Author: Koohii Cafe
Fandom: BtVS/Evil Dead Trilogy
Disclaimer: Since I am a poor chickadee with no wealth to speak of, I think it's safe to say that neither BtVS nor Evil Dead are mine. ^^;
Summary: How important could three little words possibly be? Buffy Summers and Ash Williams are about to find out exactly how much three tiny words can do, and why it’s always important to say them correctly.
Author's notes: Comics? What comics? >.> This is set post season 7 for Buffy, and just as Ash tries to go home at the end of AOD.
The Scythe sang, the Remington rang, and the demons ran headfirst toward the trio once the shield fell. Buffy and Ash placed Willow firmly between them as they began to fight, remaining on the defensive to ensure that none of the creatures could get to the witch, who had already begun her next spell. For several long minutes, there was nothing but the fight for the two of them, and the clash of bones against blades; somehow the blonde wasn’t surprised when, early on, she heard the chainsaw rev. She didn’t have much of a chance to look, though. The demons were numerous, and she found out fairly quickly that they were a pain in the butt to take down. Thankfully it had only taken her a minute or so to remember the comment Ash had made about dismemberment, and from that point on she had made a point of slicing off heads, hands, and legs whenever she could. Of course, the fact that these things were the goriest things she’d ever had the displeasure of slaying made it all a thousand times worse, but she pushed on.
It was weird. She’d never laid eyes on Ash before that night, and she honestly wasn’t entirely all that fond of the man from what she’d seen so far; he was a loud mouthed smug bastard with an ego the size of Mount Rushmore. Fighting with him though- it reminded her of fighting with Angel or Faith, or, as much as the thought sent a twinge of pain through her heart, Spike. Though not quite as smooth as it would have been with the other Slayer, or either of the vampires, they worked well together. Instinctively they covered where the other needed while keeping out of each others’ way, creating a deadly dance that tore through the demons, leaving the chanting witch in the center of it all, completely untouched. Blades swung and that stupid gun blasted, but there was never a danger that they would hurt the other. Buffy didn’t understand it, but in the heat of battle, she didn’t need to. All she knew was that it worked.
She was in the middle of a swing when Willow shouted a heads-up and the tingle of magic washed over her. The completion of the swing found her- not slicing through the arm of a demon, as she’d started to- stumbling forward into the familiar halls of the new Watcher Council HQ. The only warning she had that this wasn’t a good sign was her best friend’s squeak before a heavy form slammed into her, and for the second time that night she was thrown to the ground. This time, when her head cracked against the cool marble floor, she barely registered that it was Ash who’d hit her (again) before she groaned and darkness took her.
Buffy woke to the sounds of a heated argument going on above her and groaned. Her head was throbbing, the world spinning above her as her eyes blinked open and a sharp stabbingly bright light penetrated her skull. The fact that she could hear what sounded like Faith and some guy’s voice she didn’t recognize shouting at each other wasn’t helping. Letting out another groan, the blonde squeezed her eyes closed quickly again to protect her vision, and rolled over to block out the light; it was almost a fatal mistake, the sudden motion sending a wave of nausea through her, and it took every ounce of her self control to keep from heaving over the side of the bed she was on. The heavy male boots that filled her vision scattered back, as if afraid she’d do exactly that, and she felt the mattress depress as someone sat down behind her. The small hand that ran soothingly on her back meant it was probably Willow or Dawn.
“Look, I don’t know what kind of operation you morons are running here, but you gotta get that girl to a hospital. Can’t you see she’s obviously hurt?” The guy’s voice, and the owner of those boots from how close he sounded. She still couldn’t place him, but the mention of a hospital made it tempting to stop holding back and let loose on his feet.
“Yeah, no thanks to you, asshole.” Ahh, there was her knight in shining- well, leather. Thank god for Faith. “You don’t know shit about B; she’d skin alive anyone who tried to take her to the hospital for something as little as a concussion.” There was a pause, then, “Sorry Red, no offense.”
“None taken,” her friend answered, and yup. Willow was the one behind her.
