Fates of Love
Author: BigHead / firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Everyone here belongs to someone else, except me. I belong to a boatload of taxes, hence no money being made
Summary: Fate has a wicked way of playing with the ones in their clutches.
Rating: Teen, for now.
Author's Notes: Thanks go to Greywizard and cmduhura, this time. And many thanks for all the reviews. And sorry for the absurd delay on posting this. As I’ve said before, this story isn’t dead, but it’s nearly finished.
Feedback: YESSSS!!!! PLEEEEAAAASEEE!!
The three teams defined to go outside were already roaming the streets, and Buffy could see them asking people to leave the area, the story they’d concocted was that they’d found a gas leak inside the ballroom building, they were afraid it might blow up. Etrigan would follow them in a bit, Buffy was just waiting for the area to be clearer of civilians, otherwise the yellow demon could cause even more panic. Meanwhile, the Queen of the Alexions was twirling the scythe in her hands, waiting for the Pricks, Xander standing by her holding a katana. He’d once mentioned it sounded cliché by some reason, he actually liked a bastard sword better, but his own stayed back at his apartment. A bit of an oversight on his part, he had said sheepishly, gaining some giggles as a reply.
“This is roof, Buffy, are you listening? Over.”
“I’m here, guys, what’s up? Over.”
“We’ve got some really, really strange fog coming over from the east. We’re pretty sure it’s them.”
“Define ‘really, really strange’.”
“I’ve lived in London most of my life, my Queen, but I’ve never seen fog that glowed like that,” the Watcher replied, his accent betraying his tweed origin.
“Well, this sucks, the fog will kill whatever visibility we have, and if the thing glows, NVGs are useless,” Xander replied, standing at Buffy’s side.
“Well, we gotta do something, otherwise we’re screwed. Ideas?” Buffy asked her best friend.
“Perhaps Willow can do something about the goggles, but even then we have only two of those,” he replied.
“Better than nothing. Go ask her, and see if she can do something about the fog as well.”
He nodded and ran back to the ballroom.
The Queen of the Alexions was standing outside looking at the fast approaching fog and the dangers inside. Her radio cracked and she walked back into the building.
"Buffy, I’ve kinda magically hacked the NVGs, they’re seeing in the infrared range now. Won’t do much for vampires, but it’s better than nothing, Xander’s handing them down now,” Willow said over the radio. “As for the fog, it’s a fairly advanced spell. I can’t dispel it and it's causing a blanketing effect on my detection spells, all I'm seeing is static. I don't know how many or what's inside of it but I think I can keep it contained thought, I’ve erected a ward that extends around ten feet outside the building’s wall, so we’ll at least have some early warning."
"Thanks, Wills, let’s see what we can do about it, over," she said, but then something caught her eye and she radioed again. "Is someone with a radio close to Diana?"
"I'm here, Buffy," her new sister said after a few moments.
"Did you call your friends over, sis?"
"Not yet, why?"
"Cause I just saw a red and blue blur enter the fog," she said with a smile.
"He must have been patrolling nearby. That's some good news. How do you want to proceed?"
"He could help with crowd control, people trust him far more than a bunch of strange girls in evening dresses for some reason,” she said with a smile, and suddenly she remembered a small detail. “By the way, we did pay the insurance bit, right?"
"My husband says we did, Buffy,” Diana said.
“Xander says we did, Buffy,” she said, trying to correct herself and failing miserably. Everyone who was listening to the radio turned around to pay attention.
“That’s not what you said, missy, and we both know it. What the heck is this ‘husband’ deal? You guys went to Vegas and eloped?” Buffy asked with a frown.
A sigh could be clearly heard over the radio.
“Nothing of the sort, Buffy. It’s a story better left for after this crisis is over. Yes, we’re married, but we didn’t exactly follow the right procedures to get there. Something we intend to repair eventually. I promise I’ll tell you everything.”
“I’ll hold you to that, sis. Mom’s nearby?”
Buffy smiled. That sounded like her tall, strong and pretty much nearly invincible sister was starting to sweat, being subjected to a patented Mom Glare.
“Lemme talk to her,” the Slayer said, trying to contain her laughter.
“Yes, Buffy?” Hyppolita said, sounding pretty irritated.
“Mom, if they didn’t elope, something tells me this is slightly more complicated than they simply tying the knot without telling anyone. With our usual lives, I’d give them the benefit of a doubt, so give them some breathing room til this is over, then we can both grill them. I’ll even supply the charcoal,” she said with a giggle.
Hyppolita grumbled something in ancient Greek that Buffy didn’t need help translating. “MOM!!”
