TITLE: An Emerald Dawn
AUTHOR: Methos (Methosivanhoe@hotmail.co.uk)
DISTRIBUTION: If ya want to host it somewhere else just tell me where ya putting it ok? ;)
DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, Green Lantern, The Guardians, and any other mentions of DC characters belong to DC Comics ok? All I own is the twisted idea.
SUMMARY: Looking back Xander wishes he still had the power to change everything, he had lost so much. He’d survived 'The fall of humanity' and the subsequent wars. He survived so much but in the process had lost so much. Looking back he wonders 'was it worth it? Was there anything he could have done?'
FEEDBACK: Love it :) Either here or to my e-mail address.
RELATIONSHIPS: none planned mentions of canon relationships.
SPOILERS: All of Buffy, All of Angel. Future fic.
AN: Just a twisted idea that came to me, Dark fic so be warned. Also looking for a beta, knowledge of Buffy, Stargate and green lantern preferred but not essential.
be warned, i am going to be taking all the fandom's needed and completely mangling them to suit this story...
As I look out over the edge of Sunnydale I wonder, could this have been different.
From where I am standing I can clearly see the light of Los Angeles, or what used to be Los Angeles. The city hasn’t been habitable for nearly ten years now. The war came, and we weren’t ready for it.
Ground zero was in Los Angeles, Angel and his team stood up to the senior partners of wolfram and hart.
Not a single survivor. Two days later the city had been taken, Los Angeles now belonged to the demons. A week later the other major cities had fallen. New York, San Francisco, Washington. All gone.
I’m on the roof of what used to be the mayor’s office, now it’s the highest point in Sunnydale. From here I can see the world burning.
As I look over to my left I can see the last rays of the sun break over the horizon, its night. No one goes out at night time anymore; well not unless they have a death wish.
Looking down I see the object in my hand glimmer in the light, a green ring.
It used to signify so much. Truth, honor, justice. Now all it does is remind me of what I’ve lost.
“Are you coming Alex?” A voice carries loudly across the rooftop in the silence.
“I’ll be there in a minute, take the swords and tell group thirteen that they are patrolling the south quadrant tonight.” I don’t even turn around, I know its Lara. She’s been my lieutenant since the beginning. She’ll obey without question.
Quadrant thirteen had been posing a lot of problems recently. Since ‘The Fall’, food has been hard to come by, all the essentials are hard to come by. There’s no electricity, no water. All modern conveniences are gone.
I can’t believe how far we have fallen.
Looking back I see it was inevitable. The cities quickly fell into chaos when the demons arrived. The survivors quickly turned to scavengers to carry on living, well surviving. I can’t call this living anymore. Then the scavengers turned into gangs.
I suppose it does make a twisted kind of sense, the human need for congregation. For safety in numbers. It worked, for a while.
The gangs quickly accepted anyone, as long as they were useful. If you could use a weapon, you were useful. If you could cook from scratch, you were useful. If you could fix things, you were useful. If you weren’t useful the gangs didn’t see the point in having you around.
The demons now prowl the night; thankfully most of the big ones are still affected by day light. The minor ones however don’t seem to mind it, either that or they have developed an immunity to it in the ten years since ‘the fall’.
We’re not talking demons like when the mayor ascended, or Acathla. No, they were so far down on the demonic food chain they didn’t even bear thinking about.
The demons that came through were things straight out of my worst nightmares, and coming from me that’s saying a lot.
Things that could rip the flesh from your bones just by looking at you, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
How about I tell you how it all started.
After we defeated ‘The First’ we decided to break for a while. The Hellmouth was gone. In the few months that followed, we all started noticing something weird with the world. Not weird bad, just weird. It seemed the human race was actually growing up for once.
For the next year, Earth was a utopia. It was paradise.
Crime had dropped to an all time low. Nations and countries had given up their bickering and had come to agreements. Nuclear arms were being decommissioned all around the world. It seemed too good to be true, but there we were. Living the dream.
One year after Sunnydale, we returned. Buffy, Willow, Giles, me and a few others. The ones that remembered. We came back to say goodbye. It may sound stupid, but it’s what we needed to do. Say goodbye to all the loved one’s we had lost.
