Imperium rising Chapter 4
(Sunnydale High School)
Giles ran back into the library, quickly noting the wreckage of a barricade and a broken door before he saw Cordelia and her friend standing over the fallen forms of Xander, Amy, Jenny and a boy who must be the boy Max, which Willow had mentioned. He also noted Buffy was on the steps holding her head in her hands, as if she had a headache, whilst Angel stood nearby with a concerned look on his face.
"Buffy, are you alright?" he quickly asked, alerting everyone to his return, as he made his way over to his charge and knelt next to her, as she slowly lifted her head.
"I think so Giles, but my hair seems to have changed back to its natural color. I took the wig off, once the spell ended and to my surprise my hair has reverted back and I also have the biggest headache ever," Buffy responded, a little put out that she may have to dye her hair all over again, as it was a pain to do and messy.
"I see, strange the magic seems to have affected you a little deeper than everyone else I saw on my way back. Crying kids and upset teenagers, but they all seemed to be themselves," Giles mused, surprised by this as Willow came charging into the library.
"I'm alive again," she shouted with a wide smile. "I can't walk through things anymore and I feel hungry," she added, before she noted the four people, which lay still unconscious on the floor.
"I'm glad to hear it Willow," Giles said, as he stood up again and moved over to the four and bent down to check on them. "They are all breathing, but for some reason they are still out cold," he said with a confused yet worried look on his face.
"The Emperor said the changes might be adverse effects Giles. He said what had happened was bad and dangerous," Willow explained, as she joined him.
"Who is the Emperor?" Giles asked, confused about not recognizing the name.
"That is who Xander went as. It's a character of a game Jessie and he used to play and collect models for," Willow responded with a despondent look, as it always pained her to think of their lost friend and what had happened to him. She noted that even Cordelia showed a reaction when the name was brought up. "Xander kept collecting for a bit after Jessie's death, but he kinda gave up on it. He refused to get rid of the stuff Jessie and he had bought as a way of remembering him. Somehow this Ethan got a hold of the replica armor and weapons the company made for life sized models," she continued her explanation.
"I see and just who was this Emperor that he would know that the changes invoked would be so adverse to him and the others?" Giles inquired, storing this information away.
"He was a powerful leader of an empire and a man who had amazing power. He was known as a Psyker and he could see the future and knew what was going on over vast distances, if I remember correctly," Willow answered. "He created the empire starting with Earth and moving out into the galaxy, before he was betrayed by his closest son Horus and in his final battle with him he received crippling injuries, which resulted in him been forever caged in what was called the golden throne. It kept his body alive, whilst his spirit was basically everywhere," she continued, as she stood and moved to a chair and sat down on it, noting everyone was paying attention to her.
"I see, this is disturbing," Giles said, as he also sat down. "Do you know who the others went as?" he inquired, hoping this Emperor was very wrong.
"Only who Max went as," Willow replied. "He went as Paul Atreides from the movie Dune," she added, when she noted everyone awaiting her response.
"I've seen that movie," Giles said, rubbing his temple as he began to really worry what Ethan had called down on them. "I fear this Emperor may have been right, considering we also saw a whitelighter drawn her by one of them, is even more disturbing," he stated.
"That was whoever Amy went as. Leo seemed very close to her," Willow pointed out.
"So what do we do, Giles?" Buffy asked, finally cutting in before wincing at a spike of pain from her headache and she wondered why she had it. "How can we help them?" she asked.
"I don't know yet Buffy. However I think they will wake up soon and we shall see exactly what has happened, we may be all wrong," Giles answered. "Now please help me get this place looking tidy again, before Snyder sees it," he added, before standing up and heading to the mess, scattered around the library. "Who threw all these books?" he suddenly demanded, outraged at the lack of respect shown.
Buffy instantly went still as memories of her flinging the books at the approaching demons played in her mind, before she slowly raised her hand. "Sorry Giles, that was me and they were the only thing I could use as a weapon at the time. The person I went as was kinda backwards," she apologized with a sheepish look.
