I have absolutely no luck with computers. Since I last updated, I've killed 5, yes 5, laptops. That is including my mum's which I had borrowed. I also fell pregnant and had the pregnancy from hell. Or so it seemed to me in the last three months whilst I was in and out of hospital with pre-eclampsia. And my little girl was admitted to special care. That was awful. So, sorry it's late, (by a sodding year), but it's here. And I don't own Lieutenant Ambrose, he comes from “Ghosts of Onyx” which is written by Eric Nylund, see, totally not mine
As a surprise attack, it pretty much sucked. But Adam's advantage lay in the fact that he had numbers on his side, and the fact that his adversaries weren't united against him. In the first 10 seconds alone, 5 marines were cut down and partially eaten by a variety of different demons.
“Have you seen enough?” Faith shouted at McNamara as she reloaded her weapon and backhanded another demon that came far too close for Faith's liking to the two witch's that were starting the spell to weaken Adam.
McNamara just stared as he backed away. “Sir, what are your orders? Sir?” Riley asked him urgently.
“Fuck him, soldier. 003, Covenant Policy. GO!” Xander shouted, and then exploded into action, shooting the demons that were feeding on the corpses of the dead marines, as Faith spun around and strafed the demons approaching from the opposite direction, killing the ones that were susceptible to bullets, and slowing down those that weren't, so Buffy, Spike and Riley had relatively easy kills.
After that action, Xander and Faith advanced on Adam. “He's got a mini-gun in his arm!” Buffy screamed towards them.
“Well shit,” muttered Faith as she targeted his right arm above the elbow. Xander, by unspoken agreement, targeted more or less the same spot on his left arm.
As this was happening, McNamara was starting to edge out of the room. He badly wanted the advanced weaponry that the two Spartans were using. But how to get it? Just as he reached the door, a hand landed heavily in his shoulder.
“And where do you think you're going, Colonel?” a voice said. It was Giles. He'd seen the greedy look in the Colonel's eyes when he's looked at his newly returned children, and there was no way he was going to let his succeed in whatever he was planning.
As McNamara swung round, he relaxed when he saw it was Giles, “do you really think an out of work librarian can stop me?” he sneered at him.
Giles just smiled gently as he took his glasses off. “I wasn't always a librarian, you git,” and then he head butted him, Ripper style.
Spike saw this, and cheered as he decapitated another rampaging demon, and Faith started to snigger.
“Think Jeeves has gone 'Ripper' on us Boytoy,” she said with a smile as then concentrated fire of heavy calibre finally took its toll, and managed to sever both of Adam's arms just above the elbow.
“Eeew!” grimaced Buffy at then spray of ichor that went flying, along with the limbs. Anya just looked impressed at the damage the Spartans managed to inflict. As Adam reeled back, his severed arms started inching their back towards their former owner.
“Cool,” breathed Spike as he stared in morbid fascination at the spectacle in front of him.
“Don't let them reconnect!” screamed Anya over the rising chanting of the two witches she was struggling to protect. Just as she finished saying this, Faith booted one of the arms clear across the room whilst Spike impaled the other with his sword so hard it penetrated the floor and shattered.
“Oh bugger. Got no weapon now. Oh well,” he shrugged, grinned and plowed back into the fray, fists flying.
Just the the chanting ceased, and Tara collapsed, Willow was swaying ominously. “It's done,” she whispered. Both Spartans raised their guns and fired full auto at Adam's head, blowing it apart like an overripe melon.
Then an alarm started to shriek. “Go!” shouted Faith at Xander, and he pulled a knife and disembowelled the dead zombie/super-soldier and began to disarm the nuclear reactor whilst Faith watched his back.
“I fucking hate deadlines like that,” Xander said as he stood up, covered in gore and parts of Adam's reactor in his hands. “What?” he asked when he saw everyone staring at him. “What did I do?” he asked Faith who was laughing her head off.
“I don't think they've ever seen a bomb-disposal expert like you before,” she sniggered.
The Initiative soldiers just started muttering amongst themselves, especially when Giles came back carrying a badly beaten McNamara over his shoulder.
“Right,” said Buffy, “I think we can leave this lot to sort it out now, she grinned. “Giles, what's this? A keepsake?”
