Xander sat cross legged as he thought over the events of the night, their failure to recognize important information that had been given to them and then finally his growing closeness with Cordelia. He thought over the cryptic advice Metatron had given them. Somehow he did not think the voice was talking about just different species of vampires. No he had meant something else, but he could not put his finger on what it was and that annoyed him.
‘What do you think?' he asked the Emperor.
‘I agree that he meant something else but I am not going to tell you what I think it meant. I believe working it out yourself will be best,' the Emperor responded with an amused tone.
Xander frowned, before he shrugged his shoulders and allowed the Emperor to assume command of their body. It no longer bothered him that he shared his body with someone else, because at least now he could truly help keep this world safe. More importantly he could stop what happened to Jesse happening to anyone else, especially his friends.
The Emperor stood up and moved to the window looking out into the darkened sky. His mind was once again on the greater threats he had sensed in space. Dangerous situations were arising and whilst the military of this country was beginning to fight back, they were divided from possible allies by secrecy and lies. Like his own world it needed uniting under one banner. He could offer them much and help protect this world, until they were ready to truly walk around the galaxy.
The danger was exposing himself and Xander and his friends to the government. He knew that not all of them could be trusted to not try and misuse what he offered and worse there were some who would attempt to capture and experiment on them for their own purposes. He would discuss this with the others tomorrow before taking action. He believed the longer he waited the more threats to Earth would appear. After deciding that he released control to Xander who began to get ready for bed, he hoped his memories would not wake his new friend again.
Paul paced around, feeling cut off from his home and more importantly from Chani. He knew that he was here for an important reason, but the loss of Chani was beginning to get to him. He also knew his pain at the loss of his love was impacting Max as well. He could not control that, no matter what he did to stop it reaching his host.
Ever since he had met Chani she had become his anchor, his reason for living. She was a port in the storm that had been his life back on Arrakis, his safety net against the destiny that stalked him all his life. Now that she was no longer by his side he felt lost and alone. He felt like he was dying on the inside. Finally he let go of control and let Max come to the fore. He hoped sleep would at least stem the pain for a time. Max shook his head, but doubted even in sleep he would escape Paul's pain and his longing for his lost love. But at least it would muffle the pain somewhat, getting into bed he closed his eyes and waited to fall asleep.
God and Metatron watched with ever growing concern as Paul fall into depression began to affect his host badly enough that it could cost them both in a fight. God knew action would have to be taken and quickly, so that the situation would be cleared up and Paul could then focus his full attention on the reason why he had been brought here.
Of course for the situation to be sorted out she needed to bring Chani here to help in the same way as Paul had been brought here. Just without using the chaos mages spell, but her own power. She knew exactly who to send the voice to, to discuss this.
Metatron nodded in agreement and vanished.
Aura was just about to jump into bed when she was surprised to see Metatron appear in her room in his usually sparkle of lights. He seemed to cringe somewhat, as if expecting to be attacked. When he opened his eyes and noted she was just watching him he grinned in relief. She wondered what had happened to him before to make him so nervous.
"Makes a change," he stated and at her raised eyebrow he continued. "I usually end up attacked in some way when I just pop up in a woman's bedroom," he explained.
"Oh really?" Aura inquired trying hard not laugh at the idea of the powerful angel been attacked by a normal woman.
"Oh you have no idea, you women are all crazy," Metatron stated. "Last time I got pelted with a fire extinguisher and the time before that it was a bucket of water," he complained. "I mean come on, does every woman think a guy popping into her bedroom thinks he is after her body?" he asked.
"Yes actually," Aura answered before breaking into laughter, but she quickly brought it under control as she noted the glare coming from the Voice. "So what do I owe the solo visit for?" she inquired.
"I'm afraid we have a slight problem and God believes you may be the key to sorting it out," Metatron explained. "But I will warn you first, if you agree to help it will put you more on the front line of this fight," he added.
Aura took all of that on board and frowned not exactly wanting to be in so much danger, but she knew in hear heart that she could not turn her back on her new friends and allies and the world in general.
"What's the problem?" she asked, wanting a bit more information before she made her choice.
"It's Max and Paul," Metatron answered with a sigh as he sat down on a nearby chair. "Paul is not handling the separation from his lover Chani well and it is causing him and through him Max great pain. This is dangerous and could lead to them either getting killed or something much worse," he informed her. "We cannot allow that to happen and so God needs to bring Chani here in the same way Paul and the others arrived. She would like you to host Chani," he stated.
