: And the end!
Just so you don't think I'm just dumping this on you, the thing Seo explains to Dawn is an idea that's been kicking around for a while. It used to be in Happy Endings, but I cut it out, since it got too confusing.
However, it's why that sacrifice scene happens, in Happy Endings.
Next up! "Slavery and Freedom". Look forward to that; it's a very good story.
"…Tech Demons have asked me to say a few words," Ria said. Her eyes catching theirs, a small smile of appreciation and diplomacy on her lips. "A poem from an ancient demonic language, written to commemorate nuptials in their culture." She raised up her head, and began to chant.
Dawn had expected Ria to recite strange words in a strange tongue.
But… thing was…
Ria was speaking Vlortech.
A demon language Dawn actually knew!
And Dawn just stared at Ria, as the words issued from her lips. Words Dawn knew. Understood. And they definitely weren't about weddings. Not at all!
The ring around Ria's finger began to pulse with a faint light.
The door to the church slammed open, and Buffy rushed in, fast as she could. "Stop the wedding!" she shouted. "It's a trick!"
Everyone gasped, staring at Buffy in amazement.
Buffy pointed at Yulch. "He switched the wedding ring for the Arengor of Tertestus! It's going to turn you into a Mayor-Style demon! They're trying to destroy you!"
Dawn blinked. "Uh… Buffy?" she said. "That's… not what the spell said it was doing."
Buffy stared at her. "It's not?"
Dawn shook her head. "That ring. If you know the Vlortech — it seems to just be a small-scale healing amulet."
Ria finished reciting the chant, and the ring pulsed light across her body. Gathering around her broken arm. Then Ria turned to her audience, a self-confident smile on her face.
The Tech Demons suddenly had a look of utter horror on their faces.
"But that was the Arengor of Tertestus!" Yulch cried. "I know it was! I saw—"
"Well, of course it was," Ria said. "But the Arengor of Terestus is just a healing amulet." Stepping forwards, testing out her now-healed arm just to make sure the amulet had done its job. "You don't think I spread those rumors about it turning people into demons by accident, did you?"
There was a loud clunking sound, as the Slayers all gathered around and sealed off the perimeter of the church.
Ria reached back behind herself, and yanked a gigantic alien-looking gun out of the train of her bridal gown.
"Thing is… I had a really useful bachelorette party, last night," she said. Her eyes narrowing on the crowd of hostile aliens and demons. "In which we finalized our wedding battle plans." Her voice dropped. "Still think I'm weak?"
Then, in a coordinated swoop of Slayers and weapons and shouting, the entire church erupted in violence. Ria shouting at Dawn to "get Mark and the others to safety!" as she led the charge, racing in to take out the monsters who'd wanted to murder her.
Dawn was a little too shocked to speak.
But felt a hand on her sleeve, as someone appeared beside her, helping her bring Mark and his friends and family to safety. A small blond girl, carrying a sonic lock pick.
She and Dawn fought off the demon and alien hordes, while ushering the others out the door, then threw themselves through, Seo using her lock pick to jam it shut behind them.
For a few seconds, she and Dawn just stood there. Leaning with their backs against the door, listening to the sounds of the battle going on inside.
"I can't believe Ria didn't tell me!" Dawn said, when she could manage to say something. She pointed at the door. "I mean, I could totally have helped…!"
"You speak Vlortech," Seo replied. "That's why she didn't tell you." Shrugged. "Ria wanted the demons to know that, whatever happened to her, physically, she could always outsmart and outmaneuver them. Your reaction to Mom's outburst gave them that message."
Sometimes, Ria was way too strategic for her.
"You feel useless, here," Seo observed.
Dawn's hands clenched into fists. "I'm not
useless!" she insisted. "I mean, I know tons of stuff about aliens and demons and—"
"Do you want to come with me?" Seo asked.
Unable to speak for a moment.
"Mom says I need adult supervision," said Seo. "And traveling around time and space with a cool aunt sounds a lot more fun than traveling around time and space with Mom."
Dawn hadn't expected this.
Like, seriously hadn't expected this.
"I… I'd love to," Dawn said. "But I can't." She sighed. "The Doctor says I'm an unstable part of the Key to Time. I can't leave Earth, or—"
"But you're stable on Earth, right?" said Seo. She gave a small laugh. "Haven't you ever wondered why?"
Didn't know the answer.
"It's because of me," said Seo. "I'm
"When I first arrived on Earth, I was sacrificed to a demon," Seo explained. "It caused my essence to mix with the Earth, across all of time. Past, present, and future." She grinned. "My father must have known that, back when he first met you. He just didn't say anything."
Dawn couldn't speak for a long moment.
"But don't you see what this means?" Seo continued. "You can
travel through time and space. So long as you're with me
"While you're with me, you'll always be stable," Seo continued. "We can go off and get into trouble and fight evil monsters and save worlds! You'll know all about the demons and monsters, and Mom won't have to worry about me heading into the universe by myself." Her eyes glowed. "So… what do you say?"
"I… uh…" Dawn gave a small laugh. "Oh, what the hell! Of course I wanna go!"
Seo leapt forwards and swooped her aunt into a tight hug.
"My first traveling companion," Seo whispered.
Ria, a few hours later, emerged from the church. Covered with alien and demon blood, her wedding dress in tatters… but a radiant smile on her face.
She took Mark by the arm.
"I've shown my strength," Ria said. She disarmed her gun, and set it aside. "Now. Let's go get married for real."