Christmas in Scotland
My one and only resolution this year is to be get better about updating and writing in general. My sincerest apologies for the absurdly long wait. Actually, at this point, I think it's safe to call it a hiatus, haha. Anyway, thank you to all that have hung on!
This ep is very Buffy/Scooby centric. No Castle at all, actually, except for some tiny conversational snippets.
Welcome to a very (late) Buffy Christmas—in Scotland! :)
The itinerary for Buffy’s Christmas vacation in Scotland was supposed to be simple. She was going to fly in about ten days before the actual holiday, spend several glorious days shopping and spend Christmas Eve feasting and swapping stories with her family. Christmas morning was, of course, dedicated for the time old tradition of presents while the rest of the day was saved for left over feasting and laziness.
Boxing Day was reserved for figuring out how to get said presents home and packing before flying out extremely early the next day so she could spend New Years Eve with Castle back in good ol’ NYC.
So, naturally, nothing would go according to plan. When does it ever?
Buffy was convinced it all started to go wrong when her flight, that was supposed to leave on the 15th, didn't actually depart until the 20th. An epic snow storm had shut down most of the North East for days on end.
So she had to cut a few days of shopping. Okay, she’d deal. She would do all her shopping tomorrow in Glasgow’s City Centre and be done with it. At least she’d get a full five days with her family.
Her plans were instantly put on the back burner as soon as she stepped through the gate and spotted the dim look on Giles’ face.
“Okay. What is it? Who died?”
“Buffy let’s get back to Willow and Kennedy’s flat. This is hardly the place…”
“No go, Giles. Not leaving this spot ‘til you tell me what's up.”
Giles took his glasses off, cleaned them and put them back on. In this mood setting, that tiny little action set Buffy on edge.
“Oh god. Who died?” The question was serious now.
“The entire human race, potentially. If we don’t stop them.”
And that’s how Buffy found herself in her current predicament.
She was in a small pub, on Christmas Eve, the night she had reserved for feasts and storytelling, fighting a herd of vamps and a couple of assorted demons.
“All I wanted was some info. Honestly.” she said, smashing a vamp’s head into the wall. She flipped backwards, wrapped her legs around a Kailiff demon and twisted, snapping his neck.
She used the momentum she had going to kick his now lifeless body into a small set of vamps that were approaching. They fell like bowling pins. She staked the vamp whose head she'd just smashed and walked over to the six currently lying underneath the dead demon, picking the scythe up off the floor on her way.
"Anybody ready to talk yet?"
She waited a minute but none of them spoke.
"Okay then, well, I guess you're all just going to be dust and I'll have to find my info another way."
Buffy raised the scythe up and just as she was about to swing down on the first vamp, one of the ones at the end spoke up.
"I'll tell you. Whatever you need to know. I'll talk."
"Idiot! You're supposed to-"
The vamp that was talking didn't have a chance to finish as Buffy cleaved his head off in a short blow. She did the same to the remaining four till she and Mr. Talky Vamp were the only ones left.
"Talk. Or you're dust."
"These people you're after...they're not just some regular old Wiccans out for a good time. They're powerful. Extremely powerful."
"Yeah, got that. What are they trying to do? And where are they going to do it? Time's kind of a factor on this one."
"They're called 'Brother' and 'Sister'. They're a part of the 'Corff o Uffern'. An extremely old cult that was based in Northern Wales. The legends all say that the cult started with two members, Mother and Father and then extended out to Brother and Sister. The townspeople had found out about them and chased them up here, in Glasgow. The legend continues to say that after sometime here, the word traveled up from Wales. The locals found them and burned Mother and Father alive, then buried them in an unmarked grave in Necropolis. They never found Brother and Sister, just assumed that they had escaped and never bothered to look for them."
"Well, it looks like Brother and Sister are back to play. What's their aim?"
"They've got dozens of Fyarl demons under their control as foot soldiers. If Mother and Father are resurrected, they're bringing an eternity of Hell with them. The legends say that they'll use some humans for slaves, some will be kept as food and the rest will be killed off as pestilence. I know I'm only a lowly vampire but I like to think that I've found my spot in my un-life. I'm not ready to die. Not at the hands of some crazy Wiccans."
Buffy took great notice that the vamp seemed scared. No. Not seemed. Was. He was definitely scared.
"So, you're thinking this is all happening at Necropolis?"
"I'm telling you that's where it's happening, Slayer."
"I don't usually do this but it's Christmas and you just saved me *so* much precious time. Go. Duck out of Glasgow for a bit, at least for tonight. It's your lucky night. Unless....unless you run straight to these freaks and tell them we're coming. I'm not the Slayer to be messed with. Got it?"
He nodded viciously. She stood up off of him and nodded for him to get out. He scrambled out the door as fast as could be. Buffy pulled out her cell and dialed.
"Giles, I'm on my way. I got everything we needed to know."
"Was he telling the truth, Giles?" Buffy asked, leaning against the wall in Willow and Kennedy's flat.
Giles sighed. "From everything I've read...yes. It does seem that he was being truthful."
"A vamp that's truthful. That's new." Xander chimed in.
