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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 26 – The End of the World as We Knew It
On the ground, Giles looked up from his knees and wiped at his mouth. Near him, a fissure opened in the ground. He jumped to his feet and backed away as some sort of hellish insects began to swarm up from the ground. Like heavily armored cockroaches, they noted his presence and began spitting small bouts of flame at him.
Above his head, he could clearly see the portal growing large.
“No,” he whispered in denial. He ran in the direction of the stairway up to where Dawn would be.
He didn’t make it, as part of the junk tower fell apart. He’d barely been able to dodge to the side enough to save his neck, but still his legs were caught and pinned in the debris.
Near the sidewalk, the gang clung to the wood fence as the ground around them shook. Lightning was streaming in all directions. A fierce wind was streaming in the direction of the portal, carrying dust and leaves and paper through the air.
Xander called out for Giles and saw him pinned under steel near the tower. He took off toward him to help. As he passed he saw Spike lying on the ground, a look of fear on his face. His lower jaw area was full of blood and he appeared unable to get up under his own power. Thick blood ran over his chin.
“Spike,” he yelled, but it was hard to hear over the noise.
He hesitated for a moment and glanced in the Watcher’s direction, before choosing to spend his last moments (For these were the last moments, weren’t they?) with Spike. He threw himself to the ground and pulled the vampire into his lap. Stroking Spike’s hair, he leaned close enough to be heard over the apocalyptic wind and debris storm’s sounds surrounding them.
“We would have been a great pair,” he said.
“Yeah, mate, we would have,” Spike agreed before pulling Xander further down so they could kiss.
The blood of Spike’s mouth tingled as it touched Xander’s tongue, but he refused to worry. They were dying here; the rest of the world would follow. There was no point in worrying about the vampire/human blood transfer anymore. He could feel even Hyena give in to the inevitable. He felt her relax into him and Spike, enjoying the contact and waiting.
Anya also saw Giles pinned and saw Xander veer off. She grabbed at
“Oh, god, we didn’t win,” she said. She could barely hear herself over the noise of the ground quaking and the rush of wind pulling things from the ground up into the air. She continued toward Giles and began tugging at steel rods, bits of brick and wood planks pinning his legs. Nearby, bugs swarmed up from the ground that she recognized as Thurmbolt Beetles. They mindlessly spit their little flames around them, antagonized and confused.
“No matter what happens,”
Both of them were crying.
From the tower’s platform, Buffy pulled Dawn into an embrace. She looked out to the southwest of town and could see steam or smoke rising from the partially removed ruins of the old high school. Even as she watched, a small orange glow began to emanate.
The Hellmouth is going to open, too, Buffy thought in a despairing acceptance. Against her, Dawn struggled.
“Buffy! Look what’s happening. I have to go,” Dawn shouted to be heard above the cacophony.
Buffy only shook her head no. She’d warned the gang; she’d told them if Dawn was bled and the ritual started, then they’d all die. She just wished that she was with them all now.
“Buffy, please… don’t let this happen! It has to have the blood! Give it what it wants!”
Buffy squinted to the east and saw another soft orange glow. The sun was just beginning to rise. The last sunrise, if I don’t do something.
She looked at Dawn’s panicked and willful eyes. She’d jump… she’d die to save them. She was so proud of her.
For some reason, Dawn’s insistence on giving the portal blood brought up a memory for her. They were in the hospital, Buffy hurt and Dawn cut… both bleeding.
Look at this Dawn; both are blood. Our family’s blood. Yours is the same as mine, she had told her. More memories came at her at hyper-speed.
She’s more… she’s… she’s a part of me. I can’t explain it, but when I look at her, when I hold her….
Love, death, your gift, the Guardian had whispered to her. Death is your gift.
Death is my gift, Buffy thought, chills running up her arms as she finally understood. Not giving death, but accepting it.
She looked at the rising sun beyond the white-purple of the grasping tendrils of portal energy. From it, some sort of large beast had its head and two claws showing through as it tried to push through the widening barrier and smiled. Before her, Dawn must have seen something in her face because she gasped.
“Buffy… no! No!”
Buffy stroked her hair, “It’s okay, Dawnie. Listen, please, there’s no more time. I love you. I will always love you no matter where I am. But this is the work that I’ve been called to do. Tell Giles… tell him I figured things out and that I’m okay. Tell my friends that I wasn’t afraid. Dawn! I’m not afraid,” she smiled. “You have to take care of them for me. You’ll have to take care of each other, now. Be strong, Dawn. Dawn – the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Live, Dawn… for me.”
Buffy kissed Dawn’s tear stained face and gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze. And then she turned away.
Dawn watched her sister run toward the end of the plank. Slightly below it, the portal continued to roil and spin. Lightning shot from it and the air was full of strange sounds, but Dawn hardly noticed now. She kept her eyes wide, kept them watching Buffy… being a Witness.
Buffy never slowed. She didn’t glance back. And she didn’t hesitate. Leaping out into the air, she dove straight down into that mass of light and chaos. Whatever beast had been trying to struggle through it was hit head on by Buffy’s diving form and pushed backward from the portal’s opening.
Almost immediately, the portal seemed to collapse in on itself. The tower that she thought was going to shake apart stopped swaying. The wind ended and the strange noises were replaced with an eerie silence for a moment before the sounds of sirens and people yelling filled the air.
Against her will, her eyes were drawn down from where she stood. She saw Buffy, only a speck, but still recognized by her outfit and hair lying across broken bricks and rubble.
She could still be alive! She’s the Slayer, they have super-healing. She could be alive!
Dawn rushed to a ladder and started her descent.
Around them, the cacophony of the ending world was replaced with the sounds of humanity beginning to cope with disaster. People’s screams and yells for assistance, the sounds of rescue units throughout the city and their own harsh breaths surrounded the battered gang.
