#1 Posted by Methos (40103 posts) - - Show Bio

TITLE: An Emerald Dawn

AUTHOR: Methos (Methosivanhoe@hotmail.co.uk)

DISTRIBUTION: If ya want to host it somewhere else just tell me where ya putting it ok? ;)

DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, Green Lantern, The Guardians, and any other mentions of DC characters belong to DC Comics ok? All I own is the twisted idea.

SUMMARY: Looking back Xander wishes he still had the power to change everything, he had lost so much. He’d survived 'The fall of humanity' and the subsequent wars. He survived so much but in the process had lost so much. Looking back he wonders 'was it worth it? Was there anything he could have done?'

FEEDBACK: Love it :) Either here or to my e-mail address.

RELATIONSHIPS: none planned mentions of canon relationships.

RATING: FR18

SPOILERS: All of Buffy, All of Angel. Future fic.

AN: Just a twisted idea that came to me, Dark fic so be warned. Also looking for a beta, knowledge of Buffy, Stargate and green lantern preferred but not essential.

be warned, i am going to be taking all the fandom's needed and completely mangling them to suit this story...

As I look out over the edge of Sunnydale I wonder, could this have been different.

From where I am standing I can clearly see the light of Los Angeles, or what used to be Los Angeles. The city hasn’t been habitable for nearly ten years now. The war came, and we weren’t ready for it.

Ground zero was in Los Angeles, Angel and his team stood up to the senior partners of wolfram and hart.

They lost.

Not a single survivor. Two days later the city had been taken, Los Angeles now belonged to the demons. A week later the other major cities had fallen. New York, San Francisco, Washington. All gone.

I’m on the roof of what used to be the mayor’s office, now it’s the highest point in Sunnydale. From here I can see the world burning.

As I look over to my left I can see the last rays of the sun break over the horizon, its night. No one goes out at night time anymore; well not unless they have a death wish.

Looking down I see the object in my hand glimmer in the light, a green ring.

It used to signify so much. Truth, honor, justice. Now all it does is remind me of what I’ve lost.

“Are you coming Alex?” A voice carries loudly across the rooftop in the silence.

“I’ll be there in a minute, take the swords and tell group thirteen that they are patrolling the south quadrant tonight.” I don’t even turn around, I know its Lara. She’s been my lieutenant since the beginning. She’ll obey without question.

Quadrant thirteen had been posing a lot of problems recently. Since ‘The Fall’, food has been hard to come by, all the essentials are hard to come by. There’s no electricity, no water. All modern conveniences are gone.

I can’t believe how far we have fallen.

Looking back I see it was inevitable. The cities quickly fell into chaos when the demons arrived. The survivors quickly turned to scavengers to carry on living, well surviving. I can’t call this living anymore. Then the scavengers turned into gangs.

I suppose it does make a twisted kind of sense, the human need for congregation. For safety in numbers. It worked, for a while.

The gangs quickly accepted anyone, as long as they were useful. If you could use a weapon, you were useful. If you could cook from scratch, you were useful. If you could fix things, you were useful. If you weren’t useful the gangs didn’t see the point in having you around.

The demons now prowl the night; thankfully most of the big ones are still affected by day light. The minor ones however don’t seem to mind it, either that or they have developed an immunity to it in the ten years since ‘the fall’.

We’re not talking demons like when the mayor ascended, or Acathla. No, they were so far down on the demonic food chain they didn’t even bear thinking about.

The demons that came through were things straight out of my worst nightmares, and coming from me that’s saying a lot.

Things that could rip the flesh from your bones just by looking at you, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

How about I tell you how it all started.

After we defeated ‘The First’ we decided to break for a while. The Hellmouth was gone. In the few months that followed, we all started noticing something weird with the world. Not weird bad, just weird. It seemed the human race was actually growing up for once.

For the next year, Earth was a utopia. It was paradise.

Crime had dropped to an all time low. Nations and countries had given up their bickering and had come to agreements. Nuclear arms were being decommissioned all around the world. It seemed too good to be true, but there we were. Living the dream.

One year after Sunnydale, we returned. Buffy, Willow, Giles, me and a few others. The ones that remembered. We came back to say goodbye. It may sound stupid, but it’s what we needed to do. Say goodbye to all the loved one’s we had lost.

To say when we arrived it was a shock would be the understatement of the year.

No, I know what you’re thinking. Sunnydale wasn’t back.

Rain and rivers had conspired to create a lake at the bottom of the crater. It was beautiful. There was a land mass in the middle of the lake, not much. Maybe a fifty square miles and there were buildings on it. Pretty much just rubble, but buildings.

I can’t describe how it looked. It was amazing, to see out of all that destruction and death had come something so perfect. I nearly broke down and wept then and there. The ground around the crater wasn’t desert any more; it was lush, green, fertile land.

I think we all decided that something had to be done with this place.

By this time we had heard what was happening in Los Angeles, the problem was we had heard so many different rumor's about what was going on there that no one knew the truth.

So in a sense I suppose it is our fault, because we did the worst thing that we could do. The one thing we were always berating others for.

We did nothing, we stood by and did nothing.

Giles, Buffy, Willow, all the gang decided. It was unanimous. We would settle in what used to be Sunnydale. It took a few weeks, a month or so to get everything set up. For a while we were happy living in tents and eating from a spit or a barbecue. Then we decided to get organized.

Giles called in a few favors from his contacts. Soon the crater was being transformed, power generators to provide electricity to the new homes, water pumps to collect clean water from the surrounding ‘halo lake’. It was all coming together.

Funnily enough it was Faith and Andrew who found it first. They brought it to Giles who, in his own words was ‘flummoxed’. It was a body. Small like a child, maybe ten years old, but he was blue. Blue skin with white hair like an albino. His clothes were strange as well. A bright red robe with a simple insignia on the front.

At first we all assumed it was a type of demon. Just one we hadn’t come across before. It must have been caught in Sunnydale when it collapsed. We decided to burn the body just in case. An unknown demon body wasn’t something to be taken lightly so after removing the robes for later research we torched the body on a funeral pyre.

Funny thing was when the flames reached the body they changed. Fire burns orange and yellow, everyone knows that. When the fire consumed the body it was green. Bright green almost unbearable to look at.

After that we all thought nothing of it. Just another demon, right? So we go back to working on our new home.

We all helped in, me and Buffy found some of the old buildings from Sunnydale. Buildings that had somehow survived the crater intact, or mostly intact. It shouldn’t have been possible, but here they were. It didn’t matter how they survived, magically reinforced was one of the bug contributing factors apparently, and for some reason a lot of the cities council buildings were among the intact.

Using Buffy's strength and my construction know how we soon got a few buildings more or less habitable. Then we found something else. Under the old city hall building was a network of catacombs, much like the ones where we fought the Turok han in the final battle.

This network stretched on as far as the eye could see, it look us days to explore it so a reasonable degree. To make sure that there were no demons or vampires or anything else it here. At the end of one tunnel we came across a set of doors. No, that doesn’t do them justice, the doors were immense. At least forty feet in height, and ten feet across.

On the doors was an insignia, the same one as the ‘Smurf Demon’ had on his robe. A circle with horizontal bar’s intersecting the far top and far bottom of the circle and stretching out to either side so the bars were the same width as the circle itself.

Ok, we’d found the home of the ‘Smurf Demon’ I reasoned. From the look of these doors they had been here a while. Centuries maybe, millennia even and they hadn’t made their presence known.

“Come on Buff, better get back and tell Giles about this.” Turning to Buffy I could see that glint in her eyes, the one that says ‘we’ve found something important, something to do with slayers’. She had the same look when she first got the scythe. I could see her approaching the doors so I walked up besides her.

“Xander, it’s amazing. Don’t you think?” She said craning her neck to look up at the doors.

