Title: Destiny Unfolding
Copyright: October 2000
Rating: PG-13 (fight scenes)
Spoilers: Buffy: Through Season 2 until Phases. Specific Episodes: Prophecy Girl, What's My Line Parts 1 and 2, and Becoming Parts 1 and 2.
Chronicles of Wanderer: Calling Out the Clan, Slayer In Black.
Keywords: Buffy/ Xena.
Summary: Set in the same universe as the Chronicles of Wanderer by Steve Pantovich. During the events in Prophecy Girl, the Master killed Buffy, triggering her Immortality. The Hellmouth opened for a few minutes, but the newly Immortal Buffy Summers killed the Master, and sealed the Hellmouth to save the world. While these events transpired, other events were taking place a continent away. When Buffy was temporarily killed, the next Slayer was called forth. This is the story of Kendra's reactions to becoming the Chosen One.
Legalese: All characters except those noted below with their respective rights, properties and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.
The character Shaw Hunter is mine. Anyone wishing to use her may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The characters Steve St. Wolf, Frank Iverson, Randi Jessup, Brian Jessup, Joe N'Gato and Alika are property of Steve Pantovich, as is the universe in which this story takes place. Steve can be contacted at email@example.com.
Author's Notes: This parts of this story that take place in the present are approximately two months after the events in Born to Raise Hellmouth, and during Witch Hunt and Part 7 of Slayer In Black. The past sequences take place during and immediately after Prophecy Girl.
Dedications: First off, to Steve, for letting me use and work with his characters as well as giving the okay for the Anthology to let us do these short stories.
To Rebekah, the Tea Snarfing (ask her, not me) Beta Reader who comes up with almost as many smart comments as I do, and helps make the stories what they are.
To Mike and Timbo for helping me nudge (read: harrass) Steve to let us pull off this short story bonanza as well as for giving me their opinions on the idea of a Kendra story.
And last but not least, to Gillian Horvath from the Highlander crew, for editing the Evening At Joe's collection that inspired Timbo, Mike and myself to bug Steve.
Here are the changes from normal shows that may play a part in this story:
Buffy: 1. Due to her drowning at the hands of the Master in Prophecy Girl, Buffy is Immortal.
2. Passion and Becoming never took place, so Angel is evil, and Jenny and Kendra are alive and well. Kendra has taken up residence in Sunnydale and is attending UC Sunnydale.
Slayer isn't what you do. It's who you are."
"What's My Line, Part 2"
Outside Grand Law Cemetery
15 November 1998
Shaw and Kendra had been on patrol for three hours, with nary a vampire in sight. As they worked their way towards the front entrance of the cemetery, they discussed the recent trap that they, along with Joe N'Gato, had escaped three nights prior.
"I still do not understand something, Shaw," the Slayer asked, confusion in her voice. "Why do you object to using such magics if your Goddess grants it to you?"
Shaw paused and looked at Kendra, her eyes shining red in the darkness. To Kendra's credit, she didn't react; she seemed to have gotten used to elven genetic traits in short order.
Shaw leaned against the fence, considering her answer. With a sigh, she said, "I have not told you about Mielikki, or my religious beliefs, have I?"
Kendra shook her head, and asked, "What is she the Goddess of?"
"She is known as the Lady of the Forest," the half-elf answered, fingering the unicorn pendant she wore over her heart. "She was worshipped in Finland at the same time that other Pantheons were more common than Christianity. She is the Finnish analog to Artemis, who told me that they were good friends when the Lady was here on Earth."
"A nature Goddess," Kendra reasoned.
"Yes, Kendra," Shaw said before continuing. "And as a priestess of such a Power, I believe in the natural cycle of death and rebirth. But one of the few elven beliefs that I share is that one does not disturb the course of one's afterlife."
"But those were only corpses, Shaw," Kendra protested, still confused. "They are unintelligent, and their souls are still wherever they departed to when they died."
"Would you consent to my raising your mortal remains to fight vampires?" Shaw asked.
Kendra's face went very sour, and Shaw nodded in triumph.
"I thought not," she said with a dry tone. "And the fact that your cemeteries are holy ground is another thing that makes me regretful about what happened."
"I can understand your position there," Kendra said with a thoughtful nod.
"How about you, Kendra?" Shaw asked, now the confused one. "How is it that you can approve of zombies, and not vampires? Is this something to do with being the Slayer?"
