Disclaimer: Do not own or claim rights to BtVS or SG1
A/N: Stuck with Whispers of Willow (again!) and so decided to begin posting this. I started writing this some time ago, but it's not finished yet. Yet another story that I'm picking at.~~~~~
“Hey, babe, how're you feeling?” Xander asked as her wrapped his arms around his wife's waist.
“Ugh. Feeling like I just got my arse handed to me?” Gwen groaned.
“No making out on the gym floor,” Buffy warned, smiling slightly. “And put this away, will you?” she added, handing over the Scythe.
Without a conscious thought, Gwen took the Scythe in one hand. And she and Xander promptly disappeared.~~~~~
Spike checked his piece of paper one more time, and finally dialled the number. He leaned back against the wall, thinking about the task he had assigned himself, that he was finally on the verge of completing.
“ISC,” the receptionist chirped. “How may I direct your call?”
“I want the Niblet. Dawnie,” he clarified.
“Would that be Miss Summers?” the woman asked. “And who may I say is calling?”
“Spike. She knows me,” he added, wondering just how may people were involved in this new version of the Council.
“One moment,” she chirped as she put him on hold. When Dawn answered, the woman went on. “Miss Summers, I have Master Spike on the line. Are you available for his call?”
“Spike,” Dawn squealed. “Yes, definitely! Put him through.”
“Pet,” Spike smiled once he was connected. “How's things in the bright and shiny new Council?”
“Good. Busy. How are you? We heard about LA, but then you just dropped off the map. What happened?”
“You heard about that, did you?” He sighed. “I'm the last one,” he went on softly. “Wes took out Vail, but it was a pyrrhic victory. Gunn was dying even as we started fighting in the alley. He did good, though. Took some out even then. Peaches... Angel
... He... I saw him … dust.”
“Oh, Spike,” Dawn moaned softly.
Spike cleared his throat. “'Lyrie, you knew about her? Did you know how Blue...”
“We heard,” she nodded.
“She was mourning Wes when she joined us. Didn't even know what it was, why she felt so ...” He cleared his throat again. “She saw Gunn fall, saw Sire dust, and I think it was finally too much. We'd taken some of her power, 'cause she was unstable, but I think she must have got some back again. Whatever. She was … upset … mad … I don't know. She finally just stood there, stared them down, and said she had had enough of the 'muck that was trying to destroy her world.' Of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. She would not be defeated. Then there was a flash, and the alley was empty. Just me and Gunn … Gunn's body.”
Dawn blinked. “Just like that?”
“She was a god, Pet. More even than Glory, 'cause she wasn't insane, wasn't bound to a mortal. She used a shell, but it was all her.”
Dawn sat in silence for a moment, sharing the vampire's pain. “So what now?” she asked eventually.
“I got Wes and Gunn. Couldn't leave them like that. Had them cremated. Wouldn't allow anything to happen to their bodies, not after all they had done.”
“We offer that as our first option to all who fall,” Dawn nodded.
“Anyway, I couldn't just put them anywhere. There was nowhere suitable in LA, Sunnydale wasn't any good. Then I heard you had a Memorial Garden here in Cleveland.”
“Oh, Spike. Of course they can rest here.”
“Do you have our address?”
“Yeah,” he nodded, fingering the piece of paper.
“Come straight in. I'll let the Gate know you're on your way.”
“Thanks, Pet. 'Preciate this.”~~~~~
“How are you feeling, Danny?” Jack asked his friend when he woke.
“Like I was just tortured to almost death with a hand device? Oh, wait, I was,” he added sourly.
“Did she say anything? Like her deviously unbeatable plans for us?”
“Oh, just the usual: parlour games before Uncle Apophis comes to visit.”
Jack sat back against the wall. They were locked up nice and tight in the latest Gou'ald's Ha'tak, and Carter hadn't figured a way out yet. He couldn't physically break the doors down, and neither could Teal'c. At least they were all together for the moment. He wasn't so sunk in his reverie that he didn't hear the sudden shouting from just down the hall. A foul-mouthed and somewhat familiar female voice, accompanied, it appeared, by a male voice.
“Fucking hell!” shouted the woman.
“What the hell?” was the man's simultaneous cry.
SG1 moved to the front of the cell, and tried to look through the bars down the hall. “Hey!” Jack called out. “What were their names?'” he muttered.
Light footsteps approached, and as soon as the couple were in view, Jack remembered where he had met them.
“Um, Gwen, isn't it?” Daniel asked, excitedly. “And Xander? Harris, right?”
The one-eyed man rolled said eye, while his wife scowled at them. “That would be bloody right,” she growled, before turning to the man. “I ever even think
of the possibility of maybe ever touching that thing again, I want you to hit me. Hard.”
“How did you get here?” Carter wondered.
“How do you bloody think? I touched the God-damned Scythe. Stupid bloody thing!” she grumbled as she looked at the cell lock.
“That's it. Less time with the G-man.”
She looked back to Xander, smirking. “I'm Australian. 'Bloody' is not Anglo-specific.” She turned back to the Stargate team. “Stand back from the door,” she warned as she hefted the long weapon.
