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.Highway - Sunnydale – May 2003
Transition was unpleasant, disconcerting and occasionally bewildering too, this time including the latter Ben immediately realised.
He found himself in the back of a moving vehicle sat between two young women, not one of the Wolfram and Hart Hummers he’d been finding himself in lately though. Well at least one of them was evidentially a young woman of the human variety, the other was entirely too blue and otherwise demony to necessarily qualify. The human woman was however the one that was the more immediate threat to his wellbeing however, she was the one holding a chrome and metallic red axe-like weapon to his windpipe.
‘Jesus Illyria, that’s even more freaky to watch than when you turn into Fred’ the human woman stated. ‘At least Fred’s a girl’ she added.
Ben groaned, he knew who Illyria was although he hadn’t personally met the demon, his sister had though he knew, and like the last time it happened he found himself waking up in a dress with blood all down the front of it. ‘You don’t need the, whatever it is, at my throat’ he said, ‘I’m no threat to you’ Ben told them. ‘Is it fair to say Sis got her ass kicked again?’ he asked rhetorically.
‘And how’ the woman told him. ‘Illyria there cleaned her clock big time’ she explained, though still not moving the weapon at his throat. ‘This thing will kill her
so I’m betting it’ll make short work of you’ she continued, ‘and if you think I won’t kill you because you’re human think again. For the record, and that’s a criminal
record, I’m wanted for escaping prison where I was doing time for murder so don’t go thinking I’m one of the regular good guys because I ain’t’ she warned him.
Ben sighed. ‘You’re one of the new slayers?’ he asked. ‘I’m Ben’ he introduced himself. He knew some of the back story as to why Wolfram and Hart bought him and his sister back though he had been basically kept as a prisoner whenever he was in the driving seat.
‘Not one of the newbies, been a slayer a few years already’ the woman told him. ‘I’m Faith’ she let him know. ‘Heard tell that last time you were in town there was some kind of spell that made people forget you and Glory were the same person but it don’t seem to be there now’ Faith commented. ‘You know Xander Harris right, Buffy’s friend? Well he’s in the pickup following us’ she told him. ‘He said to say hi when you appeared and oh yeah, to let you know if you run he’s going to shoot you’ she added. ‘If we’re doing introductions the guy in the front seat there driving is Wes.’
‘Wesley Wyndham-Pryce’ the driver responded in a British accent. ‘And Xander won’t really shoot you’ he said. ‘I’ll
have shot you well before he gets the opportunity’ he told Ben in a surprisingly upbeat tone. ‘I’ve got a loaded automatic on the seat next to me and plenty of rags to mop your brains off my upholstery if needed.’
Ben took a breath and ignored the threats. ‘Too many of Wolfram and Hart’s people are human’ Ben replied to Faith regarding the spell. ‘They negated any magic that might have interfered with the job’ he explained. ‘Okay, so what’s happening?’ he asked, looking from one to the other.
‘Taking you back to see Buffy’ Faith told him.
Ben smiled. ‘Wants to kill me herself?’ he asked with a chuckle. ‘Planning to throw the defeated enemy down before her for a summary execution?’ he continued. ‘Been killed before, would have preferred it to be permanent but it wasn’t’ he said.
‘Buffy has no right to order your death, or that of your sister’ the demon sat next to him, Illyria, stated. ‘You will not be harmed’ she told him, ‘though I may have to beat your sister until she is fully trained.’
‘Trained?’ Ben repeated, looking confused.
‘I defeated Glory and gave her the option of death or servitude’ Illyria told him. ‘She chose the latter therefore both she and you are now my property.’
‘We’re your what
?’ Ben said, aghast.
‘Slaves’ Illyria told him. ‘You are my slave’ she explained slowly. ‘Although Glory is the more valuable of you in both abilities and a status symbol it is my belief that you are a qualified Doctor and that will be useful during the coming battles’ the God-King said. ‘Do not be concerned, I will not be a cruel master, or should I say mistress in this form, as long as you do the tasks set you I will not treat you badly’ she told him.
‘I’m not being a slave’ Ben replied sternly. ‘You can’t enslave people’ he insisted. ‘It’s illegal, there’s such a thing as human rights.’
‘I am not human and neither are you for much of the time’ Illyria retorted. ‘In any case I have accepted the submission of your sister and it’s a package deal’ she told him. ‘You have absolutely no say in the matter.’
‘But it’s wrong
’ Ben said with a tremor in his voice, ‘I’m a person not a possession’ he declared.
Illyria looked at him dispassionately. ‘Technically you’re more like a possessed person’ she replied deadpan.
Faith laughed. ‘Not only meaner than your Sis she’s funnier too’ she told Ben. ‘I wanted to kill Glory by the way but Blue talked me out of it.’
‘It would have been more merciful’ Ben replied. ‘For both of us’ he added sadly.
