"Queen Buffy..."



Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...

***

Part I...

The palatial Rome apartment of His Benevolence...Currently a bit stuffed with equipment and personnel...

Violent slam of priceless antique Roman front door...

"Buffy...So glad you..."

"You son of a bitch!..." she shoved her way through the busy crowd, most instinctively pulling back as she glared at them...Some, demons or clued-in to the other world, moving with conscious judgment...Her focus on a certain dark-haired, chubby and short, but animated and ,on the whole, rather appealing in his energetic way, fellow in the center of the room...Clearly the focus of all the activity...

Though she found herself puzzled enough by all the ruckus to cool her anger slightly...

Sightly...

"Forgive the rumpus...But you got here just in time...We're nearly ready to ..."

"You bastard!...You said you'd protect him...He'd be ok...You swore could help me save William..."

The Immortal backed away...Slightly...Several guards attempting rather foolishly to cover were hurled back...

"I've played your game all year...And now Giles tells me your Partners are..."

"Yes, ye..." His Benevolence gasped for breath as she held him up...Several of his more devoted attempted hopeless rushes at her...And went sailing across the room...She whirled him in front of her to face a few guards now pulling guns...

"Tell 'em to back off...Lover..." she hissed, lowering him...

"Sure...Boys...Put the guns away...There's no..." he choked again as she lifted him once more...

Thanks...She nodded coldly... "Now, you're gonna contact your friends and get this attack canned...Just in case the local Slayers headin' in can't reach William and Angel in time..." She lowered him...

"Now listen, Buffy..." he choked yet again...

Gee, thought they were an item...One staffer whispered to his adjacent companion... You know Carl...she shrugged back... "He's been lucky to remain Immortal with his running round..."

"Buffy..." the Immortal was again back on solid ground...Buffy thrusting cell phone in his face... "Why do you think I called you over except to bring you along with us?...To LA..."

She stared at him...He nodded... "We're teleporting in a few minutes..."

"What?...Why, to help your buddies finish the job?..." she looked round at the personnel and equipment...Tensing for an ambush...



Hmmn...Didn't look like super weapons...

"This looks like film equipment...?"

"Yeah...We're gonna film the whole..." another gasp...The staff eyed their boss' dangling legs from his somewhat chubby frame...

"You're gonna film William and Angel getting killed?...For what, the Partners' celebration party?...I oughta kill you right now..."

"Slayer...Please...It's for posterity..."

A hard glare...

"And I hope to get a terrific film..." he beamed...

"Sir?...Your Benevolence?...Mr. Denham?..." a tall, intense, brown-haired woman in business suit hesitantly glanced at Buffy... "Sorry to interrupt...But if we're to reach our coordinates we must be leaving in the next forty seconds..."

"Mr. Denham's going nowhere but the grave that's been awaiting him three thousand years or so..." Buffy replied coldly...But hesitated...

"You're teleporting to LA...?"

"Yeah...And I wanted you to come too, Slayer..."

"It's a trick...This whole thing...This whole year...Has been one long con game...You swore you could help me save Will..."

"And I can...I am a more or less man of my word, Slayer...In fact I'm ready to bring you to him..." benevolent smile...

Well, to his ashes anyhow...Though somehow I doubt my incompetent Partners have managed to bring him and Angelus down...he thought...

"Your Benevolence...We are ready..."

"Look, Carl...I want to start getting some answers..."

"Absolutely, Buffy...But we've got to go...For your boyfriend's sake, just bear with me about ten minutes more...Ok, start the transfer...Ms. Summers to be included..." he turned to the young woman attendant...

He sighed at Buffy's frowning face... "Now, Slayer...There's no time...We're all going...And you've trusted me this far..."

"All right...Tell them to go ahead..." she sighed...He waving his people off... "But I haven't 'trusted' you for a moment..."

"No?...Gee...Your friends all seem to believe we're so close I'm practically a member of the family..."

"Those were your terms, Carl...And I've gone along only because I had no other options..."

"So right you are, Buffy...But I wasn't the one who gave William the amulet...I've kept my word so far...Your dead Billy-boy walks the Earth still...Thanks to my benevolent intervention with Angel's old enemy..."

"So you've claimed...But you've kept me from him..."

"He wasn't ready..." the Immortal held up a hand... "You saw that yourself...He didn't believe and wouldn't come..."

"He did come...To save me from you..."

"And went away sure you'd found someone else..A definite upgrade..." he grinned... "Within a few weeks or months of his toasting...Now, Buffy...You've admitted it looked as though he needed time to decide what he wanted...And I've protected him from a heck of a lot of wrath from my Partners...At no little danger to myself...All this year..."



"But Giles says the Partners appear to be moving...And Angel may have come out against them...And that means Will's in danger...He's a noble soul...He'll fight with Angel..."

"My Partners...May...Possibly...Be marching against Angel...And we're headed to LA...So even if there's no danger and your would-be corpse groom is perfectly safe, you'll have a chance to check...Look, I'll send my people out to find him soon as we get there..."

Assuming anything's left...he thought...Beaming at her...

"I'm going to find him...Whatever's up...I've waited long enough..."

"Would I stop you?...Hey, could I stop you?... But I'd be sure he's ready to see you again..."

She stared at him...

Reads her like a book...The female attendant handling the teleportation noted to a colleague...That's our Carl Denham...The other nodded...

"I'll tell him everything...He'll know what I'll done for him...Cutting a deal with you not to intervene in LA and to go along quietly with Giles' on the no contact with Angel thing so long as you brought him back and kept him safe...He'll know I love him..."

"That's beautiful...No, really...In all my three-thousand plus years existence, I can say I've rarely seen such sacrifice...Heck, I haven't been so moved since the Crucifixion...And I really was there..." Two of his attendants came over... "Brace yourself, Slayer...Things may be a bit bumpy in LA right now..."

The entire room of attendants, Immortal, Slayer...And their equipment...Vanished...

And reappeared in the middle of an LA boulevard...Which, judging by the fires, wailing car and building alarms, shattered buildings, hideous screams, howls of pain, terror, and rage...And piles of steaming, though non-human, corpses...Had seen better nights...

"We made it...And look, the battle's not going well for the Partners...Your boys must be doing a great job..." Denham beamed at Buffy who was looking round carefully, in defensive mode...The Immortal's attendants scurrying round, setting up lights and their filming equipment...

"I'm still not sure what you've gotten out of this..." she replied...Looking more anxiously now...

"I told you...A terrific film..." then, looking at her glaring face, he sighed...

"Ah..." he waved a hand... "My Partners are powerful...But idiots...The morons will never see that Evil can't hope to win and the wise man...Or whatever...Keeps close with the likely winners...I knew Angel would never be taken in by their schemes and in the end would take them down...I want to be where I can hope to survive and maybe scoop some of the marbles when things settle..."

"And get one hell of a film outta their collapse!...Right, team?!" he beamed again...Yeah!...All the film crew within earshot gave a cheer...

"Leaving you the new Director of the Partners'...?"

"Oh, please..." he smiled... "Ms. Summers?...I'm sure you've guessed I already am...But, as with most directories, my position is largely ceremonial...Oh, sure...I could get to make the Big Speech on world destruction if I so chose but Buffy...Of all people you know how worthless being Evil Leader is...And I didn't get to be "the Immortal"...By being chief target..."

"I thought so...You seemed pretty sure you could arrange things there as you liked...But why set up your own?..."

"Let Angel and your Billy clean out the deadwood and remove a few who'd like nothing better than to cut "Im-"from my title?...Why not?...Besides, helping to bring down the Partners as your ally?...What could get me in better with the other side when the finale comes and my services to Humanity can be weighed against my past little faults..."

"God...You're worse than your Partners...How could my friends really believe you and I...?"

"Geesh...I thought I'd been charming all these months?...Your friend...Uh...Ummn?..." snap of fingers... "The nerdy, weird guy?...The one who lives with you and...Uh..."



"Dawn..."

"Right...You know...Not that one in Africa who came up for a visit last week..."

"Tucker's brother..."

"Right...He likes me..."

"Andrew loved Warren Mears...He's not the best judge of character...Anyway why do you want to film your Partners' destruction?...Not that I particularly care what happens to them unless they've killed William...In which case your film'll be unsuitable for under 17 due to extreme violence..."

"It'll be a masterpiece in any case..." a building, excited tone... "Slayer, ever since Edison had one of his assistants cook up the details of his film camera, I've been fascinated by the power of film...Capturing history, stories, the whole human tragedy forever...Immortalizing events, if you will...And in my various personas, including 'Carl Denham', producer...I've made some damned great movies...And this, the destruction of the Partners' last attempt at Apocalypse, will be the greatest of all..."

"You are crazy..."

"No, I'm a film producer...And this one is going push me right past Spielberg!..."

"Wait?..." she stared at him... "You wanted me here...This was your plan right from the start...God damn you!...You wanted me in your stinking film?!..."

"You are my star, Slayer!...You and your dead boy...God, the pathos...The romance!..." he clenched a fist... "The vamp who won back his soul for love, who fears he's won nothing...The Slayer afraid until too late to confess her love...Their one chance to reunite...Picture it, Buffy!..."

"Picture this, bastard!..." she nailed him with a kick to the groin...He went down...His shocked staff racing...Though cautiously avoiding confrontation with the fuming Slayer...To his aid...

"I'm outta here...If your people get in my face...Or if they harm William...Or Angel and his people...You are the late Mortal!..." she stalked off...

"Sir...?" the teleportation attendant helped him up while several moved to cover him, just in case the Slayer changed her mind and returned to finish him...

"Let her go...But keep the camera crews on her..." he eagerly started to move...Oh...He gasped...

Why do they always go for the subequatorial?...Darla and Drusilla were the same way...

Thank God they wanted to drive Angelus and Spike crazy or my rep would really have taken a beating...

"Ummn...Irina...Get me a car or something...And don't let her get away from the cameras!..."

Tell the doc to get to the boss as soon as possible...The family jewels have been handled again...Irina hissed into her cell phone...

"WILLIAM!!!..." Buffy's voice could be heard even over the howls and alarms...

God, Carl's right again...This is one hell of a love story...And she's terrific...Another attendant noted to a cameraman setting up in a newly commandeered truck just pulled up...

"The eighth wonder of the world...He's gotta a gift, our Carl...Uh, say...Those new gas bombs make it through?..."

"Think so...Yeah, Roy's loading them over there on that other truck..." the attendant nodded... "Watch yourself out there..."

"Clear the way for His Benevolence!..." Irina called, helping Denham to the truck...He climbed aboard... "The forward crew has her in sight, sir!..." she reported to him, listening over earphones... "She's heading right into the thick of the battle..."

Hmmn...Time to rally the troops...The Immortal called for a bullhorn...



"All right, folks!...This is it!...The scene we've been waiting for for over a year!!...The ultimate battle!!...And the ultimate doomed romantic couple..."

Doomed?...One of the crew near enough to listen, though not quite human by appearance, eyed another... "Does Mr. Denham know the Slayer's record?...Or Spike's?..."

"The going may be a little rough...Some of you, especially you mortal types, may not make it...But you will be remembered...And you know your families are all gonna be well compensated for your deaths..." Denham noted firmly... "Cause that's the kind of guy His Benevolence is!..."

Uh...One of the camera crew on the truck eyed his partner... "We're not..."

"Sid?...You did read the fine print on your contract?...Where it said 'you agree to die if necessary during this production'...?"

"And you there with the new gas bombs!...Keep 'em handy!..." Denham called to Roy, a husky fellow on a second truck that had come up..."But don't use 'em till I give the word...Nothing but nothing must interfere with our filming here!...Lets go, people!!..."

