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.Los Angeles – March 2003
The vampire easily dodged the tranquiliser dart and was back on the offensive instantly, a savage kick driving Faith backwards through the air to crash into some boxes which fortunately help cushion her landing somewhat. The blow in itself had been stunning though, Angelus was no ordinary bloodsucker he was the king of the hill, the worst there was.
Finally going to bag myself a vampire slayer, Angelus realised. I’m going to have to go find Spike and let him know he thought. That peroxide blond jerk had been rubbing it in for years about how good slayer tasted. Hell, why not turn her and bring her along for proof? That would be sweet, an actual slayer vampire
as a sidekick he decided, major kudos in the right circles.
Thinking of sidekicks Angelus had to dodge again as that English pansy Wyndam-Pryce racked his shotgun and fired. It wouldn’t kill him but even for a vampire a twelve-gauge at this range could really ruin your day and by choice he wouldn't ruin his outfit either. ‘You gotta do better than that Wes’ Angelus taunted before having to evade another blast from former Watcher. Rogue-Demon-Hunter my ass Angelus thought, under all that stubble and the new threads the old wimp was still in there, maybe deep down but he was still in there.
Angelus grinned. ‘Come on I’ll give you more’ he taunted. Hey when I turn Faith, he thought, I’ll get her to torture him again, now that would be damn poetic he considered, there was real symmetry there.
Wesley pulled back the slide on his shotgun again but before he could properly aim the vampire snapped forward, seized the barrel and easily forced it upwards, the weapon discharging harmlessly into the ceiling above.
‘Strike Three’ Angelus told him, yanking the shotgun from Wesley's grasp then hurling him easily over the balcony to smash into the scaffolding before falling hard into the floor below.
‘Uh oh, vampire with a Gun’ Angelus said, turning to face Faith, racking the shotgun himself. He wasn’t usually a firearms enthusiast, preferring to get his hands dirty but you had to admit the thing did look a lot of fun to play with.
To his surprise Faith wasn’t running. She was instead standing there looking extremely surprised and with what looked like a hypodermic in her hand. For that matter she wasn’t actually looking at Angelus either but past him.
‘Half Breed’ a voice addressed Angelus from directly behind.
The vampire span but as he did so something wrenched the shotgun from his hand, hard enough to break his index finger which was inside the trigger-guard. He ignored the pain and found himself looking into a strangely familiar yet unfamiliar face.
‘You will come with me to get your soul replaced’ the Demon in the guise of Fred told him then threw the shotgun aside.
Angelus meanwhile threw a punch.
The demon simply caught the oncoming fist in it's hand then forced the whole arm back and down to the vampires side, using overwhelming force against Angelus full strength which he was pressing back with in a clearly futile gesture. The Demon then twisted and locked the arm to hold the vampire in place.
Thinking on his feet as ever, or in this case striking out with them, Angelus kicked the Demon as hard as he could in the shins, it did cause some damage, to be precise he broke two of his toes, but his situation was hardly improved by the effort. With his other hand he then punched it on the nose which rocked its head back but did not achieve much more.
was a totally unforeseen and revolting development Angelus decided, assuming this was the Beasts Master come for some payback for what he did to lava boy. It certainly fitted the bill in terms of the look and the strength, and now he thought about it the fact the Demon was a girl. The “my sweet” line the beastmaster had used in his head too, he thought. It was definitely not a masculine phrasing when you thought about it he realised.
This beastmaster had some appreciation of the game though he thought in grudging respect for his new foe. Putting his soul back was the worst thing anyone could conceivably think of to do to him, death or a few more centuries in a hell dimension was nothing by comparison. ‘Why can’t you just kill me you fucking sadist’ Angelus seethed.
‘I will try not to cause you excessive damage’ the demon assured him then pulled back its free arm, clenching a fist.
Yup this is going to sting a bit Angelus thought, bracing himself for the blow to come.
Faith watched the Demon throw an uppercut which sent Angelus hurtling off the balcony to come crashing down below, incidentally not too far from Wesley who was still laying there unconscious himself.
