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Summary: A crossover with Underworld, although you won't be seeing any of the Underworld characters for a while.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > UnderworldGreywizardFR18522,34002321,80815 Oct 0429 Aug 09No

5

Sorry to take so long getting to this chapter, but my muse was distracted by a lot of other plot bunnies, and then Real Life (tm) decided to try and treat me like a Rottweiler treats a chew toy. ;-(

Anyway, here's the next segment of the story.

Disclaimer: See chapter one.

~~~

Sunnydale General Hospital
Intensive Care Unit
May 24, 2002

Two hours following the end of the previous chapter


It took a little while, what with the doctors and nurses doing all of the checking and testing and other stuff they did to make sure that he was of the good again but, eventually, Xander managed to get some alone time (so to speak) with Buffy, Dawn and Giles (who had been called by an ecstatically happy Dawn a moment after the doctors had kicked the two of them out of Xander's room). After all the poking and prodding was out of the way, they could finally talk about the conversations he’d had with both Tara and Wills, and the weird dreams he’d been having and about the *wrongness* he could feel in them, and the sense of impending badness that seemed to underlie everything he’d seen in them.

Xander held back for the moment, though, about mentioning the confrontation he’d had with the re-energized darker aspect of his personality, not feeling comfortable enough to discuss it with Buffy with both Dawn and Giles present.

{ There’s really no overwhelming need to tell her about that, right now, } he justified the omission to himself. { Especially since I want to make sure that she knows for sure that I don't have any appetite for fresh pork or any other kind of urges that Hyena-Me had. }

{ Well, at least not any kind of other urges that I hadn't already had before that idiot zookeeper came up with that brainstorm of his, } he noted to himself with a suppressed smirk.

{ And we can always tell Giles about it later, if Buffy does think we need to tell him. }

"You, uh, you said that Tara advised you to ask me about the Prophecy of Arthur, Xander?" Giles asked, a frown furrowing his forehead as he considered the story he’d just heard.

"Yeah, Giles, she was quite definite about it, too," the other male Scooby noted with a nod of emphasis. "What’s the matter? Is it making Watcher-y alarm bells go off in your head or something?" It was an unfortunate, but not catastrophic occurrence how Xander had, in typical Scooby fashion, mispronounced ‘Earth-Ur’ as ‘Arthur’.

"No, nothing at all like that, I’m relieved to say," the Englishman shook his head. "Truthfully, I cannot recall coming across references to any prophet or prophecy with such an appellation.

"I-I-I’ll have to research this more thoroughly once I get back to my apartment and can check some of my reference books," he murmured, clearly intrigued by their departed friend’s warning.

"Boy, that‘s a statement that really took us by surprise, Giles," Dawn joked, causing everyone present to laugh, relieving a bit of the tension that had slowly been building as a result of the male Scooby's comatose state.

Further conversation was put on hold when Sheila appeared a few minutes later and decreed that her patient was in need of rest and that any additional conversations would have to wait until the following day, after Xander had gotten some non-comatose sleep and had begun recovering more of his stamina and endurance.

Both Giles and Dawn had acquiesced to the formidable brunette's direction quickly enough, with a handshake and a quick hug and peck on the cheek from each, respectively, serving to bid him good night, but Buffy had lingered a few moments after the others' departure, hoping to take advantage of the opportunity for privacy and have a few words with Xander regarding the hospital staff's beliefs regarding their current relationship – without having to worry about anyone else showing up and interrupting them.

Sheila, however, had lingered just outside the door, effectively negating Buffy's plans, so she merely remained sitting on the side of Xander's bed, holding his hand the way she had been doing since he had awoken a few hours previously, enjoying the slight pressure of his hip against hers that their positions on the bed had permitted.

The puzzled expression on Xander's face when the nurse supervisor had glanced at Buffy and smiled as she quietly commented that she would have to wait a few more days before testing out his endurance for herself reminded the Slayer yet again that her male friend had no idea of the nursing staff's beliefs regarding their relationship, so she tried to ignore the blush coloring her cheeks as she leaned in and whispered into his ear, "Just nod and go along with anything Sheila might say, and I'll explain everything tomorrow, okay?" as she hugged him.

Possibly with just a bit more enthusiasm than two people who were merely friends might use, she reflected to herself later – but then again, Buffy was the Slayer, and she was much more powerful than your average person, so her friendly hugs could be expected to be stronger, too, she justified herself.

What she couldn’t really find a way to justify under the friendship label, though, was the gentle, but nonetheless intense, kiss that she pressed against Xander's lips before finally rising from the bed and reluctantly leaving him, one that had left both of them gasping and staring at each other in surprise.

Buffy smiled hopefully to herself as she kept glancing back over her shoulder as she made her way down the hallway to the elevator, reinforcing in her memory the surprised, but unmistakably pleased smile on her formerly – but hopefully no longer – platonic friend's face.