“Yeah Buffy, ancient doors. Pretty doodle on the front.” Joking aside it was a magnificent sight.

“You don’t see it do you?” she said as she turned to me with a puzzled expression.

“See what?” looking up it looked the same as it did ten minutes ago.

“The logo, it’s burning. It’s on fire and crackling with electricity, it’s so beautiful. Bright green flames, emerald lightning, oh I wish you could see it.”

Normally I would have made some wisecrack here about her seeing things in her old age or the blonde hair dye finally getting to her brain, but looking into her eyes I couldn’t do it. She was serious; she could see something that I couldn’t. Something that was calling to the slayer inside.

“Well, why don’t you knock, see if anyone answers.” I grinned at the suggestion, with the height and width of the doors they must have been a good twenty feet thick and solid marble all the way through. My grin faded from my face when Buffy reached up and banged three times on the door.

“Nothing,” She said looking crestfallen. “Maybe we should get Giles, see if he knows anything about it.”

With that we both started walking away from the doors, back into the catacombs when I saw it. The light bathed the entire cave in a green hue. I stopped in mid step and swung myself around.

It was beautiful. Everything that Buffy had described, the flames, the electricity.

“Xander, Xander!” I could hear Buffy calling me but it didn’t matter, the doors were calling me as well. Or something beyond the doors. Walking back towards the doors I was amazed as they swung open for me, almost as if they were accepting me. As I walked through the doors I could still make out Buffy calling for me, telling me to stop and wait for Giles. Maybe I should have.

I heard her footsteps speed up as she started running towards me, she meant to stop me, protect me but I couldn’t stop myself. A brief thought flashed across my mind or a wall keeping Buffy from reaching me. A soft green glow bathed the chamber and I heard a thump followed by a groan. Try as a might though I couldn’t turn around to see what had happened. It was like I wasn’t in control of my body anymore.

Inside the chamber was even more extravagant then the doors were, the floor was a soft green marble and the insignia from the doors was all over. There were makings on the walls, hieroglyphs or the like. Not normal writing but a form of pictograph like I had seen in so many of Giles old books.

At the very end of the chamber was a table, made out of a sort of green rock, maybe jade or something I mused to myself as my body continued walking forward. On the table lye a body, the same species as the ‘Smurf demon’ we had found a few days ago.

My hand reached out of its own accord and reached down to the body picking up one of its small hands and prying the fingers open.

Inside was a small green ring.

‘Leave it alone, just leave it alone and get back to Buffy’ I screamed at my body but it was no use. I watched my hand reach down and pick up the ring. Such a simple design. It didn’t look like it was made out of metal, rock or even plastic. I couldn’t tell you what it was made out of. The same insignia from the door and the robes was emblazoned on the top of the ring with a circle surrounding it.

The ring looked so ordinary, maybe a religious icon or a family keepsake, I thought.

I looked down and watched my left hand raise the ring up and go to place it on my middle finger on my right hand. I almost chuckled. The ring was small; obviously it had been made to be worn by the ‘Smurf demon’. It was way too small to fit on my finger.

My chuckle died before it had even been voiced though, as I watched the ring grew in size and it approached my finger. I watched in fascination as the ring slid down my middle finger then it seemed to shrink a bit before glowing softly in a green light.

Once it was on and the glow had faded I found myself back in control of my body, immediately I forgot about the ring and raced back to where Buffy was. There was a wall separating her from the chamber, a soft green, vaguely transparent wall.

“Buffy, are you ok?” I shouted.

“I’m fine Xander, what happened?” she replied pacing up and down the wall.

“I don’t know, I saw the glow from the door’s when we were leaving and then... it was like I couldn’t control my body anymore.” looking around I could see the wall stretched the entire width of the cave and was easily thirty feet high.

“Xander, where did this thing come from? I’ve tried hitting it with everything I’ve got and it doesn’t budge.”

Starting to panic I looked around, no way was I going to be trapped down here by a glowing green wall when we had just found paradise. “Is there a door or anything on your side? Anyway of...” My sentence trailed off, as soon as I had thought about a door in the wall one had appeared. Reaching forward I grasped the handle and opened it. Looking through the door was a normal door, well aside from glowing green like the wall. Maybe 2 inches thick.

I poked my head through the door and looked around; sure enough I was on the other side of the wall. Ducking back through I looked more carefully at the wall, being nearly transparent I could see the bricks that made up the wall. It must have been ten foot across. Walking back to the door I walked though and looked at the wall from Buffy's side. Same realization.

“Weird.” I muttered as Buffy ran over to me.

“What was that about? That door wasn’t there before, I’m sure of It.” she said taking a closer look at the door herself.

“I’m a bit freaked out here, how can a door that is only a few inches thick go through a wall that must be over ten foot thick?” raising my hand I went to knock on the wall to check it wasn’t as illusion or something, that’s when I remembered about the ring. Reaching over I went to pull it off my finger, no such luck. The ring wouldn’t even budge.

“What ya got there? Souvenir?” Buffy said as she came over to have a closer look at the ring.

“Dunno, some sort of ring. It’s stuck through, can’t get the thing off. I swear this is just typical, the first time for god knows how many years everything is going right, now I get a demon dohicky stuck on my finger.”

“Xander just wait ‘till we’re back with Giles and the rest, I’m sure if you just use some soap it’ll come straight off.” Grinning she started walking to the catacombs, heading back topside.

“Yeah, I suppose. Just typical though, I swear I’m the power’s butt monkey or something.” I should have been angrier but I couldn’t help grinning as I looked down to examine the ring, it felt right to wear it.

“Come on Xander, unless you want to stay down here with the glowey green things?” Buffy yelled from the mouth of the cave.

Running to catch up with her we both left the cave system, just before we left I could have swore I saw a flash of emerald light and then just darkness. It didn’t register then but thinking about it afterwards it was strange, the glow from the door symbol and the wall should have lit up the caves in the same green light. No light.

When we got back topside I went straight to Giles and told him about the ring and the catacombs. He researched the insignia, we all researched it. The only reference we could come across was a symbol that looked like the one on the ring, there was a slight difference but it was the same symbol I was sure of it.

The book told of a war eons ago, between The Old Ones and a race of beings called The Guardians. Apparently these ‘Guardians’ were protectors of sorts, they came to earth from somewhere. The Guardians were the ones who imprisoned The Old Ones and allowed humanity to become the dominant species. The book didn’t tell us much more about them, they came from somewhere called ‘OA’ and were peacekeepers, nothing more was known about them.

The ring however wouldn’t come off my finger, I tried everything from soap through to ice to shrink my finger and get the ring off. Nothing worked; I kept asking Buffy and Faith if they would try pulling it off with slayer strength but Giles quickly shut that idea down reasoning that if it didn’t come off through normal means then slayer strength could pull off my finger as well as the ring. I had to admit it made a kind of sense so we got back to work and I slowly forgot about it.

The work was progressing faster than anyone could have foreseen, we were close to having habitable buildings, not just for us but for all the slayers. This new city would become the new home of the watchers and the slayers.

While we were busy rebuilding, Giles and Andrew immersed themselves in research. Trying to find out anything about the ring and the being’s know as ‘The Guardian’s’, it was useless though. After The Old Ones were imprisoned, The Guardian’s simply vanished.

One thing was bugging me though, how could a race of beings as small as these have defeated The Old One’s? From everything we knew about The Old Ones they made the demons that we fought seem like kittens in comparison. They were stronger, bigger and generally worse than anything we had come across.

Imagine this, the demons like Acathla, vampires, what the mayor turned into, they were the lowest form of demon. Like ant’s are to us. The Old One’s were at the top of the food chain.