Willow glared at him.
"What? I get it. There's all around badness. Show my girls where to point their axes, British Man."
"No, I don't think our usual method of weaponry is going to be of any use to them." Willow said.
"Okay, so no sword-in-the-stones. Got any other ideas?" Buffy asked.
"Um, yes, actually. I just have to make a few calls, pull some strings in the Coven. Though, you said that the vampire said that they were using Fyarl's as foot soldiers?"
"I wouldn't put your sword down just yet then. You do recall how to kill them?" Giles asked.
"Little bit of silver and they buckle."
"Right. Then I want you with Xander, Kennedy and the girls. Dig out all the silver weapons you can find. Willow and Dawn, I want you with me. I'll need your help rounding up the Coven."
Buffy wasn't sure of the exact time when they arrived at Necropolis, but she was willing to bet that it was somewhere close to midnight. These evil Wiccan types always seemed to go for midnight.
They needed to not roam too far to find them. Buffy and her crew of Slayers (and Xander), all fully armed with pure silver swords and daggers, were greeted by the small army of Fyarls coming straight at them.
"They'll do this gross mucus thing and they're pretty strong, so watch out. Other than that... go for the kill, ladies." Buffy said, raising her sword.
She smiled. "Boy have I missed this."
The first Fyarl that dared to come rushing came straight at Buffy. She swung her sword and it slashed him through the shoulder. He dropped to the ground, dead, instantly.
The rest of the Fyarls started growling and making other weird demon-y noises. They rushed and it was show time.
While the Slayers (and Xander) were busy fending off the Fyarl invasion, Giles, Dawn, Willow and a few members of the Coven stood back, waiting.
"Can you see them? Are they even here? Are we sure this isn't just a trap?" Dawn asked, rapid fire.
Willow opened her mouth to answer but shut it quickly. An immense power filled her straight from her toes, all the way up to her head. It felt as if lightening was living within her veins. Her eyes shot black.
She cocked her head at Giles and Dawn and pointed to a large snow covered hill.
"They're over there."
"Willow...your eyes..." Dawn started.
"She'll be alright, love. Promise." said one of the younger Coven members. "Willow is easily one of the most powerful ones here. She's just picked up on their magical energy. We best get as close as we can and start chanting. We haven't got much time."
Giles and Dawn nodded and followed after them.
Buffy had felt like she'd been fighting forever. The vamp wasn't lying when he had said there were dozens of Fyarls. There were literally dozens upon dozens of them. It seemed like their whole race had been signed up. That and a few of the local resident vamps had interjected into the mix. Never ones to miss a good fight.
Suddenly, a black-as-black-could-be cloud filled the area. Buffy's heart sank. Was this it? Had they failed? She hadn't even noticed anything but the beasts she was fighting...
A high pitched scream rang out from underneath the black cloud. Two cloaked figures had appeared. Buffy assumed them to be 'Brother' and 'Sister'. They pulled their hoods down and clasped hands. They both had extremely pale skin and dead, black eyes, much like Willow's had been during her bad phase. 'Brother' had shoulder length dark brown hair while 'Sister' had the same color hair, hers was longer. Buffy wasn't exactly sure how long as it was tucked into her cloak.
"It's time! IT'S TIME!" one of them screeched.
She noticed Willow pulling Giles and Dawn into the Coven's tightly woven circle.
The cloaked people started chanting very loudly in what Buffy thought might be Welsh. Willow, Giles, Dawn and the Coven started chanting, even louder, almost drowning the bad people out, in Latin.
Buffy turned back to the fight, prepared to jump back in. Except there was no fight anymore. What was left of the demons and vamps....well, they were backing off. Running away, actually.
"Buffy, are they...?" Xander started.
"Fleeing in terror? I think so."
"Okay, now I'm scared." Xander retorted. "If something is scary enough that it makes creatures of the night run for their lives..."
"....It can't be good." Buffy finished.
Then, without any warning whatsoever, a bright green flash appeared in the sky. It hovered momentarily before striking down, like lightening, next to 'Brother' and 'Sister', leaving an extremely smoky residue.
A tall, very gorgeous woman walked out of the smoke. She had long, white blonde hair, bright blue eyes and fair skin. She was wearing a long, white toga-type dress and holding a long, silver scepter that had a blue-ish, glowing bulb at the end.
She was good. Not just good. Pure. Buffy could feel her presence flowing. It was like a bright, white essence had flooded her senses.
Buffy assumed she was one of the full fledged, higher up Goddesses.
More importantly, Brother and Sister looked absolutely terrified at the sight of her. No. Not at her. They weren't even looking at her. They were staring very fearfully at her scepter.
Her voice was filled with rage yet it still managed to be somewhat lyrical.
"You wish to look upon Mother and Father? Then you shall!"
She slammed the bottom of the scepter down on the ground and there was a loud crack. The blue part at the top changed to a dark, cloudy gray and then turned into a bright, fiery orange. She pointed it straight at Brother and Sister.
"I bind thee to thy very pits of Hell where you shall spend all of eternity paying for your atrocities. Go. NOW."
