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Far Beyond Normal

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Normal-verse Series". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Buffy did not survive her confrontation with the First. Fortunately, Buffy has never been one to let death stand in her way...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Theme: ActionjAkLFR1525142,908258674455,27219 Jan 0615 Mar 06Yes
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Chapter 23

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters relating to either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Stargate SG-1. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only and does not provide any financial compensation.

Far Beyond Normal

Chapter Twenty Three

Carter gasped in horror at the sight of the young girl she had hoped might become a friend being smashed through a brick wall. She knew Buffy was tough; but even if the Slayer survived, having the alien monster stalking after her before she had time to recover meant there wasn’t much chance she would continue to do so. She felt useless, knowing there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. The TV announcer was almost hysterical, describing the action of not just Buffy’s fight, but the far bloodier one going on around the President. Berklyn, no longer even trying to pretend he was a human, was standing, arms wide, blue jewel atop his staff slowing brightly as it deflected incoming bullets without effort, many of those shooting at him dying from the deflected bullets despite their efforts to roll out of the way. His head was back, eyes closed, mouth twitching as he mumbled something, the results obvious as dozens of men shot back at those rushing forward in attempts to get the President out of the line of fire. Anyone who came too close without getting shot almost inevitably looked confused, then horrified, then quickly turned on those following him as his mind was taken over by Berklyn’s power.

There were a lot of bodies lying around on the tarmac, and a lot of screaming, making it pretty obvious that nobody had the slightest clue what to do. It was turning out to be really difficult to take out a bullet-proof, telekinetic, mental dominant. Someone was crying out to get the dogs, which sounded like a good idea to Sam until the camera panned over to show a German Shepard quite obviously whimpering in terror. Someone else screamed for the launch of a TOW missile, but he was overruled by an officer who didn’t dare risk that much explosive power when the President was in the line of fire. Carter wasn’t sure what, if anything, they could do, but simply standing under a mountain watching events unfold wasn’t cutting it. Looking over at the General, her eyes pleaded for him to come up with a better idea than the blank she was drawing.

Hammond was open to suggestions. He was a General officer in the United States Air Force, his Commander In Chief was in peril, and there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it. The best person for the job has just been thrown through a brick wall and probably had every bone in her body pulverized. O’Neill was still out there, hiding in the surrounding countryside with some troops he had managed to find, but even if he could be contacted they would never get to the airport in time. As was far too often the case in the life of a General officer, events were out of his control once battle was joined, and would be decided by the people at the sharp end, no matter how much he wanted to affect the situation. Frustrated and frightened, he turned to face Sif, who was calmly watching the screen, where the monster was entering the hanger through the opening created by Buffy’s body, smashing masonry blocks out of its way with massive obsidian fists in its rage.

Without looking away from the screen, Sif spoke, voice as toneless and unemotional as if she was watching the mating rituals of fruit flies. “We were presented with something of a challenge when dealing with an individual as… unique… as Buffy Summers. She is unlike anyone we have ever dealt with, human or otherwise. To us, she seems to operate on instinct, with virtually no intellectual consideration of processes or alternatives. We spent vast resources investigating her origin and the probable reason for her being resurrected in our universe. Her reaction was to shrug our results off as mere details. She had made her own assumptions –which I should note turned out to be essentially correct—and as far as she was concerned the precise mechanism involved was irrelevant.

“As you probably realize, this is a way of thinking the Asgard are very ill equipped to understand. We are a race of scientists. We need to know underlying causes, probable effects, various options for each. A Slayer, or at least Miss Summers, is far less… cerebral, shall we say… in her method of responding to potential conflict. I’m sure your friend Colonel O’Neill would have found our reaction to be rather smug and condescending, concluding as we did that Miss Summers was a high-functioning predator. We soon learned that there is more than one form of intelligence, a lesson we should have learned from our experiences working with the SGC. Simply possessing higher-capacity brain functions does not automatically make us ‘smarter’ when it comes to real-world applications or the proposing of required solutions. We have found on a number of occasions that SG-1 has come up with resolutions to problems we hadn’t considered because they were counter-intuitive to our thought processes. Buffy possesses that ability to an even greater degree.”

Hearing the Asgard talk about Buffy reminded Sam of something, a connection they had somehow missed between the Key and Buffy’s sister. For a second the sudden thought was blindingly obvious, but just as quickly disappeared. Frowning, Sam tried to recapture the memory. Part of what made her such a good scientist was that she almost never forgot anything, and it irritated her that she couldn’t recall something which had seemed so obvious. A second later her frown disappeared, as she forgot she had ever forgotten anything, and she was soon distracted when actions on the television captured her attention.