“Oh, all right. But I reserve myself the right to glare at them for the duration of this battle.”
“Glare away, Mom. I believe Willow and Donna will even help you out, not to say several of my sisters,” she said, trying really hard to contain her giggling. “Okay, let's... wait. Diana, are you sure you didn't call your friends?"
"Absolutely. Why?" the heroine asked, getting the radio back from her mother.
"Cause I got a bat in my belfry. Talk to you in a minute, Buffy out."
Buffy motioned for the slayers positioned at the front door to let the Dark Knight in.
"Miss Summers, mind explaining me what's the commotion outside?" he asked in a growl, stopping right in front of her.
"You know how it is, Bats, every welcome home party has to have a welcome home committee. I guess no one told the demon horde we had everything under control already," she said with an impudent smile. “Plus I find out that my recently acquired older sister has married my best friend and didn’t tell anyone.”
“I already knew. I believe you already have a plan to deal with them?" Batman asked.
“Yeah, we’re going to grill them merci... wait a sec, what the hell you mean you already knew?” Buffy asked, hands on her hips.
Batman just glared at her. Buffy glared back.
“The commotion outside, Ms. Summers?” he asked again when she didn’t flinch back from his glare.
"Don’t think this is a cop-out, Mr. Bat. As for the demons, I’ve sent some of my people outside to clear the streets, I want the horde focusing in coming here, where we can defend ourselves better. I’m waiting to send Ettienne.."
"Etrigan?" the Dark Knight corrected.
"Yes, I think so, the letch. As I was saying, I'm waiting a bit to send him out so he can help protect the girls and the tweedos. Problem is, we have some sort of mystical fog covering the damned horde, so we don’t know what is coming or how many. You have a way of communicating with Superman, see if he can do something about the fog? I saw him getting in a while ago.”
“Batman to Superman. Did you hear Ms. Summers request, over?” he said, hand touching the communicator in his ear. He heard for a moment and turned back to her. “He’s dealing with it now.”
Suddenly the front doors flew open due to a very strong burst of wind coming down the street. Batman flinched when his comm burst into static. “Superman, what happened? Superman?”
The sound of something pretty large hitting something else with great force made Buffy stop, her eyes growing wide. "INCOMING!" she yelled, and pulled Batman down, using some considerable strength to do so. It was right on time, half a second later Superman passed over their heads like an uncontrolled cannonball, creating an enormous hole at the front entrance, plus another one at the wall that divided the entrance from the ballroom proper. When he stood up, Buffy could see he had a shiner and was bleeding slightly.
"H-how? He's...he's bleeding," she said, quite surprised.
"One of his weakness, magic. Demons are creatures of magic, so he's susceptible to their attacks," Batman said. "I'll coordinate with him and Diana, see if he can deal with the fog. You handle the Slayers and Watchers."
"Will do," she said, while he was already walking over to Diana and a slightly dazed Man of Steel. Buffy shuddered thinking what could have hit him so hard.
In the meantime, the fog reached the limit of Willow’s ward, and it started getting denser. Buffy radioed again.
"Pay attention, people, fog reached the ward limit, we should expect trouble...ooops, gotta go!" she said, and let the radio drop to the floor, herself following a tick of a second later. The pair of claws flew over her head, and with her free hands the scythe sang, disemboweling the demon who had tried to do the same to Buffy. She grabbed the radio again and replied. "My luck ran par for the course, we have incoming. Keep your head and pay attention to your surroundings. Let's go!"
Batman cursed internally, he'd have to teach Buffy radio protocol as soon as possible, they needed more information than 'we have incoming'. He turned to Superman.
"Can you see through the fog?" he asked.
"Some, but not much. X-Ray works better, but there are some rather large undefined blobs which I can't identify."
"The ones you can, deal with them. Don't forget they're demons, they don't belong in this plane and they can't be arrested or redeemed," the Dark Knight said, to Superman's surprise.
"I never thought you'd condone murder," Kal-El said.
"I’m not, but I took my time doing research on them, you didn’t. If you can take them out of action without killing, do so, but don’t go overboard being a boyscout," he said through gritted teeth.
"That was my idea from the start," the Man of Steel said and took flight once again, straight into the mist.
Meanwhile, all the Slayers at the front doors were engaged, and although Willow’s ward gave them some breathing space, they didn't know what enemies they would be facing next, nor how many of them there were. It was only a matter of time until a scream tore through the air. One of the Slayers got careless and got cut pretty badly by a demon, the sister by her side took care of the demon and grabbed her in a fireman’s carry to the inner ballroom. Etrigan was by Buffy’s side, Batman had vanished inside the fog a while back, and Diana was staying with her mother and allies inside the ballroom.
