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Sacrifice Par Amarth

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Twist of Fate". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Part 3 of ToF Trilogy- What if Glory wasn't the hell God that was driven out of her hell dimension, but rather the two gods that opposed her? Buffy and crew are about to find out first hand how two lesser hell gods aren't necessarily better than one.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Pretender
Harry Potter > Buffy-Centered
LisetteFR1522146,09471819,54214 Aug 0328 Sep 03Yes

Chapter 12

Illustration
Sacrifice Par Amarth: Chapter 12
by Lisette

Legalese: See Chapter 1 for disclaimers and ratings.

O o O o O o O

Shoes tapping on the highly polished marble floor, Miss Parker made her way through the vast foyer of the Centre, her black pants and matching suit coat showing every tasteful curve while she absently searched through the purse she carried at her side. "Janet, I have an appointment and will be out for the rest of the afternoon," she stated as she paused before the large, ornate reception desk, her eyes glancing up briefly as she nodded at the thin, older woman that sat behind the desk, ignoring the secretary's solemn, stern frown. After all, such an expression was only to be expected from the bitter woman - which was exactly why she had been hired by Miss Parker herself for the position.

"Yes, Miss Parker," the woman replied automatically as the head of the Centre's eyes drifted back to the purse that she was rifling through.

"And if Samuel Fellows from the Council calls, please inform him that we have no new information, but should that change, we will contact him immediately," she added, frowning briefly as she dug her hand deeper into the small bag before finally snagging her elusive car keys.

"And the dog, ma'am?"

"The what?" Parker returned, a small frown pulling at her lips as she finally turned back to the older woman - and froze at the uncharacteristically tight smirk that lifted the woman's lips as she nodded pointedly at something just over Miss Parker's shoulder. Confused, Parker turned and watched as Broots struggled through the massive doors of the Centre and staggered across the floor, a large mass of blood-clotted fur whimpering and shaking in his bony arms. Eyes narrowing, Miss Parker took a slow, measured step away from the desk and finally paused when she stood directly in the distracted man's path. "Broots," she hissed, a small smirk pulling at her lips as the computer technician froze in his footsteps, his eyes warily lifting to meet hers. "What in the hell is that?" she asked as she pointed one long, manicured finger at the quivering thing that the technician was struggling with.

"I-i-it's a dog," Broots stammered, his face flushing as the pitiful beast whimpered softly as it tried to shift in the small man's arms.

"Obviously," Miss Parker commented dryly, her eyes narrowing into thin slits. "But what are you doing with it?" she asked, her eyes boring into his.

"I-I found him in the parking lot. I-I-I th-think that someone mu-must have hit him," the balding man stuttered as his eyes fell down to the poor creature that he held.

Sighing through pinched lips, Miss Parker wearily rubbed a hand down her face as she truly looked at the dog for the first time. It was large, black, and incredibly filthy - with fur that was matted with as much grime as blood - and no breed of dog that she recognized. Grimacing, she took a step back as she took in the large quantities of blood that now smeared Broots' clothing as the man slowly and gently lowered the canine to the pristine floor, the dog barely acknowledging the movement as the technician hesitantly smoothed back the bloodied hair from the dog's face. Stepping back further, Miss Parker took in the skin that sagged off of every bone in the dog's body, the beast looking extremely emaciated and like it hadn't eaten in days. Even worse, though, were the places where she could see the pearly white of broken bones as the jagged edges broke through the animal's skin.

"He's hurt really bad," Broots murmured, his voice containing so much sorrow that for a moment, Miss Parker forgot the dog as she forcibly turned away from the pitiful beast.

"Then why did you bring him in here?" she asked, lifting one hand to pinch the bridge of her nose as Broots hurried around her until she was forced to look into his pleading eyes.

"To see Jarod. He might be able to-"

"Does Jarod look like a veterinarian to you?"

"Well, no," Broots admitted with a small frown. "But I'm sure that he's pretended to be one at some point," he offered helpfully, a small, tentative and extremely hopeful smile lifting his thin lips. "If I could just-" he broke off as a woman's piercing scream rent the air to their side.

