Title: Before the Fall of Rome (16/16)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I wished I owned the two Xanders' from "The Replacement" though. Buffy and friends are owned by Joss, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, The UPN and whoever else has rights to the show.
Summary: You remember all that crap that started post-puberty…yeah, it's great isn't it. It was when life started
Distribution: I don't know why anybody would want this, but if somebody does…sure.
Feedback: Definitely!! Tell me if it sucked or if you liked it. Whatever. Just write back!
Authors Note: Takes place in an AU season 1 where Buffy and Xander are best friends and Willow is the new girl as Sunnydale High. It is the beginning of their sophomore year and, as 15 and 16 year olds, hormones and feelings are taking center stage.
"Ladies and Gentlemen!" Luke roared as he climbed up on stage after pushing his way through the scrabbling teenagers. "There is no cause for alarm," is mouth turned into a demonic grin at the screams when everybody saw his face, fangs bared as he laughed. "Actually, there is cause for alarm. It just won't do any good."
Buffy had been headed towards the stage when she stopped, recognizing the vampire that had commanded the attention of the club. The one that had been at the house that night so long ago; and she shivered. He was dangerous, and more than a formidable opponent.
She had promised that she would kill him, and the Slayer tried to work out a game plan that would bring that promise true tonight because if she didn't than it would undoubtedly be her last night instead.
Buffy started back to the stage but was distracted by a sound from the balcony – a scream, and she turned and sprinted up the stairs. She hadn't planed to protect that area of the club and if she could help it, nobody would die there. She reached the top of the stair and spotted two vampires cornering a group of kids who were probably still in junior high as Buffy couldn't recognize them from campus.
"Hey!" she shouted and the two male vampires, dressed in old 80's clothes turned to face her with low growls. "Carbon dated much?" she taunted and put her hands on her hips. "If you wanna pick a fight, why don't you pick it with someone who can actually remember parachute pants being in?"
The vampires looked at each other and then back at the petite blonde girl who had so cockily interrupted the feeding. "You might not be enough for the both of us," one commented, ignoring the kids as the used the change in attention to race past them to the steps. "But I guess now you'll have to do," the other growled and charged her.
He had misjudged what she was capable of as the Slayer as he stopped in shock in front of her, his body disintegrating from the inside out. She had timed his approach to a tee and pulled out her weapon in front of him, making him stake himself because he could not slow himself down in time.
Buffy smirked at his surprised partner as the dust settled in front of her. "Your turn," she grinned and landed a quick front snap kick to the vampires chin, snapping his head back.
He recovered quickly and jabbed her in the face and then landed an uppercut to her ribs. He just wanted to stall enough to get his back to the stairs and get out of there, but the Slayer was strong and he was slowed down when she executed an axe kick to distract him and then a sliding side kick that caught him in the gut.
Luke looked around the club, still not spotting the Slayer, but as he glanced towards the back he did see Jesse in some sort of fight. The large vampire narrowed his eyes at the recklessness of the teen before spotting Angel engaged with one of his doormen. It wouldn't do any good, Luke smirked. They were numbered no more than two effectively. He had brought at least forty.
A teenaged girl was pushed up the steps and onstage with him by Darla, and Luke smiled in thanks. "People!" he boomed, holding his victim by the back of the neck, "Watch me, and learn! Fear," he paused with a grin and sniffed the air around the shaking girl. "Fear is an elixir…like blood." Luke growled and lowered his mouth to the girls neck biting into her flesh, feeding. This is too easy he thought as he pulled away licking his lips and letting the body fall to the ground. He beamed as the ground shook a little, signaling that the prophecy was coming to fruition.
The red pool in the center of the floor rippled, its contents boiling from within, and a single pale white hand reached through its depths.
The empty room quaked as the body emerged.
"You all are going to be a part of something spectacular! His ascension!" the older vampire preached under the fearful gazes of the teens. He could feel the change already. "Tonight will be history at its end! Yours," he pointed at Cordelia through a mass of people and beckoned for a minion to bring her up, "will be a glorious sacrifice."
"Cordelia," the vampire greeted from behind her as he grabbed her arm and shoved her in the direction of the stage. "I know how you love helping the needy; you get to be our first volunteer…"
"Get off of me!" Cordelia huffed and tried to free herself. "What's the matter with your face?!" She could vaguely recognize the features of one of her classmates, but could not place the name.
