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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 5- Guilt & Despair
Buffy was riding shot gun in Xander’s Taurus when her cell phone rang. In the back seat, Anya was singing a nonsense song about flowers and bunnies and who knew what all. Xander sat next to her navigating the car; tight lipped and angry. Between them in a bag on the seat were at least five different pill prescriptions to help Anya stay calm. It was so much like taking care of Joyce that Buffy felt short of breath.
“Yeah… oh… oh, no… no…,” she said as she listened to the voice on the other end.
Xander recognized they were about to receive more bad news. He pulled the car to the shoulder and placed it in park, allowing the motor to idle. Reaching out one hand, he took Buffy’s other as she continued acknowledging the person on the other end. A few moments later and she had closed the cell phone and her eyes against the bad news.
“Glory, again?” Xander asked, but he wasn’t really sure he wanted to know.
“We need to turn around… or wait: we’ll take Anya home first. Spike and Dawn can make her comfortable. Then we need to go back to the hospital.
“Jesus. Were they… will we need to take care of them too, like Ahn?”
Buffy shook her head in the negative. “
“Okay, then,” Xander sighed and sounded exhausted. “We’ll deal with Anya first, then go back. I don’t suppose Glory will be convinced to go away?”
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Buffy sighed. A single tear slid down her face. “We can’t beat her. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we can’t fight her.”
As they passed through the center of town, both of their eyes were drawn to the boarded up door and window of the Magic Box. Neither chose to comment, but they both felt the dark shadow of hopelessness trying to choke them.
In the woods near the U.C. Sunnydale campus, Ben stood barely dressed in green tatters. The pain he was in was considerable. He felt like his body was covered in open burns, yet when he had looked himself over in a panic, he found no signs of injury. He wanted to ask what had happened, but that wasn’t how things worked with his ‘sister’ and there were none of her imps close to hand to interrogate.
As he began to make his way through the thick woods, he wondered how long he’d been gone this time. Glory was taking over more and more often and staying longer. He could almost feel her impatience to return home permeating him, and that had never happened before. He had never felt nor had an inkling of anything that happened while she was in control. He was suddenly, for the first time, afraid that someone might actually kill her. Something had happened to her and he was feeling the pain; what would happen to him if she was actually killed?
“Something’s changed,” he whispered to himself. Her timetable is coming up. I can feel it. If she’s getting home she has to do it soon. What will happen to me? What will it mean if she fails? Will she go away then; can I finally be free? Or will she destroy everyone around her in a rage? How many can she hurt and kill and destroy in her fury? But if she does it, if she finds the Key and goes home, will that mean I’ll die? There has to be a way to get her home that doesn’t involve hurting anyone, including Dawn and myself. Oh, God… can I make a deal with her? Should I turn Dawn over to the dwarves, after all? Is there any way to save myself?
When Buffy and Xander had reached the apartment, they’d found Spike online at some arcane site or another. Dawn was busy making sandwiches.
“Hey, guys,” she said reservedly. Her puffy lids were testament that she’d done some crying recently. “Hi, Anya.”
Dawn came up and gently hugged the woman as Anya stared off into space. She remained silent and didn’t react to her in any way.
Next came a hug from Buffy, but Dawn’s attention remained fixed on Anya. “I’m sorry, Anya… I’m so sorry,” she said. But she showed no signs of hearing her.
“What’s up, Spike,” Xander asked. “I see you’re walking around, so that’s a good.”
“Xan, Buffy…,” Spike acknowledged without turning around. The website appeared to be in some form of foreign language involving lots of squiggles.
“We’re looking for a way to help Anya,” Dawn told them quietly. “There has to be a spell or something. Spike is looking at some Sanskrit website. I really want Will and Tara to bring over the books so I can help. I really need to help,” Dawn said imploringly.
Buffy sighed. “Dawn, we need you and Spike to watch over Anya, okay? We have to go back to the hospital.”
“No,” Dawn shook her head, looking stricken. “No, what did she do now? Who have I hurt now?”
Instantly Spike was behind her, laying a cool and powerful hand protectively on her shoulder.
“This isn’t your fault, Dawn,” Xander said. “You hear me? This isn’t caused by you. And the girls will be okay.”
“They’re okay, Dawnie,” Buffy tried to assure her. The look on her face said that clearly nothing was okay right now, however.
“How bad is it,” Spike asked. “Dawn will find out anyway and it’s best to get things on the table.”
“Willow’s in a coma… it’s a light one, she may even be awake by the time we get there,” Xander said, ignoring the gasp of pain from Dawn. “Tara’s hand was broken, but no one’s mind was… raped..., whatever you call it.”
