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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 12 – The Price of Warfare
In the Recreational Vehicle, Giles had relinquished the wheel for awhile to Xander.
Buffy had finally come out of her self seclusion and sat at the table with Giles and a road map. Tara was currently in her place in the little bedroom, watching over Anya. She’d needed another pill when she began crying hysterically that ‘Glory needs me to build her monument!’ The bedroom door was left open, so that
Now, Willow half followed what Giles and Buffy discussed and half skimmed over her own spell book, looking for ways to reign in the energy signature that Dawn was unintentionally broadcasting. Even if it wasn’t drawing Glory or the Knighthood right to them, and it probably was, it would be best if they could muzzle Dawnie’s aura for the future as well.
Dawn tried to help by getting everyone water from the tiny dispenser in the kitchenette and making sure she helped research Anya’s cure, too. She was stuck in alternating cycles of guilt for being such a beacon and trying not to be offended when Willow and Giles occasionally spoke about her like she wasn’t right there listening. She really wanted to act like a grown up while everyone else was so busy.
Actually everyone was starting to look a little drowsy. The air conditioning wasn’t so great in their oh-so-previously-used rig and they couldn’t open the windows because of Spike catching a lethal dose of rays. She sighed, but quickly put on a ‘this is all good’ smile.
“Would anyone like some coffee? I think we threw some in the backpacks and there seems to be a pot in here. Uh, I’d wash it first… really good… maybe with bleach and dynamite.”
“Thank you, Dawn,” Giles smiled at her. “But as tempting as the thought is, I think I’ll wait until we reach the next McDonalds.”
“Speaking of which,” Xander called back. “I’m definitely making a pit stop at the next place. There’s no way, I’m peeing in that tiny closet they shoved the porta-potty in!”
“Ugh,” Spike teased him. “I’d forgotten about all of that human waste issue. I may need to rethink this relationship-thing with you.”
“Oh, too late now Fang-face. We’ve already got Dawn pushing us together now; there’s no way we get to back out.”
“You got that, right,” Dawn called out. “If I don’t get to see some hot man on male-vamp action soon, I’m going to glue your lips together when you’re sleeping.”
“Dawn!” Buffy scowled uncomfortably at her.
“What? Xan and Spike are both hot. What could be hotter than watching them be hot together? Uh, but not in a gay porn sort of way… which I’d know nothing about because I don’t know how to use the internet….”
“Oh, my god… no more computer for you for the rest of your life,” Buffy said.
“Hello? Everyone? Puberty came and went… can we all catch up?”
“Or can we simply ignore the last five minutes of this conversation,” Giles asked. “Please?”
“I’m definitely scrubbing by memory clean,” Buffy said.
“I’ve already told her to stop thinking them thoughts until she’s thirty,” Spike offered.
“I’m the legal guardian here, and I say it’s going to be forty,” Buffy called back. “In fact, I may be locking her in her room for that long, too. Once she actually has a room, again.”
“Look at it this way, Buffy. Now that we’re out of Sunnydale, at least things can’t get any crazier.” Dawn smiled at her sister. Of course, that was exactly the moment that the point of a crossbow bolt slammed through the side of the R.V., fortunately missing everyone.
“You know you just jinxed us, right,” Buffy pointed out with a roll of her eyes.
“Oops,” Dawn conceded before screaming, startled and diving to the ground as the window was smashed in by a club.
“Xander, start swerving!” Buffy struggled out from behind the table so that she’d have more maneuverability. All around them thundered the hooves of horses and men’s yelling.
“Don’t hit the horsies,” Willow shouted while checking on Tara.
Tara had quickly grabbed Anya’s sedated form and dragged her to the floor, trying to keep her from being hit by the crossbow bolts that were still puncturing the camper’s walls. She gave
Willow was frustrated because she knew a spell or two and she’d be tapped out again. She may not even be able to do that much, after all trying to calm Anya magically had only inflicted pain on her. She looked at the knife she held in her hand and thought how little good it was going to do against armor.
At the smashed window, Giles was struggling with a Knight who hung half into the interior of the R.V. and was swinging wildly with a blunt mace. Finally, he was able to get in two solid punches to the man’s face and with a brief yell, he’d fallen back out.
