Title: Murphy's Law
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Just the canon ones for Season 6.
Disclaimer: Not mine. It all belongs to Joss.
Warnings: Character death. Really and seriously, this is not (and will not be) a happy or lighthearted fic.
Summary: What if Giles hadn't killed Ben in The Gift? It is now mid-season 6, and the Scooby gang is falling apart when Ben awakens from his coma, letting loose an angry Glory. Buffy, dealing with post-death depression, bills, an "evil" Trio, and a faltering support system, now has to contend with a vengeful hellgod. Just when things couldn't get worse.
Chapter One: Invocation
"Guess we're stuck with each other, huh baby?" Ben laughed bitterly, feeling the disgusting mixture of blood and bile bubble in his throat.
The Slayer had beat him to within an inch of his life. No, not him. Glory. But the line between the two had been fuzzy for a while now. Ben remembered every punch, every kick, every damn swing of the fucking hammer.
A shadow appeared above him, and Ben squinted to try to focus. His eyesight was fading.
"Can you move?" A soft British voice asked. One of Buffy's friends.
Ben was hopeful. It was the older man that Ben had helped save in that abandoned gas station outside of town. Hopefully, this man's sense of fair play would work to his advantage right about now. Ben knew that there was no way he'd make it without help.
"Need a minute," he replied. "She could have killed me."
"No, she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later, Glory will re-emerge and make Buffy pay for that mercy, and the world with her." The older man's voice was wistful. "Buffy even knows that, and still she wouldn't take a human life."
There was a violent shudder in the ground, resonating up through Ben's bruised bones. He gritted his teeth, only to regret it as his head cried in agony. From the side, somebody called in a panicked voice: "Giles!"
The older man's attention was immediately drawn away. He stood from the crouch and rushed away from Ben, who couldn't even turn his head to see what had distracted him.
There was another shudder, and Ben surrendered to darkness as a pile of rubble crashed down onto him.
The darkness lasted only moments to Ben. Moments of blissful unawareness until he suddenly came back to himself.
The world was fuzzy. His limbs didn't move as he remembered they should. And everything around him was black.
His eyes were closed.
Just the effort of opening his eyes was a struggle he could barely muster the strength for. When he succeeded, he was staring at the stark, sterile ceiling of Sunnydale Hospital. He knew that ceiling well. He knew that building well.
The life monitor maintained a steady beeping noise as Ben cautiously turned his head. No pain. In fact, there was no pain anywhere. Just the dullness of unused muscles. He'd been in the hospital for a while.
He experimented by wiggling his toes, trying to determine how much control he had over fine motor functions. He was inordinately overjoyed to see movement down by the foot of his hospital bed. No paralysis, at least.
His joy was cut short, however, as a familiar buzzing noise filled his head. He cringed, knowing what it meant. He didn't want it to happen, though. Not now. Not when he had to figure out how long he'd been unconscious.
He was too weak, though, and the hellgod burst through.
Glory took in her surroundings, her head throbbing. She looked down.
"Ew," she picked at the flimsy hospital gown. "This is a nightmare."
Standing on wobbly legs, Glory ripped the IV from her arm and held onto the edge of the bed. She used to have minions. Nice, wonderful, ugly little minions who would be able to help her get what she needed.
And then what she needed entered the room. It wandered right in wearing hospital scrubs with short, disheveled hair from a long day's work. Glory smiled as the nurse stared at her in surprise.
"What…where did Ben go?" The woman moved forward, picking up Ben's file from the foot of the bed.
Glory lunged at her, tackling the other woman to the ground with all the strength she had and sinking her fingers into her brain.
Boundless energy shot through her, and Glory felt renewed with a power she hadn't had in years. It was electrifying. It was glorious. It was kinda tingly. She laughed, shoving the pale and sweaty nurse off her.
She'd missed her portal home. She knew it. That vampire slayer had screwed it up for her. That bitch had to pay. But first, Glory glanced down at her hospital gown again. First, she'd have to get some decent clothes.
Buffy was in heaven. For brief moments, as long as her lips were in contact with Spike's, the hell that was this world disappeared, and she could pretend she was back in heaven. Spike pulled back to let her breathe, but she didn't let him pull away entirely. She needed him. Not as a member of the Scoobies or a protector of Dawn. No, she needed him to help ease the pain of living.