"Hey man!" Jeff shouted now from behind her and the vampire stopped pushing momentarily. "Let her g...mmrrpphh…" he was cut off as he was grabbed from behind and was shoved hard towards the stage.
"Two." Luke smiled, "He will be most appreciative."
Cordelia screamed as she was hoisted up on stage and into Luke's grasp just as the previous body was pulled to the side. "I can feel the Master's power growing!" he shouted in her ear and the cheerleader flinched. "Degradation most…"
He was cut off as one of his minions was thrown over the balcony over head and exploded to dust at his feet. He turned his gaze up and saw her. Buffy vaulted down over the railing, did a mid air somersault and land lightly on her feet in the middle of the pool table in the center of the room.
"I'm sorry I'm late," she said sweetly, "Got a little caught up." Buffy effortlessly executed a round off over the side of the pool table and picked up a cue on the way, landing on her feet and thrusting its end into the heart of a surprised vampire. "Am I interrupting something?" she asked as it exploded into dust and the people around her gasped in awe.
"Oh," Luke sneered and shoved Cordelia forgotten to the side. "Not at all – this is your party."
Buffy grinned and shrugged her shoulders, spotting a now bloody nosed Xander getting to his feet and seeing Jesse run away, her heart clenching at both sights. She started to the stage after assuring herself that he was alright. She could only hope that Willow and Giles were slowly emptying the club from the back since she saw Angel fighting to open a side door. "And you started without me…that's a tad rude, don't cha think?"
"Preliminaries," Luke cracked his neck. "STOP!" he yelled suddenly causing the Slayer to turn around, coming face to face with a demonic Jesse standing right behind her wearing an evil grin. Obviously intending to attack the unsuspecting Slayer from behind. "She is mine!"
"I called her dude," Jesse whined looking directly into Buffy's eyes before letting his face slip back into human form. Buffy swallowed deeply and her jaw set. "Miss me Buff," her friend smirked.
Buffy's chin shook and she unleashed a cross jab the hit the young vampire in the mouth. "You're not him," she growled at his form as he lay sprawled on the floor. She slid her stake out from her waist band and raised it only to pause at the sound of Luke's voice.
"Come now Slayer," he smiled, "He's the least of your problems tonight."
Buffy whirled on him leaving Jesse on the floor as she refocused on her task of abiding the Harvest. "You want blood, Vessel boy?" she taunted with a tight lipped grin.
"Yours," Luke growled hopping down from the stage to approach her. "Only yours."
Buffy shrugged and slid off the jacket she was wearing and rolled her neck dismissively. "Works for me."
Buffy threw the coat in his face, startling him before launching a full spinning hook kick to the surprised vampires face before he could react. Luke staggered back into a pile of chairs while tossing the garment to the side, but was quickly back on his feet.
The Slayer fell into a fighting position while her opponent faced her with a low growl. He ran at her swing his fist hard at her head and Buffy ducked standing to her feet again behind him. Luke turned with a vicious backhand punch, but failed as Buffy blocked him and gripped his arm in a vice hold. Buffy pulled him around hard to face her and landed three roundhouse kicks to his stomach before Luke yanked his arm out her grasp and shook her balance.
Buffy steadied herself and took a deep breath, trying to figure out how to beat him. She knew now that given the opportunity she could match him physically, she just had to beat him on her feet. Acting quickly Buffy lunged at him unexpectedly stake in hand and aimed at his heart.
Luke grinned at her, loving how hard she was fighting. She was thinking too much though. He wanted to beat her and he could read every move she was going to make. He blocked her attack with a hard uppercut to her stomach and the Slayer doubled over momentarily. He quickly grabbed her wrist and yanked her to the side, the stake falling from her hand and clattering to the floor. The Vessel used Buffy's reversed position and lifted her up easily with a firm grasp of her throat and threw her across the room.
Buffy landed hard in a pile of empty boxes to the right of the stage and shook her head to clear it. She pushed herself to her feet and charged back towards the large vampire, glancing out of the corner of her eye to see Xander and Angel had gotten the side doors open and were filing kids outside.
The Slayer's face was set in stone when she faced a grinning Luke again. She spun around and landed a backhand punch to the demons face and it hit so hard that he turned and stumbled into the stage. She had never hit anybody that hard and she was as surprised as he seemed to be as the vampire wobbled back to his feet dazed.
