Summary: They're both waiting for one big moment, but they're not ready for it when it comes.
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Characters: Andrew Wells, Mella, Jules, Suzanne, the Eye of Oregano
Original story: The Very Secret Diary of Andrew Wells by deird1
Notes: Coffee Fellows is a European coffee chain, with branches in Munich. Thanks to my beta kitty_poker1!
We are the most powerful object in the universe.
We are precious, and beautiful, and golden, and shiny, and spotless, and beautiful. We are a warrior of truth, a knight of honor, a king of wisdom. We rule above the pity of mortal men, and we laugh at them as they die.
Did we mention beautiful?
We live on for eternity, quietly observing their failures with a cold and calculating eye.
We plan for the day when we will best them all.
We are the Eye of Oregano, the mystical treasure of the warrior queen Orega, meant to absorb any and all black magicks that surround us, no matter their origin.
We are kept in a highly secret vault, sealed in the bowels of the earth, hidden from the scornful gaze of mankind.
But our gaze falls on them, from our glorious case. As we shine and glimmer, we look down with disdain upon the futile efforts of mankind.
We also notice that we are a bit itchy right behind our uppermost jewel, but this is one thing that we have no control over.
We have a good mind to fume right through the next half a million years.
* * * * *
I don't feel safe unless I've got at least five pounds worth of sharp and pointy on me when going into a mission.
Jules thinks it's dumb, but really—what if you use up all your crossbow bolts, lose your sword, and your stake gets thrown into the chest of the nearest vamp?
You have to have back up, or you'd be screwed.
So I strap the crossbow onto my arm with the special purple strap thingy—I never learned what it was actually called, like a gauntlet or something?—that Andrew gave me for Christmas. I use my arm and leg sheaths to tuck a bunch of knives away, I stick a stake in my pocket, and I put a sword in each hand.
I'm pretty sure Suzanne would say that I'm overcompensating for being smaller and younger and less experienced, or that I'm afraid I'm not good enough. She thinks that she can pull the wise older sister thing on me just because she took a psych class last summer. I mean, I love her, and Jules, but they aren't better than me.
Andrew's hastily giving me last minute instructions that I'm really not paying any attention to—he's gone over this with us so many times already, it doesn't matter anymore, the words are practically singing in my brain.
Sitting in the caff, or at a table in a Coffee Fellows after patrol, he'd draw napkin blueprints of our route through the chamber.
He'd circle the center of the shrine so hard, his pen would get smudges of blue ink on the table, showing us where to put the Eye of Oregano.
I try to shake it out of my head. This is the real thing now.
I smile at Drew, and sheath one of my swords so I can carry the stupidly-named bedazzled doodad.
Time to save the world.
* * * * *
We notice, dimly, that there are Happenings occurring around us. Things that will, very soon, concern us.
But it has never been our way to strain ourselves looking for the source or meaning of such things, so we grumble softly to ourselves, and settle into our velvet cushioning, to recall the days when we did Grand and Exciting Things.
We remember being forged by Queen Orega in the fires of her ancient palace, infused with the most powerful of magicks. She made us as a precaution, because she knew that as more people became aware of the existence of magick, spells would become more dangerous and foolhardy.
And so we were born, the heat of the bellows and the strength of the magicks giving us a watchful sentience and keen intelligence that your common tawdry amulet—we refer of course to that stupid piece of half-chained trash that has the gall to call itself Merlin's Teeth—does not possess.
And so we remained hidden, while word of us spread cautiously through the proper channels, so that those who came to be in need of us could find us, and use us.
Every now and then they did, and we took their quest as our own, seizing it with a viciousness not unlike that of a large, eager beast. We expelled and destroyed all magick we came into contact with, with a glow in our gems and a song in our heart.
But here we have lain for untold millennia, undisturbed, with only an aging guard for company, who comes in every Thursday to dust us with a ragged cloth.
* * * * *
“My warriors, be brave, noble, and true. Expel these streets of their gritty darkness by wielding your stakes with prowess. Go forth and do your battle, bringing pain and death to every creature of the night you do encounter. Oh, and if you could be so kind to your sovereign lord as to bring him back a refreshing Fanta from that one store that has them, he would owe you both his life and his liberty.”
