Moonlight and Madness
Buffy stood center stage at the Circus of the Damned, with Asher and Damian beside her. The tattoos on their bare chests glowed softly underneath the moonlight shining down from the center opening. Buffy smiled at her mates, they were so different from each other, but they loved her with a protective passion that was humbling.
Over three hundred vampires had packed into the Circus. Standing this close to so many vampires had Buffy's spidey sense on overload. The crowd suddenly went completely silent. Damian and Asher held her hands in reassurance. Buffy hadn't faced this many vampires since her confrontation with the First, and its legion of ancient vamps. But, these vampires were different and she saw their souls like a gleaming mist. Zierra's spirit, the Guardian's Spirit called to her.
This task needed her total concentration. There were those here who planned to betray them. Buffy could see their judgment lain out before her, but now wasn't the time to think on that. Jean-Claude moved to center stage, his power was tangible; it flavored the air. Buffy saw it floating around him like the flamboyant clothes he favored.
"Welcome, my children. We have received news the Vampire Council is heading to our fair city. They plan to replace me with Yvette, some of you have heard of her. She's the favored child of Morte De Amour
, even though she's not attained the level of Master. They're breaking our laws. They want our city and will do whatever they can to take it."
Angry snarls echoed throughout the crowd at his words. Jean-Claude played them beautifully. He waited for them to calm, before he continued speaking.
"Buffy, has come to give us the protection of the Moon Mother in exchange for our oath of fealty."
"Why would this witch care about us?" a voice shouted from the crowd.
"No one deserves to have their lives taken away on a whim. The Council created the laws and Jean-Claude has broken none. You and your city should not be punished." Buffy's voice rang out. From the corner of her eye, she saw several vampires slip out the back.
She hoped Jean-Claude was paying attention. Buffy turned to look at him. "Okay, Fang-Face its time. Roll back the tarp."
Jean-Claude motioned toward his men to remove the tarp. It rolled backward in one smooth, dramatic mechanism. Jean-Claude was ever the showman. The canvas top lay drawn back, leaving only the skeletal structure looming over them. Moonlight softly danced across the Circus, filling it with silvery light and outlining the inhabitants with its touch. He noticed Buffy's necklace and glanced at her mates matching tattoos. Something about them caused a memory to niggle in the back of Jean-Claude's mind.
Buffy stared out at the crowd as her eyes softly started to glow. She lifted her head to the moon.
"Mother, all before you swear an oath of fealty to fight in your name, to protect their home and way of life against this threat. Do you accept?"
The moonlight flared brighter as it burst over those within the Circus, rushing over them like a tidal wave. Many cried out in fear at first, and then purrs only vampires could hear replaced them.
"The Mother accepts the fealty you've sworn here today. Jean-Claude remains the Master of the City, but your fealty is not
to the Council who comes to dishonor your laws. The Mother Moon has judged them and found them wanting."
Buffy turned and walked away with her mates. Jean-Claude followed her, grabbing her by the arm to stop her from leaving. Asher growled at him, causing Jean-Claude to look at him in shock and hurt.
"Do not touch our mate, Jean-Claude," Damian said in his quiet way. "No one touches her but us."
Jean-Claude stared at the two men, towering over the tiny blonde. They looked ready to kill him for merely touching Buffy. He could understand this from Asher, but not Damian. The Viking had always remained so calm, almost passionless.
"Pardon moi, petite sorciere
, I meant no disrespect to you or your mates. I wanted to know if you had had any more visions."
"Don't worry about it JC and the answer's no. Now, if that's all, I'm tired." Buffy's voice was raspy and her mates looked on in concern.
"Richard, Anita and I wanted to let you know that we talked, and agreed to work together to get us through this situation with the Council."
Buffy nodded her head wearily at his word. Damian hurriedly picked her up and flew off with her into the night.
"Is she okay, Mon Chardonneret
?" Jean-Claude turned to his friend and ex-lover with concern in his eyes.
"She's tired, Jean-Claude. She barely sleeps and we have to force her to eat. Buffy feels responsible for ensuring you're completely damned city survives the Council. Damn you, Jean-Claude, I blame you and your hunger for power for this. If anything happens to her, I will make you pay," Asher threatened, with cold hard eyes.
, please what have I done, She came to us and offered her help," Jean-Claude asked in shock at Asher's vehemence.
"Buffy tries to save everyone, even you. Any she can't she thinks it's her fault. The reason the Council's coming here, because you had to mark, Anita. She's a necromancer, Jean-Claude; even you aren't arrogant enough to think that had you succeeded and lived, the Councils eyes wouldn't turn this way." Asher, sweetie, come home to me, this bed doesn't feel right without you. He's a little boy playing grown up games. Leave him alone and come home to me, I promise to play much nicer games with you.
