The luggage arrival
Arrival at the Airport.
(The greatest fear of Elisabeth "Buffy" Summers)
Xander and Buffy walked off the plain in silence. Followed by the Watchers. The two of them had had a long and heated discussion about her telling the rest of The Gang who she really was. He had tried to convince her to tell them that The Invulnerable was gone.
The whole time, all he wanted to do was to take her in his arms, and never let go. But every time he got near her she drew back, and it hurt. At least when she had been in love with Angel, she hadn't despised his touch. She just ignored it. But now it was like she couldn't stand having him within touching range. She was short and businesslike in her tone. It was like she had built a shell around herself. She had dropped the bad vampire image. Now she was just very impersonal. In a way, that was even worse, now that he knew that she was herself.
"But Buffy! You have to tell them!" He said as they arrived at the luggage arrival. "You owe it to them. They deserve to be able to live in peace," he said for he didn't know how many times. "They deserve to live their life, without fearing that you will come and rip their throats out."
"I know," she said, and he could sense a small crack in the barrier. "But I can't. I just can't." Suddenly she looked like she was on the verge of crying. "I can't and I won't," she said as they grabbed their gear and walked for the exit. "I can take that they hate The Invulnerable. But I wouldn't stand it if they hated me, Buffy."
"So all of this masquerade is because you are afraid to face your friends?" Xander mocked her. " Holy burning broccoli!! The Invulnerable is afraid of a few puny humans?!!" His laughter was stopped abruptly as he saw her face turn a ghostly shade of pale.
"Yes!!!" she shouted, so high, that people turned around and looked at them. "I am afraid, more afraid than I have ever been. I would never have sent for you guys if it weren't absolutely necessary. To be with you guys, frightens me more than you would ever understand."
As they entered the limo, she was actually crying her eyes out. The Watchers watched in shock as the last string of toughness left her.
"Don't you get it? I tried to kill my own mother. And Angel. How many times did I try to kill him? And Giles? All of you? How many times did I torture you guys physically and mentally, until you thought you would die, and then releasing you; just to see your painful recovery."
"Dammit! Xander. You ought to know. You were my favourite torture object for Christ's sake! How can anyone forgive that?!"
He didn't know what to say, He just reached out and hugged her. And this time she didn't draw back. She held onto him like he was a lifeline.
"Don't your remember?" he whispered to her. We did forgive Angel. Even I did, though I didn't admit it."
"But that's different," she sobbed. "Angel wasn't responsible for Angelus' actions. When Angelus reigned, Angel was completely gone. That wasn't the case with me. All the time The Invulnerable wreaked havoc, I was there. I should have stopped her. Somehow, I should have stopped her. I should have tried harder. There has to be something that I could have done. I was the slayer for Gods sake!!!."
"I should have stopped her!!!"
"I should have stopped her."
He rocked her gently, stroking her back as if comforting a child after a nightmare.
"You did stop her," he said softly. "You did everything possible to stop her. Listen to me Buffy. There was nothing more you could do."
"But it wasn't enough," she sobbed. Her body wracked in violent sobs, she screamed out her anguish. Crying out the last seventeen years of pain. He wished he could take away that pain. But that was one thing he couldn't do she had to work through it on her own. All he could do was to be there for her. And by God! That's what he was going to do. He hugged her even tighter, letting her know that he was there.
Slowly her screams lessened and her sobs became more frequent. her body went limp, and her head fell onto his lap. He continued to stroke her back and hair, and finally he could hear her breath reach the state of deep sleep. He sat there for a while as tears trickled down his face. It would be tough for her. He knew that. But he would help her as well as he could. He hesitated for a moment. Then he bent down and kissed her gently on her forehead.
He looked down on her face and noticed how innocent she looked. The sight stunned him. She was so beautiful. How long he was watching her sleep, he didn't know. Finally he was startled out of his admiration by the sound of the cellphone ringing. "Bloody hell," he muttered. "Now that the mission is over, it works." He lifted it to his ear, and had to move it away again as Willow shouted at him.
"Xander! How are you? Oh please don't say that she has done something to you. Xander are you still breathing? Where are you? And the Watchers? Are any of them alive? Where is she? Has she been terrible?"
"Willow, stop a min…."
Willow continued her rambling seemingly without even stopping to catch her breath. "And why are you so late? Oh God. She turned you didn't she. Oh God, oh God. How am I supposed to have the strength to kill you? You, who has been my friend for almost all of my life? But I have to."
"Willow!!! Shut up and listen!"
He spoke so loud he could, without waking Buffy. "Relax, will you. She hasn't turned me. And we are on our way back now. We should be with you within half an hour. We got all of our Watchers, and everything is okay. Except that she has two bullet holes in her back, and my chest is aching from the impact of five bullets, despite my bullet-proof west."
It became silent, and he could hear Willows deep breath of relief.
"Now, how is it going on your end?" he asked her.
She gave him the run down on the situation.
"So when you come, we are ready for phase two: the fight against Enya. But quite frankly Xander, I can't see how we have the slightest chance against her. I have read all the material we have on her. And she seem to be every bit as evil and powerful as The Invulnerable. She has chosen herself a very well fitting name. She has taken the name of one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Death. She is indestructible, and seems to have a blood thirst even greater than The Invulnerable. A bloodlust that is merged with a raging hate for everyone and everything. Every slayer that has gone up against her has lost, within minutes. Faith lasted the longest. She fought her for about five minutes before Death stabbed her in the stomach with one of Faiths own stakes and left her to die.
"Even before Enya was turned, she was an incredible fighter. She was trained in various marshal arts since she was five. Add to that, she was trained in the ways of both ninjas and Samurai, and therefore and excellent swordfighter. And now you say that The Invulnerable is hurt too."
