Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-
Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.
POV: Shifts Perspective
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially the Spanderverse series.
Notes: Story number Nineteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Songs of Pain and Comfort”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Battling with a God
Ch 2 – Desperation
Xander was sitting on one of the hard plastic chairs in the waiting room when he felt someone sit next to him. A moment later and a firm and warm hand took hold of his right. His left was busy raking through his hair as he sat with his head bent and eyes closed.
“I really hate this place,” he said, sounding exhausted.
“I know. Me, too,” Buffy’s voice responded. “I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t mean anything, but….”
“Of course it does,” he said as he met her eyes. He saw they were filled with worry and guilt. “This isn’t your fault, Buffy. You know that, right?”
“Maybe in my head… my heart though is telling me I should have stopped this.”
“It’s not like we’re not trying. You’ve tried. I’ve seen the bruises to prove it.”
“I should have stormed her penthouse when we went for Spike,” Buffy shook her head. “Maybe with
“Buffy, she’s a god for chrissake,” Xander angrily replied. “The only thing you would have accomplished is getting killed.”
His voice took on a softer tone, “And I kinda already went through that; not looking forward to doing it again. Especially since I don’t think CPR works if your heart has been punched out,” he added.
She sighed and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “I just feel responsible for keeping you all safe. I’m supposed to be the great and powerful warrior for good,” she shrugged. “Right now, all I’m doing is standing around and grimacing a lot.”
“We’ll get her, Buffy. It’s what we do. In the meantime, we all know the risks and we all feel it’s worth it. You gotta give yourself a break once in a while.”
“Have they told you anything,” she said, purposely switching the topic. “I saw her when they were loading her….”
“They said it was shock. She wasn’t injured as far as they could tell, but they want to X-Ray her skull to make sure. Was she conscious?”
“Yeah, but Xan, she wasn’t… she wasn’t making much sense.”
“Oh, damn…, you’re trying to tell me it’s not shock, aren’t you? It was Glory. I thought… my mind was on her scabby dwarves, I didn’t even think….”
Buffy whispered, “We’ll find a way to reverse it, Xan. I promise.”
“What if there isn’t a way?”
“There is. I believe there is, so there is. And
After a brief moment of silence he gave her a small but worried smile, “I love you.”
It was several hours later when Buffy’s cell phone rang. She was sitting in Xander’s apartment and sharing a pot of coffee with him. They tried to strategize what their next step would be, but it mostly involved long silences and re-assuring squeezes of each other’s hands. Spike still hadn’t stirred, even when Xander turned on the bedroom light and tried to get him to wake up for a mug of blood. He’d be worried if he didn’t know that if Spike were dead, really dead, he’d be more ashy looking. On the plus side, he really was looking better than when he’d arrived.
Anya wasn’t there with them. Xander had known that there was no way the hospital would release her tonight, yet it still caused an intake of breath when the doctor had informed him that they had admitted her. They’d given her a mild sedative to help her sleep as her scans showed no physical injuries to her head, chest or abdomen. Her mouth was bruised as if she’d been hit, but it was minor. What had the attending, Doctor Kyra Nichols, really worried were her incoherent responses to questioning. They wanted to observe her overnight and have her seen by a psychiatric consult in the morning.
Xander and Buffy both knew they’d find nothing they could treat. The sixth floor ward was full of sufferers of the same thing, already.
She hung up her cell phone as Xander returned with a day old box of supermarket donuts.
“Giles says the fire chief is definitely ruling it arson, as if we didn’t know exactly what happened anyway.”
“How much did he lose?”
“His important papers for the shop, for one. It looks like Glory ripped open his fire proof safe and threw them around the office. He had some emergency money there that she used as kindling. Add damage to the electrical box, and whoosh… fire. The fire department was able to put it out before it spread down the hallway from his office. Most of the shop’s items were destroyed, anyway. Glory probably smashed everything that wasn’t her stupid Key. I don’t think anything major was there though, and the stuff in the basement should be okay.”
“Did you tell him about the doctors,” he asked before taking another swallow of coffee.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t anything he didn’t already figure. Xander, we’ll help you with whatever you need to look after her. I mean, just until we cure her,” she added with desperate sounding hope.
Xander only sighed. “You should get back to Dawn.”
“I can stay, if you need.
“No, it’s okay, Buff. I’m just gonna sack out for a while so I can be up early to get back to the hospital. I may need you to help me break her out of lockdown though, if they won’t release her into my custody.”
“You got it,” she said. And she’d had such conviction in her voice that Xander didn’t doubt that she’d meant it literally if that’s what it took.
Giles took a deep, steadying breath as he knelt down just inside of his closet door. Before him, bolted to the floor, was a small chest. It was surrounded by wards of various types, mostly to keep it from being seen by any casual observers. There were also the usual safeguards against its removal or opening by those who shouldn’t be touching it.
“A KORUMASIZ,” he whispered in Turkish. With another breath, he uttered “OLMAK AÇMAK,” in the same language.