Twirling around, Miss Parker reached for her absent gun as the secretary stumbled back and out of her chair, her eyes fixed in horror in their direction. "Janet, what's-" she began, her question forgotten as she finally glimpsed what had her secretary so frightened. "Sirius!" she whispered, her eyes landing on the broken figure of Harry's godfather, lying in the place where the dog had just been deposited. Shoving Broots aside, Miss Parker quickly fell to her knees and slid across the polished marble as her eyes swept over the wizard's battered frame. "Sirius? Sirius!" she cried as she gently tilted the man's face towards her, shaking her head as he slowly opened his pain-filled eyes before sliding shut once more.

"Janet, get Jarod down here!" she ordered, her brown eyes sparking as she turned towards her secretary. "Janet!" she repeated as she took in the woman's pale and shaking frame, looking on the point of collapse. "Oh good God!" she hissed angrily before snapping towards the stunned computer technician. "Broots-"

"G-going," he quickly wheezed as he turned and stumbled towards the secretary's phone.

Nodding curtly, Miss Parker dropped a light hand on the wizard's dirty, blood-stained cheek. "Hold on, Sirius, help is on the way," she murmured before grabbing her purse and pulling out her cell phone. In seconds she found the number she was looking for and pushed the send button as she turned back towards the secretary's desk. "Broots?"

"He's on his way," he confirmed as he slowly moved back towards them, his wide eyes never leaving the man that he had inadvertently brought into safety. The man that looked as though he had been knocking on Death's door for quite a while.

Nodding, Parker turned back to the battered man that was spread on the floor before her. "Come on, come on," she hissed as the line continued to ring.

O o O o O o O

Buffy easily dodged beneath the gray demon's clumsy swipe with a bring grin before pivoting on her heel and retaliating with a kick that sent it stumbling back into the craggy stonework behind it. Turning, she searched out Harry and the three demons that he was battling against, nodding as he levitated one and sent it crashing down a nearby well. "That's one way to-" she began, her words lost behind a pained grunt as another of the demons tackled her from the roof of a nearby building.

Wincing as her cheek scraped against the uneven edges of the cobbled street below her, Buffy rolled to the side and scissored her legs up in a kick that knocked her attacker back into his friend. "Cheater," she muttered as she flipped back onto her feet, her long coat settling around her legs as she threw herself at the two and the other three behind them. In seconds she was ducking blows and sidestepping clawed swipes as she dove between one demon's legs and reclaimed the sword that she had lost a few minutes earlier. She quickly stood and brandished the weapon at the demons before pivoting and swinging the blade, neatly decapitating three of the five in one arc before gutting another.

Panting lightly now, Buffy worked on dislodging her blade from the demon's dead carcass as a shrill beeping echoed in the quiet night. Grunting, she ignored the cell phone's incessant chirping as she turned and lifted her blade threateningly towards the last demon, grimacing in disgust at the brown demon goo that dripped from the long blade. Lifting the sword a little higher, she began advancing on her enemy even as it circled her - which was when the phone began to beep, again.

"Listen, are you going to answer that?" the demon asked suddenly, its deep voice grating like nails on a chalkboard as it stopped in its circling, obviously annoyed as it pointed its long, clawed hand at Buffy's jacket pocket.

Sighing, Buffy dropped her sword as she met the demon's glowing, red eyes. "You don't mind?" she asked, a bright smile lifting her lips as she reached for the small phone. "I was going to turn it off, but we're hoping to hear from a friend," she explained as she checked the caller ID, a brief frown pulling at her lips as she recognized the name displayed.

"Seeing as how you won't be alive much longer and I will be feasting upon your carcass, you might as well take one last call," the demon reasoned as he indicated for her to go ahead.

"Gee, thanks," Buffy muttered, a wry smile lifting her lips as she pushed the 'send' button and lifted the phone to her ear. "Miss Parker?" she asked as she idly began wiping her sword blade on the back of one of the dead demons.

"Buffy?" Parker's voice quickly cut through the static-filled connection.

"The one and only," Buffy returned with a small smile as she tucked the phone between her shoulder and her ear and raised her sword, beckoning for the demon to continue. "And you know what?" she continued as the demon dove forward, the small slayer gracefully dancing back and parrying its clawed strike against the steel edge of her blade. "I can still say that one. Because while there may be three slayers now, there's still only one of-"

"Buffy, we... Sirius," Parker cut in, her voice belying an urgency that Buffy had failed to recognize at first, despite the static that interrupted her message.

