Fabiola covered Garcia with her body as the Church shook with the impact of the creatures attack. She was standing guard over Garcia as Roberta had ordered. She walked carefully though the sanctum back into the main Church looking for a sink or wash basin She was thinking she was going to have to go back to the main auditorium and borrow water from the Holy Water font near the entrance when she saw a sink. A few spins of an old knob brought cold water out of the tap. The tiny maid soaked a cloth in the cool water wringing out and folding it neatly. She had just finished and was going to hurry back when curiosity lead her to glance at the pipes under the sink.
That was when she saw wedged in tightly against the pipe, a small and almost unnoticeable package with a small light on top. A thin wire trailed out of it to drift almost unnoticeable to another package sitting unnoticed in a dark corner. She followed that wire to another package set up in the rafters and as she looked around, Fabiola suddenly realized that the basement level had been filled discreetly but completely with the same small packages each with a glowing orange light. Someone had set bombs in the Church of Violence a lot of bombs and they were active.
She rushed back to Garcia and shook him trying to wake him. The girl was desperate and scared now. "Please Master Garcia please. We are in danger we have to leave this terrible place. Please Master you must wake up."
The boy mumbled in a dream voice. "All for one, one for all, all for one, one for all" she opened his eyes and was shocked and not a little scared to see dark black orbs where his shining friendly eyes should have been. Then his face relaxed and he closed his eyes again. Fabiola didn't know what to do but she did know one thing ... when this was over. If this ended well for her and the family she had come to care so greatly for... she was definitely asking for a raise.... a big, big raise.
Roberta standing tall "Focus, you all must learn focus you have power and skill but it does no good if you do not learn to focus.
"Yes ma'am!" a dozen voices crying in unison; Slayers in training.
Buffy stands on a hill watching. "Are you sure they'll be OK?" she asks the Witch
"You asked that about the batch she trained before; and the one before them, and the one before that. I thought the field reports were awesome." Willow said soothingly.
"Oh yeah, we're great on paper" Buffy stresses, "Kicking ass and taking names around the world. I almost feel sorry for the demons now...almost."
Roberta ignores them. She has trained two thirds of the Slayer Army stationed around the world. The Slayers in Roanapur were the test and the test was a massive success. She has proven herself to everyone that doubted this arrangement would work. "Focus... focus is everything focus is the only thing maintain focus at all time and never lose sight of your objective even for a second and you will always be one step ahead of those you face. Remember that focus is everything." She says this a lot; repeats it like a mantra. Some of the Slayers are starting to do it too.
She was right to let Garcia and Harris talk her into this.
Garcia tried to focus his random wandering thoughts were directing the visions along other pathways branching off from the main flow of time.
Rock and Xander standing at the Dock, Xander looks and dresses like Nick Fury nowadays. He even smokes cigars occasionally. Rock dresses more like Mr. Chang these days. Nobody mentions it to him anymore; anyone who does deals with Shunsi, or if they are really unlucky, Revy. Sometimes he even does it himself when he's in the mood. The sun is setting. Shunsi stands at Rocks said as always. She dresses like a mutant cross between Faith and Shenhua. Makes sense really since her style of brutality is a mix of both. Rock doesn't notice. Rock never notices. Xander sometimes wonders of that makes Shunsi more brutal more vicious.
"It comes down to this Xander,” Rock explains, “We can keep on doing things as they are or we can win this war once and for all. Twilight, The Japanese, all of them; we can take them all down once and for all."
Xander breathes hard, "You know once we make our move, Buffy and The Rest.... they won’t take this laying back."
"We are doing this for them Xander. if she could win this she would have already. How many people have we lost, how many more are we going to lose. This is the best way for Buffy she'll realize that eventually." Rock takes Xander's shoulder, "We can save the world, you and me, and no more friends will ever have to die or be sacrificed along the way."
Xander knows he should say no but it’s so much harder then it used to be to tell right from wrong. That’s what its like living in Roanapur
Garcia is losing himself. He forces his mind to track along a path. He settles on the Pool at the Hotel how nice it looks how cool it was to dive into the water from the balcony overlooking the ..
Xander Harris could see the Pool from where he was sitting in the hotel suite. The Slayers he set to guard the hotel will keep him safe. He sometime recalls he used to hate that Buffy wouldn't let him go anywhere without a slayer escort to watch his back. Now he does it himself. Of course he is one of the two most dangerous men in Roanapur. Someone is always trying to make a name for themselves by taking out the infamous Xander Harris. He looked at the bathroom nervously while fingering the empty velvet box in his hand.
