|Chapter Title:||Big Guns, Chapter 48|
Early February 2003. Annie will be 4 years old on Valentines Day.
Buffy died in early May 2001, brought back in September 2001.
Buffy turned 22 years old on January 19th, 2003.
|Summary:||Buffy, Spike, and the gang take on the Turok-Han and The First in the Hellmouth.|
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, violence, sex and adult themes which may include rape, attempted rape, blood play and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.
“You have to do this for me, for us. There’s no one else I would trust. Promise me that you’ll do as I ask now,” Buffy said with tears threatening her eyes.
She was at the research table, Spike sat next to her, Anya and Xander sat across the table from them.
“Buffy, you know I’d do anything for you, but I just . . . I just thought I’d always be here with you . . . all the way to the end,” Xander replied as he reached out and took her hand across the table.
“Thanks for that vote of confidence, Xand,” Buffy retorted, smiling softly at her friend.
“You know what I mean . . .” he replied. “We’ve always been a team, haven’t we? You remember, Cordy called us the Three Musketeers – you, me, Willow – we’re a team.”
“I know Xander, but this is what I need you to do for the team now. Please take Annie and go to Canada; the Coven is expecting you.” Tears split out of Buffy’s eyes as she said the words, her bottom lip quivered as she tried to hold back her emotions. “I know you love her as much as we do. I’ll know she’s safe with you. Please do this for me, for us.” Buffy looked at Spike and laid her other hand on his.
“It would mean a lot,” Spike said to Xander, finally looking up and meeting his eyes. “To know she’s safe with people who love her. It would mean a lot.” Tears threatened Spike’s eyes as he said it, as he asked another man to take care of his daughter, but he knew Buffy was right. If her plan didn’t work and the Turok-Han got out of the Hellmouth, it would be over. The only chance of anyone surviving would be behind the magical cloak the Coven could provide.
Xander nodded sadly. “Yeah, ok. Don’t worry. You know we love her like just like she was ours. We’ll leave tonight.”
“Buffy, you can’t trust him,” Spike said a couple hours later as he talked to his wife in their room. “You don’t know Angel like I do, that amulet could be anything. You can’t wear it.”
“Spike, I do know Angel – believe me, I do! But, if he was going to wear it, then I don’t see how it could hurt me,” Buffy retorted.
Spike wasn’t convinced. “He wanted me to wear it, can’t you see? The wanker knew you’d never let him; he doesn’t have the heart of a Champion! He brought it so you would give it to me, which means it’s dangerous.”
Buffy sighed and rubbed her eyes. Spike might be right. “What choice do we have? The papers Angel brought said it would cleanse the evil. We can’t fight these things, Spike – not with stakes and fancy axes – we have to . . . we have to find a different way, and this amulet may be our only option.”
“Then let me wear it,” Spike said, his eyes pleading with her to do as he asked.
Buffy didn’t answer right away. She laid her hand on his cheek and smiled at him. She remembered when he first came to town. What happens Saturday? she’d asked; I kill you, Spike had told her. Now, here he was, a Champion. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’ll think about it, ok?”
Spike closed his eyes in relief and nodded. At least it was something.
“Ok, everyone knows what to do, right?” Buffy looked around at the faces of her friends as they stood around the gateway to the Hellmouth in the high school basement. Spike, Angel, Faith, Willow, Tara, Giles and Wesley were all there with her. Xander and Anya had left the previous night with Annie, headed for the Coven in Canada.
Buffy slipped the amulet around her neck and Spike clenched his jaw to stop from saying any more about it. They’d talked and argued about it most of the day. He’d begged, pleaded, threatened – even tried logic - but he’d been unable to convince her to allow him to wear it. Spike looked across the gateway at Angel, but couldn’t read anything in his face. If Angel knew anything, he wasn’t showing it. Spike sighed, closed his eyes a moment and silently implored the PTB to keep Buffy safe.
Buffy took a deep breath, sliced a gash across her hand and held it over the gateway to hell. “Ok, everyone to your places. The show is about to start.”