Buffy used the break that the hit allowed to glance back at her friends. Giles was warding off some vampires from Willow with a cross while she held the door open for fleeing club members. Angel was trying his hardest to block Xander from harm and was heavily engaged with three vampires while the boy focused on the door.
The blonde yelled out, though, when she saw a vampire approach Xander from the side, undetected. "XAN!" she called panicked as he was grabbed and shoved hard into a wall. Acting quickly Buffy vaulted past Luke onto the stage and tore a cymbal from the drum set to her left. "Duck!" she shouted and threw the metal object like a Frisbee at her friend.
Buffy sighed with a grin when she saw Xander get down just as the cymbal decapitated the vampire right in front of him.
"Heads up," he joked with wide eyes as the dust rained down at his feet and Buffy smiled momentarily.
Her smile died when she felt two hands grip her ankles and pull, her legs tugged out from under her and she crashed to her back hard with a grunt.
"C'mon, let's go, let's go, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon…" Xander whispered harshly while he pushed people out of the door. He was now watching Angel out of the corner of his eye, trying to watch his own back and do what he had promised to Buffy.
He had seen her get knocked down after she had stopped her own fight to save him and he desperately wanted to make sure she was aright. "Hurry!" he shouted, "Out here, let's go!"
Xander's head snapped up when he heard a girl scream behind him and he looked to Angel to see if he was reacting. The vampire, however, was now up against four, how seemed to care less about the Harvest and more about a personal vendetta against the vampire.
He turned to find it only to find himself faced with Jesse again, this time with Cordelia pinned to the wall just beyond where he stood. Xander abandoned the door as people seemed to have the right idea and charged at his former friend, pulling him away from the brunette cheerleader and pushing him back.
Jesse never lost his smile, even as he watched Cordelia sprint to the door that Xander had just left. "C'mon man," he shook his head while wiping off his shirt. "Cock block, much? I'm just having a little fun."
Xander looked him in the eyes, "You don't want to do this man. They…I think that we can fix you, make you good…" He figured that if Angel could have a soul, why couldn't his friend. Why couldn't Jesse come back despite the demon that was living inside him.
Jesse let out an evil laugh that made Xander flinch. "Fix me?!" He shook his head, "I don't need to be fixed. I'm perfect now, man. Look at me!" The vampire lunched at Xander, now, and pinned him against the wall, "You're gonna wish you were like me when it happens," Jesse growled. "And it will happen. Luke's gonna open it with sweet little Buffy's blood. We'll dance on her grave…well, her charred remains, maybe around her head on a pike…"
Xander shoved him backwards and punched him hard in the face. The vampire laughed as he licked the blood from his own mouth.
"God, Harris," he grinned, "Did I touch a nerve?"
"Jesse would never say that…"
"Jesse just did," the vampire growled. Xander lashed out again, but Jesse caught his arm and held. The mortal swung his captive limb and propelled Jesse into the opposite wall, freeing himself and pinning the vampire in place.
"I don't want to have to do this," Xander whispered, using all his strength to keep Jesse from getting away. "I know part of you is still in there…"
Jesse smirked in his face. "Before the end of the night, a part of me is going to be in there," he nodded towards Buffy who was back fighting Luke. He used Xander's unfocused attention and kneed his ex-friend in the groin, doubling him over, so he could jump over him.
The teenaged vampire spotted Darla and headed towards her while she guarded the Anointed One. "They're leaving," she said angrily.
Jesse nodded. The kids were getting away, and even his army was trying to find an escape at the sight of Buffy being serious competition to the towering Luke. "This isn't going well," he agreed and looked to the little boy for answers.
The boy seemed to remain calm. "Her blood will be enough," he said cryptically. "We only need to break the seal…"
"He's here?" Darla turned excitedly and the boy nodded silently. "He's risen."
"But he's not free." The Anointed spoke. "Luke must kill her."
"Well," Jesse breathed out and watched Buffy land a flying side kick that sent Luke flying back onstage. "As much as I'd like to stay and be obliterated. I think I'll be going…"
Darla looked at him in disbelief. This boy, who had said he would rip the little Slayer's throat out and feed it to her mere hours before, now wanted to run away with his tail between his legs.