Giles stared at her for a minute, before shaking his head and muttering under his breath, as he began to pick them up, joined soon by Willow. Angel began to move the table and chairs back into position helped by Buffy, Cordelia and Aura.
(Outskirts of Sunnydale)
Ethan slid down the tree holding his side. It was still very much in pain, not just from whatever went wrong with his spell, but also from the beating Ripper had given him. He could barely keep himself going, but he knew he dare not stay here in the opening too long. He took a few deep breathes, before pushing himself back up and went towards the motel, if you could call it that. It was once built to welcome new comers to the town and it had clearly seen better times, but it was the only place he could go to rest and recover safely.
After arriving and paying for a room, he collapsed onto the dingy bed and swore to Janus he would return to Sunnydale in time and have his revenge on Ripper. His old friend had mentioned he had people in town, that he cared for and so he would strike at them when he did come back. Never in his life had he failed so badly than now and Ripper had taken advantage of his weakened state. This, to him, was not something that could stand and as his eyes closed and he fell into sleep he again swore revenge.
(Sunnydale High School)
The library was now looking a lot better and everyone was sitting at the table, bar the four still unconscious on the floor.
Giles had believed it a mistake to try and move them right now and so they had left them where they had fallen. Buffy had been given two pills for her headache by Giles, who kept some on had in the office, for whenever things went bad.
Aura was been filled in on the truths of the town, which she had so easily ignored for so long. They had to hand it to the girl, she was handling things better than most people would, just like Cordelia had, when she learned the truth.
A groan from behind them made them all turn and face the four on the ground and they noted that Xander was finally coming too, as his head rolled to the side. He began to push himself to his feet and Willow quickly moved to him.
Soon Jenny, Amy and Max also began to come around, until they were all seated at the table. However before anyone could start talking, a large flame suddenly burst into life off to the side and a voice began shouting.
"Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God. Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God. Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God," the voice kept repeating, until finally the flame turned into a tall man with white wings. He had slick black hair and rather large nose and eyes, which seemed rather dark.
Buffy immediately attacked him and sent the man flying into the nearby bookcase, before she was grabbed by Giles and Angel and pulled back, both shaking their heads in horror.
"Bloody hell Slayer don't you listen?" The Metatron complained, as he picked himself up and dusted his suit off with a shake of his head. "I said I am the voice of god. What about that screams at you to attack me? Did you miss the impressive wing span as well?" he asked sarcastically.
Buffy looked between Giles and Angel and noted their rather put out expressions and she guessed she had mucked up badly. She cursed before finally apologizing to the supposed angel.
"Every time I come here I either get attacked or doused with flame-retardant chemicals by insane women," Metatron continued to moan, as he finished cleaning his suit.
"I said I was sorry," Buffy shot back in a huff. "Usually when something just appears, it's a demon and something I need to slay. It's in my job description," she added, before sitting back down next to Willow, who like the others were all staring in awe at the angel in their mists.
"Point taken Slayer, but next time try and look before you leap at something," Metatron relented. "Now can we continue or does someone else want a shot?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
Giles almost burst out laughing, as the man reminded him of someone he had bumped into in his youth, but he had looked a lot worse for wear, as well as being permanently pissed off. Still he sat down and indicated the man should continue.
"Now the reason I am here, is because God wants me to explain a few things to you about what happened tonight, as well as the consequences of those actions taken, especially what they mean for those four," Metatron began and indicated the silently watching Xander, Jenny, Amy and Max.
"Why doesn't God come and explain herself? Why does she need an angel to explain anything?" Cordelia asked confused, as well as a little intimated by the angel's presence.
Metatron rolled his eyes at the question and wondered why humans always latched onto the small things. "Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out," he responded.
He noted the rather dumbfounded expressions this caused. He sighed and rubbed his head before continuing.
