Everything either belongs to Joss or it should, no infringement is intended and no profit is to be made. When you get right down to it I’m not really worth suing anyway unless you want a share of an underpaid civil servants wages and it just wouldn’t be worth the hassle trust me.Crawford Street Mansion – Sunnydale – May 2003
‘Calm down or I’ll put you down Connor I mean it’ Faith told him, pushing the boy backwards. God he was strong, she thought, barely able to keep a grip on him despite her slayer strength.
‘Let the wanker go’ Stephen hissed. ‘I’m not scared of the freak’ he declared, instantly receiving a slap across the face from Cordelia who had also dived in between the two teenagers when Faith did. ‘What the fuck was that for?’ he wanted to know.
‘For being an asshole and to get your attention’ Cordelia told him angrily. ‘Now back off or we’ll let
Connor rip your head off’ she told him.
Stephen tried to push around her. ‘Come on then’ he bellowed at Connor.
A pair of hands grabbed the Watcher trainee from behind and pulled him away. ‘He’d beat the living shite out of you without breaking a sweat’ Spike told him hauling him off.
‘Get your fucking hands off me vampire’ Stephen growled, his arms pinned to his sides by Spike.
Spike responded by strengthening his grip and easily held him in place, he struggled but he wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to break the vampires hold.
Faith had managed to push Connor back to the wall and was keeping him there, his face a mask of fury. ‘He hit me’ Connor said. ‘I wasn’t doing a damn thing and he punched me in the face’ he complained with justification.
‘I saw, and it’s a good thing I did because you were going to hit him back and you’d have broken his jaw or maybe his fucking neck’ Faith responded. ‘Now calm down’ she ordered.
‘Stephen what the hell’s gotten into you?’ Emily practically screamed at the boy. ‘Stop it’ she said.
Eyes still blazing Stephen looked at the girl and gritted his teeth. He stopped struggling and eventually Spike loosened his grip slightly though not enough to let him have another lunge at Connor. He was breathing heavily and looked unbelievably pissed-off.
‘Take him into the next room’ Faith told Spike who promptly began to drag him away though without too much resistance. As he disappeared Connor started to relax too and Faith let go of him. ‘Look I know he deserved it but you can’t retaliate to crap like that, you could kill someone, if you have to, put them in a lock or something but don’t hit them back unless you’ve got enough control to pull the punch’ the slayer told Connor. ‘Ordinary humans break real easily, they’re not like us’ she reminded him.
‘So I’m just supposed to let some prick hit me and get away with it?’ Connor complained bitterly. ‘Screw that’ he said.
Angel burst into the room. ‘What the hell was all that yelling about?’ he demanded to know
‘Watcher-Boy slugged Connor’ Cordelia told him. ‘Faith broke it up and Spike’s dragged him into the next room.’
Angel looked at Connor. ‘What did you do?’ he demanded to know.
Connor glared at his father. ‘I didn’t do anything’ he snapped back. ‘We weren’t even talking, he just punched me in the face.’
‘That’s about the size of it’ Cordelia agreed. ‘Stephen just lost it.’
Faith looked at Angel. ‘There’s a bit more to it than that, can you watch Connor?’ she requested. Angel nodded and she turned away and pointed to Emily ‘Come with me’ she ordered, and stamped off towards the staircase the girl following behind looking confused.
When they reached the top of the stairs Faith turned back and pushed Emily against the wall, standing there nose to nose with the girl, one arm against the wall pinning her there without actually touching her. ‘Happy are we?’ she asked coldly.
‘What?’ Emily replied nervously.
‘Your little ploy?’ Faith told her. ‘Did you like the results?’ she asked.
Emily paled. ‘I don’t know what…’
‘Bullshit’ Faith interrupted her. ‘Flirt with Connor, wear that short skirt, bend over to pick something up so he checks you out. Get D’Artagnon jealous. Work out like you planned did it?’ she asked again sarcastically.
Emily couldn’t meet her gaze. ‘I didn’t think he’d hit him’ she replied softly.
Faith shook her head and pulled back away. ‘Men are idiots, teenage boys are hormonal
idiots, and the ones that are wrapped up way too tight are dangerous
, hormonal idiots’ she told the girl. ‘It’s pretty clear Wesley the Next Generation likes you, why the goddamn act?’
Emily looked at her apologetically. ‘I thought he just saw me as a kid like my sisters’ she said. ‘He never even looked twice at me at the Academy. I wanted him to see me differently’ she explained.
‘Jesus Christ Watcherette’ Faith exclaimed. ‘Stevey-boy has been looking at you like he’s warm for your form ever since you two arrived. Couldn’t you have just tried the direct approach before trying to fuck with his head?’
