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.Sunnydale High School – Sunnydale – May 2003
Kennedy swung the scythe over her head decapitating three Turok-Han with one stroke, the vampires exploding into ash and adding more particulate matter to the air which was already thick with smoke.
‘That’s just showing off’ Faith yelled at her, slamming her own short-sword into the gut of another uber-vamp. The enchanted weapons weren’t a patch on the scythe itself but they held an unnaturally keen edge and didn’t break or dent despite parrying blow after blow from the clumsier and inferior Turok-Han swords. Faith ripped the sword upwards opening the vampire up from its navel to its ribcage before pulling it back out and decapitating the hapless creature with her next stroke as it collapsed.
‘Catch’ Kennedy told her and threw Faith the scythe, she caught it in one hand before sheaving her sword.
‘Thanks Ken’ Faith said grinning, and turned to attack another group of Turok-Han who were duelling with a pair of slayers nearby. Kennedy drew her own short-sword and spotted another abandoned on the floor where a slayer must have dropped it earlier. Kennedy picked it up and noticed its hilt was slick with blood, which she wiped off as best she could on her jeans before getting back into the action, a sword in each hand. Well if she wasn’t going to show off with the scythe she had to show off somehow she thought reasonably.
A wall burst open, a Turok-Han crashing through it, making a new route through the building for itself, unfortunately it merely got slashed open by Kennedy’s dual swords as a reward for its inventiveness and was ruthlessly hacked to pieces by the slayer who was really starting to enjoy herself.
A crossbow bolt shot past Faith and went through the neck of an Uber-Vamp, it wasn’t a death blow but it certainly put the hurt on it especially when it tried to pull it back out, the barbed tip ripping out most of the creatures throat as it did so. The fact the damn thing didn’t just drop there and then was testament to just how tough the things really were.
‘The heart dumbass’ Faith yelled, not checking who had fired the bolt. ‘Aim for the heart.’
‘Well I’m sorry but I got excited’ Giles hollered back, reloading his crossbow. It was one of the modern composite type rather than the high-powered steel ones some of the slayers were using, he could never have drawn one of those, but if you got close enough even the one he was using could usually get the job done, assuming you hit the mark of course. It certainly beat the hell out of going toe-to-toe with something that was several times his strength he considered.
‘Hey Giles’ Faith greeted him, swinging the scythe and taking a vampires leg off before staking the creature with the other end of the weapon. Another slayer joined her side, one of those from Giles group, they must have come up from the East Wing to join the main event. ‘What kept you?’ Faith asked.
‘We had to fight our way here’ Robin Wood announced, firing his own crossbow at a vampire. ‘They seemed reluctant to just let us through’ he said, reloading it.
‘And you the Principal in your own school?’ Faith replied in mock seriousness as she bought the scythe up again. ‘You’d think they’d show some respect’ she opined with amusement.
‘I blame their upbringing’ Wood told her and fired his crossbow again into a Turok-Han nearby that was about to bring its sword down onto a slayer. He hit the mark and it turned to dust, its sword falling harmlessly to the ground through a cloud of ash.
‘Yeah I can’t see The First paying enough attention when they were growing up’ Faith replied, bringing the scythe down hard, almost cleaving a Turok-Han in two the long way. ‘Holy shit’ she swore in amazement. ‘I think we’re winning’ she declared, certainly the numbers of vampires replacing the fallen was starting to noticeably slacken.
A vampire looked out from the hole in the wall the Turok-Han had created and it immediately ducked back inside as a crossbow bolt hurtled towards it. ‘Bloody hell you pillock’ it yelled. ‘You could have had my eye out with that’ it protested.
‘You’re wearing your vampire face you berk’ Giles retorted. ‘How was I to know?’ he asked reasonably.
Spike looked out again more cautiously and with his face no longer vamped out. ‘How many of these gits have you seen with my hairstyle?’ he asked sarcastically. ‘Angels with me, he’d appreciate not being shot at too’ he told them, stepping through the hole.
