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 - April 2003
‘Okay so we’ve put a lid on the First for the time being but we know from experience that it’ll be back’ Buffy told the assembly.
‘And by lid we’re being literal because we also just dumped eight tons of quick-setting concrete on top of the seal’ Xander announced. ‘They won’t be digging that back up with a shovel’ he said with a grin. ‘Once again building contractor power triumphs over evil’ he declared. ‘I’ll be needing a uniform with a cape and a hard-hat’ he continued then paused. ‘Maybe nix the tights’ he decided.
‘I wrote my name in the wet concrete’ Andrew said happily. ‘But I’ve got a blister from all the manual labour’ he whined, holding up his finger.
Xander looked at him through narrowed eyes. ‘All you
did was turn the cement mixer on and off’ he responded incredulously. ‘We should have got you to help with the heavy lifting’ he told him. ‘Build some muscles, maybe even some character.’
‘Enough!’ Buffy said sharply, not wanting to hear either Andrew whine, or one of Xanders occasional forays into declarations of the quiet dignity of the working man just at that moment. ‘Moving on we have the Slayer Scythe in our possession’ she said, raising the gleaming silver and red weapon and feeling its power flowing through her body. In every fibre of her being she knew it belonged to her, well her and Faith anyhow, not that she trusted psycho-slayer nearly enough to leave her with it alone yet.
Illyria meanwhile was stood in a corner looking at the scythe like she was trying to stare it out. It’s not every day you’ve got a God having a major personality clash with a piece of enchanted sharp pointy steel in your living room, and the fact it didn’t seem all that
bizarre was a sad indictment of her life Buffy thought dejectedly.
‘What do we know about the scythe?’ Kennedy asked. ‘Other than it looks kick-ass I mean.’
Buffy passed the thing to Faith who took it gratefully. You felt that maybe you could get hooked on the juice it was putting out but it was a righteous high the other slayer thought, turning it over in her hands.
‘Going to go sight-seeing to a pagan pyramid after lunch to find out more’ Buffy replied. ‘Having Blue Rogers from the 25th Century pointing us towards the answers without needing to think up the questions is saving us an awful lot of research time.’
‘They’ll be putting us out to pasture’ Giles said quietly to Wesley. ‘Surplus to requirements.’
Wesley smiled gently. ‘If I was going to be put out to stud instead I wouldn’t object too much’ he replied. They weren’t quite
quiet enough though, Buffy glared at them and the two watchers had the decency to look guilty.
‘I’m going to head back to LA during the lull’ Willow announced. ‘I’ve still got to deal properly with Cordelia’s unwanted hitchhiker problem. It might take a few days.’
Giles frowned. ‘Don’t overdo the magicks’ he warned. Kennedy looked concerned too and took the young witch’s hand.
Willow smiled back at Giles and gave Kennedy’s hand a gentle squeeze of reassurance. ‘Don’t worry I’ll be careful’ she said. ‘Anyhow there’s nobody else who could do it and she’s our friend.’
Wesley and Fred smiled at her gratefully. ‘I’ll be heading back home with Willow’ Fred told the group. ‘Not much I can do here, I was really just trying to help ease Illyria into the fold. I’m a physicist not a fighter at heart.’
She was more than that Wesley thought to himself. Whilst he Giles and the Slayers had been retrieving the Scythe Fred had been telling the potentials stories of how she, just an ordinary, pretty geeky, girl, had taken on monsters year after year with only her wits and courage. It didn’t take superpowers, all it took was a belief you were in the right and the willingness to put your friends ahead of everything else, even your own life if need be. The scythe wasn’t their ultimate weapon, faith in both the cause and the person fighting alongside you was.
Mind wandering Wesley then looked across at Illyria. He knew why the Old One was here to help, even if only a tiny remnant of Fred had remained behind in the shell when Illyria moved in he was certain it had been more than enough to tilt the scales. To him Fred shined like a light in the darkness sometimes, she was amazing and the presence of the God-King over yonder proved it.
‘What about us?’ Vi asked.
Faith smirked. ‘Guess who’s training you now?’
The potential looked at her nervously. ‘You?’ she asked with concern. Honestly she could easily imagine the so-called "Dark Slayer" beating any girls she thought were slacking or at least poking them with sticks to motivate them.
‘Worse’ Faith replied, her smirk shifting to an evil smile.
Wesley stood up. ‘Who feels like a five mile run’ he asked rubbing his hands together then looked around. ‘None of you? Well tough because that’s what we’re doing this afternoon and then after you’re warmed up its sword practice with Mr Giles then crossbow’s with me’ he told the dismayed potentials.