~~~

Sunnydale General Hospital
Mental Health Care Unit

May 25, 2002

The following morning


The slender redhead's only intermittently comprehensible murmuring had decreased substantially, Nurse Pratchett noticed as she checked her patient's vital signs as well as the various intravenous feeding and other tubes attached to the young woman.

Not only had the mumbling lessened, it also looked as though some of the tension that had previously marred the girl's features had diminished also, making her look much more like the lovely young lady she really was.

With any luck, this was an indication that Miss Rosenberg would be awakening sometime in the near future – something the young-looking nurse hoped would happen fairly soon.

After all, despite the fact that Lord Marcus was over seven hundred and thirty years old, his patience was not infinite, and he was eagerly looking forward to meeting this particular young woman.

~~~

An unidentified home
Sunnydale, CA


Mid-morning


"Good news, Vincent. My sources at the hospital have indicated that the witch appears to be coming out of the traumatic coma she has remained in ever since her admittance," the bearded youth reported to his Alpha.

"Yes, that is, indeed, good news, Christopher," the blond-haired youthful-looking man agreed as he turned to smile at the messenger.

"The witch needs to understand exactly who it was she murdered, and the price the Pack demands from those who dare attack it, before she dies," he declared – the least bit pompously, the new arrival thought quietly to himself as he awaited any further instructions his leader might have for him.

"And then she will die, at my hand."

~~~

Sunnydale General Hospital
Intensive Care Unit


"Uh, Xand, remember how I said, last night, that you should just go along with anything that Sheila said and that I'd explain everything today?" Buffy gave her longest and most ardent supporter an extremely nervous smile as she tried to calm the clouds of butterflies swarming around in her stomach.

"Yeah, Buff, I can remember you saying that very clearly. It was only about ten hours ago and having head trauma wasn't the reason I ended up in here, remember?" Xander grinned, his curiosity plainly intrigued by the petite blonde's clearly nervous behavior around him.

"Well, you see, Xand –" Buffy began before pausing as a new thought suddenly occurred to her.

"Uh, before I say anything else, did, did Sheila say anything that sounded, uh, *odd* to you last night after we left?" she asked somewhat anxiously.

"What exactly do you mean by 'odd', Buff?" Xander asked her with another of his usual inane grins. "Keep in mind, we are living in Sunnydale here – the uncontested winner of both the National and International 'Home and Garden of the Weird' awards for the past one hundred and three years running, remember?" he noted the least bit facetiously, referring to the town’s official founding by the late and unlamented Richard Wilkins.

"Anyway, no, she didn't say anything odd, Buff," he shook his head negatively, making Buffy give a small sigh of relief.

"Okay, well, that's good," she nodded approvingly and raised her cup of coffee to her lips for a quick sip of caffeinated-reinforcement for her resolve before she began trying to explain why it was that the staff here believed the two of them to be engaged to be married.

"Well, unless you count that part where Sheila was asking if we had decided where we were going on our honeymoon, that is," Xander continued with a grin that filled his face a half-instant later, making Buffy choke in surprise and spew her mouthful of coffee across the sheets of his bed.

"Yes! He shoots, he scores!!" Xander declared gleefully as he raised both arms into the air in triumph while ignoring the baleful glare the petite blonde was giving him as she grabbed a napkin to wipe her mouth.

"Never forget, Buff – timing is everything!" he gleefully reminded her.

"Very funny, Xand," Buffy half-growled at him with a wry smile. "You're a real riot!"