Spike leaned toward Xander before making a dash toward the back to help out where he could. “Aim for the horsies, mate!”
“Dawn,” Buffy called for her sister, but then she had to deal with a sword plunging through the roof. The blade caught her down her back, but she could tell it wasn’t a serious wound.
Under the table where she’d managed to crawl through all of the legs in her way, Dawn was desperately trying to chant from the spell book she held. She didn’t even know what it said, but it had to be better than sitting here.
“Idii-uh-ma-manip- oh, crap! Why did I have to grab the stupid Babylonian book!”
“I-it’s Sumerian,” Giles yelled before once again engaging an armored man trying to wiggle through the window and into the camper’s interior.
“You’re cut,” Spike yelled at Buffy.
“Later! Boost me up to the roof… Xander, step on it and swerve!”
“I’m stepping… and swerving,” he yelled back frustrated. “This thing drives like a cardboard box in a stiff breeze!”
“Well, excuse me if I didn’t have time to properly shop,” Giles complained. His latest foe finally was pushed out with a yell.
Tara stood hanging onto the door frame and trying to keep the bedroom door from closing on her fingers. She pointed at the window frame that Giles was still trying to guard with nothing more than his hands.
Above her head she could hear Buffy and more than one man banging around on the roof. Another Knight apparently leapt from his horse and onto the window’s sill, attempting to wriggle in. He was waving a short sword at Giles to hold him at bay.
“Desolvo,” Tara yelled, flinging green energy that knocked the man out. Around her, crossbow points continued to poke through. She glanced back to make sure Anya was okay, but the young woman was still under the sedative’s effects and was snoring soundly. It would have been funny if things weren’t so desperate.
Just in front of her and holding for dear life to the sink basin, Willow closed her eyes.
“Will, don’t,” Tara tried to warn her, but she was already chanting.
“Mighty Neptune, call to your equestrians through your horse god aspect! Oh, Pégasos, we beseech thee… let your brethren undo their yokes and run free!”
Willow gasped as her body weakened under the strain of the incantation.
“Baby, you need to lay off the magicks. You know that! You should have just told me what the plan was,”
“It’s okay… I’ll be alright, now,” Will smiled at her.
On the roof, Buffy watched in amazement as the horses suddenly seemed to get a mind of their own. They bucked men from the saddles, or simply began running wildly out of control, the riders holding on for dear life. Behind the R.V., men lay on the ground and she felt a pang of guilt. They’d left her no choice and she knew she’d killed at least two of them, maybe a few more if they hit the ground wrong. She hoped that Giles would understand she hadn’t been able to get them off the camper any other way.
On her hands and knees, she tried to ride out Xander’s erratic driving as he was still swerving defensively. She banged on the roof and yelled down through the hatch that they’d broken off the attack.
But she spoke too soon.
Gregor’s horse was responding to the magic, like the others, but he’d managed to twist in his saddle. Trying the best he could to fight his horse and fire his crossbow he aimed for the Slayer as the R.V. pulled away from him.
His angle for the shot was from the side and he didn’t think he’d be able to hit her while also trying not to be bucked off his steed. He pulled the trigger anyway. The shot went completely wide, but he had no more chance to see what was happening with his quarry. His horse was bolting and it was all he could do to hang on.
The crossbow bolt flew into a wide arc, far too low to reach past the R.V.’s side. It was also far wide from its mark. If the vehicle had been moving any slower, it would have sailed right in front of it. Any faster, and it would have been just another bolt sticking ineffectively into the side of the camper. But Xander was still pressing the gas pedal to its maximum.
It effortlessly punched through the driver’s side door panel and Xander gasped first in surprise and then pain as he felt it impact into his side.
“Well, damn,” he said as he felt the hot wetness begin to soak his shirt.
With Xander having straightened out the wheel, Buffy now felt comfortable with crawling back toward the roof hatch. She had just reached it when the R.V. unexpectedly and sharply swerved again.
“Xander,” she shouted as she tried to grab hold of the roof. It was relatively flat, however and offered no real hand holds. She slid across the roof and was flung off to the sand below, hitting the ground hard. Her years of training and experience allowed her to compensate and she was able to roll with the impact.
Leaping to her feet she saw and heard the large vehicle go down.