Practically dropping the phone as the crash of steel on bone echoed in the quiet, rural night, Buffy danced back and readjusted her hold on the phone. "What about Sirius?" she asked, not willing to allow her hope to blossom as she felt Harry's eyes boring into her back.

"... have Sirius," Parker repeated, her voice crackling through the bad connection. "You... come........ real bad," she continued as Buffy's eyes grew wide.

Without waiting for more, Buffy dove forward and drove her sword through the demon's slick hide, hoping that she hit the heart as she pulled the blade free and stabbed it in the ground before her. Seizing the phone with both hands, Buffy quickly turned to where Harry continued to battle against his two opponents, his attention obviously far too scattered to even attempt to use wandless magic as he instead weakly avoided the demons' deadly attacks. "We're on our way," she murmured, not caring if the message got through or not as she snapped the phone shut, her eyes never leaving Harry's.

"What is it?" Harry grunted as he ducked another swipe, uncaring of the claw that tore through his jacket and drew blood in a long gash along his arm.

"Sirius is at the Centre," Buffy explained as she reclaimed her sword and blocked the next attack that would have decapitated the wizard, grimacing as the demon's putrid breath washed over her. "I'll finish up here and then take the portkey over - you should go now," Buffy continued, pushing the demon back and colliding with his friend and buying her the time necessary to turn and take Harry's hands in her own. "I think he's hurt," she explained as she squeezed his hand gently, hating the fear that shone in his green eyes.

"But-"

"Take the portkey to Hogwarts," Buffy broke in as she pulled a handful of small, white handkerchiefs from her deep coat pocket, each labeled with a different location. Fumbling through them, she bypassed the one to the Council's headquarters and stuffed the one for the Centre in another pocket for later use, and finally pulled free the one that was labeled with Hogwarts' crest. "And don't wait for me," she instructed as she brushed a hurried kiss across his lips. "I'll catch up with you later," she finished before grabbing her sword and pushing Harry beneath one of the demon's furious swipes.

Nodding slowly, obviously in shock, Harry watched Buffy as she continued to battle for a few seconds more before his eyes drifted down to the small handkerchief he clutched with a death grip. Sirius. He needed to get to Sirius. And at the moment, it didn't matter that the Centre was a continent away from the rural plains of Malaysia. Instead, all that mattered was getting to his godfather when he needed him. Closing his eyes and allowing the sounds of the fight to die away, Harry pictured the large, marble foyer of the Centre in his mind's eye, focusing on that one thought as he channeled the magic within him. A second later he apparated, his disappearance marked with a sharp crack that echoed in the dark night.

Turning, Buffy's eyes traced over the spot where Harry once stood, the fear of what he would find in the States almost paralyzing her. But then, as three more demons emerged from the shadows in hopes of defeating the small slayer, Buffy found her attention focused on the fight before her - a fight for strangers. And once more, the sounds of battle filled the quiet night of the countryside while half a world away, her friends fought for one of their own. She could only hope that they would both win their fights.

O o O o O o O

Humming absently to herself, Celeste slowly moved through the quiet graveyard, her blue eyes drifting over the sun-dappled stones while she breathed in the scent of the freshly mowed lawn. To some, the French girl knew that her desire to see the dark places that she battled within in the light of day was probably very strange. Then again, to her, it was just another reminder that all darkness was passing, and at the end of each night, as at the end of each battle, there would always be a light to follow the dark. Just as the darkness that had been haunting her relationship with B'one was one of those passing instances. B'one.

Celeste slowly stilled in her quiet walk as she thought of her watcher, a gentle smile lifting her lips. He had always been as a father to her, but it was a thought that always rested at the furthest corners of her mind. For how could she speak on something that had always been so forbidden? A slayer was never to have attachments of any kind, and those forbidden attachments included even those that involved a slayer's watcher. Yet how could a slayer be raised by someone for nine years and not form even the most minute of attachments to their watcher? Such a thing was inconceivable to her, for she had been raised by B'one, and B'one was the only father that she had ever really known - the only one that she remembered. Yet she had been raised as a slayer was meant to be raised - which made it all the more odd that she was sharing her sacred duty with two slayers that had somehow done things terribly backwards and come out even more powerful for it.

