Warnings: Reference to canon character death, fight scene violence consistent with canon, potentially triggering for tone. Click here for further explanation, which could serve to spoil the fic.
Spoilers: Chosen, so pretty much the whole series.
A/N: One girl stands in the hellmouth and awaits the birth of her power.
Credits: Thank you to Lizzoid for the beta.
Disclaimer: Since Mutant Enemy respects its own property, I will do the same. This universe belongs to the great and powerful Joss.
Sunnydale. May 20, 2003
She watched her blood drip down onto the Seal of Danzalthar. It made a steady sound of gentle dripping, like the faucet in her kitchen at home. The sound filled the dank basement, amplified by the blood of the other potentials. Only their breath seemed louder. She tried to prepare herself for what they planned to do.
This time she'd have the power. Not like the other time. Since her watcher had first told her of vampires and slayers, she'd wondered how it would feel to be called.
Now she would know.
The seal glowed white and folded in on itself, revealing a staircase to Hell itself. The two slayers led the way. Her heart thundered loudly over the sound of her footsteps on the ancient stone. She crept with her comrades to the edge of a great canyon, and looked down at a sea of feral vampire creatures below. Okay, so that was Hell itself; this was simply the entrance.
The creatures saw them, and with one mind they scaled the canyon walls. Soon they would pour up into the hellmouth, and if the witch failed to complete her spell in time, a slaughter would begin.
She waited for it to happen, for the power to fill her. Nothing yet. Her heart pounded in her throat and she wondered what was taking so long.
Faith and Buffy beat back the first wave, and she heard Rona gasp.
"These guys are dust," Vi said.
As she watched, Chao-Ahn slayed a Turok-Han, and Amanda dusted one with her staff.
She waited to feel the change, but nothing happened. She felt the same. The same except for the sickness rising from her gut as she realized the truth. The spell had come and gone, but she had not been chosen.
She would die.
The first rule of slaying: Don't die. Buffy's words echoed in her head. But she wasn't a slayer, she was just a girl, and her own words echoed louder, the words she'd said to her watcher the day they'd met.
There must be some mistake. I'm just an average girl.
An average girl about to die in the mouth of Hell itself. A Turok-Han was upon her, its tiny eyes focused on her as its fetid breath hit her in the face.
"No!" She swung her sword with all the strength she had.
It struck the Turok-Han in the neck, failed to go clean through, and sent a shockwave back through her arm. She stumbled backwards.
The Turok-Han stumbled as well, and Shannon turned from her own freshly dusted opponent to stake it from behind in the midst of charging at a third one. The new slayer's eyes gleamed with the thrill of battle, not noticing the average girl who didn't belong.
She gasped in shock at her narrow escape as it exploded into dust.
Three more times she cheated death, deflecting attackers who turned to dust at the hands of Kennedy, Vi, and a slayer whose name she did not know.
Faith called for the retreat, and she charged for the stairs. A slayer lay in her path, wounded, and she tried to lift her. She owed these others her life, but she wasn't strong enough to lift her alone.
An uninjured slayer bent beside her and helped. She hoped the other girl didn't realize she was doing most of the work as they raced up the stairs. She felt like a fraud, hiding her uselessness with this sham of a good deed.
Someone carried Amanda past, badly wounded, maybe even dead, and she fought down the urge to vomit as they ran through the shaking school and onto the waiting bus.
As the schoolbus rumbled through the crumbling town, racing the devastation, she looked at the faces who had made it out. Some hadn't. Buffy hadn't. She watched Dawn's frantic hope that her sister would still appear, and heard Vi ordering Rona to stay conscious. They were like sisters now as well.
She didn't belong here.
The bus came to a halt. It seemed wrong to follow the others out into the sunlight to celebrate a victory that was theirs, and not hers. To join them would be a lie.
But what else was left to her but the lie? If she didn't live it, the others might guess her shame. She closed her eyes tightly at the thought, fighting back tears for a moment. She'd almost been a vampire slayer; she'd almost helped save the world; she'd almost belonged. Now she was just a fraud.
She got off the bus and smiled to mask her secret.
This transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Buffy the Vampire Slayer™©, Angel™© the Series and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Mutant Enemy. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, July 2006.