April 13th, 2008

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Battling with a God, Ch 13

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

POV: Shifts Perspective

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially the Spanderverse series.

Notes: Story number Nineteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Songs of Pain and Comfort”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

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Battling with a God

Ch 13 – Wreckage

 

“Dawn! Giles!” From outside of the now toppled recreational vehicle, the occupants could here Buffy’s frantic calls.

 

“We’re okay, Buffy… mostly,” Dawn answered. “Uh, we’re kinda stuck in here!”

 

There was the sound of boots on the undercarriage of the vehicle and Buffy’s head was over the smashed former dining table window, now skylight.

 

“Hey… is anyone hurt badly,” she asked with concern.

 

“Xander’s hurt,” Dawn yelled up to her.

 

“I’m okay,” he yelled hoarsely. His voice was full of obvious pain.

 

“You bloody well are not,” Spike countermanded him. “We need to get a wound packed in Xan’s side! All of you, take off your clothes… I need bandages, damn it. Now!”

 

“Oh, god… please ignore him! I don’t want to see jangly bits hanging all over,” Xander joked while gritting his teeth. He was starting to shake and could recognize shock.

 

“Everyone just calm down,” Giles insisted. “Buffy, how are we up there? Where are the Knights?”

 

“We’re clear… I don’t see them.”

 

“I inspired a revolt among their horses. It’ll be awhile before my spell fades,” Willow said.

 

“Buffy, help the others out. Anya seems to be in a state of shock. She should go second so someone is out there to watch over her. In the meantime, I’m going to take care of Xander,” Giles stated.

 

“It’s not going to involve you removing your clothing, is it,” Xander’s voice sounded. It was definitely weaker than it had been moments before.

 

“Shut up, you git,” Spike barked at him. “This is serious!”

 

“Spike, I’m throwing the kitchen hand towels over there,” Giles offered. “Do the best you can until I can get past all this debris.”

 

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“Alright! I’m here, god damn it, stop pressing on those frickin’ jewels,” Glory yelled as she entered her condominium. Before her the minions immediately fell into supplication and the buzzing in her head stopped.

 

“Your Most Immensely Beautiful,” Goru cried, “We have located the Key!”

 

“I located the Key,” Ginx immediately said, pushing Grono out of the way.

 

“You couldn’t have done anything, if it wasn’t for my stupendous sensing abilities,” Grono insisted as he pushed Ginx behind.

 

“That’s not true,” Ginx stated, hopping up and down to catch Glory’s eye.

 

“SHUT UP.” All of the glassware in the room vibrated in the aftermath of Glory’s voice. Their slight humming was suddenly the only sound.

 

“Now,” Glory said, “If this is another tease, I’m going to pop some heads like enormous zits.”

 

“No, no, Your Majestic Powerful Greatness,” Guev cried, tears of utter joy on his cheeks. “It truly is the Key, this time! Home, we’re going home to shine in your undiluted radiance!”

 

Glory had to admit that they did seem to be a little too orgasmically happy. Maybe they really did finally find it. She burst out into a wide smile, her long boring trek across the sandy scrublands and Ben’s odd location and circumstances utterly forgotten now.

 

“So, tell me already…. Grono,” she added as she saw all of their nasty little rodent mouths opening to answer.

 

“It’s eastward, My Glowing Goddess! Outside the bounds of Sunnydale,” he couldn’t contain his laughter of joy.

 

“Hmmm. Buffy must be trying to make a run for it,” Glory reasoned. “The bitch must have known I was closing in. Well, if she thought she could outrun a God, it’s time to show her how wrong she is. Alright, gather the nutbars and start building my tower at the site we discussed. Guev will act as my high priest to anoint the Key, so I don’t have to listen to any more frickin’ rambling from you insects. Ginx, you’ll assist.”

 

“Shouldn’t some of us come with you,” asked Guar. “To assist in obtaining the Key from the warrior and her people?”

 

“’Cause you’d be so helpful, right,” Glory said with clear disdain. All before her looked shame-facedly away. They knew they were nothing, but it still hurt to hear their Mistress speak it aloud. Not that she noticed, “You’re all useless when it comes to fisticuffs and there’s no way that tramp is going to give me what I want just by asking. So… who is it?”

 

Grono and Ginx held up a mirror between them and muttered their ancient and demonic language. In the mirror, a hazy outline formed. It quickly came into focus, the image of a skinny, dark haired girl of perhaps fifteen or sixteen smiled out at them.

 

“The sister?! Really? Huh,” Glory said surprised. She’d been so sure that the monks were more clever than that. “Well, why didn’t you guys tell me that she was a probable choice before,” she glared at them.

 

They all looked away and remained silent.

 

“Useless. I’m changing my shoes, there’s no way I’m breaking another set of heels and then I’ll just run out there and pick up my prize. Gather weapons, I expect you to keep little Dawnie guarded well in case Ben mucks things up by coming back.”