Frowning, Celeste continued her walk, her feet taking her on a familiar path as she crested a small hill and then paused before a tomb. The stone was well cared for by her, and she always made a point to stop here at least for a little while on her daily walks to deliver the beautiful pebbles that she had found along the way. Flowers would have been better, of course, but even in the warmth of California, the beautiful plants still shunned the winter cold. No, in this case, the pretty stones would have to do, she realized as she gently added her small pebbles to those that already rested before the beautiful gravestone.

Joyce Summers

Celeste didn't remember her mother - or even if she had ever known her mother. When it came to her past, the only thing that Celeste remembered was the proud Frenchman who had raised her, guided her, taught her, and made her the slayer that she was today. In her mind, that was all that was needed. And before meeting Buffy Summers, she hadn't even thought about anything else - about the anything else that came before her time with her watcher. Buffy herself had stated that her own watcher, Mr. Giles, was as a father to her, same as B'one was a father to Celeste. Yet when Buffy had asked what it had been like to be raised by her watcher, only then was she reminded that for this powerful slayer, she had lived with something more.

Buffy had been raised by a mother and father that had loved her - the parents that had birthed her. When her father had left, Giles had stepped in to take his place as she took her own place as the Slayer. And yet.. and yet Buffy continued to live with a mother's love. Celeste had never known a mother's love, yet by visiting the gravesite of Buffy's mother when Buffy could not, Celeste couldn't help but be reminded why B'one was all that she would ever need and that maybe... just maybe she was better for not having known a mother's love. After all, to have a mother's love when one was the slayer was to risk losing that love to Death's inevitably tight grip, and such was a loss that Celeste was quite thankful to have avoided.

She bent down and brushed her fingers across the beautiful script before straightening once more. Bowing her head, she quickly murmured an old French prayer before turning away from the gravesite - and freezing as her eyes fell upon the beautiful, dark-haired man that stood before her. Instantly her heart began to hammer so hard that she feared it would break from her breast as her palms became slick with sweat. Slowly, ever so slowly she began to back away from the man as his beautiful lips lifted in a serene smile. But then, even her retreat was halted as her back collided with the soft contours of a feminine body. Gasping, she quickly spun away, her large blue eyes growing wide in terror.

"I hear that you're the Slayer," Serantine murmured, her musical voice sending chills up and down Celeste's spine.

"O-one of two," Celeste stammered, hating the weakness in her voice as she recalled the ease in which Dahmascus had battled with her and Faith.

Dahmascus matched steps with Serantine as they closed in on the obviously frightened young girl that was even now dropping down into a defensive crouch. "We only need one."

O o O o O o O

Snorting quietly at the glares that Faith and Bertrone were directing at one another, Willow hurried over to the phone that was mounted on the kitchen wall. For some reason, it didn't seem to matter to the two that the youngest slayer and her watcher had made amends back on Christmas, for the hostility was ever present - and extremely amusing to those who were willing to watch the unending fireworks display. "Scooby Central," the redhead chirped as she put the phone to her ear, her eyes never leaving the kitchen counter where Faith was busy scowling at the watcher as he made his own special brand of coffee.

"Willow, it's Buffy," the blonde slayer's voice sighed through the phone. "Sirius has turned up," she added, obviously too worn for the niceties as she skipped right to the point.

"What?" Willow gasped, her eyes growing wide as Bertrone and Faith turned towards her. "Where was he? What happened? Is he okay?" she babbled as the room fell deathly silent.

Her only reply was a heavy sigh that caused Willow's heart to hammer. "No... no Wills, he's not," Buffy returned after a lengthy pause. "I didn't get here in time to see him myself, but Miss Parker said that she thinks Jarod was able to stabilize him before he and Harry took him to Hogwarts."

"But what happened?" Willow persisted, tears glimmering in her green eyes as she clutched the phone in her hand. "Jarod?" she asked, confused by Buffy's words.

"Yeah, I'm at the Centre right now."

"The Centre?" Willow continued, becoming even more bewildered by the second. "But I thought that last we heard, he was in-"

"New York," Buffy cut in as she sighed heavily once more. "I know."