Now ‘The Guardians’ were small, about four foot high and with the same build as a ten year old child. How did these meek creatures defeat The Old One’s? It was a mystery, one probably never to be solved, unless we had a time machine. I laughed to myself at the thought.

So we moved on, rebuilt the city. Reinforced to structures with magic and blessed every building. The city was slowly taking shape, with help from all the slayers around the world who had been making their way here, work was done quickly and effortlessly.

We were meeting up together for the first time in what seemed like an age, with all the work going on all over the place everyone had split up to get things done quicker. I was working on construction; Buffy was taking a bank of new slayers to the outskirts to help clear a manageable path in and out of the crater. Faith was on the other side of the city, with yet more slayers digging canals for irrigation. Tonight we were all getting together again, to talk about new plans and everything that had happened.

Faith, Buffy and myself were slowly walking towards the gathering place when Buffy suddenly collapsed. She cried out in pain. Not the sort of pain from being stabbed or shot. This was a true cry of anguish from her very soul.

She knew, days before the official reports came in, she knew.

Angel was dead, Los Angeles had fallen and the legions of hell were coming to earth.

so?

good? bad?

worth continuing?

M

#2 Posted by Hagane Enna (7450 posts) - - Show Bio

Hell yeah it's worth it.

#3 Posted by Methos (40103 posts) - - Show Bio

lol, shorter chapters easier to read?

M

#4 Posted by Quintus_Knightfall (84356 posts) - - Show Bio

Is that Xander as a GL? Hate that guy. (good story)

Moderator
#5 Posted by Zaraki Ichigo (6476 posts) - - Show Bio

Nicely done man, Buffy characters and Lanterns, definitely different and entertaining.

#6 Posted by Methos (40103 posts) - - Show Bio

Chapter 2

=========

I still remember the first battle. I wake up some nights screaming from the nightmares.

The reports of Angels death and the subsequent fall of Los Angeles had shocked us all. The magical world and all its secrets came out to the world. Thinking back, I don’t think we could have covered this up even if we had tried. No one could have.

The battle in Los Angeles lasted for days. There were even sightings of a dragon in amongst the demons and other things that came though.

Buffy took it the hardest of us, Angel’s death hit her pretty hard. We then got reports of Spike in Los Angeles. Apparently he had survived the destruction of Sunnydale and had been helping Angel all this time.

That was the last straw for Buffy. She called upon all the slayers to go with her to retake the city. We all tried to reason with her but she didn’t listen.

Maybe if she hadn’t taken the slayers on that suicide mission we would have had a chance in the battles that followed. But again I’m getting ahead of myself.

First I should tell you about the ring; it played a pretty big part in what follows so you should understand what it is.

It was the night that Buffy collapsed when we first found out about it.

“ANGEL!” Buffy cried into the night, over and over.

“Giles, she’d been like this for hours now. Isn’t there anything we can do?” Willow looked up at Giles. She’d been sat with Buffy while the slayer wept.

“I’m sorry Willow; Buffy always did have a connection with Angel. Call it soul mates or true love, call it what you will. You see when Angel died, a piece of Buffy died with him.” Giles looked at her with sorrow in his eyes.

“What about Spike? Any word?” Willow asked looking hopeful.

“Sorry, as far as I know no one from Angels team survived the initial attack.”

“God, I wish there was something we could do. If we only had something that could protect us from the demons long enough to get into LA, maybe... What is it? Giles? Willow?”

“Uhhh. Xander, why are you glowing green?”

“What are you talking about Willow?” I ask as I look down, sure enough my entire body is glowing a soft green. The light is brightest on the ring on my right hand. “Ok, I’m officially freaked out. What’s happening to me Giles? What is this thing?”

“I... I don’t know. I must say this is quite remarkable, may I?” Giles asked reaching up his hand slowly.

“Uh, sure Giles. Whatever helps.” I watched him as he went to touch my arm but his fingers stopped an inch or two short of contact.

“Do you feel that?” He asked pressing as hard as he could.

“Nothing, sorry Giles.”

“Don’t be sorry, I believe you’ve just solved our puzzle for us. I think I know what the ring is now, I’ll just have to go and check something.” Turning around he jogged off towards the building he had been using as a temporary storage for his books, he got about six steps when he stopped abruptly and turned. “Xander, this is very important. Do not think about anything, I’m quite amazed that nothing has happened already but just in case. You must have extraordinary willpower to have kept that ring under control this long, but as I say. Try not to visualise anything.”

“Ok Giles. I got it. No imagination, just like a harry potter novel. Keep my mind empty, Easy. Now go find out what this thing is and why I’m glowing green.” Turning to Willow I saw her glaring at me as she stood up and strode over to me purposely.

“I’ll have you know mister that Harry Potter books are very imaginative and quite entertaining, thank you very much.” Willow said before swiping me with her hand. The slap made contact on my arm but just hit the green glow.

“Nothing! Hah! I’m mister invincible, take that.” Sticking my tongue out at Willow I laughed. It felt good to laugh after everything that had happened in the last hour or so, one look at Buffy quickly sobered me up though.

“God I wish there was something we could do, maybe a tank or something, or a fighter jet... Willow?” she was gaping at me like a fish, jaw wide open and eyes the size of plates. A glance at Buffy and she had the same look on her face, more subdued sure but the amazement was there. Problem is they weren’t looking at me. I spun around quickly to see what they were gaping at, the sight stopped me cold.

About fifteen feet behind me was a T-90 battle tank, behind that was a F16 fighter jet. They were both made out of the same transparent green light that the wall in the cavern was made out of.

“Xander, where did those come from?”

“I don’t know Will’s. All I did was wish for them and boom, here they are. Wow do you think... this ring... is it some sort of wishing ring? Like in Aladdin?”

“First of, the genie in Aladdin came from a lamp, not a ring. Secondly why would you wish for a bright green tank?” Willow reasoned walking forward to touching the tank. “It’s real, not an illusion. It’s solid. Goddess, do you know how much power it must have taken to be able to create a tank from nothing?”

“It didn’t come from nothing,” Giles voice came as he walked across the clearing towards us. “The story of Aladdin did originally have a ring, one that could create solid objects from its bearer’s desires. I believe that is the ring, or the ring the myth was based on.”

“What are you saying Giles, that Xander now has a ring that can create anything he wants?” Willow asked looking at the ring in awe.

“No. Look here, see this passage? It translates as ‘the ring can only be worn by those true of spirit and of fearless heart.’”

“That’s Xander.” Buffy said standing for the first time since she broke down.

“What ya mean buff?” I asked, the ring felt right but I still didn’t know why it had chosen me.

“You, ‘true of spirit and of fearless heart’. I’d say that’s a good description of you, but in less words.” A small smile graced her lips as she looked up at Giles.

“Yes, I do believe your right. Xander, you have proven yourself of true spirit on many occasions.” Giles said now looking at me carefully, as if he was seeing my clearly for the first time.

“And don’t forget fearless. Don’t think I didn’t hear.” Buffy said walking over to us slowly.

“Hear what?” I asked, almost afraid of the answer.

“You, facing down Angelus when I was in the hospital. I definitely say that’s fearless, stupid as well but definitely fearless.”

“You did what?” Willow nearly shrieked.

“It was when Buffy was ill, and there was that demon that killed children. Angelus came to visit while Buffy was unconscious, I got in his way.”

“Well yes, I have to agree with Buffy there. That was foolish and dangerous, he could have killed you.” Giles said now glaring at me disapprovingly.

“But if I hadn’t done it, he would have got to Buffy and killed her. I’m just one man but she’s the slayer.” I reasoned. I remember facing angelus like it was yesterday, nothing since has scared me more. Well maybe Anya first thing in the morning, but that’s different.

“That maybe, Xander you should never have put yourself in that position.” The glare from Giles had softened a touch, but it was still there along with something else. Admiration?

