Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Beta'd by the wonderful no_promises.
"Humans, worthless beings. I fought against your creation, did you know that? The others refused to listen, giving you free will along with life. What have you done with it? Destroyed, that's all you have done, with hatred, jealousy and fear all those emotions you prize. It's been two millennia since I was banished to the Deeper Well. I would have thought you would have died out by now. I am here now and everyone will fall to my will."
The men and women chained up whimpered and try to hide from the woman currently yelling in the room. Striding back and forth across the room the woman continued her rant. "I need information and I need it now. Which one of you wants to help?" Walking over to a man she rips the tape off his mouth. "You're going to find out what I want to know. The battlebrand has followed me. You will find him and kill him before he can tell anyone where I am."
"You're crazy lady and I'm not helping you."
"We'll just see about that." Placing a hand on his forehead Kaledena starts to chant. "Give me your pain, heartache and loss. Stand with me, worship me, be my instrument and all shall be well."
"There that's better isn't it? No more bad feelings just happy thoughts running through your brain. Go and find him and kill him. We are connected now you'll be able to feel him. Don't come back until it's done." Once the new acolyte left she turned to the rest of the captives. "This would be so much easier if I was up to full strength. I need more people." The cries and sounds of chains thrashing lasted only moments.
Giles hung up the phone looking around the store. Willow was standing near the counter and Anya has just walked in browsing the main display table. There were only a few customers in the store at the moment. "Willow could you watch over the store. I need to leave, Buffy called, something happened at the hospital that she needs to go check out."
"Giles did you know your conjuring powder is grotesquely over-priced?" Anya inquired. "I could hook you up with a troll that sheds it for a considerable discount."
An older woman approaches the counter holding an antique hourglass. "Do you gift wrap?"
"Um, Giles do we gift wrap?" Willow asks.
Anya walks over "Of course we do." Taking the hourglass she proceeds to wrap the gift and ring up the purchase.
Willow took the bag and handed it to the customer, "Have a nice day."
"I have their money, who cares what kind of day they have?"
"It's just what you are supposed to say. Go with it alright?"
Giles interrupted the two women before the bickering gets out of hand. "I need to leave; Anya you seem to know what you are doing would you like a job?"
With a smile and a nod Anya agrees, "I am almost out of money. I never had to afford things before, it's making me bitter." She happily turns and started straightening out the cash register.
With a deep sigh Giles grabbed his car keys and left the shop.
Buffy and Dawn helped Joyce get ready for bed and making sure she took the medication the doctor prescribed. "The doctor said this should help you sleep. Take it and get some rest."
After thanking Giles for coming over to watch her mom Buffy walks out the front door. Halfway down the walk she stops. Sensing something she reaches behind a tree and yanks Spike out into the yard. "Spike."
"What are you doing here? In five words or less."
"Out. For. A. Walk…... Bitch."
"Don't take this the wrong way but.." With a swift right she socks him in the nose. A piercing pain shoots through her head making her drop to her knees. Chuckling from Spike made her look up.
"How's it feel Slayer? Feels like someone just jammed a red hot ice pick into your brain?" Spike is trying hard to not laugh out loud.
"What did you do?" Buffy grounds out.
"Just a little pay back from the neutered vamp is all. Your mum is one of the kindest women I have ever met. I wonder what she would say if she knew you beat up on helpless people."
"You're not people Spike. What did you do?!" Buffy gets up and pulls back her arm to strike Spike again.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you. Oh who am I kidding the busted nose is gonna be worth it." To Spike's surprise Buffy doesn't hit him again. Instead she drags him into the house. Pushing Spike in before her she startles Giles who is sitting in the dining room reading a book, the shiny glow ball Buffy found the night before on the table next to him.
"Giles Spike is up to something."
"What has he done now?"
"Oi, I'm in the room!"
"Fine Spike what have you done now?" Giles pinches the bridge of his nose in aggravation.
"Just made a little wish to a vengeance demon." Spike smirks at the two.
"Oh, good heavens! What did you wish?!"
"Shh. Unwell mom upstairs remember." "Stay there." Looking pointedly at Spike, Buffy goes upstairs. A few minutes later she returns. "Let's take this to the store. My mom and Dawn are asleep. The doc said the meds would knock her out for a few hours." The three get in Giles car and head to the Magic Box.
When they enter the store the find the entire group is there. Anya is behind the counter happily counting money while Xander, Willow and Tara are looking through books. Riley sits at the table looking bored. They all look up when the bell over the door announces the arrival of Giles, Buffy and Spike.