"Metatron, that's me, acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims God has spoken to them, they're speaking to me or they're talking to themselves," he added and watched as the group exchanged looks.
"Ok enough on things that had no bearing right now," Giles said, wanting to get on with this. "Please tell us exactly what happened tonight and the effects it will have," he stated.
"Ok the short of it is that plans were put in place by the powers that be and the elders for the future. Those were quite insane and so God decided to change things and add some curve balls to change what they put in place. Hence your four friends there," Metatron started. "The changes are permanent and as I am sure your friends have already discovered far more than they seem. They didn't just gain powers, skills, experience and memories," he added.
"Meaning what exactly?" Willow inquired looking at the rather confused and worried looks Xander and the others were exchanging between themselves.
"They are now sharing their bodies with the people who possessed them. In a way I guess you could say they have a split personality and before anyone of you complain, we did this for a very good reason and that was so they could learn to control everything they've gained properly, without going insane," Metatron answered. "The changes are big, so they need all the help they can get and who better than the people, whose gifts they have?" he added with a smile.
"I see," Giles said, wishing he had put his glasses back on, so that he could remove and polish them the right now. "How powerful are they?" he inquired a second later.
"Well Prue and Sonja have no changes to them as they are no risk of upsetting the balance. However the God Emperor and Paul both do and so their powers were scaled down, as I am sure they noted as soon as they arrived here, correct?" Metatron asked.
"Also they are not in their original dimension and that also has its effects, as does the fact they are not in their own bodies. If they had full powers here, they would burn young Alexander and Max's bodies out faster than a matchstick," Metatron explained.
"Indeed, my strength is about half of what it was and my powers themselves are lessened and yet are still greater than most things on this planet," the Emperor responded. Confirming everything Metatron had told them. Paul nodded his head in agreement.
"What about the fact I am addicted to Spice? My body needs it or else I will die," Paul said very worried by this and not just for himself, but for his host as well. "The changes I have gone through have affected my host's body as well. I only have a small case on me and that will not last long," he added.
"God took that into account Paul and so asked me to give you this," Metatron responded, throwing him another case. "This case has spice in it from your home dimension and will continue to refill itself and before you ask how, please remember this is God we are talking about. Creator of the multiverse and everything in it," he explained, as well as adding in a reminder.
Paul could only stare at the angel in surprise, as he had not expected such a response to what to him was a large problem. He looked at the case and noted it seemed to be made of a material also from his home dimension.
"Anymore questions?" Metatron inquired, looking around the room and noting conflicted emotions pass over Willow and Buffy's faces, as they absorbed everything he had said so far.
"Can I interact with my sisters and let them know I am alive in a way?" Prue asked, a little shocked she would be allowed to stay. "And can I still rely on Leo's help?" she added.
"Leo is your whitelighter Prue, that has not changed at all and yes, if you must you can alert your sisters to your status, but I warn you to be careful how you do it and this goes for you as well Sonja, in wanting to find Lucian," Metatron responded seriously. "If your enemies become aware of you and your new friends, you will bring more danger to the Hellmouth and that could be dangerous," he warned them both. "So think it over carefully," he added.
"Are we constrained in anyway?" Paul inquired. "Exactly what does your God intend us to do?" he asked.
"Not just my God Paul. Your god and everyone else's god as well, just because you didn't know about her in your dimension does not make her any less real," Metatron said, somewhat angrily as he hated it when humans denied God her rights. "You have free will and so can do what you want with no problem. However there will be times when God has specific missions for you and I will come and brief you. From that point until your mission is completed you must only act in accordance of the job at hand," he explained.
Silence descended once more, as everyone took this in and began to see just how different their lives would be. The idea that they had living proof of Gods existence in front of them was still sinking in.
"How will this split personality thing work?" Xander asked, as he automatically resumed command of his body, without actually realizing it.
