“I need you to know
That we’ll be okay
Together we can make it through
You should know
You’re not on your own… ”
– “Courage” sung by Superchick
“Stop being such a baby!”
“Faith, the man was attacked, beaten, and tied to a chair by two demons. I think he’s allowed to flinch when you come at him with the stingy stuff. Especially since he got to watch you beat the ever-living crap out of said demons.”
Xander continued to mutter about Faith’s bedside manner as he drove the Council’s large purple van through the night. John, sitting next to him, alternated between chuckling at the young man and looking into the rear seats in worry. Caleb was pronounced not-bad-enough-to-need-a-hospital-but-we’d-better-clean-him-up-fast. The man was sprawled across the back seat, trying to get away from Faith’s hands. The task would have been easier on him if Faith wasn’t straddling his waist.
It was about mid-afternoon, and all four were exhausted. The fight with the demoniacs had taken most of the night. Xander and John had agreed that it would be easier to head back to Salvation before returning to Cleveland. John wanted to check up on his family, anyway.
Once John had Caleb untied, the duo joined the fight with the possessed pair. They fought for a moment before John got kicked in the side, sending him crashing into a wall. He stood slowly, watching the others fight while he got his bearings. When he saw that no one was paying any attention to him he slipped through a door to his right and made his way to the water tower he remembered seeing on the drive in. If he could lure the demons under it after it was blessed, that might hurt them enough that none of his side would be killed in the battle.
He returned to the fight after dropping his cross in the tank and setting his other traps. His eyes widened when he saw Jack holding Xander high against a wall. He tackled the demon-possessed man, throwing off his concentration and dropping Xander to the ground. After another hour had passed each member of their party had been quietly filled in on the plan. They led the duo through the warehouse, catching them in almost all of John’s traps. As daylight broke, the duo had been worn out enough to tie them to chairs on top of Devil’s Traps. The exorcism drained all six individuals, and Meg died as soon as she was released. Jack lived, but he was rushed to a hospital. The doctors were optimistic about his eventual recovery.
Back in Salvation, Dean, Sam, Buffy, and Willow slept soundly in their hotel rooms. Their fight had gone much more quickly and smoothly. After Buffy let off some steam she allowed each of her sons to wail on the demon. Dean dealt the killing blow when they had weakened the demon enough. Then it was a simple matter of cleaning the house for the McPhersens. Willow then erased the last few hours from the McPhersens’ memories. There was no reason to take them out of their ignorance, really. Then they prepared to go help the others.
They were just getting on the road when Xander called with the news that Jack and Meg were taken care of, and he and his group were on their way back to Salvation. They decided to put off a celebration until everyone was there, so Buffy and her group called it a night and went to bed.
After everyone was reunited, the group threw themselves a celebratory party. The next morning began the trip back to Cleveland. John and Buffy rode in John’s truck, Sam and Dean rode with Willow in the van she drove to Salvation in, and Faith, Xander, and Caleb rode in the Council van. Willow had given everyone communication crystals at the beginning of the drive, so all were able to converse with each other.
“So, what happens when we get back?” Xander asked.
“First, you all hide me from Dawnie,” Buffy answered. “I doubt she’ll forgive me for leaving her out. Again.”
“All you have to do is introduce her to her brother-in-law and all will be forgiven,” Xander assured her.
“Besides,” Faith cut in, “I was on the phone with Rona earlier and she said they were recovering from an apocalypse prevention.”
“Little D was in a magic-recovery coma. She should be out by the time we get back.”
“Is she okay?”
“Oh yeah, she’s thrilled. She got to be the main magic user for this one since Red’s with us and Andrew’s still coming to
terms with his allergy to certain candles.”
“But she wasn’t hurt?”
“Nah. They kept her near the back. No one on our side was seriously injured.”
“Good,” Buffy sighed. She turned off her crystal and turned to face John. “Where were we?” she asked, referring to their conversation about getting to know each other again.
John pretended to think for a moment. “I believe we were trying to decide if we should give dating a shot.”
“Ah. And the verdict?”
“I’m willing if you are.”
“How does a movie and some coffee sound?” Buffy questioned.
“Better than anything I’ve heard in twenty years.”