All The Marbles
Cordelia waited until there was a lull in the conversation. She edged closer to the others, giving them all a meg-watt smile.
"You know how I feel about Angel. He's my best friend, and without him I would have been vamp food years ago. Wesley, Fred, Gunn, it's the same for you, right?" The AI team nodded their heads in agreement. "We joined Angel in helping people because it was the right thing to do. I became part demon to keep the visions. They showed me how Doyle gave them to Angel and they drove him insane."
The image of the once souled vampire insane as he strove for his redemption floated in each person's mind. Cordelia knew she had hooked them with those words.
"Willow, you and Giles have fought beside Buffy all these years. I did in high school. She did everything in her power to save the world from Angelus." She let her words sink in for the full effect.
Giles drew in a deep breath at the memory of Angelus killing Jenny then Buffy in turn killing him.
Cordelia continued, knowing she only needed a little more rope to draw the rest of them to her way of thinking. "Do you think Angelus is going to fight the good fight? Is that the Buffy any of you know in that Space Girl suit? Hello people, you have been talking to the bad guys and fell for a big David Copperfield. Don't tell me you believed whatever rabbit they pulled out of the hat. Remember when Angelus thought it would be funny to suck the world into HELL!"
Gunn made his decision. "Cordy's right. I worked for Angel because he was different. Now, he's just another vamp. Ain't never trusted a vamp before and ain't gonna start now."
Fred looked at her lover, torn between her love for him and what her heart was telling was the right thing to do. "Charles, I love you. You know that, right?" The bald street fighter nodded. "But, I'm staying. I'm sorry, Charles. Everything inside me is screaming to stay here with Buffy and Angelus. I have to listen to what my heart is telling me to do. This is bigger than you and me; this is about the world."
Tears fell down smooth cheeks while her large brown eyes showed the heartache she felt at the thought of loosing him.
"I'm staying as well." Wesley spoke up, hoping to alleviate some stress from the situation. He loved Faith, but he would always have a soft spot for Fred.
Cordelia glared at the two AI team members. "Fine, but don't come running to me hoping the Powers will help you when this blows up in your face." She turned to Willow and Giles. "What about you two?" The bleached blonde seer impatiently tapped her foot, forgetting about her former nice girl act.
The Wicca and the Watcher looked at one another as if they could read each other's thoughts. They felt torn by all they'd seen and heard, but most of all they felt lost. Buffy was their lodestone, and they turned their backs on her in Sunnydale. The repercussions had led them to this very place.
"Hello, earth to Willow and Giles. We don't have all day. Are you with me or not? Geesh, if you take this long to decide it's a wonder you ever won against the bad guys."
Her holier than thou attitude caused Giles' temper to snap. "I heard you got visions from the Powers to help Angel. How you grew into an admirable woman. The Powers even granted you powers to keep you by Angel's side. That alone helped me decide."
Willow's eyes grew larger with each word Giles spoke. Cordelia preened missing the sarcasm dripping from each note or the deepening growl in his voice. Anyone who knew Giles would recognize Ripper was about to appear in a big way. She tried to take his hand, but he stepped away from her and up to the blonde seer's face.
"An entity that would see fit to give someone like you the benefit of visions to guide Angel, not to mention added gifts to ensure you no longer suffer any pain, is one…" He paused leaving his words hanging in the air.
Cordelia's smile grew larger with every word. Her chest went up and out as her back straightened. She held her head high as the "compliments" sunk into her skin like expensive lotion. The next sentence shocked her out of her euphoria.
"If I had to work with the devil himself, I wouldn't align myself with you. You're the best proof what Illyria showed us was the truth. If the Powers have you on their payroll, they have to be evil. Why would they give you so much and Buffy so little? She died to save the world and they allowed her to be ripped from heaven." He looked at Willow sympathetically. "If they were the benevolent beings you say they are, they wouldn't have allowed it. No, I choose Buffy in any form. A sliver of her is worth more than an alliance with you and your Powers."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "I should have known you would choose little Miss Saves the World."
*SLAP* A red handprint bloomed on a once smooth cheek.
"Don't you ever talk about her like that again, you bitch. She saved the world, and if I remember correctly your butt on several occasions."
A voice from the doorway interrupted their discussion. "Seems like old times in here. Hello Ripper, long time no see. Well lookie here, the little witch took on the overblown seer. You've been busy. Now, tell Angelus what you decided since you learned how the big bad world works."
