21: Runaway Bride
Note: Sorry about the length between update times. Our phone was messed up and more bad weather and I can’t get online during either time. Just so you know, I am finished with this story and have started on the 3rd one, so at the end of this one, don’t get mad at me!!!! I am fixing everything in the third one. And this one will be shorter than the first story, but again, I will make up for it in the third one. The way it is going, it could end up to be 40 chapters by the time I am done. And thanks to everyone who reviewed. I really appreciate it!!
Chapter Twenty-One: Runaway Bride
“So, this pit has more powers than just making someone immortal?” Buffy asked, incredulous. “If this thing is a natural occurrence, than how can it have so much…abilities or powers or whatever?”
“Who knows,” Giles said, rubbing the space between his eyes with thumb and forefinger. His glasses lay on top of the book he had been reading. “It could have absorbed powers from any number of sources that it has come in contact with over the years.”
“Including the black magic that Ra’s al Ghul himself has used to cause some terrible things throughout his existence,” Willow added, still flipping pages of the book she had. There were many stacked on the table between them.
Buffy began to say more when J.A.R.V.I.S. spoke up, startling them all. It was hard to get used to.
“Mrs. Wayne. Richard is no longer in the manor.”
“What?” Buffy jumped to her feet and began running at full Slayer speed up the stairs and to the boy’s room. The light was on, bed covers thrown back, but no Richard. “Where? How?”
“He was here one minute and then the other he was gone.”
“Gone? Which door did he go out of?”
“None, Mrs. Wayne. He is just gone.” Though the A.I.’s voice was flat and emotionless, it still seemed to give the impression of confusion. “Not any of the windows or doors in the manor was opened. Technically, he has not left the house, but he is no longer here.”
“Buffy!” Willow exclaimed. She took one step into the room and then backed out, running into Giles who was coming up behind her. “Do you not feel that? He was here. He was in this room.”
“Who?” Buffy snapped. Her fists were curled at her sides. She was confused, not understanding what was going on or what had happened to Richard.
“The Immortal, Buffy. Ra’s al Ghul was here.”
“He took Richard.” Buffy was going into full panic mode now. How could this happen? Marti? She had to check on Marti. Shoving her way out of the room, and none too gently, to get to her daughter’s room next door. She barged in, almost sending the door flying in her panic, and ran to the crib only to find her daughter sleeping soundly. Sighing in relief, she tiptoed out of the room, and back to Richard’s.
“Richard’s sight,” Giles stated softly. Both Willow and Buffy turned to him. “He needs Richard’s sight to find the Pit.”
“Willow, can you use a spell to find Richard?”
“Yes, I think so – “
“Then do it. If you find him, call me.”
“Wait! Where are you going?”
“To follow my senses. Keep an eye on Marti.”
Several moments after Buffy made a quick dash out of the manor, the doorbell rang. Alfred, who Willow had filled in on what had happened which had upset him greatly, answered the door.
“What’s goin’ on?” Faith asked, dropping her bag and embracing the butler. Alfred laughed, in spite of his worry over Richard, and hugged her back.
“Welcome home,” he said and it was music to her ears. She was home, wasn’t she?
“What about me?” Xander asked and Alfred hugged him as Willow and Giles greeted Faith.
It was who stepped into the doorway next that gave them all pause.
“Oh! Alfred, this is Spike. He has to be invited in,” Faith explained.
“He’s a vampire,” Alfred stated, preparing to slam the door in his face.
“A vampire with a soul,” Spike cried, throwing his hands up to ward off the door from hitting him in the face.
“Yes, a soul. Fought for it and everything. Got it fair and square,” he sniffed.
Alfred looked to Giles who nodded. Sighing, Alfred stepped out of the way. “You may enter.”
“Thank you, Al,” Spike stated, sauntering in, and immediately disappearing into the house.
“Don’t break or steal anything,” Xander yelled after him. There is no need to quote Spike’s response here.
“I’ve got something to tell Buffy. Where is she?” Faith looked from Willow to Giles and then Alfred. Something was wrong.
“That might be difficult,” Willow stated, deflated. “She just left.”
Buffy had no idea why she had left the manor, especially without a plan of action or any knowledge of where she had to go. She just knew she had to get out and do something.
