Rating: Nc-17 for violence and mature themes
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They are the property of ME and Joss Whedon. I use them only for the purpose of entertainment.
Summary: Future Fic. William the Bloody returns to Sunnydale after an extended absence (seventy five years) to find something crucial. He finds things very different. The Hellmouth is more deadly than ever and the denizens of Sunnydale do not welcome new arrivals. Set after the events of S6 up to Normal Again but further into the future.
It was the dead of night. The kind of night unlit by moonlight, dark and silent. The only illumination came from the dim stars winking overhead and the distant lights of a solitary car. On the outskirts of a small town, the car rolled to a slow stop. The deep rumble of the outmoded gasoline engine choked and stopped. The headlights remained lit, shining on a warped sign swaying in the wind. The driver’s side door opened and a figure emerged. The driver swung the dented door shut behind him with a sharp clank and strode in scuffed brown boots towards the sign. The feet stopped as the driver regarded the sign silently. A pale hand reached out to brush desert dust from the front to reveal three words painted atop a cheerful sunset and palm trees. The colors were faded to a near uniform beige but the words were still legible. “Welcome to Sunnydale”
The driver squatted in the sandy dirt, brown leather coat trailing on the ground, and ran his fingers over the outline of the sunset. How many times had he stood here? Did this make three? Four? He couldn’t remember. One thing he did know was that he had not passed this way for a long time. A long time even for one of his lifespan. Once he had sworn he would never return but current circumstances dictated otherwise. The driver stood and gave the sign a savage kick. The brittle wood splintered further and it hung at a drunken angle. Yet still the damned thing stood. He looked down the road to where he knew his destination lay.
Returning to the car, the driver revved the engine back to life and roared back onto the cracked asphalt that served as the road into town. The sign continued to sway in the night wind as the red light of the car taillights faded into the distance and only the starlight remained.
The car rolled slowly through the streets of Sunnydale a short while later. The driver gazed out at familiar landmarks, a storefront featuring a once bright blue box painted with yellow stars, a warehouse half collapsed and showing signs of fire damage, a once popular club now unlit and deserted. It was all so very different now. No lights shone from within the windows. Trash littered the neglected streets. The burnt out wreckage of vehicles blocked his car’s progress and the driver was forced to stop in front of an abandoned coffee shop and get out and walk.
He strode the darkened sidewalk; avoiding overturned shopping carts and piles of refuse. His sharp ears could pick up the tiniest sound but the only hints of life were the muffled squeaks of rats in the sewers beneath his feet. Looking up he saw the bulbs from all the streetlights were shattered, explaining the shards of glass crunching under his boots.
This town had finally succumbed to the seething evil of the Hellmouth. People had moved away to towns were death was not a daily event. To places where the night held nothing more fearsome than muggers and gangs. The only things that lived here in Sunnydale anymore were the creatures of hell. Permanent residents who fed on the malevolence that poured forth from the gateway to a thousand demonic dimensions and the odd inhuman tourists who came from around the world to visit the demonic equivalent of the Grand Canyon. If the visitor had been human, he would have been quite vulnerable to any one of these creatures as he explored. But vulnerable was not something he had been for a long while.
The first time had been hundreds of years ago as he bleed to death in an alley not much better lit than these ruined streets. The last...three quarters of a century before when little men in white had chained his demon with electricity and a tiny sliver of plastic. It had not lasted long. He could still remember the searing pain when a well-paid shaman had ripped the chip from his skull with the sheer force of his magically enhanced will. He had not really expected to survive the procedure and was mildly surprised that it had left him without permanent damage.
Since then, he had been more or less invincible. He kept to the night and picked his battles more wisely. There was no real limit to how long he might survive. Each year that passed made him more powerful. Other demons gave him a wide berth or extreme courtesy if they wished to stay alive. His reputation as one demon not to be crossed was well deserved and he provided the occasional reminder to keep the more stupid fiends in line. As he stood in the middle of the once thriving town looking up at the stars above, he let down the barriers within and allowed the familiar pain to course through him like scalding blood. All the creatures of the night knew his name. From Europe to Asia, and even here in America although he had been gone a long time. He was William the Bloody...the elder vampire...scion of the House of Aurelius...and he had come home.
Continued in Part Two: Prodigal