‘Five miles?’ Rona said aghast.
of it will be uphill’ Wesley assured her. ‘I’m easing you gently into your harsh new training regime.’
this job’ Amanda complained to the girl next to her. ‘It’s like permanent Gym Class with occasional monsters.’
Buffy looked towards Faith. ‘See they’re getting it after all’ she said.Guardian Pyramid – Sunnydale – April 2003
Kicked clear off its hinges the heavy door shot down the stone steps behind and came to rest in the main chamber below. The pagan temple was lit by flaming torches and put Buffy in mind of an Indiana Jones movie, and me without my whip she thought, trotting down the steps.
There was a curtain ahead that seemed to be obscuring the entrance to another chamber. Buffy prepared to go on through when a voice from behind the curtain stopped her in her tracks as a woman dressed in what might have been priestess robes pushed through the curtain.
‘I’d forgotten how young you would be’ the woman began. ‘Comes from the waiting, the mind plays tricks’ she continued somewhat cryptically. Or at least it should have been slightly cryptic. ‘I see you’ve found our weapon’ she observed.
‘You’re the last Guardian right?’ Buffy replied. ‘The women who made the scythe, been watching the watchers?’ she asked.
Near immortals that have lived for centuries and think they’re beyond being shocked actually shock pretty dramatically, it’s the sheer unexpectedness of it, and the Guardians jaw dropped in response. ‘How do you know that?’ she asked in bewilderment.
‘Got a heads up’ Buffy replied, ‘long story’ she said, raising a hand to indicate they could go over it later.
The Guardian frowned. ‘So much for being a secret society’ she muttered, holding out her hands to receive the Scythe. This was so
not going the way she’d been rehearsing for the last millennia or so.
Buffy passed the Guardian the weapon. She handled it respectfully. ‘What’s your name?’ the Guardian asked.
‘Buffy’ the slayer replied.
‘No, really?’ the Guardian asked slightly suspiciously, it just couldn’t be she thought.
Buffy shrugged. ‘And this is Faith’ she said indicating the other girl who had just bounded down the stairs behind her.
The Guardian looked at the pair. ‘There’s two
of you?’ she said incredulously. ‘Two slayers at the same time?’ she asked. This was just getting weird
‘Another long story’ Buffy told her. ‘Now about the scythe?’
The Guardian looked at it. ‘It was forged on the other side of the world but last used right here to defeat the last pure demon that walked upon the Earth the rest were driven under… AND WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?’ she cried out suddenly, gripping the scythe defensively and staring past the two slayers to something behind them.
Buffy span around, tensing her body and expecting to be attacked, then she relaxed just as quickly, as did Faith who had done likewise. ‘Don’t worry that’s just Illyria’ Buffy explained, turning back to the Guardian. ‘Ancient God-King, superpowers, digs the colour blue for some reason…’
‘But… but… it’s an Old One!’ the Guardian interrupted in horrified tones. ‘They were banished to the Deeper Well to rest safely secured for all eternity.’
Illyria ignored the raving woman and addressed Buffy. ‘I encountered a Turok-Han hiding in a tomb nearby waiting for night to fall. The First must have intended to have it assassinate the Guardian now Caleb is not available for the task.’
‘And?’ Buffy asked.
Illyria held out a closed fist and opened it to reveal a handful of dust some of which trickled away to fall slowly to the stone surface. ‘Vampires do not make for good trophies’ she stated in a tone that sounded almost bitter about it.
‘As you can see she got parole’ Faith told the Guardian off-handedly. ‘And you can relax ‘cause like you just heard she’s all reformed and helping out the good guys now’ she added. ‘So now that’s
sorted can you make with the information we don’t
The Guardian looked at the three of them in disbelief then handed Buffy back the scythe. ‘I think I need to sit down and have a drink’ she said.
‘We’ve got a few barrels of what I’m told is really good wine back at the house’ Buffy said helpfully. ‘Spike insisted on rescuing some of it before we torched the Vineyard a couple of days back.’
‘Spike?’ the old woman queried.
‘Vampire with a soul’ Faith told her, ‘fights for our team now too… used to be giving Buffy there a regular session of the old horizontal refreshment not so long ago’ she added with a smirk.
‘A vampire slayer with a vampire as a lover
?’ the Guardian said eyes widening. ‘A vampire with a soul
‘There’s another vampire with a soul too’ Buffy noted. ‘Also fights evil.’