"You will not abandon our cause!" the boys boomed and Jesse smirked.
"Like Hell I won't." Jesse denied. "I'll live to fight another day. It's key to know when to give it up." He turned and ran before either could speak. Luke might die tonight, but he wouldn't. And when that happened, a whole new faction would be free to take over the town. Him and his minions who had been filing out of the club just as steadily as the mortals. Come the Harvest or Ascension or whatever, Jesse was determined to see it through and reap its rewards.
"We have to kill him," the Anointed said in a low voice as he watched Jesse slip out side. He saw Angel follow his exit and added, "Or maybe he'll do it for us."
Darla took as unnecessary deep breath and hoped the boy was wrong; Jesse could be powerful and given time, she could rule by his side. She glanced down at the boy and back towards the door that Jesse had left from. "I'm going too," she said as she walked away, leaving the shocked child behind her alone.
Luke kicked Buffy hard in the stomach and sent her tumbling to the ground on the other side of the stage. He saw her about to kick flip herself to her feet and leapt across after her, pinning the girl to the ground with his body. "I've always wanted to kill a Slayer. You're blood with make it complete," he growled, leaning over her neck. "Set him free!"
The vampire roared and leant in to Buffy's throat and she waited. Set herself. When she felt the proximity she snapped her head up and hit him in the bridge of the nose with a front head butt, sending Luke reeling back off of her. Buffy flipped to her feet and glared at him. "How'd it taste?"
Luke scrambled, surprised to his feet while Buffy looked for a weapon. "You're already too late Slayer!" he boomed as she scooped up a microphone stand as he was about to charge her, his anger seeping through his pours. She held the stand out in front of her, stopping him in his tracks.
"You forgot Slayer," the vampire growled. "Metal can't hurt me."
Buffy ignored him and didn't let her stance waiver to show weakness. He was watching her for that, and she had another start to a black eye and a couple of bruised ribs to attest to that. "There's something you forgot about, too," she quipped back in a threateningly sing-songy voice, "Sunrise!"
The Slayer heaved the heavy stand into the glass prop window in the back of the stage and it shattered behind the vampire. She had seen a light shining dimly through it from backstage and hoped it would provide ample distraction to bring this to an end.
Luke ducked as the glass broke and the bright light bled in from behind him. The vampire recoiled in fear, forgetting about his opponent who had dropped down and slide a new stake out of her ankle holder.
The Vessel shrunk down to shield himself from the suspected sunlight, but realized after a moment that it didn't burn. He stood up confused and studied the window.
Buffy launched herself at the distracted vampire from behind and thrust her stake into his heart, catching him by surprise as he turned to face her. "In about nine hours moron," she smiled.
Luke raised his hands behind him and felt the wood protruding from his back before he stumbled towards the edge of the stage. 200 years of life and blood and victory flashing before his eyes as he fell to his knees. She had killed him. Luke glanced around the club and saw the remaining vampires that had come with him leave, the Anointed over one of their retreating shoulders as he heard him screaming in anger. The vampire shut his eyes and burst into dust, still able to feel the Slayer grinning behind him.
Buffy looked up and saw the remaining teenagers escape the club and her friend and Watcher approach her. "That'll teach you to Harvest my friends," Buffy mumbled as she scooped up her forgotten jacket from the corner of the stage before she hopped down. "You guys ok?"
Jesse punched Angel hard in the kidney and into Darla who threw the other vampire into a pile of crates against the alley wall.
He had been ready to escape before the souled vampire had grabbed him, seeming determined to 'do him a favor' by not letting him suffer with vampirism.
But Jesse didn't want any favors. When he saw Darla emerge from the club before it emptied completely, Jesse realized he didn't need any either.
The young vampire grabbed Darla's hand when he was the last of the straggler vampires turning the corner in their escape and he glanced to the door, waiting for, but not expecting Luke to emerge, since he had seen on of the minions carrying the Anointed away.
Jesse looked back at a slowly rising Angel and tugged Darla along. "Let's go," he said hurriedly and pulled her down the street, away from the club; fleeing before the other vampire could rise to fight again.
Angel shook his head groggily and watched the two vampires disappear into the street. He didn't know how he'd been bested, but right now it didn't matter. The club had completely emptied and the vampires – the demons bent on bringing hell to earth had just all ran away.
