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Changing the Rules 3

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Changing the Rules 3

by Annie


Changing the Rules
3

By Annie

Rated: PG
Summary: Defeating the First Evil
Disclaimer: Not mine, no matter how hard I try. Warning: Modicum of slash.
Spoilers: Buffy Season 7
Feedback: crehnert@ptd.net

"Back!" Buffy shouted, turning and running flat out back toward the entrance to the cave. They all followed, Clark forcing himself not to superspeed, but damn, this was scary!

Buffy stopped about thirty feet from the entrance, shouting to Xander to bring everyone in and take positions, looking back to see if the First had followed them.

Nothing in sight. Yet.

"Willow, hurry!" Buffy urged, while the others all rushed into the cave, taking one look at their companions' faces, then turning back to the entrance, weapons ready.

Willow was pulling things from her backpack quickly and setting them up on the floor of the cave; candles, plants of some kind, jars of something Lex couldn't identify.

Buffy laid her crossbow down within easy reach. "Lex, get to Willow," she snapped. "Remember what I said - you fail, we all die!"

Lex wasted one precious second to touch Clark's hand, then hefted the huge battle axe and took a determined stance behind Willow.

Buffy turned to Spike and Clark, holding out her hands, waggling her fingers to bring them closer.

"Circle, now," she instructed briskly. Spike and Clark each took one of her hands and then took each other's.

Buffy looked at each of them in turn, blue eyes, hazel eyes, lingering just a second longer on Spike's face.

"See you both after," she promised.

"After," they both replied.

Spike and Buffy closed their eyes. Clark cast one more look in Lex's direction, then took a deep breath and closed his.

Willow sat on the floor of the cave and lit a candle, and just then the Harbingers came out of nowhere and began to storm the entrance to the cave. Lex stared, frozen in place, mesmerized by the sight of Xander and Andrew all but leaping toward the demons, swords flashing in the bit of sunlight finding it's way inside. There were at least ten of them, and Lex's first instinct was to run and help, but the girls had jumped into the fray as well, decimating the first wave of resistance.

Willow closed her eyes, somehow ignoring the sounds of fighting, the shrill scream of a Potential going down. She raised her hands, palms up, and began to speak softly. Intriguing smells were coming up from the floor, and almost made Lex dizzy, causing him to wonder again what was in the jars.

"The power of the Slayer and all who yield it, from last to first, we invoke thee. Grant us thy domain and primal strength. Accept us and the power we possess. Make us mind, heart, spirit and power. Encompass us. Heart and soul, power, and the hand of good, all joined to merge into one Warrior, the one great Defender. Let us inhabit the plane of existence where this ancient evil abides, let us prevail together."

Another horde of faceless demons tried to get into the cave, twice as many this time. Lex watched in horrified fascination, his gaze torn between the bloody fight and the blinding white light which seemed to appear from nowhere and envelop Buffy, Clark and Spike. He almost called Clark's name but stopped himself with an effort. Nothing must interrupt the spell.

Lex turned back to the struggle at the cave entrance in time to see Andrew fall beneath a crushing blow. Anya and Dawn leaned down to help him back up, Xander using his sword to behead the offending Harbinger, then immediately turning and going after another one. Another Potential went down with a scream, and tears came to Lex's eyes at witnessing this display of bravery and determination. More and more of the Harbingers were appearing at the cave entrance, all but blocking out the light. He spared a glance back to the enjoined three, but could barely see them through the swirling light. Willow was perfectly rigid, mouthing something he couldn't hear, eyes still closed. Lex's hand gripped the battle axe tightly, and he stayed where he was, even though every instinct in him was forcing him to join the battle.

Buffy, Spike and Clark were totally unaware the battle had even begun. While they were listening to Willow's words, the white light had grown and enveloped them, soothing and protecting, shielding them from everything outside of themselves.

