Will The Real Anita Please Stand Up?
Buffy's given her second mission - take out the Vampire Council without killing their innocent childer or human servants. Sequel to Daughter of the Moon – Book 1
Joss Whedon owns BTVS. Laurell K. Hamilton created the Anitaverse.Pairings:
Asher/Buffy/Damian, Anita/Richard, Anita/Jean-ClaudeAuthor's Notes:
The PTB are the Fates and the Greek Gods serve them. The powers used are traceable to the color associated with auras
Created the Triumvirate to allow those involved enough power to face the Traveler and the Master of Beasts. Anita's seeing both men, but not sleeping with either at this time. Also for the sake of this story Damian is of Belle's line, he's certainly gorgeous enough.
This story was originally written several years ago, before LKH provided detailed descriptions of the Council. I used my imagination to create the members.
Buffy climbed out of the car and looked at Anita. It was strange to look at someone wearing your face. Shrugging her shoulders, she had always wondered what it was like to have big boobs. Buffy giggled and everyone turned looking at her.
"Don't worry, people, I'm not cracking up, just pregame stress release, my own brand of Buffy yoga. Okay, everyone remember the first rule is - don't die. Good luck."
She smiled watching Anita in her 'Buffy' body move into the shadows with Damian, Sylvie and Jason. Buffy turn to face Jean-Claude as the emotion drained from her eyes.
He couldn't help but shudder. This woman had Anita's mannerisms down to an art form. She smelled like her even felt like her. It wasn't right. Jean-Claude knew they needed her to survive this confrontation with the Council. The question was would they survive her. Have we seen Buffy's true face, what is she after? If she is here to harm ma petite, I will find a way to kill her. She isn't the only one who can shield their power.
Richard watched the silent byplay between Buffy and Jean-Claude. He wondered what was going on and hoped Jean-Claude's hunger for power wouldn't doom them all. He wondered if his pack would survive this night. Somehow, they always had the among highest casualty count.
Jean-Claude, Buffy and Richard followed by Jamil and Shang-Da entered the mansion. A large open room stood before them; caskets contain Jean-Claude's missing vampires lined the far wall.
Asher leaned against the opposite, standing partly in shadow. The Master of Beasts stood to the left of a large chair near the caskets. The chair sat center stage. It was large and throne like in appearance. A handsome man sat on it; he had darkly tanned skin, curly brown hair shaved on the sides and deep brown eyes. He was Balthazar, the Traveler's human servant and lover. Buffy looked inside, seeing the Traveler's true face looking back at her. He was a skinny, balding man with no chin. She almost laughed aloud. No wonder he used other people's bodies. Who would want to go around looking like that if you could "wear" GQ models through the ages?
"Jean-Claude, you have come. I wasn't sure you would have the nerve to show. Ah, and this must be the lovely Ms. Blake, the famed Executioner. Look Padma, he brought you some puppies to play with while we talk," Traveler spoke with a heavy European accent.
"There will be no playing, of any kind with anyone. Where are my leopards?" Buffy growled. She pulled her gun, pointing it at Balthazar a.k.a. the Traveler. Ma petite
, please, you must be patient. Rules bind the Council, which they must honor, as must we. I've broken no rules, nothing will happen to me, or our charges. Your leopards are safe. They're just hostages to get us here, to give an accounting to the Council. You'll see everything will be all right," Jean-Claude said soothingly as he turned to look at Buffy. He poured his power into his voice, allowing it to fill the room.
"Very good, Jean-Claude, you control your pet well. Asher come forward and question the Master of the City. I'll speak to Ms. Blake, while Padma questions the wolves. We'll get everything we need to know this way," the Traveler ordered. He sent his power into the room assured no one would resist him.
Asher stood before Jean-Claude his pale blue eyes cold with hatred, as his anger flavored the air. He meant to turn Anita into his human servant before Jean-Claude's eyes. He would die with the knowledge she would suffer for his betrayal. What is the Traveler doing? This isn't part of the plan. Jean-Claude is still so beautiful, as beautiful as I will never be again, damn his soul.
He suddenly lashed out with a blow to Jean-Claude's chest that sent him flying backward until he slammed into the wall. Asher advanced on Jean-Claude's crumpled form, appearing more were than vampire. He stalked forward, the preverbal cat cornering the mouse.