‘Yeah that’s pretty much how she talked me out of it’ Faith told him, nodding her agreement.
‘I don’t want
to be a slave’ Ben protested, understandably but whiney in his tone.
‘You’ll find that’s usually the case’ Wesley noted. ‘Unfortunately your sister's options were limited’ he said. ‘Perhaps you could write something arguing your position? Take the issue to the people with a pamphlet?’ he suggested with amusement. ‘I’ve got a couple of great opening lines for you “HellGods are spawned free yet everywhere they are in chains”, or maybe “Arch-Demons of all realms unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains”. You certainly need to go with a chainy theme in any case, rouse sympathy’ he advised.
‘I’m a slave in a dress’ Ben said dejectedly. ‘My life sucks.’
Illyria looked at him. ‘There is a definite familial resemblance with his sister’ she observed to Faith.Summers Residence – Sunnydale – May 2003
‘And it’s not dead why?’ Giles practically spat, pointing at Ben who was eyeing him nervously. ‘Have you seen what it did to Buffy?’ he continued, seething with rage as he paced back and forth in Buffy’s living room.
‘That was my sister’ Ben pointed out. At least he was wearing trousers and a T-Shirt now, Wesley had a change of clothes with him in his SUV, he was organised that way, and had loaned the clothes to him. ‘Are you going to kill me again?’ he asked the watcher.
Giles narrowed his eyes. ‘If it had worked out more permanently last time we wouldn’t be in this situation’ he replied coldly. ‘Perhaps we need to find a more certain means of removing you from this world?’ he said.
‘Portal him, I mean her, to Quartoth’ Connor suggested, ‘that place is a bitch to get back from’ he continued, ‘I know.’
‘If you could get back, Glory could’ Wesley noted. ‘We’d just be postponing her return.’
‘Ben and Glory are my property’ Illyria declared haughtily. ‘None of you have any rights over them’ she said.
Wesley sighed. ‘It’s not like you can keep them chained in a closet, that only works with ordinary people’ he said then looked around at the various shocked and/or disapproving expressions directed his way. ‘There was absolutely nothing kinky about the girl I used to keep chained in a closet’ he claimed defensively, ‘it was only psychological torture, nothing weird’ he told them.
‘What chains could hold Glory anyway?’ Faith queried.
‘A set made the same way as the scythe perhaps?’ Illyria suggested. ‘I was going to talk to the Guardian regarding that’ she said. ‘In any case if Glory works out badly as a slave I already know of a method of containment that avoids killing her and facing the possibility of another resurrection’ she announced.
‘You do?’ Giles asked her.
Illyria nodded. ‘She could be imprisoned in the Deeper Well where the Old Ones are kept’ she replied. ‘It held me for countless millennia and could do likewise for her’ she explained. ‘It would however be a last resort, it would be far better if she could be utilised more constructively’ she opined.
‘Community Service rather than prison?’ Faith responded with a smile. ‘We could put her in an Orange Jumpsuit, maybe with leg irons.’
‘You’ll have me picking cotton next’ Ben responded bitterly. ‘In case everyone is forgetting anything you do to Glory you do to Ben too’ he pointed out. ‘Why should I
be punished? I didn’t ask for any of this, I’m supposed to be a prison for Glory, not in prison with
Glory’ he complained.
‘Well I guess that’s just tough’ Faith replied. ‘Live with it’ she told him unsympathetically.
‘Assholes’ Ben muttered than yelped when Illyria batted him gently around the head, clipping his ear.
‘Watch your language’ Illyria told him, ‘or I may have to reassess my policy of only using physical punishment on your sister’ she warned.
‘You’re not going to let her hit me are you?’ Ben asked Faith.
Faith shrugged. ‘The only way I’ve got to stop her is with this’ she said, holding up the scythe, ‘and there’s two problems with that’ she told him, ‘the first is that I don’t want
to kill her and the second is I’m not dumb enough to try’ she continued, ‘but as a favour to me could you not do that again?’ she asked Illyria.
The God-King frowned. ‘As long as I am not heavily provoked’ she agreed, half-heartedly.
‘There you go’ Faith addressed Ben, ‘don’t piss off the almighty Demon God and you won’t get bitchslapped okay?’ she told him.
Ben looked downwards at the floor, the sheer unfairness of it all was so depressing. It wasn’t like he was a bad person himself, he thought,but then again wasn’t he in a similar situation to someone with multiple personality disorder where the ‘nice’ personality found itself imprisoned in a padded cell too because society couldn’t let their psychotic alter-ego loose. It really wasn’t
fair but that didn’t necessarily make it wrong either. Regardless it still sucked big-time if you were the innocent party locked in the padded cell however.
