Title: Life For The Living
Rating: R, for language and violence
Disclaimer: The characters are nothing to do with me; sadly the mess they find themselves in is all mine.
Distribution: Batpack Archive, Creative Juices. Anyone else, ask and it’s yours
Pairing: Eventually A/C, B/S, G/W, D/C, X/?
Summary: Three hundred years in the future and the earth is overrun with demons. Mankind has been hunted almost to extinction and the power of the Slayer has been trapped in the body of the current Chosen One. The Watchers Council has been destroyed, it’s wisdom lost, and when the current Slayer dies so does the line. A small percentage of the humans fight on, aided by two familiar figures but when things become even more desperate a decision is made that will finally give mankind hope.
Author Notes: This fic has been loitering on my PC for months and now that I’ve finally started to near the end of my other three ongoing sagas I’d like to get people’s opinions on this one. Like it, hate it, seen it all before, let me know. Any f/b would be gratefully received.
Life for the Living.
The Slayer stared at the two vampires before her and slowly the last of her fight drained away she sank to her knees and her head bowed as she finally accepted the inevitable. Her shoulders rounded as she felt the weight of her failure slowly crush her and her heart broke with an almost audible snap as she silently began to cry. Her Watcher was dead and there were no other humans within thirty miles and even if there were it would do no good, she had failed and now she was to die. Alone and the last of her line and humanity’s last line of defence against the demons and the dark she sobbed out her anger and fear as her useless broken arms dangled at her side.
Her face was torn into ribbons of red and purple after ten straight hours of fighting and the black hair on the left hand side of her head had been completely ripped away. She raised her head as a pair of shoes came to a halt almost under her nose and stared through pain blurred eyes at the vampire as he raised his arm and the sharp sword at the end of it flashed in the moonlight. It began its downward motion froze and then fell suddenly from the air as the demon holding it turned to dust. The Slayer turned her head and watched as the other vampire went down as another form crashed into it and then there was a brief scream and another small vortex of dust rose into the air.
She fell forward and then gentle hands were at her shoulders holding her up and a rough voice said
‘Hold on pet. We’ll get you out of here.’
The last thing she saw before she blacked out was a bright ring of white hair around a shadowed face like a beacon from heaven.
She was the Slayer, it was the year 2367 and she was fourteen years old.
Two weeks later.
“Hold still this is going to hurt.”
The girl tensed as the dressings on her face were gently wetted and then peeled away from her face leaving her skin raw and exposed and the light searing her unprotected eyes. She blinked as her eyes slowly became adjusted to the unfamiliar brightness and then reached cautiously to touch her face where the air played over her still raw wounds.
A gentle hand closed over her wrist and pushed it away
“Leave it. The skin will be very tender until it’s been exposed to air for a while.”
She tensed and the unknown figure sensing her uneasiness let go of her wrist and moved away. Slowly she became able to distinguish shapes and shadows and finally was able to see the face of one of her carers of the past two weeks.
A big man with short dark hair and the gentlest eyes she had ever seen in her too short life stared back at her. He smiled and leaned back against the wall crossing powerful arms as he did so
“We thought you wouldn’t make it for a while.”
He cocked his head to one side and studied her for a moment
“We couldn’t take you to a medical centre or to anyone with any kind of formal training in case we got spotted. Even with the slayer healing it looked bad for a while but between us we had enough triage experience to patch you up and keep you going while your power kicked in.”
The girl frowned and tried to speak but her throat was dry from the weeks of disuse. She looked to her left as the man gestured and saw a glass of iced water beside her and gratefully downed it in three short gulps. She coughed and then said in a hoarse whisper
The man inclined his head in acknowledgement
“Why did you heal me? You aren’t my kind. You should have killed me.”
A grin came to his handsome face and was quickly smothered as he said carefully
“Well the fact is I’m not their kind either. I’m one of a kind you might say. Unique in fact.”
He turned his head as a loud laugh came from the door beside him and a second man entered the room bearing a loaded tray and another large jug of water. He winked at the young girl on the bed and carelessly plunked the heavy tray on her legs ignoring her hiss of fear.
“Bloody great idiot is what you are mate. Still mincing around like the second coming after all these years.”
He threw himself into a chair beside the bed and waved at the girl
“Eat up luv, good food ain’t cheap you know and you need all the fattening up you can get.”
He looked her over from head to foot disapprovingly and shook his head at the frailness of her young body.
The girl stared at him trying to ignore the food arranged on the plate before her but finally the tantalising smell of expertly prepared meat kicked in and she picked up the steak whole from the plate and began to gnaw on it. She opened her mouth and spoke around the half chewed meat
“You’re dead as well.”
