lady_yashka (lady_yashka) wrote,
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Seasons of Wither: Chapter Six

Title: Seasons of Wither
Author(s): lady_yashka
Artist: lightthesparks
Crossover: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural.
Type: Het
Word Count: 19,565
Characters/Pairings: Buffy/Michael, Dean, Sam, Castiel, Bobby, Gabriel, Zachariah, Lucifer, Willow, Dawn, Faith, Xander, and Giles
Warnings: Character death
Spoilers: Spoilers through My Bloody Valentine. Some dialogue from various episodes is also used.
Summary:The war is over, and with the help of the slayers, the world is safe once more. Now, three months later the man Buffy only knew as the archangel Michael, is waking up.
Author’s Notes:First off I'd like to thank both moragmacpherson and aj_hofacre for all their help. Any mistakes left are all mine. I'd also like to thank lightthesparks for her wonderful artwork. And finally, I'd like to thank the mods of sncross_bigbang for hosting this challenge.



Buffy coughed as she took a breath. The air stung her lungs, and bitter tasting dust coated her tongue. More dust swirled around her, wind whipped across the town sending dirt and debris slithering across the road. Another zombie lunged for her and she swung her scythe, slicing the rotting corpse in half. It hit the ground with a wet plop of flesh -- no blood would splatter out of something that had no blood to pump. The pieces twitched as if trying to pull themselves back together and a low moan came from the half with a head.

Buffy plowed forward, slicing through more zombies leaving a trail of twitching body parts behind her. Faith was near the center of the main road. She swung her sword in wide arcs, lopping off heads and severing limbs. She followed up with her dirk, taking out the ones who managed to creep in close.

“Man,” Faith panted, slicing through another zombie. “Red really needs to hurry with the mojo.”

Buffy kicked a zombie in the chest and cut its head off. “She’s working on it right, Will?”

“Almost done,” Willow called. She sprinkled more colored sand into a silver bowl. Striking a match, Willow closed her eyes and chanted low, her words barely audible over the groaning cries of the zombies. Buffy and Faith fought back-to-back, keeping the undead away from Willow and trying desperately to keep from being bitten. Light flashed, and smoke rose and almost as one the undead army fell with a bone crunching plop. Buffy sighed in relief.

“Now what?” She glanced around. The streets were covered with the half-rotting and fully rotted bodies of their former residents. She was not looking forward to the clean up.

“Salt and burn ‘em,” Faith replied. She cleaned off her sword and sheathed it. She kept the dirk held at ready.

“Salt and what?”

“Burn, B,” Faith repeated. “Dead things can’t come back if there’s nothing to come back to.”

Willow waved her hand and muttered some soft words. In a blink, the bodies disintegrated.

“Or…we let Red here take care of it.” Faith shrugged. “I’m gonna go round up the girls.”

She walked off before either of them could reply.

Willow began packing away her supplies while Buffy stood, guarding her back.

“So,” Willow began. “Have you heard from Michael recently?”

Buffy cast a quick glance over her shoulder. “No, not recently. He’s been busy tracking down Death.”

“Oh.”

“Why do you ask?”

Willow shrugged as she picked up her bag, slinging the strap over one shoulder. “I was just wondering. Doesn’t he usually take part in the slayage?”

Buffy shrugged before heading out of the alley. “Nah. He’s more of the Show-Up-And-Issue-Cryptic-Orders type, when he’s not being the Must-Poof-Buffy-All-Over-The-World type.”

Willow snorted. “Sounds like a few other people we used to know.”

“Huh?”

“Nothing.”

Buffy stopped, turning to face Willow. She rested on fist against her hip. “Nu-uh. That isn’t your nothing face, Will. So, spill.”

“Well, you two seem to spend an awful lot of time together,” Willow said. “We hardly ever see you.”

It was Buffy’s turn to snort. “That’s because we’ve been busy trying to stop the apocalypse.”

“If you say so.”

Buffy glared. “I do say.”

Willow felt the corners of her lips twitch. “So, is he cute?”

Buffy rolled her eyes, but her grin broke free anyway. She began walking again. “Cute? No. Major hottie? Check.”

Willow traded grins with Buffy as they finally reached the road. Guthrie seemed deserted, buildings and cars standing as empty sentinels over a town once filled with life. Their footsteps echoed as they walked. Due to Willow’s spell, not even the stains from the butchered zombies remained. It was as if someone had scrubbed the streets clean, and was now awaiting new inhabitants to come and replace the dirt.

