Battle for San Francisco: Gathering Forces
a very special thank you tochristytrekkie
for her banner.
the usual warranties, don't own just borrowing.
this is the prelude to the battle, the coming together of forces. hope you like it, next time is the actual battle.
enjoy, and review(please?)
Reno Raines looks up from working on his bike when he hears the chirping of bobby six killers phone. He knows that it is something big. As soon as he answers his phone bobby’s face takes on a cold mask. His responses are short, business like. He doesn’t add any of his usual joking banter. It is the soldier coming out, Reno had only seen him react like this a few times. It was never good.
“Kid, I appreciate the offer, but I don’t run. Tell me where to meet you.” Reno can’t hear the response.
“I know a few people I can call. I’ll see who’s in range to help. See you soon” he finishes. He pauses for a moment as if something big is settling in his mind. Finally he turns back to Reno. Shian has emerged from the Winnebago which served as the mobile home of six killer enterprises.
“What’s wrong brother?” she asks with concern in her voice.
“That was Harris.”
“The kid Barny hooked us up with?”
“Yeah. Seems that something big is going down in San Francisco. He was warning us to stay clear.”
“I’m guessing you told him to lose the warnings and tell us where to meet him” says Reno setting down his wrench on the ground and cleaning his hands on a rag.
“Yeah. Said I'd see who I could call in for extra hands.”
“I’m guessing this isn’t the sort of problem we usually deal with.”
“Yeah, its demon, and its big.”
“You gonna call Blaze?”
“I’m gonna call everyone” says Bobby, already dialing his phone.
Xander had been riding all night. He had left the charger with faith, he was riding a beat up motorcycle. The wind was cold biting at his cheeks. The sunrise had painted the sky in hues of red. It looked like the sky was bleeding.
Sparing a glance behind him, Xander sees the Fitzpatricks. Most of the family was riding with him. Twenty strong, on a mixture of bikes and cars. He smirks at the thought that they had the look of a raiding party. It was all but laughable that they were the best hope of a whole city.
He had called bobby, telling him to stay clear. He liked the Indian. It had been wishful thinking that he would stay away.
The coming days would be bloody.
Xander looks up from the road, and sees the San Francisco skyline. That was what they were fighting for. The millions of lives contained within those walls. Walking those streets. They were fighting for them, they would bleed for them.
Faith is woken by a scream. It was a hoarse sound, like it was ripped from an unwilling throat. Bolting out of her blankets she rolls to her feet. She had slept the night on the Halliwell sisters couch.
In less than a minute she was standing gun in hand looking at Eli, crumpled on the ground. He was weeping in pain.
“Eli, what happened?” asks Faith still casting about for an unseen enemy.
“I saw it. I saw it all. The Army is just the beginning, its coming, the old ones are coming.”
Xander rolls up to the Halliwell mansion. He cuts his engine, and sits there for a moment. He has a feeling deep in his gut. He'd had the same feeling when he first met buffy all those years ago. The feeling had come to him before the closing of the hellmouth. It had haunted him through the years. It was the realization that everything was about to change, for better or worse, after today everything would be different.
Shrugging off the feeling Xander dismounts his bike and walks to the door. The Fitzpatricks had decided to crash at a local bar they had control of. They would call him in the morning with the details of where they were meeting the arms dealer.
Xander knocks on the door. It only takes a moment for someone to answer. It is an unfamiliar brunet woman. She eyes him with suspicion. Glancing down at himself he realizes her reaction isn’t all that unreasonable. He was kitted out in worn leathers. He realizes that they still have some bloodstains on them. He hadn’t shaved for close to a week, his hair now hangs to his shoulders. His Perl handled 1911 is strapped to his hip, riding low in its worn holster. He looked like a caricature of an unsavory character.
“Hi” he says finally after he’s had enough time under her stair “I’m with Faith” he finishes.
“Her eyes still suspicious the girl calls into the house. He makes no effort to cross the threshold as he waits for faith to appear.