“Entertain us.” Spike said, locking eyes with Buffy across the gateway.
Just like before, as her blood flowed onto the emblem, it began to sizzle, then glow and then move – finally opening to revel the Hellmouth below. When it had finished moving, Buffy was relieved that no Turok-Han were right there waiting for them. She allowed Faith to go down the steps first with the scythe and the two others going into the Hellmouth with them followed. Buffy entered last, carrying a broad sword and a stake. The rest of her friends were stationed at the only door to the room in the basement where the gateway to the Hellmouth was located. They were the last defense in case any of the Turok-Han got out.
The Champions that descended the stairs walked slowly across the empty expanse of the upper level of the Hellmouth, where Buffy had fought the Turok-Han before. At the edge of the abyss, they looked over. Buffy had warned them about how many there were, how vast the sea of beastly vampires was, but it still didn’t prepare them for actually seeing it for themselves. There was an audible gasp from the three that hadn’t actually witnessed it before. The Turok-Han below heard it and immediately began scaling the wall up towards them.
“Showtime!” Buffy said as they all backed up away from the edge. Faith stood at the ready with the scythe and began chopping at anything that poked above the ledge, sending dust and screaming vampires back down into the crater. Buffy and the others backed up further, giving Faith plenty of room to work.
Willow and Tara joined hands and began to chant softly in Latin as Buffy stood ready to defend them if any of the Turok-Han got past Faith. Suddenly, a small sun appeared between the witches. They began chanting faster and louder and the sun grew until it bathed the whole upper level of the Hellmouth in sunlight. The Turok-Han who had been climbing over the ledge suddenly screamed and fell backwards to get away from it. Faith continued to stand guard, but now, any of the beastly vampires that ventured above the ledge drew back as soon as the sunlight hit them.
“Perfect!” Buffy exclaimed. The conversation with Willow and Tara the night before raced across Buffy’s mind.
“You guys are my big guns,” Buffy had told the witches. “You’re gonna dust all those vamps with your magic sun!”
“No . . . no, Buffy! No guns! We’re not guns! Spike and Angel are guns! We’re barely water pistols – and we don’t even have holy water! We don’t have that much power,” Willow told her in a panic.
“W-w-we could never get our sun any bigger than a b-b-beach ball! It won’t be enough to dust them all if the cavern's as big as you say,” Tara confirmed. (Tara hardly ever stammered any more unless she was really nervous, and Buffy’s idea made her really nervous.)
“You guys may not know it, but you’re Champions – just as much as me or Spike. I believe in you, both of you!” Buffy countered. “Plus, I got a power boost and I’m share-girl!
At their doubtful looks, Buffy said, “If it doesn’t work, we’ll still have that gaudy necklace from Angel, but this is gonna work – trust me!”
As Willow had instructed her when they went over the details of their plan, Buffy approached the witches from due north. When she got close to them, Buffy reached out and clamped one hand down tightly on each of their shoulders. “Theodosia!” she yelled and the point where Buffy’s hands were touching the witches began to glow. Tara’s and Willow’s eyes turned black with majick as the added power from Buffy flowed through them and into the orb hovering above.
The sun began to expand, lifting up from where they stood as the witches continued their incantation. Willow and Tara funneled the demon energy that Buffy had gotten from the Shadow men through themselves and into the blazing orb. It grew and grew until the heat from it started to burn their skin.
Willow briefly let go of Tara’s hands, yelled “Abi!” and swung her arms as if throwing the blazing orb away from them and into the depths of the Hellmouth. The sun sped away from the three, out over the open canyon of the Hellmouth. They could hear the vampires scream in pain from below them and smoke began rising from the canyon floor as the Turok-Han burned under the light of the magical sun.
Joining hands again with Tara, Willow rejoined chanting with her and the sun continued to grow, filling the entire Hellmouth, perhaps all the way down into Hell itself, with sunlight. They were so thoroughly immersed in the spell that they didn’t even hear Faith yelling at them that they could stop. Not until Faith shook her by the arm did Willow even acknowledge her presence.