 

Glory turned to go upstairs to her bedroom for her one pair of semi-stylish flats. Ordinarily she wouldn’t be caught dead in them, but sometimes practicality had to take precedence over looking good. Even for her Majestic self. She looked over her shoulder at the minions, still scraping and bowing and being lazy, as far as she could see.

 

“Well, go on,” she said in exasperation. “Time’s a wasting, you maggots! Chop, chop!”

 

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As the sounds of people jumping and climbing sounded behind him, Giles made his way up front. He could see Spike worriedly looking down at Xander and was again amazed at how human-like this particular strain of hellbeast could seem, on occasion.

 

“Xander, are you still with us,” Giles asked as he bent awkwardly over the young man.

 

“I must be. It hurts too much to be dreaming.”

 

“He’s bleeding out! Get your old, flabby arse down here and do something,” Spike said; fangs, yellow eyes and beetled forehead showing.

 

“Relax, Spike. If he were bleeding out, he’d be unconscious by now. And you do realize that the fangs are less terrifying when one knows you can’t use them?”

 

“Never mind that, he could have nicked his bowels. For all we know, he’s going into septic shock, right now!”

 

“I’m fine, Spike,” Xander tried to insist.

 

“No, you’re not. You’re delirious… be quiet.”

 

Giles sighed, annoyed. “Spike… you know if he’d punctured his bowel, we’d know. It wouldn’t take enhanced senses to smell the result. Now move that towel and let me look at the damage. How are you feeling, Xander? Really?”

 

“Woozy… in pain… it’s not bad, Giles,” he grimaced. “Don’t let mother hen over here worry you.”

 

It really isn’t, Xander, Hyena assured him.

 

Yeah? When did you get a medical degree?

 

Don’t need one. I can tell. It’s going to hurt like a bitch, but the bleeding looks worse than it is.

 

I’d feel better if Commando would pipe up about it. Where the hell is he in there?

 

…. I wouldn’t know, Hyena whispered before fading out.

 

“Xander! Come back to us… don’t fade out on me,” Spike barked.

 

Giles glanced at Spike holding a towel sopping with Xander’s blood. He still wore his ‘game face’ as the children insisted on calling it. It was disconcerting.

 

“Spike, unless you plan on biting that bloody towel, I’d wish you’d put the face away for the moment,” Giles said as he went about probing around Xander’s wound. He was going to add something mildly insulting about the vampire doing what vampires did, but this wasn’t the time or place. Besides, he’d already made his displeasure known to Xander regarding their liaison. It was best to let things lie until they were over this newest crisis.

 

“Xander, I’m going to try a healing spell. Now, I’m not the best suited for this sort of thing, but I believe I can lessen the bleeding. Try to stay still,” he said as he laid his hands directly on the wound, eliciting a pained groan from his patient.

 

Giles took a moment and a breath to center himself.

 

“Oh, get on with it, would you,” Spike growled.

 

“Hey, Fangly… let the man concentrate. I don’t want be all backed up, ‘cause you caused him to seal off my innards.”

 

“If the two of you would, kindly, stop arguing until after the incantation,” Giles said.

 

“Vein joins to vein, Skin mends to skin, Tissue binds with tissue. Blood remains with blood, Flesh holds to flesh, Sinew bonds to sinew. Let the Goddess who is Unnamed Light grant our appeal.”

 

This Giles repeated three more times, before re-opening his eyes. He looked a little more worn, but it appeared that the Goddess heard, for Xander’s side was no longer leaking fluid. It wasn’t exactly healed, but at least he wasn’t losing any more blood.

 

“I’ve managed to stop the bleeding,” he smiled reassuringly at Xander.

 

“Let’s get him out of here, then,” Spike said impatiently. He hadn’t forgotten that the Knights were going to be making a return visit.

 

“I’ll help him out,” Buffy’s voice startled Giles. She had obviously lowered herself into the wreckage while he was busy.

 

“First, see if you can find another clean towel or rag, Buffy. We need to cover the wound as well as we can. My spell won’t last forever and we’re going to need to get Xander to a hospital for sutures.”

 

“Don’t we have a mending kit in this heap,” Spike said. “I can sew him up, myself.”

 

“I don’t believe so, but if we do, it’s undoubtedly buried in the rest of the refuse,” Giles sighed. The blood on his hands was becoming tacky and made it more difficult to ignore that once again someone he cared about had been hurt.

 

“I’ll look for it. You guys get out and find shelter,” Spike volunteered. “It’s not like I can go with you.”

 

“Hey, hey, wait,” Xander interrupted as Spike man-handled him over to Buffy. “What do you mean? If you think we’re just abandoning you, Fangless, then you’re insane. Not after all the trouble we went through to get you back.”

 

“Think a minute, Xan. Bright sunlight outside… I’m not going to do much good if I’m drifting away on the breeze.”

 

“He’s right, Xan,” Buffy said with obvious regret. “Spike can’t leave until sundown and we can’t stay here.”

 

“Why the hell not,” Xander replied angrily. “It’s not like I’m up for a hike back to town.”