‘Stop talking and give me a hand down here’ Faith yelled back at Spike.
‘Oh yeah, right’ Spike responded and ran to join the slayers down the corridor as they slowly pushed the Turok-Han back.
Angel half fell through the hole and had to lean against the wall to keep himself from falling. He was bleeding from several wounds across his body and looked very much the worse for wear.
Giles looked at him. ‘Are you alright?’ he asked.
‘Do I look
alright?’ Angel replied sarcastically. ‘We fought off dozens of them. Spike kept taunting them to attack us when I
was trying to get back to our lines’ he complained.
‘But if you look like that why’s Spike barely hurt?’ Giles asked, nonplussed.
Angel fixed the watcher with a baleful glare. ‘Because there’s no fucking justice in the world’ he replied bitterly.Main Block – Sunnydale High School – May 2003
The Turok-Han kept trying to advance and Willow kept throwing fireballs, the flaming mystical spheres of energy simply vaporising them on impact, often taking out several at once. Again and again she generated and launched the supernatural weaponry but they just kept right on coming far beyond the point that it was clearly nothing but rank lunacy on their part.
‘I’m going over to Wesley’s line’ Xander announced. ‘I think Willow’s got this covered’ he decided.
‘You three stay here’ Buffy ordered, indicating three of the girls who still had ammunition on their bandoliers. ‘You two go with Xander and the rest come with me’ she said. ‘We’re going back that way and hit the next group of Turok-Han in the ass’ she told them. ‘We’ll trap them between us and Faith’ she explained. ‘You good here Will?’ she asked.
The witch launched another fireball which went straight through one uber-vamp and took out two more behind. ‘Could do with a sandwich and a cup of coffee but otherwise I’m peachy’ Willow replied, yawning, it had been a long day already.
‘If you run out of things to shoot at it sounds like Wesley has work for you over there’ Buffy noted. ‘Okay people lets go’ she ordered and started running with most of the slayers following on behind drawing their swords ready for action.
The three girls left with Willow reloaded their shotguns, they didn’t know how long the witch could keep this up and wanted to be ready if she suddenly ran out of juice. One of them unhooked a water bottle from her equipment belt and took a gulp, between the adrenaline and the smoke she was unbelievably thirsty. ‘It’s not coffee but want some?’ she offered the witch.
Willow smiled. ‘I’m good’ she said with a bit more meaning to the reply than the slayer might have realised. In control too, the witch thought with relief.
At the next corridor Wesley heard a cry of “Fire in the hole” and yelled at the girls with him to duck as a grenade was launched from directly behind with an almighty thump. It sailed right over their heads and exploded amongst the Turok-Han sending them flying. ‘God damn it Xander’ Wesley yelled angrilly, getting back up. ‘Thirty yards minimum not twenty’ he bellowed before resuming fire.
Xander walked up to meet him firing single shots from his rifle, the two girls with him firing their pistols, all three taking careful aim to conserve ammunition. Wesley was doing the same, trying to stop the vampires by putting rounds through kneecaps that bought them crashing down whenever possible. They had opened windows to let out the smoke and it was billowing outside in a continuous dank cloud. Back at the entrance the fire was starting to spread and was still generating plumes of acrid smoke that was starting to fill the entire building. ‘Willow is kicking ass over at my post, thought we’d give you a hand’ he told the former watcher.
‘What colour hair?’ Wesley asked.
‘White’ Xander told him.
Wesley nodded his approval, ejected another empty magazine and reloaded for the umpteenth time. His shoulder was starting to get very sore from the recoil and he was nearly out of ammunition. ‘Glad to hear it’ he said.
‘Those fireballs she throws are awesome’ one of the slayers who had arrived with Xander declared.
Wesley fired off a few more rounds but it was becoming self-evident that it was time for his party-piece, he’d been hoping not to have to do this but even with Xanders arrival there were too damn many of them to hold with this few a number. If they had to start using swords they’d likely lose some people and he didn’t want that. He took a deep breath to steady himself and put down his rifle, leaning it against one of the desks that made up the makeshift barricade.