“It’s done! You can stop!” Faith yelled at them.
Willow dropped her hold of Tara and yelled “Finis!” as she clapped her hands together one time. The moment her hands clapped together, the sun exploded over the Hellmouth, sending Faith, Willow, and Tara hurtling back against the cavern wall near the stairs and raining fiery debris down all around and over them. Willow and Tara were unconscious, whether from injuries when they were flung back against the wall or from the draining effects of the spell, Faith didn’t know. Faith frantically patted out the spots on her clothes that were on fire and then started doing the same for her unconscious comrades, starting with Tara who seemed to be the worst of the three.
“Spike!!” Faith screamed as she tried to put out the small fires that were burning their clothes. “SPIKE! ANGEL!” she yelled again.
Suddenly Spike was there. “Bloody Christ!” He quickly shed his duster and laid it over Willow, patting down her body to suffocate the flames that were burning her clothes.
“What the fuck is that!?” Spike said as he saw Buffy and rushed towards her.
Buffy hadn’t been blown down by the blast. She was locked in place where she stood by the amulet, which had started glowing sometime during the magical sun spell. The amulet was starting to sting where it touched her and she seemed to be glowing from within. Suddenly, a ray of light shot up through the ceiling of the cavern, all the way up through the basement and the library. It seemed to be pulling energy – cleansing power – directly from heaven. Buffy was bathed in light as the energy passed through her, out the amulet and covered the Hellmouth with beams of light brighter than anything she'd seen before. The cavern began to rumble, rocks fell from the ceiling and walls . . . the whole Hellmouth was going to collapse.
Faith yelled at Angel, who had come down the stairs behind Spike, to get Tara out as she picked up Willow. “SPIKE!” she yelled. “WE HAVE TO GO! GET OUT!”
“NO! I’m not leaving ‘er!” Spike yelled at Faith and turned back to Buffy.
“I love you,” Buffy said to Spike, her voice surprisingly calm despite her whole body trembling with the energy flowing through her. “Go – go take care of Annie.”
“NO! No, no NO!” Spike screamed at her. “It’s over! You won! Stop!!”
“Can’t stop now . . .” Buffy said sadly. “You have to go.” When Spike simply shook his head and didn’t move she yelled at him, “GET OUT! NOW!”
“NO! For once in your bloody life you’re gonna listen to ME, Slayer!” Spike reached out and grabbed the amulet that hung around Buffy’s neck. He vamped out, screaming in pain, when the energy flowing out of it pierced his hand like a hot poker. Spike held it tight, fighting through the pain, and snatched down on it as hard as he could. The chain that had been holding it around Buffy’s neck broke and the amulet came off in his hand. As soon as the connection with Buffy was broken, the amulet stopped glowing and Buffy fell to the ground, unconscious.
“SON OF A FUCKING BITCH!” Spike cursed as he dropped the amulet, grabbed his injured hand and cradled it up against his chest. He dropped to his knees next to Buffy, writhing in pain. The ground had stopped rumbling and moving when the connection was broken and the cavern was now pitch dark and silent. He could hear Buffy’s heartbeat and relief washed over him. He closed his eyes, let his head fall back and took a deep breath to steady his nerves. Letting it out slowly, Spike said under his breath, “No thanks to you bloody wankers. Powers that Be, my sodding ass.”
“SPIKE!? Spike, are you there?!” Faith called from the stairs, shining a flashlight around the cavern.
“Yeah, here . . . we’re here,” he answered her tiredly. Spike felt like all the energy had suddenly drained from his body.
Faith walked toward his voice until the flashlight beam finally found them. “Jesus!” Faith exclaimed as she approached and saw Spike’s injured hand and a huge burn on Buffy’s chest. “Can you walk?” she asked Spike. He nodded slowly. Faith helped him up to his feet and handed him the flashlight before reaching down and picking Buffy up. “Let’s go,” she said and they started back towards the stairs.