“Hello stranger” says a sultry voice as faith comes into view “don’t worry Pru, he’s with me” she says pulling Xander into an embrace. Smiling he kisses her deeply.
“Coulda said your friend was an outlaw” says Pru with more than a little disdain.
“Hell girl, he my outlaw” says faith pulling Xander into the house.
“How did it go?” she asks.
“Twenty armed thugs ready and able. Their crashing at a local, said they’d see if they can scare up more numbers.
And what is up with him?” segweys Xander pointing to an unconscious Eli stone. He is collapsed on an overly fluffy chair.
“He had another vision” says faith her voice becoming dead serious.
“Bad. He’ll be around in a few hours, I’ll let him tell you the details.”
Spike looks at dru as she stares out over the city. She hadn’t said a word for the past five hours. Normally he'd be thanking his lucky stars she hadn’t tried to skin him like the last time she acted like this. But she was acting odder then usual.
“Dru, darling, what’s wrong?”
“I can see the kitten, he’s a wolf now. He’s an old wolf waiting for what he fears will be his last battle. Oh spike, the city will burn, it will be so beautiful. Can I get a violin for the occasion?” spike grins. This might be better than china during the boxer rebellion.
Xander and Eli are sitting across the table from one another. The sisters and faith had taken up the rest of the table. Xander had met the Halliwell household while waiting for the tired looking prophet to wake. They had been accommodating, if a little distant. No time like the end of the world to make new friends.
“It was bad” says Eli taking a drink of coffee from the mug piper had handed him. “The Army will come out of the water. It will bring down the city around our ears. And when San Francisco is nothing but a pile of rubble, they come. Horrible creatures, deformed, terrible. It’s like the gates of hell open and everything pores out.”
“You’re sure they’re the old ones?”
“It’s still echoing in my head. A voice screaming their name.
God, I miss the days of George Michael serenading me in my living room.”
“You’ve met George Michael?” ask Phoebe.
“Did you see when it will happen?” ask Faith.
“Day after tomorrow.”
Faith stands looking out over the city. One day before hell opens. It was beautiful in the moonlight. She feels arms wrap around her. With a smile she looks over her shoulder to see Xander.
“Well we have a day.”
“A day, a day before the battle. Do you wonder how this is happening?” asks Xander.
“What do you mean?” asks faith turning to look at Xander.
“This didn’t happen, not the way we remember the timeline. Does that mean that our memories aren’t real, or that we’ve changed things somehow.”
“I don’t know. Honestly I’m terrified that I’ll wake up one day and realize that this whole time has been a dream. I love you, and to be perfectly honest that’s all o care about.”
“Hell girl,” says Xander with a grin “love you too.” He pulls her into his arms.
Eli exits the Halliwell mansion. Straightening his jacket he breathes in the night air. He pauses for a moment looking at the house before getting into his car. Steeling himself as he pulls away.
It has always been his favorite time to drive through the city. That time between everyone going to sleep, and everyone waking up. He knows he has to do this, he knows he might end up regretting it but he has to do it.
He had never asked to be a prophet. He had been happy in his shallow life. He liked his expensive cloths, he more expensive cars. But then he had started hallucinating. Well if you asked ben it was divine messages guiding him on his path.
Why did it have to be like this.
He pounds his fist against the steering wheel. He didn’t want to die. Pulling over to the curbside, Eli tries to regain his composure. It wouldn’t do to be in a mess like this.
Finally back under control he pulls away once more. Without the traffic it takes him ten minutes to reach his destination. Parking in front of the building he looks at it. He knows he's procrastinating, but he can’t seem to make himself move.
Finally the delay had become ridiculous. Straightening his tie, he exits the car. Making his way to the call box he traces his finger down the list of tenants. Finally he finds the name he is looking for.
Pushing the button he hears the buzz.
“Who’s there?” asks a voice heavy from sleep after a few moments.
“Maggie, its Eli, can I come up?”
“Eli? It’s two in the morning.”
“Please Maggie, I really need to talk to you”
“Ok” she says finally buzzing him up.
