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Imperium rising

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Imperium rising

Author: Razial
Beta: Hawklan

Disclaimer: I do not own anything belonging to Buffy the Vampire Slayer or its connected media. I do not own anything connected to Warhammer 40,000 or its connected media. I do not own anything connected to Stargate SG1 or Atlantis or its connected media. Anything used in the story that belongs to someone else, I obviously do not own as they belong to however owns the rights. I also do not own anything connected to Dogma or its connected media.

 

Notes: This will be AU from Halloween onwards and will cross over into many other fandoms, timelines will be very messy so be aware of it.

 

Summary: Halloween is altered by a series of events which causes everything to change.

 

+++

Chapter 1

 

(Heavens)

Metatron watched the ongoing argument, between the archangels, the powers, the elders and surprisingly the thirteenth apostle, with a growing headache. It had been going on for the last two hours, at least as time on Earth went.

 

God stood to one side with a very nasty frown on her face. The argument had begun thanks to Rufus demanding to know why the powers were planning to emotional cripple their chosen champions with their insane plans. From there things had spiraled into the tube, as the elders and then the archangels had gotten involved.

 

He rubbed his head, wondering when they would all shut up. In private he agreed with Rufus. The plans the powers had put in place were just pure madness. He knew for a fact, that God was not happy with them, this was going to get real bad he thought.

 

Sadly, because everyone was busy watching the developing storm, no one noticed a shadow creep into the inner sanctum and leaving a few seconds later after making the changes it needed to do.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale, Halloween night)

 

Xander still could not believe the awesome costume he had managed to get from Ethan's the day before for such a cheap price. He still wondered where Ethan had managed to find it. When he asked him, all the man would do was smile. Still he was not complaining, as he looked down and noted that the replica armor of the god emperor of mankind, shone brightly. Going as something from the Warhammer 40k series, which he and Jessie had loved, was great.

 

He also had a replica bolter and sword. The bolter was on a strap, so he didn't have to carry it and the bolt pistol, Ethan had added, was strapped to his leg armor.

 

He was a walking tank in a way. Terminator amour was supposed to be heavy and yet fast, thanks to the way it was made. He still couldn't help, but to smile at the look of almost fear on Snyder's face, as he gave last minute instructions to them all.

 

The kids in his group were all looking up at him in surprise and in one or two cases joy. He guessed they were fans too.

 

Buffy had been very surprised when he had shown up at her house in his costume, but had recovered quickly.

 

Joyce had appraised him with a smile and finally Willow had come down in a sheet and they had left. He had not missed the disappointed look that crossed Buffy's eyes, as she saw what Willow was wearing.

 

He wondered just what Willow had been wearing, before she had put the ghost sheet on. He shrugged his shoulders and concentrated on the fact that Snyder was finally winding down. He glanced over and noted Cordelia was giving him a look over and he gave her a smirk, which she promptly returned for a second, before she glared at him and looked away again.

 

He was still unsure what to make of their changing relationship. Ever since he had saved her life things between them, even their arguments had become filled with innuendo and flirting.

 

At first it was disturbing, but soon both of them seemed to fall into the pattern of accepting the change. He wondered just how far the changes would go?

 

+++

 

Cordelia also was wondering about the constant shifting nature of her relationship with Xander. Last year she would not have cared one bit about what he chose to come as or what he decided to do any given day.

 

Now though she caught herself thinking those exact things. She knew when the changes had started, but was she really beginning to fall for Xander Harris?

She knew she would have to be careful how she dealt with this or her position would be threatened by her so called friends. She was under no illusion what they would do, if they find out about her changing feelings.

 

+++

 

Buffy was standing in line, wishing Snyder would finishing his little speech so that they could get going. She was desperate to see Angel's reaction to her dress. She was sure he would be surprised, as hell and full of praise for her efforts in finding a dress he liked. The one thing she hated about this thing though was the tightness around her midsection.

 

She had no idea how women of the actual time period dealt with it every day. The wig too was annoying, but she was willing to deal with it, if it got the reaction she wanted from Angel.