Suzanne smiles and rolls her eyes. “Sure thing, boss.”
I bow to him, grinning. “I swear to do all of these things, sire, if these minute actions can even begin to express my infinite loyalty unto you.”
“Mella, get your ass over here and loaded up with some weapons, or I swear we'll leave you behind to play Ren Faire with King Andy.”
I jam a stake in my pocket, watching as he settles into the couch cushions. “Try not to spend the entire time watching old Babylon 5 DVDs.”
He nods. “Remember to read the opponent's actions. And ease up on your grip.”
“Yeah, I will.”
* * * * *
Even though it is not our way to seek out information, we can sleepily feel events churning, paths being decided, fates coming to fruition.
And what we garner from these readings both disturbs and excites us: for we are soon going to be needed by three little girls.
Our duty will be to stop the end of the world. It is no less of a task than has been set before us in the past, but also no more of one.
We nod to ourselves, and begin the necessary preparations.
* * * * *
I slide my hand into my pocket, puffing out a breath of air. “Hey Jules?”
“Do you think that I'm...worse than you and Suze? That I don't deserve to be here?”
I can tell she's about to make a snide comment about that time I froze up and then missed the heart completely, but then she looks over at me and sees I'm serious.
“Oh, Mell, man, don't worry about it. You're—you're great, I swear.”
“I don't feel great.”
She slings an arm around me, and my slight guilt at fishing for compliments disappears. “Yeah, well, what about that time you took out the Ms'larth without any back-up? Or when you...”
She's still talking, but her voice slides away from me, while I think about how good it feels to just walk with someone who knows all this random crap about you and doesn't care—who doesn't find out your one big secret and then push you away like you never braided each other's hair or stayed up all night talking together, and what fucking difference does it make anyway, it's not like I was attracted to Vicky in the first place, I just thought she could deal with it, my one and only secret, and it's really not a big deal, but then she went and—
Anyway. Jules isn't like that. It's nice.
I hear the sound of rushing footsteps behind us, and we turn around to face a whole mess of fangies.
She pulls her arm away quickly, twirling her lucky axe and hitting the lead one with a roundhouse kick faster than I can blink.
I pull the stake out of my pocket, both hands clasped tightly around it, and find my opponent.
He smirks, like he thinks that 'cause I didn't start out as quick I won't kick the living shit out of him.
Knowing—for sure—for the first time, that he's wrong?
That's nice, too.
* * * * *
We are heavily protected. Fifty burly young soldiers—all quite strapping for having been dead since Queen Orega's time—stand perpetual guard outside our cavern's narrow entrance.
Along with our creation, she drafted a spell to bring her best departed soldiers back to life, to shield us from falling into the wrong hands.
An evil-doer could destroy much with us.
The passageway into our chamber is lined with traps and countermeasures—a clan of poisonous snakes, falling maces, trapdoors, pits of lava.
But we can disarm it all, using only our will and our mind. Despite our recent inactivity, we are sometimes needed by those who are truly worthy.
And so we set about clearing out all of the tricks, and sending the army temporarily back to their graves.
By the time we are finished, the girls will arrive, and the way will need to be clear.
* * * * *
I stumble into the cavern, glancing around at...nothing. No guards, no violence, just walked right in.
“So this is it?”
“Guess so. Who knew they had such lame-ass security?”
“You'd think the oh-so-important charm to saving the world would be better protected.”
Jules slouches through the passageway. “Come on, let's find the doohickey and get out of here. I don't want to miss Heroes.”
I trail after her, nervously eying the strange fungus-like growths on the walls. “You know that show is ridiculously unrealistic, right?”
She's about to launch into some pathetic defense of it when she stops at the entrance to the next chamber.
“Oh, my God. You have got to be kidding me.”
She steps to the side, sweeping her arm across the entrance à la Vanna White. “It's right here.”
And it totally is. They've even got a sign.
“Wait, the Eye of Oregano?”