***

"William?!..." Buffy hurried down the devastated street...Peering into alleys whenever the slightest sensation crossed her...Sounds of intense conflict from just ahead...Including howls of agony and bone-chilling, inhuman war cries...She whirled and staked swiftly as a lizard-like demon, rather like a small predatory dinosaur, charged at her...Several more just behind got the same treatment...Others quickly darted around her and raced at the scent of fresh meat just ahead...

Behind Buffy, at a respectful distance, the lead camera crew, Denham's truck just behind theirs...An assortment of nearly a dozen cars and trucks following...He bellowing orders via bullhorn and Irina's cell...

"Watch it, people!...Max!...Keep yours locked on the girl!!...Where is my lighting?!!...C'mon, people!!!"

"Irina, do you have that sound level report?..."

"The lead audio crew's dead, sir...Dragon got them five minutes ago...The first back-up crew is on it, though...Oh..." she fell back from where she stood in back of the cab, hanging on to Denham's seat in front as one of the raptor-like creatures hopped on to the hood of their truck...

"Hey, there..." Denham smiled at the howling creature as it rammed its head through the windshield... The driver next to him, smashing at said head...An attendant next to Irina in back shooting...The creature fell off...

Others of its group a bit more successful in picking off a few crew members from the other vehicles...

"You did get that?..." he turned to the gun-totting attendant... "Think so, boss..." the man patted the small videocam strapped on his chest...

"Geesh, Lukas...Next time, make sure the film shot is set first, then go for your gun...Priorities, man...Priorities...Lets just hope we got it...Or another one comes our way...Irina, is the lead car keepin' Ms. Summers in sight?..." Irina pulled at her headset...

"They've got her, boss..." she nodded...

"Good, good...Ok, going's getting a little rough people, but hang in there!...Hey, Steve?!..." he called to the cameraman in the bed of the truck... "Get plenty of close shots of those blasted buildings..." he pointed... "We'll never get such low-cost special disaster background footage again!..."

"Say, can't this thing go faster?...I wanta see what's up with our Slayer!..." he turned to the driver... "Irina, what do they see up ahead?..."

"She's having a little trouble with something up front there..." Irina noted...

"Oh?...What?..."

"That..." Irina pointed as the lead truck went flying to the right, swept off the road by a swipe of a huge tail...

"Holy..." Denham grinned, unable to resist... "Smokes..." as they stopped suddenly, blocked ahead by a huge dragon hovering just off the ground...Buffy facing it, stake in hand...



"Get outta my way, you bitch!...:" she yelled...

Staring as the dragon eyed her coolly...And lazily inclined its head...Shoving a foot forward in a clearly "make me" gesture...

"Oh...God...Tell me we're getting this from more than one angle..." Denham fervently prayed...

The howl from Buffy startling even him...As the dragon's other foot shoved forward a tattered black leather jacket...A sneering look of triumph in its eye...

"You...Are...So..." Buffy began...The dragon cutting her off with a hot blast which the Slayer dodged...

"Better back up a little..." Denham noted, eyeing the flames on the engine hood which the driver doused through the broken window with his jacket...

"Say, how'd she know it's a..." he and the rest in the cab stared as the dragon reared up...Raising a leg to stomp at the tiny Slayer below...

Oh...

Right...

"God, I could get lost in that thing..." Cameraman Steve in the bed noted... "A cavern..." his assistant nodded...

"Tell Georgie and Michaelis in the car there to pull in closer..." Denham told Irina... "I want a good shot of the feet..."

The dragon let out a Godzilla-like roar and slammed foot down...Buffy dodging by inches...

"If you killed him, bitch...I'll make this slow!!!..." she called...Waving stake...

"Irina...Make sure to send flowers to the families..." His Benevolence noted, eyeing the shattered car and remains... "Naturally they're in the dedication...And I want their names on a good plaque in the studio cafeteria...Ok, we need a heat-resistant film salvage team in here now!..." he called into his cell phone...

***

Having missed with the stomping, the dragon swept her tail round, trying to toss Buffy back...

The shock wave staggering the Slayer but the tail missing...Hmmn...Buffy eyed the tail...And thinking fast, lept on it...The dragon sensing the weight, slammed the tail down and tried to turn back and see...

Nothing...It made a quick sweep with head, looking round...

"Right here, you bitch!!..." Buffy called, slamming her stake into the neck...The dragon gave a hideous roar, spewing flames randomly...

"Same for the boys in the other car..." Denham noted... "Uh...I mean the people of course..." he smiled at Irina...

"Talk, you overgrown chameleon!!...Is he dead...er...?" Buffy yelled...Slamming stake again into the neck...Another Godzilla yell...And attempt to shake its unwelcome passenger...

Aw...Shit...A battered Angel, in rather tattered clothes, racing from a side street, halted before the battle scene...

My dragon...She comes strutting into my city and first thing, she's gotta take my dragon...

"Buffy?!..."

"Say, is that Angelus?..." Denham looked over... Think so...Irina nodded... "Amazing that he's survived..."

"And a fantastic opportunity..." the Immortal noted...

"Romantic conflict and all..." he explained...



"Angelus...Angel...Has a new girl..." Irina shook her head...

Oh...Right...

"Well, don't waste a close-up on him then...We'll probably cut him out altogether...Lets just hope he stays out of the action before she..."

The dragon gave another howl in response to another stake ram in the neck...Weaving now...

"Your B...I think we better pull back..." Irina suggested...As the dragon staggered their way...

"Yeah...Ok...Not too far...Uh, maybe a little further..." he noted as the dragon's foot stomped down about three feet in front of them...

"Buffy?!..." Angel called, now to the dragon's side...Looking out at the motley collection of cars and trucks in triple file before him in the street...Some of whose occupants were engaged in fighting off a variety of attacks by rather hideous creatures seeking easy prey...Lights beaming his way blinding him briefly...

"Angel?!!..." she called down... "You ok?..."

"Not too bad, considering...But I can't see...Who are your friends?...More of your Slayers?!...Tell 'em to cut out the lights!!...They attract the demonic part of the Partners' army anyway..."

"The Immortal moron's film crew...Where's William?...Angel?!...Did this thing toast him?..."

"I don't think so!...He was heading to the west, me to the east!...Trying to give Illyria and Charlie Gunn a chance to slip out...Charlie was pretty badly cut up!..."

Immortal moron, eh?...I think William's day is made...Angel thought...Blinking out at the lights...

The dragon turned to stomp at the new intruder..."UNNH...See if that wipes that grin off your face, you bitch!!..." Buffy slammed her stake hard into what appeared a vital spot on the bony neck...It slipped from her hand and came out the other side, falling to the street with a clatter...

As did the now-deceased dragon...Though with a somewhat louder sound...Buffy hopping clear as it sank to the ground...

"Hey, cut those lights!..." she called back to the Immortal's crew...Hurrying over to Angel...

"Tell me you did bring more Slayers?..." he asked, both now turned from the lights...

"Giles is sending all the local ladies...They should be here soon...And whoever else can come is coming...Angel, I'm so sorry..."

"You oughta be..." he frowned... "What gives with this 'no one trusts you anymore?' crap?...You must've known I was only playing those jerks..."

"Well...There was that thing with Connor..."

Willow detected the spell and decoded it about a week after you joined W-H...she explained...

"Giles figured..."

"Giles hates me...I understand why...But how could you..."

She looked down...

Get that look on film, somebody...Denham hissed to his cell and to Irina... "Steve, if you're alive back there?...Close up on the Slayer!...We can use that shot..."

"I didn't...Angel, I gotta confess...I...Ummn...See...Denham back there...The Immortal...Offered me a deal about William...He's a secret member of the Partners but betrayed..."

"You sold me out?!...For Spike?!!..."



"I told him the deal was off if you were hurt...Too..."

"Thanks...I appreciate the bang-up job...Lets kill him and you can go find Will...If he's not 'hurt'..."

"He's the reason...Denham I mean...Will's back...Angel, I cut a deal to get William back...But only if it didn't mean you'd get hurt...Denham was betraying his Partners..."

"Great...Then he won't mind us betraying him...I can't believe you sold me out for Spike's sake, Buffy..."

"I didn't sell you out!...Giles' suspicions were legit...You took the job with Wolfram-Hart..."

"Close up and hold it on them..." Denham had climbed up to where Steve was filming...His crew down to five cars and trucks now as indeed the lights had attracted a number of the Partners' host...

"I did it for Connor...And I never intended to stop fighting, just to try a different way..."

"And I did it for Will...Angel, was he ok?...She...That thing...Had his jacket..."

Angel eyed her...Well...

So love has come to Miss Buffy?...The kind that can even beat her and her sense of Duty...

"Oh, he lost that hours ago fighting some horde...One was trying to carry it off...Souvenir, I guess...He was a little beat-up but still kickin'..." he said kindly...

"Ok...You've done your job...Now get lost, pal..." Denham whispered, watching from the truck bed...

"Ok...I'll try west..." Buffy sighed... "You ought to get back and see about your friends, let the Slayers know what's up when they come...I'll look for your guys in case they got headed my way..."

"Ok...Shall I rip the Immortal's head off as I go by...?"

"Later...I may need his people to help me find Will..."

"So..." he grinned wearily at her... "At long last love..."

"Don't make fun of me, Angel...Please..."

"Nah...I'm glad...For him as well as you...He's been...And do not tell him this or I will swear you're lyin'...A good friend this past year...And a good man, in everything important..."

"Thanks..." she kissed him... "And give my best to your latest...A werewolf, huh?..."

"You have been keepin' tabs on me..." he smiled... "Nice to know you cared..."

"Nice of you to put surveillance on me in Rome...Hope I didn't hurt your guy too bad..."

"Buffy...He's scared...But no one else...I'm sure of it..." he looked at her... "Though deal or no deal, you shoulda come..."

"No one?..."

"Well, I didn't have him followed every second...But no one important...And after Harmony..."

"I heard about that..."

"Just the one time..."



"And nobody?...That he talked about in 'that' way...?"

"Go find your guy, Slayer..." he patted her... "I'll bring your ladies back soon as they come in and we'll track him down if you haven't by then..."

"Then I better get him myself...They all have my memories of him...I'll have to fight half of them off him with Mr. Pointy if they find him first..."

"Be careful...And don't trust His Bullshitness back there...If he betrayed his own Partners..."

"He claims to want to be on the winning side...But I'll end his Benevolent reign if he pulls anything..."

He nodded and headed off...

"Ok and Angelus gets the hell out of my hair..." Denham nodded at the fast-moving Angel hurrying now up the street where they'd come... "And back to our Slayer Queen...Great..."

***



"Queen Buffy..."

Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.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...

***

Part II...

Buffy had raced off toward the west...The Immortal and his crew finding hard going to follow her in their remaining commandeered cars and trucks through the debris-strewn streets as they moved deeper into the battle area...

"My God...Four people on Angel's team did all this?..." Irina stared at the heaps of demonic dead...What appeared to be piles of dead mammoths blocking their way, Denham called a brief halt...

"Well, lot of them killed each other...Kind of a mistake bringing so many creatures who run on instinct and the hunt together in a small area...But as I've always said, the other Partners were a bunch of idiots..." he noted...

Howls from in front of them...A group of ferocious redskinned, horned demons raced past on the street...One pausing to let a cameraman get a good shot, nodding to Denham... "Hey, kick ass, pal!..." he waved...

Morons...They don't stand a chance if they even make it to the Slayers...he shook his head to Irina...

The noise of battle before them growing to the point where only shouts could be heard over the din...Mostly panicky creatures fighting each other, a scout just back reported...Denham eyeing Irina...See...

"Ok...I think we'll have to split the group up!...Irina?!! How many of us are kickin'...?!!"

"About fifty-seven, your B....!"



"Really?...Only 60 percent gone...Not too shabby...!" he beamed...

"And remember to get names!...Cause all their families are gonna be taken care of right...!!" he gave a solemn look...

"On it, sir...!" she nodded...

"Now, which way's the hell portal?!..."