 

Finally the speech was over and Snyder watched as the teenagers started to get the kids moving. He sneered a little, before remembering to catch himself.

 

He hated kids of all ages, but he had been paid a lot of money by the Mayor to take this job and he intended to keep it for as long as he could stand it.

 

He watched as the last kids vanished, before he headed to his office, where he dropped into his seat and poured himself a glass of scotch.

 

He turned in his chair and looked out into the darkened night, before he downed some of his scotch. Knowing the truth about this town made him wonder if anything would go wrong tonight and if it did would he be able to use it to his advantage somehow?

 

+++

 

(Ethan's)

 

Ethan Rayne stared at the bust of Janus, as he finished his preparations for his plans. It had taken him a lot of time to get enough special costumes for this, especially one or two really special ones.

 

He grinned again, imaging the chaos he was about to bring down on this town. Oh he knew exactly what lay beneath it and he was counting on that to enhance the power of his casting.

 

He also knew somewhere within the borders of this town was his old friend Rupert ‘Ripper' Giles. He smiled and wondered what his old friend would think about what was about to happen?

 

Finally he began the complex spell casting. It was time to get this party started. The spell quickly built up in power and as he finished the casting he felt a sudden pain in his chest, as more of his power was taken which left him on the floor. The pain in his chest refused to go and so he just lay there breathing hard.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

Across the town the magic Ethan had called down through Janus quickly began to take effect. People who had bought costumes from his shop fell to the floor and changed. However there were a few costumes, Ethan had specially bought and prepared. The people who bought them screamed loud, as the changes took place.

 

In one area Xander collapsed as his body changed, becoming stronger and fitter. His hair lengthened and his armor and weapons became real. These were not the only changes he underwent, as more and more power washed over him, changing him forever, as he became the most powerful psyker ever to walk on Earth.

 

In another part of town a young girl fell to the floor and began to change also, as the magic hit her as well. Her hair became darker and her complexion a little lighter, but the biggest change came from within her as her magical core grew to ten times of its original size, as well as a special power that was one of three.

 

Close to this a young boy fell and began to convulse, as he changed once the magic hit him. His hair turned black and shortened and his eyes became blue within blue completely. The suit he was wearing and the plastic crysknife became real.

 

The last of the four special costumes was a woman, who collapsed as the magic hit her. Her hair became black and lengthened whilst her eyes became brown. The amour and sword she wore also became real, but the magic went deeper changing her very being into something that she knew and feared.

 

+++

(Heavens)

God and Metatron watched as the events transpired and were surprised to find that they were vastly different from the plans the powers had intended to put into place. Someone had acted.

 

Metatron looked at God. He noted the smirk she wore and came quickly to the conclusion, that she knew exactly who had done this and most likely with her approval.

 

‘Oh well at least this should really stir things up and may be very useful in the future,' he thought, as he watched the four, who had been so deeply changed.

 

Two of the people they had become, should not even exist in this reality and their presence here could shift things to far, but he believed God would have taken that into account. The other two had existed in this reality, but both had died. One a long time ago and the other had sadly lost her life only two months ago.

 

The Powers had gotten an earful from God for their slip up in failing to protect their champions properly, but luckily for them all, there was someone able to take the fallen champions place. She was already been trained by her sisters, still the scars left were deep.

 

He wondered if that foolish chaos mage knew what kind of events he had set in motion and what kind of powers he had brought into or in two cases back into the world. He doubted it and the mage was paying for it.

 

Ethan was still suffering from the spell, because the four special costumes he had chosen had taken far greater magic to change than he had expected. He doubted the mage would be up for some time and defiantly not in a position to enjoy his work. The other reason why it had taken more power was only suspected at the moment, but they would soon see what the answer was. Rufus was already taking bets as usual, anything to pass the time.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

As the spell finally finished its work and died down, the changed people slowly began to get back to their feet. The children who had dressed as monsters, ghouls, vampires and demons quickly began to run amok.

 

Willow stood up from her body and screamed, as she realized that somehow she had become a real ghost.

 

Buffy was no longer in control of her body, as she had become an 18th century woman, who quickly began running and screaming from all the weird things she saw.

