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This story is No. 1 in the series "Compelled - The Buffy/Angelverse Reshaped". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: First story in the Compelled series - The Shaper of Things decides to replay the game from an earlier level...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > General(Current Donor)HotpointFR1832121,179108140216,48626 Jan 0731 Jan 07Yes
CoA Winner

Chapter Twenty-Eight

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.

Summers Residence – Sunnydale - May 2003

‘Well we’ve looked but we can’t find where they’re hiding’ Gunn reported. Faith, a team of Slayers and himself had been looking for signs of Bringers or Turok-Han all morning. ‘This town is like a rabbit warren underground’ he observed, ‘and I thought the LA sewers were a maze’ he continued, shaking his head.

Buffy looked at him suspiciously and subconsciously sniffed the air.

‘And yes we showered before we came over here’ Gunn told her. ‘Katrina there got washed up twice’ he said, indicating one of the slayers sitting on the carpet cross-legged.

‘I fell into the sewer mains’ the young slayer explained with a shudder in response to Buffy’s quizzical look, she was Austrian, though fluent in English, and was one of the more recent arrivals. ‘When we got back to the Mansion Faith made me strip outside and they turned a hose on me’ she moaned. ‘It was freezing.’

‘Get pictures?’ Xander asked Gunn, tongue-in-cheek.

‘Mud wrestling is one thing but girls in sewer sludge ain’t ever going to be appealing’ Gunn replied. ‘I left them to it’ he said.

‘Told you that balance was important’ Stephen told the girl, chuckling. She hadn’t been all that that sure-footed during fencing practice either. Katrina glared at him and he grinned back before returning to polishing the sword in his hands. It wasn’t his but one of the newly enchanted short-swords the Guardian had been working on. He had been given the job of maintaining them since it kept him occupied and he had an unhealthy interest in both swords and swordsmanship anyhow. It was becoming a universally held opinion that he was born several hundred years late, Angel said he’d have made a duelling superstar back in the 18th Century, now by contrast he was just a sword nerd.

Giles took off his glasses and started cleaning them. For once they were actually dirty and needed it. ‘The First will lay low for now’ he said. ‘If we want a confrontation we’ll have to force it’ he told the group.

‘Easily done’ Xander responded. ‘As soon as we open the seal they’ll come a-running’ he said. ‘Course they’ll be running from both directions at once but at least we’ll have them right where we want them’ he continued, ‘surrounding us completely so we can’t retreat… ’ he said, voice petering off. ‘And that sounded much better in my head than out loud’ he admitted, ‘not so much like reenacting Custer’s last stand.’

‘If Custer had bought the Gatling Guns his Regiment had been issued with him to the Little Big Horn it wouldn’t have turned out the same way’ Wesley pointed out. ‘We’ll be making damn sure to remember to bring machineguns to our stand’ he said.

‘I heard that’ Gunn responded, leaning over with a clenched fist to touch knuckles with Wesley who did so with a practised aplomb that looked completely out of character to his fairly refined, upper-middle-class British accent.

‘Just what America needs’ Faith remarked wryly. ‘More guns in schools.’

Emily re-entered the room, she had given up her seat to go and get a drink but now she was back she found it had been taken by Faith and there was no way she was going to surrender it. The only free space was on the floor and that looked unappealing despite the three newly arrived slayers from Faith and Gunn’s team who had already opted to sit there, so instead she walked over to Stephen and after indicating he needed to put down the sword she sat on his lap instead, he looked distinctly uncomfortable but put an arm around her waist.

‘If you two think you’re going to start making out guess again’ Buffy told them.

‘They’re bad enough back at the Mansion’ Faith remarked.

‘Ah young love how sweet’ Xander said cloyingly, causing Stephen to blush bright red. ‘Did I say sweet? I meant nauseating’ he joked.

‘All preparations for tomorrow night are completed’ Illyria told the group, entering the room herself. She had been outside leading a training session but had left Glory on her own after making sure the HellGod knew that she was not allowed to retaliate to the various blows being rained upon her by a group of slayers led by Kennedy. Glory was fun to hit for slayers, you didn’t have to pull your punches and you were pretty certain she deserved it.

Illyria looked around, there were no chairs free and in her “Ria” persona she preferred not to remain standing as she would have in her armour. She noted the simple and workable solution that had been already tried by another and immediately walked over and sat down on Wesley’s lap. He had absolutely no idea how to respond and opted to just go with it, looking several orders of magnitude more embarrassed than young Stephen had.

