Large PrintHandheldAudioRating
using
 paypal
Twisting The Hellmouth Crossing Over Awards - Results
Is your email address still valid?

Uncharted Territory

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking
Story

Summary: AU! It's the end of the world as they know it. Not everyone was happy about the government pulling out of Sunnydale, and one soldier tries to take matters into his own hands. The Scoobs tried to tell the military that they were (FullSummaryInside)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Dark > Cast: Just about EveryoneEmmaLoveFR18643,3331308,93112 Apr 0916 Aug 11No

Chapter One

Full Summary: AU! It's the end of the world as they know it. Not everyone was happy about the government pulling out of Sunnydale, and one soldier tries to take matters into his own hands. The Scoobs tried to tell the military that they were messing with forces they couldn't possibly understand, but certain factions didn't believe them.

Disclaimer: Nope, I still do not own Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Angel the Series - I keep waiting for Whedon to hand the franchise over to me, but to my great surprise that hasn't happened yet.
And the sane part of me says it'll never happen mostly cause I feel certain Whedon (if he knew) probably wouldn't care for the things I tend to do to/with his characters. Of course, the insane part expects Whedon to call any day now.
Also, I do not own nor am I in any way associated with the television series True Blood created/produced by Alan Ball. I also do not own nor am associated with The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris from which the television series is based on.
Disclaimer the Third: There is a crossover aspect to chapter six, and so I disclaim even though that crossover is for one chapter only. So, with that in mind, I also do not own nor am I in any way associated with Resident Evil: Afterlife nor the Resident Evil franchise.

NOTE: This is a crossover fanfic, but the crossover doesn't start until chapter six, and the main crossover doesn't start until chapter seven, so I decided to mark this as a non-crossover until I got there because I don't fancy having the ModSquad coming after me for having a seemingly mis-marked fanfic. *grin*

This fanfic begins exactly one week after Season Four of Buffy and Season One of Angel ended.

Warnings:
AU! of the very.
Character death! Lots of character deaths - at least on the Buffy/Angel side of the fence - the crossover verse will probably not have character deaths, probably.
Vampire/human blood-exchange - at first it is for survival, but I know this is a squick for many - ergo warning.
This fanfic will have slash (Angel/Xander for certain, but there will probably be other m/m slash) at first it will be in the form of the afore mentioned blood-exchanges and evolve from there.
Another possible turn-off is the fact that a canon lesbian (Tara) will end up having erotic (not necessarily sex) encounters with a male vampire (possibly two), and even though I'm not planning for Tara to have outright straight sex the non-sex stuff will (or should if I do it right) feel very het-sexual... And I'm not ruling out the idea of Tara actually having straight sex at least once.

Uncharted Territory
~Chapter One~


There was a flash of light, and Buffy moved forward. Something held Xander back, it was almost as though fear was coming through the opening before whatever big nasty crossed over.

When the light faded Xander could see at least three demons, and what looked like an army of them just on the other side of the portal.

Xander saw Buffy's body tense, and then could only watch in horror as one of the three cut her down without ever really seeming to notice her.

For a moment, Xander couldn't move, couldn't even think. Then several of the demons looked at him, and Xander found he could move. He turned and ran.

As he ran one thought played over and over again in his mind. It wasn't supposed to end this way!

Buffy was supposed to swoop in, slay the demons, and save the day, but that hadn't happened, and now couldn't happen.

Willow! The thought of his best friend slammed into his mind stopping Xander in his tracks. Willow and Tara were somewhere close by to work a spell that was supposed to keep the portal from opening. Clearly they had failed, and that was when Xander felt the blood in his veins freeze. He looked around, the demons were still coming from the portal, and he couldn't see Willow and Tara anywhere.

Before he could head back toward the demons, which had his inner voice screaming about insanity, he heard Willow, in his head, telling him to keep running.

You have to help Tara! She sounded weak, and Xander knew she was dying, and he couldn't feel anything. He knew it was because he hadn't yet processed Buffy's death and now he was losing another friend. But he felt like an ass because at the moment he couldn't seem to feel anything.

