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.Eastern Suburbs – Sunnydale - May 2003
A few lights came on in nearby houses, most of the people who lived in this area had already moved away but those that remained had been awakened by the sonic boom of Illyria’s arrival. For that matter you could trace her path across town by the people she had woken right along her route.
The God-King had used her more arcane powers a great deal getting here. It was advisable not to use any more for now unless absolutely necessary. Conversely the HellGod was also limited in how much she could expend her powers or she would more rapidly revert to Ben. They both therefore thought it was in their interest to do this the simple way like ordinary people, well ordinary people who could kick the door off a bank vault anyhow.
Glory made the first move, lunging forward with a right cross like a prize fighter. All power no technique, Spike thought, tearing himself off the iron railing that had pinned him to a wall. Illyria though, now she
had style he decided, watching her lean back to effortlessly dodge the blow and then taking hold of the outstretched arm to perform an honest-to-god Judo throw on Glory, using the HellGod's own strength against her, sending her to the ground. The HellGod had unbalanced herself for the sloppy punch and paid for it hard.
Half-Crawling towards Buffy, Spike also noted that Illyria was nasty too. With her enemy on the ground Blue immediately stepped forward and viciously followed-up the throw by kicking her opponent hard in the torso, sending the HellGod spinning away with a loud “Oof” as the wind was knocked out of her.
Coming to a halt Glory flipped herself back to her feet, she wasn’t entirely lacking in martial arts ability, she was usually just too overconfident and self-assured to use it. Now Illyria had her full attention that would change. She was also now wearing a mask of rage on her face, teeth bared and eyes blazing.
That’s it, Buffy thought, holding her ribs in pain watching from the sidelines, fight mad, fight with your instincts not your brains. Illyria liked to fight, it was obvious to anyone that knew her, but she treated it more professionally, it wasn’t just a matter of liking to hit things, it was the winning that counted. To live forever and conquer all, that she said was true victory, the hitting people was just part of the process not the end in itself. Both of them had a superiority complex, the difference was that Illyria was more realistic about her abilities and maybe just a tad less egotistical with it too.
The Shaper of Things, latterly the Re-Shaper as she sometimes styled herself in this new timeline of her own devising, looked her opponent over dispassionately. There was power there, immense power even though both of them were a mere shadow of their former greatness in this time and place. They both wore shells that could contain barely a fragment of their true nature, Glory’s had been purposely made to contain her as a prison of sorts, Illyria’s imprisoned her too although by accident rather than design. In their shells they were but pale imitations of what they really were, that they seemed so powerful to others here simply proved the weakness of the creatures of this realm.
Glory got into a proper fighting stance of sorts, she was taking things seriously now the pain in her ribs from the kick had been an especially rude awakening. Illyria matched her, though with a more fluid and graceful movement. Unlike Glory she actually practiced for combat, despite not generally needing to considering how relatively weak her opponents tended to be. Her dedication and professionalism was about to prove its worth.
‘I’m stronger than you’ Glory asserted. She could sense her opponents’ power too and leaped to the attack throwing punches and kicks which Illyria blocked, parried or dodged, retaliating with quick jabs to the HellGod's face and body. One punch got through Illyria’s guard, sending her head flying back as Glory’s fist connected with her face, but the Old One simply moved backwards in response to widen the gap between them. A drop of blue tinged blood dripped from the God-King's left nostril but her expression was one of amusement rather than pain or fear.
‘I am faster and more proficient at combat’ Illyria stated. ‘You are not sufficiently superior in strength than I to outweigh my superiority in other areas. I am willing to accept your supplication. You would make a reasonably adequate pet’ Illyria told her. ‘I have been God to a God before’ she told her. ‘You would find me a fair master though I would have to beat the obstinacy and pride out of you.’
Glory snorted derisively. ‘Who’s bleeding here bitch?’ she asked sarcastically.
‘I was only playing with you’ Illyria retorted smugly and launched into a perfectly untelegraphed Taekwondo-style kick to Glory’s head which caught her completely unawares and knocked her sideways totally off balance, Illyria followed up quick a flash with a leg sweep that knocked Glory clean off her feet and sent the HellGod crashing down onto the roadway. ‘No more than two or three millennia of daily beatings’ she told Glory. ‘You can still take me up on the offer’ she continued reasonably.
