AN: The fluff is over – let the insanity begin!
AN2: Warning – Character Death
(Morning - Graduation Day)
Xander ran into his lab and barred the dimensional door that was the link between his and Little Washu’s lab – he’d been called over that evening when Sasami had been subject to one of her night terrors and, after several hours of trying and having to dodge various cooking implements meant to take the head off of the shoulders of whoever was entering her domain, Sasami had finally calmed down enough to explain what was wrong; she’d been having her normal dreams, but then a great big blackness had descended upon them and that had wigged her out more than anything. She wouldn’t tell him just what that blackness was, but rather all she would say was that ‘you’ll know it when you see it’ – that didn’t exactly fill him with tons of hope for a nice, peaceful solution to their problems, but instead just made him more tired even as she hugged him and promptly fell asleep.
An interesting note on Sasami was that, when she hugged you while she was asleep, you were not going anywhere unless you took her with you – he’d learned that a while back after seeing Ryoko try and pry her hands off of Ryo-ohki, but that had come to no avail; he had found himself in a similar situation with her so he expedited the solution and picked her up, carried them both to the couch and set her down next to him, falling asleep not long after his head hit the cushions. They both slept there for several hours before they were joined by another warm body, who sat on his left side and clutched his arm possessively, running their hands up and down his arm and torso as if they were feeling him up – he knew, instantly, that it wasn’t Tenchi, Ryoko, Ayeka or Washu, and more than likely wasn’t Mihoshi or Kiyone, as there would have been a playful kiss along with that groping as well, so he was left with the one other person in the house, Dawn, and this didn’t bode well given his position between Sasami and said sister. Dawn and Sasami did not get along where he and Ryo-ohki were involved, ever, in fact Ryoko had made the comment that she and Ayeka got along better than the pair of younger girls often did, and Ayeka had agreed with her!
Naturally, it was seven in the morning on the button, a good hour before Ryoko and Ayeka generally got into it, when the first volley was fired from Sasami – she’d woken him up a few seconds before with a squeeze and a sigh before opening her eyes and finding her sister on his other side, hugging the life out of his arm, and had taken appropriate measures, in her mind, to fix the situation. Dawn, after a mighty kick from Sasami, had flown into the far wall and almost through it before coming to a stop and shaking her head, only half awake even as Sasami got to her feet, still in her bed clothes and with her hair up in protective buns, and the war was officially on – the pair of sisters went back and forth for nearly ten minutes with just bickering before Dawn threw the first punch, one that Sasami blocked and returned in kind, and things went downhill quickly from there, to the point that he ran for his lab and barred the door, which led him to his current position.
“Those two are scary,” he muttered to himself even as he leaned away from the door, which rattled on cue but held, and made him question who was more dangerous – Sasami and Dawn fighting or the Mayor. The thought of said man made him wince and look at his calendar, which had the date marked in big red letters with ‘Sink or Swim’ written under it, “Damn it.”
“To put it mildly,” he turned and saw both Buffy and Faith standing inside of his lab door, dressed normally but obviously enjoying themselves. Faith spoke up with a smile on her face, “Nice jammies, stud.”
He looked down and saw that he was still wearing only his socks, a pair of loose pants with carrots and Ryo-ohkis all over them, a gift from Sasami, Mihoshi and Kiyone on his birthday a few months before, though he was sure Tsunami had something to do with that as well, and tank top undershirt, and instinctively he blushed lightly, “Hi, thanks, Faith. So … what brings you two here?”
Buffy smiled slightly, her eyes teasing even as Faith chuckled, “Well, we were going to ask if you had those things ready for us, but obviously you have had … other things … on your mind.”
He narrowed his eyes, “Mind out of the gutter, Buffy – Sasami had a bad dream and I was elected to calm her down after Ryoko took a wok to the forehead.”
Faith smiled at him, “S-ure. Now, the goodies?”