A small hand smacked the side of his head, causing him to snarl at the woman beside him. She gave him a knowing look, which he returned with a bored shrug.
"Ignore him. The ones who are going follow the guard outside the door. No questions or explanations needed. All decisions are final."
Cordelia strutted toward the door only to stop in front of Angelus. "Are you sure you want to stay here with her? We could be together the way we always wanted. Think of the long nights of passion and the things you could to me."
She ran her hands over her chest then down her stomach in a lover-like caress.
Angelus looked at her then threw his head back laughing. "I would love to spend one night with you, Cordelia." She smiled brightly turning to make sure Buffy was watching and listening. "…one night of exquisite torture. It would be a pleasure to finally put an end to your never-ending yapping."
Claws bared, then raised for attack, the PTB's seer found herself face down with a small boot on her throat. "You'll not touch our mate. Only a houri would attempt to come between mates. The last one that tried no longer walks this plane. In case you don't understand what Ly is trying to tell you Cor, she cut her head clean off. I never tried that before, but I'm willing to give it a go."
"Give it a rest, Buffy. You don't kill people."
"But Cordy, you aren't human anymore are you? In case it's escaped that pea brain of yours, I'm not the same girl you knew in high school either. Run along before I change my mind."
She motioned for the guard to escort the seer from the fortress. The look she gave him let him know he didn't need to be gentle. The high-pitched shriek heard seconds later assured her he understood.
"I don't need an escort, but I can't work for vamps. Angel had a soul, and I already went a round with Angelus and don't want another ride. My girl is staying and I'll hold you responsible if anything happens to her. Don't care how powerful you are, I'll come hunting you. Me and my gang will be back on the streets doing what we always did if you need to find me." He walked away without looking back.
Buffy looked at Willow and Giles, waiting for their decision. She expected them to walk out with Cordelia.
"I'm staying if you'll have me." Her Watcher looked at his Slayer hoping she would accept his decision.
"Buffy, what about Kennedy? Can I go and get her?" Willow tentatively asked.
"No, I don't trust her and I never will." Illyria spoke out. "She thirsts for power, and you're her conduit, nothing more."
A sad smile graced Willow's lips, but she knew they were telling her the truth. The truth was that since things weren't so crazy, she realized she didn't know Kennedy, and wasn't sure she wanted to.
"We go to war tomorrow; be prepared." The lovers left without another word.
The ones left behind looked at one another, not sure what they had just agreed to.
Cordelia found herself thrown out on her rear. She picked herself up, then marched down the street, determined to find a way to contact the Powers.
Kennedy paced the hotel room, wondering what was taking Willow so long? She needed to get her lover firmly under control before she lost her chance to became the next Slayer. The dark haired teenager was going to be the next Chosen One, come hell or high water. Little did she know her fondest wish was about to come true.
On a higher plane, the Powers and Partners once again made a pact to try to keep the power they stole. They looked down at the possible warriors who could aid them. A smile crossed metaphysical lips when they saw the ones who would happily help them.
The seer opened Wesley's old apartment after remembering where he left his spare key. She sniffed at the musty smell not able to believe she was on her own again.
"I'll show them, I'll show them all the Powers are the ones who have protected us all these years, not that silver freak."
"You're right, my child." The Oracles appeared in the apartment, causing Cordelia to scream.
"What is your damage? Are you trying to give me a heart attack or something?"
"Seer!" Their voices boomed shaking the walls. "We want to gift you with added powers, if you agree to lead the fight against this abomination who wishes to rule this world."
An evil smile crossed Cordy's lips at being more powerful than Buffy. Of course, the Powers didn't promise that, but Cordy always heard what she wanted.
Across town, a similar conversation was occurring in Kennedy's hotel room. The Wolf, the Ram and the Hart offered to change her into the Partners newest liaison, with all the power that implied.
Illyria and Angelus stood on the fortress steps at sunset. They expected Powers and Partners armies any moment. Dawn stood beside Illyria, dressed in the same body armor as the Ancient One. She didn't look like the same teenager who had arrived the day before. Her body glowed a luminous green in the evening twilight.
The former spoilt teenager stood tall and proud beside her mother. Illyria turned to look at the child she thought safe all those years while she slept.