Buffy felt love, then confusion and insanity. Fire in her eyes, power in her limbs, a strange sense of not belonging, but then she did belong, strength flowing up into her from the hands she held so tightly.

Spike felt like his soul belonged in him for the first time since he had regained it, felt his power and determination flowing out of him into the hand he held in his. Felt a deep blackness moving within him, leaving him for a better purpose.

Clark felt indescribable fullness, unity suddenly appearing deep within him; he belonged, and he willingly allowed the powers, his strength, his invulnerability, to run through and out of him, shared with the Slayer next to him, gripping her hand tightly, unconcerned that he could hurt this small, powerful creature; he knew somehow he wouldn't.

"Buffy," a familiar voice whispered softly. Buffy mentally opened her eyes to see her Mother standing before her, holding out her hands. "Go home, Buffy."

"No," the Slayer mouthed silently, the sound loud in their minds. "You go home," she demanded, and in her mind she kicked out furiously, sending the vision spinning away, enraged shriek echoing in their heads.

Lex had glanced one more time at the white light in the center of the cave, and when he looked back, a Harbinger had broken free of the attacking Potential Slayers and was rushing right toward him. Or rather, right toward Willow. The witch was still rigid, chanting, "No, you go home," Lex heard her whisper, and then the demon was almost on her. Lex felt a surge of fear and swung out viciously with the huge axe, cutting deep into the thing's side, sickening crunch as it hit, gout of something that smelled really bad. Lex pulled the axe away, ready to swing again, and the demon rushed one more time.

        The axe went right through this time, and Lex almost fell over from the force of his own swing, gasping and leaning on the weapon, looking in distaste at the mess before him.
        Willow continued to sit and chant calmly.

A little boy came, and Buffy heard something in her mind that made her think Clark had whimpered in denial. So, Clark's, then.

"You must stop now." The little boy pleaded. "If you could only see what I see." He said mournfully, walking slowly through Buffy's mind, coming closer, and she reached out a mental hand and pushed him away heavily, sending him toppling, over and over out of sight, and Clark whimpered again.

"I've seen enough," Willow whispered, as Buffy's lips moved inside the light.

Buffy felt Spike resist as Drusilla appeared suddenly.

"Such a bad boy," Dru was crooning. "Naughty, naughty, dirty little demon to touch the Slayer and leave her alive." Spike moaned. Buffy imagined a stake, imagined driving it deeply into Dru's unbeating heart.

"Dust," Willow said, and Lex tried to see into the light, but it hurt his eyes. The most he could tell was that the three were still standing, and he supposed, hoped, that was a good sign.

Three more Potentials had fallen, and Lex quickly took stock of the fighters; he could still see Dawn, Anya, Xander and Andrew, and let a small sigh of relief escape. The Harbingers were slowly declining in number, but it didn't look like anyone was going to escape unscathed. A horrible thought occurred to him; what if a Harbinger tried to rush the enjoined three? Should Lex desert his post behind Willow to save them? Or would an attacker be naturally repelled? Hopefully, he'd never have to find out. Another shriek of pain from the midst of the battling humans, and Lex wanted to double over from the pain inside, wanted to run over there and inflict some damage, knew he was forbidden to move.

"Dust," Buffy said, and they watched the dust motes that had been Dru flutter wildly before them, suddenly massing together to become the huge, charred monster, the Phoenix that had arisen from the ashes of the ubervamps.

It roared angrily, something powerful erupting from somewhere inside it, rampaging toward the three of them, engulfing them, heat, power, white noise that tried to crush them, and failed, shattering away as quickly as it had touched them. And again, stronger, harder, still turned away as if it were nothing at all.

The First Evil was howling in rage, assaulting them again and again, uselessly, bits and pieces of it starting to crumble away, disappearing into the white light of the spell.

Buffy smiled in her mind, taunting it. "This is how we kick noncorporeal ass," she told her companions, as Willow mouthed the words along with her, drawing Lex's attention from the waning battle before them.

