Hey, guys. I just wanted to give you a heads up that I changed a few things in the previous chapters. If you have any questions, just leave a review and I'll answer them to the best of my ability. Otherwise, please review anyway! Standard disclaimer in first chapter.
“I’ve only really watched the animated series, and that was when I was young,” Joel replied, hefting the grocery bags over his shoulder as he entered the stairwell connecting the parking garage to Buffy and Xander’s apartment complex. “I did watch the newest Wolverine movie, and he looked more badass in that than any comic that’s out there.”
Xander almost threw down his own bags of groceries as he stopped at the top of a landing and turned around, utterly astounded. “Are you freaking kidding me? Did you even read
the comics about ‘The Red Right Hand?’ He went to Hell and was possessed by daimons! You can’t get more badass than that! Or what about Zombie Wolverine, as part of the Galacti?”
Buffy pinched the bridge of her nose, her headache getting worse as her frustration with their geek-talk compounded her aggravation with Xander blowing her off. She’d pulled him aside when Joel had gone off to the bathroom at the Save-A-Lot, trying to get him to say why he was acting this way. “Now just wasn’t the time” just wasn’t the answer she’d been looking for. Argh! She could just—
“That sounds pretty cool. Have you got a copy?” Joel and Xander continued on, oblivious to Buffy’s misery.
Xander started to brighten as he picked up the bags he’d dropped, but by the time he straightened up, someone had turned down the dimmer switch on his spirit. “Yeah, I can take you to Andrew. . . He’s our resident nerd. We’ve got this comic/magic shop he manages for us, and he’s got the whole zombieverse, as well as the vampire series.”
Joel’s expression was considerably less dour when Buffy, who just couldn’t take it anymore, exploded. “There is no way in hell
Andrew is coming over until after I’ve had some quality time with a pillow and a memory-foam mattress, and I swear to all the gods that Willow knows personally, Xander, that if you—WHAT THE FUCK?!
It wasn’t so much Buffy’s exclamation of surprise that woke Willow. It was more the eardrum-piercing screech that followed. The sheer intensity of the shriek caused her to jump to her feet, instinctively drawing in the magicks from the air around her as she cast about for an enemy that was not there. Then she realized she
was the one Buffy was screaming at. Looking down, she saw the state of her undress and realized exactly what had happened. She hated to do it, but she knew she had to at least look: she glanced back to see Dawnie: and oh goddess was she ever naked, frozen in the spot where she’d been cuddled up with Willow on the couch. The look in her eyes said everything Willow was thinking just then: Oh, shit!
Looking back to Buffy, she was about to say something when she saw that Xander was standing just behind her, his eyes wide and his mouth agape, staring at her nakedness and Dawnie’s nakedness, and . . . Shit!
Dawnie grabbed the afghan hanging over the back of the couch, leaving Willow no choice but to conjure a robe for herself. Turning back to Buffy, she held up her hands. “Look, Buffy, it’s not what it looks like.” Damn, what the hell was wrong with her? That was the best she could come up with?
Buffy wasn’t buying it either. “So, what? You were snuggling my little sister—naked
— on the couch that I sit on
because it was the end of the world? Is there some kind of naked apocalypse I hadn’t heard about, or are you trying to tell me that you didn’t
just. . .” Buffy’s voice had gotten low and feral, and then she exploded. “She’s my little sister!” she seethed, her voice low and feral. “I. . .”
But Buffy, who was suddenly holding a stake—and where had that
appeared from?—and she was squeezing so tightly that the wood was splintering in her fingers. Willow was at a loss as she looked around the room for something, something
that would give her an out. It didn’t show up. Meanwhile, Buffy’s rage continued to boil. “What the hell, Will? You get bored so you just decide to fuck the first thing you see?”
The murderous look in Buffy’s eyes caused Willow to step back, her heel hitting the front of the couch as she instinctively threw up a shield just in time to stop Buffy from leaping forward and grabbing her by the neck. “She’s. My. Little. Sister!” she screamed again as she pounded her fists on the shield, the stake in her hand shattering into splinters as she tried to ram it through the solid air in front of her.
Buffy barely registered the sound of Xander tossing aside his bags and entering the apartment, slowly making his way to where Buffy was attacking his other best friend. “Buff, listen to me—” he began, only to have the absolute shit scared out of him when she drew a short-sword from the holster at the small of her back, pointed it at him, and then turned back to Willow.
“I trusted you!” she growled, her blood boiling in her veins as her vision hazed over in red, using every ounce of slayer strength as she swung the blade against the purple shield. “She’s my little—” She stopped making coherent sentences and just growled, hacking away.
Willow, having skipped the part where she regained her composure, instead going straight to Pissed-The-Fuck-Off, rose back to her full height, the shield turning from purple to red. Her hair instantly turned raven dark as her eyes became pools of hard obsidian black. She casually held up her hand, and instantly Buffy’s arm stopped mid-swing. With a callous smirk, she looked Buffy dead in the eyes and calmly said, “Bored now.” She closed her hand into a fist, one finger at a time, and each time a finger came down Buffy’s body twisted again, each contortion ripping heart-wrenching screams from the Slayer’s throat.