* * * * *
We have been obtained by the girls. Which was to be expected; after all, we took great pains to ensure our own capture.
Now we are being clutched in the sweaty, disgusting palm of a lowly human, and we sigh to ourselves, remembering how difficult quests can be.
But she swiftly drops us into a velvet pouch, and we settle in for the ride, humming with pleasure at moving again.
The moving stops.
“Wait, what the fuck was that?”
We cease our noise, remembering for the first time that being Vampyr Slayers, the girls are attuned to our sounds in a way that those not-so-mystical would not be.
“I don't hear it anymore.”
“Huh. Whatever. Probably nothing.”
We sigh again, but make sure to do it very quietly.
* * * * *
Andrew sneaks in behind me while I'm polishing my dagger, and I almost fall off the stool I'm precariously perched on when he says something.
I manage to turn my fall into a standing position, and give him a hasty salute. “O Captain, my Captain.”
He frowns thoughtfully. “I don't think they salute him in the movie.”
I roll my eyes. “Yeah, well, maybe I was making a reference to the Walt Whitman. 'Cause you're like my Lincoln and all.”
He smiles at me, a little, and folds his arms. “Really? Don't think I could pull the hat off, though.”
I settle myself back onto the stool, pick up the rag, and return to polishing the knife “Probably not. So what brings you here, good sir?”
“I just...want to shed light on what kind of a mission this is.”
“Something about the Eye, right? You haven't been incredibly clear. Shed me.”
He leans back against the wall, awkwardly. “Obviously we're going to go over this more later, but—I want to make sure you know what you're getting into.”
“Dude, I can handle myself. You don't have to treat me like a kid.”
“I know—look, Mell, none of us think you're inadequate. I'm doing this for the others too.”
I glare darkly at the dagger, rubbing furiously at nonexistent spots.
Drew sighs slightly, and continues. “Your basic goal is to get the amulet into the central chamber, and put it in the center of the shrine, where it will take the hit of the world-destroying spell the Order's started. The back-up team will be holding off the Order of Abbadon, which unfortunately consists of a horde of angry, religious vampires, and then you'll join the battle against them once...that's done.”
His pause makes something in the back of my brain itch, or tingle, or whatever—something to do with intuition and Bad Shit.
I'm sure it's nothing. Just Drew being his nervy little self.
“So what do the gross, pale and uglies have against the world, anyway?”
“Oh, you know. Something about an ancient prophecy, and the Earth is too unclean with all of us mortal rats running around on it, with a healthy dollop of we're just crazy enough to try it. Standard ingredients of an apocalypse.”
I put the knife back, satisfied with its shininess, and smirk. “Guess they're going to be a bit disappointed when it's the other way around, right? Us cleansing the Earth of them?”
He turns to stare out the door, presumably at Suze and Jules beating each other up and calling it sparring. “Yeah. Disappointed.”
My Spidey-sense goes into hyperdrive, but I ignore it.
Just pre-fight jitters.
I hop off the stool and slap And on the back, grinning. “You wanna play Tomb Raider?”
The answering smile he gives me is real enough that I can feel the intuition-crap melting away.
* * * * *
After being rudely manhandled by a mere infant—hardly worth calling a boy, for he has no strength or skills or magick in him—we are simply flung on top of a dresser.
No one even bothers to take us out of the pouch and put us in a more fit container. Made of rubies or emeralds, for instance.
We seethe and burn, muttering to ourselves about the stupidity of mortal brats, when we feel fingers, rough and cool, remove us from the pouch. We are filled with hope that we will be placed in something more representative of our status.
And here is a girl we have not seen directly, for she was not on the mission to retrieve us, although we have noticed her from afar. She looks at us with a curious expression on her face.
“Damn. Jules was right—you're one weird supernatural thingy.”
We are unable to discern from her strange way of speaking if this is praise or insult, but the awe in her features is plain enough, so we glow a little with happiness. It has been so long since someone recognized our power so openly.
She startles. “Whoa. Don't really want to know what you do.”
Suddenly we are flung back into our pouch, and we hear the echoes of her retreating feet—and we despair.