On the screen, to Hammond’s amazement, the massive monster suddenly came crashing backwards, smashing through another part of the wall, masonry pulverizing, steel beams and rebar twisting like soft aluminum under the force of the rock creature’s momentum. Somehow it was able to keep to its feet; but then an extremely-pissed-off Buffy suddenly appeared, bloody and bruised, clothing torn and skin abraded, eyes furious as she pummeled the monster time and again with her hammer, swinging it with both hands faster than the eye could see. Despite the lack of expression on Sif’s face, Hammond got the impression that the Asgard was rather pleased with herself as she watched the violent confrontation on the screen. “She operates on instinct; but that instinct is backed by a formidable intelligence, particularly in tactical considerations. Unfortunately she isn’t particularly brilliant when it comes to strategic vision, and can be defeated by an opponent who has the time and intelligence to come up with a plan of action more sophisticated than one she can disrupt ‘on the fly.’ But once battle is joined, she is almost unbeatable on a tactical level.”

With both its arm and a leg damaged, Buffy was able to press her attack on the Beast, the monster forced to defend itself and unable to attack given the ferocity of the young girl’s determination to beat it into submission. Even Berklyn put aside his Dark Jedi act when he noticed that the Doci was in trouble, ordering some of his zombified Secret Service agents to try to interfere. Buffy undoubtedly knew they had been possessed, but she didn’t have the time to coddle them and used the hammer to knock the agents aside like ten pins when they tried to rush her. Unfortunately their interference did give the Beast enough of a break to swing back to the offence, forcing Buffy to bob and weave and drop, their confrontation once again back to where it had started in terms of attack and defense.

Sif continued to watch the screen carefully. “Buffy’s unique mental aptitudes presented us with something of a problem. The alien powers infiltrating your planet have had some time to perfect their invasion plan, to prepare for contingencies, to establish fall-back options. It is extremely unlikely that Buffy, or even the SGC, could have interfered with those plans sufficiently to prevent them from coming to fruition. Any attempt to use more extreme measures to stop them would almost certainly have caused them to immediately bring in off-world resources. This would have undoubtedly culminated in open battle against an enemy far more powerful even than the Goa’uld. A battle you would almost certainly have lost.”

On the screen, the scene was devolving into a violent, bloody mess. Bodies were everywhere. Buffy and the rock Beast were trading blows, reducing the front of the hanger building to rubble; bent steel girders, crushed masonry blocks, and twisted rebar providing as much of an obstacle course as the dead and dying bodies strewn around the area. Never turning away from watching events unfold on the screen, Sif continued. “Under the circumstances we felt it was worth taking a significant risk: seeing if Buffy’s talent for tactical innovation was greater than her opponents’ for doing anything similarly ‘ad-hoc.’ We discussed the situation with her and let Miss Summers come up with of plan of action as to how we should deal with the incursion.

“Her solution demanded that we ‘change the rules.’ Which meant, we eventually discovered, that she wanted us to change at least one of the fundamental underlying considerations the Ori had used when designing their strategy. The most obvious method of doing so was to precipitate a crisis, by threatening a shift in Asgard-Earth relations. We assumed that the aliens did not control everyone in your government, otherwise there would be no need for subtlety on their part. A threat that the Asgard were considering altering our present relationship with you would almost certainly acquire the attention, and likely require the intervention, of those who were not controlled by the infiltrators. This would force the Ori to alter their plans, and take immediate measures to maintain control of the situation.”

Hammond stared at the alien, shocked to hear that it’s earlier threat had been a calculated tactical measure. It seemed out of character for the Asgard, which Sif acknowledged when she continued speaking. “Taking such an action comes difficult to the Asgard, as there are too many variables to accurately predict the outcome. We prefer to consider our actions, to plan for all contingencies. But in this case our options were extremely limited, and time was of the essence. We prefer not to interfere with native government institutions because we all too often misinterpret the basic underlying assumptions which maintain other societies. Fortunately, Miss Summers does not possess this problem. And it was, after all, her plan. She even went so far as to propose the words and phrases I used to get the reaction we wanted from your government. Her estimate as to their probable effect proved to be remarkably accurate.”