, Jean-Claude my mate calls to me."
And, with those cryptic words, Asher flew off, leaving a bewildered Jean-Claude staring after him.
The next morning, while Buffy was meditating, Asher and Damian stood nearby watching. She gently floated back down to the floor, opened her eyes and sent her mates a brilliant smile.
"Good morning, loves. I need to show you how to access the weapons. We've been so busy with the loving, I forgot about the fighting part of the program. My bad," she said apologetically. She led them over to the bookcase against the far wall. "I guess the easiest thing is to concentrate on our bond and put you hand to the wall."
The bookshelf moved away to reveal a hidden room with a wall of guns, one of knives and axes, and one for swords, directly in the middle hung the scythe, humming gently.
"What is that?" Damian asked, pointing to the scythe.
"It comes and disappears at my call and can kill anything. The pointed end is what can separate the lines of power to childer or servants. It's pretty cool, huh? Used it on some ancient vamp, the First, and a creepy preacher dude, oh and Travel guy. I'm going to have to leave soon. The Council left their home base about three hours ago. They're roughly somewhere over Greece, I think."
"Are you sure, we can't come with you, my love?" Asher asked, wrapping his arms around her tiny waist.
"I'm sorry guys, but this is purely a solo mission. I'll be home, before you can miss me," she said, kissing them each in turn.
"That's impossible; we already miss you," Damian protested.
"Oh, you'd be surprised," Buffy said, cryptically, smirking as she glanced at her watch. She noted the time was 10:30 am. It's night in Europe, which means the Council should arrive hear around, six tonight. Yep, it's doable. Here goes nothing.
Deep Inner Chamber of the Vampire Council Headquarters:
A large cloven-footed vampire stood before a fireplace. Two long narrow horns jutted from his forehead. Red, hard, armor-like scales encased his lower body, while spikes ran down his arms. He had red eyes with slitted pupils, and his tongue was black and forked like a snake. He was the Dragon, one of the three true leaders of the Council. Rumors said his father was actually a dragon, looking at him it was easy to believe. His original beasts to call were the dinosaurs. He had retired from the inner court intrigues long ago, preferring his inner sanctum. Belle Morte
and the others in their arrogance were convinced they hid their petty power plays from him. Little happened within the Council that the Dragon didn't know about.
Buffy appeared in an outer courtyard of the headquarters ,and looked at the large castle. Oh please, can we say pretentious much. This looks like something from a movie set.
She looked up at the moon, concentrating on pulling her powers and magic to her. Buffy wove an intricate flowing pattern with her hands; they moved faster and faster. Her eyes glowed brighter and brighter, until she finally threw her hands up and out as though casting a net. In fact, she did just that, as a fine mystical net fell over the castle, trapping everyone inside it.
She cocked her head to the side and thought of her first victim, the Dragon, and disappeared. Buffy appeared behind the large vampire that reminded her of a cross between Kakistos and that rock Beast thing the AI troop fought in L.A. Wonder, if he breaths fire and sprouts wings?
"Hey, Puff, how's it hanging?"
The Dragon whirled around to find a tiny blonde dressed completely in black leather. How did she get in here? I heard no one enter.
He sniffed the air, she smelled of sweet magic.
"Who dares enter here?" His voice boomed as he sent his power, rushing toward her.
Buffy grinned at him polishing her nails on her shirt. "I thought you were supposed to be a magic Dragon, Puff. Maybe you're broke, try again."
She knew she should just get this over with, but she hadn't really kicked any ass in a while. He stormed toward her, moving faster than something that large should. He went to grab Buffy by the throat. She blocked him and punched his chest, sending his large form scooting across the room.
"Uh, uh, no touching. I'm taken, and my mates get really upset when other, erm, guys touch me."
The Dragon quickly recovered and projected his huge body across the room at her. The move surprised her at its quickness. She ended up on the bottom of their Dragon meets Guardian collision. Buffy swore she was seeing little vampires flying around her head, which ached like the devil. It took some careful maneuvering, and working against the urge to upchuck as she wiggled her legs out from underneath the Dragon.
Buffy pulled her legs closed to her body and shoved the huge Council Vampire away from her. His hands flew outward as he clawed the air as if he could somehow find purchase within it to stop his inevitable slamming into the solid wall. Needless to say it didn't work, when he hit with a resounding 'BOOM' and left a huge Dragon-shaped dent behind. He roared shooting fire from his mouth at her. Guess that answers that question. I had better finish this, still got two more to go.