"Just let us come back and have a little rest, Willow. I promise that we are fit for fight. But now I have to break off. The Watchers has begun to make trouble." Quickly he ended the phone call, and concentrated on the problem at hand. Of course it was Wesley that made trouble, trying to kill Buffy while she slept. The next fifteen minutes were a frenzy of angry voices, in which Buffy remarkably kept on sleeping. Finally, Wesley was persuaded by his daughter to let Buffy be.
***************************************************************************7. July. 2014. Location: Christopher Giles' mansion.
Showtime in the Library.
(Hercûle Poirot couldn't done it better)
He made quite a shocking entry when he came through the doors of Chris Giles' mansion carrying the sleeping form of The Invulnerable, followed by the final five Watchers.
Without a word, he carried her up to a vacant bedroom. Gently he laid her down on the bed. He stood there for a while, watching her sleep. Then he bent down and kissed her on the forehead. As he left the room, he didn't see the small, almost happy smile that flew over her face. And he didn't hear her mumble his name with soft longing.
"The hell with your stubborn fear," he mumbled for himself, as he walked downstairs. "I'm telling the others." When he came down, they were waiting for him. Even Christopher, who, thanks to half-slayer healing and incredible stubbornness, was back on his feet. Barely capable of standing on his own two feet, he had commanded Angel and Rupert to help him downstairs. Now he was sitting in a straight-backed chair, keeping his frightened Watchers at bay by his bare presence.
As Xander stood before them everyone quieted. He stood there for several minutes, obviously struggling with something. Finally he drew his breath. "Angel, Cordy, Oz, Willow, Joyce, Rupert…." He hesitated for a moment, then continued. "And Christopher! Come with me to the library. I need to tell you guys something that will change much of the current situation."
They looked after him as he with long and swift steps went to the library. They found him pacing the floor. As soon as they arrived, he locked the door.
"Now what is it that you have to say?" Christopher was a little annoyed over all the secrecy.
Again Xander started to pace the floor, before stopping in front of Joyce. "Something happened in New York," he said. "Something so incredible and mind-blowing that I've barely had time to understand it."
"What did she do to you?" Willows question came as a whisper.
"Nothing, Willow. But I found out the secret to why The Invulnerable has been acting so strange. The reason was so incredible that I will tell you step by step how I found out, or else you will never believe me. I began to gather clues already while we were here. I guess none of you understood why she helped Christopher, either. Or why she was so controlled. One of the things we remembered of her was her uncontrolled brutality and bloodlust.
"And now she suddenly had this incredible amount of self-control, even when Rupert went crazy on her.
One other thing that came to me as strange was when she sent us off to freshen up. First she said one hour, but changed it to two after a look at Joyce and Rupert. If I didn't know better it would look like concern. And we never saw her feed. The old Invulnerable would have fed on us, or at least right in front of us.
"Then we all left on our missions. When we arrived New York I found that she owned a Lamborghini Diablo. And the licence plate said Scooby96. Patrick O`Malley was the first Watcher we found. We found him fighting an enormous Daywalker from The Order Of Taraka. You should have seen the way she took him down. It was a Watcher's dream: quick and merciless. But with no sign of unnecessary violence.
"Then I discovered that she had been keeping an eye on us for all these years. She knows where all of us live. And we broke into Willow and Oz's apartment. Well not broke. She opened the lock with magic. We left the Watcher there, and went to get the other Watchers.
By now, Xander had sat down in a chair, running his hands through his hair. Then he told them about the Watcher that had disappeared in gang territory. "By now I was seriously wondering what The Invulnerable was really up to. She took me to a beautiful house in the outskirts of town.
"I almost choked when I read what stood on the front door: Anne Summers. Inside, the house was just as beautiful. It could only be described as tasteful luxury. The whole house had a homey atmosphere you wouldn't expect in the house of a soulless killing machine.
By this time, Willow was wiping away a tear and her eyes shined with hope. Xander looked her in the eyes and nodded. Then he continued to tell about the food and the fight against the goons of Rodrigues. He told of the snipers, and her attempt at saving him. He told about when they came back to Willow and Oz's apartment. He told everything that she had told him. At last, he told about her breakdown in the car.
They all sat there in shock. And their faces showed signs of anger, sorrow, joy, love, hate, relief, and confusion.
"So what will it be, he asked. What will you do about this? I, for one, have forgiven her for not telling us for seventeen years. She is suffering from Angel's "I'm nothing worth" brooding syndrome". And as you know, it took him more than a century to get over it. And all the other crimes? Well, she never did them. She wasn't responsible for them. No more than Angel was for Angelus' actions. It doesn't matter that she was there the whole time. She had no power over it. But the fact remains: She is scared shitless by the thought that we that were her friends, will hate her even if we know that she is back and The Invulnerable is gone. You all have to decide for yourselves. But I have always reckoned Buffy to be the best damn slayer in history, my second best friend, and the love of my life. So she will have at least one friend when she wakes up." With that he walked out the door, leaving the others shell-shocked behind.
A few hours later Buffy woke up. The last thing she remembered was crying in the arms of Xander. Damn him. He had probably blown the whistle on her by now, she thought angrily. But if she was to be honest to herself, it was a great relief not to have to act anymore. A tremble of fear ran through her. Now the whole thing was out of her hands. No more hiding, no more running. She just had to face the music. And wait and see if any of them would accept her. Well, at least she had Xander. Sweet funny, Xander. An FBI agent? She still had problems accepting it. She shook her shoulders, and found that the wounds were healed. She was about to go out, when there was a knock at the door. She hesitated before she answered.
"Come in!" The door opened and her mother came in.
"So, I guess the secret is out?"
"You bet it is young lady. And we two have some serious talking to do."
Buffy were frantically looking at the pattern on the floor, dreading the moment she would see the hate in her mothers eyes. But finally she had to. She raised her head and prepared for what had to come. She almost expected her mother to have a stake in her hand. Instead she stood there with two cups of Tea. Joyce gave her one as she sat down besides her.
