April 28th, 2008

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Spanderverse: Points of View, One

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

POV: Anya

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

Notes: Story number Twenty in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Battling with a God”. 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.

THANK YOU JOSS and DH COMICS for Buffy: Season 8 and Angel: After the Fall!

This is also a ‘mini-series’ of sorts within the Spanderverse. Chapter 1 of 4 of an experiment in writing strictly in the first person pov.

 

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Spanderverse: Points of View, One

Anya

 

My name is Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins; well not really. And I’m twenty-one. Well, that’s not really true either. I just made up twenty one when I magicked up some I.D. so I’d stop being denied a beer at the bar in town.

 

The truth is I barely know who I am. Once, a very long time ago, I was Aud. I was just a girl in a small village in Sweden. Truth to tell, it was a pretty boring existence. I was young and petty and jealous… of a guy, of course. There’s always a guy in these things, isn’t there? Anyway, Olaf made the mistake of cheating on me and –poof- one spell later, he was a Troll and I was on my way to becoming the ‘real me’; that is the me that I’ve been for over a thousand years. Anyanka… wow, what heady days those were. So maybe I wasn’t quite free but I had power and more importantly, I could right the wrongs of women just like me… ones who’d made the mistake of trusting their hearts to a man only for him to break them like they were of no consequence at all.

 

Things were so much easier then.

 

But then there was this thing with a wish and it all went wrong somehow. The details have grown really vague to me; I think it’s this faulty human memory. I just know that I lost my ‘power center’, a pendant that D’Hoffryn supplied and suddenly I was stuck as a mortal here in Sunnydale. Oh, I did try to get that pendent back, absolutely, but it just didn’t work. And D’Hoffryn was extremely unsympathetic… I suppose that’s natural, him being a demon and all.

 

So now here I am, trying to write up some sort of account of what happened the day when Buffy died. It’s ironic, because her death has left me sad and before I know that I might have been happy about it. Her being the Slayer and I being a demon. Well, actually, I probably would have just shrugged it off without much interest and gotten onto my next curse, now that I think about it. But now I’m human again and I knew her and it hurts to think that she’s gone. I cried a little bit yesterday while lying in bed. I’d forgotten how much being human can hurt inside until Joyce died. And now we’ve secretly buried Buffy.

 

Well, anyway, Giles says he will be editing these things before sending a completely made up version of events to the Council (don’t tell them I’m an ex-demon Giles!) but he wants a true account for his private records. Isn’t that a little dangerous, Giles? Well, nevermind.

 

Anyway, there isn’t much I can tell about the events leading up to those last minutes of the Slayer because Glory had stolen my sanity from me. I remember clearly being outside of the Magic Box and Glory covering my mouth with one hand. I remember being utterly terrified because I’d only just recently become mortal and had finally adjusted to the fact that I could only have a few decades left to do everything, and now she was going to kill me and it all seemed really unfair. Except, she didn’t.

 

Instead, it was like being locked away inside. Like being in a prison cell in some dungeon. My eyes were like cell windows way up near the ceiling of the dungeon and I could see the light coming in, but I couldn’t quite reach them. I don’t know if I can describe it well. I could see everything that was happening around me, but it was like I was standing several feet behind my own eyes so that I couldn’t quite ‘be me’. And all around me, in the darkness of my brain, were these little mutant rabbits with sharp teeth and nails. And they had to hurt me because I was bad and disgusting and I needed to be punished, but I didn’t know why. And whenever things were almost making sense again, the rabbits would come out of the darkness just enough for me to panic and then I’d lose what I thought I almost knew.

 

Oooh… you can’t see it, but I’m shuddering now. Things that happened during this time are very jumbled for me, Giles. I’m sorry I can’t be clearer for you. I remember being in the R.V. and yet not really comprehending where I was or what was happening. I remember that Tara was kind and comforting to me, but I couldn’t come up with her name. I remember bits and pieces of Xander’s warm gaze in mine and his voice… not the words, just his deep voice speaking softly to me and making me feel safe from the bunnies that wanted to hurt me.

 

And then suddenly Spike was there. And he was telling me that we were fighting Glory and I needed to stay down. Well, the hell with that! You know me Giles; there was no way I wasn’t making somebody pay for what they’d put me through. So I went crawling toward a tool shed looking for something that I could strike back with, and I found it. The hard, cool steel of the crowbar made me feel powerful again and I started to look for a way to help out.

 

I saw Xander, I remember, but he was running for somebody… probably Spike. So I looked around and that’s when I saw Tara and Willow, ducking behind some sheets of plywood. I made my way around toward them, because they were both looking a little shaky on their feet and Tara had been so kind to me. I didn’t want to see her hurt… nor Willow, really, even though I still think she’s a bit of a bitch. I don’t remember seeing Buffy at all at this point.

 

That’s when we met up with you, Giles. Unfortunately, you remember, that’s when Glory’s other victims began to throw bricks at us. We couldn’t get near the damned tower where I guessed that Dawn would be. Not that there was a lot you or I could do up there, I guess. I mean, I didn’t have anything on me to cut whatever they were using to keep Dawn tied up there. But I do know that I was still very angry with Glory and wanted to see her bleed.

 

People think that demons are bad (and, okay, they are) but they’re nothing compared to Gods!

 

The next time that I saw Buffy, she was standing on the ground looking in pain. I have no idea where she’d come from, because I didn’t see her when I stopped being crazy. But while I was moving toward her to ask where we could help, Xander did that construction thing. You know… that huge swinging ball and Glory was knocked on her ass.

 

Buffy took off before I could reach her, but I saw Glory lying there on the ground. I know it was stupid of me, I know that she could have killed me easily, but I was so outraged by what she’d done. I don’t know what came over me, but I marched up to her and let her have it with my crowbar. I’ve got to admit, that felt really good. So good, I didn’t want to stop even though I could feel tears starting to sting in my eyes. And that just made me angrier, because the last thing I wanted to do was start crying in front of her.

 

Maybe it’s a good thing that Xander came and got me. I mean, now we know that whenever Glory wasn’t threatening us, it was probably because she was being Ben and I didn’t want to kill a person. Which… weird again, huh? I’ve killed lots of people in lots of different ways… most of them bloody and all of them awful. But it’s different now… that stupid Aud soul is in me now and it makes everything harder to do. So, anyway, Ben was lying there and Xander stopped me from bashing his brains in for him and then I was just… freaking out all of the sudden. I don’t even know what happened to me… just those tears in my eyes were suddenly this raging flood of emotion that I couldn’t contain. I can’t believe I fell apart in my ex-boyfriend’s arms like that. How humiliating. But Xan has always been a decent guy and he hasn’t gloated over my turning into a weak, whiney girl, so I guess it’s a little bit okay.

 

Willow and Tara were being really supportive to me during that long walk back toward the street. I don’t know what happened to the minions, Giles. I saw a few of them dead, but not all of them. I do know that compared to Glory’s other victims, I am really very lucky. I’m back whole, they’re not. I wish I felt worse about that, but honestly, I’m just so relieved that Willow was able to rescue me. I guess I owe her a huge debt … dammit.

 

So… we were standing near the street and then everything went wrong. Oh, Giles… I’m so sorry. Well, you know basically what happened. Dawn cut, blood opened the portal… doomsday.

 

I went after you when I saw Xander run off. I know now that he wanted to spend his last moments with Spike. –Sigh- (that was me making a sighing sound) I wish I had somebody like that (it should have been Xander, but I’m trying very hard not to be bitter because bitterness causes vengeance and I’m trying to be a decent person now and the thought of wishing vengeance on Xander makes me feel yukky in my stomach). Anyway, you were trapped and if anyone could stop what was happening, I figured it would be you, but you needed to be free first.

 

I thought that Willow and Tara were behind me to help, but I guess they just gave up or something, because I was standing there with you by myself and trying to get that junk off of you. I think I expected you to be muttering incantations or something, but you were just lying there basically helpless. That’s when I was really afraid. I guess that I kind of look up to you, Giles. Just a little bit. I don’t think I even realized how many cues I take from you, you know? But when I saw the look of hopelessness on your face, I knew that we’d really, really lost. All of that noise and portals opening and ground shaking, and I knew it was over when I saw that you weren’t doing anything heroic. Isn’t that funny? Except not in a ‘ha-ha-ha’ way, of course. But I didn’t know what else to do, so I just kept yanking things off of you.

 

It seems kind of stupid now, actually, considering the circumstances. Do you think that’s what shock does?

 

-sigh- (that means that I sighed again). That’s when things got quiet, Giles. And I thought, “Well, for the end of the world, this isn’t so bad”.

 

But then regular sounds started and it was like the world was suddenly back to normal. I could just ‘feel’ it, somehow. And I was so relieved and so happy, Giles. I remember being worried about Tara because I saw a portal dump an Orc out and the witches were nearby where he manifested. But she was fine and so was Willow and I was excited and happy and I don’t know what all because the world hadn’t ended and we were safe. I mean, yeah, hurt, but you know, we weren’t dead. I guess I should have known. I guess if I wasn’t so excited that I wasn’t dead and the portals had stopped I would have put two and two together.

 

And that’s when I saw her, Giles. That’s when I saw Buffy and I knew. I mean, I didn’t know-know because I don’t understand why anyone had to die to close the portal. Blood rituals were never my strong suit, but I knew that Buffy would be dead. I think I knew that Dawn would be alive and that Buffy jumped so her sister wouldn’t have to. I think I knew all of those things, but not in words. Maybe I do still have a lot of my instincts intact from my demon days.

 

I remember my throat had this really painful lump, even though it was Buffy who was dead and she was the Slayer and this is like how it was supposed to happen for her, anyway. I mean, I hope that isn’t too blunt, Giles. I’m really trying hard to not say hurtful things because I speak without thinking, but you know that this is the way Slayers die. Its… natural; the way things are supposed to work out.

 

But the lump stayed there anyway. I hate that feeling, Giles! I hate it even more than I hate crying. Because it feels like I’m crying anyway, but without the benefits of release.

 

I tried not to look at her. Was that cowardly? Was it not right to not want to be witness to her death? You’d tell me, wouldn’t you? The truth, I mean… because I can’t grow if no one will explain to me what I’m supposed to do. So…, I tried not to look at her, but my stupid eyes wouldn’t stay straight ahead and I did and she was... broken. Broken and still and I knew she was dead, even more than I already knew it.

 

But then I was with Xander and Spike and I had to do the practical things that needed done. Like get their help to get you out of the mess you were in. So I pushed Buffy out of my mind and focused on what we needed to do next.

 

I told Xan that I needed him to help me get you unpinned. It nearly broke my heart all the way in two, because Xan said that the witches would help Buffy while we freed you. And I knew, the witches can’t help Buffy… no one can help Buffy. But he didn’t believe that yet. And it made me hurt inside that he didn’t know. We knew, didn’t we, Giles? Well, I knew anyway. But Xan didn’t know. And I couldn’t tell him.

 

Poor Dawn.

 

I still remember her voice when she told us Buffy was dead. I looked quickly at Xander because he didn’t know, except now I think he did. Because he didn’t react to Dawn’s comment at all. And I knew he heard her. She said Buffy had jumped and she was dead, but Xan just, I don’t know, shut her out and continued pulling at debris. Was that healthy? Is it normal for people to just ignore bad news and pretend they didn’t hear it? Sometimes I worry about Xander, even though it’s not my responsibility anymore.

