Ch. 28: Saved For Later
Angel heard the whoosh of sword through the air and turned to a blur of steel and Buffy. Grabbing the blade with his hand, Angel let the sword cut him before he released it and turned away. Buffy looked down at the blood on the sword. She raised her eyes to glare at Angel turning his back on her so rudely. He was reaching out to Acathla until Buffy lunged at him. Angel sidestepped the attack and the sword was embedded in the statue. Before Buffy could pull the sword out, Angel shoved her out of his way. He pulled the sword free and, in the same motion, swung it at Buffy as she tried to snatch it. Buffy dodged the sword she was supposed to be wielding. She deftly avoided getting any unsightly slashes on her person as Angel advanced. This was no swordplay, Angel was swinging Buffy's sword like an executioner. Buffy jumped back feeling the tickle of air being cut very close to her skin.
"Hey! You are trying to kill me! I can't believe you are trying to kill me twice and I still haven't forgiven you for the first time!" Buffy's indignant pose was lost amid some twisting and bending as Angel tried to whittle her down to nothing but dust.
"I made you immortal. But don't worry, I'll fix that," Angel promised and tried to deliver on his promise.
"You gave me a hickey from Hell," Buffy told him. Her dodging kept her only a fraction of an inch from the blade.
"Hell? Wasn't there something?" Angel pretended to remember, "Oh that's right." He turned away from her and back to the rock. He drew the edge of Buffy's sword over the palm of his hand.
Buffy planted a kick in the middle of his back that sent him into Acathla.
"There, go make out with your boyfriend!"
But Buffy's jealousy must have gotten the better of her. Before Angel and Acathla could make out, she knocked Angel away from Acathla with a side-kick. Angel growled. It looked like he wouldn't be able to reclaim his manhood by way of an apocalypse until he finished with Buffy. Whenever Angel tried to ignore her in favor of the stupid ugly statue, she was on him. As she kicked him again, Angel got tired of Buffy trying to be the center of attention. Focused on his sword, Buffy didn't expect Angel to grab her by the neck. He picked her up and slammed her into a post. Buffy grabbed his sword arm. Angel decided he didn't need the sword to slam her head into the column until it cracked like an egg. Buffy didn't agree with this plan. She bit him, taking a chunk out of his neck.
"See how you like it!" Buffy said as she got herself out of his reach, mouth and teeth bloody.
Angel held a hand to his neck looked down at the blood, said "thanks" and moved toward Acathla. His blood was inches away from the statue. Out of the corner of her eye, Buffy saw Willow take a leap. She jumped on Angel and knocked him to the ground. The sword skidded over the floor toward Buffy. Buffy was ready to reclaim it when the mansion wall collapsed.
The beneficiaries of the structural damage were two slayers and Dru and Spike, their rivals in a messy scuffle. All four were neatly buried and a cloud of dust rose in their place. Yellow and magnificent, Xander's bulldozer came through the dust cloud. Buffy clapped.
"Hello! Anybody home!" Xander yelled from the driver's seat as he rolled over the rubble and possibly some vampires and slayers trapped under it. There was a crunch of masonry chunks under the dozer's weight and, Xander hoped, bones.
Angel looked up from the floor ready to tear Xander into tiny pieces or at least put him on the list of people he was going to tear into pieces after he got Willow off him and opened a portal to Hell.
"Where's the rock?" Xander asked.
Buffy helpfully pointed to the statue.
"We should have gotten the backhoe," Xander said as he considered how to use the dozer on the statue of Acathla.
"Xander!" Buffy warned him as Angel threw Willow off him. Willow rolled to the floor and rushed at the statue. Xander winced seeing Willow rip her hand open on her own teeth.
"Hey, Willow. Whatcha doing?"
"Making this world more to my liking."
Willow's run at the statue ended with her hand raised as Buffy tackled her to the floor. Then she had to turn right around and stop Angel from getting the sword back. Buffy pulled the sword from the rubble as Xander plowed into the statue. The best way to stop the kids fighting over a toy - take away the toy. The statue slid until it hit the wall then fell into the shovel part of the dozer.
"Say bye bye to the ugly guy!" Buffy said as she ran for the dozer.
"Bye Angel!" Xander shouted. "Hop on, Buff."
Using the sword, Buffy held off Willow and Angel. She ducked as Xander turned the dozer around to show them its claw like arm. He raised the claw and lowered it threateningly.
"It's called a ripper. Guess what it does?" Xander yelled, grinning. Angel and Willow retreated only a grudging half a step at a time as Xander forced them back to let Buffy climb on. He then knocked down another wall sending the debris on Angel's head and coincidentally Willow's. With those two busy trying to get the wall off them, Xander and Buffy drove away.
The statue was standing tall, its twisted face looking ahead like an ugly masthead of the dozer. But a shuddering of the mansion's floor bounced the statue out of the dozer's grip.
"You lost the ugly guy," Buffy pointed out.
"No time for Angel. We got to go," Xander said misunderstanding Buffy again on purpose.
"What's the rush and what's this shaking?" Buffy asked as she had to hold tight to stay on board the dozer.
"I picked up some extra stuff on the way," Xander said as he drove away from the mansion like they were being chased.
What followed them was the ear-shattering boom of an explosion and the roar of collapsing walls and a crash as the roof came down. A dust cloud rose high into the night sky. Xander turned the dozer to give them a view of the destruction mostly obscured by the dust.