“I did it then, I’d do it again. Even if I’m not Mr. Invincible,” I laughed and suddenly the het and tank popped out of existence. “Hey, what happened to the new toys?”

“I’m not sure, but I believe this book may help us understand the ring. And why it decided to bond itself to you.” Giles said, kneeling down to look at the ring closely.

“Bond? As in bonded? You mean I’m stuck with this puppy for life now? The Zeppo scores.” I grin doing a mock victory dance.

“Xander, the ring can create anything you can imagine. Now this is where the translation get’s a bit... well fuzzy. It talks about a battery for the ring, some rules and limitations as well. Xander, if you couldn’t mind can you imagine a gun of some description?”

“Sure,” I close my eyes and concentrate for a second, opening them when I feel the weight of a gun in my right hand. “Here ya go Giles”

“Hmmm, a Heckler & Koch MP5. A nice choice Xander” I watched Giles take the gun and point it at a tree before squeezing of a round. The bullet ripped a hole straight through the tree, leaving a hole the size of a fist in the trunk.

“Jesus!”

“Goddess!”

“Bloody hell!”

“Ohh.” Came the replies from all present.

“Now, watch this. Xander do you see that sign over there?” Giles asked pointing down the road. About a hundred yards away was a bright yellow sign, I couldn’t make out what it was.

“Uh, yeah. You want me to go and get it?” I ask not taking my eye of the sign.

“No, just watch.” Giles then proceeded to squeeze of another round, followed by two more.

“God! Giles what did the sign ever do to you?” I ask sprinting down to see the damage. “Whoa, hold up. Giles, either you’re a marksman equal to none or this little dohicky has a weakness.” Looking at the sign closely I could now see that it was a old school crossing sign that someone had jokingly put up in front of Giles’ house. The yellow on the sign was no worse for wear, but the black writing had been completely destroyed.

“Xander, what does the sign look like, any damage?” Giles yelled towards me.

Wrenching the sign out of the ground I sprinted back to Giles and the girls to show them. “It’s weird, it’s like the bullets couldn’t damage the yellow on the sign, but could quite happily rip through the black and red writing.”

“Then it is as I suspected, the ring is the fabled ring of Hal’ Jor. It’s listed quite clearly in this tome, a ring that can create anything its bearer can imagine. As long as the bearer can concentrate and focus then the ring can do anything you can imagine. The ring of Hal’ Jor has two distinct weaknesses, one it cannot affect anything yellow. Two it has to be recharged every twenty four hours or it loses its power until it is next recharged.”

“Recharged? How? It doesn’t look like it could be plugged into a wall outlet or a generator.” Willow asked.

“Well, the description here is that it is paired with a battery of sorts. The description tells of a ‘green lantern that shines light on evil’” Giles finished snapping the book closed.

“Wait, a lantern? Xander, there was a lantern down in the cave. It was hanging from the ceiling by the doors,” Buffy said looking suddenly crestfallen. “But it was like, sixty feet in the air. There’s no way we could get it down.”

“Maybe we should go back down, now that I can control this puppy.” The thought of having this sort of power at my disposal was an amazing feeling, and not one I wanted to give up. If I was going to be bonded to this ring until I die, then I definitely wanted to have the power that came with it.

“I agree Xander, but do be careful. We have no idea how long is left on the charge. When you find the lantern there is an oath that you must recite to charge it. Here I’ll write it down for you.”

I watched as Giles took a notepad a scribbled down six lines of text before tearing the paper off and handing it to me. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

“Come on Xander, the sooner we find that lantern the sooner we can get to LA and do something useful.” Buffy said grabbing my wrist and dragging me back to the city hall and the catacombs.

Walking back through the catacombs was eerie to say the least. The first time we had found them and gone down the tunnels felt warm, inviting even. Now they felt cold, abandoned.

“Buffy, we should have brought more torches with us. One torch isn’t enough to light the way down here.” looking at our lone torch I hit upon an idea. Closing my eyes I stood still, concentrating for a second.

“What the...” I heard Buffy exclaim before opening my eyes.

Surrounding us were ten scantily clad amazons. Each armed with a sword in one hand, and a torch in the other. They were all glowing a soft green and the light seemed to penetrate the darkness of the catacombs better than the torch ever did.

“I think I get it now, it’s not concentration that gets this puppy to work. It’s willpower. You’ve got to want it to happen.” Smiling I glanced around. Stopping in shock I walked over to look closely at one of the amazons, it had Anya’s face. Looking round, they all had Anya’s face.

“Xander, I’m...” Buffy trailed off, she’d obviously noticed the faces at the same time.

“It’s ok Buff, it still hurts but it’s ok.” Smiling I took one last glance at the face of the Amazon in front of me before kissing it lightly on the cheek and walking off towards the ‘ring chamber’ as I had dubbed it in my mind.

“There it is Xan, right where I remembered it.” Buffy said looking up.

The lantern was there, but how to get to it. It was at least sixty feet in the air, perhaps more. It was in the centre of the roof with no way to get to it.

“There has to be some way of getting it down here.” I said out loud, looking up there was no way anyone could climb up the walls and reach it.

“Maybe we could knock it down. You know, throw rocks at it or something?” Buffy suggested before picking up a large chunk of rock from the floor and throwing it at the lantern. The rock hit its target with usual slayer accuracy, but to no affect. An emerald shield flashed around the lantern as the rock smashed against it raining smaller rocks and dust down onto us.

“Maybe not,” I said considering. The lantern was obviously connected to the ring but how are we going to get it down. “Ladies, would one of you mind throwing your sword to hit the lantern please?” I asked politely.

“Xander, they are created by the ring. They’re not real.” Buffy whispered in my ear.

“Do they know that?” I asked, Buffy just stared at me blankly. One of the amazons threw her sword with perfect accuracy, and we watched it pass harmlessly straight through the lantern and embed itself in the rock on the other side.

“Ok, so the green things can’t hurt the lantern. So we’re back to square one.” Buffy said looking confused.

“What is it Buffy? You got an idea?” looking at her she was obviously working her mind on something, her brow always furrowed when she thought. Even after all this time, I still thought it was cute.

“Sorry, no. Just wondering where that saying came from, Square one. Where is square one and why go back to it?”

I just look at her in amazement, sometimes the way a woman’s mind works is a complete mystery. Looking back to the lantern I started thinking, if we could get that lantern they we could save LA. Save god knows how many lives. All we needed to do was get up there.

And that was it.

I could feel it before I noticed it. I was rising, slowly off the floor. I looked up to see the lantern and I started moving faster.

Of course, I wanted the lantern. If you want something enough, with this ring I could do it. I was flying.

Flying of course was a bit of an exaggeration; it was more hovering and rising slowly. Still it felt good, it felt free. Reaching up I held the lantern with my ring hand and used my other to unclip its handle from the hook in the ceiling before I lowered myself slowly to the floor.

“Flying, Xander? Giles never said anything about flying.”

Looking at Buffy I could see she was a little shaken up by what she had just seen, battling monsters every day to the death she’s fine with. Seeing one of her friends float up in the air sixty feet to fetch a magical lantern? That disturbed her. “Come on, let’s get this thing back to Giles so he can examine it, I don’t want to do the recharge thing wrong and accidentally blow us all to smithereens.”

“Fine by me, I like myself in one piece anyway.” Buffy grinned before starting to walk back to the surface.

When we got back to the surface we found Willow and Giles sat by the fire reading through some old books, from the look of them they were old with a capital O, L and D. “G-man, one lantern as requested.” Setting the lantern down beside Giles I glanced at the book he was reading. ‘The four races of the ancients’.

