TM:(He actually finished one... tis a sign … a sign of significance … a portent … a portent of the apocalypse!)
“You guys head in and help Linda, I got this,” Faith said, picking off a zombie with a carefully placed head shot.
“We got this,” X-bot corrected her, holding out a hand and receiving Dawn's other handgun and a handful of shells she pulled out of her pocket.
“Have fun!” Dawn chimed, leading Xander and Ted inside.
“So, what's it like being a robot?” Faith asked.
“It has its good and bad points,” X-bot said, picking off a zombie. “I've only been one for a couple of hours.”
“Missed,” X-bot said with a frown before handing Faith some bullets so she could reload.
“I thought you'd be a perfect shot,” Faith said surprised.
“Imperfect hands create imperfect tools,” X-bot replied philosophically. “Perfection is still pretty much the property of god. I have all the memories I had while I was Xander and becoming an android has changed me I'll admit, but it hasn't made me perfect. I'm still going to make mistakes and screw up… just on a higher level.”
Faith chuckled. “And here I was hoping that you were better than us poor humans.”
“Some ways yes, other ways no,” he admitted. “When it comes to being a loyal friend and protector I can't be beat. If you want to go swimming or get pregnant …”
“I get the pregnant deal, but swimming?” Faith asked.
“I sink like a stone,” X-bot said. “I'd make a lousy lifeguard.”
“So how are you as a protector? Most of my fights aren't exactly first person shooters like this is turning out.”
“Here.” X-bot handed her the pistol before walking forward and ripping the bumper off a beat up ford with a broken window.
“Whoa,” Faith said, shocked at the casual show of strength.
X-bot calmly waited for a few zombies to close in before demonstrating the kind of violence he was capable of. Two zombies were crushed into the ground and the third, having been launched with a baseball swing, was tangled in the power lines.
“What do you think?”
“You'll follow my lead?” Faith asked intently.
“That's my purpose; to follow and assist you, so you can live to a ripe old age.”
“I like to smoke and drink,” Faith pointed out.
“If you're not enjoying life you're not living. Life is more than seeing how long you can keep breathing.”
“I may have to sacrifice my life to save others.”
“I'll do my best to make sure you have other options,” X-bot promised. “But if it’s your choice I won't stand in your way.”
“Cool,” Faith said, beginning to smile. “Anything else I should know?”
“I only need a recharge once every four days,” X-bot said with a smirk as Faith froze.
“Linda this is Ted and Xander; Xander, Ted this is Linda.” Dawn introduced them.
“It’s very nice to meet you,” Linda said politely. “Now what can you tell me about the book?”
“It’s not a book,” Xander replied. “It’s an African tribal mask. We stuck it inside the leather cover of a family bible to help contain it. The cover mutated into that as soon as it was sealed.”
“That's both good and bad,” Linda said with a smile. “Though more good than bad. The mask is easy to destroy, you just have to poke out its eyes, but by sticking it inside a holy container you've partially bound it, so we have to deal with that first.”
“Told you we should have destroyed it,” Dawn said with a smirk.
“Do I tease you when I'm right about something and you're wrong?” Xander asked dryly.
“Yes! And then you do the little 'I was right and Dawn was wrong' dance until I tackle you and tickle you to make you stop.”
Xander grinned. “Yep and I'll do it again too.”
“I believe I have a spell that will unbind the two so we can destroy it, but it'll take me a bit to find,” Linda said interrupting their flirting.
The front doors burst open and Faith and X-bot burst in and locked it behind themselves.
“Problem?” Ted asked.
“About a hundred vamps with swords and a big one that climbed out of a limo. He actually has goat hooves and horns,” X-bot said calmly as they returned Dawn's guns.
“Kakistos,” Linda said.
“What?” Came the chorus from the surroundings.
“Kakistos, it's Greek for worst of the worst. He must have followed us from Boston,” Linda said. “Stakes won't work on him, he's so old his skin is practically rock. If a zombie had put on the mask he'd have become a death god, I don't want to know what Kakistos would turn into.”
“Ron I think you're going to want to clear some room, we're going to be fighting in here soon,” Faith told the bouncer.
Ron waved and the DJ made an announcement, “If everyone would care to move downstairs into our VIP section we'd really appreciate it, thank you!”
“VIP section?” Faith asked.
“We refitted the fallout shelter below this place like it is up here; occasionally it's used for private parties, but there isn't enough clientele to justify keeping it staffed and open all the time.”
“You have a strip club inside your strip club...” Faith said amused, as most of the people moved down stairs.
“Pretty much,” Ron agreed. “I wish I could stay up here and help you guys, but I gotta stay and guard the dancers.”