‘So are they bad back at the mansion too?’ Xander asked Faith with a smirk, indicating Wesley and Illyria.

‘Ain’t witnessed any hot Limey on God action over there yet’ Faith replied.

‘I’m sure they’re just discrete’ Giles suggested, unable to resist joining in.

‘Et tu Brute?’ Wesley replied coldly, glaring at the older watcher who was clearly fighting the urge to laugh.

Illyria guessed they were mocking Wesley again, she did not like it but on the plus side it often seemed to have the effect of making him retaliate to their words in a manner that she welcomed. In this case he put his arm around her waist as Stephen had done with Emily and threw a challenging look around the room. Illyria was surprised at how pleasant the physical contact was, it felt strangely right as she settled in more comfortably on his lap.

‘Where’s Willow?’ Faith asked curiously.

‘Helping enchant weaponry with the Guardian’ Buffy replied. ‘We should have enough to go around by the end of today’ she announced.

‘Think she’d have a go at my axe?’ Gunn asked.

‘She wouldn’t do my Longsword’ Stephen responded. ‘But you’re not a “Shadow Man” like me so you might still want to give it a try’ he suggested then laughed. ‘You should have seen her try to come to terms with Emily and the notion there’s female watchers now. It throws her whole world-view for a loop that we’re not just another tool of male oppression’ he continued, ‘not that there’s not plenty of those in society’ he added quickly as many females who could break him in half, and one who he was now dating, simultaneously looked at him in a very intimidating manner.

The Guardian/Watcher enmity was not fading with time. ‘Did Giles tell you we figured out some back-story on the Guardian?’ Wesley asked, ‘or at least a theory we have anyway.’

‘No’ Buffy replied, looking to Giles quizzically.

‘It’s not certain so I was waiting until we had something concrete’ Giles told the slayer.

‘Oh come on Giles’ Wesley responded. ‘She’s old turn-to-stone herself’ he said with a grin. ‘She even called herself Medousa to me on the radio once when she was rattled by the Bringer attack on the Pyramid’ he continued. ‘Hey that was funny, her being “rattled” I mean.’

‘Really missing some information here’ Faith commented loudly in an annoyed tone. They were flaunting education around her again and it annoyed the crap out of her.

Giles sighed. ‘Medousa is the original Greek name which became Medusa in Latin. You know, the woman whose hair was made of snakes and whose gaze could turn any living thing to stone’ he explained. ‘It actually translates into English as “Guardian” intriguingly enough.’

‘We think that she and her sisters may have been the victims of the original smear campaign, possibly by demons or even possibly by the watchers of the day if they found out they were under surveillance’ Wesley added. ‘They were collectively called the Gorgons and included Stheno and Euryale. In myth all three had “brass hands” which could be a distorted reference to weapon making. As a slight aside there is a school of thought in modern feminist thinking that the Gorgon myth was designed as another way to oppress women. Perhaps the notion of powerful, armaments-minded women was unacceptable in some quarters so the story was spun to put them in a very poor light’ he theorised.

‘In any case if we’re right she does look as good for her age as she maintains because we’re talking about Bronze Age mythology here’ Giles told them. ‘Immortality was in fact a trait attributed to the Gorgons’ he noted.

‘Having seen her hairstyle when we first met I can see where the snake thing might have come from’ Buffy observed. ‘And she has been damn quiet about her background’ she added.

‘Maybe expected someone to do a Perseus on her’ Xander suggested, indicating the sword Stephen had been working on.

Giles looked at him in surprise.

‘I’ve seen Clash of the Titans’ Xander told him. ‘I knew what you were talking about’ he said.

‘So who wants to ask her?’ Faith asked.

‘I’ll do it’ Buffy volunteered.

Illyria shuffled around slightly again to make herself more comfortable, leaning back against Wesley who had now relaxed quite a bit himself, getting used to her sitting there. ‘I expected the Half-Breeds to be here’ she said.

‘Spike said he was going to make the most of his last few hours’ Faith responded. ‘Angel is making sure he doesn’t enjoy himself too much.’

‘Where are they?’ Buffy asked curiously.

‘They wouldn’t say but Connor overheard something about poetry reading’ Faith replied with a bemused shrug.

‘Good grief’ Giles responded in mock horror. ‘If what the Council files said on Spike were true humanity would be better off if he went back to biting necks.’