 

Buffy put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Dawn says she saw an abandoned gas station or something. It’s about three miles back she thinks and a few hundred yards off from the road. We can regroup there until we know what we’re doing next. Spike can find us easily enough once he’s not going to go flambé.”

 

“B-but what if the Knights return,” he turned toward Spike. “You’ll be defenseless!”

 

“They’re not going to waste time with the wreck. I’ll be okay, mate. And I’ll see you again. Just do what the Slayer and Watcher tell you… don’t make your wound any worse, yeah?”

 

“Spike….”

 

“There’s no other choice, love. And we both know it,” Spike dipped his head forward and caught Xander’s lips with his own. It was a short, hard kiss. “We’ll meet up later.”

 

Giles cleared his throat. When everyone looked at him, he was finishing wiping his glasses in his Giles-way and replacing them. “I suggest we move.”

 

Buffy helped Giles up until he could grab onto the window frame above him and haul himself out. Next she did the same for Xander as Giles grabbed his arms. He hissed and swore the whole way up, but he made it in relatively short order and without causing any more bleeding from the magically sealed blood vessels.

 

“You couldn’t throw in a morphine spell while you were at it,” he grinned at Giles.

 

In the cabin of the R.V., Buffy took hold of Spike’s hand briefly. “I’ll take care of him, Spike.”

 

“Good luck, Slayer. If you decide you need to move, don’t wait for me, you hear? You don’t wait.”

 

“Hey, we’re still us,” she smiled, “Would I really wait for you?”

 

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Spike sat in the shadows and listened to the gang (his friends?) walk away. He couldn’t keep the smile from his face as he heard Xander complaining that he was having a hard time feeling manly when Buffy was carrying him like a toddler. If he was still joking around, and in a stronger voice yet, then Giles’ spell must have really worked.

 

Still the old man had been right. He’d need proper medical attention.

 

He sized up the sheet of sunlight that streamed down uncomfortably from the broken out window. If there was a sewing kit, it would be in what was left of the bedroom, and that lay on the other side.

 

He grimaced, but didn’t hesitate. Making a leap he felt the pricks and pins of the sunlight hitting the top of his head and face. It didn’t take but moments to get through… far too fast for there to be any danger of conflagration, but still his scalp and exposed skin prickled uncomfortably.

 

In his hand he realized he still held the bloody towel in a death grip. He swallowed reflexively as his stomach nearly growled. Breathing in the heavy scent, he guiltily brought it to his lips.

 

It’s going to go to waste if I don’t use it. And Xan loves me, he says. He won’t mind if I… I mean, he knows that I wouldn’t feed from him, but this is just a towel. And I’m getting so hungry; nothing packed in the rush to get out of the ‘Dale…. And it’s just a towel.

 

Spike placed the towel in his mouth and started to suck hard. He felt disgusting. And excited.

 

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End Chapter 13

 

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Chapter 14

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

POV: Shifts Perspective

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially the Spanderverse series.

Notes: Story number Nineteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Songs of Pain and Comfort”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Battling with a God

Ch 14 – New Arrivals

 

Buffy kicked in a battered door and hustled the others into a dank and filthy former customer area. The rusted and faded sign out front proclaimed this was ‘E—L’s G-ra—

S—rvice’. It looked like E—l hadn’t been around in a while.

 

She carried Xander in and laid him on a service desk, knocking over a rusted bell which clunked dully to the floor. Their every move kicked up a small blizzard of dust motes and there was coughing and sneezing making the rounds among the friends.

 

“Earl could have used a housekeeper,” Xander quipped, trying to catch his breath and hide the pain he was in. Buffy really jostled him trying to lift him up onto the counter.

 

“We could use a car rental place,” Buffy said back. “We’re really screwed here.”

 

“We’ll think of something. After all, we’ve got two wonder-Wiccas on our side, right,” he gave her hand a friendly squeeze.

 

“Speaking of which,” Buffy said watching Tara and Willow sitting face to face with each other. Their hands gripped the other’s creating a circle with their arms. Both were muttering quietly and after less than a minute, Buffy felt a wave of… something… pass over her skin.

 

“What was that,” she asked them as they broke apart.

 

“Sort of like ionizing the air,” Willow said, “Except for magic. I got the idea from remembering when we had to hide the Initiative’s tracer in Spike’s back.”

 

“Maybe it’ll scramble Dawn’s signal, a little. Give us a rest,” Tara shrugged.

 

“Why don’t we all have some water,” Giles offered. He already had a bottle out from the backpack Dawn had been carrying. He stood with Anya and was trying to get her to take some.

 

“No,” she kept screaming. “The rat’s are in the well! She’s going to melt!”

 

“So, now what,” Dawn said, trying to distract attention from Anya’s outburst. Every time poor Anya said anything, Dawn felt guilty all over again.

 

“We can’t stay her for long,” Xander said. “And you guys can’t keep carrying me. You’ll make better time if you leave me here and go. Maybe you can track back to Sunnydale and try again with your cars.”

 

“We’re not just leaving you behind,” Buffy said irritably and forcefully.