Padma's smile turned feral as he waved the wolves forward. "Let's make this interesting. Come to me, and we will find someplace quiet to talk." He sent his power out toward the wolves. Richard, Jamil and Shang-Da felt the pull on their beasts. Suddenly, they felt a warm pulse from the amulets they wore, and their beasts were again theirs to control. Quickly exchanging glances, to cover the lack of effect his power had on them, they followed the Master of Beasts. He led them down the hall to a room with chains on the walls, and torture devices laid out neatly on a table.
Richard looked about the room nervously hoping the amulet still worked. Suddenly, he heard Buffy in his mind.Richard you can't kill him, but you can torture him. Let me show you what he and his son have done to your pack.
Horror-filled images of torture and rape worse than anything Raina and Gabriel had ever done flashed in his mind. His beast howled within its human cage at those who dared to hurt its pack. Anger and power swirled inside him, pulsing outward in waves to Jamil and Shang-Da.
Feeling the power surges, Padma quickly spun around. His eyes went round with shock, and for the first time knew real fear. He stepped back, but too late the wolves were on him in a single bound. They moved as one fluid unit, ripping and tearing at him. He wondered if he would die at the hands of his animals to call.
The Traveler stared at the dark-haired beauty in front of him, holding her in thrall with his eyes.Oh, what delicious power this one has, it's so untapped, uncontrolled. Think of the armies of zombies I could raise with her body under my control. I have finally found the vessel worthy of me, even if it's a woman. Now, my lovely Executioner, let's have a taste shall we.
He drew his formidable powers inward then jumped into Anita's body. The Traveler hit something hard before bouncing backward to land in an ungainly heap on his rear.
"What is this?"
He clumsily got to his feet, unused to maneuvering in his own sickly, weak body. Tilting his head back, he fought the sense of vertigo as he watched swirling clouds pass by overhead. He looked down to see the same clouds beneath his feet. This was the astral plane, certainly not his intended destination. The Traveler pulled on his power and attempted to jump back into his human servant's body. Nothing happened. Something or someone was blocking him. That was impossible. He was Council. The only person powerful enough to do this, or so he believed, lay sleeping and he would know if she had stirred, let alone woke from her slumber. In answer to his pondering, a small blonde with glowing eyes holding an ancient looking weapon suddenly appeared before him.
"Who are you? Why am I here? What have you done?" he roared at her as he slowly advanced.
"I'm Buffy and you're history! Sorry habit." Seeing his confused expression, Buffy shrugged. "Here's the scoop. I'm not Anita. You jumped the wrong body. The Powers say you have been a bad boy and it's time you say night, night." Buffy smirked at him. Oh, yeah, she was back with the punning. She was still Buffy.
The Traveler looked at Buffy as if she had lost her mind. "The Powers are just a myth; they don't exist. You can't kill me, little girl, you cannot reach my true body. The Mother made me, and I'm older than anything you've ever known."
"Who are you calling little!"Way to go Buffy, get into an argument with a gnome. Real grown up 'tude you got going.
"Oh, never mind; the Powers are real, as your Council will soon find out.?
The glow in Buffy's eyes intensified as she advanced on the Traveler.
"Don't worry; they'll join you in hell, soon. By the way, tell Hades I said hi, and there'll be more guests for him, real soon."
"She pointed the Scythe at him as she judged his childer. His human servant, Balthazar, had no redeeming qualities and there were no other childer. It seemed The Traveler was a stingy sire. He hadn't wanted to share his power throughout the ages afraid too many childer would weaken his line. The few he had sired he killed personally after they had served their usefulness as his personal horse. The Scythe started to hum as she passed sentence on the Traveler. He tried to move when he realized Buffy meant to kill him. She simply flipped the Scythe around and smoothly took his head. The last thing he saw was the small blonde looking like some Amazon Queen.
Buffy returned to her body in time to watch Balthazar's body turn to dust then disappear. Interesting, wish they'd all did that. Must have something to do with the Scythe.
Turning around, she saw Jean-Claude and Asher fighting. She started walking in their direction intent on helping Jean-Claude. Before she could reach them, Liv attacked her.
"Damn it, I don't have time for you. I hope, no one's watching."