"I need to get out there and stop the caster, or this fog will be the end of us all," Willow said, while Diana did some basic first aid to the injured girl.
"I shall go with you, Willow," Donna said.
"Do you have any idea how you'll find him in the middle of the fog? It's nigh impossible to see a foot in front of you," the Queen of the Amazons asked.
"All spells have a lingering connection to their caster, Your Majesty. I can feel it even here, but it's as diffuse as the fog itself. I think that if I get out there, I'll be able to 'sniff' him," the redhead said, looking straight at Hyppolita.
"Then Assiram will join you as well, Willow," Hyppolita said, and one of the armored Amazons joined the duo. "Be careful, my daughters."
Willow stumbled. "W-what?"
Hyppolita smiled. "I wouldn't be a good queen if I were not observant of people. I noticed how you look at my daughter when she's close to you, the stolen hand holding when you think I'm not looking. Since when this is going on?"
The redhead's skin turned the color of her hair. "I-i-it ha-hasn't yet, Y-your Majesty. We-we've spoken about it, but we were waiting for your b-blessing before we went any further."
"At least you have more decorum than your friend and my other daughter. What are your thoughts on the matter, Donna?" Hyppolita asked her daughter.
"I want this, I really want this, Mother. I've come to care about Willow a great deal, but we've agreed to wait until we could speak with you," Donna said, finally getting a hold of Willow's shaking hand without subterfuge.
Hyppolita pinned Willow with a glare. "Then I have a mission for you, White Witch. Go out there, defeat this caster, bring yourself and my daughter back alive and I'll give you my full blessing. Understood?"
Willow stopped shaking immediately, her countenance going to what their friends knew to be her Resolve Face. "It shall be so, my Queen. Come on, hun, let's kick this idiot's ass," she said, dragging Donna along.
Xander had heard the entire thing and smiled towards Hyppolita. "You've made me lose some money, Your Majesty."
"You thought I wouldn't give them my blessing?" the Queen asked, amused. One of her bodyguards, though, gave him a glare good enough to peel paint.
"No, not that. I bet if she would faint or not when asking you. I usually don't bet against Willow when she wants something, and what you did was the proverbial straw that broke those idiots' camel back."
“At least they’re doing the proper thing and asking me first. Now explain to me, Alexander, why should I let you live after you married my daughter without my consent?”
Willow, Donna and Assiram arrived at the front door to utter chaos. It seemed like a modern version of storming the castle, but in this case with demons as enemy troops. Buffy and the slayers were all engaged, they sometimes only had fractions of a second to sense some of the attacks, defend and counterstrike. The yellow demon, Etrigan, was at Buffy's side, once in a while he blew some hellfire towards the fog, giving the fighters a brief respite.
"I need to get out there, if I don't stop this fog, we'll be overrun," the witch screamed over the noise.
"I'm going with you," Buffy yelled back, without taking her eyes from the fog and the enemies hidden within.
"No, you gotta stay here and defend the building, it's our fallback point. I'll be okay," Willow said.
"Ettienne, go with her," Buffy said to the demon.
"I don't know this one you speak about, but I'll follow the red one, I grow tired of being a lout. Perhaps out there I'll find a decent fight, so I must say night-night," Etrigan rhymed, and with a very potent hellfire attack, he opened a temporary hole in the fog, and caused some real damage to the attackers, if the inhuman screams were an indication. He walked into the fog, and Willow followed right after, Donna and Assiram covering her back.
Clark was dealing with the opposition he could actually see with his X-Ray vision, and while he didn't kill anything, he dealt enough damage to them that he figured they wouldn't be mobile again without external assistance. His next target was his first mistake in this fight, he went after the biggest blob he could 'see', and he didn't take into account how dangerous it could be. He still didn't know what the thing was, the only actual contact he had was some sort of rocky surface hitting him straight on and him being shot head over heels into the ballroom.
Playing the safe game, Clark flew closer to the blob and fired his heat vision down in what he believed the thing's legs would be. An inhuman roar almost silenced the rest of the battlefield, so he knew he'd caused some damage. Circling the blob he fired again, but the thing moved quickly, and he missed by a hair.
'This is going to take some time', he thought.
Willow expanded her senses and extended her arms, trying to detect the magical scent of the fog's caster. She moved a bit back and forth and to the sides, to feel where the scent was stronger. Etrigan had a demon impaled in his hands, while Assiram was digging her lance out of another. Donna had taken possession of a short sword and was standing right at Willow’s back, overprotective mode set to ‘on’.