"I already knew that, Buff," he shrugged nonchalantly at her comment before his grin shifted to a more serious mien.

"So, spill. What's with the 'where are you two lovebirds going on your honeymoon' interrogation shtick I was getting from our friendly neighborhood ICU head nurse?" he asked, focusing all of his attention on the tiny blonde perched on the chair next to him. "And what was with the kiss you gave me last night?

"Call me crazy, but it seemed to be a lot more than something you'd give a friend. Especially one who's just 'one of the girls'," Xander said, making Buffy wince momentarily at the unwelcome reminder of that particular phrase from sophomore year. "Unless of course, you've decided Wills had the right idea and you've decided you want to audition for the other team?" he grinned at his best friend as she blushed self-consciously and looked away for a moment.

"No, there's been no decision to check out the other team, smarty," Buffy shook her head in denial of his suggestion. She resisted the urge to tell him she’d had plenty of time to check out the home team in the girl’s showers in high school because she didn’t want to lose him in La-La land for an hour.

"And you've been a lot more to me than just 'one of the girls' for a long time now, and you should know that, by now," she went on, looking up to stare him directly in the eye.

"So anyway I, uh, had to tell the hospital people *something*, otherwise they wouldn’t have let Dawn and me stay, what with that stupid ‘family only’ crap that the bureaucrats came up with. And after sitting here with you the past few days, I've finally realized that you've always been a *whole* lot more to me than just one of my friends, Xand," she said quietly. "I just never realized exactly how much more until I saw you lying unconscious on this bed and realized there was a chance you might never wake up and I wouldn't ever be able to tell you any of this.

"So, now that I've said all that," she continued as she let out a nervous sigh, "I guess what we need to do next is figure out where we go from here.

"Or,*if* there's anywhere we want to go from here," she quickly added, not wanting Xander to think she'd just automatically assumed that things were going to go the way she *hoped* that they'd go

"So, do you think you'd be interested in seeing how things might work out for us?" Buffy asked the least bit hesitantly, trying to ignore the squadron of butterflies that were currently occupying her stomach.

Xander’s mind was just barely beginning to stop whirling in disbelief. At that moment, everything that had gone wrong lately – Anya, Spike, Willow and Tara – just seemed to fade away at the mere *concept* that Buffy Summers no longer considered him 'one of the girls.' That her sleeping with Spike and the attempted rape were now just part of the past, if he was reading her correctly.