“As little as a- are you people crazy? What if she needs help? What if it’s not a concussion? This isn’t the damn middle ages! Now get off your collective asses and get going, or god help me, I’ll take her myself!” Those boots were coming closer again, damnit. If he touched her, she was going to hurl. On purpose. Go to the hospital her ass- she’d show him. Thankfully, before it came to that, there was a swift movement and a pair of heels came between she and him, and he stumbled back.
“Touch my sister and die.”
Go Dawnie. Buffy’d had about enough though. She was a Slayer. There was no way some stupid concussion was getting the best of her. She’d be healed soon enough. Taking a moment to be sure she wouldn’t get sick against her will, the blonde slowly pushed herself up, Willow’s hands helping her a little along the way. Sure she could’ve done it by herself, but she wasn’t that prideful. Most of the time.
“Turn off the lights,” she muttered, keeping her eyes closed; even through her lids she could feel the brightness. A skittering of footsteps sounded and a moment later there was blessed darkness. Only then did she open her eyes. There was a dim light shining into her bedroom- how on earth had they gotten into her bedroom?- and it was just enough to see by, yet not enough to contribute to her throbbing headache. The whole gang was present almost; Willow sitting beside her rubbing her back, Faith standing at the end of the bed, Giles at the door watching (guarding, it looked like?), and her ‘little’ sister stood before her, between she and a man who looked vaguely familiar. It took a moment of staring at his old timey clothes, the distinct scars on his face, and then, as her gaze ran over the chainsaw and shotgun poking over his shoulder, she remembered.
Right. She’d been about to stake a vampire when the big lug had hit her. The initial confrontation had been followed by cracks about his sense of fashion, Willow popping in, and zombie demons from Canada coming from out of nowhere, and when they’d managed to escape… Her eyes narrowed as she glared balefully at him.
“You. You tackled me! Again!”
“Nuh uh! I’m not takin’ the fall for this one, cupcake!” Ash’s back straightened, his mouth twisted into a scowl as he returned her glare full force. “It was your little witchy friend there who did it. I was in the middle of takin’ out a Deadite when she magic-mojo’d us to only god knows where. Kinda hard to stop in the middle of a swing, so excuse me! ‘Sides, you almost took my head off with that pretty little ax of yours.”
“First off, it’s a Scythe, not an ax. Secondly-”
“Oh, well that makes all the difference. You almost took my head off with a scythe, not an ax.”
“Secondly-” she pressed on, ignoring his protest as if he hadn’t said a word, “you forgot the ‘again’ part of that. What’s your excuse for the first time you bowled me over?”
“I can’t control where that damn book sends me flying!” Ash sighed, running a hand down his face in apparent frustration, and then seemed to steel himself. “You wanna know why I’m wearing these clothes, why I showed up in a freaking graveyard in the middle of the night like that? Well here’s the plain, honest truth; I just time traveled from the year thirteen freakin’ hundred, where I had to stop an army of darkness from takin’ over the world. ‘Why Ash, you’re so hip and modern for someone from medieval times,’ you say. Yeah, that’s because I’m not from there, not originally. I’m just a guy who took his girlfriend out to a cabin in the woods to have a good time, and ended up losin’ her to the damn Deadites because some nutty professor wanted to research the Necronomicon Ex-whatever and taped himself reading a buncha words that bring the dead back to life. Add in a ritual to banish the evil, one portal that drags ya to the past whether you like it or not, and some stupid prophecy about the Promised One, Chosen One, something like that, and you’ve got what happened to me.”
“- One?” Turning her head quickly to exchange a glance with Faith- not the best idea she’d ever had, if the way her head and stomach protested at the motion was any indication- Buffy felt the urge to bang her head against the wall beside her. Probably another bad idea, which she wisely refrained from, instead glancing around- slowly this time- to see the looks her friends were giving Ash. Most of them were a cross between suspicion, disbelief, and worry. Prophecies about the ‘Chosen One’ didn’t usually end well in their experience. Giles, however…
“Dear God, did you say the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis?” There it was, the infamous whipping off of the glasses and rubbing them with a handkerchief. That could mean one of two things; either they were doing something he just didn’t want to see- or it was something serious. Possibly both, but Buffy was betting on the latter.
