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 – Alternate Earth AE2005-0098-A (Pathfinder Index Code) – November 2005
‘You know I think it’s the familiarity of this place of this place that creeps me out the most’ the slayer with the crossbow declared before kicking in the classroom door and idly tossing in a helios grenade which exploded in a blinding flash. It instantly incinerated the three Turok-Han which had been waiting inside. ‘I take math class in there back home’ she noted as she looked around.
‘Ten minutes ago I shot up the room where Knox flunked me in science last week’ another girl told her, this one armed with a rifle. ‘It was really satisfying’ she added as they gradually moved through the halls of Sunnydale High clearing out any Bringers or Uber-Vamps they came across. They were working in pairs, one regular slayer with a scythe or a crossbow accompanied by a gunslayer and her HK417 Battle Rifle.
‘I wish we were down in the basement’ the girl with the crossbow said sadly. ‘Probably more action down there as they get closer to the seal’ she reasoned.
‘Yeah well maybe in the next parallel universe’ the gunslayer replied.
‘In most of them their Sunnydale is in a big hole just like ours’ the first slayer noted sadly. ‘This could be the only chance we ever get to kick ass on a real Sunnydale Hellmouth, I wanted to do it right.’
‘Could be worse, could be taking classes at Shadow Valley instead of slaying evil things here’ the Gunslayer reminded her. ‘My turn’ she said as they arrived at the next closed door and getting her rifle ready.
Before they could kick open the door, further down the corridor the actual wall was smashed out as a Turok-Han crashed through and bared his fangs at them amidst a cloud of dust.
‘Guess they haven’t completely figured out door handles yet then’ the slayer with the crossbow observed placidly.
‘Guess not’ the gunslayer agreed and as the Turok-Han snarled and leaped to the attack she raised her rifle and fired a short burst into the creature, the sound thundering down the corridor and the bullets leaving black wispy trails through the air as they went. The burning phosphorus of the incendiary bullets left an acrid stench in the air before the large supersonic rounds slammed into the vampire’s torso and momentarily sent it staggering backwards through sheer impact.
The Turok-Han would have quickly recovered but for the fact that the metal now imbedded within its chest were burning, the smell of charred flesh soon mixing with that of the phosphor. It howled in pain and clawed its own wounds trying to remove the source of its agony but they had driven themselves in too deep, shattering its ribs as they went.
‘It’s not very sporting doing it that way you know’ the slayer with the crossbow commented. ‘And it’s moving around too much for me to get a decent shot at the heart now’ she complained.
‘Who said we were supposed to be sporting?’ the gunslayer asked rhetorically and lowering her aim shot one of the vampires knees out, sending it to the floor with an even louder howl of pain. ‘Are you going to stake ugly here or am I?’ she asked.
‘Go right ahead’ the other girl replied after which the gunslayer simply strolled over and slammed the wooden bayonet fixed to her rifle into its chest.
‘I’m surprised you didn’t let it suffer a little longer’ the slayer with the crossbow told her as the Turok-Han exploded into ash.
‘No need to be sadistic and anyway the bucky burns itself out after a little while and it stops hurting as much’ the gunslayer told her, brushing the dusty remains of the vampire off her clothes. ‘The wounds don’t heal very fast though so they don’t recover right away.’
‘I still think you can’t beat a nice crossbow, it’s just more civilised’ the other slayer opined. ‘And the smell in here is starting to make me gag’ she added.
‘I’m with you there at least’ the gunslayer agreed. ‘We should smash out some windows’ she suggested.
‘You know I bet Principal Wood’s nightmares are like this’ the slayer with the crossbow suggested.
‘Vampires running in the halls and the students smashing up his school?’ the gunslayer responded. ‘You could be right’ she agreed, thinking about it.
Down in the basement Connor quickly ducked to let an axe held by a Harbinger swing over his head and rammed his sword into its gut, his gleaming blade slicing through its monk-like apparel and emerging red with blood as he pulled it back out, the Bringer slumping away as he did so. ‘At least they die quietly with some dignity’ he said, stabbing it again just to make sure.
‘They’re probably screaming on the inside’ Buffy told him as they led the others towards the Seal of Danthalzar. Once Connor had secured the perimeter of the building and most of the larger nests of vampires had been wiped out in the rest of town Buffy and additional slayers had joined him and they were now fighting their way towards their main goal.