 

“That’s out of the question,” Giles added.

 

“Guys- Spike stayed behind because there was no choice. Now, I’m in the same boat here. You need to go,” he insisted.

 

“We didn’t abandon Spike. He’ll meet us here,” Willow said.

 

“I think the argument is moot,” Tara said. She was quickly pushing the door shut that Buffy had kicked open. Outside were the sounds of men yelling and the sounds of metal on metal. The heavily armored Knights had found them.

 

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Most of the Knights were now on foot, having lost the battle with their horses. Gregor, the two clerics and a handful of men were able to hold onto the steeds until the witch’s curse had faded but the others were still wandering out in the desert somewhere. Worse, for the General, was that at least two dozen of his men also were unaccounted for.

 

With a cry the General rushed the small building on foot where they saw one of those within shut a door. It won’t help them, he glared coldly at the dilapidated condition of the building.

 

He led the charge, beside him a man by the name of Duncan from Wales. The others were close behind with their swords drawn. He’d made his orders clear and trusted the men to honor them. No one within was to be killed, if it could be helped at all. Except for the false person, of course… her they’d behead or gut as soon as within range. And then the threat to their world would be over and he could go home. He missed Italy. They’d been here too long spinning their wheels.

 

He expected they’d have to slay the Slayer as well, to reach what she’d chosen to protect. He didn’t relish the idea, but he accepted the price.

 

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Tara tried to hold the door, as Willow grabbed one of the spell books they’d brought. It was valiant of her, but pointless. Gregor’s heavy build hit the door and knocked her to the floor with a grunt. As she fell, she heard Anya scream bloody murder.

 

Don’t hurt her! She’s sick, she thought. For a moment she was filled with despair. She’d known that trying to pretend they could hide here wasn’t going to work, but she wanted to believe they’d have more time to think.

 

Right behind Gregor, Duncan barreled in as well, but was met by the Slayer. Buffy gave him a vicious rabbit punch to his face and heard him grunt as she felt cartilage in his nose crack. She followed up by taking him by his sword arm and flipping him over her hip.

 

Willow,” she cried as she made her way back toward Dawn.

 

Dawn was currently ducking down near Xander, her eyes wide with fear. Gregor immediately picked her out of the group and rushed toward her with his sword. He heard Buffy yell, but ignored her. It didn’t matter if she reached him, as long as he had time to complete his sword stroke, first.

 

Dawn tried to back away, falling heavily on her butt as Gregor stood over her with his sword ready to complete its down stroke. Xander, who’d been lying still with his eyes closed, picked that moment to stop playing opossum. He kicked out with his leg, catching Gregor in the side of his face and sending him into the wall behind the counter.

 

Before the man could recover, Buffy had him by the back of the neck. She swung him around and drove his head into the counter, knocking him out cold.

 

In the meantime, Tara, from her place on the floor, cast an incantation at Duncan. He suddenly felt as if bugs were burrowing into his skin and though he tried to ignore it, it was overwhelming.

 

It gave Giles the opening he needed to wrestle with the man, shoving him out of the door. Behind him, however, were the rest of the Knights and they were rushing rapidly toward the vulnerable group.

 

“Our enemies, they fly and fall,” Willow intoned in the meanwhile. “Hercules arms encircle us and act as a wall.”

 

From Willow outstretched hands an orb of shimmering light formed. It expanded rapidly, flying through her and then the group, the walls and the ceiling. When it struck Gregor, the unconscious man was flung into a post and held there for a heartbeat as the bubble continued to flow through him, expanding all the while. His body fell to the floor, unable to continue its momentum.

 

Outside, several of the Knights, including Duncan were shoved forcefully away from the structure. More Knights, unable to stop their momentum bounced off the shield now surrounding the abandoned gas station, bodies entangling in the dirt. Other Knights, including Orlando beat against the barrier with swords, maces, and fists. It glowed and shifted, but they were unable to breach it.

 

“Mystics,” he yelled, furious. “They have General Kossimo! I want this barrier removed, now!”

 

Elias and Sandor approached the barrier and placed their hands, palms out, against it. After some quiet muttering, Sandor turned to him.

 

“Powerful magic. It will take time to fell.”

 

“I’m not interested in excuses,” Orlando replied darkly. “I want this barrier breached. Call on whatever powers you need to, but if God won’t assist, then call somebody else.”

 

Sandor turned away without comment and joined the muttering chant that Elias had already started.

 

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“Thanks, Xan,” Buffy said.

 

“That’s what a Scooby does,” he grimaced. “I could really use some pain meds, though.”

 

Tara had been approaching them and she placed a hand on his shoulder. “Let suffering be eased, let pain be gone. We do not relinquish prior spells. We supplicate to Gaea in our time of need. Great Mother, take the love of my spirit and bring comfort to this worthy hero.”

 

Buffy, Dawn and Xander saw Tara’s eyes turn white for several seconds. When they’d cleared, she stumbled a little, but quickly recovered. She smiled at them and Xander realized that his pain, while not completely gone, had lessened by a considerable amount.