He did move his feet toward where he thought Willow might be, but after a few steps he realized that some force was actually trying to push him in the other direction.

Go, Xander! Please! And Xander felt tears come to his eyes, because in his mind he could see Willow's resolve face.

He blinked, and realized there were at least half a dozen demons were headed in his direction.

With that sight, Xander allowed himself to give into whatever force was pushing him, and after a moment he was running again.

Finally, casting a look over his shoulder he realized that the demons weren't behind him anymore. He twisted his body, and headed down another alley. He decided now that he was feeling less numb, he was going back to rescue Willow, though something inside him knew it was all ready to late, but for now he was going to ignore that knowledge.

As Xander twisted and turned, he thought about what had brought them to this point. The end of the world as they knew it.

Just over a week ago they'd sent the Initiative back to Washington and celebrated their victory over Adam not realizing that while they were celebrating certain factions of the now defunct Initiative had been planning a comeback.

Xander thought he heard a scream, and he almost turned to check it out, but he decided he needed to find Willow and Tara first. He just couldn't think about trying to help anyone else before getting Willow and Tara to safety. For now it was every man for himself.

The problem was that he couldn't remember their position. He knew they'd been close to the opening, but couldn't recall their exact position. They'd been working on a spell that they hoped would stop the portal from opening, and had been close by the opening, but Xander couldn't remember where they'd been.

Another scream caused Xander to jump. A short distance in front of him Tara was trying to escape a couple of demons, Xander couldn't remember what they were, but he knew he'd seen them or at least their species before. They looked nothing like the large troll-like demons who'd come through the portal.

Xander felt his blood run cold again, because he knew seeing Tara without Willow wasn't a good sign.

Glancing at the ground, Xander picked up a plastic pipe and moved forward. He needed Tara, because deep down Xander knew she was his last living link to Willow, and keeping her alive was suddenly the most important thing in the world to Xander.

Xander knocked one away from Tara, and the other turned toward him.

"Damn!" Xander wasn't sure what he was going to do now, because his PCV pipe was busted up by whacking the first demon.

He looked around trying to find another weapon when out of the corner of his eye he saw the remaining demon go down. Xander looked up to see yet another demon standing over the first. This new demon was husky, and very very wrinkled, with big floppy ears. This new demon, despite his interesting appearance actually seemed kind of timid.

"You okay?" The new demon asked Tara.

She nodded, and allowed the new demon to help her to her feet.

"Thanks," she whispered.

The demon nodded. "We need to get out of here. Now."

Xander found himself agreeing, and made a snap decision to accept that this new demon wasn't evil. Xander had learned during his senior year that not all demons were of the destroy humanity variety, but Xander still found the concept of good demons hard to accept. However, this new demon had saved Tara, which made him a good guy as far as Xander was concerned.

Xander looked at Tara, and realized that she was crying, but what really startled Xander was the intense fear that was so clearly visible in her eyes. It was actually mirrored in the eyes of the new demon.

"Um," the demon said. "Not to be pushy, but we need to get out of here. Now! They're coming!"

Xander realized that he could actually feel the demons approaching.

That can't be good, Xander thought to himself, especially once he realized that it felt as though the earth itself was urging him to flee.

Tara was the first of them to start moving, and after a moment Xander and the demon followed her.

"What happened?" Xander finally asked, as he realized they were coming up on Buffy's house.

"Willow," Tara whispered, but when she spoke again she sounded slightly better. "We found our-- our position and started the spell, but something was wrong," Tara paused. "Then the gate opened, and our protection circle failed..."

"And?" Xander asked. He knew there were other things they needed to focus on, but Xander needed to know what had happened to Willow.

Tara looked at him, and the tears were streaming down her cheeks.

"Willow's last act was to use magic to teleport me away," Tara sniffled. "I saw her stabbed with a weapon... Then I was a block away. There was nothing I could do."

Xander felt cold. He knew he should have been angry, railing at Tara for just leaving Willow behind, but he felt as though he'd done the same thing with both Buffy and Willow. Like the coward he was he'd ran, at least Tara hadn't been given a choice.