"That way...!" she pointed down the road... "Where all the injured and fear-crazed creatures are heading...!!"

"Right...!!" Denham nodded... "Well, have the trucks make that way, along with about ten or so on foot, weapons out!!...We'll need our escape route secure!..." he looked back...

"Any reports on the Slayers' showing...?!"

"One of our people to the rear says he spotted a few charging the Partners' army!...They must be starting to pour in now!!..."

"Ok, good!...Help at hand if we need it!...Have the cars and about ten on foot hole up where they are as rear guard!!...Tell em to report to us on how things are going!!...And see that any film they've got or can salvage gets back up the portal area!!!...Tell em we'll call 'em back when the time comes but if the Slayers should get to them to just let the ladies know they're innocent bystanders working for Buffy's new so, the Immortal..."

She looked at him... "It's come in handy for both me and her this year!..." he shrugged... "Though really the kid's a little young for me!...You got all that?!!..."

"Yes, Your B...And the rest...?!!"

"On foot with me, after our heroine!!...And make sure we've got plenty of film for the cameras!!..."

***

"He's here...Angel said he was ok...He's gotta be here...Oh, God...William!!...WILLIAM!!!..." Buffy called, stumbling over a mix of rubble and...Eggh...spattered corpses in the street...

"You!..." she hollered at a huge fur-covered demon hulking in an alley who seemed anything but in a mood for a fight...It stopped, stared, and looking for an exit and not finding one, howled and fell to the ground in panicky supplication...She moved in front of it and lifted its head...The beast trembling....

"You seen William?!...Spike?!...Short, about my height?!...Blonde like me?!...Vampire?!..."

The demon shook its head hastily...She let go and hurried on out of the alley...

Nice girl...It thought...

Odd...Didn't seem like she was hunting the poor vamp...Gotta ask the guys about this 'Spike'...Assuming any of my pride's still alive...

They give you such a miserably poor briefing in Hell before things like this...

***

"Careful folks!...Lotta nasties round here!...Keep your weapons handy..." Denham called back to his crew on foot as they made their way in the direction Buffy had taken...Irina by his side...

"The Slayers are in strength, engaging the main army back the way we came..." she told him, listening on her headset...

"We'd best expect a lot of fleeing things heading this way toward the portal pretty shortly..." he noted... "Better warn the guys making for it..."

"Janice?!...Keep that camera on the street ahead!..." he called back to a short, bespectacled nervous-looking brunette bearing camera on shoulder...



Janice?...he stared at the figure of the screaming girl as she was carried off by what appeared to be a version of the Wicked Witch of the West's flying monkeys...

"Hey!..." he called... "I'm Carl Denham, the Immortal and Director General of the Senior Partners!...Bring that woman...And her film...Back here immediately!!..."

More creatures descending from the skies...His people frantically firing, knocking a number down...

"Back off, you idiots!..." the first monkey creature had returned...Looking as apologetic as a large hideous flying monkey could...Gently depositing a rather hysterical Janice and camera by Irina...

"This is the Director's party!!...Leave 'em be!!!..." the creature hollered at his mates most of whom halted, hovering above the crew...Several putting captives down...

"Really sorry about this, sir..." it turned to Denham... "We'd no idea it was you..."

"No problem...I'd kept my hands off this one..." the Immortal waved a hand... "Just let your boys know we're filming here..."

A record for posterity of your victory...he smiled...

"More like our humiliating rout..." the monkey leader sighed, shaking head... "I think you were right to sit this one out, sir...Well, we'd better get moving and do what we can...Good luck, sir...Hope I live to see your film...I love your movies..." it waved and took off, the others following after...

"Tragic loss, that guy...Irina, if he lives see if you can get him on my personal team...Ok, people!...Lets get moving!...Janice, good to have you back...!!"

"Sir?...Your Benevolence?..." a crewman had scurried over to him... "Those things left someone else behind...I think they thought he was one of ours...George thinks he's a vamp..."

Hmmn...?

Denham and Irina turned to see where two of the crew were dragging a very battered, limp figure...With startlingly blonde hair...

"Well, whatdaya know?..." Denham shook his head... "He made it...Irina, say hello to the world's second souled vampire, Mr. William Soames Walthrop..."

I think it's time for a slight change of plan now...he grinned...

***

"The portal's just over there..." Irina pointed down a street to where a number of panicky-looking creatures of various sorts were rushing through a glowing massive vortex...Reports of the Partners' army's crushing defeat having filtered through the ranks to the rear, producing immediate rout...

"Great..." Denham nodded... "We'll stop here...Have the folks set up a defensive barrier round this area, no one gets through to the portal without my say-so...Geesh, those fools are really putting a load on it rushing together like that...Better have our people check it out throughly..."

"Yes, Your Benevolence..." Irina nodded...Rather grateful to have a little stability for a few minutes...She hurried off to bark orders to the surviving crew...A number of the heftier demons and humans grabbed weapons and made for the portal...Sounds of firing commencing as they began shoving back the creatures trying to make a hasty exit to safety...

"Lets get that barrier up, folks...Jake, Phil...Over here, got a special for you..." Denham called to the group now assigned to start building barricades, waving two humans over to him...Irina returned to him...

"Our folks are having a little trouble getting the horde away from the portal..." she noted...

"All right, I'll go and speak to them...But first...Jake, Phil...I want you to go out and find Ms. Summers...She's looking for us as well as her honey so she'll probably find you...And when you do, tell her anything she wants to know about where we are...Especially that we found her William...Go on fellas...And remember...Whatever happens to you out there, your families' future are secure...Cause that's the kind of guy the Immortal is!..." he waved them off...



Jake eyeing Phil...

Well, probably no safer here than there...Especially if the boss cans us for not going...And the Slayer's gotta protect us...We're human...

They reluctantly and cautiously made their way through the rapidly rising barricades...Denham climbing up on the stacks of boxes and debris to watch them head out...Calling to Irina for binoculars, he kept them in focus till they'd gone past some shattered buildings and could not be seen further...

Hmmn...

Best to hedge bets...

"Mike?...Cathy?..." he turned back to eye a male human and female demon engaged in strengthening the barricades...

"You're letting her know we have her boyfriend?..." Irina stared at Denham as Mike and Cathy now also made their nervous way out...

You human guys are way too devoted to that crazy man...Cathy hissed to Mike...Rubbing a burned spot on her black and brown furry hide... "I say we run like hell together for the Slayers' lines soon as we're outta sight..."

"Of course...Hey, Carl Denham is a sucker for true love stories..." Denham smiled to Irina...Binoculars to his eyes...

***

Denham having successfully restored order at the portal, those of the crew not manning the defensive perimeter were engaged in boxing their equipment...And the Immortal's precious footage...

"The portal's fine Your Benevolence...We're getting all the remaining stuff packed up..." a tall human told Denham...

"Good, good...Special care with the film, Derek..." the Immortal noted to the young crew chief who'd come to report... "And the gas bombs on the truck do not go till I say so..." Derek nodded and headed off...

"Irina...?" he turned as his assistant came over...

"The rear guard says the Slayers have cut off most of the Partners' army from us and are beginning to cut them to pieces..."

"God, lets hope they've gotten some decent footage...Tell 'em to start falling back to us..."

"The Slayers'll be making for the portal here soon as they finish off the others..." she noted...

"We'll be off Earth by then...Don't worry, you'll like Hell..." he smiled at her worried face... "It's beautiful this time of year..."

"Ok...We're in position and ready to get everything through...Now we just need to get our fair Slayer as close to our escape portal as possible...In a nice tight corner..."

"She doesn't trust you and she'll sense the portal with her abilities..." Irina shook his head...

"Maybe...But we have something she wants..." Denham grinned...Throwing back a thumb in the direction William's body had been taken... "She'll come..."

And God, what a scene it'll make!...he pounded a fist into the opposite hand...

***



"Queen Buffy..."



Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/helio1.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...



***



Part III...

As panic spread through the routed Partners' army...To those beings intellectually capable of panic...The situation at the portal for the Immortal and co was becoming more complex...

"Ah!!...Ah, ah, ah!!!..." a screaming crewmember tossed from her spot on the barricades by a cross between a triceratops and a giant hedgehog who'd smashed through on her panicky way to the safety of dear ole Hell...

Though there's always time for good nutrition...The creature pausing to catch the young lady deftly on a facial horn and proceeding to chow down...

"Hey!!!..." Denham had raced to the scene... "Why you!!...That's!...That was...One of my people!...Hey, you stupid reptilian throwback!!...The Immortal is talking to...!!"

"Your Benevolence!!!..." Irina and several others cried out as the rather annoyed creature fixed its attention on their only hope of survival...Lowering its head for a charge...

Hmmn...Guess this one's brain really is the size of a walnut...Denham backed away...The creature racing at him as several crewmembers on the barricades fired various weapons at it...

A rocket-propelled grenade bringing her down just three feet from His Benevolent toes...

How does he remain Immortal?...One of the crew hissed to a companion...He's human, right?...

"He stopped aging three thousand years ago via magics and the rest is dumb luck..." the other shrugged...

"Great job, guys!...And I got it all..." Denham happily waved his portable camera...

"Irina...Get hold of my Partners...If they're alive...And tell 'em we're filming here and I want this area declared off..."

Ten raptors charged over the barricades, hoping off toward the portal...Fortunately too crazed with fear to stop for mayhem or dining pleasure...

"...limits!!..."

"They're all dead but Mr. Joseph, sir...And he's retreated across the portal, according to his field commander, General Droog...I've got him on the line..." she offered her headset...

"I might've known Joe would slip out...Well, give me that!!...Hello, Droog?!...Carl Denham...Yes, the Immortal...Your people are getting in my hair, Droog!...No, I am not taking charge of the situation!...I told those idiots this attack would be a disaster!!...I couldn't care less if the battle's lost, I never sanctioned this crazy attack and your brainless morons are ruining my film!!..."



"So?...Surrender then...The Slayers won't kill you all...Just keep your things away from my work site!!...I don't give a damn if your line of retreat is cut!!...There's plenty of room for you to get your people out the portal if you'd get your head together and them back into formation, away from my work site!...Now start acting like a field commander and do that!!...And that's an order from the Director of the Senior Partners!!!... "

"And Droog?...If your guys should happen to come across Buffy Summers?...Yeah, the Greatest Slayer who defeated the First...Yeah, she's here...Anyway tell her...Droog?...Droog?!..." he handed the headset back to Irina, fuming...

This is why I kept away from Wolfram-Hart after they appointed me Director...he noted to Irina...Nothing but morons in middle- and senior- management...Worse than Enron...

A stampede of charging mammoth-like creatures smashed through the right side of the barricade line...

Hmmn...Thought Angel's had taken all of them out...he eyed the horde as it raced for the Hell portal...Several of his staff crushed under the debris...Others firing to keep the charge confined to a direct line to the portal...

"Steve, get in close on that big one!!..." he waved Steve and camera in...

This may have been Evil's biggest disaster ever but there never will be a bonanza like this again...he beamed to Irina... "You got any idea how much this footage will save in production costs for special effects?...Just selling this stuff to other studios for the sci-fi market will pay our costs ten times over at least!..."

"Director!!..." a small group of the redskinned demons who'd passed so gallantly earlier on their way to glory...Now a pathetic, terrified remnant in retreat...Came over...

"Hey, fellas!..." he nodded...

"The Slayers...We..." one choked out...The others, dazed and trembling, looking about...

"Yeah, so I heard...A real ass-kickin'...Well, look boys...I'd recommend you either surrender and hope for the best or join my crew here...Innocent bystanders working for Humanity's friend, the Immortal..."

"But..." the speaker stared... "You're Director of the Partners..."

"Ceremonial...I had no involvement here...Now fellas, it's either you join the ranks of the innocent on-lookers seeking to preserve a record for history...With safe passage via the portal when the job's done...Or you go back and see how merciful Slayers in hunt mode can be..."

