"Buffy: Nemeses...er Nemesis..." Part XVI...



Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



Summary: Season Eight tale...Buffy faces her worst enemy, courtesy an alternate universe's Warren Mears...



[Suggested main theme..."The Look of Love..."]



Part XVI...



***



New Sunnydale, normal Buffyverse...



It was a dark Dawn who greeted Buffy on her return from Doublemeat and Patrol...



One quick look on older sis' entry had confirmed it...They'd...Had...Sex...No doubt about it...



Geesh...Buffy thought, eyeing her annoyed-looking sis a tad nervously...What the hell?...We're engaged...



The four SITs on hand however were quite supportive...Though equally aware...And curious...



That glow...Unmistakable...



"How's William?..." Lorna, a tall Swedish girl, asked... "Did he perform well?..."



"At the palace of hamburgers, I mean..." she hastily added...



"Assistant Manager Walthrop showed promise..." Buffy grinned...



"Yeah...I'll bet..." Dawn narrowly eyed her sis...



"Didn't you want him to stay the night...?" she glared, more than a slight sneer...



Time enough for that...Buffy glared back...And looked a moment at the wall...The SITs quietly finding reasons to be elsewhere...



"Jesus...Dawn?...What does he hafta do?..." she murmured, finally looking at her as they stood alone... "What more can he do?..." A tear running down her cheek as Dawn stared back...



In any case...You'll have to deal... 'Cause this is happening, whether you like it or not...she gave a cold glance...



"But...Maybe you're right, sis..." she smiled sweetly at Dawn...



"I should have him move into the basement here for now...Until we leave...Get us some living together practice and start a routine regarding his "special needs" and all..."



Funny...Dawn nodded grimly...Hilarious...



"Maybe when you hit LA you two should invite Dru to your wedding instead of destroying her...She's your mother-in-law, right?..."



"We haven't said we'll be destroying her..." Buffy paused... "He wants to try and save her, maybe restore her soul too...And then see what human Dru wants..."



Lovely...Dawn looked away...What a guy...she looked at the picture of Joyce on the coffee table...



"Wouldn't Mom be proud...?"



"Yes..." Buffy nodded... "She'd be very proud to have a man like William for a son..."



She grabbed Dawn and turned her around... "Damn you!..." she hissed... "He's a man again!...Who saved your life!...And mine..."



"Don't you have any understanding of what he's been through?...The life he's lost...Dawn?...You saw...You saw him...Fighting to break through...Trying to beat Spike back the moment the chip gave him the chance..."



Dawn shrugged her off...Standing away from her, silent...Finally...



"You don't owe him this much, Buffy..." she looked down... "Not your whole life thrown away on him..."



Dawn...



"Not your whole life, Buffy...This isn't compassion...This is just crazy..."



"It's not...Compassion...You're righter there than you know..." she replied, sighing...



"He saw the dawn for the first time in a century today..." Buffy eyed her... "With me at his side...And I thought...Oh, God...To see him alive again...Like this...A man again..."



"I've saved him...I have saved him at last...That's what I thought..."



"It's not your job to take care of him..." Dawn began...



No...You're right about that...Buffy nodded...That's where I went wrong...Somehow...Once...



I can't take care of him...Protect him...By myself...



"It's our job...His and mine...To take care of each other..." she looked at her sis...



"That's why he stayed here...And why I came back...I know that now..."



And I won't let anyone...Not even you, Dawn...Keep us apart...



"Why?..." Dawn stared at her... "How can he be the one you want?...After Angel...Riley...? How can you say Spike...Is the..."



Not Spike...Buffy replied, shaking her head...William...William...Soames Walthrop is the man I love...And am going to keep with me...And marry...And why?...she paused...



"Because...Somehow...I know he is...That he's always been...And..."



Because I live to see him smile...she smiled wanly at Dawn...



***



Alternate Earth, alternate Mears' underground lair near the Mears Corporation...The present...



Nemesis and alternate William confronted the leering Dr. Warren Mears, protectively surrounded as he sat at his large desk by his devoted Katrinas, his few prototype Buffy Hunters, glancing rather apologetically at their William, and his own clone Warren, smirking in true Mears style...



"Well..." Mears eyed them... "We have a deal or no?..."



"A deal?..." Nemesis smiled at him... "You and I?...Why, Papa?..Your lil' girl is hurt...Our relationship goes so deep...According to you, at least..."



He sighed at her...A bit nervous, in the back of his eyes, Will noticed, but all-in-all rather cool and calm for dear ole Mearsy...His time on the run had improved him...Unless...



Nope, same ole Warren smell...The real thing...



"Doesn't anyone appreciate the gift of life anymore?..." Mears shook his head, leaning back...



"Not when it comes with the package deal you offered...Papa..." Nemesis replied coldly...



"Pretty nice package if you ask me..." he leered at her...



"Warren...Lets not mar this little family reunion with your losing your head...Lit... Let... (Literally?...William suggested...Thanks, she nodded...)" she gently smiled...



"I think we should get down to business...There's not much time..." William noted...



"That's my practical poet..." she beamed at him...And turned back to Warren with a sudden cold glare...Well...?



"Alright..." Warren nodded carefully... "You want access to my Gateway portal...And the new Earth I've located..."



"And you get the you in me out!...Fix whatever you did to me!..." Nemesis insisted harshly...



Oh?...He stared at her...His guards eyeing her carefully, the Katrinas and Hunters tensing for an attack...He waved them down...Just a mo, girls...And guy...He eyed his personal clone rather paternally...At least one of his more independent offspring appreciated dear ole 'Dad'...



"That's about the size of it, Warren..." Will nodded... "Now can you deliver the goods?...Or shall I step outside while you and your little girl have a heart-to-heart...?"



Nemesis beamed...



"We haven't discussed my share of the benefits in this arrangement, Walthrop..." Warren noted...



Please...Will politely waved at him...Nemesis likewise giving him an attentively sweet look...Which took a little of the calm poise out of Dr. Mears as he stared back at her...Lots more terrifying somehow...



"Well then..." he struggled a bit for a second...



"Safe passage for me as well to new Earth...A guarantee that I'll be left alone there...Alive..." he hastily added...Nemesis being of a precise bent of mind... "And unbothered by either of you..."



"After you take care of me..." Nemesis looked at him...



"If we do it there...I'll have to bring equipment..." Warren noted cautiously... "I don't believe new Earth has our level of genetic technology as yet...Or it didn't when I probed it before..."



"Is that a problem?..." William stared...



"Only if you don't mind dragging a couple of crates of stuff around...And finding a lab to work in..."



"We'll find a place...And we can handle your junk..." Nemesis looked at Will...



"Wouldn't it be better to do it here...?" he looked back...



"Mmmn...I don't think so, Will..." she shook her head... "It's not that I don't trust my 'dad' here..." she smiled at Warren... "But if I'm Buffy again...Completely...I might have trouble dealing with him...Properly...If he crosses us..."



And there's the gang...Willow especially...To think about...They'll try to stop us...Probably are on it now...At the very least, Xander's ready for us at the Corporation...