The further they walked the more decay they saw. Windows were gone, cars were overturned, and homes were nothing but broken shambles. Buffy could see the scuff marks in the grass from the fight but not the putrid mess of zombie guts. She heard Willow clear her throat, and tensed. Oh, boy. She should’ve known an intervention was coming.

“Buffy…” Willow said. She sighed, and then stopped, coming to stand in front of her friend. “You’re not…well…”

“What, Will?”

“He’s an angel,” Willow said slowly, picking her words with care. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“He wouldn’t hurt me,” Buffy said, frowning. “You said it yourself, he’s an angel.”

“Real live angel or not, that doesn’t mean he won’t hurt you,” Willow replied. Taking a deep breath, she placed a gentle hand on Buffy’s shoulder. Buffy scowled, shrugging it off as she began walking away. “Buffy!” Willow closed her eyes and shook her head. “What happens when this is all over?”

Buffy stopped, but did not turn around. “We’ll cross that moat when it comes.”

Once back at their hotel, freshly showered and with books and empty cartons of food scattered around, they discussed their next options.

“Was it all Night of the Living Dead out there?” Xander asked. Buffy chuckled.

“Sorry, Xan,” Buffy giggled. “There was no brain eating for these zombies.”

“It was more like shuffle and groan,” Willow added.

“Were the angels of any assistance?” Giles asked, placing one book carefully on a stack and grabbing another.

“No angels in sight for this,” Buffy replied. “While it would have been nice, we took care of the zombie pride parade just fine on our own.”

“They should help out more,” Xander sniffed indignantly. Willow nodded and even Giles seemed to agree.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Hello? They’ve got the big fights to take care of.”

“And what do you call this?” Giles inquired, his brows furrowed and his voice draped in annoyance. “A whole town was turned into rampaging zombies by Pestilence. How was this battle not big enough?”

“Death was taking a tour of Asia.” Michael’s voice caused everyone to jump. He stood before the door, hands in the pockets of his jeans. He raised a single eyebrow when Xander’s muttered complaint of, “Bell! Someone get him a collar with a bell!” reached his ears.

“Do you ever change your clothes?” Buffy asked, a small smile tugging at her lips. Michael graced her with a bemused look.

“These clothes are practical,” Michael replied. “I do not need any others.”

“So you’re Michael?” Willow blurted out, her eyes shining in an academic interest that Buffy hadn’t seen since their senior year of high school. When he transferred his questioning gaze from Buffy to her, she ducked her head and blushed. “Sorry! I-it’s just you don’t look very... angelic to me.”

Michael nodded. “My true visage would burn out your eyes while my voice would bloody your ears. If you survived it, that is.” He turned his attention back to Buffy. “I take it your mission was a success?”

“Yep,” Buffy replied with a grin. “We kicked zombie ass and Will sent Ol ‘Pesty to time out.”

“And Death?” Giles’ voice cut through the room. Michael favored him with a blank look.

“Banished, for now.”

“So, uh... when exactly are you going to get your smite on?” Xander paused when all eyes turned his way. “I mean you’re supposed to take out Lucifer, so why haven’t you?”

“In due time,” Michael said. There was an edge to his voice Buffy hadn’t heard before. “It is not up to me to question my Father’s will.”

“People are dying!” Giles snapped and Michael’s eyes grew cold as Buffy’s widened in alarm.

“Giles—" She started to say. The chill that had suddenly leveled the room in silence stopped her, and she gazed at Michael in stunned, and frightened, awe.

“You presume to know better than my Father?” Michael asked, coming to stand eye to eye with Giles. His nostrils flared and his jaw tightened. “You, one unimportant little man playing at being God?”

“Stop it!” Buffy yelled, suddenly regaining her voice and forcing her way between the two, placing her hand firmly against Michael’s chest. “We have a war to fight. Now is not the time for a pissing contest.”

Michael looked down at Buffy once before he returned his gaze to Giles and demonstratively stepped back. Giles, for his part, blinked once in confusion before staring at the hand Buffy had not removed from the archangel’s chest. He too took a step back, pursing his lips thoughtfully as he observed the look on the face of his former charge, before his gaze suddenly hardened. A look of primal, parental fury overtook the features of Giles’ face as he returned his stare to the angel before him.