“I must say this is quite amazing, to have the actual ring and lantern of the fabled Hal’ Jor. It’s a dream come true, no one ever believe they existed. They are mentioned here in these books as well, it seems ‘The Guardians’ were known by another name as well. The Furlings. They were part of an ancient group of sorts with three other races, The Ancients, The Nox and The Asgard. Between these races they policed the dimensions. Apparently they came here through a portal of some sort that The Ancients created. A Chappai'ai.”

“Huh? Isn’t that some sort of Indian side order?” I drew back from the stairs I was getting from both Giles and Willow.

“A Chappai'ai, not a chapatti.” Amusement was clear in Willows voice.

“Potato, Potahto.” I muttered with a shrug of my shoulders.

“Ahem,” Giles cleared his throat loudly to get our attention again. “As I was saying, the Guardians. Or the Furlings, if you wish, were part of this group. A united nations of sorts and they came to this planet through this Chappai'ai to defeat The Old Ones. Now this is where it get’s confusing, the Ancients were already here according to this text. It seems that The Ancients were here before The Old Ones, or at the very least at the same time as them. The Ancients couldn’t drive off The Old Ones on their own so they asked for help from their friends of sorts, The Furlings. They came though the portal and drove off The Old Ones.”

“Giles, hold up. I think I’ve got something here. A paper was referenced about four years ago by a Dr Daniel Jackson. He did some translating for a private company and these words came up. Chappai'ai, Ancients, Stargate and Goa'uld. Have you ever heard of those before?” Willow read from her laptop, at this point I was getting quite bored and was sat here contemplating the ring.

“Goa'uld. Species delta four nine six beta.” A voice rang out shocking my in to falling off the chair onto the grass.

“Who said that?” I said whirling round in a three sixty to spot where the voice came from.

“You requested information on Goa'uld. Species delta four nine six beta.” The voice rang out again and this time a picture appeared of a snake like creature. It was hovering above the fire and glowing soft green.

“Uh, hello?” I said feeling kind of stupid talking to a ring. No response.

“Giles, is that writing?” Willow asked standing up and pointing to some strange markings, that looked like barcodes running down each side of the snake.

“I think so, but it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.” Giles said polishing his glasses and leaning forward to take a closer look.

“Uh, can you translate that into English?” I asked the ring, still feeling stupid.

“Reference language needed.” The voice came again.

“English, as in what I’m speaking?” I confirm, not feeling stupid now that the ring had responded to me.

“Text reference needed for translation.”

“Of course, the ring doesn’t know what English looks like. It needs a comparison to translate the language.” Giles said looking at the ring in amazement again.

“Ok, the book in my left hand.” I say picking up Giles book.

“Scanning.” The ring ‘said’ before both the ring and the book glowed green for a second. “Scanning complete, translating now.” Looking up the text shimmered for a minute before changing into more legible English.

“Amazing. Simply amazing,” Giles said standing up so he could read the text. “Well this says that the Goa'uld are a race of parasitic beings who take over a host’s body. They were apparently kept in line by the four races, particularly the Furlings and the Ancients. The Goa'uld instill increased strength and remarkable healing abilities in their hosts. The host can continue to function even after sustaining injuries that would incapacitate or kill most beings. Amazing, is there more?”

When no answer came from the ring I decided to try. “Is there more information on the goold, ring?”

“Correction, mispronunciation. Species delta four nine six beta is pronounced Go-ah-OOLD.”

“Ok, is there any more information on the Go-a-OOLD?”

“Affirmative, viewing page one of six hundred and nineteen. Would you like the rest displayed?”

“Uh, some other time.” I said trying to figure out how I came to be talking to an inanimate object.

“Ring, what is your current charge?” Giles asked, again no response. “I believe the ring is keyed only to answer your questions, Xander. If you wouldn’t mind?”

“Sure thing. Ring, what is your current charge?”

“Charge level at nine percent and falling. Last charging was on galactic core date two four seven eight zero point six seven nine.”

“Ok, when was that? In earth years?” I asked. God only knows what a galactic core date is.

“Reference needed.”

“Uh, one earth year is one complete rotation around the sun; one earth day is one complete rotation of the earth. Years are counted forwards and backwards from a specific date. Today is May 20, 2003.” Still feels stupid talking to a ring, even if the ring is talking back to me.

“Reference completed. Last full charge was four million, six hundred and fourteen thousand, nine hundred and sixteen years ago.”

“Whoa,” Wincing at my own inadvertent Bill and Ted impression I look over at Willow and Buffy who are just staring, jaws wide open. “Guess we’d better charge you then. Giles, where do I put it, or plug it in?”

“From the text here I would say you just press the ring into the funnel of the lantern and recite the oath.”

“Can’t we do it without the oath?” looking down at the lantern and then at the ring I conceded the point. If this is the way it had been done four million years ago and god knows how long before then. I supposed I could do it now.

“Ok, but you three stand back; I don’t want this going wrong and hurting any of you.” Fishing the piece of paper out of my pocket I memorized the six lines quickly before folding it up and putting it back in my pocket and picking up the lantern.

“Are you ready?” Giles asked as they got to a safe distance.

“Here goes nothing.” I say as I plunge the ring and my fist into the lantern. I expected it to burn, or shock me, do something but it just glowed softly for a second.

“Anything?” Willow called out.

Without answering her I looked into the lantern, I could see the flame burning there. It was brighter than the sun but it didn’t hurt my eyes. It felt like more that light, it felt like life.

It was time.

“In brightest Day.” The lantern and ring glowed softly.

“In Blackest night.” The glow intensified.

“No evil shall escape my sight” I could hardly see any more now, even when I closed my eyes the green light shone through.

“Let those who worship evils might.” The light was getting painful now but I could feel it working, the ring was warm. It felt alive.

“Beware my power.” Thinking about it, I could feel the power running through the ring. It could seriously do anything I could imagine, and that scared me.

“Green lanterns light.” The light exploded outwards and upwards for a second, an emerald pillar could be seen by all in the town.

“Xander! Are you alright?” Willow’s voice came first, quickly followed by Giles and Buffy.

“I’m good, just a little dazed. Got a bit bright there for a second.”

“Xander, where did you get those clothes?” Giles asked as he walked towards me.

Looking down I could see I was no longer wearing my comfy combats and vest. Now I was in an altogether more militant outfit. The pants were tight cut and pure black, the top was like a cross between a robe and a suit jacket. One side black and one side green. On the left side was the insignia of the Guardians glowing softly.

“Oh boy!” Was the only thing I could mutter.

I'm actually enjoying writing this lol

M

#7 Posted by Methos (40103 posts) - - Show Bio

Chapter 3

=========

“Get up Alex, I can’t do this without you” Lara yells at me. The night had been a complete cluster fuck. We’d gone down to the southernmost sector to patrol, there were unconfirmed reports of a high level demon down there so I took section 13 with me and fifteen of the best men I had.

Well, we confirmed it wasn’t a high level demon running amuck. It was a devil.

An honest to god devil.

It’s one thing to hear about devils and the massacre that follows meeting them, it’s another thing to round a corner and see one standing there.

Section thirteen went in first, the vamp squad. They’d been useful for a while now. The vamps didn’t want to human race to end any more than we did, so they joined our side. Section thirteen was a group of highly trained vampire specialists.

Swords, axe’s, one vamp was even using nunchuck’s. They were the best, all over five hundred years old. All master vamps in their own right.

They lasted all of two minutes.

We stood there and watched as the devil took them apart. Some were literally torn apart. The devil must have been ten, maybe twelve feet tall. Pure muscle, its skin was red as blood. Eyes burning with fire and wielding a whip that looked like it had been braided from Lucifer’s own hair.

When he finished with the vampires he came after us. There were nineteen of us to begin with as the devil started attacking. I watched men that I had trained from the start get ripped in half.

