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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 22 – Escapes and Promises
“Let me go, let go of me, please,” Anya pleaded with Xander. Tears glinted in her eyes and fell down her face, tearing him apart. “Stop this treachery!”
Giles and Buffy entered from the back room with both of them looking uncomfortable. They seemed to separate by some unspoken agreement, like boxers returning to their corners. Giles stood off from the rest of the group, watching.
His eyes seem so sad…, so empty,
Buffy walked over and kneeled beside
Spike was the only one to hear Buffy beg
She didn’t answer, he noted. I’ll have to watch out for her as well as the Watcher.
The whole gang was beginning to split at the seams, it seemed. They’d done this before, but they’d rallied, showed him a thing or two and defeated the Initiative Cyborg’s plans. Now he feared that Glory would get what she wanted while the others were busy watching for treachery among each other.
His gaze centered on Xander Harris, trying to calm poor, deluded demon-girl. He made no move to help him, as he’d shown in the camper that his presence wasn’t appreciated by Anya. Instead he thought of how he and the man had just gotten to the point of admitting they weren’t ‘just friends’. That Xander had been the one who’d had the courage to lay it out on the line filled him with admiration. The same feeling that probably had led him to fall for the human in the first place. And yet, he hadn’t returned the sentiment when Xan had blurted out the ‘L-word’. Maybe he should have done so. Maybe there wouldn’t be another chance, but he couldn’t say it. Not right now; not when he might have to watch Xander’s life snuffed out in this battle for Dawn.
He turned away and went out into the alley to light another cigarette.
We’re going to have to talk about the vampire thing, he thought. If we get through this; if he insists on being part of the action, I’ll need to know if he really wants death over staying with me as one of the Aurelius. If there’s any doubt, I’ll turn him… I know I will. I’m not strong. I’ll make excuses that it wasn’t clear, even though I know what I know and I’ll turn him. He needs to say it out loud to my face in no uncertain terms that he never wants me to try.
If he just survives this….
Ben stood near the door, gesturing for Dawn to remain quiet. In his hand, he held a loose plank of wood, the best weapon they could locate in the area.
“Granier! Help me… Dawn …she…!”
As expected the Jawa came rushing into the office, not taking the time to call for his brethren. And just as planned, Ben bashed his head before he could yell an alarm.
He turned to Dawn, “There was a time when I wouldn’t raise a hand to anyone.”
“Let’s go,” she said, giving him a little push toward the door. Not that she didn’t have sympathy, with him being a doctor and all. But the last thing she needed right now was for him to start second guessing doing what he had to do to get her out of there and back to Buffy.
Spike heard the footsteps behind him long before the male voice spoke. He was standing at the end of the alley, looking out on
“I’d like to speak to you.”
“If it’s about Dawn, I agree with Buffy. I know you can’t fathom it, Rupert, but I care…, truly care, for her.”
“Then you’ll see to it that it’s quick,” Giles said. “If we cannot save her, you’ll be able to make it instant.”
Spike turned around and dropped his smoke, smashing it into the dirt with his heavy boot. He wanted to tell Giles to sod off. He wanted to grab the man by the lapels and shake him, rage at him and threaten him. He didn’t do these things and it reminded him that he was still a demon. Because much as he adored the littlest Summers, he could see Giles’ point clearly. If the world ended, Dawn would die… most likely, anyway. And she might not die quick and clean. There were plenty of demons out there who could use a young virgin for nefarious purposes… either for ritual or personal satisfaction. He knew that as well as anyone, unfortunately.
“If I thought Dawn might suffer…, but just to close Glory’s portal? No. Besides, the chip won’t allow that to happen, anyway,” Spike shrugged.
“You strike me as someone who wouldn’t allow it to stop you if you really wanted to do something, Spike. It may hurt after, but you’ll more likely than not end up dead along with the rest of us, anyway.”
“I’m already dead.”
“You know what I mean. Once gods and full demons break through, they’re not going to welcome hybrids such as you. And would you really wish to live in that world, anyway? Knowing that Xander, Dawn, even Buffy have been ripped to pieces? Or would that be the perfect world for you, after all,” Giles said with no malice.
Spike’s ‘game face’ sprang forward, anyway. “Any world where Xander and Dawn were dead wouldn’t be one I’d revel in, ‘Old Man’. Watch your tongue, Watcher,” he nearly growled. He pushed around Giles to head back into the destroyed shop. And although he didn’t slow his step or react in any way, he heard perfectly Giles’ sighed response. As the human knew he would, of course.
“And if it was a world where only one of them had to die?”
Giles heard the heavy tread of Spike stomp back into the former Magic Box behind him. He remained out in the warm, humid air and looked at the empty night around him. Behind the façade of calm he hoped he was projecting, his soul felt like it was shriveling. His heart had already broke and now the pieces were like shards of glass grinding and slicing him up inside. No one could really think he wanted to harm a fifteen year old girl? They must know how horrifying the very thought was, how repugnant. But did they really think they could allow the entire world and countless other dimensions, let’s not forget, to die also just for one person?
He sighed out into the night and leaned against cool, wet brick, feeling utterly and totally alone. Is this what Travers feels? Have I judged him too harshly in the past?
“I can depend on you,” Buffy questioned.
“Of course. But you don’t really think…?” Xander shrugged. He didn’t even want to say the words.
“I don’t know. I hope it won’t come down to it.”
“Don’t worry,” he laid a hand on hers. “If Dawn gets cut, we all die. You know I’d follow you anywhere… even if it’s into the end.”
“How’s Anya,” Buffy asked to keep her self from tearing up.
“She’s got a bee in her bonnet about something. I wish we had her medication. Do you think another sleepy spell would be safe?”