‘What the hell are you doing?’ Xander asked.
‘Trying to concentrate, so shut up’ Wesley retorted tersely, closing his eyes and silently mouthing something to himself, holding out his open right hand, palm upwards.
Xanders eyes widened as a small ball of flame started to form in Wesley’s hand and quickly grew until it was nearly six inches across. Wesley raised his arm and launched it into the closest Turok-Han which promptly disintegrated.
’ Xander cried out incredulously. ‘How the hell did you do that?’ he wanted to know.
‘Not entirely without magical ability’ Wesley replied, wincing and shaking his hand. ‘That bloody hurts’ he said.
‘Screw that! Do it again’ Xander told him. A couple of the slayers were dumbfounded too but kept up the firing.
‘If I was that good at it I wouldn’t be using a bleeding gun most of the time’ Wesley protested reasonably and closed his eyes to try again, mouthing the words silently once more summoning the elemental energy. Another fireball started to form in his hand as Xander resumed his firing but it took longer to form than the first, this really wasn’t Wesley’s specialty, more like a hobby to be honest.
Eventually Wesley managed to create another fireball large enough to do damage and fired it down the corridor taking out a pair of Turok-Han that were advancing despite being peppered with bullet holes.
‘Willow’s a lot faster’ one of the slayers noted.
‘Well bully for Willow’ Wesley retorted, spitting on his hand and rubbing the saliva into his palm which was becoming singed. ‘If you
can do any better go right ahead’ he declared before trying once again. It was really taking it out of him, he had a modicum of natural ability, and a lot of theoretical knowledge, but he wasn’t anywhere near a first, or maybe not even a second rate magick user and he knew it.
Wesley formed and threw another fireball and then another. He blinked in mild confusion, that last one was much easier for some reason, his hand didn’t hurt and he got a rush from doing it that hadn’t been there before.
Wesley grinned and generated and fired yet another fireball. ‘Come on then’ he yelled defiantly.
‘Ermmm Wes’ Xander said, turning and looking at him directly with an expression of concern on his face. ‘Your eyes have gone black’ he told him. ‘I mean completely’ he said.
‘Bugger’ Wesley swore. Too much magic all at once for a relative novice he guessed. The spell he was using had
come from a not particularly nice tome so he knew the energy he was channelling wasn’t exactly the positive kind. ‘Thanks for the warning’ he told Xander. ‘Better go back to the rifle’ he said, reaching for it.
‘Good idea because I don’t want to have to shoot you’ Xander replied frankly.
Wesley picked up his G36K again. He felt very
strange and part of him wanted to keep using magicks, but fortunately the inner Wesley was a rational being, if leaning towards the ruthless side of the force on occasion, and it always took the tough choices overriding his feelings, desires or emotional hangups without difficulty. He shouldered the weapon and started firing ‘Smokes clearing I think’ he observed,
‘No its not’ Xander replied, correcting him.
‘Must be the eyes then’ Wesley replied, ‘I can see further.’ he announced. ‘Dark clouds, silver lining as they say’ he added. The world did look very odd now, he decided to ask Willow if she had the same experience when her eyes changed like this. It was almost as if he was viewing the world on a different level for the first time, peculiar but oddly compelling.
‘Well you got a few Sir’ one of the slayers told Wesley appreciatively.
‘Thank you Briony I try my best’ Wesley replied.
‘They call you Sir
?’ Xander asked, loading his last magazine. ‘None of them call me
that’ he said. ‘Not since Kendra anyway, God rest her soul.’
Wesley kneecapped another Turok-Han before replying. ‘Perhaps I have more command presence and natural authority’ he replied, deadpan.
‘He’s hotter too’ one of the other slayers remarked, holstering her empty pistol and pulling her sword. Until now she wouldn’t have imagined saying anything like that out loud but there was an odd bond between all of them now. Besides which he did look hot, it was just a shame he was too old and already spoken for by just about the only chick on Earth no slayer in her right mind would go up against.