She was torn between two duties, and while what Tony had told her earlier in the cave made perfect sense to her, Richard had been taken during her watch. Bruce would understand, right? He would understand why she had had to leave: she had to find the boy.
All of Stark’s glorious technology and the Immortal’s magic had undermined it. What else was the man capable of? He could have attacked them at any moment, no matter how safe they had thought they were.
This made her very angry. And he had taken Richard, a boy who was like a son to her, whom she loved like she had given birth to him herself. That totally pissed her off.
Bruce would understand, because he would have done the same thing.
As she walked, aimlessly really, waiting for Willow to call, she could not shake the feeling that came rushing at her. That feeling she had felt earlier in the cave, that she was not going to see her husband again. It was almost enough to make her turn and run back home, but Richard needed her. She had to get to him.
Her phone rang and she took it out of her pocket and put it to her ear quickly. “Will? Where – “
“No, not Will.” The Immortal.
“Where’s Richard?” Buffy asked, stopping in her tracks and looking around her. She had jumped down to the road leading from the cave, and the freeway was in sight.
“He’s here with me. He is unharmed, I assure you.” The man’s voice was smooth.
“What do you want?”
“For him to find the Lazarus Pit for me. Once that is done, I will let him go.”
“You know I can’t let you reach it,” Buffy said, willing her senses to tell her something - anything - that would help her, but they didn’t work that way.
“You won’t be able to stop me, I am afraid. But just in case you try, I have a surprise for you and this city.” Then the line went dead.
Richard could not stop himself. It was as if his feet were moving of their own accord, against his will. The Lazarus Pit was calling to him. The acidic green clouded his vision, the life of the pit whispered in his brain. It was powerful and it was controlling him.
Ra’s al Ghul had his hand on Richard’s shoulder, gentle but firm, following him through the deep, dark sewers under Gotham City. They were getting closer, Richard could feel that, and the closer they got, the more afraid he became.
Behind them came fifteen men dressed in black and carrying katanas and various other weapons from feudal Japan, members of the League of Shadows. These men Richard feared almost as much as he did Ra’s al Ghul. Behind them came several demons pulling behind them a large cylindrical tube covered in a sheet. Richard had only gotten a glance at it before it had been covered with the sheet, but he had seen the woman sealed away inside. Her name was Nora, a gentle and kind soul. She was sleeping. He had no idea what al Ghul planned to do with her and what she had to do with the Pit.
And then they were there.
The Lazarus Pit was no larger than a small pool, the water sickly green, and lighting up the cavern with its glow. Richard suddenly felt sick. The hand on his shoulder pushed him forward and the League of Shadows followed them inside and lined up along one side of the Pit. The demons came next, the tube Nora was in behind them.
“What’re you going to do with her?” Richard asked.
Ra’s al Ghul smiled gently at him, and if he didn’t know any better, Richard would have almost believed the man was not an evil man set upon destroying Gotham and the people that Richard loved. “I am going to heal her.”
“Sshhh. In time. You will see.” He nodded to his guards, who drew their weapons. “Go stand guard. Make sure we are not disturbed.” All of them disappeared down the tunnel. “Hurry. Get her into the Pit,” he then ordered the demons.
One demon, what kind Richard did not know, removed the sheet and opened the tube like object. Cold air escaped, but when Nora was lifted out, her body was limp, not frozen solid. The demon sat her down into the green liquid, careful not to let it touch him, and stepped back. His care of her had been mild, almost tender, and unpredictably so, but his fear of letting the water touch him was startling.
The water in the Pit began to bubble and churn. Richard, now free of the hand that had been gripping his shoulder, began to back away from the Pit as Ra’s al Ghul stepped forward.
Richard could see it. See what was going to come out of that Pit. Nora had gone in, but it was not going to be Nora that came back out again. The dark powers that were imbued inside of the pool were being absorbed by Nora, making her something else, something more. Something evil.
She rose from the pool, still laying prone, her eyes closed. Once she was hovering five feet over the surface, her body suddenly tilted upright and her eyes opened. For just a split second, Nora was there, frightened and confused, but she was gone, erased, in a flash, replaced by something else. Something that had been waiting in the pool.
“I am Lazara,” she proclaimed, her voice booming in the cavern. “And I call upon the dead to arise and do my bidding. Arise! And destroy this city!”