Chapter Thirty Four
Disclaimer. The Buffy and Da Vinci Code characters are owned by other people. Other people who are not me.
Chapter Thirty Four.
The Louvre, Paris. Place de la Pyramide.
Outside things were getting rough. The vamps were still coming and Kennedy’s group were out of crossbow bolts. It was down to hand to hand. They put their backs to the pyramid and brought their weapons to bear.
Suddenly the pyramid filled with light and a beam shot skywards disappearing into the clouds which started swirling and flashing as though lightning was present in them. The vampires stopped advancing and looked in amazement at the lightshow.
“It’s beautiful, we must have it.” Said one of the nearest. He paid for his comment as did several of the others for their lack of concentration. Their dust drifted on the breeze as the slayers pressed their advantage. Some of the vampires at the rear turned at the sound of screeching tyres. A small car skidded to a stop in the square and Three people squeezed out of the rear.
Dawn stood with Heidi and Helga on either side of her. She called back over her shoulder. “Sophie get away, now. Find Xander.” The car screeched away towards the north side exit, and the three newcomers attacked the vampires rear flanks.
The beam of light had been shooting into the clouds for nearly fifteen minutes before they heard the screams begin. The vampires recovered from their initial shock and renewed their attempts to gain access. Suddenly they stopped and cowered, covering their eyes.
Louvre, North side.
Xander came back from his vantage point and looked at Vi. She was holding Susie’s limp body close to her like a baby. “Why did she do that Xan. There was no need to break cover.” She said, tears rolling down her face.
“I don’t know, sometimes there aren’t any reasons why. It just is…. It’s not right. .. It’s just meant to be.” He answered solemnly.
Carly, Melanie and Janine, stood at the end of an alley on the north side of the Louvre guarding the entrance. There were several patches of dust on the floor, mixed in with Susie‘s blood.
There was a screech of tyres at the end of the alley and a small Citroen skidded to a halt. The doors opened, Robert and Sophie got out. Xander made his way back to the end of the alley.
“Dawn sent us to find you.” Said Sophie. It was then she noticed the dead young slayer. “What happened?” She asked.
“Susie got caught by a group of vamps on their way into the square. She took out four before they got her.” Said Carly. We got the rest, but we were too late to save her.”
“What will you do with her body?” Asked Robert.
“We take her home. No-one gets left behind.” Said Xander. “We’ve left too many behind before. We made a rule.”
They placed Susie’s body in the back of the car and Vi took the wheel. The streets were quiet on this side of the Museum now, all of the fighting was concentrated around the pyramid. Suddenly a bright flash lit up the night sky like daylight and the noise from the fighting suddenly ceased.
“Looks like Willow got here.” Said Xander.
The moved quickly to the far side of the building and into the square. Several of the slayers were supporting each other, blinking. Others were sitting on the ground rubbing their eyes. There was a large cloud of dust wafting across the square.
“I bet Willow used the sunburst spell. Bugger it, I missed it again. I need a tan. Complained Melanie.
“Language Mel.” Chastised Vi. Mel stuck her tongue out at herbehind her back. They made their way over to the pyramid, where they found several rosy faced slayers comparing their kills, injuries and how their suntans might work out. Kennedy had lost two of her girls to the marauding vampires. Bags were brought from the Hummers and the three young slayers were laid in the rear of one of the vehicles.
Willow, Kennedy and Dawn were discussing the beam of light heading skywards as the group approached them.
“Has anyone seen Buffy o-or Daniel?” Asked Willow.
Kennedy told her of the last time she’d seen them, and where they’d gone.
“Then we’d better go look for them.” She said.
Pyramide Inverse Chamber
Buffy rolled to a stop by the wall. She could hear the distant sounds of the battle somewhere above her. She lay there for a moment, tears rolling down her face, unable to catch her breath as she wept uncontrollably. “Why do I lose everyone I begin to care about.” She thought.
Still looking like Buffy the First stalked over to her and squatted next to her. “Don’t cry.” It said, almost sympathetically. “Looks like you lost another lover, this is quite a thing with you isn’t it.” It stated. “Kinda careless, don’tcha think?”
“I told you to get outta my face!” Hissed Buffy. She moved to get up and a sharp pain in her side made her wince. She got to her feet, ignoring the First and examining her hip, there was blood and a gash that had already started to close.
“Make me.” Said the First. “Oh; you can’t can you. Me being all non-corporeal, an’ all. Anyway, how did you learn my true name? Not that it‘ll do you any good, I‘ll still try again.”