"I just don't think we could convince them...At least her anyway...That I'm back to my ole self in time...And I don't intend for us to die now...Not now...Not even if I believed we owed them for what I've done..."



William stared at her...Suffer a sea change...Into something rich and strange...The quote drifted across his mind...



God...What have I done to her...?



She shrugged... "For the moment, this Buffy needs her hard edge..."



Her "Warren" edge, Mears...And his clone, naturally...Both thought smugly...



"I can repent at leisure on new Earth when Warren straightens me out..." she grinned at him... "It'll work out, Will..." she patted him...Reassurance, but a hardness in her voice...



"Have you thought about that, Buffy...?" he stared at her... "About how you'll feel about all that's happened when...If..." he glared at Warren, watching them carefully... "Ole Mearsy can "fix" things for you...?"



"I'll be sorry..." she nodded... "Hey, I am sorry now about Tara and Anya...But..." she turned cold...



I'll deal...



"Just like they did when they let him..." she glanced at Mears... "Have me to play with..."



And didn't try to stop him...Like you did, love... she hastily added, seeing Will's stricken face...



" 'Sides...You've managed to deal...Since we've been back together..." she noted...



He looked away a moment...Oh...She nervously bit a lip...



"I didn't mean anything by that, William..."



He shook an upraised hand at her gently...



"I know..."



"You're a good man, Will...You haven't changed...You're just trying to help me...Get back..." she twisted her hands nervously...



Right, Warren?...she bizarrely turned to the only other person who could be appealed to...Her slightly pleading look quite sincere...



"Yeah...sure..." he stared at them... Geesh...All this grousing over her just doin' what comes naturally...



Some people just can't appreciate the blessings bestowed on them...



"Don't be hurt, William...I didn't mean to hurt you..." she pleaded...Putting a hand on his shoulder...



He looked her squarely in the face...Buffy smiling at him...My poor lost Buffy...he thought...



And something else...Horrible...With her there...



But who better than he to know that such a thing could be overcome...The monster driven back...Surely if he could be saved after a century with Spike...?



But...



"And...What if Warren can't help you...Make you Buffy again...Completely...?"



"His life depends on it..." she told him, not looking at Mears...



"Sorry, no threat intended...For now, girls..." she eyed the guardian clones about him...Who'd tensed again...



And boy...she smiled at the Warren clone...



Anyway...She turned back to Will...



"If he can't do it...I'll make do...It'll be another Earth... A chance to start all over with the guys and all...I'll be Buffy there, even if he can't 'fix' me...I promise, Will..."



Just so long as you promise...You'll stay with me...she looked him full in the eyes...



Warren eyed his clone...Who rolled his eyes...



"You got something to say...Pops...?" Nemesis glared at him...



"Me?...Nah...I'm a sucker for a story of true love, Buffy..." Mears smiled thinly..."But our Mr. Walthrop is right...Time's awasting...Your friends are probably on their way...What do you want to do?..."



"I want...To tear your head off, Warren..." she beamed at him...The clones now moving to defend...



"But...I want William...And my old life back...More..." she backed off...Hands upraised...



The clones settled down...The Hunters looking at her a tad reproachfully...



Will?...she turned to him...



"Will you come?...I'll do my best, I swear..."



"I have to come, Buffy..." he shook his head... "There's no place else for me but with you..."



She nodded slowly...Then turned to the waiting Mears...



"We have a deal, Warren..."



"In that case...Practicalities..." he smiled at the lovebirds...A proud papa giving his blessing...



"Your department, Walthrop...How do we get into my lab?..." he rubbed his chin, staring at William... "And keep your Hunters and friends off our backs...?"



Not to mention...The whole place has been wired to blow to kingdom come...A simple microwave transmission could set it all off...



"Giles' idea, I'd bet..." Nemesis smiled wanly...



Rel...Real...(Relatively?...Warren asked politely...Yeah...she narrowly glared) painless...At least compared to what Willow would do to me...



"But Will and I expected that...And we have some ideas..." she looked at Warren...



Leave it to us...Pops...she smiled...



"We just need a little few details about the main lab's layout...And there's one thing we need to borrow from you..."



***



Alternate Earth, the Mears Corporation, main foyer security area...



Xander waited by the master security desk, watching several of the bank of cameras and internal building sensors...With two of the five Hunters remaining in the complex back from their patrol of the building, standing next to him...All but them...And a handful of Council/Corporation security personnel pulled out...



"Xander?..." one Hunter politely asked, waiting...He turned to her...



"The temperature sensors in level five, corridor A just triggered..."



He looked...A flash of red lights...Then black...One camera showed a blurry flash then dead...Along with several others in the corridor...



Nemesis...



"Xander...?!...William?..." the Hunter pointed to another camera...From far up corridor C of level five...Just turned to try and catch a glimpse where A corridor merged...



A distant, faint view of...Will?...At the far opposite end...He turned away and disappeared from the camera, hurrying...



Following her, Xander sighed...



Sensors and cameras went dead over a large section of level 4...She must've smashed the emergency power line as well as the main...On Warren's advice, most likely...



They were now both in the building...Probably Mears as well...



It was time...



"Buffy...Call your sisters and tell them we're evacuating...Now..." Xander turned to the first Hunter...



"I don't think so, Xan..." William called from the hall...Between the security desk and the front exit...Nemesis beside him with two human Council guards in her grip...



Xander whirled round...The Hunters at his side in defense mode...



Came by the air ducts...After she patched in a phony feed to the cameras and sensors...Will explained...Courtesy of ole Warren's schematic files...And my knowledge of the place...



"Hey, Xander..." Nemesis smiled to him...



***



"Buffy: Nemeses...er Nemesis..." Part XVII...



Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



Summary: Season Eight tale...Buffy faces her worst enemy, courtesy an alternate universe's Warren Mears...









Part XVII...



Alternate Earth...The Mears Corporation...Main foyer security area...



Xander and his Hunters and several human security personnel faced the newly arrived Nemesis and William...She holding two human prisoners...



"Will?..." he eyed Walthrop... "You're helping her now?...After all she's done...?"



"What I have done...?" she stared at him...But stopped as William interrupted...



"You knew what I was about when I left you and Dawn, Xan...Don't lets play games...You know I'm sorry to let you lot down but she's all I have left of Buffy...And there it is..."



Lets keep this sociable, my friend...he continued...



"You and your ladies and the rest head out...Now...And we'll be on our way...There'll be no more trouble..."



Minus your remote for the bombs round here, of course...he noted...Nemesis nodding with a smile...Yeah...



"Please...Xander..." he finished...A honest plea in his eyes... "We don't want to hurt you or anyone else..."



Well...he eyed Nemesis... "I don't want to hurt you...And she's promised me, if it can be avoided..."



"I don't want to hurt you, Xander..." she chimed in...



"Pledge of good faith, Xan..." William motioned to Nemesis who released one of her humans...Who ran for the front door behind them...



Xander was quiet...Thoughtfully watching...One hand to his face...



"Will..." he sighed... "What do you expect me to do...?...You know I can't just let you two go..."



