FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 16
Faith glanced up as the younger of the two Watchers crashed through the lobby’s doors. "Ants in the pants, Wes?"
Wesley ignored her caustic comment, he was gettin’ real good at that lately, to look towards Giles. "I’ve discovered just who is after the key!"
"Yeah?" Faith looked towards Xander, heart quickening. "And the key’s gotta name, Wes."
"Apologies." Wesley looked towards Xander and then back to Giles. "Very bad form on my part." The younger Watcher licked his lips. "It appears the demon hunting Xander isn’t a demon at all, but a goddess."
"Oh good lord," Giles groaned. "I suppose you have back-up for your supposition?"
"I’m afraid so," Wesley replied. "’Newton’s Book Of Demonology’ & ‘A Seer’s Guide’ both make reference to Glorificus."
"Oh good lord," Faith’s heart chilled at the ashen look on her surrogate father’s face. Even as she opened her mouth to ask for information, Giles turned to her. "Glory is a hell goddess cast out from the home dimension she ruled with her two siblings. She’s awesomely powerful beyond anything we’ve ever faced before."
"Grab everything," Faith decided with a glance at her silently sat boy-friend. "We’re running."
"Where to?" Wesley queried.
Faith ignored that unanswerable question. "Just call everyone and tell them to get here, fast!"
* * *
"Well really!" Cordelia sniffed as she looked at the Winnebago. "I don’t know about this!"
"Cordy," Faith appeared in the doorway, "just get on the damn bus."
"When I said we were in it together," Cordelia shook her head as she reluctantly approached the Winnebago. "I didn’t realise roughing it was part of the package."
Faith shook her head as the ex cheerleader and current office receptionist clambered on board, the four bags of belongings she carried about twice as much anyone else had brought.
Faith raised an eyebrow when Groo followed Cordelia onto the vehicle with four bags. "Didn’t know you’d been in the dimension long enough to have four bags of belongings?"
"Oh no, Gallant Faith," Groo shook his head before smiling beatifically, "only one of these bags is mine. The other three are my Princess’."
"Ah," she nodded, a smile tugging at her mouth despite the grim situation, "figures."
"Faith!" Faith glanced over her shoulder to see Giles stood in the doorway of the office. "I need some help getting our armoury into the Winnebago!"
"Five by five" Faith nodded before glancing inside into the vehicle. "Xan, Gunn, come and give me a hand."
"There’s another point to consider," Wesley announced as she entered the lobby.
"’Course there is," Faith sighed. "Let’s hear it."
"Some of the research I’ve uncovered makes mention of," Wesley passed her a battle axe and a broadsword, "an ancient order of warriors called the Knights of Byzantium who are sworn to protect the key by any means necessary."
"Hey," Xander broke in, "I’ve got body-guards." Faith looked at the native Sunnydaler. "Not that you don’t do a great job guarding my body."
"Oh good lord," Giles shuddered, "suddenly I feel very queasy"
"Quite," Wesley looked briefly bemused before continuing. "The only trouble is this specific order believes that should the key become menaced by ‘The Threat’ as they know Glory, they’ll kill it, him," Wesley looked towards Xander, "rather than let him fall into her hands."
Faith looked towards Xander. "We need to get out of here. Now."
* * *
"I shotgun the CD player!" Lorne cried out.
"Oh god," Gunn shook his head. "Not show tunes. Anything but show tunes."
"Now listen Denzel," reproved the green-faced demon. "I thought you’d be the last to stereotype. Just because I dress like this doesn’t mean I can’t have soul."
"Yeah," the African-American stared suspiciously at the brightly-dressed singer, "so what do you want to put on?"
"Well," the demon reached into his jacket’s inner pocket, "a double-CD a LA producer friend of mine helped me make – ‘Lorne’s Show Songs’."
Gunn slapped his forehead. "I knew it!"
Cordelia looked up impatiently. "Are we there yet?"
Willow pursed her lips together. "How can we be there already, if we don’t know where we’re going?"
Cordelia sniffed. "We'd already be somewhere if Captain Slowpoke would give up the wheel." Giles shot her a glare. "Hey! Gramps! Step on it!"
"Step on what?" Giles sniffed. "I've driven tricycles with more power."
Xander got up and peered out of the Winnebago’s rear window. "We’ve left Sunnydale," he sighed.
Faith glanced at Willow as she continued to read. "Any luck?"
"Depends on what you mean success," Willow shook her head. "I think I can slow Glory down but stop her," the red-head shook her head again.
"You realise of course running is only a temporary solution?" Wesley commented.
"I realise it’s the only one we’ve got," Faith fired back.
"That’s not strictly-," Xander’s voice trailed off at her glare.
"That’s not an option," Faith firmly replied.
"Anyone hungry?" Tara said in a voice filled with a forced light.
Willow clapped her hands together. "Ooh! Snacks! The secret to any successful migration!"
* * *
"Mistress! Mistress! Mistress!"
Glory looked up from her throne when the doors to her apartment crashed open and the elderly demon she knew as ‘Doc’ hurried in. "You had better have a good reason for bursting into here uninvited."
Glory’s smugness at the demon’s flinch was immediately forgotten at the lower creature’s next words. "Mistress, Rack and I re-did the search spell, and this time we discovered the Key isn’t a thing, it’s a person, the Slayer’s own lover, Xander Harris."
"What?!!!" Glory rose, eyes widening. "Where are they? We must hunt them down!"
"I took the liberty of casting a locater spell, Mistress," Doc replied. "They’re on the move, but I know which direction they’re heading."
* * *
Faith leant against the Winnebago’s rear room’s wall, heart tight with fear. "Hey honey."
Faith forced a smile as she looked towards her boy-friend. "Hey."
Xander began to back out before pausing. "Thanks," the Sunnydale native said.
"For what?" Faith demanded.
"You know what," Xander shrugged, an embarrassed look. "Caring about me, protecting me. Pretty much everything."
Faith smirked and shook her head. "Yeah. I'm doin' a great job."
"Hey," Xander squeezed her arm. "You are."
"I'm the Slayer." Faith scoffed, head shaking. "The chosen one. Evil nasties are supposed to flee from me. Not the other way around."
"We’re not fleeing," Xander paused. "We’re strategically retreating."
"Referred to in some cultures as the big scaredy runaway," Faith chuckled darkly.
Xander closed the door behind him. "All my life, I’ve dreamed of having the sort of family you see on TV, where people care for one another, but until you and G came into our lives I never really had that."
"It keeps coming," Faith shook her head, the weight on her shoulder threatening to crush her. "Master Vampires, apocalypse demons, renegade Slayers, dark ops units, and now hell-goddesses."
"Well technically just one." Faith glared at her man. "Well, okay one’s enough. But there’s a bright side."
Faith raised an eyebrow. "Do tell?"
"At least things can't get any crazier. Right?" Xander smiled. Then jumped as an arrow shot through the window and landed in the wall a little ways from Faith's head. "’Course," he gulped as he stared at the quivering arrow, "I could be wrong."
"You know this is your fault for saying that," Faith snarked.
"You try and raise someone’s morale, and this is the thanks you get!"