"No," the Jamaican admitted with a sigh. "Have you heard of voodoo?"
"Yes, Giles has mentioned it," the ranger said. With a shrug she added, "But the different types of magic on Earth is still something I am getting used to. I am told it is a priestly magic based on an Earth religion, but to me it smacks more of necromancy, a school of wizardly magic. I am sure you can understand my confusion on that."
"I am from Jamaica," Kendra said, to which Shaw nodded in knowledge of that fact. "Voodoo is very common there, at least as much as magic can be common. I was born and raised with such magic as part of my education and upbringing."
"Your parents were very thorough in your education," Shaw remarked. Kendra stiffened a bit, and Shaw looked at her. "What is it, Kendra?"
"My parents had nothing to do with my education," she said without emotion. "They gave me up when I was very young, because they knew I was to become the Slayer. I was brought up by my Watcher."
"Samuel Zabuto," Shaw said, with a trace of anger.
"Why do you sound like that, Shaw? You don't know him," Kendra pointed out.
"Because he tried to kill you, for being injured," the half-elf stated with steel in her voice. "I understand that this is how things are done in the Council, but I cannot condone killing someone simply to bring forth another champion of humanity."
"My injuries were dire," Kendra said with a look at the ground. "The doctors thought it would take six months for me to recover."
"I saw the reports, Kendra," Shaw said evenly. With a look at the Slayer, she said, "If I had been in Los Angeles, your wounds would have been healed in less than half an hour."
"Healing spells?" Kendra asked, to which Shaw nodded.
Kendra waited a few seconds to ponder that scenario, and then changed the subject.
"Shaw, why did you start doing this?" she asked out of curiosity. The two had exchanged bare details about each other, but knew little about their respective histories.
Shaw hesitated, and asked, "Do you refer to fighting evil in general, or to fighting vampires in particular?"
"Both, I guess," Kendra responded, not knowing that there could be a difference.
"For fighting evil, it has been what my family has done for many generations," Shaw answered, taking a dagger from her belt and idly twisting it in her hand. "My parents died when I was two, sacrificing themselves against what you would call Black Mages. My mother, in particular, cast a spell that caused an avalanche, burying eleven Mages and apprentices, to add to the four Mages she and my father had eliminated before he fell to their magic. The. . . the avalanche buried her alive as well. My human grandparents fought this battle until they took me in to raise me. My Grandfather's mother, the one whose sister is Amy's twice-great grandmother, also fought this fight. I am a seventh generation ranger, but I am the first to follow the path of a priestess as well. I simply never thought to do anything other than fight against the forces of evil."
"That is how my Grandparents died," Shaw answered, no small amount of sadness in her voice, something that surprised Kendra. "Ten years after it happened, I crossed paths with the vampire that took their lives. I think you can logically assume what my reasons were from that."
Somewhat put off by the slightly abrupt answer, Kendra bristled, but relaxed when she thought about the answer itself.
<She does not like discussing it.> Kendra reasoned. <But she's willing to do it for me.>
"Revenge," the Slayer said quietly.
Shaw nodded, and said, just as quietly, "And I have regretted it ever since I came to my senses just six months ago."
Shaw looked over at Kendra, and while the two just watched each other, her face took on a look of speculation.
"Kendra, can I ask you something?" the half-elf asked.
"What was it like for you, when the time came to begin your role?" Shaw said to the Slayer. "Buffy has told me what it was like for her, as well as when she died and her Immortality was triggered, but what were your feelings when you realized you had become the next Slayer?"
Kendra looked surprised at the question, but her face quickly took on its normally passive appearance.
"I will understand if you do not wish to discuss it," Shaw assured the human.
"No," Kendra said, not minding what Shaw had asked. "It's just that I never expected anyone to ask me what I thought about the matter. I do not mind telling you."
As they turned to proceed into the cemetery, Kendra began the story of her activation over a year ago.
2 June 1997
Buffy Summers hit the pool of water with a loud "splash," and her momentum was barely slowed as she began to fall to the bottom, too weak, despite her status as the Slayer, to swim back to the top after the Master had drained her of her blood.
As the view of her body was distorted through the ripples and waves formed by her entry, the Master looked at her for a brief second before turning his attention to the dimensional doorway that had kept him trapped here for the last sixty years.
