Ball Room Blitz
Anita didn't know if Jean-Claude would ever forgive her. He wasn't the forgiving sort, in the circles he frequented such could and would be seen as a weakness, and he had become absolutely fascinated with the Key. She was power, an endless reservoir of it, and if there was one thing that he loved more than Anita herself it was power. Jason had teased her when he delivered the red dress. He had said if she wasn't careful she'd lose Jean-Claude to the other woman
and her rather large ass
But the Key wasn't just a huge pool of magical power, and as much as its existence stabilized the worlds and kept them separate it could also be used to bridge those worlds. Bridges were dangerous things, and could easily spiral out of control. Anita shivered at the thought of demons pouring onto her earth with the barriers down and no circle of power to contain them. Worse: demons invading Heaven en masse. She wasn't sure if it was possible, by if it was... kick starting Armageddon was not on the table.
The Key was too dangerous to be allowed to remain, and so Anita retreated to that cold place inside that numbed her to everything else. Dawn wasn't a girl, and she couldn't allow herself to think of the giant in that way. She was a mystical key. The Key. So she said her piece during the opening formalities and then retreated like a good little human servant to let the vampires hash things out. In hindsight Jean-Claude would probably realize that was his mistake; Anita never took a back seat to vampire politics, no matter how much easier it may have been.
The small woman drew the blade in her spine sheath and cut out with it before anyone could stop her or even realized what she was doing. If anyone happened to see her, it would have looked she was adjusting her hair in the warm evening air until the last second. She needed the blood to focus the spell, Valentina had been adamant about that, or anyone might become caught in it. Reviewing what she knew of magic, Anita couldn't fault the logic. With magic, it was always about the blood. To focus. To create. To call. To kill. Circles were sealed with blood. The dead fed on it. To have someone's blood was to have them.
Blood was life. Blood was power.
Even though her Executioner mental state numbed her to almost everything, made pulling a trigger and ending a life laughably easy, looking up into those blue-green eyes filled with hurt and betrayal... Anita felt something inside her crack before shattering, each sliver slicing into her emotional armor like a knife blade, and she swallowed down regret as she did what she knew had to be done.
Jean-Claude's first clue was the change of expression in the Traveler's face. Normally so calm, affably evil as his pomme once described, and reasonable the Traveler was only rivaled by perhaps the Dragon in that respect. Musette was speaking of reparations, of how he had over-stepped his bounds by summoning forth a giant (they had vanished from the world in the 1300's, no one was sure why or how) and how Jean-Claude should surrender her to the Council when the Traveler narrowed his eyes marginally before pure rage overcame his features. Jean-Claude's second clue was the scent of fresh blood. No.
The thought rang through his mind as he spun around to see the embroidered fabric of Dawn's dress darken from blood. Anita was quickly backing up and Dawn clutched at the wound with a look of confusion that quickly turned to anger and green flames ignited in those eyes that had only hours ago been twin pools of joy. It had been humbling and gratifying to see such innocent happiness, but all that was swept away by one act of violence.
Jean-Claude flew up, trying to think of a way to salvage the situation, and mentally damning Anita's need to see the worst in everyone and take it upon herself to correct the situation. He didn't get the chance, though, as riding the on the coattails of that wave of fresh blood was an overwhelming wave of power
. Stronger than the monstrous bubble of power that had manifested when the sorcerer summoned her, this wave spread out and cracked his own shields.
Looking down, he could see even Alpha lycanthropes having difficulties as they partially shifted under the metaphysical assault.
It seemed that Anita had managed to figure out how to tap the Key's power, and it now seemed so obvious, if he wasn't defending against both the constant onslaught of the Key's uncontrolled strength and the aura cutting attacks of a -how would Anita put it?- righteously pissed off Traveler he might have laughed.
It was always about the blood.
Dawn couldn't think. For a moment it seemed like the world had frozen and any second now someone was going to jump out and say, "You're on Candid Camera!"
No one jumped out. She really was bleeding, just below her belly-button, and she didn't know why. She had thought they liked her. At or least they didn't want to kill her. Mr. Zeeman was so cool, he came out and asked her all sorts of questions about her family and listened when she complained about Buffy stealing all the potential boyfriends. Jean-Claude had even given her this nifty outfit!