‘What is this? Your goddamn fan-club?’ Xander complained. It was banter like this in the face of adversity that would keep the mind off other more fear-inducing thoughts he knew. One of his gifts had always been to laugh and joke in the face of danger and if people needed a morale boost any time this was it. ‘As of tomorrow I’m setting up the Xander-ettes’ he declared.
‘Good luck with that’ Wesley replied. ‘I’m sure it’ll be cheap to hire out the closet needed to hold the meetings in.’
Xander got ready for his snappy response but before he could deliver it a fireball shot past them from behind, then another and another in quick succession. ‘Ran out of things to shoot at over there’ Willow declared walking up to them. ‘Felt something too’ she added. ‘Who’s been playing with fire?’ she asked rhetorically, already knowing full well.
‘Giles junior here was chucking fireballs’ Xander told her. ‘He’d never get to play in the majors like you though’ he added. ‘His fast ball is okay but he’s burned out after three pitches.’
‘Could you have at least gone with a cricketing analogy instead and not that bastardised form of Rounders?’ Wesley complained in good humour. ‘I’m good for at least one Over and I haven’t missed the stumps once’ he joked.
Willow looked down at Wesley who had turned to face her. ‘We need to talk later’ she said, looking into his obsidian black eyes, were hers that creepy she wondered. ‘Don’t make me have to come and find you, and no more magic until I do’ she warned. ‘Illyria put me down hard and I’ll do the same to you if needed’ she told him.
Just what I needed, Wesley thought sadly, another complication in my life.
The witch started taking down the Turok-Han wholesale, as elsewhere Buffy’s team started hacking their way through the rest of the uber-vamps tapped between her and Faiths people. The fight for the school was drawing to a close, the fight for the hellmouth itself was about to begin in earnest.Seal of Danthalzar – Sunnydale High School – May 2003
‘Cordelia’s in charge out there. All casualties on the bus, walking wounded armed in case there’s any more out there’ Kennedy reported then frowned. ‘Ben’s patching them up, he put a drip in one of them and Andrew is playing nurse too.’
‘Nurse Chapel maybe’ Xander interjected. ‘What about Anya?’ he asked.
‘She said she didn’t mind driving the bus back to the school for the pickup but she drew the line at having slayers bleed all over her. I got her to help out eventually though’ Kennedy replied. ‘You were right about the threat of sticking her in the rabbit cage’ she told him appreciatively
‘Just don’t anyone tell her that was me’ Xander replied quickly. ‘Vengeance doesn’t have to come in the violent bloody form she used to specialise in. She’d still find a way to get back at me even if she is reformed’ he said.
‘What about Illyria?’ Willow asked.
Kennedy grimaced. ‘She doesn’t look too good’ she replied. ‘Those weird cracks in her face are starting to close up but she still looks like she’s sitting out this one. She keeps doubling over in pain every so often’ she told her. ‘I think Dawn must be really high octane, she’s buzzing out there, like this I mean’ she said, holding out her hand and shaking it rapidly.
‘Maybe I drink too much coffee’ Dawn suggested. ‘I tried to switch to decaf but I kept falling asleep at school.’
‘If the rest of us are ordinary instant I think your blood is espresso’ Willow replied evenly. ‘And you do
drink too much coffee’ she agreed.
Buffy looked down at the concrete blocks holding down the thick steel plate covering the open seal. She had given everyone an hours rest after they finished off the last of the Turok-Han and they were now refreshed enough for the end game she decided. Most of them were clean again too, albeit only because any blood and gore they’d be splattered with had been washed away when the sprinkler system was turned on to douse the flames spreading in parts of the building. Buffy turned to Wesley and couldn’t help but flinch slightly, he was still wearing those weird eyes, Willow said it might take a couple more hours for them to clear, and between those and his usual unshaven look he really looked evil. ‘Ammunition shared out?’ she asked him.
