Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs) wrote,

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Came the Thunder, Chapter 3

I started a ‘Season 6 without Buffy’ story back in July; going to MidiMeet UK in August jolted me out of the groove for that one and I didn’t pick it up again on my return. At last, however, I have done so and here is the next chapter.

Summary: Willow’s concentration slips during her spell to bring back Buffy, she misses out a couple of words, and a very different resurrected Slayer arrives in Buffy’s place; Nonoma’e’e, Thunder Woman, a Southern Cheyenne killed by the First Colorado Cavalry at the Sand Creek massacre in 1864. Chapter 1 is HERE, and each chapter has a link to the next. 3,775 words. Rating of the story overall is R for violence.

Came the Thunder

Chapter 3

There was gray in the man’s hair and he had the pieces of glass in front of his eyes that the Vé’hó’e wore to help them see when their vision failed. Dawn made a high-pitched noise and seized hold of the man, embracing him, and Buffy went to embrace him too. The man set down the bags that he was carrying and put an arm around Dawn, in response to her gesture, but he did not do the same to Buffy.

Nonoma’e’e assumed that this man was the father of Buffy and Dawn, visiting from the land across the sea where he lived now, but this was not so. Buffy turned away from him, her lower lip protruding as if she was upset by his failure to return her embrace, and introduced the newcomer.

“It’s Giles,” Buffy said. “He is my Watcher. He can be your Watcher too, Nonoma’e’e.”

The man, Giles, raised a hand to his face and adjusted the position of the frame that held the glass circles. “That is my intention, yes.”

“Éne’evávoomóho,” Nonoma’e’e said, coming to her feet. “Watcher. Nonoma’e’e náheševéhe, I am called Nonoma’e’e, that is Thunder Woman in the tongue of the Vé’hó’e.”

“Rupert Giles,” said the man. He held out his hand in the fashion of the Vé’hó’e. Nonoma’e’e took it, as her Watcher had taught her, and moved it up and down. “Nonomah-ih,” he addressed her, stumbling on her name and omitting the final breathed syllable altogether, “I am pleased to meet you.”

“Néá'eše,” Nonoma’e’e responded, releasing his hand. “I am sorry. I not say your tongue well and I not think, say my own.” She frowned briefly as she thought. “I say, ‘thank you’.”

“Oh, that’s quite all right,” said the Watcher, smiling slightly. “After all, I don’t speak a single word of your language.”

“I can translate,” Buffy offered. “I am learning tsêhést’e from Nonoma’e’e. Náohkê’oné’seómepêhévetsêhésto’ané. That means ‘I pronounce Cheyenne very well.”

“Good grief!” the Watcher exclaimed. His eyebrows climbed high up his forehead. “Remarkable.”

“Hey, I’m learning too,” said Dawn. “Wrap your ears around this one, Giles. Náohkêsáa’oné’seómepêhévetsêhésto’anéhe.” Her mouth twisted and she shrugged her shoulders. “The trouble is that it means ‘I really don’t pronounce Cheyenne well’.”

“You say that very good,” Nonoma’e’e praised her. “You learn quick.”

“Good Lord,” Giles said. “You have hidden talents, Dawn. I wonder how you would fare with demon languages.”

“You want me to help out with research?” Dawn’s smile seemed to stretch all the way across her face. “Way cool!”

“Indeed. We can discuss the matter at greater length later, Dawn.” Giles smiled at Nonoma’e’e. “I hope you don’t mind if I call you ‘Thunder Woman’. I think that would be preferable to mangling your Cheyenne name on a regular basis.”

“Spike call me ‘Thunder’. You do same,” Nonoma’e’e suggested.

“Thank you. I shall do so, ah, Thunder.” Giles tilted his head slightly to one side and half-closed one eye. “I take it, then, that you are on friendly terms with Spike? I must say that comes as something as a surprise to me.”

“Ééšeénetâhtséstove,” Nonoma’e’e said. “We smoke, make peace.” She gestured to her mouth and outward from her sides. “Spike is my friend, like Buffy, náhevése’enôtse, and Dawn.”

“Nonoma’e’e doesn’t understand about the Bot,” Dawn told Giles.