 

“Thanks, T. And thank Gaea, too, for me,” he grinned at her.

 

“Just stop doing things to make yourself worse,” Tara said with a small grin. “She tends to get annoyed if we have to ask for the same things over and over.”

 

Across the room, Giles was scurrying through shelves and cabinets. When Buffy walked up to see what he was doing, he pointed out that they had a hostage. They needed to secure him.

 

“Do you think we can bargain for him,” Buffy asked.

 

Giles looked doubtful before seeing the note of worry in her eyes. He put on a forced smile, “We’ll see. At least it gives us something.”

 

“I’m sorry, Giles. We should have just stayed and found a way in town.”

 

“Buffy, you haven’t done anything wrong. We stayed as long as we could, until it was no longer tactically useful. Sometimes, we do everything right, and things get bollixed anyway. For right now, help me find something to secure our guest with, hmm? We’ll figure out what we can do with him later.”

 

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Several hours passed with everyone seemingly in a holding pattern. The Scooby Gang couldn’t go anywhere, and the Knights wouldn’t. Buffy grew less and less optimistic as time passed. They had water, but food consisted of a few candy bars that Dawn had snuck into the backpack. It was a good thing she was so sneaky, or they’d have nothing but dirt to chow on.

 

The guy they’d knocked out was secured in a room in the back. It used to be the auto mechanic’s garage, but they’d found a sturdy post they could use to bind him to. In addition, Willow had once again pulled out the mojo and now the cheap twine they’d found was acting as strong as chains. But most of Will’s energy was going into keeping the barrier spell going. She’d even started ‘siphoning’ a little from the others to help out.

 

“Hekyl and Jekyl are really getting on my nerves out there,” she complained.

 

“Can you keep it up, Will,” Buffy asked.

 

“Not forever,” Tara interceded. “It takes more energy to keep it solid than it takes for them to punch a hole.”

 

“We got a, maybe, half a day at best,” Willow shrugged apologetically.

 

“Do your best,” Buffy said. She next walked over and bent next to Dawn and Anya. Anya had her head lying on the younger girl’s shoulder and was humming something tunelessly. Dawn was quietly stroking her hair.

 

“How are you holding up, Dawnie?”

 

“Fine. Scared, but fine,” she gave a tired smile. “What are we going to do, Buffy?”

 

“Giles and I are working on that. We got forehead tattoo, we’ll see if we can get them to back off a little. Anya, how are you,” she said quietly. She laid a hand on her shoulder but Anya shook it off.

 

“You’re going to lose,” she said angrily, causing Buffy to flinch.

 

“She doesn’t know what she’s saying,” Dawn told her sympathetically, as if she knew exactly what was going on in her sister’s mind.

 

“I know. It just reminds me of mom.”

 

“Yeah,” Dawn nodded sadly.

 

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When Buffy returned to the back room, she found the prisoner awake, finally. Giles was scowling while the guy tied up seemed almost bored. It sort of pissed her off a little.

 

“Ah, Buffy… meet Gregor, the leader and General of our assailants,” Giles said. “Gregor, Buffy Summers, the Slayer.”

 

“I know who she is. If you think even she can be used to intimidate me into calling off my men, you are sadly mistaken.”

 

“If ‘your men’ don’t back off, I may get cranky all over you,” she threatened.

 

“Your threats fall on deaf ears, girl. I am a soldier… pain and even death is something I’ve pledged to accept a long while ago.”

 

“I’ve been trying to explain to our ‘guest’ that we can hide Dawn effectively. That our goals are the same, keeping her away from the Beast until it is too late to use the Key.”

 

“That is not the point,” Gregor insisted, raising his voice. “If the Beast cannot use her now, someone will figure out how to use her later. The Beast herself is near immortal and can use her at leisure some other time if not now! The false sister is a force for evil and destruction. Death is the only way to be sure.”

 

“That is not going to happen,” Buffy glared. “And I will break anyone who comes near her in half.”

 

“Why do you do this, Slayer? You’re here to fight for the Powers of Good, and yet you protect the instrument of Chaos.”

 

“It’s not that simple,” Giles put in.

 

“No. The monks played their cruel joke on you. Manipulated you and your feelings. I know something of religious orders and those who run them. They don’t care who gets hurt in their machinations. Something I imagine you also recognize… the Watchers Council does not have a sterling reputation, itself,” Gregor sneered.

 

“Yet this does not matter. The Key is the link and whatever it may appear to be now, the link it remains. The link must be severed. This is the will of God.”

 

“How dare you think you can know anything of the will of God,” Giles sneered himself now. “Religion has been claiming to know what God wants for centuries, when really He’s a front for petty men wanting to control their fellows and wring them of their God-given right to free will. You come in here and speak of God, as if he has come up and shook your hand and given you his blessing! You’re following the orders of a man, and he’s as fallible as any.”