He sighed and pulled on his house shoes (again Ryo-ohki-style in nature, an affinity of Sasami’s) before walking over to his work bench – he had been equipping weapons for the inevitable fight between them and the Mayor at Graduation, as they had been unable to get him arrested or otherwise taken care of, and while at first he had been worried about Faith and Buffy going crazy with them, he was not too shocked when Willow had, with a purely angelic face, asked if she too was going to be getting a weapon of mass destruction. He had let her down as easily as he could at first, but as soon as she had put those green eyes on him, it was over and he caved, giving her a rocket launcher and teaching her how to use it properly, “Remember, ladies, that these are deadly weapons.”
“We know,” they chimed in unison, their eyes bright and fingers itching to get on the metal tools of destruction.
“Good, this is precisely why these are unloaded and will remain that way for several more hours.” He accepted their glared and handed over the unloaded rocket launchers – they were normal launches except for the fact that they fired off of a rotating magazine that held six shots before it had to be reloaded, which took both time and patience, something that would probably have the two Slayers growling by the end of practice. He handed both weapons over, after making sure that they were, indeed, unloaded and watched the two Slayers stop acting like children and check the two weapons over even as his lab door opened again and, for a moment, he was sure that they would kill the Mayor.
“Hey, B, my rocket launcher is bigger than your launcher.”
And that moment had passed rather quickly as the bickering began.
(2 hours later – Summers Home)
Joyce finished tailoring her daughter’s gown to length even as Rupert and Xander both sat in chairs, idly looking over maps and Willow, Faith, Jenny and Cordelia were off to the side, but even as Oz walked through the door with a box of donuts in hand, Joyce couldn’t shake the feeling that, at the end of the day, there would be nothing but heartache for these young people. The gown hem shifted and she sighed, “Hold still, Buffy.”
“I’m trying, mom.” For not the first time, Joyce found herself wondering how Buffy had gotten her family’s lack of vertical instead of Hank’s – her back was killing her. “So, Xander, how’s it look?”
“If Wilkins is in the right place and all goes according to plan, we may just have a fighting chance in hell at pulling this off.” Xander’s attitude over the past two hours had, to an extent, been rather fatalistic, but given what they were going to be facing, Joyce fancied that he was being realistic about the entire thing, “One, don’t miss with your shots – make them all count. I don’t want to see the school hurt all that much.”
Joyce arched a brow at him, “Why not?”
He smiled, “I still have to get some stuff out of the Library, and if it goes up, I won’t be able to get them.”
Rupert then spoke up, “And the rest of the students? Are they … prepared?”
Jenny walked up and smiled at her paramour, “Of course they are – they all know of what really happens in Sunnydale and have for a long time, but none of them simply cared enough to do anything about it until now.” Jenny shook her head and sat on the chair back behind Xander, idly twirling some of his hair around a finger, “They will be armed and ready for when the time comes.”
Giles nodded even as she finished Buffy’s gown, “Good – that’s one less thing that we need to worry about.”
Faith and Willow walked over, the dark-haired Slayer flopping into Xander’s lap and the Wicca sitting next to Oz while Cordelia went to go get something from the kitchen, “So, what are we doing after the fight? Scooby Orgy?” Joyce choked at the suggestion even as Xander snorted, Buffy blushed, Jenny and Willow smirked, Oz grimaced and Rupert looked scandalized, “What?”
“No, Faith – if we survive this, we get to have summer vacation,” Jenny said, her smile and twinkling eyes not boding well for Rupert whatsoever, “and when we get back, we’ll do this all over again.”
“Xander won’t.” Joyce turned and looked at Cordelia, who held a glass of water in her hand and two pills in the other, “And neither will I – we’re leaving, me to LA and him to protect that girl.”
Xander chuckled even as Faith wiggled in his lap, “And I’ll miss you, too, Queen C – I’ll need to rely on Ayeka to be verbally eviscerated on at weekly basis, but to tell you the truth, it won’t be the same.” Joyce knew he was leaving, but she could also tell in his voice that he didn’t want to leave because of the woman in his lap – she could see the love between him and Faith, and she knew that it would hurt them both for him to keep his word.