The alien looked over momentarily when Carter sucked in her breath in shock, before returning her attention to the screen. “The Ancients undoubtedly knew they could not prevent the Ori from threatening us forever. A confrontation between our two races and the Ori was inevitable. It is our belief that the price they demanded for permitting the Powers That Be to create a Slayer in our universe was that the young woman be used against the Ori before being permitted to handle the First. If this is true, then it was congruent upon ourselves to assist her in every way we could, in an effort to train Buffy in the skills she will need to fight such an overwhelmingly powerful opponent as the First. We provided her with certain information, certain options, but left the actual operational decisions for Buffy to reach on her own. If she is successful, the Ori will be dramatically inconvenienced and trillions of lives will be impacted. If she fails, Earth will fall to Ori domination.

“Which places rather significant pressure on Miss Summers to succeed. But that is nothing new to her…”

Buffy was hurting. Bad. Enough that if things had been different, she’d be running away, hoping to fight another day. She’d hit the rock Beast a dozen times hard enough to flatten the Torak-han champion, but it was still fighting. Still hitting back. Still hurting her. She was reaching the point that Teal’c had arrived at when she tested him; time to make a desperate charge before she didn’t have the energy to attack. The question was when. She could defend herself for quite awhile, even against something this powerful. But just defending herself meant she wouldn’t win, and Buffy was too furious, too sore, and too aware of the consequences of losing to consider anything else.

The Rock Beast understood the simple equation as well as its opponent did. It required more energy to attack, but attacking was the only way to win. It was even more damaged than its tiny opponent. Its boiling-hot lava-like circulatory fluid needed massive amounts of oxygen, but the damage to its chest meant that it could only draw about half the breath it needed. Its right knee was so badly crushed the crystal structure would likely need to be regrown entirely. It could barely move its left arm. Never before had it faced an opponent such as this one. Never before had it known such pain… or such fear. Not fear for itself, of course; but fear for the mission, the unacceptable possibility that he might fail, that this horrid little creature might actually defeat not just him, but delay the inevitable, interfere with the destiny of the Ori. That was not acceptable. That was why he had no choice but to attack, to finish it, to simply bear whatever punishment she might inflict just so long as she finally went down to defeat.

Both stared at each other, neither blinking, both understanding that this was the moment of destiny. The girl was twisting the hammer, that deceptively small hammer in the hand of a deceptively small girl, preparing herself, searching his eyes for the moment of attack. Knowing what he planned, knowing he was going to attack, knowing he was prepared to accept getting pummeled if it meant bringing her within reach. Knowing that it was going to happen right about… now.

He stalked her, moving forward, trusting that the crystalline skin which had cracked but not broken would survive one more blow from that accursed hammer. A skin which had never been broken by anything created by men. Cracked, yes. The circulatory fluid flowing down his torso gave clear evidence that his epidermis could be cracked. But never broken, as that would release the high-pressure plasma which maintained his life function. The hammer was strong, but not as strong as his skin. He was counting on the fact that the claws at the tips of his fingers were crystals almost as strong as diamond… and human flesh was weak. The girl was armed with a hammer, a blunt force weapon which needed to be swung to be effective, limiting her options, forcing her to maneuver precisely in order to land an effective blow. He deliberately left open only one target, protecting his weak side, moving closer, knowing she would get her blow in before he could retaliate, accepting it, because the retaliation would be far worse than what he would receive in return…

He could see her swinging the hammer, moving faster than any human possibly could… but he suddenly moved, twisting, the claws he had been displaying a deception, his damaged arm, not quite as useless as he had pretended, reaching up to deflect the hammer, not to intercept it. His other hand, which had only been threatening to slash her, a move he could see she had already anticipated, instead came over to grasp the hammer, on the handle where her hands were, his superior strength finally able to be brought to bear as they wrestled for possession of the hammer, her only weapon, the only thing which had made the fight somewhat equal. He tightened his grasp on the handle, aware of some of the underlying principles of such a device so understanding that it was uniquely tuned to her physiology. As much as he wanted to disarm her, he needed to keep her hands on the hammer, since only then would he be able to move it. But he twisted it, forcing the massive head away from threatening him, proud of his strategy, raising his eyes to meet hers, anticipating her horror, the certain knowledge of her inevitable defeat…

But that wasn’t what he saw in her expression. He had been so busy concentrating on ensuring that she couldn’t hit him with the weapon he hadn’t been aware that she was changing her stance, had been deliberately giving way to permit him to bring the hammer into the precise position she wanted. He saw it in her triumphant expression only a fraction of a second before she stopped resisting him, suddenly thrusting the hammer forward and down, handle first, her other hand bracing the top of the hammer head! He was out of position to resist the sudden change in direction, his stance wrong… but for an instant could reassure himself with the knowledge that nothing man-made could breach his impenetrable skin.

