The Revelations of Cordelia 22:13
“For I am the first and the last; I was there at the beginning, I will be there at the end. Exalted are they that do as she hath done; they shall have a glorious life on Earth, and may enter into heaven once this life endeth. But without the gates shall be witches, and sorcerers, and murderers, and the unredeemed. I the Redeemer have sent this message by the prophet Cordelia, to tell you these things. I am the child of Redemption. And let the prophet say, Come. And let whoever will listen, come. And whosoever will, let them taste freely of redemption. For I testify unto all who heareth the words of the prophecy in this book, that others may prophesy, but none may do so of the Redeemer. She who testifieth these things saith, I shall return, when the world be in the hour of its greatest need, Surely, I come quickly. Peace and redemption be with you all.” The Revelations of Cordelia 22:13-22:22
There was no backdrop, there were no props, there was no one there except Buffy and Drusilla.
Into the twilight, endlessly fighting.
Drusilla had been planning for this for the better part of a hundred years, and she reminded Buffy of this constantly during their struggle. Maybe she thought she was using psychological warfare, unnerving Buffy; the truth of it was, all she was doing was pissing Buffy off.
Still, it was a massive commitment for a vampire whose sanity was still in question, so Dru was pretty damn determined to win.
Buffy, on the other hand, had been ripped from the past, had had barely eight hours to adjust to a world where she was revered as a near-deity, and wasn’t even sure if she was actually Buffy Summers, or just a recording.
But even a recording would have known this was wrong. So, as Buffy would have willed it, she fought. She fought with every fiber of her being, every line in her program, every component of the spell that created her.
The thing was, neither one of them was tiring, and neither one was getting hurt; further, Buffy wasn’t carrying any weapons of any sort, or any way of making fire, and the amount of sunlight in this nameless limbo was exactly zero.
So if she somehow beat Drusilla’s image into a bloody pulp – then what?
She dodged another punch, then kicked Drusilla in the chest. “You’re not playing fair,” Drusilla said. “You were supposed to be just a robot.”
“Aw, did your wittle pwoteges scwew up their wittle spell?” Buffy mocked. “Maybe next time you shouldn’t resort to conversion by eye.” Drusilla grabbed her around the shoulders and threw her. She landed, but it didn’t hurt.
“My eye is still quite effective,” Drusilla said. “Except on you.”
“Hazards of being a computer program, I guess,” Buffy said. “Now –“
They slugged it out for another timeless length of time until they broke off, staring at each other. “So,” Drusilla said, “It seems we’re at a standoff.”
“Seems to be,” Buffy said. “Wanna give up?”
“Which does,” Drusilla said, “Seem to leave us in a predicament. What I wouldn’t give for a good deus ex machina right now.”
“Wanna call it a draw, head on back to your own body, and then try to beat each other up for real?”
“That wouldn’t be fair. I can’t move that fast in my real body.”
Affecting a sigh, Buffy said, “Not trying to be fair, sweetie.”
“Alas, I figured that out a long time ago,” Drusilla said.
For another timeless length of time, they thought. Then Drusilla said, “Rock, paper, scissors?”
“No.” After a second. “Where would you get the coin?”
“Here,” Drusilla said, and manifested a coin in front of her. “Flip this.”
“We can do that?” Buffy asked. Then, before Drusilla could answer, she manifested a stake. “Thanks for the tip.”
Then she stabbed Drusilla through the heart.
The vampire exploded –
And once again Buffy found herself looking through her own eyes, but this time she could move. Easily snapping the restraints, she stood up and saw Drusilla’s unmoving body lying on the table next to hers, and two dead willows lying on the floor nearby. Buffy remembered that Drusilla had told them to “cleanse” themselves, and guessed that meant poison.
So, no witnesses. What to do? First, she restrained Drusilla’s still-intact body, on the chance it could still come back – she’d learned the lessons of the Master too well.
Then she looked around the room – and found, as she’d expected in the lair of “The Visionary,” a copy of the Slayer’s Testament. She read through it thoroughly, twice. Buffy had no idea how long it took, but no one dared disturb the Visionary in her quarters.
When she was satisfied she knew what the Testament said – about her, her friends, about why “willows” were hated and about the prophecies of her return – she opened the doors and strode boldly back towards the council chambers.
There would be problems with what Buffy was going to do next, which was co- opt Drusilla’s idea of a “Second Coming” and turn it on its ear. August knew she was a machine. So did Maddie – and for that matter, that traitor, Mikki.
They could be dealt with. This world had too many problems, too many things wrong with it, for her to flinch at finding ways to fix it. Maddie and August could be let in, she felt – August killed, if necessary, though she’d rather avoid it. Mikki could be silenced.
Dru had said she wanted a deus ex machina.
Well, from a machine, this world was about to receive its god.