 

The few people who had not bought their costumes from Ethan quickly tried to flee from the horrors they now witness, including Cordelia.

 

Three of the specially changed people stood up and looked around, two in awe about once more being alive and the other wondering where the hell he was as he did not recognized anything.

 

The last finally stood up grasping his sword tightly. He noted the bold pistol strapped to his leg and the bolter slung around his armor by a strap. He knew instantly this was wrong and that he should not be here and yet he was. He searched for his people, but found none. He closed his eyes, as memories assaulted him and as his eyes opened wide in shock he realized he should not be in a mortal shell.
2. Chapter 2
Imperium rising Chapter 2

(Ethan's)

Ethan rolled onto his back, feeling the pain lessen a little bit, but not enough. Clearly something had gone wrong. He was weak and defenseless. He groaned and wondered what he had done to displease Janus. He was so sure he had gotten everything right for this spell, but clearly he had missed something. He could only pray the pain would go away soon or when Ripper arrived, as he was sure he would, he would be in no position to defend himself. this was not what he had planned.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

The Emperor looked around, seeing the madness consume the town, yet his precognitive sight showed him that the smaller demons were nothing but possessed kids. Victims of a cruel spell powered by something, akin to Tzeentch, changer of the ways. For once he did not feel the constant threat of the Chaos powers. He knew he does not belong here and he knew he should not be alive, at least not in body.

 

His last clear memory of being alive like that was just before he was chained forever into the golden throne, after suffering life ending wounds from Horus, his fallen son. His body would eventually heal, but only when he needed it for the last great battle with Chaos. Yet here he was in a body that he knew was not his own. He could feel the changes that it had gone through. This was bad, the young man who he now possessed could become a great danger, if not taught to use his powers carefully. They would not simply vanish, once this spell ended, he was sure of that. As he went to move on, a red headed girl rushed over to him, but he quickly deducted that she was no more than a spirit.

 

"Xander, there you are," the girl said, looking scared. "Are you okay?" she asked.

 

"I regret to inform you that Xander is not here at the moment, spirit," the Emperor responded, quickly assuming that Xander was the name of his host. "Whatever foul magic is at the root of all this, has suppressed his consciousness completely. Who are you?" he explained and asked at her wide eyed stare.

 

"Oh no," Willow whispered, feeling dread well in her heart at hearing that, but then focusing on the matter at hand. "My name is Willow, Xander is my best friend and somehow we've all turned into our costumes," she babbled.

 

"Explain that carefully please," the Emperor commanded, surprised by how fast the girl could talk.

 

"Ok this is Halloween and everyone was dressed as something different, say like witches, demons and I saw Larry as a pirate even," Willow began. "Xander dressed as one of his favorite characters from a board game he and Jessie used to play and I dressed as a ghost. We were taking the kids trick or treating when something happened and the next thing I know is that I am a ghost and the kids had transformed into their costumes," she continued. "Buffy... oh god we have to find Buffy, she went as something completely useless in this mess," she suddenly shouted, as she remembered the blond and what she had gone as.

 

The Emperor ignored her for a minute, as he took in everything she had said, noting certain points. It did not give him a lead as to who was responsible for this mess, but it at least explained how he had gotten here.

 

Anyway what mattered now was protecting as many people as he could. He raised his bolter and prepared for battle, even alone he was more than a match for most evils he might encounter.

 

"Follow me Willow and stay close," he ordered, before moving forward. He extended his senses to locate any humans.

 

Willow followed behind Xander's possessed form, trying not to shiver at the lack of emotion in his voice. She tried to recall what she knew of the character Xander had gone as. She had never been a big fan of the game like Xander and Jessie had been, so she did not know much about it and had usually ignored them when they discussed it, but she did recall certain things about the character.

 

He was the leader of Earth and the empire it controlled. He had amazing powers, but she also recalled that his body had been all but destroyed in battle. She feared what would happen once this mess was sorted out. Would there be any side effects for Xander or anyone else, who had been transformed?