 

“No God I know,” Buffy inserted, “would demand the life of a child. And any who did wouldn’t be one that I’d respect or listen to. Dawn doesn’t know anything about this ‘Keyhood’. She only knows that she’s a teenage girl with family who loves her! Please, put an end to this. Help us get her away safely and I’ll help you defeat Glory for good.”

 

“Not even if my men would follow such an edict. The Key remains a danger as long as it exists. Sever the breath of this ‘girl’ and we sever the danger the world will remain in,” Gregor said flatly, almost as if reciting by rote.

 

It’s like debating against a brick wall, Buffy despaired. A fanatical brick wall with troops who have us outnumbered.

 

Is he wrong, Giles thought almost despite himself. Even if we do keep Dawn away from Glory, is he right that the danger she represents will continue. Am I betraying the world by allowing this to continue?

 

In the customer area, Xander argued silently with Hyena. She wanted to save them by helping Gregor.

 

It makes sense, she insisted in her half-whine/half-growl. As long as Dawn remains, she endangers the pack. And she’s not one of us. She’s just a thing wrapped in an illusion.

 

You’re just a thing, Xander hotly thought back. An empty voice in the darkness; maybe you’re no more than an illusion that should be destroyed!

 

Hyena slinked off, leaving Xander to shiver. For the first time, he could feel her hostility that she’d somehow kept hidden from him for so long.

 

Commando? He waited for several moments but there was no reply. C’mon…, where are you these days?

 

His internal conversations were cut short when Anya began to struggle against Dawn’s hold on her. She was starting to try to scratch at Dawn’s face as the young girl kept trying to calm her down. Willow and Tara both rushed to help, but Anya seemed inconsolable and they didn’t have her medication. It was left back in the wreck.

 

“She needs me… no… let go, she needs me! It’s time! Time! I’m needed!”

 

In Sunnydale General, Nurses Rambolt and Peterson lay dead on the floor of the sixth floor mental ward. Both had long bloody wounds, made with curved daggers. Around their lifeless bodies, the mental patients being treated there were shepherded to the stairwell by the minions of Glorificus. The stairwell held the cadaver of security guard, Brian Silwell who’d also fallen afoul of the grey skinned goblins. The time had come to start Glory’s last monument to the world she’d been trapped on for so long.

 

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End Chapter 14

 

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Fifteen

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

POV: Shifts Perspective

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially the Spanderverse series.

Notes: Story number Nineteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Songs of Pain and Comfort”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

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Battling with a God

Ch 15 – It’s Always Darkest…

 

Spike stood under the broken window and stared at the twilight sky above him. In minutes he’d be free to catch up with the gang and feared what he’d find. Times like this left him nearly gasping in shock at how far he’d fallen, or how much he’d gained depending on one’s point of view. It was something that Dru would never grasp and the thought that Angel was the only one who would turned his stomach just a little.

 

I swear, he thought, if I turn into Broody Poof, Junior, I will have Xander stake me on the spot!

 

The night had cooled considerably and the stars beginning to flood the sky reminded him how beautiful it could be to live on this poor wretched world, after all. He just wished that Xander and he were on a hilltop somewhere, maybe with a bottle of wine and a telescope.

 

In his hand he tightly clutched the sewing kit he’d found among the jumble in the tiny bedroom. It’d taken a solid forty minutes to find the bloody thing and it’d been practically glued to his hand ever since. Just thinking about Xander had his face shifting; if those men caused any permanent harm to his man, he’d rip their bloody limbs off… chip or no chip.

 

Finally, the demon’s instinct told him he was safe from the rays of the sun. He wasted no time in jumping up to the window and hauled himself out one-handed.

 

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Orlando paced furiously behind the clerical spellcasters. His mood had grown progressively worse as the hours wore on. They’d assured him that they were nearly through at least three times now, only for them all to remain trapped behind the witch’s barrier.

 

“Clerics! What is the hold up,” he shouted. Spittle flew from his mouth and he expended no energy to tone down his anger. “And so help me if you tell me again that you are nearly through and fail to deliver…!”

 

“Maybe I can help,” a female voice surprised him. Around him he became aware of a ripple of fear going through the dozens of men he now commanded.

 

“What you really need in this situation is somebody useful. Unlike the brown robed set and believe me, I know how pointless their existences can be,” Glory said as she walked toward them seemingly without a care in the world.

 

“The Beast,” Orlando whispered with awe.

 

“It’s Glorificus, hon. And, I’ve come to collect what’s mine. Step aside and you’ll live long enough to return to your olive groves or whatever you do in Vatican City.”

 

Orlando tried to swallow but found he was out of saliva. He looked at his sword with their etched runes and tried to take solace in them. They all knew this day may come, when it was not the Key that they sought to destroy that they found, but the Hellgod herself.

 

“Attack!” Orlando yelled with as much confidence and passion as he could summon and rushed the blonde woman. He noted the irritated look on her face and then he was swinging his sword to behead her. He never got to see if he’d been successful, for a heartbeat later and he was lying with a broken neck fifteen feet away.