She smiled at them and went to her kitchen, putting on a kettle for some tea in hopes of making her recurring headaches go away, but in the back of her mind she knew that something wasn’t right, but she kept putting off that doctor’s appointment as long as she could.
“Are you okay, Joyce?” She jumped at his voice and at his hands on her shoulders, but she relaxed as her heart stopped racing at Xander’s ghostly approach.
“I’m fine, Xander, just another headache coming on.” She kept her face forwards even as he began to massage some of the tension out of her shoulders and upper back, but soon his hands traveled down to her lower back and worked on the knots there, though she was sure she felt a hint of cold metal against her back, though, “Are you going to at least remember to write on occasion?”
He chuckled as his hand slipped further up her back, “At least once a week and I’ll come back for visits when I can, Joyce, but only if you go to the doctor’s appointment I have set up for you in an hour.” She turned around in his grasp and glared at him, but he wasn’t fazed by it at all, thanks to the Slayer-strength glares her daughter gave him all the time, “Hey, if there’s something wrong with you, I want to get it fixed – I want to be able to have ‘Mrs. Robinson’ thoughts about you for years to come.”
Joyce couldn’t help but to blush and chuckle, as he knew that was her favorite movie, “Be careful, Xander, or I may be forced to enact my favorite scene with you.”
He gave her a grin that was at the same time playful and hopeful, “Please?”
Joyce only chuckled even as she felt a wave of dizziness sweep over her, but then that passed and blackness claimed her.
(Sunnydale Hospital – Graduation minus four hours)
He felt like a true son of a bitch, doing what he had done to Joyce, but he knew that she would never go to the doctor’s office any other way, so he had gone to such lengths as to use Washu and a needle-less injection unit, also from Washu, to dope Joyce up with an untraceable drug to knock her out in a way that made it look like she fainted. They all sat in the ER now, waiting for the doctor to come in a tell them the news of what had not been found on the toxscreen, but would most assuredly have been found on the MRI – Washu had detected it one day while Joyce was in his lab and had told him some time back, which led to his decision to get her into treatment ASAP without having to knock her out and have Washu do it herself, and he’d be damned before he lost Joyce to something as benign as a brain tumor.
Beside him sat Buffy, who was out of her mind with worry, but after he and Faith, who sat on her other side, had stopped her from pacing a visible track in the floor ten minutes earlier, she had not broken down or had not even stopped fidgeting – she was on the edge and would stay there until she got word on her mother. He felt bad for her, he really did – abandoned by her father, her ‘soul mate’ never able to touch her in fear of him going evil, again, possibly losing her mother to an act of nature and being left behind by an associate of hers; she was hanging on by a thread, and it was only a matter of time before that thread snapped. Of course Willow would be there, as would Giles and Jenny, and maybe even Oz, but without her mother there to help her when things got tough, Buffy would be adrift – it was at times like this that he wondered if he had made the right 1choice in deciding to be Sasami’s guardian and protector, but the princess needed him and Buffy, to an extent, did not.
The doctor came into the room and explained to them that Joyce had just fainted and her system was normal, but a test had shown something odd, so they were running more tests just to make sure – Buffy broke down on his shoulder, soaking the material of his shirt rather easily even as the doctor went on to explain that he’d know nothing more before tomorrow morning, and that Joyce would be there overnight for observation before leaving the room.
“You don’t look surprised, Xander.” He turned and looked at Jenny, who was giving him something of a measuring look, “Why is that?”
He sighed, “Because, Jenny, I was the one telling her to go to the doctor – I saw this a few weeks ago.”
Giles arched his eyebrow at him and Xander could tell the conversation was gong down hill, “And you never told us for what reason, my boy?”
“Because, frankly, it was none of your concern – this was Joyce’s problem, not ours, and now that it _is_ our problem, I’m making sure she gets it treated.” He could feel the temperature of the room dropping like a rock thrown off of the top of the Sears Tower, so he just shrugged, “What? It worked, didn’t it?”
