A/N: Unfortunately, this update rate on this fic won't continue, since I've got to go back to a few other projects first. On a happier note, I'd again like to thank everyone who have reviewed – I would thank everyone personally but I've been told that frowns on that.
Seeing Red – Chapter 3
It was a beautiful day – the kind of one that lousy poets wrote about using flowery prose. A perfect California day, but it went unnoticed by the small blonde making her way across Sunnydale. At first glance, it looked like she didn't have a care in the world. But if you were to look into those eyes you would find death reflected there.
The death of loved ones; the death of enemies; the death of her soul.
And while the passer-bys noticed nothing unusual in the young woman, one person did – or rather, a former demon did. Anya's eyes widened slightly as Buffy Summers entered the Magic Shop; as a former Vengeance Demon, Anya had plenty of experience finding women overcome by hatred and the need for vengeance. In fact, it wasn't that unusual of an occurrence, and it kept Anyaka busy for several millennium.
But looking into the eyes of the Slayer, Anya felt a rare shiver of fear creep down her spine. At that moment, she felt her mortal state keenly. This went beyond anger, or vengeance, or hatred – the Slayer had fallen into a state of such enmity that few demons could achieve. Worse still, the former-demon could feel the waves of power flowing out from the Slayer. The Slayer always tended to radiate power, but that generally 'grey' power had been tainted with a darkness that seemed to continue to feed the Slayer's aura with more and darker power.
"Hey Anya, got a question for ya," Buffy asked cheerfully, though the effect was spoiled by the coldness reflected in her eyes and smile. "Since you were a vengeance demon, you've killed lots of guys in really creative ways, right?"
"Oh yes, I remember this one husband who was cheating on his wife with another man, so she wished for him to be speared up the rectum," Anya said, her fear banished by the nostalgic memories.
"Great! I need some advice on killing Warren."
"What kind of name is 'Warren' for a demon; these modern demons have no sense, at all," Anya said distastefully.
"Oh, Warren isn't a demon, he's human. He killed Dawn," Buffy confided matter-of-factly to Anya. Suddenly, Anya remembered the darkness in Buffy's eyes and the frantic phone call from Willow. With a sinking feeling, she realized why Willow had told her to stall Buffy.
"But I thought Slayers couldn't kill humans; remember the whole psychotic Faith incident?" Anya asked slowly, realizing she was treading thin ice.
"When have I ever followed the rules? I didn't kill Angel, Spike," the last name was said in a voice completely devoid of any emotion making Anya wonder, "and you. I mean, you've kills tons of people when you were a demon. When you were a demon, I would have killed you without a second thought. But you became human so I didn't…" Buffy trailed off, lost in thought as she contemplated the subject.
Anya had never been more grateful for the invention of the telephone than at that moment. Grabbing the handle, she only hoped that the ring tone had broken the Slayer's train of thought. The former demon had not liked where those thoughts were heading.
"Anya, thank the Goddess! Is Buffy there?" a frantic Willow asked.
"Yes, she is, and when the hell are you getting her?" Anya asked in a slightly stressed-out voice.
"We're almost there; do you know another number we can use to reach Giles? We've been trying to him a hold of him, but so far no luck."
"Anya, would you hurry up? I want get to killing Warren quickly – well, start the process quickly, anyways."
Willow stared at Tara in shock as Buffy's voice drifted across the cell phone. Before Anya could respond, the phone clicked and all that could be heard was the dial tone. The two witches looked at each other in horror, and began to run. Five minutes later they were outside the Magic Box – which now sported a 'closed' sign despite being three o'clock in the afternoon.
Things must have gone really bad if Anya was willing to close and lose the chance to make money, Willow thought.
Thankful that the door was unlocked, the two witches carefully entered the store. Only to be surprised when they saw Buffy and Anya sitting at the table talking amicably…
Shelves and their contents were toppled over and laid carelessly on the floor. There were several holes in the walls ranging from fist-sized to that of a body. Several chairs were smashed to pieces near various walls. While taking this in, Tara heard a small groan come from the rubble of books. Quickly the girls began tossing books away and were shocked to see a battered Rupert Giles regaining consciousness.