"Not to put any pressure on you or anything," He says "but this took a lot of guts. "
The nun from the Church of Violence steps into the room. She smiles at Xander.
It's beautiful Xander. She holds up her hand admiring the large diamond ring settled on her finger. "How did you find something like this? How you keep me from finding out?"
"I have my methods, " He puts the box on the table, "Take your time, I know things have been crazy I wouldn't want you ... thinking twice about ...things."
"Xander I want to you to know that no matter what happens I admire you and love you."
Xander nods, "OK who are you and what did you do with Eda."
"Since when you are never serious. So what was the big surprise? Is it bigger then a bread box?" Xander relaxes on the couch.
Eda walks toward him; Garcia can see the pistol she holds behind her back. The weapon is silenced. She is clutching it in the same hand that now sports the ring that Xander just gave her.
Two slayers were waiting.
Eda's bags are packed. "We both had our little lies we kept from each other.” Eda’s voice lacks all the warmth from before. “You know that and I know that” she is saying
"...and we paid the price for that." Xander says equally coldly.
"I know what you and Rock are up to; if I have to, I'll stop you both, I swear."
"If you think you can stop us you are welcome to try."
"Eda, It's time to go." Faith stepped forward.
"One more thing," she stops and pulls a simple gold band from her finger and hands it back. Xander takes it without a word.
"What’s happening?" Garcia screamed, pain lancing though his head. "It hurts."
The Slayer stumbles to the ground. Her name is Simone and she is obviously been beaten severely and is scared.
"It’s supposed to hurt Simone; that's kind of the point." Faith says coldly.
Shenhua is watching with a predatory smile, " Rock say Slayer Bitch cause too many problems; he say send a message so everyone know what happens when you cause trouble."
"...But you're like me," Simone pleads, "You don't want to be some watcher's lackey."
"I told you not to come to Roanapur. If there was one place you should not have tried to stir up trouble it's here. Why didn't you listen, Simone? Slayers have it good here in Roanapur and that's not going to change because of a pathetic wannabe like you."
"I'll leave," Simone says desperately "I go away you will never see me again I swear."
Faith grabs the girl who looks very small and scared. Faith hauls her up and pins her to a wall. "It's too late for that; way, way too late. You’re looking a little sickly Simone. I think you need some Iron in your diet." She draws her sword with a practiced twitch of her thumb and as the blade pops out of its sheath it gleams coldly in the night. "I'm thinking about two feet should do the trick."
"It's the visions Grandfather," Garcia can hear a voice. He feels a comfort "Follow my voice Grandfather, focus on my voice. What you are seeing are just shadows. Shadows of things that might be. ... Don't think about them. Your mind is adrift you have to trust..."
"...trust?" Andrew laughs bitterly, "You have control of a deadly army and a gods power you've been acquiring magic artifacts around the globe but won't tell us what you doing it for. Buffy and the rest...We don’t think we can trust you anymore. Just give us the power objects Xander and we'll work things out from there. "
Xander tilts his head and looks at the young watcher. "Does Buffy really think she can't trust me? Me; Xander Harris."
Andrew looks uncomfortable and signals to the Slayers to raise their weapons. "Please Xander, don't make me force you. You don't want to hurt us and I know you don't hurt Slayers."
Revy holds her guns steady, she is aiming right at Andrew, "Hey Poindexter, I don't have a problem killing anyone stupid enough draw down on me. " she snarls.
"No one is going to die today Revy " Xander says quietly before shouting a command in Russian.
Along the rooftop Hotel Moscow's snipers can be seen. Suddenly Andrew is glowing red from all the laser points shifting across his body. When the shooting starts he will be the first to die.
"How much of a fuck wit are you that you brought Crossbows to a gunfight." Revy cackles, her eyes shimmering yellow with feral joy.
"Go home Andrew. Tell Buffy that I don't need her trust or her permission. There is no need to risk herself anymore. I will win her war for her."
“You, you can't be serious. You do this she'll never forgive you."
"I hope you’re wrong but if you're right, well then at least she'll still be alive to hate me. Not a bad trade off wouldn't you say?"
"Concentrate Grandfather, control your mind."
Xander is on the veranda of the Lovelace mansion Fabiola sets the tea setting down in front of him and Garcia. She is no longer a young woman but she is heavy with child. She looks at Xander suspiciously but walks away to leave them to talk.
"Fabiola still blames me for the assassination?" Xander sighs.