As he rides the elevator up to Maggie’s apartment he realizes that in all the time he’s know her, he has never been to her place. Their relationship had always been mostly confined to working cases. The long sleepless nights, and hours poring over files. He smiles to himself at the thought of it.
Walking to her door, Eli’s mind flashes through all his memories of her. All her wonderful, extraordinary, exasperating quirks.
Finally he finds himself knocking on her door. She opens it after a moment. She is wearing ducky pajamas.
“Eli, what’s wrong?” she asks after seeing his face.
“Can I come in?” he asks tiredly.
“Of course.” She says opening the door wide for him. He enters the apartment. Eli isn’t sure what he expected. The place is nice, small, but nice. It is decorated with family photos, souvenirs of good times. It was a home.
“Maggie, I have something I need to tell you.”
“What? Asks Maggie taking a seat on her couch. Eli considers sitting, but he needs to get this out.
“Maggie, I, god… Maggie, I love you, I’m in love with you. I know that there are a thousand problems, a thousand reasons for you not to want me. But I couldn’t leave it like it is. I need to tell you. I’m utterly head over heels in love with you” says Eli. He watches her face, trying to get any reaction from her. All he can see is surprise.
“Took you long enough” says Maggie getting up from her seat. She grabs him by the shoulders and kisses him full on the lips.
Xander is in a clearing. He knows the place, it is the same clearing that he has been having nightmares about. He realizes that this is a dream.
Getting to his feet he hears a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turns to see a pair of yellow eyes staring out from the darkness.
“Hello” says Xander unafraid as the grizzled wolf enters into the clearing. The wolf is as old as he feels, bearing the scars that had once been mirrored on his own body. At least his spirit was unchanged, even if everything else was different.
He sits back down, crossing his legs. The wolf comes closer before sitting itself.
They look into each other’s eyes. Xander can see all of his life, it comes in flurried images at first. But finally it clears.
He sees the battle over the hellmouth, the bus barely outrunning the collapsing sinkhole. He sees himself reacting to Anya’s death, running as far and as hard as he can. He sees Africa, the endless fights, the blurred nights of whisky and blood. He sees his friend, county, pulling him from the bottom of a bottle. He watches county die, and it is as painful as a memory as it was the first time.
Xander remembers returning to the counsel, the new reformed watchers. More battles, more deaths. He sees a friend seduced to evil, calling himself twilight and trying to end the world. The sees the dimensional plains open wide, the hordes of darkness poring forth. They fought so hard, but it wasn’t enough. They had almost closed the barrier once more, when voldimort came.
Before that day they had never even heard of the dark wizard. The English wizarding government was a completely autonomous group, they kept their battles dot themselves for the most part. The slayers, the watchers, they were completely blindsided by an army of dark wizards suddenly in the middle of the battle. It was the turning point. After that it became a different world. They were scattered. They fought they died.
With a force of will Xander pulls himself back from the river of memories. He is once more in the clearing with the wolf.
“Why? Why did you make me see that?” the wolf doesn’t respond. Xander looks at it, the unanswered question seeming to hover between them. And then he wakes.
With a gasp of breath Xander comes back to the waking world, back to the beautiful woman sleeping in his arms.
“He’s back” says Xander. He realizes why he was forced to watch the dark wizard in his memories. Voldimort was here.
Pru was sitting behind the house enjoying her morning coffee. It was at times like this that she could almost forget the turn her life had taken. She wasn’t a witch, she wasn't one of the three prophesied saviors. She was just a woman, sitting with a warm beverage.
It never lasted for long. Her mug slips from shocked fingers as before her a swirling vortex of energy appears in front of her. Before her eyes three forms materialize from the unnatural formation. Two of them were normal enough. They were men in their mid-twenties, they had nice looking faces. The shocking part was the massive being standing between them.
“Troll” screams pru trying to marshal her power to her defense.
“Wait, he’s with us” yells faith running out of the house to throw herself between the terrified witch and Barny.
“Troll” says pru in response.
