Disclaimer: Joss Whedon steps onto an empty stage, glares at the fanfic writers, and says, "All your base are belong to us." We clap and agree, yes, he does own all.
Rating: FRT (lots of angsty swearing)
Read and give feedback, please!
The one-eyed man stands just out of the flicker of firelight, watching the stars. It’s the third village in Uganda so far, all of Africa bleeding into one long stream of villages, faces, languages. He doesn’t turn when he hears the village chief step up behind him.
He takes a sip of beer from the clay jar in his hand. It’s too warm, too yeasty. God, what he’d do for a fucking Corona.
“Sometimes I just can’t take it. All this looking and finding and moving on. I just—I want to go back to Sunnydale, you know?” He shakes his head and laughs. “I want to go back and find out it’s not a town-sized hole in the ground. That Deadboy’s still around, Spike, too.”
The chief makes a sound of encouragement, and he goes on.
“We really screwed things up. All of us did. So many chances to make a difference, and the town still got swallowed by the Hellmouth. All this shit and time keeps marching on. The Watcher’s Council’s practically turned itself into a fucking bunker. Everything’s—” He stops, swears quietly. “Everything’s just too much, and out here, with just my memories…the what ifs kill me.”
He offers up a dead-looking grin at the nervous cough behind him.
“I should get over it, really. I know that. But all this crap keeps running through my head, and nights like this….” He shivers. “If it weren’t for the demons outside the village, the LRA would’ve been here five times over already. It’s fucked. It’s seriously fucked.” He drains the jar of beer and grimaces. “I can’t do jack to fix it. Got any suggestions?”
He drops his jar at the unexpected answer.
“Well, actually, Mr. Harris—”
The man spins around. In front of him is a short, stout man, with sallow skin and an embarrassed expression. It is not the chief. Everything about him is out of place in this remote village. His very being screams of otherness.
“Actually, Mr. Harris,” the short man continues, “We’ve been debating this very situation for a while. None of us were pleased with the outcome, you know—well, Murphy was, but Murphy’s a bit of a lone ranger in that aspect—I’ve been delegated to offer you a re-do.”
The one-eyed man stares. “Um. You said—and. Wait. Debating—who the fuck’s Murphy?”
The short man coughs uncomfortably. “You’ve heard of him. ‘Murphy’s Law.’ He’s one of the Powers.” He rubs the bridge of his nose wearily. “Should you accept our offer, he’s been banned from Sunnydale.”
The one-eyed man squats down on his haunches. “No more sinkhole?”
“All the messed-up shit that happened before that?”
“How far back does this go?”
“I can’t tell you. But it’s early—very early.”
The man looks up at the unassuming face of the delegate of the Powers That Be and shrugs. “I don’t have any objections. Let’s do it.”
The short man blinks, surprised. “No more questions?”
“Nope. If you’re as pissed about the fallout as I am, you probably have everything taken care of.” He grins, taunting, enticing. “Bring it on, man. Come on.”
“Mortals. So impatient.” The short man draws a handful of sparkling powder from his coat pocket and blows it into the air, into the one-eyed man’s face.
A roaring sound fills the one-eyed man’s ears, bright colors streaming past his manic smile. Above the noise and lights, a howling chant takes over his mind. The last thing he sees is the fire of the village. Then all is black, and all is quiet.