Pairing: S/X, established relationship
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Primarily season 5, but anything from Season 1 on.
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same , Books 1 - 3
Previous parts here
From Chapter 38:
the French doors to the garden were jerked open with such force they were torn from their hinges, the two glass-paned doors tossed backwards into the courtyard in a cacophony of shattering glass. Glory stood framed in the opening, smiling in that perky, psychotic cheerleader way of hers. She settled her hands on her hips and tilted her head.
“Looks like the gang’s all here,” she said, her chipper tones more frightening than any menacing growl. “Now we just have to sort out which one of you is my Key.”
For a long moment, no one moved, frozen in place where they stood, boxes and bags in hand, all of them staring back at Glory in shock. Xander was afraid to breathe, afraid to blink, afraid that even the slightest twitch would send his eyes tracking to Dawn. It felt like they were poised on the edge of a precipice. Any second now, the situation was going to explode into violence and they had to get Joyce and Dawn and Ethan out of here before that happened. Ethan’s spell ingredients were still in the camper. He’d said it would only take a couple of minutes to do the spell, but they had to buy him the time to do that before Glory killed them all.
“Gonna pay for those doors, bitch.” Not surprisingly, Spike was the first to speak and Xander broke his own frozen stillness, his head snapping around to see Spike striding toward Glory, snatching a heavy battle axe out of the bag of weapons he’d been carrying, dropping the bag to the floor, heedless of the clash of metal that followed, his coat flaring behind him as he moved, already shifted to his true face, yellow eyes fixed on Glory - doing everything he could to hold Glory’s attention as he crossed the room with rapid strides.
It broke them all out of their paralysis. Using Spike’s movement as cover, Xander frantically gestured for Tara to take Willow and go. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Buffy drop the box she was carrying and grab her mom and Dawn, pulling them with her as she ran for the front door.
Impossibly, Glory was suddenly there, blocking their exit, sending Tara and Willow reeling backwards as they almost collided with her at the entrance. Buffy instantly reversed directions, keeping herself between Glory and her family as she backed away from the door. Xander saw Spike spinning around, charging towards them as Buffy threw a desperate glance towards the back door. Xander could see the sick realization in her eyes that she’d never make it as she looked back at Glory, still clinging desperately to Dawn and Joyce’s hands.
“Now, Buffy,” Glory chided her, ignoring Tara and Willow. “If I wanted anyone to leave, you’d know by them being thrown through the window already.” Without taking her eyes off Buffy, she brought her fist around at the exact right moment to slam into Spike’s face, knocking him across the room. “I told you, Buffy, that the next time we met, someone you loved was going to die bloody. Lots of candidates here unless someone starts talking.”
Before Buffy could answer, Glory staggered and spun around as a small figure hit her from the rear.
“Hey!” she snapped and Xander saw that it was Tiirpak. The demon leapt up and kicked Glory in the face, snapping her head back. He landed lightly and launched another kick at her mid-section. Glory caught his foot and flipped him backwards and Xander watched in disbelief as the frail-looking, white-haired demon somersaulted in mid-air, somehow managing to get in another kick before twisting with cat-like grace to land on his feet, poised and ready to attack. Sgt. Morgan was there as well, swinging his club with the speed and power lent by his Kobarian warrior ancestors. Glory ducked the first swing, and caught the club on the return swing, using it as a fulcrum to send the big sergeant sailing across the room. He crashed into Spike who had been scrambling back to the fight, knocking Spike off his feet, the Sergeant’s massive frame tangling with Spike’s smaller body, sending both of them sliding across the stone floor until they slammed into the far wall.
Glory brushed off her dress. “Rude. Attacking from behind. This is a designer label, you know.”
Buffy had Dawn and Joyce almost to the back door, using the fight as distraction, but Glory blurred and was across the room again, blocking the exit.
“I thought I was clear, Buffy. Nobody leaves,” she said. “Not until I have my Key.”
Buffy backed away, shoving her mom and Dawn behind her as she moved. The rest of them moved closer together, forming a defensive knot. Xander saw Giles whisper something to Ethan, who nodded and dropped back through the group, edging closer to the front door as he moved. Buffy, Spike and the two demons lined up in front of the others, facing Glory with battle-ready stances.
Glory glared at them, tapping her foot impatiently. “Tick fricking tock, people. I’m a little pressed for time here,” she snapped. She stepped forward, her eyes sweeping over all of them. “Either someone tells me who the Key is in the next ten seconds or people start dying.”
She waited, eyebrows raised, watching them all and Xander could almost feel Dawn shaking beside him as the seconds stretched past. Joyce broke the impasse, stepping forward, moving subtly in front of Dawn as she did.