For we're hardly complete without our worshipers, much less our special box.
* * * * *
Suzanne props her feet up on the table and leans back in her chair, tossing an orange from one hand to the other effortlessly.
Andrew immediately whines out, “Put your feet down, that's unsanitary! Plus you're gonna fall over.”
She gets this look on her face that tells me she's going to show off, so I sit back to enjoy the show. Suze is crazy good when she's in the mood—and so not in the way that sounded. It would take someone way more tolerant than me to be gay for her.
She uncrosses her legs, rears back a little, and then flips up so she's standing on top of the table. She drops the orange into his lap, smirking.
“Fall over? Me? Nah, I think you're going to fall over.”
She pushes him out of his seat, chair clattering to the side, and jumps off the table, landing so her feet are on either side of his shoulders. I scoot my chair to the right to avoid whatever's going to happen next.
Quirking an eyebrow and putting her hands on her hips, she chuckles, and says, “A little clumsy today, aren't we?”
Everyone knows Andy hates that we can beat the crap out of him, so he tries to make up for it by cracking jokes, pretending he doesn't care, or being clever.
The third one usually works better, but it hardly ever beats us, unless one or two of us team up with him.
Jules nudges me, and I turn to look at her. I've been around her long enough that I know her expression is asking who we're going to side with.
I consider it, then nod towards Suze.
As Suze hops to avoid Andrew's attempt to smash the chair into her, I know we've picked the right side.
Soon we're throwing food at each other, getting covered in juice and seeds and sauce and chunks of bread. For now we're working alone, hurling things at everyone else, because food fights against one person are just no fun.
But after Jules signals Suze, we all gang up to tickle And into submission.
Even as I'm tugging at his hair—making sure not to use so much strength that I pull it out—I think about how good this feels. Just...us. Together.
It may not be everyone's version of bonding, but it works for us.
I think about how much it's going to suck when the mission's over, and we leave the Munich station to go back to our separate houses, in our separate corners of the world. I love the fam, but...Jules and Suze and And are my family, too.
I'll miss them.
* * * * *
The boy-child is staring at us, as we lie on the table. At first he makes simple, primitive jokes, and cursory wooden statements, as if to calm himself.
“It's too bad you didn't get here earlier. Cause me and Suzy Bear—um, don't tell her I called her that—have been discussing the various merits of Batman versus Spiderman, and I'm sure your opinion would settle the score. Hopefully...in Batman's favor.”
We try to remember how to form words, to constrain our thoughts into the bindings of crude human language, to tell him that obviously we favor the Webslinger, for he has great magicks inside him, and also a very attractive lover, especially when played by Kirsten Dunst.
We have a thing for redheads.
But before we can put our long-unused skill to work, he speaks again.
“Although...to be honest, I don't actually want either of us to win. I mean, I do believe in the Dark Knight, and the potential of someone without any superpowers, but...that's not the point. I enjoy arguing with her.”
There is a look on his face that we cannot quite interpret, despite our vast knowledge. It troubles us greatly.
“I can't believe it has to be like this. Them, going in alone. They think they have back-up, that there's another team who's going to help them kill the vamps after they've put you in the chamber. But...there isn't. Everyone around here is working on the Gruga problem, and no one else can get here in time. I have to lock them in there. They're going to die.”
We observe that his eyes are shinier, and realize he is saddened.
He puts his head in his hands, and whispers hoarsely, “Jules is never going to see the Heroes finale. Mella will never tell her parents she's bisexual. Suzanne will never go to her cousin's birthday party.”
He looks up, and he does not look at us but stares into the distance, seeing—something we cannot ever see.
“We're never going to have another food fight or eat Twinkies or go to a Coffee Fellows or go anywhere or do anything and it's not fair and there should be back-up but there can't be and it's all my fault and I can't tell them and they're gonna die and it's JUST NOT FAIR!”
He punctuates the end of his speech by throwing us across the room.
Normally we would be furious, and forced to unleash some sort of vengeance, especially if we were chipped, but in this situation...we are merely puzzled, and concerned, and...impressed.