Buffy was the first to speak, “Did you hurt my mother?”
He gave her an offended look, “No, I only knocked her out – to the doctors, it’s a simple case of fatigue, but then the CBC comes back, they see something wrong and then check it out, finding your mother’s problem. Joyce wakes up, is told, decided to get problem fixed, and the problem is solved.” Sometimes he really wished he had an emotional detachment to his friends and the family of his friends, he really did, but sometimes he just couldn’t leave well enough alone.
Buffy narrowed her eyes at him for a second before frowning, “So, you didn’t do anything else to her?”
He rolled his eyes, “No, I didn’t – I got her in the back while I was working the knots out of it she got because you can’t sew and you’re short.” She glared at him heavily and he ignored her even as Giles coughed politely while Willow, Faith and Jenny chuckled or giggled.
Once the giggles subsided Jenny was able to ask him, “Will she be okay, Xander?”
“If she gets it treated properly, then it should be.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes, “’Should’?”
He shrugged and stood up, “I can’t see the future, Buff – she may be hit by a bus one day going to treatment.” Buffy growled at this and he sighed, “Look, Buffy, like I said, I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t tell you with 100% certainty that anything will happen for sure. Hell, I can’t tell you we’re all coming back from Graduation today!”
The room went deadly silent at his proclamation and Xander instantly wished he had not said it – he had just taunted the fates with an idea … one he felt in his gut they had just taken up with gusto.
(Graduation minus 1 hour)
Buffy watched as Xander began to hop from one foot to the other and back again, his soft-soled boots making no noise as he landed, and idly began to wonder what was going through his mind even as Snyder began the roll call for who went where and what they could do and not do – he had drugged her mother in order to get her to see the doctor, in order for everyone to learn that she was sick and needed treatment, and while the action was morally reprehensible at the time, Buffy found that it was actually kinda of sweet that he was willing to risk a pounding from her to get her mother well.
She then looked over at Willow and Oz, who were talking quietly with Cordelia, and wondered just what those two were going to do after Graduation, provided they lived – they had been getting quite intimate as of late, though Oz did throw Xander the odd terrified look on occasion when Willow was upset (something that she was sure had to do with his wolf form possibly losing it’s fur and manliness), and Buffy wondered if they would keep the relationship even though they would more than likely be apart, as Oz’s band, Dingoes Ate My Baby, had been scouted by a big-name record label as an opening act for a summer tour.
She looked over at Cordy and Faith, who were both idly grading both guys and girls as they walked by, and Buffy shook her head at _that_ particular friendship – Faith had taken to Cordelia after the former Queen C had ripped her for a decision she had made and they had struck up a friendship since then based on her inadequate leadership skills; personally, Buffy was kinda glad that Cordelia was leaving, but in a way she was also sad, as Cordelia was, if one pushed, a ‘kinda’ friend.
“Penny for your thoughts,” She didn’t jump at Xander’s voice – he loved slipping up behind her these days and scaring the daylights out of her, more to the fact that he _could_ now rather than what he used to do.
“Just thinking, you know, about stuff.”
She could hear the smirk in his voice as he replied, “Don’t strain yourself.”
She shoved her elbow into where she thought his gut would be and connected only it was with his armored gut rather than his normal gut, “Ow!” Buffy rubbed her elbow and looked back at him, glaring, but he only smiled at her, “That hurt.”
Xander just shrugged, “It was supposed to – hitting an armored person with an unarmored appendage tends to do that.” He sat next to her and looked over, his cap in hands, “So, what’re ya thinking about?”
“Well, what’s going to happen to the Scoobies once we, you know, graduate? Is it going to be anything like it was, or is it going to be different?”
“Of course it will be different – things constantly evolve, Buffy, and if they don’t they stagnate and die slow, agonizing deaths.” She gave him a look that clearly stated ‘that’s morbid’, but he just shrugged it off, “Harsh, but true – we’ve evolved since we first met, if you really think about it.”