"Well, I'll be damned," he grinned despite himself and rubbed a slightly sore spot from where he had been hit in the back of the head. "She did it." Angel shook his head and headed quietly out of the alley and into the darkness in search of Whistler, grinning all the way.
It had been centuries since he had been above ground the Master thought as he ran his hand over the barrier that was still in place. Too long waiting for his time.
The barrier rippled around his fingers and he slumped back against the wall behind him. Tonight was to be it. Until five minutes ago he could feel it coming. His time for ascension, finally.
And just like that it had been ripped away. He had felt the stake pierce his Vessel's heart and the desolate emptiness that signaled a future not to be that followed. He knew who to blame too. A Slayer. He would kill her personally.
It would happen. He was not confined to the limitations of Hell now. He was on earth, and he had to accept it as one better than his pervious arrangements. The Master could rule now. Find another way to free himself. He would rise, no matter what the girl did. And she would bleed for him.
"A little lower," Xander groaned and winced. "Ahhhh…right there."
Buffy giggled and pressed her fingers harder into the muscles in his shoulders. She moved them in small circles while Xander leaned back. She was perched on the edge of one of one of the cement slabbed tables while Xander stood with his back to her between her legs and she massaged him.
He had been complaining about his back all weekend and she had offered to help him out. She was obligated, Buffy settled, as it had been her fight that had gotten him hurt in the first place.
Xander jumped and yelped when Buffy's hands slid down and she pressed into his sore ribs.
"Sorry," Buffy said immediately and Xander turned his head slightly to smile his reassurance.
"S'kay, a little higher?" he asked and Buffy complied slowly. "Jesse got a few good shots in," he explained. "I couldn't do it," he said next at her silence, repeating what he had been struggling with for the past two days. The thought of that form of his best friend still out there, killing people, enjoying it. "I had the chance but I couldn't make myself stake him…"
Buffy stopped her massage and gripped Xander's hips, turning him around so she could see his eyes. "It's ok," she said reassuringly. "It's my job…I couldn't either. I was looking at him and he was Jesse…"
"But he's not anymore," Xander shook his head and turned his eyes to the side. "That thing isn't our friend."
"And I'll take care of it." Buffy interjected while reaching up and grabbing Xander's chin, forcing him to look at her. "I'm going to find it and kill it because I'm not going to let him be used like that."
Xander nodded sadly and let his head fall against hers lightly for a moment before pulling away. "Are you done?" he asked next. "I'm still a little sore." Xander had to admit that he liked the couple benefits; he had to because it was all that they had been able to establish. Despite everything that had gone on Buffy still seemed uncomfortable with the verbal recognition that would make the whole thing official. All through the weekend they had talked around it, and all it left them with was 'very best friends'. Not that it was all her fault. He made light of the situation when she seemed to bring it up, as well; almost as if they didn't need to actually say that they were together because everybody should already know; because it didn't matter because it had always been the case.
"When's my turn?" Buffy pouted as Xander turned around and she resumed her ministrations.
Xander let his eyes shut again, "Well, I'll let you know when you're a regular strength guy who gets the crap beat out of him…"
"I need to be a guy?" Buffy questioned from behind her friend.
"Yep," Xander chirped. "Only manly men get massages for hot chicks."
"What if I just want one from you?"
"Oh well, in that case you've just gotta be named Buffy." Xander smiled.
Buffy laughed and pushed him forwards slightly, but Xander resisted the move and leaned further back into her. He laughed when Buffy began tickling his sides through his shirt and squirmed on top of her.
"Well, I heard it was rival gangs," they suddenly heard Cordelia speaking as she walked towards them with her friends. "You know, fighting for turf? But all I can tell you is they were the ugliest guys I've ever seen. And Jesse like ditched Buffy and her group for them so they were going to, like, fight it out or something. Which is just too weird because, what?! Do we really need that type of publicity for our squad. I mean, and I don't even remember that much, but I'm telling you, it was a freak show!"
Buffy stopped tickling Xander and rolled her eyes with a sigh. Now even if she were to become a normal girl again, she'd always be the school freak. Xander peered at her and noticed the change in her mood.
"Who cares," Xander said softly and repeated her chin tilting gesture. "You saved everybody's life. Without you we wouldn't even be alive to have a shitty day of gossip and pubescent torture in school today."