Again, another onslaught, and more pieces began to fall. In her mind, Buffy opened her eyes, staring intently, grip tightening impossibly on Spike's and Clark's hands. "Give it to me," she demanded, addressing them both. Spike pushed against the bits of the First still imbedded somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind, and Clark mentally opened his own eyes, following Buffy's lead, concentrating.

"Give it to me," Willow said, and Lex looked down at her curiously, thinking for a second that she wanted his battle axe. That was when one of the last Harbingers flung an attacking Dawn into the wall of the cave and headed right for Willow. At the same time, another one was running toward the white light. Lex turned to swing, but the demon was on him, arm swinging out viciously to knock him to the ground, battle axe falling away. Lex scrambled for it, rose up and heaved the axe, cleaving the Harbinger in half a split second before it reached Willow. The other Harbinger had reached the white light and Lex didn't think twice, left his post and ran after it, axe swinging over his head. The Harbinger ran into the white light and was repelled with such force that he hit Lex, pushing him across the cave to slam painfully into the cave wall, sliding to the floor unconscious.

The First was still howling in rage, still falling to pieces. Buffy felt the incredible heat in her eyes again, it hurt and tears started streaming down her face, but she forced herself to open her eyes for real, tightened the grip she had on Clark's hand yet again. One flash, one searing lightening bolt through her head and the flames erupted, blasting out of her straight into the First. It exploded into millions of ashy pieces, and Buffy abruptly released the hands she was holding, falling to the cave floor, her own hands covering her face, trying to soothe the fiery pain there.

"Gone," Willow pronounced, opening her eyes dazedly, watching the white light slowly disappear. Spike and Clark went to Buffy's aid quickly, but she was already recovering from the borrowed heat vision, and allowed them to help her to her feet. She looked to Willow first, saw she was alright, and then surveyed the vestiges of battle strewn around before her.

With the disappearance of the First and the white light, the remainder of the Harbingers had fallen to dust, and Buffy took in the consequences of the fight. Ten of the Potentials had been killed, hot tears coming to her eyes, and she couldn't talk because her throat had suddenly closed on her. Dawn had several bleeding wounds, but looked all right. Xander and Anya had fared no worse, but Andrew looked like he had a broken arm to go along with his lacerations. Spike and Clark, standing next to her, would be all right as well. Clark looked for Lex, relieved when he didn't see him in with the fallen girls on the cave floor, heart stopping abruptly when he did see him, motionless against the cave wall.

"Lex," he shouted, running over to kneel down and gather Lex in his arms. "Lex?" he said fearfully, feeling his throat for a pulse, relieved beyond belief to find one. Clark moved his face close to Lex's, feeling for the warm breath on his cheek, more reassuring confirmation than the pulse under his fingers. Lex's eyes opened slowly, and Clark's face was mere inches from his, looking at him with such an expression of dismay that Lex almost smiled.

"Did I die again? Every time you kiss me I'm dead." He mumbled regretfully.

Clark pulled Lex's head against his chest and held him there. "God, Lex. You weren't dead, but I sure thought you were. And I didn't kiss you."

"Did we win?" Lex asked, voice muffled, the sound vibrating into Clark's skin beneath his shirt.

Clark looked over sorrowfully at the Potentials who hadn't made it, at Dawn gathered up into Buffy's arms, at the rest of the Potential Slayers weeping quietly, at Xander and Anya holding each other and kissing, at Willow and some girl doing the same thing. Andrew was standing quietly against the cave wall, alone, cradling his injured arm, and Spike walked over and gave him a brief pat on the shoulder, saying something to him softly, an open look of gratitude on Andrew's face at the gesture.

"Kind of," Clark replied, helping Lex to his feet. "We get to go home tomorrow, Lex."

"Good," Lex exclaimed. "I can't wait. I guess I'll just tell your parents we didn't like the clubs."