"Um," the demon spoke again. "We should leave Sunnydale."

Tara took a deep breath. "He's right."

There was something about the look in her eyes that raised the hair on the back of Xander's neck.

"I need to find Anya," Xander said, and was almost ashamed that it had taken him so long to think of her. Thankfully, she should be back at his house waiting for him to return.

Tara nodded, and Xander thought she was nodding to herself. "You," Tara said to the demon, "go with Xander. If Mrs. Summers is home, I'll get her to come with me, somehow. Then I'll find Spike."

Xander nodded. "I'll head to my house first, then I'll try and find Giles."

The demon looked ready to object, but finally nodded.

As he and the demon walked away, Xander realized that he hadn't even batted an eye at the thought of Tara trying to save Spike. Perhaps he should have, but at the moment Xander just couldn't work up any anger over the thought of Spike.

~ * ~ * ~

Standing in his bedroom, Xander could do nothing but clutch a small note in his trembling hand. He didn't know how, but somehow Anya had figured out what was happening, and she'd decided that she would speak with these new demons. Anya believed that because she was a former demon she could make some kind of deal with the new demons.

At first Xander had allowed hope to wash over him, but then reality had settled in. These new demons weren't interested in deals at least from what Xander had seen. Finally, at the urging of the demon with him, he pulled out a gym bag, and started throwing stuff inside.

Xander paused in his packing when he realized that he'd all ready marked Anya off his list of those left living.

After a moment, Xander realized he still had her note clutched in his hand, and he put it in the bag, along with as many of his favorite comics as he could. The last thing he did was to grab a stack of pictures. They were of his friends, and Anya, and Xander felt they were the most important things in the world right now.

Clem, who'd finally introduced himself, was holding the three shirts, and two pairs of pants that Xander had handed to him while he'd stopped to read Anya's note. Xander pulled out a plastic shopping bag, and tossed it to Clem. Then as he zipped the gym bag, he remembered to grab as many pairs of underwear and socks as he could, which wasn't many.

It was only once they were walking away that Xander realized he'd been so busy packing other things that the only clothes he had were the ones Clem had packed for him. He turned around planning to rush in and grab some more clothing, but when he turned he knew that wasn't happening. An entire army of the troll-like demons was coming down the street.

"Screw it," Xander said, and grabbed Clem's arm. At least he had his favorite shirts, those he'd grabbed before finding the note.

Clem resisted at first, then Xander suspected he'd seen what Xander had, because suddenly Clem was pulling Xander down the street.

Any other time Xander would have protested the fact that Clem was pulling on him hard enough to hurt, but discovered that he'd rather be alive with a hurt arm then just dead. Stopping meant dying, so he allowed Clem to drag him along without protest.

As they ran, Xander found himself thinking about Anya. Deep down, he knew Clem was right, and Anya was all ready dead, but he couldn't help but hope that she'd been successful in making a deal with the demons.

While Xander had read the note and gathered his possessions, Clem had admitted that he didn't know much about these new demons only that they were called The Cleansers by other demons, and according to demon-lore, the reason the old ones had died out/were banished was because of these new demons.

Xander wasn't sure he believed that, because from what Giles had said the original slayer, or at least a slayer, was responsible for banishing the last of the old ones. However, Clem seemed so sure he was right that Xander was starting to wonder if Giles had been wrong.

"This way," Xander said, and turned into another alley. Moments ago, he'd decided their best option was to head for Spike's crypt and hope that Tara was all ready there with whoever was left.

After a moment, they came out into the open, and Xander realized he didn't like being out in the open, but this was really the quickest way to get to Spike's crypt.

"Xander," a voice called, and Xander's heart leapt for joy.

"Giles," Xander whispered, and turned. He acknowledged that in another place and time he would have made fun of the shinny red car Giles was driving. Since his old gray car had been wrecked by Spike a month or so ago, and Giles hadn't bought a new car yet, Xander suspected that Giles was driving a stolen vehicle.

Xander spared a moment to be thankful that the Giles-mobile was no more, because they wouldn't have had a rats chance in hell of getting away in that car.