"I think I found him. Etrigan, can you sense magic?" she asked of the demon.
"The foul air and the halfbreeds' stench block my senses, witch," he said without preamble and without rhyming.
"If I can boost the scent around us, would it help you?"
The demon nodded, so Willow closed her eyes and focused. "Can you feel it?"
Etrigan didn't answer, he simply started walking to where his senses told him the fog's magic was stronger, with the trio following right behind. They had to stop and change directions after a few steps, it was almost impossible to navigate with the dense fog blocking their view. Etrigan's glowing fists worked as a directional beacon to them, so at least they knew they were going the right way. Willow stopped several times as well to see if they were on the right track, but so far so good. She only hoped that their luck held.
Xander was growing restless, and Diana felt it.
"You want to be at her side, don't you?" she asked, and Xander nodded. "What's keeping you here, then?"
"You, your mother, your amazons," he replied evenly.
"Yes, but we are warriors-born, Xander, we understand. Your friend always had you by her side, why tonight would be any different?"
"You don't mind?" he asked.
"She's my sister now as well, my husband. Go protect her, as you've always been doing. I'll be here, holding the fort for the time being."
"Kinda odd hearing you say that, I know you're chomping at the bit to be outside fighting."
"Yes, I am, but I have a feeling the battle will come to us shortly, so I think I might be at the best position for the time being. Plus, let not my mother hear it, but I want to be near her, just in case. Now, go help Buffy," she said, almost shoving him out.
"I understand. I love you, now and forever," he said, echoing their vows when they bonded.
"And I you, now and forever," she replied, giving him a kiss.
A moment later, Xander walked out of the ballroom towards his best friend.
Buffy was feeling damn fantastic right now. She missed the fight while she was resting in Themyscira, and while sparring had its fun moments, it wasn't the same. While a part of her should feel guilty about the entire mess, the other part, the part she kept hidden and denied for most of her entire adult life was reveling in the fight, in the adrenalin and the emotion of doing what she was Chosen to do.
And with that, she understood the old Faith better, liking the Slaying didn't make her a freak, what it did was make her whole. Meeting Diana, Superman, Batman, Bruce, her Mom, it helped her understand how special she really was, not because of what she could do, but because she cared enough to do it.
"Hey, Buff," a voice said, coming close.
And most of it because of him, her best friend, her rock. She needed to do something really, really special for him.
"Hey, sis kicked you out?" she asked, while cutting off the hands that stretched towards her from the fog.
"Yes and no, my Queen. As corny as this may sound, when we’re facing the hordes of hell, my place is at your side," he said, and his own sword moved, beheading another demon who thought him to be an easy target. “See?”
"Awww, shucks, Xan," she reddened, but without losing focus, she grabbed another grabby and pulled it in, punching him several times in less than a couple seconds followed by a staking. It didn't poof since it wasn't a vampire, but as Faith had unfortunately proved so long ago, stake through the heart killed a whole lot of other things too.
"Willow came through here?"
"Yes, been a while too. Don't wanna make contact over radio so I don't alert the baddies. I hope she's ok," Buffy said, slicing and dicing yet another demon.
"She's the most badass wicca in the world, besides your mother said that if she defeated the fog dude and came back alive with Donna, she was gonna give her the full blessing over their relationship."
Buffy crowed. "Hah! We've won!"
Xander laughed along with her. "That we did, now we just have to wait for them to actually do it."
Just then, they heard a very loud rumble, as if a large boulder came rolling down their way. "What the... INCOMING!!!"
This time, everyone moved away from the front entrance, even the demons outside, because one very large rock-like demon came barreling in, opening a hole big enough to let a train come through with room to spare. It didn't stop at the front hall, it kept going until it demolished the wall that separated them from the actual ballroom.
"New rule number two, don't taunt Murphy," he said.
Buffy cursed internally. "Let's close that hole," she yelled, and the Slayers moved from their position to cover the large hole, which was already pouring demon after demon.
In the ballroom, Diana was hitting the twelve feet high demon with all the strength she could muster, while the rest of her mother's bodyguards kept trying to distract it with their lances.
While Xander fought a demon, he prayed for his redhead best friend to go ahead and finish the fog.
Willow was pretty busy herself at the moment, a powerful magical shield keeping the demons and some of the fog away from the three women while Etrigan battled what he called the halfbreeds. It was taking a toll at her, she'd have to drop it in a bit, otherwise she wouldn't have enough juice to deal with the fog caster.
"I gotta drop the shield, otherwise we'll be doomed anyway cause I'll be wiped," Willow informed the others.
"Do it, we can handle things from here," Donna replied and Assiram nodded.