Buffy threw Liv across the room away from the others. Liv couldn't believe what had just happened. Buffy pounced on her seconds before she could consider much more. She pulled the short sword from her back and in one quick slice removed the blonde vampire's head. Buffy glared at Liv's heart until it literally burst from her chest. She left the destroyed carcass behind her without a second thought as she rushed to stop Asher from killing Jean-Claude.
Anita, Damian, Sylvie and Jason opened the door to the dungeons and walked down the stairs. As they reached the bottom, Anita motioned for them to split up, Jason with her and Damian with Sylvie. When she turned around another corner, what she found almost had her losing what little food she had in her system. Silver manacles held the weres shackled to the wall. There were silver spikes driven through their hands to keep them from healing. Silver pins held their flesh to the wall where someone had cut them open like a macabre school project, while several others bore lash marks from silver tipped whips. The torture was horrible beyond imagining. Yet, someone had more than imagined it, they had done it and to people she cared about. She heard screaming in the distance and moved quickly toward it. Anita motioned for Jason to stay. Shaking his head, she glared at him then took off running.
They reached a center room and stopped at what they saw. Nathaniel screamed while a tall dark haired man lashed him with a silver tipped whip. Zane lay unconscious and bleeding on the floor. A half-changed weretiger was about to rape Cherry. Another dark skinned man, who looked like Padma, was raping one of the female pack members. She couldn't move because he had broken her legs.
"Stop right there, motherfucker," Anita yelled, pulling her gun and aiming at his head.
The dark haired man paused with an evil smile crossing his face. "More toys to play with. Did my father send you to make the games more interesting?" He looked at the blonde licking his lips.
"I don't know who your father is, but I don't play games. Move away from them," Anita said calmly. She motioned with her gun never taking it off the one who appeared in charge.
"I am Ferdinand and my father is the Master of Beasts. Why should I fear a little girl, a minion and more puppies?"
He let the power he shared with his father out into the room. When nothing happened, he stepped back looked at the other two weres.
Anita gave him a feral smile, her best soulless stare and shot him in the head. Damian and Sylvie attacked the weretiger and Jason pounced on the man. Anita advanced on Ferdinand's prone body and shot him point-blank into the heart.
"Look around, make sure these three were the only ones down here, before taking everyone outside. I'm going to help Jean-Claude and Richard."
She was already walking away from them as she said the last part.
"Anita, Buffy said to stay out of the fight or the Traveler could take your body," Damian said quietly.
"I don't care what she said. I'm not leaving them in there. What if they're hurt? I'm going, end of story." She stomped off without another word.
"Asher, please, listen to me. Mon ami
, I loved you and Julianna. I didn't know. As soon as I found out, I tried to get back. When I finally returned, they told me you had perished. I found out the truth, years later. I tried to see you but they said you didn't want to see me, that you hated me," Jean-Claude pleaded as tears of blood trailed down his pale cheeks.
"I don't believe you. You need to feel the pain I felt, hearing her screams for you to come help us, to save us. Until the end, she believed in you, damn you. I came to take away your petite amour
, like you let them take my Julianna," Asher hissed. He had come too far to let Jean-Claude's lies sway him from his revenge.
Jean-Claude looked at the man he had spent so many years with, who he still loved. His words hurt his heart more than the blows to his body. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Buffy approaching. Oh no, please, I can't let Asher die
He put himself between them, and Buffy looked at him curiously. Understanding lit her eyes, and she gave him a sad smile. Asher swung around thinking Jean-Claude was trying to get away. He grabbed him, pulling back his hand to deliver another blow, when Buffy caught it.
Startled he looked at her. How is this possible?
Asher's heart clenched seeing his revenge in ruins. He pulled his hand away glaring at her with eyes like chips of blue ice.
Buffy looked him direct in the eye never wavering. Asher felt a sudden tingle under his skin. Non, he couldn't find Jean-Claude's woman attractive; he wouldn't. She looked from one to the other then looked into Asher's mind and saw everything he had endured. Her heart went out to him. He was as much a victim here as anyone else. She decided right then she would help him heal. Asher flipped his hair over his shoulder, baring his scars and waited for her revulsion. Buffy looked over his face then straight into his eyes. She knew he used the scars to keep others away from him. Boy did he pick the wrong girl; he has nothing on a Fyarl demon or Clem
. Buffy smiled gently at Asher.