"I know what Xander said about your time after you got your soul back. But I want to hear it from you. Why didn't you say anything? For seventeen years I have lived with the knowledge that my only daughter was dead and replaced with a horrible demon. Not one day have gone without me missing you, and fearing for the return of The Invulnerable. So why did you do it."
Buffy stared down in the cup. Swirling the liquid slowly around. Trying to muster the courage to speak.
"In the beginning I never thought about making contact with any of you. I was so depressed that the only things I thought of were all my victims, and trying to find a way to kill myself. God, I must have tried everything. Once I even took a shot of Cyanide. But all it gave me was excruciating pain the week it took to get it out of my system. And then I was sick for about a month. That first year my mind was so clouded, that I was more like an unspeaking animal, than a human. My heart beat, I needed oxygen. I needed food instead of blood. But I was not alive. I merely existed. So for that year I think I'm excused."
"But for all the other years. Well, I guess I was just plain scared. When Marco had helped me getting over my suicidal state of mind, I started longing for you all. Especially you. But I was so scared. Scared of how you would take it. If any of you could ever forgive me. Or if you would continue to hate me. And the longer I put it of, the harder it became, until I was incapable of facing you or the rest. So I tried to put my old life behind me."
"Not that I could. If you knew how many times I have stayed hidden, and watched you guys. I was there on you and Rupert's wedding. I was there when Angel and Cordelia married. I cried for her and the baby when she miscarried. I`ve been on as many of Willow and Oz's concerts as I could. Sadly I missed their wedding, because they married in the air, on the way from USA to England for a new tour. I waited in the hospital when you gave birth to Ashley. And all the time I wished it were like in the old days, when we were together and shared each other's ups and downs. But I just hadn't the courage to reveal the truth. You see. I could take it if you hated The Invulnerable. But I couldn't take it if you hated me, Buffy. So I never made contact. And when we finally met again, I pretended to Be The Invulnerable." She took a long sip of the tea.
"Well," Joyce said "if you still were a teenager, I would have you grounded for the next century. Cause you really have messed up things. But I do understand your fear, although it was unnecessary. So I guess, all I can do is to let bygones be bygones. I'm not going to make the same mistake I did the time you told me you were the slayer, and push you away. Not now, when I finally got you back." With that Joyce hugged Buffy tight. "Welcome back Buffy." They sat there a long time. Buffy felt tears of relief trickle down her cheeks.
Then Joyce rose. "Now, come with me. Let's see the others. I know it will be tough. But remember, Xander, Rupert and I will be with you."
"Yeah. I know. Its about time," Buffy said, grabbed her mothers hand and walked downstairs.
***************************************************************************7. July.2014. Christopher Giles Mansion. Cardiff, Wales 16.40.pm.
Old grudges are hard to kill
(But it is possible to mend fences)
After clearing the air with her friends, she took a walk in the garden, or rather park, so large it was. She couldn't believe it. Every one of them accepted her back. By now the other Watchers knew it too. And for the first time they seemed to relax and start resting after their ordeal. She sat down by the pond and felt a great strength run through her. For the first time in seventeen years she felt complete.
Suddenly she tensed. Footsteps came towards her. And she didn't need to look, to know who it was.
"What do you want, Wesley," she said while stirring down in the black water. "Do you have anything to say? Or were you just trying to sneak up and assassinate me again? Like you tried when I slept in the car? Oh yeah, I know. The whole chaos left me half conscious for a moment. And I heard the sound when you draw your knife. So if you don't have anything immensely important to say, I would advice you to stay away from me. Because, strange as it may be, the only thing that keeps me from killing you is the same thing that wants me to kill you. And that is my soul. I want to kill you so badly I can taste it. But my conscience won't let me. So off you go."
Half a minute went in deep silence. Then he spoke. "If you want to kill me, then do it. But please spare my daughter, Indra. Don't make her pay for my sins." His voice was clear and with a self-esteem and strength he hadn't had seventeen years ago.
She looked sharply up on him. He was standing in a fighting stance and she could see his muscles flex under his shirt. And in his eyes she could read it. He was ready to fight to the death, for his daughter's life. And as much as she disliked it, she had to admire his courage.
"I have no quarrel with your daughter. She is not the one who betrayed me; who sent me to my death because he wouldn't listen to someone far more experienced. Someone who knew the psychological profile of the vampire I was going up against. The hell! You didn't even have the balls to go with me. Instead you sent me into the lion's cave in best Council tradition. No strategy, no plan, no backup.
"Just, off you go, and be a nice slayer, and then I may write something nice about you in the journal."
"And with that you also sent my friends to the slaughterbench. Because, where ever I went, they went, in their stubborn loyalty." By now her voice was trembling, and her rage made her face half transform into her vampire visage. She stretched her hand out and used her power to draw him closer. "You bloody bastard!" she shouted. You killed me. Made me into a monster. Just as certain as if you had turned me yourself."
Now fully vamped, she watched with great satisfaction the fear in his eyes as he was unable to move. She savored the smell of his blood, and it clouded her mind like a red fog. And for the first time in seventeen years, her fangs slid further out, ready to be used. Slowly she leant in for the bite. The smell, the heartbeats. And then, just as she was about to penetrate his jugular, she noticed it: the heartbeats -- her own heartbeats. And her head fell down on her chest, as sore and violent sobs racked her body.
"Oh God. I nearly lost control. And for what? Just to nurture a seventeen years old hate. I nearly killed you. I nearly killed you. I nearly killed you."
The words were repeated again and again like a mantra, as she slid to the ground. Vaguely she felt arms around her shoulders. Strong, warm and comforting arms. It wasn't before she slowly was calming down, that she realised that it was Wesley that were holding her.
"You know," he said as her body shook in the last sob. "I didn't send you in there to be killed. I was young and inexperienced, fresh from Watcher Academy. And in my vast theoretical knowledge I didn't realise how important experience was. At the Watchers tower, I was told how I would take over after this "half old loser", as I called him, that had constantly been disobeying Watcher rules and Council orders. So well, I ignored his advise.