But so had Glory. The hell goddess had food delivered, talked to her, dressed her up in some medieval gown and then had her minions cut her open. Shallow cuts.
What Anita had done didn't feel like much more than a slightly deeper paper cut, but those stung like a bitch and could bleed a surprising amount depending on where they were. God, she was sooo stupid. Buffy was right. She couldn't be trusted to take care of herself, she was always getting in trouble, it was all she was good for. Dawn grit her teeth and felt anger bubble up. Giants were notorious for it, for throwing tantrums that could shake the earth, and she was finding it difficult ignoring her desire to Dawn, Smash!
She stood and Richard tumbled to the ground, but he would live, he was a lycanthrope, Anita on the other hand had a date with destiny. Dawn kept one hand pressed to her stomach, ignoring the howls and screams all around her, and snatched up the traitorous bitch with her free hand. Anita struggled, and Dawn grinned mercilessly as she squeezed. There was no magic added into the action: just good ole fashion Dawnie popping a few bones. Then there was a ripple of, something, dark and Dawn added her own scream to the mix as magical lashed out from the dark haired woman opening cuts all over her hand as though she had stuck it in a box of razor-blades.
Blood fell like a rain on those below her. She flung Anita away, not bothering to track the now limp body as it went soaring over trees, and held her injured hand close to her chest.
Soft words whispered on the wind followed by a childlike giggle chilled her to the bone. "Let the transposition be complete."
Dawn screamed as invisible flames licked at her skin, and the world was filled with white lightning and the sound of thunder.
Hope liked to think of herself as a strength mage. She spent most of her high school years daydreaming about being powerful, being strong enough to do more than float pencils and cast a glamor or two, so when that voice whispered in her ear asking if she was ready to be strong she answered with a resounding yes. The power it had given her wasn't what she hoped. The voice had not been Gaia answering her prayers. Instead of being able to use magic to keep the bullies from noticing the little freak goth and bothering her, she had gained the ability to toss them across the room and be labeled even more
of a freak.
She had been running from a group of brassed off football players when Dawn had found her, grabbed her hand, and together they ducked into the shadows and pooled their abilities to cast the best notice-me-not spell since the Altantians went into hiding.
Hope owed Dawn. She owed the girl and the other people at Slayer HQ that didn't try to make her fight when she didn't want to; that gave her training and purpose. So she was going to help, going to find their giant friend and bring her home. Though she was a little freaked out when the location spell they were running suddenly expanded and began throwing off jets of what looked like electricity. "MR. HARRIS!!!" Hope screamed as she placed her hands around the glowing blue light of the shield which Dawn's pendent floated within and gave a mystical shove. It didn't help much. "MS. ROSENBERG!!"
She felt the Red Witch before she saw her. Willow came floating in, hair in disarray, and Hope squashed down a bubble of jealously at how easy the woman made magic look. Most witches could go their whole lives and never even dream of reaching her level of magical strength. "What's happening?!"
Willow squinted at the bubble of magic and reached in with her own magic. "Monkey brains and whale fat!" The stronger witch hissed as her eyes bled to black. At least her hair was still that bright and shiny shade of blood. "Something is wrong with Dawn. She's in trouble. I can't get a stable lock."
Running footsteps echoed down the hallway and Hope whipped her head around to see Xander bust in through the door while pulling on a leather coat. Travel gear. "What's the situation, Wills?"
"Dawn's panicking. I can't, crap!" Lightning lanced out and struck the wall, leaving a particular green goo. Hope felt the hairs on her arms stand up as she surrendered the spell over to the stronger witch and backed up. "Maybe... okay... should work... Xander! Get the girls. I'm going to try to piggy-back the signal, get your team together. We don't have much time and only one chance at this."
Hope picked up the backpack filled with extra clothing and weapons. They didn't know where the hell they were going, so it was best to be prepared. Like boy scouts, only they were girls, you know, just without the cookies. The slayer-witch took a deep breath and prayed that her friend was okay.
Musette briefly wondered if she had been a mite bit hasty in her decision to banish the Key. It was important to get such a strong game altering piece off the board, yes, but she had not expected such an outcome. Intellectually she knew that the Key was powerful, it was why she needed to be rid of it, but having that strength demonstrated was another thing entirely.