The blue-haired demon turned to Faith. ‘You are not injured. You will attend to Wesley whilst I subdue the Half-Breed Angelus’ she instructed the slayer.
The slayer looked back at her. ‘Who, and more importantly what
, the fuck are you lady?’ she asked not unreasonably, at least not unreasonably in principle but the tone left much to be desired. It looked like Fred, but unless Wesley had been keeping back some serious need-to-know information that sure as hell wasn’t
Fred Faith decided.
‘I am Illyria. You are Faith the vampire slayer, Wesley’s former charge’ the demon replied. ‘We will take Angel back to the Hotel so the witch Willow can restore his soul’ she explained.
Faith watched Illyria jump off the balcony to land next to Angelus who was groggily trying to get to his feet. As the slayer watched, the demon easily knocked the vampire back down. ‘You will stop trying to escape or fight back, there is no point’ Illyria told him. ‘I will simply injure you until you become docile enough to transport.’
The blue haired demon looked back up to Faith. ‘You are malingering’ she stated. ‘There is more work to do after this. I still have to deal with Jasmine today’ she told her in a business-like fashion.
‘Should have stayed in prison’ Faith said to herself, going to retrieve Wesley’s shotgun. ‘It’s too fucking weird and dangerous out here.’
And who the hell was Jasmine she wondered?Summers Residence - Sunnydale - April 2003
‘So she just appeared?’ Giles asked, looking from the slayer to Illyria who was stood across from them in Buffy’s living room.
‘Black swirly thing appears in mid air just in front of me as I’m about to jack myself up with that Orpheus junk’ Faith confirmed. ‘Blue there steps out and starts pounding on Fang’s alter-ego. That was it’ she said. ‘Wes could back me up only he was mixing it up with Angelus at the time she appeared so they were both a bit distracted.’
‘When I came to I found myself looking at Fred wearing red leather, the rest of her dyed blue and with Angelus held in an arm-lock looking very much the worse for wear’ Wesley told Giles from where he was sitting next to Faith. ‘In all honesty I was initially quite convinced that the drop had caused serious brain damage and I was hallucinating’ he admitted.
Faith nodded. ‘She gave us the Readers Digest version of her story during the trip back to the Hotel. We had Angelus tied up and tranquilised in the back, so he wasn’t a problem any more, and when we got back she dealt with problem number two’ she said.
‘Problem number two?’ Dawn queried with interest, handing Wesley a cup of tea.Hyperion Hotel - Los Angeles – March 2003
Faith and Wesley carried the tranquilised and bound Angelus between them as they came through the main doors into the Hyperion Lobby.
‘Oh hell yeah!’ Gunn called out enthusiastically ‘You the man English’ he continued. ‘You too Faith’ he added quickly.
Faith grinned at Gunn ‘No I’m a girl’ she declared, ‘and maybe I’d have thought about proving that to you one day but that line pretty much ended your chances of ever
having me rock your world Chuck’ she told him.
Gunn laughed. ‘Well damn, the day was
looking pretty good with you two hauling him inside’ he replied, ‘but now it’s already taken a major turn for the worse.’
‘You’ll never know just how much worse’ Faith told him. ‘Trust me I got mad skillz’ she assured him with a wink. Amazingly Wes let the opportunity to comment on the “mad” thing go, though he was
‘You got him’ Lorne said, appearing with a sea breeze and a beaming smile. ‘Marshall’s Wes and Faith bringing ‘em back alive to stand trial’ he said enthusiastically. ‘We’ll have him hog-tied, sentenced and put a soul around his neck come sun-down’ he declared.
Connor was watching from the stairs. He smiled with the others, pleased at Faith’s success in retrieving the monster Angelus. Maybe good old Dad’s obsession with slayers had some reason behind it, he thought. Hot girls who could kick serious demon butt, well you had to see the appeal right? Not that he would ever abandon his beloved Cordelia, he was far too loyal for that.