Willow, seeing this, smiled demurely to herself as she dropped her shield and stepped up to speak softly into Buffy’s ear, where she was battling just to keep standing. “Dawnie was just such a ripe little peach that I just knew
that I had to have a taste.” Buffy growled weakly, though she was able to make a small lunge at the black witch. Willow was laughing now, holding Buffy at bay with a single finger on her forehead. “Tell me, big sis: do you want to know she tastes like? Or how well she follows instructions?”
Buffy summoned all of her strength and anger, all of the Slayer’s feral rage, and lifted the sword that everyone had forgotten she still held. It was too slow, though, and the muscles in her arms were too twisted. Still, she forced herself to bring the weapon to bear; determined, fierce, even though each move felt like her arms were ripping away from her body. Willow, seeing this valiant attempt at bringing a weapon to bear, casually flicked her wrist, using her magic to send the sword flying.
Joel, who had been watching from just inside the doorway, saw the sword coming directly for him, so he jumped to the side, over the loveseat. He was unable to catch himself from sliding off the side of it, though, and hit his head on the coffee table, breaking his neck in the process.
Willow, seeing this, abruptly stopped her torturing of Buffy and stepped over to Joel’s limp form, nudging him with her toe. “Oh, shit, Buff! Did I just kill this guy for good? It’s the neck thing, right?” Looking back at the struggling Slayer, she asked, “Is he gonna wake back up, or did I just fuck up big time?”
She didn’t get a chance to hear Buffy’s response because just then a lamp crashed down over her head, knocking her out cold. “You are such
when you go dark,” Dawn breathed, clutching the afghan to her chest as she turned back to her sister, who seemed to be recovering now that Willow was down for the count. “And you! What the hell, Buffy?”
Buffy’s eyes bugged out as she gestured to the two bodies on the floor. “What do you mean, ‘what the hell?’ Will goes all Vader-y on me and kills someone, and you ask me
what the hell? What the hell, Dawn?”
Dawn growled as she shifted her grip on the afghan, stepping around the unconscious Willow and the maybe-dead body of Joel, dodging the ceramic shards of the vase in the process. “If you hadn’t just barged in, guns a’blazing, swinging a freaking sword
at her, she wouldn’t have switched to default and accidentally kill someone.”
“She-she-she—she had. . .” Buffy couldn’t form a complete sentence without wanting to hurl, but she had to confront her sister on this. “She had sex
with you, Dawnie!”
Dawn was getting to be pretty fucking pissed about Buffy’s over-protectiveness. “So the fuck what? She didn’t do anything to me that that I didn’t want done, multiple times.”
Buffy’s shock couldn’t stop her from automatically rebuking her. “Dawnie, language! And eewww!”
“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! I’m an adult now, Buffy. You can’t keep treating me like a baby!”
Buffy was incredulous. “So, what? You turn 18 and all of a sudden you’re fucking the first thing that looks at you? And I thought you liked boys!”
Dawn slapped Buffy as hard as she could, though she knew it wouldn’t do much harm. “How dare you! You don’t know anything! She didn’t come on to me, if that’s what you’re saying. It just sort of. . . happened.” She could tell that her sister was more hurt by the fact that she’d slapped her and not by the physical pain itself. “And it’s not about liking boys or liking girls. It’s about what made me feel good. And last night, Willow and Meagan made me feel things that I’ve never felt before. No boyfriend I’ve ever had has ever made me feel like they made me feel last night.”
This was almost too much for Buffy to process. “So, you, what? Had sex with two
girls? And liked it?” Looking into her sister’s eyes, Dawn could almost see Buffy’s mind jumping track. “Wait! Boyfriends? Feel? How many guys have you slept with, Dawnie?”
“Argh! My name is not
Dawnie! It’s Dawn! And it’s none of your business!”
Buffy could see that there was nothing more she was going to get from her sister on this, so she backtracked a little. “So, are you and Will like, a thing? Are you guys together now?”
Dawn hesitated on this, not really knowing what to say. Finally, she settled on the truth. “I don’t know, Buff. It’s something we haven’t really discussed. It just. . . happened.”
This resonated with Buffy more than she’d like to admit, as she felt the same way about her and Xander. Speaking of Xander—wait! “Who the hell is Meagan?”
The day had started off more or less well. As soon as his morning alarm had rung, Giles immediately set the kettle, showering whilst it heated. After he'd toweled off, he brewed a cup of a particularly pleasing blend of tea called Morning Glory he'd found at a local tea shop that he'd just found the day before. And, as the aromatic beverage steeped, he stepped over to the closet that the admittedly talented boy Xander had converted into a reading nook filled with shelves, which were packed with all of the books that the survivors of Sunnydale were able to save, along with some new additions they'd been able to acquire along the way.
Over the years, he had grown quite proud of Xander. He was no longer the immature child who would make lame jokes in order to lighten the mood of the generally ominous work in which the “gang” was usually ensconced. However, years of pain and loss and seeing the hordes of Hell come forth to destroy all that he had ever held dear had taken its toll on the boy.
