11.The Finn Residence, Buffy’s Bedroom.
“Am I being punished, Will?” Buffy sniffed, she’d mostly stopped crying now and was sitting on her bed propped up by a pile of pillows.
“No sweetie,” Willow reassured her as she sat on the bed holding Buffy’s hand, “why would you be being punished?”
“For all the bad things I did to Faith,” Buffy covered her eyes with her free hand as if she was ashamed to look at her best friend, “for not killing Angel when I should have, for…”
“Hey!” Willow shook Buffy’s hand to get her attention, “Look at me Buffy,” Willow urged her friend, “look at the woman who tried to destroy the world, compared to that your screw ups were nothing!”
“Darn-it Will,” Buffy forced a smile, “you’re always gonna win with that one.”
“Darn-tootin’,” Willow agreed with a firm nod of the head, “everything we did back then, every time we screwed up, well…”
“Well?” Buffy looked expectantly at Willow hoping that her friend would come up with something that would assuage her guilt.
“Well…” Willow frowned, “…well, we were stupid teenagers back then. Y’know teenagers not known for making the right choices an’-and Giles didn’t always help…and there was Xander always moping around you or dating demons or worse yet Cordelia!” Willow took a quick breath and carried on talking before Buffy had a chance to interrupt. “And there I was playing the big powerful witch when I was just a silly little girl and…and…”
“Okay Will I think you’ve made your point,” Buffy took a tissue from the box on her night stand and dabbed at her eyes before blowing her nose.
“No, the point I’m trying to make is…” Willow sighed sadly as she remembered all the mistakes she’d made back in Sunnydale. “We did what we thought was the right thing and sometimes we were wrong…”
“I could have been nicer to Faith…” Buffy admitted as she thought of the woman down stairs who would fight to the death to protect her, “…I could have been more welcoming, less…jealous.” Buffy laughed bitterly, “God! When you think of what we know about Faith’s past now and I was jealous of her!?”
“That’s what I mean,” Willow tried to explain, “we didn’t know, how could we have guessed, Faith didn’t exactly open up to any of us…well, she opened up to Xander but not in a verbal way. She could have come clean and opened up to all of us and there I go with the sexual innuendo again but I wasn’t that nice to her either it wasn’t until I met Kennedy that I realised my true feelings for Faith and then when…”
“Breathe girl,” Buffy gave her friend a genuine smile, “But you’re making up for it now, Will.”
“Yeah, I suppose so,” Willow hung her head feeling a little ashamed of herself; she’d come up here to comfort her friend and all they seemed to be doing was talking about Faith.
“We’ve got to tell her the truth,” Buffy said quietly.
“What!?” Willow squeaked, “But that would be bad Buffy…it would totally destroy her…”
Willow stopped talking and engaged her brain; she had to decide whether it was her own selfish self interest that was stopping her telling Faith about her past or the concern she felt for the woman she loved. There was also her fear that everyone she loved would end up going to prison if Faith remembered her past.
“No,” Willow said after a moment or twos thought, “you’re right we must tell her everything…”
“Then if she wants you can use your spell and rewrite history,” Buffy pointed out quietly, “and Will?”
“Yeah,” Willow nodded her head slowly; there was absolutely no-way she was going to tell Faith anything because after she’d cast the spell she wouldn’t need to Buffy just needed a little reassurance for now.
“If you do,” Buffy looked down at her belly, “could you make it so that none of this ever happened?”
“I’m not sure I can,” Willow admitted before realising that that wasn’t what Buffy wanted to hear right now, “I’ll try.” Willow reached for a tissue to wipe her own eyes, “I’m not being a very good friend, I came up here to make you feel better and all we’ve done is talk about me and Faith.”
“It’s helped, Will,” Buffy smiled, “for a moment there I stopped worrying about Riley…”
“A whole moment?” Willow asked.
“Look,” Buffy pushed herself up and started to swing her legs off the bed, “I’m the wife of a soldier I’ve got to get used to this kinda stuff,” she took a deep breath, “Riley’s good at what he does and he wouldn’t want me trying to stop him doing what he loves; its like if he tried to stop me being a slayer. I’ll just have to…” Buffy searched for the right words, “…well,” she shrugged, “soldier on!”0=0=0=0A Motel in Grandview.
“Everything is in place, Your Holiness,” General Chestikoff announced as he walked into Amy’s room.
“Good,” Amy smiled happily; very soon now she’d be able to leave this dead and alive dump and go somewhere nice, she’d always had a hankering to visit Hawaii.
“The house of the Whore of Satan, is surrounded,” Chestikoff smiled, “there will be no escape for her or her friends.”
“No…no, of course not,” Amy frowned; there was just a little nagging fragment of conscience left stabbing at the back of her mind.
“Something is wrong Your Holiness?” Chestikoff asked his face full of concern.
“The child,” Amy looked at her general, “tell me again what happens to the child.”
“As I explained…” Chestikoff began but was interrupted by Amy.
“Then explain it again,” Amy ordered.