"Are you ready, Aurora? You'll only have a few moments to do what is needed?"
"I'm ready. They won't like our surprise, Mother, but it should end where it started." The two women looked at each other in total agreement.
A powerful force threw the front gates open. Cordelia and Kennedy stood in the opening. The seer's once blonde hair was a pure white, her eyes and clothes matched. Willow's lover was a study in black. Even the people without magical abilities saw the dark aura hanging over her.
The two women strode forward, until they stood directly in front of Angelus and Illyria. They gave the others condescending looks.
"We are here as representatives of the Powers." Cordelia spoke, but Kennedy interrupted. "And the Partners." They glared at each other, then continued. "They want you to know they won't allow you to destroy this world."
Angelus laughed, walking slowly down the steps to circle them. "You're going to stop us from destroying this world. Man, they got the cream of the crop to stop us, lover. We should stop before we get hurt. I'm shaking in my boots, what about you?"
Kennedy's fist hit his jaw knocking him back up the stairs. She laughed at the power thrumming through her body.
"Not so funny now, is it. Forget about this talking, let's take care of these fools."
In answer to her words, a portal opened in the courtyard, hordes of demons and warriors poured through. They stopped, waiting for directions from the figures in white and black.
Kennedy raised her hand, but Cordelia stopped her. She looked over her shoulder at her former friends. "This is your last chance. Come stand beside me, and I will save you, otherwise."
Illyria looked at Dawn. She raised her hands in the air pulling on an inner reservoir of power. A swirling green portal opened. Illyria pushed her own power into the portal. The two powers complimented each other feeding off the other.
Silence filled the courtyard, a single figure looked in the gates. He looked around but no one was there. The entire place was deserted. Gunn couldn't figure out what had happened.
Dawn's portal opened in a barren land where no buildings marked the night sky. It looked as if they stepped back in time to a pre-historic place. Illyria's army fanned out behind her like an unmovable black wall.
"We are here where it all began. Here where servants tried to take power not their own; it is time to take that power back."
Illyria's voice echoed over the battleground. She raised her sword into the air, causing her army to shout then move as one.
The demon horde rushed to meet them, and the warriors followed close behind. Cordelia pulled on the magic the PTB gave her, sending lighting into the oncoming army. A blast hit her in the chest, throwing her backwards. Willow floated above her, surrounded by red sparks.
"Oh, look, its little Willow. You were never in my league in high school and you aren't now." The white haired seer stood up, ready to do battle.
"I have some news for you, Queen C. When you were in LA getting headaches, I was in Sunnydale learning how to do this." Her hand shot out, causing fire to singe off Cordelia's hair and most of her clothes.
"You'll pay for that." Her eyes went completely white, making her look blind. She pulled on the power, ready to annihilate the red haired witch.
A sword sliced through a slender neck. THUMP. The headless body stood for a few minutes, before crumbling to the ground. It landed beside the sightless head of Cordelia Chase, the former Queen of Sunnydale High; the seer for the Powers was no more.
Giles stood over the body, sword still in hand looking up at Willow. They smiled at each other, then continued with the fight.
Kennedy looked for Illyria in the fighting. She wanted her chance to prove she was the better fighter. She found her target then tried to work her way over to it. A large body stepped in her way.
There stood Angelus with a smirk on his beautiful face. "My lover's busy, little girl, but I have a bone to pick with you."
His fist shot out in a blur of speed. Kennedy's head snapped back from the hit. He advanced on her, never letting up as he rained blow after blow on her body. She tried to fight back, but not being used to her power wasn't fast enough. Kennedy crumpled to the ground. Angelus picked her up then turned her around, forcing her to watch Illyria fight.
"Look at her. She's poetry in motion. Every move brutally beautiful, she would never have lost to me. Doesn't matter how much power the Partners gave you, Ken; you never would have beat her."
Kennedy struggled in his arms, but couldn't break away. The power of Illyria's blood made him stronger than she could ever hope to become even with the Partners help.
"She isn't that special. I know I could take her. Everyone turned against her in Sunnydale and they will again."
He twisted her head with a satisfying crunch. "No they won't, but either way you won't be around to see it."
Stepping over the body Angelus quickly made his way toward Illyria.
Illyria's army systematically cut through the opposing side. The Oracles, the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart had no choice but to represent their ruler's front and center. They appeared on the battleground, and all fighting stopped.
