Title: Le Jour des Morts
Crossover/Fusion with: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
Archive: Elysia (www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon); Anyone else please email and permission will be gladly given.
Rating: At the moment R-ish... Will mostly likely take a turn down NC-17 lane before this is over with.
Warnings: Violence, language, creepy things, eventual lemon.
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is the property of Bandai, Sunrise, Sotsu Agency. Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon, Twentieth Century Fox, (currently) UPN and other such companies. No infringement is intended. Any other characters not found in either series, belong to me. Please ask permission before you use them.
Thanks: A big round of thanks to Anne Olsen, Psycho Babble, Keya,and Chele for beta-ing this. Special thanks to Anne (for helping me get all those Brit-isms down) and to Psycho Babble (for urging me to hurry up and get to Heechan already).
This idea has been kicking around in my brain for half a year now. I knew I wanted to do a Buffy/GW story but wasn't sure how to get it around the way I wanted it. This story is part fusion, part crossover. For those of you who have read my other Buffy/Gundam Wing/Angel crossovers, 'Endymion's Repose' and 'And So It Goes' should find this quite different from either of those stories. This is a look at the Buffy-verse from a different perspective. As such, I've bent and played with the Gundam Wing timeline just a smidge (as well as making the pilots 16 instead of 15 and giving a new spin on certain characters and their histories) while trying to incorporate the mythology and feel of the Buffy-verse. This work is part crossover and part fusion. I'm not sure how successful I've been but I thought I'd post what I have so far to list as a Halloween treat. ^_^
Feedback is craved and will be adored with the proper amount of gushing.
Le Jour des Morts
A 'Gundam Wing'/'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer' fusion/crossover.
'This is truly the night of the long knives, 'Helen thought grimly as she half-led, half-carried her stumbling charge through Byzantine streets, one hand clutching an armful of shaking girl and the other wrapped around the smooth grip of her 9mm. Every so often the pair paused, the girl seeming to bend just a bit, her face red with some exertion unknown to those around her save for her grim-faced guardian. Helen winced as fingers dug into her arm, already resigned to bruises and rapidly coming to the conclusion that if she couldn't find them shelter and very soon, those bruises would have contusions of their own. Bruises in themselves were nothing new; after all, you could hardly serve as Watcher to the Slayer and not expect wounds of some sort. That was part of the job description. The squeamish had no business accompanying the Vampire Slayer into darkness, only those willing to lay down their lives in service of the Cause did. Helen would and had voluntarily gone into literal and figurative hells for Luna Rohan, the current Slayer, without flinching. She had given herself over to the idea that she might well die in battle. Her concern focused more on Luna and seeing that she had all she needed--to fight, to survive. The irony of their situation was not lost on Helen. She had trained Luna, aided her forging into a weapon against the darkness, honing natural reflexes and instincts to a razor's edge and none of it mattered now. No, Luna was engaged in a very different sort of struggle at the moment, one that none of her skills could help her with. Not for the first time in several hours, Helen felt fear flutter in her chest, pecking at her resolve.
"Helen," Luna whimpered, stopping for another of those interminable pauses that made Helen's heart catch and her eyes jump around the streets, finger toying with the safety of her pistol. The girl seemed to squat down just a bit, grunting as her hands flew to the curve of her engorged belly, concealed from the cold atmosphere and prying eyes by a thick black overcoat. Her charge's round, delicate face was pinched, cream skim the color of milk and sheened with sweat. They were coming faster, these pauses, far too fast for her comfort. It meant they hadn't long and their pursuers were still out there.
For the first time, Helen felt real and genuine panic rise in her throat, choking in its weight. She wasn't trained for this... Demons, vampires, the odd sorcerer, yes, but she was not equipped to deal with a pregnant Slayer being pursued by not only by a nest of vampires but Watchers intent on bringing the Slayer back to Earth, back to Headquarters, perhaps to face death. And all because Luna Roan had been blessed or cursed, to be the first Slayer in recorded history to conceive.
Oh, there had been such an uproar in the Council when Helen had been forced to report what Luna herself had reluctantly revealed. She had deliberated on just how to broach the subject for nearly a month before realizing that there was no way to and she'd best come clean before the changing shape of Luna's body did it for her. Just as quickly as the Slayer's condition had been revealed the order came down from the Inner Council that the Slayer was to abort the fetus with all haste. And she supposed it had been just her luck to be in charge of the one Slayer since Buffy Summers nearly two hundred years earlier to openly defy the Council, then break with it. Luna would not give up her child and the Council could not 'afford the wasted time' it would take her to give birth. The order turned into an ultimatum: rid herself of the child or they would find someone to take her place. And there was only one way to replace a Slayer.... Helen shuddered at the thought.