"Well...I always did want to be in the film industry..."

"Welcome aboard, guys...See Derek over there for your orders...And remember, friends of Humanity...Innocent bystanders..."

"Boss..." Irina tapped him... "We got problems..."

Hmmn?...He glanced at a group of screaming fur-covered demons on fire racing past... "Somebody get a camera on those guys!!..."

"The rear guard says Ms. Summers just showed and they told her...Like you ordered..."

"So, she's coming?..."

"Oh, yeah..."

"Your Benevolence!..." a crewman called from the battered barricade...He hurried over and clambered up, Irina just behind him...

To see a group of giant turtlelike creatures...Six?...he counted, hissing to Derek...Six?... "I count seven, boss..." Derek pointing out the other one half hidden by rubble...Snapping and roaring at a tiny blonde figure...

Who paused to look straight Denham's way...



You...

"My God..." he aimed his video camera... "Everybody still alive with camera on the Slayer!..." he called... Irina hastily speaking into her mouthpiece...

Two of the turtle creatures now flying off to the right...Buffy, clearly in no mood to waste time, having tossed a minibus at their sides...The other five eyeing her and each other, two now bringing out their secret weapon, corrosive spewed by mouth...She dodged and the one behind her took the acid in the head...Screaming in agony...

"Can she do it?..." Irina looked at Denham... "Maybe we should..."

"My money's on our Slayer!..." he shook his head... "Besides we'd never make it..." he waved to indicate the fighting horde of demonic creatures just beyond the barricade, their fear now momentarily lessened, once again fighting among themselves....

"There she goes!..." Derek pointed as Buffy hopped onto the nearest of the four survivors, the acid-sprayed one now gone to an undoubtedly less painful world...

A quick neck pull and twist...Three left...No, two...Denham noted as one of the three galloped off at a pace to forever end any stereotypical jokes about turtles' agility...

The two giving it the gallant old try, again employing their corrosive...Buffy dodging under the legs of one...And suddenly lifting it on its side, as a shield against the other...Who desperately tried spraying the ground, despite the agonized cries of its comrade, back to her...Buffy dropping her screaming shield back on its legs and hopping up on its back before the acid could reach her...

"Look at her!!...She's magnificent!!!..." Denham cried...

We are getting audio on this, too?...

"Duke and Joey are on it, sir..." Irina nodded...Pointing to a partially collapsed section of the barricades to the left where two men were engaged in equipment operation and fighting off several attacks by various creatures...

"God, the staff I got..." Denham shook his head in respectful awe... "And I will never forget them...Irina...Send a couple of the new boys there over to help them..." he pointed to the group of red demons... "Make sure they recover the sound tapes..."

"Sir?...Ms. Summers..."

"Yeah, how's she...?"

"Denham!!!...You son of a bitch!!!..." Buffy was clambering up the barricade, having tossed aside several creatures too stupid to get out of her way...The last of the giant turtle creatures gasping its last in the street beyond...

"Where's William?!!!...God help you if he's hurt!!!...And I happen to know He won't!!!!..." she hopped over the last of the barrier and stood just above him...Clothes rather torn and a bleeding arm but otherwise intact...

"Buffy...Glad to see you made it...Yeah, we found him for you..." Denham beamed...

***



"Queen Buffy..."

Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/qb.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...

***

Part IV...

An anxious Buffy resorted to the quick way to extract info from her host...Hoisting Denham by one hand...While his people watched in consternation...Neither demon or human quite willing to take on the Slayer, yet all aware nobody was going nowhere without His Benevolence to get them through either the portal or back through the hordes roaming the devastated streets to the Slayers' lines...Several taking filming positions...

He'd howl for days if they missed this one, they knew...

"I'm asking you for the last time...Where...Is...William?..." she lowered him...

"Bu...Buffy...I told ya...We've got him for you...Irina?..."Denham turned...

"He's down there, Ms. Summers..." Buffy stared as the tall brunette in rather incongruous business attire pointed to several tents near the Hell portal where crewmembers were busily processing and salvaging film and audio from various cameras and recorders ...Some from smashed and crushed units rather hard to separate from the remains of their deceased operators...A few medics visible tending wounded...

"Safe in our hospital tent...A little the worse for wear but..." Denham eagerly noted... Pausing at Buffy's stare... "Fine, really..."

"Get him here!...Now!!..."

"Buffy...Look...It's nearly daylight...And he's hurt...A little...You don't want us marching him up here..."

"Then lets go..." she grabbed his arm... "I'll take him back with me..." she pulled Denham along, Irina hurrying after them...The cameramen following as well...

"Now, Slayer...Even you can't get him back to your ladies' lines before dawn...He's perfectly safe down there with our medicos till your girls can get a car through..."

She stopped..."I don't even know if he's really there...And if you're trying to hold me up till dawn..." she tensed for a run...

"Now, Buffy...Haven't I kept the faith with you all our time together?...Wait...Irina, tell em to bring Mr. Walthrop out for a viewing...It's not quite light out yet..." Denham hastily called ...Buffy pausing in her reach yet again for his throat as Irina spoke into her headset...

William...she whispered as a tent flap below was pulled back and a stretcher brought out...

"Hey...!" Denham cried as she dragged him down the hill from the barricades...He bouncing against various debris, rocks, and the occasional corpse...

"Hoooold uuppp!...I'm only human, Slayer!!!..." the Immortal pleading...

"William!...William, I'm here...!" she called, halting a moment...The figure on the stretcher, covered by a blanket moving feebly as she approached... Definitely blonde, she noted...

Hey wait a minute...She pulled up short, dragging the gasping Immortal violently in front of her...

"That's not William!!..." she raged... "That's..." she stared at the blonde figure now sitting up...

"That's Billy Idol!...And you are so the Mortal!!..."

"Ok, ok...Buf...fy..." Denham choked... "He's our stand-in...Good choice, huh?...Hasn't he held up well all these...No...wait!!!..." he gasped out as she raised him over her head...



"Lets find out what little Immortals are made of!!!..." she cried...

"Wait!!!..." Denham pleaded as she held him... "He's alive!!...We have him!!!...Irina!!!!..."

"Well?..." she waited... Starting to spin him now...

"Ohhh...Stop...Slayer, I'm only Immortal agewise...And if you kill me, my guys'll stake him!!!..."

She brought him down, standing him up...Irina rushing to them...

One of the cameramen giving his surreptitious look...You did get that, Fred?...A thumbs-up...

Good man...

"Irina, bring the monitor...I'll show you, Buffy...He is safe...For now..." Denham eyed the Slayer facing him coolly... "C'mon Buffy...I'm sorry about Billy over there...I just needed a moment to have a few cameras set up...There..." he nodded at the monitor Irina had had a couple of the crew haul over... "See, there he is..."

She peered at the screen...William lying on a cot...Difficult to tell how bad his injuries were but it was him and not a pile of ashes...

"This could be a film...He could be dust..." she glared at Denham...

"You know if he were..." His Benevolence gave her his trademark benevolent smile...

"Where is he...Where did you take him?!!...Hand him over!!..."

"In return for...?" the Immortal eyed her...

"You're pulling a fast one on me, now?!!..." she fumed...

"Cards in my hands, Slayer..." he grinned... "Try and kill..." he groaned as she decked him with her knee...

Oooh, that's gotta hurt...Especially where he hasn't got any kind of superstrength...Several of the crew noted...

"I said I'd make it slow...And if you don't hand him over..." she told him coldly as he vomited and groaned...Irina waving some crewmembers with weapons into position...Denham hastily raising a hand...

"No...Unnh...Guns!!...It's ok...Buffy, lets not make this a stand-off...I just want a little help with my film, then you can have him..."



"What?..." she stared...

"This...Uh..." he groaned again, but rose to his feet... "This is the climatic scene, Slayer!!...Picture it, Buffy...Ummn..." he sought to cover himself from her threatened assault... "You and your vamp reunite on the final battlefield...and head off to as much bliss as you can safely handle..."

"So?...Reunite us and get the hell out of LA!..."

"It's gotta be done right, Buffy...And William is a little unsuitable for the part of hero...Now, I mean right now!...Injuries, unconsciousness, and all!...I just want a good, romantic closing..."

"Close with us walking off over your splattered guts!!..."

Hey, not bad...Denham thought...But I think my ending will be better...

For some of us...

"Buffy, c'mon...All I wants one lousy scene with you and Billy standing in for deadboy...Five minutes of your time and you get William...And a pretty nice acting fee..."

That's just between you and me, under the table, of course...he noted...

"The union would kill me...In a manner of speakin'...If they found out you had no credentials..."

"I'm not acting in your Godawful movie!!...Gimme my William or..."

I wouldn't expect I could hope to call it 'acting'...Denham thought...Just hoping you can mouth the lines for us to take care of later...

"I can't...Just now..." he put up a hand... "He's been taken across the portal..."

"You sent William to Hell?!..."

"Just temporarily...For bargaining purposes...Besides the best demonic/vampiral medical care's there..."

"Ok, Lets go!!..." she grabbed him...Hoisting him over her shoulder and turning to make for the portal...Where a number of panicky, desperate creatures were now milling about, awaiting their chance for escape... "I've always wanted to see where I send guys like you!!..."

"You can't cross without my ok...And my people have orders to block even my authorization for now...Besides I gotta tell you, you gotta a lot of enemies back there, lady...Not the safest place for you... "

"And you sent Will there, you bastard?!...Do whatever you have to make it work!!..." she set him down...He shook his head... "I couldn't if I wanted to...But you'll get him back in just a bit if you cooperate..." he added hastily...

And that acting fee could help lots in getting you two settled...A little freer of that Council of yours...he noted, eyeing her slyly...

Hey, His Benevolence treats his people right...

"You did say before you thought your Chairman Giles would never really agree to accept William as your guy..."

"I don't trust you...And I don't believe you can't get me to William now..."

"One scene, Buffy...Five lousy minutes of your time...To help me make artistic history...Is that too much to ask?...And hasn't the Immortal kept his word to you the whole year?...Hey, I sense you and he are a keeper couple...You can't abandon him now..."

She stared at him...

Ah, that abandonment line got her...he contentedly thought...Hooked and ready to reel in...

"Your B..." Irina pulled at him... "Our rear guard...What's left of them...Says the Slayers are moving up...They'll be here in just a few..."

"Ok, then!...Places, people!...Buffy?...You in or is William dust?...Or worse, considering some of the folks who could get access to him in Hell...If I should have to pull his guards away..."

"You swear you'll give him back?...I will kill you if you don't...And I always find a way..."

"Buffy...You have my word as Humanity's Immortally benevolent benefactor..." he nodded... "Now, come on...We've got the dawn and not much time...Irina, a little makeup for the Slayer..."

Buffy glared...Irina staring at her, then Denham...Skip it, he nodded...

"Ok, lets get our Spike...Er, William...Placed..." he corrected to Buffy's sharp frown...Two of his crew helping Mr. Idol to get into position...

"And you, Slayer...Right over there..." he pointed left to where the crew had repaired the left wall of the barricades...



"We want to catch you overcoming the last barrier between you and your guy...I know, a little pandering but audiences love that..." he explained...She frowning, but reluctantly moved around the left side corner of the barricades...

"Ok, everybody in position?...Audio too?...Great...Ok, Slayer...On five, you come running up over the barricades...The men trying everything to stop you, but nothing can stop you from reaching your guy!..."

Got that right...she thought, staring coldly up the barricade...I must be crazy...And in love...

Gotta make him give me a copy to play for Will later...

"One, two, three, four....Five!!...That's it, Slayer!!...Great!!...Toss those guys aside like you're insane with rage and passion!!..."

She is tossing our guys aside like she's insane with rage and passion...Irina noted...