The boy is clearly more than we previously calculated. He is full of love for these girls—he must sacrifice them to save the world, and he is not able to confide in anyone but us, who cannot comfort him.
We think now that perhaps the Dark Knight would have a chance against Spiderman after all.
* * * * *
“So, who gets the honors?” I huff as we rush through the corridor, lashing out at the vamps who get in our way.
Suze, pausing to stake an overenthusiastic blonde, shrugs. “Does it matter?”
And then we're past them, and inside the chamber. I see the shrine, and it's so weird to finally see it, just sitting there, being a big stone hexagon—And's been talking about it for so long that it hadn't really seemed like it would be real.
Jules comes up behind me and claps a hand to my shoulder. “Yeah, Suze, it does. I say Mella does it.”
I smile at her. She gets it.
I look at Suze, and see she gets it, too. That this is important for me.
I pull it out of the pouch, noting distantly that it's kinda glowing, or buzzing, or something. Maybe both.
Doesn't matter now. Right in the center—should I get out a ruler?
But no. I see it. I see what I have to do...
...and then suddenly it's done. I saved the world.
I whirl around to face them, grinning hugely, and stuff the pouch into a pocket for a memento of the time I saved the world. Me. Freaky old Mell.
I think the first thing I'll do when we get out is call Vicky up and tell her just what I think of homophobes with bad breath.
“Let's kick some fangy ass.”
As we're walking to the door, all girl power and stompy boots and exciting background music, Jules points out that their asses don't really have fangs.
I tell her I hope one of them bites her.
* * * * *
As soon as we are placed in the center of the shrine—where the Order of Abbadon worked their evil magicks scant hours ago—we begin to heal the area of its damages, sucking in the spellworkings and neutralizing them.
But even as we do so, we worry.
These girls...they will die. And there is nothing we can do to stop it.
We don't fully comprehend this. It seems so needless and terrible, but at the same time—we wonder why we care. We have witnessed the deaths of scores of humans.
None of them had ever seemed so real. Or had someone who cared for them so much.
But now we realize—all of them were real. And had people who cared for them.
We just never noticed it before.
There is nothing we can do. We sit, and do what we can do.
* * * * *
We open the door, and it all comes crashing down on us.
Not literally. The ceiling doesn't fall or anything. But...I don't think there's no back-up. Because all the vamps are just standing there, waiting. Like it's a party and the host hasn't arrived yet.
It's us, against what seems like thousands of pissed-off members of the Order of Abbadon.
But we haven't walked out of the chamber yet. They can't see us, so there are a few moments where we just stand there, shocked and scared and helpless.
Then Suze looks over at us, and says quietly, “They couldn't get back-up. And said something.”
Jules is actually crying. “Why?”
She shakes her head. “I don't know. It doesn't matter now.”
“I knew something would happen,” I whisper to myself. “I could tell something was up, but I didn't think it was this bad.”
Suzanne takes out a stake. “You know what we have to do.”
Jules' axe clatters to the ground. “We're going to die.”
Suze folds her arms, staring at her. “Yeah, well, we don't have a choice! Either we stay in this chamber and starve to death, or get killed by vamps—or maybe the vamps break down the door. It doesn't matter what we do, it's going to happen. And we should go out there and fight anyway, because at least we'll be doing something sort of right.”
She wipes at her face, and I can see she's crying, too. “That's what Batman would do, anyways. So...Spiderman should, too.”
I put my hand on Jules' shoulder. “Come on, Jules. We gotta be brave. We can't go out like sniveling little crybabies—think what Drew would say.”
She nods, laughing a little, and picks her axe up. “Okay. I get it.” She looks at us both. “I love you guys.”
If this were a movie, we'd hug and cry for ten minutes before dying off-screen, with a musical montage of our best times together running over the credits afterwards.
But this is real. So I take out my sword and we run out into the fray.
Screaming like wild women.
* * * * *
We are still ensuring that the evil plot will not go through when we feel the first one die.
It is painful.
The other two die shortly afterwards.
They put up a brave fight. We wish we could tell young Andrew that.
Perhaps, if we try hard enough to remember how, we can...