“Just keep 'em out of our hair and I'll be happy,” Faith assured him, glancing around she saw that the only people that refused to leave were two strippers and a table of four men, one of which had calmed the book earlier.
“Hey look we're TV stars,” X-bot said as they watched the scene from outside replay on all the screens.
“Now that is ugly,” Xander said as they all got a good look at Kakistos.
Kakistos stepped out of the limo, causing it to rock on its wheels. “Do you feel it?” he asked.
“What is it?” Trick asked.
“Power,” the elder demon growled. “I must have it!”
“Open the door,” Trick ordered a group of twenty vamps, who were standing ready as vamps piled out of the trucks as they pulled up.
Kakistos strode forward, his hooves sinking slightly into the asphalt with each step.
The wind chose that moment to pick up and the clouds roiled above them.
There was a flash of lightning and Trick said, “I think it’s one second for every-”
“…mile between where you are and where the lightning is,” he finished.
The rumble continued and grew louder as it rolled on.
“I got no idea what that means,” Trick admitted.
The rumble got louder and louder, as hundreds of motorcycles poured onto the scene.
“Ah! It means trouble,” Trick continued calmly, as the last of the trucks disgorged its load of vampires.
Thirty ranks of ten vampires each stood ready waiting for the command.
“Kill them!” Kakistos ordered, turning and walking toward the club, where two of the vampires were using axes to hack away at the doors.
“That's a lot more than a hundred vampires,” Ted said thoughtfully as he used the peephole to look outside.
“We came inside after we saw the first hundred,” X-bot explained.
“Good instincts,” one of the men at the table said before going to the bar to grab another round.
“Found the spell!” Linda said. “Xander you're the only one who can perform this one, because it has to be said by an enraged male. It's only three words, so give it a go.”
Xander looked from the book and then back to her. “You're kidding me.”
“No, they're commonly known because someone put them in a script, thinking they sounded properly alien not knowing what they were,” She quickly explained. “Now get angry and unbind that mask!”
Xander's fist clenched as he thought about vampires and what they'd like to do to his family and friends and what they'd already done. Taking a deep breath he shouted out, “Klaatu berada niktu!”
Everyone waited but nothing happened, except the pounding at the door increased.
Dawn picked up the book and read it. “That's not enraged it's engorged.”
“Oh!” Linda said. “I must have missed that, I don't have my reading glasses with me and its niktae not niktu,” she corrected Xander. “The original actor got it wrong.”
“Yes! Vindication!” Bruce Campbell cheered, before grabbing his phone and dialing a number. “Hey Ange, what do you think of a crossover series of movies? I was thinking of having Harrison as our younger selves mentor. Really? You read my mind.”
“Engorged?” Xander asked.
“I think they're trying to chop their way through,” X-bot said as he stared at the doors.
Dawn pulled Xander down and molded herself against him as her lips sought his; attempting to drive thoughts of anything but her from his mind.
“Ah! Engorged,” Faith said. “Those Sumerians were some funky people.”
Cordelia was wearing a sparkly white glove covered in tiny silver crosses on her left hand while wielding an oversized silver stake in her right.
Harmony had somehow gotten a leather buckler with a Celtic cross design on it and a spear, both of which looked like they'd seen heavy use in the past.
The two stood back to back as the battle raged around them.
Cordelia's left hand flicked out, backhanding a vamp and leaving a number of small burns on his face as she fended the half blind vamp off with the stake; poking random holes in his torso.
“Shit!” Harmony cursed as Cordelia finally managed to hit the vamp's heart, causing him to crumble to dust.
“One eye's got his dumb ass surrounded.”
“Not much we can do,” Cordelia said, holding up her left hand and causing another weak vampire to look for easier prey.
“Maybe ...” Harmony said as she stabbed the female vamp attacking her in the groin, causing her to freeze in shock long enough to get speared in the heart.
“Maybe what?” Cordelia growled, barely managing to deflect a sword with her stake as the vamp struck blindly, its eyes closed to ward off the sight of the many crosses on the glove.
“Anderson's folly,” Harmony replied.
“Are you nuts?!” Cordelia shrieked, pushing backward and making Harmony stumble as she avoided another swing. “No one's ever gotten the timing right on that in an exhibition and the only girl to ever work it in practice was a flag girl!”
“I was a flag girl long before I was a cheerleader,” Harmony admitted.
“I'm sorry to hear that,” Cordelia said gently, grabbing the vamp's sword hand and causing him to drop his blade. Cordelia stabbed the vampire in the chest, cursing as she missed the heart again and slapped at the hand that grabbed her in response.