And so they had left Earth, moving from space port to space port just one step ahead of both the Watchers and the vampires the Slayer was now in no condition to battle.
It was too late to abort the birth as she had been instructed all those months ago before they fled the Council's control but she didn't trust Luna's or the child's fate to her superiors. Not yet. Not until Luna was back in full health.
"Nearly there," Helen made her voice light, despite the fact that she had no idea where 'there' was. They'd been walking through this godforsaken place for several hours already, searching for a spot, some small refuge for Luna to quit her pains and this child to be born. Helen feared if they didn't find that place very soon, her Slayer might not survive the pain racking her small form.
At five feet and barely a hundred pounds, Luna Rohan was not built for childbearing. Her wispy frame belied the true power in her limbs, her tiny form strengthened with the power of the Slayer. And it was that strength that carried her now when her petite body should have fallen over in agony. True, she had gained some weight but none of it had stuck to her bones, instead going to her womb until her belly seemed monstrous in proportion to the rest of her body. She should not have had to spend these last couple months shuttling from place to place, never able to rest for more than a few days at a time. 'No,' Helen thought with bitterness, Luna should have been given a room in Headquarters in London and the best medical care the Watchers could afford. She had served the Council well for nearly a year before this and this was how they rewarded her. All the blood she'd spilled in their name, all those injuries, and vampires slain... Surely that should have afforded her some consideration, some sort of sympathy, not this relentless hounding that might well be the death of Luna.
And if she were being honest, she could admit to herself that might very well be what the Council wanted and intended. No Slayer since Buffy Summers and her counterpart, Faith, had ever gone rogue; the Council had taken great pains to ensure that. If they felt it would serve their purpose, they might well make Luna an example for future generations of girls. As for herself... Helen harbored no illusions as to what steps the Council would take against her. She had disobeyed orders and worse, aided the Slayer in disobeying, too. A reprimand was the least of her worries.
Oh, well. There was nothing to be done about it now. She'd made her bed and she would damn well lie in it. Her first priority was shelter, followed on its heels by getting her Slayer some sort of medical attention. If there was any such thing in this hellhole, she glanced around the grubby streets and buildings that would have been condemned anywhere else.
In retrospect, they'd made a mistake--she had made a mistake in allowing Luna her way and bringing the two of them to the L2 cluster. L2 was notorious amongst the colonies as a haven for criminals and the poorest of the space colonials. Those who came to L2 did so because they had no choice and nowhere else to go. 'Like us,' Helen thought. Luna had thought that the Watchers with all their respectability would have difficulty coming into a place like this. How she wished her charge would understand that respectability was little more than a patina. The Watchers were devoted to their fight against darkness and would do anything, sacrifice anyone to win a war that had been going on so long now that no one remembered the beginnings of it. As she had feared, their huntershad followed them into this murderous nest and picketed the few shuttle ports of the colony with their people. Unlike the ultra modern L1 or the lavish L4, L2 was run down, a dead end with few escapes available. Those who dwelt in Earth slums lived like kings compared to some of the denizens of this place. Aside from a few parts of the cities, L2 was a veritable backwater hell of its own making.
Again another pause as Luna stopped in the street, her nostrils flaring as her face strained. "Helen. I think...the baby.."
"Try to hold on," Helen repeated her earlier inanity. Hold on? How did one hold onto a child trying to force its way into the world? Might as well ask space to warm over and become breathable.
"That... is...easy," Luna hissed through her gritted teeth, "...for you to say...ohhh."
This had gone on long enough. They had to find shelter and they had to find it now. Anyone who came after them could wait until this child was born or else they'd have a bullet in their head to answer to. Taking her charge by the shoulders, Helen guided her off the street and over to one of those dingy, barely functional buildings. Balancing, she knocked on the door, restraining the urge to hop from foot to foot in impatience.
The door opened a crack, a dirty face peeking out at them. A dirty young face, Helen realized feeling her stomach drop.
Realizing this was as much of a greeting as she was likely to get she put on her best smile. "We need a room. Are your parents around?"
"Ain't got parents," The child's voice was defiant, daring her to make something of that. Helen blinked, at a complete loss as to how to proceed.
Luckily for her, Luna did. "We need a room," she grunted, thrusting her stomach out at him. "We can pay you for it."