With the burst of power given to him by the blood of a Slayer, Heinrich Joseph Nest burst through the invisible wall, and headed to open the Hellmouth, a maniacal laugh of triumph rolling from his lips.
Under the water, Buffy's mouth involuntarily opened to draw breath, and in doing so, water began to rush in, clogging her lungs, and forcing her to cough.
<I don't want to die!> she screamed silently, trying to muster enough strength to claw her way back to the surface. <I don't want to die!>
But, having been beaten and weakened, all she could do was stare upwards as her awareness faded, her vision closing in and sending her into blackness.
Before she yielded herself to oblivion, only one thought was on her mind.
As death claimed the Slayer, she never felt the tingle that signaled a part of her leaving her body, heading for someone whose destiny was about to take shape.
2 June 1997
Sam Zabuto threw a right-handed thrust with his quarterstaff, which Kendra McPhereson blocked, and countered with a swing at the Watcher's unprotected left leg.
The blow caught him off guard behind the knee and swept the man to the floor of the training room used by Zabuto and his young charge. As he landed, Kendra brought the staff up to perform the coup de grace, a fake jab at his throat to simulate crushing his windpipe.
As she brought the staff back, a wave of dizziness overwhelmed the chocolate-skinned islander. She dropped the quarterstaff to her side as she reached up to her head with her left hand. Zabuto took advantage of the hole in her defenses to swing his staff, sweeping her legs out from under her and sending her crashing to the mat.
The elder occupant of the small training room braced his staff to support himself as he brought himself back to a standing position. He gave a scowl of disapproval to his student, who was still shaking off the dizzy spell.
"Kendra," he began with the tone of a lecturer, "how do you expect to survive if you leave such openings in your defenses? No Slayer would live long making such mistakes."
Kendra slowly stood up and said, "I am sorry, Mr. Zabuto."
"Sorrow will not keep you alive," the Watcher said firmly, taking the staff from her. "Now, what did you do wrong?"
"Nothing, sir," Kendra promptly stated. When Zabuto gave her a look at her seeming defiance, she lowered her head. "I had you, when I suddenly became dizzy. That was when you took me down."
Zabuto watched her with an even gaze, and then said, "Very well. I don't know why this happened, but you are correct on one matter; you did have me beaten before you lost your concentration, for whatever reason."
Kendra nodded, and asked, "Mr. Zabuto, shall we try again?"
"No, Kendra. Your progress is acceptable," the mentor responded. He put up the staves, and said, "While your skill needs improvement, your form is nearly flawless."
"Thank you, sir," the Jamaican woman said, glad for some approval from her Watcher. "What should I do now?"
Zabuto considered the matter, and finally said, "Go through the writings of Dramius for an hour or two. Then go to bed. We will train again at seven tomorrow morning. Perhaps the extra sleep will keep you from becoming dizzy again."
"Yes, sir," Kendra said submissively, heading for their library.
Kendra tossed in her bed, caught in the throes of a strange dream that she could not shake off, no matter how hard she tried to do so.
Moaning in her dream state, she began talking in a language not spoken by mankind for several centuries.
"Now, Alika," Xena said, taking out her chakram, "there are many ways to kill a Bacchi. Sunlight, burning. But only a couple will work in your favor in hand-to-hand combat."
In the old burial ground, the young woman named Alika (Kendra) sat perched on an old grave marker, watching the armor clad warrior known throughout Greece as one of its greatest heroes. Xena had come to the sixteen-year-old girl in Sparta, where her warrior father, treated more like a son than a daughter, had raised her.
When Xena had come to *her*, and told her that she'd been given a destiny to be one of mankind's champions, she had jumped at the chance to be more than a warrior tied down by national ties. The chance to be a hero.
The last two months had been filled with intense training while Xena also taught her how the Bacchi came into existence, and more importantly, how to make them nonexistent.
"The first method," the five-foot-ten brunette said, drawing Alika (Kendra) out of her reverie, "is to drive a sharpened piece of wood through their heart. The second. . ."
A scratching sound came from the ground beneath Alika (Kendra), and Xena threw her chakram off into the night. Alika's (Kendra's) Gods-enhanced senses picked up the missile weapon bouncing off stone and wood. Suddenly, a Bacchi's head burst out of the ground, only to be instantly severed by the chakram flying past, making the head crumble into dust and startling the young woman Xena had named the "Slayer."