“I can pull it off!” Harmony swore, stabbing the vamp Cordelia was working on in the throat; dropping him in his tracks while her shield caused another to flinch back from the cross design on it.
“We don't have enough room,” Cordelia complained, as she did exploratory surgery on another vamp with her stake.
A number of bikers charged past the pair, driving off the nearby vamps as they tried to reach the older one eyed biker who was encircled and looked like a bear fighting a wolf pack.
“You were saying?” Harmony asked.
“No one likes a smart ass except Dawn,” Cordelia snarked. “If you get killed doing this I won't forgive you!”
“I'll be fine,” Harmony promised, “but we've gotta do it now or the old man's toast!”
“Fine!” Cordelia knelt down and set her stake on the ground while Harmony walked about fifteen feet away.
“Ready? Okay!” the two chorused as Harmony began to run straight at Cordelia.
“Six, seven, eight...” Cordelia muttered, making a cradle with her hands for Harmony to step onto.
Harmony's right foot hit Cordelia's hands at a run as Cordelia, with perfect timing, wrenched upward, sending Harmony into the air.
They shouldn't have pulled it off; the timing was impossible to get right, the distance was too far … but pull it off they did as Harmony sailed over the ring of vamps surrounding the old biker, his kris blades dripping blood.
The old man roared his defiance to the heavens just before Harmony hit him crotch first, knocking him down, and allowing her to land on her feet surprisingly enough.
The one eyed man lay there in shock as Harmony began to twirl her spear, guarding him and causing a surprising amount of damage to any vamp who got even remotely close.
The bikers on the outside of the circle redoubled their efforts as they saw the old man fall from sight, the heavily muscled blonde man with the hammer literally crushing the skulls of anyone stupid enough to get in his way. It only took a minute for the vamps to be destroyed and when the blonde man saw what was in the center he began to laugh.
The old man was laying prone and staring right up Harmony's skirt as she stood over him.
Harmony didn't notice as she stepped aside and helped him to his feet before running off to rejoin Cordelia.
“Dirty old man,” the hammer wielder chuckled.
“Until I'm a dead old man,” he replied with a smirk.
Dawn pulled back from Xander breathless.
“He's sure as shit engorged now,” Faith said.
“Spell!” Linda reminded them.
“Klatu berada niktae!” Xander chanted, after Dawn reminded him of what he was supposed to be doing.
The book opened its mouth and screamed, shattering glass and driving everyone back as the zipper slowly opened with a sound like ripping flesh, releasing a miasma of evil.
The front doors fell unnoticed in the confusion, allowing Kakistos to stride forward unopposed the mask leaping to his hand as he reached for it.
A wave of power roared through the room, driving everyone to their knees, as the ancient vampire put on the mask.
“This is bad,” Linda said, holding Faith, who'd fallen unconscious after being overwhelmed by the amount of power that poured out of the vampire.
“How bad?” the man who'd calmed the book earlier asked.
“We're all dead bad,” she replied. “Our only chance is to lure him to holy ground and that's going to be damn near impossible.”
“Blessed or consecrated ground; faith is the important part not the religion,” she explained. “Holy ground weakens him and makes the mask vulnerable to physical damage.”
Xander and Dawn opened fire, but the bullets had no effect on the newborn vampire god who laughed evilly.
“Uh oh!” a biker with overly large horns on his helmet said as the battle paused.
“What do you mean uh oh?” the blonde with the hammer demanded.
“I mean glowing green eyes and a more savage feel to the vamps is not a good thing, someone just fed them a shitload of power.”
“Uh oh,” he agreed as the vampires attacked with renewed ferocity.
The balding man climbed up on stage, moving between the two short but busty strippers. “Holy ground!” he called out loudly drawing everyone's attention. “Holy ground is the ground beneath your feet where you give thanks for the glory and majesty of God's creations! It is where a man may reflect on life and know that his Creator loves him.”
The vampiric god flinched as the man spoke.
“My name is Al Bundy!” he declared, putting an arm around each of the strippers and palming a breast in each hand. “And I say we stand upon holy ground right now, for this is MY TEMPLE!”
Kakistos staggered back, smoke rising from his hooves.
“These silicone filled hooters are my holy symbols!”
The dark being had to throw up an arm to cover his eyes as the girl's breasts began to glow.
“And its watered down beer is my sacrament! Now Bud!” Al called out.
The young man behind the bar rose up and began hosing down Kakistos with beer. “For the boobies!”
“For the boobies!” the other three men in the group chorused, as the beer hissed and burned the demon like acid.
X-bot and Ted ran forward and each grabbed one of Kakistos' smoking arms so he couldn't escape as Xander and Dawn opened fire.
