A/N: This chapter is Buffy heavy. I few crucial differences to the series itself are mentioned here. Riley didn't leave (thanks Ati! I have a short scene about that if any of you'd like me to incorporate it), Tara didn't die (thanks for tackling Warren, Riley!), and Willow didn't go uber-evil (she did however go to Coven to learn to control her magic and was shown the alternate reality we saw on screen-which really freaked her out).
Also, we have an out-side guest: Rogue from X-Men. If you don't know what X-men are, they are 'mutants' and have powers. Rogue sucks life force from people on-touch.
Obvious Disclaimer: Tatiana, mine. Rest, nope.
Hello future! (I just read what Ati wrote). I'm going to pick off from here. Partly because Ati has always been on her own path and wouldn't know where to start, and partly because she just left with Faith and a few others to put down a—well, never mind.
My name is Harris… Alexander Hariss. But—please—call me Xander. After all, we're all friends here… in this, um, book…. Now, I'd love to tell you about my awesome superpowers and the vampire nest I cleaned out last week, but the truth is… I'm completely normal— human through and through, with absolutely no aptitude for magic, fighting, or nearly anything except fixing stuff. My great claim-to-fame is "Friend of Buffy, the Slayer," "Friend of Willow, the Witch-who-is-almost-a-goddess," or "Husband of Anya, the Ex-demon." Sure, I like to think I help stopped the apocalypse a few times, and I did help resurrect Buffy, but I'm not that special. Although… I have been told, in an alternate reality where Tara was murdered and Willow went black-eyed evil for revenge, I talked her down with stories of our time in kindergarten. But I can't tell you if it's true or not. So, disregard that.
For our little gang, it all started back in high school. We were Sunnydale kids—well, Giles (Buffy's Watcher and trainer) was the librarian, but you know what I mean. It was a chaotic life. The Master, a super evil vampire; Angel, a super nice vampire when he has his soul; Spike and Drusilla, a terrifying team and a very long story; Faith, a Slayer who went bad for a little bit; Oz, a great friend with werewolf troubles; and even the Mayor. Don't ask. Post-Sunnydale-High life was more of the same. Riley and a secret government organization who experimented on demons, mindless killing cyborg "Adam", and an evil hell god named Glory. It only started to get really interesting after Buffy sacrificed herself to save Dawn (they're sisters).
Now, let me apologize if you feel like your universal translator broke. I just tried to share a relatively irrelevant, but very complex, part of our history in one paragraph. You'll no doubt see those names again and get some idea of what their history is, but it has barely anything to do with the events that unfolded. For now, let me tell you a story; the story of how I met a certain individual. Someone who saved us so many times over, even before we knew she was there. Our crazy world was nothing compared to the big bad reality. I met Ati after Willow performed a ritual to bring a very dead Buffy back, during the fiasco with the "First" Evil, which ended with the destruction of Sunnydale's Hellmouth. No—not a fiasco. It was full out war.
It was night; another gloomy, dark, depressing night at the Summers' house. I remember sitting in the living room, watching our gaggle of girls—potential slayers—tramp off to bed. They were so normal. No matter what they could become, they were just ordinary girls. That's all we were in the end. Some of us might have had additional powers, but in the end, we were so normal, and so mortal. How could we hope to defeat an ageless incorporeal Evil?
We were a team that consisted of a Slayer, her little sister, two witches (one of which was terrified of her own power), an ex-demon, an ex-military commando, a librarian, a handy man, an enemy turned annoying-geek-blogger, a principle, an insane ensouled vampire with a "make me kill-crazy" trigger in his head, and a horde of untrained terrified girls. I remember evaluating our little group that night in particular— and feeling hopeless. Only two of our team were more than human, and one was a constant threat—a tool being used against us. Sure, Spike felt terrible and couldn't control himself when he was… feral, but it was disturbing to know half our superpower team was off the rocker.
Earlier that night, Principle Woods disappeared with our prize vamp, Giles (Watcher, aka librarian) left with Buffy, and Riley (Buffy's beau and ex-commando) got stir-crazy and left to patrol the neighborhood. I didn't understand what they were thinking. I mean hello! Apocalypse, anyone? But the remaining four of us who qualified as adults were left behind to watch the 'army'. (Dear Future: For your unknowledgeable benefit, that means me, my wife Anya, and the two witches—Willow and Tara. Andrew the Geek does not count, no matter what universe you are from.) Willow and Tara were trying to calm the girls down and herd them into bed—it was quite the show. I could hear Anya poking Andrew's buttons in the kitchen as well. It was… almost normal. Calming. That is, until Giles burst into the house with a scowl the size of Mount Everest.
The door slammed shut, and everyone froze. Giles frowned a little deeper, "Girls… why aren't you in bed?"
