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.
Would you believe it took them three hours to rescue me? And when I say ‘rescue,’ I mean it in the literal sense. I sure learned one thing as I sat through the what felt more like a hokey parody of that old show- whass’it called again, Masterpiece Theater?- than any kind of actual explanation; I was never asking Andrew anything again. Ever. He was a good kid, I could tell, but good god when he got going… Yeah, yeah, I was kind of a nerd myself, back before everything happened, but I was never that bad. Eventually, though, I guess someone finally thought to find out where the little munchkin had disappeared to, cause Willow stuck her head in the room, and I’ll tell you what- that girl can apologize like a pro. Which she did, over and over again, before she dragged him out, leaving me to get a little peace and quiet.
After the day I’d had, I probably should have taken advantage of it. I mean, I had a pretty cushy set up in the visitors quarters, a couple’a rooms all connected, high stylin’, and damn if the huge bed in the last room wasn’t the softest thing I’d ever had the pleasure of laying on. It definitely beat what they’d had back in Kandar. I just wasn’t in the mood for sitting back and doing nothing. Besides, despite the fact that it was the wee early hours of the morning here, I wasn’t the least bit tired. Let me be the first to tell ya, time travel jet-lag is a bitch. So after she hauled the kid off and I felt like a reasonable amount of time had passed- well, okay, when I got bored, shut up- I got to exploring.
The rooms they’d stuck me in didn’t seem too far off the beaten path. It only took me a minute or so to find the big hall Willow had magic’d us into earlier that night. It was a little less busy right then- most of the girls that had been milling around gone to bed, I guess. I still had a hard time believing that every single one of those chicks had been super powered so-called-Slayers, but that’s what Andrew had claimed. Honestly, it made me a little sick to think that all those innocent girls were here to fight monsters and demons that went bump in the night, but- well, maybe it made a difference.
I’d tried to imagine how that first night in the cabin could have been different if Cheryl, or Linda, or even Shelly had had super powers. Would we have gotten away, somehow? Would they all still be alive, instead of twenty three years dead? Maybe I wouldn’t’ve had to fight off my own sister, or hack up the girl I’d loved. The entire thought left a bitter taste in my mouth, so I just tried to shove it out of my head. There were better things to do than brood, like learn more about this place I’d be spending my time in until they got me home, because damn it they were going to figure out how to send me home.
So empty, the hall felt even bigger than it had before, and cold and kinda dead, like it was just waiting to be breathed back to life. There was a single girl sitting at a desk- the night watch Slayer I guess- and she gave me a funny look, but didn’t say anything. Guess someone musta told her there was a visitor, and that I wasn’t a threat. Fine by me, if it meant I could look around uninterrupted. I waved at her and went about my business, if that’s what you could call it.
There was a huge display that stretched across one wall of the hall, and it looked like a cross between a family tree and a timeline, except that all the pictures were of young women. A quick look told me that that was exactly what it was, in a way- the pictures started out as drawings that looked practically ancient, framed and moving through the years and becoming first paintings and portraits, then black and white photos, and finally colored photos. Beneath each picture there was a name, a birth date, a date in the middle, what I assumed was a death date, and sometimes a line about the girl. A quick bit of math made me grimace- most of those girls hadn’t lived to see eighteen, and most of the death dates weren’t more than a year, if that, after the middle date. God, this had been going on for- for longer than I could even imagine, and all these girls… every single one of them had died horrific deaths.
Every single one except- there was one picture that didn’t have a death date, and another one that (if you can believe it) had two. And I’d seen both of those women today. Buffy and Faith, the injured blonde and the leather clad brunette. I stood in front of the pictures for a moment, just kinda looking at them, and had to snort at the line beneath Buffy’s; ‘Beloved Sister. Devoted Friend. She saved the world. A lot.’
“Cheesy, isn’t it?”
“Yaaaah!” I jumped about five feet high and turned around to see who’d snuck up on me, half reaching for my gun before I remembered that I’d left it in the room. I swear it was a manly, um. Shout, though. Yeah, that’s it. I didn’t scream, I shouted. And it was definitely manly.
“I tried to tell them not to, but apparently I don’t get much say in my own obituary.” It was Buffy, and she was grinning as she looked from me to the picture and back. Wait a minute…
“Shouldn’t you be all- drugged? And resting?” It hadn’t been that long, had it? Were concussion victims supposed to be running around scaring the hell out of unsuspecting time travelers? She shrugged, her eyes twinkling a little.
