all her beautiful, tangible glory, piercing her attacker with unwavering gaze of her impossibly green eyes in turn.
"Sorry, sorry!" Buffy winces as realization dawns on her. If she had time to think, she would tell herself it was the embarrassment for her lack of skill that tinged her cheeks with pink. She has always been firmly against monster-cruelty. Besides, repetitive stabbing of a creature who looks like royalty among gods is just distasteful and probably an affront. Buffy pulls the stake out of the girl's chest in a swift motion. "Been a while since I've missed the heart." Plunges it in again.
The creature blinks, like she's only just caught up with the situation. For a moment there she looks like she wants to say something but thinks better of it. A place where the stake is protruding from her chest glows blue and the object disappears.
"You didn't." She tilts her head to the side and smiles gently directly at Buffy in a way that catches her breath. "Miss the heart."
Buffy swallows, hard.
"Not a vampire, then."
"No. Would you like me to be?"
She is flirting with the slayer and looks positively delighted in doing so.
Buffy takes a step back when the girl gets a little too close.
"Forgive me. Old habits die hard, isn't that what they say?" She stretches her perfect hand out to touch Buffy's hair and if asked why she let her, Buffy would tell you to get your own life already. Gentle fingers smooth the loose pink streak of hair back under the white rose hair-slide, conjured as if by magic right into the girl's hand. There's that smile again.
"What are you?" Buffy asks.
The beautiful girl takes her by the hand, and the bright stars together with rose petals shift and whirl around them.