Fred walked in the front door and waved to Gunn. ‘Isn’t it great Charles, they got him’ she said. ‘I’m going to go get my jacket from upstairs then I’m going to take Faith out to get a Taco. She’s earned it.’
Gunn smiled back. Fred thought anything worth celebrating should be marked with a Taco, funny thing though, he thought she was out back.
‘Oh hey Connor’ Fred said running into him, walking up the corridor a couple of minutes later. ‘Is Cordy in her room I wanted to go tell her that Wesley and Faith caught Angelus so we’re all safe now.’
‘I’ll tell her’ Connor replied. ‘I was just going to’ he said.
Fred smiled. ‘Okay then’ she replied then punched his lights out with a right-cross. ‘Sweet dreams Connor’ she said, stepping over his unconscious form before bending down to stick a tranquiliser dart into his backside through his jeans. The boy would be in a foul and uncooperative mood when he awoke but by then he would also be restrained, much like his erstwhile father.
Cordelia heard the knocking at her door and ignored it as long as she could. ‘Could you go away and come back later I’m busy right now’ she called out.
‘Cordy, it’s me Fred’ a voice replied. ‘I’m not going away until you open the door. There’s something I need to show you’ she said.
God that girl was annoying Cordelia thought to herself, as she went to open the door to her room. She put on her best smile and opened the door. ‘Hey Fred what’s up?’ she asked.
‘Hey Cordy’ Fred replied. ‘Wesley and Faith just bought Angelus back thought you’d like to know’ she told her brightly.
Cordelia resisted the urge to flinch. ‘Oh that’s marvellous’ she said, forcing a smile. I’ll get Connor to dust the son-of-a-bitch later she thought to herself.
Fred nodded in agreement. ‘Isn’t it though’ she agreed. Then dropped her chin to look down at Cordelia’s midriff. ‘So how’s your little higher-power hijacker doing today?’ she asked amiably before raising her head again to look Cordelia in the eyes, a smug, incredibly
superior expression forming on her face.
Cordelia looked at Fred in mute horror. This could not
be good she decided immediately.
Fred's hair and patches of her skin turned blue.
Eyes widening, Cordelia turned white as a sheet in response
Illyria watched a higher-powers plans come crashing down around her ears with great satisfaction.
Meanwhile the higher power saw stars.
Illyria bent down and picked Cordelia up carefully, starting to carry her back downstairs. The witch was due to arrive presently and she could put Angel’s soul back in whilst hopefully taking Cordelia’s uninvited passenger back out. The seers face was somewhat bruised by the relatively
gentle slap the God-King had delivered but she was otherwise unharmed.
The new improved timeline was starting to shape up fast Illyria thought happily to herself, stepping over Connors prone form in the corridor once again.Summers Residence - Sunnydale - April 2003
‘I’m surprised you accepted Illyria’s story so readily’ Buffy commented. ‘I mean you’ve got to admit she doesn’t look the typical side-of-truth-and-justice type’ she opined.
Fred nodded her agreement with the sentiment. ‘Angel had his doubts once Willow put his soul back but we summoned Skip and beat it out of him. Well technically Illyria
held him down while Angel beat it out of him, but after that, and with the things she knew about us, and me especially, we became believers pretty darn quick’ she said.
‘Who’s Skip?’ Xander asked.
Wesley’s lip curled in distaste. ‘A demon that used to work for the Powers-That-Be as a guide and enforcer, before deciding that being a mercenary was a better gig’ he explained. ‘Angel was not
happy when he found out Skip had been pretty central to the whole hijacking Cordelia’s body plan’ he continued. ‘He had
been thought a friend and ally, one of the good guys.’
Buffy looked at Wes. ‘Define “not happy” as regards Angel’ she requested, guessing the ensouled Vampire had wrought some major vengeance.
‘Skip’s currently located in several different
locations. We had to use a power saw to arrange that’ Fred replied, wincing slightly but not excessively bothered by the event ‘He was armoured like a tank, it took ages to cut him up for disposal’ she said.
‘I probably don’t want to hear the answer but was “Skip” alive during this disassembly?’ Xander queried.