‘Xander told me but I didn’t believe it’ a voice declared from the doorway. Everyone turned to see Buffy being helped to stand by Dawn, the younger Summers sibling looking fearful, as was of course understandable. Buffy still looked a mess and hurt pretty much all over from being beaten to a pulp by Glory so recently, seeing her assailants "brother" standing before her was certainly a shock. ‘Weren’t you going to kill that
?’ she asked Illyria, indicating Ben with a shaking arm, index finger outstretched. It was the arm Glory had broken and which still hadn’t fully healed. Spike was beside her now, still wearing a bandage around his chest under his shirt, the looks he was directed at Ben were positively homicidal but he kept quiet, this was Buffy’s business more than his.
‘Glory surrendered to me’ Illyria replied. ‘I have taken the Hellgod into my service’ she said with definite smugness. ‘It has been too long since I took a captive into servitude of such status’ the God-King told her. ‘I am very pleased’ she told the slayer with a smile.
‘Well I’m not’ Buffy retorted. ‘Glory is an evil bitch and should be hung from a noose not kept on a leash’ she declared.
‘I am your ally not one of your troops who is bound to your command’ Illyria noted, ‘and Glory is my
captive not yours’ she said. ‘She will not pose a threat to you any longer, she is far too scared of what I would do to her if she did’ the God-King claimed. ‘Her death would be so painful and drawn out both the suffering and the timescale involved would be beyond your comprehension’ she told Buffy. ‘A few centuries in a Hell-Dimension would be considered a pleasant vacation by comparison.’
‘Glory wants…’ Buffy began then stopped herself mentioning her sister but she turned to her anyway, she loved Dawn dearly. She didn’t really know what Illyria might do if she realised that a source of power like the key was available but she couldn't take the risk.
Illyria looked at Buffy and threw her a disarming smile. ‘Glory wants the Key’ she said, indicating Dawn. ‘I know what she is, even if I had not been told the whole story I could still tell she is not really human. Dawn simply doesn’t look
right’ she told everyone.
Buffy took a sharp inhalation of breath and Dawn’s jaw dropped. ‘I don’t look right?’ Dawn asked.
‘My senses are very different from yours’ Illyria replied. ‘You don’t feel
right either’ she added. ‘If I was interested in using your power again I would have done so again already’ she said.
‘Again?’ Buffy repeated in horror.
‘How do you think I got here?’ Illyria asked rhetorically. ‘I used part of the power of the key to open a time-space portal’ she said.
Everyone stared at Illyria in horror. Dawn shrank back. ‘You killed me?’ she asked in shock.
‘I used part
of your power’ Illyria replied, shaking her head. ‘I am not a clumsy hack like Glory, who sought to return home by opening all the dimensions together, I have far more control of such things’ the God-King told them. ‘You were alive afterwards, though you were pale I'll admit, as the easiest way to get the power was to drain some of your blood’ she said. ‘It was either that or cut off an arm and you objected to that alternative’ Illyria told her with a grin. ‘That last part was a joke’ she explained before going on. ‘You agreed to the procedure and Buffy was stood over me with the scythe if I broke my word.’
‘I was there?’ Buffy asked uncomprehendingly ‘I let
you siphon my sister?’ she asked doubtfully.
Illyria nodded. ‘It took me many months to persuade you. You never really trusted me’ she said. ‘In fact you tried to kill me when we first met’ she told Buffy, ‘I had to hold you down before you would hear me out.’
‘Let’s be fair’ Faith said. ‘You do
look pretty scythe-worthy’ she told Illyria.
Dawn stared at Illyria. ‘Why would I let you do that?’ she wanted to know.
‘You saw it as a debt of honour’ Illyria replied. ‘I slew many of your enemies and saved many slayer lives, including Buffy’s own’ she said. ‘At first I attempted to enact revenge on the Wolf, Ram and Hart alone but that was futile, I then sought to have more of my powers restored and succeeded in that but even then I could not beat them’ she said. ‘Finally I allied myself with your faction and fought for the slayer cause for some time before I realised it was all
futile’ she told them. ‘The opening moves of the game had been caried out too poorly and your enemies had easily adjusted to the existance of the new slayers, you still fought in the old ways and I could not make you do otherwise.’
‘So you decided to restart the game from scratch?’ Wesley interjected. ‘You bloody cheated’ he realised.
‘The other side cheat all the time, they care little for causality’ Illyria replied, ‘I just cheated better’ she said, ‘On a grander scale’ she told them. ‘I found a point in the timeline where I could have the biggest impact while going back the smallest number of years and here I am, rewriting both the rules and the timeline.’
‘Why not go back further?’ Giles asked. ‘Make an even bigger impact?’
‘Going back further would have meant taking more of Dawn’s power endangering her life and would in any case have endangered my
existence too’ Illyria responded. ‘This shell cannot contain a fraction of the power of either the key, or that of my original form, despite the upgrade I obtained to its stability’ she explained. ‘If I pushed further back in time the effects could have been catastrophic.’
