April 20th, 2008

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Battling with a God, ch 25

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 25 – Battle Redoubled

 

Xander came to from some sort of black out with Spike clutching his forearms. He could feel his lips pulled back in a grimace and a growl was issuing from his spittle dotted mouth. Around him, bodies groaned, many of them bloodied.

 

“What the hell,” Spike said. “Xan, you back? ‘Cause I can’t take getting hit by you anymore on top of the bruises I’m already sporting.”

 

“Y-yeah, I’m good.”

 

“Like hell! What the fuck was that!?

 

“No time,” Xander gave him a small push toward the tower. “Go! Get to Dawn, get her to safety!”

 

Spike gave him a last confused and conflicted glance, but then he spun and ran for the tower’s staircase. Xander watched him go and then glanced around him at the bloodied people around him, feeling sick.

 

I didn’t kill them, Hyena grumbled.

 

You took me over. I-I don’t remember doing any of this! Where’s Commando? He wouldn’t have allowed you to block me out.

 

I told you, she growled angrily. I don’t know! He faded away or something. Let’s find the others.

 

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Above the heads of the struggling Scoobies, Dawn fought to get her hands free from the bindings that held them. In front of her, Ginx looked positively giddy with the thought of slicing her skin.

 

“Stop this… everyone will suffer if you open that portal!”

 

“Not everyone. We’ll be home and happy. And Glorificus the Mighty will glow with the terrible brightness of a thousand stars,” she smiled in rapture. “You should feel honored to be pressed into service in her Worship’s divine plan.”

 

“It’s only minutes now,” Ginx grinned.

 

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Glory found herself facing against the girl who claimed to be another Vampire Slayer. She was blocking a fury of punches and high kicks from the twig and she wasn’t sure she could be more enraged. She knew that one of her minions would be able to start the ritual on time, as long as she kept Buffy from interfering.

 

Right now, she was pulling that nuisance hammer from the chains it had gotten itself wrapped in. She took two more punches to the jaw from ‘Faith’ when her attention was on Buffy.

 

“Enjoy your trip,” she said harshly, picking up the Aprilbot. She hauled the Faith-girl over her head and threw her over the side of the tower with a vicious grin. And then she was once again making a dash for the other and more annoying Slayer.

 

Buffy heard heels clamping on the steel behind her as she stretched out and yanked on the hammer. Without looking, she swung around and caught Glory in the side of the head, sending her smashing into a support girder. The entire tower rumbled and shook and she had to grab a pylon herself to keep from falling off the edge she stood near.

 

It put her at a disadvantage and the god was on her before she could further react. Taking a body blow, she felt a rib snap. The force of the punch sent her stumbling backward and just before she went over the side, she grabbed Glory’s arm.

 

At least I can take her away from Dawn with me, she thought. She had no idea that Dawn wasn’t alone above her.

 

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Spike watched the Slayer and the god’s bodies tumble past him as he continued racing for the top.

 

“Buffy! Shit,” he yelled, but didn’t slow. He promised her he’d get Dawn away. He couldn’t go back to help her now. He just hoped the Scooby Gang was close enough; maybe the witches could throw some mojo at Glory. It didn’t even cross his mind that Buffy might be killed in the fall. He knew how resilient Slayers were built.

 

When he reached the top, he found Dawn shrinking away from one of the brown robed set menacing her with a small knife.

 

“Get away from her,” he menaced, his fangs obvious and yellow eyes burning with rage.

 

“Spike,” Dawn yelled in relief.

 

“Stupid vampire,” the dwarf said. Spike recognized her as the one he’d spoken to while hanging in Glory’s penthouse suite. “Still throwing the immortality away needlessly, I see.”

 

“I’m about to throw your life away.”

 

“Interesting you should use those words,” Ginx smiled. A moment later and she was muttering under breath.

 

Spike dashed forward, but he was too injured… too slow. He wasn’t able to grab the pissant before the spell she was muttering took affect.

 

He found himself being levitated above the plank he’d been running on. He looked at the scabby demon and gnashed his teeth in frustration as he was floated out into empty space.

 

Ginx looked at Spike with a nasty smile. “So much for the big rescue, huh hero?”

 

Spike morphed back to his human features and met Dawn’s eyes. “Dawn…,” he whispered.

 

He heard her scream his name as the invisible force holding him up vanished. Like a marionette with its strings cut, he plummeted to the ground.