“I’m the Key,” she said defiantly.
Xander’s grab was too slow and Glory’s triumphant smile had barely begun to spread before Dawn jumped forward, grabbing Joyce’s arm and holding on hard. “Mom, no! It’s me,” she told Glory desperately. “I’m the Key.”
“Not interested in a remake of Spartacus, people.” Glory’s eyes swept them again, and Xander could tell she was trying to sense which one of them was the Key and it was all he could do not to snatch Dawn and shove her behind him. “Don’t any of you little crap-gnats appreciate that I have a schedule to keep?” she complained. “And your ten seconds are up.” She reached out and grabbed Dawn by the hair, yanking her towards herself with brutal strength as Dawn gasped and struggled futilely. “Start talking or the whelp is the first to die.”
Spike’s angry roar was almost drowned out by Buffy’s furious shout. They attacked as one, converging on Glory from both sides. Glory laughed and threw Dawn into Spike who caught her and spun her away as Buffy flew at Glory, punching, kicking, pummeling her with everything she had.
Sgt. Morgan and Tiirpak attacked as well and Xander grabbed Dawn and Joyce and shoved them towards the door. “Go!”
Freed of the necessity of protecting Dawn, Spike leapt forward, bringing his axe around in front of him in a vicious arc that never connected. Glory snatched the weapon from him, twisting it out of his hands and backhanding him across the room in the same motion.
He hadn’t even hit the floor yet when Buffy was there, grabbing Glory’s arm and yanking her around to meet her fist. Spike hit the ground and rolled back to his feet, seeing the Slayer being sent flying through the shattered doors to land hard on the flagstoned terrace outside. The Inajii got there before Spike, forcing Glory to deal with him and stopping her from following the humans out the door.
Tiirpak lasted almost 20 seconds before Glory tossed him, and Spike launched himself back into the fray, determined to outlast the demon’s time. He spun and kicked, and kept moving, slamming a punch into her face as he came back around. Ducking her return blow, he came up under her guard and caught her with an uppercut that staggered her a step back. She countered instantly, grabbing his arm and throwing him with that unbelievable strength of hers, sending him flying through the doors where the Slayer conveniently broke his fall.
Sergeant Morgan stepped into the breach with that enormous club, getting in one solid blow that actually lifted Glory off her feet and sent her crashing into the table. She lashed out with her foot and Spike winced as he saw the stiletto heel sink deep into the big Kobarian’s abdomen. The Sergeant swore, his club dropping as his hands went instinctively to his gut, and Glory slammed her fist into him before any of the rest of them could get there. The Sergeant dropped to his knees and Tiipak slammed his feet into Glory with a double-footed kick that knocked her away from Morgan. Spike and Buffy attacked again, keeping Glory busy while Tiirpak pulled Morgan away from the fight.
It was working. The four of them weren’t doing any damage, but they were stopping Glory from leaving, buying time for the others to get away. Morgan was down but not yet out, slowly staggering back to his feet and reaching for the club that Tiirpak handed him. The Inajii was still uninjured, the Slayer was bleeding from a cut over her eye and limping slightly, but her grim determination to protect her family was undimmed and, thanks to the Gem, Spike himself felt ready to go another 20 rounds - which would probably be necessary as Glory wasn’t showing signs of fatigue yet.
Giles grabbed his arm, slowing him as they ran for the camper. “Take my car,” he said, pressing a set of keys into his hand. “We’ll stay here and do the spell while you get the others to safety.”
Xander closed his hand around the set of keys, feeling them digging into his palm as he nodded. “Be careful,” he said.
Giles gave him a feral grin. “Always.”
Ethan was already climbing down from the camper with an armful of the spell ingredients and Tara gently disengaged Willow’s arms from around her waist, passing her to Xander. Willow whimpered, trying to cling on to Tara, who paused long enough to press her palm lovingly to Willow’s face. “I love you, Willow,” she said with quiet intensity, “and I’m going to get you back.”
“I’ll keep her safe,” Xander promised, but Tara was already hurrying over to help Ethan. Giles took up a defensive stance in front of them, sword in hand, obviously intending to defend them to his last breath.
“Xander?” Dawn asked shakily and Xander forced himself to look away from the three, hating abandoning them but knowing Giles was right.
“Forget the camper. Giles’ car is just down the block,” he said briskly. As a precaution, Giles had been parking his car several houses down from the mansion.
“Where are we going?” Joyce asked, moving to help Xander coax Willow along as she hung back, her eyes fixed on Tara.
“Away from here,” he told her. He made an inpatient sound and swung Willow up into his arms, and began running down the driveway with Dawn and Joyce at his heels.