"Oh my God, Giles!" Willow cried.
Wincing, Giles snuck a peak over to where Anya dn Buffy were still chatting away before he carefully began to sit up.
"A little quieter, if you please, Willow. Not only do I have a bloody headache, I'd rather not re-attract Buffy's attention at the moment," Giles said, strangely calm despite the fact he had been beaten to a pulp.
"Buffy did this?" Willow asked, aghast. Without waiting for the obvious answer, Tara asked, "Mr. Giles, w-what are you d-doing here?"
Giles sighed wearily.
"A coven of powerful witches I know in England sense the rise of a great evil from what was once good. I must admit, thought it would be you, Willow, given your past infatuation with dark magic," Giles confessed.
Willow smiled wanly and nodded for Giles to continue.
"I was given the combined power of the coven in order to stop its rise."
"I'm guessing it failed?" Willow more-of stated rather than asked, eyeing Giles' bedevilled state.
"Yes, working on the assumption that you had turned, by absorbing the 'good' magic of the coven you would retain a measure of your humanity, hopefully long enough for one of us to get through to you."
"S-so, this p-plan didn't work b-because Buffy is a Slayer, not a w-witch?" Tara asked, giving the Slayer (who still continued her discussion with Anya) a pensive look.
"Yes, but with the coven's power I should have been able to bind Buffy physically until I found a way to restore her mental and emotional balance, but…" Giles trailed off, a glazed look entering his eyes.
"But…? Giles!" Willowed hissed sharply.
"Pardon?" Giles asked blankly, and despite the seriousness of the situation, Willow barely managed to prevent herself from rolling her eyes. "But?" she asked exasperatedly.
"Oh, right. I'm not entirely certain what happened. The power within Buffy that makes her a Slayer seemed to simply…overpower the magic I was using. I have never heard of a similar instance happening in any of the Watcher Diaries," Giles confessed. "There's a very good chance that Buffy would have killed me if Anya hadn't convinced Buffy that she needed good ideas of how to kill Warren and she could kill me later. What did this Warren do to cause Buffy to snap like this?"
Willow and Tara looked at each for a moment, before turning sad eyes back to the Watcher.
"He killed Dawn. He must have done it right in front of Buffy," Willow said softly. Giles closed his eyes briefly in sorrow; both girls had become like daughters to him, and the thought he had not only lost one, but the other one as well froze his mental processes for a moment. It was Buffy that broke him out of his reverie.
"Thanks a lot, Anya, you've given me some really good ideas. But Warren is finally trying to get out of town so I've got to get going," Buffy said apologetically to the former demon, who was currently shooting worried looks to where Giles, Willow and Tara still huddled amongst the mess. With the help of Willow and Tara, Giles got up stiffly and warily approached the blonde Slayer, intercepting her as she made for the door.
"Buffy, you don't want to do this…" Giles began but was quickly interrupted.
"Why, Giles, because Slayer's shouldn't kill humans because they have souls? The one's who have hurt me most have had souls," Buffy said, her face went blank for a moment and the Watcher almost missed the whispered, "almost everyone."
"As your Watcher…" Giles tried again, but again was interrupted by Buffy as she began to laugh.
"You aren't my Watcher – you left. Besides, I've decided to take the advice of someone better qualified than you: the First Slayer," she added at Giles' uncomprehending look. Tara looked somewhat confused, as did Anya, but twin looks of horror filtered across Giles and Willow's face. They remembered the night after the defeat of Adam when the First Slayer attempted to kill them. The First Slayer hadn't seemed to have a speck of humanity within her; willing to kill anyone or anything that stepped in the way of her completing her goal of ridding the world of evil. Maybe it was this final shock, or Buffy's calm yet dangerous eyes, but whatever the reason the group watched silently as Buffy left the store, her finally words hanging in the air.
"Got to go kill Warren now, see ya later."
A/N: A couple more chapters before Faith and gang arrive, so hang in there