Xena reached out and plucked the metal disc out of thin air, to the wide-eyed admiration of her pupil. This action, with the pause in her speech, had taken less than three seconds.
". . .is beheading," the grinning Warrior Princess told her student. "Much simpler."
Sam Zabuto was studying the latest Watcher reports when a timid knock came on his study door. He set the reports down, irritation rising in his gut as he called for Kendra to enter.
When the woman walked in, Zabuto could see that something was different about her, but he couldn't identify what it was that had changed.
"Kendra, it is late," he said with stern disapproval. "Why are you up at this hour?"
"I had a strange dream," the young woman admitted with a bowed head. "I. . . it was very strange, as if I were someone else."
Zabuto stopped going through his reports, and stared at her. "Please explain."
"I was in a burial ground, at night," Kendra began hesitantly. As she continued, she gained strength, but she didn't know from where it came. "There was a woman, named Xena. . ."
Zabuto paled at that name. <Has the girl disobeyed my orders?>
But before he could scold her about watching television, she continued, gaining momentum that he could not disrupt.
"This Xena, who was clad in the most revealing armor I have ever seen, used what she called a chakram, which looked like some form of discus, to behead a vampire. But this woman called it a. . . Bacchi. I do not understand this, so I came to you immediately, Mr. Zabuto."
Zabuto's jaw dropped as he realized what Kendra's dream meant, and he also understood the significance of the word "Bacchi."
"Kendra," he said, regaining his composure, "dress for a sparring match, and wait for me in the training room. I need to make a phone call, and will join you shortly."
Kendra nodded, not thinking to question the abrupt order. She left the study, and as soon as the door clicked, he picked up the phone and dialed a specific number.
After fifteen seconds, a voice responded. "Hello?"
"The password is Saxon," Zabuto said quickly.
"One moment," the voice said. Ten seconds later, it was replaced with a voice every Watcher knew by heart.
"Go ahead, Samuel," Sir William Appleby, head of the Council of Watchers, ordered in a pleasant voice.
"Kendra has been Chosen," the Watcher said without preamble. "She is now the Slayer."
After twenty seconds of stunned silence, Appleby said, "That's impossible! There can be only one. The next Slayer is not called until the previous one dies."
"The Summers girl must have died scant hours ago," Zabuto said, thinking the obvious. "This only happened a few hours ago, by my estimation."
"Watcher Giles reported in less than twenty minutes ago, Watcher Zabuto," Sir William countered immediately. "As of two hours ago, the Slayer Buffy Summers killed the Master and forced Tiamat herself back into the Hellmouth, before she and Giles were able to close it. The report is somewhat sketchy, but I can understand this, as the Hellmouth turned out to be directly beneath Giles' library. Even a Watcher would have to be somewhat shaken by that knowledge."
Zabuto was literally speechless at the story of the Summers girl's dramatic victory. <The Master AND Tiamat?!? Perhaps we were hasty in thinking her to be a waste of a Slayer's gifts.>
"I was thinking the same thing," Sir Appleby said, forcing Samuel to realize he'd spoken his thoughts aloud.
"What about Kendra?" Zabuto asked. "Certainly you will not have me send her to the Hellmouth. Exposing her to Summers' methods. . ."
"Agreed, Samuel," the Council leader said hastily. "We'll let Giles and Summers continue as they are. You can continue to train Kendra, and allow her to patrol on the island. If a true emergency comes up, we can send her to Sunnydale, and see how two Slayers working together comes out."
"Very well, Sir William," Zabuto said in agreement. "I will keep you updated on her progress."
Zabuto hung up the phone, and got up from his chair to talk with his pupil.
Zabuto walked into the training room, and was shocked into silence as he took in Kendra's appearance. Rather than being dressed for training, the Jamaican was dressed in a black shirt with long sleeves, that was cut high in the midriff. She was wearing red jeans, and a pair of boots. She was checking a crossbow, and she already had a wooden stake shoved down through her belt.
<She knows.> Zabuto thought, fighting his displeasure. "Kendra, what is the meaning of this?"
Kendra turned to her Watcher, her ponytail flying about as she did so. Seeing the look on her Watcher's face, she lost the confidence she'd felt only seconds before.
"I am the Slayer now, am I not, Mr. Zabuto?" she asked gingerly. "I figured this out when I damaged my clothing."