There was a ripple of disturbance in the air over the chest for a moment. He then placed a hand on the back of the chest, feeling for the ever so slight indentation that would reveal the chest’s hidden trigger. When he found it, he hesitated but finally pressed it. With this action, the chest lid sprang loose, allowing him to lift it and reveal the contents within. Even as he reached for the book the chest contained, he could feel malevolent energy crawling up through his fingers and making the hairs on his arm stand on end. Inside the hand which picked up the volume, he felt an uncomfortable itch. It was as if he’d gotten mosquito bites underneath the fingernails but the sensation went all the way to the bone. It could quickly drive a man insane since there was no way to relieve such an itch, except to drop the book which Giles now did onto his bed.
He stared down at the exquisite writing on the cover. Written in gold leaf, hand stamped by some long ago wizard-king was ‘LİBRETTO IN GECE YARISI’. Roughly translated from Turkish, it meant the ‘Book of ’. The gold leaf was stamped into the hide of the black and shiny cover. One who didn’t know better may have mistaken it for well-maintained genuine leather. The truth was that it was human skin. Black slaves who’d had the misfortune of being slaughtered in the most despicable of dark rituals had provided their flesh.
It was a book so filled with death and pain, that Giles had never planned on opening it to peruse its pages. Even Ethan, who had given him the tome, had found it too dangerous to use in his chaotic fun. As far as those who’d be interested knew, it was lost and most likely destroyed centuries ago. Ethan had thought that the Council was given it for their vaults, but Giles had kept it. He’d been too afraid for anyone but himself to have access to it and he’d tried for decades to find a way to truly destroy it.
Now he stared at the hideous thing as if just looking upon it filled him with dread. It would not be a mistaken assumption. His eyes flicked over the bedspread as he noted with a touch of fear that the blue color of it was being leached by its contact with the book of spells and rituals. The gaily colored comforter was quickly becoming a soiled gray and darkness spread from under the book to suck away any brilliance from the world around it, dooming its environs to a malaise of despair.
Giles shook himself as he realized he was nearly beguiled by the book into falling into depression and probable suicide if it had succeeded.
“Forgive me,” he whispered. He wasn’t sure if it was to Buffy who relied on him or to the powers of Order that he ultimately was supposed to be working for.
He opened the cover and started to read the index page.
Glory is a Hellgod, he thought as he felt a piece of his soul slip away. And this is the only way to save Buffy and keep us from having to kill Dawn.
Outside the apartment, the wind howled. Thunder rumbled and Sunnydale experienced a freak and violent storm that hadn’t been forecast.
At the same moment that Giles was putting his immortal soul in danger, Glorificus the Mighty stood gazing out at the park below her. She wore a satisfied grin as she sipped champagne, occasionally giggling to herself and her followers.
“Who knew Buffy had such interesting friends,” she lightly asked no one. She expected no answer and didn’t allow any time for the goblins to intrude on her merriment.
“I mean, I thought I was feeding on a shop keeper and what do I get instead? Well… she may not have been my lovely Key, but she wasn’t just any old human I can tell you that,” she laughed. “I hope the rest of Slutty’s friends taste as good!”
Outside the window, lightning began to flash across the sky. She frowned briefly, an unaccustomed chill running down the length of her spine.
“That’s odd,” she said, again demanding no answer. A sudden feeling began to gnaw at her, though she couldn’t name it. It was sort of like when she knew Benji was taking over, but it was different… more intense. If she had words to describe the emotion, her underlings would have told her it was dread.
Instead she put on a wide grin, though her demon attendants found it strained. “I think I need a good, hot oatmeal bath to celebrate!”
Around her, the grey men and women jumped to attention to comply with her wishes. None of them spoke of it, but all felt suddenly uneasy for reasons they could not name.
At Buffy’s house,
Upstairs, Dawn tossed and turned in her bed. She muttered ‘no’ a few times, but would have no memory of the nightmare’s details she was trapped within.
On his sofa, Xander also tossed violently. Deep within his psyche, Hyena felt a burst of strength and invulnerability. It was as if someone had tapped into some dark energy and was beaming it directly to her.
Xander’s face wore a malevolent smile, even as he groaned within his mind and called silently for help. Commando was shivering with fear and aggression as he felt Hyena’s sudden lust for the kill and knew she was directing it toward him. She’d always dreamed of the time when she would be the pack leader and he could feel her hunger to eliminate him as if it were a physical thing; some dark power was racing through Sunnydale and emboldening her. He feared for himself and Xander Harris.
In the bedroom, Spike had morphed into his vampire visage. His dreams were full of violence and bloodshed. The taste of the Slayer’s blood was still in his mouth from earlier and only fueled the darkness that lay claim to him, its childe. He could feel the heat of the Slayer in
Outside of his mind, his hand grabbed at the sheets. Vampire strength allowed even his well manicured nails to shred the cotton fabric. Under his eyelids, his eyes were yellow and filled with bloodlust.
His dream underwent a random shift, as dreams often did. And when Dawn begged him to stop, he laughed and let his nails dig into her naked flesh.
End Chapter 2