Kneeling beside Buffy and cradling her as best he could Spike inwardly winced watching the fight. He seen Illyria work before, using him as a punchbag in fact, and then she’d been pulling her punches and kicks. This was full contact and it looked painful, not painful enough as far as he was concerned but the Hell-Bitch was about to get a right pasting, he thought, and it couldn't happen to someone that deserved it more.
Glory expected to get kicked in the ribs again and rolled back into an upright position fast before Illyria could follow up with some more blows. She wasn’t badly injured but that kick to the head had really stung and her ear ached where Illyria's foot had mashed it against her skull.
They exchanged blows for the next few minutes. Glory threw more, and they were stronger, but less connected as she simply wasn’t as skilled or practised as her opponent. Even so the punches and kicks that did
connect with Illyria were bone-crunchingly powerful and the Old One was knocked flying more than once. She was also favouring her left arm a touch after using it to deflect one of Glory’s kicks away from her body. Even so Illyria just kept chopping away with jabs and fast, sharp kicks to the HellGod’s body that were starting to tell as the fight went on. Glory was being pecked to death and the cumulative effect was building, she got increasingly sloppy to the extent that Illyria managed to get close enough to deliver an uppercut that lifted her off her feet and which had Glory’s eyes rolling in their sockets for a split second when she hit the ground on her back like felled lumber, it was that jarring.
With a scream of rage Glory leaped up and launched herself into a headlong charge which Illyria almost
managed to avoid but she found herself grappled to the ground. The HellGod had finally realised that if she wanted her superior strength to tell it meant wrestling was a better bet than trying to match the Old One in the more technique based, rather than strength orientated, martial arts. The two of them rolled on the ground in a messy brawl until Illyria found herself pinned down and to her horror Glory got an arm free.
Glory punched Illyria in the face hard. The force of the blow was incredible, the back of her head cracked the asphalt behind it as the impact drove it downwards. ‘Are you still playing now?’ Glory bellowed ‘Are you having fun?’ she continued and punched Illyria again. A third blow smashed the God-King's nose and her blood splattered over Glory. Unlike the slayers blood, Glory’s red outfit did nothing to hide Illyria’s.
Twisting and finding leverage at last Illyria flipped the two of them over and tried to retaliate in kind but Glory grabbed and held her arms grinning. Illyria couldn’t break her grip, try as she might, and the HellGod looked at her in triumph.
The God-King pulled her head back then slammed it down into Glory’s face in a brutal headbutt. It hurt the HellGod, she could tell, but Glory kept holding on regardless. ‘No that ain’t going to get the job done’ Glory said scornfully, then something in Illyria’s glacial blue eyes made her instantly regret saying it as Illyria headbutted her again. Then she did it again, and again and again smashing her forehead as hard as she could repeatedly into the Hellgod's face.
Around about the seventh consecutive headbutt, and with the Old One really starting to feel it herself too as it seemed to Illyria as if she was driving her head into marble, Glory released her grip. Her skull had been driven back at least four inches into the roadway by the repeated blows and her face was a bloody shattered mess. Illyria pulled herself upwards, sat astride the HellGod's chest and started punching her repeatedly on the face and jaw, pummelling her with a rain of clenched fists, her own face distorted with anger by now.
‘Okay’ Buffy said to Spike, still cradling her. ‘When she gets pissed off she gets even meaner’ she observed, as Illyria continued to almost clinically pound the Hellgod senseless.
Using her greater strength Glory finally managed to knock Illyria off her and the two rolled away from each other. As they rose to their feet the HellGod spat blood onto the ground and glared at Illyria furiously. ‘Do you have any idea how many hours it’ll take for this to heal?’ she growled, indicating her face. Buffy would have made a crack about having improved her looks but Illyria just ignored her and got ready for the next exchange of blows.
Illyria took the offensive this time, feinting she was going to come in low but somehow twisting into a spinning roundhouse kick that knocked Glory clean off her feet. Before the Hellgod could get out of the way the Old One took a leaf out of her own book and dropped onto her in a wrestling move elbow first putting all her weight into it, then using her flattened hand like an axe she chopped Glory across the throat as hard as possible. It didn’t make the impression she’d hoped for damage wise but it might shut her up a bit at least she hoped.
Another powerful counter-punch, this time to the torso, knocked Illyria clear and she was sent spinning away as Glory got back up, holding her throat and seething with rage. This was so not going the way she expected she thought as Illyria collected herself and attacked yet again. The First had been right, the Old One was
the damn Energizer Bunny, she just kept coming Glory realised despondantly.