Michael eyed the Watcher indifferently, his eyes suddenly the churning green of a sea that was at once both stormy and calm. “You would do well to listen to your Slayer. She understands what is at stake.” He favored her with a soft smile, and then vanished.

“What a poophead,” Willow grumbled. Her shoulders slumped and she pouted. “I thought angels were supposed to be nice.”

“He is nice,” Buffy retorted, glaring at her friends, “When people aren’t questioning his every move!”

Giles clenched his fists. “Buffy, he has yet to really do anything.”

“Were you not just here? Didn’t you hear what he said?” Buffy snapped. “He just took out Death. I’d say that was doing plenty.”

“He only ever stops by to give you more orders,” Giles yelled, slamming his hand down on the table. Books and stacks of paper rattled with the force of his blow. “And all you do is smile and jump however high he wishes you to. It’s as if you’re sixteen and face-to-face with Angel again!”

Buffy drew a deep, furious breath. She so did not need her very first relationship thrown her face again, especially not ten years after the fact. “Michael is quite literally Heaven’s General, Giles! He’s trying to save the world!” She could barely refrain from screaming.

“Is he?” Giles shot back. “Or is he simply following his own agenda?”

“So because you don’t like him, and because I trust him, you doubt my judgment, yet again. Because after nearly fifteen years, I still clearly don’t know what I’m doing, is that it, Giles?” Her former Watcher’s face suddenly paled as she spoke. She looked toward Xander and Willow, who both averted their eyes. “Is that what all of you think? After everything we’ve been through, you still don’t trust me? You do remember what happened the last time you doubted me, right?” In for a penny and out for a pound. If Giles was going to throw her past mistakes with Angel in her face, it was the least she could do for him as well. After all, it hadn’t been that long ago when the three of them, and a group of others had tag-teamed her and thrown her out of her own home. She snorted in disgust. “I don’t have to listen to it,” Buffy snarled. Snatching up her jacket, she marched out of the room. The door slammed hard enough to crack plaster and warp the frame.

Arms wrapped around her waist, Buffy walked down the sidewalk. Their motel was the standard issue roadside dump with cracks in the uneven sidewalks and potholes waiting to feast on cars in the parking lot. The manager had been textbook sleazy with greasy hair and a keg-style stomach. The pool, which Buffy was surprised the motel even had, was more swamp than pristine lake. The deck chairs had somehow managed to survive, though, and Buffy settled down in one, watching as displaced tadpoles and frogs splash in their makeshift home.

Fluttering wings alerted Buffy that her solitude had ended. A shadow fell over her soon after, and she remained seated, quietly waiting to see what he’d do. She heard the scraping of another deck chair moving over concrete, and when Michael sat down his weight made the plastic creak.

“I thought you’d have left,” Buffy whispered, drawing her legs up onto the seat with her and wrapping her arms around them. Her chin rested on her knees as she watched another frog dive into the slimy water.

“I did not go far,” Michael said.

“Why?”

“Your Watcher is wrong,” Michael said, ignoring her words. Buffy sighed and went back to studying the local wildlife.

“He’s just worried,” Buffy replied. “He doesn’t see you the way I do.”

“And how is that?” Michael asked his head tilted to one side.

Buffy shrugged. “You’re one of the good guys.” Her voice was matter-of-fact.

“You trust me?” Something in his own voice grabbed Buffy’s attention and drew her focus to him. The look in his eyes was intense. He was leaning forward, brow furrowed, and studying her the same way Giles studied his books. It made her skin itch and her heart flutter.

“Yes,” Buffy answered firmly, though the inflection she gave it almost sounded like a question. “You’re the Archangel Michael, why shouldn’t I?”

Michael favored her with a brilliant smile. His eyes crinkled at the corners, and a light entered them she had never seen before. He looked so human then, like a normal guy talking to a normal girl. It made her heart lighten, and Buffy felt her own smile stretching across her face. The only down side was the scent from the pond scum filled pool.

“I am glad that we met, Buffy,” Michael said softly. A splash interrupted them and they witnessed a turtle paddling through the muck. Buffy gave a light little laugh when it dived again.

“I’m glad we met, too.”

Chapter Seven
Tags: big bang, seasons of wither
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