There was another loud crack followed by what Buffy swore sounded like a crackling fire. Brother and Sister screeched and screamed and then they were gone with a loud pop. Gone just as quick as they had come.
The smoke cleared and Goddess lady's scepter turned back to the blue-ish hue it had been. She turned her attention towards Buffy and smiled a small, caring smile.
"Your work here is done, Champions. Step back and I shall vanquish the rest of the soulless creatures to Hell, where they belong."
Buffy turned to move, almost running straight into Willow. In all the commotion, she hadn't noticed them joining her.
Goddess lady raised her scepter once more and an extremely bright blue-ish light expanded across the whole of the cemetery.
Goddess lady smiled and brought her scepter back to her side.
"Any soulless thing that laid upon this hallowed ground is now gone. My work here is finished."
She smiled once more and then vanished.
"Girls-scout the grounds...just to be on the safe side." Xander yelled out, all authoritative. The small group of Slayers disbanded among the cemetery, leaving it just Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles and Dawn.
"Okay. I'm just going to come right out and say it. Not only the easiest apocalypse ever, but officially the weirdest." Buffy said, after a few minutes.
"That gets my vote." Dawn agreed.
"Who was the vanquish-y lady?" Xander asked.
" 'Vanquish-y Lady' was the High Enchantress Aislin. She's the one that originally banished 'Mother' and 'Father' to Hell, while they were being burned alive by the townspeople." Giles explained.
Buffy and Xander just nodded.
"Well, there's another apocalypse averted." Xander said.
"Total waste of a Christmas, though." Dawn replied.
"Well, at least we're all together. That's got to count for something, right?"
"You know what they say, Buff. The family that slays-and-averts-apocalypses together, stays together." Xander smiled.
Giles shook his head while Buffy, Willow and Dawn laughed.
27th December-Glasgow International Airport
Buffy stood just outside the gate entrance to her plane home, carrying her one small carry-on bag, the rest of her stuff having been shipped back to NYC the day before.
"You can't tell me that you haven't missed this. Scooby gang all together. Solving mysteries. Stopping apocalypses. I just think that you should stay. We all miss you." Xander said.
Buffy laughed. "While yes, I have missed this a bit, New York has actually been surprisingly... calming for me. Only one sort-of major bad guy, er, girl, and I took care of that. Nearly all by myself."
Giles took his glasses off and started cleaning them on his shirt.
"Yes. Riley did inform me of that. In the future, Buffy, please do try to refrain from blowing buildings up?"
"It's kind of my thing, you know, but yes, I'll try my hardest. I just meant that I haven't had to deal with a lot there. Normal vamp patrol. Not even one apocalypse. Come to think of it, I'm actually starting to wonder if you guys planned this whole thing, just to keep my on my apocalypse toes."
Willow smiled, slightly.
"But that's not why you're not staying here with us, is it? The calm-semi-retirement thing."
Xander nodded in agreement. "Could be because of that whole thing where you're becoming a kick ass super heroine in a book. I'd go back for that."
Dawn shook her head at Xander. "Xander, you're so totally clueless. It's not because of the book. It's because of the completely charming, super hunktastic author of said book. You know, the one that is following her every move?"
Giles took this opportunity to clean his already clean glasses.
Buffy felt her face getting red. "Okay, getting on the airplane now. Call when I land. Love you." She hugged everyone and walked away towards her gate.
"Say what you want, big sister, but you're totally smitten! I can seeeee ittt!" Dawn called out after her.
Buffy rolled her eyes and kept on walking.
Buffy settled herself into the cozy first class seat, trying not to think about what Dawn and Willow had said.
She found it a hard thing to do though as it had actually been Castle that had paid for this trip for her, first class and all, as a Christmas present.
That aside though, when she did settle into thinking about it, she couldn't really deny what they had said.
Of course she could keep telling herself that the reason she refused to stay in Scotland and chose to go back to NYC had everything to do with the easy so called 'retirement life'. Or, she could be completely honest with herself.
Her reason for going back had every single thing to do with Castle.
She sat back and tried to picture what her life would be like had he never wandered into that precise alleyway that night. She shook her head, trying to erase the thought from her mind. It almost physically hurt to even think about it. Okay, so it was obvious that there were some feelings there.
She turned her thoughts the other way. When did said feelings come into play? When was it that she'd started to fall? Before she had moved in? Or was it after?
After some considerable time spent thinking on that, she'd decided that it had been after. She'd never told Castle, nor would she ever tell Castle, but the real reason she'd gone Berserk-O Girl on Thea last month was because she'd threatened Castle's life. She'd had some spies out who'd seen them together, on patrol somewhere, and decided that it would be a swell idea to use him as bait in her little game. Buffy simply couldn't let her get away with it.
All that trouble over 100 kittens. Seriously.
Buffy shook her head, once more trying to erase the memory. It had to have been somewhere around then, she decided. She didn't blow up buildings for just anybody.
She leaned the enormous seat back and cuddled in for some much needed sleep. She drifted off happily, knowing that the next time she opened her eyes, she would be seeing Castle.