Ten minutes earlier:
This was the first time in Wednesday Addams living memory that she seen the family being lead to war by her parents and it was as exhilarating as it was disturbing. Sure there had been 'disputes' from time to time, but nothing like this. Wednesday and her older brother Pugsley followed their parents Morticia and Gomez, weapons at the ready. Uncle Fester and his crazed wife Dementia were close behind while Grand-mama and Lurch were bringing up the rear.
This adventure started when Grand-mama had gone almost catatonic when the vision had first hit her. "The family is in danger!" she kept screaming. "Evil is making its move!"
That was nothing unusual. Hey, that's what evil did.
But the magnitude of the threat had forced her parents to immediately investigate, and what they saw coming had disgusted them. The family hadn't had a hint of what was happening until it was almost too late being that they usually kept an eye on such activities. The family had almost interfered when the dumb blond-Glory threatened to destroy everything, but Grand-mama had forbid any interference.
The forces of darkness had really done it this time. Of course, it was purposely kept from them on the off chance that the family might disagree with the enormous scale of evil's intentions and that was evil's problem. They didn't know when to stop. Sunnydale was about to become ground zero for a major apocalypse, and it wasn't like the others either, that happened about once every year for the last few years.
Personally, Wednesday thought the reason that apocalypses happened so consistently had something to do with sun spots and no one would convince her otherwise. She was being sarcastic she knew, but her older brother had been irritating her and young Pubert was entering his murderous stage and everyone had to be on their toes and thereby received far too much attention. Because of this, she insisted on being contrary as a way to aggravate the family letting them know she still existed without resorting to bloodletting. Her little brother reminded her of herself at that age. His killer instinct was well honed and he remembered the early days when she felt it in her best interests to remove him from the family. Those were fun times even if her little brother managed to survive most of her 'attentions'.
It was when her mother had pulled out the black-light swords from the chest, that both Wednesday and her older brother understood the magnitude of the danger facing the family. In a house that was a museum, the swords were one of their greatest treasures. There were two pair, each hand-crafted by Aunt Toni-the-Truly-Mad Addams. She had spent seven whole nights enchanting the swords before placing them in the chest that was never to be opened unless it was an apocalyptic emergency – like now. Family rumor had said that she had poured her own essence and that of her children into the weapons, which made since sense they had all acted like zombies for the rest of their lives after the ritual. Like they said, she really was mad and sloppy, too. She should have used someone else's life force in Wednesday's opinion.
Her mother had given her the curved pair to use as she saw fit of this special occasion. Dutifully she made a slight slash, drawing blood which she allowed to drip onto the swords. Both of the weapons laughed with joy, she noted as the blood was absorbed into the enchanted silver-impregnated steel.
It was always about the blood. Her mother did the same things with her own and those swords screamed, "mommy!"
Apparently, the blades were happy to get out and do something. Again, it was typical. Toni-the-Truly Mad's children were crazy, too. She was glad her mother hadn't given her those particular swords instead. She would have been irritated. Better insane laughter than "mommy!" every few seconds.
It had been exhilarating watching Lurch drive like a lunatic for the entire nine hours it took to get to Sunnydale. In her entire life had ever experience him driving like that. He was always so careful, so considerate.
Not this time.
Wednesday had assumed that people were getting out of the way because they sensed the urgency of their vehicle bearing down on them. Few people wanted to wind up being road kill but Old Lurch never seemed to have penchant for running people over no matter how tempting or deserving. And except for Pubert, who was really too young and reckless for an undertaking such as this, the whole immediate family had come. He had been sent to stay with Cousin Itt and his wife until this was over.
When they reached Sunnydale, her mother and father were literally jumping out of the car, heading for the battle with Grand-mama pointing the way. Rarely had Wednesday seen the intensity that her parents were now showing as they headed towards the sounds of battle. Sunnydale High School, looking dark and foreboding now, pleased both siblings, each who privately wished that they had attended this particular school years ago. This was a great school according to all of the family rumors but Mama and Papa had always forbade it, something about the mayor of the town being unstable.
Both she and Pugsley were following closely, weapons in hand when it happened. It was then that Wednesday did something she'd never done before – purposely, that is.
A concerned Lurch was there to catch her in an instant before she hit the ground.
'Are you ready to be strong?' a force asked Wednesday.
'I'm already strong,' she answered indifferently. 'A little more can't hurt. But it will be on my terms. I don't do control.'