The girl blushed. ‘I’ve never had a boyfriend I don’t really know…’
Faith put her head in her hands for a few seconds then took them away to look at her again. ‘Right here’s the skinny’ she began. ‘Look him in the eyes and take his hand in yours’ she said. ‘Give him a smile and maybe kiss him if he doesn’t try to kiss you first’ she told the girl.
Emily blushed even harder. ‘And then what?’
‘If you want to make his day put your tongue down his throat and his hand inside your shirt’ Faith replied. ‘But if you want to keep
him, let him work up to that’ she advised. ‘Oh yeah, FYI, men are like those big Oil Tankers you see on the news that take like seven miles to stop once they get moving’ she said. ‘Don’t get them going unless you mean it, the decent ones will stop but they still won’t be happy about it’ she told her. ‘One more thing, you’re underage and he’s nearly eighteen, let’s avoid anything that will have Buffy kicking my ass if she finds out we had this conversation okay? I know we’re facing a watcher shortage right now but nobody is talking about a breeding program yet and if they do
we’ll talk to some guys from the zoo about what they do with Pandas first’ she joked.
‘Okay’ Emily told her, grinning slightly. ‘What should we do about Connor?’ she asked, her grin rapidly disappearing again.
Faith thought about it. ‘Give him time to calm down and then you make Stephen apologise to him.’
‘Me?’ Emily asked.
‘You caused it. You clean the mess up’ Faith replied. ‘You break it, you pay for it’ she added for emphasis. ‘Am I getting through here?’ she asked coldly.
‘Yes’ Emily replied sheepishly. ‘I’m sorry’ she apologised.
Faith looked at her sternly. ‘And if I’m ever
in this position again I’m going to bitchslap the Lime flavouring out of you’ she promised.
Emily smiled. ‘Sounds fair’ she replied.Shadow Valley Vineyards – May 2003
The tunnels and caverns were not well suited to this sort of thing acoustically, it was far too loud and the echoes went on forever, but that could be countered by decent ear protection and at least practising underground meant there were no prying eyes.
‘Congratulations Shannon you are the only person to miss the target completely, can we give her a round of applause please ladies?’ Wesley told her in his most sarcastic tone. He wouldn’t usually be so cruel but she hadn’t even tried and had completely ignored everything he said, right down to closing her eyes when firing.
As the potentials clapped and whooped Shannon went bright red. ‘I said I didn’t like guns’ she reminded him. She was still recovering from the wound Caleb had inflicted on her with his knife and was only just now starting to train at all.
‘I’m sure the feeling is mutual’ Wesley told her. ‘Don’t worry about it, just make damn sure to do better with your other lessons or you will
die’ he said bluntly. ‘No actually you should
worry about it’ he added seriously. ‘Next please’ he said picking up the pistol Shannon had put down on the empty wine barrel they were using as a table, and ejecting the empty magazine. He was only giving them clips with five shots loaded and had a number ready to go.
Vi stepped forward and took the pistol from his hands nervously. She raised the nine-millimetre and sighted along the barrel.
‘When you’re ready’ Wesley told her.
The potential squeezed the trigger and the pistol bucked in her hands. She grimaced slightly then fired again at the man-shaped paper target set up down the tunnel. She fired three more times then baulked at Wesley’s expression. ‘Did I do something wrong?’ she asked, her voice quavering.
Wesley looked back and forth between the target and the girl. ‘Where the bloody hell did you learn to do that?’ he asked incredulously.
‘Do what?’ Vi asked. ‘What did I do?’
Wesley looked at her in surprise. ‘You’ve never fired a handgun before?’ he queried.
‘No’ the girl replied. ‘I’ve played those games with the plastic guns at the arcades though’ Vi told him.
Wesley regarded her in a new light. ‘Might have been luck’ he said after a pause, taking her empty pistol and handing her another one. ‘There’s a full magazine in there, fifteen shots, burn them off quick as you like’ he told her.
Vi threw him a puzzled look and raised the automatic. She started firing and after the first few shots she found she could compensate for the recoil and shoot fast while still aiming. The slide soon locked back as the magazine ran out.
‘Well who would have thought?’ Wesley said grinning. ‘Congratulations you’re a natural shot’ he told her. ‘Some people are just good at it and you’re one of them’ he informed the girl who looked at the gun in surprise.
‘I am?’ she asked in amazement, looking from the pistol to him and back again.
Wesley nodded. ‘I’m not saying you’re Annie Oakley but with practice you could be an exceptional markswoman’ he told her seriously. ‘If you want we can schedule extra lessons’ he told her, taking the empty pistol from her hands.