"And you're through...You pause just a moment...Close up that shot..Right on her!...And run to your beloved..."

"And run to your beloved..." he repeated...GettoRoy...he hissed to Irina...Who hurried over to the truck where Roy and his gas bombs waited...

"Enough!..." she stood, just past the barricades on level ground, legs apart, hands on hips... "You've had your fun!!...Give me William!!!..."

A disappointed William Idol eyeing her...Sighing for the abrupt end of his acting career...

"Ok, cut...I guess we got enough...Time we got across to Hell ourselves..."

"First you send him back!!!..." Buffy raged...As another group of demon and human guards began surrounding His Benevolence...

"Now, now Slayer..." benevolent beam... "Lets remember my side of our agreement...I said I'd try and arrange for William's return to Earth and keep him safe until you were able to meet again...Well, you've met...At least on film when we do a little cutting...And now, that traitor to his kind is wanted on the other side for his crimes..."

And he not being exactly what I would call...Fully human...I hardly think I need extend my benevolent protection...he smiled...

She tensed... "You hand him over...NOW!!..."

"One of our major leaders is especially anxious to have her crack at him..." His Benevolence smiled wider... "I think you can guess who..."

Oh, that priceless look of icy hatred...

She charged for him, brushing off all trying to block her, demonic and human...

"Let her have it, Roy!..." he turned to Roy beside him...Who flinched and dropped the gas bomb in his hand a few feet from them and ran off...Buffy nearly on them, suddenly halted in the thick white gas cloud, unable to spot Denham who'd hurried back to the truck bearing the bombs...A number of human and demon crew near the edge of the gas cloud collapsing...Only Irina and two large demons now between His Benevolence and the termination of his title...Buffy emerged from the cloud, coughing and sputtering... "Denham!...I'll let you live if you hand him over...Denham!!!..." she struggled to see...Wobbily, he noticed...

He grabbed another bomb from the crate in the truck bed and tossed at her as she finally managed to make him and the others out...The bomb struck dead on and she was on her knees...

"William!..."

"Afraid you blew it, Slayer...But I think you'll see him again sometime..." he called... "And by the way, please remember at the final judgment...Whatever our little dispute here...I did help to save Humanity from the Partners...But getting this film together...And you to our Hell portal was just too appealing to the showman in me..."

She struggled to her feet... "You..." Trying to aim a stake throw...

"One more won't kill her, will it?..." Denham looked at Irina...Who shrugged...Not up on Slayer physiology, Your B...

Oh, well...She's survived worse...He tossed one more...As her stake whizzed by, ramming into and through the door of the truck...

Whoa... "Hey, did anyone get that?!..." he called...As Buffy again surrounded by a gas cloud, went down hard...

Several of his surviving crew came over, about her form...He approached as well but waved them back a bit...

"Camera on me!..." he looked back to one of two cameramen still on their feet...And stepped beside her...

She moved feebly...Then was still...Irina hastening up by him with another bomb...No, no...he held her arm... "She's had too much already...She's down..."

"Sorry Slayer...But the show must go on!..." he patted her limp form gently...Beaming look for the camera...

"People!...We've got her!!...And one hell of a masterpiece of a film!!...I'm richer than ever, folks...And not really needing it, I'll share it with all of you!!...At least, your survivors!!!..."

"Boss..." Irina pulled at him, listening on her headset... "The rear guard says the Slayers are coming...Any minute..."

"Right then...Ok, lets get the film through and our prize bound up and through the Hell portal..." he paused...

"But what are we gonna do with her?..." Irina asked as several crewmembers began chaining the unconscious Slayer up...

Denham clenched a fist...

"We're gonna put on a show!!!...For Hell's creme dela creme...The likes of which neither Hell nor Earth have ever seen!!...It'll be stupendous!...Colossal!!...And the star...Buffy, Humanity's Greatest Slayer, the Eighth Wonder of the Earth!!!!..."

Great way to publicize my film...he beamed...

I gotta a bad feeling about this...One of the crew securing Buffy, a small humanoid demon in overalls, sighed to his human companions...

***

"Queen Buffy..."



Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/qb.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...



***

Part V...

Two evenings later...



Hell...

Surprisingly rather like a combination of 1930's Broadway...And 1920's Weimar Berlin...Crowds of demons and condemned souls milling about the street of theaters where only the most excremental of shows were allowed to be run, generally experimental works by the most excremental of condemned playwrights...A number being shoved away by what passed for a police force...Though its heavy set, thuggish members would not have seemed especially strange in 1930's New York...From a huge building on which a number of fancy cars and a large crowd of Hell's well-dressed elite were converging...

"You will not believe(whatever you are)/The greatest spectacle Hell has ever witnessed."

"HIS BENEVOLENCE CARL DENHAM PRESENTS!:

BUFFY, THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE EARTH!"

The posters on sandwich boards about the vast presentation hall proclaimed...

And the enormous sign above the hall's grand entrance blared forth in similar fashion:

"CARL DENHAM'S AMAZING MONSTER

Buffy, Greatest of the Slayers, the Eighth Wonder of the Earth!"

A number of the ordinary behind ropes, threatened by the thuggish guards, watching their elite emerge from their cars...Cheering as one or another famed hero(ine) of Hell showed...

Loud cheers as one particular favorite emerged from his limo, groaning at every movement in his tight tux...Attempting to wave to the crowd but giving it up owing to the agony...He stared up at the giant sign...

"Warren Mears, our own fleshless boy!..." a slick and fast-talking announcer...Former legal counsel to Philip Morris, Inc...By a large standing microphone kept the crowd and the folks at home informed... "Come on over and say hello to the various form of people, Warren!..."

"Yeah, hi..." Warren turned again to crane...OWW!...His neck at the sign...

"You telling me he's got Buffy Summers in there?...That's what this thing's about?!..." a nervous, and extremely uncomfortable...You trying wearing a tux on raw, nerve-exposed muscle...Warren asked...

"The Greatest Slayer, herself, yeah...Carl Denham, the Immortal human famed for his brilliant playing of all sides has done the impossible yet again!...Tell us, Warren...As a fellow human, one who came damned close to killing her yourself, doesn't it make you proud for your kind?!..."

"Why didn't they tell me they had Buffy here?!...Are you people all crazy?!!..." Mears shouted to the crowd... "She'll kill us all!!..."

The announcer looked at him...Ummn, Warren...

"Ok, ok...We're already dead..." he waved a fleshless hand... "So she'll destroy us, torture us, find some new level of destruction...Listen you don't know that bitch...Hey!..." Two of Denham's handlers drag...er guide...Warren away into the theater and his seat of honor in the front row...Where, already seated, an equally uncomfortable motley crew of the Greatest Slayer's former foes sat nervously...

"We are just gonna view a film of her, right?...Denham makes those films, right?..." Heinrich Nast, the Master, asked a fidgety Major Wilkens who shook his head... "His people told me we'd be seeing her dissected corpse...Which, so long as they provide a decent buffet at the after show party and I get a chance to speak and press a little suffering flesh, I said sure..."

"That's not how I heard it..." Colin, the Anointed One cut in, pausing as he and his escort excused themselves en route to their seats...The rather wan-looking First...Hey, fellas, she waved to the ole gang...Using a cane and attracting briefly terrified occasional stares from various startled members of the audience at her Buffy form...Boo, jerks!...God, if I only had a stake or maybe a little of my old power...She glanced back with glare...

Ah, only sad ole Firsty...The relieved patrons sank back in their seats...



"...I heard this is a personal appearance...Denham's got her alive..."

"Alive...?!" the Master started in his seat at Colin's words... "He's brought her alive to Hell?!.."

"Knew we could take her...I just shouldn'ta used Ubies..." the First wanly noted to anyone who might listen... "I shoulda tried to possess her when she was down over her resurrection...Yeah..." Colin patting her gently... "You know I coulda got her then?...This could be me on Earth in the flesh right now..." she waved at herself...Ironically allowed corporeality in the only place it couldn't matter... "Sure..." he patted her again... "Lets sit down, now..." he helped her to a seat...

"I think I have a pressing engagement...Anywhere..." the Master noted...Starting to rise...Blocked by the arrival of Warren Mears and his guards...

"Well, if it isn't the idiots brigade?...All ready to suffer at Buffy's hands again, morons?..." Mears sneered...OWWW!!... "Jesus, man!...Don't touch the raw flesh!..." he glared at a guard urging him along...

"People, it's been real getting together with you all again outside the torture chamber but I just realized I have a rally for my Hell Ruler campaign in thirty minutes..." Mayor Wilkens rose now, his beaming politician's smile radiating ...The Master already moving for the aisle opposite from the direction Warren was being shoved along to his seat...

"Mr. Denham wants you folks should stay..." one of the more intelligent of the guards now blocking the opposite row at the aisle informed the two ex-would-be world conquerors...Nast and Wilkens looking at each other...And making a break over the row of seats behind them, the seated patrons howling at them as they clambered over...

"We can't get out, they're guarding the exit!..." Wilkens called as he and Nast made it to an unblocked aisle...

"At least we'll be near the door!...This mob'll trample it down in seconds when she goes for them!!..." Nast replied, taking defensive stance against the guards in pursuit...

"This isn't fair!...I only got to try killing her once...How come she gets another crack at me?!..." Warren howled from his seat...

"Mr. Mears, Mr. Denham assures you that the creature is secured..." an officious, rather prissy seven foot slimy green demon in tux had been summoned to attend the VIP guests...Two of whom, Denham frowningly noting from the wings, were already vamoosed...

"Irina, see none of the rest of those clowns wuss out on us!...What the here's the matter with them?...I thought they were Hell's finest..." he turned to his assistant...Who nodded, then looked nervously at the main stage where the curtain concealed the forthcoming 'spectacle'...

Perhaps Hell's brightest...If not most courageous...she thought...

"Are you sure about this, Your B?...I keep thinking how she took on everything the other day in LA..." she eyed Denham as he twisted a finger in the collar of his tux...Hate these damned monkey suits...

"Irina?...C'mon...You've seen her the last coupla days...We've knocked some of the fight of her...The box office is raking it in...Cash as well as kittens...And we're in Hell, what's she gonna do in Hell surrounded by her worst enemies?..."

She pondered...

Hey, maybe those clowns stampeding off to the exit isn't so bad...Gets the crowd in the right mood in case she's not quite as impressive in her current state as her past rep would suggest...he noted happily...

Her worst enemies...Who seem to be trying to flee out the door...Irina thought, staring up to where the Master and Wilkens were dodging the guards sent to drag...er, escort them back...The Master using his incredible strength...Wilkens his political charisma..."Dick Wilkens, candidate for Hell Ruler this fall, hihowthehereareya?..." he offered a hearty handshake and button...Vote Dick!... to one puzzled guard...

"Well, lets get the greatest...and the most romantic...Spectacle Hell has ever seen under way!..." Denham signed for the curtain operator to stand ready and strode out on the stage, music blaring for his entrance...

"Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted intermediates...I am the Immortal, Carl Denham..."



Applause...A threatening-looking goon to stage left holding up a large sign...

Heck, I could've called myself the Immortal...the First noted to Colin... "I been around longer...Though I have held up well, huh?" she asked, a little pathetically...

Absolutely...Colin nodded kindly...

Hey, a boy must support his more or less adopted mommie/girl..."Thanks..." she beamed...

"In a moment I want to tell you a very strange story...One of disaster and tragedy for our people in which many of my own party suffered horrible deaths...But also, ultimately, of triumph..." Denham continued... "And of a romance that even those of you who prefer feasting on the romantic can appreciate..."

"Hey, pal..." Warren had come to a conclusion about how to deal with those keeping watch over him... "Look at the pretty blonde girlie..." he pointed to the First...The guard looking, he lept over his seat and raced for the aisle and up to where the Master and Wilkens were holding off their pursuers...Ow, Ow!...OW, OW, OWW!!...Every step on raw, shoe-encased feet agony...