‘Must be part Vogon’ Emily joked then frowned at the lack of response. ‘I cannot believe there’s no Douglas Adams fans here’ she said eventually.

‘I thought it was funny’ Stephen told her quickly.

‘He has to say that’ Xander pointed out.

Buffy looked thoughtful for a moment and looked across to Illyria. ‘Are you sure this plan of yours is going to work?’ she asked.

‘I am confident’ Illyria replied.

‘What if everything goes catastrophically wrong?’ Giles asked. ‘It could you know.’

Illyria considered that possibility. ‘I could always remake the timeline once more’ she said. ‘It wouldn’t help you but I would be fine and I would not make the same mistake again’ she replied. ‘Eventually by trial and error I would succeed’ Illyria told them, ignoring the looks directed her way.

‘I know you’ve been trying to be funnier lately, trying to develop your interpersonal skills’ Wesley responded, ‘but you’ve still got some work to do on that.’

‘I wasn’t joking’ the God-King responded flatly.

Wesley blinked. ‘Lots of work to do on your interpersonal skills’ he told her.

Shadow Valley Vineyards – May 2003

‘I call shotgun on the front seat of Wesley’s SUV when we leave’ Vi said loudly. ‘And by that I mean I get the seat or someone gets this shotgun up their nose’ she said brandishing the SPAS-12 combat shotgun in her hands. It was of course unloaded, Wesley would go insane if she played around with a loaded weapon.

‘Why do you guys get a gun too and I don’t?’ one of the other slayers asked, looking at her sword which now suddenly looked a lot less desirable.

‘Because only people that Wes thought wouldn’t be a major threat to our side as well if they carried one get issued any firearms’ Kennedy told her, taking one of the dual action pump/auto shotguns for herself from the crate as Fred ticked her name off the list. Kennedy racked the shotgun on its empty chamber she really liked the badass look of the thing, it suited her image she decided.

Vi however looked strangely incongruous, almost uncomfortable, holding hers, it didn’t look right at all, but ironically she was the best with a firearm of all the slayers, go figure Kennedy thought, heading off to collect her equipment belt from Anya. She was actually making people sign for them before she’d hand them over, Anya took paperwork and basic administration far too seriously.

As she headed down the tunnel towards Anya Kennedy passed Connor heading the other way. He was laden with gear, including two bulging satchels hanging from him, one on either side. ‘Grenades?’ she asked, indicating the thick cloth bags.

‘White-Phosphorus’ he said pointing at one, ‘and Concussion’ he continued, pointing at the other.

‘They wouldn’t give me any grenades’ Kennedy told him, pouting slightly.

‘Slayers throw like girls’ Connor replied, ‘just faster’ he told her, trying not to laugh.

Kennedy glared at him, she’d consider making a counter-remark but she knew he threw better than anyone else here, or possibly anywhere. He had strength, accuracy and technique that would make a baseball pitcher cry. Probably came from having to hunt his own dinner chucking rocks all those years she thought. ‘No shotgun?’ she asked, indicating her SPAS-12.

‘Preferred not to carry one’ Connor replied. ‘If I carried anything else it would start to slow me down’ he told her.

‘Oh yeah I keep forgetting you’re not quite as strong as us slayer girls’ Kennedy retorted with a smirk.

Connor grinned. ‘Yeah and if I carried any more than this I’d be almost as slow moving’ he replied.

Kennedy laughed, she liked verbal sparring with Connor, neither of them were the type to back down and it was good natured rivalry for the position of meanest superhuman newcomer to the ranks. Illyria didn’t really qualify for the running, she just wasn’t human enough by far. ‘I’d better go and fill in my requisition form for an equipment belt’ she told Connor.

‘Make sure to initial in the right place or she’ll show you her Vengeance Demon side’ Connor warned seriously and gave Kennedy a friendly smile before heading to see Wesley.

He found him around a corner in the tunnels with Xander as they finished modifying the latter’s M16A2 with one of the latest deliveries from Emil the arms dealer. They had been putting a lot of trade his way and apparently they now qualified for his preferred-customer discount.

‘Say hello to my little friend’ Xander said to Connor in his best impression of Tony Montana from Scarface. Unfortunately the teenager had never seen the film and was mystified at the relevance of the Cuban accent, though he didn’t let on and smiled and nodded knowingly instead as Dawn had coached him to do in these sorts of circumstances.