"We better see what’s happening?" Faith peered through the Venetian blinds. "Well the good news is, it isn’t Glory, just the Knights."
"Oh the knights that want me dead," Xander shook his head, "is that all?"
* * *
Faith burst out into the Winnebago’s main corridor. "Giles!"
"I see them," her Watcher tersely replied.
"See who?" Wesley demanded. "Oh bloody hell!" He squealed as an arrow thudded through an arrow in the wall beside him.
"There’s a hell of a lot of them," Gunn calmly replied as he picked up a battle-axe.
"It will be a mighty struggle," commented Groo as he stuck a crossbow through the blinds, punched the window out, and began firing back.
Wesley pulled out a rapier. "Rupert, perhaps you can use the vehicle to eliminate some of the knights?"
"Jolly good idea," Giles approved.
"No!" squealed Tara. "Don't hit the horsies!"
"Rather us than them," Giles replied as he yanked the wheel to his left. "Bugger! They got out of the way!" There was a pause. "Oh bloody hell! Two made the roof!"
Faith looked up at the hatch. "See ya later!"
"Faith!" Xander let out a gasp. "No!"
* * *
Xander stepped towards the raven-tressed beauty, but before he could reach her, the Slayer was leaping up and through the hatch. "Faith!" he repeated angrily. He looked towards the back when the rear door crashed open and two armoured knights stepped through. "Gunn! Groo! With me!"
Xander snatched up a broadsword, racing forward to intercept the first of the two warriors. "Bet you think you’re pretty hot stuff!" The knight didn’t bother to respond, chosing instead to attempt a decapitating slash that Xander ducked underneath. "Ever fought vampires?" The knight blocked his retaliatory thrust on his buckler. "Ever helped saved the world?" He sidestepped his rival’s downward cleaving. "Ever sparred with a Slayer?" He caught the man with an elbow to the jaw, staggering him. "Thought not!" Blood splattered him when a backhanded slash took his blade through his rival’s throat.
* * *
Faith caught the first man with a thrust-kick to the chest, knocking him off the roof and to the ground. The wind swung her hair as she landed in a crouch, the other man charging her, sword held overhead. "Ooops," she muttered, "really should have picked up a weapon." The warrior’s blade cleaved backwards, Faith leaned away from the two-handed attack, grabbed the man’s wrists, and twisted at the waist. The warrior screamed as he left his feet, the judo throw sending her cart-wheeling off the roof. "Nice blade," she muttered as she looked at the weapon she now had.
* * *
Cordelia screamed, dropping to the ground as a window shattered by her. Wesley lunged forward as a knight started to climb through, his rapier slicing across the warrior’s face under the eye. His face a mask of blood, the screaming warrior fell back out. Then the Englishman had her hand and was pulling her up, Kate leaning out of the window, the air echoing to the sound of gunfire as the cop unloaded on the pursing knights.
* * *
Faith’s eyes widened as she saw grappling hooks attach themselves to the rear of the bus. "It never freakin’ rains, it fuckin’ pours," she muttered as she started towards the back of the bus. "No, a freakin’ hell goddess isn’t bad enough," she muttered, "why not throw in an order of goddamn psycho knights too?"
Faith fell to one knee as the bus hit a pothole, Winnebago shuddering slightly. "Shit!" she cursed as she regained her feet to find two mace-wielding knights clambering onto the bus. Then she shrugged. "Ah screw it." Raising her blade, she charged the duo
* * *
Xander fell to the ground when he sidestepped a knight’s sword lunge only to fall over Cordelia’s unfortunately placed cosmetics bag. The bearded warrior smirked as he raised his blade for a killing strike. "AMAZING GRACE! HOW SWEET THOU ART!" The knight’s eyes bulged and fell to his knees beside Xander when Lorne’s singing reached inhuman heights.
"Thanks," Xander punched his attacker full in the face.
* * *
Faith ducked under the attacker to her right’s mace-swing, her blade slicing to the left to rip through the left one’s hip, blood gushing out to bathe his leg in crimson as he fell from the roof. A scream bubbled on the remaining knight’s lips as Faith straightened and rammed her shoulder full in his face, knocking him from the bus.
* * *
"Oh bloody yes." Giles breathed as sigh of relief as he glanced in the side mirror to see the knights falling back. He glanced over his shoulder. "Is every body alright?" He smiled wearily at the others’ nods before turning back.
"Oh no!" he gasped at the sight of a knight galloping towards them on horseback, a lance in hand. Heart pounding, he yanked on the wheel. "Ahhhha!" he screamed as the lance flew through the window, the lance tearing through his side even as he tried to twist away from it. His body blazed with pain then he felt nothing as he slumped forward, the world turning to black as he passed out.
* * *
"What the fuck!" Faith gasped as the vehicle veered sharply off the road. "Shit!" She leapt off the Winnebago as it flipped onto the side, sand billowing around it as it landed. Heart pounding, she landed in a crouch and sped over to the downed vehicle and leapt up onto its side. Kneeling by the side, she grabbed a hold of the door and pulled, muscles writhing with the effort. The door cracked, the screws in its hinges popping as the door came free. Her stomach hollowed as she looked in to see her surrogate forward slumped forward, blood leaking from his forehead, and an even greater wound on his side. "Giles!" she gasped as she unfastened his belt and started to drag him out. "Don’t worry, I gotcha." She looked towards the back. "Anyone else hurt?"
"Bumps and bruises, darling!" The impossibly jaunty demon replied. "Nothing serious."
"Speak for yourself!" commented Cordelia. "I broke a nail!"
"We have to find shelter and fast," Xander added.
"There’s an old gas station just up the road," Faith announced. "We’ll make
for there, Xand, help me with G. Guys grab the weapons, first aid kit, and food,
leave everything else."
"Everything, Cor," Faith firmly interrupted.
* * *
Faith looked around as she and Xander entered the gas station, a barely conscious Giles braced between them. Xander coughed from all the dust accumulated in the room with a long counter in its centre and a vending machine by the door, the room shadowy thanks to all the boarded up windows. "Let’s get G up on the counter."
Xander nodded at her girl-friend’s command before glancing over his shoulder.
"Of course," Groo scurried forward as Cordy closed the door behind them.
Giles groaned as he was moved into position. "Let me have a look," Wesley moved forward as Willow eased a bag under Giles’ head as makeshift pillow. "I have first aid training."
Faith stared at her Watcher for a long second before moving off to the window and peering through the boards. "You have another plan, right?" Faith looked towards Cordelia. "One that doesn't involve pointy knives and a Winnebago?"
Faith forced a determined smile. "W…..we'll r…rest here for a minute, but then we have to keep moving."
"Where?" queried Cordy.
"Look!" she snapped. "I don’t know, I haven’t got all the answers." She glanced towards G, it had always seemed he always had the answers, but he couldn’t exactly talk now. "We just can't stay here. It's too close to the wreck, we're too easy to find."
Faith hurried to Giles at Wes’ shout. "How is he?"
Wesley smiled weakly. "Despite all appearances the side wound isn’t that bad. It’s the head injury that worries me. He might just be knocked out, or there could be serious damage. There’s no way to tell until he wakes up or until we get him to a hospital."