Though nothing, he was sure, to compare to what Summers'd do to him...

"But first..." Denham went on...

"In her world she was a heroine...And would've been a queen if they still had monarchy in America..."

Dim-witted primates...Monarchy and Despotism are the only sensible governments...The First noted to Colin...

"...But now she comes to you...Merely a new curiosity for you to behold...A spectacle for your amusement..."

Couldn't we have just watched this 'spectacle' on a movie screen...Or home on TV?...Colin thought, nervously looking back up to the rear...

"Listen you idiots, we gotta get outta here!..." Warren hollered to Nast, Wilkens, and the guards blocking the exit...

"Females and Males, I, Carl Denham, the Immortal, give you...Buffy...The Eighth Wonder of the Earth!!..."

The curtain parts to gasps...Panicky screams... "Nobody told me it was the Slayer!"...Numbers of the audience on their feet, ready to try for a fast exit...To reveal a rather crumpled Buffy, clearly heavily drugged, in rumpled, torn blouse and slacks, head down to her side, arms in chains to two massive pillars, shackles round her feet...Half a dozen mixed demon and human attendants eyeing the chains cautiously...

"Get her to move so they know she's not dead..." Denham hissed to one who poked her in the side...

She raised her head just a moment to look out over the crowd...Colin yelping as the First squeezed his hand in a burst of panic...Hiding her head..."Tell me when she's not looking..." The mixed demonic, vampiral, and assorted evil and condemned human souls audience gradually calming as they realized she was secured and helpless...Though Mears and his fellow ex-foes continued their efforts to find a way out, Nast barely managing to hold the guards off...

"Now, now friends..." Denham waved hands in a calming gesture to the crowd...Many still visibly nervous... "Don't panic...She's fully sedated, these chains are of chrome steel, and fortified by magics..."

Buffy lowered her head...Tears clearly running...

"She's not looking now..." Colin hissed...Rubbing his released hand as the First looked up...

"Yeah!...In your...Quite lovely...Face...Slayer bitch!!..." she called... "This was worth fifty kittens and ten gold bars..." she noted to Colin...

"Denham!...Denham!!...Denham!!!..." the excited, now increasingly joyful, crowd hollered...

"We are so destroyed..." Mears sighed to Wilkens...

Hey...I woulda got her but for that bastard Spike...the First noted to Colin, looking round...Sure, he nodded kindly...



"But this isn't all!..." Denham waved at the cheering crowd...

"Now...Direct from LA..."

"At rather unacceptable cost...But hey, blame the other Partners, I didn't order that suicidal attack..." he motioned to the left wing of the stage...

"Our little Queen's consort...William...Soames...Walthrop..."

Spike?...The First and Colin stared...

"Spike?..." the audience stared as one...

Buffy in her chains stirring feebly...As several attendants dragged a badly wounded, staggering William out on to the stage...

Oh, now that's bright...Bring the two of them together...A despairing Mears shook his head ...

If...You can keep your head...When all around you are about to lose theirs to the Slayer...Nast told himself, tensing for another try to reach the exit...

"No, no...This wanna-be human doesn't deserve the dignity of your using his demon's name...He betrayed his kind, let him have his...Humanity..." Denham sneered at William...Three attendants starting to chain him up to another pillar...

"Denham!!...Denham!!!...Kill them!, Kill them!!!..."

"Oh, no friends..." Denham waved his hands... "Not both...Our little Queen will be staying with us till we tire of her and I no longer have need of her..."

"For I mean to raise a host from her own genetic material...Friends, we will conquer Earth with a new army, raised from the Greatest Slayer herself...An army of evil such as Humanity has never conceived!..."

Oh, please...Wilkens shook his head...Even here the polls are all running against cloning...he noted to Warren...

"Beats turning oneself into a giant worm..." Mears replied...

"Hey, snake demon..." Wilkens frowned...

"Wilkens, Mears!...C'mon, these guys can only pay attention to one thing at a time!!..." Nast called...Shoving a guard whose limited attention was now fixed on Denham's spectacle on stage out of his way

"Evil Buffy clones?..." the First rolled her eyes... "That is so lame schemewise..."

"Sounds good to me...I read about cloning last week..." Colin noted....Shut up...The First glared...

A lot better idea than an army of Ubervamps who woulda been wiped out by sunshine anyway...he thought...

Though it is kinda kinky...The First noted, pondering...Ummn...Yeah...Kinky...Colin nodded...Wondering what the heck 'kinky' meant to those past puberty anyway...

"Somehow though...I feel violated..." she looked at Colin...

"Now just let me get my people in here to take a few shots of our happy couple for posterity..." the Immortal on stage told the crowd...Waving in his cameramen...

Buffy vaguely staring at William a moment...

"They've locked the doors from the outside, the idiots!!..." Nash cried, smashing against the now unguarded exit...

"Whoa...Bad policy..." Wilkens shook his head... "Reminds me of Coconut Grove...I attended the mass funeral as Mayor of Sunnydale back in '42..."



"Great...Now you can attend as a reeking corpse..." Mears sneered...

"Happy couple indeed..." Denham chuckled to the crowd... "For, friends their story goes back even farther than those of you, including our special guests..." brief frown at the Master's, Wilken's, Mears' empty seats...Wave to the wan, but true trooperlike First... "...may have ever suspected..."

William groaning as the guards forced him to a straight, standing position...Securing his final chains...

"First, let me bring out one of Hell's finest...A true heroine for Evil...Who paid the ultimate price for our cause and played the key role in our tragic romance...The most schemingly fiendish vengeance demon I have ever known...Halfreck!..."

A just unbound, panicky Halfreck rubbing her wrists...Only moments ago dragged from her torture cell...Blinked in the harsh lights...

"Yes, the famed Halfreck...Who labored to bring our gallant couple to their current pitiful state...Give her a big Hell hand, people!!" Applause sign raised, followed by applause...

"I was only following orders!!..." Haly screamed, now able to see Buffy and William on either side of her and a beaming Denham...

"Don't be modest, Halfreck!..." the Immortal patted her... "It was you who took the form of the famed Slayer, Cicely...The Greatest Slayer to her day...Who violated her Duty by choosing to love..."

Whoa...The First blinked... "What?..." Colin hissed... "Cicely?...I'd no idea..." she whispered....

What?...Who?!...Colin tried again...

"Oh, God the tortures I coulda inflicted...The bargaining chip this woulda been..." she sighed...

"For God's sakes, you bitch!...Who or what's Cicely?!!!..."

"Colin?...We don't swear...Even in Hell..." "No, adopted mommie..."

"...a mere foolish boy...a pathetic romantic..." Denham continued...

Buffy stirring just a bit...

"Can't you do anything?...You're supposed to be a genius!..." Nast yelled at Warren fumbled with the door's locking mechanism...

"Hey, Miss Summers!!...Remember Dick Wilkens had no part in this campaign!!...And that he needs your vote in November!!!..." Wilkens beside them trying the groveling appeal strategy...

"It was my job, Slayer!!!..." Haly on stage, pleading...Guards dragging her off...

"Halfreck, folks!!...And, having taken this ridiculous burden on herself...Foolishly attempting to carve a life and love out for herself, away from that noble struggle which both our people and those of the other side had devoted their existences to...This great Slayer, Cicely, found herself in a situation her skills and superhuman strength could not resolve...Her unsuspecting lover...Now her husband..."

The First stared...Colin stared...Nast, Wilkens, and Mears stared...The audience stared...

Buffy started...Feebly...

Husband...?

William now vaguely making out what was being said, giving Buffy a sheepish look...Ummn, had honestly forgot about that little detail, love...During my demon-possessed days anyway...

"Buffy..." he gasped...Seeing her battered, reeling form a bit more clearly now...



"The records, purloined from the surviving archives of her own Watchers' Council..." Denham waved a folder Irina had just passed to him... "Are now in my benevolent possession...And they confirm my tale...The Slayer and her mate faced grave threat...Even her Council poised to act against him..."

"Then, with some prodding by her Watcher...Cicely the Vampire Slayer, made her fatal, romantic mistake and chose to protect William...The only way she felt she could!!..."

Yeah, yeah...When do we kill her?!...a voice called...

"Shut up, you!!..." the First hollered... "This is a great romance!..."

William?...Buffy stared his way, then let her head loll, the crowd happily sneering at her...

***

"Queen Buffy..."



Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...



Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/qb.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...

***

Part VI...

A beaming Carl Denham, the Immortal...What a night!...What a spectacle!...And, (quick nod to well-positioned cameramen), we're gettin' it all on film!...Looked out over his audience of Hell's finest as he came to the crux of his tale of tragic romance and doomed lovers...

"And so friends, Cicely, greatest of the Vampire Slayers...(Boo!, hiss...From the many who'd suffered at Cicely's hands...)...Did what she thought was the only thing she could to save her beloved...Used our own Halfreck to take her form and drive him away..."

Oh, God...William stared...Groaning as movement irritated his multiple wounds... "Cicely?..." he gasped at Buffy...Who stared back, feebly stirring against her chains...

"Damnit, girl..."

"Sadly for Cicely...But pretty humorously for the rest of us..." Denham continued... "Her Watcher and advisor had betrayed her...Her Council displeased by her move to fly from her duty to the arms of her lover and new husband..."

"Husband?..." Buffy whispered...Husband?...she mouthed to William...Who gave a frowning nod...Yeah...And when they get through with us, I got a few questions for my Missus...Who or whatever she is now...

"Colin?..." the First had caught Buffy's look at William and their interchange..."Yeah?..." the Anointed One asked, distractedly, attention fixed on Denham and his tale...

"I think I wanna go now..." she noted in nervous, flat tone, rising... "Tout sweet..." Quick...she translated to Colin's puzzled stare...



"Mr. Denham wants ya should stay in ya seat..." one of the demon guards came over...

Husband...Buffy repeated in a whisper to herself...

Holy...

"...And lying in wait was our own...Drusilla...Who, sadly, is not available to be with us tonight..."

Somebody had a brain...Warren noted to his colleagues as he struggled with the locking mechanism of the exit door at the far rear...Nast and the Mayor continuing their desperate effort to hold off Denham's small-brained goons...

Dru?...Oh...Buffy eyed William...Struggling now to concentrate and shake off the drugs...

Your B...Irina tried to catch Denham's eye from the left wing as she watched Buffy...

I think our prize needs some more tranquillizer...

"...And thanks to whom, Cicely's feeble efforts were in vain...William became one of our own, the famed William the Bloody ("Traitor!...Boo!!", hiss...)..."

Oh...God...Buffy wearily raised her head to look at Will...Who sighed back..."Not your fault, dear heart...Uhh..." he groaned as a guard thumped him hard in the stomach... "Quiet down!"

"Hey..." Buffy cried, feebly...

"Yes, a traitor to us in the end...His miserable soul having stayed to influence him...A sad example to us all of the horrors of love..." Denham noted solemnly... "But..." he beamed again... "He'd left his Cicely a gift which doomed her..."

"Lets go...oh..." the First nervously urged Colin in whisper...A quick Buffy-innocent-with-a-touch-of-coyness smile to the watching guard... "Hi ya..."

I'm clueless, love...Will stared back at Buffy's questioning stare...Gift?...

"Nothing the Council of Watchers tolerates less than a pregnant Slayer...Especially during the Victorian era..." the Immortal smiled...

Geesh...That wasn't fair...Like that poor Woods kid, the First sighed..."Ya know her Council totally abandoned her after she had her Robin... "...Ummn...She caught Colin staring at her...

"Hey, even I can feel a little for a fellow female...And I did take her form for a bit..."

Preggers?...Will blinked...Blanching a bit at Buffy's somewhat wan, but definite frown...Hey, I didn't know...