‘We couldn’t get many grenades for it’ Wesley apologised, indicating the small box of ammunition for the single-shot grenade launcher now installed under the barrel of Xanders assault rifle, ‘tricky to source, but you’ve got high-explosive and some flares’ he told Xander. ‘Just remember that there’s a minimum safe distance for the explosives as well as a maximum range.’

Xander looked at him. ‘I am fully trained in the use of the M203 40 millimetre grenade-launcher’ he replied professionally. ‘Or at least I remember the training on using it that I never actually had in real life’ he said.

Connor looked at Xander then Wesley. ‘What’s the minimum safe distance?’ he asked the former watcher just in case he found himself near Xander when he used it.

‘If he fires at anything closer than say thirty yards look out for shrapnel coming all the way right back’ Wesley warned.

‘Your faith in me is overwhelming’ Xander replied, shouldering the empty weapon. ‘This is much cooler than that flame-thrower Gunn was working on back there’ he said. ‘In both senses of the word’ he joked.

‘Difference is that won’t scare a vampire but they don’t like fire one bit’ Wesley noted. He’d seen how they reacted to a flame-thrower before, they were wary of stakes and crosses but a jet of burning fuel bothered them much more.

Xander bought the rifle up to point it upwards holding it one-handed by the grip and resting the stock on his hip. ‘I just want to see how “Uber” they are in itty bitty chunks’ he declared.

Robin Wood walked by with a broadsword over one shoulder and looked Xander and his new toy over cautiously. ‘Please don’t blow up too much of my school’ he requested.

‘It’s going to fall in a big hole anyway’ Xander responded reasonably.

Wood grimaced. ‘It’s the principle of the thing’ he replied. ‘Or maybe the Principal in me’ he added, pointing to himself with his free hand. ‘It bothers me enough to see the students run in the corridors, not that I’ve got many students any more, the town is practically deserted’ he said, ‘but the idea of having it parts of it blown up grates.’

‘Gotta love that Hellmouth vibe’ Xander remarked in regards to the diminishing population. ‘Makes me homesick whenever I’m away’ he told them, ‘and sometimes makes me sick when I’m at home’ he added.

‘Talking of which did you move your stuff from home?’ Wesley asked him.

Xander nodded. ‘All boxed up and in the cavern down there’ he replied. ‘We’re well outside the city limits out here and there’s some things I wanted to keep.’

‘Get that extra householders insurance I suggested?’ Wesley asked with a smirk.

‘Oh hell yeah, I’m going to make a fortune’ Xander replied, grinning.

Wood rolled his eyes, he wasn’t sure that making money off averting an apocalypse was necessarily a moral action, it had a mercenary ring about it. ‘I’ve got to see a man about a crossbow’ he told them and went to see Giles.

The senior watcher was doing a final demonstration down by the tunnel Wesley had been using as a firing range. ‘This is an Arbalest’ he began. ‘It’s a late medieval crossbow design based around using a steel bow, rather than other materials’ he informed the slayers with him. ‘It is far more powerful than a wooden bow, and can fire a bolt with several times as much force, but that also meant it had to be drawn by mechanical means, usually a windlass or pulley, so the rate of fire was much lower as well’ he continued. ‘Of course that was with an ordinary person rather than a slayer’ he noted, passing the weapon to Rona. ‘Pull the string back until it locks’ he instructed her.

It took some effort but Rona cocked the crossbow and Giles handed her a bolt which she loaded. ‘See that metal plate down there’ he indicated. ‘Give it a try.’

Rona aimed and pulled the trigger. The weapon launched its steel tipped wooden bolt down the range and easily punched through the metal target.

Giles smiled. ‘The Arbalest was designed to take out an Armoured Knight, you’ll find that it should equally well penetrate the chest of a Turok-Han’ he told them. ‘But make sure that like Rona you are wearing the special gloves because you could easily damage your fingers drawing the bow’ he warned. ‘Ah Robin’ he said, noting the mans arrival, ‘your composite crossbow is over there’ he told him, pointing to the weapon. ‘It’s easier to draw than one of these but not as powerful so you’ll need to get close’ he said.

‘Not as close as I’d need to be to use a stake’ Wood replied, retrieving the modern hunting crossbow and a quiver of bolts for it.

Giles acknowledged the mans appreciation and turned back to the girls. ‘We’ve only got six of these Arbalests’ he told them ‘which is why only you slayers who proved best with an ordinary crossbow during training get issued one’ he said.

‘I wanted a shotgun’ one of the slayers muttered in annoyance.

