Scattered Wounds: Chapter 2
AN: I want to thank everyone who reviewed. 31 is a personal record for a single chapter. Thanks.
Andrew LaFollet could not believe how fast Buffy moved. If she had been going after his Steadholder, she would have had his primary around the neck before he even started to draw his pulsar. Honor, a skilled martial artist was shocked, she was used to watching a fight and being able to tell what was going on, but Buffy was half way across the room before she blinked. For Hamish Alexander it was even worse: one second Buffy was sitting calmly discussing her story with Honor; then this individual appeared; then Buffy had him against the wall by the throat and was pounding his head against the wall while holding him about 50 centimeters off of the floor. The two treecats sat on Honor’s table with fangs bared and watched Buffy working the other man over with what could almost be called satisfaction.
“What happened to us?” Buffy snarled as she banged his head into the wall, “How are you going to be getting us back,” Another whack, “And if you think we’re going to be helping you in anyway you are on crack,” a particularly brutal whack.
Honor found it interesting that the newcomer was still alive, much less conscious, but she doubted he would remain that way much longer given how energetically Buffy was using his head to try and knock a hole in the wall. “Buffy,” She said in a calm soprano, “If you want an answer to any of your questions you might want to stop choking him so he can breathe.”
Something in Honor’s voice touched something in Buffy and she released the balance demon and let him fall to the floor. “Thank you, Your Grace,” Whistler said in a slightly raspy voice.
“Don’t thank me yet, if your news is as good as the last time you showed up to talk to Buffy, I’ll probably be helping her when you are done.”
Whistler smiled worriedly, “I’ll try to make it good then.” Everyone else in the room stared at him and gulping he began, “Look Slayer, none of this was my idea, I’m just the messenger. When it was clear you were going to win, the First came to The Powers. It pointed out with just you being alive had seriously upset the balance. It also pointed out that not only were you still alive, but that you had called about two thousand more Slayers. The First suggested that if you and your core group were out of the equation then there would be no one to guide the multitude of new Slayers so some would be good, some would go evil and the balance would be restored that way.”
“Let me get this straight, The First suggested we get sent to a sci-fi world so we could all live happily ever after?” Buffy asked, in a ‘Do I look that stupid?’ tone.
“Not exactly,” Whistler agreed, “It wanted them to cause a blow out on the bus and dump you all into the newly forming Sunnydale Crater. But the Powers, I know you don’t believe it, are fair people. You folks had just scored a big win for our side so they weren’t going to just kill you. But, you know how they feel about balance. So they worked out a compromise. They’d find a world that would be pretty good for you folks, but they’d fix it so you couldn’t come back either. That way everyone got what they wanted.”
Buffy crossed her arms and stared at the balance demon, “What went wrong?”
Whistler gulped and loosened his shirt collar, “What makes you think something went wrong?”
“Because you are here, if what you said is all there was, they’d have let us discover ourselves about not getting home. So, something else must have brought you.”
“The First cheated,”
Buffy took on a ‘There’s a shock!’ expression, “How?”
“This universe didn’t have any supernatural entities in it,” Whistler began.
“Didn’t?” Honor asked in a sharp tone.
Whistler nodded as if to confirm what Honor had asked, “As soon as the Slayers crossed over he struck. He used the unbalance in the system to start the formation of Hellmouths. Once they started to form, the supernatural became possible in this universe.”
Buffy blanched, “How many?”
“One Hellmouth on each of the human settled world,” Whistler replied.
Buffy went purple and started for the demon again but pulled up short when Honor barked, “Buffy!” In a tone she usually reserved for when she was on the bridge of a starship in the middle of a battle.
“How many worlds?” Buffy asked heatedly looking over her shoulder at the others.
“Thousands Buffy, probably tens of thousands,” Hamish said quietly.
It looked like Buffy was about to cry, “I thought we had a handle on it, there are only a 20 or so of us, we’re worse off than before.”
“Not quite kid,” Whistler said. “The Powers are pissed that they had one pulled on them. They’ve arranged it so on each world, there will be a Champion and a Slayer. Multi-system entities like the Star Kingdom will also have a Champion and a Slayer for them as a whole. They just have to be woken up.”
“How?” Honor asked, digesting this new information.
“Heroes of the Light, be revealed in your might,” Whistler said. As soon as he finished speaking two clouds formed, one silver and one gold. Andrew LaFollet grabbed Honor and started shoving her toward the door. Hamish Alexander had no idea what these clouds represented, but he was a navy man himself and had a strong respect for emissions he didn’t recognize. Buffy for her part lunged at Whistler again to get him to stop whatever it was he had started. The two treecats exploded off of the desk and moved toward their adopted humans. In the end though it didn’t matter, the silver cloud broke into three pieces, the gold into two. Both of the gold and one of the silver moved though the wall of the room and disappeared, of the remaining silver, one settled on Hamish Alexander, First Space Lord, Earl White Haven. The other Settled on Admiral Honor Harrington, Duchess and Steadholder Harrington who looked at each other in horror.
Buffy picked up and slammed Whistler against the wall hard enough to leave a dent in the stud behind the drywall. “What did you just do?” She snarled.
The door to the office slammed open and two more guards dressed in similar uniforms to Honor’s bodyguard rolled into the office with pulsars our. “Stand down!” Honor snapped, before anyone could be shot. The two guards looked at Buffy nonchalantly holding a full size man off of the floor with her bare hands.