She suddenly found herself in a desert. It was desolate offering no vegetation that she could see and she found herself wandering around, searching the horizon for something that she could not see, but could sense was there, tracking her just as she was tracking it. Her dark clothes soaked up the sun and within moments she found herself shedding some of them using them to cover her head. She was fair-skinned and the sun was irritating her and Wednesday didn't like too much sun at the best of times. She was on edge now, waiting for some sort of attack, but none came which set her more on edge. From her experience the worst attacks came when there was nothing around to attack you. Pugsley was a master at hide, seek and attack when they were younger and she'd learned her lessons the hard way about keeping her guard up. By the time she reached the third sand hill, she saw her or rather it sitting cross-legged glaring at her. In its left hand was a huge knife, and in its right a wooden stake sharpened to perfection. Cautiously, Wednesday stopped and waited. The creature appeared to be a wild girl, younger than she clothed in animal skins and adored with paint, runes if she interpreted them correctly. There was something about her that appealed to Wednesday. Certainly Pugsley would have liked her. That was his kind of woman.
"Who are you?" she asked, ready to fight the creature if necessary.
"Slayer," whispered the wind. "Of all of my daughters asked, only you came to see. You are the last to hear the call."
"I can feel them," Wednesday said. "They answered."
"But only you came. And I offer it to you. Take it."
The Addams girl's eyes narrowed. "No deal is without consequences."
"Yes," confirmed the wind. "Death is your gift."
"What else is new?"
"Now the line will pass through the dark haired ones. A new line is made. When one is gone the other will endure. This is my other gift."
"To survive. To fight. To win. To endure."
The Slayer was creating something new and in that instant she knew why. If all of the potentials were called and were lost in the upcoming battle, then there would be no new ones called until they were born. That child would have to reach the proper age before then being called – if there were anyone left to help her to grow up. If a second line was begun, then a whole new set of potentials would be created separate from the first line. The Slayer was hedging its bet and Wednesday had to agree that it was a good idea. That was something that Wednesday could understand. She was an Addams – they endured.
"Until the end," she growled, matching the voice in the wind.
The force seemed to approve of her decision. Power flooded into her. Strength, energy, improved senses and reflexes. It was like one of Grand-mama's potions, but permanent, more intense, rawer.
The Slayer essence filled her, the same as the others, but different than all of the rest except for one. There were three sister slayers now, two blood and now one of the blood, so old but completely new. A new line to help the first line, always separate, but now never alone.
Immediately, her parents had stopped and studied her, somehow noticing the difference. Both of senior Addams's approved of the power boost, especially now.
Pugsley snorted. She'd be insufferable for a while and he'd have to think up new ways to aggravate his beloved sister without getting accidentally killed. They were getting too old for their games but still, sometimes they needed to be kids; after all, uncle Fester and daddy still had their fun.
In a surreal place this was, well surreal, thought Xander. He had slashed yet another prehistoric vampire who even in dusting was screaming its defiance at him, reaching for his throat. He could feel the hatred and anger at being killed by meat. How Xander could know this, he wasn't sure, but he knew in his heart that it was true. What had been equally perplexing though was been how he had managed to survive this long against what were essentially uber-vampires, beasts that frightened modern vampires, and most likely fed on them as well.
"Not bad," the man called Gomez Addams said. "These things are good for getting the old heart pumping," he continued. "You know they track you by echo location?"
Xander had come to a fast, dirty conclusion as he watched the one who called himself Gomez Addams battle his combatants. The man was a master swordsman. Every cut, every slice, every thrust and parry was performed with the greatest efficiency. There was no wasted effort at all as far as he could see. The man's style reminded him of a dance in the exact same way as a Tai-Chi exercise reminded him of an exercise routine. Most people forgot that it was also a martial art. He hadn't and as much as he was interested in learning about the man who saved him from unintentionally falling off into the abyss was, the other two people engaging the vampires with him were equally as interesting and as dangerous. He needed Intel on them as well. For now that were allies.
One was a bald-headed man using an absolutely beautiful two headed ax with such seeming abandon that Xander didn't want to be anywhere near him as he was swinging it. The second was a double hatchet-wielding woman, also bald-headed for some reason but she sported a long brunette-colored pony-tail that reached down to her mid back. She was fighting alongside her counterpart. Her constant screaming, mixed with hysterical laughter confirmed to the young man that the woman had lost her sanity long, long ago. Or, maybe not.
But, as wild as the hulking man and crazy woman were, neither never came close enough to Gomez to present a danger to him even when they were right inside of each other's space and because of that reasoning, Xander did something stupid.
He jumped into the middle of the three of the strangers and started fighting alongside. They were fighting against the darkness and while they may not be friends, they weren't the enemy – as far as he could tell at the moment.