Karl attacked the devil from behind using a blessed katana, the blade broke on impact. Turning round the devil picked him up with one hand and squeezed, I can still hear the bones breaking. He was dead before he hit the ground.

We had nothing to lose, I ordered a fall back and threw three grenades at the devils feet before grabbing Lara and diving behind a half demolished wall. We heard the explosion, fuck we felt the explosion. Raising my head above the wall I could see that the devil had been blown back by the force of the explosion. Not hurt, the explosion had just lifted him off his feed and sent him on a collision course with a building.

I could see him standing up, we had to do something.

“Mark, grenades and zat.” I yell at the ex marine lying not ten feet away, he complies throwing the items at my feet. Two grenades are quickly armed and thrown at the devil; once they detonated I wait for the smoke to clear. The explosion had caused the already unstable building to collapse on the devil. Hopefully giving me enough time to get into position.

As the smoke clears I can’t see any sign of the devil, just rubble. I hear it before I see it, the crack of the whip as it breaks the sound barrier. Then I feel it. The whip tears into my leg ripping through flesh and muscle, screaming I fall to the floor.

I can see the devil now, he’s walking towards me with the biggest shit eating grin you’ve ever seen plastered on his face. I do the only thing natural; I give it straight back as I raise the zat and fire of three bursts in quick succession.

As I watch the devil go down I remember the last time I faced one of these. It was back in LA, when we first got there we found death and destruction on a level you had never seen.

It was just after I had found the lantern; Buffy was pushing me to take them all to Los Angeles. To help take back the city, if I knew then what I know now the fight might have gone differently. As it was, it was a massacre.

May 20, 2003.

“Xander come on, you’ve got the ring and the battery now. We can go to Los Angeles and take it back.” Buffy was sat with Faith, Dawn, Willow and Giles around the fire. I was still getting used to being one of the big guns, quite literally in some cases. I had the power to change the world; it was quite a sobering thought when you actually thought it through.

“Buffy, we’re not ready yet. We have maybe two hundred slayers with us and you want to go to demon central and just start fighting? It’s a suicide mission.” I tried to reason with her but she cut me off.

“Spike’s there, he could help. He could...”

“Buffy, Spike’s probably dead. Even if he’s not he’s not the most reliable person, never was.” Standing up I started to pace, I knew this was heading to an argument and hotheadedness wasn’t something I could afford now when every impulse I had was converted into reality by this ring.

“He saved the world Xander, he did it for us. He did it for me.”

“He did, and he may have earned his retribution while doing it, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a vampire. It never will,” This was getting us nowhere. “Angel died out there; do you honestly think that we could do any better?”

“Don’t you dare bring Angel into this!”

Now she was getting angry, great.

“Look, you want to go to LA and save lives, that’s great. Giles what are our chances if we go in now?” time for some levelheadedness.

“I don’t... I just don’t know Xander. We’ve been getting reports that the demons are heading out of the city and moving to other major cities. They may be planning something, I’m afraid we just don’t know what it is.” Giles was nervous; I never liked it when he got nervous. It meant something big was going on.

“Right, then we go in now and stop them. If they spread everywhere then we’ll never be able to catch them all.” Buffy said, still believing that we could win this.

“Well yes, if they spread out we may have trouble finding them but...”

“But if we go in now while they are all together, we won’t have a hope in hell of stopping them Giles.” Soldier boy was rearing his ugly head again; you don’t attack an enemy on his home ground while he had superior strength and numbers. It was suicidal.

“But if we don’t go now how many more will die? Do you want that on your head Xander? If they get out of the city how many will they kill?” Buffy yelled at me getting right up in my face.

“Buffy I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything but there has to be another way. We can’t just attack the demons now, they’re too strong.” I walked away from her; I didn’t want to test my ring against slayer strength. Not now, not ever.

“We’re stronger. As you said Xander, we have over two hundred slayers with us. You can get us all to LA. Once we’re there we start killing, and don’t stop until every demon is gone.”

“Buffy, are you thinking this through? You want me to air lift two hundred slayers into LA. I can barely fly myself yet.”

“Then we don’t fly. You created a tank didn’t you?”

“Well yes but...”

“So create a bigger one, a stronger one.”

“You want me to create a tank that’s capable of transporting two hundred slayers from here to LA? That’s crazy? Giles, she’s crazy, right?”

“Truth be told Xander, I don’t know what the ring of Hal’ Jor is capable of. It says that it can create anything you want, as long as you have the imagination and the strength of will.”

I drop to the floor in shock. I hadn’t actually contemplated what this thing was capable of yet, but Giles is right. If I can imagine it and want if enough, then the ring can create it.

“Xander, you can do this. I know you can. We need you, I need you.” Buffy says as she kneels down on the floor beside me.

“I just don’t know, can we... could we do this?”

“If you believe we can, then we can.” She replies with a small smile on her face.

“Giles...” I look over at him to see him smiling at me.

“What can’t Don Quixote accomplish.” He says just looking at me.

I don’t understand the quote, but I understand the meaning. “Ok, let’s do this. Buffy, get all the slayers to meet us at the north road. If we’re going to do this then we’re only going to get one shot at it.”

“Got it.” She runs off to gather the slayers.

“Giles, I need to know exactly what we’re dealing with here. What we know is in LA, and what we think is in LA. I don’t want any surprises.”

“Well we know there are possibly one thousand lower level demons, at least one dragon maybe more now. It would depend on where they came from and how long the portal was open for.”

“OK, Giles, you research. Assume the worst and they came from hell.” Giles walks off towards his ‘library’ to gather the information I need.

“Willow, I’m going to need some heavy protection spells here. Anything you’ve got that can protect us while we work.”

“I might have some spells that can help, give me a minute to...” the rest of the sentence turned into mumbling as she walked back to her tent.

“Ok, Faith? Weapons.”

“I’m there X-man, God I’m itching for a good rumble.” With that she ran off into the town to pick up everything.

I stood there, looking around at everyone. They were all rushing around with a purpose; Dawn was talking to some of the younger slayers. Getting them ready for the battle, some of these had never faced a vamp before, let alone a demon.

Looking at the younger slayers I lift my head to the sky and give a short prayer.

It's beginning.

ok, i'm in a really dark mood, so please, someone stop me and yell if this fic gets a bit too adult or dark for this site

M

#8 Posted by Zaraki Ichigo (6476 posts) - - Show Bio

You're doing great, I like it.

#9 Posted by Methos (40103 posts) - - Show Bio

Chapter 4

=========

I still have nightmares of that battle to this day; it was really the beginning of the end. The fighting raged on for days in LA, us versus the demons. It was a hopeless cause, we should have known as soon as we saw the city burning as we approached it.

I’d created a train, it was easy at first, the knowledge that this ring might actually be able to help, be able to save people’s lives in LA. It got harder as soon as we got within sight of the city, it was burning, even from the distance we were at, we could tell it wasn’t normal fire. Normal fires would have gone out, or been extinguished. The flames would have never grown that large, or that fierce.

That was when the doubt started to hit, then it became more difficult to keep us all on track for the city. I was managing it though, doubt vs the urge to do the right thing. It was Faith that noticed it first, a smell on the air as we stopped just outside the city limits to plan our attack. A burning smell that reminded me of Joyce’s summer barbeques.

To this day that image is burned into my head; Faith was exploring the area, checking for wandering demons so that we could plan our attack without diversions. She called out for Buffy, then for me. As I walked over it was the look on the two girls faces that I’ll never forget, they were both looking up at something, something that had them completely terrified.

I fought the impulse for as long as I could, but in the end I had to look up to see what had terrified the two eldest slayers on record. It was human; at least I think it was. Crucified to a green street sign. The stomach had been cut open and the insides were falling out, hanging like Christmas decorations down past its feet. The blood was dripping down the intestines onto the floor where it pooled in a dark, almost black mess. The body itself was burnt, almost incinerated, the skin was blackened and the clothes were scorched.