"You're alive," Xander said, and moved toward Giles. Thankfully, Giles was still sitting behind the wheel, otherwise Xander would have given in to his suddenly strong urge to hug the older man.

Giles nodded, but Xander wondered if anyone was actually at home inside Giles head because his eyes seemed empty.

"I'm trying to find the others," Giles said. "We must leave."

"Working on that, G-Man," and when Giles didn't react, Xander knew something was horribly horribly wrong. Xander took a deep breath. "We're headed for Spike's crypt, Tara should be there all ready."

"Buffy?"

Xander looked at the ground, and wondered how he could tell Giles his slayer was no more.

When Xander looked back up, he realized he didn't need to say anything.

"Get in," Giles said. "We shouldn't stay in one place long."

Xander moved to get in, and realized that the car was loaded to the gills with books. He crawled over them, and got as comfortable as he could, then watched Clem do the same.

"Xander," Giles said, as they headed toward the cemetery. "I'm not sure how to tell you this, but, well, Anya is dead."

Xander closed his eyes, while the news wasn't unexpected, it still wasn't welcome.

"How?"

"I don't know, but the leader of one of groups was carrying her head around on a pike."

Xander felt tears come to his eyes. "She thought she could make a deal with them."

Xander wanted to be angry at her for being so stupid, but mostly he just wished he'd been home so he could have stopped her from doing such a stupid thing. Now she was simply another person he'd failed to save. First, was always Jesse, then he'd saved Buffy only to lose her again, and he'd left Willow to do the spell with Tara thinking that Willow would be safe, but he'd been wrong. Dead wrong.

He was almost grateful when neither of his companions responded.

"Help us!" Someone shouted, and Xander thought he knew the voice.

He looked over, and saw Harmony, another vampire, Jonathan (who he hoped wasn't a vampire), and another guy rushing toward them.

"They're killing everything!" The other vampire shouted.

And Xander realized the other human had tears rushing down his face, and knew he'd lost someone. He knew he must have went to school with the boy, but he had no idea who he was. He also couldn't place the dark haired vampire, and after a moment, he decided he'd never seen her before.

Xander expected Giles to at least slow down, but he didn't, and when Xander looked back he realized why. A good number of demons was marching down the street behind them.

At the last moment, Harmony grabbed the unknown human, and leapt toward the car. They made it, as the other vampire grabbed Jonathan, and then they were all safe in the moving car. Though safe was relative, since they were all a-top books, and if Giles was forced to make a sharp turn or sudden stop they'd all go flying out of the car.

Suddenly the car just stopped, and Xander felt himself starting to fly, thankfully Harmony grabbed his arm, and when he looked he saw that she was also holding the unknown human.

"Thanks," he whispered.

"Spike," she squealed, and Xander was sure his ears would never work right again.

Xander looked forward, but didn't see Spike, all he saw was a rather nice looking winnebago parked in the middle of the road. Then he saw that Spike and Giles were standing off to the side speaking. When he looked up again, relief flooded through him when he saw Tara moving around behind the windshield. His heart sank again, though when he realized that she was alone in the vehicle.

Giles started back to his car. "I'm going to follow Spike, because we may need these books."

Xander almost laughed.

"No offense," Clem said. "But I believe I'll ride with Spike."

Harmony squealed again, and jumped out of the car. Jonathan had a look of guilt on his face as he exited the car with everyone else.

"You want some company?" Xander asked, though he really didn't want to continue to ride a-top uncomfortable books.

Giles grinned, and Xander's heart sank. "I would love some, but I do believe it would be safer for you to ride with the others."

"Thanks, G-Man."

"I know I've told you not to call me that," Giles said, and Xander felt his heart lift again. While his girlfriend, his best friend, and his super hero was dead, suddenly Xander couldn't help but feel that maybe there was still a reason to hope.

~ * ~ * ~

Xander frowned. He knew they were looking for Angel, he just wasn't sure how he felt about it, or why Spike was bothering. Actually, Spike's behavior was just confusing him all around. First, Spike had for whatever reason agreed to help Tara and the rest of them escape Sunnydale, and now he seemed determined to save Angel, which just seemed even more out of character for Spike than saving them.