Nonoma’e’e had heard Dawn, Tara, and the others say similar things several times. They had tried to explain something about Buffy to her but it made no sense and by now she had given up on even trying to understand. Buffy had a good heart and nothing else mattered.

“Ah. Well, I can quite see why, if she is from the Nineteenth Century,” Giles replied to Dawn. He turned back to Nonoma’e’e. “My information about you is entirely at second hand and I’d like to be sure that I have the story straight. You were, ah, killed more than a hundred years ago and Willow brought you back from the dead. Is that correct?”

“Uh, minus several million for tact, Giles,” Dawn muttered.

Nonoma’e’e drew in a deep breath. “Hákó’e, aénéva,” she said. “It was war of the blue soldier-coats and the gray soldier-coats. Tara say it was no’ka mâhtóhtôhnó’e na’no’e hóhtâhnaesohto, one hundred thirty and six year ago. Nótâxévé’hó’e, the long knives, came and they kill us. They shoot with little big wheel guns. I die. Then I not dead.” She felt her hands beginning to tremble. “They kill the women. They kill ka’êškóneho, the children. They cut with knives. Návóóhta, návóomoo’o.” Her shoulders shook as she began to weep.

Giles patted her on the shoulder. “Ah, um, there, there, my dear,” he said. “I really am most dreadfully sorry.”

“Not you,” said Nonoma’e’e, gulping back her sobs. “Not your people.” She brushed at her eyes with her hand. Giles pulled a piece of soft cloth from a pouch in his outer garment and gave it to her. She used it to wipe away her tears. “I better now.”

“It must be very difficult for you,” Giles said. “I will do whatever I can to help, of course, although I’m hardly trained to cope with your, ah, unique situation. I can at least provide for your material necessities. The Watchers’ Council has supplied me with ample funds for the purpose. We had better start off by getting you some clothes of your own.”

“This from Tara,” said Nonoma’e’e, touching a finger to the shoulders of her dress. “Étšêšké’o. Too tight.” She raised a foot from the ground and pointed down at the boots that she wore. “From Spike. Heavy, too hard.”

“We shall get you more suitable clothes as soon as possible,” Giles said. “Not today, I’m afraid, as I’m a little jet-lagged. Ah, of course, you won’t be familiar with that term. I’m tired because of my long journey to this country.”

“I wait, not mind,” Nonoma’e’e assured him.

“Where are you going to stay, Giles?” Buffy put in. “Willow deleted your address file from my database because you don’t live there any longer. You do not have a home in Sunnydale. There is insufficient space for you to stay in this house. There are three bedrooms. Dawn occupies one. Willow and Tara occupy another. Nonoma’e’e is occupying the third. I am spending my down time in the basement. I have observed water leaking from pipes there. That is not efficient. The water is supposed to stay in the pipes until it reaches the faucet. There is a potential risk of short circuit if the water makes contact with my exposed circuitry during recharging.”

Giles raised his head high and used a finger to move the seeing glasses closer to his eyes. “Good grief. Remarkable.”

“She’s making a lot more sense lately,” Dawn said. “I don’t know if it was the last fix Willow did, or just ‘cause Nonoma’e’e treats her just like any other person, but sometimes you could almost forget that she’s…” Her voice trailed away and she lowered her gaze to the floor.

“Where are you going to stay, Giles?” Buffy repeated.

“I’ve booked a room at the motel,” Giles told her. “It will do until I can find somewhere better.”

“Motel, noun. An establishment that provides lodging for motorists in rooms usually having direct access to an open parking area.” Buffy turned her head from side to side and her eyebrows descended. “You are not a motorist.”

“They don’t insist on guests arriving by car,” Giles said. “It will be adequate for a few nights, at least. I think that I shall head off there now, if you don’t mind. Tell Willow and Tara, and Xander and Anya, that I shall see them tomorrow.”

- - - - -

Buffy’s warrior society had a meeting place which was in a trading post run by Anya. Her people sat around a round table of wood. They did not follow the custom of giving the place opposite the door to the chief, or to one being honored, and sat where they wished. Xander brought food and all took it and ate as the mood took them. Buffy did not eat.

