stock: zombies ahead

fic:mercy|btvs, the walking dead|gen

Title: mercy
Rating: FR13
Disclaimer: BtVS and all related characters are copyright of Joss Whedon and ME. The Walking Dead and all related characters are copyright of Robert Kirkman, Image Comics and AMC. No infringement intended.
Note: This is a comment_fic prompt inspired short. Please see prompt at the bottom.

Synopsis: Doing the right thing was dangerous at the best of times. This was not the best of times.

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Curiosity might kill the Slayer. Eventually.

She knew—for a fact—that the living were just as dangerous as the dead and yet, even with that knowledge, Buffy Summers found herself running through the woods towards the sound of someone calling for help. The desperation in their cries, and that shred of decency that still remained inside of her, forced her head first into trouble.

It wasn’t the first time and it definitely wouldn’t be the last.

A steady pace and pumping arms made her regret the decision to loosen the waist strap of her pack as it beat mercilessly at her lower back. The weight of it hindered her movements, but not her stride as she kicked up the leaves and dirt beneath her boots. The cries became whimpers and she heard their struggles as they pleaded for their life over the hungry groans of the dead.

It’d been a long while since she’d run into someone who wasn’t comfortable with the new world order and in need of saving. Nowadays those among the living were a little too comfy with how the world had tumbled head first into chaos.

The trees gave way and Buffy hesitated before entering the clearing, scanning for hostiles of the living sort before her shoulders rolled and the pack slid down her arms to fall at her feet. She drew the kukri from the sheath at her waist which Faith had acquired the blade during her travels to Nepal. She’d been unwilling to question the how at the time. Now she regretted the not knowing, but it felt right to kill as many of the dead as she could with it.

Buffy stepped forward, towards the massive rock with a frantic man atop it, and the few dead surrounding. She ran a critical eye over the gluttons and hazard they were months old and easy pickings. The kukri was a curved blade made for hacking and so she did. Cleaving the head of what had once been a woman in two with enough ease that Buffy added at least a year to her estimation.

The next stumbled towards her, teeth snapping as a putrid scent permeated her personal space. Once upon a time she would’ve tossed out a mocking turn of phrase at her (not really) opponent, but her quips were lost on these creatures and the living always took them the wrong way. Instead she caught the side of its head, winced at the warm feel of its flesh against her bare skin, before slamming it face first into the rock.

It dropped and she turned to face the creeper coming up from behind as the clearing filled with people and she muttered a curse. The blade flashed, catching the dead across the jaw as it made to take a bite of her. Buffy spun out of reach, her boot finding its knee as she passed and bone cracked with dry sound that wrinkled her nose. It stumbled and she drove the kukri forward into its face. Following it down and using gravity to her advantage as the blade sunk through bone and into brain.

A gunshot drew her gaze up from that ruined face and she saw the overabundance of the living. They’d removed the last two semi-threats and now watched her as warily as she watched them. The man on the rock continued to tremble. Buffy pushed herself up and pulled her blade free with the squelch of congealed blood. The violence level hadn’t lowered with the removal of the dead and Buffy resisted the urge to pull her gun since that would likely turn this scenario bloodier—for all of them.

“Clear!” The shout drew her attention from the many to the one and the order, “Keep watch,” had her guessing tall and lanky was the leader of the group.

“Come on down,” another order, but this one directed at the cowering guy on the rock. The leader looked towards Buffy and blue eyes narrowed before he asked, “You two together?” His tone implied he didn’t think so, but a back step was taken as the other guy slid off the rock.

The one she’d helped swayed and then squatted to vomit and make the already foul smell of the clearing worse. Buffy got a good look at him as he rose and her brow quirked at the clerical attire and all black in a Georgia summer was just asking for heatstroke. He wiped at his mouth, as if niceties were still the norm, and exhaled a shuddering breath before leaning against the rock that’d saved his life.

“Th-thank you,” he directed the first to Rick and then he nodded to Buffy, “Thank you.” He straightened his jacket, tugging at to sit straight on his shoulders before he offered, “I’m Gabriel and I-I don’t know this young woman,” his mouth quirked a bit, “Or you.”

“And you?” The question was directed at Buffy and continued, “Just heard someone in trouble and thought you’d lend a hand?”

The derision in that southern drawl stiffened her spine, brought her chin up as she countered, “Didn’t you?”

“Dad,” a kid muttered, but mostly all Buffy saw of him was hat.

The reprimand seemed to take the hostility down a notch or two, but trusting this leader was not and he hammered that notion home when he asked, “How many weapons you got on you?”

The urge to snap at him about business and how strangers should mind it was swallowed. Buffy frowned at him instead and muttered, “I don’t need this,” she nodded to Gabriel, “I’m glad you’re alright,” before she turned, dodging around the guy with the crossbow and plethora of squirrel carcasses to snatch her pack that he’d been side eying.

“Wait!” Her shoulders tightened under the weight of the pack and she looked back at the still frightened preacher in the center of a pack of wolves. “Wh-where are you going?”

She glanced around the hodgepodge group and frowned before admitting, “Terminus,” there were enough signs for the place that it wasn’t like she was giving away a secret.

“No!” One of the group stepped forward, drawing her focus to his dirt smudged face. A pretty, and equally dirty, woman took his hand and he spared her a smile before he explained, tone calmer, “It’s gone,” his head shook, “It was never really there to begin with.”

“Meaning?” A brow quirked because that explanation was empty of all details and utterly useless to her.

“They were cannibals.” The leader offered, slipping his gun into the waistband of his jeans before needlessly explaining, “We stopped ‘em.”

Her lips quirked and Buffy felt an inappropriate laugh tickle the back of her throat, but it was Gabriel’s horrified look that tipped her over the edge and she began to giggle. A belly laugh followed and it left her gasping in the dirt with a group of strangers surrounding her.

The laughter turned and tears blurred her vision. Buffy exhaled through her nose, a harsh burst that burned, and she sniffled before she looked up to find a redheaded man squatting well outside her personal space with an assault rifle across his lap. He studied her a long moment and she returned the scrutiny, lingering a bit on a rather impressively groomed mustache, before his mouth quirked and she looked up to meet his gaze.

“You handled yourself pretty well,” he stated with a nod to the dead near the rock, “We could use people like you and something tells me you could use us. We’ve got a mission…”

He snagged her full attention with that one word and Buffy listened because she’d learned a long time ago the mission was what mattered. The mission kept you going when nothing else could. When nothing else was left.

+

The end.

Prompt: "BtVS, The Walking Dead|Any, Buffy Summers|she was the only one left when she came across the group"
She'd welcome something familiar in such a foreign world. We've seen Buffy alone via the Wish episode and she wasn't long for that world. Her friends and family might've made her feel more alone, but they also reminded her daily of what she was fighting for. I don't think Rick's group would allow themselves to be taken over; Rick, for all his faults, does a good job of keeping them alive, together and motivated, but they would welcome another survivor.

I wanted a lighter take on a mesh of these series since the source material for the Walking Dead is so darn dark. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I'm always up for new ways for Buffy to encounter the Walking Dead group. Enjoyed this!
No idea how I missed this one, but I'm so glad I discovered it while clearing my inbox. Brilliant! I can totally see This Buffy and Ole Abe becoming besties and she figures out Eugene is full of shit but goes along because she realizes she needs to be with people.
I'm glad you liked it! Abe and Buffy would likely get along like a house on fire. Those two could use the stability the other has to offer. Fantastic possible friendship material there.