"But that... that's impossible!" she whispered, shaking her head slowly. "That would mean that he... was it the Hell Gods?" she murmured, her grip becoming even more tight as Faith abandoned her stool, her dark eyes never leaving Willow.

"Had to of been," Buffy mumbled, her voice becoming muffled. "Parker said that he was... that he was worked over real bad, and that most of the injuries looked at least a few days old. And he's sick too - probably delirious. To be honest, she was talking like she didn't even know how he had made it here."

"But why didn't he just go to a hospital? Or the police or-"

"I don't think... I don't think he even consciously knew what he was doing. Willow it's... it's really bad," the slayer whispered, her voice breaking slightly.

Frowning in concern, Willow quickly waved Faith away as she twisted away from the slayer's insistent reach. "Are you alright?"

"Me?" Buffy asked before laughing bitterly. "I'm the one that everyone's trying to keep out of this, remember?" she continued before sighing once more through the line. "I'm fine, Wills, I just wanted to let you know that.. that the game is up," she murmured, sounding so incredibly tired that Willow felt her heart going out to her friend. "You guys need to be careful, 'cuz if they found out about Sirius, they may be heading your way."

"We will," Willow promised, wishing nothing more than that she could give her best friend the hug that she so obviously needed. "I promise," she added before saying her goodbyes and slowly returning the handheld to its cradle.

"What's wrong?" Faith demanded, pouncing on the wiccan as her eyes took in Willow's haggard appearance.

"That was Buffy," Willow whispered as she tried in vain to sort out the information that she had been given. "The Hell Gods got to Sirius and Buffy's worried that they may be heading back to Sunnydale. We need to-"

"Celeste," Bertrone interrupted, his eyes growing wide and panicked as he met Faith's - slightly startled to see that her expression mirrored his own concern. "She went for a walk in the grave-"

"Let's go," Faith cut in, sliding from her stool and stalking towards the door as Bertrone fell into step behind her. "Willow, get the others," she added before disappearing into the bright afternoon sunshine. "Let them know what's going on and wait for us. Once we're back with the Kid we're hitting red alert."

O o O o O o O

Sobbing quietly, Celeste felt the tears pour down her pale and bloody cheeks, long past caring at this small show of weakness. What were tears when faced with the incredible pain that she had endured? She was barely fifteen - a child - and despite her years of preparation to become the Slayer, nothing had ever prepared her for this. When a slayer died, it was supposed to be quick and in the heat of battle. Never slowly. Never torturously. And never when consumed by such agony.

"Shh shh," a soft, feminine voice whispered in her ear, a gentle caress of the smoothest skin falling lightly on her blood-slicked brow. "Don't cry, my little one," the voice continued as Celeste whimpered piteously and vainly tried to pull herself from the hated touch. But she no longer had the strength nor the will to give her broken body even that small respite.

It seemed like days, weeks, and months had passed since she had been strolling through the sunlit graveyard, her mind millions of miles from the troubles of the world. In reality, she knew that it most likely had been only hours - but that thought offered no comfort. And while fear had threatened to paralyze her, Celeste knew somewhere deep inside that she had fought bravely and with every ounce of slayer prowess behind her. But what chance did a lone slayer stand against two hell gods? None, of course, and all too soon her world had gone black, the darkness only lifting to reveal the dank, dark chamber that had become her entire world. The flickering torches, the smell of the earth encompassing her, and the crumbled stone that surrounded her easily marked the crypt for what it was - one of many that littered the cemeteries of Sunnydale. A tomb - her tomb - that was buried far beneath the earth in a place where no one would hear her screams. And scream she did.

The gods had allowed her to claim her feet upon regaining consciousness and before beginning their games. And games they were, for at first they merely toyed with her as they easily blocked her strongest blows and lightly tossed her to the side. But all too soon they tired of the game and only then did the real punishment begin as they rained unforgiving blows upon her young body, beating her to the ground and the brink of unconsciousness. Even then the pain had been great, but never once did Celeste call out or reply to their furious questions - always storming about their Key. Instead, she bit her lip until it bled as she curled into a small ball and prayed for the end to come. Unfortunately, the centuries spent on their world had taught the gods patience and they would never allow her such an easy escape. Rather, once they tired of the beating and when she was too bloody and broken to fight, only then did they relent, stealing from her the blessed escape of unconsciousness.