Nonoma’e’e was wearing her new clothes. A shirt of that which is red for warmth, patterned with that which is yellow for new life and beauty; pants of heavy cloth, of the color that is blue, for the sky and water; and moccasins and a jacket of buckskin. Beneath the shirt she wore one of the strange garments called ‘a bra’ to support her breasts. Now that she had found one that was the right size she could understand its benefits, for it would prevent discomfort when moving energetically in a fight, although it was difficult to fasten and she had needed to get Buffy to assist her. It was good to have clothes that were comfortable.

The expedition to obtain the clothes had not been good. There had been many people all around, as many as the grasshoppers; almost all of them Vé’hó’e apart from a few Mo’ôhtáevé’hó’e, and she had seen no other Xamaevo’êstaneo’o besides herself. The trails had been crowded with the strange wagons that needed no horses. Everything had been noise and confusion and she had felt afraid. She had wanted to run far away, to find open spaces and grass and bison, but Spike had told her that there was no part of this land that was not now overrun with the Vé’hó’e. Nowhere to live free. She was in the time of the dream of Motse’eoeve and she could not escape.

The meeting was not good either. She found it hard to understand what the others were discussing. They knew each other well and she was a stranger. They spoke to her little, speaking mainly amongst themselves, and she would have liked to leave but had nowhere to go. She noticed a strange thing; the members of the band spoke to Buffy even less than to her, even though they were supposed to be the friends of Buffy.

The talk was of how to find and slay a demon. The Heávohe had attacked a place called a ‘bank’ and had stolen some of the sacred Vé’hó’e ‘money’. This was strange behavior for a Heávohe, they said, although Nonoma’e’e did not understand why. Giles had exchanged money for the clothes that she wore. It was valuable and therefore a Heávohe would desire it. The Heávóh’e were thieves as well as killers. That was a truth.

Nonoma’e’e sat and waited. If they told her where to find the Heávohe she would slay it; that was something she could do. In this world there seemed to be no need for her other skills. She could not even cook, for they cooked without fire, and she did not understand how the thing that cooked the food worked. Only if she could slay Heávóh’e could she feel that she had a purpose, in this time and place, and they already had Buffy to do that.

She sat and listened as they talked, and she hoped that they would finish soon, but then the door opened and in came Spike.

“Evening, all,” said Spike. “Sun’s low enough for me to move around safely so I thought I’d drop in. Any of those donuts have chocolate fillings?”

“What are you doing here, Evil Dead?” Xander asked. “We don’t need you.”

“Well, yeah, s’ppose I’m not as vital now you’ve got Thunder,” said Spike, “but I’m happy to give her a hand. ‘Spect she’ll take some time to get used to things, could probably use a native guide, and I’ve got sod all else to do. Beats sitting in the crypt watching TV on an old portable with dodgy reception.”

“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed. Her smile was very wide. “You’re here! Look. Nonoma’e’e has new clothes.”

Spike raised his eyebrows. “Right smart they are too, pet. Stand up, Thunder, let’s have a look at you.”

Nonoma’e’e rose to her feet. She smiled at Spike. “I give you boots back,” she said, and raised a leg to show him one of her new moccasins. “I have tsêhésto’kêhanôtse. No need yours.”

Spike’s gaze swept over her and he nodded his head. “Ta, pet. Yeah, looking good. Dead smart, Thunder, like I said.”

“Huh. Didn’t take you long to move on from Buffy,” Xander muttered.

Spike glared at him. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, whelp. Can give a bird a compliment without it meaning more than friendship. Would say the same things to Red, now she’s moved on from wearing dead Muppets, if I didn’t think she’d bite my sodding head off.”

“Perhaps we could stop this pointless bickering,” Giles suggested. “Spike, as you’re here, you may as well take a seat.”

“You sit here,” said Nonoma’e’e. The place beside her was vacant. Spike joined her and sat down. He grinned at Xander, who glared back at him.

“So, what’s the monster of the week?” Spike asked.

“A demon that robbed a bank,” Giles replied.

“Bit unusual, innit?” said Spike. “Most demons don’t have much use for cash. Not like they can walk into a shop and spend it. Unless it was a vamp, or one that could pass for human.”