Faiths smirk widened. ‘She’s screwed him
too’ she said, ignoring the glare Buffy was now sending in her direction. ‘The potentials call her Buffy the Vampire Layer behind her back you know’ she announced, trying not to laugh.
‘They call me WHAT?’ Buffy snapped loudly.
‘A really big
drink’ the Guardian said to herself. ‘I haven’t left the temple in centuries’ she said more loudly, trying to restore some sanity to the situation. ‘I never knew when you would eventually arrive. A seer predicted a few weeks from now but you can’t trust them completely so I couldn’t take the risk’ she told them.
Buffy looked thoughtful. ‘That would explain the clothes’ she decided. ‘We can stop off and get you something more up to date’ she offered. ‘Maybe the hairdressers would be a good idea too’ the slayer considered, looking at the womans somewhat unkempt locks.
Faith nodded her agreement. ‘Now you might be surprised to hear this oh great, ancient, and we’re hoping wise
, Guardian woman’ she began, ‘but the seer was probably spot on’ she said. ‘We’re just kinda running on like an accelerated timetable at the moment with The First sprinting like crazy to catch up.’
The Guardian took a deep breath and thought about it. ‘No, I think I’m beyond being surprised now’ she said eventually, feeling better for that. ‘Was it strictly necessary to kick my door off?’ she asked Buffy looking at it laying there. ‘You could have at least tried knocking first’ she pointed out reasonably.
Buffy cringed. ‘I’ll have my friend Xander come round and fix it sorry’ she said apologetically. ‘He’s good at stuff like that.’
‘As for the not being surprised, well that sounds like a challenge to me’ Faith told the old woman. ‘I used to be evil you know’ she said, putting an arm around her and leading her outside. ‘Worked for a guy that turned into a huge snake demon…’
Buffy looked around, not her choice of interior design she decided. ‘Just another day at the office’ she said with a sigh, shouldering the scythe and following them back up the steps. “Buffy the Vampire Layer” she seethed to herself. ‘Ten mile run tomorrow… maybe twelve’ she muttered darkly.Summers Residence - Sunnydale - April 2003
The girls arrived in a ragged group following on behind. Wesley was glad to see that although several of them were probably better runners than he was, the majority weren’t and the pace he’d set had been punishing for them like it was intended.
Dawn was waiting outside with a grin and some water as they arrived. Rona took a disposable plastic cup from a tray and poured it over her head.
Wesley looked around. ‘Oh come on I’ve got twenty years on some of you’ he told them disparagingly. ‘If you think you’re tired now imagine yourself in a running battle that goes on for a couple of hours’ he said, ‘because it can happen.’
‘Can we go take a shower?’ one of the potentials asked.
‘Not a chance’ Wesley replied. ‘After you’ve had something to drink it’s time for Mr Giles and the promised sword practice.’
‘So what will you
be doing?’ another asked.
Wesley chuckled. ‘I’ll
be taking a shower’ he replied, walking over to his SUV parked nearby. With space at a premium he’d actually been sleeping in the back of it so most of his things were still in there. Opening the back he pulled off his sweaty T-Shirt and grabbed his washing things and a towel.
‘Holy Crap’ Molly exclaimed, seeing his bare torso. He was covered
in scars. ‘Is that a bullet hole?’ she asked.
‘Zombie Cop’ Wesley replied. ‘I do
live in LA’ he added, like that was a decent enough explanation.
Several of the potentials looked him over. ‘And the rest?’ one asked.
‘Some of it was Faith’s work, she tortured me once you know, the rest is down to demons of various descriptions’ Wesley told them. ‘I know they say chicks dig scars’ he said, ‘not that I’ve actually seen much evidence supporting that saying in the past’ he continued, ‘most just go “Eewww”, but you’re all way too young for me so stop buggering about and get to practice’ he ordered.
The potentials all headed off to the garden to see Giles while Wesley headed inside, stopping to take a drink being offered by Dawn. ‘You know if you’re taking a shower you could
shave afterwards too’ she told him in amused tones.
‘I’ll take it under advisement’ Wesley replied after taking a swig of water. ‘Unfortunately however I decapitated my Lawyer girlfriend recently so I’m looking for new counsel at present’ he told her.
Dawn looked him in the eyes. ‘You just love
playing the tortured avenger with the harrowed past don’t you?’ she asked with a wry smile.
Wesley looked at the girl expressionlessly for a moment then winked. ‘Our secret’ he said. ‘If Angel can get away with the slightly affected persona for that long I think I can run with it for a while yet’ he told her.