“Willow…Tara….” Dawn said. She tried to come up with something to say, something other than she was sorry because that wasn’t helping anyone. She came up with nothing. They were all putting their lives and more on the line for her and all she was doing was crying and whining.
Dawn wiped at her eyes and straightened her shoulders. “Okay. Buffy, we need their spell books to research. At the same time, we should find someplace more secure to hide. Maybe we can leave Sunnydale? There’s got to be a place where she can’t find me just until it’s too late for her to open this door she’s interested in.”
“Dawn, we don’t even know if there is a time limit,” Buffy pointed out.
“There is, Buffy. I know it. I can feel it. A deadline is coming up. Don’t ask me how I know, but I do.”
“I’ll talk to Giles. He wanted to keep you here because the Hellmouth is keeping Glory from noticing that you’re the Key,” Buffy told her gently. “But it looks like this isn’t going to stay a safe place, anyway. Especially if you really are right; she’s going to be desperate to get her hands on you. That’s going to make her even more dangerous.”
“We’ll also have to deal with the Knights, once we leave the town’s limits,” Xander reminded them. “They’ll be able to use their spells to detect her.”
“Maybe not,” Spike said. “Maybe I can locate a shielding spell of some sort. We could really use the witches and, much as I hate admitting it, the Watcher on this though.”
“Speaking of which,” Xander said, “Buffy, we gotta get to the hospital.”
“Dawn, it’s important you stay with Spike. No running off, you got it,” Buffy said.
“Y-yeah…, yeah, I won’t go anywhere. Do you think Anya’s hungry? I’m making a late lunch.”
“Why don’t you try to see if she’ll eat anything,” Xander squeezed her shoulder. Then he and Buffy turned around and left again. Anya had wandered to the couch and sat staring at her reflection in the blank television screen. Though her eyes remained fixed and inanimate, a single teardrop fell down her cheek.
By the time that they’d reached the hospital again, Willow had opened her eyes. She’d had a little magical help from
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as they surrounded her bedside, except Giles. He was quiet and everyone could feel the tension rolling off of him. Once he knew that
“I think, maybe he’s mad at me,”
“No, Sweetie, he’s just worried. The spells you used… they could have killed you,” Tara squeezed her hand with her good one. The other was surrounded in a cast while the elbow had been wrapped tightly with a gauze bandage.
“At least you hurt her, Will,” Buffy said. “It’s more than I’ve managed to do so far.” She blew out a lungful of air in frustration. “Maybe it’s time I turned in my Slayer stakes and learned to knit or something.”
“How’s Anya,” Tara asked Xander, trying to preempt the feelings of despair that were becoming apparent in the little room.
“I’m not sure. She’s home… that’s the important thing. Spike and Dawn are looking for some way to help her. Uh, they’re hoping you might be able to come over for a research session later.”
“Yeah, of course. I think I may be able to help,”
“No fair,” Willow said weakly from her bed. “Don’t do the cool magic without me. I’m ready to get signed out.”
“You don’t look ready to me, Honey. Besides, they want to keep you overnight to make sure you don’t relapse into a coma. You really had me scared, you know.”
“Listen to your girl, Will,” Xander said. “You should just rest overnight and leave the heavy lifting to us for awhile, okay?”
“I just feel so badly. I’m sorry, Buffy… you needed me to stop her for good and I wasn’t strong enough,” Willow said, near tears.
“Are you kidding?
“Which is what I keep trying to remind you,” Xander pointed out. “No one should be feeling bad for not stopping her, here. We just need to dig a little deeper. There’s a way to stop her… there’s always a way. We’ll find it.”
“I’m worried about Giles,” Tara said suddenly. “He really seemed very upset when we were waiting to see if Will was going to be okay. You don’t think he’d do something dangerous, do you?”
“Giles? Nah, he’s a Watcher through and through. He’ll go home, have tea and then put us to work with more books,” Xander tried to lighten the mood just a little bit.
“Well, I just hope he gives us a book that actually has something useful,” Buffy lamented.
In Giles’ apartment, all of the lights were turned out. Across from him in his bedroom sat the hidden chest, holding the ‘Book of ’. His concentration did not waver from the chest, even as he sipped at the scotch in his hand.
He had been praying for some answer, some insight into Glory… some miracle. It wasn’t something that he did often. Though he knew there were forces out there just as concerned with good as with evil, they always seemed to be so remote. Evil tended to come up and shake one’s hand, just before tearing it off. The forces of Good tended to expect you to blunder on with faith that they’d step in behind the scenes if necessary.
And people paid the price for their acting so indirectly. Anya…
End Chapter 5