The bald-headed man hacked a Turok-Han in half just as he said in an all too cheerful voice, "my name's Fester. It means 'to rot'. I like your little axe!"
Little? "Err-thank you."
"That cute little screaming thing over there is my wife, Dementia."
"It means 'insanity'," the woman screamed at Xander while gutting one of the vampires before taking its head.
Husband and wife.
Why did that sound so, so natural and normal?
"And young fellow, who might you be?" Dementia asked in a way that suggested that if she didn't like the answer, then she would go after him with the same intensity as she had attacked the vampires.
"I'm Xander," he said while getting some of his wind back. "Glad to have you here, I think."
"Of course, you are."
So Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Spike…they were normal compared to these people, speaking of which…
"Who are you people?" Xander yelled.
"The ones keeping trying to keep evil from overdoing it," Gomez yelled back. We're the Addams family." He turned for a second smiling grimly. "Fun time is over," he announced. "The big boys have finally made it to the top."
"What do you…" and the rest of the words died in Xander's mouth saw the things climbing over the top of the ridge. The man had mentioned it earlier, but he hadn't fully comprehended.
The matured ones had finally reached the top and were climbing over now. These were the ones like the one Buffy had such a hard time beating and worse they were carrying weapons, hand-made swords, huge clubs, and knives of various sorts. The Bringers were bad enough with their weapons, now the vamps were doing the same thing.
Gomez dispatched his last target and swirled, facing the cliff. "Fester," he growled, "we've been playing with the kiddies. No more games."
"I'm right behind you." His older brother answered. "Any trace of friendliness had disappeared. Next to him stood his wife with her own pair of hatchets at the ready.
The first two mature Turok-Han scampered from the abyss to stare at the human defenders. Unlike the younglings, they accessed their surroundings first. Both were carrying crude swords which looked more like clubs than anything else. They weren't much bigger than the younger ones but their incisors teeth were huge and the other teeth were just as ragged. Their dark intent rolled off of them in waves.
"Cannibalism?" asked Gomez.
"The only way they could survive, brother," answered Fester. The creatures had fed on each other eliminating the weak, becoming even more aggressive in the process. "Xander, this is why we carry enchanted weaponry. Your axe is nice, but…"
"Magic tends to go screwy around me," he answered quickly, never taking his eye off of this new, far more dangerous threat.
"Tis, tis, my boy," said Gomez. "Sorry to hear that. But here," he continued as he pulled out a beautiful silver-plated rune covered machete and tossed it to Xander. "You might want to use this anyway, just in case. Never know when one of Grand-mama's rune blades might come in handy."
Xander caught it. It felt warm in his hand. It felt right for some reason. "Thanks," he uttered as he gripped he weapon tighter.
"Use it well, my boy."
Both vampires attacked. Six more were right behind them. Behind them were thousands already climbing the wall with their claws and teeth. They were like roaches scampering up the wall.
The elders had finally come up to play.
Faith quickly recovered from the vicious kick she received from one of the Turok-Hans eager to sample her blood. The second eldest slayer returned the kick as hard as she could, breaking a bone and then crushed it with the Troll hammer. Male or female, she didn't care; they both looked so much alike that you couldn't tell whatever it was anyway. It was already dusting. Her clothes were already covered in vampire dust but again she didn't care. The slayer essence within was basking in glory as its host did what it was born to do, slay vampires; it didn't matter what kind.
Faith had nearly given up any hope of survival and started fighting with abandon, assisting the girls she could and quietly mourning the ones she couldn't. The Troll hammer was very effective against them but for this type of job it was a little too unwieldy. The scythe was made for this type of work but she couldn't keep it for more than a few seconds at a time. Her sword was sufficient for the time being and all they had to do was to hold the undead for a few more minutes.
What she was concerned about were the mini-slayers. They were newbies, literally fighting for their lives with barely an inkling of what they could do and how to do it. The basic training had helped to save their lives but too many were falling, the numbers against them too great. Honestly, she had no illusions about getting out of this alive after all, death was their gift. But she did feel sorry for the younger girls that hadn't had a chance to really experience life which was more than ironic as she had barely lived life herself. But she had made it into her twenties. Most of them hadn't and wouldn't.
That was when the strangers had arrived, setting off her slayer senses. She had expected an attack from the newcomers but instead they started laying into the vampires with exuberance that she had to admire. Exuberance? That's it. She was spending way too much time around Giles.
One of the strangers had saved Xander from falling over the edge where he was fighting a Turok-Han and now he was in the middle of that group holding off the enemy and doing a pretty good job of it. Whoever they were, they'd pissed off the First as soon as it had seen them, which made them alright in her book.