Buffy gave the First a hard stare. “Not feelin’ very share-y at the moment. You’re just a scaredy -cat demon who couldn’t face being caught and imprisoned or killed, so you get others to do your dirty work for you. At least those who die fighting against you have the free will to choose and know why they’re doing it.”
She walked over to the Scythe and picked it up. She stared into the light. For a moment she thought she saw something. Then another thought dawned on her.
“You knew about this. Didn’t you?” She said, gesturing towards the light. “He was just another throwaway minion, wasn’t he? Sunnydale didn’t work for you, and this was a test, to see if there might be another way to take over, cause chaos. Wasn‘t it?”
The First gave a slow hand clap. “Finally, she gets it.”
Y’ know what. I’m getting kinda sick of you coming here pestering me an’ my friends. This is what, the third time you’ve tried something like this now, and failed, and I say baseball rules apply. Strike three. You’re out.”
“And just how are you going to do that? You cant touch me, incorporeal, remember.” Said the First.
“I’ll find a way to kick your skanky butt. Even if I have to find which dimension you’re hiding in to do it.” Spat Buffy.
“You couldn’t survive in my dimension. You couldn’t breathe there. Besides, it‘s your skanky butt you‘re lookin‘ at.”
“Oh, I’m way prettier than you. I‘ve seen your true form, remember.” Buffy was getting more and more angry with each comment. She was almost shouting. “If I can’t come to you, then I’ll find a way to make you solid!!”
The First took a step back from her in shock. It wasn’t just the volume or the venom in Buffy’s voice. It could have sworn her eyes glowed. A glowing golden flash, and something happened to it. It tried to morph into another image to throw her off. It couldn’t; neither could it transport itself away. A panic swept over it as it realised what had happened.
At the same time Buffy was having an episode of her own. Her senses suddenly went into overdrive, telling her that a big stinking evil was close by. She whirled around trying to get a bearing on the demon but saw nothing but the image of herself in front of her. Then she saw the eyes of the First; those deep dark pits of nothingness, obsidian black. Pure hate.
Buffy was the first to recover her voice. “I guess I get my wish.” She gulped.
“Now you will die, slayer, and no-one will know the difference.” Said the First. The voice was cracked and harsh. Inhuman.
“Might wanna work on the vocals, or I’m thinking’, someone will guess you’re not me.” Quipped Buffy. Throwing a right hook at it’s jaw, there was a sickening crack as the Firsts head snapped round and knocked it off balance. There was a look of uncertainty on its face.
“You BITCH!!” It screamed and launched its own attack.
Dan’s motionless form floated in the ethereal light. Although he wasn’t conscious, he was aware of being safe and warm and an aura of peace surrounding him.
A glowing figure, an elderly woman with long silvery hair, dressed in white robes moved around him, gently probing his memories. She spoke her findings, as though she were making a report to an unseen being or group.
“He should not be here in the ethereal power. He is not demon……He is human. …. He has had loss. ….. Suffered. ….. He has a connection, to the Chosen One. ”
Her hand moved to his shirt and opened it to reveal the protection mark.
“She protects him, even here. He is for her. For her balance. For her future. For her progeny.
She cocked her head on one side as if listening to something said by the unseen.
“Yes. A selfless being. His deeds are pure. He must be returned. We should not entrap such noble spirit. However, the fact that he has been here may alter him, physically, mentally.”
She broke off from her deliberations. There was a movement in the mass, a body came hurtling into the vicinity. Bonds of light wrapped themselves around the figure of Leigh Teabing and he began to struggle. The old woman knew what he was immediately.
“Evil. Murderer. Darkness hides here.” She spat.
A long staff appeared in her hand and she moved swiftly towards the struggling person. Striking Teabing’s chest with he end of the staff, it began to draw the essence from the body. Caleb’s voice screamed manically.
It was over in what seemed like seconds. Teabing’s body lay motionless floating near Dan, not supported by it’s host anymore it had reverted to being a corpse.
“The corpse should be returned also. It was inanimate before, it belongs in the human world. Interment is required.” Said the woman.
Again she listened to unheard voices. Turning slightly she waved her hand at the misty barrier where Teabing and Dan had entered.
An image appeared in the mist, a window to the earthly plane. She witnessed the battle between Buffy and the First.
“She is powerful, she has embraced her new talents. She will prevail.”