On the back of that revelation, the pleased smile that lit up Xander's face gave Buffy all the answer she needed.

~~~

Sunnydale General Hospital
Intensive Care Unit

Later that afternoon


"Xander, might the prophecy that Tara spoke of in your dream and instructed you to ask me to do research on possibly have been the 'Prophecy of the Earth-Ur,' as opposed to 'the Prophecy of Arthur'?" Giles asked in the tone of voice that the Scoobies had come to recognize as his 'I was professionally puzzled for a short while, but I think I've since determined the correct answer, despite your so-called help and mangling of the Queen’s English' tone of voice as he rejoined Buffy and Dawn in Xander's ICU cubicle.

"Uhm, yeah, I guess that could have been what Tara said," the younger male Scooby nodded his acknowledgment of the possibility as he spooned another cube of blue jello from the multi-colored assortment filling the desert cup he was currently devouring.

"I remember thinking that it was easy to remember because it sounded like it might have been referring to King Arthur or possibly the Round Table," he elaborated before shoveling the dessert cube into his mouth.

"So, does this Prophecy of the Earth-thingy you just mentioned do that?" Buffy asked, an expression of curiosity on her face as she looked over at her Watcher.

"Refer to King Arthur and his Round Table, I mean," she clarified her statement upon Giles' puzzled glance in her direction, as Dawn rolled her eyes with minor exasperation at her sister's rather asinine (at least in her opinion, that is) question.

"At this point, I'd have to confess I'm not at all sure, Buffy," Giles admitted somewhat absently as he rifled through the clearly old and well-worn, leather-bound tome he had brought with him, missing how Buffy stuck her tongue out at her sister in response to the other's eye-roll.

Xander merely smirked at the two sisters' stereotypical sibling behavior and hungrily shoved another spoonful of jello into his mouth. While it was far superior to the beef broth that had accompanied the jello and apple juice that formed the basis of his current lunchtime meal, it in no way approached his cravings for what he considered a real meal – that being two quarter-pound hamburgers slathered in barbecue sauce and layered with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and sweet peppers and accompanied by extra-large servings of both french fries and fried onion rings, a large Coke and a jumbo-sized chocolate and vanilla milkshake.

That would at least tide him over until dinner time, he thought.

Xander was also currently hoping that if he poured on an extra portion of the soulful puppy-dog eyes that he could get Buffy – or maybe Dawn, if his new 'fiancée' wouldn't cooperate – to smuggle him in at least part of his hoped-for meal sometime later in the afternoon while Sheila wasn't around to seize it as contraband.

Turning his thoughts away from his semi-outraged and grumbling stomach, Xander refocused his attention and listened to their mentor's explanation.

"…as it happens, the Prophecy of the Earth-Ur – or, as some scholars choose to translate the 'Ur' title, the Earth Lord or quite possibly, the Earth's Chosen – refers to a semi-mythical mage who was reputed to be able to exert significant influence on the forces of nature, and who typically appears in the company of yet another equally powerful witch or mage at a time when the earth itself was in dire peril," Giles was saying.

"Some of the other references I've managed to locate indicate that the two mages referred to possessed some sort of elemental-like affinity to the planet and were reputedly able to influence, or possibly direct, tectonic movement – that is, being capable of actually reshaping the ground around them, possibly to the extent of causing minor earthquakes – as well as influencing the weather, at least on a local scale, in addition to being able to command the complete and unwavering obedience of any nature spirits that resided in the area," he noted.

"You're making these guys sound sort to like some medieval version of Captain Planet and his Planeteers, Giles," Dawn commented with a smirk, drawing small laughs from both her sister and Xander and a frown of puzzlement from Giles.

"Yes, uh, while I-I-I’m not at all certain that I properly comprehend exactly who or what you're referencing is, Dawn, I will note again that the beings referred to in the Prophecy were believed to possess some sort of arcane, possibly spiritual or empathic, link to Gaia, which – which would most likely make the overwhelming majority of wiccan and druidic sects still existent consider them as veritable avatars for the planet's spirit or consciousness," Giles added with a frown.

"Regardless, here are full copies of the Prophecy of the Earth-Ur that I just summarized for you a moment ago," he then noted, as he handed the other three Scoobies several sheets of paper to examine. "Why don't you all read them over and then we can discuss any impressions you might gain or points you think we might discuss, all right?"

"I thought there were some kind of stupid union rules that we were only supposed to do this sort of thing around the table at the Magic Box," Dawn half-grumbled as she accepted the pages Giles gave her.

“Nope, that rule went out the window after the Magic Box got completely destroyed a few days ago, Dawnie,” Buffy reminded her gently. “Those days are gone now. Better start getting used to it.”

Shifting in the somewhat uncomfortable hospital chair she was currently occupying, Dawn focused her attention and began examining and evaluating the copy of the prophecy she held.

"With blood on her hands and blood torn from her heart, she will stumble as she seeks her Path.
A Bastion of Power shall she be to those who claim her loyalty.
Those Who Choose will be besieged on every side by those seeking the Crimson Queen.

"Retribution, Self-Aggrandizement or Petty Malice,
Their reasons matter not to the Chosen of the Chosen One;
He shall champion the Queen’s Cause for his love is true.

"Child of the Wild, but not born of the Fur, the Beast will entice him, but his own desires shall he follow.
He will stand against all who would seek to harm His Own
And his wrath shall be terrible to behold.

"The Earth-Ur shall come into his Power and know it not, at the first.
But the Spirits of the World shall see him and heed his words,
And his foes shall tremble before his might.

"The Dead Soul shall stalk him,
And Death shall take him,
But He will refuse its embrace for his destiny is not yet complete.

"Blood will tell.
Those who listen shall hear its message,
And those who oppose it, shall learn its consequence.

"The Earth shall Call Him, and he will Answer,
And the Empress of Gates and the Crimson Queen shall follow his bidding,
That The Others who seek the destruction of the Green find only devastation and death.

"The Chosen and the Chosen shall Choose,
As shall He,
And the Golden Once-Chosen shall Choose again.

"The vassals of the Earth-Ur shall prosper,
And those who refuse him fealty shall fall,
And the Foes of the Earth shall taste only ashes and despair.

"Together they shall stand, Earth-Ur and Crimson Queen,
And none shall tell them nay,
For the Earth shall stand with them.

"Blood will tell.
The Earth-Ur and the Once-Chosen shall Choose
And none shall gainsay their choice."

"Well, I gotta say, Giles, this one doesn't seem all that different from any of the other prophecies we've had to deal with over the past few years," Buffy said once she'd finally finished reading through her copy of the alleged prophecy her Watcher had handed out to them.

"All nice and vague containing, y'know, the usual - blah, blah, blah, blood, blah, blah, blah, wrath, blah, blah, blah, death and destruction – seems like pretty much the same-old same-old we hear each time some would-be Big Bad comes into town and tries to take over the Hellmouth," she commented with an indifferent shrug of her shoulders.

"Yeah, Giles, I gotta agree with the Buffster as far as the usefulness of this thing is concerned," Xander chimed in as he considered the copy of the prophecy he held in his hand. "Now if it had said something more along the lines of 'look for a really ugly three-horned demon in a grey pin-striped suit, standing on the corner of Fornance and Westwood Avenues on a Wednesday afternoon, and chop it into little, tiny pieces,' then I'd say it was a lot more useful." Xander completely ignored the annoyed look on Giles' face and grinned with self-approval at Buffy's only partially-hidden snort at his own only partially successful attempt at humor.

"Well, it looks like, this time around, we've at least got a choice of possible Big Bads that will supposedly be coming into town to choose from," Dawn noted semi-absently, having missed his comment entirely as she focused the paper before her.

"There's this 'Crimson Queen' – who sounds like she might be a vamp, judging from that description of 'blood on her hands and blood torn from her heart,'" the slim brunette began enumerating the personages described, "some 'Child of the Wild' and some other unidentified 'Beast' guy who's supposedly gonna tempt them or something, someone called the 'Dead Soul,' and some woman called the 'Empress of Gates,' as well as this 'Earth-Ur' guy that Tara told Xander to ask about.

"It definitely sounds like things are gonna be getting fairly busy, once they all show up," the former Key sent her friends and family a wry grin as she finished detailing her list.

"Thank you, Dawn," Buffy threw her sister a frown of semi-disapproval. "It's not like we don’t get enough aggravation with just one idiot showing up and trying to take over; now, you're saying we're gonna have to giving group tours for all the bad guys who're going to be heading into town!"