To say when we arrived it was a shock would be the understatement of the year.
No, I know what you’re thinking. Sunnydale wasn’t back.
Rain and rivers had conspired to create a lake at the bottom of the crater. It was beautiful. There was a land mass in the middle of the lake, not much. Maybe a fifty square miles and there were buildings on it. Pretty much just rubble, but buildings.
I can’t describe how it looked. It was amazing, to see out of all that destruction and death had come something so perfect. I nearly broke down and wept then and there. The ground around the crater wasn’t desert any more; it was lush, green, fertile land.
I think we all decided that something had to be done with this place.
By this time we had heard what was happening in Los Angeles, the problem was we had heard so many different rumor's about what was going on there that no one knew the truth.
So in a sense I suppose it is our fault, because we did the worst thing that we could do. The one thing we were always berating others for.
We did nothing, we stood by and did nothing.
Giles, Buffy, Willow, all the gang decided. It was unanimous. We would settle in what used to be Sunnydale. It took a few weeks, a month or so to get everything set up. For a while we were happy living in tents and eating from a spit or a barbecue. Then we decided to get organized.
Giles called in a few favors from his contacts. Soon the crater was being transformed, power generators to provide electricity to the new homes, water pumps to collect clean water from the surrounding ‘halo lake’. It was all coming together.
Funnily enough it was Faith and Andrew who found it first. They brought it to Giles who, in his own words was ‘flummoxed’. It was a body. Small like a child, maybe ten years old, but he was blue. Blue skin with white hair like an albino. His clothes were strange as well. A bright red robe with a simple insignia on the front.
At first we all assumed it was a type of demon. Just one we hadn’t come across before. It must have been caught in Sunnydale when it collapsed. We decided to burn the body just in case. An unknown demon body wasn’t something to be taken lightly so after removing the robes for later research we torched the body on a funeral pyre.
Funny thing was when the flames reached the body they changed. Fire burns orange and yellow, everyone knows that. When the fire consumed the body it was green. Bright green almost unbearable to look at.
After that we all thought nothing of it. Just another demon, right? So we go back to working on our new home.
We all helped in, me and Buffy found some of the old buildings from Sunnydale. Buildings that had somehow survived the crater intact, or mostly intact. It shouldn’t have been possible, but here they were. It didn’t matter how they survived, magically reinforced was one of the bug contributing factors apparently, and for some reason a lot of the cities council buildings were among the intact.
Using Buffy's strength and my construction know how we soon got a few buildings more or less habitable. Then we found something else. Under the old city hall building was a network of catacombs, much like the ones where we fought the Turok han in the final battle.
This network stretched on as far as the eye could see, it look us days to explore it so a reasonable degree. To make sure that there were no demons or vampires or anything else it here. At the end of one tunnel we came across a set of doors. No, that doesn’t do them justice, the doors were immense. At least forty feet in height, and ten feet across.
On the doors was an insignia, the same one as the ‘Smurf Demon’ had on his robe. A circle with horizontal bar’s intersecting the far top and far bottom of the circle and stretching out to either side so the bars were the same width as the circle itself.
Ok, we’d found the home of the ‘Smurf Demon’ I reasoned. From the look of these doors they had been here a while. Centuries maybe, millennia even and they hadn’t made their presence known.
“Come on Buff, better get back and tell Giles about this.” Turning to Buffy I could see that glint in her eyes, the one that says ‘we’ve found something important, something to do with slayers’. She had the same look when she first got the scythe. I could see her approaching the doors so I walked up besides her.
“Xander, it’s amazing. Don’t you think?” She said craning her neck to look up at the doors.
“Yeah Buffy, ancient doors. Pretty doodle on the front.” Joking aside it was a magnificent sight.
“You don’t see it do you?” she said as she turned to me with a puzzled expression.
“See what?” looking up it looked the same as it did ten minutes ago.
“The logo, it’s burning. It’s on fire and crackling with electricity, it’s so beautiful. Bright green flames, emerald lightning, oh I wish you could see it.”
Normally I would have made some wisecrack here about her seeing things in her old age or the blonde hair dye finally getting to her brain, but looking into her eyes I couldn’t do it. She was serious; she could see something that I couldn’t. Something that was calling to the slayer inside.