Xander winced as he watched her bring it down on the locking mechanism. “I hope to God Buffy never sees you do that.”
“It's supposed to be nigh-on indestructible. What would you have me use? Besides, it worked, and the Scythe is fine. So,” she went on, turning to the team, “what nouveau riche villain are we facing today?”
“Just some minor System Lord,” Jack dismissed. “We just need to grab our packs, then we'll be on our way.”
“Fine,” Xander agreed. “Any idea where they'll be?”
“Same place they always are,” Jack grinned, leading the way to their possessions. “These guys aren't exactly the most inventive of thinkers.”
“Do I get to kill it?”
“The snake-head? Only if she gets in our way.”
“And I can pick her how?”
“She'll be the skank surrounded by the big guys in armour, with staff weapons,” Jack smirked. “Besides, given your reaction to T here, I'm pretty sure you'll know exactly who she is,” he added, opening the door to the storage area.
Once the team had their weapons and packs suitably settled, Gwen went on. “Decapitation work?”
“Er, I guess so. But she'll possibly have a personal shield.”
“What about the guards?” Xander wanted to know.
“Plate armour and staff weapons,” Jack advised. “If you can get inside their range, they'll switch to using their staves like, well, staves.”
Xander looked to Teal'c. “Weak points in the armour?”
“Jaffa armour generally involves a head-piece, collar, breastplate and back-piece, along with arm pieces and leg pieces,” the large man intoned.
“They may also have a form of chain mail. I have not seen such on these guards,” Teal'c explained.
“So there's lots of ways to kill these guys, then?”
“If you have the skill,” he conceded.
Xander nodded thoughtfully.
Gwen stopped and let her eyelids droop, and seemed to listen for something before jerking her head up and opening her eyes. “That way,” she pointed up and to the right with the Scythe.
“What for?” Jack asked, puzzled.
“The snake-head.” She shook her head as she began walking again. “Not liking this. There's Jaffa everywhere, but I'm not going to be able to warn you when some are coming up because I don't know where the walls and halls are.”
“Not much of a problem,” Jack smiled. “They stomp around at Parade pace and make a hell of a lot of noise doing it. We should hear them coming.”
Gwen and Xander looked at him doubtfully. “Seriously?” Xander asked. “These are the big bads?”
Jack shrugged. “Don't get me wrong, they are a formidable enemy under the right circumstances. They just don't think about being quiet on their own home turf.”
“I guess they're not expecting you guys to break out,” Xander offered.
“And yet we do it so very often,” Jack shook his head.
“So how do we get out of here?” Gwen asked suddenly.
“Rings,” Sam answered. “Point-to-point matter transportation. We'll arrive in the temple structure that the vessel is parked on. Then we can just walk out, head out to the Gate.
Gwen gave the other woman a sidelong glance. “Quantum Physics?”
Sam smiled. “It works on a similar principal to the Gate itself, but in a different presentation. We stand within the circle, the rings pop up, we port down to the temple. Usually, you'd port to another set of rings, but here we just go straight down.”
“And then we just … walk?”
“Follow the yellow brick road,” Jack nodded. “Except there's no bricks. More of a trail.”~~~~~
“Honestly, are they always like that?” Xander asked, astonished.
“Um, yeah. Pretty much. Don't get me wrong, they are a force to be reckoned with, but it's their arrogance. Gets them every time.”
“Yeah, but first we escape, then we run into a couple of patrols, obviously we're escaping, and they don't even guard the other side of the ring?”
“Like I said: arrogance. They figured we would never make it past the guards inside. They will have patrols outside, though, plus they'll probably launch the Death Gliders. And the Gate will be guarded – no getting around that.”
“Fun,” Xander commented sourly.
“Okay, people, let's move out,” Jack commanded. Teal'c moved out first, followed by Daniel, Sam, Xander and Gwen, and Jack trailed behind them. ~~~~~
Xander glanced over to Sam. “Is this a good time to mention that I never really got into the nature thing?” he asked, smiling slightly.
“Just don't mention the trees,” she smirked. When Xander raised his eyebrows, she went on. “It's something that Colonel O'Neill mentions. Frequently.”
“Ah,” Xander murmured. “But they're so very … tree-like!”
“Oh, god,” Sam muttered.
“You've got your version, I've got mine,” Gwen nodded. “I'm surprised you haven't developed a tolerance yet,” she added, raising an eyebrow.
“I have sufficient tolerance for one,” Sam shrugged. “The thought of two of them?” She shuddered.
Gwen considered that. “Ah. But you're in a male dominated society. Our society tends to be female dominated. And, for some reason, there's a lot of PMS. I sometimes wonder just how much is real, and how much is simulated for effect.”
“They would do that?” Sam queried doubtfully.
“A certain amount is to be expected. But cranky slayers get chocolate, so...”
“So certain behaviours are rewarded, hence the possibility that some are, at least unconsciously, an affectation?”
“Either that, or slayers are at the shallow end of the gene pool when it comes to menstrual side effects.”
Sam reached over and patted Xander's shoulder.
