Closing the Sunnydale Hellmouth
This was it, the final culmination of more than five years of hard work, the slaying and the researching, all the lives she’d saved and all the lives she’d failed to save, the scars she’d gathered both those visible on her skin and those invisible on her heart, all of the visits to the hospital when one of her friends and family were hurt, everything came down to this night and this fight. Buffy watched as everyone packed their weapons of choice. Stakes were going to be pretty useless but there wasn’t a Slayer who didn’t have at least one. The Watchers one and all had basic guns, swords and not much else. They were coming along to watch their Slayer’s backs, not to try and be heroes themselves.
It was the odd ones out; the Hunters, the Witches, and those who defied any sort of classification; they were the ones who were loaded for bear, so to speak. If the group had a weapon of any kind, it was these people who had it, from pistols to shotguns to almost every kind of blade known to man. There were stakes, rosaries, holy water pistols, magical potions and powders, SG1 had brought zats, and staff weapons, (although no one was asking just how they had managed to smuggle those off the base) axes, Spike’s railroad spikes, a portable flamethrower (no one knew how Dean had managed to build one and he wasn’t talking), maces, crossbows, short and long bows, all in all Buffy thought it was a wonder any of them could even stand, much less walk out to the bus.
The Slayer’s Scythe and the Colt were the weapons that were hardest to hand out. After much discussion it was decided that Buffy would carry the Scythe as she was the oldest Slayer. It was perfectly balanced in her hands and was a great weapon for decapitation. It would be very useful against the Turok-Han. The Colt was much harder to figure out. Who was the one who had the greatest chance to take out the First?
They had decided that it was too much to ask a Slayer or Watcher to carry it. They already had a task, that of closing the hellmouth. That would be difficult enough without trying to kill the First as well. That meant that one of the people most used to guns and best suited for shooting a pistol, Elliot, wouldn’t be carrying the Colt as he would be too busy watching for Liv. It was his idea to set up an elimination match using a similar gun.
Everyone who could shoot had taken part. It surprised no one that Dean was good with a pistol. He had as much practice as anyone but he had started at a much earlier age. He was six years old the first time his father had put a gun in his hands, and there hadn’t been a day since that he hadn’t at least touched one after that. That added up to a sense of the gun being a part of him, to the point where he actually felt naked without one. It also led to his being the best shot anyone had ever seen. He even out shot his father, which surprised Sam.
John really shouldn’t have been taking part in the competition both because he was filling in for Giles and because of his broken arm, but he had said that he just wanted to see where he stood. Buffy knew the truth however; he wanted to kill the thing that had killed his old friend Caleb. They had known each other before John became a Hunter. He had known Mary, and had literally known the boys all of their lives. To lose an old friend like that was hard. Buffy didn’t blame him for wanting to get in on the kill.
She sat down next to him on the bus as Sam drove it away from the mansion. “Gonna miss this place?” he asked her.
She thought about it and shrugged. “It’s been a huge part of my life, John. I was a kid who tried to turn her back on her destiny the day Mom drove us here, now I’m the one leading the hurray we’re Slayers brigade. Right now it’s more weird than anything else. I think I’ll be ok as long as most of us make it out in one piece.”
She caught his apprehensive look and gave him a sad smile. “Don’t worry about me. I’m not sticking my head in the sand here. I know we’re going to loose people tonight. I’m just hoping that none of them are the ones closest to me.” She leaned into his shoulder and he put his arm around her. They only had time for a quick kiss before they arrived at the school.
Sam left the keys in the ignition knowing that he might not be the one driving out of there later. There was no telling who would be mobile and who wouldn’t. He had to give them all every advantage he could, including making sure that the doors were left open and the bus was ready to go the moment anyone climbed into it.
The First knew they were coming and had prepared for the confrontation. The basement under the school was gone, swallowed up by the hole that Faith had fallen through back at Christmas. That hole was now a large cavern with a single staircase carved in stone leading to the bottom.