As he managed to lower his other arm and reach his hand down to his emergency beeper, signaling the other Hunters on patrol in the building...And triggering an alert to the Council offices in London...



He rubbed his chin and looked at them...Nemesis smiling gently, never more Buffy...Holding the remaining guard firmly...



"You must know I can blow this place before even you two could reach me..." he noted to Will...Who nodded...



"The reason you're not already being escorted out the door by her...In one piece..." William replied...



"Is it so much to ask, Harris?...Just give us a chance...We'll be gone..."



"And she'll be off to tear somebody else's world apart?..." he eyed Nemesis who frowned a little...



Xander?...her irritated glare said...



"She's promised to try and control herself...In the new place...Mears has agreed to try and help..." Will told him...She nodding slightly...Yeah...



"And you believe her...And Warren Mears...?" Xander stared...Playing for time...



"I believe she wants to try...And I want to give her the chance...She has a soul, Xander...Buffy's soul is there...Fighting..."



"I can't take that chance, Will...Not after what's happened here...And we've been over this before as to helping her...Willow and Giles were sure no changes could be made..."



"Mears has been able to make alterations in his own..." Will began...



Two Hunters emerged from a rear stairwell, a third from down the hall...



"Hold it, ladies!..." William called to them...They halted...Eyeing Xander for orders...



"Xander, call them off...They can't fight her in any case...And they're pre-trained to follow my orders...You can't have gotten all that out of them so quickly...It won't be pretty if you try to use them..."



"Wait...All of you..." Xander told them...



William pulled a cell phone...Punching it...



"Warren?...How goes it...?"



He listened and hung up...Turning to Nemesis who waited expectantly...



"We'd best go down...He's in and ready to start setting things up...Wouldn't want him to leave without us..."



She nodded...



"Will...?" Xander called to him... "I will blow the place if you go back down..."



"Not from here, Xan..." Will smiled at him...



"Ole Warren's found your frequency, thanks to that signal to England you just put out...He's jamming your transmitter...You want to blow the place, you'll have to set the individual timers...Which oughta take you about an hour on the upper levels...If you're wise enough to avoid the ones where we are..."



"Lets go, pet..." he smiled at Nemesis who nodded...



"Bye, Xander..." she waved... "Give my best to Willow, Dawn, and Giles..."



They moved to the side of the hall, a stairwell down...She dragging her remaining prisoner...



"Don't do this, Will...For Dawn's sake..." Xander called to him...



"I can't help it, Xan...Tell the Nibs..." he began...Pushing the door open and holding it for Nemesis who passed him...Still dragging the guard... "Tell her someday...Maybe she'll understand..."



"She does..." Xander eyed him...



Will paused, a grateful look back...Thanks, his faint smile said...



"Send this hell-hole to kingdom come, Harris..." William called back to him... "Even if we don't make it...Don't let anyone try to do this to her again..." he hurried through the door...



Xander stared at his transmitter...Probably true but...He pressed the emergency transmit test...Nothing...



"Try reaching Vice-Chairman Giles...Tell him what's up and patch him though to me asap..." he turned to another human guard...



"Come on ladies, we have some work to do..." he turned to the Hunters...Who gathered round him...



***









"Oh...Warren...It's wonderful..." A Katrina beamed at alternate Earth's "savior" in response to his rather loaded... "Isn't it something...Girls...?" as he fired up the first test of the Gateway main ring...In appearance a series of large flat metallic hoops stacked in sequence parallel to the ground...Around which a rather eerie internal lightening display was now playing...



Of course it was unfortunate that one had to fall through the main ring to the destination point...Particularly when a slight deviation in coordinates could put one say, 10,000 feet above the surface of the destination world...But gravity was an essential component in the interdimensional portal...



Hmmn...He frowned at the group of duly awed Katrinas and two Hunter prototypes...Only his dear clone offspring displaying an ability to independently appreciate his handiwork...



Nice...Clone Warren sniffed...You've improved the harmonic oscillation of the individual EM fields...But you're a long way from the finish, ole pal...



"At this rate you better hope our partners come through...Or we'll all be making an exit shortly...In one big massed ball..." he noted...



Our Nemy will deal...Warren eyed his counterpart...Have a lil' faith...



"And how's about getting off your ass and helping me here...For the sake of our Mearsian line..."



"Lucky for you, you're the Original, schmuck..." clone Warren sneered at him, the Katrinas duly horrified...But set to work...



The Mears line must be preserved, after all...



And it was always possible dear ole 'Dad' wouldn't survive to make it to the great leave-taking...Forcing dear ole descendant Warren-4 to shoulder the responsibility of carrying the Mears name and genes on...



***



"Xander?..." The face of Vice-Chairman Giles on secure portable videophone...



"Hi, Giles..." he sighed... "Things aren't going so well here...We did get Warren's stuff out and most of the Hunters are taking it to LA for destruction..."



But...he frowned...



"Will and Nemesis..." Giles finished...



"Yeah...They're here...With Warren...And they've blocked my signal...I can't detonate remotely..."



"Do you need help?...Should I call Willow in and have her do a teleport?..."



No...Xander shook his head at the screen...Not Willow...Not yet, anyway...



"She'd kill herself as well as them in her present state, Giles...No...We're resetting the charge timers manually...When half the level 2 timers are running, that should be enough to set off the rest...Then the whole place will go..."



"That'll take an hour at least...To reach all of them..." Giles noted..."They'll be off-world by then..."



Xander paused...



"Xander...They mustn't leave our world...Nemesis can't be allowed to wreak havoc on another Earth in Buffy's form, using her name...We can't take that chance, for Buffy's sake at least..."



Yeah...I know...he replied...



"There's one other option...We'll have to get down to level 4 and set the timers or disrupt Warren's jammer..."



"I always wanted to try a teleport spell, Giles..." he smiled at the viewscreen... "Even if you and Willow never had much faith in my magics ability..."



"Xander..." Giles stared at him... "I'll come...I'll do it..."



No...Xander shook his head...Not all the way from England to a lab four levels underground...



"I love ya like a dad, Rupert...But you don't have that much power and even if ya could get access to it in time..." he paused, grinning... "You couldn't hit a dart board from ten feet away..."



"You'd wind up half-embedded in the basement floor...And I won't let Willow destroy herself...Not unless we fail and there's no other way..."



He paused...Giles hastily grabbed the chance...



"Dawn needs you, Xander...You're all she has left, really..."



"I'll try to get out, Giles...Maybe even get Will somehow...But if I don't make it...Willow will get over things in time...You'll be there...Dawny will be fine..."



I can't let this go on, Giles...I failed Buffy once...he sighed...



"I have to try this time...For her sake...And An's..."



"All right..." Giles nodded... "But I will come as soon as I can..."



"Thanks...Rupert..." Xander smiled... "Better let me get a recorder...You know me and spells..." he grinned...



***



New Sunnydale, normal Buffyverse...Xander Harris' apartment...



Xander sat, clutching a mug of the vile stuff he chose to call coffee, at his kitchen table...William having finished preparing his own favorite tea, came over and took a chair...