"What's he doing here?" Riley says as he stands up.
Ignoring Riley Buffy pushes Spike into the shop a twinge of pain on her face as she shoves him.
"Would you care to explain what you meant when you said you made a wish to a vengeance demon?" At Giles question Anya's head pops up clearly interested in the conversation.
"'S simple watcher. There's a vengeance demon in town grantin' wishes to us poor downtrodden demons. Made a wish, anyone hits me they feel the pain of this soddin' chip." "Not gonna be your punching bag anymore. Might make you lot think twice before you go hittin' on me again."
The babble of voices grew louder, until Riley stalked over to Spike. "Bull." With a swift hit at Spike's head the solider falls to ground in pain before the blow can connect.
Spike breaks out in laughter, wiping his eyes he chortles, "I was hopin' you'd try it Captain Cardboard. That made my day."
Anya walked over to Spike; he watched her warily not knowing what she will do. "D'Hoffryn is granting wishes to demons? Oh wow! Do you know who granted your wish?"
"Uh, her name is Cecily." Spike replied.
"Huh, I don't remember anyone by that name. That was a brilliant wish. No one has ever been able to grant a wish against a slayer before. Hoffy must be thrilled." Anya pouted at the looks of horror by the rest of the group. "What! I was a vengeance demon for over a thousand years you know! You people keep forgetting that just because I'm human now."
"Okay nobody panic I can break this. A simple reversal spell and everything will be back to normal." Willow grabbed a spell book off the counter and started gathering ingredients.
Anya just shook her head, "Silly humans."
Giles whipped off his glasses wiping the lenses. "Anya, do you have something to say?"
"The only way to break a vengeance wish is to have the vengeance demon reverse it or smash her amulet. A reversal spell won't work."
"Yes it will just give me a minute."
"Sweetie maybe we should listen to Anya. She sounds like she knows what she is talking about; she did this for a very long time." Tara finally spoke up.
Willow finished the spell. With a nod from Willow, Xander moved quickly while Spike's back was turned. Punching the vampire in kidney the carpenter fell to the floor in pain.
With a disgusted look at the boy writhing in pain on the floor Spike started walking towards the door. "As entertaining as it is to see the whelp in pain I'm outta here."
"I told you that wouldn't work." Anya shook her head at Willow.
Picking himself off the floor Xander made his way over to the table. "So what do we do about the bleached wonder?"
"Why do you need to do something?" Anya asked. "Just stop hitting him and you'll be fine."
"Listen, I need to go check out that warehouse and get back to my mom. Unless Spike is dangerous can we talk about this tomorrow?" Addressing her question to Giles Buffy waited for his answer.
"I think Buffy is right, we can discuss this tomorrow. Buffy you should go patrol."
"Riley are you coming?"
"No, I just remembered I have something I need to do I'll see you tomorrow Buffy." Riley walked over and gave her a distracted kiss goodbye leaving the store and a confused slayer.
It was a slow night so far. After leaving the shop and Riley's strange behavior Buffy swept three cemeteries dusting a few fledges along the way. Just before she entered Shady Rest there was a squeal of tires behind her on the street. Turning quickly Buffy saw a car mow down a man. The man was tossed onto the sidewalk from the impact and the car just kept going not stopping to check on the man. Running over Buffy looked around for someone to call 911, spotting a woman coming down the street she yelled for them to call an ambulance. Turning her attention to the man on the ground she checked him for injures.
"The Dagon Sphere did you find it?" He whispers.
"The shiny glow ball?" He nods. "Yeah I found it. Don't talk save your strength."
"My journey is done. You must protect the key."
"Fine we can protect it together. Let's get you to a hospital."
"NO! The key is energy it can open the portal to banish Kaledena."
"The glow ball?"
"No, the Dagon Sphere protects you. She will try to destroy the key. For centuries it had no form. Her disciples tried to stop us. I had them send it to you, molded into human flesh. An innocent, your sister, she is the key. Only she can stop Kaledena. Only she can send her back to where she belongs."
"You put that in my house?!" Buffy is angry that these men played with her life and her mothers life like that.
"The order knew the slayer would protect. I am the battlebrand, given eternal youth a thousand years ago. Demonbane, truthsayer... Guardian of the Deeper Well."
"They were built. You must protect her. You and the vampire must protect her. He is immune to her….." With a last gasp the man died. A pair of hands appeared pulling Buffy away from the body. Looking up she see's that the ambulance has arrived. After answering some questions by the police Buffy makes her way home.