Come to think of it, he knew very well that Xander Harris was no boy. n fact, he In fact, he was a man and accomplished warrior, as well as being quite the woodsmith. However, in the mind of the aging Watcher, Xander would always be “boy” to him, if only because Giles was becoming sentimental in his old age. Harumphing to himself at that thought, he turned back to the shelves lined with ancient tomes and newer translations of even older texts, turning his thoughts to the dead languages inscribed upon the bindings there.
It was from these new volumes that he chose a particularly ancient text, bound in letter and written in the blood of an immortal. Whomever this Methos had been (or is,
he corrected himself, admitting the possibility that, as an immortal, he could very well be alive still), he'd been an industrious sort, and well-learned as well. Certainly he was of the magickal sort, having known that penning any text with the blood of an immortal (indeed, his own blood) would enchant the pages it was printed on to last until time immemorial.
However, just as he was about to settle down with his cup of tea and ancient text, the blasted telephone rang. Choosing to ignore it and turn his attention back to The Immortal Game
, he was nonetheless distracted again when the infernal messaging machine picked up the call and Xander's very strained voice came on, urging Giles to "get [his] ass away from reading whatever dusty book [he] was reading and answer the goddamned phone!"
Choosing not to chastise him for his use of profane language because of the tone of urgency in the boy's voice, Giles dashed into the kitchenette and picked up the receiver. "Xander? What has happened?"
Three minutes later he was at the door to Willow and Buffy's shared apartment, knocking on the door with as much restraint as possible. Before his knuckles could touch the painted wood for a third time, the door burst open, and he found himself being dragged in bodily by Xander. The scene before him was that of pure Armageddon.
.45 Magnum? Check.
Brass-knucks? Check. With a little something extra.
Faith’s feral grin was gone as quickly as it came as she checked to make sure that she could pull her wakizashi clear without getting tangled in the strap of her shotgun. She knew the gang wasn’t going to be glad to see her, especially with her killing their “innocent” (twice, even), but she wasn’t planning on sticking around for longer than it took to waste the guy for good. She wasn’t exactly sure how he’d survived the first assassination, but experience had taught her that when in doubt, cut off the head and burn the body. That pretty much killed the baddest of the bads, so she was reasonably sure that it would work in this case. After all, the mark didn’t look too much more than human, though he obviously wasn’t human enough to die from a knife to the chest.
Checking the access points once more, going through her escape route in her head, she made her way to the stairwell connecting the parking garage to Buffy’s apartment building. Halfway up, though, she heard some shouting and screams, including the familiar scream of someone dying. She ran the rest of the way, heading down the hall and up to the open door where she could see Giles leaning over a body with its head at a very wrong angle, and Buffy standing there, bewildered, her eyes far away and her face taut. Taking a closer look at the body, Faith realized that it was her mark, dead on the floor.
Back-pedaling in the face of this new development, Faith hurriedly took off her shotgun—her most obvious weapon—and set it just outside the door in the hallway. Putting on a mask of concern, she was just about to say something when, amidst all of the people standing around looking at the dead body on the floor, Dawn, who was apparently wrapped in an afghan, saw her.
“Faith!” The confusion was evident as she looked up from the dead man to the last person she’d ever expected to see. “What are you doing here?”
Faith, not exactly sure what Buffy had told them about her, played innocent, deciding her best option was to turn the tables on them, get them on the defensive. “What am I doing here? I could say the same thing for you, Little ‘Sis.” She could tell by Dawn’s very noticeable flinch that she’d struck an unexpected nerve. “What the hell happened here? B, did you just kill that guy? What the fuck?”
The horror-stricken slayer just mumbled incoherently, not really noticing who it was that was talking to her. “I. . . She. . . Eewww.” She closed her eyes and tried to burn out the image of her sister and her best friend cuddling naked on the sofa, but it didn’t work. “I am so
gonna need some therapy.”
Faith, not really knowing what to make of what Buffy had just said, looked back at the body, moving around the Scoobies, who were all frozen in place from the shock of. . . something. Unlike them, she hadn’t forgotten that this man—her mark—wouldn’t stay dead from a broken neck. She’d tried to kill him with a dagger already, and here he was, in a different city, obviously having come back to life from when she’d killed him the first time. The only thing she knew of that would probably work for certain was to cut off his head, but she was pretty sure that Buffy and the others would react rather violently if she did anything like that. How could she get him alone before he “woke up” from whatever resurrection magic he had in him? Barring that, could she take his head off and make a clean get-away before Buffy and the others reacted? Maybe, maybe not—but if she did manage to get away with it without getting herself killed in the process, Buffy most certainly would hunt her down and kill her herself. So what was she to do? There was only one thing she could
Before she could reach behind her back and grab the sword she had hidden, though, Joel’s death throes seemed to reverse. He gasped, arching, his body bowing before flopping back onto the carpet. Faith backed up a couple of paces, but it was too late. Joel had already struggled up onto one elbow and his pale blue eyes locked onto hers.