Expecting it was another feint Glory ignored the incoming blow. This time however it wasn’t and Illyria caught her with a neat one-two punch combination to the jaw followed by a slightly sadistic kick to the shin. The HellGod retaliated with punches to Illyria midriff but she soon realised that her damn armour was cushioning the impacts, it looked like leather but it sure as hell wasn’t. The damn stuff almost seemed to harden under impact and spread the force over a wider area so local damage was minimised. The HellGod decided she needed a weapon better than her bare hands and fists to get a killing blow and despite her greater strength it was becoming increasingly self-evident that she was taking cumulative damage far faster than her foe.
Illyria cracked Glory across the face with a backhanded slap that was as much intended as an insult to her dignity as an attempt to hurt her. Glory slapped her back with greater visible effect rolling her head to the side sharply but the blow, which would have torn a human's head off, didn’t phase the Old One at all, she bought her head back up then in a moment of inspired unpleasantness stamped on Glory’s bare foot then punched her with all her might in the gut doubling her over.
‘Here we go’ Spike yelled, realising what was about to happen as Illyria grabbed the HellGod's head, using her long blond hair as an anchor, and bought her knee up hard into Glory’s face in a moment of sublime ferocity. She did it twice more then with the final blow she let go of Glory’s hair so the impact threw her backwards. The HellGod lost her footing and fell flat on her ass once again before collapsing completely, slumping to the side. Glory had been hit by a truck and a wrecking ball, but she’d never rate those blows highly again after having what Buffy jokingly referred to as later as Illyria going “Primordial on her ass”.
It got worse, Glory could feel Ben coming for an instant before some external power suppressed him, Cyvus Vail to the rescue but she really had to leave now because the Old One would rip her brother in half and the ugly little demon couldn’t keep Ben down forever.
‘Finish it’ Buffy screamed. ‘Kill her’ she implored.
Illyria walked over to Glory’s prostrate form. Lacking a weapon such as the scythe to dismember her with, the only option was to beat the HellGod to death. She was about to start when a fireball caught her square in the back and bought her to her knees, right next to Glory.
Vail’s voice boomed telepathically in Glory’s mind. ‘Get up and run you fool
’ it ordered as another fireball hit Illyria knocking her back down with a cry of pain, as she attempted to rise once again. ‘I can’t both keep Ben suppressed and use magicks powerful enough to hurt the Old One too for very long
.’ Vail told Glory, with his sense of overriding urgency ringing in her mind.
‘Where are they coming from?’ Buffy asked as another fireball hurtled from the distance to strike Illyria who had turned on her knees to face the direction they were hitting her from. The sphere of magical energy crashed into her armour and singed both the exposed flesh of her already bloody face and her long blue streaked hair.
Buffy couldn’t see where they were arriving from, nor could Spike even with his vampire senses and he vamped out to access his best night-vision, but Illyria’s eyesight was far superior to theirs, it extended higher and lower in the electromagnetic spectrum ranging from Infra-Red right up to Ultra-Violet and she could choose to magnify the image like an inbuilt zoom. With her enhanced eyesight the God-King could easily see who was doing it, and she knew him very well. He would likely have normally travelled under a glamour to disguise his true features when out in the world but to project that as well would have been too much even for him. He was standing next to a black Hummer four-wheel-drive which also looked all too familiar to her eyes, someone else was dealing themselves into the game and Illyria knew exactly who the new player was.
As Glory dragged herself away from the fight and started fleeing, Illyria initially tried to pursue but another magical blow dropped her hard and she gave up on the attempt. There would be a reckoning and she would be ready for both
of them next time. There was no point in getting scorched any more tonight she decided, parts of her armour were already blackened and although it would heal as she would, it looked aesthetically displeasing enough already.
Glory and Vail got into the Hummer which soon disappeared from even the God-King's sight driving off at speed into the distance. Illyria hauled herself off the ground and headed for Buffy and Spike. ‘I will kill her next time’ she promised, blood still dripping from her injured face and moving awkwardly from other internal injuries. She was hurt worse than Glory would have realised, Illyria was stoic in the extreme and didn't show her discomfort easily, but none of the damage was too serious thanks to both her skill and her armour.
‘You alright?’ Spike asked Illyria. ‘You took some hard knocks’ he observed.
‘I will heal’ Illyria declared. ‘Faster than she
will certainly’ she added imperiously, indicating the direction in which Glory had fled.