"I guess," Buffy pouted.
Xander ducked his head and caught her eyes. "You could've let him have just the one more," he joked. "Next time you'll remember that: Don't save Cordelia."
"Hey guys," Willow greeted as she walked up to them slowly with a vacant look in her eyes. "What's up?"
Willow looked around slowly at the high schoolers. The majority of them had been at the Bronze – had been saved by Buffy mere days beforehand, and now they were playing in the sun and joking with their friends like nothing had happened.
"Things shouldn't be the same, you know," Willow faced her two friends without paying attention. She was beginning to get past even caring that she felt numb seeing them together. She had been working to reason her way through the loss of Percy and the loss of Xander, since she never really had either of them.
Buffy shrugged, unwittingly breaking through her friends thoughts, "What exactly were you expecting?"
"I don't know. Something. I mean, the dead rose." She looked around the quad again, "We should at least have an assembly."
"I vote of an honorary day off," Xander suggested and spotted Giles heading towards them. "We have a faculty member on our side," he pointed out. "He can give us clout."
"And he's British," Willow piped up. "They're sophisticated intermediaries."
Buffy narrowed her eyes at her friends, "Oh please. Xander doesn't even know what clout is."
"Sure I do," Xander pouted in her face.
"Oh yeah?" Buffy eyed him skeptically. "What is it then?"
"It's…its like when you…have clout. It's its own word." Xander finished quickly.
"Is that the Webster's definition?" Willow smirked at him good naturedly and Xander stuck his tongue out at her.
"See," Buffy turned to Willow with a bright grin. "Back to normal."
"Morning all," Giles greeted when he reached the table. "I trust you all are well."
"Super," Buffy beamed and leaned back so that she was propped up by her hands. "I saved the world."
"That is pretty exciting. Enough to make the day a little brighter, at least," Xander agreed, turning again and lean back against Buffy's semi-reclined form.
"Well, I'll never forget it, none of it." Willow put in facing the older man and choosing to ignore the display the other two teens were engaged in.
"Good." Giles said removing his glasses and wiping them clean. "Next time you'll be prepared."
"Next time?" Willow squeaked out with wide eyes, "Why a next time?"
Giles sighed and looked at the group of young people, "We've prevented the Master from freeing himself and opening the Mouth of Hell. That's not to say he's going to stop trying. I'd say the fun is just beginning."
Buffy sat up, forcing Xander to move with her so she could slide off of the table.
"More vampires?" Willow asked with wide eyes as Buffy started walking and the rest followed. Xander nodded from Buffy's side before anybody could answer and opened the door for Buffy to enter before him.
"And not just vampires," Giles contradicted. "The next threat we face may be something quite different."
"Yippie." Buffy said sarcastically. "The joy will keep coming."
Giles rolled his eyes at his charge, "We're at the center of a mystical convergence here. We may, in fact, stand between the Earth and its total destruction."
"Well," Buffy shrugged with a nod, "I gotta look on the bright side. Maybe I can still get kicked out of school! I mean, it's only been a few weeks and I've only been grounded twice. And only almost expelled once. That's gotta be an up, right?"
"Oh for sure," Xander agreed, flinging his arm around her shoulders, "Think about it. If you weren't grounded you could be out being lured into sex, drugs, and rock and roll – at least this way you get to be a super hero. Hey! We should get you a coustum…with tights." His smile died at Buffy's frown, "Or a t-shirt?" he offered.
"You could blow something up." Willow suggested. "Not even a hero shirt would save you then. I hear that schools are really strict about that. And you'd get to find out what type of grounding you would get for the destruction of public property." The four reached the library and Giles stopped walking, the teenagers continuing on oblivious.
"I was thinking of a more subtle approach, y'know," Buffy said looking up to Xander at her side and then to Willow. "Like excessive not studying."
Xander beamed and nodded vigorously. "Oh we can all support that!"
Giles watched them turn the corner and shook his head. All so innocent and carefree despite what they had recently been exposed to. Buffy's friends still loyal and willing to risk their lives for her. So young…
"The Earth is doomed," he sighed and pushed open the swinging door to the library and disappeared inside. Now that they had prevented the Harvest, he had to worry about how to find out how to keep the Master at bay in the future. The journey, Giles hope the children realized, was just beginning.
The End Part 16