 

+++

 

Prue Halliwell could only stare in surprise, as she looked around the town she was in. She was dead, she knew that for a fact. Her last memory had been being hit by an energy blast from Shacks the Source's hitman. She couldn't help but ask herself where she was and why she was here. Something was very wrong she noted, as she watched chaos reign. Finally an idea came to her and she called out.

 

"Leo," she shouted, hoping her whitelighter would hear her. "Leo," she shouted again.

 

Finally a few seconds later she saw the comforting assembly of lights, before they condensed into the form of Leo Wyatt, husband to her sister Piper and the Charmed ones whitelighter.

 

"Who are you and how did you know to call me?" Leo asked, very confused at been summoned by a witch on the Hellmouth out of all places.

 

Taking a quick look around, he soon noted the chaotic actions going on around him. He shivered at seeing so many demons and monsters running loose. What the hell was going on? He wondered.

 

"Leo, are you nuts? It's me, Prue," Prue growled, in no mood for games. "I need help and who else can I call?" she added.

 

"Prue is dead," Leo shot back, angered by the mention of his lost charge and sister in law. "You are not her, granted you have a slight semblance to her, but you are not her," he added, very confused now.

 

"I know I'm supposed to be dead Leo. The last thing I remember is being killed by Shacks, yet here I am and what the hell do you mean I don't look like myself?" She demanded to know, really getting annoyed with him.

 

Leo really didn't know what to say, but he had to hand it to the girl she sounded like Prue and seemed to know how Prue died. Was it possible some kind of possession was going on? He thought. "Ok lets for a minute say you are Prue. Tell me, what did you do to disrupt the wedding between myself and Piper?" he asked, deciding to see just what she knew and no one would know this, bar those in the family and Cole.

 

"My astral self got out of control and started visiting a bar, which in the end got me booked for murder and a guy I met there crashed the wedding, almost ruining it completely." Prue answered. "At the end of that mess I finally admitted to Phoebe I was feeling caged in, without any room for love in my life," she continued.

 

Leo could only stare at her in surprise, because it was the right answer. Somehow, someway this was Prue Halliwell. He wondered if he should alert her sisters, before shaking his head. No, this might not be permanent and they did not need more heartache than they already had. "Ok Prue I'm convinced. Somehow you've ended up possessing a witch, by means I do not know," he finally told her.

 

"So this is not my body?" Prue asked, before pushing Leo out of the way and instinctively raising her hand and unleashing her personal power at an oncoming demon, which sent it flying into another, causing them to start fighting each other. "Well I seem to have my powers," she stated.

 

"Prue, that shouldn't' have been possible," Leo told her wide eyed. "This is not a normal possession. Somehow you've integrated with your host, this could be bad," he said, running a hand through his hair.

 

"Go talk to the elders Leo and find out what is going on. In the meantime I'll try and see if I can find out who is behind this," Prue ordered before pausing. "Are Piper and Phoebe okay?" she asked with clear worry in her eyes.

Leo's eyes softened, as he heard the underling pain in Prue's voice, as she asked her question. "They slowing coming to terms with your death Prue. Piper took it the hardest and she does not like being the elder sister," he answered before wavering on whether to tell Prue about Paige, before deciding she had a right to know. "Plus they had to also deal with finding out about the fact you have another sister. A half sister at any rate, named Paige the child your mom had with Sam her whitelighter," he informed her, noting the look of shock Prue gained at this.

 

Prue could hardly believe what she was hearing, but she doubted Leo was lying. She closed her eyes for a few seconds, before quickly focusing on the real problem at the moment and so opened them again. "Tell me about it later Leo. Go talk to the elders," she told him, before she turned and ran off.

 

Leo watched her go with a heavy heart, wondering just what had brought the eldest charmed one back from death. Finally he orbed out and headed straight for the elders, hoping they had answers.

 

+++

 

Two streets down Paul Atreides ran towards a scream he had heard, hoping to help whoever was in trouble. However in the back of his mind he was constantly trying to figure out where he was, as this planet looked nothing like any in the empire he had seen before. The technology he could see was primitive and unlike anything he was used to. The monsters and demons he had seen were also not something he recognized, but he was confident he could deal with them.