Wesley nodded. ‘We used up more than I planned to, surprising how tough those Turok-Han are’ he replied, ‘but we had enough after we scrounged around to give the best shots about sixty shotgun cartridges each’ he replied indicating the girls lined up behind him, there were seven of them plus Vi who was holding Wesley’s assault rifle and wearing his ammunition harness. Wesley had spent much of his hours break, along with Xander, reloading empty magazines from cardbox boxes of 5.56mm ammunition.
‘So you’re really gun-girl now?’ Buffy asked Vi, looking at not only the weapon but the relaxed way she was holding it.
‘I’ve been practising’ Vi replied with a shrug. ‘None of the others were trained to use one of these’ she said indicating the G36K carbine.
Wesley hefted the grenade launcher which he had recovered from where Spike had abandoned it earlier. Gunn was carrying the other that Angel had been using, the flame thrower long out of fuel. ‘No more stakes for these’ he said, ‘but we’ve got eighteen high-explosives apiece’ he said indicating the bandoliers of oversized forty-millimetre cartridges both he and Gunn were carrying over their shoulder.
‘Just think of us as artillery support’ Gunn suggested. ‘And as for me I’ve always
been gun-guy’ he declared.
‘Two N’s’ Wesley chimed in.
Gunn looked at him. ‘Hey I don’t steal your
material’ he protested.
Buffy turned to Fred. ‘That thing ready?’ she asked.
The physicist nodded. ‘Anything comes up through that hole gets diced’ she said patting the dual chainsaw monstrosity next to her. ‘Just make sure to let me know to turn it off if it’s one of you’ she added.
‘Yeah that’s important’ Faith said loudly. ‘If you want to live talk to Fred before heading back this way’ she told the slayers loudly. ‘We don’t want any of you turned to hamburger by accident’ she said.
‘If I think you could be the First trying to trick me I'll ask you to catch something before letting you out’ Fred told everyone. 'If you can't catch it letting it bounce off you will be good enough’ she said, indicating the box of pencils she had taken from a classroom for the purpose.
‘So you don't want us being turned to hamburger accidentally but you don’t mind us being turned to hamburger deliberately
by a couple of thousand vampires?’ Rona asked Faith.
‘Hey that was in the job description when you signed up’ Faith retorted.
‘I knew that small print would pay off’ Buffy said. ‘What about you two?’ she asked the vampires. ‘You don’t exactly look a hundred-percent’ she pointed out to Angel.
‘I’ll be fine’ Angel replied, ‘and if Spikey here chickens out you’ll need me down there’ he added.
‘When have I ever
chickened out?’ Spike snapped back.
‘Well how about that time when Dru found you with those triplets you were supposed to be eating
’ Angel replied.
Spike blinked. ‘That was different’ he said defensively. ‘You didn’t see the expression on her face’ he continued, ‘she was going to bloody kill me, and not quickly’ he said.
‘You ran didn’t you?’ Angel asked smugly, and made a chicken sound. ‘I watched her chase you with that stake in her hand for two blocks’ he recalled with amusement.
‘Enough’ Buffy exclaimed, shaking her head. There was a time and a place for things and this really wasn’t the one for their juvenile bickering. Now she came to think about it there was no proper time and place for that.
‘Hey boss’ Rona called out. ‘I’ve had a word with the others and none of us remember signing anything’ she said.
‘You signed for that equipment belt didn’t you?’ Faith responded. ‘Did you remember to read the stuff at the bottom of the form?’ she asked.
‘You’re kidding?’ Amanda replied. ‘Nobody would read something like that.’
‘I read it’ Molly spoke up.
would’ Kennedy replied. ‘What did it say?’ she asked the English girl.
‘Only that we had to pay for it if we lost it’ Molly told her.
‘Ha!’ Rona responded, rounding on Faith.
Faith looked to Buffy. ‘They’re getting mutinous boss’ she told her. ‘Way too much sass’ she opined.