The hammer hadn’t been made by men. It hadn’t even been made by the Asgard. It was a creation of the Ancients, and the handle was made of materials which surpassed even those used by the Asgard in terms of strength and toughness. Although the handle was covered in a leather sheath to appear blunt, it actually terminated in a sharp, pointed spike, normally hidden as a safety measure. That spike was far stronger than even the skin of the Rock Beast. Not expecting her sudden thrust forward, the Beast was unable to prevent the ultra-hard spike from ramming through the leather covering, penetrating deep into his chest, slamming all the way into his remaining lung.

His cry of agony and surprise was loud enough to be heard miles away. Even the murderous carnage around them temporarily ceased as everyone turned to see what had caused such a scream. Even Buffy paused, having heard from Faith that when Angel had stabbed the Beast in L.A. it had essentially self-destructed. But Angel must have known precisely where to hit, because to her horrified disappointment this one wasn’t dead yet. Despite his agony, the Beast was aware that the girl was very close, too close to escape, although she was making a belatedly frantic effort to get out of the way. Slashing his claws down, swinging this arm to follow her as she lunged backwards, he was almost too late, but still felt his nails slash through flesh, gouge chunks of bone from her rib cage, sawing through muscle from one end of her torso to the other. Then she was out of range, crying out in agony herself this time, but he was too weak to follow, the damage too severe to respond in the second he had available. Blood flew from both of them, both almost fatally weakened, both knowing that the other could easily finish them off with the slightest effort; both too weak to do so.

Carter cried out as Buffy was practically disemboweled. The girl had been slashed open from shoulder to pelvis, the wound down to the bone, intestines visibly protruding from her abdomen, blood flying everywhere. She was certain it was a fatal wound. Even for a Slayer, such a hideous wound would be deadly. So she was even more shocked when Buffy actually got up, holding her guts in with one hand, and staggered over to where the monster stood, one of its arms useless, the other clutching at the hammer, which had been jammed into its chest all the way to the head. It’s eyes were glazed in shock, almost unaware, red fluid gushing from its mouth and chest as Buffy approached. Her eyes were intense, a furious green; lips clenched in agony, firm in determination.

As she reached the monster she planted her feet, ducked its feeble swing at her with its remaining useful arm, swung her deceptively-thin arm back, and smashed it forward again directly into the Beast’s stomach. The massive punch knocked the thousand-pound monster into the air, flying backwards at least ten feet, twisting around in mid-air from the angle of the blow, until it smashed into a jumbled pile of smashed concrete. It landed on an inch-thick spike of twisted rebar, normally a material too weak to penetrate the skin of such a creature. But Buffy’s punch had been precisely calibrated to bring the entire weight of the Beast down exactly on the shattered skin at its chest, earlier damaged by the hammer, and a three foot long spike of rebar penetrated right through the chest to punch out its back.

Staggering after it, Buffy stalked her prey, eyes so savage she seemed almost feral. She bent down to grab another piece of wreckage for leverage, then twisted the thick rebar around so that the Beast was pinned to the ground. It was on its side, alive, but barely so, arm flailing weakly, as she bent down, braced her foot against it, and pulled the hammer free. More of the lava-like alien blood gushed forth, but Buffy ignored it, despite the molten drops scalding her skin when they landed.

Sif watched emotionlessly as she staggered up to the aliens head, ignoring its futile attempts at rising, knowing it was pinned as securely as a butterfly in a glass case, and carefully placing the hammer between its horn and head. Bracing the hammer head against the back of the massive alien head, she started to pull, using the handle for leverage. Sif’s tone was almost conversational as they watched her, muscles straining to their utmost, her eyes barely sane with murderous rage, slowly twist the monster’s head off. “The First has a very powerful talent: it can read minds. Surface telepaths such as your Mr. Denneck can only manipulate emotions, influence opinions. More powerful versions such as the Prior masquerading as Mr. Berklyn can read surface thoughts, can impose his will upon others, can compel obedience. But the First can literally read minds; it knows everything you know, sees everything you have seen, knows your greatest fear and your deepest desire. How can you defeat such a being when your mind is an open book, when it knows everything you are thinking, everything you are planning?

