Final Invasion, Chapter Thirteen
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
Connor looked over his shoulder, as the stuttering machine-gun behind fired just above his head. The two demons were still right there, Ordinance blazing with a pair of uzis as Nukeasle followed. "I can't believe we're running." The Red Ranger growled, crouching under a salvo.
"Until we break whatever spell brought them back it's pointless fighting." Sari snapped as she weaved out of the way. "We have to find A'Zores!"
One of the bullets clipped Connor and he ended up spinning. Using the momentum Connor turned. Spinning his Sword the Red Ranger cut the bullets out of the air. "You and Faith find him. I'll hold them off and anything else that comes this way." He said grimly as the walking arsenal pulled out a machine gun.
"That might not be a good idea." Faith interrupted, "Get down!"
Connor ducked instinctively, "Wha…" he didn't get a chance to finish. A white, gold and green blur leapt over him, it was Dawn in her White Ranger armour. Hardly breaking her stride Dawn landed and threw her Dragon Flute straight at Ordinance, blasting the demon back. Still the Green Ranger didn't slowdown, she charged head on and swung Saba in a complicated knot of powerful blows that literally sliced the gun crazy demon into pieces.
She still hadn't stopped, running through what was left of Ordinance Dawn high kicked Nukeasle once, twice, three times. Again and again she lashed out, her feet glowing with green white energy. Each time she struck the explosion Dawn left got bigger and bigger until Nukeasle was thrown backwards.
With a scream that Connor could only call primal the Green Ranger hopped up and brought down a glowing axe kick that pulverised the kick boxer and the ground he was standing on.
"Alright, that should slow them down." Sari said in awe
"I guess someone drank their ovaltine this morning." Connor agreed.
Dawn still had her back to them, she was breathing heavily and frighteningly still after such a furious attack. Faith was the only one of them to walk up and she wasn't impressed. "Dee, what the hell was that?"
"Get out of my way Faith."
"Dee…" Faith grabbed the Green Ranger's arm
Dawn snapped. "Let go of me."
"You've got blood on your hands." Faith took a step back and Connor could see the scarlet stains on her gloves. "Dee, what the hell happened?"
"I've got to find A'Zores." With that she barged past them and down a blind street.
"It was Marcus." Cassie said as she came from the same direction Dawn had. She was being followed by a pair of shellshocked civilians. "He was trying to get Jenny and Michael out of town when A'Zores got him. Dawn's a little, ticked about it."
"A little?" Connor asked sarcastically. "Looks like she's going to pummel every demon between here and Quor'toth."
"One thing I learnt in Sunnydale, never get in front of a Summers on vengeance kick." Faith told him as the street they were on filled with Demon Warriors. "Even if we could do with one of them just about now."
"Dawn's pyrotechnic display must have been like sending up a flare." Sari gasped, it was like every demon in town was coming straight at them.
Connor smirked. "Well if she put out the invitation, it's only right we make it a party. Come on, let's do this."
A'Zores looked down at the blooded, battered, blonde that Tretrax had dragged before him. The Slayer had no doubt seen better days after the battle with Kendra and the mindless warriors at the Castles. "How you been keeping yourself? Eating well, getting enough sleep?"
"Are you really going to do this, because I can think of better things to do with my time." The Slayer croaked out as she tried to dislodge his stick.
A'Zores added a little pressure, just enough to feel the bones flex. He leaned in. "Those could have been your last words, you should have chosen better."
Buffy choked. "Already done the whole death thing. Kinda gets dull after the second time around."
Enraged A'Zores wedged his foot under the Slayer, at the same time as relieving pressure from his stick the New Warlord flicked the helpless human into the air before catching her with his free hand and slamming her back down. "Not even a little fear!" he growled
Gasping in pain Buffy looked him dead in the eyes. "Only of getting another whiff of your breath, handsome." This was too much. First the spineless wimp Marcus and now this broken little girl. Both so stupid, so ignorant, so blind to the simple fact that they were going to die. This was it for them, they had lost.
"Hear me Slayer, my breath is the least of your worries. I've already killed Marcus, you're next. As soon as your sister finds your headless corpse I'll have destroyed her will to fight. I'd have won before I even had to touch her."
Buffy just looked back defiantly.
"Aren't you listening? You are going to die and in doing so become the means for my ultimate victory over your spandex clad sister."