Within moments she had found herself fighting alongside the obvious matriarch of the group. She was tall with long dark hair almost the color of her skin tight dress and how she moved in that full length thing was beyond Faith's comprehension, but move she did – when it was necessary. Mostly the stupid enemy came to her and then they were dispatched with ruthless efficiency. There was style and grace to her movements and the swords she carried almost sang as she whirled them around. There was a darkness that seemed to shroud the woman entire body except for the eyes. Faith hadn't seen anything remotely like that. Those eyes were pitiless, yet held a passion that matched the utter coldness of the woman. What really set off her senses however was the zombified hand on her shoulder, assisting whenever and however it was needed. It was freakish, however she couldn't deny its effectiveness, and it even jumped down and tripped the stupider vampires that had ignored it, causing them to fall right into those whirling blades.
A scream pulled her away from the woman as Vi, another slayette found herself facing a huge Turok-Han. The creature had already slashed her once and was about to repeat the attack. This one was stronger than the others and Vi, holding a sword didn't have a chance against it. Faith, engaged against a pair of vampires, did the only thing she could and threw the hammer to her.
"Vi," she yelled as the hammer was sailing towards her.
Vi caught it and started swinging away at a now more respectful target.
Faith had pulled out and readied her sword before the hammer was halfway to Vi and slashed at a particularly ugly vampire carrying a weapon that looked to be a cross between a sword and club. The creature was vampire-fast and brought the weapon down towards Faith's head. She tried to block it and succeeded but the blade was shattered and the creature was preparing for another blow.
Buffy was screaming when she saw Faith's predicament and preparing to throw the scythe to her when Spike, the bleached vampire with a soul, was jumped by two Turok-Han. One had ripped the amulet from his neck while the other had grabbed the struggling Spike, who in turn was in full game face, slashing his ancient counterpart across the neck with a huge knife trying to decapitate the creature.
The amulet dropped to the ground as the fully vamped-out Spike fought both creatures trying to rip him apart.
It was a choice, Faith understood right then and there. If Spike was killed, there was no way for them to stop the creatures from reaching the surface and start the beginning of hell on Earth. But if Faith didn't have a weapon, there was no way she could properly defend herself against her attackers that were as strong as she was.
There was a moment's connection between both prime slayers. The decision was made. For the sake of all one would be sacrificed. That was the way it would –should be. Buffy went after Spike's attackers while the First laughed at the irony of a vampire slayer saving a vampire while allowing her sister slayer to die by the hands of a vampire.
"Well done," it had told Buffy while laughing at Faith.
Faith was fast but the vampire was just as quick. She kicked it, then followed through with two of the most powerful punches she could manage. It grunted from the onslaught, but seemed unaffected by the attack as it raised its sword/club once more. She was preparing for one final attack an act of defiance when the creature stiffened and roared loud enough to hurt Faith's ears. It turned to dust, its sword/club dropping to the floor as a sword completed its passage through its neck.
The woman, Morticia was standing in front of her holding both swords in a lowered position. Faith could only see the woman's eyes clearly as the rest of the face was obscured in near darkness despite the light in the cave. No, she corrected, it wasn't darkness. She was cloaked in shadow.
There was a difference.
"What are you?" Faith asked. The words tumbled out. She couldn't help herself. She had to know. "Are you a slayer?"
Morticia almost smiled, it was more of a smirk really with a touch of attitude thrown in for good measure, as she handed her one of her swords. Her voice was cool, sensual and remarkably calm. "There are more than just slayers in the world, child," she purred. "There are other forces, other defenders," and here she seemed to almost roll her eyes. "There are dark forces and other beautiful things that remain hidden until the time is right and they are needed for one reason or another."
The sword felt cool to the touch and she could feel it trying to resist her motion to take a couple of practice swings. It was perfectly balanced, but didn't feel right in her hands. It was fighting her. No, she couldn't use this.
"The wielder must wet it," Morticia told her as she readied her own sword. Seeing what was climbing over the edge. She growled, a sound that sent Faith's ears on edge. "Enough!" she said as she slit her dress to her thigh and moved towards her fellow companions with absolute murder in her eyes. Nearby, one of the man's eyes was glued to the exposed leg and started speaking French.
Faith ignored all of that as she wet the blade with her blood, with a quick flick of her thumb. It was always about the blood.
Instantly, the coolness of the blade disappeared, replaced by a warming of the entire weapon. Now it felt right. It felt perfectly attuned to her now as it purred, "Faith –dark slayer."
"How about that?" Faith said. "A talking sword. I can deal."
Let Buffy have the scythe, she thought. This weapon was hers for the duration and it was time to use it.