“No, a piece of shite,” the grim-faced Englishman said. “I've just called in additional reinforcements. Buffy, Faith and Xander need to go to your house now. Spike too, as well as Tara and Willow. You stay with me.” he turned to Riley. “I take it I have your support?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Riley just nodded, as did Graham, in no way did they want him angry at them. A few marines looked as if they wanted to protest, but Faith's faceplate turning towards them quietened them down quickly.
The reinforcements that Giles called were another branch of the military that owed the former Watcher a favour, and at first they were more than pleased to be able to pay it back, until they saw the mess that Walsh and McNamara had caused.
Meanwhile, Xander, Faith, Willow, Tara and Spike had made it to Buffy's house house, where a very bemused Joyce Summers let them in. “Spike, what's going on?” she asked, he confusion evident.
“Magical exhaustion for Red and Glinda, Joyce,” Spike said as he waltzed in as if he owned the place with Tara in his arms. Xander and Faith just just looked at one another as Xander followed with Willow.
“Oh my,” she said when she saw Xander and Faith for the first time. “Spike, who's this?” and Joyce sounded really wary at this point.
“It's just the Whelp and Faith,” Spike answered absently.
“Good Lord!” Joyce said, as she put a trembling hand towards her mouth.
“Guess she's been hanging out with the G-Man,” Xander said sniggering. “Where'd you want me to put Willow, Mrs. S?”
“The sofa will be fine Xander,” Joyce said faintly. “Is that really you Faith?”
“Yeah,” Faith replied softly as she raised her faceplate, revealing her pale face.
“Oh God! We missed you both so much!” and Joyce burst into tears at the sight of Faith's face.
Just then a clattering could be heard coming down the stairs, “Mom! What's wrong?” It was Dawn. She skidded to a halt when she saw Faith and Xander. “Who the fuck are you?” she blurted out.
“Dawn Marie Summers!” scolded Joyce.
Xander just burst out laughing at that, and had to sit down on the floor, knowing that there was no way that the sofa would support his weight with the armour on. “Your influence Spike?” he asked the sheepish looking vampire, just before Joyce slapped him round the head.
“I just knew asking you to train Dawn asking for trouble,” she grumbled, at which Faith started to laugh again.
“Man, I haven't laughed so much in years,” she giggled. Mrs. S, you gotta garden hose so we can hose our armour down please?”
“Of course, you can use the shower as well-” she started to say.
“Nah, the hose will do. We'll probably end up breaking it,” drawled Xander as he stood up smoothly. “Have you got a couple of wrenches though that we can use, and maybe a spare curtain or two until our uniforms dry?”
All through this exchange, Dawn was listening wide eyed to Spike's explanation of what had gone on, when she suddenly squealed, “I'm so glad that you're both home! Mom, can they stay here? Xander's parents are both losers, and Faith can't go back to Boston, and, and-”
“Think she's been hanging with Willow as well?” Faith said to Xander as she stared at Dawn in awe as she channelled Willow's babble.
“Probably,” Xander agreed, not really all that bothered by the presence of another babbler.
“How comes you're so tall?” Dawn asked, as she craned her neck up towards both Spartans.
“Yeah,” Spike added, as he started to raid Joyce's cupboards. “Neither of you were that tall before ya disappeared.”
Faith shrugged, “we've done show, we'll do tell later when Red wakes up, and everyone else is here, 'kay?”
“Hump!” grunted Spike as he unearthed a packet of Twinkies, and promptly had them snatched out of his hands by Xander. “Oi Whelp! They're mine!” he shouted at the Spartan as he started to eat Spike's snack.
“14 years dude! I haven't had Twinkies in 14 years!” Xander said with an expression of ecstasy on his face, as Faith just started to giggle at him.
As Xander finished eating the entire pack, the front door opened again, and in traipsed Giles, Buffy, Anya, Riley and Graham. The latter two had decided that they were in too deep now, and they wanted to know the full story, but Faith and Xander were staying firm. Not until Tara and Willow woke up.
As things stood, that took an additional 24 hours, and gave both Spartans a chance to clean their armour and uniforms, even if they had to sit about in Joyce's spare curtains for a while, much to the amusement of her younger daughter.
Everyone filtered in fairly early in the morning, and it all started off fairly innocently enough. But things were guaranteed to go wrong almost from the start. Buffy and Willow just couldn't and wouldn't see it. Xander and Faith had changed. Anya and Spike could see. So could Riley and Graham to a certain extent. The killer lurking behind their eyes, and they sure as hell was not going to provoke them.