Flashback – Moments ago
All of the commotion had finally broken through Anya’s drug induced separation from the world and she sat up bleary eyed. She was sort of aware that something was happening. There was noise and shouting and thunking. She started to cry… afraid. The bunnies were thumping the car with their huge feet and they were going to get her.
Sitting in the entryway was Tara, one arm holding Willow while the other braced them against the door.
Willow was trying to convince her head that it didn’t really hurt. Her head wasn’t buying it and continued to pound. In addition, it felt like she’d lost all of the strength for several minutes in her limbs and she was afraid she’d given herself a stroke. Fortunately, she could feel herself recovering.
Spike was glancing at the roof access and waiting to help Buffy back down. In the meantime he glanced under the table and found Dawn gripping a book with white knuckles, her eyes wide. “You okay, Dawn?”
“Y-yeah… not a scratch. Did we win?”
His reply was preempted by Buffy’s yell of alarm from above them. The vehicle went into a sharp swerve, and Spike felt an instance of irritation. He took a deep breath to yell at Xander to watch what the hell he was doing when the smell of Xander’s blood hit him like a baseball bat to the face. For a split second he flashed back to the night in the alley when Dracula had nearly taken him away. And then he was running forward and yelling for Xan.
Xander struggled to bring the lumbering vehicle under control, but he’d lost strength in his legs. He could feel each movement of the R.V. as a slicing and dicing inside his innards as the pointed tip of the cross bolt melded him with the door panel.
The gang was yelling at him, but he couldn’t focus and it took only seconds for him to lose the battle against the behemoth. The wheel seemed to turn of its own volition and he felt himself flung to the right, falling from the driver’s seat. The next thing he knew, he was lying in an uncomfortable cramped position against the passenger side door. From above him, his own blood dripped off of the bolt in the door sending fat droplets splashing onto his face.
Giles was rudely pushed out of the way as Spike dashed around him. He found himself half lying/half kneeling on the curved bench seating for the table. He’d just begun to straighten to berate Spike when he was suddenly flung backward into the cabinets on the side of the sink. He just had time to yell for everyone to hang on, when the whole camper tipped over onto its side.
Dawn was trying to crawl out from under the table when she found herself free falling forward. Unable to stop her momentum, her shoulder banged painfully on the table’s central leg and then she was being thrown into the sink cabinets. Her last action was trying to get her arms up, when her head connected solidly with the cupboard doors and her eyesight was full of stars.
Tara lost her grip on Willow as she instinctively grabbed the doorframe and screamed. The whole R.V. was tipping onto its side and
For her part, Tara was able to hold on somehow. She was fine until the top of the vehicle slammed down on the road. Her head was slammed forward, her chin hitting painfully on the doorjamb. Seconds later and she felt the pain in her bottom lip where her teeth had bitten down, breaking the skin.
Anya was crying for the nice lady. She knew her name, but things were so confused and noisy and she couldn’t think. She wanted the nice lady to smooth her hair and to hear her voice. She’d just begun to crawl towards her when the whole world lurched around her.
She screamed as things began flying into her face, over her head and she felt herself fall to the side. When she hit the ground hard, she cried even more.
“The world is cracking apart,” she screamed, hoping someone could help her. “The world! It’s cracking apart!”
Spike was thrown off balance in his flight and found himself leaning against the cabin door when it flew open unexpectedly underneath him. Before he could process that the door was somehow under him, the side of the wreck crashed into asphalt. The door was powerfully slammed shut, aborting Spike’s movement downward and he felt his head viciously thrown back causing a brief agonizing pain as his neck suffered whiplash and his lips were split open by the impact of metal against skin.
In addition, he could taste blood from his smashed nose flowing down his face. Next to him, lay Giles. He could see blood on the back of the Watcher’s head, but he was conscious and didn’t seem too badly off. Past him, Red was struggling to sit up and furiously wiping water from her face. The panicked flailing at her face told him she probably thought she was gushing blood.
“It’s just water, Red. You broke the sink,” he croaked. In the next breath, whatever snapping comment he’d been about to make at her vanished from his mind as he remembered that Xander’s blood was scenting the air.
“Xander! Talk to me,” he yelled as he struggled to get to his hands and knees. At the same time he had to avoid the too close for comfort, river of sunlight making its way in through the new skylight.
End Chapter 12