‘Define catastrophic’ Giles queried.
‘Measured in megatons’ Illyria replied forthrightly.
‘That would fit my
definition’ Giles responded reasonably.
‘How did you “upgrade” the shell?’ Wesley asked with interest, the technical details of Illyria's form interested him immensely.
‘I knew how Spike regained his soul’ Illyria replied. ‘It, the demon concerned, could not restore my full glory but it could make me marginally less of a shadow of what I once was and enable me to use my powers sparingly without coming apart’ she told him.
Spike spoke up for the first time. ‘You went through the Demon Trials in Africa?’ he asked in wonderment. ‘How did you find them? Painful?’
Illyria looked thoughtful. ‘Although at that time I was weaker than now I found them less than taxing for the most part’ she said. ‘Except the bugs’ she admitted.
‘Yeah’ Spike nodded. ‘I hated those little bastards’ he told her sympathetically.
The God-King crossed her arms. ‘They were highly nutritious but I could only eat so many before I got indigestion’ she said, ‘and they tickled when they tried to burrow into my flesh’ she added, feeling her skin starting to itch as she remembered it.
Spike just looked at her nonplussed.
‘Why are you telling us all this now
?’ Buffy asked.
‘The timeline is already bent out of shape so the dangers of me telling you of the original are lessening and I need to develop your trust of me, there may be difficulties in our relations because of Glory’ Illyria replied. ‘You will want her gone but I plan to keep her.’
‘As a living trophy?’ Buffy asked. ‘A very dangerous
‘More like a pet’ the God-King replied. ‘But a useful working pet nonetheless’ she told her. ‘There are many tasks she could be put to. Heavy lifting, helping in training as a living punching-bag for the slayers or perhaps you would like her to clean your home?’ she offered.
‘Glory as a domestic servant?’ Wesley said amusedly. ‘The humiliation to a deity would probably be worse than death’ he opined.
‘Not worse than my
version of her death’ Illyria noted. ‘She will do as she is told.’
Ben looked around the room. ‘Well what about me?’ he asked.
Spike turned to him. ‘Don’t worry you won’t be waking up in a French Maid's Outfit no matter how funny it would look’ he said. ‘It would ruin the fantasy’ he told him then looked at Buffy who was glaring at him. ‘Hey they were thinking it too’ he said accusingly, indicating Wesley and Giles.
The two watchers looked at each other. ‘I’m taking the Fifth’ Wesley told Giles who nodded in agreement.
Illyria looked at Wesley askance. ‘Men’ she said in an accusatory and aggrieved tone.Crawford Street Mansion – Sunnydale – May 2003
They had gathered for a Council of War planning their next move. Andrew had laid out his map around a large table, actually a large plywood board up on some wooden blocks, and the senior players were gathered around it making plans.
Glory was back for now, taking over from Ben and was stood next to Illyria, receiving an assortment of looks from various people varying from hatred to wariness to intrigue. Earlier on Illyria had actually made Glory stand in the corner facing the wall for half an hour for talking back, it had been hilarious to watch as the all-powerful HellGod resignedly walked over like a punished child and stood there quietly, her back to the room, trying to ignore the giggling.
Dawn for one couldn’t take her eyes off her. She was sat on a chair between Connor, who was reading a book, and Rona who was holding the scythe, drinking from a glass, and watching Glory like a hawk. If Dawn was ever near the HellGod she wanted the scythe there too and would stick close to it at all times. It was interesting that Glory made the same concerned looks at it that Illyria did, the thing apparently scared the crap out of anything powerful enough to sense it.
She took a final gulp from the glass in her hand then Dawn looked at it, a mischievous glint in her eye and with a smile spreading across her face as she had an idea. She caught Glory’s eye who looked back at her with considerable resentment which then turned to fury when Dawn raised her glass towards her and shook it, the ice cubes inside rattling against the sides.
Illyria caught the HellGod's expression and looked between her and Dawn before turning back to the map. ‘Do it’ she ordered.
‘You’re joking’ Glory replied in astonishment. ‘It’s one thing doing that kind of crap for you, at least you’re a superior being, but one of them
?’ she asked.
‘Get her another drink’ Illyria ordered more sternly.
Glory grimaced. ‘What did your last slave die of?’ she asked sarcastically.
‘Blunt force trauma’ the God-King replied.
The HellGod flinched and somehow containing her rage she walked over to Dawn and took her glass. ‘What were you drinking?’ she asked in an infuriated tone.
‘Coke’ Dawn replied grinning, ‘and put a slice of lemon in it’ she instructed Glory.
‘I’ll have the same’ Connor announced, looking up from his book. ‘And bring me a packet of salted peanuts from the top cupboard’ he added.
Glory took the glass and span around to head for the kitchen followed by laughter from all sides.
‘Oh that was so
worth not killing her’ Dawn said happily.