Willow and Buffy instantly recognized the change and quickly rushed over and welcomed him back, which was a little hard as he was still wearing his armor. He patted them on the back and turned back to Metatron for an answer.
"The eight of you have access to each others skills, experience, memories and powers, no matter what they are. Each of you can assume command of the body, as long as the other allows it," Metatron informed them: "We did it this way, to assure one of you wouldn't assume control at the wrong moment and cause accidents, whilst you are not in control you will still be able to see and hear everything that is going on around you and you will be able to interact with your new roommates physically," he continued to explain.
"I will make one thing clear to you now, this cannot be reversed at all and to do so would kill them all. They are defendant on each other now," he stated with a serious look at each of them in turn.
"Will I have to stay a vampire?" Jenny asked, finally regaining control as she learned how too.
"Yes I'm afraid so Janna, however God has tweaked your body a little, so you can still go out into the sunlight and also you will not need to drink blood and can eat normal food and drink," Metatron answered with a sad smile, knowing this part would hurt. "You are basically a vampire in name only. You have their powers and skills, but not their blood lust and weakness," he added. "Also you are not a demonic vampire Janna, as you should already know. You are a completely different species altogether," he put it with a smile.
"What do you mean?" Max inquired, as his mind whirled with all the new information he had received.
"Liam here is a demonic vampire, who is basically an animated corpse and usually has no soul or consciousness, whilst Janna is a vampire along the lines of true Nosferatu vampires, who are very much alive and have never died," Metatron answered. "The changes take place, as they are in a semi coma and they keep their souls and personalities completely," he added.
"Why did you call Miss Calendar Janna?" Cordelia wondered, upset by some of what she had learned especially with how it would affect Xander, even as she tried to ignore that fact.
"She can tell you that, as it is her story to share and a very important one and you had better pay attention Slayer, as it concerns you a lot," Metatron answered, giving the now dark haired Slayer a long look, until she nodded in acceptance.
Metatron waited another few minutes, but no one else asked anything and so he turned to leave, before he paused and turned back to Buffy: "Before I leave listen closely Slayer: you are playing a dangerous game with your attempted relationship with Liam. You are a human, being blessed by God with a soul and mind, however he is not. He is a corpse in all, but soul and that was put there by magic not sanctioned by God, so it is a very unstable thing," he explained to her in deadly Ernst. "Liam the soul is here not by her will, but others and your actions can have dangerous consequences, so I would suggest you forget whatever ideas you have and move on. We have already altered the course of an old friend of yours and he should arrive here in a few days, stick with him," he told her.
Buffy could only stare at him in confusion and a little fear, as she listened to his tone, as well as what he said. Angel was very uneasy also, with the way Metatron spoke about his curse.
"Liam no offense, but you were not meant to be here. You wouldn't be had Angelus not been cursed. Your existence is under the powers control and they have plans for you and some of them are not good, which includes getting close to Buffy for a specific reason, which will have a very bad outcome," Metatron said while turning to him. "I suggest you resist, unless you want to fall into their trap. Remember why you were tapped by Whistler and you'll be okay and you may earn your true reward," he added. "And please stop using the name Angel, just go by Liam, before the other archangels, especially Michael and Gabriel get really offended by you using such a title and come and pay you a visit and believe me you would not enjoy it," he suggested, before he vanished in a sparkle of lights.
He left a very confused, upset and unsure group behind and it did not take long before Giles suggested that everyone goes home and get some sleep. Think over what had happened and then tomorrow they would discuss it. They hid the amour and weapons in Giles' office for now, before they headed out.
Buffy was wondering how to explain her sudden change of hair color, as she walked with the others home, as well as thinking over what Metatron had said concerning Angel.
Xander, Max, Amy and Jenny were silent as they walked out of the library. However inside they were talking with their new friends, as they had been told they would be able to do. They had a lot to discuss and plan and the sooner they started the better.
Giles was the last to leave, after writing down a few things and leaving a reminder to keep an eye out for Ethan's return.