Minions were useful for all kinds of things, Glory found. They brought her people to brain suck, and were always pleasantly appreciative when she modelled new dresses for them. It was always nice to be worshipped.
On the other hand, they weren’t any good at finding out anything even remotely related to the Key. It had been Glory who had tracked it Sunnydale, and it had been her who had realized that the Slayer must be hiding it. She had hoped that, given that she had narrowed it down this far, they would be able to finally locate it.
But they hadn’t. Which was why, with much reluctance, she had decided to degrade herself by going into a demon bar. She thought that there was a possibility that they might know something, as low to the ground as they were.
“Hey, scum! Has anyone seen my Key?” Glory said, the moment she got into the bar.
They didn’t pay any attention! She was Glorificus, the Almighty, and they were ignoring
her! How dare
Well, as much as Glory found it distasteful, she knew a way to get their attention. So she casually punched off the head of the nearest demon, sending it soaring across the room. Silence fell instantly, and Glory resolved to thoroughly wash her hand when she got back home. “Right. Have any of you seen my Key?”
A small voice spoke up from the back of the bar. “Uh, where did you see it last?”
Only the fact that she didn’t know which lowlife had spoken stopped Glory from slaughtering him. “Not that kind of key, you imbecile! A Key! A nexus, capable of breaking down inter-dimensional walls.”
“What does it look like?” A different demon asked.
“Well, normally it looks like a big ball of energy, but I think it’s been disguised as a human. Anyone seen anything like that?”
There was some muttering, and then a vampire said tentatively “There was a ball of energy a few months back. It chased the Slayer down the street, and then some creepy bug thing came out of it.“
“Is that where that thing came from?” Another vampire said, seeming to forget Glory was there. “That thing ate a couple of girls I sired.”
“Yeah, and then it vanished.” Someone else said. “It was there eating things in the cemetery for a few days, then it clean disappeared.”
Glory was surprised. The Key shouldn’t have been in its energy form, not if the monks had cast their spell properly. On the other hand, it was a dimensional portal of sorts. It could very well have produced a giant bug from somewhere, and then sent it away again. This was good stuff, better than anything her minions had been able to rustle up.
Glory briefly considered trading her minions for some other species, but vampire were just so unclean, and most demons were so thick that they couldn’t even worship properly. “Good, but does anyone know where the Key went
More muttering. Then “There were those military twins that showed up around then. They seemed kind of weird.”
“Military twins?” Glory asked, confused.
“Yeah. There these two guys in military clothes, they were absolutely identical. Then some hot blonde and her twin, who smelt kind of weird, and the triplet redheads and the massive black twin guys with tattoos.”
“How the hell do you remember that, Earl?” someone shouted to much amusement.
“Hot twins? Hot triplets? Yeah, like you would forget that. I thought it was some kind of twin convention or something.”
“Smelt weird how?” Glory asked, not wanting to seem too eager.
The vampire wrinkled his nose. “Kind of metallic. Real faint, barely there at all, but she smelt like metal. Kind of tasty, actually.”
Well, that was certainly something. A blonde who smelt metallic, showing up at the same time as her Key. Glory couldn’t make heads or tails of the twin business, but she didn’t really care. Her Big Day was approaching, and now she had a better lead to follow than merely waiting for the Slayer to reveal something.
Of course, the Slayer was blonde, but the vampire would’ve recognised her. It had to be someone else, someone that the Slayer was connected to somehow.
Feeling magnanimous, Glory only maimed the person who brushed against her as she left. She’d really need a nice long bubble bath now in order to watch the stench of the unclean from her.
“So, what you’re saying is that you’ve got no plan?” Jack clarified.
“Not yet.” Buffy said defensively. “That’s kind of what you’re here for.”
Jack turned to Willow. “Didn’t you tell her that we almost never have a plan to take down whatever Goa'uld we’re up against?”
Willow shrugged. “I tried, but she has a point. We do have a proven history fighting gods.”
“False gods.” Teal'c corrected.
“Which Glory isn’t.” Jack said. “Someone with superhuman strength like that is kind of outside our comfort zone.”
“Aren’t Goa'uld stronger than humans?” Xander asked.
“He’s got you there.” Spike said snidely.
“Fine. People who can effortlessly thrash Slayers.” Jack amended, glaring at Spike.
“I wouldn’t say effortlessly thrashed…” Buffy said. “Okay, maybe a little effortlessly thrashed.”