“Well, why don’t you knock, see if anyone answers.” I grinned at the suggestion, with the height and width of the doors they must have been a good twenty feet thick and solid marble all the way through. My grin faded from my face when Buffy reached up and banged three times on the door.
“Nothing,” She said looking crestfallen. “Maybe we should get Giles, see if he knows anything about it.”
With that we both started walking away from the doors, back into the catacombs when I saw it. The light bathed the entire cave in a green hue. I stopped in mid step and swung myself around.
It was beautiful. Everything that Buffy had described, the flames, the electricity.
“Xander, Xander!” I could hear Buffy calling me but it didn’t matter, the doors were calling me as well. Or something beyond the doors. Walking back towards the doors I was amazed as they swung open for me, almost as if they were accepting me. As I walked through the doors I could still make out Buffy calling for me, telling me to stop and wait for Giles. Maybe I should have.
I heard her footsteps speed up as she started running towards me, she meant to stop me, protect me but I couldn’t stop myself. A brief thought flashed across my mind or a wall keeping Buffy from reaching me. A soft green glow bathed the chamber and I heard a thump followed by a groan. Try as a might though I couldn’t turn around to see what had happened. It was like I wasn’t in control of my body anymore.
Inside the chamber was even more extravagant then the doors were, the floor was a soft green marble and the insignia from the doors was all over. There were makings on the walls, hieroglyphs or the like. Not normal writing but a form of pictograph like I had seen in so many of Giles old books.
At the very end of the chamber was a table, made out of a sort of green rock, maybe jade or something I mused to myself as my body continued walking forward. On the table lye a body, the same species as the ‘Smurf demon’ we had found a few days ago.
My hand reached out of its own accord and reached down to the body picking up one of its small hands and prying the fingers open.
Inside was a small green ring.
‘Leave it alone, just leave it alone and get back to Buffy’ I screamed at my body but it was no use. I watched my hand reach down and pick up the ring. Such a simple design. It didn’t look like it was made out of metal, rock or even plastic. I couldn’t tell you what it was made out of. The same insignia from the door and the robes was emblazoned on the top of the ring with a circle surrounding it.
The ring looked so ordinary, maybe a religious icon or a family keepsake, I thought.
I looked down and watched my left hand raise the ring up and go to place it on my middle finger on my right hand. I almost chuckled. The ring was small; obviously it had been made to be worn by the ‘Smurf demon’. It was way too small to fit on my finger.
My chuckle died before it had even been voiced though, as I watched the ring grew in size and it approached my finger. I watched in fascination as the ring slid down my middle finger then it seemed to shrink a bit before glowing softly in a green light.
Once it was on and the glow had faded I found myself back in control of my body, immediately I forgot about the ring and raced back to where Buffy was. There was a wall separating her from the chamber, a soft green, vaguely transparent wall.
“Buffy, are you ok?” I shouted.
“I’m fine Xander, what happened?” she replied pacing up and down the wall.
“I don’t know, I saw the glow from the door’s when we were leaving and then... it was like I couldn’t control my body anymore.” looking around I could see the wall stretched the entire width of the cave and was easily thirty feet high.
“Xander, where did this thing come from? I’ve tried hitting it with everything I’ve got and it doesn’t budge.”
Starting to panic I looked around, no way was I going to be trapped down here by a glowing green wall when we had just found paradise. “Is there a door or anything on your side? Anyway of...” My sentence trailed off, as soon as I had thought about a door in the wall one had appeared. Reaching forward I grasped the handle and opened it. Looking through the door was a normal door, well aside from glowing green like the wall. Maybe 2 inches thick.
I poked my head through the door and looked around; sure enough I was on the other side of the wall. Ducking back through I looked more carefully at the wall, being nearly transparent I could see the bricks that made up the wall. It must have been ten foot across. Walking back to the door I walked though and looked at the wall from Buffy's side. Same realization.
“Weird.” I muttered as Buffy ran over to me.
“What was that about? That door wasn’t there before, I’m sure of It.” she said taking a closer look at the door herself.