"If you ever knew how that decision has haunted me these years. How much I have regretted my actions that day -- not only because of all the victims of The Invulnerable, but because I had your death on my consciense. If you ever knew."
She sat up and looked at him. His face was as tear stricken as hers. They sat there for a while, starring at the pond. Then he spoke again.
"I was inexperienced then. I'm not so now. I have done my homework on Enya." He gave Buffy a thick portfolio. "This is the best psychological profile I could gather about her. Her working methods. Her weapons of choice. Preferred victims, whereabouts, habits. Any information I could get. I swear to you: if you will accept my help, I will do anything in my power to help you. And this time I will go into battle with you."
"Well, Wesley," She stood up. "Then I think we have a hell of a time ahead of us. Cause, since we've thwarted her plans for world dominance, she will go for plan B. World destruction. She intends to open up an ancient hellmouth, right here in Cardiff. She told me so herself, last time I fought her. Do you still wanna help me?" She saw the determination in his eyes, and started to go back to the mansion.
"Yes lets prepare for battle," he said, and followed her.
***************************************************************************7. July. 2014.Cristopher Giles Mansion.
Preparing for the mother of all battles.
(Xander, when will you start thinking before you speak?)
The following hours were hectic for everyone. Every Watcher who was in good enough shape prepared for battle. Stakes were made; swords, knives and battle-axes were sharpened. Body armour was chosen. And in control of the whole chaos was Wesley. Efficiently he walked around, helping wherever he was needed and choosing the right people for the right job. Showing what an excellent administrator he had become.
Xander was busy preparing weapons for everyone. He was just showing Indra Lightfoot a modified assault rifle with hollow wooden Dum Dums filled with Holy water.
"Look here, child. This Baby can vaporise a vampire at a distance of three hundred meters. Your father wanted you to have this. He wanted you to act as a sniper in order to keep you out of the hardest fight. And I agree. You aren't old and experienced enough for that."
"But both you and me knows that when it comes to vamps, you can't be too careful. So here you go." He gave her the rifle, body armour, and an assortment of wooden knives, wooden and silver stakes, holy water and garlic spray.
"Careful with that," he shouted when she grabbed the rifle. "Its not a toy.
"Now well, go to Willow and ask her for a protection spell. And maybe she can increase your power of sensing vampires, so that you can locate them more easily. And remember: If you should get in trouble, don't play hero. Run like hell and scream for help."
"Thank you Sargent Harris," she said, and did a mock salute. "You know, if I didn't know better I would think that you were a professional warrior, and not a Fed."
He chuckled slightly and gave an odd smirk. "You should only know," he said. You should only know.
"Now! Off you go, girlie. I have more people to help."
She stopped up in the door and walked back at him. "Good luck Xander. Promise me not to take any unnecessary chances. You know," she said with a devilish grin, as she sat down on the balls of her feet. Giving him a clear view to her impressive cleavage. "If you were half your age, I would make a move on you. For an old guy you are quite a hunk."
Then her eyes became dark pools of irritation. "I don't know if you have noticed it, but I'm not a child. And I'm more than capable of taking care of myself." With that she left him slightly blushing.
"Oh shit," he mumbled to himself. Why did you have to go and offend her? he thought. Of course she's old enough to fight. She's the daughter of a Watcher, and is training to be a shaman, for Petes sake!. "Xander, Xander," he chided himself. "She is as old as you were when you first fought a vampire." He ran his fingers through the hair. "No wonder she is annoyed. I'm a dirtbag," he said out loud and started pacing the room.
"I wouldn't say that. Its just that you sometimes still speak without thinking first."
Buffy walked up to him with a smirk on her lips. "What did you say to her? She was really pissed off. Right now she is wreaking havoc on the poor punching ball in the training room."
"Well," he said. "I just basically treated her like a child."
"Xander, that's just about the worst thing you can do to a woman in her late teens. I remember when mom used to do it. I had to restrain myself from kicking her sometimes. But don't worry. Indra will forgive you. I think."
"Well it's about time I get ready." She walked over to a trunk that stood in a corner. She opened it and started to put on a Bodyarmour unlike anything he had ever seen. It was a completely black suit that looked like something taken out of a science fiction movie. And on her chest the symbols for eternity and death stood in phosphorescent green. There seemed to be no part of her body that wasn't protected -- even her head would be protected by a mask that she didn't yet put on.
"I sort of borrowed this from a top secret military organisation, specialising in extreme weaponry. This suit is itself a weapon. It would make Batman drool."
Then she started to strap a small arsenal of weapons to the suit. Finally she reached to the bottom of the trunk and pulled out two blood red Katanas that went into in-built scabbards on the back of the suit.
"Good Golly Miss Molly!" Xander breathed. "You look like a female mix between Spawn and a ninja Master."
"Well that's the point," she said. "Fear is a mighty weapon. I should know." Suddenly her eyes were full of tears, and she went over and hugged him tightly.
She stepped back and looked at Xander with frightened eyes. "Xander, I need you to do me a favour. Tonight I wil fight Enya. It will probably be the most brutal fight I have ever been in. And I am affraid. I fear there is a small chance that I will loose controlle over my deamon. If so happens, I need you to put the Gypsie curse on me".
She bent down and picked an orb of Thesula from the chest and gave it to him. He hessitated a moment before he took it. "But what use would that be", he asked. "We tried to curse you time after time, and it didnt work".
"Yes it did, she said. In some small degree it worked. Each time I felt the deamon weaken for a few hours. But even in a weakened state, it was too powerful for me then. That is not the fact now. I am a lot stronger now. And my deamon is allready weakened by my will. So Im farelly sure I wil manage to come back if you cursed me. Would you do that for me?"
"Why do you ask me?, Im not a mage. Sure, I can the words of the curse. In my nightmares I still see Willow as she cursed Angel, I still see all the times she tried to curse you. Yea i know the words like if they were burned into my brain. But what use is it. I dont have the power to make it work".
