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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 14 – New Arrivals
Buffy kicked in a battered door and hustled the others into a dank and filthy former customer area. The rusted and faded sign out front proclaimed this was ‘E—L’s G-ra—
S—rvice’. It looked like E—l hadn’t been around in a while.
She carried Xander in and laid him on a service desk, knocking over a rusted bell which clunked dully to the floor. Their every move kicked up a small blizzard of dust motes and there was coughing and sneezing making the rounds among the friends.
“Earl could have used a housekeeper,” Xander quipped, trying to catch his breath and hide the pain he was in. Buffy really jostled him trying to lift him up onto the counter.
“We could use a car rental place,” Buffy said back. “We’re really screwed here.”
“We’ll think of something. After all, we’ve got two wonder-Wiccas on our side, right,” he gave her hand a friendly squeeze.
“Speaking of which,” Buffy said watching
“What was that,” she asked them as they broke apart.
“Sort of like ionizing the air,”
“Maybe it’ll scramble Dawn’s signal, a little. Give us a rest,”
“Why don’t we all have some water,” Giles offered. He already had a bottle out from the backpack Dawn had been carrying. He stood with Anya and was trying to get her to take some.
“No,” she kept screaming. “The rat’s are in the well! She’s going to melt!”
“So, now what,” Dawn said, trying to distract attention from Anya’s outburst. Every time poor Anya said anything, Dawn felt guilty all over again.
“We can’t stay her for long,” Xander said. “And you guys can’t keep carrying me. You’ll make better time if you leave me here and go. Maybe you can track back to Sunnydale and try again with your cars.”
“We’re not just leaving you behind,” Buffy said irritably and forcefully.
“That’s out of the question,” Giles added.
“Guys- Spike stayed behind because there was no choice. Now, I’m in the same boat here. You need to go,” he insisted.
“We didn’t abandon Spike. He’ll meet us here,”
“I think the argument is moot,”
Most of the Knights were now on foot, having lost the battle with their horses. Gregor, the two clerics and a handful of men were able to hold onto the steeds until the witch’s curse had faded but the others were still wandering out in the desert somewhere. Worse, for the General, was that at least two dozen of his men also were unaccounted for.
With a cry the General rushed the small building on foot where they saw one of those within shut a door. It won’t help them, he glared coldly at the dilapidated condition of the building.
He led the charge, beside him a man by the name of
He expected they’d have to slay the Slayer as well, to reach what she’d chosen to protect. He didn’t relish the idea, but he accepted the price.
Tara tried to hold the door, as
Don’t hurt her! She’s sick, she thought. For a moment she was filled with despair. She’d known that trying to pretend they could hide here wasn’t going to work, but she wanted to believe they’d have more time to think.
Right behind Gregor,
Dawn was currently ducking down near Xander, her eyes wide with fear. Gregor immediately picked her out of the group and rushed toward her with his sword. He heard Buffy yell, but ignored her. It didn’t matter if she reached him, as long as he had time to complete his sword stroke, first.
Dawn tried to back away, falling heavily on her butt as Gregor stood over her with his sword ready to complete its down stroke. Xander, who’d been lying still with his eyes closed, picked that moment to stop playing opossum. He kicked out with his leg, catching Gregor in the side of his face and sending him into the wall behind the counter.
Before the man could recover, Buffy had him by the back of the neck. She swung him around and drove his head into the counter, knocking him out cold.
In the meantime,
It gave Giles the opening he needed to wrestle with the man, shoving him out of the door. Behind him, however, were the rest of the Knights and they were rushing rapidly toward the vulnerable group.
“Our enemies, they fly and fall,” Willow intoned in the meanwhile. “Hercules arms encircle us and act as a wall.”
Outside, several of the Knights, including
“Mystics,” he yelled, furious. “They have General Kossimo! I want this barrier removed, now!”
Elias and Sandor approached the barrier and placed their hands, palms out, against it. After some quiet muttering, Sandor turned to him.
“Powerful magic. It will take time to fell.”
“I’m not interested in excuses,”
Sandor turned away without comment and joined the muttering chant that Elias had already started.
“Thanks, Xan,” Buffy said.
“That’s what a Scooby does,” he grimaced. “I could really use some pain meds, though.”
Buffy, Dawn and Xander saw
“Thanks, T. And thank Gaea, too, for me,” he grinned at her.
“Just stop doing things to make yourself worse,”
Across the room, Giles was scurrying through shelves and cabinets. When Buffy walked up to see what he was doing, he pointed out that they had a hostage. They needed to secure him.
“Do you think we can bargain for him,” Buffy asked.
Giles looked doubtful before seeing the note of worry in her eyes. He put on a forced smile, “We’ll see. At least it gives us something.”
“I’m sorry, Giles. We should have just stayed and found a way in town.”
“Buffy, you haven’t done anything wrong. We stayed as long as we could, until it was no longer tactically useful. Sometimes, we do everything right, and things get bollixed anyway. For right now, help me find something to secure our guest with, hmm? We’ll figure out what we can do with him later.”
Several hours passed with everyone seemingly in a holding pattern. The Scooby Gang couldn’t go anywhere, and the Knights wouldn’t. Buffy grew less and less optimistic as time passed. They had water, but food consisted of a few candy bars that Dawn had snuck into the backpack. It was a good thing she was so sneaky, or they’d have nothing but dirt to chow on.