Buffy and the First were locked in similar strangle holds on each other. Buffy broke the hold, grabbed an arm and swung the First into the wall cracking the blocks. The First blocked a follow up punch to the face, pushed Buffy away, and turned to pick up the Scythe from the floor.
Buffy saw the movement as she crashed into the opposite wall and winced, not only with pain but at the thought of the First having possession of the Scythe. As the hand neared the weapon, it slid away. The First’s eyes widened and it made a grab for it. The Scythe shot further away and out into the gallery.
“I guess it doesn’t like you. Obviously intelligent. It knows the difference.” Said Buffy, breathing heavily, and wiping blood off her face on the back of her hand. “So tell me again how you were gonna replace me?”
Willow, Xander, Vi and Dawn ran along the gallery towards the chamber. As they approached they slowed as they heard the sounds of fighting. Suddenly the Scythe came skidding across the threshold. Dawn scooped it up and gave a quick glance into the room. She gasped when she saw Buffy, apparently fighting herself. As one spun the other into the wall she turned and looked at the intruders. There was a difference about her face. The eyes were totally black. Willow came to her side and saw it too.
“Goddess. It’s the First. It’s managed to manifest in this dimension somehow.” She said, dragging Dawn out of the way as Buffy retaliated. The watched in amazement as the two matched each other blow for blow.
Dawn saw her chance. There was a break in the First’s attack as it pushed Buffy away. She shouted to Buffy and hurled the Scythe back into the chamber towards her.
Buffy caught it and fell backwards to the floor as the First leapt at her. As the First passed overhead she thrust upwards with the weapon and the blade caught the First in the gut. Putting her foot up behind the Scythe’s head she pushed and forced the demon upwards towards the swirling light. It disappeared from view with the Scythe still sticking in its stomach. A few seconds later there came the inhuman screams. Then silence.
Buffy stayed on the floor. Her body wracked with sobs and tears rolled down her cheeks, and pooled on the floor.
Dawn was there first. She gathered her sister into her lap. The injuries were not pretty. Her face was bruised, her lip split, and her left eye was awash with blood from a cut on her forehead. Buffy winced as she hugged Dawn, the tears still falling. Vi went for the first aid kit, Willow came and crouched on the other side of Dawn.
“He’s gone, Dawnie. I lost him.” She sobbed
“Whom did you lose?” Came a voice from behind them.
They turned around the see an elderly woman with long silver hair dressed in white robes. She held the Scythe in one hand.
“W-who are you?” Asked Willow.
“I know her. She’s the Guardian. They created the Scythe. I‘m right, aren’t I?” Said Buffy, weakly.
“Indeed you are, Buffy.
“But you died, in Sunnydale? Caleb killed you.” Said Buffy. “Why, how are you here?”
“My physical form passed over then, yes, but my spirit joined my sisters and the ascended ones in the ethereal plane We are still Guardians, even in death. You know this place Buffy, you have been there. Search your memories.”
Buffy nodded. A distant look in her eyes. “Where I was..….was warm, at peace, loved.” She said, sadly.
“Quite so.” Her eyes flicked to Willow, Xander, and then Dawn. “Do not think too badly of your friends. This may be a shock to you but it was sanctioned by the Powers that you be released back to earth when your friends performed the resurrection spell. Worse things would have happened if you had not been returned. The key needed protecting. It still does.” She gave Buffy a knowing look.
“Where’s Daniel? Did he die. Don’t let him die, please.” Begged Buffy.
The Guardian smiled. “He will be returned. However, I must tell you that he may be different, how different, we do not know. The protection you placed upon him was seen as a threat by the source and it tried to ensnare him. He absorbed some of the power. I released him and probed his memories to see why he was there. It was not his destiny to be there, not for a long time yet.”
“What about the First, and Caleb.” Asked Willow.
“They will be kept with the other monsters that have tried to embrace the power of the grail. Primatu’s essence will be interred in the deeper well, where he should have been put eons ago. The other one will be in torment for eternity. The phrase ‘killing them with kindness’ means more than you might think.” She said.
“So what do we do about that?” Said Buffy, pointing to the swirling light. ”I think the French are gonna notice a supernatural lightshow in the middle of their capital city.”
“It will dissipate once I return. They will not recall it once daylight comes.
She looked past them towards the entrance and saw Vi, Sophie and Robert standing there.
“Ah, the Merovingian Princess. Enter, daughter. Fear not.” She said.
Vi brought the first aid kit to Dawn, and she bean treating Buffy’s cuts and bruises. Sophie took hold of Robert’s hand and, nervously, they entered. “We saw you leave and wanted to see what my grandfather had kept secret for all these years. She paused. “Is this the Holy Grail?” She asked .