Anita stormed in through the front, as Richard entered from the left. Buffy's eyes glowed allowing the glamour to fade. She knew to help Asher; she needed to gain his trust and couldn't do that in her Anita-shaped body. Mon Dieu
, what sorcery is this?" His head swiveled from Anita back to Buffy.
Jean-Claude approached slowly. "It was necessary, mon chardonneret
, to keep the Traveler from stealing Anita's body. Buffy's a witch and came to help rescue our people."
"Buffy, what kind of name is Buffy?" Asher asked.
"Hey! My mother gave me that name!" She glared a warning at him, then after taking a calming breath she said, "If you want, I can show you if Jean-Claude's telling the truth. That is if he agrees." She looked at them. They looked at each other then nodded their heads agreeing. "Please give me your hands," she commanded, holding her small hands out to them.
Buffy took their index fingers, placing them over her eyes then put hers to their temples. "Hear me, Apollo, please allow them to see the truth. Let them know and see events long past that caused such pain and heartache. Fold back the clouds of time and reveal the memories."
A golden glow started to outline Buffy, reaching her fingertips then it encompassed Jean-Claude and Asher. A gentle breeze ruffled their hair then suddenly stopped as the light faded. Jean-Claude and Asher dropped their hands from her face and stared at each other, tears of blood trailing down their faces as the truth was finally revealed to Asher. Buffy removed her hands with tears in her own eyes. They had shared so much love to have it end so badly. It reminded her of her relationship with Angel. She turned around leaving them alone as she headed toward Anita and Richard.
"They need a few minutes to come to terms with what they saw and felt."
"What the hell did you do to him?" Anita growled. Realizing she still had her gun in her hand, she aimed it at Buffy.
Buffy quirked an eyebrow at her as Richard looked back and forth between the two. He wondered if he would ever catch up on the by-play.
"I kept one of them from having to kill the other and allowed them to see the truth about how their sire manipulated them. Don't we have some injured people to help?" She turned to leave when Anita grabbed her arm.
"You stay away from our people. There's no telling what you would do to them," Anita threatened, almost baring her teeth at Buffy.
"Anita, calm down. We need to go and see who needs help. She isn't going to hurt anybody." Richard wasn't sure how he knew this but he did.
"If Jean-Claude can't put down that Council vamp, then I will." Gun still in her hand, she turned toward them.
Suddenly, Buffy stood in front of her, eyes blazing like green fire. "You will not bother them! Now, if you're the Nimir-Ra and Lupa to those people that you claim you are then march your butt out there and act like it! Quit acting like a hormonal teenager jealous of the new girl at school."
Anita turned and marched out the door. Buffy smiled at Richard, shrugging then followed the hotheaded brunette. Reaching the outside, they saw the injured weres lying on the ground on the other side of the cars. Cherry tried to help them even in her injured condition. The others were guarding and helping as best they could.
Buffy looked at Cherry, "Are you the Vargamor? Why don't you call the munin?"
Richard answered for Cherry, "No, Cherry's a nurse, none of the weres have Vargamor powers. The old lupa, Raina, had the power to call the munin. There's been no one since her death. Perhaps Anita could, although she's never tried. She killed Raina and since the munin is spirit and death magic, perhaps she could use it to heal them. It's like her Necromancy, right?"
"Is she trained in spirit magic?" He shook his head to the negative. "Then, you're wrong, it isn't the same. Anita could call the munin but she wouldn't be able to control it. It could force her to share her body with the previous controller. Since she killed Raina, her spirit will try to do as much damage as possible," Buffy stated matter-of-factly, while her eyes continuously cataloging the injuries as she talked.
Anita shuddered at the thought of Raina having control over her. "Well, how are we supposed to heal them, all knowing one? Can you channel the munin?" She said, sarcasm dripping from each word. She looked at Buffy mutinously, still resenting the blonde for not letting her go to Jean-Claude.
"No I can't," Buffy answered.
"You can't do everything; well it's good to know." Anita laughed harshly, crossing her arms over her chest, feeling an odd sense of triumph.