“Yeah, that’s it. Book of the dead, bound in human flesh, inked in blood, yadda, yadda, yadda.” It was Ash’s turn to look suspicious, eying the older man warily. “What’s it to you?”
The glasses returned to the Watcher’s face, and the eyes behind them were dark, serious, and somewhat sad. His face bore an expression Buffy hadn’t seen since the day he’d shown up on her doorstep in Sunnydale, after the Council had fallen. “The professor you mentioned- Raymond Knowby, correct? I believe his home was in Tennessee.”
“Okay, just how do you know that?” There was a tension beginning to form in Ash’s shoulders, his expression growing more and more distrustful as he stared at Giles.
“Dr. Knowby was- an associate of the Council,” Giles began, but his words seemed more for Buffy and the others than for the stranger in their midst, his gaze distant, “and a personal friend of my father’s. He was something of an expert in Sumerian language and culture; when my father was tasked with the translation and comprehension of a very old, very powerful book, Raymond was the one he turned to for aid. It was a tragic mistake, and- it cost Dr. Knowby his life.”
“Wait a minute- you knew that crazy bastard?!” It was like a switch had been thrown in the new guy; he’d gone from wary and suspicious to angry and enraged at warp speed. His eyes flashed as he straightened to his full height- making the blonde realize belatedly just how tall the man was, good god was he tall- and snapped at Giles. “Do you have any idea what he did?! What he caused! I had to-”
He cut off abruptly, and if she hadn’t been staring at him, she would have missed the flash of something else in his eyes, something that hid beneath the rage and the anger. It was deep, dark, and torn, and it was gone almost immediately.
“You will hold your tongue,” Giles snarled in response, his own gaze furious, his voice sharp. Ash had a few inches on him, but it didn’t matter- in that moment it wasn’t Rupert Giles who glared up at Ash, but a much younger, much angrier Ripper. Whoever this Professor Nubby guy had been, he’d been important to Giles. “Raymond Knowby gave his life and the lives of his family to protect this world from a grave demon threat before you had even been conceived. If you dare insult him, I will make sure that you dearly regret it.”
“No way, buddy. Considering the nutty professor’s daughter showed up at his cabin and tried to blame me for killin’ him? There’s no way the old coot died that long ago!”
“His daughter?” Something froze in Giles, and it was as if something broke as well. There was a bloated, pregnant pause as something akin to anguish passed over his face, and then disbelief took him over as he stared at the younger man. “Annie…”
“Yeah, that’s her.” That seemed to steal the anger from Ash as well, regret filtering across his features. His tone was steady, however, when he continued. “Came lookin’ for her parents. Found me instead. Took some convincing to make her realize it hadn’t been me that did it, but she came through in the end. She’s the one who recited the spell to seal away the evil once and for all, right before she died.”
For a long moment, there was silence, the two men sharing an unspoken mourning for whoever ‘Annie’ had been. It made no sense, if Giles was right about when the professor had died, but Buffy was having a hard time caring right at that moment. Giles had ended up on the opposite side of the bed as Ash during the altercation, having abandoned his post by the door, which meant the two had had their argument right over her still aching head. Any silence, after their raised voices, was a blessing.
Unfortunately for her, it wasn’t going to last.
“Okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but- something’s fishy about this whole thing.” Dawn finally spoke up again, her gaze alternating between Giles and Ash from where she still stood before Buffy. “As in, your story isn’t lining up to reality. If Giles says this professor guy died ages ago, I’m gonna have to believe him over, you know. A chainsaw wielding maniac.”
“I am not a maniac!” There was that same wounded look from before, back in the graveyard. It was almost a full blown pout, and had she been in a better mood, she probably would have laughed. “Buzz here just comes in handy for killing Deadites. Couple’a swings from this trusty baby, arms, legs, head, and it’s bye-bye boneheads!” The chainsaw was in his hands now, and he was just reaching for the ripcord, as if to illustrate his point, when Buffy pinned him with a dark look.
“Rev that thing and I will make you wish you’d never been born,” she warned, her voice low. He scowled, but his hand dropped away from the cord and, with a little fiddling, had the thing on his back once more. That was enough for her.
“Dawnie’s right,” Willow pointed out after a moment. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad you helped me and Buffy out in the graveyard, but-” She gave a helpless shrug, and Ash groaned.