“What… what’s happened,” Giles asked as he lay struggling with the last of the debris pinning his lower legs.
Anya stood up and surveyed the area. The beetles were gone, though the rupture in the earth remained. They were deep earth creatures and probably had retreated as quickly as possible to make it out of the relatively cool temperatures of the surface world. She quickly looked for the armed Orc, hoping it hadn’t injured or killed
She didn’t see it either. In fact, there was no evidence of any of the portals, nor any extra-dimensional creatures nearby. She saw
“I see the witches,” Anya told Giles excitedly. “They’re okay and it looks like the portal was closed. I can’t see any monst… oh. Oh, no… oh, Giles.”
“What? What is it? Dawn?”
“Buffy. I see… I see Buffy. She’s laying still, Giles,” Anya swallowed over a lump in her throat. “
“Help me, Anya. Find Xander or Spike; get these heavy rods off of me!”
She bent to pat his shoulder and told him she would be back. And then she ran to find Xander. She couldn’t keep herself from looking at Buffy, who still showed no movement at all. She looked up where the portal was, but it was gone and it was too high to make out if Dawn was still up there.
Xander stood in the sudden quiet, while Spike made it as far as his knees before stopping with a groan. His ribs were broken and jabbing at his insides.
Xander looked over a small mound of debris, blocking Spike’s viewpoint. He saw her lying across another mound of broken brick. Her long blonde hair was spread around her, like a Sleeping Beauty in repose and awaiting her prince. But her body wasn’t right. She was bent backward too far, even for her flexibility. There was no blood, that he could see, but still she looked… broken.
He looked away and saw Anya stumbling toward him.
Her back shouldn’t be like that, he thought. He wasn’t conscious of tears beginning to slide down his face.
“Xander,” Spike whispered, having noticed the change in his composure, of course.
Xander, we have to get Spike moved, Hyena thought at him forcefully.
Xander, the sun is rising!
He looked into the east, but he didn’t really need to. The sun’s rays were low on the several storey walls of buildings around them.
“Shit. Spike, can you walk? The sun is making its appearance!”
“Xander, Giles is pinned! I need help,” Anya said on reaching them.
“I can’t get up on my own, yet,” Spike answered him.
“Xander, Buffy….” Anya said.
“I know, I know! One thing at a time! Anya, help me get Spike to a shack. The witches will help Buffy (he refused to believe she was dead, not until he could see for himself) and then I’ll help with Giles.”
She looked at
Dawn made it down to the base of the tower. It continued to moan and sway, but no further debris had plummeted to the ground from it.
Her feet were hurting from the rough steel under them. Her sides continued bleeding, but she knew that the cuts were shallow. That had been the point of the ritual, after all. They hadn’t wanted her to die too quickly. Her hand hurt where the broken finger Glory had given her throbbed in conjunction with her heartbeat. But the greater pain was inside her stomach. It ached with grief and shock and regret.
She knew that she’d find Buffy dead even as she stumbled toward where she knew her body laid. She knew that was the only reason the portal would have closed. The blood had to stop flowing, and though it didn’t make much sense to her why Buffy’s was acceptable, she knew that the portal would be open if she had still been alive. She knew all of this, but hope was a very difficult beast to kill and she knew the others would be trying to help her. A spell, CPR, mouth to mouth… there had to be something that could be done.
She stopped when she reached Xander and Anya struggling to pull a beam of steel from Giles’ ankle. Numbly, she reached down next to them and together they pulled the beam up just long enough for Giles to move his leg out of the way. She saw a mask of pain on his face and he was tentatively holding his ankle in his hands.
“It’s broken,” he said as he noted her staring. “But, otherwise, I’m alright.”
“Buffy died,” she said without inflection. She knew in the back of her mind that she was in a state of overload, of shock. “She jumped. I wanted to, but she said no. She jumped and she’s dead now.”
Police Lieutenant and Detective Rick Stein reported at the site of… whatever… had happened. People were on the streets in various states of shock or uproar. There was a huge crater in one of the roads that intersected
His police radio was filled with chatter as the units reported in to each other. The third floor of the police station, used as the dry tank and temporary holding of suspects had collapsed onto the second floor administrative offices. There were no casualties and only minor injuries by some miracle, but the units there were tied up evacuating and cordoning off the building.
Another emergency unit, this one a fire house was responding to a fire at the high school ruins that the city had just started demolishing and hauling away. They were in a race to keep it from spreading to nearby residences.
He left his car after reporting where he was and dashed into a construction yard. There’d been reports of a funnel cloud and a lightning display centering there. It wasn’t something demanding immediate investigation, except that he didn’t buy the funnel cloud report. He didn’t accept reports from anyone anymore. Not at face value, not after what he’d learned from his recent wife Carole and the things his eyes had been opened to in the past year.
He saw a familiar group of people surrounding someone on the ground. Familiar from his several investigations into weird goings-on related to the Summers girl, Buffy.
When he reached the group, he asked if anyone needed an ambulance. And then he noted that they did, a young teen girl had the sides of her dress soaking in blood. An older man who he recognized from the magic shop arson was sitting on the ground with what was obviously a broken ankle.
The others seemed in a state of mild shock with minor injuries, as far as he could see. He was about to dash back to his car radio and call for the ambulance when he recognized Buffy Summers as the one lying on the ground. She was bent at an awful angle, her back clearly broken. The others were surrounding her, unsure what to do for her. Well, there wasn’t anything really.
“I’ll… I’ll call for some help,” he said to them.
“No,” Mr. Rupert Giles, the store owner said in a loud voice, surprising him into stopping in his tracks. “You can’t call anyone, Detective.”
End Chapter 26