Launching the Assault
AN: The third and final part of my "Coven of Reformed Supernaturals" trilogy; hope you all like it
AN 2: For Buffy and her group, this is set basically some time after "Not Fade Away", but anything you know about the Season Eight comics can be ignored; for "Charmed", this can be set towards the end of Season Five- possibly even around the beginning of an AU Season Six where Leo isn't an Elder and Chris never came back to the past because his future was never an issue given the events of the first part of this trilogy-, the BPRD come from a point between the first "Hellboy" movie and "Golden Army", and other crossover timings will be clarified when we reach the point where they're introduced
AN 3: This only takes place a couple of hours after the last story as far as the Coven are concerned; they'll appear in the next chapter
They said that the world would end, not with a bang, but with a whimper.They were wrong.When
I am involved, I will settle for nothing less than a grand finale
There were times when Buffy had to wonder if setting her sights as high as she had was actually a good thing. Setting out to bring all the activated Slayers together was definitely a worthwhile goal, she wasn't denying that- they'd already managed to score significant damage to almost every major demon-related activity in the areas where their Slayers were active as far as she knew-, but the sheer effort
involved was exhausting. Even with the Slayer 'tracking spells' that the old Council had used before in the event of the line passing to a Potential who hadn't been discovered earlier, their resources and effective magic-wielders were limited, and even after finding the Slayers in question there was only so much they could do to train them with so few Watchers still active...
"Problem?" Willow asked as she walked into the room that was unofficially Buffy's 'office' in the new Council headquarters (By which they meant that everyone called it an office except for Buffy; she disliked the implications of the word).
"Just... work stuff," Buffy said, sighing as she glanced over the latest reports from the field about their latest Slayer-related discoveries (Giles generally handled the worst of the administration, but there were still occasions where he 'delegated' to Buffy if he felt the situation required her Slayer-based insight) before looking back at Willow. "Talking of, any further along on that whole Los Angeles mess?"
"Nothing," Willow confirmed, shaking her head apologetically. "I've gone through every sensory spell I can think of, and I still don't know what happened there; we just went from what seemed like mass darkness reigning down on the whole city to... well, it wasn't."
"Yeah..." Buffy muttered, her expression grim as she turned over the implications of that particular event in her mind.
Even with her currently-ambiguous thoughts on Angel's position in that city- she trusted him to know what he was doing, but taking charge of the law firm that had spent most of his time in the city trying to corrupt him over to their side was a lot more 'morally ambiguous' than she was comfortable with-, she'd never wanted him dead
, but the more time passed without any news about him- particularly when Wesley's body, as well as the body of Angel's friend Gunn, had been discovered at a couple of the most prominent sites of mystical energy with no clue about what had happened to the others-, the more she was forced to consider the possibility that the attack on Los Angeles had killed him.Angel
One vampire with a soul might not make much difference in a world where they were setting up an army of Slayers, but when she considered what he had
accomplished in his time in Los Angeles- freeing slaves in another dimension, defeating a rogue Higher Power that sought to eliminate free will, all the individual people he'd helped-, it was hard not
The sight of a green samurai-esque demon crashing through her window riding a monster that looked like a dog with snakes around its neck broke off any thoughts she might have had about Angel's current absence; right now, the fight was all that mattered.
It was only when Buffy stood up and reached for a weapon that she realised that the weapons cabinet was on the other side of the room from her current location, with the dog and the samurai in between her and them.Oh,
There's always been reasons for me to delay my ascension, of course; the right moment never came along, the supernatural balance was always so even it never seemed like I'd have an interesting enemy to defeat, the right candidates for the main job weren't present...But then, even after the world where I was to strike first had been hovering on the fine line between the balance for so many years, all that changed with the creation of the Coven, the first ever example of a supernatural 'black ops' team
.A team of heroes so dedicated to fighting evil because they
know evil... know its power and seduction with an intimacy that no other champion could understand... and have nevertheless resolved to fight that power with everything they are...They might have been created merely as a diversion for Gideon- that oh-so-intriguing case; an Elder willing to do evil in the name of good-, but they have become something truly dangerous in the aftermath of their original mission...
"Still no word from Leo, huh?" Paige asked as Piper walked down the stairs from Wyatt's bedroom, the newest member of the Halliwell family having only just been put down for his latest nap.
"Not so much as a peep," Piper replied, shaking her head with a sigh as she sat down at the table opposite her sister. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I get that he needs this- it's not exactly fair for us to expect him to just hang around with us without a single
guy friend, after all-, but I'd still like to see him a bit
"Well, it had to happen some time," Paige said, shrugging slightly before she looked up in slightly amusement. "Still, you have to admit, it's a bit
ironic, when you think about it..."
"What, the fact that our Whitelighter brother-in-law's closest guy friends are a bunch of 'reformed' demons?" Phoebe asked, looking over at her sister with a pointed stare.