 

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Buffy hit the ground hard and having lost her grip on the hammer during the fall, gazed around for it. She heard another body hit the ground nearby and a glance confirmed it was Glory.

 

She got to her feet shakily, her vision dulling for several seconds. No, no, I’m not blacking out. This isn’t the time, she thought in frustration as she bit the inside of her cheek hard enough to draw blood. Her abdomen felt like it was split open, there was so much pain.

 

Glory, naturally, was also able to regain her feet. She stood with that stupid smile on her face and Buffy nastily thought she could at least have the decency to look dirty. But she didn’t, she appeared fresh as the proverbial daisy. Buffy hated her more than she’d ever hated anything in her life at that moment.

 

“So Sweet-cheeks… you lost your hammer. Now what?”

 

Behind Glory, April jumped onto the god’s back and began wrestling to snap her neck. Glory yelled in outrage, but she didn’t seem particularly worried with this new assault.

 

The Aprilbot bought the time Buffy needed. She re-grabbed the hammer from less than a foot away. As she limped toward Glory, she saw Xander scrambling up into the cab of a truck she hadn’t noticed before. It was one of the large destruction ball-thingy trucks. As she watched Xander assume the driver’s seat, she met his eyes. He gave her a thumbs up and a huge grin.

 

She smiled back and kept smiling as Glory yanked ‘Faith’ off of her and sent the robot flying dozens of yards away. Buffy didn’t hesitate, smashing Glory with the Troll hammer again and again. Not giving her any chance to stand her ground, the god was thrust backward, lining her up for Xander.

 

She brought the hammer up and nearly into Glory’s chin before the god grabbed it in between her two hands. She yanked the instrument out of Buffy’s hands and tossed it aside.

 

“That’s really enough of that,” she said.

 

“No problem,” Buffy said, running and leap-kicking her with both feet. She felt pain shoot throughout her stomach and chest and knew that Glory had hurt her badly. Things were becoming grayish around her. But she did what she needed to do.

 

Xander’s wrecking ball swung in a wide arc, catching Glory completely unaware. The several ton ball hit her hard, sending her smashing into a shed which completely collapsed. But he didn’t stop there. Hitting the release, the huge weight snapped free of the cable connecting it to the truck and it came to rest pinning Glory to the ground.

 

Buffy saw blood rush from Glory’s nose and with a smile of triumph she took off for Dawn’s tower. She felt nothing but relief that Dawn was safe, now. She wasn’t so sure about herself. She could almost feel the internal bleeding, but she wanted to see Dawn once more before she gave into her injuries.

 

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Glory rolled the heavy iron sphere off of her, but something was desperately wrong. She could barely move and she was in almost crippling pain. It wasn’t fair! She was a God! She was above pain, above weakness!

 

From out of nowhere, one of Buffy’s pals stood suddenly.  It was the one she’d brain drained. She wore a mask of hatred and brought up a crowbar over her head.

 

Glory opened her mouth to threaten her, at the same time struggling to sit up, but the girl brought the crowbar down across her forehead, bringing an instant of agony.

 

“You bitch,” Anya screamed as she brought the crowbar down again and again. Glory felt her nose crack and couldn’t conceive what had happened to her. How could she be feeling any of this, how could a weak stupid slip of a human be causing her injury?

 

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Xander grabbed Anya arms as she was in the midst of bringing the crowbar down again. Lying where Glory had been was Ben, struggling to breath.

 

Giles and the other girls joined them. Xander forced the crowbar from Anya’s grip and watched as she collapsed. He pulled her to him as she sobbed out her ordeal onto his chest.

 

“Xander,” Giles said quietly. “Why don’t you take Anya away? Tara and Willow, please try to calm the mental patients.”

 

As soon as Glory had changed back into Ben, her human victims began to wander around confused or stood in place and cried and whimpered. It was obvious they were no longer under her thrall, though unfortunately it didn’t appear that their sanity had been recovered at the same time. Everyone stood for another moment in shock as they realized that Ben the doctor had been harboring Glory, or was Glory the whole time.

 

“Xander? Girls? …Go on. And watch out for her minions,” he called after them as they walked with Anya, expressing their relief that she was back and trying to comfort her.

 

Before Giles, Ben was gasping in harsh breaths. He removed his glasses from his face and polished away the dust on their lenses.

 

“Can you move,” he asked.

 

“N-need a few minutes,” Ben smiled. “Kind of hurts. I’m sorry. I wanted to stop her. I tried.”