They reached the car and Dawn balked, even as Xander was pretty much shoving Willow inside as she struggled against him, crying out that it was “Time!”
“We can’t do this,” Dawn said tearfully, looking back up the driveway. “We can’t just leave them.”
“Dawn, honey,” Joyce began.
“NO! This is wrong. We should stay together.” Dawn looked at them pleadingly. “We can’t leave them like this.”
“Dawn!” Xander said, grabbing her and shaking her lightly. “This is the only thing we can do.” He gentled his voice and hands, because everything inside him agreed with her, and he hated running out on the others as much as she did. “This isn’t about you. This is about the whole world. If Glory gets her hands on you, you’re not the only one who’s going to die. We can’t let that happen.”
Dawn bit her lip, then reluctantly nodded. “Ok.”
“Good girl.” Xander gave her a quick, fierce hug. “Let’s go.”
They piled into the car and Xander slid behind the wheel, turning the engine on and peeling out like a pack of hellhounds were after them. Or just a pissed-off hellgod. He spent more time looking in the rear view mirror than out the front for the first few blocks, panicked about that speed of Glory’s. If she got away from the others… He had no idea how long and how far she could do the superspeed thing and just hoped she couldn’t do laps around the globe like Superman could.
Ten blocks later, with no sign of Glory, he relaxed slightly and began thinking again. Joyce was sitting silently beside him, Dawn was talking soothingly to Willow in the backseat and Xander quietly pressed the child-proof lock button, ensuring that Willow couldn’t jump out of the car.
He needed to get the three women somewhere safe, somewhere they could hide until the others defeated Glory or until the time for the ritual had come and gone. Glory’s time was running out, she’d as much as admitted it back at the mansion. The Knights had said the time for the ritual was near. Would have been nice if someone could have come up with an exact date, but he was pretty sure they only had a day or two to go, especially if Willow’s increasing agitation was somehow connected to Glory. She kept talking about how it was “Time” and a “big day” and that she had “some place to be”.
“Where are we going?” Joyce asked quietly.
He made up his mind. “A hotel,” he said firmly. “I’m going to stash you three and go back.”
“No, it makes sense,” he insisted. “We still don’t know if Glory can track Dawn away from the hellmouth, and a nice, anonymous hotel where we pay cash and make sure no one sees you…” His voice trailed off sheepishly, and he looked over at Joyce. “Umm, how much money do you have on you?”
“Is that the best you little crap-gnats can muster?” Glory asked, straightening up as Buffy scrambled inelegantly back to her feet.
“We’re just getting started,” she retorted breathlessly.
“Well, I’m a little bored now,” Glory told her. “And I need to fetch my Key.”
She kicked Buffy in the stomach, then backhanded her hard, sending her flying across the room again. Spike ran forward and Glory bent and snatched up a piece of wood from one of the chairs that had been smashed from bodies falling on it. She strode past Spike as if he wasn’t there, slamming the chair leg into his chest with careless ease as she passed him, heading for the front door. The piece of wood sank deeply into his chest, knocking him off his feet. She didn’t even glance back to see him turned to dust, tossing Tiirpak away when he attacked her and Spike realized that she had pretty much been playing with them up until now. Now she was deadly serious and intent on tracking down the humans in their party, knowing one of them had to be the Key.
Spike scrambled back to his feet and yanked the stake out, the wound closing instantly as soon as the stake was removed from his flesh. He sent the chair leg whistling through the air to strike the back of Glory’s head just before she made it to the front door.
“Think a god would have better aim,” he said loudly and Glory spun on her heels, momentarily distracted.
“I am a god,” she said, her eyes flashing.
“Maybe where you came from you were,” Spike conceded, striding towards her, “but in our world, you’re an idiot. I mean, I just had no idea that gods were such prancing lightweights.”
Glory’s face darkened and she swung at him hard, her hand a blur as it came at him. He didn’t have time to move, much less duck, before her fist connected and he was thrown backwards to slam hard into the far wall, hitting with such force that he was half-buried in the plasterboard.
“Good plan, Spike,” he told himself, pushing out of the body-shaped crater he found himself in. He started forward again just as Glory screamed, her body enveloped in a burst of power. Lightning flashed and sparks darted before his eyes as power crackled and blew around the room like an electrical storm from hell.
It ended as suddenly as it began and Glory staggered, dropping to her knees and shaking her head. “What the fucking hell did you people do to me?!” she gasped. She braced herself against the wall and staggered to her feet. “You made a hole. I need a brain to eat…”
“We’ll get right on that,” Buffy told her.
Glory seemed to pull herself together a little. “I suppose I could always use yours.”
