It was like Dawn was 14 all over again.
That same fear gripping Dawn's heart. That same horrible feeling of helplessness. As Seo — no, not Seo, not anymore — Glory-Seo, a deranged smile on her face, finished tying Dawn up in her ship, and proceeded to hop and skip and jump around the console, zooming them towards some unknown point in time and space.
"...should be glad the bitch is dead," Glory-Seo was explaining to Dawn. She yanked a lever, and the ship shook. "I mean, really. That wussy little wimp? That spineless coward?" She made a face. "Makes me want to retch."
Dawn swallowed hard. "She… can't be dead," she insisted. Wishing it didn't sound so much like a squeak. "She… she has to be…"
Glory-Seo looked up at Dawn. Then beamed. "Of course she is!" she laughed. "Gone forever! She sacrificed herself to save the universe, and instead, wound up almost dooming it for good! Just the kind of stupid, pointless, screw-up thing she always did. Throwing her life away for something that doesn't matter." Glory-Seo strolled over to Dawn. Eyes glinting. "But she wasn't real, you know. That whole 'Seo' personality was just a front. A disguise. For me. The real thing!"
"She still managed to lock you up for a hundred years," Dawn retorted.
Glory-Seo didn't seem bothered by this. Just stood in front of Dawn. Appraising her. Then gave a small chuckle. "Not real. Because 'Seo' was a construct of a bunch of Monks trying to hide a mystical Key." She grabbed Dawn's head, wrenching it up to stare into her own manic eyes. "A Key… just like you! I mean, think of the possibilities!"
They were pretty terrifying.
"You and me together," said Glory-Seo, "we don't have to adhere to deadlines or anything. We can do anything we want. At any time. Any place." She leaned down, staring right into Dawn's eyes. "I'm gonna rule worlds. Galaxies. Entire dimensions and entire universes! I'm gonna kill everyone and anyone that opposes me. And probably most of everyone and anyone that doesn't." Her voice lowered. "And I won't stop, Dawn. I can't stop!"
Dawn gaped at her.
Anything of the old-her was long, long gone.
"See? That's why I have to find the Key," Glory-Seo explained. "Trust me. Moment I get the Key…"
"Don't," Dawn pleaded. "Please. Don't! Just let me go."
The manic look on Glory-Seo's face faltered, as she stepped back. A hint of something else settling it. "You're… afraid of me."
Well, that was a duh-moment.
"I know you're Glory, now," said Dawn. "But… you used to be Seo. Please, if you've got anything left of her… just let me go."
"You're afraid of me," said Glory-Seo, "because I'm Glory."
"Well… well… fine!" shouted Glory-Seo, spinning around and launching herself at the central console. "I don't care if you're afraid of me. Or if you don't love me. Hell goddesses don't feel love, anyways. Don't feel guilt. Or sadness. Or upsetness. So I don't really care about anything you say!" She flipped a few levers, stubbornly.
Dawn stared at her. "Oh, my God," she breathed. "You're sulking!"
"I am not sulking!" Glory-Seo snapped. "I don't care about you. You're like an insect, compared to the might and splendor of…"
"Do you still love me?" Dawn asked.
Was there something left of the old Seo in there, after all? Beneath the multi-universal conquest plans and the killing people all the craziness…
Was there still some Seo, deep down inside, struggling to get out?
"Of course I don't love you," said Glory-Seo, huffing. "Hell goddesses don't have feelings. Whatever happens, whatever I do, I don't care."
"You don't want to kill me, though," Dawn said, in a quiet voice. "Or you'd have done it by now."
Glory-Seo rolled her eyes. "Well, there are a lot of other things to kill out there, first!" she said. Hands on her hips. "I mean, really! You think you're actually important enough to kill? Just because you're the Key? Well… I'm done with Keys! Done with all of that. I can conquer anything anywhere without the Key." She stubbornly punched at buttons on the console. "And I don't care if you don't love me. Because you're like… a… a… an amoeba compared to me!"
Dawn wasn't sure what to say to this.
Didn't know who or what from Seo's psyche had survived that Dalek beam, just that… it was definitely not Seo… and it seemed a lot more upset about Dawn's not loving it than it wanted to let on.
"But I do love you," said Dawn.
"Don't care!" Glory-Seo insisted.
"I love you, Seo — the real you — because you're super smart," Dawn continued, "and you're also one of the most kind and caring and compassionate people out there. And I know you're still in there, somewhere, Seo! Locked away, unable to get out." She was thinking fast, now. Remembering what Buffy had told her. "So… this is all my fault. Everything that happened with the Daleks was all my fault. You can't blame yourself for—"
"You really don't get it, do you?" Glory-Seo snapped, slamming her hands down on the console. "The old me is gone! Not coming back, not regenerating, just… gone! And that's good, because she was a total bitch. A wimpy, amoral, disgusting bitch. I mean, the best thing she ever did was to kill herself, and she managed to muck even that one up." She gave a small, dark smile. "After all. By killing herself, she handed you over to me. Left both you and the universe at my mercy. Just like Ben did, all those years ago."
Dawn felt her fear subsiding, as her anger began to build. A rage flaring through her, fueled by a grief too strong for words. Seo had been brave, had been selfless, had sacrificed herself to save Dawn's life… and to just ridicule her and insult her after her death… was… just…!
"I don't care if you're immortal," Dawn hissed. She bunched her hands into fists. "I'm going to kill you for saying that about Seo."
For a few seconds, there was silence in the ship. Glory-Seo standing over the central console, her back to Dawn, a rigid coldness still flowing through her.
Then she grabbed at a lever, and yanked the ship into renewed life.
Oliver suddenly spinning and pulsing through the vortex with renewed fury. A feverish look on Glory-Seo's face, something unfathomably dark in her eyes.
"The end of the universe!" Glory-Seo declared. "Let's see if this ship can make it." She turned on Dawn. "Have you seen the end of humanity? What happens to you lot as time collapses in on itself?" Her grin widened. "You human beings all turn into me, Dawn! A bunch of mad, homicidal maniacs. Ready to tear apart the cosmos."
And there was something terrifying about her, now.
Even more terrifying than before.
"You don't want to do this," Dawn pleaded with her. "I know you don't! You don't ever want to…!"
Glory-Seo was over beside Dawn in a second, grabbing her up by the throat. "Of course I want to," Glory-Seo gritted through her teeth. "Why would I keep doing it if I didn't want to? I'm Glory-Seo. A creature of Hell. A killer. Death for all. And if I didn't want to be that, I'd stop, right?" She squeezed even harder, until Dawn felt her air choked out of her lungs. "But I don't stop. Can't stop. Even if that means killing you, no one will ever, ever be able to stop—"
Oliver spun sideways, skittering out of the vortex, central console sparking and churning with an unhealthy whine. Glory-Seo dropped Dawn to the ground, stumbling as she fell to the ground, coughing on the smoke and then launching herself at the central console.
Glory-Seo, in absolute horror, breathed: "No."
Dawn struggled to catch her breath.
"No!" shouted Glory-Seo. She yanked and flipped and switched, glancing out the window behind her, the whole time, her eyes narrowed. "Not you. Not now. Get away from me! Just get away!"
And that was when Dawn saw it, through the window. One of the most beautiful things she'd ever seen.
Emerging from the vortex, zipping after them, chasing them down… was a blue 1960's police box. Light flashing on the top, as it pursued.