“I’m tellin’ ya, I was there. When Annie showed up, she was looking for her parents- why would she be looking for someone who’d been dead for years? Besides, she looked like she was around my age. If the prof died before I was born, then how’d he have a daughter that young?”
“Annie Knowby,” Giles’ voice was soft, laden with a deep sorrow, “died in 1981, in the same place her father unleashed the terrors of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.”
“Well, yeah, that’s what I just said, didn’t I.” Several quick looks were exchanged between the rest of the room, and they didn’t go unnoticed by Ash. Clearly confused, he pressed on. “What? It is!”
“Buddy.” It was Faith who broke the news, her tone incredulous as she stared at him. “The year’s 2004.”
“Two thousand-” There was a frozen look in his eyes, then his head began to slowly shake side to side. “No… No, no, nonononono!”
“It would seem,” Giles stated calmly, even as Ash backed up a step, complete denial written in his expression, “that you have returned from the past- belatedly.”
“It’s- it’s that damn book!” He’d backed up to the nearby wall, leaning against it as he held his head in his left hand, and a groan escaped him. “It was supposed to send me home, not- not twenty years into the future! I just wanted to get back- to my job, to school, to my life!”
“It could be that that is not possible. Such magicks as time travel are not simple, nor easy, and often demand the use of very black spells. The Council is not devoid of powerful witches, as you have seen already, but- it may not be within our power to return you to your time.”
“Are you trying to tell me I’m just stranded here?!” His voice was getting higher and louder with each protest, and Buffy was beginning to wish Dawn had just kept her ‘fishy’ comment to herself, or that Faith had waited before blurting out the date, even if it would only have delayed the inevitable shouting. As it was, her head was beginning to pound even more than before-
“Okay, out.” Willow beat her to the punch, and Buffy’s jaw swung shut from where she’d been about to say something along those lines. The redhead gave her shoulder a little squeeze, followed by a smile, before she turned her infamous ‘Resolve Face’ to the rest of the room. “Buffy needs to rest, and that’s not going to happen if we’re sitting in her bedroom arguing about this whole thing. Faith, go check on Xander and the team he took to the graveyard. See if they need back up, or if they got those things taken care of. Dawn, do me a favor and whip up some herbal tea for Buffy- you know which kind I mean. Giles-”
“I will take our ‘guest’ to the visitors’ quarters,” he interrupted her calmly, looking somewhat bemused at her sudden take charge attitude. “I will learn what I can of the spell that brought him here before I consult with the coven.”
“I was itchin’ for a good fight anyway,” Faith replied with a smirk. “You take care of B. Make sure she doesn’t go chargin’ off before she’s ready.” The comment earned her a scowl from Buffy, to which she merely laughed. Then she turned and left them with one more parting shot before disappearing out the door and down the stairs, “Let’s just hope they left me a couple to slay.”
“And I totally have the tea under control.” There was a twinkle in her sister’s eye that Buffy did not like, but before she could protest, Dawn had disappeared out the door after Faith, leaving only Willow, Giles, and Ash in the room with her. The latter was staring at the way the entire group had been so easily disassembled.
“What the- did she just- how-”
“Willow,” Buffy turned to her friend, ignoring the confused stuttering and narrowing her gaze at the witch. “That ‘herbal tea’ better not be what I think you just did.”
“Come along,” Giles told Ash evenly, starting for the door himself. “Hopefully we will be able to return you to your time, but until we know more, you will need a place to stay. Follow me.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” her friend answered with a smirk that meant, damn it, her suspicions were right. Stupid friends who thought they knew best- there was no way she was drinking anything Dawn brought up. “Just a new recipe I found. It’ll help with the headache.”
“‘Help.’ Right. As in, ‘help me to sleep so I don’t feel the headache?’”
“Right this way.”
“It’ll help with the nausea too! Unless you want to almost get sick every time you move?”
“No fair using perfectly reasonable logic against me!”
“Do sleep well, Buffy.”
“She will. Bye Giles!”
Dawn slipped into the room with a teacup in hand right as Giles shut the door behind he and their confused and protesting guest, sealing her fate.