Dawn giggled. ‘Our secret’ she agreed. ‘I’ll pretend to be wary of you still and I’ve got to admit the new Wesley is a huge
improvement’ she said. ‘You used to be a serious… what would Spike have called you? … “Wanker” did I get the Brit slang right?’ she checked.
Wesley laughed. ‘Spot on’ he confirmed. ‘But it’s not all
an act’ he warned her seriously in case she might think otherwise.
‘I’ve heard from Faith what you did to find Angelus, and something from Willow about keeping a girl locked in a closet’ Dawn replied. ‘I know it’s not all an act’ she told him. ‘We need you here because of that.’
The ex-watcher looked at her with new respect. ‘Dawn you’ve matured into a very thoughtful and insightful young woman’ he told her. ‘It’s a pleasure to know you’ he added, with the tiniest bow of the head.
‘So badass yet still so
British’ Dawn responded, both pleased by the sentiment and amused by the way he said it.
‘Attractive too?’ he asked with a coy smile.
Dawn looked at him. ‘You’re too old for me’ she replied. ‘You said so yourself talking to the potentials’ she reminded him.
‘Damned by my own words’ Wesley said sadly. ‘So the scars don’t do anything for you either?’ he queried.
Dawn shook her head. ‘Not so much’ she told him.
Wesley sighed. ‘If I ever find the twerp who came up with that stupid saying I’m going to stick my shotgun barrel up his left nostril’ he vowed.
‘See, now there’s the new Wesley we’ve all come to know and fear’ Dawn said with a grin. ‘You’re not
going to shave are you?’ she asked rhetorically.
‘You already know me so well’ Wesley replied. ‘We’re soul-mates you and I’ he added, pretending to flirt.
‘Sorry Wes but you’re like in your mid thirties and necrophilia isn’t my thing’ Dawn responded, ‘and like look at those scars I mean like… Eewww’ she said, starting to laugh.
The sound of swords clanging against swords started to echo around the neighbourhood as Wesley went to get his shower. He’d shave tomorrow he decided, rubbing his chin.Summers Residence - Sunnydale - April 2003
The Guardian looked across the table, less than pleased by some of the company. ‘The Shadow Men cannot be trusted’ she told Buffy. ‘They put their own agenda ahead of everything else including the slayer’s life.’
‘I think we might call that big-picture thinking’ Wesley retorted. ‘The needs of the many outweighing the needs of the chosen one as they might say, anyhow as for myself I’m an ex
“Shadow-Man” in any case’ he told the old woman.
Giles hushed the younger man. ‘You’re not helping’ he chided him. ‘I assure you that I care very deeply for Buffy’ he told the Guardian ‘and I would put very few things ahead of her, my own life not included’ he declared. He clearly meant it which made Faith wish her relationship with Wesley was remotely as amiable. She leaned against the kitchen cupboards with her arms crossed and began to run through her least favourite, but most frequent activity, pondering “what-if”.
‘Are you certain of these men?’ the old woman asked Buffy and Faith. ‘They have the scent of evil about them’ she stated. ‘He certainly looks
evil’ she added, indicating Wesley who resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at her like he might have done with Cordelia.
‘I think we could both admit to certain… indiscretions in our respective lives’ Giles responded, ‘but the same could be said of many of our allies in this fight who, like ourselves, have proven where their allegiances truly lay when the crunch came’ he said.
The old woman looked to Buffy. ‘The Shadow Men I can understand’ she said, ‘even the vampire, though the notion is outlandish, but an Old One
?’ she exclaimed. ‘You cannot begin
to comprehend the danger it represents.’
‘We’ve seen it, I mean her, in action and trust me the possible danger was there to see’ Buffy replied. ‘But just because Illyria is a possible
threat does not mean we should react as if she’s an actual
threat’ she declared, turning her head slightly to deliver a look of opprobrium at Giles. There was a clear parallel here with his own prior scheming with Principal Wood to do away with Spike.
Giles inwardly winced at Buffy’s reproachful look and tried to look remorseful. Spike had
turned out to be a useful ally and the parallel was pretty obvious to him too.
‘The weapon was forged for the purposes of defeating such as this Illyria’ the Guardian told them. ‘The demon itself knows this which is why it reacts to the scythes presence’ she said.
‘Okay, now I’m drawing a line under this whole thing’ Buffy told her flatly. ‘I am not
going to walk into the next room to fillet Illyria so you can ease off on the nudging’ she stated with finality.
‘Foolhardy’ the Guardian opined.