“I wouldn’t, Xan.” Buffy leaned in front of Anya who kept repeating ‘it’s nearly time’ in a strange flat voice. She swallowed over the lump in her throat. “I’m sorry, Anya. But soon, the witches will have their chance to fix this. I promise.”
“I’ll head back to the house. I want to grab a few axes for you guys, anyway. Spike?” She turned to see the vampire watching them all. “You’re with me.”
Dawn was hunkered down as much as she could while still walking, trying to crouch beside Ben where no one would see her. She knew how pointless it was. And she felt silly doing it, but it was like instinct was overriding her common sense. She just wanted to appear as small as possible until he’d gotten her out of wherever they were.
“What’s that,” she whispered as her eyes caught sight of some huge metallic thing. It was like a tower of junk that creaked and groaned in the breeze.
“Glory’s scabs have been having her victims build it. I think that’s where they’re going to…. Where they were going to do the, uh, ritual. C’mon…, hurry up.”
As they snuck around a corner of the office they’d just been in, Ben dropped to his knees and began working at the cheap mesh fence. He yanked and pulled at it until they could slip under it on their bellies.
As Dawn felt her shirt and pants soaking through with muddy water, she grimaced involuntarily. She didn’t complain, however. Anything was better than where she was.
From behind them, just as Ben made it through behind her, came the shouts of alarm. One of the minions; Dawn recognized the voice but didn’t know their names, began calling out for help.
“Damn! We’re busted,” Ben yelled while yanking on her arm. “Let’s run!”
He didn’t need to tell her twice.
Buffy and Spike passed a pensive and silent Giles near the alley’s mouth. Buffy almost didn’t acknowledge him, but she couldn’t do that to him. Despite the fact she couldn’t trust him right now there was too much respect and affection between them.
“We’re heading to the house for weapons. We won’t be long,” Buffy said, trying to hide the hurt and anger that was still inside her.
“Be careful,” he said. He sounded like he always did, like Watcher and Slayer might not be coming to blows in a few hours.
A few hours and either I’ll save Dawn or fail her, she thought as her heart began hammering against her ribs.
“I doubt that Glorificus will have her minions out looking for us,” Giles continued. “But it’s best not to assume.”
“Yeah. We’ll be careful,” she responded. “Try to figure out a way to locate Dawnie while we’re gone. And Giles? I want you here when I get back.”
“I’m not an assassin sneaking off into the night, Buffy,” Giles said, sounding hurt.
She turned without acknowledging his pain. Beside her, Spike kept his silence until they were three blocks from the store.
“You think we can trust him?”
“As long as there’s a chance to get Dawn to safety, he’ll take it. He won’t back stab me by going off to find her on his own.” Her tone was flat; unfeeling. She couldn’t afford the emotions right now, so like a good Slayer, she began to lock them all up deep inside.
“I may need to kill him.”
“If he comes for Dawn, I’ll stop him. You’re to keep your hands off him, Spike. He’s still Giles.” She tried not to think about the part of him that she barely knew and didn’t want to. The ‘Ripper’ who’d she seen during the Band Candy Incident. The one that had taken dark magicks and gone toe to toe with a Hellgod and lived, but her memory was too good sometimes.
“You’re shivering,” Spike noted. He’d also caught the change in her heart rate.
“It’s adrenaline. I’m fine. How’re you doing?”
“Stunned that you’d be the one to ask, for one. But I’m ready for the fight.”
“We won’t all make it,” he heard. Her voice had dropped near a whisper. Even so, he caught the slight tremor in her voice. Anyone else might have thought she’d gone cold…, battle ready, the perfect Slayer. His enhanced hearing picked up the slightest variance in her voice, however.
“I’m ready,” he repeated. “Always knew I’d go down fighting. It’s the way I’d want it. Of course, I always thought it would be against a do-gooder, not on the side of one.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence until they reached the front walk of the Summers’ house. As they made their way up to the front door, Buffy cleared a lump in her throat.
“I’m counting on you,” she said. “If I’m one of the casualties? I’m counting on you to get to her. To get her out of there and hide her.”
“Unless I go down fighting first.”
She cleared her throat again after they’d entered her mother’s home and made her way up a few of the stairs to the second floor. “Even…, even if it’s Xander in trouble. I need you to put Dawn first.”
She lifted her gaze from the carpeting where she’d been staring and met his surprised look. He hadn’t gotten what she’d been leading to.
“If it’s Xander or Dawn,” she repeated her point, “I need you to get Dawn.”
Spike paused a moment before nodding his head. “Xan wouldn’t want it any other way, anyway.”
She turned to make her way back up the stairs again. Again she stopped, this time because Spike spoke. He needed to say something and time was growing shorter far too fast.
“Why haven’t you threatened me? ‘If you hurt Xander, etcetera, etcetera’.”
She turned and looked him in the eyes. Looking deeper than he ever thought she’d looked at him before. Finally she nodded, seemingly satisfied with whatever she thought she saw.
“When it comes to my family, I trust you. Xander is my family. You won’t hurt him,” she said simply, like it was a forgone conclusion that was so obvious it didn’t need explaining.
He went to reply, but found himself swallowing over an unaccustomed lump in his throat.
“I’ll be down in a minute,” she said. “The hand axes are in the living room chest. Assuming my ‘visitors’ from earlier didn’t take everything before coming after us.”
Ben pulled Dawn into an alleyway, eliciting a gasp of surprise from her. His hand quickly covered her mouth.
“Shh! They’re nearby,” he whispered. “I can sense them.”
Dawn thought Ben might have gone a bit crazy, until minutes later when she heard two of their pursuer’s voices. Ben flattened himself against the wall by her side and they shared worried glances as they listened to Glory’s assistants complaining to one another.
Apparently, Glory was likely to skin them alive if they didn’t find Dawn and quickly.
Good, she thought.
End Chapter 22