 

And well… you know what happened after we freed you.

 

I keep re-reading this and that lump in back of my throat that I don’t like is back. I don’t really understand the point of this, Giles. You can’t send these to the Council. I don’t understand why you want to collect these and hold onto them. It feels morbid to me. You’re not going to crack up, are you? Because we’ll need you, Giles. You’re still the oldest adult (ignoring myself because I have no experience and Spike because he’s a jerk and can’t be trusted to look after everyone) and have much more experience in these things than we do.

 

If you are going to crack up though, I hope that you’ll burn these first. I mean, just because you’re going to go insane doesn’t mean you should blow the secret of Buffy’s death for the rest of us. I mean, not to be rude, but we’re all working so hard to treat Buffybot like she’s actually Buffy and it seems like a waste of effort if you’re just going to go off the deep end and blab the truth, anyway.

 

Oh, and I haven’t said anything to the others yet, but I want you to know that I’d like some time away from Sunnydale. As soon as things calm down a bit, I’m going to go on a road trip. Just until you get the Magic Box opened again. You are still going to open it, aren’t you? I mean, it’ll be a lot of work to recapture our market share and I’ve had to cancel half a dozen internet orders whose customers I’ll probably never get back, but the shop was a decent revenue stream, Giles. You have to re-open! Unless you’re going to go insane, of course. I don’t suppose you’ll care either way, then.

 

Anyway, I don’t know what else I can say about that day, Giles. I feel like I’m failing you somehow. I wish I understood the point of this, but my hand is getting a cramp now and I don’t feel like working on it anymore.

 

Regards,

 

Anya.

 

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Spanderverse Series:

 

BTVS seasons 1-4.

Spanderverse: After 314

Spanderverse: Spike

Spanderverse: Dracula

Spanderverse: Burial

BTVS: Real Me

Spanderverse: Confusion of Three

Preludes

Tensions

Old Friends

Hospital Visits

The Risks of Glory

Hunting Our Needs

The Family We Choose

Falling Apart

Sunnydale Antics

Feints and Counter-Feints

Pathways

BTVS: The Body

Coming Together

Songs of Pain and Comfort

Battling with a God

Spanderverse: Points of View, One

 

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Spanderverse: Points of View, Two

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

POV: Willow

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

Notes: Story number Twenty in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, One”.

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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Spanderverse: Points of View, Two

Willow

 

“You’re up, Willow.”

 

Those were the last words that my best friend said to me. I still cannot believe what’s happened. It’s been days and when I’m not wandering around in a daze, I’m crying near hysterically. I don’t know why I’m writing this down, really. I mean, I’m going to burn these pages as soon as I’m finished because it’s too dangerous to have these things lying around. There are just some things that I need to say that I can’t share with Giles. Yeah, most of this is just a retread of what I wrote for him for his ‘unofficial journal’ about what I saw and did before things fell apart, but there are some private things, too.

 

Things that I’ll have to come clean about with Tara; I’ll need her help.

 

So, Buffy told me that I was up because Anya was in serious trouble; Glory had brain-drained her and she was one of the babble-people. I was the only one that had a shot at restoring her sanity. Not that Tara isn’t a great witch, but I’m stronger with the pure power side of things and I figured that’s what was going to be needed. It was a get in, get out kind of deal and Tara’s magic tends to involve lots of chanting when she’s at her best. Or that’s what I’d always seen anyway. She surprised me later.

 

Anyway, I was tapped to try the sanity restoration spell that Tara had found to reverse what Glory had done. As I passed, Xan grabbed my hand to wish me luck and there was such hope in his eyes… I couldn’t let him down. I remember swearing to get Anya back, but inside I was shaking. I didn’t know if I could do it really, not without killing the mortals and leaving Glory laughing at our blowed up brains.

 

After I’d followed Anya into the construction yard, I watched for Glory. The ‘god’, as she was so fond of calling herself, saw Ahn and made it easier than I thought it’d be. I was wracking my brains while trying not to draw too much attention to myself on how I was going to get me, Anya and Glory all in the same place. Glory took care of that for me.

 

It was… wow. I mean, first came the ‘ew, gross!’ moment. See when I started the spell in my mind, my fingers began sinking into Anya and Glory’s heads! I didn’t realize that would happen and it freaked me out. I have to say I’m proud of myself though… I kept my cool and went on with the verbal incantation.

 

The next part is really a blur. I’m kind of hoping my writing about it will fill in some of the details. I remember light in my face… bright and bluish-white. And there was this feeling like something was inside my head and trying to push out, but it didn’t hurt. It wasn’t like the Alien Chestbursters, or anything. It was more like just this steadily growing sense of pressure. And this almost insane need to yank my hands away and stop, but I didn’t. I could never look in Xander’s face again if I had wimped out right when he was counting on me most. So, I could kind of see these weird images in my mind; even now they don’t make much sense and there wasn’t any sort of context to them. It was like flashes in the dark and then having an image you barely saw burning on your retinas for a few seconds. I think there were chickens, a large man with red hair, a pair of satin slippers, a row of lockers, one of the scabbies bowing, the Sunnydale Motor Court sign, and the Magic Box cash register before the destruction-thing that happened there.

 

I can guess that they were images from Anya and Glory but I don’t know if I was the only one to see them or if the other two were able to see bits of my life, too. Hope I didn’t ‘share’ any images of some of the stuff Tara and I do!

 

I think there was a loud buzzing sound just before the spell ended, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’d meant to grab Anya and then head for the nearest pile of crap we could hide behind, but that didn’t happen. It was, instead, like being thrown by a giant.

 

I have no idea what Anya or Glory were going through or what was happening around us during the spell. I’m just glad that it worked and we didn’t end up being transpossessed by each other or something.

 

I know that I must have blacked out because Tara was lightly slapping my face and pleading with me to wake up. I can’t tell how long I was out, though. I don’t think it was long, just because the battle was still raging on around us.

 

This is the part where Tara surprised me. I think, maybe, I underestimated her. I feel badly about it, like I disrespected her or something. It’s just, Tara is very much about ‘Mother Earth’, ‘White Magic’, ‘Healing and Blessing’ and stuff. And I love her for it! I wouldn’t want her to change… she’s very nurturing and empathic and very, very loving. But there have been times, especially in the last two months or so, when she’s really been riding me about not using more powerful magicks. I hate saying this out loud (or writing it) but I think I started to… maybe just a little bit… to feel superior to her, because I know that power for power I’m stronger. God, that sounds so arrogant. It’s not really coming out like I mean it to. I’m so glad I’m getting rid of this before she has a chance to read it. She’s a very sensitive soul and I don’t want her feelings hurt.

 

Anyway, she was really going at it with the spell casting in a way I’ve never seen before. Her incantations were short and she was speed yelling them, almost faster than I could understand. She kept us both safe while I was out of it, something that she’s had to do a few times, actually. I guess I just didn’t appreciate before that just because she doesn’t like to show it, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have plenty of magical might all her own, anyway. When I think of the things we could do together, I get shivers. And I’ll need her on board for what’s coming, once I can confirm it can be done and find out how, of course. But I’m not ready to put that into words, yet… not even on paper where no one but me is going to see them.

 

So Tara and I were huddled down and I was looking desperately for Dawn or Buffy. I suppose I should have had my mind on Anya… that was my bad, but since I’m trying to be honest with myself here, she didn’t even cross my mind at that moment. I mean, it’s not that I hate Anya, but I’ve never really liked her either, very much. I’ve never gotten how a person could willingly become a demon… how does that happen! I could never take up D’Hoffryn’s deal and I guess I kind of look down on her because she did. She didn’t even make the decision to become human again, it just happened somehow when she lost her powers. Not that I wouldn’t have helped her anyway, even if Xander didn’t care about her so much. I’d help anyone I could to get out from under what Glory did to those poor people, but that’s not going to make us best buds or anything.

 

So Tara was sounding kind of scared because she was running out of juice and there was so much going on around us, all of it bad. I think my ego might have gotten the best of me (another thing I seem to being doing a lot lately – come on Will, if we’re lying to our self, then this is pointless). Because, I thought I could just take over and start magicking everything in sight and instead I ended up with my face almost in the dirt. At least I bought us breathing room, though, so we could retreat.

 

It was somewhere around here that I might have heard Dawn’s voice. I’m not sure; I was mostly concentrating on getting Tara behind something, because Glory’s mind victims were starting to throw stuff at us. I do remember thinking that I hoped Buffy made it to Dawn and not Giles. Okay, here comes the guilt again, but I can’t say that I was 100 percent sure that Giles wouldn’t have… done something. Ugh! I don’t even want to think this… but I was kind of scared of Giles for the first time, ever. He seemed extra-Watchery and that argument in the Magic Box about what to do if the ritual started was very much on my mind. I was actually relieved when Giles was forced to duck down with us and couldn’t get to Glory’s tower. I’d pretty much figured out that was where Dawnie was, but that didn’t do anything to help me get there. Great... more guilt for being relieved that Giles couldn’t help Dawn. I mean, he really wouldn’t have not helped her, would he? That’s crazy thoughts… except… yeah, see why I’m feeling all these icky feelings around Giles these days. Guilt, Guilt, Guilt.

 

The good thing, though, is that Anya also made it around to us and she seemed completely recovered. So… ‘Good on Me’, I say. There wasn’t a lot of time for congratulations, though. We still had a battle to wage… of course, it was hard to wage it when we had to duck down to keep from getting beamed in the head by bricks. You know, Anya still hasn’t thanked me even! I guess that shouldn’t shock and surprise. And, I mean, I didn’t do it for the accolades, anyway. But, you’d think she could have just expressed a tiny bit of gratitude. Or maybe I’m just being sensitive because it’s Anya. We have been a little wrapped up in… I don’t even want to hear the words. Buffy… and now here comes crying again.

 

Okay, I’m back. That was a solid thirty minutes of tears. It’s a good thing that Tara is out grocery shopping and then heading back to Buffy’s house. Or, I guess Dawn’s house. NO! I’m not going to start crying again. Anyway, I’m here at the dorm so I can do this, destroy it and hopefully get some of this pain off of me.

 

So, Anya was back. My big spell worked the way we’d hoped and she didn’t seem the worse for wear, which was kind of stupid of us, but things were really chaotic. I mean, of course there were effects of what she’s been through. I really need to try to be more sympathetic toward Ahn for the next few weeks. It’s easy to forget what she’s gone through when she sounds like herself. I didn’t mean that to sound as catty as it might have.

 

I’m afraid this is the part I’ve been dreading so badly. It’s when things started to go wrong.

 

We heard… we heard bodies hitting the ground really hard. But it was Buffy and Glory. Buffy was still fighting and Glory, that bitch, didn’t even look phased. I mean, there has to be a limit to EVERYONE, hasn’t there?

