Author: Lee(vee of Team Socket)
Rating: PG, for mention of death
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Joss Whedon. Or Edgar Allen Poe.
Distribution: My LJ, FFN, anywhere else that wants it (just let me know)
Notes: Set before "Bring On the Night", written for wardrobewitch
She had been fourteen when the Council first contacted her. She had been somewhat excited by the prospect of being a possible saviour of mankind, but her parents refused to let her have a Watcher, or to be trained. They believed in vampires well enough, both of them being from families who had deep beliefs in the supernatural, but they said that the only reason she would need to use any training would be if something tracked her down, and as the only way to do that (or so they thought) was through the Watcher's Council, training would be useless and put her in unneeded danger.
Three years later, they were dead, and proven wrong. She was taken in by the Council, and started her training clumsily. Seventeen years old was too old to acquire skills quickly, especially when you're only a Potential Slayer. But she learned faster than most would, and was always paying attention. After dealing with or hearing about the two "rogue Slayers", Buffy and Faith, a Potential who was willing to learn and obedient was a godsend.
Of course, a month later her Watcher, a boy named David Hutchinson who was barely five years her senior, was killed. Not by normal vampires, like her parents had been in their stubborness, but by a freaky... thing, in a robe, with runes carved in where the eyes ought to be. It looked like maybe it had used to be a human, but it hadn't been in a while. She forgot everything David had tried to teach her, and ran. A Potential Slayer she may be, but a month of training - mostly consisting of learning how to fall and of doing push-ups - wasn't going to be near enough to fight off something that had been able to kill the person who had been teaching her.
So she ran, thanking whomever may exist up there that it was day, and that meant the market would be busy. She could hide in the crowds, the rune-eyed thing wouldn't dare venture in there. She hoped. Although, if you were crazy enough to carve out your own eyes, who knew what they may do?
She had managed to deeply entangle herself in the rush when someone grabbed her by the shoulder. Her initial reaction was to scream, thinking it was one of the robed assassins. But whoever her assailant was, they had thought the exact same thing as she had, because they covered her mouth a second later, and dragged her backwards out of the crowd.
When they were some distance away, it let her go, and she whipped around. It was not, thankfully, one of the eyeless things, but an older man, with glasses and a receding hairline.
"Annabelle Richards? I am Rupert Giles. Where is your Watcher?"
"H-he's dead. There was a thing, in a robe, it killed him. I ran," she said, words tumbling out one after the other. She knew who Rupert Giles was, he was more than a bit famous at the Council. Not an entirely good breed of famous, but he still was.
"The Bringers," Mr. Giles muttered to himself, before shaking himself out of his thoughts. "Come, I'll take you somewhere safe."
"Where?" Annabelle wondered aloud. With the deaths of her parents and her Watcher, she was beginning to think that no place was safe anymore.
Went envying her and me:--
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.