Her eyes started to glow and her full power blasted a path to the Dragon. Buffy's pinned him to the wall, as she advanced on him. She called forth the scythe, pointing the stake end toward him. It showed Buffy the lines to the Dragon's children. They maintained no human servants, which was odd but she wasn't one to complain. He had few remaining childer. They ranged from 1000-2000 years in age. Buffy carefully separated those that were salvageable and severed their ties to their sire's line. The ones remaining she sent her final judgment, powered by the scythe, down the line.
She stared into the Dragon's eyes. He knew fear he didn't know or even remember he was capable of experiencing.
"Who are you? What are you?"
"I'm Buffy, the Earth's Guardian, and you're history."
She pulled back the scythe and with a clean swipe severed his head. He exploded into dust like the vamps in her old world. Buffy liked being able to use the scythe, no messy clean up.
"One down, two to go. Which one's next, the crazy Melty Man, or Freddy Kruger's Momma? Mmm, let's take door number two."
Buffy disappeared only to reappear in a room that would have freaked even Angelus out. In front of her lay a 'woman' less than five feet tall, that looked like a bag of bones. When she moved, it sounded like nails on a chalkboard. She looked at Buffy without saying a word, and started to cackle. Buffy felt her trying to batter down the shields on her mind.
Her power was to use a person's worst fears against them, and then she fed off that fear. Buffy didn't have any of her usual smart-ass remarks. She remembered a little boy trapped in nightmares with no way to get out. Queenie here did that to all her victims, and much more. She had power over the darkness, and used it to her advantage.
Buffy decided to turn the tables on the vampire queen. She imagined a vampire's worst nightmare and throwing all the Guardian's power behind it, saturated the first vampire with them in an endless loop.
"It's not so much fun when someone else holds the power is it?!"
The Queen of Nightmares screamed and screamed and screamed. It was a horrifying sound, worse than anything Buffy could remember. She called forth the Scythe to complete her judgment and execution. She couldn't stand being in the same room with the vampire for another moment longer. The scythe hadn't found even one of this foul creature's immediate childer or their human servants salvageable, and eradicated them.
Buffy reappeared outside the room, feeling as though she needed to shower for the next ten years to clean away this experience. She knew she couldn't kill Marmee Noir
, much as she'd like to, since she was the progenitor for the entire vampire nation. She could however trap her inside the endless dream with no hope of ever waking. Marmee Noir
had started waking when Jean-Claude gave Anita the first mark. Buffy knew that until she completed her tasks the vile creature trapped inside must remain 'alive'. She shuddered at what this world would have experienced if that creature had ever fully awakened.
Last but not least, Morte d'Amour
, the Lover of Death. Buffy appeared in a room done completely in red and white. A man sat staring at his reflection in an antique dressing mirror. His skin, so white, it didn't resemble a normal vampire's skin. It had no color at all; neither did his hair and eyes. It was almost as if no blood flowed in his body, not even borrowed blood.
A young man roughly, six and a half foot tall, with curly yellow hair and pale blue eyes stepped in front of the man. He had the gentlest soul Buffy had ever seen, and one of the most tortured.
Tired from all she had seen and felt from the two previous Council members, she decided to handle this one as quickly as possible. Her power flooded the room, pressing the two vampires against opposing walls. Her judgment came quickly, and the Lover of Death got just that - death.
Buffy turned to learn more about the handsome young vampire, and realized he was something truly unique especially among vampires. He had psychokinetic powers. She gently probed his mind and learned his name was Warwick. Buffy gently smiled up at him as she put him to sleep. She called her Uncle Apollo. Buffy convinced the Sun God to transport the unconscious vampire for her, after she promised to follow along soon after them.
Damian and Asher had just left the study and started to walk toward the den to wait for Buffy, when they felt someone tapping on their shoulders. Startled by the interruption, they turned around and found themselves tackled to the ground by a tiny blur of gold. Buffy's laughter echoed throughout the house.
"Told you, you wouldn't have time to miss me," she told them happily.
She kissed her lovers' faces then started to caress each man in turn. Buffy wiggled into a sitting position. She was unable to stop herself from smirking at the confounded looks on their faces.
"Teach you to doubt me, buddy boys."
"But how! You only just left!" They talked at the same time.
"Whoa boys, hold on, one at a time. Move through time and space ring a bell. So, I moved back just five minutes later. No biggy. OhandIkindabroughtsomeonewithme."
"What did you say my love?"
"I kinda brought somebody home with me, well not me personally. I had Apollo bring him and they should arrive here soon. You'll understand when you meet him. He has the gentlest soul, and his maker was torturing him horribly."