“It turns out the Ori have a similar problem. They maintain control over their empire by exploiting the telepathic abilities of the Priors. That begs the question as to why the Priors don’t use their talent to simply control the minds of the Ori themselves. The Asgard defend themselves against mental domination by entering a state of deep meditation; but this is a defense, not an adaptation which could be used to maintain day-to-day operational control, as the Ori require. They need something like a shield, an artificial mechanism, but we have never been able to build such a device. Neither have the Ancients, although we suspect this might be due to some arrangement they reached with the Ori… because we know that the Ori have built one. In fact, the Doci is wearing just such a device on the collar around his neck. A collar which cannot be removed, because it is too small to fit over its head, and is made of a material too strong to cut, as a measure designed to ensure that it never falls into the hands of the Ori’s enemies.

“Such a device would provide Buffy with a monumentally powerful tool to use against the First. And, not incidentally, provide us with a rather useful tool to use against the Ori as well. So it would be to our mutual benefit should she be able to acquire one of these devices. Which was what this entire plan was designed to accomplish: the acquisition of a device which renders the wearer immune to psychic manipulation. A device which only the Ori have built, and only the Doci wears. It would appear that she is about to solve the problem of removing it from the Beast as well, in her own inimitable style.”

Barely conscious, knowing how badly she had been injured but too consumed by rage to worry much about it, Buffy pulled on the hammer’s handle with every ounce of her strength. A solid steel bar would have bent double under the force of her effort, but the hammer was barely budging. The Beast was whimpering in agony, desperately trying to gain some kind of leverage, but it was pinned to the ground but good. It also had an incredibly strong neck.

But not that strong. Finally, just as she thought she might pass out, there was a loud ‘Snap!!’ and the hammer shifted in her hands. As the severed head separated from the massive body, a blindingly brilliant flash of light came from its neck, concealing the view of Buffy’s hand reaching in to grab the necklace before it could be destroyed by the molten heat of the monster’s blood. Only then did she jump away, the light still so bright she could barely see, the hand grasping the necklace and pendant burnt severely, the hammer held in her other hand. While frantically scrambling away she fell backwards on her butt, hurting but almost more embarrassed by the indignity than she was at being a bloody, battered mess. It took a few more seconds for her to realize that the brilliant beam of light coming from the severed neck of the Beast was continuing to shoot across the landing field like a massive laser, blowing through an airplane, and the already-damaged hanger, before shooting off into the air over the city. It was pretty impressive, and she hoped it might have distracted people from witnessing her fall.

It was only then that she became aware of the silence. The shooting had stopped. The crying had stopped. Everyone, it seemed, was staring at her in shocked amazement. She would have been embarrassed, but just then she turned to see Berklyn. He looked just as amazed as the others, but got control of himself faster than almost anyone else. He saw the pendant in her hand, and she could practically see his brain process it, knew the instant he realized her objective all along had been the necklace, and that the hammer had just been a diversion. Could see his shock turn to rage, his rage instantly transform into a desire for vengeance. The President was still alive, still under his mental control, providing both cover and bait to bring in more men for him to either kill or dominate. Buffy could see him reach a conclusion, could see his determination to implement that decision, and reacted instantly.

From her knees she twisted violently, ignoring the pain in her legs, the agony from her severed stomach muscles. The blue crystal at the top of his staff was glowing brighter than Buffy had ever seen it, and Buffy knew as she flung the hammer with everything she had left that nothing could penetrate the defensive shield, but the hammer was all she had, and she couldn’t just sit there and do nothing when it was pretty obvious the alien had decided it was time to dispose of his principle hostage. Berklyn saw her throw the hammer, had time to sneer at her, knowing that he was impervious to projectile weapons while protected by his shield, still trying to process the awareness that the Asgard had not provided Earth with a tool which could make humans resistant to mental domination. Which meant that Buffy was the only one who could physically threaten him, and she was finished, exhausted, very nearly dead. It was unlikely that he could salvage the situation, but he could receive some satisfaction from knowing that she had failed even more thoroughly than him.

And then the hammer hit the shield.