Faith felt her shoulders slump. Another worry to add to the others weighing her down, crushing her under them. "’Kay, just give me a damn minute!" Her eyes widened as a flaming arrow shot through a boarded-up window and embedded itself in the opposite wall. "Every one down!" she screamed as another flaming bolt burst through.
Xander grabbed the first arrow, pulled it out, dropped it to the ground, and stomped it out. More fiery arrows were shot through as Xander peered through a hole to the outside.
"Oh heck!" Xander retorted. "We’ve got company! And they brought a crusade!"
"Willow! " Faith looked towards the red-haired Wicca crouched over a magic
book, flipping through its pages. Faith leapt up and strode across to the
doorway, grabbed hold of the vending machine and pulled it down in front of the
door. "A barrier spell would be wicked cool right about now!"
"Workin’ on it!" retorted the witch.
Faith gasped as an axe sliced through one of the wooden boardings. "Work harder!"
Gunn charged to intercept the warrior, jamming his knee into the knight’s elbow and grabbing his forearm, yanking his arm back against the grain. The axe-man hollered as his elbow snapped, Gunn putting him out of his pain with a hard right to the face. The boards began to rattle as the knights pounded on them.
* * *
"It’s clear!" Wood crashed off one of the windows as a rugged-looking man in his forties strode in, flanked by a number of his knights. "I am General Gregor, Knight Commander of my order. Give me the Key." Faith dropped into a crouch, picked up a throwing knife and flung it at the man, impaling him in his sword-hand. "Ahha!" The knight roared in pain as he dropped his weapon, cheeks reddening in rage as he charged at Faith. Faith sidestepped the charge, grabbed the man’s shoulder and leveraged the man first-face into a pillar.
"Enemies fly and fall." Faith gasped as the still standing knights were flung from the building. "Circling arms, raise a wall." A circle of light engulfed the building.
Faith spun to face Willow, blood chilling as she noted her friend’s suddenly
dark black eyes. "That can’t be good."
"S…she’s c…channelling black magics," Tara whispered. "Terrible sorcery, the sort that corrupts."
* * *
Dante hit the barrier with his sword. It shimmered but held. Dante shook his head. "They have the general. Clerics!"
Two elderly men in long black robes come forward. They walk up to the barrier and hold up their hands to it. One begins to chant while the other turns back to Dante. "Energy barrier. A most powerful one."
"I know what it is," Dante snapped. "The question is it can it be breached?"
The cleric smiled. "The witch's magic pales to the might of our god. The infidels' wall will inevitably fall before us."
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 17
"Is it true?" Lillah demanded as she hurried through the corridor, panic thick in the air. "A Red-Level Alarm?"
"Yes," Lindsey nodded. "Siege conditions, already all the top-level mystic alarms and defences are being enacted, but they’re not doing much good."
"What’s causing it?" Lillah asked.
Lindsey shuddered. "A hell-goddess rampaging through our dimension like a child having a tantrum in its sand-box."
"For once," Gavin stepped out of an office to her right, "I’m hoping the Slayer comes out on top."
"Against a hell-goddess?" Lindsey blew through his teeth and shook his head. "Not much chance of that."
* * *
Deciding she couldn’t afford to worry about Willow’s corruption right now, Faith turned to the witch. "Red? How long will the spell hold?
"Maybe half a day."
Faith noted how harshly metallic the witch’s voice sounded but ignored that to look towards Wesley. "Wes, G?"
"I’ve packed his wound with bandages. His pulse is steady and breathing
constant," Wesley shrugged. "Beyond that I can’t say."
"Five by five," Faith nodded. "Thanks anyhow."
"We are however still pinned down," Groo commented.
"Yeah, I know," Faith bit her bottom lip, they were in quicksand and sinking fast.
"How about," Faith looked towards her boy-friend to see her man and Gunn dragging the unconscious general to his feet and tying him to the pillar he’d run into, "we have a talk with General Rommel?"
"As ideas go it’s the best we have," Faith agreed.
* * *
"The Key has come to a stop," reported Doc.
"Really?" Glory rose from her throne, a malicious smirk spreading across her face. "It’s time I took it back then."
* * *
"Are you sure Ivanhoe understands English?" Gunn queried as he finished tying the unconscious man to the support.
"We’ll make him understand," Faith replied before picking up a bottle of water and flinging its contents over the man’s face. She waited until their captive had begun to splutter awake before speaking. "What are you supposed to be, some kind of chief?"
"I am the general of my order," the knight glared at Xander. "The instrument of chaos must be destroyed."
Faith stepped between her boy-friend and the knight. "Look at him like that again, and he will be the last person you ever see."
The general sniffed disdainfully. "You protect ‘The Threat’s’ key, with which she would bring chaos and carnage."
Faith shook her head. "It's not that simple."
"No it is not," the general agreed. "The key has been transformed, given life. Yet, this makes no difference. The key is the link and must be severed. Such is the will of god."
"God ain’t spoken to me yet," Faith scowled. "And even if he did, I’d still tell him to go to hell before standing by and allowing innocents be hurt. Ya don’t get it do ya," her eyes bored into the battered knight, "ya don’t save a world by sacrificing innocents, ya just corrupt it. Kill a bad guy like a Hitler to save the world sure, but ya don’t kill innocents!" Faith calmed herself. "We are not your enemy. Tell your men to stand down." Gregor shook his head. "It’s not his fault! He's human now!"
Gregor shook his head. "The key is too dangerous to be allowed to exist. No matter what form it has been pressed into."
Faith scowled. "You’re not listening, I will not let -."
"Faith," Tara interrupted with a whisper, "I’m really worried about Willow."
"Tara!" Faith snapped. "One crisis at a time, ‘sides we need Red’s power
"Ha!" Gregor sneered. "It seems your friends’ lives aren’t as important to you as your lover’s!"
"We’d risk anything for each other," Faith snapped. "That’s what families do."
"Faith! Giles is awake!"
* * *
"I'm sorry." Tears misted Faith’s eyes as she peered down at the barely conscious Watcher.
Giles smiled up at her. "For what?"
"We should have stayed." Faith shuffled from foot to foot. "If we had, none of this would have happened."
"Don't you dare." Giles squeezed her hand. "What you did was necessary. What I've always admired in you."
Faith’s smile trembled. "My ability to run really fast?"
"Always," Giles groaned, "ooooh, always trying to do the right thing. Sometimes you get it wrong, but always you have the best, most unselfish motives, no matter how it costs you personally." Giles paused, gulping in air. "I'm so proud of you. You've come so far from the rebellious wild child I adopted. You're everything a Watcher, everything a father could hope for."
Faith sniffled. "Right back at ya."
Giles smiled painfully. "But of course."
* * *
"We outta make a break for it," Gunn argued.
"Oh yeah," Cordy sniffed. "And if we get through the knights of the round table what then? We ride out of here?" the former cheerleader sniffed. "I can ride, but how many of you can say the same? How many of us would even make it?"
Groo nodded. "We have a secure building, to leave it and face such an overwhelming enemy is unwise."
"Oh you’re siding with Cor," Gunn chuckled humourlessly. "Imagine how surprised I’m not."
Gregor laughed. "Dissention in the ranks. Seldom a harbinger of glad tidings."
Faith turned from Giles, strode towards the jeering knight, and backhanded him across the face. "Shut it!"
Gregor spat blood at her. Faith turned away from him. "Poor frightened girl." Faith turned back to face the general, arms crossed. "You've no idea what you've gotten yourself into."
"Why don't you tell me?" Faith challenged.
"Would it make a difference?" Gregor shot back.
"It might," Faith evaded
"What do you know of The Threat?" Gregor queried.
Faith shrugged. "Strong. Fast. Hellgod."
"From a dimension of unspeakable torment," Gregor replied..
"A demon dimension. I know. She ruled with two other hellgods, right?" Faith replied.
"Along with ‘The Threat’ they were a triumvirate of suffering and despair. Ruling with equal vengeance. But the Threat's power grew beyond even what they could conceive. As did her lust for pain and misery. They looked upon her, what she had become and trembled," Gregor continued.
Cordelia gulped. "A god afraid?"
"Such was her power." Gregor nodded. "They feared she would attempt to seize their dimension for herself, and decided to strike first, igniting a tremendous war that engulfed the entire dimension. At the war’s bloody conclusion, they stood victorious over ‘The Threat’, but only just, and cast her out. Glory was banished to this lower plane, forced to live and eventually die trapped within the body of a mortal. That is ‘The Threat’s’ only weakness."
"You bloody idiot!" Faith started at Wes’ roar. The suddenly red-faced Watcher advanced on the restrained knight. "Did you think of searching this mortal out rather than hunting the Key?"
"We have tried," Gregor grimaced. "Unfortunately, the identity of the human vessel has never been discovered."
"But if she’s imprisoned," Tara muttered.
"Her power was too great to be completely contained," Gregor continued. "She's found a way to escape her mortal prison for brief periods, before her energies are exhausted and she's forced back into her living cell of meat and bone."
"What about me?" Faith winced at the rare quaver in her lover’s voice as she turned to face him. "What about the key?"
Faith started to protest only for Xander to shake his head. "No, Faith," he said. "I want, I have, to know."
Gregor stared unblinkingly at Xander. "The key is almost as old as the Threat itself. Where it came from, how it was created are amongst the universe’s greatest mysteries. All that is certain is that its power is absolute. Countless generations of my people have sacrificed their lives in search of it, to destroy it before its wrath could be unleashed."
"If I was anyone else I’d be making jokes about you dating an older man," Xander glanced at her.
"Wouldn’t be the first time," Faith forced a smile.
Xander smiled briefly before looking towards Gregor. "But the monks beat you slowpokes to it?"
Gregor glared at Xander before sullenly nodding. "Yes, and hid it with their magicks."
Wes scowled. "Why didn't the monks just destroy it? If the key is as dangerous as you clai-."
Gregor shook his head. "Because they were arrogant fools. They thought they could harness the key’s power for the forces of light. They failed, and paid with their lives."
"Okay, here’s a question that everyone’s thinking but no-one’s asked, what do I do?" Xander queried. "What do I do? What was I created for?"
Gregor’s eyes glittered `maliciously. "You were made to open the gates that separate dimensions. ‘The Threat’ will use your power to return home and seize control of the hell she was banished from." Xander seemed to shrink under everyone’s gaze. "Once the key is activated, it won't just open the gates to the Threat's dimension, bad enough though that would be. It's going to open all the dimensional gates. The walls separating realities will crumble and fall, dimensions will bleed into each other. Order will be overthrown and the universe will tumble into chaos, forever dark." Gregor stared at Xander. "That is what you were created for."
* * *
"They are in there?"
"Yes Mistress," Doc nodded at his Mistress’ query, his breath still struggling to return after the terrifyingly quick journey to the abandoned gas station. "They are inside there."
"Then I will have to get them," the goddess stood.
"What about those several dozen well-armed knights?" asked Rack from the other side of Glory.
"Oh," a cruel smile twisted the goddess’ full lips, "I wouldn’t worry about them."
* * *
"Hey Xan," Faith greeted as she entered the station’s rear room to find Xander staring at the boarded up window. "G’s comin’ round."
"Good, I wouldn’t want the old fossil having something else to hold against me," Xander’s weak smile disappeared. "Do you think what Gregor said is true?"
Faith wrapped an arm around Xander’s shoulders and sighed. "I don't know."
"Destroyer of the universe." Xander half-laughed. "And dad said I’d never
amount to anything."
"Your dad’s a fucking prick," Faith forced her voice to soften. "This key shit, it’s not you, you know that don’t cha?"
Xander shook his head. "I know it’s inside of me." Xander looked down, "What are we gonna do?"
Faith frowned. "I won’t let anything happen to you."
"The suicide thing," Xander took a breath. "If it saves you, if it saves the world-."
Eyes hardening Faith’s mouth opened. "FAITH!" Gunn’s voice boomed out. "Glory’s coming!"
"Too late," Faith muttered as she started for the door.
* * *
Glory laughed as the knights turned to face her. A right uppercut sent the first to charge her into the air. Another rushed in only to fold in two when she kicked him in the stomach. Two were grabbed around the throat and squeezed, necks snapping with a satisfying crack. Another one screamed when his sword crashed into her side, the reverberations causing his blade to fall from his grip. And then her fist ended his misery by punching through his skull.
Glory laughed again as the others charged in. This was fun.
* * *
"Oh crap," Faith groaned as she watched the hell goddess scythed through the knights, knocking them flying like bowling pins. Then the ditzy-looking blonde came to a halt at the glowing barrier and began punching it.
"Ohhhhh." Faith glanced over to see sweat beading on Willow’s forehead, the wicca paling. "She’s so strong! Too strong!"
Suddenly the barrier shimmered and died. "The Threat," the general breathed as the blonde stepped into the room.
"Hey," Glory sneered, "it’s Gregor." The blonde picked up a hubcap and flung it like a frisbee. Faith gasped when the makeshift weapon decapitated the knight in a crimson spray. "Now it’s not."
Gunn and Groo lunged at the demon. A back-handed slap sent Groo flying into
Gunn, both men crashing to the ground. Heart thumping, Faith charged the
hell-goddess. The monster caught her fist in its hand and flung her into the far
wall. Body aching, Faith forced herself up and charged, the demon laughed as it
easily blocked her attack. "You’re the great protector?" Glory sniffed before
kicking her in the stomach. Faith wheezed as she fell to her knees. She could
have sworn something had cracked inside. A kick to the head sprawled her out in
the dust, blood leaking from her forehead. "Pathetic, truly pathetic."
"Try me!" Willow screeched, her eyes flashing ever darker black.
Faith gasped as the support Gregor was tied to flew into the hell-goddess, knocking her to one knee. Glory smiled. "Now there’s power." Suddenly the hell goddess was beside the wicca. "Not enough." The demoness grabbed Willow under the chin and threw her into the ceiling.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
Kate sent round after round into the goddess only for her to snatch the gun from the blonde cop and crush it with a single, effortless squeeze before uppercutting her into the counter, caving it in with the force of the impact. Then the goddess was at Xander, elbowing him in the side of the head before scooping his limp body up and carrying him out over her shoulder.
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 18
"And that’s the conclusion of my report."
Holland glared at the nervously-shuffling geek the science department had sent them for an emergency briefing. "Nothing?" he demanded. "There’s nothing you can do?"
"Sir," the scientist paled at his tone but other than managed to keep his
composure. "You have to understand, Glory is not only a hell-goddess, but her
appearance caught the boys in Prophecy off guard, we had no prior warning. If we
had time to research her, maybe-."
"Very good Mr. Knox," he interrupted. "You’re dismissed." He looked to the others in his Special Projects division. "It looks like it’s down to the Slayer."
Faith groaned as she joined the others exiting the bus, the pain in her side
unimportant next to the emptiness in her heart. She looked over her shoulder to
her battered companions. Giles sighed at her look. "The Key-."
"Has a name," Faith said through gritted teeth.
Giles started at her tone, but she was past carin’. "Xander is living energy. This energy will need to be channelled, poured into a specific place at a specific time. Should the energy be flowed into that spot it would force the walls between the dimensions break down. Glory intends to use this to get back into her own dimension, not caring that all manner of hell will be unleashed on earth in the meantime."
"But only for a little while, right?" Cordelia asked. "The walls come back up, no more hell?"
"Only if the energy is stopped before too much damage is done." Giles sighed.
Giles stared furiously at the younger Watcher. "Now is not the time, Wesley!"
Wesley blithely ignored Giles’ snap to stare intently at her, eyes boring through with an intensity she wouldn’t have believed possible of the younger Watcher. "Should the ritual be started, the only way to end it would be via Xander’s blood travelling through the portal and into the other dimension."
Faith let out a rattling breath. "Right, so we stop Glory before she can start the ritual. We still have a couple of hours, right?"
Giles hesitated then nodded. "If my calculations are right. But Faith-."
"Look I don’t wanna hear it," Faith snapped, desperation thickening her voice. "We’ll find a way to defeat Glory. We always win, right?" Giles didn’t answer, just exchanged a long look with Wesley.
"If the ritual starts, then every living creature in this and every other
dimension imaginable will suffer unbearable torment and death," Wesley stared
hard at her, "including Xander."
"We’re back," Glory trilled as she strode into her throne room, Xander still draped over her shoulder.
"Yes Your Highness," Doc agreed. "And what a pleasure it is to be at your side as your ascension approaches."
"My ascension," Glory pursed her lips as she dropped Xander to the foot of her throne. "Yes, oh yes. That will be soon. So soon." The goddess looked towards him and his companion, the two of them Glory’s most loyal and powerful acolytes. "And I know I can rely on you two do anything and everything to aid it."
Doc exchanged an uneasy look with Rack. He guessed the dangerously erratic and frighteningly formidable goddess had something in mind but no idea what exactly. "Of course Your Highness," Rack said, his companion’s uneasy expression mirroring his thoughts.
"Good," Glory beamed. "In that case I want you to go and make sure the Slayer and her companions don’t get in the way."
Doc swallowed at the hell-goddess’ command. Realising he had no choice but to obey, after all the demoness was far more sadistic, she could torture themselves in ways that the ‘Scoobies’ couldn’t even dream of. "Of course, your highness. It is a pleasure to serve."
"Our best strategy is keeping Glory on the ropes," Gunn put in. "We get her on the ropes and keep her occupied till it's too late."
"And how exactly do you intend to do that?" Wesley sceptically queried. "She's a god; Kate’s gun didn’t even cause her heartburn."
"And I put three straight in her chest," Kate paused. "I’ll get my shotgun from home."
Wesley nodded. "And I’ll get mine too. I have some armour piercing and explosive rounds"
"Explosives!" Gunn leapt up. "That gives me an idea," the African-American strode out.
"Oh yes!" Lorne smiled. "I have a friend whose a dealer in strange antiquities. He might be able to get his hands on something. I’ll make some calls."
"Willow," Giles looked towards the witch, "your spells at least gave her
pause. Perhaps you could rustle something up from your books."
Willow nodded before looking towards the back room that doubled as a dojo. "What about Faith?"
Giles swallowed as he entered the dojo. Sweat glistened on the sultry Slayer’s forehead as she hit the room’s heavy bag with a blur of kicks, punches, elbows, and knees, the bag indenting with every blow. Giles cleared his throat; the supernatural warrior continued her attack without pause. "You’re sure you’re not going to tire yourself out?"
"I’m sure. " Faith’s gaze didn’t shift from the unfortunate bag.
Giles licked his lips before continuing. "We're still working on ideas. Time's short, but it is best leave it to the last moment. If we go in too early and she takes us out, no chance of getting her to miss her window."
"Then we wait." A spin-kick tore the punching bag off its chain and flung it against the far wall. Faith turned to face him upon landing.
"What I said to you at the gas station remains true," Giles licked his lips again, the pacing Slayer making him nervous in ways she’d never done before. "I couldn’t be prouder, love you more than I do." The Slayer’s gaze remained suspicious. "But I've sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing what other people can't. What they shouldn't have to."
Faith stopped, her head rising to stare at him, dark eyes hardening to stone.
"Xander hasn’t done anything, it’s not his fault. You try and hurt him, and I’ll
stop you, I’ll stop you all."
Giles forced his gaze to remain steady. "I know. "
Faith looked suddenly scared, reminding him of the brash child who hid her hurt beneath layer and layer of attitude. "This is how many apocalypses for us now?"
"It depends on how you count them," Giles slowly replied. "At least six. Feels like a hundred."
"We always stop them no matter what,"
Giles nodded. "Yes,"
"If Xander dies, I’m out. You and your Council can go to hell." Faith stared at him. "I’m tired of risking my life, of seeing my friends die. For nothing!"
Giles opened his mouth to reply. "Giles!" the dojo door crashed open, a pale-faced Cordelia in the doorway. "Rack’s back with another demon!"
Groo paced the floor. Lorne had left, something about collecting a sphere that would nullify the goddess’ power. Gunn had likewise departed, something about getting something from work. Wesley and Kate had only just returned with their shotguns. Wondrous weapons, but not matching the artistry or grace of a good broadsword or battle-axe.
Suddenly the door exploded open and in walked a tattooed, grubby-looking man, followed by a diffident looking older fellow. "Rack!" A chill ran up Groo’s back at the hiss from the usually so shy Willow.
An energy bolt flew from the witch, crashing into the tattooed man, somersaulting him across the street to land in an unmoving but very smouldering heap. The other let out a shocked screech before racing off.
"Huh," Groo turned to find the Slayer stood cat-like. "If only all our battles were so easy."
"What is life without worthy adversaries, Gallant Faith?" he queried.
Faith shot him a world-weary look unbecoming such a youthful beauty. "A damn sight easier. A damn sight easier."
"Yes," Xander let out a relieved breath as he finally managed to slice through the ropes tying his wrists together using a shard of wood he’d found on the ground, probably from a crate that had been stored here. Xander grimaced as he looked around the darkened room. With its dusty floor, complete lack of furnishings, and iron-grilled windows, it was a bleak, unwelcoming place.
Not that he needed an excuse to want out of this place, not with the hell-goddess wanting to use him to end the freakin’ world. Xander fought back a groan as he stood, head aching from the blow Glory had given him.
He didn’t have much, no strike that, any plan. Just sneak out of here and run. Run away from Faith and the others, because going to them would only put them in danger, and he wasn’t going to do that. Maybe he’d kill himself, but whatever he did, that crazy goddess wasn’t using him to end existence.
His decision made, Xander crept to the room’s door, tensing as he heard the sound of ragged, almost asthmatic, breathing. After a second, he reached up, grabbed a ceiling beam, and swung forward.
Both feet crashed into the door, sending it flying open and into the grey-skinned, hook-nosed five foot tall demon stood behind it. The demon fell into the wall opposite the door. Xander was on it before it had chance to rise or even shout, remorseless rights and lefts beating it into unconsciousness.
Xander rose and continued on his way. Hearing footsteps ahead, he stepped into the shadows and waited, heart thumping so loudly he was sure the approaching enemy would hear. Despite his worries, the demon, a twin to the first guard, drew obliviously level allowing Xander the chance to leap out of the shadows and knock it to the ground, a flurry of blows hammering it into senseless.
Xander winced as he stood, noticing the bruising and swelling on his knuckles. "They have hard heads, I definitely need to get a weapon."
"Oh," his blood chilled at the familiar trill, "I’d say you needed more than that." Xander stared at the hell-goddess before lunging forward. Glory laughed before side-stepping and hitting him with a clothesline to the chest that took his air away and sent him somersaulting to the ground. Xander wheezed and gasped for air as the hell goddess grabbed his shirt with her left hand and lifted him off the ground. "This world really has no challenges."
"I’ll be there," Xander panted, "when they take," he winced as pain shot through his battered chest and ribcage, "your head."
"I don’t think so." The goddess smirked before carrying him outside. Xander gasped at the metal tower stretching into the sky above the warehouse, a narrow walkway at its apex.
"I’ve got it! I’ve got it!" Lorne announced as he entered the former boarding-house, brow furrowing as he noticed the wreckage. "I see we’ve had visitors who got the usual raucous Scooby welcome."
"What did you find?" Giles queried.
"Not find," Lorne corrected with a grandiose flourish. "Bought at a considerable cost."
"Which you’ll be reimbursed for, so," Giles impatiently demanded. "So show
"A Darkell Sphere," he produced the glowing globe with a flourish.
"Good lord," Giles looked suitably impressed. "A nullifier of black magic."
"Yes, I’m not sure just how effective it will be against a goddess," Lorne admitted, "But I also bought a Capacity Keystone," Lorne produced an amulet, "that will increase our dear girl’s speed, strength, and endurance by about twenty percent."
"This is marvellous," Giles practically gushed. Most unenglish of him. Next he’d be quoting John Wayne or some other American icon.
"Yes, but the Capacity Keystone has weaknesses, it can only be used once and for no longer than half an hour without doing serious damage to its wearer’s nervous system," Lorne warned.
Giles nodded grimly, English reserve returning to his eyes and bearing. "I’m
aware of the risks, and will inform Faith. I sincerely doubt this battle will
last that long."
"Yeah," Lorne nodded dolefully. "That’s what I figured too."
"Hey guys!" Gunn ran in a beatific smile on the construction worker’s face. "I’ve got some TNT and a wrecking ball."
"Pfft." Lorne shook his head. "So unsubtle."
"Hey baby." Gunn stopped at the doorway to the inner office. His stomach churned at the sight of his girl sat huddled on the floor, her back pressed against the filing cabinet, and her eyes moist with tears as she rocked from side to side. "What’s wrong?"
"What’s wrong?" the former Sunnydale High school queen laughed, the sound harsh and metallic. "Xander is such an enormous pain, every day of my life, every day since elementary he’s been there." Cordelia sobbed, full lips parting and tears rolling down her perfect cheeks. "Dogging me, taunting me. I..I never told him how much it meant, someone who’d dared to stand up to me. Not my sheep that followed my every order. Not Willow and the others who stayed out of my way. But Xander who matched every taunt with a reply, I could never intimidate him."
Gunn knew it was absurd to feel jealously but he did anyway. "You love him?"
"Love him?" Cordy giggled hysterically. "Not hardly. It’s just he’s always been there, always been a part of life. And now when he dies, we all do."
"It’s not over yet," Gunn’s assurance sounded hollow even to his own ears.
Cordelia shook her head. "No, you don’t understand. You’ve not been here since the start. Through it all, the Master, Angelus, Kakitosis, the Mayor, ADAM, all the other apocalypses, Faith’s never been this defeated, not even when she died."
Gunn chuckled. "You Sunnydalers are a weird lot."
"She’s never looked this," Cordy stared him in the eye. "She’s my best friend and she’s breaking, and I can’t do a thing about it!"
"No" Gunn took her in his arms. "But you can be there for her. That’s all anybody can do for anyone."
"And you’ll be here for me?"
"To the end of time, baby," Gunn replied. "To the end of time."
Faith stalked up to Willow. "Red, what ya got?"
Willow started at the discordant note in the Slayer’s normally husky voice. "Some ideas." Faith slumped into the chair opposite her, gypsy-brown eyes boring into her. "Well, notions. Or, theories based on wild speculation. Did I mention I'm not good under pressure?"
"I need you, Will. You're my big gun."
Willow started again, both at the desperation in the Slayer’s voice and her assertion that she was relying on Willow. "I'm your -," she shook her head, "No, I’m not a gun. Never, not me. Someone else should be the gun. I could be a, a cudgel. Or, or a pointy stick."
"Your magic makes you the strongest person here. You know that, right?"
"I’m not a Slayer," Willow shook her head. "Or a warrior like Groo."
"Red," Faith reached across the table and squeezed her hands, "you're the only person that's ever made that hell-bitch take a back-step. You're my best shot at getting her on the ropes, so don't get a jelly belly on me now."
"Willow shouldn’t use that dark magic," Tara whispered. "It corrupts-."
"I don’t care!" Willow was shocked by the ferocious glare Faith sent Tara, Faith who was so usually uncharacteristically gentle with Tara. Faith gritted her teeth and continued in a barely softer voice, her gaze returning to her. "It’s Xan, Red. The guy I love, the guy you grew up with. More than that, it’s the world. We need ya, just this one last time, I promise."
"Faith, we’re ready."
The wind tousled Xander’s hair as Glory’s minions tied him to a pole on the
tower’s walkway. Far below, more of the minions massed on the ground. One of
them smiled up at him. "It will be soon."
"We’ve got a location?"
"Oh yes," Wesley looked drawn from the stress. "You could say that."
"Good," Faith looked towards her friends, trying to burn them into her memory for one last time. Groo with his broadsword and battle ax. Gunn with a sabre, the twin to one Giles had, Cordelia brandishing a mace, Lorne with a crossbow, Wesley and Kate with shotguns and scabbarded swords for back-up, and Willow and Tara with their magic books. Finally she spoke.
"Gunn, Red, and I are takin’ on the hell-bitch, Groo I want you on grabbing Xan duty, the rest of ya, take out her minions." Faith paused to look around the group. Everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die." With that, she turned and strode for the door.
Lorne shook his head. "That girl, sometimes she’s so inspiring, she reminds me of JFK without the bed-hopping."
A\N: Faith The Series has been nomed at The Sunnydale Memorial Awards. In the following categories:- Categories: Best AU, Best Characterization, Best Drama, Best Pairing Unconventional, Best Unfinished
If you’ve enjoyed it please vote at:-
Voting Form: http://sunnydawards.dragonydreams.com/vote.html
Faith The Series: Season 5 Episode 19
"That is one hell of a tower," Faith commented.
"I do hope you haven’t a phobia about heights, because it would appear Xander is up there," Wesley commented before directing his gaze towards the demons massed at the tower’s base. "Oh dear," the Englishman cocked his shotgun. "There are rather a lot of them."
Faith rolled her shoulders before sliding the Capacity Keystone over her head, shuddering as the power coursed through her, teeth jangling with the intensity. "Red, you’re with me. The rest of ya know your places."
* * *
Glory bared her teeth as she watched the Slayer approach. "Oh you’re here to rescue your lover, how sweet," she scoffed. "He wanted to come back to you too. But I had to stop him, add a few bruises," she giggled. "He’s fun."
"You won’t hurt him again," the incredibly badly-dressed brunette promised.
Glory giggled. "And who’s going to stop me?"
"I am." Suddenly the curvy brunette was lunging towards her, cracking a hard right into her jaw. Glory gasped as a great weakness crashed over her, eyes blurring. The Slayer continued to hit her, rocking her with blows that were far more powerful than her usual attack.
It didn’t matter. Glory hit the Slayer with a heel kick that knocked her onto her back. The Slayer was up quicker than she had been before, dropping into a crouch under a sweep kick intended to decapitate her. Glory gasped when the brunette warrior surged up and hooked her leg at the hip, dumping her into a pile of scaffolding.
* * *
"Stand fast! Kill anyone who dares approach! This will be our day of glory!"
"Well punned." A second minion commented.
"It seemed to fit," the first smiled then choked, a Lorne-fired arrow thudding in his chest.
"Good shot!" Giles praised as he charged forward, catching an advancing minion with a kick to the chest, knocking it onto the back. Another lunged at him from the right only to fall to a skewering thrust to the throat. Blood vomited out of the wound as Giles yanked his weapon out.
"Ahhhh!" Giles grunted as a demon hit him from the side, the impact knocking him to the ground. The demon started hitting him with blow after blow, Giles unable to defend himself thanks to being laid on his side. And then Cordelia’s mace was swinging down to bash the demon’s head in. Giles smiled dazedly at his receptionist. "I suppose that pays me back for the English literature tutorials I gave you."
* * *
Faith charged in to continue her attack only to stumble back when the goddess picked up and flung a scaffolding pole at her, the pole smashing into her shoulder, pain flaring down her right arm causing the limb to drop numbly by her side.
"I’m better now." The hell-bitch laughed viciously before leaping up and attacking her, pummelling her with blow after blow. Her nose cracked under a right, left eye closed by an elbow, and a rib was broken by a kick. Finally, Faith slumped to her knees in front of the goddess. Thanks to the Capacity Keystone she could already feel the wounds healing, but it would be too late. "Nice try, Slayer," Glory gloated. "But now you’re over."
"Oh I don’t think so."
* * *
Wesley grunted as he pressed on his shotgun’s trigger and only heard a click. "Out of ammo." He opened the shotgun up and pulled some shells out of his jacket to re-load. "Damn it!" He cursed as a pair of demons tackled him, knocking him to the ground and his shotgun from his hands. He brought his head up, butting one of the snarling beasts in the face and off him.
Then Kate was above him, his girl-friend’s sabre skewering the second of his attackers through the back. "Always lying down on the job," she smiled.
"And usually," he smiled back as he rose and pulled out his sabre, "you don’t complain about that."
* * *
Glory started at the interruption before turning towards the witch, noting her use of the true powers had this time not only turned her eyes but also her hair as dark as night. "Bring it-." She gasped as a wave of focussed energy hit her full in the chest, lifting her from her feet and flinging her several feet into the air.
Glory grunted as she landed, leaping up and smiling. "Not bad, but I’m badder-."
"I wouldn’t bet on that. I wouldn’t bet on it at all." The witch waved a nonchalant hand towards the scaffolding. The scaffolding flew up and crashing into her, numerous steel poles bombarding her en-route to burying her beneath them.
Glory roared her anger and pain as she leapt up, steel poles flying everywhere. She would not be denied, she was going home and no mere insects were going to stop her. Grabbing a hold of a pole, she flung it at the witch only for the pole to fly back at her. Glory batted the pole out of the way then gasped as she began to sink into the ground, suddenly changed improbably into quicksand beneath her. Gritting her teeth, she forced her way out by sheer force of will before charging to the witch’s side, briefly savouring the shock in her eyes before grabbing her around the throat and flinging her into the air. "No one likes a pest."
"You must win popularity contest after popularity contest then."
* * *
Groo crept towards the tower, using the melee’s confusion to cover his path. He little liked this sneaking about, preferring to be in the vanguard of any action, but his commander had ordered him to act thus, and therefore he could but obey. Two demons charged him as he reached the bottom, but he ran through one with his broadsword and decapitated the other with his battle ax. He started up the steps, taking them two at a time, eyes fixed on the walkway so far up. He could see two figures at the top, one he recognised as Xander, but who was the other one?
* * *
Faith caught the goddess with a kick to the back of her head. The goddess hit the ground but rolled up before she could follow up with a stomp. "You’re stronger than you were before!" The hell-goddess commented before charging her.
"Faster too!" Faith sidestepped the blonde before bringing her knee up into the goddess’ gut.
"Won’t help!" Pain exploded in the side of her head when Glory rammed an elbow into her. Faith stumbled away from the demoness, head ringing as she instinctively attempted a rear leg sweep. Glory laughed as she leapt over her attack, shooting out a side heel-kick that smashed into her side.
Faith groaned as she hit the ground on her hands and knees, only sheer will forcing her to side roll away from an attempted kick to the ribs. The blonde started after her then staggered under an attack from Willow, the Wicca blasting the goddess with a concussive blast that seemed somehow weaker than her earlier attack. "You again?" Glory spun to face the witch, hitting her with a backhand that knocked her flat on her back. "Now, where were we?"
"My turn, bitch."
* * *
Groo strode onto the walkway, wind brushing his ankle-length jacket.
The battered youth nodded wearily, his smile strained. "Hey yourself, Groo. Good to see you. You’ve no idea how good."
Groo directed his gaze to the walkway’s other occupant. "When we faced you at
the offices you ran."
"Doc didn’t live this long from by taking unnecessary risks," Doc grinned. "That Slayer and the Wicca are a pair of pistols. But I can handle you."
Groo lifted his bloody weapons. "There is but one way to find out."
"My thoughts exactly," the demon smiled.
Groo gasped as the demon’s tongue shot out of his mouth. He twisted at the waist, but the tongue shot through his right shoulder. "AAAA!" Groo gasped as pain shot through his shoulder, his sword dropping from his hand as blood spurted from the wound. Dazed, he stumbled to a knee.
Doc chuckled before turning to Xander, the demon’s knife tapping against his
thigh. "Now where were we?"
"You were going to cut my ropes?" Xander hopefully but vainly guessed.
Doc’s smile widened. "Not quite, no."
"Then perhaps I should cut your head from your shoulders," Groo suggested as he struggled to his feet, right arm hanging limply by his side, but left hand still clinging to his axe.
"You’re not even from this dimension," Doc queried. "Why do you care?"
"Comradeship, loyalty, qualities and concepts you cannot even comprehend," Groo replied.
"Oh, in that case." Doc’s long tongue shot out again. This time Groo was able to completely lean away from the tongue, bending back at the waist. He gasped as the demon lunged forward, ducking under his retaliatory ax-swing to grab his ankles and yank them from under him.
Groo grunted as he hit the ground, pain jarring through his injured arm. In an instance the demon was on him, its two fists easily overwhelming his one armed defences. Then Groo grabbed his adversary under the chin and shoved him off. Groo rolled up onto one knee and reached for his dropped axe only to catch a knee to the chin that knocked him back down. Dazed, he was helpless to avoid a kick to the ribs that sent him falling off the walkway and down to a landing two floors down, head bouncing off the unforgiving steel.
* * *
Puzzled, Glory turned to face the brick wall behind her. Her eyes widened as
a handful of burning sticks tied together with string flew over the wall to land
in her hands. "What are th-."
BOOOOM! Her ears rang as the sticks exploded, head ringing, she staggered in a circle, suddenly groggy. And then a huge wrecking ball crashed through the wall and into her. Glory groaned as she struggled to her feet, entire body aching.
"You are really having a bad day aren’t you?"
* * *
After delivering the taunt, Faith started towards the tower. It burnt like hell to run from a fight, but even with the Capacity Keystone, the goddess’ power far out-stripped hers. Their only real choice was postponing the ceremony until the ritual was no longer effective. That would at least save the world, but they’d still have to face Glory’s rage.
Shoving aside worries about the goddess’ fury, she started up the stairs. She’d only made her way up three flights of stairs when Glory appeared in front of her. Faith ducked a roundhouse right before shouldering the demon in the chest. The goddess staggered to one side. Faith launched herself at the ascending stairs only to fall back when the hell-bitch kicked her in the leg.
Faith jumped up into the air, spin kicking the bitch back a step. The moment she landed on the stairs, she started up them, her body beginning to ache. She guessed it wouldn’t be long before her body began to reject the Capacity Keystone.
* * *
Doc peered over the edge of the walkway before returning his gaze to Xander. "Well, it seems the great one is running a bit late."
"She’ll never get here," Xander hotly retorted.
"Oh she will," Doc disagreed. "But if she can’t be in time." Doc beamed when he gulped when the demon produced a shiny knife. "Some one else will have to step up to the plate so to speak."
"You realise of course," Xander strained vainly at the ropes, "if you use that thing, the whole world ends."
"No, it merely returns to its proper state, and those who have served Glory will have elevated positions in her court," Doc smiled. "While those who have tried to defy her will suffer long and painful deaths."
* * *
"You're just a mortal!" Glory howled as they made the penultimate landing. "You couldn't understand my pain."
"Then I'll just have to settle for causing it." Faith caught the demon with a hard right and followed it up with a kick to the knee, the demon reeled, straightened, then caught a leaping knee to the chin that knocked her into the steps behind her.
"You made me bleed," Glory grunted, eyes widening as blood trickled out of her mouth and down her chin.
"I’ve hardly started!" Faith went for a stomp that Glory rolled away from before uppercutting punching her in the groin. Faith fell to her knees, the air exploding from her fatigued body.
"No, I think you’re finished." The demoness corrected as she stood over her. Faith lunged forward, her shoulder crashing into the goddess’ knees. Glory gasped as she fell against the stairs. Faith grabbed a hold of the landing’s railings and pulled herself up to her feet. The demon wailed as she kicked her in the stomach twice. "Stop it!"
"You’re a god!" Faith dropped a knee across the monster’s throat. "You stop me!" Faith lifted the goddess’ limp body over her head and walked to the edge, flinging the goddess to the ground far below.
* * *
"Shallow cuts. Shallow cuts." Doc chanted lowly while Xander hissed as the demon lashed at his forearms, blood trickling down them. "Let the blood flow free."
Doc spun around, eyes widening as Faith strode onto the walkway. "This should be interesting." The demon stepped towards Faith, knife lashing out.
Faith didn’t even stop, blocking the blow on her arm while slamming a palm into the demon’s chin, the force of the attack lifting him from the walkway and sending him screaming to the ground. "No, not really."
* * *
"Giles!" Wesley let out a gasp as Glory’s battered body hit the ground, the weary goddess retreating into the body of a human male. "It’s Glory’s-."
"Prison, yes." Giles started towards the crumpled body, expression grim.
"Giles!" Cordelia gasped. "What are you doing?"
Giles didn’t falter in his stride. "Ending this." The man looked up in time to seeing Giles raising his sabre. The blade came down, slicing through the back of his neck. Giles closed his eyes, just thankful his dear daughter hadn’t been forced to do that.
"Oh god," he turned at Wesley’s gasp.
"Look it had to be done!" he snapped.
"I..I know," Wesley pointed up, "but it’s too late."
A great light ignited in the sky, opening up a portal that grew larger by the second, a bolt of lightning shot out, cracking a huge hole in the middle of Sunnydale’s main street. Cars screeched to avoid the sudden chasm, people screaming as they ran away. A building erupted, bricks flying everywhere as a fire exploded within. Demons began to pour out of the expanding portal, lightning flashing around its inky borders.
* * *
"Faith!" Xander gasped, a smile forming as his girl-friend rushed up to him.
"You’re bleeding," Faith looked up to the opening chasm in the sky. "The portal’s opening. We have to close. I have to close it."
Horror twisted Xander’s stomach. "No Faith!" He shook his head as the sultry Bostonian grabbed his right forearm and smeared his blood on her forehead. "What are you doing?"
"Your blood’s what needed to close the portal." Faith’s smile trembled.
"Listen to me!" Xander strained vainly at his ropes, the rough hemp cutting into his wrists and ankles. "There has to be another way. There has to be."
"See that fuckin’ great dragon up above us?" Faith queried. "There’s no time!"
"Then let me take the dive, this is my responsibility, not yours." Xander pleaded, tears forming in his eyes, burning them.
"I….I’m the S…Slayer," Faith’s smile collapsed as lightning flashed above, illuminating her beauty. "My responsibility. Just live for me."
"Nooooo!" Xander screamed as his girl-friend leapt off the walkway and into an impossibly graceful swan-dive that carried her through the portal and to the ground, her body shuddering and cracking on impact, blood exploding from her mouth.
END SEASON 5