Zabuto watched her for a few seconds, and said, "Yes, Kendra. You have been Chosen as the next Slayer. Now, why are you dressed in this fashion?"
"I am the Slayer," Kendra said again, seeming to finally accept that fact. "Do I not have the duty to go out and patrol? The handbook says that the Slayer is to fight the vampires."
Zabuto felt a small touch of pride at her obvious devotion to the role of the Slayer, but quashed it at the remembrance of her disobedience.
"And for every Slayer, there is her Watcher," he intoned heavily. He folded his arms, and said, "And while your devotion to duty is commendable, you must temper it with caution and common sense."
The small amount of confidence in her eyes faded, and she asked, "What do you wish for me to do?"
"Go back to bed," Zabuto ordered the newly Chosen Slayer. "While you are ready physically, your mind is still tired. We will train tomorrow, and then I will accompany you tomorrow night as you begin your destiny."
Kendra awoke with a start, feeling not her warm bed beneath her, but cold ground. She quickly jumped to her feet, and looked around to determine her location.
She whipped her head about in all directions, while standing in a defensive stance, ready to fight any threat that revealed itself. Her eyes caught sight of a figure, and she turned to face the person she'd seen.
Standing in front of her was a young woman, younger than Kendra, who was dressed in armor that Kendra recognized as being from the periods of ancient Rome and Greece. The woman was clearly of Grecian descent, with black hair framing an olive-skinned face, an aquiline nose, and piercing dark brown eyes. She looked Kendra up and down, and smiled in apparent approval.
"Who are you?" Kendra demanded in her accented voice.
"I am you," the woman replied, before smiling wider. "I am not trying to confuse you, Kendra McPhereson. I will explain myself. Also, I am here to explain the source of your gifts."
Kendra went even further on her guard, and asked once again, "Who are you?"
"Very well," the woman agreed. "My name is Alika. Or rather, it was when I was mortal, before I died fighting the Bacchi. What you call vampires."
Upon recognition of the name, Kendra relaxed. "You were a Slayer." She looked around the area, and said, "This is where my dream took place."
"You are dreaming now, Kendra," Alika replied, looking pleased at the girl's quick mind. "And you are correct. I was a Slayer. But, more accurately, I *am* the Slayer."
Kendra looked confused by her statement, and said, "No, I am the Slayer. I was just. . ."
"Yes, because of me," Alika informed her. "I will explain, sister. ."
"Sister?" Kendra repeated suspiciously.
"In spirit," Alika said, walking up to Kendra. "We have much in common, you and I. And know this; when a Slayer is called, they have a dream in which they are a previous Slayer. Then, I come to them as I have come to you. But you. . . you, Kendra of Jamaica, are the first Slayer in twenty-five centuries to dream of the histories of the one who came before all the others. You are the first in that long to dream of the FIRST Slayer."
<The *first* Slayer?> Kendra thought, before quickly making the connection. "You."
"Yes, Kendra," Alika said. She waved her arms around the dreamscape, and said, "This is where I was trained by Xena, one of the greatest warriors of all time. I was born in Sparta, a city-state in Greece, in 520 BC, by your modern calendar. In 504 BC, my training began, after I was invested with touches of Power from seven members of the Olympian Order. Each God or Goddess enhanced a quality or talent, depending upon their own perceptions."
Kendra, wide-eyed at this revelation, asked, "Who?"
"First of all, the King of the Gods himself. Zeus made my body the receptacle for the Slayer's power, so that when I died, my spirit, my soul if you will, was transferred into the next Slayer. I have met every Slayer in this fashion, but you must know that you will not remember me from this dream. Rather, you will see me again when you dream of other Slayers. That was the gift from Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. Through these dreams, you can gain wisdom from your predecessors. From Hercules, your strength and other physical gifts. From Aphrodite, you gain a love of humanity and a willingness to do anything for them. From Eros, who you may have heard of as Cupid, gives you devotion, which translates into a sense of duty and loyalty. That is the trait which is strongest in you, Kendra."
"I understand," the young woman said in awe. "And the others?"
Alika's smile was full, and she said, "From Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt, the Slayer is and always shall be female, as they have the maternal instinct to protect their children. But She gave you the skills of a hunter, along with the knowledge of your prey. How to negate their strengths, and exploit their weaknesses. And finally, from the God of War, Ares, you are the master warrior. You have the ability to master all forms of ancient weapons. There is no weapon you cannot learn, or come to be a master of. Through me, the first Slayer, these gifts are yours. When your dream ends, my soul will still be within you, but dormant, asleep perhaps, and the gifts will be yours to use."