‘Turok-Han’ a girl called out. ‘Stand clear’ she ordered loudly and Connor and Buffy dived out of the way as she directed a jet of burning fuel down the basement corridor, the flamethrower carried on her back making short work of the vampires that had appeared ahead of them.
‘Turn some fire extinguishers on those wooden shelves’ Buffy ordered and as they started to move up again slayers put out the fires the flamethrower had caused. ‘Getting smoky in here Will’ she called out.
‘No problem’ Willow called back and raising a hand she conjured a wind that howled through the basement carrying the smoke with it and chilling everyone to the bone in the process.
‘Can someone turn down the aircon?’ Faith complained, shivering.
‘If you wore clothes that showed less skin you wouldn’t be so cold’ Buffy pointed out.
‘B, I get enough of that already from my sort-of daughter, don’t you
start too’ Faith replied curtly. ‘And remember I know
the length of those skirts you used to wear before you decided you needed to look more like an authority figure.’
‘We’re not teenagers any more Faith’ Buffy responded.
‘Dawn says you stopped wearing the mini-skirts once you realised she looked better in them’ Connor spoke up, carefully avoiding eye contact with Buffy and trying not to laugh.
‘Going out with my sister means I won’t kill you Connor, but remember I know how fast you heal up’ Buffy replied, the tone of her voice colder than the chill wind.
‘Spike’s right, Summers women really are unbelievably scary when they want to be’ Connor couldn’t help but reply as he moved on.
‘And don’t you forget it’ Buffy told him. The Seal was just up ahead now and soon they would be taking the fight to the First on its home turf again. ‘Talking of Spike someone remind Dawn she has to go back and fetch him now we’ve removed all the distractions’ she called out. ‘You just can’t trust him not to go chasing after the first bunch of Turok-Han he sees when he’s supposed to be where you tell him’ she noted sadly. ‘He lacks focus and... oh shiny!’ she exclaimed spotting an ornate Bringer knife and bending down to pick it up. ‘What was I talking about again?’ she asked Connor.
‘Spike lacking focus’ Connor replied.
‘Yes, focus, you’ve got to have focus’ Buffy declared as she turned the bejewelled curved dagger over in her hand. Those rubies were definitely going in a set of earrings she decided.Shadow Valley – California – November 2005
Gunn didn’t get here very often, the remaining action in LA was more than enough to keep him occupied these days even if the vast majority of the vampires and other assorted nasties had been long wiped out. He had been asked to give a guest lecture to some newly arrived girls on the pros and cons of using a battleaxe rather than a sword and given that a slayer scythe was a very similar weapon to his own preferred weapon a few of the more experienced girls had sat in as he gave his talk interspersed by a few demonstrations.
‘Okay, so I know you’re all stronger and faster than me but remember that there are things out there stronger and faster than you so the techniques I use against regular vamps are ones you might be able to use against uber-vamps’ Gunn told them as he picked up his battleaxe off the table at the front of the lecture hall again.
‘But a sword is faster’ one of the girls at the front commented.
Gunn nodded. ‘Yeah you can swing a sword around quicker and parry away more easily but a sword is also a lot easier for the other guy
to parry away too’ he said. ‘This thing weighs a lot more than a sword’ he said, holding up his axe. ‘If you can get it moving the sword of any poor schmuck that gets put in front of it is going to get knocked aside even if he might be stronger than you.’
‘Inertia’ another girl, this one towards explained. ‘Hey Knox was right there really is a real-world application for those physics lectures he gives us’ she said. ‘Who would have thought?’ she asked rhetorically to a round of laughter.
Gunn grinned. ‘You get it moving, it don’t want to stop’ he agreed, swinging his axe around in the air above his head. ‘The heavier and faster it is the better’ he continued. ‘Even if the sucker is wearing armour you’ll still dent the crap outta it and knock him flying too maybe if you do it right.’
‘So why not use something like a sledgehammer?’ a slayer queried. ‘That’ll hit even harder right?’
‘It’s a little bit too blunt to decapitate something with though don’t you think?’ Gunn replied causing the girls to laugh again. ‘You can cave a vamps skull in and it still
won’t die, shatter every bone in a zombies body and the thing will still be saying “brains, brains” and trying to gnaw on ya ass’ he continued. ‘An axe will knock the fight out of them but you can also use it to finish the thing off at the end’ he said. ‘It slices, it dices, I give you the axe-o-matic’ he declared, holding it up.