"I guess...It would be fair to say..." William paused, eyeing his roomie... "You have a few issues with what's been going on with Summers and me..."



Issues?...Xander blinked at him...You thing from Hell...You mass murderer...



You lucky bastard...he sighed inwardly...



You one bright spot in my poor Buffy's miserable life these past two years...Damn...



God...I had to have been there that time she was invisible...Seen her so happy with you, she didn't even try to conceal it...



Beyond the being invisible and all...



Even if I did block the whole thing out then...And for weeks afterward...



Much as I wanna stake you here and now...Soul or no...I've seen you make her happy...Damn...



"Nah..." he looked up at the Slayer's intended...



"If Buffy's happy that's all I care about..."



Of course...The second she's no longer happy...



"I dust..." Will finished, grinning...



"Absolutely..." Xander nodded...



He put down his cup...Looking at a picture of Anya on the refrigerator...



"I know what you've been though, William...I'm trying to understand...I want to...But you hafta understand...It ain't easy...Even with all you've done for her and us...Soul or no soul..."



"I'm sitting with the blood of more than 40,000 people on my hands, Harris...I can see where there might be some reservations on your part..."



You being the good brother and all...he smiled...



"On the other hand...You're a good choice from a practical pov...You can fight with her...You know as much or more than Giles at least about some of the supernatural mumbo-jumbo...You'll be in good health and able to protect her when she's ill or getting up there..." Xander eyed him carefully...



"And she hasn't been this happy since Joyce died...For that alone, I've held my stake...Even when I thought you might be acting for the First..."



"Glad to know you've grown a brain, Harris...Try and keep it up..." Will grinned...



"She needs you...Always will...Whatever I come to mean to her...She'll always need her brother..." he gave him a wry smile...



"So will I, at that..."



Xander blinked a bit...



"In fact...Xander..." Will began carefully...



"Oh...No..." Xander waved a hand...



"What?..." William looked at him...



"I'm not donating any sperm...Not even for Buffy..." he showed a set and resolute face as he sat...



Sperm?...



"Hell, lad...I wanted to ask you to be my bloody Best Man...Where the hell did you get that damned fool idea in your head...?"



Freudian slip, big-time, eh...Big Brother...? he grinned at the crimsoning Xander...



"Course, Xan...Whereas Buf and I aren't legal yet...I could speak to her...I'm an open-minded sort...And I'm sure she'd be happy to help you get over this little problem...Release all that tension, so to speak..."



Jesus!...Xander jumped...Spike!...What the hell!?...



"You're marrying her!...For Christ...." he paused, staring...As Will grinned...



"Kinda settling in there, at last...Isn't it...?"



Now as to the bachelor party...Ole pal...



The Brooding One's a definite must invite...he grinned...



Angel...? Hmmn...Now there's an interesting picture...



"Absolutely...Wouldn't have it any other way..." Xander grinned back...



***





Alternate Earth...Underground lab level of the Mears Corporation...



William and Nemesis paused after opening the stairwell door to the level four lab complex...Now minus the other guard, safely released...Not far from where Warren and his clone, surrounded by a group of Katrinas and prototype Hunters, were hard at work...



"We'd best cover the corridor separately..." Will noted... "I'll look in on ole War and co...You cover the other half...Then lets try the third level..."



You're ready for Xander?...You can handle it?...he eyed her...She nodded...Yeah...No problem...She hesitated...



"Ok...William...?" Nemesis looked at him...



"It will be ok, right?..." she paused...



Yeah...he nodded...Taking and squeezing her hand...



"It will turn out right in the end, Buffy...That I can swear...At least in Eternity, it will all turn out right...Love..."



She nodded and hurried down the hall...



***



Well...? Xander struggled to his feet...The four Hunters likewise a bit dazed...



In one piece, on level three...Not too shabby for one's first teleport spell, he thought...



"You ok, ladies...?...Check your gear?...Ready to use it?..."



Yeah, Xander...In chorus, beaming...All four as well as himself well-armed, including reasonably powerful hand grenades...



"All right, then..."



They made their way cautiously to the main stairwell...And began descending...The Hunters watching every conceivable attack point...And him...



A door opened at the level four exit...William...He looked up to them...Shook his head and closed the door, locking it...



"Buffy?...The door, please open it..." Xander eyed the Hunter nearest the door...Who hurried down and smashed at it...It popped open and they raced through...



"Stop!..." Will called to them...Four Katrinas at his side...Armed...



From the lab ahead, Xander could see flashes of playing light...Warren and his Gateway, no doubt...



And a stand-alone console just outside that lab...With readouts, well lit...The remote transit control...Just as Giles had described it to him...



The clone Mears and three more Katrinas emerged from the lab...Taking in the situation quickly, he moved to the protection of the Katrinas...









"Walthrop!...The console!..." he shouted, pointing...



"Buffy..." Xander turned to the nearest Hunter, pointing at the control console... "Destroy that..."



The Hunter dutifully pulled a grenade...And threw...A Katrina smashed it back down the lab corridor...It exploded, shaking the corridor...Knocking most of the clones and Xander to the ground...William gripping to the wall next to him...



A loud shout from within the lab...Damn!...Walthrop!?...What the hell!!!?...Warren's voice, Xander recognized as he was helped up...The Hunters keeping him their top priority, ignored the console for a moment...



"Go back, Harris!..." William shouted to him... "For the last time...And before she catches you..." More Katrinas and a Hunter emerged from the lab doorway...



Xander's Hunters moved to defend him...But eyed William with some confusion...



"Ladies...Take Mr. Harris to surface...He's in danger..." Will told them sternly...



They eyed Xander...



"That console..." he tried again, pointing...



The Katrinas round William and now the console as well, pulled sub-machine guns... "Wait..." he called to them...



"Harris...?"



"We hafta go to surface, Xander..." one of his Hunters noted...



William says to...



"William is in violation of Council directives, Buffy..." Xander told her...



A trigger-happy Katrina fired...



"Damn you!!..." Will screamed... "Stop that...!!"



One of Xander's Hunters staggered and collapsed...



"Go back!!!...Now!!..." Will yelled to Xander...



"Xander!?..." one of the Hunters stared at him...The others still looking at their dying sister...



"Back...Go back..." he waved to them...And closed the door...



Will waved the others to hold their positions and rushed over to the fallen Hunter...Still shaking in her death throes...



"Buffy..." he knelt beside her...



"I'm here, dear heart..." he took the Hunter's hand as she whimpered in pain...William...? she whispered...



"It's all right, Buffy...William is here...Always..." he stroked her hair as she died...Breathing his name...



***



"What should we do, Xander...?" one of the Hunters stared at him in the stairwell where he'd paused to write down the numbers he'd seen on the console...The new Earth coordinates, very likely...



"Back to level three...Hurry..." he told the two...



They hastened up the stairs and emerged...He stopped and tore off the strip of paper he'd written the coordinates down on...



"One of you has to get this..." he began...



"Xander!?..." one of the Hunters pointed...



"Hi, Big Brother..." Nemesis grinned at him...Moving carefully down from an office door...



Nemesis...He nodded...