‘Tell you what’ Wesley interrupted. ‘How about you
try helping out yourself like Illyria has’ he said, surprised at the urge he had to defend the demon.
‘I helped make the scythe’ the Guardian responded coldly.
‘And what have you done lately because that was a long time ago’ Wesley retorted. ‘You may not like the Council, sorry the “Shadow Men”, but at least they’ve been out doing something constructive for the last few dozen decades’ he pointed out.
Faith nodded her agreement. ‘Hate to say it, being big with the woman power and all’ she said, nodding respectfully to the Guardian, ‘but Wes makes a fair point’ she agreed. ‘You could earn some instant credibility if you make with the wicked mojo or come up with the killer info’ she told the old woman.
‘Your ultimate weapon already rests in the palm of your hands’ the Guardian declared, looking at Buffy who was absent-mindedly turning the scythe in her hands again.
Buffy looked down at it. ‘The shadow dudes gave me a vision of what the First’s got under the seal and unless we can get fifty-thousand Turok’Han to line up in a neat orderly row for a couple of years so I can decapitate them one at a time this thing is not “Ultimate” enough’ she said.
There was a knock at the door. Faith got up and opened it to find Xander on the other side. ‘Illyria wants a word’ he announced.
Buffy shrugged. ‘Let her in’ she replied.
Xander and Faith stepped aside and the Old One entered the room. ‘Has this one told you anything worth hearing?’ Illyria asked, looking to her Guide.
Wesley shook his head.
‘I am not surprised’ Illyria responded. ‘The forces who style themselves good seem to be universally encumbered with seers, mystics and sages who are of extremely limited practical assistance beyond unnecessarily cryptic clues and failed prophecy’ she opined. ‘If the Senior Partners of the Wolf, Ram and Hart were as useless as the Powers-That-Be, evil would have been utterly defeated throughout the multiverse aeons ago.’
‘So do you
know what we need to do?’ Buffy asked.
‘Yes, but I must admit it was originally your idea in the original timeline so I can take no credit for it’ Illyria replied. ‘You will use the witch Willow to direct the true power of the Scythe into its intended purpose’ she informed the slayer.
‘Which is what?’ Giles asked.
‘To simultaneously activate every potential around this world into a vampire slayer and create an army such as evil has never faced before’ Illyria told them emotionlessly.
‘Oh my God’ Wesley responded in shock.
‘Illyria looked at him. ‘God-King
’ she reminded her chosen Qwa’Ha Xahn. ‘You were successful in this plan in the original timeline' she told Buffy, 'but you lost many potentials and slayers before victory over the First and they will be needed for what you must do afterwards’ she said.
Buffy was still too stunned by the revelation to speak. Instead Giles looked at Illyria and asked the question. ‘Which is what exactly?’ he asked.
‘You must gather every slayer in the world, train them, arm them for battle and make war on the forces of the Wolf, Ram and Hart’ Illyria replied. ‘And once they are defeated here in this realm we will open portals to the other dimensions where they reside and you will lead your troops against them there also, and so on throughout the multiverse’ she declared.
Illyria paused to let that sink in before turning to the Guardian. ‘You will help forge new Scythes’ she commanded. ‘There are dimensions where they would be the only weapons powerful enough to defeat the enemies who reside there.’ The God-King then addressed Giles, ‘You and the witch will gather humans with knowledge of magicks and teach them to use their skills in a support role for the Slayer Legions,’ she told him, turning now to Wesley. ‘The armaments technology of the humans of this era is surprisingly effective’ she said. ‘You will help choose, develop and obtain firearms, explosives and other weapons to equip our forces.’
As everyone looked at her in shock the Old One’s voice rose to a thunder. ‘It may take years of preparation but we will vanquish our enemies for all time and in all places’ she declared with utter certainty. ‘I will personally dispatch any of the Senior Partners we encounter with my bare hands and make trophies of any parts of them worthy of display’ she vowed.
Faith looked around, no one else looked like they were going to speak so she decided to. ‘Say what you like’ she began, ‘but you’ve got to give her credit, the girls definitely
got vision’ she quipped.
Giles shook his head. ‘The enormity of what you are suggesting is too staggering for me to get my head around it’ he told Illyria, ‘but I must ask why
are you trying to do all of this?’ he wanted to know.
Illyria regarded the watcher. ‘Vengeance’ she replied simply.
Mental note, thought Buffy, do not under any circumstances piss off Blue, she decided. She takes holding a grudge to new and unbelievably scary levels.