“Yes he’s a troll, what of it?” pru doesn’t know how to respond to that. She decides the best thing to do is get another cup of coffee, maybe with a little kick this time.
“You made it” says faith pulling the brothers then Barny into bear hugs.
“Wouldn’t miss this girl” says Conner.
“Yeah, besides I have a new shotgun I’ve been dying to try out” continues murphy producing the weapon from his bag and caressing it lovingly.
“My steel is yours, always” finishes Barny hefting his massive broadsword.
“I’m glad you’re here” says Xander exiting the house “I wouldn’t want to do this without you.”
Eli wakes next to Maggie. It is one of the happiest moments of his life. He had finally told her his feelings and she didn’t run screaming.
He watches her sleep, he head rested on his arm. She is beautiful.
She wakes as he watches her. A smile on her lips.
“What?” she asks looking up at him.
“You’re beautiful” he replies.
“You’re gonna make be blush you keep talking like that.”
“You need to leave town” he blurts out.
“Well defiantly not the response I was hoping for” she says anger creeping into her voice.
“I mean you should take the weekend off, get out of town.”
“We can go somewhere” she says a grin coming back to her lips.
“I can’t, I need to be here. But you need to leave today.”
“Ok, this is starting to turn into my weirdest morning after. What’s going on, why are you trying to get rid of me?”
“I need you safe.”
“You had another vision” she says no question in her voice.
“Yes” he admits. Maggie had always been the only one to truly believe him other than ben. There was no point denying the truth.
“What did you see?”
“Something bad. Really bad. I need you to leave, I need you safe. I already got everyone else to leave. Turns out a bomb threat here and there will do a lot to evacuate people” he finishes with a chuckle.
“If this is so bad, come with me.”
“There are people who are facing this. I can’t leave them. I have to stay, but you can be safe.”
“Do you really think I’m going to leave if you’re staying?”
“I guess not” replies Eli hanging his head in defeat.
Xander looks at the sign over the seedy bar. Ezra’s. Turning to Barny he gives him an incredulous look.
“This is the place” says Barny reassuringly.
“It looks like the rats outnumber the patrons.”
“I won’t deny that fact, but this is the place to get word out.” With a shrug Xander pushes through the door.
The interior had the increasingly familiar smell of sweat and blood which always seems to seep into the pros of establishments like this.
As he makes his way to the bar, Xander takes in the patrons. They are mostly demons, a mixture of friendly and extremely unfriendly species. Surprisingly there are actually a number of human looking patrons. Coming to the bar Xander is greeted by a man with a golden tooth which seems to catch the limited light with every word he speaks.
“Barny, haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Ezra” replies the troll with a nod of his head.
“What you having” he asks.
With a grin Ezra produces two glasses, and pores generous shots.
Barny and Xander down the drinks, and turn to the rest of the bar.
“Guess it’s time you did your thing” says Barny.
“My thing? Why is it my thing?”
“Hell kid, you were the one who brought together Boston, figure this is sort of the same thing.”
“Thanks” says Xander his voice dripping with sarcasm. He takes a deep breath and steps forward.
“I’m here to say something.” He starts “tomorrow, this city will be attacked. They old things are going to return and they will bring the old ways with them. Beings not seen since before the barrier was sealed and the dimensions were partitioned.
Now you might be wondering why you should care. Most of you wouldn’t shed a tear to see the humans dead in the streets. Well, I have a question for you. Do you really think that the old ones will stop at killing the humans?
Face it, in their eyes, you’re barely above the shit on their boots. They’ll kill everything, destroy everything.
I’m going to fight. I will fight until I can’t. I won’t go quietly. I won’t let the bastards take my world. Their time is done, their relics of an age that should never come again.
I’m here to ask you if you’ll stand beside me. I know many of you would rather kill me that fight beside me. Well I’m not asking you to be my friend. I’m asking you to stand and fight when it’s over we can go back to old hats and old wars.