“I know we have – Willow’s a witch and more outgoing, you’ve got your whole suit thing, and …” she trailed off as she saw him shake his head, “What?”
“I’m talking about as people we have changed, Buffy. Think about it – did you take the whole Slayer thing as seriously then as you occasionally do now?”
She frowned, “I like to think so, but I see your point.”
“Do you think that Willow would ever wear her choice of clothing back then that she does now, Blood Rayne not withstanding?”
She nodded, “Point.”
He snorted, “Do you think that I’d ever let down my masks long enough for anyone to see the real me, let alone Cordy doing the same?”
She took a breath and let it out slowly, “Well, I can see Cordy, but you, you never let down your masks.”
He gave her a look, “Do you _not_ remember my threat to kill you beginning of last year?” She winced at that memory, the look of promise in his eyes returning and the feeling of shame at how much of a bitch she had been which necessitated that declaration, “Or how about me lying to you? All things being equal, do you think I could have done that without lowering my masks?”
Her anger simmered for a second at that particular memory, but it had been long-since hashed out as the right thing to do, regardless of her personal feelings over it, “Okay, you’re right, we have grown up.”
He then smirked at her, “Emotionally, anyway – you’re still short.” She shot him a look and he stopped smirking, “Look, either way you could not have expected things to stay the same – it just wasn’t possible, Hellmouth or not.”
“I know, it’s just whenever I get my mind set into one pattern, it’s tough to get it off of that one and go to another.” She messed with her tassel for a second and then plopped her cap on her head, “So, how do I look?”
He looked at her, “About an inch taller?” She glared and he smiled, “An inch and a half?”
“Can you be serious for at least two seconds to listen? I mean, I’m trying to say that … that I’m scared.”
He nodded and was quiet for a second, but when she spoke, it wasn’t the answer she was looking for, “Good.”
“Look, Buff, things change, and it should scare the piss out of you. I mean, yeah, this whole thing we’re about to do has me quivering inside, but when it comes down to it, it needs to be done.” Anything else he was going to say was cut off when Snyder yelled a them to get into their places, which is when he sighed, “Look, just remember that at the end of the day, those people out there in the stands are the ones that matter – keep them safe, and the rest is gravy.”
With that, Xander got off of the floor next to her and walked away and, for not the first time that day, Buffy wondered if this was the last time she was going to see him alive.
Even as the Mayor, one Richard Wilkins the First, Second and Third, began to shift and grow into a massive hellsnake under the absent light caused by the solar eclipse, Xander felt his stomach clench once again as his robe came off and his helmet snapped into place, unconsciously putting his cannon to full power and beginning to amplify it with a rarely used feature of his armor, the Charge Beam. Around him, his entire class also disrobed and pulled up weapons of varying lethality, ranging from bows and arrows, crossbows and javelins to the odd handgun, shotgun, rifle and, in one case, a rather nasty-looking cannon from their respective hiding places. They all held their fire, though, as the Mayor continued to grow, the crows of parents and family all screaming and fleeing the scene even as the local vampire population came in through portals from under the stands – all would be for naught if they attacked and the Mayor was still Immortal.
“What … do you think you’re doing?” Snyder, dwarfed by the hellsnake by a good thirty feet of vertical, did make a vain attempt to put the former Mayor in his place, but paid for that with his life as the Mayor-snake snapped his head down and bit the troll in half. In the back of his mind, Xander made a mental note to thank the Mayor for that favor if they did this right.
“Open Fire!” Giles’ roar was his signal and he let the lethal beam of cohesive energy fly at the Mayor, hitting it about fifteen feet off of the ground and dead center in the chest … with pitifully little effect. Not a second later arrows and javelins filled the air, not to mention the odd pistol and rifle round, and hit the Mayor in the chest, but those too had little effect even as he popped his missile launcher open and the students turned to reload and he fired a single missile at the Mayor-snake, who was hissing and surging forwards.