Of course, this was looking very much like the end of the world, and Xander could admit that Angel was pretty good when it come to end of the world situations, unless he was the one causing it. However, Xander wasn't sure how he'd react to the news that Buffy was dead. Actually, Xander was more than a little worried about Angel's reaction to that bit of news.

Spike had driven them to a burned out building, after which he pretty much tossed Giles out of his car, and told Giles to follow in the winnebago.

Finally, they stopped in front of an apartment building, and Xander realized Spike had been using his nose to find Angel. That should have been disturbing, but considering all the disturbing things that had happened in the last few hours, Xander realized that he just couldn't be disturbed by Spike sniffing Angel out.

Spike jumped out of the car, and told them all to stay put.

Xander looked up, and watched as even more military aircraft flew over, and Xander knew they were headed for Sunnydale. At first, Xander had tried to count them, just to keep himself distracted, but there were so many coming in from all directions. Xander couldn't help but wonder if the military had known beforehand what was happening. It was the only thing Xander could come up with to explain the quick reactions.

Tears welled up in his eyes, Sunnydale hadn't been much, but it had been his life-long home, and now even if they managed to drive the demons away, Xander knew it would never again feel like home.

After a moment, Xander had a thought that made his blood run cold. Never once, in all the running had he thought about his parents, who was probably dead now. He hadn't even checked to see if they were home when he'd returned to pack a bag. They certainly hadn't been great parents, but Xander knew they deserved better than to be completely forgotten by him.

Of course, Anya, Willow, and Buffy hadn't deserved to die the way they had either. None of the people of Sunnydale had deserved it, but Xander realized that aside from his parents there really wasn't anything Xander could have done that would have saved the others, and perhaps he wouldn't have been able to save his parents either, but he knew the fact that he hadn't even tried would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Xander reached out to turn on the radio, he needed a distraction. He was almost shocked when all the stations were going along business as usual. Finally, there was a small announcement about a major earthquake that had struck Sunnydale. According to the report the damage had destroyed most of the town.

They was also reporting massive looting, and an enormous death toll. The report concluded by saying that because of the situation Sunnydale should be avoided, and anyone disregarding that warning should be aware that the military was authorized to shoot first and ask questions later.

Xander snorted. He knew what was really going on, the demons was taking over Sunnydale. Xander opened his mouth to rant, but then thought better of it. If the unwashed masses was actually told what was happening there was no telling how they'd react. It wasn't a happy thought, because another part of Xander thought they should at least be warned.

Spike came running out of the building, and Xander felt a grin spread across his face. Angel was slung over his shoulder. It was interesting to see how easily Spike moved with the larger man slung over his shoulder. Spike opened the back door and tossed Angel inside, then started back toward the building.

Xander looked around and realized that Giles, Tara, and Giles car was missing. Also missing were Jonathan and Andrew (the formerly unknown human), after a moment, Xander realized they'd probably left to get some supplies.

Xander didn't know where they were headed, but he did know that neither Giles nor Spike was planning a return to Sunnydale. From what had been said, Xander had the impression that they'd all ready written off Sunnydale as lost.

He realized he should have been bothered by that, but he really wasn't. After all, he'd watched the first demons through the gate cut Buffy down as if she were nothing, and according to Harmony they'd done the same thing with vampires.

He looked around, and realized that Harmony, Jackie (the vampire with her), and Clem was huddled around the small table.

When he looked up again, he saw Wesley coming out of the building, pulling what looked like a trunk behind him.

Xander moved to open the door, and Wesley flashed him a grateful smile. "I just started rebuilding my collection after the explosion, and I don't fancy having to start all over again."

"Don't forget clothes," Xander advised, which caused Wesley to groan, and Xander found himself grateful that he wasn't the only one who'd been so focused on other things that he'd forgotten clothing.

As Wesley walked away, Xander felt a cold chill, and realized that they needed to hurry.

Thankfully, he caught sight of Giles' shinny red car pulling into the lot, and sure enough all the missing was in the car with him.