‘Only at first’ Faith responded deadpan. She looked around the room at the faces of some of the potentials listening in. ‘Word to the wise folks. Never
fuck with Angel’s crew. He take’s it real
personally’ she warned them seriously.
‘So is Cordelia alright now?’ Xander asked concerned. They hadn’t been an item or even seen each other in years, but he still cared about her, in fact he was surprised right now by how much.
Willow shrugged. ‘Her mystical pregnancy is on hold thanks to some wicked mojo from yours truly’ she said, ‘but I’ll need to get back to her soon to finish the job’ she told him.
‘Angel, Gunn and Lorne are watching over her’ Wesley added. ‘We’ve got a binding spell in place plus plenty of drugs keeping her under, but she’s stable, in no danger and Jasmine is locked down tight for now.’
‘Why do you call it Jasmine?’ Dawn wanted to know.
Illyria spoke up. ‘That was the name the shell came up with for the creature in the original timeline. We have to call it something so it seemed appropriate. It is extremely powerful and would be very dangerous if it managed to come to term’ she said.
‘Okay, so powerful and dangerous as compared to what?’ Kennedy asked. ‘I mean are we talking Turok’Han level bad, Caleb level bad or what?’
Illyria looked at the potential. ‘I
would ideally not wish to have to fight Jasmine, does that answer your question?’ she asked rhetorically.
Rona choked on the can of soda she had just taken a swig from.
‘Okay so Jasmine very
powerful but safely under lock and key’ Buffy said, swiftly changing the subject. One Big Bad at a time if you please she thought. ‘What about the First?’ she asked Illyria who seemed extremely well-informed.
‘My intervention has already started to drastically alter this timeline so my knowledge of future events is no longer certain but you must retrieve the scythe from the vineyard’ Illyria replied. ‘It is the only weapon that can injure the First Evil itself.’
Buffy looked at Illyria ‘The scythe? What’s the “scythe”?’ she asked.
‘A weapon infused with magic that is devastating to all demonic creatures. If wielded by a slayer it also increases their power’ the God-King replied. ‘I could feel it nearby when I was there. It sang to me with words of threat and malice.’
‘The vineyard?’ Faith repeated. ‘If it was at the vineyard why didn’t we collect the thing last night?’ she asked reasonably.
Illyria looked at her. ‘Because the First will now have mobilised all the Bringers it can to try and secure the weapon to prevent you gaining control of it’ she replied.
‘How can that possibly
be a good thing?’ Buffy demanded to know.
‘It is far more convenient for me if they are all concentrated in one place. I can dispatch a large number at once without excessive use of my powers’ Illyria explained. ‘The consequences of excessive use would be hazardous’ she added, though with no intention of revealing exactly why.
Giles frowned. ‘The descriptions from Buffy and the others certainly substantiate the notion that you are extremely powerful Illyria but even you must be overwhelmed at some point, the bear brought down by the pack of wolves’ he observed.
Illyria stepped into the centre of the room ‘You need a demonstration’ she said, beckoning Buffy to join her. The slayer doing so for curiosities sake if nothing else.
‘Hit me’ Illyria ordered.
Buffy looked to Giles who nodded, intrigued. The slayer obliged and threw a punch just as the God-King made a movement with her hand.
Illyria became a blur. Buffy missed completely and nearly overbalanced to fall on Xander.
The slayer turned and found Illyria standing behind her.
‘If the bear could selectively alter the passage of time, so that the wolves moved like glacial ice by comparison, how many could it kill?’ Illyria asked rhetorically. ‘You still
do not understand what I am’ she continued. ‘I am not merely powerful
’ she said. ‘I am power incarnate
’ she declared.
‘Super-Smurf got game
’ Faith observed in awe, just as shocked as everyone else in the room.
Illyria looked around. ‘That reminds me’ she said. ‘Is there an XBox around here?’ she asked. ‘I have not played Crash Bandicoot in a while and though it annoys me I find myself missing it.’
Nobody said anything else for quite a while.