At the back of the cavern there was an alter where the First stood in Caleb’s body. Just in front of the alter was the seal, which already had cracks running through out its surface. The rest of the cavern was filled with Bringers and Turok-Han. It was an interesting point that no other demons would work with the First, not even other vampires.
Spike insisted on being the first one down the stair case, his game face on so as to make the most of his vision. Dean and Sam were right behind him, so used to fighting together that there was no one they’d rather trust at each other’s back. Faith knew this and understood it. They had been Hunting together and looking out for each other since Dean was four years old. That was a long time. If she couldn’t back him up, or the reverse, then she wanted Sam at his back too. The Slayers and their Watchers came next, with Buffy and John in the lead. After them came the others with the Witches in the back.
The Witches’ orders were clear. Stay at the top of the stairs, help out where you can and cover us as we retreat. Spike was to clear the way for Dean, with Sam watching his back while the Slayers went for the seal. The rest were to cover them all and to create as much confusion as they possibly could. It wasn’t much of a plan, but it was the best they could come up with considering what they were up against, a veritable army of nearly unstoppable vampires and the entity trapped within Caleb’s dead body.
That was an unexpected side effect of the Slayers being activated. With each Slayer that had said ‘Yes’ to Willow during the spell, another chain was added to the First until it could no longer leave the body it had taken over. Naturally it was furious, but when added to the fact that, thanks to Xander, it only had the use of one arm, it had become determined to rip Xander and anyone else connected to the Slayers to pieces.
They made no attempt to conceal themselves as they marched down the halls of the school. The First knew they were coming and they knew that. Sneaking wouldn’t do them any good so they didn’t bother. With one last deep breath, (even Spike took one, unneeded or not) they started down to the cavern below.
Spike and Dean took out the Harbringers at the top of the staircase and pounded their way down, using their momentum to shove all of the demons out of their way. It was like watching a line of dominos falling over as one after the other the demons fell to the floor of the cavern. Jack set up at the top of the stairs with a staff weapon, just below the Witches. From there they could see the entire cavern and would help with their magic, Jack was using the same place as a sniper spot. It only took one shot for the speculation they had made to be proven as fact. A staff weapon could take out a Turok-Han just as readily as sunlight.
Once on the floor of the cavern they met the First’s army with a clash. The sound of multiple staff weapons, gun shots, and cross bows firing rang out mixed in with the clashing of swords and the roar of Dean’s home made flame thrower. That had more of an impact than they had guessed it would. It seemed that Turok-Han might not be vulnerable to regular fire, but they were vulnerable to whatever it was that Dean used to get his flamethrower to shoot a super hot flame.
When they realized that, Sam took the point and led the way with the flame thrower. It made all the difference in the world, clearing a swath straight for the First. Dean, Spike, O’Neill, Xander and Teal’c took the flanks while the Watchers guarded the Slayers in the middle. It wasn’t easy for the Slayers to hold back at the sight of all those vampires, but they had been told over and over again how important it was to bleed on the seal first. Then they could go after the vampires.
Not that they were holding back all that much. There were enough vampires getting through the outer perimeter for the Slayers to feed their need to kill the unnatural and demonic creatures. It was a hard won fight by the time that they got near the seal. There wasn’t a single human that was unscathed and even Teal’c and Spike had injuries. Spike’s being more severe as he took more chances than the others, up to the point of actually ripping the heads of some of the Turok-Han clean off their bodies.
All of the Harbringers except the ones up behind the alter by the First were dead, killed in the first wave of bullets. Jack was picking off the Turok-Han with almost surgical precision, and the Witches were doing such things as gluing feet to the cavern floor and breaking the swords of the Turok-Han before they could strike. In a word it was chaos.
Then Amber took the first real hit for the Slayers. While dealing with one Turok-Han, another got through and punched her rib cage before Grace could decapitate it. While Amber was running on the adrenalin high that had her so focused on killing any vampire in front of her she didn’t feel the hit, it still broke several of her ribs and bruised the entire left side of her body.