The small projectile that had blown open Ethan Rayne’s shop front sailed forwards with blinding speed and, impossibly, the Mayor bit down on it and swallowed it … and for his troubles was given the worst case of indigestion imaginable as the missile exploded inside his body, causing him to give vent to a horrific scream and giving Xander another target as he ran to one side, popping another missile off as the vampires and demons were engaged by the students. The second missile hit the Mayor amid ships and badly burned the skin of the demon, but had little effect other than pissing it off, but he didn’t care – it had to die, so he fired off another round and moved again.
A ball of pure light flew off from one side and Jenny’s spell hit the Mayor in the neck, exploding and also burning the demon’s hide – Xander knew that Faith was protecting the Technopagan as Buffy was protecting Willow, who’s own magical bomb flew in and hit the Mayor where his missile had, causing more pain, more anger, and more damage as his third missile hit near the ground, blowing up as much earth as he did snake as he moved. Xander felt his movement impeded, though, by a horrific slap to the back of the head as a vampire got to him, some of them having overrun the students in places, and he turned and, triggering his power cannon, put a full-power shot into the undead creature’s head, literally vaporizing it at a range of about an inch, which brought a smile to his face – something had FINALLY gone right from his constant tinkering with his cannon.
This pattern continued, magical bombs, missiles, the odd power beam and arrow from a student, for a few minutes until Xander made a decision that he knew was a risk, but it was an option that had more promise than anything else – he snapped his cannon arm closed and drew from his inner well of power, triggering his battle suit and, in a flash, his armor was gone and light surrounded his body. He felt the bodysuit form around him in an instant and then the partial armor was there, but also there was the black sword that was his to command, something that, theoretically, had as much power for every second of contact as his charged-up power beam did per shot. With that in mind, he streaked forwards, his mouth shouting a battle cry but his mind focused completely on his enemy and, with any luck, he would do some good with this suicidal attack.
Willow ducked a wild swing from a vampire and flung off her last magical bomb at the Mayor even as she heard Xander give his best impersonation of Han Solo’s ‘charging the Stormtroopers’ war cry, out of his armor and with his energy sword, but paid no mind to it anymore as she pulled her own short swords and turned, her mind downshifting into what she liked to call ‘Bloody Rayne’ mode – she felt her eyeteeth extend slightly and her pulse pick up as she lashed out at one vampire and then another, decapitating both of them in a sweeping move even as Buffy kicked and staked a third vampire. It was at times like this that she lived for the fight.
Buffy, herself, was wondering exactly whom she had pissed off in her last life to get into a situation like this – she had only wanted a nice, normal life where she grew up and married an ultra-rich man who could take care of her for the rest of her life, but then the whole Slayer thing came into play and now here she was, at her Graduation ceremony, fighting to keep herself alive, in front of a Mayor-turned-hellsnake, and her best female friend had just gone agro on two more vampires with her short swords. It was at this point, though, she kinda got an answer to another of her questions – could the Mayor be hurt.
The Mayor bellowed out a screech of agony that shook the area and set off car alarms and Buffy looked down towards the ground to see Xander there, still spinning with his light sword blazing, and a deep, bloody rent in the Mayor’s body, “So, he can be hurt.”
The joy was short-lived, though, as the Mayor used his tail and swatted Xander away a good sixty yards … but Xander proceeded to defy gravity as he came to a stop in mid air and smiled a woozy little smile, shouting out, “How do you like this shit, ya bitch?!” Not waiting for an answer, though, he shot forwards, screaming his head off and Buffy found herself being hit again by an oncoming vampire.
Willow winced as Buffy was body-checked by a vampire as she heard Xander scream his mock war cry out at the Mayor, buzzing around the hellsnake like the mosquito from from hell and taking shots at the Mayor when given the chance; Xander was many things and, when he put his mind to it, he was definitely annoying. Her train of thought, though, was interrupted by an explosion of Jenny’s and Faith’s side of the field, followed not long by a shout of anguish, but Willow found herself under attack again and unable to see if her friends and allies were all right.