When they’d reached the basement, Giles and Wesley were waiting for them. “Dear Lord!” Giles exclaimed when he saw the pair. Buffy had a huge, oozing burn on her chest and Spike’s hand had a hole, the exact size of the amulet, clean through it. “We need to get her to the hospital!” Giles said, opening the door that led out of the room.
“What about the gateway?” Angel asked, looking back at the opening in the floor.
“There’s nothing left down there to come out . . . leave it for now,” Faith told him as she headed towards the door with Buffy. Spike and Giles followed closely behind Faith; Willow and Tara, who had awoken just a couple of minutes after Faith and Angel got them out of the Hellmouth, trailed behind them with Angel and Wesley at the back.
Spike sat on the edge of his wife’s hospital bed. Buffy was still unconscious with numerous burns all over her body from when the sun exploded, as well as the huge one on her chest from the amulet. The doctors assured him that they weren’t life threatening, but they looked like hell. All the burns had been cleaned and treated and an IV of antibiotics ran into one arm.
He brushed a strand of hair out of her face. The raven black hair she’d had when she went into the Hellmouth was gone; it was back to her normal blond. Her fangs had also disappeared as the demon energy that she’d been given by the Shadow men drained out of her in the Hellmouth. Whether it happened during the spell with the witches or from the amulet, Spike didn’t know – he didn’t really care – she looked like Buffy again. Now, if she would just wake up.
Buffy woke slowly. She was laying on something cold, hard and extremely rank smelling. Pushing herself up and looking around she realized she was in the dungeon – The First’s dungeon. You’re dreaming, she assured herself, even though she wasn’t completely sure about that. She couldn’t remember anything after telling Spike to get out of the Hellmouth. She might be dead – she might be in hell, after all.
“It’s not over, ya know,” Spike said as he sauntered towards her from the other side of her cell.
Getting to her feet, Buffy said, “No? Looked pretty ‘over’ to me! Whatta ya gonna do, put dust bunnies under my bed? ‘Cause I’m thinking all you got left is a big pile-O-dust.”
Suddenly, Miss Calendar was there, inches from Buffy’s face. “You think you’ve won? I'm not a demon! I’m the thing the demons fear. Beyond sin, beyond death - I’m everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate! I am immortal, eternal and forever; I’ll never go away! My army will rise again and you won’t be there to stop me next time, little girl!”
Buffy raised her eyebrows and tilted her head. “Guess you didn’t get the memo. I’m immortal, too.” She paused briefly and smiled. “So, it’s a date, then?”
Buffy took a step forward, walking right through the non-corporeal Miss Calendar. Moving across the cell towards the door, she began softly singing . . . “Early one morning, just as the sun was rising . . .”
Buffy opened her eyes to see Spike sitting next to her. He seemed immersed in studying her hand that he was holding in his and didn’t notice that she’d awoken. Looking around she realized she was in the hospital. Ugghh, she thought. I hate hospitals! I so hope I’m not dead and in hell. I couldn’t handle an eternity in a hospital.
She gave Spike’s hand a squeeze with hers and he met her eyes. Buffy gave him a small smile.
“You’re a bloody stubborn woman, you know that, don’ you?” he said, blinking back the tears that threatened his eyes.
“Apparently, no more than you . . .” she said, reaching for his other hand, which was now wrapped in a bandage.
“’S nuthin’,” he said, instinctively pulling it away from her.
“You should’ve let me finish it,” she told him softly. “The First will be back again.”
“Yeah, well, not anytime soon, ‘cause there’s bugger all left down there,” Spike assured her.
“Still . . .” Buffy started and Spike shook his head, stopping her. “We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it, luv. Maybe find another way to close the thing – this wasn’t the way.”
She gave him a small smile and nodded. “Ok, you win.”
“About bloody time,” he said, leaning down and dropping a light kiss on her lips.
“Can we go home now?” Buffy asked as she sat up and started pulling the IV out of her arm.
Spike sighed and shook his head. His long awaited victory was short lived – he knew he’d never win this one.
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