“It was in broad daylight,” Giles told him, “which would seem to rule out vampires. The reports that we have heard definitely indicate that it was not one that could pass for human.”

“Means the bugger has a human fence, then,” said Spike, “or some twat of a sorcerer summoned it up to do the bank job for him.”

“You could well be right,” Giles said. “You wouldn’t happen to know of any such fence, or sorcerer, would you?”

“Not off the top of my head,” said Spike, “but I’ll do some asking around, see what I can find out.”

“Yes, do that,” said Anya. “I don’t like the idea of a demon robber. He might steal from this shop. I want to keep my money for myself. Find the demon and destroy it.”

“We could have him put in jail,” said Buffy. “The state looks down on robbery.” She chanted those words rather than speaking normally.

Willow was taking a bite from a piece of soft food filled with sweet red cooked berries. She dropped it into her lap and stared at Buffy. “What – what did you say?”

“The state looks down on robbery,” Buffy repeated, in the same chanting tone. “I am paraphrasing the line ‘the state looks down on sodomy’ from the song ‘What’s My Age Again?’ by Blink 182,” she continued, her intonation returning to normal. “I am programmed to deliver quips and popular culture references.”

“Uh, yeah, I guess,” Willow said. She retrieved the food from her lap and grimaced. The filling had made a mark on her clothes.

“It’s an improvement on the meringue thing,” said Tara. “Good work, sweetie, you’re really getting somewhere with her.”

“I didn’t do anything with her programming,” Willow said. “I just fixed the broken gyro. Uh, maybe the fight with those Hellion demons shook something loose and made her disk write off the bad sector that was causing the dialogue loop.” Her forehead was creased and her voice seemed uncertain.

Nonoma’e’e understood nothing of what Buffy, Willow, or Tara had said. She ignored their conversation and spoke to Spike. “You come with me, fight Heávóh’e, demons?”

“Spike should come with me,” Buffy said. Her lower lip extended. “Náméhóto.”

Nonoma’e’e’ looked from Buffy to Spike. Buffy’s declaration that she loved him was not a surprise to Nonoma’e’e but she did not think that Spike returned the feeling. Perhaps he had in the past; that would explain Xander’s comment when Spike spoke approvingly about her new clothes. “He should come with both of us,” she said. “Násáaméhotôheho.”

“Negation of transitive verb, first person, with animate object,” said Buffy. Her bright smile returned. “Good. Yes, he should come with both of us, nésé’e.”

“Is anyone else finding this creepy, or is it just me?” Xander asked the company in general.

“I have to say ‘yes’,” Willow answered him. “I don’t know how she’s doing it.”

“She fooled us all at first,” Tara said.

“Well, yeah, but it’s only a couple of weeks since she was making forty sandwiches ‘cause no-one told her to stop,” said Willow, “and remember the knock-knock jokes?”

“Ooh, who’s there?” asked Buffy.

“It looks like normal service has been resumed,” said Anya.

“‘It looks like normal service has been resumed’ who?” Buffy asked.

Giles ignored the byplay. He leaned toward Spike. “Could I have a word?” He gestured with a hand toward a corner of the room.

“Yeah, sure, Rupes,” Spike said. He followed Giles to the indicated area.

“Thunder appears to be fond of you,” Giles said. He had lowered his voice but Nonoma’e’e was still able to hear him. “I hope you are not going to, ah, take undue advantage of that.”

“What, you warning me not to trifle with her affections?” Spike grinned briefly. “Don’t worry, Rupes, I don’t go for birds who are two inches taller in bare feet than me when I’m wearing shoes. Like her, yeah, she’s a good kid, and I can’t help feeling sorry for her, but that’s all. Wouldn’t want to lead a Slayer on, would I, ‘specially when I can’t fight back. Bloody lethal she is with that tomahawk, let me tell you, don’t fancy getting chopped into bits. Anyway, she pings my gaydar.”

“Oh?” Giles raised his eyebrows.

“Could be wrong, cultural differences and all that, but that’s how I read her. Won’t do anything out of line, mate.”

“Very well,” said Giles. “I’m glad to hear that. You will endeavor to find out about any wizard who may have summoned the bank-robbing demon, won’t you?”