“Yes, and no.” Said the Guardian. “You and your ancestors have been part of the legend for millennia. Your grandfather was supposed to have educated you in your heritage. That duty will fall to your grandmother now. It was humankind who gave it the title of Holy, not ourselves. However. Your true heritage does relate back to Mary; and much, much further. ” She said.
“This is amazing. So my symbology theories were correct? Right?.” Asked Robert.
Willow took up the explanation.
“Actually, no-one’s physically opened it to find out, a-and we’re not gonna try. Not gonna get into that can o' worms. According to Ethan’s grandfather; the sarcophagus was discovered in southern France in the fourteen hundreds. He had to assume that the Knights Templar had hidden it there two hundred years earlier; intending to retrieve it at the earliest opportunity; but they were nearly all killed in the inquisition, and no-one who survived knew the location. The Priory of Sion was founded by the watchers of that time to protect it and the blood line so that anyone looking for it would fall foul of the trap. After all, they only had one Slayer to fight the big bad’s of the world, and she couldn’t be everywhere at once. So if a big bad wanted the ultimate in power accessories, the coup of retrieving the Holy Grail would be enough of a lure to get them to follow the clues. His research was strictly off the record and he died just after he finished the work, so the council never got their hands on the information.”
Your knowledge has grown considerably, young goddess, as has your power. Use it wisely, there are still those in the world who wish to rob you of it.” Said the Guardian.
“Who, what did you call me?” Asked Willow. “Hello. Witch, yes. Goddess no.” She stated, panicking slightly.
“I only speak that which is true. You will see.” Said the Guardian.
Xander, who had been listening to the enfolding events spoke up. “Hey, I’m not gonna have to save the world on my own again, am I?”
“Ah, the one who sees.” Your capacity for compassion and understanding is great. The Powers have deigned to bless you with sight. Approach.” She commanded.
Xander held up his hands to keep her away. “Hey, I don’t want those vision thingy’s; thanks all the same. They tend to suck the life outta ya. Maybe I could go for a little more of the Sergeant Rock image though, seein’ as you’re offering.”
She waved her hand and Xander’s eye patch flew off, he placed his hand over it in an instant to hide the scarring beneath. Willow and Vi immediately put themselves between them to protect him, Willow raised her hands.
“Leave him alone. He said no!” Her voice became stern, and she gave the Guardian a dark look.
The Guardian smiled. “Worry not, young ones. I mean him no harm. See. It is already given.” She gestured to Xander Who still had his hand covering his face. Vi turned to him and gently removed his hand. He blinked, as though the light was too bright, Vi gave an excited smile. “Your eye….They gave you your eye back.”
She hugged him and Willow joined them, her eyes shining.
“So, nifty gifts all round. What’s the catch.” Said Buffy, standing up her arms folded across her chest, a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “What’s the price?”
“The price has already been paid, both individually, and collectively. All we ask is that you continue, hold wise council, and teach the young ones to follow in your footsteps. There are still threats to the human race that will need to be averted.” She looked to the light. “It is time. I must return. Daniel will be returned to you when I am gone.” She paused, looking directly at Buffy. “You are love. Give love. Receive love. You have the capacity…..For all your daughters.”
Buffy opened her mouth to reply, but she vanished. “What? Hey! Less with the cryptic, more with the splainy.” She called out.
The light disappeared abruptly, the small phallic pyramid was closed; no sign that it had ever opened., or that there had been a battle in the chamber.
Either side of it were two bodies. One of them groaned and his hand went to his head. Dan sat up quickly and blinked. Buffy scooted over to him and pulled him into a huge hug, kissing him breathlessly at the same time.
“Get a room, you two.” Grinned Dawn.
“You won then.” He said, pulling back from Buffy’s lips. “That was…Oh god. Not again.”
“Apparently not.” Said Buffy. “There’s some funky stuff we’ve gotta talk about, but it’ll keep for later.”
Dan looked around the group. His eyes fell on Dawn, he gave her a puzzled look. Then at Xander, his eyes widened.
“Xander did I miss something, because I’m damn sure you only had one eye earlier?” He said.
Xander gave him a lopsided grin. “What can I say, Somebody up there likes me. Hey I wonder if it shoots laser beams or something. Or if it’s capable of x-ray vision.” He grinned. The women all looked a little nervous. He shrugged, then groaned. “This means all my ID‘s need changing again; and I’m gonna have to change my doctor.” He wandered over to where the eye patch had fallen. “I think I’ll keep this as a souvenir.” He said.