I don’t know how long I stared at it before I lost my lunch right there, Buffy followed my example soon after. God knows how Faith held it together; me and Buffy must have been bent over a bench emptying out stomachs onto the burnt grass for at least half an hour. When I looked back she was still there, staring at the body.

The thought barely flashed across my mind, I just raised my fist up and pointed it at the body. A green bream of energy flashed out from the ring and completely disintegrated the body; the sign... all that was left was a smoking metal pole, reaching up into the sky.

“No one else needs to know about this.” I say, waiting for Buffy and Faith to agree before continuing. “Keep an eye out for more, but don’t let the younger slayers see them.”

“What about Dawn?” Buffy asked. I could see it in her eyes, that was the moment the spark went out. Ever since Willow brought her back from heaven her eyes had been darker, less soulful that before but there was always that spark of hope in them. Like maybe if she did enough then the world wouldn’t be such a bad place. I think that was the final straw, seeing that person strung up with their insides hanging out, you could tell whatever did it wasn’t human, nothing human could have done that to another person.

“Don’t tell her.” I said without a moment’s hesitation. Dawn had managed to keep her innocence intact so far, I don’t know how she’d done it, but she still had that look of hope on her face, a look of wonder when she saw the sun rise. That innocence was something we had all lost a long time ago, and as such it was something precious, I would do anything to keep her innocent, because if she could be innocent, maybe there was hope for the rest of us as well.

--=/^=--

“Keep it together!” I scream at the men as I watch them start cheering now that the devil is down. I see the look flash across their faces, a brief glimmer of hope.

“Sir.” Came the automatic response from the nearest group at they raise their staff weapons up and start firing at the remaining demons, trying to clear a path out of the kill zone.

These new weapons have been a god send for us, we were quickly running out of ammo when we got word of some demon fighters coming our way. Military boys from the rumours we’d heard. I’d immediately discounted that rumour, after The Initiative the military had stepped out of the demon business, but maybe that had all changed now that the demons had gone public. Now that everyone on earth new that their worst fears had come to earth.

Me and Lara had gone out to meet them personally, eight men and two women, all carrying weapons I’d never seen before. Tall staffs, maybe seven foot tall, almost phallic looking in appearance, we’d got a chance to see them in action when a vamp attacked as we were making introductions. The large black guy, Teal’c, saw the vamp first. I swear he moved almost as fast as a slayer, spinning the staff round and firing a yellow energy bolt directly at the vamp. It dusted on impact, the energy bold ripped clean through the vamp and hit a wall behind him, busting a hold through that as well.

I couldn’t believe my ears when they said they had more of them, we outfitted one entire squad with the staffs the next day, Sam, the second in command of the group managed to train a small group how to use them and how to repair them. Soon that small group of military grunts had become invaluable to the cause.

“Get down!” I screamed at the group on the west side. I could see from my point of view a bunch of vamps just hiding round the corner, waiting to ambush the group when they got close enough. The team immediately hit the deck and alpha squad let loose a barrage of staff fire, vaporising the vamp group in seconds.

For the moment it looked peaceful, the full moon was lighting up the ruined city and the entire street went quiet for a second. Not one to miss an opportunity I braced myself against the wall and tried to stand, the pain shot through my leg and up my spine like fire burning through my veins. For a second my vision got blurry, and then there was a shadow, passing over the entire street. I knew I shouldn’t look up, nothing good ever came from looking up. The sky was their territory now, we’d had nothing in the sky for years now, but the temptation was there and I found my head and eyes drawn upwards before I could stop myself.

A dragon, just a small one, maybe two hundred feet in length, just a baby. My vision swirled again and I grabbed onto the crumbling stone wall next to me for support, grimacing at the sharp stone sliced into my fingers and palm.

The teams knew what to do; they all knew we were outgunned against a dragon, even a baby one. They immediately dove for cover, I just watched as the entire street went silent and everyone got inside or under some sort of cover, anything to stop it from seeing us.

Holding on to the stone wall I ducked down, trying to get myself as small as possible. The night would help hide me; the dark clothes we all wore helped us blend into the night. As I ducked the pain burned up my leg again, like fire spreading through my muscles. I glanced down, just to see how bad it was. The blood was running out of the wound freely, you know how they always say it doesn’t hurt until you see it? It’s the opposite that is really true, as soon as I looked at it the pain stopped, my brain registered the blood and how the muscle and skin was hanging off my leg, but it couldn’t feel it anymore.

My vision swam again and I looked, horrified at my own leg. If I looked hard enough I could probably even see the bone underneath all the blood. White started to creep in at the edge of my vision and then suddenly everything went black.

--=/^=--

As we got back to camp me and Buffy were still trying to get the image out of our head, the fact that you could still smell it on the air wasn’t helping much. We could see that the atmosphere was starting to get to the gang, there was something in the air, it wasn’t just the smell or the burning city anymore, there was defeat in the air before we had even started the battle.

“We set up?” I asked Willow as I walked over to her tent.

“Nearly, give me another hour or so to get the components for the protection amulets ready and we’ll be good to go.” Willow looked scared, not for us or herself, but for the world. She knew this was going to end badly, I think in the back of our minds we all knew how it was going to end, but we still had to try.

“Giles, how are we doing on research?” Glancing over I can see him with his head in a book, obviously trying to ignore the smell in the air.

“I’ve put together a list of what we could be facing in a worst case scenario, higher level demons and the such. It all depends on where the portals actually came from, but at worst we could be facing devils or some of the old ones.” Giles was visibly shaken by the thought of the old ones walking the earth again.

“Weaknesses?” I ask, hoping for some good news.

“None that are recorded, perhaps the ring would be able to give you more information on them.” Giles replied before closing his book and hunting for another.

“Ring, do the first ones have any weaknesses we can exploit?” Holding the ring up to my face I ask it, still not really accustomed to speaking to an inanimate object.

“The First Ones were originally defeated using a combination of Guardian and Ancient technology, they have no physical weaknesses. The only solution the Ancients and The Guardians were able to implement was to banish them through the Chappa’ai.”

“Great.” I mutter, lowering the ring. Going up against an enemy with no physical weaknesses wasn’t my idea of fun, especially when we were leading a bunch of teenage girls into battle.

“Xander, have you tried experimenting with the ring, maybe creating something that could help us win?” Dawn asked as she came out of her tent.

“I’ve tried; I’ve come up with guns, rifles, rocket launchers... everything down to just throwing pure energy. If there’s anything else this thing can do, then I can’t imagine what it would be.”

“I think that is the point Xander, use your imagination. Movies, books, comics... everything you can imagine the ring can create for you.” Giles jumped in, seeing where Dawn was going with this.

“So, what? I’m drawing a blank here people, you want me to imagine something that could defeat something with no weaknesses, how do I do that?” it was frustrating, the idea that I had all this power, and no idea how to use it. I mean, I had the basics down, imagine gun, have gun. Flying still took all my will power to keep me in the air, but what else could it do?

“What was something you always wanted as a child?” Giles asked, “A weapon from a movie or a comic.”

That got my imagination going for a bit, thinking back to all the movies I used to watch with Willow growing up. That was it...

“Hold on.” I closed my eyes and thought of what I wanted, I knew exactly the dimensions of it, how it worked in the movies. I could feel it in my hand, the smooth cylinder with the ignite button under my thumb. As I opened my eyes there it was, large as life in my hand. Pressing the button I ignited it, ignoring the look of amazement on Dawn’s face and the abject horror on Giles’.