“I’m a bit freaked out here, how can a door that is only a few inches thick go through a wall that must be over ten foot thick?” raising my hand I went to knock on the wall to check it wasn’t as illusion or something, that’s when I remembered about the ring. Reaching over I went to pull it off my finger, no such luck. The ring wouldn’t even budge.
“What ya got there? Souvenir?” Buffy said as she came over to have a closer look at the ring.
“Dunno, some sort of ring. It’s stuck through, can’t get the thing off. I swear this is just typical, the first time for god knows how many years everything is going right, now I get a demon dohicky stuck on my finger.”
“Xander just wait ‘till we’re back with Giles and the rest, I’m sure if you just use some soap it’ll come straight off.” Grinning she started walking to the catacombs, heading back topside.
“Yeah, I suppose. Just typical though, I swear I’m the power’s butt monkey or something.” I should have been angrier but I couldn’t help grinning as I looked down to examine the ring, it felt right to wear it.
“Come on Xander, unless you want to stay down here with the glowey green things?” Buffy yelled from the mouth of the cave.
Running to catch up with her we both left the cave system, just before we left I could have swore I saw a flash of emerald light and then just darkness. It didn’t register then but thinking about it afterwards it was strange, the glow from the door symbol and the wall should have lit up the caves in the same green light. No light.
When we got back topside I went straight to Giles and told him about the ring and the catacombs. He researched the insignia, we all researched it. The only reference we could come across was a symbol that looked like the one on the ring, there was a slight difference but it was the same symbol I was sure of it.
The book told of a war eons ago, between The Old Ones and a race of beings called The Guardians. Apparently these ‘Guardians’ were protectors of sorts, they came to earth from somewhere. The Guardians were the ones who imprisoned The Old Ones and allowed humanity to become the dominant species. The book didn’t tell us much more about them, they came from somewhere called ‘OA’ and were peacekeepers, nothing more was known about them.
The ring however wouldn’t come off my finger, I tried everything from soap through to ice to shrink my finger and get the ring off. Nothing worked; I kept asking Buffy and Faith if they would try pulling it off with slayer strength but Giles quickly shut that idea down reasoning that if it didn’t come off through normal means then slayer strength could pull off my finger as well as the ring. I had to admit it made a kind of sense so we got back to work and I slowly forgot about it.
The work was progressing faster than anyone could have foreseen, we were close to having habitable buildings, not just for us but for all the slayers. This new city would become the new home of the watchers and the slayers.
While we were busy rebuilding, Giles and Andrew immersed themselves in research. Trying to find out anything about the ring and the being’s know as ‘The Guardian’s’, it was useless though. After The Old Ones were imprisoned, The Guardian’s simply vanished.
One thing was bugging me though, how could a race of beings as small as these have defeated The Old One’s? From everything we knew about The Old Ones they made the demons that we fought seem like kittens in comparison. They were stronger, bigger and generally worse than anything we had come across.
Imagine this, the demons like Acathla, vampires, what the mayor turned into, they were the lowest form of demon. Like ant’s are to us. The Old One’s were at the top of the food chain.
Now ‘The Guardians’ were small, about four foot high and with the same build as a ten year old child. How did these meek creatures defeat The Old One’s? It was a mystery, one probably never to be solved, unless we had a time machine. I laughed to myself at the thought.
So we moved on, rebuilt the city. Reinforced to structures with magic and blessed every building. The city was slowly taking shape, with help from all the slayers around the world who had been making their way here, work was done quickly and effortlessly.
We were meeting up together for the first time in what seemed like an age, with all the work going on all over the place everyone had split up to get things done quicker. I was working on construction; Buffy was taking a bank of new slayers to the outskirts to help clear a manageable path in and out of the crater. Faith was on the other side of the city, with yet more slayers digging canals for irrigation. Tonight we were all getting together again, to talk about new plans and everything that had happened.
Faith, Buffy and myself were slowly walking towards the gathering place when Buffy suddenly collapsed. She cried out in pain. Not the sort of pain from being stabbed or shot. This was a true cry of anguish from her very soul.
She knew, days before the official reports came in, she knew.
Angel was dead, Los Angeles had fallen and the legions of hell were coming to earth.