Ripples in the Glass
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, never have.
Rating: R, just to be safe.
Ripples in Glass
It was rare that Spike was mad at his Goddess, but it did happen. Sometimes, it was because she was ranting and raving mad, and he couldn’t get through to her. Other times, it was because she withheld information from him, causing him to work harder than he thought he had to. And, like now, when she simply didn’t know the extent of what she saw.
The arrow wounds had healed, if slowly. He had caught eight shafts in various body parts, painful even if they weren’t life threatening for his undead body. Only one had been too close for comfort, sinking into the flesh between his lower two ribs.
“God damn it, luv! You could have bloody well warned me! I almost got m'self killed!" He screamed for the fourteenth or fifteenth time, not really expecting a reaction from his sire. Sometimes, she was like this, lost in her own little world after seeing some vision that no sane mind would.
"He's only half now," she murmured softly, the first words that she had spoken to him since he had left the night before. He swiftly knelt beside her, gently hold her hands as she continued to stare at the ceiling.
"What do you mean, luv? Who's only half?"
"Kitten," she replied with a small smile, her gaze never shifting, her body completely relaxed. "He tried to kill my Spike, but he couldn't, not as he was. But he's not just Kitten now, and he'll never grow to be the White Knight, not with the darkness in his head."
Spike lightly stroked the back of her hand, listening intently. Only one man had tried to kill him last night, the archer in the alley. He never got close enough to tell who it was, but he'd lay money that it was one of the Slayer's friends.
"So full of sorrow and anger, but hope and honor live there, too. The sup together all the time." Dru let a small giggle escape her lips, making little or no sense to him, as usual. But he still listened intently, waiting for some bit of information with uncharacteristic patience.
"He's waiting for his own Dark Goddess, the Half-man is, just like my Spike did all those nights ago."
"His Dark Goddess?" Spike questioned cautiously. Dru frowned softly, but only for a moment before the small smile once again graced her lips.
"A naughty Slayer," she said. "One and one are two, and all his fault. Now he waits for her, but doesn't know it. She'll know the hunt, the kill... not like my Spike, but close. And she'll take the Devil as her father, and Kitten will have a choice. Save her, serve her, or leave her. One side of him would leave her, as he's left another... but Kitten, he'll never do that. So he'll choose, and people will die. But who, I wonder? Will he kill the Devil, or the golden Slayer?"
Spike's jaw was hanging open, almost hitting the floor, but he didn't notice until his Sire's hand gently closed it, caressing his cheek gently.
"Be careful, Spike. There are new kids in the sandbox, and they don't play by our rules. But some of them are bigger, so we have to learn to play by theirs if we want to make sandcastles."
"Are you sure?"
"As sure as I can be," Giles replied, rubbing his temples lightly with his left hand. "There's really no precedence for this, and I've no idea how this managed to happen to you. But by all indications, the change is permanent."
Giles waited a few moments for the young man to yell, scream, or ask more questions. He was mentally prepared for any of those, but not for the thoughtful expression on his face. Xander never was one to contemplate anything, even something of this importance... but by all indications, he wasn't the same as he had been just a few nights ago, thanks to the Chaos spell that Rayne had cast.
"So I guess there are a few thing we need to talk about," the young man said a few moments later, his voice surprisingly calm as he leaned back in the chair slightly. "I want to spar a bit, when you have time. I can handle the bow well enough, and it's fairly easy for me to practice on my own. It's the sword I'm not comfortable with, and I'll need to work that out a bit."
"Who said I'd train you?" Giles asked quietly, matching the younger man's even tones.
"If you won't, I'll still end up hunting on my own. But I'd rather see how well I can use a blade before my life depends on it."
"You know, at this point I must remind you that the Council doesn't look kindly on training others to help the Slayer," Giles replied. Xander chuckled softly, shaking his head slowly before he answered.
"I'm not asking the Council, am I?"
"No, you're not," Giles confirmed, a small smile spreading across his lips as well. That grin would have surprised Xander a few days ago, but now...
It was just what he expected.
In the hallowed chambers that served as the meeting place for the Powers That Be, a heated debate was taking place. Each of the various Powers had taken forms that could be loosely labeled as 'mortal', but showed various differences from human forms that marked them as something much more. Golden skin, glowing eyes, and impressive height were only a few of the more common variations, but far from the only.
"This cannot be allowed to stand," said one, a stunningly beautiful woman who stood so tall and so thin. "This... chaos does not fit in with our plans for this one, and the Slayers."
"I agree," replied the one closest to her, a short, muscular dwarf of a man with deep russet skin. "The question is, what to do with this young man? Do we simply destroy him, and hope his absence does not greatly alter our plans, or do we try to change him back to what he was meant to be?"
"Or," said an old man, clad in dirty robes and a flop of what could have once been a wizard's hat, with a long, if scraggly, white beard. "Or better yet, let things run this new course, and let these mortals decide their own fate."
Silence, so perfect, filled the chamber. Somehow, one who was not counted among their numbers had found his way into this place, and sought to interfere with their business.
"Who are you, old man?" one of the women asked, her voice cold.
"I am who I am," the old man replied with a small smile. "I think that you all should just back off a bit, let your chosen champions make their own choices. Destiny is a fine thing, but so is free will."
As one the Powers lifted their hands, channeling their collective power to expel this intruder. The power gathered and pushed at the old man...
... who stood calmly against their might, a small smile on his face. Briefly, as the power focused on him, he seemed to shimmer, his form almost shifting. Gone as soon as it had appeared, the old man waved one hand.
"You know who I am, now, and why this young man has my blessing. Leave him, and his friends, be. They'll do well enough without your meddling."
The Powers that Be stood stunned, nodding slowly as the old man moved to walk away. For it was his true form they had seen, in that split second, and it had frightened them. Before them was no mortal, nor a 'Power' like they. It was a True God, a being so much more powerful than they. His form named him clearly, going far beyond any name that mortals could bestow. Because it was the Platinum Dragon that had visited them, a being known on a world far removed from this one as Paladine.
But what frightened them more was the knowledge that where there was light, there was darkness. If the Platinum Dragon had gained access to this reality, the so would his foe, the Dark Queen.
A/N: For those who asked, Tanis comes from the 'Dragonlance' series, and the old man who faced down the PtB was Fizban, also known as Paladine.
A/N2: Minor edits for the first three chapters. Working on getting at least one more chapter up next week, right around the 7th of February. I hope.