"You snagged some explosives," Buffy guessed as the mansion lay demolished. Xander just admired his work and waved off the dust as it spread over them.
"You really don't like Angel," Buffy concluded since he sure as Hell didn't do all this to save the world.
"You could say I came down on him like a ton of bricks."
"Yeah, 'you' could say that."
"The statue is still standing." And there it was standing where it had fallen amidst the rubble.
"Hmm. Must be indestructible," Xander said with very little concern.
"Xander, it's not even tipped over."
"Maybe with more explosives or some kind of nuclear weapon?" Xander mused. The military remnant of him getting enthusiastic about the idea. "Before you make your pick, I can get my hands on more explosives easy, nuclear weapons, eh, 50/50."
Buffy looked at him and Xander chose to believe that she was impressed. Maybe even turned on.
"Let's go look at the damage," she decided.
"Morbid. I like it."
They drove back and jumped down to get a closer look.
"I was hoping for more corpses. Some legs and arms," Xander complained as she kicked at a loose stone. He hoped the dust they were waving away wasn't just dust.
"There's an arm. It's Angel's," Buffy said, recognizing it.
Xander pulled on it.
"It's still attached. Too bad."
Buffy looked at him and marveled at the power of wishful thinking. Angel lay under the smashed masonry, dust plastered to blood that ran down in rivulets from his numerous, but to a vampire, superficial wounds.
"Hey, little piggy, I huffed and I puffed and I blew your house down!" Xander shouted at Angel.
Angel's eyes snapped open and furious.
"He looks mad."
Angel was half way in, his legs dangling in the basement with many pointy pieces of wood supports underneath, waiting to impale him. Xander nodded his approval at this fortuitous arrangement of vampire and sharp wood.
"A little help here, Buffy," Angel told her gruffly. He was in to his armpits, and by his expression, squeezed pretty tight by nasty, jagged debris.
"Should we help? Pull him out?" Buffy wondered as she watched Angel's unsuccessful struggle to free himself.
"I'll help you push him in." Xander offered.
"Pull him out or...?"
"Push him in," Xander voted.
"How about neither," Angel announced and their indecision was resolved as Angel got himself up and out of the hole, kicking slabs of concrete out of his way. He was all ripped to pieces, but not where it counted.
"You used to be better at this rescuing stuff, Buffy," Angel said as he dusted himself off and pulled a handful of nails from his gut. "Thanks for nothing. Again."
"I think I'm losing my taste for rescuing, saving, protecting, breathing."
"About time," Xander grumbled.
"Now you know what it's like to have a big fat building fall on you," Spike said to Angel or no one in particular. Spike was stoically ignoring a ruler sized piece of wood sticking right through his shoulder. Drusilla got a big dose of building on her and Spike was frantically trying to dig her out.
Acathla stood there unharmed and neglected. But Willow wasn't as inattentive as the others. Shaking off some rubble, she stalked toward the statue. She didn't even need to cut herself, she was already bleeding profusely. Seeing her unwavering determination, Angel took some big steps to overtake her.
"You two still want to destroy the world? Does someone need to drop a house on you? Oh that's right, already did that." Xander threw up his hands in surrender.
"Our Willow was always an overachiever," Xander added fondly a he watched Willow get yanked back by her hair.
While Buffy and Xander looked bored with the Angel and Willow's competitive spirit. The slayers tiptoed over jagged debris and each slayer took down a vamp with a tackle. There was wrestling, kicking, and even hair pulling, mostly Angel. Vamp wounds closed and had to be reopened in numerous attempts to activate the statue.
Buffy picked up lose rubble and threw it at the fighters pretty much indiscriminately. Xander knew a fun, new, time wasting and injury causing activity when he saw one and joined her.
"Would you two stop that!" Angel yelled.
"Yeah, watch it!" Spike added as he continued to dig for Dru.
The slayers glared, fought, and ducked when appropriate.
"It's like dodge ball. I miss school," Buffy said.
"I miss the wanton cruelty."
"The cruelty of children is unmatched even by demons," Xander agreed as he threw concrete, aiming for Angel almost exclusively.
As the slayers and vampires fought each other to a standstill in the rubble, Buffy yawned. She looked down at her ruined shoes.
"New shoes?" Xander guessed when he saw Buffy heading off, probably to a shoe store.
"What about the end of the world?" Xander asked as he joined her.
"That's more of a slayer problem," Buffy said as she headed for the dozer.
"Way to go, Buff! Way to kick that nasty slaying habit. You might want to let them have the sword," Xander said seeing that she still carried it and swung it around like it was an umbrella and not an instrument of death.
"But I... oh OK." Buffy wind-milled her arm and threw the sword high into the air. It followed a steep arc, nose-diving into the middle of the fight.
"Timber!" Buffy yelled a second after the sword landed a hair's breadth from impaling Faith.
"Bitch!" Faith grabbed for the sword and so did Kendra. The blade, embedded half into the ground, wouldn't give. They pulled in unison and freed it. There was a minute or two of slayer vs. slayer struggle until Kendra yelled "I have seniority" and wrenched the sword away from Faith.
The vampires did not wait patiently but their infighting kept them from reaching the statue before Xander's dozer picked it up again.
"We're taking it?" Buffy asked.
"I figure that will pretty much upset everyone."
"Just as long as no one feels left out."
With Buffy swinging on its side, the dozer went off with Xander in the driver's seat. The vampires and slayers did a first rate job of getting in each other's way and letting Buffy, Xander, and the statue get away.
to be continued