‘It takes more skill to use one of these effectively, as Wesley is well aware’ Giles responded, overhearing her, ‘so those who had the highest scores with both weapons got one of these instead’ he told them. ‘A shotgun will certainly knock a Turok-Han back if you use it point-blank but it won’t kill him. One of these bolts through the ribcage into the heart will however turn one to dust instantly before they get anywhere near you’ he said, holding one up. ‘I know you youngsters are enamoured of Mr Wyndham-Pryce and his collection of guns, grenade-launchers and whatnot, but good, reliable, centuries proven technology still has its place in the slayer arsenal’ he declared. ‘Now take a crossbow and get some quick practice’ he ordered sternly.

Robin smiled at the watcher's speech. The one that raised him after his mother's death had demonstrated a strong luddite tendency too he recalled, Wyndham-Pryce was very much the aberration apparently what with his high-tech, gadget and firepower approach to fighting demons.

‘Honestly’ Giles said, shaking his head sadly, ‘in a few years it’ll all be Slayers with laser-guns and those light-sword thingies from the pictures I’m sure’ he moaned.

‘Light sabres’ Robin Wood corrected him.

‘The new Dark Ages as far as I‘m concerned’ Giles replied. ‘Buffy is going to make a speech in half an hour, you’ve been looking around do you think we’re ready for this?’ he asked.

Wood considered his response. ‘From what I’ve seen we’re ready to invade a medium sized country’ he replied. ‘Have you seen what they’re giving some of these girls?’ he asked rhetorically. ‘You see TV news pictures of troops in Iraq with less weaponry’ he declared.

Giles smirked. ‘Don’t you know its already “Mission Accomplished” over there’ he replied. ‘Your President said so a couple of weeks back.’

‘And if that doesn’t come back to bite him on the ass I’ll eat this crossbow’ Wood replied. ‘I’m going to get something more palatable to eat in the meantime, see you at the speech’ he told Giles.

‘I’ll save you a place at the front’ Giles replied, fighting a grin.

‘Don’t you dare’ Wood responded quickly. ‘Sticking the kids in the front row of the class is a punishment you know.’

‘But she enjoys it so much’ Giles responded with a indulgent smile.

‘I’ve heard her speeches’ Wood replied quietly, making sure there were no slayers close enough to hear. ‘Henry the Fifth she is not.’

‘I’d be happy with the speech by Henry the Fourth of France at the Battle of Ivry’ Giles told him. ‘In its entirety it went like this; “Soldiers! I am your King. You are Frenchmen. There is the enemy. Charge”.’

‘And did he win?’ Wood asked curiously.

Giles nodded. ‘He did’ the watcher confirmed.

‘I’m assuming we won’t be getting the same?’ Wood asked, with the barest glimmer of hope.

‘Slayers! I am your leader, we fight demons. There are the Turok-Han. Stake them’ Giles said with a wry smile. ‘We should be so lucky. Buffy and brevity are only linked by the starting letter I'm afraid.’

‘Well it adds to the occasion I suppose’ Wood replied. ‘Time for a sandwich, can’t go fighting evil on an empty stomach’ he said.

Giles watched him head off to where Andrew was making and distributing food with the assistance of the young watcher twins and turned back to his slayers. ‘If you’re all happy grab a quiver of bolts from over there and if you want to get food, or you still need to collect any equipment go and do so now please’ he told them.

As they left carrying their Arbalest Crossbows, Giles wondered if it could be the case that it was the simplicity of the speech by Henry IV at Ivry that had been the key to victory. If so he thought might Illyria’s own plan with a rather more substantive “Key” grant victory too, it was certainly simple and direct enough.

Going to be a hectic night he thought.

Seal of Danthalzar – Sunnydale High School – May 2003

They had quickly dug up the concrete with pneumatic drills and opened the seal with a bucket of blood before, as quietly as possible, they moved down into the hellmouth cavern itself. Even though none had been near the stone steps leading down from the seal it only took a few minutes before one of the Turok-Han noticed them and snarled a warning to its companions who came running in a pressing mass of fangs and fury.

The slayers turned and ran, which would have surprised the Turok-Han if they had more intelligence. The last in the group, Buffy herself, tipped over all the barrels as she fled. They had been lowered down as fast as possible as soon as the seal was opened and several were now pouring their contents into the dirt.