 

Glory ramped up her assault on the Knights. She knew that their weapons were designed with her in mind and although the thought that they could actually harm her didn’t enter her head, she didn’t want Buffy and Key to make a get-away while she was occupied. Her arms flew around her in punches and grabs almost faster than the human eye could follow. Surrounding her were the sounds of dead bodies striking ground and the cries of the soon to be dead screaming and moaning. She was especially amused when she noted that one cleric was running, while the other was looking dumbfounded at this turn of events. He was quickly killed by a spin kick that had his stomach caved in, his body leaving blood smears behind on the wall of force keeping the Key ensconced in false safety.

 

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The gang heard the commotion outside and though no one wanted to think it, their first collective thought was that Glory had found them. When Dawn peaked out, her stomach, heart, hell… everything fell into a dark, despairing pit in her stomach.

 

“Buffy!”

 

“I know, come on,” she yelled as she grabbed Xander. He was able to hobble along beside her, but knew he couldn’t make good time and he was dragging them down.

 

“Buffy, for God’s sake, grab Dawn and go!”

 

“No! I’m not losing anyone,” she insisted. “Willow we need a door in the bubble behind the garage. We’re going out through a wall!”

 

In the meantime, Tara struggled to pull Anya along. The woman wanted to stay, her face full of rapture.

 

“She’s here! She’s here for me! It’s time… it’s, stop… it’s time. She’s come!”

 

When they reached a rear wall, no one stopped to release Gregor. Willow focused a telekinetic blast and hurled the force at the back wall, punching a hole through it. A moment later and the gang were running out into the blackness of the desert. No one wondered where they were going or how they were going to find their way back to civilization. Only one concern filtered through the group: Dawn had to be gotten away before it was too late.

 

Giles yanked on Dawn’s arm, forcing her to hurry. He refused to allow his mind to consider the alternatives.

 

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Glory stood looking at the broken bodies around her. She wasn’t really interested in whether they were dead or just broken, but a groaning man was at her feet. She couldn’t resist the temptation and lifted her foot over his terrified face. A moment later and she’d kicked him in the side as hard as she could, lifting his body and sending it air born.

 

“Hmm, about forty feet,” she smiled at herself. “Not bad.”

 

Next she stepped up to the barrier that had been holding the Knights at bay. She wound up an arm and punched it flat on with a fist. Instantly a hole shimmered into the field, allowing her to step through.

 

The dilapidated door of the building was even easier. She’d barely had to push on it and it fell off its rusty hinges. She surveyed the room, expecting a Buffy sized fist to come her way. Not that it would do any good. But nothing happened. The room appeared empty.

 

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” she sang.

 

Entering the back portion of the place revealed a large hole in the wall. She grimaced, irritated. They still thought they could just waltz away with her property.

 

What are they, mentally deficient? Is there something in the water destroying brain cells?

 

They had left her a bonus gift, however. Tied tightly to a pole stood Gregor glaring at her coldly. She couldn’t help but laugh in an uproar.

 

“Oh, now that is just about the saddest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said. The mirth in her eyes belied her statement. “You’re the one that I was supposed to be so worried about? The mighty General of God’s Army? Boy, his face must be red.”

 

“Hand me my sword, Hellspawn and untie me. I’ll show you what the Vatican’s Warrior can do.”

 

“No, I’m afraid I just don’t have the time. But I will give you this,” she said pulling down an old hubcap hanging on a nail in the wall. With a hard throw, she sent it like a Frisbee, slicing deeply into Gregor’s chest. His lungs were instantly halved and his heart smashed by the blow. A few reflexive jerks of his body and he slumped over; eyes wide with shock.

 

“Sorry, Gregor. Tough break,” she said proceeding through the hole and out into the night. Another punch and another tear in the barrier and she was running across the desert sand. The dark was as nothing to her and she saw her prize about thirty feet ahead and slipping and stumbling in the sand.

 

Although the gang was scrambling out there as well, all Glory saw was Dawn.

 

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Spike could smell blood thick in the air long before he reached the first body. Though it was just one of the sardine-can guys, and ergo he didn’t much care, he knew who had to be behind the carnage. And that, he did care about.

 

“Dawn?” He began to run at the upper most limit of his mortal speed. Until he hit the barrier around the gas station, which had yet to fade on its own. Picking himself up off of the ground with some colorful swearing he ‘knocked’ on the shield.

 

“Got me feeling bloody ridiculous,” he complained. And then he heard Dawn scream.

 

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Giles was urging Dawn to hurry when he felt something clamp onto his shoulder painfully. Spun around off balance, he saw the woman from the shop. The woman who’d summoned Sobek. The woman, who wasn’t anything of the sort.

 

“Excuse me old man,” he heard.

 

All of this passed through his mind in a few heartbeats. Before he could cry a warning, he was being unceremoniously thrown aside, colliding with the struggling Anya and Tara and the cajoling Willow. All three women were knocked flat by Giles’ weight.

 

Ahead of them, Buffy heard Dawn scream for her. Turning around, she dropped Xander to the ground and took a flying run at Glory as the bitch tried to man handle her sister into her arms.