‘What was with the Fireballs?’ Buffy asked, rising to her feet with both a grimace and Spike’s assistance, she had seen the like before, from Willow as it happens in her dark and veiny days, and she knew it took serious mojo to do something like that. Spike was in severe pain himself, the wound through his body from the railing was drenching his clothes in blood. More importantly, he realised in a moment of clarity, there was now a hole in his sodding coat too godammit. That duster held extreme sentimental value he thought angrily, maybe he could get a replacement made from Glory’s hide when the Blue-Meanie met up with her again he idly wondered?
The God-King touched her broken nose gingerly and then reset it with a cringe inducing cracking sound that made Buffy wince despite her own troubles. ‘The First has recruited allies and not just Glorificus’ Illyria announced. ‘I knew that warlock in the original timeline’ she told them, ‘he is a demon called Cyvus Vail.’
‘How’d you know him?’ the slayer asked, her breathing shallow so as not to put pressure on her broken ribs, she really didn’t want a punctured lung right now.
‘He is one of the leaders of the Wolf, Ram and Hart in this dimension’ Illyria answered. ‘He was also the being that killed Wesley’ she said with a slight crack in her voice when she uttered the words. ‘In revenge I drove my fist through his skull’ she stated coldly. ‘It was extremely satisfying’ she declared, ‘though quicker and less painful than he deserved, and it did not bring my Wesley back’ she added with a hint of sadness now entering her tone. It was so strange, Buffy thought, she was so inhuman and yet so human too.
‘Warlock eh?’ Spike responded, not pleased at the news. He liked enemies you could punch in the face without being turned into a frog for your troubles. ‘Powerful?’ he asked, already knowing he must be to do the magical fireball thing. That kind of juice you couldn’t get from any old magic shop, that
was the real deal.
‘Extremely’ Illyria replied. ‘When I meet Glory in battle again the witch must be at my side to counter him’ she said, touching her face. ‘It feels like the shell's memories of sunburn’ she told them, touching the skin where it had been scorched by the fireballs.
‘Smells more like pork roast’ Spike interjected. ‘No offence’ he added before calling for someone to pick them up on his radio. Wesley said he and Xander were already en-route after picking up the Guardian and they’d be there shortly.
‘Wolfram and Hart’ Buffy said, shaking her head as Spike relayed the story of what had happened to everyone listening on their secure channel. ‘I guess we’re making waves that people don’t want made’ she said looking into the distance before turning to Illyria. ‘That war you wanted’ she said. ‘I think they just declared it.’
The God-King nodded her agreement. ‘It is for the best’ she replied. ‘My various plans to provoke it behind your back were fraught with possible dangers. Not the least of which would have been the possibility of me getting decapitated by the scythe when you found out’ she said with some reasonable disquiet at the notion.
Buffy frowned but regretted the facial movement, it hurt like pretty much everything she did at the moment ‘You were going to do that?’ she asked, not however entirely surprised by the revelation.
‘If required’ Illyria told her flatly.
‘You can’t play by your own rules Blue’ Buffy told her seriously while probing the inside of her own mouth with her tongue. All those fights over the years and now she loses a damn tooth. At least she could afford a good dentist these days, she considered, the metallic taste of blood filling her mouth as she accidentally started it bleeding again.
The God-King looked at her askance then smiled. ‘Sometimes I am compelled to’ she replied then looked to Spike ‘You are severely injured’ she told him. ‘I will carry her’ she said and picked up Buffy in her arms cradling her like a child careful to avoid hurting her. ‘You should take better care of yourself Buffy’ she advised. ‘I will not always be there to save you and none of the other slayers could easily take over your leadership role at this time’ Illyria told her.
‘I thought you
were after my job, surprised you’d want me around’ Buffy replied, blood dripping from the corner of her mouth and trying not to chuckle, it would have hurt like hell.
Illyria looked puzzled. ‘Do I really seem that unambitious?’ she asked curiously. ‘I know I have fallen far but to think I might aspire to replace the likes of you? It’s practically insulting’ she stated sincerely. ‘No offence meant’ she quickly added to be polite and gave Buffy an amiable smile, there was no cause to be rude she considered, Wesley had after all suggested she try to be more cordial in her inter-personal dealings since they would make her life here go more smoothly.
‘None taken’ Buffy replied with perhaps a little less sincerity in her voice than Illyria had managed.