‘Um… okay’ Vi replied and turned back to rejoin the group who were now looking at her very strangely.
‘Who were you in a previous life?’ Rona asked. ‘Bonnie Parker?’ she asked jokingly. Vi had shot the centre right out of the target, in a grouping of holes that only Wes had bettered himself when he showed them what to do.
‘I guess I’m just good at it’ Vi replied, unable to hold back a smile.
‘Well if we ever need to hold up a convenience store we know who to bring along’ Kennedy announced. Her own efforts earlier hadn’t been half as good.
‘Alright alright’ Wesley interrupted. ‘We’ll get her a knitted holster to match her hat’ he said sardonically. ‘Can I have the next contestant please?’ he requested. ‘You might think that this is something you’ll get better at when you’re activated’ he told the others, ‘but from what I hear Buffy is bloody-awful with a gun so don’t count on it.’
A hand went up at the back of the group. ‘Why don’t we use wooden bullets?’ asked a potential with a very distinct French accent. ‘I mean we could dust vampires easily’ she suggested.
‘The short answer Dominique is physics’ Wesley replied. ‘When you get right down to it a bullet does damage because of momentum, energy transfer really.’ he told the group. ‘A piece of metal will have an awful lot of impact if you get it moving fast enough, momentum being mass multiplied by velocity as I hope you all know’ he explained. ‘A piece of wood the same size as a bullet would have a fraction of the mass of a piece of lead, so even if you fired them at the same velocity, the former will only have a small percentage of the impact and penetration’ he continued. ‘It would cause considerably less trauma and not drive itself very far inside either’ he told them. ‘Wood only works if it gets to the heart’ he said pounding the left side of his chest.
‘But an arrow…’ Dominique protested.
many times larger than the bit of lead on the end of this?’ Wesley asked rhetorically, holding up a bullet. ‘The velocity on a crossbow is lower than a pistol but the size of the projectile more than makes up for it’ he declared. ‘Mass multiplied by velocity’ he repeated, ‘you need one or the other, and preferably both
hence the ongoing popularity of supersonic lead as a means to end an argument.’
‘Oh, I see’ the girl conceded sheepishly, it did make sense explained like that she thought.
Wesley smiled at her. ‘It's not stupid to ask questions’ he told her ‘ it's stupid not to’ he said. ‘For tomorrow's physics lecture our guest speaker Winifred Burkle will be explaining the Theory of Relativity’ he joked to the group, ‘but for today it’s still “Big-Bangs 101” with Professor Wyndham-Pryce’ he said. ‘And can I have the next student to the front of the class please?’ he asked, preparing another pistol.Summers Residence – Sunnydale – May 2003
There was definitely tension in the air Buffy noted and it wasn’t between Connor and Stephen despite their fracas earlier, though they were certainly avoiding each other, the obvious undercurrent in the room was that Wesley was highly agitated by Illyria’s presence, and kept looking at her every time she was looking elsewhere, but nonetheless avoided looking her in the eyes. It was true that in her default appearance the God-Kings glacial blue eyes were difficult to look at for some but Wes had always been more fascinated than repelled by her until now. Something must have happened between them, Buffy thought. Maybe he found out something disturbing about her that was bothering him, she wondered, making a mental note to quiz him about it later.
‘Alright’ Buffy began looking around the densely packed living room and speaking up for the benefit of those that couldn’t fit inside and were in adjacent rooms straining to hear. ‘I’m sure this is the news all you potentials have been itching for but we’re going to activate you tomorrow’ she told them.
Buffy let the enthusiastic cries and comments die out before continuing. ‘Giles has suggested that we do not go straight down to the hellmouth right away but instead we let you get used to your new powers and adjust properly to the difference they’ll make in how you move and fight, because you will feel and move a lot differently, right Faith?’ she asked the other slayer.
‘Right’ Faith agreed. ‘If we just activated you and sent you straight into action you’d be fighting blind and that would be dumb’ she said. ‘Isn’t that what you actually did though B? In the timeline Blue came from?’ she asked in amusement. Faith couldn’t resist the urge to yank Buffy's chain sometimes.
didn’t it?’ Buffy snapped back, looking at Illyria for confirmation.
Illyria nodded. ‘I have been told to be diplomatic, so I will not mention what percentage of your forces were killed in that action’ she replied, less than diplomatically as it turned out. In fact the God-King with her superior knowledge of how to lead armies of soldiers, rather than gangs of warriors, considered Buffy’s tactical deployment of her troops in the original timeline absolutely horrendous and an appalling waste of resources. The freshly activated potentials had not even fought as a solid line but rather as lone warriors in the old slayer tradition. The failure to adapt had been unnecessarily costly. A wall of slayers would have minimised losses, maximised enemy fatalities and prevented stray Turok-Han escaping through the open seal.