"A mother's love is not a logical thing." Garcia says calmly, "Her child died protecting you. In her mind, that makes it your fault."
"That's why I'm here. Rock and I are finally ready. With your help we can finish this. Fix everything finally."
"I think little Diego will still be dead no matter what you do." Garcia smiles bitterly, "Still if you are here that means you have them; all of them. "
"All twelve, your weapon will make thirteen then we can destroy every demon lord who ever even looked dirty at the mortal world."
"...And you have figured out a method for using the weapon without my blood then. You know the gun wont work at full power for you without my connection to it."
Xander smiles and produces a ruby ring. "Bloodstone, and I've tracked down the remains of the other warriors. A quick little ceremony and ... " the Bloodstone glows with almost malevolent beauty.
Garcia smiles. "I had heard there were still a few left. Leave it to my Teacher to be the one to find an end run around a thousand years of safety protocols. Come on old friend let's inside and find the weapon."
"Find it? Isn’t it hanging on the mantel like always?"
"Fabiola will have had a few minutes so no it will be hidden but I know all her hiding places by now and in the end, she knows that if you came all the way here its important."
Xander rises and Garcia backs the wheelchair away from the table he has, since the assassins bullet stole his ability to walk become quite good at manipulating the Chair.
"Bougainvilleas are pretty, Garcia." Xander says to break the tensions
"There is a tree planted for every Cartel boss that Roberta killed."
"There are a lot of trees Garcia “ Xander says with dawning wonder.
"I ordered her to not only kill the bosses but their wives and children, people who owed them money even some house pets."
"Jesus no wonder she finally lost it."
"It was the request not the killing. It was the fact I asked her to do it. That is what broke her heart and drove her over the edge."
“Grandfather focus on my voice focus. Please.”
Garcia opens his eyes and he sees a young girl. She is blind. They are in his fathers study.
"What’s happening? Who are you how can You be...?"
"My name is Grace. You were given a great and powerful gift but not the training to use it. A male mind does not respond well to the tortures of Slayer visions."
"Can you help me?" Garcia asked helplessly.
"I'm trying, you have to focus on me and my voice that's what allowed you to come to me."
"How can you see me? nobody else could see me."Garcia was slowly calming down.
"I'm a little more in control of my abilities then Manuela. Now listen grandfather, you have already deduced that the Corrupted gave you those visions in order that you might be seduced into despair."
"I can’t stand this ... I’m not like Roberta"
"Yes you are you have a strength that Auntie always tells me she envies. You are part of a chain a long line of strength.
"Why is this happening?"
"The Corrupted is seeking to darken your soul make you more inclined to surrender to its --if you will excuse the term -- corrupted world view. You must resist the idea of giving in to your despair and anger. That is the key. You can't give up and lose hope. You must fight though the shadow. That was Master Harris' mistake. You always said that if you had that moment to live over you would have destroyed the Old One before it became too powerful. For you that moment is now"
"So it is evil?" Garcia asked.
"No, not evil as much as it is desperate and growing more so. Our ancestor confined it with a blood pact. With another warrior, a Slayer. It was in hopes that you might see that ceremony and be able to undo it that the Corrupted allowed you to be assaulted by the images of that maddened Manuela. The spell required blood which you had and knowledge which It hoped you would gain by seeing the ceremony though the eyes of the Slayer who originally performed it."
"Instead by following your voice I was brought here to you." Garcia realized.
"Understand that it didn't want to be involved in the world. Imagine going to sleep and rising to find the locks have been changed and you can not leave your room. The Corrupted has been trapped in darkness and silence for so long. Just when it had begun to accept that state of affairs Manuela reached out to it with her abilities. It tasted the darkness of her life and was seduced back into the world it had sought to avoid. Now it drowns in sensations of light and sound; small wonder that it is losing its mind."
“Then what do I do?"
“You are the key. Or to be honest You and Anutie Roberta. Be brave, the Slayers need your strength now more then ever Grandfather."
“How can I help them? I'm not a Slayer."
“Technically no longer true. You see The Corrupted wanted you to see Manuela's life so that you would be corrupted by it and she gave you a part of herself to accomplish that and you are now a part of something much larger then you can possibly imagine." The girl was cut off by a crashing sound.
“What is happening?"
“You don't need to worry about that you aren't really here so the Corrupted can not harm you “
"The Corrupted is there with you?"
“Actually The Corrupted is about to destroy us but that is unimportant."
"How can your death be unimportant?"
"Because if you do what I say and how I say to do it not only will I not die but everything you saw coming here will not come to pass."