“Take out the eyes!” Linda yelled as their weapons carved chunks out of Kakistos' rocky skin.
Xander ran forward, as his shotgun fell to the ground and speared his gauntleted hand into Kakistos' chest, ripping out his heart.
Roaring, Kakistos flung the two androids aside and kicked out with a hoof, sending Xander flying onto the stage.
“The eyes!” Linda repeated.
Kakistos roared in pain and anger, the hole in his chest slowly closing, despite Bud's continual spray of beer towards it.
Harmony and Cordelia fought back to back, slowed by their many wounds.
“This isn't looking good...” Cordelia panted out, weary and weakened by blood loss.
“Better to go down fighting,” Harmony said. “Wolves have a lot more fun than sheep in the afterlife.”
“You're my sheep,” Cordelia teased, gasping as a sword made it through her guard and cut the side of her neck, unable to keep up with the vamp's enhanced speed.
“Your sheep are wolves,” Harmony laughed defiantly, deflecting a sword with her buckler and slashing the wielder's eyes. Unfortunately that left her wide open for the vamp with a spear, who drove forward spitting them both. “Shit!” Harmony said, blood filling her mouth and frothing at her words.
Cordelia saw the spear head as it burst out her stomach, but it seemed a distant worry as blood poured out of the wound in her neck. “Yep,” she said as her eyes slowly closed and the vamp closed in.
“I will not fall!” Kakistos roared, the mask's eyes glowing brightly as all his wounds started healing rapidly and he stomped a hoof, making the ground quake.
Trick and his honor guard of vamps who had stayed outside on Kakistos' orders dusted, their necrotic energy going to strengthen and heal Kakistos.
Bud frowned as the tap ran dry and grabbed another, but the only one left was for light beer and he didn't want to risk strengthening it.
“Beer me!” Al called out and one of his friends threw him a bottle of beer. Looking both ways, as if looking for linebackers, Al stepped back and let fly with the bottle, shattering Kakistos' right eye with pinpoint accuracy.
Xander sat up. “Ow,” he said blandly, Kakistos' heart still in his left hand.
Dawn, seeing that Xander was okay, turned with her eyes glowing as green as the emeralds in her earrings as she brought up her guns and carefully picked apart Kakistos' right hand with a rapid series of shots, uncovering the mask's remaining eye and obliterating it with her last three bullets.
The mask crumbled and fell apart, leaving an eyeless and pissed off master vampire. “I'll kill you all!” he howled in pain and fury.
Xander pulled a stake from his belt and staked the heart, causing both the heart and Kakistos to explode into dust.
Like all masters past a certain age Kakistos' warped skeleton survived to clatter to the ground, smoke rising from where they touched the blessed floor.
“Is that it?” Bud asked.
Ted looked out into the parking lot where a large group of bikers were dusting themselves off and leaving. “I don't see any vamps or zombies.”
“I believe Kakistos actually destroyed his entire bloodline by feeding on the necrotic energy of his line to heal himself,” Linda guessed. “I doubt any vampires within a couple of miles survived the draw regardless of pedigree though.”
“Mask is destroyed, undead are dead again … I think we're done,” Xander said.
“Now we just have to get ahold of mom,” Dawn said, “and figure out how we're being monitored and shut it down, because my patience is about at its end.”
“Let me,” Ted said, tilting his head and closing his eyes.
“What's he doing?” one of the other men in Al's party asked.
“Making a phone call,” X-bot explained. “He'll have the operator do an emergency break in to Joyce's line so he can talk to her and get permission for Dawn and Xander to date.”
“I think she wants to do a lot more than just date him,” Faith said, coming to. “Shit, I missed everything!”
“Just watch the replay,” Bud suggested.
Faith watched the monitors as it showed Al jumping up on stage and giving his speech. “Way to keep the male spirit alive!” she cheered.
“Keep the male spirit alive?” Linda asked amused.
“Hell yeah!” Faith said. “When I reach into a guy's pants I don't want to find an empty sack! I want to feel big brass balls!”
“How about titanium?” X-bot asked, making her laugh.
Dawn stared at the screen in shock as it showed her taking out Kakistos. “I wasn't that fast was I?”
“With green glowing eyes,” X-bot confirmed.
“Something to worry about later,” she waved it off.
Joyce picked up her phone and put it to her ear. “Hello, Ted.”
“Let them know we'll have to research the gauntlet and earrings at some point,” Giles quickly said. “But they should be fine for now.”
“He has my permission and approval,” Joyce said. “Giles said the gauntlet and earrings should be fine until we return.”