Tsunami found herself wringing her hands in her robes even as she watched her champion and guardian … her friend … slash again at the demonic snake that had once been human, and felt her heart clench as an explosion off to one side of her viewing pool smothered and extinguished the life force of one of his friends – he had known that people were going to die in this battle, but Tsunami knew that Xander would take each death as an affront of himself, personally, after the fight was over.
Of course she knew that Xander and his friends would win the day, that much was written in the stars, but how many would die and need to be sacrificed in the process was an every-changing number that, as the battle wore on, kept going higher and higher.
(Sunnydale Graduation – field level)
Truth be told, he hadn’t felt this good, this _FREE_ in nearly twenty years, back when he was Ripper – even as he slashed his sword and decapitated another vampire, Rupert knew that something horrible had happened in the explosion that had erupted from where Faith and Jenny had been, but unfortunately he was a _touch_ on the busy side as he and Linda both set out about destroying more vampires and keeping as many of the students alive as they could.
The odd fact that about two people on the face of the planet knew was that while he had been ‘Ripper’ so long ago, there had been an American counterpart to his reign of terror in the suburbs of New York; Linda Price had once, also about twenty years before, been a rather nasty sort in with the dark magics, and had taken the name of ‘Banshee’ as she had the vocal capacity to shatter glass (not to mention had the reputation of being quite the screamer, if one were to believe the rumors), and that was coming back in spades as she opened her mouth and gave vent to a piercing shriek that blew away five on-coming vampires and a good chunk of the dirt that they had been on.
The Mayor screamed again, but this time with gusto and Giles could see a great gout of blood erupting form the demon’s back as Xander came over the top of him, flying through the air like a sodding hummingbird and backhand slashing the demon across it’s snout, eliciting another scream and even more blood before a non-magical bomb flew in from Jenny’s position and exploded next to the demon, blowing a rather sizable chunk out of the body and bringing for a scream that could only be described as ‘blood curdling’.
Tsunami winced again as Xander was smacked with the demon’s tail, but felt that the end was nigh – the fight was over, but for whom?
He desperately clawed the hot demon blood out of his eyes and had to duck quickly to avoid getting his head taken off as the Mayor began to thrash around after his last strikes – he’d gotten behind the demon and sliced it up the backside a good ten feet, but to add insult to injury he had slashed the mayor across his snout, too. Even as he clawed, though, he was ducking, diving and weaving in the air to keep from being hit by the thrashing snake, but not enough as he was slammed into the ground from above by a mass of demonic nagahide, which crashed down on top of him, pinning him to the ground even as he felt his armor starting to give way.
She saw Xander go down in a mass of demonic hellsnake and, with her last reserves of fleeting strength, threw the one thing at her disposal that she had left – a white phosphorous hand grenade that Linda had gotten ahold of, somehow.
It sailed high, it sailed true, it sailed right into the ground that was soon covered by the Mayor … and then it detonated as blackness consumed her.
Buffy and the vampire, one of the few left, actually, who was trying to take her head off with his hands both ducked in surprise as the explosion from under the Mayor and eardrum-shattering shriek that came after that, but Willow, from her position against a bleacher, holding a gash on her stomach that was healing quickly, had a front-row seat for what happened – she had seen Xander be landed on / belly-flopped on by the Mayor while trying to clear his eyes, but not two seconds after that did the grenade thrown by someone on the other side go off under the hellsnake. The initial explosion blew a hole right through the Mayor, sending up a veritable gout of hot blood, meaty chunklets and white-hot burning phosphorous, which cooked everything in sight from rare to ultra-well-done in about two seconds (3200 degrees could do that, a part of her addled mind added silently) – the scream the former mayor gave out actually shattered some of the glass in the school, lots of it, actually, and set off just about every car alarm in Sunnydale, but it was soon re-doubled again for some odd reason as dark demon blood began to gush out from both under and out of the top of the snake.