Her arms kept him at elbow's length. She couldn't let him embrace her. She didn't need him like that. She needed his mouth, his tongue, the passionate love he was trying to convey to her with his touch. She greedily took it all. But an embrace? That was too intimate. She couldn't give him that.
Giles had left her today. But it didn't matter because she would forget everything with this one kiss.
Willow was in the only refuge she had right now: the bathroom. It was the only place she could go to avoid Tara as she cleared out her things to leave. Leave her. Because Willow had tried to fix things.
It wasn't fair, this whole leaving thing. Tara was supposed to understand that she was trying to help. It wasn't her fault that the spell had gone wrong. Tara had always understood before. Always.
Willow wished she could start the day over and try again. She wished that Tara had never found out about the first memory spell. She wished she could disappear into the tiled floor and not have to deal with any of this.
Things just couldn't get any worse.
His reading material wasn't very interesting. At least, it wasn't interesting enough to distract him from what he was doing. He was going against every instinct in his body in leaving Buffy at this time. And yet, he knew it was what he had to do. It was for the best. She couldn't keep relying on him, especially not at a time like this.
He hated leaving. If he could, he would have stayed with her until he died. But it was high time he started thinking like a Watcher again, not a father.
There was a crash from the flight attendant's kitchen area, but Giles ignored it, assuming that a glass had broken. The man sitting next to him, Charles, nudged his arm, though and leaned over.
"Who's she?" Charles whispered loudly.
Giles' hand gripped his armrest when he saw her. Curly blonde hair, pristine make-up, and a deceptively fragile-looking red dress. Glory was standing in the aisle, staring straight at him.
"There you are!" The hellgod exclaimed. "I have been looking all over for you!"
Thoughts raced through Giles' mind as he stood on surprisingly stable legs. Ben. He had meant to take care of Ben during the battle but had been distracted when a tremor had nearly sent Tara down a chasm. When he'd returned, there was a pile of rubble over the body. Giles had assumed the young man had been killed.
He'd been wrong.
"Glory," he said. "You're looking well."
"Yeah, I was doing a little beauty sleep, you know," Glory gazed around at the other passengers. She smiled at them before continuing. "I do remember, before old Ben konked out, that you were yammering on about little Miss Slayer not being able to kill Ben or something? Yeah?"
"Kill? What the hell is going on?" A middle-aged man in a business suit stood up a few rows behind him.
"Oh, sweetie honey. Don't interrupt our convo," Glory said, flicking a finger at the man. The man collapsed back onto his seat, convulsing from suffocation before going limp. Glory crossed her arms and turned back to Giles expectantly.
They were miles above the Atlantic Ocean. Giles wasn't sure how Glory had gotten onboard. However, he was certain that she fully intended to make sure that the plane never reached its destination.
What he had feared had come true. Glory was back, and she was looking for vengeance.
"Why bother continuing the conversation, Glory? You're here for a purpose, I'd wager. I have no defense against you. I'll not trade verbal jabs for your entertainment before you slaughter me," Giles said.
Glory smiled, tilting her head to the side. The rest of the cabin watched her in fearful expectation. Some people had their cellphones out and were speaking quietly on them.
"I'm not gonna slaughter you, Rupert," she chided. "The pilots are dead. The plane's going to crash very soon. And you all will die." She shrugged. "Sorry."
A quick glance out the window showed that they did seem to be dropping in altitude slowly. She must be manipulating the plane to stay in the air for the time-being. Obviously, something had happened to magnify her powers.
"To all of you guys on your little phones," she called out. "Tell your loved ones that Glory did it. Glorificus. G-L-O-R-Y. I want them to get the message out." She turned back to Giles. "I want your Slayer bitch to know who killed you, Watcher. I missed my chance to go home because of her. And she will be punished."
She was gone in the next moment. The moment after that, the plane started to buffet wildly and masks fell from the ceiling. Giles fell back onto his seat, elbowed harshly by a panicked Charles reaching for the mask. Giles didn't join his neighbor in that task. He knew that it was hopeless. Glory would ensure that nobody would survive this crash.
Looking out the window, he could see the ocean approaching them ever closer. He closed his eyes, wishing that he could talk to Buffy one last time before -