That grubby face brightened then darkened again. "And 'ow do I know you won't call the police on us later?"
'Us?' Helen thought dully. 'More than one?' "We won't report you. We're not seeking that sort of attention ourselves at the moment. Please, we just need one of your rooms for a few hours and then we'll be gone."
The door closed and the scrabbling of an ancient lock became audible before the door was jerked back. Helen guided Luna inside, wrinkling her nose as the smell of unwashed bodies hit her nose. So many unwashed bodies, she thought, her eyes drifting over the children in the room or peeking through the staircase at them. There were at least twenty children here, the youngest not more than four. Thin, rangy little bodies with not an ounce of fat on them and hungry, fearful eyes staring at them, tracking their movements as they tensed to scatter.
"Oh, God," Luna breathed and Helen was unsure if that was some soft agreement or another statement of pain.
"'E don't get many visit'rs," the boy who'd opened the door explained. He jerked his hand at them. "C'mon, you can have the room upstairs."
"I'm not sure she can make it upstairs," Helen muttered but followed, more or less hauling Luna upwards now. A swift look at the Slayer's face told her she could expect little help there. It was all the girl could do to move with her help.
The climb upward was slow torture, fraught with more pauses that were coming in faster succession. She had thought to ask the boy to find a midwife or doctor of some sort but was beginning to understand that they'd never get there in time. She'd have to make do on her own.
'This is insane,' part of her screamed. She'd never done anything remotely like this. She'd been taught to slay demons, not deliver babies. 'Get a grip,' she ordered herself with as much sternness as she could muster. Women had been delivering babies for thousands upon thousands of years. If they could do it, then she'd managed somehow.
The room the boy led them to was Spartan, empty of any furnishings save for a natty mattress on the floor but it was clean. Thank God for that mercy. After helping Luna down onto the bedding, she glanced down at the child, "Could I trouble you for some water and towels?"
"This ain't the Sheridan," he replied sullenly. "And it'll cost ya."
Brat, she glowered at him. "Fine. Whatever you want. Just get me what I need.... Why are you still standing there?"
"I ain't moving unless you pay," the child thrust his chin out stubbornly.
Helen resisted the urge to smack him then and there. "This is important."
After seeing the children downstairs she supposed she couldn't argue with that. "Half," she relented. "You can have the rest when you get me what I need. And...What's your name, boy?"
The boy thought it over. "Deal. And I ain't got a name... at least not one pronounceable in polite company."
He flashed a quick grin then disappeared, the floor creaking and groaning as he leaped down the stairs at a full run. Helen stared after him, before shaking her head and turning back towards the grunting, red-faced mother. She knelt down beside the mattress, smoothing back some of Luna's soft honey brown hair, her hand slick with perspiration as it moved those sticky locks out of her face. Her amethyst eyes were fully dilated, bluer in appearance than violet at this moment; such an agonizing shade of sky colors in her focused gaze. Reaching down, she unwrapped one of the Slayer's hands from her stomach and entwined her fingers in it with a gentle squeeze to get her attention. Helen smiled on the edge of tears herself as she watched the girl trying to hold back the pain, denying voice to the sensations that were ripping her apart.
"It's all right," she soothed. "You can cry out if you need to. I don't think anyone will mind."
"I mind," she huffed, her voice hitching as another contraction hit her.
"So stubborn," Helen stroked her hair, seeking not to cry out herself as Luna's small hand clenched around hers in a crushing grip. "Always so stubborn. You don't have to be strong all the time."
"Yes... I do. Part of the job descripti--owww," she whimpered, raising up on her hands just a bit.
"Bollocks to the job then."
"You must be--really scared to say ...something like that."
'I am,' she thought. 'Oh God, Luna, I'm so very afraid.' "I am. I don't want to worry you but this is new territory for me."
"Same here. Guess we'll get through this together, huh?" It was an attempt at a laugh that was swallowed up in her greater efforts. "Can't be any worse than slaying some vamp, right?"
"Yes, but the vampires are usually trying to get in, not out."
"Geez, Helen, lighten up a bit. It's not like I'm gonna die here or anything," Luna rasped, eyes rolling upward a bit though the Watcher couldn't tell if it was in annoyance or in a very real struggle to remain conscious. "I mean, wouldn't that just suck? Dying in a place like this before I could get back and tell the Council how full of it they are? Who says vampire slayers can't have a career and a kid, right?"
"Okay, now you're scarin' me. Did you just agree with me on something?"