Dan got to his feet aided by Buffy, he faltered slightly. “Woah. Dizzy.” He said. He rubbed his eyes.
“You Ok?” She asked.
“Yeah, I’m okay. Just a little disoriented for a moment.” He said.
He took a moment to straighten himself, and looked inside his open shirt. “Uh oh.” He muttered.
“What‘s wrong?” Said Buffy.”
“The mark, the protection mark. It’s gone.” Said Dan.
“Uh oh. Said Buffy.
“My thoughts exactly. What does that mean? He said.
“Don’t know, but we’ll find out. Maybe you don’t need protecting anymore..” She shrugged.
He nodded and fastened his shirt. Looking around the room he gave Dawn a curious look and his eyes fell on the corpse. “What do we do with that?” He asked.
Xander gave him a lopsided grin. Clearing his throat he said.
“Book him Danno!”
The group came out of the exit to the group of slayers waiting at there. Vi directed two of them to take a bag down and collect Teabing’s body.
Buffy turned to Kennedy. “How many, and who, did we lose?”
“I lost Kirsty and Shona. Vi lost Susie.” Said Kennedy.
Buffy shook her head. “I’ve let them down. They’re too young, they shouldn’t be fighting yet.” She said, sadly.
Melanie pushed her way to the front, there were tears in her eyes as she spoke.
“It’s not your fault Buffy. We all came here because we wanted to, not because you asked us to, or ordered us to. We choose to fight, stand up, because we have the choice, not because we don’t.” She stepped forward and embraced Buffy. “Susie was a friend, and I’ll miss her; but she was more than that; she was more like a sister.” She paused. “And I know this is going to sound stupid but….but you feel more like a mum, might be coz mine died, I dunno, but you feel different, more than just another slayer.”
She stepped back. Buffy looked at the group in front of her. There were mumblings and nods from all of them acknowledging Mel’s statement.
Buffy placed her hands on Mel’s shoulders and pulled her back into the hug. “Thank you for saying that Mel; but it’s still my responsibility to let their parents know how and why they died. I have to write the letters.”
“Then let’s all write letters to their parents, so’s we can tell them how well they fought and how we’ll miss ‘em, and all the other nicer things we did together.” She replied.
Buffy nodded her agreement. The impromptu meeting broke up and the slayers started moving to the vehicles under instruction from Kennedy and Vi. Dan came up behind her and put his arms around her waist.
“Strong minded lot, you slayers.” He said. “She’s got a point though. It would be good if they all wrote letters to their parents. It’ll help them deal with the loss as well.”
Buffy twisted around to face him, smiling gently. “Look at you. Brushing with death; again, and still got time to be Mr. Cool. Maybe you‘ll change your tune when you‘ve taught them for six months. Mel‘s coming to the new school in September.”
“I look forward to the challenge.” He leaned down and kissed her deeply before she had time to reply.
“Sneaky.” She said as they came up for air. “We going back with everyone else or are we going by bike?”
“The zeds dead, baby. Ran out of juice at the bottom of the stairs. That’s how those two vamps caught me.” He grinned. “See I told you you’d enjoy it.”
“I could enjoy it more. After careful consideration I think I come down on the side of motorcycle travel.” She said, sagely. “So we go with the others then.”
Actually, I feel a bit lively, and you promised to tell me what happened in there. If you feel up to it, how about we go for a walk. We can go back later can’t we?”
“Yeah, sure.” She said. She called out to Willow and handed the Scythe to Vi. “We’re going for a walk.” She told them.
Willow raised an eyebrow. “Pffft, obvious smooch-a-lots.” She muttered. She whispered something to Dawn and Kennedy who giggled like schoolgirls.
Dan took her hand and led her from the square onto the south side ant the embankment of the Seine. He turned east towards Notre Dame.
“Where are we going?” She asked.
“Out there. Thataway. See what’s there.” He replied cryptically, pointing. She snuggled into his arm and the walked along the riverbank.
The sun was coming up and illuminating the skyline over Notre Dame. They walked on towards it.
Into the light.
Authors note. I know there are unfinished holes in the storyline.
………What about Giles and Olivia?
………Giles’ title to The House of Lancaster
………Arthur Maguire and the Contract?
………Meet the Family?
………Robert and Sophie?
There will be a sequel.
Watch this space.
Thank you for reading and reviewing.