Spike and Lex were sitting on the front porch. It was almost midnight and everyone was still reeling from the events of the day. Lex had gone and bought some good scotch, and he and Spike were taking turns serving each other.

"So," Spike said, breaking a long silence. "Off to Kansas tomorrow then?"

"Yea," Lex answered shortly.

"Glad?"

"Really glad."

"I'm glad you came."

Lex raised his glass and Spike did the same, the small clink loud in the quiet of the night. "Believe it or not, now that it's over, I'm glad we came, too. How are things with you and the Slayer, by the way?" Lex asked, taking another sip just as the front door opened and the woman in question came out onto the porch to join them.

"I think I'm about to find out." Spike told him.

Lex stood, refilling Spike's glass and then taking the bottle with him. "In that case, I'm turning in. I'll see you in the morning before I leave, right?"

Spike looked at Buffy. "That's kind of up to her," he said quietly.

"Good night, Buffy." Lex said, heading inside.

"Lex," Buffy stopped him with a hand on his arm, and he allowed it, surprising himself. "Thank you. I don't think you realize how important it was, what we all did today."

"I do. And you're welcome. But, please leave us off the guest list for the next Apocalypse. We won't be insulted. 'Night."

She smiled after him and turned to Spike then, leaning on the porch rail. He stood and took a place next to her, taking a breath of her perfume and the wonderful Buffy scent he knew so well.

"Thank you, too, Spike," she said softly, reaching over to take his hand. "I knew you could do it."

"Red actually did it," Spike protested, afraid to move, lest she let go of his hand. Her fingers were running idly over his, warming his skin by degrees, building heat in other places as well.

"I'm not talking about the spell," she informed him, watching his face as he looked at her curiously. "I knew you could be what you are, a good man."

"Buffy, I'm not..."

She interrupted him, reaching up to put a finger on his lips. "It's no use pretending anymore, Spike. You haven't been bad in a long time."

She moved the finger across his wonderfully defined cheek to his jawbone, trailing it silkily down to his chin, his head following the movement until his face was inches from hers. She released her hold on his hand and reached up to frame his face, pulling him in slowly to kiss his lips gently, a promise of more. Spike put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed them gently, not forcing more into the kiss than she was giving tonight.

She stood away from him then. "I'll see you in the morning, Spike. Good night."

Spike waited until she had gone inside and closed the door, then downed the last of his scotch, smiling.

Lex waited until they were back in Smallville, setting up a game of pool, before he allowed himself to ask.

"Did you mean it back there?" he questioned quietly, idly running his fingers along the polished wood, movement effectively masking the fluttering nervousness inside.

"Did I mean what?" Clark asked absently, searching around for all the balls to get them racked and ready.

"Did you mean it when you said you were ready?" Lex reminded him, realizing he was holding his breath, hadn't really known until this minute how much he wanted Clark. Needed Clark.

"Yes, I meant it, Lex." Clark told him, turning his face to Lex's, looking right into his eyes, and Lex had never felt so naked and accessible before, the movement of his hand on the pool stick freezing. "I've hardly been able to think of anything else since Spike hinted at it that day. It got me so scared. I almost couldn't even look you in the eye. Then I thought I'd have to stay away from the mansion. But I could never do that, I had to be here whenever I could, and that was when I knew Spike was right. I don't know how he knew, vampire senses he said, and I guess I believe that. He was right. I need to be with you."

"Clark, are you really sure?" Lex asked. "Because if we do that, if we go there, I don't think we'll ever be able to go back to this."

Clark abandoned the pool table and walked up to Lex slowly, stopping just far enough away so they could feel the heat coming from each other's bodies. He ran his hand down the side of Lex's face, along his throat to rest on his chest lightly, holding Lex's gaze, hearing the erratic pounding of his heart, as well as feeling it under his hand.

"I think that's the only place I want to be," he replied, leaning closer, meeting Lex's mouth with his, this kiss infinitely better than the first one they had shared by the river's edge.

Lex decided to call Spike and thank him.