Once back up the hole they dropped a thick steel plate over the top of the seal and a dozen slayers stacked concrete blocks onto it as quickly as they could, forming a chain to move as fast as possible. By the time they could hear pounding on the steel plate from underneath there were already several tonnes holding it down. Turok-Han weren’t that “uber” and they simply lacked the leverage to shift it, so whilst the fact the seal was now technically open, and the vampires kept coming as a result, they were now packed them in a dense mob all the way back down the tunnel because they couldn't get out.

It was now time for stage two of the plan.

Basketball Court - Sunnydale High School – May 2003

Working away in the middle of the court Ben couldn’t held but be aware of the slayer standing behind him holding the scythe and the other one in front pointing a shotgun at him as he got on with his task. If he did anything untoward, or if Glory appeared and looked like she was going to cause trouble, they’d be summarily executed. It had been stated quite simply to him in those exact terms and he believed it.

Dawn couldn’t bring herself to watch as she gave blood, she was surprised she hadn’t fainted, but Willow was there holding her hand both as a comfort and as another hold over Glory if required. Illyria had warned she might be temporarily out of commission, and perhaps not up to fighting the HellGod again for at least a few minutes after opening the portal.

‘Okay that’s it’ Ben announced and finished up, removing the apparatus from Dawn’s arm and getting her to press a patch over it. ‘Not too painful I hope’ he said.

‘It was okay’ Dawn replied. She was slightly pale not only from blood loss but also from general nervousness.

Illyria walked over and took the glass jar of blood that had been donated by the girl. ‘Very good’ she told both Dawn and Ben.

‘Does that mean I can take off this stupid thing around my neck as a reward’ Ben asked hopefully.

Illyria looked at him. He was wearing a blue ribbon with a sapphire hanging from it, also blue of course, which symbolised a slave collar. ‘Be grateful my natural hue is not pink or you would look even more foolish’ Illyria replied. ‘It would be a tight leather ring if you and Glory had the same neck size’ she told him, ‘It was only the fact that one sized for her would asphyxiate you upon transition that I allowed this compromise’ she said.

Ben knew there was no point arguing. He just pulled off the latex gloves he’d been wearing and fingered the damn thing with annoyance.

‘Everything’s ready in the basement’ Kennedy the slayer holding the scythe told them, listening to her radio headset. Everyone was now wearing one, after cleaning out every radio-shack in the area, but unlike most of the others she was tuned to the command frequency Buffy was using for special orders. ‘They’ve re-closed the way out from seal’ she announced.

‘These things are ready to go too’ Fred reported, closing up the panel on the devices hanging suspended in a scaffold construction that took up much of the court. ‘Just pull the lever there to release and they’ll arm when they fall’ she told them. ‘I’m heading down to the basement to make sure my seal saws are ready to go’ she explained and left them to it, picking up her equipment pack on the way. ‘See you down there’ she told them.

‘So what’s the next part of the ritual?’ Willow asked, intrigued.

‘Ritual?’ Illyria repeated quizzically.

‘How do you extract some of the keys power from Dawns blood?’ the witch asked.

Illyria rolled her eyes at the witches naivety, broke open the bottle, and tipped the contents down her throat with a distinct gurgling noise as she gulped it down.

‘Oh that’s just gross’ Willow responded, sticking out her tongue in distaste. ‘I was expecting Latin chanting or something’ she added, appalled. It was worse than watching Spike or Angel drink a mug of warm pigs blood by a large margin.

You think it’s gross’ Dawn said, with a grimace. ‘It’s not your blood’ she pointed out.

Illyria suddenly bent over in pain. ‘Too much power’ she said, wincing. ‘I can barely contain it.’

‘She dies, you die immediately’ Kennedy told Ben. ‘Nothing personal but she’s the only thing that keeps evil Hellbitch in control’ she stated.

‘Oh my Goddess’ Willow cried out as cracks started to appear in Illyria’s face and blue light streamed out, her shell starting to overload under the strain of trying to contain so much energy.

The God-King screamed then held out her hand and projected a portal onto the floor of the hall, lightning dancing around both it and her. The spinning portal vortex grew until it was large enough to drop the devices through. ‘Do it’ she bellowed to Willow who had moved across to the lever.

Willow pulled the handle and two identical 2000 pound metal tubes were released from the chains suspending them over the vortex, the electronics inside activating as they fell into it.

‘Fire in the hole’ Kennedy yelled into her headset as the portal collapsed along with Illyria. Willow ran to her immediately while the slayer positioned herself to swing the scythe.