 

“I believe you.”

 

“We’ll leave,” Ben said. “Now that she’s been beaten, maybe she’ll stay away for good.”

 

“I doubt that. No, Glory will return. And she’ll make Buffy and Anya and Dawn pay for denying her what she sought.”

 

“Y-you could have let her kill me,” Ben pointed out, meaning Anya.

 

“She’s distraught,” Giles returned his glasses to his face. “And she’s on a path to redemption; one that I believe she deserves to fulfill. And the others… they don’t deserve to have that on their consciences. They’re heroes, you see? They’re not like me.”

 

“You,” Ben whispered, suddenly afraid.

 

Giles reached out before Ben could react. He covered the struggling young man’s mouth tightly with the palm of his hand and pinched his nostrils closed with thumb and index finger.

 

Ben began to convulse as his straining lungs attempted to draw for air that was denied him. One hand reached up and grabbed Giles’ wrist weakly, fingernails clawing at his forearm.

 

Giles refused to let go. Even after Ben had stopped struggling; even after his eyes rolled up in their sockets. Even after he was sure that the heart had stopped, he clung on… making sure there could be no doubt.

 

And then he turned his head to the side and vomited.

 

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Buffy made it to the top of the tower where she saw one of Glory’s minions standing before a crying Dawn. Dawn noted her presence, but Buffy shook her head quickly with a finger to her lips.

 

“Y-you shouldn’t have done that,” Dawn shrieked at the minion. She kept her voice loud to cover Buffy’s approaching footsteps. “You evil, evil, uh, wicked, monster, thing, creep!”

 

By the time Dawn was done, Buffy was standing just behind Ginx. She seemed to sense something was wrong and spun around, but it was too late. Buffy slapped the bloodied knife out of her hand and then in a quick and deadly action, snapped her neck. She pushed the body from the tower and rushed to her sister.

 

The sides of Dawn’s dress were marked with two clear slit marks. Red was soaking through, making the blue material appear black. Buffy glanced down and saw blood streaming over her sister’s feet and dripping down into the space beyond.

 

She quickly snapped the bindings holding Dawn in place and pulled her into her arms.

 

“Buffy, it hurts,” Dawn whimpered, holding her sides.

 

“I know. It’s okay, we’ll get them treated.”

 

Behind them came a keening, whistling noise. The tower shook ominously and there followed a sudden flash of bright, white-violet light. Dawn turned from Buffy’s grip with a gasp, her face falling in horror.

 

“It’s too late,” she said, meeting Buffy’s eyes. “It’s already started.”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Buffy assured her. “Let’s get down from here.”

 

“No, Buffy… you have to let me go,” Dawn began to cry again. “It’s the only way.”

 

Buffy shook her head in confusion, one hand instinctively grabbing Dawn’s arm. Like she knew what Dawn wanted to do, but was denying the recognition from herself.

 

“Buffy, I have to jump!”

 

“What!? No, no… Dawnie, it’ll kill you.”

 

“I know,” Dawn said, wiping at her eyes with her free arm. “Buffy, Glory told me what you had to do if the ritual started.”

 

“No! No, w-we’ll find another way,” Buffy said forcefully.

 

“There is no way, Buffy. I have to go. It has to have the blood.”

 

Buffy looked panic-stricken as her grip on Dawn tightened. Around them the portal was growing and electrical bursts were being shot out into the night. Nearby they heard cars honking their horns. The sounds of destruction could be heard where the lightning bolts were hitting.

 

Glancing down, Buffy saw one lightning blast strike the ground. Where it hit, another small portal opened and from this came out some sort of animated skeletons carrying scythes. Screams of people could be heard. She looked around helplessly.

 

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End Chapter 25

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Chapter 26

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 26 – The End of the World as We Knew It

 

On the ground, Giles looked up from his knees and wiped at his mouth. Near him, a fissure opened in the ground. He jumped to his feet and backed away as some sort of hellish insects began to swarm up from the ground. Like heavily armored cockroaches, they noted his presence and began spitting small bouts of flame at him.

 

Above his head, he could clearly see the portal growing large.

 

“No,” he whispered in denial. He ran in the direction of the stairway up to where Dawn would be.

 

He didn’t make it, as part of the junk tower fell apart. He’d barely been able to dodge to the side enough to save his neck, but still his legs were caught and pinned in the debris.