"Buffy..." she frowned at him... "Don't ever call me anything but..."



And here I was...Glad to see ya again...



He stared at her...Grenade in hand...



"But...You're still upset about Anya, I suppose..." she sighed...



I didn't want to hurt her, you know...



"Can't you guys see how I feel about all this?..."



Yeah...he nodded...And threw the grenade...



She dodged nimbly and swatted it back at him...Before it could detonate...



But the Hunters now raced to his aid...One throwing him down and covering him...One taking a defensive position in front of him...The other grabbing and slam-dunking the grenade back at Nemesis...



She stared and reared back...But just this once, not quite fast enough...



The detonation caught her full in the face, blowing her body back across the lab...Instantly killing the other Hunter who'd caught and thrown the bomb as well...



***



"Buffy: Nemeses...er Nemesis..." Part XVIII...



Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



Summary: Season Eight tale...Buffy faces her worst enemy, courtesy an alternate universe's Warren Mears...





Part XVIII...



Nemesis lay still...The remaining Hunters standing by her, lifting her arms and turning her over...Both having insisted Xander stay back and call for more assistance...



No good, he noted, after trying his phone...Jammed...



"I've got to stay til this is done, Buffy..." he noted... "But one of you should go...Tell the others to leave as soon as their timers are set..."



"Xander...?" they eyed him...



"I'll leave as soon as I can...Thanks..."



"Buffy H-34 is smarter..." Buffy H-14 noted... "She should go..."



"Right..." he nodded...



"I'll be back...ASAP..." Buffy H-34 agreed... "Take care of Xander, Buffy..." she headed for the stairs...



He came towards the heap by Buffy H-14...



"I think she's dead, Xander..." she called to him...He turned to the third Hunter, sprawled on the floor...No chance, he saw immediately...



Poor Buffy...the surviving Hunter sighed, turning Nemesis over...Oh...She backed away as she saw the blasted face...She turned and vomited suddenly...



He moved carefully over to them...



"I'm sorry Buffy...Are you alright?..." he turned to the Hunter who nodded wanly...



Sorry...she shook her head...



She's all gone...the Hunter stared at him...Oh...She looked back at her Hunter "sister"...Gone as well...



"It's all right, Buffy..." he patted her...



"Do you need to go to the bathroom?..." he asked her gently... "Or call one of your sisters...?"



No...I'm ok...she shook her head...I wanna stay and watch out for you, Xander...



A buzz from his phone...Interference must be lifting, he noted...Buffy H-14 nodding in agreement, though cluelessly...



Ok...he smiled at her...And pulled out his cell phone...



"Xander?..." a Hunter's voice... "This is Buffy H-17 at the main desk..."



"Are you alright?..."



Yeah...he told her...



"But how did you reach me?..."



"Giles is on the other line...He can tell you..." the Hunter paused, Giles came on...



"Xander...? We've found a frequency Mears isn't blocking yet...Are you in range of her...And the others...?"



Yeah, Giles...he sighed...Looking sadly at Nemesis' shattered body for a second...



"I'm... "In range..."..."



We got her...he explained...A grenade in the face...How're they doing with the charges...?



A pause on the phone...



"Giles...?"



"Twenty minutes, Dobson claims..." the Vice-Chairman's voice was steady...



"She didn't suffer...Giles..."



"I only wish that were true, Xander..." a quiet reply...



"All right...We can finish up here...I can set the remaining charges with my transmitter after I set the new frequency...Tell the others to get moving...Don't wait for us..."



"Set them for fifteen minutes, no less...And you get moving too, Mr. Harris..." Giles ordered...



"In a mo..."



"Will won't come, Xander...He'll stay with her...Dead or alive..."



"Gotta give it one try, Rupert..." he switched back to an anxious Buffy H17...



"Buffy...Tell your sister Buffy H-34 when she reaches you not to come back down, just go with you...Then both of you leave..."



"But...?" Buffy H-17 asked...Rather anxiously...



"I'll be along in a moment..." he replied... "I'm alright...And Buffy H-14 is with me..."



Just one last thing to do...For all of you, Buffy...he thought...Staring at the Hunter...



"Come on, Buffy..." he patted her as she looked again at Nemesis...



Poor Buffy...she sighed, turning to him...



"Was she very bad?..."



No...he shook his head...



"Just lost...And confused...We were the ones who were bad..."



She stared at him...



"I don't understand, Xander...I'm sorry..."



I know...he nodded...



"And I'm sorry for that...My Buffy..."



He pulled out his microwave transmitter...Time to put an end to this...Or at least start to...He set Giles' frequency and began entering the timer codes...Moving along the hall back towards the stairwell with Buffy H-14 in tow...



"Isn't William coming with us...?" the Hunter asked suddenly as they reached the entrance to part of the upper lab complex...



"I'll try to call him as soon as I finish this..." he replied kindly...



"I hope he'll come..."



All the level's charge timers were now open on his transmitter...Just a matter of entering the time desired and starting countdown...He paused...And reached for his cell phone...



"Press redial on this number, Buffy...Please...?" he handed it to her...



Give it to me if Will answers...She pressed redial as he continued entering timer settings...



"William...? This is Buffy...Xander wants to talk to you..."



Here...She offered the phone...



And grabbed the transmitter from his other hand in a rush...He stared at her...



Nemesis...he realized...



That other, no doubt one of Mears' better prototypes...



He was down before he could reach for his stun gun...Which Nemesis threw across the room as she tossed him back against the near hallway wall...She hastily rekeyed the timer instructions she'd watched him enter...



Big words might be an occasional problem, courtesy Warren's charming sense of humor...But there was nothing wrong with her ability to memorize at a glance...



"William?...Xander's charges are set to go in thirty minutes starting...Now...Be ready for me..." she hung up and turned to face him...



He lay on the floor, struggling oddly...As if he couldn't quite get his legs to work, she noted to herself...A brief wave of remorse swept over her...My poor Xander...Just doin' his duty, as always...



Like when he agreed to...Her features hardening...



Up...she moved on him... "Get up..."



He raised himself on his arms to look at her...But the pain of the effort overwhelmed him and his head fell back as he groaned...



"Xander?..." she gasped... "Are you alright?..."



It wasn't so much the pain that made the tears run a bit...As the genuineness of the concern in her voice as he stared up at her...



"I can't move..." he sighed...



"My back must be broken..."



"I'll help you..." she gently cradled and lifted him, as he made the briefest of efforts to resist, then fainted...



She carried him as carefully as she could down to an open room...And brought him in...Still unconscious...



Moving back away...She looked him over silently...Then looked at a scrap of paper in her hands...From his pocket...Taken out by her along with everything else he'd had there...



The new Earth coordinate settings...she realized...Sighing...



***



She dragged him over to the wall, resting him carefully against it, propping his useless legs to support him in a sitting position...Moving back swiftly, she took a quick look out the door as he opened his eyes and tried to fumble through his pockets for anything...Cell phone, dart gun, microwave transmitter, pistol...Stake...All removed by her as she'd carried him over...She came back in and shook her head at him...



Xander...she sighed...