Hellmouth Cavern – Sunnydale – May 2003

Thousands of Turok-Han looked up at the whirling energy field that had appeared above them.

As they watched two large metal tubes dropped through and immediately began to vent high pressure gas as they fell, forming a huge cloud of vapour. BLU-96 Thermobaric Bombs, until recently the property of the United States Air Force. Illyria was fond of the name, it was often pronounced “Blue-Ninety-Six”.

Fuel-Air Explosives, the next best thing to an atomic bomb.

The vapour cloud was still expanding when they hit the ground crushing a group of Turok-Han between them.

‘That fucking Blue bit…’ the First, in Caleb’s form standing inside the cloud, started to say when the twin bombs sparked and ignited the cloud of vapour. It had sensed the seal was about to open and had been off summoning his Turok-Han and Harbinger forces already on the other side of the seal when he had then felt the portal forming and had dashed back to see what was going on. It was a good thing for the First that it was incorporeal because otherwise it would have been having an even worse day.

Within the cloud the temperature when it detonated reached nearly three-thousand degrees and the blastwave travelled out at thousands of miles an hour, incinerating everything within hundreds of yards in all directions and pulverising anything through sheer overpressure even further out than that.

Fortunately the cavern could not be breached by purely physical means or otherwise the explosion would have likely dropped a large part of Sunnydale straight into the hole by itself right there and then, if it could have of course the First would have simply had its forces tunnel out or collapse the seal from its rocky bed from inside long ago. As it was it was quite devastating enough thank you, a large part of the First’s mighty uber-vamp Army was instantly incinerated into dust or smashed by the pressure into broken bodies in the huge flash of blast and fire.

In the tunnel that led to the seal, the mass of Turok-Han that had chased the slayers also demonstrated they were not blessed with much intellect because they ignored all the barrels scattered around and the fact that the ground was unusually squelchy underfoot.

When the fireball touched off the trickle of Wesley’s homemade napalm that was running down the slope they regretted not paying more attention to the smell at least as several hundred more suddenly found themselves standing in a furnace.

Seal of Danthalzar – Sunnydale High School – May 2003

They felt the shockwave right through the ground at the same time as a gigantic boom rattled the steel plate and even shifted some of the concrete blocks. Smoke billowed through the narrow gaps around the plate, it smelled like burning petrol and fuel oil ‘Oh that had to hurt’ Xander said, grinning.

‘When we shift the plate again we should chuck in some grenades in case there’s survivors near the entrance’ Wesley advised Buffy.

Molly ran up. ‘Report from observers up top’ she announced. ‘We have large numbers of Uber-Vamps and Bringers moving towards the school. They’re coming up from the sewers as expected.’

Buffy nodded. Those night-vision goggles were a blessing she thought. ‘Alright everyone get into position for ambush’ she ordered, sending most of the slayers sprinting away with Xander following them.

Another smaller explosion could be heard in the distance. ‘I guess they found the incendiary grenade traps I put in the main sewer pipe coming into the school’ Wesley commented. ‘They won’t try that again’ he stated confidently before another muffled detonation interrupted him. ‘Or maybe they will’ he corrected himself. ‘Doesn’t matter, we’ve got that route well covered and if they want to keep blowing themselves up they're welcome to’ he said.

‘The First would never have expected us to attack at night’ Buffy declared. ‘It would have assumed we’d want to keep the Turok-Han bottled up indoors.’

‘Can’t wipe ‘em all out at once if you play safe’ Faith responded, hefting her sword. ‘Let’s go kick some ass boss’ she said to Buffy.

Buffy picked her own weaponry, ‘After you Faith’ she offered graciously.

‘Thanks fearless leader’ Faith replied and the two trotted off together.

Wesley yawned and followed on after them in a relaxed manner, chambering a round in his assault rifle as he went and wishing that Angel and Spike hadn’t laid first claim to the grenade launchers. To be fair they handled the recoil better than he could he admitted reluctantly to himself. ‘Hey Fred’ he greeted her in a friendly tone, passing her heading the other way.

‘Hey Wes’ she replied. ‘Mexican for dinner?’ she asked.

‘Illyria will insist on it’ Wesley told her.

One of the three slayers assigned to watch the seal watched the relaxed nonchalant attitude with interest. ‘So how long do you think it takes before you get blasé about saving the world?’ one asked the other two curiously as the first sounds of fighting started above.
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