 

Buffy’s momentum carried her into Glory, who’d already noted the Slayer’s approach. She swung out a fist and Buffy almost comically ran straight into it. Except instead of laughing, she’d yelled in pain as her nose started to rush blood. A moment later and Glory kicked her away and sent a shocking pain through her ribs. She found herself slamming hard into Xander with him yelling out as loudly as she.

 

When Buffy regained her feet, Glory was gone. And so was Dawn.

 

“No… no…,” she whispered as she fell to her knees.

 

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Spike was racing around the abandoned garage when he caught sight of a blonde and brunette blur race past. Jumping immediately to the conclusion that it was Glory moving at superhuman speeds and that she had Dawn with her, he concentrated a moment toward the task at hand.

 

Summoning the reserves of ‘fuel’ in his muscles, he took off running far faster than even the Slayer could manage. The wind smacked his face and his leg muscles strained and complained at the load they were being asked to carry. Like when he’d had to get Xander to the hospital, he moved faster than the human eye could account for.

 

It wasn’t enough. Ahead of him, he could make out more details of the back of Glory. He saw Dawn’s hair flying behind them nearly straight. She was unconscious, which wasn’t surprising. At these speeds, getting enough oxygen became an issue for mortals.

 

He redoubled his efforts to catch up with the goddess. He had no idea what he’d do if he did catch her. If she dropped Dawn, or if they fell, she’d be killed instantly the moment she impacted the tarmac. Hell, if he fell at these speeds, he’d be lucky if his shattered bones ever healed right again, if he didn’t dust immediately from decapitation or the liquefaction of his heart muscle. It’s why vampires didn’t fight at these speeds. All it would require was to try to make a hairpin turn and his leg bones would snap like twigs. Practically speaking, he needed to remain in a relatively straight line and hope that he didn’t run into anything. He wondered if Glory would even be mildly inconvenienced. Just how tough was she? Where were her damned limits?

 

He needn’t have worried. In all too brief a time, she pulled out ahead of him again. He hadn’t even gotten close to her. And like when he’d used this stunt to save Xander, his body was quickly lapsing into mortal speeds and it was crying for blood and rest.

 

Spike stumbled to a stop and dropped to his knees. Fighting against his muscles and stopping their cramping with sheer willpower, he took several ragged breaths of the night air. He looked for Glory and Dawn, but they were gone. It was likely that they were several miles from him by now.

 

He turned back the way he’d come, still kneeling on the road. Then he remembered who was left behind, “Xander?”

 

By the time he’d gathered up enough strength for the walk back to the service station, he found the gang shell shocked out front. Around them lay the dead, but he doubted that it was the bodies that had them so upset.

 

Anya was crying because Glory’d left her behind and she needed her. Giles was furious, staring with a look of unadulterated murder down the road at Glory’s (long gone) back. Willow and Tara both looked a little beat up, but were otherwise fine. Willow currently had her arm around a teary eyed and curiously blank looking Slayer while Tara was supporting Xander as much as she could. He immediately rushed to their side and took Xan’s weight off of her.

 

“Hey, undead… our situation just went from poor to sucks,” he said.

 

“Yeah. I tried to catch her, but no dice… sorry,” Spike muttered. No vampire liked when their limitations were thrown in their face, but Glory taking Dawn from them had him feeling like a failure. And terrified for the teen; his Little Bit. She’d needed him and he wasn’t there for her.

 

“Buffy… c’mon, Buff, don’t flake out on me now,” Willow was heard muttering.

 

“Buffy,” Giles added in a sharp tone.

 

“What’s up with the Slayer,” Spike asked.

 

“I-I’m not sure. I think she’s gone into shock,” Giles murmured. “We need to get back to Sunnydale. There’s still time to save Dawn if we can get Buffy to come around.”

 

“Good idea,” Xander said. “Uh, any idea how we’re supposed to get there?”

 

Nearby, a horse chose that exact moment to whinny.

 

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding,” Xander exclaimed.

 

“Saddle up cowboys and girls,” Spike said with no enthusiasm.

 

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It took over an hour to return to Sunnydale, mostly because they had to keep stopping so that one or another of them wouldn’t fall off their horse before they could reposition. Spike immediately took Xander to the hospital, having had no time to use the sewing kit he’d lost in the desert. His side was bleeding again as Giles’ spell had long since worn off and he was muzzy headed.

 

It fell to Tara and Willow to take Anya and Buffy to the Magic Box, or what was left of it. Giles had decided that would be where they’d make their final plans. He was confident that Dawn wouldn’t be hurt until it was time for the portal ritual. That would give them time to find what they could use in the store’s basement and to get ready.

 

He’d told them that he needed to return to his apartment. Willow had immediately objected to them being separated, but Giles was adamant. Glory wouldn’t waste time with them anymore, now that she got what she wanted. As he split off from the others he muttered ‘that’s a mistake she’ll not live to regret’.

 

The look in his eye was enough to give even Spike pause about saying anything.

 

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End Chapter 15