‘So why doesn’t everyone use an axe?’ a girl wanted to know.
Gunn put it back down. ‘Different strokes for different folks’ he said. ‘Firstly any decent-sized battle-axe is heavy, damn heavy’ he said. ‘My bro Wes uses one sometimes but the dude just isn’t a towering hunk of manhood like myself so he can’t handle one as well’ he said. ‘It’s not just strength though, because I know you’ve all got that, you also need some height too to really get the benefit’ he told them. ‘Sorry but it’s a fact’ he continued apologetically, looking at a particularly short slayer who had pouted.
A younger slayer who might have been fourteen raised her hand, causing Gunn to smile and indicate she could ask a question. ‘You also need room to work too right?’ she asked.
‘Yep’ Gunn confirmed. ‘Start using this thing around in a narrow corridor and not only don’t you ever get it moving properly it’ll get stuck in the damn walls if you’re not careful’ he told them. ‘It’s even worse than a broadsword for that because I’ll admit it straight-up, an axe does not
handle as well as a sword so there’s less opportunity to correct your action once it gets going’ he said. ‘Like Duke Ellington sang, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing’ he joked. ‘So are there any more questions before we break for the day?’ he asked, looking around. ‘No? Then class dismissed’ he told them, to his surprise getting a brief round of applause. ‘I’ll be in the gym tomorrow morning doing some proper demonstrations’ he said loudly as they all got up off their seats starting to talk among themselves. ‘Be there early because I’m flying back to LA before lunchtime’ he said.
‘So did you ever want to be a teacher?’ Andrew asked, walking over. He had entered quietly a couple of minutes before to see how Gunn was doing.
‘Not enough education and nowhere near enough patience’ Gunn replied. ‘I hear it doesn’t even pay that well either’ he added.
‘So Principal Wood says’ Andrew told him. ‘Of course he gets a better salary these days.’
‘Don’t we all’ Gunn responded. ‘If I leave my axe here nobody is going to walk off with it are they?’ he checked. ‘I was going to grab a coffee and I don’t want to have to take it with me.’
‘If it was a scythe one of the girls might borrow it, holding one is like slayer catnip’ Andrew replied, ‘but I think your axe is fine where it is you can collect it later.’
‘Cool’ Gunn said.
‘I might get a peach-flavoured iced tea at the canteen if you don’t mind the company’ Andrew told Gunn.
‘No but if you’re ever in LA and my old crew are there it’ll be better for my rep if peach-flavoured iced tea isn’t mentioned’ Gunn told him seriously.
‘You don’t now what you’re missing’ Andrew replied.
Gunn chuckled. ‘It ain’t my masculinity’ he stated as they followed the girls out of the lecture hall.
As they walked along the corridor Andrew remembered something he thought Gunn might be interested in. ‘So did you hear they’re making a Transformers Movie?’ he asked.
‘Yeah’ Gunn replied happily.
‘It had better be good’ Andrew declared.
‘With Spielberg producing and Michael Bay directing it should be’ Gunn opined.
‘Just as long as it’s better than what they’ve been doing to Marvel this year I’ll be happy’ Andrew said. ‘Elektra was even worse than Daredevil and the less said about The Fantastic Four the better’ he added with a grimace.
‘I never liked those comics anyway’ Gunn told him.
Andrew shrugged. ‘So I’m guessing you liked the Blade films?’ he asked.
Gunn stopped walking and fixed him with a baleful glare. ‘Just because a brother’s black and fights vampires doesn’t mean he’s going to be a Blade fan’ he said. ‘That’s like racial and professional stereotyping’ he declared in annoyance.
‘So you didn’t like them?’ Andrew asked.
‘The first two were pretty good but the third one sucked’ Gunn replied, starting towards the canteen again. ‘I still think a battleaxe is better than a katana though’ he opined.
Andrew remembered something and laughed. ‘Talking of racial and professional stereotyping I asked Ashton who his favourite comic-book character was’ he said. ‘Care to guess?’ he asked.
Gunn thought about it. ‘Wolverine?’ he asked.