“Are you different too?”
The man before her raised one dark, scarred eyebrow
“Luv, I am the original definition of different.”
He flicked his head in the direction of his companion
“Peaches there is on a chosen one kick, all smitey and justice for all. I just like the blood and fights.”
The girl stared at him her gaze travelling over him from head to toe taking in the short, bleached hair to the black army boots of the end of his long slim legs. He wasn’t as well built as the other man but his lean body held an air of obvious danger and potent power that the other did not have. Of the two he sent her Slayer senses tingling more. She swallowed and took another bite of the steak its juices flowing over her hand
“Why did you help me?”
The bigger man pushed away from the wall and came to stand behind his companion resting one hand lightly on the chair back
“You were going to be killed. Didn’t you want saving?”
She glanced down for a moment and then met his gaze steadily
“It would have been over.”
The word finally hung in the air between them unspoken for a moment and the blonde man leaned forward to place a soft cloth on her hands to catch the juice that still flowed from the meat. He ignored her instinctive flinching as his cool skin brushed her warm, vital wrist and instead said casually
“The name’s Spike and the big girl behind me is Angel. What do they call you?”
She frowned in confusion.
“I’m The Slayer.”
Spike rolled his eyes in annoyance
“Well duh to quote many an irritating teen. We know what you are we want to know who you are.” He watched the face before him clouded with genuine confusion as the girl tried to understand the question. “What’s your name pet?”
Her light brown eyes crinkled at the edges as she screwed up her face in irritation. “Slayer. That’s what I am called. It’s who I am.”
Spike leaned back in his chair and glanced up at Angel helplessly who in turn stared back at him in bafflement. Spike shook his head and turned to look at the girl again “Your parents called you Slayer did they?”
She frowned again wincing at the brief flare of pain the movement caused her newly healed skin “What are parents?”
Both men stared at her speechlessly for a moment and then the big man, Angel, said quietly “The person who raised you what did they call you?” His eyes narrowed speculatively “What did you call them?”
The girl shrugged and turned her attention to a mound of mashed potato and began to shovel it in to her mouth barely pausing to swallow between bites “My Watcher trained me. He was Sir.” She glanced up at the two men “Is that what a parent is?”
Angel swallowed unnecessarily and looked nervously at the girl before him as she went back to swallowing as much food as she could in the shortest time possible. When he and Spike had set out to find the current Slayer to aid her in the final battle of the long dark war he had expected a different kind of Slayer than those he had known before. The Watcher’s Council had been more proactive in the training and location of prospective Slayers ever since the days of Buffy and Faith and the complete loss of control they suffered over the two Slayers. He expected to find a young woman battle hardened and experienced with some street smarts and a healthy portion of self-preservation. His observations over the last two weeks had led him to believe that the young girl was little better than an automaton.
She had been very ill, admittedly, but he couldn’t have imagined Buffy, Faith or any of the early millennium Slayers laying back quietly for two weeks allowing themselves to be cared for by two vampires. At the first opportunity they would have been up and looking for a way out regardless of the good treatment they may have received. He winced as she ran her index finger over the emptied plate to mop up excess gravy and popped it in her mouth. From the looks of things she had little or no upbringing or training other than in how to be a Slayer and they needed more than that. They needed a warrior and leader, not cannon fodder.
Spike leaned forward and took the tray from her legs “You might want to go and get freshened up a bit luv. The bathroom is down the corridor on your left and I left some clean clothes and towels out.” He stood and passed the tray to Angel and helped her out of the bed ignoring once again the instinctive stiffening of her body “When you come out call us and we’ll help you apply some salve to your face.” He gave her a gentle push towards the door “Go on now.”
The girl looked at them both for a moment and then turned and walked slowly out the door. Both men waited until they heard the bathroom door shut and the water in the shower start to run and then looked wordlessly at each other for a moment. Angel broke the silence “We may have a problem.”
Spike gave a short harsh laugh “You think?” He dragged a hand through his hair and swore under his breath before saying harshly “She’s a fucking robot mate. There’s nothing there but a willingness to follow orders and that’s so ingrained she’ll obey two vamps without question.”
“We saved her life and brought her to safety.” Angel spoke mildly and without inflection but couldn’t disguise the worry in his eyes.
“Yes we did. And for all she knows we could be fattening her up for a right royal feasting with our vampy chums.” Spike paced around the room a hand slapping impatiently against his thigh “Aside from a little wariness she doesn’t seem to have the imagination to consider that we might have something else in mind for her other than playing vamp happy families.”
