The Hunter

Author: Ares
Journal

Buffy/Angel

Word count: 890

Rating: PG

Feedback, yes please.

A comment from ital_gal gave me the idea of writing an apocalyptic Buffy and Angel not at odds with each other. I usually go for dark and at odds. However…this story is not of that ilk. I hope you like.

Thanks,  ital_gal

Summary: Time out from the end of the world.

 

*

 

The Hunter

“Angel? Can you see a pattern?”

“Which one?”

They were on their backs, a blanket of wool covering their bodies, protecting against the winter chill, looking up at the night sky. Buffy was pointing towards the heavens, a multitude of stars at the end of her finger.

“There’s a line of light, and something hanging off it, like the line’s been broken. The lights are smaller, dimmer.”

Angel turned his head so that he was facing the clear, night sky. He’d rather watch Buffy; she was more wondrous in his sight than the pinprick of lights above them. He sighted up her finger.

“That’s Orion’s Belt you can see. The Hunter. The thing hanging off it is his sword.”

Gently wrapping his hand around Buffy’s outstretched one, he moved her finger to the four points of light, all roughly about the same distance about the Belt, two up, two down.

“Those are the Hunter’s body. Betelgeuse,” her finger picking out the top right hand reddish-looking star, “and Rigel,” a blue-white at the bottom left corner.

Buffy snickered and twined her fingers about his. “You know the oddest things.”

“I’m old, remember?” And, the boost she had given to his ego made him add, “Betelgeuse is the ninth brightest star in the sky, it’s a red giant. Rigel is the sixth brightest, a blue supergiant.”

Bringing their hands down to her lips, she kissed his.

“Show off.”

He grinned at her. He had been.

“The Hunter. Is it an omen, you think?” she asked after a long while.

“Because you are?”

“We are,” she amended.

“The constellation is visible from almost everywhere in the world.”

She rolled onto her side and leaned her head against one hand, looking at him.

“You know what I mean.”

He did know. “I think we’ve had all the omens, signs, prophecies the PTB can spit at us. The world is ending. Nothing more can hurt us now.”

He could see her eyes were shining, as if the stars had taken up residence in her tears.

“It can. I don’t think I could go on if anything happened to you,” she whispered.

He rolled to his side, flush against her body, the blanket a thin, useless barrier. He reached out and touched her face, caressed her cheek.

“You will. I will. We’ve done it before.”

She was quiet, knowing he was right. Damnit! She wanted to shout she no longer had the strength, but her lips stayed silent. She would have to find the strength. People were depending on her. And wasn’t she tired of that!

Finally she spoke. “Can we run away? I hear Hawaii is nice.”

“Too much sun.”

“We don’t have to go outside. I hear inside is good.”

“Hawaii is gone,” he reminded her.

Couldn’t he humour her just a little? Her spirits sagged. Who would have guessed that a sleeping fire demon lived beneath Hawaii’s famous volcano and when it awoke, it would blast the island out of the ocean?

“Tahiti is still safe,” he added.

“We could commandeer a ship,” she offered, buoyed once more.

Flying was out of the question. There were no civilian flights. Only military aircraft. The world was slipping back to an earlier age. Was this what she fought for? What Angel and a thousand slayers battled for? A world falling back into degradation? Her good mood evaporated.

“Not all is lost, Buffy.”

She blinked. “I thought vampires couldn’t read minds.”

“It’s the other way round. A vampire’s mind can’t be read.”

“Does that mean…?” Buffy gave herself a mental shake. She was letting herself be sidetracked. “What’s not lost? A moment ago you said the world is ending.”

“As we know it. There’s still a chance we can make a difference. That’s why we’re fighting.”

“Aha!” She sat up, disturbing the status quo and the warmth the blanket was providing. She quickly sank back down and straightened the wool, reclaiming the heat.

“If we can make a difference then Orion’s Belt could be a portent.”

He smiled. She frowned. “What?”

“You reminded me of Giles.”

She smiled back at him. “He does rub off on people, doesn’t he?”

“You, especially.”

Her gaze drifted to an unseen horizon. “He has a lot more responsibilities these days. All those slayers.” She didn’t voice her concern for her friend, her Watcher, her mentor. He was showing his age, the burden of coordinating an army of slayers was taking its toll.

“Do you miss being the only one?”

Her gaze snapped back. “Are you kidding? The world is ending.”

He leaned forward, brushed his lips across hers. “But not right now.”

“It had better not. There are more important things than fighting…”

Her words were silenced with a kiss. The kiss deepened and soon the stars themselves were forgotten.

The Hunter looked down at the two lovers atop the hillside. Below them was a city of tents. Cooking fires threw shadows onto canvas. Figures were seen, moving about. The sound of weapons being cleaned and sharpened failed to reach the summit. Modern weapons were checked and checked again. Voices were absent too. The army below was too tired, too weary to raise more than a whisper. Tomorrow they intended to take back the city.

The red star, Betelgeuse seemed to wink as its light shimmered in the earth’s atmosphere. The world’s champions were too busy to notice.

The end

July 2010