‘Deadpool’ Andrew told him.
‘So his favourite Marvel superhero is a Canadian mercenary with a big mouth?’ Gunn replied incredulously.
‘He said something about the character of Wade Wilson appealed to him’ Andrew replied with a grin.
Gunn laughed. ‘So if Xander had that eye-patch like he was supposed to in the alternate universe Illyria came from do you think he’d dress like Nick Fury?’ he wondered.Sunnydale – Alternate Earth AE2005-0098-A (Pathfinder Index Code) – November 2005
‘Different than last time’ Buffy observed as she looked down into the hellmouth cavern.
‘Well yeah B’ Faith replied, ‘The last time we were in one of these we’d already scorched it with Wesley’s home-made napalm recipe and those fire-bombs Blue dropped in to say hello with’ she recalled. ‘Smells a little better this time around too’ she added.
‘Not for much longer unfortunately’ Buffy said regretfully. ‘Can someone shoot up those vampires and then stake them please’ she requested as a small number of Turok-Han approached.
‘Don’t want to scythe them?’ Faith asked as a gunslayer who had followed them down took aim.
‘It’s been a long day’ Buffy replied with a yawn as the Turok-Han were shot full of incendiary bullets and soon afterwards fell to the ground howling in pain.
The vast majority of the Turok-Han who had once been inside the cavern had left long ago, only a few now remained and if anything the fighting had been much harder getting in here than it was once they were inside the cavern. There were maybe a few hundred of the vampires in here at most Faith decided, no real challenge at all she decided regretfully as she looked at her scythe wistfully.
‘Excuse me Ma’am’ a girl spoke up. ‘What the hell is that?’ she asked, pointing to one side with her crossbow.
Buffy turned around to see a large creature approaching them slowly. It resembled an octopus in some ways with huge tentacles that were dragging it along the cavern floor as it came. ‘Oh yuck’ she said.
‘That is one ugly demon’ Faith agreed. ‘You know it looks a teeny little bit like Illyria in her original form’ she added. ‘She has a picture on her wall she photocopied from a old book and had enlarged’ she told Buffy.
‘She looks better for having lost the weight’ Buffy commented, looking at the demon with distaste. ‘Well at least we know what the thing with the tentacles was that tried to escape the hellmouth a couple of times’ she said brightly. ‘I always did wonder.’
‘Hey Tess’ Faith called out to a gunslayer, ‘put a few rounds in the calamari over there’ she requested.
‘How do you remember all of their names?’ Buffy whispered to Faith as the girl fired her rifle into the demon to apparently little effect as it kept coming.
‘Maybe it’s because I didn’t fill my mind up with all that fancy college book learning’ Faith replied. ‘Or I could just be smarter than you as well as hotter’ she added with a grin.
‘In your dreams on both counts’ Buffy replied. ‘Try more bullets’ she suggested loudly which resulted in four gunslayers emptying their rifles into the demon, the incendiary bullets just seeming to be absorbed.
‘I think this is scythe-work B’ Faith told her.
‘I think you’re right’ Buffy agreed. ‘Who’s the chick with the long brown hair over there with another scythe?’ she asked quietly.
‘Oh come on B, that’s Kira, she was one of the first chicks that joined us in LA after we whupped the First in our
Sunnydale’ Faith replied, rolling her eyes.
‘They should wear name badges or something’ Buffy mumbled, there were hundreds of them. ‘Hey Kira come here, we need another girl with a scythe because that thing has a lot of arms’ she called to the girl loudly.
Kira ran over, scythe ready. ‘Ready Ma’am’ she said.
‘Faith you go right, Kira you go left I’ll try and hack my way through the middle to what I think
is its head’ Buffy instructed the others before yawning again. ‘I really need to catch up with my sleep’ she moaned before brandishing her slayer scythe, the original and still the best as far as she was concerned.
When Spike arrived a few minutes later, after Dawn had portalled back home to fetch him, he found to his regret that all the Turok-Han were gone and that a great mob of slayers were watching Buffy, Faith and another girl fight something really ugly. They repeatedly hacked off its tentacles but damn if they didn’t grow right back. ‘Why don’t you help them?’ he asked the other girls.