It thrashed around the football field, crushing chairs and the odd body of a fallen student, teacher or parent, repeatedly slamming it’s middle torso, what had actually landed on Xander, actually, onto the ground, and that area it was slamming had a huge hole in it! Xander wasn’t mashed into the ground into a Xander paste! It was at that time, though, that Willow noticed that the Mayor had a noticeable bulge in his body … and it was moving up even as the Mayor began to weakly struggle.
Buffy walked over to her, the vamp having been taken care of, “Willow, where’s Xander?”
She had a bad feeling she knew exactly where Xander was – before she could answer, though, the Mayor gave another bellow of pain and a black light sword lanced it’s way out from the inside of his body, “Uh, there?”
Xander could see spots in front of his eyes, his heart was hammering and his lungs were burning – he was doing all he could from opening his mouth and taking a great big gulp of Mayor blood and intestines, something he didn’t actually want to try; fortunate happenstance had allowed the Willy Pete grenade, one of handful of goodies that Linda had gotten for them in this battle, to go off seconds before his armor gave way completely and for him to cut his way into the one place that he could temporarily survive – inside of the mayor. Once there, he hacked and sliced his way through the demonic tissues, his armor sizzling the entire way, until he felt his sword piece the outer skin of the Mayor, which he heard a muffled scream of agony from the outside.
With a final push he was out of the Mayor’s body, rolling along the ground until he was stopped by a fallen chair; he shook his eyes clear and looked up, “Ah, hell.” The Mayor was falling! The Mayor was falling! (shut up, Chicken Little) Without thinking he activated his battle suit’s flight ability, but instead of floating up and away like Supermen of old, he shot away from the falling mass of nagahide and demonic mass, becoming the proverbial worm burner, and slamming head-first into a good fifty chairs before he arched his back and shot into the air.
“Damn,” he muttered even as he came to a rest about fifteen feet in the air, shaking his head to try and clear the cobwebs. He could feel his heart starting to slow down now that he could breathe, but Xander was sure that he’d done some damage from going inside of the Mayor’s body (not that he had a whole lot of choices at that point), and he could feel his ribs protesting greatly as he floated back down towards the ground.
“Xander!” He turned and saw both Giles and Linda running at him, the former having shouted at him, “Are you okay?”
“Not really, but I’m breathing – does that count?” He looked over at the Mayor’s body, taking note that it was still moving, “Anyone got any ideas on how to get him to go down and stay down?”
Linda looked first at him, then at Giles, and then stepped forwards, her eyes turning black and her hair frizzing out to become a halo of light red around her head, like some sort of demented Chia pet or Don King – she opened her mouth and issued out a shriek that blew him back several feet, making him stumble into another fallen chair, and that shriek hit the Mayor dead on with rather surprising results. The Mayor’s body, which had only been twitching slightly but was still obviously alive, exploded into more hellsnake chunklets as the screamed blast finished from Linda, but it continued on and traveled with unerring accuracy to the side of the school that was present, the side that happened to house the cafeteria and numerous gas lines – the resulting explosion flung them all right off their feet and incinerated the Mayor’s body, but the bells ringing in his head made it impossible for anything to be heard.
It took several minutes, but he was able to get back and Xander felt his jaw drop as he surveyed the damage that Linda had caused – the central part of the school was gone, engulfed in flames, and the Mayor was toast, gone, cooked; Linda was on the ground, unconscious, Giles was still out of it (presumably with Big Ben going off in his head), and even as the bells began to clear from Xander’s head, he could tell that it was eerily quiet on the field of battle, save for the roar of the gas line fires. It was eerily quiet, actually, as there were not any souls alive, save for a few, and all were in awed silence of the massive amount of destruction that had been wrought.
Of course, it couldn’t last – from the other end of the field, he heard a female scream out in horror, “XANDER! SHE’S DEAD!”
AN: Okay, that’s it for this chapter and, for now, this story – I’m burnt, seriously, and I’m working on several other stories. R&R, please, AR.