“She’s a child.”
“She’s a Slayer mate. They don’t get to be kids. Especially not now.” Spike shut his eyes briefly and a small blonde form appeared against his eyelids “Can you imagine her accepting all this so easily?”
Angel allowed an image to form in his own mind and gave a soft smile in remembrance “No. Never her.”
Spike opened his eyes and the two stared at each other for a moment and then both broke into a grin “She would have been up and out of that bed in two seconds flat, delirious or not, and pummelling the both of us into kibble and you know it.”
Angel gave a small laugh and allowed himself for a moment to think of happier days “Oh yeah, she was never one for the subtle approach when kicking the crap out of you worked just as well and quicker.”
Spike joined him as they sauntered down leafy memory lane “Always assuming that we’d have kept her for more than a day. The Watcher and the whelp would have played back up and the witches would have been hexing us left, right and centre with the demon backing them up and Dawn throwing everything she had at us and then some.”
Angel shook his head “They were a force alright.” He listened carefully and then satisfied the girl was still in the shower turned to his partner of some two hundred years “We can’t win this with her and her alone.” He stared at his feet for a minute and then said quietly “We’d have been better to let her die.”
Spike looked at him his eyes ice blue and serious “I know.”
They had been fighting for humanity for over two hundred years as the legions of hell and the demon dimensions had finally begun to claim back the earth. In the twenty second century the old ways had been nearly lost and the people of the earth had only the new technologies and weapons of their governments to aid them. They had fallen in their millions unable to comprehend the sheer scale of the forces overwhelming them and pitifully unable to defend themselves against powers and magic that drew power from the very dawn of their planet’s history. A few had stood against them and had succeeded in the prevention of the total overwhelming of the humans but they were few and their numbers were almost gone. The Watcher’s council had been destroyed only fifty years before with only a handful of men and women escaping to find and train the Slayers. Angel and Spike had tried to aid them but had given up after the third Watcher they had approached had flung the last of his blessed water at them and tried to curse them for all eternity. Frightened fools and weak blinkered men had run the Council and as such the telling of Angel, and to some extent Spike’s, invaluable aid in saving the world time and time again had been lost and their names were no longer known to the overwhelmed forces of good.
They fought in their own way and as such had made a difference in some lives. Their greatest triumph had been the freeing of over three thousand humans from a holding camp where they had been kept as food for the vampires of what had been San Diego. Even Spike had been deeply affected by the cowed and frightened humans that had been penned ten to a six by six room left in their own filth by their captors and only taken out to be bled and turned over to the flesh eating demons. The worst had been the ‘nursery’ where children had been kept chained to the wall as an all you can eat buffet and the breeding area where women were kept chained to the beds and forced to endure pregnancies to supply more blood and bodies.
They had torn apart any guard or demon they could find and then when the captives had been sent running out into the night had torched the place standing side by side as the demons they had locked in to the cells they had guarded for so long, screamed as they burned. It had taken two weeks to find a safe place for the people of the camp to settle but eventually working with a resistance group all the people who had survived had been taken to a small corner of Texas near the Mexican border and settled there with people who welcomed the sight of more human faces.
Spike and Angel had waited another week and then, still working with the resistance group, had taken San Diego back in one bloody night in which half the city had been blown to the sky and the other half had barely been left standing. The vampire masters who had run the city were staked onto the bridge, covered in holy water and crosses and then left for the sun when it rose over the horizon. One hundred years later that night was still remembered with hope and awe by remaining human kind and fear and terror by the demons and everyone was just a little more careful for a few years after in case the two warriors and their army came back and set about cleansing them of their sins.
They had come to this Slayer because a rumour had reached them that something had gone wrong with the power of the Chosen One. It was no longer eternal and, very worryingly, would die when the present bearer of the power did. They had lit out for the girl as soon as they learned the information and had arrived just in time to save her from the remnants of the demon army that had also learned of the rumour and had set out to see if it was true.
Spike leaned against the wall and rolled his eyes “We are so screwed.”
Angel began to pace around the room scowling into space as he thought furiously. The girl could obviously fight but in no way could he present her to the united heads of the human nations and show them their leader and hope of all mankind that he had touted the Slayer as being. He had prepared them for her sex and also for her tender years but not for the mindless obedience that had been instilled in her from birth. He glanced at Spike and saw the same frustration mirrored in the other vampire’s face. All their hopes gone in one fell swoop and so the ruination of mankind was another step closer.
End Part 1.