Her brow wrinkled as she explained. Damian and Asher exchanged looks over her head. They already knew Buffy had adopted their new visitor, and they had no choice but to make the best of it. They understood this quality about her, and although they loved her for it, they understood it had led to its own heartache, and at times danger for her in the past. It was their job to not so much curb her giving nature, but just help her through whatever repercussion occurred should there be any, good or bad. They had agreed from the first that they loved Buffy, as she was warts and all. They saw her best qualities and her worst ones. Love didn't blind them. They just accepted her and planned to protect her from every possible hurt possible. Those they couldn't then they would simply hold her until it didn't hurt as much.
"I couldn't leave him to fend for himself. He's a pyro, and thinks his turning was some punishment from God. Please understand."
She looked at her mates pleadingly. They exchanged glances then turned to gather her close to them.
"You have the largest heart, little goddess," Asher murmured against her hair.
Apollo appeared with a man cradled in his arms as if he were a babe. Buffy's eyes went from the Sun God then back down to the fragile vampire he held so tenderly. An understanding light entered her eyes.
"Congratulations, Polly, it's a boy." She watched her uncle's head nod in confirmation.
"I think he's one of my descendants. He resembles someone I loved long ago, and with the power he controls, it is almost certain" The sun god turned to his niece with pleading golden eyes, and asked, "Will you care for him?"
"He's already mine, Polly. Once I saw into his heart and soul, he was mine. I'll do whatever's needed to protect him, and help him have a good life, promise."
Apollo leaned forward to kiss her forehead. He whispered against her brow, "Thank you, the Fates chose wisely."
He carefully laid Warwick on the couch. Stepping back, he gently brushed back Warwick's bright yellow curls, before he disappeared in a cloud of golden sparkles.
Buffy turned to Asher and Damian, with an expression of panic tinged with fear. "No one can know he's here. What's the best thing to do? I don't think it will take us much longer to take out the Council, perhaps only a few days at the best."
She wandered over to the still sleeping vampire as she thought over the current situation. Buffy knew she had to keep him safe for Apollo. She had an idea and wanted to talk it over with her mates.
"I could place him into a deep sleep, until it's over. It's just that it goes against my beliefs to keep him that way."
Buffy started to pace the room. Her hands continued moving even more than her feet as she rolled them agitatedly.
"How am I supposed to feed him since the pard doesn't come to the house any more?"
"Rafael would assist you, Buffy; he has no allegiance to Anita or Jean-Claude."
Damian watched his mate, knowing she would feed Warwick herself otherwise. An option neither he nor Asher cared for, and preferred to keep the status quo. He couldn't stop the deliciously sensual laughter from filling the room, when she jumped into his arm. Buffy kissed his face and neck enthusiastically, before working her way back toward his lips.
"You're so smart my Viking, aren't you? Okay, wererats for dinner coming right up. Would you call and talk to him? Asher, my love, would you help me talk to Warwick? He knows you, right?"
They nodded in acquiesce to her requests. She gifted them with one of her blindingly bright smiles. The two vampires felt their hearts beat faster in their chest.
Warwick started to stir on the couch, murmuring to himself. Buffy immediately crossed the room to kneel beside him. She soothed him like a child. He opened his eyes to see the blonde warrior who had killed his sire, but he didn't feel his loss. Warwick stared into large green eyes full of compassion and understanding and felt no fear. Who is this woman?
"Its okay, Warwick; you're safe. No one will ever hurt you again. I'm Buffy and I'd like you to stay here with my mates and me. You look like you could use a friend and I don't have too many of those anymore. What do you say?"
Buffy put her hand out for him to shake. He looked at her like a lost puppy.
"Lady Buffy, are you my new master? What service do you require of me?"
"First, it's just Buffy, and I don't require any service from you. I just wanted to help you; that's all. I can help you come to terms with what you are, to accept yourself. You were very religious, and what Yvette and the Council did troubled you greatly. This house protects you from them. You're safe here. On my honor as a warrior of light, I so swear."
"My mate's an honorable woman. She's telling the truth Warwick, you can trust her," Asher murmured. "You're welcome here, should you care to stay."
"Your mate," Warwick said hesitantly. His eyes wandered over his friend's face, only now did he notice Asher's unmarred skin. He turned to look at Buffy.
"Yes, she's my bond mate as well as Damian's. We are very happy. She healed my scars even those on my heart." Asher smiled kindly at the timid vampire.
"I would like to stay."
"Wonderful. A good friend who's a wererat has agreed to provide you with food. We only ask that you not speak about anything you might see here."