Next Serantine and Dahmascus had settled her beaten and broken body on top of a stone sarcophagus before the goddess began to lovingly stroke her battered face, urging for her to answer their questions as she gently gathered her hand in her own - before slowly bending back each finger until it snapped like dry tender. By this point the pain was far too extreme, the punishment too brutal for any hope of escape and her screams came unbidden as they were torn from her raw throat, the tears streaming down her bloody face and causing her shoulders to shake in muffled sobs. Yet even then, she didn't break.

And so the torture had continued, each pain coming greater than the last until she no longer even had breath to scream out her torment. Soon her thoughts became muddled and lost as she rode each wave of agony, no longer able to think past what her body was enduring. Had there ever been anything else besides this agony? Had she ever known peace before? The young French girl thought not, the tears streaming down her face as she called out for B'one, even though she could no longer remember what the word meant.

Moaning softly as a fiery heat grazed against her cheek, Celeste opened bleary blue eyes that instinctively focused on the bright light that danced before her vision. Slowly it moved one way, and then another, and without conscious thought her dilated pupils followed the dancing light as it drew closer and closer to her eyes. Unconsciously trying to shrink away from the heat that began to burn her, she froze as her eyes followed the dancing light until it finally settled against the skin below her right eye in an agonizing sear of burning flesh. Ripped muscles tensing, Celeste felt her back arch as her breath became locked in her throat, her nails digging in and breaking against the cold stone beneath her before another scream was torn from her throat. Her heart crashing against the bones in her chest, the small slayer remained locked this way until Serantine nodded at Dahmascus, the indifferent god finally relenting and pulling away the burning metal as the girl sagged once more onto the stone, her pained whimpers and mumbled French wheezing between bloody lips.

"Now, ma petite. You must stop with this nonsense," Serantine murmured as she gently stroked the girl's unmarked cheek, a small smile pulling at her lips as she eyed the black, scorched skin that would forever mar the girl's beauty - one of many reminders of this day that would never fade. Not that she would live much longer to enjoy it. "You are alone with us and there is no reason to continue with this silence. We want our key, and unless you tell us, we will merely move on to the other Slayer and leave this world with none."

"Pas vrai," Celeste murmured, the tears dripping from her eyes and falling into the agonizing burn that sent tendrils of pain up and down her battered and broken body. "Ce n'est pas vrai," she whimpered incoherently.

"No, no, my dear, it's quite true," Serantine corrected with a small, patient smile. "We will kill you both and then we will find and kill your inept replacements. There will never be a slayer to protect this world and all of the people in it. You will have fail-"

"Non! Elle va continuera de protéger à notre place. Elle est puissante et-"

"Who will?" Dahm cut in, his voice uncommonly gentle as he stepped to the other side of the girl, his hands turning her face until her bleary, unseeing eyes were locked with his. And when she merely moaned and allowed her eyes to fall shut, the god lost whatever patience he had been mastering as he purposefully dug his finger into the seeping burn that marred the girl's cheek, her eyes snapping open and her breath growing ragged around the pain. "Who will protect in your place? Who's powerful?" he asked as the girl twitched beneath his touch.

"La première," Celeste sobbed, breaking as the pain finally became too much. She was the slayer, but she was also a child. A child who had finally been pushed beyond her final endurance. "Il y en a trois maintenant, trois et elle est la première"

"And this first slayer... she has our key?" Serantine asked, her eyes alight with an inner fire as Dahm dug his finger cruelly into the open wound.

For a moment more the slayer writhed beneath the god's ministrations before she could take no more, the jagged word leaving her lips amidst a scream of new agony. "OUI!!" she bellowed, her back arching and then falling down as Dahmascus promptly pulled his finger away, absently rubbing the charred gore on the fine material of his trousers.

"Well now, that wasn't so difficult, was it?" he murmured absently as he glanced disdainfully at the sobbing wreck of the slayer that lay before them.

As her brow creased in thought, Serantine gracefully stepped away from the child, absently wiping at the stray blood splatter that marred her pants. "So there is a third slayer," she mused, tapping one long nail against her chin as her eyes surveyed the brightly lit crypt. "And she has our Key," she murmured before turning back to where the girl's whimpers had fallen silent, and frowning as her fellow god pulled his fingers free of the girl's head, a soft blue light dying away as he smiled serenely. "Are you quite finished?" she murmured, bristling as Dahm stepped back, his eyes lingering on the silent, tortured girl.