There was another flash, this one of brilliant blue light, as both shield and hammer performed their functions. The shield was designed to invert the momentum of incoming projectiles, returning them towards their point of origin. But the hammer enhanced momentum, and when the shield attempted to invert it, it created a change in acceleration which the hammer converted into yet more momentum in a cascading spike which happened instantly, violently, and ended with the hammer dropping to the ground, its entire momentum transferred to the shield. A tiny hammer thrown by a tiny human suddenly transformed into the equivalent of more than eighty thousand foot-pounds of energy. With no way to dissipate so much momentum in its comparatively tiny surface footprint the entire shield, occupant included, was slammed violently backwards a good thirty yards, prevented from flying a lot further when it smashed into the bottom half of a large military cargo plane which had been parked nearby to provide a photogenic backdrop for the television cameras. The thin aluminum bent in a massive dent, but to Buffy’s disappointment held, and Berklyn fell to the ground a second later, without the plane exploding in the sort of Hollywood-esque dénouement she had been hoping to see.

He had been dazed by the impact, losing both his grip on the staff and his ability to maintain control of those under his thrall. It was only for a moment, but that was all the soldiers needed, as about fifty of them suddenly cut loose with weapons on full automatic fire. For a few seconds Berklyn did his best Clyde Barrow impersonation, twitching madly from the impact of hundreds of incoming bullets, which didn’t begin to taper off until he had been quite literally blown into a widely-strewn pile of tiny chunks of meat that no pathologist would ever be able to reassemble into anything even approximating humaniod shape.

The soldiers really, really wanted to make sure he was dead.

As she tried to stand, Buffy noticed the Beast’s head, lying nearby, sheared cleanly, like a crystal bust ready to be mounted on a castle wall as a warning to anyone considering threatening those within. Grabbing it by one horn, she painfully forced herself to her feet, adrenaline no longer flooding her system, the come-down leaving her exhausted and beginning to feel the approaching agony of her horrific wounds. Others were also beginning to realize that the crisis was over, cries and shouts coming from all around as people were suddenly freed from the thrall, and finally aware of what they had been doing while under Berklyn’s control. But there was a President at risk, so most left any blame to be apportioned later once he had been moved to a safe location. The President himself, only slowly coming to an awareness that he had been under an external compulsion, wanted to stay and demand answers, but the Secret Service did not obey even Presidential instructions under those conditions; their first order of business was to get him to safety, even if it meant dragging him away kicking and screaming.

When they shoved him into a nearby limo, which immediately squealed away, moving so quickly it left a long trail of burnt rubber, only the four acolytes were left to face the surviving Special Forces soldiers, whose faces showed their murderous fury as they looked around at the hundreds of bodies strewn about the tarmac. Their outrage gave them immunity from the attempted mental manipulations of the surviving quartet, who had never possessed even a fraction of Berklyn’s skill. When it looked like they might be considering shooting the acolytes out of hand, Buffy spoke up. “Don’t.”

` She was so weak her voice could barely be heard above the groans and cries coming from the wounded, the words themselves slurred by broken teeth and a bleeding mouth. But the soldiers immediately looked at her, and despite their rage were able to control themselves. They knew the benefits of capturing an enemy alive… and they had just been given a real object lesson on the dangers of angering Buffy. She didn’t realize the picture she made, clothing ripped, covered in blood, barely able to stand… and holding a severed head in one small hand. All she knew was that they lowered their weapons, or at least took their hands off the triggers. Buffy returned her attention to Denneck, glaring at him, holding up the head. “This is what you wanted? You were going to sell us all out for this?!” She wanted to scream at him, but was too exhausted, and blood was pouring from her mouth. “You had one special talent, and thought it made you better than anyone. I’ve got a few special talents of my own, but I still know that doesn’t make me a better mechanic than the guy at the garage, or a better doctor than the one at the hospital. It just means I’m really good at what I do. You could have helped us… but instead, you gave us this.” Waving her free hand at the carnage all around them, Buffy was horrified as she only then realized just how terrible the butcher’s bill was going to be. She held up the Beast’s head. “You wanted to be like this? Take it.”

It seemed almost casual, the way she tossed the obsidian head, Buffy barely budging, an underhanded snap of her wrist. Denneck tried to catch it, not realizing the head alone weighed better than a hundred pounds, and he was knocked flat by the impact, his rib cage almost crushed. With nothing more to be done, Buffy turned away, and began walking away from the scene of so much death, heading back towards the distant gate, not having the slightest idea where she was going or why, just wanting to be moving away from this place of horror. She actually managed to stagger about fifty feet before she collapsed; finally overcome by shock from loss of blood, concussion, and the massive internal damage she had suffered during the violent confrontation.

Fortunately for her, every ambulance in the city was on its way. She would be the very first person they picked up for delivery to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately there were a whole lot more which wouldn’t need to hurry, as their cargo was far beyond medical help.
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