“Come and get it then,” Buffy invited.
Enough of this, Spike thought impatiently. As promised, Glory was momentarily disoriented. If the spell had worked as it was supposed to, it should have sucked out of Glory the energy she took from others. Given her comments about needing to eat, it seemed likely it had worked. Now was their best shot at taking her down and the Slayer was pissing it away with chitchat.
He launched a two-footed kick at Glory, his boots slamming into her chest and knocking her off her feet. Spike landed in a crouch, then bounced back to his feet. He spun around, bringing his leg up and around in a kick aimed at her head, overjoyed when the kick landed. The spell had disoriented Glory, he thought with savage pleasure.
Glory shook off the two kicks and got back to her feet, moving much more slowly than usual. “That spell really slowed me down,” she complained.
Buffy swung a punch, which landed hard, snapping Glory’s head back, then Tiirpak was there and the three of them attacked Glory from three sides, more and more of their blows landing as Glory had lost much of her ability to dodge. From the corner of his eye, Spike saw Sgt. Morgan bending down painfully to pick up his club and join them.
A particularly vicious kick from Tiirpak to the back of Glory’s leg dropped the hellgod to her knees and Sgt. Morgan slammed his enormous club down against her head. She dropped to the ground, rolling on her back to face them, and Morgan brought the club down a second, then a third time. Glory tried to roll away, but Buffy’s kick stopped her and Spike saw with a pleased start that Glory was bleeding.
They’d actually succeeded in hurting her. He kicked her viciously in the face, and skin split and blood began trickling down her cheek.
“Stop!” she said desperately.
“You’re a god,” Buffy told her. “Make us stop.” She drew back her foot for another quick and Glory seemed to almost shimmer for a moment, then suddenly morphed to a dark-haired male who looked decidedly odd in Glory’s dress and strappy sandals.
Buffy faltered, halting her incipient quick. “Ben?” she said, sounding shocked.
“Know him, do you?” Spike asked.
“He… he works at the hospital,” Buffy told him, staring down at the bloody face of the man.
“I’m sorry…” the man said, staring dazedly up at them.
Buffy looked torn. “Tell Glory it’s over,” she said quietly. She missed her shot. She goes. If she ever, EVER, comes near me and mine again…”
“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Spike exclaimed. He kicked the man, cutting off the beginning of his promise to leave town and never come back. “You think Glory’s going to keep a promise? Or that this idiot can control her? Even if she’s missed her shot this time, she’ll still be around the next time the moon’s in the right phase, or the stars line up, or whatever the hell tells her it’s time to fuck with us again.”
“Spike…,” she began.
“No! We agreed. He dies. If you won’t do it, then I will.” He reached down, intending to snap the man’s neck, but Sgt. Morgan laid a hand on his arm.
“I’ll do it,” he said quietly, his eyes steady on Spike. “You made a promise to Xander that I don’t want you to have to break, even for the best of reasons.” He shrugged slightly, then winced as the movement pulled at his gut wound. “I’ve killed in the name of my country and I’m the one who can best stand up to scrutiny if anyone finds out what happened here.”
Spike nodded and stepped back. Buffy bit her lip but didn’t say anything as Sgt. Morgan bent down painfully to address the man. “Son, I’m sorry, but we simply can’t leave you alive to threaten our world again.”
Without further ado, he simply closed one big hand around the man’s neck, ignoring the beginnings of a plea for mercy, and pressed down, cutting off his air. It was over in a minute, the man struggled feebly, clawing at the hand around his throat, then went limp. Spike couldn’t help thinking that it would have been a quicker death if he’d just snapped the guy’s neck, but he didn’t care if the man suffered.
Sgt. Morgan straightened up slowly, his eyes unreadable. “We’ll need to dispose of the body,” he said quietly.
“We’ll take care of it,” Rupert said quietly from the doorway. “You look like you shouldn’t be on your feet.”
Turning, Spike saw Glinda and the mage and Rupert, all watching them from the doorway. There were lines of fatigue etching the Chaos Mage’s face and Glinda’s eyes held barely-restrained hope. The spell, Spike thought, he didn’t know if it had worked the way it was supposed to or not, but it had sure done the trick for allowing them to kick Glory’s arse. “Nice light-show,” he told them.
They’d done it. He realized. They’d beaten a god. He threw back his head and laughed with sheer exuberance that had the humans looking at him like he’d lost his mind. He ignored them. They’d killed a fucking god. Nobody else he knew could make that claim. He was going to be the most legendary vampire in history for this.
*A/N - snippets of dialogue shamelessly taken from the episodes ‘Blood Ties’, ‘Shadow”, ‘Intervention’, and ‘The Gift’