"Hey..." he gasped aloud at Denham who ignored him... "What's this about...?...Unnh!..." a guard slapped him...

"Will..." Buffy croaked out, vainly fumbling at her chains...

"Mears!...For the luva the Dark Side!...Get us outta here!!..." the Master cried, staring at the stage while continuing to hold back the guards...Warren continuing to struggle...OW!!!...Damn fleshless hands!...With the exit door mechanism...

Oh...God, we are so deader...the Master looked down to her on stage... "Dick, you think that repent and be redeemed thing might still work for us here?..." he turned to the Mayor, who shrugged...At this point, I'm up for anything...

'Cause I'm really ready to throw in the towel...Nast sighed...

"I have to go to the ladies room..." the First tried her own winning smile to her guard... "And my little friend here too..." she nodded to Colin, who nodded fervently...Show the nice ten foot thug your cute smile, honey...the First beamed...Colin giving his most winsome...

Hmmn...Denham turned to eye Buffy...Ah, let her fool with the chains...Keeps the crowd on edge...



"And so..." he returned to his rapt audience... "Cicely the Vampire Slayer abandoned her calling in a desperate search to find and save her beloved..."

Will eyeing Buffy...

"Now look, God..." the Mayor tried his most winning smile... "You know Dick Wilkens can deliver when he sets his mind to it..."

And me too, the Master insisted...

"But, in the end..." Denham gave the appropriately solemn look... "And with the help of her Council...Her great strength gone, her body failing...She died bearing her stillborn child..."

Are you crying?...Colin stared at the First...

Uh...

"See, I really gotta go!..." she made good use of the opening...Daubing at her eyes with a hanky...Though sadly the effort lost on the guard now minding her who spoke only Syrian-Aramaic...

Oh, my poor, poor lamb...Will painfully shook his head at Buffy...Who gave him a sad, bewildered look...

Stillborn?...Died?...

Nast and the Mayor looked at each other...Mears apparently getting nowhere with the door...With the goons having fallen back to regroup, our one chance to demonstrate the sincerity of our redemption...

"WE FEEL YOUR PAIN, SLAYER!!..." they hollered at the stage...Should we kneel in supplication?...Wilkens suggested...Several in the audience turning to glare at them...

So...You gloat, you get shoved through a plate glass roof...the kneeling Nast glared back at them...

"C'mon she'll never fall for that...Haven't you guys ever heard of death with dignity?..." Mears frowned back at his colleagues...

"Unless you've got that door open, you take the dignity, we'll keep our skin..." the Mayor replied...

"However...It being Cicely, greatest of the Slayers...She was not about to let a little thing like Death stop her..." Denham noted...Oh...My...God...Will looked at Buffy who looked at him...

"So, my friends...Let me present to you...To some of you once again...Cicely, Greatest of the Slayers..." he waved at Buffy...

The electronic sign above the stage blaring Buffy's name suddenly clearing to read "Cicely, the Ninth Wonder of the World!..."...Denham eagerly repeating the words himself...

Ninth?...Irina stared at him from the stage wing...

Hey, may as well milk this for all we can...his look back saying...

Damned straight...Buffy gave Will a proud, if battered and weary, look...

Not saying it matches dyin' for me...her quiet nod and smile noted...

But...Certainly a nice belated wedding gift...

"Ok, now before I run the epic film of our capture of our little Juliet and Romeo here...And we put finis to the saga of the treacherous William the Bloody...I invite the members of our Hell's Press Corps to take a few pictures..." he waved a group of history's most evil journalists and propaganda hacks on stage...

Leni, Joseph...Westbrook...H.L., how ya doing?...Denham nodded at several ...



"Hey, get her moving a bit..." he hissed to Buffy's guards...Who began poking at her...

"Just let me get in position here..." he moved to a spot between his two secured prizes...The photographs starting to shoot...Though Ms. Riefenstahl pausing to imperiously demand better lighting...Achtung!...

"Hey, leave my wife be, you bastards!...." Will hollered at the guards now thrusting electric cattle prods at Buffy, who wearily tried to dodge...Then paused, a warm smile...

It's true...Looky at my sweet lil' hubby, doing the protective thing ...Aww, Will...

"Sir...?" Irina had been reluctantly dragged out on the stage by Denham to pose with him... "Sir, don't you think?..." she tried...Indicating William rattling his chains...

"All, let him roar, Riny!...Good for the show..." Denham beamed...

"And lets bring our execution host out on stage!..." he turned to the crowd...Then to the right stage wing, waving a large group of somewhat annoyed-looking demon survivors of the great battle the other night on stage...

"I got it!..." Mears cried, throwing the exit door open and rushing through, the Mayor and Master immediately on their feet right behind...To find two feet further inside, another locked exit door...

Hey, this is Hell after all...

"Can't you fight us outta here?..." Colin eyed the First...The guards still refusing their polite requests to leave for a moment...

"I got the look, not the super strength..." she frowned at him... "And my own skills lie more in the psychological warfare area..."

"Don't you hurt him!!..." Buffy cried desperately as the demon host encircled William...The photographers snapping away...

Whoa...Denham noted a slight movement in Buffy's left arm chain bolt set in a solid concrete-and-steel-reinforced pillar...

Several in the audience staring as well...Course the magics are sure to hold...

"Don't let her fussing trouble you, friends!...She's well secured..."

Though perhaps...He caught Irina nervously eyeing him...

"Maybe you oughta get some more gas bombs out here..." he hissed, she hurrying off...

"Now wait a minute...She thinks you're attacking him..." Denham called to the host now unsheathing weapons and brandishing them at the helpless William...

So?....We are...We're gonna kill him...the host's leader stared at the Immortal...

Buffy's right pillar now jerked violently...

Whoa...The guards by the First and Colin stared, somewhat shaken out of their brainless apathy...Looking at the First...Hmmn...

That Leaving thing...What a good idea...They displayed astonishing mental capacity by heading for the exit aisle...

"C'mon, Colin!...And fire up your most pathetic, lost boy look!..." the First pulled at him...

"Finish him!!..." the host's commander called...

"Hey...I'm the Immortal and this is my show!..." Denham glared... "I'll tell ya when you..."

Another violent pull by Buffy caused the left pillar to shudder, then crack...



"Irina?...Irina!!?..." Denham cried...

"You know, guys..." the demon commander noted, staring at the enraged Slayer as she gave another mighty pull that nearly toppled the right pillar... "Perhaps we oughta rethink this..."

"The bombs were sent to a storage facility, boss!...Too dangerous to have in a theater!..." Irina called as she reached the stage...

"What?!..."

"You remember any prayers?..." Nast turned to Wilkens... "She might believe us if we're praying..."

"Don't you dissolve or something if you say prayers?..." the Mayor eyed him... "Don't be a putz, Dick..." Nast frowned...

"Safety regulations, your B!!..." Irina explained... "In Hell?!..." "Where they follow every one to the letter, your B!..."

A last mighty, though cautious...Hey, don't wanna hurt my new-found hubby...Pull and the right pillar split apart and crashed down...She quickly snapped off the right ankle chain and focused on the left...

"Why don't we do this another time..." the demon commander began hurrying his troops out, stage left...

The audience taking note of the fluid situation as well...

"Mears?..." Nast called to Warren who was gamely struggling with the second door...Death with dignity, he noted to himself...Yeah...

"What?!!..."

"Better get the here outta the way!..."

Warren looked to see a screaming horde now moving up the aisles, his way...

Guess Nastie was right about letting the crowd do the job...he thought...Leaping hastily, if painfully to where his colleagues knelt in fervent prayer...

"Wish I still had my rosary beads..." Nast noted...Mears looking at him...

"Hey, I was a very nice Catholic boy in my human days...Sang in the Papal choir...His Holiness and I were like that..." the Master insisted...

You know I'm really just another victim...he shook his head..."Not like your two soul-consenting evildoers..."

A tremendous crash as the other pillar gave way...Part of the stage collapsing...Buffy rushing to William...

Call for help...the First hissed as she and Colin made their way through the struggling, panicked crowd... "She can't hurt a cute little boy calling for help..."

"Come on, your Benevolence!!..." Irina pulled Denham off to the left wing... "She'll be busy with William for a second..."

"Someone is getting this on film, right?..." Denham hesitated...

***

"Queen Buffy..."



Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/qb.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...

***

Part VII...



Stage center...

"Cicely, eh?..." Buffy eyed Will as she struggled with his right arm chain, a hard tug snapping it...

"Guess so, love..." he smiled, trying to help her pull the other arm free...There!... "Buffy!..." he caught sight of a group of well-armed demonic guards trying to rally in the orchestra pit...The mixed demon/human musicians having fled to join the massive throng fighting to make their way to the blocked exit...

She whirled back to face the group, most busy trying to bring up their various weapons...And racing to the closer of the two broken pillars that had held her a few moments before, lifted it and hurled it at the line of guards...Those who could get back in time now breaking off in panic and joining the terrified crowd...She returned to William who'd now managed to free one leg...

"Thanks, sweet..." he beamed as she severed the final chain with a hard kick, he holding it taut...

"I do it for all my husbands..." she grinned, then a frown... "Ya mighta tole a girl...Heck you never even told me your..." she paused, a nervous smile now... "...our...name..."

"I didn't know...How could I?...And you never did ask namewise..." he smiled now... "Our name?..."

"Like hell you're getting outta this marriage now, pal..." she nodded firmly...

Ok...Denham hissed from where he, Irina, and one hell of a brave cameraman were watching from the left wing... "Close in on them...Wait for the moment...Hold it...Great, close as you can get on that kiss...Irina, any word on my gas bombs?..."

"No, Your B..." Irina shook her head, holding her headset tight against her right ear with one hand...Keeping a pistol trained as best she could on the Slayer, currently locked in embrace with her mate, with the other...

"Don't shoot unless she charges..." the Immortal told her...Right, she nodded...

"How about our support troops?...And what's with those dim-wit guards out there..."

"Troops under General Droog are moving up but they'll need entry access to the building here...She seems to be moping up our guards pretty easily, sir..."

Oops....Irina and Denham stared...As Buffy looked their way...An indescribable look coming into her face as she pulled from Will...

"She's seen us, your B!...Should I...?"

"Hang on!...Jeremy?...You did get that last shot?..." he looked at the cameraman...



"Denham!!..." Buffy cried...Suddenly distracted as a pathetic cry for help came from the mob in the aisles...Move it, Your B...Irina pulling Dedham back...

Good?...Colin turned to his companion... "Pathetically terrific..." the First beamed... "Hey!...You know who I am?...Get the here outta my way, clods..." she kicked at the mass in front of her, most now fighting and clawing their way along..."Hey, she's looking...Wave to her and show her we've nothing to do with the evil unleashed here, sweetie...Better she don't see me..."

"How do I do that?.. Hey, quit shoving, Anointed One here!! ...." Colin yelled, noting the crowd of considerably taller creatures about them...Hey?...He gasped as the First lifted him to her shoulders...

"Just wave and look helplessly pathetic...But not panicky...If she's forgotten you, she might come down to save a panicky little kid..."

I think she recognizes me...Colin sighed... "Or maybe you...She just gave me the finger..."

"That's rude...Geesh..." the First frowned... "But if she's not on her way to kill us now, probably not a bad sign..."

"She's helping William...They're heading for backstage..."

Colin gave a sigh of relief...

"Say this is nice, adopted mommie...Can I stay up here?...It's scary down there now..."

"Sure, sweetie...Mommie will get you out...Get outta my face, I'm the First!!..."

No response from the hordes blocking her way...Ok...she sighed...

"Outta my way!...Here's the deal!...I'm Buffy the Vampire Slayer and anyone who doesn't get down is deader than ever!!!..." a number in the mob turning to look at her..."My demon Gggod!"..."She's here!!!"..."It's her!!!!"...