The blonde snarled as she tossed another shifter aside and hissed as claws raked across her back. How dare they strike her! "I'll rip the flesh from your bones!" She screamed, produced a wickedly sharp knife from between her breasts, and continued her defense. It was like everyone was losing their minds.
Richard snarled as his beast rose to the forefront. It thrashed beneath his skin, crying for vengeance as his eyes locked on the glowing-green blood dripping from the girl. His eyes drifted up and he saw clouds fill the sky. Someone slammed into him, a wolf but not one of his, and he ripped his attention to the present and the growing battle as his hands transformed into claws.
Valentina clapped her hands happily at the growing battlefield. The Key was flickering, and within seconds she was gone with the slightest pop of magic. But the battle raged. Multiple factions faced each other: Jean-Claude's people against Musette's and the Traveler's. It was a three way battle that continued into a mass of confusion and blood.
Peaking from behind a lace fan, the child vampire smiled happily as she witnessed the Traveler fly to meet Jean-Claude in a sky-battle. It was like something out of legends! She pounced on a kitty with a glee filled squeal.
Damien screamed as he felt Anita crash through a tree. She was dying. He could feel her heart flutter like a dying moth in his mouth. Her pain was his pain. His sword was drawn as he fought to make his way to her, not that he was sure of what he could possibly do for his mistress, but he had to try. His sword sliced through a leopard and a rat. He kicked in the head of a wolf and then screamed as a struggle with Belle's petite morte caused him to fall backwards but he turned it into a roll.
The both of them came up standing in a pool of blood. Her blood. It had come down in a rain when Anita lashed out with power, something even Jean-Claude could not do, and was now soaking in through his clothing to his skin. Valentina sputtered before spinning around, and she was fast
for a child. Damien didn't have time for fighting with her. He moved back, but then his skin started itching, and they both yelled as their bodies became covered in green fire.
The Viking went to his knees in supplication, eyes rolling around in fear and pain, and he saw the storm filled sky open up. The last coherent thought he managed before blacking out was an incredulous, "Odin?"
"Fuck! Did we land in the middle of Ren-Fair for the insane?"
The sound of meat tearing, people crying, and flesh burning filled the clearing. "Who cares?!"
"Die motherfuckers!" A busty brunette yelled as she materialized and plunged into the fray.
"PRUDENCE! STAND THE FUCK DOWN!!" A male voice shouted.
Bullets rang out, silver laced, and several lycanthropes hit the ground in pain and blood.
"SHIT! Sir, they're cheating! They got fire arms!" Another female voice whined.
There was sonic boom, a gust of air pressure that floored everyone but those in the epicenter of the blast, and a one-eyed man glared around at the combatants as a group of women formed up around him with naked swords and in one case a battle axe. Silence reigned. The man sighed and ran a hand through his hair as he looked around. "I don't see Dawn." He frowned, and as he glared at the gathered vampires, lycanthropes, and various other supernatural beasties the look promised pain, and lots of it.
As he surveyed the land, one of his entourage who had braided blue hair pulled out what looked like a large bit of melted glass set in silver and started muttering over it. "Sir? She's gone. She ain't on this plane anymore."
The wail of police sirens began to grow steadily louder, preternatural beings began eying each other with worry, and the one eyed man increased his glaring and marched up to a blood covered Asher. "Where the FUCK is my giant?!"
Dawn sniffled as the burning feeling died down. It had faded to a distant prickle, but more than the physical pain that had momentarily immobilized her the ache of betrayal cut even deeper. As she pushed herself off the ground and several crushed trees she sneezed and sighed. It was cold and damp. She felt tired, numbed to everything, and her dress was ruined. Her hand still stung, though looking down at her stomach she was surprised to see that while the fabric still bore the marks of battle her skin was fully healed. Huh. Magic was funky like that.
She started ripping strips from the bottom of skirt with a little regret so she could bandage her hand, which was still bleeding, and looked around. Fog. Green-grey mountains. Chill. It all looked vaguely familiar.
"Oh. Shit." She used her good hand to rub at her forehead and the oncoming headache. She knew, instinctively, where she was. "Scotland. Bloody Scotland."
She wished she was back in St. Louis. At least they had nice weather.
And she could so hear Buffy yelling at her in that big sister voice saying, 'I told you so!' Well, she had to face the music sometime, right?