“Sure thing,” Spike said. “Might as well head off now, get a bit of snooping done before patrol, right?”

“Indeed,” said Giles. He turned back toward the group at the table. “I think that we’ve covered everything that we need to for the time being,” he said, “and it’s about time for a meal. I suggest that we adjourn our meeting shortly.”

“Suits me,” said Xander.

“I did have something more to say to you, Willow, but I’d rather do it in private,” Giles continued. “If you would step into the training room for a moment, perhaps?”

“Sure thing, Giles,” Willow agreed. She followed Giles through a door at the rear of the room.

Spike did not leave immediately. He returned to his seat, took one of the pieces of food named ‘donuts’, and bit into it. Nonoma’e’e asked him to tell her why he thought that demons would not steal money for themselves, even though it was valuable, and he gave an explanation. Anya joined in and clarified to her how money worked. Xander looked up at the ceiling and tapped his fingers on the table. Tara looked at the door of the other room and frowned.

Nonoma’e’e heard a raised voice, muffled by the intervening door, but still comprehensible to her. It was Willow.

“I made one tiny mistake! I missed out two words!”

“You should never have been attempting it in the first place! Don’t you have any idea of what you could have done?” There was anger in Giles’ voice.

“I could have brought her back!”

“You could have unleashed Hell on Earth!”

The voices sank to a volume at which Nonoma’e’e could only distinguish occasional phrases. She heard Giles say “rank, arrogant, amateur” and “the last thing she saw was her tribe being slaughtered by white men. That she didn’t immediately kill all of you is a miracle.”

Willow’s replies were less audible but at one point she yelled “maybe it’s not such a good idea for you to piss me off.”

A short time after that the door re-opened and Willow emerged. Her mouth was a tight line and her eyebrows were low. “Come on, Tara, let’s go home,” she said.

Tara left the table. Her mouth was turned down at the corners. “G-goodbye, g-guys,” she said to the group.

“We should go too,” said Buffy. “Dawn will expect food.”

“Is it…” Nonoma’e’e began, intending to ask Buffy if her refraining from eating in the company of others was a medicine thing, but she reconsidered and closed her mouth. Discussing such matters in public would be impolite. “Yes, we go,” she said instead. “Goodbye, Spike.”

- - - - -

The Heávohe loomed out of the night. Man-shaped, but broader, with green scaly skin like that of háo’taoohesoneho. “Which one of you is the Slayer?” it asked. Nonoma’e’e and Buffy had not yet met up with Spike, who was presumably still searching for the evil medicine man who had summoned the demon, and they were patrolling as a pair.

“We both are,” said Buffy. “You are the Slayee.”

“Two Slayers? She got out of jail?” The monster raised a clawed hand and scratched its head. “The dorks didn’t say anything about two Slayers. I’ll have to take that out of their hides. After I kill both of you.”

Nonoma’e’e pulled her axe from under her jacket. She went to the right, and Buffy went to the left, and they attacked. The Heávohe was big, and seemed to be very strong, but the two girls were faster. Buffy used no weapons, other than a wooden stake to finish off vampires, but her punches were as powerful as the blows of a war club. The Heávohe staggered under their assault and went down to one knee.

Nonoma’e’e struck it with her axe. The blade bit deep into its shoulder and that arm sagged limp. With the other arm the Heávohe lashed out at Buffy. She ducked under the blow but did not manage to avoid it altogether. The claws sliced across her forehead. The punch that she delivered in return hit the demon in the face and broke its jaw. Nonoma’e’e brought her axe down on the head of the stunned monster and pierced its skull. It fell to the ground and lay still.

Nonoma’e’e turned to her friend. “Népévomóhtâhehe?” she asked. “Are you hurt?”

“I have minor cosmetic damage,” Buffy said. “My internal systems are unimpaired. Hey, we killed the demon. We should do a high five.” She faced Nonoma’e’e and raised an arm. “You put your hand up like this.”

Nonoma’e’e made no move to obey. She stared at Buffy and her mouth dropped open. Where the claws of the Heávohe had cut Buffy’s face the skin was torn and a flap was hanging down. There was no blood, no oozing red flesh where the skin had been ripped away; only the shiny gleam of metal.


Tags: came the thunder, fic
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