 

Near the sidewalk, the gang clung to the wood fence as the ground around them shook. Lightning was streaming in all directions. A fierce wind was streaming in the direction of the portal, carrying dust and leaves and paper through the air.

 

Xander called out for Giles and saw him pinned under steel near the tower. He took off toward him to help. As he passed he saw Spike lying on the ground, a look of fear on his face. His lower jaw area was full of blood and he appeared unable to get up under his own power. Thick blood ran over his chin.

 

“Spike,” he yelled, but it was hard to hear over the noise.

 

He hesitated for a moment and glanced in the Watcher’s direction, before choosing to spend his last moments (For these were the last moments, weren’t they?) with Spike. He threw himself to the ground and pulled the vampire into his lap. Stroking Spike’s hair, he leaned close enough to be heard over the apocalyptic wind and debris storm’s sounds surrounding them.

 

“We would have been a great pair,” he said.

 

“Yeah, mate, we would have,” Spike agreed before pulling Xander further down so they could kiss.

 

The blood of Spike’s mouth tingled as it touched Xander’s tongue, but he refused to worry. They were dying here; the rest of the world would follow. There was no point in worrying about the vampire/human blood transfer anymore. He could feel even Hyena give in to the inevitable. He felt her relax into him and Spike, enjoying the contact and waiting.

 

Anya also saw Giles pinned and saw Xander veer off. She grabbed at Willow and Tara and yanked them to go and help. A bolt of lightning stuck nearby and Anya saw another mini-portal opening. From it came a confused looking Orc with a large mace.

 

“Oh, god, we didn’t win,” she said. She could barely hear herself over the noise of the ground quaking and the rush of wind pulling things from the ground up into the air. She continued toward Giles and began tugging at steel rods, bits of brick and wood planks pinning his legs. Nearby, bugs swarmed up from the ground that she recognized as Thurmbolt Beetles. They mindlessly spit their little flames around them, antagonized and confused.

 

Tara and Willow had started to follow Anya to help her free Giles and see how badly he’d been hurt. The bolt of lightning that opened the portal for the Orc had disoriented them, and they’d fallen to the ground. They clung to each other and kissed once. Then they wrapped arms around one another and gazed into the other’s eyes.

 

“No matter what happens,” Willow shouted to be heard. “Just look in my eyes. Just look at each other.”

 

Tara nodded, placing her good hand gently on Willow’s face. The other, with the cast, she placed on her knee.

 

Both of them were crying.

 

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From the tower’s platform, Buffy pulled Dawn into an embrace. She looked out to the southwest of town and could see steam or smoke rising from the partially removed ruins of the old high school. Even as she watched, a small orange glow began to emanate.

 

The Hellmouth is going to open, too, Buffy thought in a despairing acceptance. Against her, Dawn struggled.

 

“Buffy! Look what’s happening. I have to go,” Dawn shouted to be heard above the cacophony.

 

Buffy only shook her head no. She’d warned the gang; she’d told them if Dawn was bled and the ritual started, then they’d all die. She just wished that she was with them all now.

 

“Buffy, please… don’t let this happen! It has to have the blood! Give it what it wants!”

 

Buffy squinted to the east and saw another soft orange glow. The sun was just beginning to rise. The last sunrise, if I don’t do something.

 

She looked at Dawn’s panicked and willful eyes. She’d jump… she’d die to save them. She was so proud of her.

 

For some reason, Dawn’s insistence on giving the portal blood brought up a memory for her. They were in the hospital, Buffy hurt and Dawn cut… both bleeding.

 

Look at this Dawn; both are blood. Our family’s blood. Yours is the same as mine, she had told her. More memories came at her at hyper-speed.

 

She’s more… she’s… she’s a part of me. I can’t explain it, but when I look at her, when I hold her….

 

Love, death, your gift, the Guardian had whispered to her. Death is your gift.

 

Death is my gift, Buffy thought, chills running up her arms as she finally understood. Not giving death, but accepting it.

 

She looked at the rising sun beyond the white-purple of the grasping tendrils of portal energy. From it, some sort of large beast had its head and two claws showing through as it tried to push through the widening barrier and smiled. Before her, Dawn must have seen something in her face because she gasped.

 

“Buffy… no! No!”