"Wait," Kendra said, holding out her hand. Confusion was rampant on her face, and she said, "The Council of Watchers has been in existence for thousands of years. This was later than the first Slayer's lifetime."
"There is a reason for that," Alika said sadly. A tear streamed down her face, and she said, "In 499 BC, less than ten years before the battle your people call Marathon, I was facing a group of Bacchi. Allied with them was an evil mage who used his magic to send me back in time, to what modern people call the late Stone Age. It was during this time that the Bacchi were the least common, but to my disadvantage, I had no allies of my own to call on. It was only a matter of four more years before I was killed, and my spirit entered into the next girl to be the Slayer. It was Sarmoria's tribal elders, who were ancestors of the people who became known as the Celts, who are the ancestors of the people you call the Scots, who divined the purpose of my spirit inhabiting their tribal woman. They gave her what instruction they could, and used magic to seek out the next person to be called when the second Slayer died."
"The Council," Kendra said in awe. "The Watchers."
Kendra quickly thought of something else. "Wait. If you were the first Slayer, why didn't your spirit enter your body when it came back to your time?"
"Because I was already in a young woman in Gaul, what is known to the modern world as France," Alika answered quickly. With a smile, she said, "The vampires who you fight were slightly different from the Bacchi, who were created by the God Bacchus. But in time, the lines blurred and the Slayer became the fighter of all vampires, regardless of their origins. In time, we learned that there are vampire breeds who are not inherently evil. I cannot go into their names here, but you might discover them in time. It was in 502 BC that the young woman of Gaul died, and my spirit entered into another Slayer, while the Slayer I was, still alive in Greece, went unknown to what you know as the Council. But now, that does not matter. What does matter is that there is always a Slayer, and there always will be a Slayer, unless there comes a day when all vampires are destroyed, at which time my spirit will be released to the Elysian Fields. But that day may be long in coming, and I am content to know that a person such as you has taken up the destiny of the Slayer. Use my gifts wisely, Kendra McPhereson.
"I will," the Slayer promised.
"I know," the Slayer agreed.
3 June 1997
Kendra walked through the graveyard, looking for her first opponent. Soon enough, a vampire came towards her, a big one. He smiled at her, thinking her a little girl lost in the cemetery. His shoulder-length dreadlocks bounced as he walked towards her.
"Little girl like you shouldn't be out alone," he said with a friendly grin. "You're up past your bedtime. Want me to walk you home?"
As he extended a gentlemanly elbow, Kendra attacked. She threw a crescent kick that knocked the vampire's head halfway around, and he turned back to her, his game face on and his eyes a nasty color of yellow.
"Shouldna have done that, little girl," he snarled at her.
"That is what the Slayer does," Kendra returned calmly, her emotions locked down.
Fear replaced the vampire's cocky exterior, and the Slayer took advantage of her opponent's hesitation to deliver a spin kick to his stomach. As he doubled over, she brought up a stake, and drove it into his back.
The vampire dusted, and Kendra looked around for more of the undead creatures. A vampire took the chance of rushing her, and Kendra met her charge with a hard roundhouse to the jaw. The vampire staggered, and missed with a counterblow. Kendra then threw a second punch, and one of the vampire's fangs flew off into the grass.
The vampire howled in pain, and fed the Slayer a venom-filled stare.
"Come on, try that again," she hissed through the gap in her teeth. "Come on and play with Miss Loretta."
Kendra obliged her, throwing a quick side kick into the vampire's jaw and making her crash into the side of a crypt.
"Miss Loretta," Kendra said with no feeling, "meet Mr. Pointy."
She then drove the stake into the vampire's heart.
As the creature evaporated into thin air, Kendra heard a crunching noise in the grass. She whirled around, but it was only Sam Zabuto. When she let her guard down, she watched him as he looked around the cemetery, while she awaited his opinions on the fight.
"Not bad," he began, observing the pile of dust that had been the male vampire. "This was adequate, Kendra. As always, your style was impeccable. However, you took too much time with your second opponent."
Kendra's face fell as he criticized her, and she said, "You said it was adequate."