"Did it take you all day to think of that plan, or did you take a break for evil villain lessons." She snarked back. "I heard you, now hear me. It doesn't matter what you do to me because very soon Dawnie is going to find you and kick your ass. You can kill me, torture me and do whatever you want. Nothing's going to stop her."
A'Zores stared at her. The Slayer was defeated, destroyed and still she was defying him. "Oh I can kill you, but that won't be any time soon." Driving his sword stick into her side A'Zores let out a massive charge. If she was a normal human it would have most likely killed her stone dead. It was only her Slayer strength that saved her.
Behind him there was a titanic explosion that almost threw even the new Warlord off his feet. Showering him in masonry and glass. Spinning he saw that the Green Ranger had exploded out of the middle floors of a nearby building. "Buffy!"
Buffy couldn't move. It felt like she had been struck by lightning. Probably had. Every part of her ached, but she could have sworn she heard Dawn shouting her name.
"Nice entrance Green Ranger, I take it you've seen what happened to poor sad Marcus."
"I'm going to turn you into gravel, monster." Dawn growled. She was in full Ranger mode, wearing the White Ranger's body armour. In one hand she had her dagger and in the other Saba. Both pulsing with green and white energy.
"Not so fast," A'Zores picked Buffy up one handed and shook her like a rag doll. "One more step and it's dead Slayer."
Still struggling for breath Buffy look up. Between her and Dawn were the two undead demons. The brother with his massive sword and sister with the two Scythes. The Slayer struggled to focus on her sister. Even like this she could tell the Power Ranger was seriously pissed off. "Dawn…" Buffy croaked. "Dawn get out of here. They're…"
"Already dead. Reanimated by magic." The Green Ranger said sharply.
A'Zores laughed. "You don't say and what do you think you can do about it, Ranger?"
"This." Dawn burst into action, her dagger and sword leaving trails behind them. The first one in her way was the demoness that had taken the Scythes. It lasted all of five seconds. Dawn blocked and then deflected the demon's clumsy swing with her dagger before bringing the Sword down, hard, on their wrist. Dawn delivered a snap kick, pushing them back, before swinging a back hand with Saba that beheaded her. Before the headless body hit the floor Dawn lashed out with the dagger with a massive over hand. As soon as it hit the demoness exploded in a ball of green light.
Dawn straightened and took a few steps forward, right into the walking block of muscle, Tree-boy. He came in swinging his giant broadsword and Dawn leapt to one side, letting it burry itself in the pavement. Again Dawn lashed out with her feet, this time a series of high kicks. Followed by a few solid swings, the pommels of both the dagger and Saba hammering against the demon.
As the Green Ranger pummelled the Demon Buffy had a couple of seconds to think. Dawn was on the warpath and Buffy felt like a freshly drowned kitten. There were many ways this was not good. First thing first, she had to break free. While Dawn distracted everyone Buffy drove her heel as hard and fast as she could into the side of A'Zores knee.
She didn't think it hurt him, but in surprise the big bad dropped her. Again Buffy drove both her feet into the same knee before scrambling away as best she could. A'Zores swung his stick but she was just out of reach.
"A'Zores!" Dawn bellowed, drawing their attention. She delivered an uppercut blow to the big zombie that picked it up. Before it came back down the demon was swallowed in a bright white glow that literally exploded, leaving nothing behind. "A'Zores!" Dawn screamed again.
After flicking his eyes to Buffy A'Zores grinned. "You know. I think it's time. No more gambits, no more pawns." With a flamboyant swish he drew his sword. "No more partners, half trusted alliances or complicated plans." Rolling his shoulders he pulled off the ragged remains of his coat. Dangerous arcs of electricity dancing over his gauntlet.
"Just get on with it." Dawn snarled back before charging straight at him.
Faith growled as she and the others began blasting away with their Blade Blasters. This was hopeless, for every one they killed about four more came out of nowhere. "We have to fall back!" Connor shouted.
"You were the one that wanted to stay and fight." Faith reminded him.
"I said fall back, not stop fighting."
"Connor's right. We have to get out of here!" It was Cassie, "I don't trust Dawn. In the mood she's in she could do something incredibly stupid."
Sari laughed. "This is Dawn and she's pissed. You can count on it."
"Then it's settled, we fall back." Connor announced.
Faith growled, "Fine, catch Red." She threw her Blaster to him and pulled out the Power Cannon. "We'll cover you; Yellow, Blue put your heads together and find her."
"You got it."
"Dawn's putting out one hell of an energy signature." Cassie suggested. "There's just too much background noise, I can't pin it down."