Willow did so, but as soon as the glow from the shield disappeared, a demon jumped straight at her from the fog which was at bay until then. It all happened so fast, she didn't have a chance to cast a spell or to protect herself, and the others were too far away. Mentally asking Hyppolita for forgiveness for having failed her mission, she waited for the blow which would most certainly kill her.
Which never came.
Willow noticed that the demon had a bat-shaped dart embeded right in the middle of its forehead, and on it a red light was blinking rapidly. The redhead was grabbed from behind and after a dizzing moment deposited back on the ground. An explosion to the side signaled the end of the demon, while Willow looked at her savior.
"T-thanks, Batman," she said to the armor-clad hero.
"You're in grave danger out here, Ms. Rosenberg," he said.
"I-I know, but I've got to find the caster so I can end this fog. Me and Etrigan are following the spell's trail back to the caster, but it's hard."
Batman pulled something from his belt. It looked like a strange, stocky gun with a small screen on top.
"Motion tracker, it should help you find him faster, and help your people evade more attacks," he said to the others. With that said, he vanished into the fog once again.
Willow shuddered and said a quick prayer of thanks to the Goddess.
"We still have to find him, let's go."
With Batman's motion tracker they fared quite better, they managed to find their way easier and avoid most of the roaming demons. Etrigan still strayed a bit to kill some of the 'stenchiest ones', until Willow's senses locked unto the caster's position.
They walked on a mostly straight line until the redhead tapped her girlfriend in the shoulder and pointed at the small screen in her hands. She, along with Assiram looked at the device and frowned, this was a complication. Their demon ally didn't bother, he simply smiled nastily and ran forward. The two remaining warrior women looked at one another and followed right behind. The sounds of yet another battle and the screams of the dying creatures surprised Willow a bit, but she had a job to do.
She discarded the tracker, and took a series of deep breaths, then she closed her eyes and focused, immersing herself into the connection she had with the Goddess. That caused her hair to once again to go white and start to glow, same as her eyes, they glowed so brightly that the light escaped from behind her closed eyelids. With another brief prayer, and a request for aid into ending this battle, she floated forward, and like Moses parting the Red Sea, Willow's magic finally parted the fog around her and around her allies.
The redhead could see the three fighting the demons, and now that they could actually see the opposition, it was an evened battle, but the other demons were not Willow's target, they stood a few yards away yet, and what she was seeing was odd, to say the least.
A human male with long whitish hair was kneeling in front of an animal, or a very odd demon, his hands resting against the thing's head, eyes locked on each other. The demon, or whatever, was a four-legged creature that looked like a cross between a tapir and one of H.R. Giger's creations, it was the size of a large dog and colored a dark green and black mix. At the things' back there were four twisted protusions, and from those the fog was being expelled at an impressive rate. It should be impossible for anything biological and with so little mass to produce so much of the glowing smoke, but Willow had learned quite early that magic didn't make much sense. She looked at the magic between man and creature, it seemed that while they were locked under the spell, a feedback loop was running between them and making the creature spew it in the form of the blanketing fog.
Willow wasted no time, she focused her will and her magic, and yelled.
It was as if each one was blown by a cannon, man and creature flying into separate directions. Willow focused on the warlock, while the fog dispersed quickly after the spell was broken.
Back in the ballroom, Buffy and the Slayers were fighting ferousciously, while Diana still traded blows with the stone behemoth. Some of the Alexions had to be sidelined due to injuries, but their luck was still holding, no one had died yet. And it got even better when Xander looked to the outside.
"Hey, the fog's gone," he screamed.
Buffy's smile turned feral. "That means you don't have anywhere to hide anymore," she said to the demons in front of her and her Slayers. "ATTACK!"
The tide of battle had turned.
A few minutes later, the only battle still raging on was Diana's, but only because her fists had little effect against the stone demon's hide. Superman's battle with another of those creatures had ended with the thing's legs cut off at the hip with his heat vision, but he was still busy with the mop up of stragglers. His suit was torn in places, but his amazing healing ability had already sealed the wounds that would be underneath the tears. Buffy had finished her last demon, the Slayers were cheering, Willow was slowly walking back down the street, being supported by Donna, Assiram at her other side and Etrigan dragging an unconscious man by his long white hair.
Buffy then heard the sound of the big demon's roar still inside the ballroom, so she ran back to see Diana standing over the thing's chest while it tried to stand back up.
"Diana, catch," she screamed and threw the scythe with absurd precision. Diana grabbed it and with a single one-handed swing buried the scythe's blade almost to the end of the hilt into the beast's forehead. It trashed for a few moments but stilled soon after.
They had won.