“The teams now surrounding the house will attack drawing the defenders attention to the action outside the house,” Chestikoff explained. “Then, once all their attention is focused on the danger from without, you, Your Holiness, will open a portal inside the house. This will allow our killer squad to enter the building.” Chestikoff eyed his Saint warily, she seemed distracted but he continued outlining the plan. “While the Killer Squad kills all The Whore’s friends and defenders, the Medical team will subdue the slayer and remove the devil spawn from her belly and kill it leaving the slayer alive…”
“No,” Amy said firmly.
“No, Your Holiness?” Chestikoff asked truly puzzled.
“The child is an innocent in all this…” Amy began but this time the General interrupted her.
“But, Your Holiness,” he began, “you yourself said that the child was The Spawn of Satan and had to be destroyed. You said that if it was allowed to grow up it would become the Anti-Christ and bring about the final apocalypse.”
Yes, Amy told herself she had in fact said that. In fact she’d gone to some lengths to plant that ‘Medieval Manuscript’ in the British Library just where Rupert Giles would find it. The old watcher had always been open to doubt and a good prophecy. He could normally be relied upon to ere on the side of caution; as long as he was convinced of the rightness of his cause he could be relied on to kill the child if the Knights failed to do so. But obviously this time her plan had failed. It was of no matter, like she’d told herself sometimes subtlety didn’t work where brute force and ignorance did.
“I was wrong,” Amy said simply; she did however notice the look of doubt on Chestikoff’s face, she needed to give him an explanation, “after much thought and prayer God told me that I was to save the child from its mother and bring it up in god’s light.”
“But, Your Holiness…” Chestikoff fidgeted as he tried to come to grips with his new orders; somehow they didn’t seem right.
“Are you questioning me, General?” Amy asked menacingly, “More importantly are you questioning god’s will?”
“No, Your Holiness, but…” Chestikoff struggled with the new thoughts that were entering his mind.
Was Saint Amy of Madison really the Lord’s servant or was she just one of Satan’s witches sent to deflect the Knights from their true path? He didn’t know, he would have to pray on this, if it turned out that Her Holiness was in the service of Satan he could soon kill her and put things aright.
“No buts, General,” Amy stood up and gave her General her most imperious look, “the plan remains the same except that the child lives and is brought to me, is that understood?”
“Yes, Your Holiness,” Chestikoff bowed.
“Then go and start the operation,” Amy ordered.
Watching Chestikoff leave her room, Amy frowned thinking she might have gone just a little too far, but… But she couldn’t bring herself to kill a baby, Buffy believing that her child was dead would fore fill the client’s needs. Once again Amy wondered who the client was, she’d made some discreet enquiries and discovered that Ethan Rayne was a mere shadow of his former self. What was more he was now in the hands of the New York Slayers. So, Rayne couldn’t be the client. However there were still half a hundred demons and humans rich enough to pay for her services.
Frowning even harder than before, Amy wandered over to the window and looked outside. This all felt personal to her, whoever the client was he or she had a personal grudge against Buffy Summers. Running through a list of people in her mind (a list that included herself) Amy came to the conclusion that there was only one person left alive that might want something like this set up. The clue was that ‘he’ (Amy was now almost certain that the client was a ‘he’) wanted Buffy alive but broken so that… Amy smiled, moments later her smile turned into a laugh.
“Xander Harris!” she chuckled, “This is soooo him!”
Not satisfied with using her to put a love spell on Cordelia, he’d called up a song and dance demon to see if his affair with Anya would end, ‘happily ever after’. Idly Amy wondered how many people that spell had killed. Yes, Xander Harris who’d always wanted to get into Buffy’s pants and she’d always turned him down for the first fang-some guy that wandered by. That had to make him bitter.
Plus she’d been paid in uncut diamonds; hadn’t Harris been sent to Africa? It was totally within the realms of possibility that he’d picked some up while he was out there not realising that he probably wouldn’t be able to sell them once he got back to the States. Another thing that made her suspicious that Harris was behind all this was that he seemed to have vanished off the face of the world. When she’d first accepted the commission she’d had her agents trace all the people who were close to Buffy Summers. Xander Harris hadn’t even come up on their radar.
Turning away from the window, Amy tried not to frown, it caused lines around the eyes and mouth. Harris was just the sort that would want to be in at the kill and ruin everything. As she’d noted to herself before the client was a ‘gloater’. He’d want to see his one time friends die. He’d want to appear to Buffy as her only hope, as her saviour. For a minute Amy considered calling the entire operation off. But that might just push Chestikoff over the edge and he might come after her. No, she wouldn’t call things off she’d deal with Harris herself. He’d tried to blackmail her to do that love spell and hadn’t all the Scoobies left her hanging in the wind to deal with her growing magic addiction by herself?
Walking over to a closet, Amy removed a shoulder bag; checking the contents she saw several powerful magic items, with these she felt confident about challenging Willow Rosenberg’s magic. Placing the bag over her shoulder, Amy opened another closet and removed a machine-pistol and half a dozen spare magazines.