 

Buffy stroked her hair, “It’s okay, Dawnie. Listen, please, there’s no more time. I love you. I will always love you no matter where I am. But this is the work that I’ve been called to do. Tell Giles… tell him I figured things out and that I’m okay. Tell my friends that I wasn’t afraid. Dawn! I’m not afraid,” she smiled. “You have to take care of them for me. You’ll have to take care of each other, now. Be strong, Dawn. Dawn – the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Live, Dawn… for me.”

 

Buffy kissed Dawn’s tear stained face and gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze. And then she turned away.

 

Dawn watched her sister run toward the end of the plank. Slightly below it, the portal continued to roil and spin. Lightning shot from it and the air was full of strange sounds, but Dawn hardly noticed now. She kept her eyes wide, kept them watching Buffy… being a Witness.

 

Buffy never slowed. She didn’t glance back. And she didn’t hesitate. Leaping out into the air, she dove straight down into that mass of light and chaos. Whatever beast had been trying to struggle through it was hit head on by Buffy’s diving form and pushed backward from the portal’s opening.

 

Almost immediately, the portal seemed to collapse in on itself. The tower that she thought was going to shake apart stopped swaying. The wind ended and the strange noises were replaced with an eerie silence for a moment before the sounds of sirens and people yelling filled the air.

 

Against her will, her eyes were drawn down from where she stood. She saw Buffy, only a speck, but still recognized by her outfit and hair lying across broken bricks and rubble.

 

She could still be alive! She’s the Slayer, they have super-healing. She could be alive!

 

Dawn rushed to a ladder and started her descent.

 

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Around them, the cacophony of the ending world was replaced with the sounds of humanity beginning to cope with disaster. People’s screams and yells for assistance, the sounds of rescue units throughout the city and their own harsh breaths surrounded the battered gang.

 

“What… what’s happened,” Giles asked as he lay struggling with the last of the debris pinning his lower legs.

 

Anya stood up and surveyed the area. The beetles were gone, though the rupture in the earth remained. They were deep earth creatures and probably had retreated as quickly as possible to make it out of the relatively cool temperatures of the surface world. She quickly looked for the armed Orc, hoping it hadn’t injured or killed Willow or Tara.

 

She didn’t see it either. In fact, there was no evidence of any of the portals, nor any extra-dimensional creatures nearby. She saw Tara and Willow stumbling, but both appeared uninjured, though in shock.

 

“I see the witches,” Anya told Giles excitedly. “They’re okay and it looks like the portal was closed. I can’t see any monst… oh. Oh, no… oh, Giles.”

 

“What? What is it? Dawn?”

 

“Buffy. I see… I see Buffy. She’s laying still, Giles,” Anya swallowed over a lump in her throat. “Willow and Tara are going toward her. She’s… she’s so still.”

 

“Help me, Anya. Find Xander or Spike; get these heavy rods off of me!”

 

She bent to pat his shoulder and told him she would be back. And then she ran to find Xander. She couldn’t keep herself from looking at Buffy, who still showed no movement at all. She looked up where the portal was, but it was gone and it was too high to make out if Dawn was still up there.

 

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Xander stood in the sudden quiet, while Spike made it as far as his knees before stopping with a groan. His ribs were broken and jabbing at his insides.

 

Xander looked over a small mound of debris, blocking Spike’s viewpoint. He saw her lying across another mound of broken brick. Her long blonde hair was spread around her, like a Sleeping Beauty in repose and awaiting her prince. But her body wasn’t right. She was bent backward too far, even for her flexibility. There was no blood, that he could see, but still she looked… broken.

 

He looked away and saw Anya stumbling toward him. Willow and Tara had just entered his vantage point and both of them were heading for Buffy’s figure. He swallowed bile back, equally wanting and not wanting to throw up.

 

Her back shouldn’t be like that, he thought. He wasn’t conscious of tears beginning to slide down his face.

 

“Xander,” Spike whispered, having noticed the change in his composure, of course.

 

Xander, we have to get Spike moved, Hyena thought at him forcefully.

 

“Huh?” What?

 

Xander, the sun is rising!

 

He looked into the east, but he didn’t really need to. The sun’s rays were low on the several storey walls of buildings around them.

 

“Shit. Spike, can you walk? The sun is making its appearance!”

 

“Xander, Giles is pinned! I need help,” Anya said on reaching them.

 

“I can’t get up on my own, yet,” Spike answered him.

 

“Xander, Buffy….” Anya said.

 

“I know, I know! One thing at a time! Anya, help me get Spike to a shack. The witches will help Buffy (he refused to believe she was dead, not until he could see for himself) and then I’ll help with Giles.”

