Buffy won the foot-race with Angel and Spike and got to be the one to
kick open the door of the Bronze with an epic flourish. With the vampires flanking her, Buffy marched up to the stage, the
spotlights and house lights illuminating its ominous...emptiness.
Buffy scowled in confusion and turned to Willow.
"Reveal la te!" Willow chanted helpfully.
A blinding light struck the stage and the smoke machines kicked on. Through
the glare of the lights, they could make out a figure standing in the center of the stage behind a draped pedestal. A drum
roll sounded, a cymbal crashed and the spotlight centered on the figure who stood in profile, head bowed in a really cheesy
vogue. The house lights dimmed then, and the head slowly rose, finally looking out at them to reveal...
"Ethan Rayne!" Giles said, stomping forward and nodding in disgust. "I
should have known. Obviously."
"Oh, obviously," Spike and Xander said together, rolling their eyes.
"You were the mastermind behind this extremely strange, yet nicely linear,
revisit of Hellmouths past?" Willow asked.
"Yes," Ethan drawled smugly.
"I beg to differ, counsel," came a sultry voice from off-stage to the
tune of high heels clicking smartly against the wooden floor. "They don't come bigger or badder than me. This grand scheme,
in all its brilliant incomprehensibility,
is my baby."
"Lilah?" Angel gasped.
"Um, I don't think so, folks," a voice weaseled out from opposite stage
right as a slight figure slunk out of the darkness, his hands shoved in his pockets. "I did it. It was me."
"W-Willy?" Buffy chortled.
"No," Ethan said firmly. "Sorry, I claim deus ex machina in this particular
scenario. After all, isn't it obvious? It has chaotic written all over it."
"Quid pro quo, wizard," Lilah said, dazzling him with her legal BS. "The
sheer vagueness of the plan is Wolfram and Hart Special Projects modus operandi." She glanced at her vermillion tinted fingernails,
smiling. "Patent pending."
"Um, yeah, I got nuthin'," Willy said, shuffling his feet as they all
looked toward him. "And I don't got none of them fancy French words to drop in, either." He started to ease off the stage.
"So, I'm just gonna..." he nodded at them as he fought his way past the stage curtain. "Slayer. Angel. Spike. Um, people I've
seen with the Slayer. Bye."
As Willy took his leave, Lilah turned to Ethan. "So, I'll just be..."
she said, gesturing him off the stage.
"No! Chaos!" Ethan exclaimed. "The worshipping kind. Not the demon."
He pointed at Lilah. "Secondly? You're canonically dead."
"Pfft," Lilah said. "Special Projects Article W-H 7: Resurrection of
Person with Witnessed Death. Patent awarded 2001."
"Ah, Lilah?" Angel said. "Wesley cut - off - your - head."
"But you can't destroy matter," Xander said. "It can always take another
form." They turned to look at him expectantly. "That's all I got. And I think I got that from STTNG."
"I don't know what's geekier," Willow said, staring at him, "that you
just referenced Star Trek in a crisis moment, or that you tried to hip it up with the abreves."
"Chaos!" Ethan howled, his hands rising above his head to shake menacingly. "Chaos! Pandemonium! Cluster-fuck! Be gone,
evil litigator!" Ethan clapped his hands together and Lilah disappeared in a quick flash of light, leaving several briefs
Ethan sighed, wiping his hands. "Now, where were we?"
"Gettin' ready to ride up on some wicked-ass wizard butt," Faith said.
"Bring it on, Slayer," Ethan said. "Power kicks are no match for Janus
"I distinctly remember destroying your statue of Janus," Giles said.
Ethan whipped the drop cloth off the pedestal in front of him, revealing
a three-foot high, two-faced bust of Janus. "I got a bigger one."
"Quick!" Willow said, grabbing Buffy and Xander's hands, "let's join
"All riiight, Red," Faith said, leering. "I always knew you had some
down-and-dirty in ya."
Willow sighed, rolling her eyes. "I meant mystically," she said, smiling
at the Dark Slayer.
"Okay," Willow continued as they formed a circle, "Buffy's the vessel.
No discussion," she said, cutting off Spike, Angel and Faith's protests. She bummed a cigarette and lighter off Spike and
chanted quickly over it.
Buffy felt the infusion of magic, werewolf strength, vampire invulnerability,
17 lessons of You Can Learn Tae Kwon Do! and whatever the hell Illyria was flood her body.
Shaking with the need to growl, ravage, drink deep of the rich red elixir
of life and worrying too much about her hair, Buffy leapt onto the stage and flipped into a graceful straddle jump with a
triple twist, landing on the statue of Janus and smashing it into several knick knacks.
"Well, that was just...anti-climatic," Ethan said.
The lights shimmered and big magic mojo whooshed through the room.
Buffy, Willow, Xander, Angel and Spike sat up slowly, finding themselves
on the edge of the Sunnydale pit, just inside the yellow caution tape.
"Okay, rude much?" Buffy said, looking around them. "At least he could
have put us back where he found us."
"Maybe it's because the five of us...part of us will always be in Sunnydale,"
Willow said thoughtfully.
"That's beautiful, Wil," Xander said. "And kind of lame."
"Yeah, I know," she said, shrugging. "I was reaching."
They stood up, looking around them at the emptiness that surrounded the
giant crater and trying to process everything.
"Well, at least the wiggy spell is over," Buffy said. "I hope." She looked
to Willow for confirmation. "Wil?"
"Fuuuh...dge," Willow said. "Fuh...rickin'." She grinned, finding her
nicely vanilla vocabulary back. "Yep. All un-magicked."
"Thank God," Buffy sighed. She tilted her head at Xander, smiling softly.
"This must be the hardest on you," she said. "I mean, lips of Spike was one thing, but you had..." her eyes dropped to his
fly and then darted away.
Xander frowned at her. "What are you talking about?"
"The spell," Buffy said. "Chaos!" she intoned dramatically.
"You and Spike goin' all queer as folk."
She stopped, seeing the other four looking at her strangely. "What?"
"Buffy," Angel said, "the spell was just all of us being dropped back
into an illusion of Sunnydale."
"And the fudgitty-fudge-fudge," Willow added.
Spike walked over and wrapped his arms around Xander. "Me and the whelp
was just a nice, unexpected bonus of our little adventure in Sunny-D Lite." Xander smiled back at him and kissed him lightly
on the lips.
Buffy shook her head dazedly. "I gotta walk for a bit. Gotta deal." She
turned away from them, heading toward the highway.
Angel and Willow caught up with her, linking their arms through hers
as they smiled wryly at each other above her head. Spike and Xander followed slowly behind them, twining their fingers together
and grinning as they contemplated love eternal.
"So," Buffy's voice floated back as they walked away, survivors of the
Hellmouth one last time, "you're saying that you guys really were all hot for Spike...and melon really is
the new pink?"
I have to say thank you to the lovely people at Excessant and bloodclaim who squeed! and stroked me with feedback. Also thanks to my lovely betas: Mia, Karabair
Thank you for not noticing (or pretending not to notice) that I had
vamps pop up in daylight and then had to cover my ass, that I totally ignored Xander's eyepatch (it's all canon, just AU where
Xander loses the eye, 'k?) and that I worked in my first S/X pairing so that I could post on my favorite sites. But I had
so much fun with them.