“I heard you got the low down on Slayers from Andrew- sorry about that, by the way, I can’t believe Giles left you alone with him- so, you know about the whole healing thing? I’m already one hundred percent healed up.”
“Your- obituary?” I blinked, glancing back at the picture, still trying to process what she’d said before. Something about the whole thing didn’t make sense at all. Why were there two death dates when she was standing right there in front of me? She actually had the gall to laugh at the confused look on my face. I almost pouted- except that I don’t pout. Pouting is for five year olds and girls, and I’m a grown man.
“Yup. The second time I died, I stayed dead long enough for them to bury me. That’s what they put on my grave, and they thought it’d be funny to put it up on the Slayer wall too.” My mouth moved a little, though nothing came out of it, and I tried to decide if I should be impressed, or if I should freak out. After all, in my experience, once it’s buried, it’s generally a bad thing if it comes back. As in, Deadite bad. But this girl, this teeny tiny little wisp of a girl, looked perfectly normal.
That’s not to say that she couldn’t have been trying to fool me- I’d seen too many Deadites pull the whole ‘hey look, I’m normal again, come closer’ trick to think it couldn’t happen, but it didn’t make any sense. If she was a Deadite in disguise, how come she’d helped me out earlier when all those Deadites popped up? Or better yet, she’d had the perfect chance at me when I’d first dropped in on her, before her little friend showed up- a Deadite would’ve tried to get me then and there. Right? I shook my head to get rid of the confusion, though I still eyed her kind of warily. I’d just have to go with my gut feeling, for now, that she wasn’t one of those damn demons, otherwise I’d never get any peace.
As I tried to figure it out in my head, she just kinda stood there, watching me with this amused look in her eyes, her arms crossed under her breasts. Which- was a bad thought, because it was pushing ‘em up pretty nicely, and damn if they didn’t look good, despite being a little on the small side. Not the best thoughts to be thinking about the super powered chick who would probably wipe the floor with my ass if I kept starin’ at her chest. Granted, it’d only happen because I’d let her- unless she turned Deadite on me, no way was I gonna hit a girl- but still. Time to be thinking other thoughts. Like-
“Look, Geek Boy went on and on about this ‘Slayer’ thing,” and on, and on, and on, and on, and- “and even though I tried to tune him out after the first hour, I know one thing. He was pretty clear about the whole ‘one at a time’ part before your friend did her magic thing. So how come your picture is up on this wall with that other Slayer’s picture? Cause I’m guessing that you’re not going to put up pictures of all those girls that were runnin’ around here earlier. Which means you were one of the ‘one at a time’ ones.”
“Actually,” she answered, her lips twitching a little, “we have another room for all the mini-me’s. Just because they weren’t called one by one doesn’t make them any less important- they’d just fill up the hall pretty fast if we put them out here.” She paused then, moving over to the pictures, looking at hers, Faith’s, and the one between them. Her smile was kinda wistful, like she was remembering something, before she seemed to shake it off. “But you’re right. I was Chosen” and it was weird hearing her say that, because I could hear the capital ‘C’ in the word, like when the old Wiseman had told me I was ‘Promised,’ “before the line broke. The Slayer before me died, I got called. A year or so after I was called, I drowned. My friend Xander did CPR, but apparently I’d been dead long enough to call another Slayer. That was Kendra.”
There was a definite sad look on her face at that point, as she touched the frame around the dark face between hers and Faith’s. I knew that feeling, although I’d tried not to. Whatever had happened to this ‘Kendra,’ she blamed herself. There were a lotta people I felt the same way about, and it wasn’t a particularly good feeling, to tell the truth. I had the sudden urge to wipe that look away from her face, and I didn’t give myself too much time to think about it before I opened my trap.
“So even though you died and someone else got turned into the Slayer, you’re still all- supe’d up? Cause you held your own against those Deadites earlier pretty good.”
“Yup.” She was bright, cheery, and way too fake, but hey. I wasn’t about to go pokin’ holes in her little front. Better false cheer than guilt and angst. “Once a Slayer, always a Slayer apparently. They’d just never had one die and not stay dead before to realize it. I got the dubious honor of figuring that part out myself.”
“You said you died twice? What happened with that? Did you get another Slayer then, too?”