Buffy scowled and continued. ‘Once you’ve got used to the new you’ she said, ‘we’ll go down, open the seal, burn and blow as many of them to dust as we can then take the war to them. Old-School.’
‘Where does the amulet come in?’ Willow asked. ‘We still
don’t know that’ she said to Illyria. ‘We’ve been waiting but you haven’t ever let us know.’
Illyria turned to her. ‘I suppose I have waited long enough’ she responded. ‘Spike will put on the amulet which will activate after several minutes beneath the seal and he will become a conduit for cleansing energy which will destroy the Turok-Han and also drop the whole town into a sinkhole as the hellmouth cavern collapses’ she said.
‘And you’re telling us this now
?’ Buffy gasped through a cacophany of raised voices.
‘I did not wish Spike’s last few weeks to be bothered by thoughts of his certain demise’ Illyria replied, reasonably she thought.
‘My certain what
?’ Spike yelled.
‘You do not think you could live through such an event do you?’ Illyria asked rhetorically. ‘You completely disintegrate in the process and die saving your world. As good a death as any
could aspire to I would think’ she opined.
‘I aspire not
to die’ Spike retorted.
Illyria rocked her head to its side. ‘Only a being with a soul, that is nonetheless stronger than a human can wear the amulet’ she told him.
‘I’ll do it’ Angel volunteered selflessly.
Spike span to look at him. ‘Glory hog’ he snarled.
‘We do not know for absolute certain it would work with you’ Illyria told Angel. ‘But if Spike is unwilling you will have to. We cannot defeat the entire force of Turok-Han without it…’ Illyria stated then turned to Buffy changing her expression. ‘Unless you were to reconsider my suggestion of stealing a thermonuclear device, in which case we could simply turn the entire hellmouth and the First's Army to radioactive ash in a nanosecond and save ourselves much effort’ she pointed out.
‘We are not
nuking Sunnydale’ Buffy told her flatly.
‘But if it’s going to fall into a big hole anyway…’ Spike interjected.
‘Not happening’ Buffy said with finality.
Spike blinked. ‘Then I’ll wear the damn jewellery and save the world’ he agreed. ‘If nothing else it’ll haunt the big poofter's dreams to know I did it not him’ he said with a grin directed at Angel. ‘I’ll be a bloody world saving champion hero and you’ll still be just a dead Irish tosser that wears too much hair-gel.’
‘Watch it Spike’ Angel warned then his words petered out. ‘That asshole saves the world?’ he asked Illyria.
‘Yes’ she answered, then turning to Spike added ‘Your actions do indeed come to haunt Angel’ she told him, demonstrating to herself that she had mastered what the humans called deadpan humour but regretting that she was unfortunately unable to tell anyone about it or it would completely
ruin the surprise.
‘Shit’ Angel swore. The thing that really bites, he thought, was that now he’d have to be nice to the bastard or he’d feel guilty about it afterwards. And what grated more was that he hadn’t even done anything to deserve it yet.
‘Spike really saves the world?’ Anya asked. ‘Yay Spike!’ she said enthusiastically.
Xander looked at her. ‘Hey I’ve saved the world too’ he pointed out. ‘And how many times has the Buffster done it?’ he asked. ‘Lets not blow this out of proportion’ he told everyone, with Spike looking daggers at him.
Illyria considered pointing out she was currently undertaking a mission of her own devising that was aimed at saving the entire multiverse
from evil, not just one tiny planet, but the humans couldn’t really comprehend the near infinite difference in scale involved so she just felt
smug and superior about it instead.Outskirts of Sunnydale – May 2003
The black Hummer four-wheel-drive pulled up by the side of the road and a Wolfram and Hart mercenary got out to inspect the body laying there. It looked like it had dragged itself for miles with a crossbow bolt in its back and sword wounds all over it.
The mercenary turned it over, he had of course been trained to recognise most of the creatures that the Firm dealt with and he quickly identified it. ‘Fyarl Demon’ he reported. ‘Looks like the other side caught up to it’ he commented. Rumour was that this was a dangerous town for demons, especially these days. ‘Only been dead a few minutes’ he estimated.
A blond woman, who had gotten out from the other side of the vehicle, walked over to join the mercenary and looked down at the poor hapless demon at their feet. ‘Yep’ Glory said. ‘Guess I’m back in Sunnydale.’