I've never seen anyone move so quickly before. In fact—I think they set a record, a house full of girls getting into bed in under five minutes with only three bathrooms.
After it calmed down, the core team started questioning Giles. Where was Buffy? Was everything ok? He avoided the questions—even when Riley got back, learned Buffy was not with Giles, and started panicking.
"What do you mean Buffy isn't with you?" I couldn't tell if Riley was going to explode or evaporate first.
"She—she stayed out."
"What on earth could she possibly be doing that you could not go with her?"
Giles took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I assure you, Riley, Buffy is perfectly safe."
"But, if you don't know where she is, how can you know that?" Willow jumped in tentatively.
"Listen, Buffy is a capable adult—a bloody fine Slayer at that—and she can take care of herself."
Tara frowned, "Y-you know where she went."
"Wait a minute!" I jumped in, "Giles, why aren't you telling us?"
The Watcher sighed, "She went to find Spike and Principle Woods."
Riley had his coat on before you could blink. "Where?"
"Riley, I do not believe—"
Before the argument got any farther, the front door opened. Buffy was the first one in. She looked emotionally shot, but relieved. Behind her came Spike and a woman I didn't know. Both of them were beat, bloody, leaning on each other for support, and were laughing at something. Woods entered next, the epitome of concern and annoyance, and was followed by a girl (potential-aged), who wore long white gloves. The only skin that showed on her was her face.
"Never seen a better right hook!" the bloody woman announced.
Spike chuckled, "Could say the same about you—bloody brilliant. You must show me what else you have up your sleeve, love."
I didn't have to look to see the open mouths on the friends around me. Looking back on it, I probably was catching flies too.
"I see it worked," Giles clasped hands with Woods.
"Yes, it did indeed."
"Yet—" the Watcher frowned, "Who are your friends?"
The woman stepped forward—Spike lost his balance and Buffy caught him. She smiled brightly, "Hello! I'm a 600 year old ensouled vampire who raised Robin after Spike killed Nikki." She held out her hand, "Tatiana, but you can call me Ati."
"Bloody hell!" Spike exclaimed, "You mean you're the Tatiana?"
All eyes turned to him. I cleared my throat, "Sorry, severely lost here."
Giles furrowed his brow, "Well, there have been numerous accounts of a demon hunter called 'Tatiana' throughout history… But it's been assumed the name turned into a title, passed down through generations."
"Nope." Ati beamed, "That's me." She turned to Woods, "Isn't that right, Robin dear?"
I still remember the way his face twitched. "Ati, for the last time, I am not a child."
All this while, the other member of the group, the gloved girl, hung back observing the exchange. Swallowing hard, she piped up, "Well, if you ask me Ati deserves to be a legend."
"Thank you dear," Ati beckoned and the girl walked over. "This is Rogue. She helped me with a nasty vampire nest in New York a while back."
Introductions swept around the room quickly.
"I just have one question," Riley said after he announced his identity, "Why are you two beaten half to death?" Ati grinned at Spike.
Spike winked back. "Well, Soldier Boy," he shifted his weight and winced, "Robin here had the bright plan of beating the trigger out of me."
"It wasn't that crude," the principle protested.
"Did it work?" I asked. Because… if it did—
"Yes." Half the group answered at once.
Buffy smiled good naturedly, "Now we have two ensouled vampires, trigger-free, on our side."
"Except they're both half dead," I felt the need to point out.
Willow perked up, "I'll get the bandages."
"I'll make two more sleeping spots," Tara echoed.
"How long are you planning to stay?" I don't remember who asked, but it was clear who it was meant for.
Ati and Rogue exchanged a look. "Until we kick your Evil in its incorporeal ass."
Several nights later, we mounted our first offensive against Caleb—a crazy preacher amped up on Evil juice. It was during that fight I lost my eye, and two potentials nearly died. It was only thanks to our new friends it wasn't worse. They were always there in the nick of time to save someone's skin. Rogue took off her gloves and merely touched the bringers (Caleb's minions), and they crumpled like paper. And Ati fought like a master; like a woman possessed. She went so far as throwing herself in front of the knife that would have killed one of the girls.
I had never met someone with that kind of grudge against evil.
When I met them, I never imagined what Ati and Rogue could do. I never imagined how they would change our world. Before them, our world was so much easier—vampires, demons, and apocalypses. Our kind of vampires, demons, and apocalypses. I thought it was as big as the world got. I was very wrong.
However, I am certain of two things. One: without our ensouled alien vampire and dangerous-to-the-touch x-man (x-woman?), the battle against the First would have been much more bloody. And Two: the giant crisis we are facing would have happened with or without us. Better to go down fighting than oblivious, don't you think?
Thoughts? Comments? Rants? Something?