“Can't be a little effortlessly thrashed. It either takes effort or it doesn’t.” Spike pointed out.
“Are you going to be helpful, Spike?” Buffy said exasperatedly.
Spike shrugged. “I'm only here ‘cause I thought Sam was coming. I’d leave, but the sun’s still up and I don’t really fancy a blanket run.”
“Uh, people?” Joyce said quietly. “Can we stop with the bickering and start finding of a way to keep my daughter safe?”
“Sorry.” Spike mumbled, to Jack’s mild surprise.
“We could take Dawn Summers through the Chappa’ai.” Teal'c suggested. “She would be beyond the reach of Glory there.”
Dawn thought about it for a second. It made sense – Glory was strong and fast, but she couldn’t just cross the galaxy.
On the other hand, she was a shell containing something which would cause the universe to blend into other dimensions. Being disintegrated by a Stargate and then put back together again might interfere with that. Without talking to an Ancient, Dawn wasn’t willing to take the risk. “I don’t think that would work. Well, it might, but do we really want to risk atomizing and reintegrating something together that might end the universe?”
Jack looked at Willow. “What?” she said, catching his look.
“You’re the scientist here. What do you think? Is it worth the risk?”
Willow shrugged. “How should I know? I don’t even know what the Key really is. I mean, big ball of apocalypse-causing energy, sure, but where did it come from? So, unless we can figure out more, I'm thinking no.”
“Could we send Glory through the Stargate?” Xander suggested.
“How? It’s in Colorado, I don’t think we can exactly lure her that far.” Buffy replied. “Even if we somehow got her on a plane, she’d probably break out of it.”
Jack looked at Willow. “What now?” she said exasperatedly.
“Magic? Some kind of portal, or something?”
“Jack, I was only strong enough to do that when I was wearing the Atanik wristband. So, unless you’ve got something tucked up your sleeve that will vastly strengthen my magic and, you know, let me use it when I want, teleportation is out.”
“The Asgard have beaming technology.” Teal'c said. “They may be able to transport Glory away.”
“Beams? Like transporters?” Xander said excitedly. “Like Star Trek?”
“Similar.” Jack said, smiling at the boy’s enthusiasm.
“That is so
Spike stood up, patting his pockets as he looked for his cigarettes. “Right. I'm not sticking around to listen to the Wanker geeking out. Good luck, Bit, I hope this gets sorted out.”
Spike held his blanket protectively around his head, and opened the door in preparation for a quick dash to the nearest sewer.
Upon opening the door, he had just enough time to say “Oh, bugger,” before Glory hit him so hard he went sailing through the air, down the corridor to smash into the wall with a sickening thud.
“Hello!” Glory said cheerfully, as tough nothing had happened. “I’m looking for a blonde, possibly with a twin, who smells metallic. Anyone seen someone like that?”
No one answered. What did happen, however, was Jack instantly grabbed his pistol and shot at Glory. He got off two shots before his gun jammed. Both of them hit her squarely in the chest and didn’t seem to do anything whatsoever.
Glory looked down. “Look at that. Look
at that! You ruined
my dress! Who does that? Seriously?”
Again, no one answered, although there was a general creeping of hands towards weapons. Willow tried to muster the power for a fireball or something, but the magic slipped through her mental fingers like it usually did.
“I should kill you for that. That’s blasphemy, that is. I'm a god. But I won't, because as well as being a merciful god, you have something I want. Bring me the blonde. If you don’t, then I’ll kill, oh, about ten blondes a day until you do. The other blondes aren’t as gorgeous as me, anyway. You got that?”
Still, no one answered.
“Well, just to make sure you get the message…” there was a blur and Glory was suddenly standing behind Joyce. Before anyone had a chance to react, Glory plunged her fingers into Joyce’s head. Joyce screamed as light began to shine around Glory’s fingers. “I’ll leave you with this crazy blonde. The next one won't be so lucky.”
Before Joyce even hit the floor, Glory was gone.
“Mom!” Buffy said, hurrying across the room. “Mom!”
Reluctant to touch her for fear of what she might find, Buffy put a hand gently on Joyce’s shoulder. Joyce stirred, then opened her eyes. They were wide and unfocused, looking at Buffy but not really seeing her. “So pretty. The lines. They’re so bright.” Joyce said softly, seemingly completely unaware that she had even spoken.
Dawn began to cry.