Helen laughed, a soft sound filled with tears unshed. "I suppose I did. Enjoy it while you can. I'm quite sure it won't happen very often."
Luna started to speak but it was a shrill cry of pain that left her mouth, not the snappy comeback she'd expected. The girl rocked forward, nearly falling backwards again as her stomach caught her. Tears spilled down her thin face, the amethyst of her eyes glittering like stones in a stream. Helen put her arms around the girl, preventing her wobbling body from falling either way, the smell of sweat and blood tickling her nose. The damp warm body against hers spasmed and jerked, small sobs of pain filling the air around them. Helen held her tightly, swaying back and forth, speaking but not speaking. There were words, Helen was certain of that, but nothing intelligible. At least, nothing that made sense to her well-trained ear. Still, Luna responded to it or seemed to, burying her face in Helen's shoulder and clutching her Watcher with bruising intensity.
Everything narrowed down to that connection, the feel of Luna's body twitching in her arms, soft whimpers followed by loud cries of agony that cut through her until she had to shut her eyes, hiding her face in her charge's sweat-slicked hair and prayed. For something, anything, for this torment to end. Words that she had not spoken in years ran around in circles in her mind and she found her eyes drawn to the glint of a silver cross lying against Luna's chest. It twinkled at her in the dimness and her eyes followed that light, the glint expanding into a glow as she unfocused her eyes and let her lips throw silent entreaties out, punctuated by the occasional sound of comfort.
It was the slamming open of a door that roused her, her gun coming up to bear before she herself had realized it. "That was a very stupid thing to do," she informed the boy from before, his small body frozen with one hand still attached to the doorknob. "I could have killed you."
His hand flexed, then he let go, as if now confident that she wouldn't shoot him where he stood. "Nah, not you. You're too soft to shoot a kid like me. Couldn't live with yerself."
"Don't tempt me."
He shrugged, pushing swoopy blond hair out of his eyes, nearly dropping the ancient bucket he held in his free hand. "You can shoot me but I guarantee Lucky Lindy ain't gonna help you if you do."
"Who the hell is Lucky Lindy?" Helen snapped, her patience at an end as Luna muttered and tossed in her arms.
"That'd be me."
A dark-haired woman stepped through the doorway, stopping to touch the boy's shoulder before pushing him gently to the side. Lank black hair was swept up in a tight ponytail and the sheer volume of make-up and fishnet gave her more insight into this woman's stock and trade than Helen wanted to know. "I'm Lindy," she announced, popping a wad of chewing gum and slipping out of her threadbare jacket.
"So I've gathered. Why are you here?" The gun never wavered, as it moved towards the more immediate threat.
The boy rolled his eyes. "Oh for... Look, you need help, right? I'm mean, she's gonna drop a kid any moment now."
'An accurate, if not the most polite or tasteful description,' Helen conceded, her lips thinning as she nodded.
"Lindy's a whore," the boy began without preamble. "She's had experience. Lots of it."
Lindy rolled her brown eyes. "God, Solo, remind me never to let you explain anything ever again." She turned her attention back to Helen. "What he means to say is that I've been a midwife before. Not that I haven't had those other kinds of experiences."
"You're a midwife?"
"Uh huh," Lindy replied cheerfully. "Sometimes the other girls get careless, get good and preggers and can't afford aborting drugs. I've delivered two or three kids, including Sol' here."
"Help deliver," Solo corrected, crossing his eyes at her when the girl stuck out her tongue in his direction.
Helen stared at her, digesting this rather remarkable bit of news. For all her claim to 'experiences,' Lindy was probably no older than twenty to twenty five. As if sensing Helen's skepticism, she piped up, "Nana Allison taught me how. She used to let me help her. I took over when she died."
"She's the best help you're gonna get," Solo concurred. "Unless you're planning on delivering the brat yerself."
The idea of trying to deliver a baby, any baby, was nearly enough to send her back into her earlier panic. She glanced at Luna, but found no aid there. The Slayer's eyes were closed, her small body sucking up harsh, rasping breaths. 'Make a decision, Helen, before the decision is taken from you.' "All right. If you can help--"
"There's a little thing of a fee," Solo began before Helen waved him off.
"I'll pay the both of you whatever you want. But if anything," she waved the gun in front of their suddenly apprehensive faces, "and I mean anything, goes wrong here, neither of you will leave this room. Understood?"
"We got it," Solo muttered. "Geez, relax and give the lady some room to work."