"Yes you have", she stated. "Allmost every person has some level of magic inside. I can feel your magical power. It is a little stronger than the average person`s. It is not by far as strong as Willows, but it is enough to perform the soulcursing".
Xander took a little time to process this bit of information. Then he looked up at Buffy. "Okay I`ll do it. But I hope by God that it never comes to that".
"Me to", she said as she huged him again.
"Xander, when we get down there, whatever you do, please don't die on me. I need you to still being around." The intensity of her plea struck him to the heart, because what he saw in her eyes was more than concern for a friend.
"I won't," he said. "It would be so boring. And besides, I would miss you."
She let out a short laugh. "Same here."
Then she sobered. "When all this is over, we need to have a long talk, to know where we're standing. But for now this will have to do."
And with that she rose on her toes and kissed him. The kiss grew in intensity until they both gasped for air.
"What was that?" he whispered.
"That, my dearest Xandershaped friend, is something I have wanted to do for more than fifteen years now. And every awake moment since last time on the rooftop." With that she turned around and headed for the living room.
They were all gathered in there for the last planning session before the attack. Buffy looked over the faces of her friends and the Watchers. They had all the grim faces of one that were willing to fight to the last drop of blood. She came to think of the immortal words of Winston Churchill,to the Royal Air Force pilots, after the battle of Brittain: "Never before in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
"Well the time has come people," she said as the last of the Watchers entered.
"Tonight we are going to face Enya. Well, you will face her minions; I will fight her. Tonight she is going to awaken an hellmouth that has been dormant for thousands of years. You know the old castle ruins just outside the town? That's where it's gonna happen."
"There should be more of us, cause the number of vampires we are going to face are beyond anything you have heard of. But this is our last chance to stop Armageddon. And don't ever think we are helpless."
"Willow is a very powerful Sorceress, and she is also able to control her werewolf self. She can use it with full control whenever she wants.
"Oz is the same, now. Willow just finished the last spell for that."
"Angel still has all of his vampiric abilities." Actually, he is now even stronger. His powers now exceed those of The Master."
"Well. That is, before I killed him, twice" she smirked. Then she got serious again.
"Cordelia is The Slayer. With all the powers that carries with it."
"Xander is a more than capable fighter. And what he doesn't know is that he is a warrior of the light. That gives him powers that equals those of a slayer." She saw the puzzled expression on his face and explained. "Those powers only appear when you go into battle against the forces of darkness.
"Giles is a former follower of Eghyon. And when he releases the Ripper within, he is a very powerful fighter.
"The rest of you are good fighters too, so together we make a small but deadly army. We will prevail, no matter what happens.
"Humanity won't be pushed aside like garbage! We won't allow it!!
"A little friend of me once read me a poem by Dylan Thomas that moved me. I don't remember the whole of it but here it goes":
Do not go quietly into that good night.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
"Now lets show those cursed bloodsuckers just how stubborn the human race can be. She raised her voice until she shouted out with genuine rage.
"WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT. WE WILL RAGE, RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT."
With that they all turned as one, and walked out into the night.
7. June.2014. The old castle ruins outside Cardiff. N'Goahr ruins. 20.22.pm.
Its no joke defeating death.
(And I am not talking about Methos, the worlds oldest coward)
Enya stood in the top chamber of the eastern tower; the only part of the castle that remained habitable. Anticipation raced through her. Soon. In a few hours she would release the hordes of Hell onto the earth.
There would be so much death. So much beautifully bloodstenched death. And the earth would tremble from billions of screams in agony. All of humanity would at last be gone. And she, Death, would rule for all eternity. She looked out one of the windows, and watched her minions guarding the castle.
Suddenly she heard a scream, and she could sense the smell of vampire dust. In an instant, the area around the castle was attacked from all sides by small groups of people. Quickly they moved in, killed several of her minions, and then retreated to an unseen place. It was like the earth swallowed them.
All but one: a woman in a strange black suit with the symbols of eternity and death in phosphor green on her chest. She kept fighting Enya's minions in a way that left no doubt. It had to be The Invulnerable. The legendary first Slayer Vampire. She easily fought ten of Enya's strongest minions at the same time. And while she fought, the rest returned and stabbed her opponents in the backs.
Again and again those puny humans attacked. But they always disappeared when the odds started to change in their disfavour. But The Invulnerable seemed to be truly invincible. A truly appropriate opponent for Death. Her thoughts were broken off as the humans attacked again, this time with even greater force. "Damit," Enya cursed, as approximately, fifty of her minions disappeared in this attack. And with no casualties on her enemies' side.
"That's it. Now I draw the line!"
She lifted her hand to whipe them out with balls of flames. But to her utter shock she found them protected by some kind of magic shield. They had magic? Powerful magic! "Damit!"
Death closed her eyes and searched for the source of the magic. And found it right away. she practically shouted her existence, as if she knew herself to be unbeatable and wanted her enemy to know. Enya opened her eyes and looked right down on the small redhead.
Shit! A natural born Sorceress, in the service of The Powers That Be!
Very few of them had existed throughout the centuries. But they were said to have the power to walk throughout the gates of hell and come back unharmed.
Death thought for a moment to step down from the tower and participate in the fight. But came to the conclusion that it was better to start the last preparations for the opening of the hellmouth. She could easily get new minions.
"YaaaaHHH!" Joyce tore herself loose with a battle cry, and staked the vampire with the last of her strength. She stumbled towards the magic cloaking shield that Willow, Indra, and Buffy had created.
As soon as she penetrated the outer perimeter of the shield, her feet buckled and she almost fell. She sat down and leant back against a rock. Goodness Gracious. She was more exhausted than she could remember ever having been. This had been her fifth raid; she had reached her limit.
She looked up as Xander came tumbling in, sporting a long gash along his left arm. She forced herself to her feet, and got the medical kit.