“It's so good to see you again, Xander,” Willow gushed, finally recovered from magical exhaustion. “Where have you been? It's been months.”
“It's kinda a funny story,” Xander smirked, looking at Faith. “It all started when I heard my two best friends ultimatum that I quit helping out with the slaying-”
“We were just trying to help!” Willow interrupted.
“Shh, we're talking now,” Faith said, a hard expression in her eyes.
“Faith found me after you two dropped your bombshell on me that you no longer wanted or needed my help,” Xander continued, eyes looking fairly distant as he was obviously remembering something that had happened a long time ago. “We both made a wish-”
At that point, Anya groaned, and put her head in her hands.
“Something tom say, Miss?” Faith asked with an eyebrow raised.
“Did someone teleport in and say the word 'done' by any chance?” Anya asked, raising her head.
“Er, yeah,” Xander answered as he looked at Faith again.
Anya looked at Giles and said just one word. A name, “Hallie.”
“Ok, we woke as 6 year on another planet in a military program. The SPARTAN Program,” Faith said.
“But that's just not possible,” Buffy stated firmly.
“Says who?” asked Anya archly. “You know my past, are you really saying that Halfreck, Patron Saint of Betrayed Children couldn't take these two to another dimension?” and she gestured grandly towards the two Spartans.
“Excuse me, ma'am,” Xander asked, slightly confused. “But who are you?”
“My name now is Anya Jenkins,” Anya sniffed, “but for over a thousand years I was Anyanka, Patron Saint of Scorned Women.”
“She was a vengeance demon Xander. They grant wishes,” Spike said in exasperation.
“That explains a lot,” Faith said looking thoughtful. “Then why are we here again?”
“Because I made a wish to Halfreck to have you come home again,” Giles said softly, pushing his glasses up his nose.
“What!” shouted Xander, frightening the life out of Tara and Dawn. “Send us back! We're at war! We can't be AWOL!”
“How dare you!” shouted Faith at the same time.
The rosiness of seeing everyone had abruptly worn off.
“14 years ago, you interfered in our lives,” growled Xander, “and you didn't fucking learn, and now you're doing it again!”
“It's for your own good!” Buffy insisted, harping on the same old tune.
“Does it really look like they need protecting, Buffy?” Riley asked, “or wasn't you in the same battle that we was?” Graham nodded to show his support, both to Riley, but also to Xander and Faith.
“Send us back!” Faith snarled at Buffy again.
“They can't, only Hallie can,” Anya said. “There is a chance, a slim chance mind, that she'll send you back. You been screwed over enough that she may be willing to send you back.”
Both Spartan's faced Anya, whose face paled dramatically at the look in their eyes, “I can't do anything,” she insisted, the she sighed. “Hallie!” she shouted and waited for her friend to arrive.
“You can't leave,” Dawn said, sounding lost, “you just come home.”
“Dawn, we never wanted to come back,” Faith said, honesty resonating from her voice. “We'd found a family, and a life that we wanted. Yeah it's hard, and the retirement programme's just like a Slayer's-”
“You mean there's not one,” Dawn said bitterly, “or you get eaten alive, or-”
“Yeah, pretty much much all of the above,” Xander said softly, touched by what Dawn was saying. “But, we chose it. It's our life, and Buffy and Willow are trying to take that away from us, again.”
“Hallie!” Dawn shouted, “I wish-” and Buffy shot across the room to gag her sister.
“Haven't you learnt by now,” Halfreck said as she appeared behind the Slayer, “you can't gag my betrayed children,” and she backhanded Buffy. “Now, what is it that you wish for, Dawn?”
“For Xander and Faith to go home, the home of their hearts,” she said, nearly in tears as she faced the reality that no one else could.
“Done,” Halfreck said, and both Spartans disappeared, and then she smiled as gently as she could at Dawn, “I'm also going to grant the wish of your heart, child. Close your eyes.”
Dawn closed her eyes, and disappeared.
“What have you done with my sister?” screamed Buffy as she leapt at Halfreck, who teleported out of her path.
“Why, granted her wish, of course. Ciao,” and she teleported out of the room entirely.
Dawn opened her eyes, knowing that she wasn't in Sunnydale anymore, and strangely at peace with that decision as she listened to Lieutenant Ambrose, and realised that she was in the SPARTAN program, just like Xander and Faith.