~~~

1637 Revello Drive
Sunnydale, CA


Approximately dusk that same day


"Sorry to delay you showing me the house so late, Ms. Houghton, but I ran into a fair bit of trouble with the traffic coming up from Los Angeles," the peroxide blond-haired man apologized as he climbed out of the car with the dark-tinted windows and hurried inside the enclosed carport. "There was some sort of trouble with a tractor-trailer slamming into a car, or something along those lines."

"Oh, that's not a problem at all, Mr. Sanguinary," the dark-haired matronly real estate agent waved off his apology as she led her client inside the split-level home with the small 'For Sale' sign on the front yard. "I always have a large number of people inquiring about homes in this general area.

"Oh please, call me William," the man requested, his blue eyes seeming to twinkle charmingly as he smiled at her. "I insist."

"Thank you, William, I'd be delighted to," she smiled back. "I can well understand why you would choose this specific area to consider moving to. As you can see for yourself, this house, in particular, is certainly one of the most beautiful ones available in the entire town.

"It's got three very spacious bedrooms upstairs and a fourth one on the lower level next to the rec room, a full kitchen, a spacious cathedral ceiling in the living room and an extremely spacious den as well as a two-car garage that opens onto a communal storage area," she rattled off a detailed description of the house as the smiling man followed her deeper into the interior.

The muffled scream that began a moment later and broke off abruptly wasn't even heard outside at the curb.

Not that anybody would have done something if it had…

~~~

The End?

You have reached the end of "Bloodlines" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 29 Aug 09.

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