"What happened?" she asked as she started to clean the wound.
"Oh! This is nothing. You should see the other guy. He fits in an ashtray now.
"By the way. I recognised him from descriptions. You know those Hyperarmed vampires that The Master Hired to kill Buffy And Angel? We thought he killed them as punishment for their failure. Well, guess what? The three are back. Except now there are only two of them. And the others are soon to begone -- if they aren't already, that is. Last time I saw them, they were fighting Buffy."
"How is Buffy?" she asked.
"She is excellent," Rupert said as he came in to get some more stakes.
"By God! It's incredible to watch her. It's like a macabre, yet beautiful ballet of death. She is every Watcher's dream. She is fighting like a well-oiled machine. It doesn't seem to matter. Whether she has one or ten opponents. She is just this. . . . force of nature.
"But, how are you, honey?" He looked, concerned, at Joyce.
"Oh, I'm fine Rupert. I'm just exhausted. No injury. And you? You know you aren't exactly a youngster anymore."
He sat down, and winced in pain. "I feel like I have pulled every muscle in my entire body. But now we are almost finished. There are only a few vampires left. I estimate that in three hours we have whiped out about five hundred vampires."
Suddenly Cordelia came falling through the shield with a huge vampire ontop of her. "God Dammit! Get of me! I'm not in the mood for a lovebite now." With that she forced her leg up between his legs with all her might, and the sound of cracking bones could be heard.
"Nice to know it works on vamps too," she said to the vampire that had curled itself up into a fetal position. She quickly staked him and forced herself to her feet again.
"Did any of you say that we are almost finished here? Bollocks! She's called in about fifty sword-wielding leftovers from Baltazar's troupe. We just went from worse to worst. These guys are professional warriors."
With that she picked up a sword and joined the fight again, shortly followed by Xander and Rupert. One by one, the others came and got their swords. Every one of them seemed exhausted, but none were ready to give up.
Buffy looked around and saw with great satisfaction that they seemed to be winning. Now there were only a few vampires left. She searched the area, making sure the others were okay. None were seriously injured, she saw with relief. Just ahead of her Wesley was fighting a huge vamp that probably weighed a good thirty kilos more than the Watcher.
"Do you need help?" she asked. "With this little guy?" he snorted as he threw him over the shoulder with a perfect two-hand throw. "Nah! Don't think so. He isn't the brightest boy I have met. And now he's gotten me pissed off.
"Nobody calls Wesley Wyndham Price a puny leprechaun and gets away with it."
With that he kicked the guy in the balls and smashed the hands against the sides of his head, shattering his eardrums. He staked him in the back as the vampires feet disappeared under him.
"Thank you for the offer," Wesley said, "but I'll manage. It's been years since last I screamed for help like a woman. Wasn't that what you people used to say: That I screamed like a woman?"
"Yeah, I heard you guys. And it really hurt me, even though it was true. Well I have come a long way since then, Buffy."
He turned around, and cursed like a blacksmith. "It seems that Baltazar's troupe is back. Its time you grab those swords of yours."
She looked up from a vamp she was just staking, and saw what he was talking about. With a swift movement she draw her swords and attacked in a flurry of motion. For the first time since the fight started, she felt the demon writher within her.
She let out a battle cry that made the whole troupe stop, as she in seconds, spread them around like hay for the wind. But then they managed to pull themselves together again and attacked full force. Shit, she thought. I may be unkillable, but I can be injured to the point that I can no longer fight. And this definitely doesn't look good for my chances to get to Enya.
But then Cordelia and Xander flanked her, both, sword in hand.
"Scooby Gang to the rescue," Cordy said with a smirk. "Whose idea was it to get swords for everyone?"
"That would be me, Cordy." Xander did a somersault over the head of a sword-bearing vampire, turned around and decapitated it with a single stroke.
And over the whole battlefield sword-wielding vampires were met with drawn swords. Buffy got a glint of Ripper. With light, floating motion, he attacked a vampire with a Scottish claymore. Wesley went back to the shield to get a sword, and she started to help wherever it was needed.
Suddenly she felt the heat from a raging fire behind her. She turned in time to see the dust of a vampire fall to the earth. "Thanks, Willow," she said to the witch. Then, with a katana in one hand and a strange form of Witchfire in the other, she returned the favour as a bunch of vampires ganged up on Willow. "Willow just lifted her sword in a short salute. Moving with the fluidity of an experience sword figher and the speed of a werewolf, she continued spreading permanent death for the vampires.
"Aaaaoooooahooooahooooohhh!!!," she yelled against the moon before she jumped right into the largest concentration of vampires.
Buffy followed her with her own battle cry, suddenly feeling like the fine-tuned killing machine she was, as the hate against Enya and her minions overwhelmed her. Images swam into her memory. She kept seeing the grounds around the Council's Tower. She kept seeing the little girl they had nailed to a tree. Tears streaking her face, she finally let her demon out to play.
She levitated above the battleground and, with a powerbeam sent half of the Baltazar troupe to the ground, where they quickly became one head shorter. After three powerbeams it was over. She grabbed the last vampire and simply tore his head of.
"ENYA! DEATH, OR WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE CALLING YOURSELF!!! I AM THE INVULNERABLE. AND I HAVE COME TO GRIND YOUR BONES INTO DUST FOR WHAT YOU DID TO MARCO."
Death came out from the tower.
"So, we meet again," she said with insane laughter. "What took you so long? I have been waiting for this for months. Finally, a worthy opponent!"
Now, gameface on, Buffy dropped into a fighting stance.
"Do you really think you can take me down? You are nothing but a rookie in this game!"
"Talk is cheap," Enya said and attacked with a furious spin kick to Buffy's head.