 

He had trained since he was a child with the best weapon masters in the empire. Men like Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck and Thufir Hawat, as well as he had training from his mother Jessica in the Bene Gesserit ways and finally with the best Fremen warriors there was, like Stilgar, Otheym and even his beloved Chani.

 

Finally he made it around the corner, he found a young teenager with fair skin and black hair and startling green eyes being backed against a wall by a brigand. He quickly attacked and forced the brigand away from the girl, who collapsed to the floor in tears.

 

He ducked the rather loose swings of the man he was fighting with ease, before lashing out with his enhanced speed, knocking the sword from the brigands grasp and then following it up with a palm strike to the man's face, knocking him out cold, as well as breaking his nose.

 

Quickly he made sure that there were no more threats and then he turned to the girl, helped her to her feet and checked her for injuries.

 

"Are you okay?" he inquired.

 

"I think so," the girl replied. "What is going on Max?" she inquired, looking up at the tall boy, before pausing, as she looked into his altered eyes and wondered where he got the contact lenses for his costume.

 

"My name is not Max, it is Paul," Paul stated, before pausing as his prescience showed him there was truth in the girl's words.

 

He had to admit his body felt very different and given how nothing he had seen was recognizable, including the clothes the girl was wearing and it painted a very worrisome picture. The girl seemed not to have heard him and just moved closer to his side, looking around he wondered if there was any safe harbors around.

 

"Stay with me and don't run," he commanded, before he headed right. He was indented on locating either some help or the person responsible for this madness. He was pleased to note the girl obeyed him. "What is your name?" he inquired.

 

The girl did take notice of his strange behavior this time, but she decided that maybe it had to do with this madness. "Aura," she replied, as she made sure to keep close to him.

 

+++

 

Two blocks away from this Sonja pulled her sword out, as soon as she got over the fact she was once again alive, in some manner. The last thing she recalled before dying was seeing Lucian's despairing look, as her own father ordered her to be burnt alive by sunlight. She closed her eyes, as she remembered the unbearable pain she had felt when the sunlight had hit her. She quickly shoved that memory out of her head and then she looked around to see if she recognize anything, but nothing she saw was familiar.

 

She did not know how she came to be here, but she was determined to survive. Then she would seek out Lucian and after that she would turn her attention to settling accounts with Victor for what he had ordered done to her.

 

He had not just killed her, but her unborn child as well. She turned and headed down the street, swiping her sword into a cutting arc as a demon charged her. The blade cut the monster in the chest, making it howl before it turned and ran away.

 

That was strange she thought, as most creatures would continue to attack its intended pray, like the wild Lycans. Something was very off she concluded.

 

+++

 

(Heavens)

 

God smiled, as she watched the four moving towards a very important meeting. She had ordered the changes, which had taken place, because she had become angry and frustrated with the Powers that be and the Elders refusal to take better care of their chosen champions.

 

She had decided that what were needed were some curve balls in the lines of fate and these four would do. They were her champions, not that they knew that yet and no one else knew it either, bar the Metatron.

 

Even given, that it was dangerous to introduce such powerful people into the fight at the same time, two of the chosen four were powerful figures with god like powers or at least they had in their own worlds and dimensions. Here their power was not total and the other two... They would prove the ultimate curve ball in what the powers and elders planned she was sure.

 

She had created both of these factions to oversee the war efforts against the underworld, but sadly they had become a little egotistical in her opinion and seemed to think they no longer needed her approval for their actions. If this continued she would have to take direct action against them and remind them of why she was the creator. It was times like this she was pleased to have sorted out Loki and Bartleby after that mess in Wisconsin, as they were now her new trouble shooters in heaven. Resurrecting them after their human deaths had been simple and they had learned their lesson, so they would never make that mistake again. Loki especially disliked the powers for their attitude towards her.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

The Emperor followed Willow, keeping an eye out for any threats. His senses were going wild, as he began to pick up true demonic signatures. Clearly this madness was bringing out the true monsters. That meant any innocent people outside were in terrible danger. He paused as a loud scream tore through the night. He jogged around the corner where he found Willow with a dark haired girl, who like himself and the red head was also overcome by the magic cast this night.