"Overall, yes," Zabuto told her. "You must simply eliminate your opposition more quickly. Given time, you will make a model Slayer."
Kendra started to smile a bit, but remembered one of Zabuto's mantras; emotions are a weakness. She quickly buried the gladness beneath a calm exterior.
"Thank you, Mr. Zabuto," she said.
"Come. We still have patrolling to do," he ordered.
The Slayer then followed her Watcher further into the graveyard, as duty beckoned her.
to Grand Lawn Cemetery
15 November 1998
Silence reigned as Kendra and Shaw stood at the entrance to the cemetery, and Kendra waited for Shaw to give her opinions on the story told to her by the younger warrior.
Finally, Shaw nodded and said, "Becoming the Slayer was your destiny, and your duty. When the time came, you simply took up your role as duty demanded."
"Yes, Shaw," she said, fingering her stake.
Shaw smiled a bit, and said, "It seems to me that we have much in common, Kendra."
Kendra couldn't argue with her companion's assessment. In fact, she found herself agreeing with it.
"Yes, it would seem that way."
After a few more seconds of silence, Shaw said, "Kendra, you said that your parents believed in the calling. Have you been in contact with them since you were called?"
Kendra looked at her strangely, and said, "No, Shaw. I never saw them. In fact, I do not even remember them."
"As I do not remember my parents," Shaw murmured, and Kendra nodded in sympathetic agreement.
"You had your grandparents," the Jamaican offered softly. "You still had those family ties that the others say make them more effective in fighting, since they have family to fight for."
Shaw looked at Kendra, and said, "Then why do you not try to gain those ties?"
"What do you mean?" Kendra asked, totally baffled.
"You said your parents take the duties of the Slayer very seriously," the half-elven Slayerette said earnestly. "Would they not want to know how their daughter has done fighting for humanity?"
Kendra's eyes went wide, and she said, "You talk about my parents as if they're alive."
"Are they?" Shaw asked, genuinely interested.
"I. . . . .I think they are," the Slayer whispered dully, realizing that the idea had never occurred to her. "But I don't know where they are."
"I think that Steven and Buffy would be glad to help you find them," Shaw said, putting a hand on the shocked girl's shoulder. "You know what Steven's reputation is like. If your parents and people truly are this devoted to seeing humanity survive, I think they could hardly refuse a request from the Wanderer and Slayer who carry Swords of Destiny, which itself says what kind of people they are. I think that they could do little but be proud of the daughter capable of fighting a demon from the sixth Circle of Hell to a standstill and delivering as much punishment as you did to save lives."
"Do you really think so?" Kendra asked, unsure of this.
"They might even approve of your associating with a half-elven priestess from another dimension," Shaw quipped in an attempt to make Kendra more comfortable. "But I will not make assumptions about your parents' thoughts on the company you keep."
Kendra nodded, the slightest of grins touching her face. "Perhaps. I will think about it, and talk to Giles as well."
Shaw eyed the stake in Kendra's hands, and asked, "Is that the stake you named?"
Kendra felt embarrassed, and she bowed her head. "Yes it is," she whispered.
"Why are you embarrassed?" the ranger asked. "Naming one's favored weapon is a tradition that has spanned centuries beyond counting. You are no different than other warriors throughout history, on my homeworld or this one."
After a few seconds, Shaw asked to see Mr. Pointy. Kendra handed the stake over to the half-elf, who looked at it as if she were appraising any other type of weapon.
"I see you have used it extensively," Shaw said with a great deal of approval. "I can tell by how worn the handle is, from the constant gripping."
Shaw closed her eyes, and quickly said a prayer. After a few seconds, her eyes opened and she handed the stake back to its owner. Kendra could feel the difference as soon as she touched the handle.
"You blessed it," the Slayer said, not taking her eyes off it.
"It is a weapon used to protect others," Shaw answered with a shrug. "Consider it. . . a duty to a friend."
Kendra looked at her, and gave a rare smile. "Thank you, Shaw."
The two headed into the cemetery, to face whatever destiny unfolded.
From across the street, three men in black business suits watched from their Ford LTD.
"What could they have been talking about for so long?" I asked.
"The usual," J answered with a smirk. "Boys, clothes, shopping."
When I and K looked at him crossly, he said, "What? One of 'em might be an alien, but they're both girls. What else would teenage girls talk about?"
I thought about it, and said, "Right. What else would two young women possibly talk about?"