I couldn’t help it, I swung it around a few times, it actually made the noises as the blade cut through the air. Walking over to a rock I tested it, bringing the blade over my head I cut down, cleaving the rock in two like a hot knife through butter.

“Funny, I always wanted a yellow one.” I grinned as I saw Buffy and Faith look on in amazement. Spinning the lightsaber in my hand quickly I turned it off and let it vanish back into the ether.

“You got a lightsaber?” Faith was the first one to ask.

“I get it now, I can have whatever I want, anything I can imagine. I don’t even have to know how it works, just that it does.” Lifting my hand up I imagined a small fireball in my palm. I couldn’t help but grin as the fireball came into existence, grinning at Buffy I threw it across the burnt grass, laughing sharply as it exploded on the floor in a whoosh of green flame.

“I recommend getting as much practice in as you can before dawn, that will be when the demons are at their weakest so we should attack then.” Giles informed us before ducking back into his tent.

“So, this is it then?” Faith asked, walking over with Buffy and Willow.

“The final battle.” Willow agreed.

I just nodded, not wanting to say anything that would sound stupid or immature. For once I actually felt grown up and ready to accept what was going to happen tomorrow.

“Xander... I...” Buffy started, I didn’t need for her to say anything, none of us did. We all knew how she felt, we all felt the same. This was going to be hell, the battle to end all battles. If we won this, then the demons would never think of coming back to earth. If we lost this, it would be hell on earth, forever.

Moving over I embraced Buffy in a tight hug, kissing her softly on the forehead before doing the same to Willow. Breaking the hug with Willow I looked over at Faith, she was still awkward with us; even after all we had gone through with The First. Taking the step over to her, I stood directly in front of her, looking down into her eyes I pulled her into a tight hug.

“We’ll beat this thing; we’ve done it before Faith.” The words came off my lips before I could stop them. “I love you.”

She just looked up at me, her brown eyes tearing up. I’d never seen Faith cry, she was always the tough girl, the one that all the younger slayers looked up to. The one who would do anything she wanted. I bent down slightly and kissed her softly on the lips. It only lasted for a second but that soft kiss held more heat than any passionate night could have matched.

As I looked around, Buffy and Willow were just smiling at us, they grinned before breaking out in laughter and walking over to the campfire. Chuckling softly I kissed Faith softly on the nose before walking over to sit with them. Faith followed me, Dawn and Giles came soon after.

“So, this is how it ends?” I ask Giles, hoping for some prophecy or something to tell us how the fight will go.

“It seems that way; I never expected the final battle would happen in my lifetime though. It was just an abstract, something that would happen in some far off time.” Giles explained, smiling at us all, hoping to reassure us with his words. “The watchers have been hoping this day would never come, that the Champion would be able to avert it.”

“So? Who is this champion?” Buffy asked, obviously hoping it was her, that she would be the one to end the battle between good and evil forever.

“He’s being watched by our sister organization. Hopefully after his battle with Ahriman he will know what to do now.” Giles explained, almost enigmatically.

“He? The champion is a dude?” Faith asked, slightly shocked. She’s expected it to Buffy as well; Buffy was always the golden child, the slayer who could do no wrong. Now there was someone else that everyone’s hopes depended on.

“Yes, he was supposed to gather the Immortal Armies together and lead against the demons, that was how it was prophesised, but the Immortals became lost, fighting each other for an imaginary prize. Now there’s barely a handful left. The last reports I received said that they all believed that The Gathering was upon them when the demons entered this world, they started fighting amongst themselves. I don’t even know if The Champion survived.”

“Can’t The Watchers do anything? Stop them fighting, tell them about the final battle here?” Buffy asked, now wanting as much help as she could. The idea of an Immortal Army coming to help would certainly boost morale.

“I wish we could, even if I could get in touch with his watcher, The Immortals are scattered, wandering the earth. Maybe there are one or two in the city that could help us, if they haven’t been killed already, but The Champion was last seen in New York. We will simply have to battle on without him.” Giles explained.

“Wait... hold up... they’re immortal, so how could they have been killed?” I ask, it seemed to me that the two were mutually exclusive. If you were immortal that you couldn’t be killed, if you could be killed then you weren’t immortal.

“It’s a long story; it started long before the humans were even writing. In fact it actually makes more sense now with the information I have found about The Guardians and The Ancients. The Immortals were bred to be the perfect warriors by The Ancients; they were brought here to fight the demons.” Giles explained, you could see the ideas forming in his head as he put all the information together.

“So, they’re still around? After millions of years?” Faith asked.

“Indeed, they literally do not age. They can only die when their head is cut from their body, when that happens there is a phenomenal amount of energy released that is inherently devastating to any demon in the area. It was a safety measure of the Ancients, to make sure that they could not be captured by the demons and used against their own people.” Giles continued.

“So? What happened to them?” Buffy asked, now really wanting to know what had happened to this ancient immortal army that was supposed to defeat the demons.

“They lost their way, as all people do over time.” Giles finished off sadly. “As time passed, the older ones were killed and without them there was no one left to teach the young ones what they were really here for. The myth of the Gathering and The Prize became their sole reason for living; some of them became head hunters, killing others of their kind just to be the last one.”

“Why would you want to be the last one? Wouldn’t that be kind of lonely?” I asked, seemed a bit pointless to me, living your entire existence just to kill others of your own kind.

“The myth was that the last one would have all the power of all the immortals that had ever lived, this of course is just a myth, but that didn’t stop them from killing each other.” Giles finished, reaching down he opened a rucksack on the floor and pulled out several bottles of water, throwing them round to everyone.

“So? Why didn’t The Watchers stop them? Tell them why they were really here?” Faith demanded.

“They didn’t know.” Giles said simply. “The Watchers that watched immortals split off from us millennia ago, they have no contact with us anymore, most of them have absolutely no knowledge about the supernatural world or slayers.”

“Guessing that’s changed now.” Buffy smiled.

“I assume so, hopefully we can count on one or two of them making their way here to help, if not for this battle to help with any survivors we find in the city.” Giles smiled, watching the fire for a moment. “I should retire, as should all of you. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so it would be best to get as much rest as possible.”

“Night Giles.” I nodded to him as he stood up and made his way to the tent, the girls chorused in after me, smiling at him.

“I’m going to hit the sack as well, try and get some sleep.” Buffy announced, smiling when Dawn nodded and stood up to make her way to their tent.

“Me too, the protection amulets took a lot out of me.” Willow smiled, before taking a gulp of her water and moved off to her tent.

“Just you and me then.” Faith smiled as she moved over to sit down next to me.

“I was thinking about hitting the sack myself.” I smiled at Faith, ignoring the twinkle in her eye.

“Xan, did you mean what you said earlier?” Faith asked, standing up as I did.

“I always mean what I say.” I grin, snaking my arm around Faith’s waist.

“So, what’s going to happen tomorrow?” She asked, looking around at all the tents where the teenage slayers slept on, dreaming dreams of impossible battles and fearless warriors.

“We’ll fight; we’ll do our best, that’s all we can do.” I pulled her in close for a quick hug, almost surprised when she came willingly into the embrace.

“It’s not going to go well, is it?” She asked, she could obviously feel it in the air as well.

“No, it isn’t.” I didn’t see the point in lying to her, it would just make tomorrow even harder.

“Could be our last night then.” Faith said, letting her hand rest on my arm.

“Could be.” I agreed, not wanting this to end like it did last time, all those years ago.

She just reached up, kissing me as softly as I had kissed her earlier before pulling me across to her tent and ducking inside. “So let’s make it a night to remember.”

I couldn’t help it; I had to laugh at the cheesy line that she had come out with. I smiled as she slapped me on the chest for laughing at her then I knelt down on her sleeping back and pulled her down with me, kissing her passionately I lye her down on the floor are started kissing down her neck. A night to remember, I could agree with that.