"You won't find anything and you'll hurt yourself trying to move around like that...Lie still..."



"They'll find you pretty quickly after we leave..." she smiled... "And they can do wonderful things with neurogenetic repair these days..."



I oughta know...she grinned...



"You didn't use to be a liar, Buffy..." he sighed at her...As she came over close to him and knelt beside him...



Really...? Nemesis stared at him...Her eyes looking into his, but hooded somehow...Her expression unfathomable...Then, she smiled, an old, warm Buffy smile...The kind that used to make it all worthwhile for him...



"Actually, Xander...Just between us, Big Brother...I did do my share of lying in my day, back in the before time...But it's neat that you think of me that way...A girl likes to be put on a pedestal every now and then...And you always did..." she patted him...



"I do want you to know...I would've let you go...If you hadn't seen the coordinates for the new Earth...But I can't let you tell Giles or Willow, you know that...And I know you'd feel you had to tell them..." she gave a stare somehow harsh and gentle at the same time...



I know that, he nodded...Looking her full in the face...



"And I think...You'd be happier with Anya...Right?"



"If she'd still have me...Yes..."



Nemesis beamed...Xander...She took his hand in hers...



"She's waiting for you in Heaven...I'm sure of it...'Less she decided she'd better come back to keep an eye on you, like I did for Will...But it's too soon for that I think..."



"I'm sorry Xander..." she paused..."But I'll be good to your counterpart and his Anya on new Earth...I'll fight off what Warren did to me...And I'll be their Buffy again, keeping them safe...I promise you...On my mom's soul..."



"I hope..." he paused, staring at her... "I hope you find what you're looking for, Buffy...God knows we gave you little enough...And the blame is ours..."



She patted him again...Gotta get moving...she smiled at him...



I forgive you, Xander...she told him quietly...Giving him a brief kiss, she killed him with a quick snap of his neck and his body slipped back onto the floor...



She pulled his head into her lap, stroking his hair...



"Tell Anya...I'm sorry...And I do love you...Always...Brother..." she gave him a last kiss on the lips, laid his head gently back down, and rising, left quickly through the hallway door...



Stopping for one last moment...She turned back to him...



"I promise..." she breathed to him...Turned and hurried back down the corridor...



***



"Buffy: Nemeses...er Nemesis..." Part XIX...



Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html



Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



Summary: Season Eight tale...Buffy faces her worst enemy, courtesy an alternate universe's Warren Mears...



Part XIX...



***



New Sunnydale, normal Buffyverse...The Magic Box next day...



"somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond



any experience,your eyes have their silence:



in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,



or which i cannot touch because they are too near



your slightest look easily will unclose me



though i have closed myself as fingers,



you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens



(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose



or if your wish be to close me,i and



my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,



as when the heart of this flower imagines



the snow carefully everywhere descending;



nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals



the power of your intense fragility: whose texture



compels me with the color of its countries,



rendering death and forever with each breathing



(i do not know what it is about you that closes



and opens; only something in me understands



the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)



nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands" [ee cummings]









Buffy gave a sheepish look as William grinned at her...Glasses perched on the edge of his nose as he stood by the counter of the Magic Box, decked out in the new suit she'd bought him during her shopping spree the other day...



He closed the book... "Not as good as yours the other night..." he began...



"But I couldn't begin to come close to it myself..."



"Knock it off, honey..." she frowned... "So...You knew ee cummings...?" she eyed him...



Yeah...he nodded...



"Spike had lots of time on his hands days in his crypts...And we occasionally managed to calm the ole murder lust enough to get in a little quiet reading..."



"And you knew I didn't write that poem...?" she sighed...



Yeah...But...



"I know it's the poem you would've written if you could've..." he beamed at her... "Your guilty secret's safe with me...Though I'm afraid Red and Giles knew..."



She looked away...



"I never looked up poems for any other guy..." she offered...



"Will you read the other one?...In front of Angel when we visit them while we're in LA?..." he grinned...



Absolutely...she grinned back...



"Then I am content...Dearest..." he beamed...



"Though it'll probably be lost on him..." she noted... "For an Irishman, he's not really the poetic type..."



***



Kennedy entered the shop...Willow on arm...



"How'd the buying expedition go...?" Buffy called...



They looked at each other...Oh, yeah...There was a practical reason we were out together for four hours...



"Eh..." Willow shrugged... "Those guys just had kids' trinkets...A coupla of idols conferring a little temporary shape-shifting ability, a love potion that makes you smell like garbage for days when it wears off...I coulda had Jonathan check them out..."



But...She eyed her companion...Wouldn't've been as much fun for him...Goin' and comin'...she grinned...



"Ummn...I mean..." she eyed Buffy and William as they smiled at her... "We're together...A couple...You understand, right?..."



Kennedy looked a bit... C'mon Rosenberg



"Yeah..." Buffy nodded... "We've been getting that...But...Congrats..." she smiled at Kennedy...



Ya couldn't get a nicer girl...



Absolutely...William chimed in...



Giles looked out from his office...Ah, Willow...



"All right, Buffy...William...If you and Willow would step in a moment..." he waved to them...



Hmmn?...Willow looked at them...



"Just some business to settle, Wil..." Buffy explained... "If you're ok with it...As Giles' new partner and all..."



Oh...?



"Kennedy...?" Buffy turned to her...



"You mind watching the counter ten minutes or so...?...We won't be long..."



Ummn...?...Kennedy eyed Willow who shrugged...



"No...No problem..." she went over...Willow following...Be right there...she waved to Buffy as the Slayer and her intended went into Giles' office...



Willow...Kennedy was hissing...How the hell does this register work?...I never had a job in my life...



"My sheltered lamby..." Willow teased, clucking as she gave a quick lesson...And reminded her girl to serve customers, not order them around...



"What's up in there...?...Some new Drusilla battle plan?...Or somebody new in town?..." Kennedy looked at Giles' door...



"I dunno know...God, I hope it's just Dru...I was counting on a break with Firsty gone...We sure earned it..."



She headed over...And entered...



Giles at his desk...Looking rather...Chairmanlike?...Ummn...No...Actually rather...



Businesslike...



"Willow...? Any objections to the future Walthrops signing on as permanent employees...?...Will needs to be here as Buffy's Watcher in any case..."



I'd only be part-time of course myself...Buffy noted...



"I'm hoping to keep on with the counseling and all...Even if they don't need me to kill anything at the school for a while..."



Well...Willow grinned a bit...



"Mr. Walthrop's supernatural credentials and former college training I've heard about... Just what are your qualifications for retail work...Ms. Summers...?" she folded her arms...



"I can lift very heavy things..." Buffy noted solemnly...Even in my current slightly off state...



"And Mr. Walthrop will vouch for me as a good lil' worker in my day with him yesterday..."



He nodded...An excellent candidate...Ms. Rosenberg...



"You're biased..." Willow waved a hand at her new head clerk...



Gonna make me work for this, eh...Buffy grinned...Ok...



"As for work experience...I do counseling at Sunnydale High...And I've worked with customers at Doublemeat Palace...Can bang out a bill on their registers like nobody's business...60% correct, most of the time..."