“Just in case,” she told herself before heading for the door.0=0=0=0The Finn Residence, early afternoon.
“Tea?” Giles asked as he looked over his shoulder to see Faith walk into the kitchen.
“No…no thanks,” Faith went to look out of the back door window, something was making her feel uneasy.
“What’s wrong?” Giles asked as he sipped his tea; he studied Faith for a moment or two, she’d certainly changed from when he’d first known her, a great improvement he thought.
“You said you could shoot, right?” Faith turned to face Giles making him start slightly.
“Y-yes,” Giles nodded, “but I’m a little rusty, why?”
“I think it’s time for that refresher course,” Faith moved quickly across the kitchen, opened the cupboard above the working surface next to he oven and pulled out an automatic pistol and a couple of spare magazines.
“Load like this,” Faith ejected the magazine already in the weapon and then slammed it back in before hauling back on the slide, “safety on,” she pointed to the safety catch, “and off…you’ve got fourteen rounds before you need to reload an’ you’ve got two spare mags,” she pressed the pistol and magazines into Giles’ hand.
“W-what’s going on?” Giles demanded as he tried to juggle his tea cup, pistol and spare magazines in his hands; the tea cup lost out and fell to the floor with a crash.
“They’re out there,” Faith announced as she pulled her own weapon from its holster and loaded the first round.
“Who?” Giles now had the spare mags in the pocket of the cardigan he was wearing and he held the pistol uncertainly in his hand.
“Whoever’s after Mrs F and everyone,” Faith glanced out the window; her ambush cramps were churning in her stomach and she thought she’d seen something move in the woods that came up to the edge of the garden.
“Right!” Giles looked at Faith, “What do we do?”
“You go upstairs an’ get Willow and Mrs F down into the basement, the walls are concrete down there and there’s only two entrances. Keep them down there until this is all over.”
“What are you going to do?” Giles asked as he followed Faith towards the stairs leading up to the bedrooms.
“Me?” Faith laughed as she ran up the stairs, “I’m gonna kill the bastards…now MOVE IT SOLDIER!”
Galvanised into action Giles made best speed up the stairs and towards Buffy’s bedroom.
Bursting into her and Willow’s room, Faith got down on her knees and pulled her weapons bag from under the bed. Quickly she pulled out her trusty Assault Shotgun and slapped a ten round magazine into its receiver. After cocking the weapon she laid it on the bed and put on the equipment harness she had stashed in the bag. Checking the spare magazines for her shotgun and the spares for the .45 pistol she carried, Faith stood up just as she heard the flat *BANG!* of a grenade going off down stairs.
Rushing out onto the landing she found Buffy, Giles and Willow huddled to one side of the corridor next to the stairs.
“Wait here,” Faith ordered as she started down the stairs.
Coming out into the hall next to the front door, Faith was just in time to catch a glimpse of two ninjas through the window as they ran towards the door. Waiting for a breath, Faith fired her shotgun when she guessed the ninjas would be in line with the door. Her shot blew a huge hole through the door and there was a scream from outside followed by a burst of automatic fire. The rounds passed through the space that Faith had been occupying moments before to impact the wall. A grenade was tossed through the hole in the door, it exploded spraying lethal shrapnel across the hallway and through the wooden walls.
Lying safely on the floor, Faith watched as the door was kicked open and five ninjas burst into the hall spraying the ground floor with sub-machine-gun fire. The bullets passed harmlessly over Faith’s head as she brought her AS2 to bear. Triggering the weapon, she listened to its comforting boom as the storm of ‘00’ buckshot cut the ninjas down. Once the last black clad assassin was dead, Faith was up again and moving.
Bursting back into the kitchen, Faith gunned down the two ninjas who’d gained access through the back door. Throwing herself to the ground she crawled towards the door as bullets shredded the door and walls above her head. Poking her shotgun’s barrel out the door she fired twice bringing down three more ninjas before she had to roll away and change her magazine for a full one.
Seemingly giving up on entering the house, the ninjas outside started to try and knock it down by filling it full of bullet holes. Faith grinned, that sorta thing only worked in films. Keeping her head down she crawled across the wood and glass littered floor until she got back out into the hall. There was a pause in the firing from outside, obviously the bad guys were reloading.
“You guys still up there?” Faith called.
“Yeah,” Willow’s thin, frightened voice drifted down to her from above.
“Okay, forget about the basement,” Faith shouted, “barricade yourselves in one of the bedrooms and keep your heads down!”
“What about you?” Willow wanted to know.
“I’ll be fine don’t worry about me,” Faith actually thought it was nice to have someone worry about her, “This can’t go on for much longer the cops and army’ll be here soon…”
“Okay,” Willow replied uncertainly.
Faith’s attention was dragged away from what Willow and the others were doing upstairs by the sound of many voices giving a yell and many feet running towards the house.
“Here they come,” Faith told herself softly as she prepared to fight for everyone’s life, “as black as hell and as thick as grass.”0=0=0=0