‘Buffy told us not to’ a slayer replied. ‘I think it’s turned into a grudge match’ she continued as the Chief-Slayer sliced off another piece of the demon to little avail. ‘Willow got screamed at by the boss for shooting a fireball at it a couple of minutes back’ she said, indicating the witch standing nearby. ‘Not that the fireball did anything anyway’ she added.
Faith dodged another tentacle, leaping back to avoid being pole-axed by it. ‘B this is getting ridiculous’ she declared. ‘The thing just isn’t going to die’ she said. ‘And I’m covered in demon goo’ she complained, the creatures thick strangely coloured blood dripping from her hair as well as her clothes and scythe.
‘Just keep hacking at it’ Buffy called back. ‘It can’t regenerate forever can it?’ she asked rhetorically.
‘How the hell do we know
?’ Faith asked reasonably as she continued to fight.
Spike turned to Willow who looked back at him and shrugged. ‘I don’t know’ she admitted. ‘But I think Fred will want us to bring back a piece and a blood sample’ she said.
‘Can we please ask for help now Ma’am’ Kira begged.
‘Oh all right’ Buffy conceded reluctantly. ‘Little help’ she requested of the other slayers.
‘Let’s get it!’ a girl bellowed and went charging in with her sword, the others following on behind. Soon scores of them were chopping and hacking the demon to pieces and it simply couldn’t regenerate fast enough not to be overwhelmed, eventually ending up as a pile of bloody twitching chunks.
‘Okay so now that’s over with I guess its Spike’s time to shine again’ the ensouled vampire declared, taking the amulet from his pocket. ‘The rest of you clear off and make sure you’re a long way away before I put this thing on’ he advised.
Willow regarded the amulet before looking Spike in the eyes ‘You know even with the Gem of Amarra stopping you from going poof in a cloud of smoke this is probably going to hurt like hell’ she told him.
‘Just as long as this thing does stop me turning to ash I can stand a little pain’ Spike replied, holding up the hand with the ring on his finger. ‘I just don’t want to be a ghost again even for a little while’ he told her.
‘It might be easier to do that’ Willow told him. ‘I’m going to try and teleport you out when the rood caves in but you might have to dig your way out if I can’t pull it off and this will be a lot more dirt than your grave was’ she pointed out.
‘The Blue Meanie managed it, I’ll be fine’ Spike told her. ‘Her daughter the Red Menace is sure
this piece of gaudy jewellery works with the other
piece though right? he checked, indicating the ring then the amulet.
‘She says you’ve done it before at a couple of other hellmouths’ Willow replied.
‘It had bloody better’ Spike replied. ‘So how do I look?’ he asked.
‘With the ring and the amulet?’ Willow queried.
‘Yeah’ Spike confirmed.
‘Like a New Orleans pimp from the seventies’ Willow told him, ‘a flamboyantly gay one that isn’t sure if he prefers the Punk style’ she added, trying not to giggle.
Spike glared at her. ‘A bloke about to save the world, again
, should get more respect’ he muttered. On the plus side if she was winding him up like this she must be pretty confident he wasn’t going to die he realised.
‘Going to say your tearful goodbyes with Buffy again?’ Willow asked.
‘Not this time, I’ve already seen how it ends’ Spike replied. ‘But remind me to borrow a helmet from one of those gunslayer bints before they all bugger-off’ he said. ‘It’ll ruin my hair but not as much as when that bloody roof caves in.’
‘I did say I’m going to try and teleport you out’ Willow reminded him.
‘Better safe than sorry Red’ Spike told her. ‘My skull isn’t exactly up to Smurfette’s standards’ he noted, tapping himself on the side of the head. ‘This place really could do with a spruce up’ he opined, looking around. ‘I’d better not die here, I’d like to go out somewhere with a little more class’ he said.
‘And now you’re complaining about the decor’ Willow replied. ‘First the new look, now a fixation on interior design, you’ll be liking musicals next’ she said. ‘My Gaydar is going nuts.’
Spike narrowed his eyes. ‘Did Angel put you up to this?’ he asked coldly.
Willow laughed. ‘Could be’ she replied.
‘I hate that tosser’ Spike muttered. He was still thinking dark thoughts about him when he put on the amulet and destroyed the hellmouth. Next time the brooding sod was going to be the one that got to do this bollocks he decided as the cavern collapsed and another Sunnydale fell into a huge hole.