Xander grinned. “Actually, we don't spend a lot of time at Slayer Central. Gwen and I form one of the Hunter teams, so we're all over the place, just the two of us. Sometimes we hook up with Faith and Dawn, they're the Alpha Hunter team, and either hunt or party, whatever.”
“How many Hunt teams are there?” Sam asked.
“Three. Gwen and I are the Gamma team.”
“So you meet up with the Beta team as well?”
Slightly ahead of them, Gwen snorted, while Xander chuckled. “Uh, that would be a 'no'. Okay. Faith was the first one out on her own, 'cause she just couldn't see the point of her being in a five-unit team. It would bring too much prestige to the team, or we would be cycling slayers through the team, and she just didn't want the hassle. So she grabbed Dawn, and announced that they were the Alpha Hunter team, and that was that. They pretty much stay around Dawn's college during the school year, and launch out on bigger hunts in the holidays. The Beta team is a slayer called Kennedy and an old-school watcher who survived the First's attack, back in '03. Kennedy... Well, she used to be in a relationship with Willow, but things happened, and, well, she's very...”
“Bitchy,” the muttered word floated back to them. “Arrogant. Pain in the arse.”
“Uh, yeah,” Xander grinned. “She and Gwen don't get on. And she is all that. First we were begged to remove her from three teams, then five separate watchers quit on her, and we don't have that many watchers. Finally we hooked her up with Simpkins, who is way old-school, and, for some obscene reason, they actually work. She's based out of Europe, travels a lot. She and Gwen had some spectacular fights before Ken was shipped out to Europe. I think she's actually happy, now. She comes from money, old money as far as America is concerned, and Europe is just her style.”
“And you and Gwen were simply the third team formed?” Sam prompted.
“Yep,” Xander nodded. “Gwen was in a team, but she wasn't really clicking, I guess. Then we got engaged, and there were concerns that she would be shown favour because of her relationship with a member of the Board, or that the team would be unfairly favoured, or whatever. So we formed a new Hunter team, and we range all over North America. And down time with Faith and Dawn is always fun,” he added, grinning.
“So what's it like working in a predominantly female society?” Daniel asked.
Xander frowned in thought. “It's not just that the Council is 'predominantly female,'” he considered, “but that they're just about all super-powered. There's roughly a hundred fifty Slayers like Gwen, and then there's the witches, well over half of which are female. Um… There are more male Watchers than female, but we're all just normals,” he shrugged. “No super powers for the Xan-man,” he smirked.
“You have been fighting supernatural creatures since high school, and are the sole back-up for a Slayer. There has to be something special about you,” Sam protested.
“Apart from a propensity for possession, and a scent apparently reminiscent of demonic catnip?” Xander proposed. “Not so much.”
Sam opened her mouth to argue, but noticed Gwen shake her head disgustedly. Maybe it was an old argument between them. She decided to let it lie for now.~~~~~
Spike arrived at the front gate of the Sineya School for the Gifted, and looked around. The Slayers at the gate looked unusually tense and watchful. Cautiously, he knocked on the gate, and stepped back, waiting for the young women to open up for him, but instead, they pulled out weapons, and glared at him.
“Seriously, vampire?” the darker brunette asked. “You're seriously trying to get in to Slayer Central?”
Spike cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. “Seems to me someone's out o' the loop,” he suggested smoothly. “Maybe you should talk to the Bit. Dawn Summers, that is. Any of the Scoobies, really,” he added shrugging. “They all know me, but Niblet's the one I was talking to last night.”
“Right,” the lighter brunette drawled. “Watcher Summers would be talking to a vampire. Instead of, say, staking it. 'Cause Slayer Faith would even let one near her,” she added derisively.
“Bloody hell,” Spike snorted. “What are they teaching you lot these days. Name's Spike, William the Bloody for those who care, which I don't particularly. I looked after 'Watcher' Summers when she was a wee brat, stayed with the whelp, even. And what do you call him, hey? 'Carpenter' Harris? And what about the Watcher? 'God Almighty'? Call Dawn,” he reiterated crossly.
“No,” the fairer Slayer decided. “Step away from the gate before we decide to take matters into our own hands, and dust you ourselves.”
Spike snorted. “Like you could, ducks. Tell you what,” he added, smirking as he pulled a cell phone from his pocket, “I'll call her myself.” He waited for the call to be answered by a distracted-sounding young woman. “Hey there, Niblet. What shite are you teaching your Slayers these days?” he demanded.
“Uh, what are you talking about?” Dawn asked, distracted.
“I'm standing here, at your front gate,” Spike growled, “and the idiot Slayers you got here don't even know who William the Bloody is, let alone the fact that I know you lot.”
Dawn made a frustrated sound. “I'll be right down there. I'm so sorry, Spike, but we've had this sudden problem with Xander and Gwen – that's Xander's wife, but I don't know if you know her – and I haven't even gotten around to telling anyone what happened, or that you're coming, or why. I'll just grab Faith and tell her on the way.” With that, she disconnected the call.
Spike smirked at the guards at the gate. “Shouldn't be too long, ducks,” he nodded.