As much as Helen was loath to admit it, Lindy was very good at what she did. The girl was quick and efficient, taking charge after a few seconds of clear distress. Moreover, she knew how to keep Solo in line, mostly by having him run back and to fetching items, half of which Helen felt certain Lindy didn't even need. As for herself, she took up position near Luna, holding the gun in one hand and the Slayer's clammy hand in her other. It was a gesture not lost on either Lindy or Solo and perhaps it was her imagination, but it seemed to spur them on.
The labor itself was a long process, with periods where Lindy actually pulled Luna to her feet and made her walk around. To speed up contractions, the girl had explained. It was an awkward affair, with Lindy slipping an arm around her to keep her upright. Occasionally, the Slayer stopped in the midst of the room, squatting just a bit as her eyes narrowed in concentration. It hadn't taken long after a few of these sessions for the contractions to well and fully come on with Lindy's glib announcement of 'the rugrat's comin!' filling her ears.
Helen had never been part of a birth, had never really thought of having children and what she had seen thus far had not impressed upon her the immediate need to remedy that. Until Lindy's bloody hands emerged with a squirming bundle, a few smart smacks rapping the lungs clean. And what a sound those lungs produced! She would be old and gray before the sound of that howl stopped ringing in her ears. Luna very near collapsed, Solo clasping her by the shoulder in a genuine attempt to keep her upright. Helen flashed the boy a smile of gratitude before turning her attention back to her charge and the tiny body wiped fresh of blood being handed her way.
"It's a boy," Lindy said, a twinkle in her tired eyes telling Helen that even she realized how inane that helpful observation was.
"Helen... Oh, my God," Luna's voice was shaky. Her charge's face was drawn, gray but there was something radiant about her nonetheless. "Look at him, just look at him."
Tiny perfect hands flailed out as the child cried, a glimpse of smoky blue violet peeking through a sheen of tears before his pale head turned, seeking to burrow closer to the female holding him. Luna appeared confused, trying to turn the child back towards her. The babe's cries amplified until Luna seemed well and truly frightened. "What's... What's wrong with him?"
"He's hungry," Lindy replied with resigned patience. "I think he's hoping you're gonna give him a bite, Mommy."
"Oh!" Luna started fumbling with her shirt, and Helen was actually scandalized by the sight of the Slayer trying to pull it upward. She got up, snagging Solo by the wrist, dragging the protesting boy halfway across the room before calling over her shoulder. "Tell her what to do, Lindy, then come talk to me a minute."
Just outside the door, Solo yanked away from her, rubbing his wrist and glaring at her. "What was that for?"
Helen didn't bother with a response instead leaning against the wall, using what was left of her energy to fight back the wave of dizziness threatening to swallow her.
A few minutes later, the door opened and closed again. Helen opened her eyes and directed her attention towards Lindy, who despite the remarkable composure with which she had handled the birth was now visibly uncomfortable. "If you're getting any ideas--"
Helen shook her head. "One more service and you can have more than a week's wages."
The girl visibly straightened, with Solo creeping up behind her. "What else can I do for you?" Nervousness replaced by greedy professionalism.
"What about him?"
Helen felt her hands curve around the grip of her gun, the well-worn handle bringing home the reality of the situation and what she was about to do. "I want you to take him. I'll pay you whatever you want."
"What? Why--" Lindy was shocked, her face for once telling the story of her years.
"Ask me no questions," Helen barked. "Suffice to say, Luna and I cannot stay here. And a baby would slow us down. There are people ... looking for us. If we dawdle, they will find us. For the sake of the mother and that child in there, I am asking you to take the child and find him a home until such time as we are at liberty to return and reclaim him."
"No. Just yes or no. There is no more time," Helen seethed.
Lindy's face hardened. "Sure but I'm not gonna be the one to tell that kid in there. You couldn't pay me enough for that."
"I'll do it," she nodded, straightening. Her insides quivered at the thought of what she was about to do--separating a mother from her newborn? It sounded heartless. It was heartless but what choice was there? If they stayed, their pursuers would find them and God only knew what the Watchers would do with the child. And if they tried to escape with the baby, it was equally likely he would not survive the attempt. There was no win in this situation, no hope save the slim chance of a return later, once the Council had been pacified and shown that Luna could be both the Slayer and a mother. For his own sake, the child had to be left here. For both their sakes, she had to steel herself and force Luna to reach the same conclusion.
'God, please help her to forgive me,' she smoothed her suit, trying very hard not to think of Luna's radiance just minutes before. 'Because I'm not sure I'll ever be able to forgive myself.'
***End of Prologue.