The Wolf bowed on one knee. "Mistress, we humbly beg a truce."
Illyria laughed cruelly. "Do you think I would trust you again after you betrayed us? No, I will put an end to your days here and now."
They started backing away trying to leave the plane but found that they couldn't. "What is happening? You don't have the power to kill us. Our masters have grown powerful while you've slept in the Deeper Well."
"Let them show their power, lesser being." Illyria walked toward them causing them to scuttle back. "Aurora, open the portals."
Portals opened straight into the Powers and the Partners domains. They looked down at the battleground in shock.
A third portal opened. Illyria pulled her enemies from their secure seats of power. She shoved them through the third portal, which snapped shut.
"Where did they go?" Fred leaned on Wesley, bruised and bloody, but otherwise unharmed.
"I sent them nowhere and everywhere." Illyria gave them an enigmatic smile. "Your world is your own once more. I will take my mate and child home to my own world. We have been away too long."
The weary warriors returned to the fortress, each lost in thoughts of never seeing Buffy and Dawn again. One figure stood waiting in the abandoned courtyard. Fred saw him before anyone else did. With a happy shout, she ran to meet him. Gunn picked her up in his arms then kissed her passionately.
"There will be no other Slayers called once Faith is gone. Demons no longer walk this plane. Soon vampires will die out as well. Humans have only their own evils to fight," Buffy spoke up. "It's time for you to lead your own lives. Mine will never be normal, but it's close. I have a family and I won't be anyone's pawn."
"But, where will you go, and will you ever come back?" Willow looked at her best friend with tears in her eyes.
"It's too hard to explain. Willow, you and Giles have to let me go. I can't be part of your world any more."
Illyria agreed to allow Connor, Harmony and Lorne to go to her world since they wouldn't survive the changes about to occur in this one. The AI team and Scoobies walked away from the fortress. They each wondered what they would do with their lives when the last vampire died.
Willow's small hand slid into Giles' much larger one. He squeezed it reassuringly. They smiled at each other somehow knowing they would face this new future together.
Anya broke the silence in typical Anya fashion. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I plan on having lots of orgasms, making lots of money, then having cute fat babies, in that order."
Lovers caught each others eye then started laughing. They realized for the first time in their lives, all the things she listed were possible.
As the last human walked through the gates, they closed locking in place. A shimmering cloud hid the fortress as it faded from existence. The occupants didn't feel anything as they moved across galaxies.
Illyria buried her hands in the silver portal while keeping her eyes closed, picturing her world in her mind. The smell of the air filled her lungs. She felt the high grasses under her feet and at the tips of her fingers as she walked through her valleys. Majestic mountains protected her home on all sides, hiding her from unwanted visitors.
Angelus stood watching this beautiful creature. The power, grace and violence that made up her psyche complimented his own. She represented Buffy's darkness, which pulled at his demon. They needed her light to bond them together. Buffy's heart created the center of the union they joined into with one another.
Silver eyes opened to look into amber ones. Silent footsteps crept across marble floors to bring the mates face to face.
"Let me show you the world we will share, my mate. Its beauty would take your breath, should you have one."
Angelus smirked at her. "Illyria, I think Buffy's rubbing off on you. That sounded like a quip."
They walked toward the front of the fortress, where he saw bright sunlight shining. He gave her a questioning look, which she returned by pulling him through the entrance.
Three suns blazed in the clear purple sky filled with pale pink clouds. The rays gently warmed Angelus' skin. Tall yellow grasses swayed from a gentle breeze. Far off in the distant stood beautiful royal blue mountains the size of Everest.
"It looks like a child painted your world with watercolors."
The artist inside the vampire couldn't hide his pleasure. Everywhere he looked this new world brought fairytale color to life.
Illyria smiled, allowing the tall grass to tease the palm of her hand.
"Your world seemed dead to me, and I felt as if I couldn't breath. Do you not feel alive here, Angelus? Will you be happy here with us?"
One green eye peeked out, waiting for his answer. He tackled her to the ground then straddled her body. A giggling Buffy appeared to look up at him, with love and happiness shining through her bright green eyes.
"I can go with that answer for the next thousand years or so. What do you say we break in this new world?"
The tearing of clothes, laughter and growls followed by moans lasted for hours as they did exactly that. ~ The End ~