Giles put his head next to hers so he could listen in.
“No driving lessons in hundred thousand dollar cars and no making me a grandmother before they graduate college,” she finished. “And Ted, thank you for taking care of my babies.”
“I'll let them know,” Ted promised, “and it was my pleasure. Bye.”
The zombie stepped forward once more, but this time he reached out and caught the rake, picking it up and snapping it in half to the cheers of the watchers before turning and vanishing into a dark alley.
“Shouldn't all the zombies have died now that the mask was destroyed?” Holland asked.
The necromancer shrugged. “My master would say it depends on the perversity of the universe; meaning, which would be funnier?”
“Gimme some sugar baby!” Dawn demanded before leaping on Xander.
“Dad, can you do anything about the broadcast?” X-bot asked, wanting to cut the transmission before Dawn completely lost all restraint and care about the world watching… which was getting closer by the second if her actions were anything to go by and Xander’s ability to resist was looking to be fading fast as well.
“Sure,” Ted agreed, “I would have done this earlier, but I didn't know the signal was being picked up by anyone.”
“How was it being broadcast?” Faith asked.
“No idea,” Ted admitted, “but the signal is passing through my security system at home before being passed on, so it’s simply a matter of using a land line to call in.”
“It's gotta be a land line?” X-bot asked.
“Security feature,” Ted explained walking over to the pay phone. “Anyone got any change?”
Linda fished some change out of her purse and handed it to the nearly naked android. “I'll have to think of some way you can repay me.”
Ted grinned in a way that was more than a little reminiscent of Xander. “I'm sure we can think of a way, if we put our heads together. By the way, do you have any heart problems?”
“He's smooth,” Faith snickered.
“Yeah, it’s a combination of WD40 and Astroglide,” X-bot replied with a grin.
“Steve, Ted?” Al called out to the other two members of his party. “We've gotta split before our wives find out, the broadcast was on all the networks.”
“Marcy and Peggy are way behind us,” Steve replied, “besides Ted's married to Marcy at the moment, so I'm in the clear.”
The human Ted rolled his eyes. “Next year it’s your turn to marry her again while I run off.”
Al stepped out into the parking lot with the guys following him. “What the hell happened to my car?!”
The doctor chuckled as the screen went black behind her.
“What did you think of Al's speech?” the host asked curiously.
“It was uniquely male and rather fitting and to add to what Faith said; women want men who are men, if all we wanted was women with male equipment we'd all be lesbians and buy strap-ons.”
The audience roared with laughter.
“So, what was their final wish?” the host asked as the audience quieted.
“To live happily ever after of course,” she replied with a smirk.
“That's a wrap,” the program director announced, “we've lost the signal.”
“Get some reporters to interview the extras on the nightly news and get those contracts to Xander and Dawn,” the station manager ordered.
“Already in the works.”
Buffy watched as the portal vanished behind her, the crowd of former slaves joyfully dispersing, free once more. Life sucked at times but it had its compensations, she thought to herself, deciding to return home. Even if her mother had kicked her out she could still stay with Willow or make Giles provide some housing. If those two options fell through she was sure Xander wouldn't leave her out in the cold even if his crush on her would make sharing a bed a bit awkward.
“Time to head home,” she said wistfully. She needed a Xander hug and some Willow babble and possibly even some Giles watchering.
“What's the verdict?” Thor asked.
“Dead as door nails,” Loki replied with a shrug.
“Died on their feet and we had to pry the weapons out of their hands to move them,” Odin said proudly.
“How do we bring them back?” Thor asked Loki.
“What? Why are you asking me?”
“You're the bard,” Odin pointed out. “How do we resurrect them in such a way that we don't break the rules or allow the Powers to put them back in the grave?”
“Seems like a lot of work for two mortal girls even if they are decent warriors,” Loki pointed out.
“The blonde one is floating the bill for the kegger,” Thor replied.
“What?! Why didn't you say so?!” Loki demanded. “Pull a crow on them and have dad's ravens bring them back.”
“And when the Power's complain?” Odin asked curiously.
“I'll say we're limited to two at a time, at your discretion and the movie The Crow is based on forgotten Nordic tales.”
Odin smiled proudly. “Making our bards responsible for the laws was the smartest thing I ever did.”
Scenes of Dawn slowly growing closer to Xander flash on the screen, culminating in their final on screen kiss.
“Inevitability,” a voice announced, “the latest fragrance from Calvin Klein.” THE END
AN: Godogma said I was afraid of finishing anything. Then I realized I was putting it off because I couldn't get it perfect – hopefully this will do.
TN: Until the … SEQUEL! (BWAHAHAHA!)