"She wouldn't have told us anything else," he defended absently as he joined Serantine before the large tomb. "She-" he began, his words lost beneath the crash of the crypt doors as they were knocked from their rusted hinges and rocked to the floor, a cloud of dust and grime billowing up and encasing the two Hell Gods. Waving his hand irritably, Dahm waited for the dust to settle before a small smile lifted his lips at the sight before him. "Well, well - if it isn't the second slayer," he murmured, his gaze locking on Faith's narrowed brown eyes. "Or would that be third? And she's brought friends," he added as his gaze slid over the tall, dark-haired boy who brandished a crossbow, a slender red-haired girl who was clutching the hand of a taller brunette, and a slender man with graying hair that matched his pain-filled eyes - eyes that were locked on the girl that lay on the tomb behind him and Serantine.

"Celeste," the older man whispered, the word torn from his throat as he stumbled forward, only to be held back by the dark-haired slayer who was trying valiantly to hide the tears that burned in her brown eyes.

"You're going to pay for this," Faith whispered, her gaze narrowing upon the two gods as Serantine rolled her eyes at the display and slowly stepped forward.

Yet for each step that the hell goddess took forward, the group recoiled just that much away from her as a naked fear burned from their eyes. Serantine cocked her head to the side as she realized that somehow, these children knew of her. They knew of her and what she was, and in the time since her last encounter with the dark-haired slayer, the child had learned to respect and fear her. And even as the girl obviously struggled with herself, as they all struggled to hold back their anger and restrain themselves from starting a battle that everyone knew they would never finish, Serantine couldn't help the smile of amusement that played with her full lips.

It only took one look at Dahm to see that her fellow god was still eager for more bloodshed and violence - blood and violence that could come easily in the form of the humans that surrounded them. Then again, violence wasn't the only thing that drove Serantine, and the heartache and suffering, the pain and anger that radiated off of every single human that filled the dank crypt as their eyes always slid past to the young girl they had broken was more beautiful than any scream they could force from their weak throats.

Grinning, she slowly inclined her head once at the dark-haired slayer as a promise of things to come. "Come, Dahmascus," she murmured as she strode forward, the group instantly parting before her lean form and filling into the crypt behind her, her fellow god falling into step beside her as he leveled a charming smile at the frightened teens. "We have what we wanted," she added, smiling slyly at the girl's broken body before sweeping out of the crypt and into the dark night.

In seconds, Bertrone shrugged Faith's hand from his arm as he quickly crossed over to the tomb that bore his slayer's broken body. As the tears burned his vision, his empty gray eyes took in the blood that liberally covered her ripped and torn clothing, the bruising that marred her pale skin, and the ugly burn that wept a hideous yellow fluid. Torn between shaking with grief and burning with anger, he slowly reached his old, weathered hands forward to take her small hands in his - and froze, choking as he took in the fingers that were cruelly bent in ways they were never meant to be. "Oh ma petite... what have they done to you?" he whispered in a choked voice as he wearily bent his head forward and rest it against her bloody chest - and froze as he felt the cloth move beneath his skin.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Silence.

"Someone get an ambulance!" he roared, causing the others to jump in shock as the French watcher surged forward, his fingers frantically feeling for the girl's thready pulse even as he felt hope press against his breast. "Celeste? Celeste!" he murmured, his voice cracking as he hurriedly reached forward and pressed his shaking fingers against her bloody cheek, idly aware of Xander's panicked voice as he gave directions to the 911 operator. "Hold on, ma petite. Do not leave me now," he whispered as Willow and Tara moved beside him, the two wiccans sorting through the bottled potions that they had carried with them in the hopes that they were not too late. But even now... even now that hope was slipping.

Translations:
ma petite = my little one (term of endearment)
pas vrai, ce n'est pas vrai = not true, it's not true
Elle va continuer de protéger à notre place. Elle est puissante et = She'll continue to protect in our place. She's powerful and-
La première = the first
Il y en a trois maintenant, trois et elle est la première = There are three now, three and she is the first.
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