Aura blinked. She had expected quite a few things, but that had not been one of them. She sat down on her bed and tried to organize her thoughts. Did she think she could actually live a life while sharing her body with another person? To be honest, she had no clue. What she did know, was that she cared about Max and did not want him to suffer due to the affects of Paul being separated from someone. Someone he clearly loved so very deeply that it causes him pain to be so far away from her.
She also knew she wants to be able to help defend their home town more and this would be a way of doing just that. She had long grown tired of seeing so many people she knew vanish into the unknown. Except she now knew what had happened to them, she wanted to help put a stop to it all and so she concluded that sharing her body with someone else, was something she could live with, if it let her help people.
"I'll do it," she finally spoke in a determined voice.
"Then I suggest you go to bed. We will do this whilst you are asleep and spare you the pain the others felt. Chani will be told why this is happening before we join you together," Metatron responded, pleased by her response. "When you wake up, I am sure the two of you will have much to discuss. I will turn up during your meeting tomorrow to explain the change," he continued before he vanished.
Aura remained seated for a few minutes before she climbed into bed and waited to fall asleep. Tomorrow a new life awaited her and she felt both fear and excitement at the thought of it.
Metatron reappeared to find God was very happy about Aura's choice, not that he was surprised by this. Whenever humans acted like the beings God had intended them to be, she was always very happy. It was just a sad state of affairs that so many of them fell to their baser instincts and did so many evil things. At those times God never smiled and was always in a very grim mood. He turned around and headed off, hoping this would stop Paul's fall. He would be needed as events unfolded, as would Max himself.
(Sunnydale High School, next day)
Aura entered the school and headed straight for the library. She felt completely different than before she had gone to sleep, but then again she had expected as much. Waking up and in a sense meeting Chani for the first time had been a mind blowing experience. She found the woman to be a very unique person unlike anyone she had met before.
Granted that should have been expected as she was a woman not only from another planet, but another dimension. Her reaction to being brought to a galaxy that was so different than her own was filling her with awe and a little fear, but she knew Paul was here and that was all that mattered to her. She just hoped Max and Paul would accept this new twist. Chani did not seem to think they would have any problems, but she was not so sure.
Entering the library she found everyone had already arrived and was seated either at the table or nearby. She quickly glanced to where Max was sitting and felt a swell of emotions wash over her from Chani. Taking a deep breath she walked over to the table and took a seat. A few seconds later Metatron appeared in a flash of light and was leaning against one of the book stacks. Everyone glanced up, surprised to see him again so soon, except for Aura who knew he would be showing up.
"You know, I'm beginning to think you like hanging around us Voice?" Xander said with a smile.
"You provide some measure of amusement, but I wouldn't go that far Alexander," Metatron responded easily making Xander grimace at his full name.
"Is there a reason for your visit or did you just come to have us amuse you?" Buffy asked darkly, but the tone of her voice gave her away and they all knew she meant no hostility.
"Temper, Slayer, temper," Metatron shot back as he took a seat. "Yes there was a reason I showed up," he continued. "I always come with a purpose, no matter if it is big or small," he informed them.
"And your reason for showing up now is?" Jenny asked feeling amusement from Sonja at Metatron's act.
"God has decided to add another champion to your group in part to ground one of you better," Metatron answered seriously. "Now I know what you are going to ask, so before you do, listen and listen well. God may know all, but that does not mean she cannot make mistakes," he continued with a slight glare. "It has happened quite a few times in your history and before that. Mankind has a rather flawed vision of God," he stated.
The whole group remained silent, as they all took this in. It was a rather surprising thing to hear, but they had to give Metatron his due. Humans in general always had a flawed opinion of God and especially of themselves.
"Who was chosen as host and who did you bring forward?" Amy inquired, bringing them back to the most important factor of this discussion.
"Aura was chosen, due to certain circumstances and as to who we brought here," Metatron replied, before he smiled. "Well I will let her introduce herself," he continued.
Aura closed her eyes and allowed Chani to come to the fore, surprised by how easy she found this. She again prayed this went as well as Chani seemed to think it would.
Chani stood up and looked around the room at the assembled group. She had been told who and what they did. Who the other champions alongside Paul were and what they had done in their own realities. She was quite amazed to be honest, but all that mattered was, that she was where Paul was, no matter what shape he took.
"Hello Paul," she said turning towards Max.
Max had to force himself to relax, as he felt Paul surge to the forefront of his mind. He knew that voice. Knew it so well that it made Paul wanted to shout in joy, she was here. Max felt relieved that Paul would be free of his pain and so would he. He had been reunited with his lost love and now they could focus on the fight ahead.
"Chani," Paul responded, jumping to his feet and swept her into his arms, ignoring the fact that like him, she was now in a host body. It did not matter to him, because his reason for living was once again by his side.