She just shook of the impact and retaliated with a roundhouse kick to the abdomen, and a stroke just below the sternum. Death quickly got to her feet again and released an uppercut and a forehead, then sent Buffy into the wall of the tower with a well-placed kick. Inhumanly quick, Buffy was back on her feet. She left the ground, leaped the distance of five meters. And rammed her feet into the side of Enyas head. Enya tried to step aside. But Buffy amazingly changed directions in mid air, and even added a strike to the Solar Plexus. She followed up with three rapid roundhouse kicks to her stomach.
"That hurt," Enya said as she got back on feet. "Lets see what you think about this," she said as she released a powerbeam. Buffy just closed her eyes and absorbed the blast. "Thank you for the extra energy she said," as she released a powebeam that hit Enya full force, sending her ten meters down the grass.
"Like I said: you are just a rookie in this game," Buffy said as she walked towards the prone Slayer Vampire.
Enya shook her head and was back almost instantly.
"Not bad for a veteran," she said, "but now I'm fed up."
She started a series of roundhouse kicks that for a moment seemed to force Buffy backwards. But then she simply swept the feet from under Enya and released a double stroke to the kidneys. Enya howled in pain, grabbed Buffy's hair and sent her flying into the tower again. Then before she could rise, Death threw a silver stake straight to Buffy's heart.
With a mighty roar of pain, she stumbled against Death.
"You bloody bitch! You are cheating. Well then, I can too." She grabbed the stake and pulled it out.
"Ever heard of The X-men? Well, the ones that made my suit definitely have. I just press a button inside my gloves, and tada! Instant Wolverine," she said as long metal spikes shot out of the gloves. With a quick thrust she impaled them into Death's abdomen, and twisted until they broke. Death screamed out in rage and bloodlust, as she pulled the spikes out one by one. She licked her fingers.
"Slayer blood tastes soooo good! Even if it's not pure."
Finally the last of her sanity gone, she screamed and attacked like a force of nature. Alternating between different styles of martial arts, and magic. In a grand finale she engulfed Buffy in an inferno of flames, and with a powerbeam made the tower collapse upon her. Death let out a short scream of triumph, before her feet buckled under her, and she fell to the ground. Slowly she forced herself back on feet, and looked at her audience.
The Watchers and slayerettes just stood there in deep shock. Buffy had lost. The world was doomed. They heard Death recite a short spell, and watched as the hellmout came to life. Slowly it began to open, and Death laughed even more madly. But then her smile of triumph vanished, as the hellmouth started to close again. The bloody witch! She had forgotten about the witch!! Willow had stepped forth, chanting in a strong and menacing voice.
Death turned slowly towards her, and her eyes glinted of madness. "You may be a naturally born Sorceress for The Powers That Be. But you are not a match for me."
"I am nature itself."
"I am God."
"I am the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in one body."
"I am pain."
"I am decay."
"I AM DEATH!!!"
As she shouted out the last words she released a powerbeam against Willow. At first it looked as if she managed to withstand it. But slowly her magical defence failed. She finally fell to the ground, and Death's deranged laughter rang in her ears as she waited for the deathstroke. The Slayer Vampire raised her hands and conjured up a ball of flames between the palms of her hands.
She was about to throw it, when the earth suddenly shook. An unearthly scream of rage ripped through the air, and the ruins of the tower exploded, as The Invulnerable walked out of the cloud of dust.
"You bloody amateur!!! Never assume your enemy dead. Well, its time to take the gloves of," she said as she levitated several meters above ground. And then in a flurry of motion, she attacked. Again this strange kind of witchfire was sparkling from her hands as she whaled on Death, beating her into a bloody pulp.
"You stupid idiot!" The Invulnerable said to the other Slayer Vampire. "You thought you had beaten me?! All you really did was to beat the crap out of that little wimp Buffy. She thought she had defeated me once and for all. Well, all I can say is that she must have been stupid, too. Noone and nothing can stop me. Not even those fools that call themselves The Powers That Be."
"By the way. Thank you for doing all the groundwork. But you will never release hell on earth. I will." The Invulnerables laughter resembled that of a hyena as she lifted her hand.
"NO! BUFFY LISTEN TO ME." Xander stepped forth, an Orb of Thesula in his hands.
"LISTEN TO ME BUFFY. I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE SOMEWHERE. YOU GOT TO FIGHT HER. I CAN'T LOSE YOU AGAIN, NOT NOW. IF I HAVE TO, I WILL CURSE YOU. I JUST CAN'T LOSE YOU AGAIN! PLEASE!!!"
The Invulnerable turned to Xander. "And what makes you think that you will finish reciting the spell before I kill you. You may have powers equal of those of a slayer. Still, you are helpless aga…."
Suddenly The Invulnerable fell to her knees in the most excruciating pain.
"Noo! Not again!! I won't allow it. This body is mine. I won't allow it." She shook in violent convulsions as her eyes started burning like torches from hell.
"Nooooooooo!" she screamed as she fell to the ground.
For a long time she lay there, motionless. Death saw the opportunity, and crawled to her feet. She grabbed Willows katana, lifted it and levelled it against The Invulnerables neck. With lightning speed, The Invulnerables hand shot out and the sword flew away.
"Nope. There will be no more decapitation tonight."
She grabbed Death's head and stared into her eyes. The eyes of The Invulnerable started to burn again, as Death screamed in agony and beams of light tore into her eyes. It seemed like they were locked like this forever, before Death finally fell to the ground. The blonde Slayer Vampire stood unsteadily above Death.
"Veni Vidi Vichi," she said. "This one is for you Marco," she mumbled. Before she released one last stroke to the still form on the ground. Then her eyes rolled up into her cranium, and she fell to the ground.
It took a while for the spectators to gather their wits. But then The Gang ran towards the unconscious Slayer Vampires. The first thing they did, was to chain Enya and The Invulnerable securely before they brought them back to Christopher Giles mansion. There they just waited for the two vampires to wake up.
And finally Death started to move. Her head twisting from side to side, and her eyelids moved rapidly. Then her eyes opened, and burning briefly with that hellish fire again, before they changed to her normal brown.