Buffy nodded her agreement. ‘Illyria once told me about something called “decimation” we might give a try’ she replied.
‘That means they’ll kill one in ten of you to discourage the others from rebellion’ Giles told the other girls. ‘And with that historical footnote I’ll be heading for the bus because I don’t want to have to try running for my life out of the hellmouth at my age’ he said.
‘See you later Methuselah’ Stephen told him.
Giles turned towards the teenager. ‘Apparently it’s not just the latest generation of slayers
that are infused with a surfeit of impudence’ he noted sadly.
‘Not enough of us latest model watchers to decimate’ Stephen pointed out, ‘just Emily and myself, not counting the twins.’
Giles paused. ‘I could always bi
mate you’ he said in mock seriousness, leaning forward to look the youngster straight in the eyes.
‘And with that I’ll be hiding behind these girls here until you leave’ Stephen replied and over-dramatically side-stepped behind three of the slayers. ‘So who’s planning the coup?’ he whispered to them. ‘I want in’ he said.
‘Everyone ready’ Buffy asked. ‘Anyone else want to leave?’
‘You know if we both
left they’d be up shit-creek without a paddle’ Spike remarked to Angel who laughed in response, it was a good line he had to admit.
Buffy glared at them and they looked away sheepishly. ‘Okay if the rest of you are either going down there, or staying up here with Fred’ she continued looking to Robin Wood, Stephen and Dawn who were on seal-guarding duty, ‘we’ll get started’ she said, reaching down to pick up the first block and passing it back to Faith who passed it on down the line. Several slayers with shotguns and crossbows waited ready in case anything tried coming up while they got ready to go down. ‘You ready with those grenades?’ Buffy asked Connor.
‘Only got a few concussion and half a dozen incendiaries left’ Connor replied. ‘Even with the ones I got from Wesley he hadn’t used up.’
‘When it’s open, throw one in make sure they’re not waiting for us down there’ Buffy ordered. ‘They might be keeping their distance in case we decided to pour in some napalm and a match but you never know.’
‘They’ll know for sure we’re coming if we do that, a grenade's hard to miss’ Xander pointed out. ‘Not that being really
unsubtle hasn’t been working out for us pretty well so far’ he noted.
‘Peace through superior firepower’ Vi exclaimed loudly, brandishing her rifle. ‘I saw it on a tee-shirt once’ she explained, blushing as everyone looked at her.
Still shifting blocks Buffy sighed. ‘You’re being a bad influence on that girl Wesley’ she stated flatly.
As they removed the final block and began to shift the steel plate weapons were aimed and readied but nothing jumped out at them. The smell that had been wafting up was far stronger with the plate shifted though, the odour the residue of their earlier efforts in lowering and spreading gallons of mixed fuels down the entrance tunnel. They were just fortunate that vampires burned more cleanly that people would have or the smell would have been far more repugnant.
‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning’ Xander declared, inhaling deeply. ‘Smells like victory’ he said. ‘Colonel Kilgore, Apocalypse Now
, could you get
a more appropriate film reference than that?’ he asked, grinning.
Wesley and Gunn looked at each other before starting to hum the Ride of the Valkyries from Wagner together, getting louder and louder as they tried not to laugh. It was a good thing Cordy was outside, Gunn decided, she’d take away their DVD player again otherwise.
Buffy groaned, sometimes you just had to go with it and ignore them, she decided, letting it slide. ‘Coming, ready or not’ she yelled into the open seal then gave Connor a nod.
Connor pulled the pin on the concussion grenade in his hand. ‘Fire in the hole’ he said and dropped it through the seal.
‘Well that let them know we’re serious anyway’ Faith observed after the sound of the explosion stopped echoing. ‘Molly take a note, from now on earplugs are to be handed out whenever we play with hand grenades’ she told the girl with a nod of approval from Buffy.
As the sun rose outside they descended into the hellmouth, Buffy leading the way scythe in hand.