When Spike came out again, he was carrying Cordelia, and Xander almost smiled again. He suspected Cordelia had been trying to pack everything she owned, and Spike had decided to put his foot down. Xander started to get upset until he remembered that Spike couldn't hurt humans, which meant he hadn't been the one to knock Cordelia out.

Spike opened the door, and rather gently placed Cordelia beside Angel on the small bed, which surprised Xander. Wesley loaded two trunks into the back, and Xander realized despite the size of the winnebago it was going to be a tight ride.

Spike climbed into the drivers seat, and then they were moving again. Xander almost called out, until he realized Tara was riding with Giles, and Wesley was riding a motorcycle. He looked again, and realized that Tara looked rather comfortable, which was strange because Xander knew Giles wouldn't have dumped his beloved books.

Then Xander realized they was heading south, and felt a flutter of fear. South was where the monsters were, and while Xander hated the fact that he was a coward, he really wasn't eager to head back to Sunnydale. Xander forced himself to keep silent, and resolved that he would do his best to die with honor. After all, Xander thought with a grin, from the moment he'd met Buffy he'd believed that he would die fighting by her side.

However, about an hour away from Sunnydale, Spike made a turn, and suddenly they were headed east, which if the explosion from not very far south of them was any indication, it was a very good thing they were moving in the other direction.

When Xander looked back, he realized that not only were Giles and Wesley following there was a new car staying right behind Giles. For a moment, Xander panicked, but since he could see enough to tell that the driver of the car was human, or at least looked human, he knew they weren't being followed by the new demons. He also didn't think it was the military, because of the green-skinned demon riding in the passenger seat.

Xander turned back, and found himself watching Cordelia twist and turn almost violently in her sleep. Just after leaving Los Angeles, Xander had been forced to gag her because of the screams. It was almost as if she were feeling and seeing everything that was happening even though she was asleep.

He wondered if they would pick up any more people as they made their way north.

~ * ~ * ~

A gang of thugs, Xander almost laughed to himself at the most recent radio report.

"It has become apparent that a gang of thugs are using the recent natural disaster to strike Sunnydale California to try and take over all of southern California."

Xander couldn't help but be very glad that they'd left Los Angeles when they had, because within two hours the demons had made their way into southern Los Angeles, and from reading between the lines, it was fast becoming clear that Los Angeles was as much of a lost cause as Sunnydale. From what was said, and what wasn't said, Xander figured just about all of southern California was now a lost cause. He wondered how long before the invasion would branch out into other states.

He also couldn't help but wonder how long they could hide, because the demons was moving quickly, but Spike seemed certain that where he was taking them they would be safe for at least a little while.

It was strange, but Xander found himself trusting Spike. That might not be smart, because Xander had found himself trusting Spike once before only to have Spike prove that he was a bad guy even if he couldn't outright hurt them. Still Spike seemed determined to save all of them, which was just weird, but maybe it was a demon thing. Something like if anyone was going to kill them it would be Spike and not some other demon, and for now Xander could live with that.

At their last stop, in Las Vegas, Spike and Giles had finally shared their plans, or rather Spike's plan. Spike knew of a place up north, near Canada that they could easily turn into a fortress. Tara and Wesley had gotten into the winnebago when they'd started moving again, and they currently poured over the books in an effort to make their new home even safer. Clem had chosen to ride with Giles, and Jackie was now riding the motorcycle.

Andrew was still crying, and Jonathan was trying to comfort him, but Jonathan mostly just looked uncomfortable. Andrew kept talking about how the demons had just killed him. And Xander had only recently discovered that him was Warren Meers, a guy he'd went to school with but didn't really know.

Jonathan had timidly admitted that he hadn't known Warren at all, and only barely knew Andrew. Jonathan said he'd been returning home when he spotted an army of demons walking toward him, so he'd done the smart thing and ran. While running he'd crashed into Andrew, who had also been on the run, and together they'd run into Harmony and Jackie.

Xander looked up from Jonathan and Andrew, and blinked. The other car was once again following Giles. When they'd stopped in Las Vegas, the other car had disappeared, only to reappear just as they were pulling away.