She looked at them with a confused look.
"Who are you, and why have you chained me up?" she asked with a hoarse voice.
None of them answered. They just stood there. Waiting for Death's next move.
"Who are you?" she repeated, this time a little annoyed. She looked from person to person, and saw their fear. "And why are you afraid of me?"
Still they remained silent. Slowly something vaguely began to surface in her head. Something horrible. And as memories from the last two years started flowing through her mind, Enya cried out in pain.
"Oh God! Oh no! It can't be. It can't be. It can't be."
With a scream she broke her chains and crumbled to the floor in violent sobs.
"What the hell is this," Willow said. "What is going on?!"
Angel shook his head in disbelief. "It appears that she has gotten back her soul. But how is that possible? No one recited the soul curse."
"I don't need a curse to return the soul to anyone," Buffy said as she easily broke her chains, and went over to Enya. "Enya here would have defeated her demon on her own, given enough time. But there was no time left; she was totally out of control. So I returned her soul and life. She is now the same as me. An Invulnerable slayer."
Xander stepped closer. "So, are you… you? Or should we run for our lives?"
Buffy looked at him with sad eyes. "Don't worry Xander. I'm me. The Invulnerable resurfaced only because I needed her power to defeat Death. She only thought she had taken back control over me. I had full control all the time. Well, almost. It took me a little while to force her back again. But I did. Don't worry about me.
"What you should worry about, is Enya.
"She is in a very fragile state of mind. And she needs all the support we can give her if she is to regain her sanity. When I was at this stage, I was both suicidal and a raving lunatic. But with the support and love of a friend I came through. And so will Enya. And then she will need a Watcher, a Watcher that can aid her in her fight against the forces of darkness, if she should choose to continue slaying. But also to help her deal with her problems. She lost her parents before she was called, and her Watcher adopted her. Chris!" She looked over to the leader of the Council. "When you have gathered the rest of the Watcher organization, I need you to find a Watcher that is willing to take care of her, to be a father figure for her. Someone that won't just treat her like a weapon, but really care for Enya, the person."
"That I will," he said. "Be sure of that. And I promise you one thing. That the new organization will be entirely different from the old one."
"Good," she said, as she lifted Enya and carried her up to a bedroom, leaving the others still shaky after the brief encounter with The Invulnerable.
***************************************************************************28.December 2014. Location: New York Outside Hotel Riverton
20.30 p.m.Epilogue (Much can happen in half a year) Six months later
Constable Joshua Peterson was standing in a corner of the huge room, looking at all the others having fun. He knew he should be happy. It was Christmas, for Christ's sake. But no, it had happened again. She hadn't shown up to this Christmas party either. Every year now he had sent her the invitation, as he did with all his other employees. But she never came. It usually never bothered him that she didn't show up. After all, she wasn't obligated to come.
But this year it was different. The last time he saw her, it was after a particularly bad mission. She had gone undercover in a youth organisation that was suspected to be the front for a doomsday cult. Undercover for three long years, she had slowly worked herself into the heart of the organization, connecting with the fellow members. Finally, she delivered enough evidence for the police to go in.
But something went wrong, and the leader blew her cover. In his madness he started killing the youngest children in a desperate ritual to bring forth Armageddon. Alone, she had to take up the fight against him and his closest cadre. And loaded on PCP, they were inhumanly strong.
How she did it, he still didn't know. When they finally arrived, the leader's cadre lay sprawled around, battered and bruised. She was standing there like something from the deepest pits of a nightmare, her eyes glinting allmost yellow in a insane rage, as she slowly strangled the leader. The man must have weighed more than twice as much as her, yet he was helpless against her despite the blood flowing from a deep knife wound in her shoulder.
Joshua had tried to pry her away from the man. She took no notice of him, before he gave her a flat hand stroke to her cheek. A shiver went through her, and she released the cult leader. That fell coughing to the floor. She started to walk out the door, when her feet buckled and she sank down by the wall. Face in her hands, as deep sobs shook her body. He sat down by her side, and wrapped a blanket around her.
How long they had sat there, he didn't know. The rest of the team took care of the members, the leader and the unconscious cadre. Finally she raised her head and looked straight at him.
"I can't take this anymore," she had whispered.
"Whereever I go, I meet only death and destruction. What is the point anyway?! The bad guys always win in the end. One way or another," she had said and stared him straight in the eyes.
And what he saw scared him. He saw deep depression and disillusion. He saw a strange mix of coldness and pain. And deep down he saw the flickering light of a beginning madness. The signs were painfully common to him. He had seen the battle fatigue and burnout too many times in Vietnam.
And later, he had come to think of it. The warning signs had been there from the day he hired her. She always seemed kind of depressed, but he hadn't wanted to see it. Strong and well-trained in combat, she also had a brilliant mind and a real knack for acting, she was the perfect undercover agent.
The last months he had beat himself up about this time after time. Not a word had he heard from her since she took the leave on undefined time he had offered her. Six months, and he hadn't even got a phone call. Over the years, they had developed a close relationship. He had come to think of her almost as his second daughter. So this year he had really hoped she would come.
He shook out of his brooding and walked to the punch bowl to get something to drink. Then he noticed how every male head seemed to turn towards the door. He looked there, and almost choked on the drink.
There she was. Anne had come. She was clad in a beautiful pale blue silk dress that clung to her curves. The difference was incredible. Who would have thought that such beauty would be hidden underneath those ragged dongery and leather clothes she used to wear?
First at this point, he came aware that she came with a tall, dark-haired man who obviously adored her, and a woman in her late teens. Joshua gathered himself and walked over to them.
"Miss Summers, what a pleasure to see you here. Well it was about time.
How many years has it been, nine?"
"Actually, it is ten. But I just never was in the mood for a party," she answered. "But this year I have every reason to party. Allow me to introduce my fiancé, Alexander Lavelle Harris, and our adoptive daughter Enya Thompson."