"Before you start with the happy dance, Queen Z, I can't channel the munin, but I can heal them," Buffy snapped irritably at the other woman's lack of focus, more concerned with belittling her, than the injured people.
Anita deflated and stalked off. Buffy looked at Richard with a question in her eyes. He nodded his head in answer.
"Guys, gently lay them in a circle, in the brightest patch of moonlight you can find. Jason, take Jamil and go inside. Bring back as many large containers of water as you can find," she ordered in a calm firm voice.
Buffy knelt beside the still unconscious Zane searching his aura. His injuries were serious but he was holding on with everything he had. She gently touched his face, easing some pain through touch alone. She turned her head and saw Anita approaching with Jean-Claude and Asher. They had stopped several feet away to watch what was happening. The two vampires seemed a little easier around each other, but Anita's jealousy wasn't helping. It came off her in waves. Buffy saw the colors of it leaking through her shields.
Refocusing on what she was about to do, Buffy started removing the weapons from her body. She laid them on the ground away from the injured weres. Bending over to remove her shoes, she drew every man's eyes to the glimpse of thigh and the way the dress tightened across her shapely bottom. She stepped over the bodies to enter the circle, moving forward to stand directly in the center. Jason and Jamil rushed up with several large buckets filled with water. They were careful to stay outside the circle. Buffy released her hair from its braid, untangling it with her fingers.
"What's this, a tease show? Is she going to do something or keep undressing?" Anita snapped, as her anger seemed to grow shorter by the minute.
"We can only hope," Jason replied with a huge grin.
Anita glared at him. He bowed his head, trying not to incur his lupa's wrath. He waited patiently for the beautiful blonde to tell him what to do next. Seeing her unharmed made him and his beast happy.
Buffy turned to smile at Jason and Jamil. "Pour the water over every person, soaking each wound. Sylvie, if they need turning, would you and Shang-Da help them, please?" Petite sorcière
, what are you going to do? How can you heal with water?" Asher asked quietly. His pale eyes never left the small blonde as she prepared to heal the injured weres.
Buffy knew she needed to hurry but decided to answer him anyway, hoping it would help build his trust. "I'm going to use moon magic. Since the moon controls the tides, water is a basic element. Normally, for this many, it's best to do this on the full moon, but since it's not too far off I should still be able to draw on enough power to heal them."
She noticed that they had finished pouring the water and motioned for them to move away from the circle. Buffy raised her face to the moon. It glowed directly on her as she opened her arms out to her side, palms up.
"Hear me Mother, your children of the forest need your healing. Will you shine through your daughter so they may continue to worship you?"
A single shaft of moonlight shown direct onto Buffy's face. Turning her hands downward, it shot from her open palms into the injured weres. Everyone stood watching as the light joined to create a silver circle. The injuries started to knit and heal, and one could look away or make a single sound. The light faded away as the last injury vanished, leaving no trace, no scars. The previously injured weres looked up and saw Buffy for the first time. The others outside the circle turned their eyes back to the center. The shaft of moonlight continued to glow on Buffy's face and her hair moved almost as if someone brushed it in a gentle caress.
She softly whispered, "Thank you Mother," as the light faded.
The weres moved toward her with liquid grace, surrounding her, and yearning for her touch. Anita watched her leopards crawling to Buffy, with mixed feelings of gratitude and distress. Richard felt a similar reaction as his wolves, and had the unexpected urge to join them as they surrounded the tiny blonde. Buffy touched each were in reassurance. She walked toward the waiting leaders, knowing she needed to say the right words.
"Ulfric, your pack is returned to you and your lupa."
She gracefully bowed first to Richard, and then turned slightly only to repeat the gesture toward Anita. Buffy took one small step in the Executioner's direction, visibly separating her from Richard. Her body dipped one more toward the other woman.
"Nimir-Ra, your pard is once again safely under your protection."
Buffy took several steps backward, removing herself form the inner circle, showing the were leaders that she had no intention of threatening their leadership.
Her voice softened, until only those with preternatural hearing, caught what she said as she turned to walk back to the car.
"I'm happy your families were safely returned to you. Hold onto them tightly, you never know how quickly they can be lost to you."
Her sad tone flavored the air. Wolves and leopards alike drew in the poignant perfume, and fought not to follow after her.