"Y'know, it's not like they're all
like Cole, OK?" Paige said, turning to glare back at her older sister, her mind flashing back to the tales that Leo had told them about his new 'team's' history after they'd stopped the other Cole's plans; Phoebe might have 'forgiven' that past version of Cole for what he was 'about' to do, but that didn't mean that she'd totally moved past her old demon-related issues from what Cole had done to her before. "Angel definitely isn't
the same person he was back when he was killing people- Leo made it pretty clear that his type of vampire lose their souls when they're turned-, and Hellboy and that 'Blade' guy haven't even done anything evil
on their own apart from not being human..."
"As weird as it is for me to think anything positive about that situation, I have to agree with Paige," Piper said, looking at Phoebe with a slight shrug. "The Coven might not exactly have a great background, but... well, it gives Leo a chance to do some good outside
of just being with us- we've spent most of our lives since getting our powers trying not
to be defined by our magic; why shouldn't he have the same chance?-, and then there's-"
Whatever Piper was about to say was cut off when the window of the room they were sitting in suddenly exploded inwards, Paige instinctively orbing to another part of the house to save herself only to hear Piper and Phoebe's screams of pain as soon as she reappeared.
"NO!" she screamed, running towards the room that she'd so recently abandoned, hating herself for her inability to have done the same to help her sisters while praying she could still do something, even as she knew when running that she wouldn't get to the room in time...
When the Coven first came into existence, it seemed a minor threat- their actions would result in a long-term benefit for my side by eliminating my competition, after all-, but with them rapidly establishing themselves as a powerful force on this world beyond their first mission, after so many other plans that would have aided me on that world had been thwarted...The failure of the First Evil's plans...The destruction of the Source...The destabilisation of Wolfram & Hart caused by the expenditure of resources required to try and destroy the former Angelus before his recruitment into the Coven...Rasputin's permanent demise and the subsequent destruction of his 'god'...The complete negation of the future where the child of the Charmed Ones would rule in my name...I could stand by no more.The Coven's potential power was too great for me to ignore; with their presence shifting the balance of that Earth- that oh-so-unique Earth- so completely, I
had to take action...
"Typical..." Liz Sherman, pyrokinetic agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence, muttered as she stared at her hand, flexing her fingers as she worked to keep her fire active without overdoing it. "Start a relationship with a guy, and what does he do? He starts hanging out with his new
friends and taking you for granted..."
"I hardly think Red takes you for granted, Liz; he's just... enthusiastic about the new opportunity the Coven presents him," Abe put in from where he was drifting in his tank, casually studying some of the books before him as he did so. "After all, he said himself that they're mostly independent; just because he enjoys not having to worry about the bureaucracy we deal with here doesn't mean he doesn't still want
to be here..."
"Tell me about it," John Myer's voice suddenly added to the conversation, the young agent walking into the room with a grim expression on his face and various files in his hands. "Just once, I'd like to deal with a case where we didn't
have to fill out a mass of paperwork afterwards about what kind of demon or ritual we interrupted; how do people even come up
with some of these definitions?"
"Classification of supernatural excursion varies depending on such factors as nature of our alert about it- prophecy or a simple point of concern-, the circumstances of its awakening- deliberate or unintentional-, the nature of the-" Abe began.
"Rhetorical question, Abe," Liz interjected, smiling slightly as she looked over at her blue-skinned aquatic teammate before looking back at John; the young agent might still have some rough edges- and the awkwardness of their brief few days of 'not-quite-dating' made any kind of friendship difficult-, but they were making good progress to a certain friendship for all that.
"Anyway," John said, his attention turning back to the files in front of him, "Manning asked me to bring you these; he wants us all to-"
Further conversation ceased being practical when the door to the room suddenly flew through the air, narrowly missing Liz and John as John saw it coming and pulled Liz down to the floor with him. As the door hit the ground, Abe began to swim for the exit for his tank, the two other BPRD agents getting to their feet just in time to see a large figure with rock-like skin standing in the door with a grim smirk on its face.
Even as Liz raised an arm to launch a fireball at the new arrival, she knew that the attack wasn't going to do any damage; the only question right now was whether the three of them would be able to hold their attacker off long enough for them to figure out what would
And so, with the Coven having been kept... otherwise occupied... thanks to my little Gathering of psychotics drawing their attention away from me as I gathered my team, the time was right to strike.With the Charmed Ones unprepared for an assault on this scale after their narrow defeat of Cole Turner's darker half, the Slayer army still more focused on gathering other Slayers rather than fighting off an assault of the type that I plan to unleash, the BPRD used to foes that have left more signs of planning and preparation than I have...Only the Coven, with their ability to teleport to any location almost the moment they become aware of danger... the Coven, who channel the power of evil to fight the creatures who made them what they are... the Coven, whose abhorrence of what they have become or done drives them to destroy everything that reminds them of their past sins...Only they could have truly defeated me, and I have already passed the point where my plans
could be stopped
Staring out at the flaming city before him, the screams of fear and pain from the dead and dying as good as music to his ears, Satan smiled.The world is mine
, he reflected with satisfaction.And now, it's time for the Coven to learn the extent of their failure.