Honor turned and stormed at Whistler, blood in her eye, “What exactly did you do to us, and where were those other clouds heading?”
“You have been awakened as a Champion, My Lady,” Whistler explained. The Gold Clouds are off to wake up the Slayers.”
“We are in the middle of a war!” Honor stormed. “Myself and the Earl White Haven do not have time to be larking off after some beastie!”
“With all do respect your Grace, you are going to need to make time. Right now those hellmouths are barely formed; if you let them reach full potential then you are going to be in a lot more hurt than the current dust up with the Republic of Haven.
“If it’s any conciliation, you’re closer to being right about them than Her Majesty.”
Honor stopped short, “What do you mean by that?”
“I can’t really go into details your Grace,” Whistler began.
“Buffy?” Honor asked.
Buffy grinned and picked Whistler up by his lapels again.
“But, I can tell you that while the decision to go to war was Eloise Pritchard’s, she made it under the influence of some bad information.” Looking down at Buffy he said, “You might as well start with the beating, that’s all I can say.”
Buffy pulled back to start bouncing him off the wall again but Honor said, “Put him down Buffy I think he’s telling the truth.”
Looking disappointed Buffy just opened her hands and let the balance demon fall to the floor again. He stood up and began dusting his clothes off, “Well that’s all I have to say, so I’ll just be moseying along then.”
?” Giles voice said in her head.
“What?” She thought back.
“Tell Whistler that if he wants us to fight this fight we need access to the Watcher’s Council Library.
“Wasn’t that blown up?
” She silently asked.
“The entrance probably, but the library itself exists in an extra-dimensional pocket. It will still be there.
“Two things Whistler,” Buffy said.
“Things?” Whistler asked concern in his voice.
“One, we want access to the Watcher’s Library.” Buffy stated.
“They won’t do it, it would give you access back to Earth.”
“Then have them block off that access so we can’t, we need that library. They will have nothing about demons here, they haven’t had them until a couple of hours ago. If you want us to have a chance in this fight we’ll need that information.”
Whistler didn’t look convinced, “The other thing?”
“Our other friends, Angel and his people, Oz, Riley and Sam and some of the other Initiative people, I want them.”
“They have their own destinies Slayer. You yank them and bad things will happen back home,” The balance demon said. There was no way the bosses would go for this.
“Fine, when they are about to die anyway send them over. In a condition that we can save them, we’ll need experienced people to be Watchers.” Buffy argued.
“I doubt the Powers will go for this, but I will ask.”
“This wasn’t a request Whistler, we get both items, or no deal and we sit this out. If they want this fight fought, they need to give us the tools to fight it with.”
Whistler’s eyes lost focus for a minute, when he focused again, he said, “They agreed.” Turning to Honor he said, “There is a new door in your library. It leads to the Watcher’s library. Only Giles and Duchess Harrington have access right now, but they can grant either permanent or temporary permission for others to pass. They can also designate other people who can give permission.”
“Why me,” Honor asked.
Whistler shrugged, “It’s your house.”
“Simon,” Honor asked one of her bodyguards.
“Yes, My Lady?”
“Could you go down to the library and make sure there is an extra door down there please?”
“Yes, My lady,” the armsman replied as he trotted out the door. Two minutes later he was back and said, “It’s there, I couldn’t open it.”
“I guess we’ll just have to trust you on the others,” Buffy told the demon. “But, if you double cross us,” she threatened.
“No double cross. They said the first transfer will happen soon. It just takes a little longer to arrange than shifting the library.”
“Whistler?” Honor said, before the balance demon could disappear.
“Yes your Grace?”
“There is one thing you can do for me; I want you to pass a personal message on to your bosses.”
“Gladly your Grace,” Whistler replied gallantly.
“Tell them we are going to be fighting this one to win. We are not interested in maintaining some mythical balance. We are going to be trying to achieve as close to Status Quo Ante as we can. If they wish to help us in this their assistance will be more than welcomed. If they attempt to hinder us to preserve the balance they will be judged to be part of the problem and treated accordingly.”
It was odd, Buffy could have delivered that threat and Whistler wouldn’t have even blinked. There was something about the way Honor Harrington said it though that didn’t leave any doubt in Whistler’s mind that she would carry out the threat. He’d pass the message on, he doubt they’d listen, they never did. He had that down payment on that spread in Pylea, maybe it was time to exercise that option.
“I’ll let them know,” He told the Admiral and Steadholder and winked out.
As soon as he vanished Honor turned to Buffy and White Haven, “We need to let Her Majesty know what has happened. Buffy, I think it would be best if your senior advisors came to this meeting. Would you be willing to pick them up Hamish?”
He nodded that he would and standing to leave he motioned Buffy to the door. Samantha leaped off of the table into Hamish’s arms. Not seeing any reason to debate it, Buffy stood, made her good-byes to Honor and headed out the door.
Honor sat down, and once again wished that the universe was in the nice tidy box it had been at noon. Turning to Andrew LaFollet she asked, “What do you think of her Andrew?”
Andrew looked at the door that Buffy had left through and said, “You know The Church of Humanity Unchained teaches that the Tester challenges those he loves the most with the strongest Tests?”
Honor nodded, Howard Clinkeskales, her late steward back on Grayson had mentioned it a time or two about her.
“I think we finally found someone He loves as much as He loves you.”