Tomorrow, they will come. What will you do?” there is silence after he finishes speaking. No one speaks. Xander doesn’t know if his words will do anything. But it had to be done. Turning on his heel, he leaves the bar, Barny isn’t far behind.
If nothing else it might evacuate a few more people out of the city. Even now faith and the others were calling in bomb threats to clear the heart of the battleground.
Liam stands on the docks. He is waiting for Fiona to show. The sun has just set, leaving the water dark and murky.
He hears the sound of a cigarette boat. Lighting a cigarette, Liam Fitzpatrick watches the arms dealer dock her boat.
“Evnin” he says as Fiona steps onto the dock.
“Liam” she replies in a thick Irish accent.
“Right on time as always” he says with a grin “boys” he yells over his shoulder. Leaning down he grabs a heavy duffle bag from the ground and passes it to Fiona. “As agreed.”
“Always a pleasure doin business with you.” She says smiling.
Xander looks at the people who have assembled in the Halliwell mansion. Faces familiar and not. Eli had reappeared a few hours ago, a girl on his arm. It always was funny how an apocalypse brings people together.
Faith gets to her feet, looking back to Xander for a moment. He gives her a reassuring grin. Smiling back she turns to the rest of those gathered here.
“Well, guess I’m the one speechifying tonight” she says with a chuckle. “Seems we have a bit of an apocalypse on our hands here. This one is something different though. You can all feel it. This is the old ones coming from their prison to make us their bitches. Can’t say I like the idea.
There are a few more able bodies that will be making their way here. Mostly friends, some enemies. But we’ll fight beside them.
Tomorrows the day. So take tonight, drink your favorite brand. Bed your lover. Remind yourself why you’re fighting tomorrow. Chances are it will be your last chance to do so.” She lets her words fade. With a smile she turns and leaves the room.
Xander follows her.
“Good speech” he says pulling a flask from his pocket and handing it to her.
“Had me ready to follow you.”
“Hell B was always the one for the talking. I just wanted to hit things real hard.”
“Time changes everything.”
“You sure voldimort is behind this?”
“No, but it stinks like him. If it is him, I'll taste his blood” says Xander. There is no mercy in his voice.
“You’ll have to beat me to him” replies faith “so what do you say we have a little fun before the world burns.”
Conner sits on the floor in front of the coffee table. He has broken down his guns laying them down in tidy rows. Taking a piece he begins vigorously cleaning it with a toothbrush.
“You know, normally piper would have your hide for doing that” says pru from the doorway.
“Yeah sorry, needed to clear my mind” he replies continuing to clean his weapons.
“I can’t sleep” she says taking a seat in one of the chairs.
“Always the way of it before a big fight.”
“Piper is looking through the book of shadows, trying to find anything we can use tomorrow.”
“Yeah” Conner replies absently.
“How did you get mixed up in all this?”
“The kids. Faith and Xander are like family. Couldn’t let them have all the fun” he says with a grin.
“See that’s what I don’t get about all of you. It’s like you take such pleasure in all this, mess.”
“Well, I guess we do. Most of us found this life. it gave us something we needed, gave us a little control. I’m guessing you were chosen though.”
“It’ll eat you up if you don’t find a little joy in your work. This world is too ugly to spend your life bitter over your fate.”
Piper flips through the book of shadows. Every so often she will stop and jot down a few notes. Looking up from her work she sees the troll. He has taken up a large chair in the corner and is sharpening his weapons. He quickly notices her stairs.
“I make you uncomfortable” he says, his words a statement rather than a question.
“I’ve never heard of somth- I mean someone like you helping someone like me. The book has trolls listed as evil.”
“Heh, guess that’s to be expected. My people don’t much like company. Human or other.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I owe the wolf. He gave me the push I needed to free myself and I must repay that debt.”
“Xander. For a witch you don’t seem to see much beyond the flesh” she knows he doesn’t mean it as an insult, he is simply stating a fact. “The two younglings are much more then they seem. Get some sleep. You will need to have all your strength for the morrow” says the troll getting up from his seat and leaving the room.