Morons…Hmmn...Ya know I never thought...I could have a lotta fun with this here...The First beamed to herself...

The mass in front hearing the dreaded name and command falling to the floor like bowling pins...She began hopping across their prostrate backs toward the upper level exit just now at last smashed open as the Master had predicted...

"Say...Does Buffy have dark roots, too?..." Colin asked innocently...

***

"How do we get outta here?..." Buffy looked at Will as they reached the backstage area, Dedham and crew having fled while she was glaring at Colin and her twin as they seemed about to be trampled in the audience crowd...

Hell, I mean...she explained as he started looking for a door...

"Not a clue, love...Afraid this is one time Spike might be of more use...I was out when they brought me over..."

"Me too..." she sighed... "But there's one or more portals to Earth here somewhere and that bastard Denham knows where one is anyway..."

The Immortal...she explained to his puzzled look...

"He's one of the Partners...But promised to get you back for me if I didn't go to LA to check what Angel and you were up to...Lyin' sob...But I didn't know any other way, Will...Even Willow wouldn't help me..."

"Guess now I know why I was so fixated...I even kept it from Giles..." she smiled at him... "I think we better get moving though..." she noted... "Even this crowd will come to its senses sooner or later and come after us..."

"Right...Where did our host go?..."



She shook her head... "But he'll be around out there...Probably following us...He's a psycho filmmaker among other things...He'll want to get it all on film...That's why he didn't just try to capture me in Rome...He wanted to film us meeting in LA..."

"Sounds like quite a film...Remind me to get a copy...I think I see a door..." he pointed to the left...

"I'll take it off his reeking corpse...Lets go, Mr. Walthrop..." she came to the door, pausing...

Eyeing him...

Oh...Right...

He opened the door with a vigorous pull... "After you, Mrs. Walthrop..."

"Thank you, Mr. Walthrop..." she gave a faint imitation of a curtsy, and exited into an alley, he following...

"Irina?..." Denham from the corner where he and Irina had been awaiting the Walthrops' exit...

"Teams 2 and 4...On the Slayer and her husband...Shouldn't we kill them, sir?...Team 3 is in place with machine guns and arrows..."

Irina looked at him as Buffy and Will hurried down the alley into the main street...Cries of renewed panic erupting as they appeared to the fleeing crowd which had hoped to have reached some semblance of safety...

"Oh...Maybe later..." Denham put up a hand... "I'd still like to use the gas bombs if we get a chance...Lets get after them...Have a car brought over..."

"But Your Benevolence...They'll be after...You..."

"Yeah..." he beamed... "Oh, come on Irina...We're in Hell and have the superior firepower..." he shook his head at her frown...

"'Sides...They wouldn't kill me till I showed them the portal exit..."

"And think of the footage we'll be getting..."

***

"Can't we just drop him and catch the first cab home?..." the Mayor suggested as he and the Master lugged a screaming, writhing Mears...Try having about 1,000 terrified, Slayer-fleeing patrons of various forms trample over your exposed nerves...Down the main street of Hell/Broadway, dodging the fleeing crowd...Buffy and Will's appearance up at the other end of the boulevard as yet concealed from them by the vast mob...

"No cabs on a night like this...And he's our proof of redemption should she catch us....Only a couple of redeemed types like us would stop to help a fellow in a situation like this, right?..." Nast eyed Wilkens who got it...Yeah...

"Hang in there, Warren, old pal..." Dick noted comfortingly...

"We'll find a safe place to hole up soon..."

Screaming howls of pain from their charge...A barely coherent..."Leggomme, morons!!!!...You're killing me!!!!..."

"Hey, look!...I think there's keys in that sedan..." Wilkens pointed...

"See what redemption brings you..." Nast solemnly replied...Eyes rolling Heavenward in gratitude...They hauled the writhing Mears over...Finally setting him down...

Ohhhh...He groaned...Blinking up at them... "Bbbastards!!!...I told you to let go!...Ohhh..." he moaned...

"It's all over now, Warren..." Nast replied... "We'll get you in and off we go...For once reasonably in..."



"HOLD IT, BASTARDS!!!!..." Buffy cried...Stake waving...Grim look... "So, we all meet again, eh?...Hey, Warren..." she nodded at Mears on the ground... "Here's the deal, boys...Get away from that car!...Throw me the keys!!...And get outta here and I'll cut you a break this one time..."

"Sounds good to me!..." Wilkens tossed the keys... "This wasn't our plot, Slayer...We've chosen redemption...Voluntarily, like Spike..." Nast noted... "And look..." he waved the Mayor over to Warren...Oh, no...Mears groaned... "We're saving a fellow in need..." They lifted Mears to shrieks of agony...

"Get out of here..." Buffy replied coldly...Stake raised...They began scurrying off, Mears screaming once again...

Say...?...The Mayor pulled up short...Nast dropping his end and stumbling onto Mears...Who simply rolled eyes and fainted...

"Where was William?..." he looked at Nast...Nast looking at him...

"Was that dress what she was wearing before?..." Nast asked...They both looked back up the road where the First now in the driver's seat and Colin in passenger's seat waved at them, then zoomed off...

***

"Queen Buffy..."

Summary: The Immortal is a true showman...And has spared no effort or expense...

A little fun cobbled from my various IB brainstormings and a certain film...

Archived at the 'normal' Buffyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/index.html or direct to story at http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/qb.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...

***



Part VIII...

Hell/Broadway...A fleeing mixed crowd of demons and condemned human souls...No, they can't be killed but they sure can be hurt...Nervous and rather brainless demonic troops firing and attacking randomly as their commanders tried to give orders...

The most joyous romantic night of my life, Buffy happily thought, holding William's hand tightly...But, damn...Looks like Hell has no moon...Quickly pasting a look of desperate anxiety as William turned to her...

"There..." she suggested, pointing to an alleyway..."Lets hole up in the alley and see if we can spot Denham's people...He's sure to have them around trying to film the whole mess...They can lead us right to him..." Will nodded and they hurried across the street...The crowd's brief sighting of them only serving to add to the panic...

"Film this?..."

"The nut thinks he's Cecil B. DeMille..." she shrugged...

"Actually I've seen one or two of his movie's..." Will nodded thoughtfully... "Whatever else he is, the man...or whatever...an artist...He's also still likely trying to recapture us..."

"I'd guess he'd settle for just killin' us now he's seen how his little Jurassic Park scheme plays out...Hey, I see a camera!..." she pointed...Careful, he pressed her back as an open truck loaded with heavily armed demons...Naturally firing weapons in all directions, especially at the crowd, passed...

"After all the trouble you've gone to, my girl...Lets not blow this..." he smiled at her frown...



"So you love me, too?" she grinned...

"I suppose after 100 plus years of marriage, despite our little period of separation, I'd better...Cicely..." he smiled...

"He said..." her bright mood fading suddenly...

"Yes..." Will looked into her darkening, again worn and weary, face... "But that's for when we get out of here...She's safe, Cics...Her soul is safe..." he took her free hand carefully in his...

"I'm sorry...William..." tears running now... "If I'd known..." she pulled his hand to her face, hers clenching it tightly...

"If you'd known sooner...Spike would have taken advantage and killed you..." he shook his head... "And God knows if we would have found each other in that case...As for our girl...We'll find her...Or she'll find..."

They looked at each other...My God...

"Dawn..." Buffy gasped... Will motioning her to be still and pull back as another truckload of armed creatures passed...

"You think?..." she whispered as the street returned to the domination of the frenzied, panicky mob...A few scurrying by the alleyway's entrance... "Even Spike..?"

"Even Spike..." he nodded slowly, wonder in his voice... "Even Spike knew her...Protected her..."

"I...I'm so...Happy..." Buffy croaked out through her sobs, clutching his left hand to her chest, as he caressed her with the other ... "I could hug that bitch Glory...Even kill that bastard Denham mercifully quick..." She wiped eyes with a bit of her blouse and grinned at him...

"Time to stop fooling around and get home to our little girl..."

"Right you are, Mrs. W..." he smiled back...

***

"What the hell do you mean, you lost them?!!..." Denham screamed into his cell phone, Irina sighing beside him as hordes of the terrified condemned raced past, a truckload or two of Hell's finest occasionally passing as well...Looking about equally terrified, despite the heavy weapons they carried, including in a few cases Irina noted, artillery and what appeared to be...Yep...Tanks...

"How could a vampire and a human...Super-human...Not be tracked by our people in Hell?...They gotta stick out like sore thumbs against the condemned souls here..."

We did bring a lotta humans in the flesh across the Hell portal, Boss...Irina thought...

"What?!!...Listen, you...Are you saying I'm responsible for this?!!..."

Well, Boss...You did bring us humans here...Not to mention insisting on putting her and her boyfriend on stage...Irina noted to herself...

"Damnit, Floyd!!!...I won't accept excuses!!!...Screen every one of our human and vampiral people out, scan for William alone if nothing else works...Souled vamps can't be that common in Hell....But find them!!!...Your job and a ticket back to Earth depend on it!!!!..." he abruptly closed the phone...

"Do you believe that guy?!!...As if I'm to blame for this, bringing my crew here... 'It's hard to find another human with all our aural traces and human vitals, Boss'...he says...God, I try to be a decent, understanding kinda boss...Nurture my people like they were my own children...And this is the return?!!..." Denham continued fuming, stamping feet...

"We're sure to find them, Boss...They'll be looking for you to get them outta here and back to Earth..." she noted with a sigh...

"Yeah, yeah..." he gave an impatient wave..."But in the meantime, the shots we're missin' out on!...The spectacle...Buffy and her William, trapped in Hell, facing its hordes in their last battle...Not to mention they oughta be reviewing the Cicely stuff I spilled by now..."



She looked at him, a suspicious, sidelong glance...

"What?..." he gave an innocent stare...

"You knew they'd escape..." she frowned at him... "This whole thing was a setup...You knew when you told them..."

"I didn't...Know...For sure..." he noted, evasively... "I guessed, based on past performance and took the gamble...I mean, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after all...But hey, nothing is certain in the movie game...And it still woulda been a swell finish if they hadn't made it...As far as they have...And what a scene that was when they broke out!!..."

"Boss...They're destroying the place...Wiping out your Partners and at this rate, all of Hell..."

"Hey..." he put up a stern finger... "I said I was neutral in this fight...And as a version of human I ...And you, too, Rina...Should be pleased to see Humanity's Slayer and Champion making out so well...Besides...Sacrifices have to be made for great art...And as I used to say when I was Flo Zeigfeld's partner..."

"'The show must go on'?..." Irina eyed him...

"Exactly...And if we could just find those two, what a show!..."

"If we just stand out here long enough, they will..." she shook her head...

Hmmn...Denham pondered...

Yeah...But not quite soon enough, assuming the faint chance that Hell's Finest might get lucky on their own turf..

Maybe what we need is to stop hunting them...And start offering 'em what they want...he noted to Irina...

No...There are limits...she thought...I am not standing on some platform or building with searchlights and a hundred-foot high sign reading "Hell-Earth exit portal"...

"Irina...I need a large, tall...And I mean, tall...I want them climbing a while...Platform or building, searchlights, and a hundred-foot high sign..."

"Right, your B..." she sighed again...Noting it down and preparing to call...

"The sign reading 'Hell surrenders...And offers Carl Denham to the Slayer!'...Have them broadcast that on loudspeakers everywhere they can, too..." he told her startled face...

"Your Benevolence?..."

"Oh, and include '...exit portal'...Somewhere in the line...And do not forget to have the boys still alive set up their cameras to cover the side angles as well as everywhere else ..."

"But your Benevolence..."

"They'll tear me limb from limb, I know...'Tis a far, far better thing I do'...For art..."

"But not really..." he grinned... "After you get the other stuff in motion, connect me to General Droog or whoever's still alive and in charge...I'm thinkin' it's time to see what Hell's got for an air force..."

***