I did work an afternoon here before...But maybe that's best forgotten...she looked away...



"We'll overlook that episode...Extenuating circumstances..." Giles noted...



"And I'm good at ridding places of unwanted pests..."









No fighting in the shop...Willow and Giles both hastily replied...Quite serious on that one...



"Very well..." Willow grinned... "Mr. Giles, if you are in agreement...And since I don't dare leave Kennedy alone out there a minute longer..."



Hold it...Buffy shook her head...



"Lets talk salary...Benefits...Time off..."



You can go help Kennedy, honey...I'll handle this end for both of us...she turned to William...



"Things could get ugly...You'd probably prefer not to see..." she smiled...Giving a brief kiss...



Absolutely...he nodded...To his poor Bosses, slaughtered lambs that they were, he noted...And left...



Buffy gave them a careful, Slayer stare...All kidding aside...And much as I luv ya, guys...



Business is Business...And she'd learned to appreciate the hard practicalities...Not that she'd go too rough...Just...Hey, quality staff here...Even if the Council will be giving Will a hefty paycheck... College to pay for...House repairs...Maybe infertility clinic later on...That in vitro fertilization costs, I hear...



Willow and Giles looked at each other...Hmmn...She kinda looks like she's...In Slayer mode...



"Well...?" Buffy eyed them...Coolly...



***



Alternate Earth...The main lab at Mears Corp...



Warren stood near the stack of rings of the Gateway portal...Now with waves of electromagnetic energy moving along each metallic hoop and mingling with the one below...



"I think we'd best move to the remote console now..." he noted to the remaining Katrina by his side...Who nodded...



"That is...If all's clear now out there...?" he looked anxiously out the lab door...She hurried over to check...



William remaining by the dead Hunter, had placed the other guards at the stairway doors and at various points along the hall...He was speaking on the phone as the Katrina came over...Warren's clone by the console, but still keeping two Katrinas at his side...



Braver than the original, perhaps...But a relative thing...



"Yeah..." William nodded in response to the Katrina's question... "Tell our genius he can come out now...His daughters are gone...Nemesis is..."



A knock on the stairwell door... "William?..." she smashed it open...Knocking a watchful Kat back...



Oh...Sorry...she eyed the fallen Katrina...The other guards clustered defensively...



"It's ok, ladies..." Will called to them... "Stand down...It's Buffy Nemesis..."



She frowned a bit...



"I hate that name, Will...Promise me you won't use it on new Earth...?" she smiled plaintively...



"If you're Buffy there..." he eyed her... "There'll be no need..."



She nodded...



"Xander?..." he stared at her...She looked down...



"I didn't want to hurt him..." she began...



He rubbed his head...



"He saw the coordinates, Will...He'd've told Giles and Willow..."



He was too hurt to get out before the bombs would've killed him...It's better this way...she tried as he looked at her...



"He didn't suffer...And he's with Anya now..." she finished...



"Will...?" she eyed him... "William, please...?" she pleaded...As he looked down the hall where the rest of the clones were watching the opposite stairway...



"I never said I wouldn't do whatever it took...I only said I'd try not to hurt him..."



"Is that how it'll be on new Earth, Buffy...?...You'll try not to hurt them...?"



"I swore on Mom's soul, William..."she paused... "To you and to Xander..."



I won't let ya down...she eyed him...But if I break my word...You can...Do whatever you...



"Don't...Please, Buffy..." he looked at her...



"Just...Understand...If Warren can't help you...If you can't handle things...I may have to choose sides on new Earth..."



"You won't hafta Will...I won't fail you..." she patted him...



You'll see...Baby...It'll be like before...Even better...Cause we'll be together...



"Yeah..." he nodded...



"Whatever happens...That's one thing that never changes...In the end, we're always together...That I can promise you, Buffy..."



"Then...What else matters, huh...?" she hugged him a bit as Warren, informed by his returned Kat as to security, emerged cautiously from the lab...



"Well...Poppa...?" she released Will and looked over at him as he moved to the console where his clone was checking readouts... "We're on a tight sche...she...(schedule?...William kindly asked...Yeah...she sighed...)..."



"Almost ready..." Warren nodded, reviewing the clone's data...



***



Aboveground, outside the Mears Corporation, a group of Council and Corporation security personnel waited with the small group of remaining Hunters...Buffy H-17 on the videophone to Vice-Chairman Giles...



"Xander's not back yet with Buffy H-14...Giles?..."



"You and the others must pull back, Buffy..." he insisted gently to her... "Put Mr. Dobson on the line and have everyone else go to the cars...Head for the safe locations I've specified..."



"Xander...? William...?" she paused...



"If they can come...They'll come...Get Mr. Dobson, please..."



He sat back in his chair...Eyeing the photo on his desk...The old gang...The only real family he'd had since Mother and Father passed on...His children, all...The only ones he'd ever have...



All gone now but for Xander, Willow, and Dawn...He knew William would never leave the complex, whether Nemesis truly was dead or not...And Willow perhaps lost as the rest...



Music played in the background...Willie's bar...er Club...Musicians...And Nemesis singing...A tape she'd sent him just the other day...Rather proudly, it seemed, judging by her accompanying note...Eager to tell her other "father" all about her new "career"...And to leave a farewell, if as she'd claimed she hoped, they'd not meet again...



He eyed the glowing orb beside his desk...Taken by him, just a few minutes ago, from the Council vaults, at some considerable risk of detection...Unstable, but the only immediate source of enough power to get him to the Corporation...



Fifteen minutes...If Xander had finished setting the charges and started the timers immediately...



Dobson came on line...



"Sir...?...No word yet from Mr. Harris..."



"Yes..." Giles replied... "I think we should assume a possible disaster...But leave the area and head for the safe zone...I'll try to reach Mr. Harris myself..."



"Sir...? I don't think..."



He cut Dobson off with a curt order...Evacuate the last personnel...Now...And put the phone down...



Reading through the spell, he heard his secretary arguing with someone outside...Willow no doubt...



He concentrated...Almost set...



The song continued...



Play



"Falling in love again...Never wanted to...What am I to do?...I can't...Help it..." Nemesis' song on tape finished...



"Giles?...Was it good?...I did my best on that one...Oh, gotta go...I love you, Giles..." the tape stopped...



"Giles...?" Willow opened the door...His secretary following her, insistent...The Vice-Chairman was not avail...she began...Hmmn...They both looked round...No one...Willow eyed the orb beside the desk, now black and inert...



***



The Mears Corporation...Lab complex on level 4...



"We're ready..." Warren looked at his partners...



And just ten minutes to kaboom...he noted...



"After...You...Poppa..." Nemesis smiled sweetly at him...



He gulped slightly...Hastily rechecking the parachute on his back...A just in case item...



Turning to his clone and the Katrinas by the console...



"Bye fellas...Defend the console no matter what..."



Yeah...Sure...The clone Warren nodded...



"Try to keep our genes intact, moron..." he groused...



Schmuck...Warren gave a slight grin...