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Willow and Tara stood over Buffy’s form. Her hair was spread out as if on a pillow, but all that was under her head was a few bits of brick and the dirty ground. She had just the hint of a smile on her lips and her eyes were closed against the rising sun.

 

Tara pushed Willow’s gripping hand from her arm, gently. She bent down to Buffy on her knees and reached out shaking fingers. She knew by how far Buffy was bent backward over the mound of bricks under her that she had to be dead, but her brain was stubbornly refusing to accept. She touched Buffy’s cool neck and felt with almost desperation for the slightest sign of a pulse. When this didn’t give her the result she wanted, she leaned even further, bringing her ear against Buffy’s chest. There was no beat.

 

She looked at Willow who was shaking her head back and forth. As if she could make the facts different by denying they were real. She returned to her feet and pulled Willow to her. The red head’s eyes never left Buffy, even as she began a keening wail of grief.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Dawn made it down to the base of the tower. It continued to moan and sway, but no further debris had plummeted to the ground from it.

 

Her feet were hurting from the rough steel under them. Her sides continued bleeding, but she knew that the cuts were shallow. That had been the point of the ritual, after all. They hadn’t wanted her to die too quickly. Her hand hurt where the broken finger Glory had given her throbbed in conjunction with her heartbeat. But the greater pain was inside her stomach. It ached with grief and shock and regret.

 

She knew that she’d find Buffy dead even as she stumbled toward where she knew her body laid. She knew that was the only reason the portal would have closed. The blood had to stop flowing, and though it didn’t make much sense to her why Buffy’s was acceptable, she knew that the portal would be open if she had still been alive. She knew all of this, but hope was a very difficult beast to kill and she knew the others would be trying to help her. A spell, CPR, mouth to mouth… there had to be something that could be done.

 

She stopped when she reached Xander and Anya struggling to pull a beam of steel from Giles’ ankle. Numbly, she reached down next to them and together they pulled the beam up just long enough for Giles to move his leg out of the way. She saw a mask of pain on his face and he was tentatively holding his ankle in his hands.

 

“It’s broken,” he said as he noted her staring. “But, otherwise, I’m alright.”

 

“Buffy died,” she said without inflection. She knew in the back of her mind that she was in a state of overload, of shock. “She jumped. I wanted to, but she said no. She jumped and she’s dead now.”

 

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Police Lieutenant and Detective Rick Stein reported at the site of… whatever… had happened. People were on the streets in various states of shock or uproar. There was a huge crater in one of the roads that intersected Main Street and emergency vehicles were beginning to block it off so no one would get too close. There was no telling whether the gaping maw would expand further.

 

His police radio was filled with chatter as the units reported in to each other. The third floor of the police station, used as the dry tank and temporary holding of suspects had collapsed onto the second floor administrative offices. There were no casualties and only minor injuries by some miracle, but the units there were tied up evacuating and cordoning off the building.

 

Another emergency unit, this one a fire house was responding to a fire at the high school ruins that the city had just started demolishing and hauling away. They were in a race to keep it from spreading to nearby residences.

 

He left his car after reporting where he was and dashed into a construction yard. There’d been reports of a funnel cloud and a lightning display centering there. It wasn’t something demanding immediate investigation, except that he didn’t buy the funnel cloud report. He didn’t accept reports from anyone anymore. Not at face value, not after what he’d learned from his recent wife Carole and the things his eyes had been opened to in the past year.

 

He saw a familiar group of people surrounding someone on the ground. Familiar from his several investigations into weird goings-on related to the Summers girl, Buffy.

 

When he reached the group, he asked if anyone needed an ambulance. And then he noted that they did, a young teen girl had the sides of her dress soaking in blood. An older man who he recognized from the magic shop arson was sitting on the ground with what was obviously a broken ankle.

 

The others seemed in a state of mild shock with minor injuries, as far as he could see. He was about to dash back to his car radio and call for the ambulance when he recognized Buffy Summers as the one lying on the ground. She was bent at an awful angle, her back clearly broken. The others were surrounding her, unsure what to do for her. Well, there wasn’t anything really.

 

“I’ll… I’ll call for some help,” he said to them.

 

“No,” Mr. Rupert Giles, the store owner said in a loud voice, surprising him into stopping in his tracks. “You can’t call anyone, Detective.”

 

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End Chapter 26