“Nope. Once I passed the line on to Kendra, that was it. Faith was called when Kendra died and it was just us two till Willow did her spell.” She gave a shrug then, motioning to our surroundings with her hands. “And now we’re what you see here. Me ‘n Faith playing Senior Slayers to all the new girls. If they want to learn, they can come here to Slayer Central, or one of the Council outposts we’ve got around the world. We teach them how to defend themselves, and how to not hurt people with their new found strength. From there, it’s their choice whether to stay on, or to go back home. And if they never come in the first place… Well, we try to keep an eye on them, and help out if they need it.”
“You spy on them.” She turned, kinda tense, like she thought I was accusing her or something, but I shrugged. “Not my business. Least you don’t force them into it, cause been there, done that, and baby? It sucks.”
“Yeah,” she answered, hesitant, eying me now like I was something to be figured out. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. She was kinda hot- and that was not something to be thinkin’ about now, Ash. “You’ve heard all of my story, but we still don’t know yours- other than the whole time travel thing at least.”
“Yeah, so?” I gave her kind of a sideways look. I did not want to do story time, but from the look in her eye, I was beginning to suspect I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Damn it.
“So, if we’re going to be helping you out, I want to make sure we’re not helping out the wrong side.”
Wha- what? She thought I was evil? Did she not see the things the book dropped off on top of us earlier? I sputtered for a response, my eyes wide as I stared at her in shock, and without thinking, I jutted one finger out to poke her shoulder.
“Listen up, sister! I’m not the bad guy here! I’m just the guy that got roped into fighting those damn things! I told you before, and I’ll say it again! I went up to that damn cabin with my friends and got mixed up in this just because that crotchety old professor your friend was so defensive about screwed with shit better left gone. I-”
She- she was laughing. At me! Here I was poking her in the shoulder before I hooked my thumb back to indicate myself, all but yellin’ at her in the middle of the hall cause she called me evil, and she was laughing! I froze and just stared at her for a moment, completely lost.
“Whoooooa, chill Ash.” Her hands went up between laughs, palms to me in what I guess was surrender, and she shook her head before grinning widely. “I was just teasing. I get that you’re the good guy, which is why you should make with the spillage. Good guy to good guy. Now c’mon, before our night watch girl decides we’ve both gone crazy. We can go hang in my suite, and you can show n tell.”
On the bright side, the hot super chick was inviting me back to her rooms. On the bad side, the hot super powered chick who could probably kick my ass was inviting me back to her rooms. In a building full of other super powered girls whose first impression of me had been me knocking out their leader lady. It could either end very good, or very, very badly.
What can I say? No way was I passing up that kind of chance.
“Well, baby, you tell me where to go, and I’ll be happy to do a little ‘showing,’ if ya know what I mean.” Self-preservation toned down my leer a bit, but my smirk was confident as I looked down at her, realizing (not for the first time) how tiny Buffy was. She looked like I could break her in half with just the use of my good hand, not like the legendary Slayer Andrew’d gone on and on about. She also looked- amused.
“Yuh huh.” She arched an eyebrow at me, when what she should’a been doing was swooning, and just shook her head. “Come on, Mr. Bad-Pick-Up-Line. We stay here much longer and we’re gonna get tattled on.” Her head jerked toward the desk, where the girl sitting there was watching us, one hand hovering over a phone like she was trying to decide whether or not to turn us in. It was my turn to arch an eyebrow at Buffy.
“Aren’t you the head honcho here, or something like that? You can just tell her to shush, right?” I asked, because that’s sure what Andrew had made it sound like. I wasn’t exactly prepared for the snort she made.
“Are you kidding me? I may be one of the head Slayers, but when they think they know what’s best for me? I mean, you did see that stunt they pulled earlier, right?” The blonde rolled her eyes, shaking her head yet again, before she turned and started toward the hall that she’d been carried through earlier that night. I shrugged and followed.
“That kinda thing happen a lot around here?” I looked at her curiously, watching the way she moved, and it reminded me of a lion, or tiger. Predatory, though she didn’t seem to realize it.
“Nah. Only when they get all mother-hennish on me. Usually it’s Willow who starts it, and they just fall into line. She-” Buffy paused then, her brow furrowing, before a pout crossed her face. “Hey, this isn’t me time, I thought we established that already. I want to know about you.”
“Yeah, well, you’ll just hafta wait till you get me alone in your rooms,” I grinned, getting another eye roll from her. “Then you can get whatever you want out of me.”
“Okay, that’s just bad.” She was laughing anyway, stopping to open the door that led into her room and waving me in. I flashed her a little smirk and stepped in. Well, here it went.