Xander shrugged, and looked over at Cordelia and Angel, Spike had stolen some drugs from somewhere, and Cordelia was sleeping more calmly now, though she was still gagged.

Xander looked at Angel, and felt himself grin. Xander wondered why Spike felt it necessary to keep Angel out, and when Spike responded Xander realized he'd spoke aloud.

"If the stupid ponce wakes up you know he'll want to rush back and play the bloody hero."

They hadn't picked up anyone else, but if they did they had a bit of room now, both in the winnebago and the Giles-mobile. Tara and Wesley had used magic to shrink their belongings, which was good since Spike had returned with not only drugs for Angel and Cordelia, but also a crap-load of bags that was apparently filled with clothing. Mostly leather. Tara and Giles had returned with things a bit more necessary - massive amounts of food and water.

When they got where they were going they would at least have enough to live for about a year. Xander wasn't sure how he felt about that, because it meant they truly was honestly going to run and hide, and while that was something Xander was certainly used to doing, it just didn't feel right to run and hide while the rest of the world fought and died.

~ * ~ * ~

Finally, they arrived in either North Dakota or northern Idaho, Xander wasn't sure which, because he'd been asleep when they'd crossed the state line. After his nap, Xander was feeling a bit better about everything now, he still wasn't happy about having ran, but he accepted that if he'd stayed he'd be dead now, and if they joined the fight they would also die.

Just after their last stop, Xander had closed his eyes and surprisingly feel asleep. On the last stop, they'd focused on weapons, weapons, and more weapons. Xander wasn't comforted by having that much fire-power, because the sight of Giles and Spike rushing around grabbing so much weaponry meant that things were even worse than Xander thought, and Xander had thought they were pretty damn bad.

He'd helped carry one load of weapons back himself, then he'd decided to sneak away. He hadn't been sure where he was going or what he'd wanted until he come upon an empty house. Just after Las Vegas, Xander had found Spike's television hidden away, and Xander felt that it wouldn't be very long until there would be nothing on television, if there was even still anything on television now.

So, he'd broken in the house, and stolen the entire movie collection. It was odd, but aside from a few chick flicks, whoever lived in the house had much the same taste in movies as Xander did. Xander had been stunned when he'd returned to have Spike (of all people) pat him on the back and say "good thinking."

He knew he should feel bad about his new career as a thief, but he just couldn't manage to make himself care. After all, it wasn't like whoever it was would have time to watch the entire collection before things went to hell anyway.

The last radio report, before Spike had snarled at the radio and smashed it, indicated that the violence had spread into southern Nevada and Arizona.

Xander grinned, as he stood up, and managed to exit the vehicle. They might have lost the radio in the winnebago, but Xander had also stolen a radio and some CDs along with the movies.

"We need to move everything inside, including the vehicles," Giles said.

Which caused Xander to actually look at the building before them. It seemed to be an abandoned hospital.

"And how do you suggest I do that?" Spike snapped.

"Now gentleman," the green-skinned red-eyed demon named Lorne said. "If I recall correctly, there is an opening big enough behind the building to get everything inside."

On their last stop, they'd finally met Lorne as his driver slash bartender Mitch. Lorne was psychic, in a weird way, you had to sing before Lorne could read your future, and Lorne had requested that no one actually sing for him, which had apparently shocked Wesley. Unlike Clem, Lorne actually looked terrifying, but seemed to be as gentle, if not more so than Clem.

According to Wesley, Lorne was usually eager to hear people sing, but Xander realized that a psychic probably wouldn't want to see the future because at the moment you didn't need to be psychic to know that things were pretty grim.

Finally, they got everything inside, and Giles, Wesley, and Tara started working some magic to activate more than a few protections. Since this place was at the center of an abandoned town, they was going to try and work some magic which would hopefully make the demons believe this place was as abandoned as the rest of the town.