 

We tried to rush out to help, but the insane guys still had plenty of ammo to throw. So we decided that we’d try some sneaking instead. While we were making our way around stuff and dodging the occasional brick we heard Dawn scream for Spike. That part was really clear and then there was another body hitting ground sound. I never realized how sickening that noise is. We couldn’t check, but we sort of agreed it was probably Spike coming off of the tower. So we knew that Dawn was still alive and that both Buffy and Spike had at least made it up the tower. With Glory and her minions and the wackies fighting us, we figured at least Dawn was safe for the time being. I wasn’t really worried about Spike, ‘cause hello, vampire physiology. But I was worried about Buffy. She’d already gotten her ass handed to her a few times by Glory and now she was out there fighting hand to hand again. I didn’t know where the robots were, but I don’t doubt that they hadn’t lasted long against her. They were really only for a diversion anyway. I wanted to get to wherever Buffy was so me and Tara could try some spells. When we’re together we can do things that are really hard otherwise. But we ended up in a dead end and had to retrace our steps while also watching out for the rat-faces and the victims who were helping Glory out.

 

That’s when my hero, Xan, stepped in! I don’t know what made him think of that huge wrecking ball, but it was just what we needed when we needed it. We actually heard Glory grunt, we were so close to her (we didn’t know it, cause we were ducked down behind some cement blocks).

 

Once she’d been knocked down, I saw a glimpse of Buffy headed back toward the tower, but I wasn’t able to talk to her. Giles, Tara and I were too busy noticing that the brain-sucked guys were all standing around confused and stuff. They’d stopped throwing bricks, finally. Anya, though, she didn’t even care what was going on. This is why I feel bad, because I didn’t give any thought to what she must have been going through. She broke away from us and ran at Glory with this crowbar above her head.

 

Before we could even grab her she was hitting the invulnerable woman in the face with it. I was so scared she was about to get herself killed, but she was in our ‘line of sight’ at that moment so I couldn’t use a spell to shield her by targeting Glory. I should have just used a telekinetic push, but I didn’t think of it.

 

God, poor Anya. She was just crazed. I mean, swinging that crowbar over and over until finally Xander grabbed her. I don’t know where he came from, but he wasn’t hurt so I was really happy. And then Glory became Ben! Ben!

 

I still don’t know how a human body could have also been a god, but apparently from what Giles says, this sort of thing is possible. It’s kind of like possession, except physically instead of just spiritually. Maybe that explains why Glory had to drain sanity from people, too. It must have been hard being an immortal and powerful god trapped in a mortal and weak human body. I’d probably be driven a bit nutty, too.

 

That’s when I thought we had won. I mean, the only scabby things we saw were dead. The unbalanced people were just milling around and Buffy was on her way up to release Dawn. And Anya was at least on the road to recovery… obviously she wasn’t ‘okay’. We won, everything worked out after all.

 

So Ben was really looking like he was hurting and I was trying to decide what we could do to help. I figured Glory had lost her shot. Another few minutes and the chance of opening her gate would be gone and, hopefully, that meant she’d be too. But Giles wanted us to take Anya away and help the other victims. I feel badly that they didn’t get their minds back when Glory was defeated. Honestly though, I couldn’t have managed that reverse-sanity spell again, anyway.

 

So all of us, except Giles were trying to comfort Anya because she was really shook up and who could blame her? Giles stayed to see if he could help out Ben and maybe to make sure that Glory didn’t try a last minute return while Buffy was getting Dawn down from the tower.

 

I saw Spike from the corner of my eye and he was getting up from the ground. He looked like crap, but vampires heal really fast. I was going to tell Xan that he might want to just check on him, but Anya really looked like she needed him more than Spike did right then, so I just stayed quiet. It surprises me how well Anya has been about their break-up. I guess I pretty much underestimated her, too. Kind of a running theme with me. I need to do better about giving others the benefit of the doubt and not be so judgementally about them. Especially ex-demon girls and current demon best-friend’s boyfriends.

 

And then… oh, God, why? We won! We thought we’d won. But then there was that sound of a body hitting the ground again, and I never, ever want to hear it ever again. It was one of Glory’s damned demon servants and it must have already been at the top of the tower because there was this light up there and then a portal was opening. Glory was defeated but they’d still managed to open her god-damned gate!

 

We were all just freaking out then. Looking at each other and not knowing what to do. But Xander yelled out for Giles and took off. I saw him veer off toward Spike though, instead of going to help Giles. Anya yanked on my arm and then she was also running for Giles and I was thinking ‘why bother?’ in the back of my head.

 

But Tara, bless her, wasn’t going to go down without doing something so we ran to help Anya. Besides, if anyone could have figured out a way to close a gate to Armageddon on the fly, it’s Giles.

 

But Tara and I didn’t make it that far. I’m not sure what happened, actually. There was light and thunder and roaring winds and sounds were just deafening all around us. But I saw this demon or whatever and he had a large mace. Behind him was another portal, smaller than the one above our heads, but obviously the walls were beginning to fall.

 

I just grabbed Tara, ‘cause we were both dizzy anyway and couldn’t really stand. So we just held each other. All that was in my mind was praying that God would allow us to go out at the same time. Maybe one of those lightening bolts raging above our head would strike us down and it would be sudden and too fast to realize what had happened.

 

I thought in the back of my head about Buffy and Dawn. I knew Buffy would never hurt her sister, no matter what so I wasn’t really wishing that she’d… do what she needed to do. I mean, the only way to stop things was Dawn’s death, according to Giles. I knew that wouldn’t happen.

 

Mostly, I just kept my focus on Tara. I wanted her to be the last thing I saw and I was praying really hard that she wouldn’t be killed in front of me. I don’t know what I’d do if she were killed while I watched. I think that might drive me crazier than all of Glory’s victims combined.

 

More guilt… I didn’t even think of Giles, Anya, Spike or Xander right then. You’d think Xander would have been in my thoughts, at least; even more than Buffy and especially more than Dawn. I love Xander more than anyone, except maybe Tara, but he didn’t even cross my mind. Of course, it might have been because I was so intently focused on Tara. Now, though, I just feel really, really bad about it.

 

And then everything just stopped. Like we all froze, everything froze. Only it didn’t really because suddenly I could hear people on the streets calling for help. And there were sirens all over the place.

 

I looked up and the portal was gone and I didn’t even think. I just started smiling. Stupid! I can’t believe that all I could think about is that we were saved. I didn’t think about what could have… what had to have happened.

 

Tara gasped and I turned by head to look at her, but she wasn’t looking my way. Her eyes were wide and already there was a fresh tear rolling down her cheek. I followed where she was looking with my eyes and I wish to God I hadn’t. I wish I’d never seen what I saw, but I’m kind of glad at the same time that I did because it wouldn’t be right for Buffy to have done what she did to save us and for us to not see her sacrifice. It’s getting really hard to write now around the wet spots on this paper, but I need to finish this. I need to get it down, even though no one can read it and I have to destroy it afterward.

 

Because I saw Buffy’s body lying there in dirt and rubble and she was bent backward at an impossible angle and I knew. I kind of blanked out then, I think, because I don’t remember now walking to where she lay or Tara leaving me standing. One minute we were looking at her from a dozen yards away and then next, Tara was looking up at me with such grief in her face I could barely stand to look at it. And I remember that I was so cold all of the sudden and I couldn’t stop shaking and then Tara had me in her arms and she was crying on my shoulder and saying my name but I couldn’t look at anything but my best friend lying there looking wrong. God, she looked so wrong! She was supposed to be laughing and making a quip that was something pop-culturey that Giles wouldn’t get and we’d laugh at how clueless he was about modern American teens (well teen and way early twenties), but that wasn’t happening. It wasn’t happening and Buffy was just lying there and I knew that she wasn’t going to laugh anymore and I wanted to scream and scream, but I’m not sure whether I did that or not.

 

I don’t know how long we stood like that, but I became aware that the others had joined us. Giles was sitting on the ground because his ankle was hurt. Dawn was bleeding kind of heavily, it looked like, but she said she was fine. Spike… oh my god… Spike just collapsed in these heavy tears. I’ve never seen a vampire cry. I didn’t even know that they could weep… not like that. Thank God for Xander. I don’t know how he did it, but he stayed together and he was like the rock I could focus on so that I didn’t lose my mind.

 

And then that stupid Detective had to show up. We didn’t even have time to get over the shock, but Giles kept his cool. He took complete control of the situation and gave us things to do. Xander had to literally hold up Spike and get him to safety because the sun was rising really fast. I don’t know how bad Spike was hurt right then, or if he just couldn’t stand because he was feeling like the rest of us: like Fate had just stepped on all of us and left us broken and useless, but still alive.

 

I barely followed Giles and that Detective’s conversation. Rick! That’s the detective’s name… I couldn’t remember it for a minute. Anyway, when Giles sent me off to find a tarp I didn’t even ask why. I was just so relieved that I could move. That I could think of something other than my friend.

 

When I came back, I almost asked where Tara was. I’d come that close to forgetting that she was taking Dawnie to the hospital.

 

I knew why Giles wanted to do what he wanted to do with Buffy. We had to bring her home; I’m glad he didn’t just leave her there. I didn’t immediately know that he was going to keep her sacrifice secret (although looking back, I seem to recall that was what he was talking to Rick about) until I had to put Buffy on the tarp. Even then, I just couldn’t roll her in it… I just couldn’t do that! It was wrong; it still feels so wrong!

 

I might not have hated Anya more than when I saw her rolling Buffy up like she was… I don’t even know! Like she was just a thing! Buffy Summers was a HERO. She was… I loved her and she was my hero and now she was being treated like waste. Like something that wasn’t needed anymore and was just going to be rolled up and thrown out.

 

Of course, I knew better inside my head somewhere, but my heart hated Anya and Giles both for a few minutes. That kind of evaporated when Xander had to put her in the trunk and I saw how much he was hating himself for doing it. Poor Xander! If I loved Buffy, Xander worshipped her. And I know that none of us feel her loss as much as Dawn, but at that time Dawn, Spike and Tara were on another planet as far as I was concerned. It was all I could do just to get through the next moment, so the only ones on my mind were those who were in front of my eyes.

 

So we brought Buffy home and we prepared her and we buried her. And I miss her every single day, every hour of every day. It’s only been three days… I’m talking like it’s been years or something, but those few days have felt like three endless months.

 

But here’s why I need to get this stuff off of my chest and it’s why I’m so scared. Yeah, I’m pretty terrified, because I can’t afford to get this wrong. Because…

 

Sorry, diary, if I can call you that. I had to take a break for tea because what I have to write down is so horrible that I can’t burden anyone else with it. Not until I’m sure I can fix it.

 

Buffy came to me in a dream this morning. Or, should I say a nightmare?

 

I was standing at her gravestone and she walked up beside me. I turned to her and told her how much I missed her; how much time we were supposed to have to be friends and fight the good fight and how unfair it all was that she wasn’t here.

 

“You don’t know the half of it, Will,” she said to me and her eyes looked so haunted by pain.

 

When I asked her what she meant, she just said that she thought I already knew. Then she told me that she jumped into a Hellgate and it had sucked her life-force dry.

 

“Now, what do you think happened to my immortal soul, Will?”

 

In my dream I screamed. I woke up then and thankfully I must have not yelled out for real, ‘cause Tara was still sleeping next to me. We were in the Summers’ house, sleeping in Joyce’s bed. We had spent the day putting Joyce’s things in order. It was something that Buffy hadn’t had time to do and it was past time for it to be done. It’s not a fun task.

 

Anyway, I went to the Summers’ bathroom after I woke up enough to remember where I was. I didn’t want to wake Tara, so I didn’t use Joyce’s restroom.

 

When I was in the bathroom, I looked in the mirror and started really crying heavily. Do you know how hard it is to sob silently?

 

I think… Diary… I think that Buffy is in a hell dimension. And the thought of what she’s going through… it’s tearing me up inside. I have to fix this! I have to find a spell! Somehow, I’m getting Buffy back. I’m rescuing her from whichever hell that gate sent her to. That’s why she came to me; she needs my help. I have to find a way.

 

God, Buffy! Please hold on! Please, stay strong… don’t forget who you are and please, please know that I’m finding a way to get you out of there!!

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End

 

 

Spanderverse Series:

BTVS seasons 1-4.

Spanderverse: After 314

Spanderverse: Spike

Spanderverse: Dracula

Spanderverse: Burial

BTVS: Real Me

Spanderverse: Confusion of Three

Preludes

Tensions

Old Friends

Hospital Visits

The Risks of Glory

Hunting Our Needs

The Family We Choose

Falling Apart

Sunnydale Antics

Feints and Counter-Feints

Pathways

BTVS: The Body

Coming Together

Songs of Pain and Comfort

Battling with a God

Spanderverse: Points of View One

Spanderverse: Points of View Two

 

space2

Spanderverse: Points of View, Three -- Part I

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

POV: Xander

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Spanderverse: Points of View, Three

Xander

 

I hate this! I hate this whole idea, I’m thinking, while convincing Anya that she should seek out Glory, the Hellgod. It feels like I’m betraying her; sending her into harm’s way even though I know that it is her only chance to be restored.

 

I love Anya. Okay, I’m not in love with her, but I do love her. I always will. Seeing her sanity stripped from her, stolen, was nearly more than I could stand, but sending her into the path of a god on the warpath is worse.

 

“You’re a killer,” Anya yells at Giles as she passes and my heart nearly stops. There’s something less random-babble about it and far more specific. Considering the argument that Giles and Buffy had regarding what will happen if we can’t get Dawn away from Glory in time, Anya’s words chill me right down to the bone. I can see it has just as disturbing an effect on the others, especially on Giles himself.

 

There’s no time to comfort him though with the ‘she doesn’t know what she’s saying’ excuse. Even if it’s true, because Ahn is really on the move and I need to keep her in sight. So I grab an axe from Spike and wonder if I’ll have time to explore this new, quite gay-

 thank you very much- relationship with him.

 

You will if we deal with the Dawn issue once and for all, Hyena growl-whispers to me.

 

I hate that bitch.

 

Spike’s crystal blue eyes don’t reveal anything when I meet them. I’m kinda hoping he’ll give me a ‘good luck, mate’ or maybe even a quick wink. I don’t expect any sort of grand expressions of love, but he could give me something. He doesn’t. His eyes are as cool as ice. I try to catch Giles’ eyes next, to show him support after Anya’s words, but he’s looking at the floor and not meeting anyone’s wondering gaze.

 

We shouldn’t have to wonder. Giles is… he’s like father-mentor-protector-friend. We shouldn’t have to think about him hurting Dawn, and yet he’s also Watcher-Ripper-Warrior and that has me very worried. Oh, yeah, he doesn’t look much like the ‘Warrior’ type, but believe me… I’ve seen him fighting on behalf of Buffy and there’s a vicious tiger under all that brown tweed.

 

So, I’m thinking I should say something to him, but I’m not good at quick thinking on my feet like that, if it doesn’t involve my trademark self-protective humor. And there’s just no time to think, like I said, because Anya is going like a shot and I quickly leave the shop behind and follow her.

 

The night is warm and muggy, thanks to Giles’ impromptu storm. I don’t even want to think what kind of magic he was wielding to allow him to survive a fight against something like Glory. I mean, this woman - and I use the term in quotes – has easily shrugged off everything Buffy had done. She’s even managed to recover with lightning speed to Willow’s magic, and I thought she was the uber-magic thrower of the group. Every time we peel a layer from the Giles enigma, I become more disturbed. I’m pretty sure none of the others would even guess that I knew what enigma means.

 

I’m getting an idea of where my former girlfriend is heading now and I’m growing ever more nervous, because the time of talking and planning is over. This is it. We’re going to go against a god and it’s all on the line in a way that the various almost ‘apocolypsi’ we’ve dealt with weren’t. Sure, we’ve had some dicey moments… seeing Angel hauling Buffy’s drowned figure out of a puddle in the Master’s lair added about fifty grey hairs to my way-too-young-for-grey head. And there was the whole Angelus/Acathla/World being sucked into Hell drama; not to mention that fight against an ascended mayor. But this one has me shaking inside in a way that the others didn’t; don’t ask me why.

 

I glance back to make sure the gang has caught up with us, ‘cause it might really suck if I have to perform this sanity re-sucking spell myself. Thankfully, they’re there. They’re all always there, right when I need them most. I love them; more fiercely than I’ve loved anybody in my downtrodden and clownish life.

 

Speaking of love… Spike jogs up to me and he already knows where Anya is headed as well. Which surprises me, but it shouldn’t. Spike probably knows every inch of Sunnydale by now both above and below the streets.

 

He reaches down and gives my hand a brief and romantic squeeze. “And you watch your back. I haven’t had a chance to plunder that virgin ass, yet,” he smirks, undercutting the moment beautifully. He’s like that… like me; we don’t do syrupy. Well, okay, once in a while, I’ll do syrupy… but don’t tell him that!

 

I call him an ‘ass’, but I do it with a grin on my face suddenly feeling a load lighter than I had. I still can’t believe my weird life. Even when I think I’ve gotten used to crazy things and can grow blasé about the day to day vampire fighting, something comes along to completely skew my worldview. Right now, that’s the fact that I’ve fallen, I think pretty hard, for a vampire. A male vampire, in point of fact.

 

It’s taken a while to get comfortable with the idea. I think it’s taken him off guard too, though he’d never show it. Mr. Cool – that’s him. And thank God for it, because he’s keeping me grounded as we approach the battle site.

 

I just hope he can be patient with me. Spike is a very sexual creature and right now, I’m just not ready for all of the stuff that comes with getting involved with a guy. At least I can kiss him though, without having a mini-freak out over it. That’s progress, right?

 

So, Willow is rushing by because she’s got to do the heavy mojo to get Anya back and I grab her hand to wish her luck. I hate doing it, ‘cause I know she’s under enough pressure, but I can’t keep it from my eyes that I’m really counting on her to do this. If this doesn’t work… well, I can’t think about it right now or I’ll get myself killed.

 

Good ole’ Will, though. She tells me she’s getting Anya back and she’s got on her resolve face and I immediately believe her. If Will is getting resolvey-faced, then it’s a done deal.

 

We hang back to allow Willow and Anya to sneak in ahead of us. I’m nearly biting through my tongue (or maybe Hyena is, it’s hard to tell sometimes who is doing what in my head… and where the hell is Commando… we could really use that Trinity-fighting thing we pulled back during Spike’s rescue!) to keep from yelling at Willow to be careful, because the god herself is stalking toward them.

 

My view is obstructed as everyone surges ahead and enters the fray, including our secret weapons. We’re really depending on the robots to keep Glory off-kilter. So I stand on my tip toes to see what’s happening with Will and Anya, but its all just bright lights. That’s when I spot a piece of machinery and I don’t know why, but I just know that we’ll need it!

 

I grab a hold of Spike’s arm and tell him, “I’ve got an idea. It’s not a tank, but it might be almost as good.” Because, when everyone else took off to start the fight, Spike hung back with me. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but that says ‘love’ to me. Unfortunately, I’ve got to leave him and I can only hope he’ll be okay. Which is ridiculous, because of course he’s going to be okay.  He’s already taken what Glory had to give and he was pretty well beat up, but he survived. He always survives… whether he’s fighting against us, or on our side; Spike lives… or un-lives, anyway.

 

So, I have this brilliant idea and then I crawl into the cab of the wrecking ball truck and then sit there like a huge Gomer. Yes, I am Xan… call me Zeppo. I should have known I’d try to be wise and end up being useless. At least Hyena is there to bail me out on this one; finally she does something moderately useful. And I still hate her; it’s just a little bit less, now.

 

I manage to get the wrecker into position. Now I’ve just got to find Buffy and give her the bat-signal so she knows where to maneuver Blondie. I jump down and I’m almost immediately set upon by some old woman carrying around an old piece of iron piping. Well, what do you expect me to do? I mean, I can’t just let her brain me, right? I punch her out.

 

It isn’t my most manly of moments, but hey, at least my brain is still on the inside of my skull, however defective it may be.

 

I’m looking for Buffy, but I’m not seeing her or any of the others. At least, not until I get around the corner of one of the temporary sheds. There on the ground, on all fours, is Spike. The poor guy is getting the snot kicked out of him by a group of crazy people. And it’s not their fault, but it doesn’t stop me from being really pissed off. Times like this and I think how unfair it is what the Initiative did to him; what I wouldn’t give to allow him to defend himself from any old Joe Blow with an attitude. Of course, then I remember that if it wasn’t for the chip, we’d still be trying to kill each other, so silver lining and all that.

 

I know they really can’t do much damage… none of them are carrying around stakes, but when I see him howl in pain because the chip just zapped him and all he did was push an attacker away, well, I kind of lose perspective for a minute. Oh yeah, Perspective Guy has left the building.

 

Of course, Hyena-Me really isn’t helping me with the control thing. She’s practically pushing out through my skin to rip some throats out. And I need her… I’m outnumbered and out-weaponed. So I let her loose… I tell her not to kill them, though. It’s not their fault they got put under Glory’s thrall… and I know all about being in thrall to some evil creep.

 

I don’t know what happens after that, because the bitch not only got loosened, she frickin’ took over! Now, see, that’s just wrong! We’re supposed to be a team and instead my wrists are being held by Spike and he’s complaining that I’m hitting him. Like… what?! What the hell was she doing? We were supposed to be helping Spike, not adding to his bruises!

 

And can I just say how disturbing it is to ‘come to’ and realize I’m growling. Spike obviously finds it just as alarming, judging by the look on his face. But there’s no time to go into my split-personality crisis right now, Dawn is obviously at the top of the tower and we’ve got a ritual to stop. At least I can sigh in relief that Spike won’t let this sit… whatever Hyena and Commando were gaining by forcing me to keep quiet about their existence has been blown big time. And I’m very worried now… Commando is still a no-show and there is no way he’d allow Hyena to run free with our body. I know she did something to him… I can almost feel it and her denials sound empty to me. I’ll have to get to the bottom of this, but not right now. She’s right, damn it… we have to find the others and mount some interference because even if Buffy or Spike gets Dawn down from that rickety tower, there’s no way they’ll be allowed to just walk out of sight.

 

I’m just getting ready to go search when I hear the Aprilbot, sounding more like Faith these days, scream. A quick look shows me that she’s jumped on Glory’s back and I’d laugh if I wasn’t so hoping that god’s necks were easy to break. I also catch sight of Buffy and I know this is the moment that the wrecker was calling out to me for. I take off for it and, thank you God, Buffy catches sight of what I’m doing. With just glances and a thumbs up from me, she has caught on to the plan. That’s what five years of fighting side by side will do.

 

And… oh yeah! I hit Glory head on with that massive, crushing ball of iron and I have never felt such a sense of satisfaction in my life! That was for Anya, you arrogant hag! Just as an extra ‘screw you’ on my own behalf I let the ball drop right on her and I’m almost laughing with the joy of it. She’s caused so much pain, it feels good to return a little of it. Even Hyena is laughing her laugh in my head and mentally giving me a pat on the back.

 

Of course, I don’t expect it to do much more than slow her down. She’s a god! So imagine how quickly I turn to horrified when I see Anya come out of the shadows straight for her. She’s got a tire iron or something above her head, holding it two handed and such a look of loathing on her face, she’s even scaring me and I’m a good forty feet from her!

 

I nearly trip and fall on my face rushing out of the wrecker’s cab to get to Anya and Hyena’s agility saves us both a busted nose. I run for her because Glory is going to crush her and Anya is too enraged to think through what she’s doing. That crowbar (I see now what it is as I approach) isn’t going to do squat, but Anya is swinging and swinging like there’s no tomorrow (and I shudder at that thought, ‘cause it could be true). As I’m just reaching to grab her away from there, I look to see Ben lying on the ground.

 

I don’t really know the guy, but he was in the hospital and at Joyce’s funeral. He’s some type of intern, I think. He looks too young to be an actual doctor. But he’s dressed in Glory’s clothes and he’s bleeding and gasping for breath. I stop Anya just before she can beam the poor guy in the face, and maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do, but I can’t let Anya commit a murder. She has enough blood on her hands from her time as a demon; at least she’s gotten a second chance now.

 

Hyena is telling me to crush Ben’s windpipe and part of me really wants to. Even without knowing the story, I can tell that Ben’s up to Glory’s shit to his eyebrows and maybe if they’re sharing bodies then killing one will kill the other. Kind of like Toth’s original plan actually, that led to the creation of Hyena and the MIA Commando, in a way. But I can’t do it and Hyena may be hissing at me for my weakness, but I don’t think not killing people is weak. Giles will help us understand what this all means and then we’ll figure out how to keep Glory gone and either help or punish Ben, depending on how much control he had over things. I may have been so willing to give him the benefit of a doubt due to my recent black out at the mental hands of Hyena-Xan, but I like to think I would have shown the guy mercy anyway.

 

There really isn’t time for questions though, because Anya is sobbing into my chest and my heart is breaking for her even as I’m relieved that she’s obviously back. Willow’s spell worked and that’s the most important thing but Anya is so distraught and I don’t know how to take her pain away. You can see why I’m going through my days so confused, I hope.

 

I’m still trying to work out this whole Glory/Ben thing when Giles’ voice intrudes on my thoughts. He’s trying to get us out of there and I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that Glory could return at any moment, or if he’s genuinely worried about the now wandering and dazed crazy people’s welfare. I never even would have questioned him before, I don’t think, but after the scene in the Magic Box, I find myself looking more closely at him. I don’t like this… this uneasy sense of distrust. I hope once we have Dawn back and figure out a way for Glory to be defeated forever that we can all just get back to normal. Giles will sigh and wipe his glasses and frown disapprovingly and we’ll all mildly make fun of him, but secretly we’ll feel just a little safer with him watching over us. And he’ll help get rid of Hyena. Yeah, that’ll be nice.

 

I have my arm slung around Anya and pull her close to me as we, Tara and Wills start walking toward the street. Color me un-shocked that no one has come to find out what all the racket is about. That’s Sunnydale, for you. But I’m feeling pretty good, I mean except for the part where Anya is still so upset by what she’s gone through. Because, hey, we won. Glory has had to make a sudden retreat, in no small part because of the Xan’s brilliant tactic of dropping a really heavy weight on her, thank you, so we can start the celebration as soon as Spike and Buffy get down here with Dawnie.

 

Speaking of which, that tower really was constructed rather shabbily. It would never pass inspection; I guess the scaly Smurfs just had no pride in their work. Sorry… construction nerd came out there for a minute.

 

So, I’m feeling relief and a post-battle high and Hyena is filling my head with images of kissing Spike in a very long make out session when we get home. For once, I’m not annoyed with her single track mind in the least.

 

We barely even react when we see that one of Glory’s minions has just rained down from the sky and is lying dead at our feet. Buffy and/or Spike could have took a look before pitching it our way, but that just means that they’ve reached the top, probably, and are untying Dawn right now.

 

I guess I spoke too soon, because the ground starts shaking and I’m thinking, “Oh, nice… an earthquake now? You couldn’t wait until tomorrow for this?”

 

Yes, sometimes I am very thick. I don’t even think that the battle isn’t over until the sky erupts in this violet-white light. Then suddenly things are like we got a visit from that movie ‘Spaceballs’ and the Mega-Maid with the wind and debris being sucked up and up toward the light and I know the damned portal is opening. I’m suddenly afraid… not for us and the world, curiously enough, but just for Buffy and Spike because they were supposed to be up there, but the ritual is taking place anyway. And this brings on the fear for Dawn. Bad news, sports fans… the home team is losing badly just when they thought they had the game in the bag.

 

Everyone, including me, is grabbing at the wood fence the construction company put up and trying to keep our feet because the ground is still quaking under us. Hyena is howling in outrage in my head. She’s taking it as a personal affront that we won and now we suddenly didn’t. Like the great Referee in the sky has made a bad call… I’m totally on her side in this respect.

 

I do a quick look back into the construction yard and I see Giles struggling. He’s on the ground and there’s all this junk on him, pinning him. So I shout out his name, for no particular reason, just reflex. He can’t hear me, of course, because the wind is howling like a hurricane and lighting is shooting all over the place filling the air with crackling noise. Above my head, the portal is swirling like some sort of funnel cloud and I can actually see a dark hole in the center where the actual portal is waiting for Glory to jump into it or for things to come pouring out.

 

I’m kind of panicking now… a little bit. I hoped I’d be kind of cool and collected in the face of the end of the world… like Sgt. Rock or James Bond while facing obvious death. Hah! I’m scared nearly shitless! But I got to do something other than stand here being a jellyfish spine, so I take off to help Giles, leaving Anya with the witches. In my head, Hyena is just as freaked out as I am, so I’m getting no help in keeping my composure there.

 

I don’t make it as far as Giles. As I’m making my dash, movement catches my eye and where I should have seen him before, but didn’t, is my new boyfriend. He’s struggling to get up from the ground and his lower face is covered in red. Blood is dripping from his chin and he looks scared. Spike is looking scared… my heart nearly stops because this DOES NOT HAPPEN. This is truly apocalyptic, if Spike is wearing fear on his face.

 

I yell his name… again, reflex… I know nobody can hear me in the racket from the earth tremors, the lightning display and the absolutely roaring wind. So, surprise… he doesn’t hear me.

 

In that moment I have this perfect vision. It’s so clear, it could be a photograph. Spike is looking very much like himself and I’m looking older, but still fit. I have grey at my temples and look a little bit more beefy, but not really fat. We’re smiling and he has his hand hovering over my crotch, playfully, as if he’s going to do something lewd for the camera. I’m laughing my fool head off at whoever is taking this moment for posterity.

 

And I know; this isn’t going to happen. We’ve lost… finally… we’ve actually lost.

 

I leave rescuing Giles because I can’t. None of us can be rescued. Well, that’s not true… Buffy could rescue us, but she won’t. She can’t in the sense of she couldn’t bring herself to do what she would have to do and I don’t blame her at all. Not even now; not even knowing what’s going to happen, because I couldn’t do it, either.

 

Hyena wants me to get to Dawn. I can feel her pushing to take over because she wouldn’t have any problem with killing her to save us all. She’s already told me that more than once and I’ve no reason to doubt her. But I’m in control and I alter our current course toward the tower and Giles for Spike, instead.

 

When I reach him, I gather him into my arms. He’s got thick blood running from his mouth and winces as I, not too gently I’m afraid, bundle him close to me.

 

I ignore all this. Instead I’m looking into those beautiful blue eyes and the just barely visible yellow-gold specks that come out in full when he’s in ‘game face’.

 

“We would have been a great pair,” I say.

 

“Yeah, mate, we would have,” Spike agrees just before pulling me further down into his embrace so he can kiss me.

 

And I kiss him back with everything I have because I don’t know how many of them I’ll get in before I die. His gender means even less to me now than it ever did and I’m kicking myself with regret and recrimination that I didn’t have sex with him when I had the chance. I had to be all, ‘ugh, gay sex… I don’t know…’ and now I’ve wasted that time. I really would have liked to find out what holding him naked against me would have been like with his cool skin and his hard, muscled frame.

 

His kiss is a slice of heaven, which is ironic considering his nature. My mouth is full of tingling and I know it’s because of whatever is in vampire blood that allows them to make other vampires, but it’s not important. I don’t see me living long enough to get turned into a vampire. My heart is pounding in fear and yet inside, at the core of me, I’m calm. I know this is my end and I’m okay with it. Not happy… I plan on pulling God aside and giving him a piece of my mind about it, but I’m alright. I just wish I knew what will happen to the Spike-demon that I’ve come to know and care for.

 

Even Hyena has stopped fighting me. I feel her sink into the pleasure that is being in Spike’s mouth and I savor the feel of my hot tongue rubbing against his far cooler one, filling his mouth with my taste. I want him to take a part of me with him, just as I vow that I won’t forget this moment. I’ll never let ‘them’ take this moment from me.

 

It’s very quiet now, suddenly and I open my eyes. I’m surprised because I kind of figured that when I was dead, I’d be disembodied but I still feel pretty well bodied, instead. Then I’m looking into Spike’s eyes again and they look as bewildered as I feel. Around me, the city is coming alive with the sounds of screams and calls for help and sirens… lots and lots of siren noises.


End part one

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Spanderverse: Points of View, Three -- Part II

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

 

POV: Xander

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Spanderverse: Points of View, Three  (part II)

Xander


Okay, so I’m not dead. I told you I’m thick sometimes.

 

My first thought is that Giles and Willow pulled out some last minute hocus-pocus to get us out of this mess and I’m grinning like a fool. I stand up to find them so I can give them a huge-freaking ‘Congrats!’ Spike tries to stand too, but only makes it as far as his knees. I’m not sure exactly what his injuries are, but if he isn’t dust yet, he’ll be fine. I don’t mean that to sound as cold as it looks in black and white, it’s just that you get used to the vampires getting beat up and then being back to normal in a day or two, or often just a few hours. It’s kind of annoying, actually. I put a hand on his shoulder to stop him from trying to get up until I can help him.

 

I look over a mound of junk that Spike can’t see over from his waist level viewpoint. And I feel my heart stop. Because it’s her. It’s my unrequited first true love and my best friend and my personal hero and she’s not moving. Not only is she not moving, but she’s broken. I can see it clearly… her back… her back isn’t bending right. I want to puke.

 

I stand frozen for maybe minutes, or maybe hours. Then Anya is struggling over debris herself, trying to reach me and the witches are stumbling toward Buffy. I glance at Spike and he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what I see and I can’t find my voice.

 

Now Anya is telling me that Giles needs my help, but so do Spike and so does Buffy and I can’t help them all at once and I don’t know what to do. A deep breath takes care of that, but I sure do wish Commando would pop up now, because he was so organized and besides, I don’t want to be here right now. I can’t trust Hyena, but I’d trust him… he could take over for a while and I could just hide. But he’s a no show, still, so I have to suck it up and leave Buffy to the witches.

 

With Anya’s help, we get Spike to a shack, but not before he sees. And oh, God, his shock… his grief just brings my own closer to the surface. I’m trying to be calm… I’m trying to let the witches cast their spells and make Buffy okay but Tara is holding Willow and my other best friend is wailing. I’ve never heard wailing of grief, but I recognize it instantly and it’s only because of Hyena’s pushing and pushing for Spike’s welfare that I don’t collapse into a ball and go quietly insane.

 

Spike is sobbing. I’ve never seen him sob. I’ve never even imagined a sobbing Spike. It’s awful and I’m doing everything I can to hold back my own tears because Giles still needs help and Giles is a Watcher and he’ll know how to help Buffy. He’ll pull out a book or some powders and she’ll stop lying there looking like that and then we’ll all yell at Buffy for getting so close to going out for real and then we’ll have chocolate ice cream and watch whatever movie is playing on cable.

 

I kiss Spike’s forehead hard twice, but he continues to grieve and even though I feel guilty and even though Hyena is calling me a shit for leaving him, I have a mental list I need to complete. Getting Spike away from Mr. Sol is checked off and now I have to help Giles and then play errand boy for whatever ingredients he needs to make Buffy get up and smile and congratulate us on another successful campaign against the latest lame-o villain of the week.

 

Anya and I head toward the tower where Giles has been pinned and I realize, just barely, that I’m almost knocking Anya down as she tries to accept my weight because I’m having trouble walking. I look toward Buffy and Tara and Willow and I want to puke again, but it’s not on my list so I make myself not do it.

 

It takes some effort, but eventually we get Giles free with some help from Dawn. She’s bleeding and she’s so pale and I think that she’s lost too much blood, but then I realize its shock because she’s so calm as she tells us that Buffy is dead. Hyena immediately tells me that the pack needs a new leader and it should be us. I shut her out. Buffy’s not dead. Okay, maybe she is a little, but CPR brought her back before and now we have magic so it’ll only be for a few minutes longer than last time, that’s all.

 

I really hate that bitch. I can’t wait to get her out of my head.

 

Giles’ face is full of pain and I don’t know if it’s the ankle or Buffy. And now I feel guilty for even letting it cross my mind that his pain wouldn’t be for Buffy. But we need to stop hurting because we’ll fix this. This is a temporary set back for Buffy, that’s all.

 

But I’m starting to not believe me. I’m starting to get that Buffy is dead and I hate myself for not staying in my little cocoon of denial. I want to blame Hyena for this, but it’s my own regular voice that’s telling me that a spell isn’t going to make things right. Shut up, Me!

 

I can’t look at Dawn. She’s so fragile and she looks broken too, but it’s on the inside instead of her body. I’m worried about her. I have to grow up and act like a man now because Dawn needs me to be there for her. There’s some voice whispering that Dawn should be the one lying on the ground, but I pretend not to hear it because that’s a disgusting, evil, selfish, horrible thing to think. And it’s not true, anyway. No one should be lying there dead, except Glory.

 

“Glory,” I ask, because what if she’s not dead? What if her timetable isn’t over yet?

 

“I’m afraid Ben died when the gate closed,” Giles says in a flat voice. I chalk this up to shock because things are really starting to break through my own shock now. “He, no doubt, took her with him.”

 

“So Dawn is safe now,” Anya comments and I glance at Dawn, not meaning to.

 

“Except for the part where I got my sister killed,” Dawn whispers and I see tears flowing down the previous tracks of previous recent tears.

 

We’ve been telling Dawnie throughout this whole Glory thing that the bad things that have happened, including to Anya wasn’t her fault. I don’t say that now. I should say so again, but I can’t because Buffy is dead and Glory is dead and I want very much to yell at someone. I feel badly about this; it really isn’t Dawn’s fault, but I can’t talk to her just yet.

 

We gather around Buffy’s body. I’m holding Giles up and I lower him to the ground trying not to jar his broken ankle any more than necessary. He’s sweaty and pale and is gritting his teeth. The Zeppo strikes again. I wish more than ever that Commando was here… he’d already have Giles’ ankle set and have him walking as if it had never been broken in the first place, by now.

 

We hear a voice we don’t know and when I look, I have a moment of panic. The Sunnydale P.D. has never been reliable, but it figures that the one time we don’t want them is the moment they turn up. It’s just one guy and I swear I’m almost ready to let Hyena grab a brick and brain the guy… then I realize that wouldn’t accomplish a lot and I’m not the cop-killer type.

 

Thankfully Giles wasn’t knocked out in everything or I don’t know what we’d do. That Watcher training really comes in handy though, because when Giles speaks so authoritatively it is like we can’t not listen to him.

 

He gets us organized into work details (the way I should have, seeing as I’m a crew boss for crissakes) and he somehow gets Detective Stein working for us instead of against us. I run to the Magic Box (former) and get my car while the others try to hide what is going on from the outside world. I have an inkling of why Giles wants to hide Buffy’s death and yet I can’t quite grasp what he’s doing… I think I’m in a state of shock.

 

When I get back and while Giles works out dealing further with the detective, I run to check on Spike. I need to be near him, to know that he isn’t dragging himself into some sunlight somewhere and I want him to know he isn’t alone. I am there for him.

 

“She’s dead,” he says to me. He has stopped crying but this is worse because he’s so… calm; empty?

 

I nod my head. I think my voice would crack if I tried to speak at the moment.

 

“I failed her.”

 

“We failed her,” I tell him. Because we all had a job to do… keep Glory and her minions busy so they can’t start the ritual. That one thing was all she asked and we botched it.

 

I watch Spike shake himself… or get a hold of himself… one of those metaphors. He wipes his face, “I need to get out there. Dawn needs me.”

 

“Sunshine,” I whisper because I have a brick lodged in my throat and even breathing hurts right now. Speaking is almost impossible.

 

We need him, Hyena insists, as if I don’t have a clue. I need him. Don’t let him hurt himself.

 

I don’t respond to her. I don’t want to talk to her. I want her to go away and disappear because she’s not in pain… she’s not grieving. I know it; I can feel it. She’s not throwing a party that Buffy’s dead, but she’s not losing any time in plotting to be our new leader.

 

I really, really hate the bitch.

 

“I’ll wait here,” Spike says to me and he’s looking so intently into my eyes I wonder if I’m becoming hypnotized. “You have to see to Dawn until nightfall. You have to… you have to assure her that this isn’t her fault, Xander,” he insists.

 

I feel guilty now for not telling Dawn that things weren’t her fault. It’s like Spike read my mind and knew that I wasn’t taking care of her.

 

“She’s with Tara. She’s cut.”

 

Spike’s eyes open wide in panic and I’m forced to speak more to reassure him that it isn’t life threatening. I have to admit that the more I speak, though, the easier it’s becoming. I’m not sure that’s a good thing… it seems unfair or disrespectful to feel even this small bit of comfort.

 

“We’ll find a tarp or something to get you home. You can greet Dawn when she gets there.”

 

“I may need to spend a lot of time with her,” he looks me up and down. “In case… in case you were thinking about us. I don’t know how much time we’ll have. I promised Buffy to see to her.”

 

“We’ll work it out,” I assure him. I wasn’t even thinking about ‘us’. “I have to get back to Giles. He broke his ankle and there’s a police man we have to keep on our side.”

 

“Xander?”

 

I turn back in his direction, as I am heading out of the shack’s door already.

 

“We’ll get through this. We hurt, but we’ll get through.”

 

I almost believe him, until I see a teardrop fall from his chin.

 

When I get back, Buffy is wrapped up in some tarp. Very much like the tarp I thought we were going to get for Spike, actually. It makes me feel uneasy… like my skin is creeping.

 

“Xander, you need to put B-Buffy in the car,” Giles says quietly. “She cannot be seen. She’ll n-need to go in the, uh, in the boot.”

 

My reaction must have shown on my face because I felt like he’d just sucker punched me to the kidneys. I didn’t have a chance to say anything before he was nodding his head.

 

“I know. It’s unpleasant.”

 

“You don’t know anything!” I don’t know why I’m so angry. He’s acting all Watcher-guy and Buffy is dead and I want him to express some God damned feelings about it and he’s talking about loading her in the trunk like groceries… like junk you’re taking to the dump!

 

“Xander….”

 

“…No! No, we’re not doing this!” I am yelling now and I can’t stop myself even as I see Anya and Willow blanch in the face of my hostility. “We don’t treat her like garbage you just toss in the trunk, you cold blooded son of a bitch!”

 

It’s his turn to react as if I’ve struck him. I’m crying now. I held off until now, but it feels kind of good to cry angry tears so I don’t fight to stop them.

 

“Xander,” Anya says as she steps between Giles and I.

 

“No, Anya, no… she doesn’t… I’m not just….” I can’t think. I can’t speak in sentences now.

 

I feel her soft hand on the side of my face. Her thumb wipes the tears from my cheek and hers are shining brightly with unshed tears of her own.

 

“We have to protect her, Xander,” she tells me and she is speaking so softly I swear I have to hold my breath to hear her. “We can’t let them take her to an undertaker, like Joyce. We have to take her home where we can take care of her. And Spike needs the backseat to stay out of the sunlight.”

 

Everything she says makes sense but I can’t stop feeling sick about putting Buffy away in the trunk. It feels so… like we don’t care; like this is just some chore like putting paint cans away. I try to explain, but I can’t make my words make sense, even to myself.

 

“Shhh. It’s okay, Xan. I promise. She’ll understand why we need to do this. She knows that Dawn will be in danger if demons find out the Hellmouth is without the Slayer. She’ll forgive us. And she wouldn’t want us to leave Spike here all day, alone and grieving.”

 

Anya puts her arms around me and I cry… really cry for about a minute on her shoulder.  And these aren’t angry tears, they’re desperate and from pain. And then I do what I have to do and I try not to think about Buffy’s face because I want to believe that she’d understand but I’m afraid I’ll see her hating me.

 

I hear Giles tell the Detective who has just arrived from getting Tara and Dawn off to the hospital, “Now, I need you to help Willow and Xander. We need to retrieve April and the Buffy robot. We’ll need them.”

 

“Robots,” Detective Stein replies with surprise.

 

“I’ll explain,” Willow says dully. When I look at her, she still has fresh tears falling. I’ve managed to stop again, but I don’t know for how long.

 

“There’s a lot to get you caught up on,” I tell this new man in our lives. “I sure hope we can trust you.” And I don’t mean for it to, but I think it comes out sort of hostile.

 

Detective Stein, Rick, is taking Giles to the hospital now in his car. He has the Buffy and Faithbot in his trunk.

 

In mine, is the true Buffy. Willow is sitting in the passenger seat. She’s still very sniffly, but I think the tears have stopped. Anya wants to know what we do next, but I don’t know. She always wants to ask questions that have no answers. She’s sitting crowded between Will and I so that Spike can have the back seat to stretch out under a ratty white furniture cover. I wish he’d say something, I wish he’d fidget but there’s nothing from the back.

 

We’re heading back toward Joyce’s, which I guess would go to Dawn now, except that we can’t tell anyone that Buffy is actually deceased. I don’t know what we’re going to do. I do know that if this detective tries to betray us, I may just let Hyena take care of the problem for us.

 

For right now, I just want to focus on getting the car to Buffy’s and remembering to breathe.

 

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End

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Spanderverse: Points of View, Four

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

POV: Tara

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

Notes: Story number Twenty in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Three”.

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.

THANK YOU JOSS and DH COMICS for Buffy: Season 8! And for Angel: After the Fall

Thanks to the authors of Fanfiction, wherever you may post. It’s probable that I’ve read at least one of your stories somewhere. I apologize for recycling concepts inadvertently from the plentitude of stories I’ve read.

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Spanderverse: Points of View, Four

Tara

 

I remember the ground shaking. And I remember a howling wind; so loud, like there was a tornado directly overhead. The sky was full of bright flashes of light as electricity arced across the sky. I was terrified.

 

And then there was a lull in the noise and the wind. It was surreal and peaceful for just a few moments, like they say that the eye of a hurricane is like. But when the noise started again, it wasn’t the wind howling and the lightning crackling that we heard, but sirens and people. Just the normal, human sounds. The end of the world had transformed into the mundane in, literally, minutes. I was still terrified; it was just spiked by confusion now.

 

Willow and I were on the ground at that point, clutching desperately to one another and both of us were crying hard because we hadn’t really believed that Glory could win. Not when she’d beaten Buffy up and not when she’d destroyed Giles’ shop. Not when she mind-raped Anya and not when she’d snatched Dawn from us. We would win, you see, because we were the good guys. I know that seems simplistic, but that’s what I believed in my heart until the world started coming apart around me.

 

So, Will and I were clutching and crying and then we were looking around confused and scared. I don’t think we dared to hope that we’d suddenly won again, but for being an apocalypse, it seemed suddenly so… un-apocalyptic.

 

Willow got up before I did and she grabbed my good hand and pulled me to my feet. I was looking straight up at where Glory’s portal had been doing its best to yank us up into it and my mind wasn’t really working. You see, for the portal to be closed, it meant that Dawn had to have died, at least according to Mr. Giles. Well, the portal certainly seemed closed, unless the whole planet fell into it and we just didn’t know it yet. Except that I was looking up to make sure that Dawnie was alright, even though I couldn’t have seen her up that high, anyway. It didn’t enter my mind that she would be dead, portal closing or not.

 

Willow tugged me and I lost my balance and that sort of pulled my mind back to working because I was suddenly scared again by why we weren’t all dying. That may seem odd, being scared that we weren’t dying, but the human brain can act weird sometimes when it’s confused or in shock.

 

Anyway, I stumbled a bit and Willow’s grip on my forearm was tight enough to hurt. I glanced at her fingers and they were white… ghost white, gripping me. Her nails were digging a little and I was going to tell her to let go because she was hurting me. But I saw her face and I lost the words because the look on it was someone who was utterly without hope. I might have asked her what was wrong, but that’s when I saw Buffy so I already knew.

 

We headed toward where she was lying and Will… she just was so white and I could feel her trembling from where her body was touching mine as I put my arm awkwardly around her, trying to keep my cast out of the way.

 

Buffy was lying on rubble and she didn’t look right, somehow. It might have been that she’d always had so much energy that I just never imagined she could be so still. Or it might have been how far backward she was bent… like her back was broken. Which it was, but in my head I didn’t think that. Buffy was the Slayer and even though she was a person, she was more than us. I didn’t imagine that a Slayer could look like a broken person. I don’t know why I thought they’d be so different, except, you know… I’d seen her do some pretty incredible stuff.

 

I don’t know how long we took to reach her. Looking back, it seems like we were just stumbling toward her body for hours, but obviously it couldn’t have been more than a minute… probably even less. We weren’t that far from her.

 

The sun was coming up fast and its orange glow was on her skin. I remember thinking how pretty she looked because her hair was fanned out around her and there was this smile playing around her mouth. Like she was dreaming a really pleasant dream and with the light, she was almost radiant. Except for the way she was lying there, anyway.

 

I had to fight Willow a little bit to get her to let go so I could check on Buffy. I kind of knew that she was really dead, but at the same time, I knew that I’d check for a pulse and find one. She was really hurt, that was obvious, but we could deal with hurt. We could help her with ‘hurt’. We could fix that.

 

I couldn’t feel a pulse and this tiny voice in the back of my head was whispering, ‘Well, of course not’. But I wasn’t ready to hear it so I decided it was because her skin was so cool. That was the reason I couldn’t pick up a pulse… don’t ask me to explain the logic, there wasn’t any. But I leaned down over her chest and listened for a heartbeat, while at the same time trying to convince myself that I could feel her exhaling breath against my face.

 

Things around me seemed so preternaturally silent. I mean, it wasn’t. There was activity beyond our construction yard that was making a huge racket as people sought to get help or to give it. It was all so far away, though. We were in our own world and it was so quiet. Like Gaia herself was holding her breath and waiting on me to give her an answer.

 

I looked at Willow and she was shaking her head… in shock… in denial. I couldn’t find words. What could anyone say except the truth and no one… certainly not Willow, wanted to hear it. So I just got up and pulled her into my arms and held her as tightly as I could. And when she began to yell her grief against my shoulder, I finally began to cry myself for my lost friend.

 

I don’t know how long we stood like that before I became aware that the others were there with us: Anya, Xander, Dawn and Giles. I’m not sure what happened to Spike, but my mind already had enough to worry over between Willow and Dawn. I hope he’d understand that; I like Spike, but sometimes he’s very hard to get into the mind of.

 

Things sort of happened faster than I could keep up with then. There was a police detective and Giles and he were arguing and then he was leading us… Dawn and I, to the street to find an ambulance. Dawn had been cut, of course, because it was her blood that had to open the portal. Somehow, Buffy’s lifeforce closed it. I don’t get how, unless there is some sort of deeper connection between Buffy and Dawn that we aren’t aware of. Or was. That’s the hardest thing in these horrible hours afterward… thinking of Buffy in the past tense. I’m not sure I can get used to it.

 

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Dawn and I made it to the hospital without incident. I was worried that they wouldn’t treat her because I’m not blood-kin, but there was such chaos in the hospital with injuries coming in from all over the city that they just took her and treated her with few questions asked. I even got some Tylenol for my hand which was really starting to hurt. I felt guilty asking, it was just my hand after all and others (Buffy) had suffered worse, but it really did hurt. Glory had crushed it earlier, you see, so I have broken bones in the hand. It’s not really important, never mind.

 

So, they took Dawn and myself into a room and asked about how she’d gotten injured. I didn’t know what to say to that. But Dawn, even through her shock and misery, was thinking ahead. She told the doctor that she’d been in front of a window when the earthquake started and it had blown out and cut her. Which is a pretty ridiculous tale, considering how exact her injuries were, but sometimes I forget how different Sunnydale is and the doctor bought it without batting an eye. It can be very strange living here.

 

While she was being stitched up (and no one ever did ask why she was dressed so oddly, like something she’d wear in a play), I worried about Willow and Giles. Mostly because of Buffy, but also, Giles’ ankle had looked broken to me and yet he was organizing things back at ‘The Site’ instead of coming here with us for aid.

 

My mind drifted a bit and I thought about the detective that had been there. The one who’d helped to call an ambulance for us. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but Giles seemed ready to tell him everything about who Buffy is… uh, who she’d been. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, but I trust Mr. Giles, even after the bad stuff at the Magic Box. We’ll find a way to make things work out for the best, now that the worst has been done. I just hope that he won’t be too much trouble. I don’t want us to lose Dawn to her neglectful father, or even worse, to foster care. I wonder if Giles can adopt her. Maybe Xander or Willow could, I don’t know. I’d never thought about these sorts of things until now. But I know that Dawn needs us. We have to be the ones to help her through this. We’re the only ones she can talk to about what’s happened and I know there’s going to be a lot of guilt because that’s what happens when somebody dies and Buffy died to save her. To save all of us, but really, to save her. I don’t know what happened on that tower, but I know that much.

 

When we came out of the exam room, we found the detective waiting for us. Mr. Stein said that Giles had finally been brought in to set his ankle, so we waited for him. It was sort of awkward. I’m not good with talking to strangers and Dawn wasn’t talking to anyone. We just sort of waited silently, except for Rick (that’s the detective) asking us if we were hurt badly. I think he specifically didn’t ask how we were doing, because he must have seen that for himself.

 

Once Giles was released it was another silent drive back to Buffy’s house. We stopped at Rick’s home and his wife, her name is Carole, joined Dawn and I in the back seat. Giles was in the passenger seat and Carole told him not to worry about it, that the back was fine for her. He’d wanted to give her the seat, because that’s the type of gentleman that Mr. Giles is.

 

Rick and Giles seemed stiff and formal with one another and I kept thinking, ‘How is Giles going to explain all this?’ I had assumed that he’d make something clever up. I didn’t know what, but going into vampires and Slayers wasn’t what I expected.

 

Carole had in her lap a coffee cake and that struck me as absurdly funny. I mean really, it was all I could do not to laugh, because that really would have been inappropriate and nothing was funny anyway because Buffy was dead. Still I had to stare out the back window of the car because the sight of that coffee cake in her lap was hysterical.

 

Or maybe, I was nearing hysteria. By the time we arrived at the Summers’ home, I was back in control and feeling ashamed of myself for finding anything funny. I’ve decided to put it down to mild shock and not obsess about it. I’m just glad I kept myself from giggling in the car or I’d never be able to look at Dawn again.

 

Once in the house, Rick started asking his questions which I understood because he’s a policeman and that’s what they do, but we just weren’t ready. Thankfully, Carole stepped in and I have to say that I really like her. She seems very level headed and very sympathetic and after she’d explained that even though we wouldn’t feel hungry we should have something in our stomachs, I understood why she’d brought the coffee cake. It seemed a lot less funny by then anyway, but right then it just seemed unbelievably sweet of her. Maybe I was just getting really emotional by then.

 

We were all pretty strung out.

 

When we’d gotten back to the dining room table, I listened in, but Giles and Xander handled mostly everything. And they did, in fact, tell them the truth about Sunnydale and Buffy and even Spike. I might have flinched a little bit when Carole and Rick nearly jumped out of their seats when Spike changed because I like him and it seems cruel to be terrified of him. Not that he would notice… in fact, he’d probably find it amusing, but I feel bad for him on his behalf. He may still be a demon, but things aren’t as black and white as most people want things to be, including with him. Spike is very thoughtful and brave and I feel safe with him looking after us and especially after Dawnie. I know he’d pay any price to keep us safe. It’s taken some time for him to come around, but I had hoped that I’d gotten through to him on my birthday when I told him to stop fighting being in our family. I think maybe I did a little.

 

Of course, I know he’s mostly changed now because of Buffy and Dawn and Xander. But still, I think if you can treat others with love and respect, most times they’ll return it. Not that I’m going to put it to the test with any un-chipped vampires. All the love and good intentions in the world aren’t going to help if they’re busy biting you.