Sari agreed. "I can use my sensor package to narrow things down."
Faith blasted away at the biggest concentrations of the Warriors while Connor tried picking off the closest ones she missed. "Thrilling, maybe you could write a book about it! Just do it!"
The demons were getting too close for the Power Cannon. With Cassie and Sari making like geeks there wasn't enough firepower to hold them all off. "Don't let up!" She ordered Connor converting the weapon back into the Axe. The city was already destroyed, so it didn't matter much what she did next. Jumping she swung the Power Axe down as hard as she could.
Blasting a wide hole in front of her Faith made a wreak of the pavement and blew out the handful of remaining windows from the surrounding buildings. Breathing heavily she stood up and looked around. She'd blasted a breathing space and finally it looked like they had done enough to slow down the endless wave of Warriors.
"Nice move." Connor congratulated her, picking off the handful of stragglers like he was in a old western.
"I wouldn't want to have to do it again." Faith turned on the other two. "Well?"
"Give us a second." Cassie called out as yet another wave of Warriors came out of nowhere
"Not that long." Sari added. "She's like a signal flare, that way."
Faith shouldered her Axe and ran as fast as she could in the direction the Yellow Ranger had pointed. Connor and the others were right behind her.
Dawn wasn't that far away and in the middle of a royal rumble with A'Zores. They were going at each other full pelt, swords flying and clashing against each other, leaving arcs of lightning and bursts of green light where they smashed against each other. There was no swordsmanship, or clever little tricks. The pair of them were intent on hacking each other to pieces. After a fury of blows A'Zores used his strength to push Dawn back.
Turning slightly he was able to get his rapier against her shoulder and slash her across the chest. The explosion pushed the green Ranger far enough back for him to kick her. Hard. This time the explosion sent her near flying backwards, but somehow she kept her feet under her and skidded to a stop. Just in time to be blasted with a thunderbolt of black energy.
Dawn was swallowed by the explosion, front, back and side. It was almost blinding. When the fireball cleared the Green Ranger was still standing, Faith could tell she was breathing heavily. but that didn't stop her from leaping into the air. With a shout of rage Dawn stabbed the air with her Flute and sent a rain of emerald energy down.
Faith was suddenly struck at how much it was like how Dawn had dealt with Tretrax all those long months ago. "Faith!" Connor snapped, drawing her attention. "Look!"
It was Buffy, looking like, well like she'd just lost an apocalypse. She was battered, bruised, bleeding and crawling to a discarded Scythe. "Bee! Thought you got the hell out of here." She gasped as Dawn and A'Zores started hacking at each other again.
"Grabbed me." The blonde Slayer said breathlessly as Cassie knelt next to her. "Help me up."
"Not a chance." Cassie had a hand on Buffy's chest. "You need rest. Lots of it." The medical student told her.
"Dawn could die, do your mojo thing and help." Buffy nodded weakly to the fight were the pair of them were focused on cutting chunks out of each other. Each blow sent bigger and bigger shards of light and lightning dancing around them. Wherever these shards touched destruction followed.
Faith shook her head. "Remember when you bust into my apartment, going after my blood to save Angel?" she asked
"What? What's that got to do with anything?"
"If Xander or Willow tried to stop you, you'd never forgive them. If we get stick our noses in Dee will cut them off."
"Faith's right. She has to do this. Alone." Connor agreed. Buffy didn't and tried to stand up, but her strength gave out, even with the Scythe and she collapsed.
"Even if she wanted help we're all too tired to do much more than get in the way." Sari suggested and Faith had to agree. She didn't know how Dawn was keeping going after the battles they'd had today.
"Why won't you just die?" A'Zores ground out from behind clenched teeth as he sent a blast of dark energy at Dawn, who just shrugged it off. "I destroy your city, swarm you with warriors and resurrect your greatest foes before slaughtering your lover. You should be broken, defeated."
"Not today." Dawn hissed back and head butted him from a standing start. "Not ever." She did it again, this was enough to stagger A'Zores who raised his sword before stopping.
Dawn too stopped and for a second they stood there, frozen. "What's going on?" Sari asked as the two of them lowered their weapons. Both were breathing heavily and then they nodded to one another before stepping back a few paces. Faith knew exactly what was happening.
This was it. The could both have hacked at each other for a week but they wanted to end it. They'd agreed, one way or another one last pass would end it. As Dawn raised her Flute and Saba they began to glow again. The same way A'Zores sword and stick were covered in that same back lightning.