"Cool," Willow said with a smile, as she watched the reunion. "So Metatron, do you moonlight as a date agency?" she asked, causing most of the room to burst out laughing.
Metatron rolled his eyes and vanished in a flash of light, very sure he would get some annoying jokes from Rufus, Loki and Bartleby for the red head's question. God would smile and skip away he was sure. Sometimes he wondered what he had done to earn such a life.
The Mayor looked up as Alan once again walked into his office with an update, as normal the man looked nervous and almost afraid of him, which always amused him.
"Ah Alan, what news?" he inquired, while leaning back in his chair.
"We have managed to identify one of the people now helping Miss Summers. It is a witch of known ability and one of those you have under watch," Alan reported. "Miss Amy Madison, why she is now getting directly involved in the Slayer's actions we don't know, but she is," he continued. "As to the others so far our sources have not found out their identities," he said with worry.
"I see, well tell them to increase their efforts, won't you Alan?" the Mayor responded.
"Of course sir, another piece of news sir is that the minion of Lothos, Bracus, has arrived in Sunnydale," Alan continued. "It was confirmed during the night. He has taken up residence in one of the abandoned warehouses," he added.
"Is he alone?" the Mayor inquired with a raised eyebrow.
"I am afraid not sir. He has brought four other of Lothos's minions with him," Alan answered, knowing this would anger the Mayor.
"I see, well let us hope he kills Mr. Pike quickly and then moves on. If he does not and he becomes a problem, have our people deal with him Alan," the Mayor ordered.
"Yes sir. I am afraid that is all at the moment," Alan replied, wanting to leave the office quickly.
"Very well Alan. Keep me apprised of the situation," the Mayor ordered and watched as the man all but ran out of his office, which caused him to smile.
Bracus growled as waited for the day to finish so that he could go out and hunt. Now he had the chance to finally kill not only Pike, but the murderer of his master Buffy Summers. Finally they had found her and they would have their revenge finally. He turned and stalked up and down thinking over what he would do when he got his hands on them. He ignored his fellow vampires, the only ones of the master's children who would follow him, instead of wallowing in misery as most did these days.
(Sunnydale High School)
Finally Paul had stepped away from Chani, but kept her hand in his and explained why God had taken this action. Chani backed him up by telling what she was told before being joined with Aura. Giles and the others could understand why Paul had it so much harder than the others. They were at least pleased to see God had not just flung them together and then forgotten about them.
"Is there anything else to discuss right now?" Giles inquired from the head of the table.
"Yes," the Emperor spoke and stood up, having taken control from Xander. "As some of you know I am a Psyker. Using my powers I have sensed many threats on this planet and off it," he informed them.
"Of it?" Buffy asked in confusion.
"I am talking about alien threats Buffy," the Emperor responded with a smile. "They exist in this reality just as they did in mine. It seems your military has found a device which allows them to travel to the stars and have stirred up great trouble for Earth in general," he explained, amused by some of the reactions he saw. "However they are isolated and keeping it secret from the other governments, which weakens their position and could lead to this world being conquered," he stated.
"What can we do?" Max asked, as he felt the shift in Paul who was focused on this new problem.
"I can offer a lot of help to those using this device. Armor, weapons and even ships," the Emperor answered. "At least plans for them, Paul can do this as well, but it means taking a certain risk in exposing ourselves to these people," he warned. "You see, some in the government are trying to misuse this device for their own gain and would think nothing of capturing us and experimenting on us," he continued.
This caused a complete silence to descend on the room as they considered this new piece of information. Buffy was not sure she wanted to get involved in a fight even bigger than the one being the Slayer had thrown her into.
"Is it worth the risk?" Cordelia asked at last.
"I think so. If the people fighting these aliens fail, then Earth will be conquered. Millions will die and we will fail in our duty," the Emperor answered.
"Then I guess we will have to take it, won't we?" Cordelia responded, glancing at the others who slowly began to nod in agreement.
"Whilst we digest that, Buffy, I am afraid I have to admit something as well," Pike stated into the new silence that descended.
"Such as?" Buffy asked.
"I have been hunted by one of Lothos's minions. A real sick piece of work named Bracus," Pike admitted. "Most likely he will have followed me here," he added grimly.
Buffy stared at her ex silently as she heard his response and felt an anger begin to burn in her. Not aimed at him, but at Lothos and his minions. She fought off the memories of Merrick's death or at least tried to, but it still came anyway.
If any of Lothos's followers were in her town and wanted a fight, then by God she would give it to them and destroy them just as she had their master.
"Then we will deal with them Pike, just like we dealt with Lothos himself," she stated darkly, surprising a few with her tone of voice.