"You were the best of the lot, kid..." he smiled at him...



"Yeah, yeah...Try not to land on your head..." the clone frowned...



"Good luck, Warren..." the Kats chorused...



"C'mon Will..." Nemesis pulled at him...



He nodded and they followed Warren back into the lab...Grabbing the crates of equipment he'd specified as vital...



The other Katrinas and the one remaining prototype Hunter fell back...Under secret orders for at least one to try and make it through the portal...



Warren didn't expect much from their efforts...But hey, if one made it through...On the delayed wavefront the clone had set...



He just didn't think Nemy would be all that inclined to protect her dear ole pop...And after all the effort, surely he was entitled to try and secure a leetle protection...



"Warren!..." Giles appeared at the end of the corridor outside the lab...Glaring at clone Mears by the console as he rose to his feet...



"Giles?...Nice teleport..." the clone grinned back...



"Leetle late though...My original just went through...Nemy and Will too..."



A call from the lab... "What's up!?..." Warren...



"Ok..." the clone sighed, a glance back... "I lied...But you are too late, Mr. Giles...Best to head back the way you came...Now..."



"A one-way trip, Warren..." Giles shook his head... "William!...Buffy!..." he called sternly...



Giles...Nemesis turned to Will within the main lab...Warren standing on the platform above the glowing stack of rings...A large portal open now...Trying to nerve himself up for the jump...



"Go, Warren!..." she cried...Pushing William along, she hurried up the ramp to the jump-off...



Giles outside the lab pulled a grenade...The Kats raised their guns, clustering round the console...



"Don't Giles..." the Mears clone called to him...



"Go!..." Nemesis hollered at Warren...He squeezed eyes shut and jumped...



Will looked at her...



"It's too late to help him get out..." she shook her head...Pausing as he stared at her...



All right...she nodded...



"I'll try...I'll ask him to come...Go!..." she pushed him...And he fell into the portal after Mears...She tossed the boxes after them...And went down, listening to firing outside...She raced out...



Just in time to catch Giles' grenade and toss it all the way down the hall, past him...



"Giles!..." she cried...The blast knocking him down...



She hurried to him...Dead...



"Giles...Giles..." she whispered... "Oh...I tried...Give me that much, Giles...I tried..."



Get ready...The Mears clone hissed to two Kats...Soon as she goes through...Find Warren when you get there, but don't let Nemesis see you...



"What was that...Mears...?" Nemesis was on him before he could look up...



My hearing...Enhanced, remember...? she grabbed the two Kats and killed them instantly...



"Never said anything about not killing you, clone..." she grinned...Tossing him down the hall...No miraculous escape for him this time...The others moved against her...She bit her lip...No time...She raced for the lab door...Throwing two more Kats back...



She ran up the portal, eyeing the vortex nervously...Gee...Just like...The other one...



Oh, well...I've been dead twice...And Will's there no matter what...



"Remember...Warren is dead if you touch that console, girls..." she called to the remaining clones rushing in now...They backed off a moment...Looking at each other...



One minute...Well...Now or never...



She jumped...



One Kat raced up after...Making a leap as the lab exploded...



***



LA, normal Buffyverse...Evening...



(Wonderful! Wonderful! -



-Words by Ben Raleigh and Music by Sherman Edwards)



[Play theme..."Wonderful, Wonderful..."]



"Sometimes we walk hand in hand by the sea...



And we breathe in the cool salty air.



You turn to me with a kiss in your eyes...



And my heart feels a thrill beyond compare...



Then your lips cling to mine...



It's wonderful, wonderful.... Oh, so wonderful, my love.









Sometimes we stand on the top of a hill...



And we gaze at the earth and the sky...



I turn to you and you melt in my arms...



There we are, darling, only you and I.



What a moment to share....



It's wonderful, wonderful... Oh, so wonderful, my love.



The world is full of wond'rous things it's true...



But they wouldn't have much meaning without you...









Some quiet ev'ning I sit by your side...



And we're lost in a world of our own.



I feel the glow of your unspoken love...



I'm aware of the treasure that I own...



And I say to myself "It's wonderful, wonderful..."



"Oh, so wonderful, my love."









And I say to myself "It's wonderful, wonderful..."



"Oh, so wonderful, my love..."









Warren staggered to his feet...That first step he thought, groaning...



Walthrop on the ground beside him...Bit worse for wear...Hmmn...



"Spike...?" he cautiously called to him...The vampire opened his eyes, looking round groggily...



"Mears...? Where's...Buffy?..."



Hmmn...Rather like to know that myself, Mears thought...A bit nervously...He shrugged...



"Guys!!..." Nemesis was racing up to them...They seemed to be on a hill...Above what looked like the lights of a city...



"Come and see!...Will, we made it!!...We made it!!..." she babbled ecstatically...Even a smile for Mears...Literally dancing for joy...



"We're in LA!...Will?..." she eyed him...As he sat up, looking rather dazed...



Nice to see her so happy...The thought suddenly crossed Warren's mind, startling him...



"Warren?..." she turned to him, her look accusing...He put up his hands slightly...Not my fault, lady...



"I think he took the trip a leetle harder..."



She knelt by Walthrop...Taking his hands...Looking in his eyes nervously...



"William?...You're all right?...I didn't mean to go off like that...I just wanted to check this while you and Warren came to..." she kissed him... "Oh, Will...We made it!..." she beamed again...



"Yes, pet..." he nodded...



"You're all right?..." she asked again... "Can you stand up?..."



Just a mo...He pulled himself to his feet...Wobbling as she gave him an arm and steadied him...Warren watching carefully...



"Don't go anywhere just yet...Pops..." she gave him a quick glance... "Our business isn't settled yet, remember?..."



Besides...she noted...Don't know how safe it is just yet...That might be Demon Town down there for all we know...



"I'm not planning to head out just yet..." he replied... "Just want to check my stuff...Ok?..."



She nodded...He went to the first crate...Good thing we packed it well...he noted...



Walthrop looked round a bit...Smilingly declining more support from her...



"Better now, Will?..." she asked, a bit anxious...



"Fine, love...Just fine...You?..." he looked her over...



"100% Buffy..." she grinned... "Ready to restart my Slaying career..."



"And my life...Both of them..." she came over to him..."Come and see,



Will...It's beautiful...Wonderful..." she put an arm round...



"I think we're near a garbage dump..." Warren sniffed... "Maybe on one..."



"Just stay where you are...Pops..." Nemesis glared at him... "Will and I are just gonna take a look-see..."



Wouldn't want you to get hurt... 'Dad'...she frowned... Or hafta hurt you...



"Not before I'm done with you anyway..."



"We have a deal..." Warren eyed her...



"So long as you keep it...And your new Earth is what you promised me..." Nemesis replied coldly...Dismissing him with a frown, she turned back to her feller...Still a bit wobbily...



"Ready, Will?...You're up for a walk?..." she looked at him...



Absolutely, love...he nodded wanly...



"Lets have a gander at this wonderful new world of ours..." he grinned...



They started down the hill, she supporting him...Warren watching...



Her voice came back up to him...Singing...



Is she singing