They charged at each other.
Buffy pulled herself up as the two of them passed. The Slayer had expected another explosion, instead she was almost disappointed. There was nothing, worst of all A'Zores was still standing.
So was Dawn, barely. Buffy's breath caught in her throat as her little sister swayed from side to side before staggering slightly. A'Zores turned around in time for Dawn to collapse in a flash of green light. By the time she hit the ground she was normal again
Buffy tried to stand, to run to her sisters side, but her legs just wouldn't move.
"Well how about that." A'Zores said cheerfully before laughing. "I didn't expect it, but you did. Didn't you?"
Somehow, some way Dawn levered herself to her side. "Only way it could go." She said.
For a moment the crystal demon looked to Buffy and the others. Buffy blinked, there were cracks all over the demon. One appeared as they were talking. "Of course. Of course. I didn't see that. I should have." Another crack this one seemed to bleed darkness. An inky black cloud forming at his feet. "This was your plan. You planned it."
"Oh just shut up and die already." Dawn sighed and flopped on her back. A'Zores grinned as the inky smoke began to billow out from him. Lazily he sheathed his sword back in it's stick and tossed it to one side. With a dark smile the demon fell backwards, into the inky cloud, before exploding in a un-flash of almost absolute darkness that swallowed up the whole street
When Buffy could see again the others were on the ground with her, also back in their normal clothes. The only one not getting up was Dawn. The Slayer crawled, literally pulling herself along the ground to get to her sisters prone body. "Dawnie, Oh god Dawn."
"…Buffy. You should have… you shouldn't be here." The Green Ranger sighed as she turned to look at her.
Buffy pulled herself next to her. "Where else would I be. You got him. We've won."
"Kind of." She tried a smile but began coughing instead. By the time she had finished there was a trail of blood coming from her nose.
"Just hold on, alright." Buffy knew Dawn was in a bad shape, but she'd won. She'd be okay. She had to be. "Cassie!" She bellowed over her shoulder, "Get over here! Dawn needs you."
"Its too... Too late for that." Dawn smiled sadly. "Much too late. Do you remember what you told me? On Glory's tower... Oh it feels like a lifetime ago."
Buffy did. "I told you to live. Live for me, come on you're not going to give up now are you?" Cassie was suddenly there, her hand on Dawn's forehead.
"Oh, by the ancients. No." Dawn's roommate whispered in horror.
"Come on Dawnie, you can pull through this." Buffy insisted before turning on Cassie. "Do it, fix her!"
"I… I can't. I wouldn't know where to begin."
Cassie seemed to rock back on her heels. "Her whole body's wrecked. Lungs filling with fluid, internal bleeding, liver shutting down, heart failing and even her brain… It's, its collapsing in on itself."
Buffy heard the words but for some reason couldn't make any sense of them. "You can stabilise her, give her a few hours…"
Cassie just shook her head. "Don't you think I want to… There's just too much damage. A body can only be pushed so far and Dawn… Dawn pushed past that and then some. There's nothing I or anyone else can do now."
"Buffy… Buffy you have to listen." Dawn said weaker than before. She was pale, her skin almost grey. The bright red trickles of blood stood out, impossible to miss. "I have lived. I… had a good life and I enjoyed it. Remember that I… I love you and the others. Don't forget them and… and try… try…" Dawn's voice slowed down and eventually stopped.
"No. No. Dawn wake up. Dawnie wake up!" Buffy, with the last of her strength pulled her close. For a terrifying instant there was nothing. Then, as if from nowhere, a breath. Gurgling, weak but there. And again. "Dawn! Come on, come back to us. Please."
"Faith? Faith are you there?"
"Yeah, I'm here Dee." Faith said from behind Buffy, but the elder Slayer didn't care.
"I can't… I can't see you." Dawn admitted.
Buffy didn't understand. "What are you talking about? She's right there."
"Faith, can you. If you see her, tell my sister I'm sorry." That spark of hope in Buffy died instantly;
"I'm here, I'm right here!' The Slayer shouted, trying to get her sisters attention.
But it wasn't to be. "I have to go. Tell the others… tell them… May the pow…"
There was a horrible silence, then Faith finished;
"May the power protect you." The other Rangers echoed her as Buffy began to cry.
End Final Invasion
And that's that… we're done. Stories over kids, time to go home…
Well not quite, there are still two more chapters, a couple of Epilogues, just to wrap everything up. See you in a few weeks!