 

I still worry about Giles, though. He’s obviously very uncomfortable with Xander and Spike’s budding relationship. I don’t want to see us all fighting. We need Mr. Giles’ vast knowledge and experience, and besides, he’s just family, too. Plus, there’s Dawn to think about. We can’t subject her to extra stress by sniping at each other. Mr. Giles will need to keep his displeasure to himself, or at least wait until he’s alone with Xander and Spike so that it’s not upsetting to Dawn.

 

So, Giles and Xander basically told them a compressed history of everything that had happened since Buffy had arrived here. There was a lot that I hadn’t heard about and other stuff that I think they really only skated the surface on. Xander seemed to get very tense when talking about Angel and his history as an ennobled vampire who worked on our side, like Spike. And I know that there’s been some major drama there in the past from what little I’ve picked up from Willow, but I thought everyone got along now. Angel and Xander’s ex, Cordelia, was both here for Mrs. Summers’ funeral services. I should ask Will to fill me in sometime.

 

I have to say that both of the Steins took things pretty well. Especially, Carole, but then she did grow up with the weird occurrences and such. She was just like the other Sunnydale residents… knowing something was wrong with the town, but never doing anything about it or thinking too hard on it. It’s a phenomenon that we’ve mentioned more than once during Scooby missions. I guess this makes them de facto members of the gang now, too. I’m not sure how to feel about it. I mean, it would be nice to have some police support, even if it’s unofficial, but at the same time if it gets out that Buffy is dead we’re really screwed.

 

Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now. We’ll just have to hope we can trust them.

 

I feel so badly for Dawn. Her sister is dead and she can’t tell anyone or express any grief in public about it. And Buffy was a hero. She should be able to tell people about her brave sister. At least Mr. Giles is letting us bury her. Maybe it won’t be in a proper cemetery, but it’s important for Dawn’s sense of closure. And I think we all need to be able to do this much for Buffy.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

I’m in the basement and it’s cool and quiet and peaceful. Buffy is laid out before me on a make-shift table. I volunteered to prepare her for her final rest. Some people may misunderstand and think it’s creepy or morbid, but really it’s nice. Not that they’ve died, of course! But that you can provide them with this last bit of care and dignity. And as a witch, I feel like I’m more tuned in to the natural cycle in times like this.

 

I had to… no wait; that makes it sound like a chore instead of an honor. Back in my hometown, I assisted my great-grandmother and my grandmother this way. Me and my aunts and Cousin Beth sat around the bodies and we bathed them and did their hair and we talked about the wonderful times we had with them. There was something comforting in having family performing this last task with love and laughter and a few mutual tears rather than handing them over to strangers. I hope that Buffy won’t mind that I’m doing this instead of someone closer to her. I don’t think Dawn or Willow would look on this the way that I do. They’re used to funeral directors and autopsies and morgue attendants; all the modern trappings surrounding death designed to make it sterile and distant from the living.

 

I’m glad I thought to bring tissue down here though, because I find myself crying a little bit. Mostly when my mind drifts to what we can do for Dawn. She’s so young and she’s been through so much in so short of time. I worry that one more thing and she’ll just crack apart.

 

I’ve scissored her out of her clothing and am wiping her down with a wet cloth to remove the dirt and grime picked up from her final battle. Buffy loved Matchbox 20; I think she had a thing for Rob Thomas. So I’m humming to her ‘If You’re Gone’ and I don’t even realize the irony, believe it or not. I’m too focused on my task of making her presentable and as pretty as possible for Dawn because I have a feeling her sister won’t allow us to place her in a grave without one last good-bye. I don’t want her to see the little splotches of blood inside her mouth or from her nether regions where it looks like she was bleeding from her inside. That’s a detail that I can keep to myself. It’s obvious to me that Buffy was hurt before she threw herself off of that platform and I cry some more wondering what her last moments were really like. I stop myself because if I start thinking about whether she was alive all the way down to the ground, I may never sleep again. I want to believe that her death was quick; that the portal energy did something to kill her mystically and it happened so fast for her that she barely had time to realize that this truly was her end. I blow my nose some more and try to pull myself together as I pull a sheet over her body. I still need to wash her face and thoroughly clean her hair.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

I’m working on Buffy’s hair, straightening and untangling it for her. The comb I’m using has been dipped in Vanilla-extract scented oil and I breathe in its calming scent. The light down here is weak and yellowish and it makes it difficult to judge whether I’m doing an okay job or not. There’s just the one, naked, sixty watt bulb dangling from the ceiling.

 

I hear the basement door open and close and then there’s the scent of coffee coming down the stairs. I instinctively know that it’s Willow. She’s probably been standing in the kitchen for at least twenty minutes arguing with herself about coming down here and feeling guilty for wanting to avoid it. It’s okay. I don’t judge anyone upstairs for leaving me alone down here to do this job. They were all closer to Buffy than I was and I’ve had experience with this.

 

Willow sets the coffee down near my elbow and as she passes by she glides her fingertips along my back. She sits down and picks up one of Buffy’s hands. It’s sweet of her to help me, but I tell her that I can do this. My voice is almost a whisper and it seems right somehow. Like talking normally would be inappropriate.

 

Will, bless her, doesn’t leave though. She instead grabs a nail file and starts giving Buffy a manicure. She talks to me about Buffy and for several minutes, it’s like being back at home and doing this for my other family. Because, make no mistake, I’m doing this for Buffy because she was part and parcel of my family… much more so than the kin I have left.

 

She’s trying so hard, but she can’t keep the tears from her eyes. I lean forward enough to press my lips to her too warm forehead. And then we get back to our tasks; me finishing Buffy’s hair while Willow continues fixing her nails.

 

Like me, Willow’s thoughts are on taking care of Dawn and helping her through this. I try to assure her. Dawn has a great support group around her; far more than some people will ever know. We’ll all work together and we’ll make it through this. I’m just worried about how we’ll be able to incorporate the Buffy robot into the process. Every time Dawn sees it, every time it smiles, it’ll be like a little dagger stabbing her. But we need it. We need to keep up the illusion that Buffy is here and the Hellmouth remains under her watchful eye. Not that her presence always kept the bad guys from coming, anyway, but there’s been a lot less ‘open the door to Hell’ plots recently, so I think the word must be getting out not to mess around with her.

 

We talk about Spike and I’m glad that Willow is supportive of Xander. I know that when she came out to her friends and family, it wasn’t easy on her. Now take that and add the fact that Xan’s idea of a boyfriend is a blood-sucking creature of the night (and I use the term affectionately) and you can see that he needs our acceptance. And, I’m not sure of course, but I think it’s harder on men, maybe, to overlook the same-gender thing. Xander seems to be fine, though, so that’s good.

 

It was some time later when Dawn joined us downstairs. We were really already done and were just sitting and reminiscing between laughter and tears about Buffy. Mostly the way I was always so shy around her and the other Scoobs and how silly it was. Buffy was great when she found out about Will and I. She was always great… and I will miss her very much.

 

In Dawn’s hands were a simple black dress and a pair of black pumps. “Anya helped me pick it out,” Dawn said. “It’s alright, isn’t it?”

 

We both assured her that it would be fine. It was… uncomfortable… to have to dress Buffy, but we struggled through it with Dawn. It seemed important to give Dawn a sense that she was helping her sister one time; some small thing for all that her sister had done for her.

 

I am very proud of Dawn for the way she handled it when Buffy was placed in the casket that Giles had gotten from somewhere. She’d helped drive the nails into the lid to seal it and she was, well… so adult. I think there is far more to her than meets the eye, and I’m not talking about her being a ball of energy. I think we’ve always seen her as someone that needed to be coddled, but maybe that’s part of the monk’s spell to make us protect her. It makes me feel proud though to see her holding herself together under these painful circumstances.

 

We left the house with Buffy’s coffin tied to the top of Xander’s car. Willow and I performed a glamour that made it invisible to anyone on the street. The most worrying part was when we reached the park we had to cross to reach the clearing where we placed her plot. It would have looked very strange to any police officer on patrol to see a group of older kids and a middle aged man pantomiming (from their perspective) carrying a box in the middle of the night across a darkened park. Thankfully, we didn’t need to deal with that.

 

The coffin was so heavy and it was such a nightmare getting it through the thicket we needed to go through. I tried to help with a few natural castings, asking the plants to make a path for us, but it was still rough going. None of us asked for a break though… and no one complained. Nothing was too much to go through for our friend and sister.

 

Xander had apparently called Carole and Rick to attend this clandestine burial and Willow helped them find us with one of Aradia’s light pointers. I’m not sure I agree with his calling them without consulting the rest of us, especially Giles and Dawn. I mean, I guess it was okay for them to have come, considering we need them to cooperate with us in the future, but still….

 

Anyway, we got through that with a little bit of magic and a little bit of prayer and a lot of work by Spike, Xander and Mr. Giles. The only part when I had a little trouble staying composed was when Dawn called Buffy a hero, because it was so true. She really was a hero in ways other than her killing demons. She went out there night after night doing what she was called to do, no matter how dangerous or lonely. We should all count ourselves lucky if we have one tenth of her courage.

 

Well… anyway… we had a small, quiet ceremony and blessed the ground she was placed in. I’m glad I’ve finally been able to use one of the blessing spells that I’ve been working on since before Dracula came to town. It feels good to use the holy water for something defensive rather than as undead acid.

 

So, we’re heading back to Buffy’s home now. Willow and I will be sleeping in Joyce’s old room. I know that Giles is going back to his apartment, despite the fact that we’ve told him he shouldn’t be alone and to stay with us at the house. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be drinking himself to sleep tonight, and who can blame him?

 

Anya and Xander are going to crash at their apartment. I thought that Spike would go with Xander, or maybe find something to kill. He is a vampire, after all, and I know that killing other more evil demons is sort of a stress reliever for him. I don’t have any illusions about Spike, but I try to remember that when it comes to us, there’s nothing to fear.

 

He’s decided to come back to the house with us, though. He wants to stay close to Dawn overnight, which may be a good idea. Dawn takes strength from him in ways I don’t fully understand, but approve of. It’s like he’s the rakish, sort of black-sheep Uncle or maybe the bad-boy, cool cousin. However Dawn sees him, she relies on him when she feels weak and scared and will probably be depending on him a lot in the coming months until the full loss of Buffy is realized and accepted by her.

 

I’ll keep an eye on her as well, of course. We all will.

 

But, Goddess, do I dread tomorrow’s sunrise.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End Story

 

Spanderverse Series:

BTVS seasons 1-4.

Spanderverse: After 314

Spanderverse: Spike

Spanderverse: Dracula

Spanderverse: Burial

BTVS: Real Me

Spanderverse: Confusion of Three

Preludes

Tensions

Old Friends

Hospital Visits

The Risks of Glory

Hunting Our Needs

The Family We Choose

Falling Apart

Sunnydale Antics

Feints and Counter-Feints

Pathways

BTVS: The Body

Coming Together

Songs of Pain and Comfort

Battling with a God

Spanderverse: Points of View One

Spanderverse: Points of View Two

Spanderverse: Points of View Three

Spanderverse: Points of View Four