Amanda was the first Watcher they lost. The Turok-Han got a lucky swipe in before Sarah could stop it and it tore out her throat. They were three quarters of the way to the seal at that point. They didn’t want to leave her body behind but they had no choice. They couldn’t carry it and still fight at the same time.
Jody’s Watcher was the next to go down and die, due to a belly wound. By this time they were almost to the seal, and Dean was retreating from his position on the flank back behind Sam, Xander and Spike. He switched his sword to his left hand and started to pull out the Colt.
Now they were at the seal, but Xander was grabbed by the Harbringers and dragged across the alter. The First laughed as it swung a sacrificial dagger, driven insane be its rage. That gave Dean his opening, he took his first shot, only to be knocked to the ground by the Turok-Han that finally was able to get to Sam, knocking him into his brother and ripping the flame thrower to pieces as it died. The first shot missed, but took out the First’s other arm.
The scream was so great that it actually stopped the battle. Dean, having so many years of Hunting and practice under his belt, was one of the few not fazed by the scream. That meant that he had a clear shot and he took it. No one heard the shot under the screams but they could see the effect as the First shook from the impact and then slowly fell over.
The others who weren’t fazed by the scream were Buffy and Faith. Taking advantage of the distraction they grabbed the other Slayers and dragged their hands over the seal. Buffy and Faith both took knifes and sliced their hands, bringing the Slayers out of their shock. Then they sliced their own hands. As the blood of seven Slayers dripped onto the seal, it began to glow.
“THAT’S ENOUGH! RETREAT!” yelled Dr. Jackson, who hauled Carter away from the seal. Spike lunged forward and took the knife that was headed for Xander in the back. Then he pushed away the Harbringer that was wielding it, stood up and threw Xander over his shoulders.
This time it was the Slayers who were on the outside as they guarded those who had guarded them as they retreated. The seal was glowing more and more brightly as they headed for the stairs. This was actually the most dangerous part of the fight.
Everyone was injured and that slowed down their reaction time. That combined with the fact that they were retreating gave the Turok-Han increased assurance that they would win. It was only the Slayers instincts that saved them. Faced with a life and death situation where the only thing they were concerned about was getting themselves and their friends out alive, the gifts of the Slayer line came out in full force.
They were so fast Jack had to stop shooting for fear of hitting one of them. They retreated, falling back step by step, facing the enemy and fighting backwards as they held the rear guard. Jack ran up the steps getting out of their way, he was useless in this fight now and he knew it. It was time for his next job. The one he had assigned to himself after he had been given the sniper position, bus driver.
He had the bus running and all of the doors wide open when they came barreling out of the school. He had set up Sam’s medical gear on the seat behind him so that Sam would be able to start triage right away. The walking wounded not only poured into the bus through the front door of the bus, but the back hatch and side door as well. Buffy was the last through the back hatch and Faith was the last through the side door.
“FLOOR IT!” yelled Faith as she slammed the door shut. Buffy couldn’t get her throat to make a sound. She stared wide eyed at the school as it started to collapse. She was the eldest; the others were her responsibility, so she had taken the rearmost position. That meant that she had the closest view of the hellmouth closing and collapsing in on itself.
She held that position all the way out of the fight and kept it as the bus sped off. Whenever Jack started to slow down thinking that he was out of the danger zone, it brought Buffy out of her shock long enough to yell at him to keep going. Faith, Dean and John joined her on the bench seat at the back of the bus. It wasn’t just the school that was collapsing. It was more than even the few blocks around the school. Block after block the bus raced ahead of the collapse, only to finally outrun it when it reached a mile beyond the town boarders, just before the military blockade.
That was where Jack finally stopped the bus. As Sam helped the injured over to the small MASH unit set up beyond the blockade, those who had the more minor injuries walked back to watch the dust settle.