The guy they’d knocked out was secured in a room in the back. It used to be the auto mechanic’s garage, but they’d found a sturdy post they could use to bind him to. In addition,
“Hekyl and Jekyl are really getting on my nerves out there,” she complained.
“Can you keep it up, Will,” Buffy asked.
“We got a, maybe, half a day at best,”
“Do your best,” Buffy said. She next walked over and bent next to Dawn and Anya. Anya had her head lying on the younger girl’s shoulder and was humming something tunelessly. Dawn was quietly stroking her hair.
“How are you holding up, Dawnie?”
“Fine. Scared, but fine,” she gave a tired smile. “What are we going to do, Buffy?”
“Giles and I are working on that. We got forehead tattoo, we’ll see if we can get them to back off a little. Anya, how are you,” she said quietly. She laid a hand on her shoulder but Anya shook it off.
“You’re going to lose,” she said angrily, causing Buffy to flinch.
“She doesn’t know what she’s saying,” Dawn told her sympathetically, as if she knew exactly what was going on in her sister’s mind.
“I know. It just reminds me of mom.”
“Yeah,” Dawn nodded sadly.
When Buffy returned to the back room, she found the prisoner awake, finally. Giles was scowling while the guy tied up seemed almost bored. It sort of pissed her off a little.
“Ah, Buffy… meet Gregor, the leader and General of our assailants,” Giles said. “Gregor, Buffy Summers, the Slayer.”
“I know who she is. If you think even she can be used to intimidate me into calling off my men, you are sadly mistaken.”
“If ‘your men’ don’t back off, I may get cranky all over you,” she threatened.
“Your threats fall on deaf ears, girl. I am a soldier… pain and even death is something I’ve pledged to accept a long while ago.”
“I’ve been trying to explain to our ‘guest’ that we can hide Dawn effectively. That our goals are the same, keeping her away from the Beast until it is too late to use the Key.”
“That is not the point,” Gregor insisted, raising his voice. “If the Beast cannot use her now, someone will figure out how to use her later. The Beast herself is near immortal and can use her at leisure some other time if not now! The false sister is a force for evil and destruction. Death is the only way to be sure.”
“That is not going to happen,” Buffy glared. “And I will break anyone who comes near her in half.”
“Why do you do this, Slayer? You’re here to fight for the Powers of Good, and yet you protect the instrument of Chaos.”
“It’s not that simple,” Giles put in.
“No. The monks played their cruel joke on you. Manipulated you and your feelings. I know something of religious orders and those who run them. They don’t care who gets hurt in their machinations. Something I imagine you also recognize… the Watchers Council does not have a sterling reputation, itself,” Gregor sneered.
“Yet this does not matter. The Key is the link and whatever it may appear to be now, the link it remains. The link must be severed. This is the will of God.”
“How dare you think you can know anything of the will of God,” Giles sneered himself now. “Religion has been claiming to know what God wants for centuries, when really He’s a front for petty men wanting to control their fellows and wring them of their God-given right to free will. You come in here and speak of God, as if he has come up and shook your hand and given you his blessing! You’re following the orders of a man, and he’s as fallible as any.”
“No God I know,” Buffy inserted, “would demand the life of a child. And any who did wouldn’t be one that I’d respect or listen to. Dawn doesn’t know anything about this ‘Keyhood’. She only knows that she’s a teenage girl with family who loves her! Please, put an end to this. Help us get her away safely and I’ll help you defeat Glory for good.”
“Not even if my men would follow such an edict. The Key remains a danger as long as it exists. Sever the breath of this ‘girl’ and we sever the danger the world will remain in,” Gregor said flatly, almost as if reciting by rote.
It’s like debating against a brick wall, Buffy despaired. A fanatical brick wall with troops who have us outnumbered.
Is he wrong, Giles thought almost despite himself. Even if we do keep Dawn away from Glory, is he right that the danger she represents will continue. Am I betraying the world by allowing this to continue?
In the customer area, Xander argued silently with Hyena. She wanted to save them by helping Gregor.
It makes sense, she insisted in her half-whine/half-growl. As long as Dawn remains, she endangers the pack. And she’s not one of us. She’s just a thing wrapped in an illusion.
You’re just a thing, Xander hotly thought back. An empty voice in the darkness; maybe you’re no more than an illusion that should be destroyed!
Hyena slinked off, leaving Xander to shiver. For the first time, he could feel her hostility that she’d somehow kept hidden from him for so long.
Commando? He waited for several moments but there was no reply. C’mon…, where are you these days?
His internal conversations were cut short when Anya began to struggle against Dawn’s hold on her. She was starting to try to scratch at Dawn’s face as the young girl kept trying to calm her down. Willow and Tara both rushed to help, but Anya seemed inconsolable and they didn’t have her medication. It was left back in the wreck.
“She needs me… no… let go, she needs me! It’s time! Time! I’m needed!”
In Sunnydale General, Nurses Rambolt and Peterson lay dead on the floor of the sixth floor mental ward. Both had long bloody wounds, made with curved daggers. Around their lifeless bodies, the mental patients being treated there were shepherded to the stairwell by the minions of Glorificus. The stairwell held the cadaver of security guard, Brian Silwell who’d also fallen afoul of the grey skinned goblins. The time had come to start Glory’s last monument to the world she’d been trapped on for so long.
End Chapter 14