Xander wasn't sure it would work, but was all for trying. The outside of the old hospital had looked as though it had only been abandoned yesterday, while the other buildings were much more rundown. The inside still looked better than the other buildings in town, but was in a bit worse shape than the outside. On the plus side there were chairs, and even some sofas, but they was covered in dust and cobwebs. The ceiling seemed in pretty good shape, though a great many of the tiles were missing in more than a few places.

According to Jonathan and Andrew, who'd done some quick exploring, there were some outdated medicines as well. If the dates were anything to go by this place had been abandoned about fifty years ago, so the medicine wouldn't be worth anything, but the bedding and other things would be put to good use. The place had the appearance that one day everyone had just up and walked out not taking anything with them.

"Um, what if they decide to check and see if the place is empty?" Clem asked, and Xander realized that was a very good question.

Despite the fact that Clem was a demon, Xander found that he really liked Clem. It didn't have anything to do with the massive amounts of snack-food that Clem had stolen somewhere along the way, it really didn't, though it certainly helped.

"Oh," Harmony said. "They're going to... Um, weave a repelling spell into the big spell."

"They're trying to repel the demons, while leaving things open so that if anyone else manages to escape they'll be able to find the place," Jackie said.

Xander frowned. It was a good idea, but it might also be a weakness that could get them all killed.

As the spell finished, Angel burst into the room, and headed straight for Spike. He had his hand around Spike's throat before Xander could even blink.

"What the hell did you do?"

"Saved you, and your little humans, didn't I?" Spike snapped, and Xander wondered how Spike could sound so normal with a hand around his throat.

Angel growled.

"The battle was over before it began, big guy," Lorne said from behind them.

"You don't know that," Angel snapped, and shook Spike seemingly for emphasis.

"He's right," Giles said, and sounded more tired than Xander had ever heard. "Certain elements of the Initiative didn't like that the government was planning to back off...," Giles paused, then snapped. "Idiot bloody amateurs!"

In shock, Angel released Spike.

"They believed they shouldn't stop until all the demons were dead," Tara took over. "And from what Will, or we," her voice broke only slightly, "discovered they found a book that spoke of a cleansing."

Xander was amazed to see both Lorne and Clem shiver.

"They had a badly translated copy of the original book, worse than that is that even this copy," Giles indicated the book on the chair beside him, "isn't an English translation. I seem to recall the Council trying to get their hands on it a few years back, I had thought they'd succeeded..."

Giles picked the book up, and opened it. "It speaks of the vanquishing of the old ones, and if one didn't know any better, it would be assumed that these demons would come and cleanse the earth of demons."

Xander watched as Giles eyes began to water. He almost turned away, but realized it didn't matter anymore.

"I made the same mistake they did," Giles sounded disgusted with himself.

Tara touched Giles right shoulder.

"No, you didn't. We made the right choice," Tara said, and Xander realized that she wasn't stuttering as badly as usual. "It isn't like we just sat back and let it happen. We did try and stop them."

"Yes," Giles said. "But if I'd taken the threat more seriously..."

Xander could tell Tara wanted to say more, but what could you say? Even Xander had thought cleansing the earth of demons had sounded like a good idea, the only reason any of them had tried to stop it was because they'd all known that all things considered that the whole thing would probably go screwy somehow.

"Anyway, after you left, I pulled out more books, and realized the spell Willow was using wouldn't be strong enough to stop the opening. The correct spell was lost centuries ago," Giles paused. "If there was ever a spell."

"What do you mean?" Tara asked.

"This is a very old magic," Giles replied. "If there was a spell, it was lost long ago. But if I've interpreted things correctly, the demons came, they cleansed, then they simply left."

"Wait!" Harmony said. "Are you saying if we wait long enough these demons will just leave?"

"Possibly," Wesley replied. "But there is really no record of what happened after the demons appeared before," he looked at the books. "There might be a record somewhere, but not in any of the books we have here."

Lorne was shaking his head. "They aren't leaving this time."

Everyone turned to face him, but Lorne refused to say anything more.

~ * ~ * ~
TBC


PS - I will warn you not to expect lightning fast updates here, since I tend to only work on this one when I get stuck or simply need a break from Consequences and/or Xander Season One/Two.
Next Chapter
StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking