Chapter 38 – The Gathering
This was what family was, Buffy thought as she stirred the spaghetti sauce she was making for dinner. It reminded her of the time before she was chosen and her own family was still intact. Her mother and father teasing each other as Joyce cooked while Dawn and she annoyed them because they wanted some of their attention.
Carefully, she put the lid back on the pot, checked the noodles then turned back to face her new make shift family. Anya and Angel were discussing profits from the Magic Box and something about internet stock. Spike, Xander and Dawn were playing Crazy Eights. She smiled, at peace for the first time in forever.
Buffy walked over behind Spike and he leaned back into her arms. His attention was never taken from his hand though because he was determined to win. Their laughter had been growing louder the longer they played. Dawn was cheating quite openly but neither of the men cared. The contest was between them not the teenager.
Kissing Spike’s temple, Buffy let her hands run along his shoulders and down his arms. The three of them had sworn to find balance somehow. This idyllic scene could only be a part of their lives. Not the majority. She understood their demons even more now. She had felt the hunger, the raging violence, and the coldness that her lovers controlled with their hearts. They needed freedom to release some of it just as surely as the slayer blood called for her to follow it. If nature could give equal time to day and night then she had faith they would find a way, too.
The telephone rang and she
stepped away to answer it. A quick glance at the clock told her that it was
“Hello,” Buffy said, smiling.
“Oh, god, Buffy, it was
“We’re on our way,” Buffy
said. “Hang on, we love you.” She hung up the phone, turned the dials on the
stove off then turned again to find everyone standing. Ready and waiting for
wherever they were needed. “
Nothing more needed to be said. With moves that were too well practiced, the house was closed down, jackets donned, and they divided for the car ride over. Angel led the way barely keeping the car on the road with the speed he drove. Dawn’s hand in hers, Buffy kept her gaze peeled out the window. She prayed that they wouldn’t lose someone else, not so soon. The two cars were parked side by side, barely stopping before they were abandoned, as the group ran for the entrance. Ignoring the warnings that they couldn’t all go in, they went anyway. They didn’t even need to ask, Angel led the way, following the scent of the girls that were a part of them.
“I’m so glad you’re here,”
“How is she?” Buffy asked,
this time she was in the lead. Everyone else waited behind her as they waited
“I’m okay now,”
“Her hand is broken,”
“Eew,” Dawn said. “How does she do that?”
“Puts her fingers into your
“How did you stop her, pet?” Spike asked.
“Flew her about fifty feet,”
Buffy breathed a sigh of relief and let herself accept that everyone was all right for the moment. Her eyes closed, she swallowed then it was back to business.
“Why was Glory after you?”
“She thought I was the key,”
“How did she know you weren’t?” Angel asked.
“She tasted my blood when she broke my hand.”
Before they could ask any
more questions, the doctor returned to wrap
“Yeah, right,” Dawn said, rolling her eyes. “You just don’t want me to look at the icky stuff. It’s not fair.” She opened the door. “Can I have a cigarette?”
“No,” Angel said, watching as the pair left the room, both arguing over who should be able to smoke. He shook his head and leaned against the wall to wait. Buffy went to him, needing his strength, grateful when one arm encircled her waist. His thumb caressed her arm.
They watched as
“This was really inconsiderate of Glory to do this,” Anya said. “We had plans and now they are ruined. And poor Xander is reduced to eating chocolate. It’s going to make him fat.”
“It will not,” Xander said, through a mouthful of chocolate. He raised one finger and added, “I am not fat.”
Angel snickered but didn’t say anything. Buffy just smiled. Maybe they could still salvage dinner. It was either that or they were going to be reduced to pizza again. She wrinkled her nose. She never thought the day would come when she couldn’t stand the thought of eating one of her favorite foods.
“Help, help,” Dawn yelled, running through the entrance. “It’s Spike.”
Everything else was abandoned as they ran to the parking lot. Glory had to be getting desperate. Her minions were attempting to kidnap Spike. Their nasty little hands kept grabbing him as he continued to fight them off. Angel was first by his side with Buffy right behind him. The creatures kept coming though. Buffy punched one then kicked another as it attempted to jump on Angel’s back. He grabbed one by its robe and swung it, knocking down two others. Finally they took the hint when Spike threw one through a car window. They helped their comrade then scurried off.
“The little soddin’ bastards were trying to get me,” Spike said. “What the bleedin’ hell did they think they’d get with a vampire?”
“Maybe they don’t know you’re a vamp,” Angel said, with his hands on his hips.
“She’s going to go through everyone,” Buffy said, “until she finds the key.”
“Get everyone together,” Angel said. “Nobody is alone from this point on.”
Spike returned to the
hospital to find
“Giles, its Angel. Is Jenny with you?” He paused. “Good, get to the mansion now. Glory is attacking. Bring only what you need and whatever research we’ve got on her. The rest of us should be there shortly.”
It was done. Whatever peace they had been enjoying was over and it was time to prepare for battle.
The mansion was finally
quiet. Earlier it had been filled with activity as everyone had settled in. A
protection spell had been placed around the perimeter to warn them of any
intruders. The bedrooms had been cleaned up so that everyone would have
somewhere to sleep. Groceries had been procured along with items from the house
Angel had a large pile of
books in front of him with Giles mirroring him on the other side. Buffy was
curled up with Spike on the couch wading through some information that
“Oh, dear,” Giles said, softly. His finger was running over the page of a book.
“Did you find something?” Buffy asked, sitting up.
“Yes, I think I may have,” Giles said, absently. “Give me just one minute.”
Everyone remained silent but continued to stare at him while he read over whatever text he had found.
“Well, come on, Watcher,” Spike said. “Give us a smidgen.”
“Um…well, uh,” Giles took his glasses off and laid them on the table. “According to this, uh, it’s possible for Glory to be stopped.”
Buffy hurried to the table to try and read over Giles shoulder. He blocked her by laying his hand over the page.
“What, Giles?” Buffy said, straightening back up. “Is it bad or what?”
“I’ve read over this very carefully, Buffy,” Giles said, standing. “And there’s not much margin for error. You understand what I’m saying?”
“It might help if you said it,” Buffy said, crossing her arms and standing a little straighter.
Angel and Spike both rushed to her side, their arms sliding around her. Thankfully she took their support as they waited for Giles to finish.
“Um…Glory plans to…open a dimensional portal…by way of a ritual bloodletting.”
“Dawn’s blood,” Buffy said, leaning back into her lover’s embrace.
“Yes, once the blood is shed at a certain time and place…the fabric which separates all realities will…be ripped apart,” Giles said. He paused for a moment to look around at everyone then he sighed before returning to look at Buffy. “Dimensions will pour into one another, uh, with no barriers to stop them. Reality as we know it will be destroyed, and…chaos will reign on earth.”
“You said there was a way to stop it,” Angel said. “So, how do we?”
“The portal will only close once the blood is stopped…and the only way for that to happen is…um…”
“Would you just spit it out?” Spike asked. “Just tell us what to do and we’ll do it.”
Giles looked at Spike then turned to Buffy. “The only way is to kill Dawn.”
“Read it again,” Angel said. “There has to be something you missed. Tell us why and how this ritual is done. We’ll find a way out.”
“There isn’t,” Giles said.
“So, you’re telling me that the only way to stop this is to kill my sister?” Buffy asked.
“Yep, that’s pretty much what he said,” Xander said.
“Can’t we just stop the ritual from happening?” Anya asked. “I mean, Glory has to find Dawn first.”
“I love smart women,” Xander said, beaming at his girlfriend.
“Glory still doesn’t know who the key is,” Buffy said. “She pretty much figures its one of us but she doesn’t know who.”
“Yeah, but she’s going to be looking,” Jenny said. “If she was going to pick us off one by one then she knows we’re together by now.”
“We have to get Dawn out of Sunnydale,” Angel said, pacing. “You said that it had to be done at a particular place and time, right?”
“Yes,” Giles said.
“Then we get Dawn out of town until the time has passed,” Buffy said. “Do we know when?”
“A matter of days,” Giles said. “There’s some text that needs to be translated that would give us the time.”
Buffy nodded. “I know. I’m just scared…and tired.”
“It’ll be okay, pet,” Spike said, joining them. “I’ll protect her to the end of the world.”
“What would I do without the two you?” Buffy asked, smiling as she snuggled into their embrace.
“Hopefully, you’ll never need to know,” Angel said, reassuringly as he reached for his ringing cell phone, “Yeah, hello.”
“Angel, its Wesley. Doyle just had a vision and it’s not good. Not good at all.”
To be continued…
Author’s Note: Dialogue was borrowed from the Buffy episode’s Spiral and The Gift.