 

"Demon, demon," the girl cried out, pointing to what looked like a jeep to him.

 

"That's not a demon Buffy, that's a car," Willow said, wondering why in the world she had agreed to Buffy going as someone so useless, especially in this town.

 

"What does it want?" Buffy asked skeptically as she glanced at it again, before concentrating on the armored figure coming towards her.

 

"Peace young one, I will not harm you," the Emperor said calmly. "You are amongst friends, even if you do not yet realize it," he added, as he picked up the stray thoughts the girl had without even trying.

 

"Ok we have to get off the street and somewhere safe, whilst we work out what to do," Willow said, impressed with how Buffy calmed down and seemed to pay attention to what she was saying.

 

"No we hold here Willow. I sense four people approaching our position and three of them feel like myself," the Emperor contradicted her.

 

"What do you mean?" Willow inquired, not exactly liking his suggestion, but not seeing a reason to argue, as the demons seemed to be giving them a wide berth at the moment.

 

"I am not supposed to be here Willow. I know this as fact, the three I mentioned feel just like me," the Emperor responded with a smile. "One is powerful like me, almost a pysker. The other two are out of time in a sense, yet both have power within them," he explained.

 

"I believe someone or something is bringing us here and sadly I am afraid that it will have consequences for this world," he added with a sigh.

 

Willow tensed up as she heard the Emperor finish, as she did not like what he said at all. To her that sounded like a whole heap of trouble. A scream tore through the night and they turned to see, what to Willow was a very familiar figure running towards them, being chased by a powerful demon, which looked like a deformed lion. She noted the angered frown that appeared on the Emperor's face, as he quickly moved to help with his sword held high, ignoring his bolter entirely.

 

The Emperor could not say entirely why he felt so compelled to aid the young woman coming toward them. He had felt a spike of anger at the demon for chasing her. It was almost as if his host was influencing his behavior which meant his host knew this person. Maybe it was someone important to him. Either way he had to help and so he approached with his sword ready, as he knew this demon was actually real.

 

Cordelia soon noted the hulking figure of Xander coming towards her and quickly increased her pace, hoping to reach him before the thing behind her sunk its teeth into her flesh. She also noted Willow and Buffy standing near Xander, watching the whole thing. She wondered why Buffy was not doing anything, as this was supposed to be her thing, with being the Slayer and all and yet she just watched wide eyed. She jumped behind Xander, as soon as she could and then backed off from the demon. Then she watched in horror as Xander engaged it in battle.

 

From three different directions Prue, Paul and Aura, as well as Sonja came upon the scene. Aura quickly ran and joined Cordelia, Willow and Buffy and began talking heatedly.

 

Paul soon noted more demons heading for the armored figure and quickly moved to intercept them quickly deducing he was a good guy. Sonja quickly moved to back him up and Prue moved to the side and prepared to help.
3. Chapter 3
Imperium rising Chapter 3

(Sunnydale High School)

Rupert Giles was relaxing in his seat with a nice book and a hot cup of English tea he had imported, as he hated what the Americans called tea. He was enjoying a quite peaceful night so far and he hoped it would hold, as normally Halloween was a quite night.

 

He often wondered why Halloween was so quite for the ranks of the undead and the numerous demons. Between the many costumed humans they would not be noticed. He guessed in the end, he should be thankful for small mercies.

 

It was not often he and the others had a nice quite night without having to worry about some kind of threat or some other danger running around. He rubbed his eyes, before putting his glasses back on and concentrating back on his book.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

Paul watched the oncoming demons and was slightly worried. He had checked himself for more weapons, but found that he only had his crysknife on him, plus a small container of spice in a side pocket.

 

A shout from the side caused him to turn and catch the large bulky weapon the armored figure threw him, but he quickly figured out how to work it and turned around again and began to fire onto the oncoming horde.

 

Prue stood to one side and quickly raised her arm to unleash her personal power and watched in satisfaction, as a group of demons were flung away from them.

 

Sonja just in front of her readied herself with her sword in a guard position. Finally the first demon reached her and she lashed out, bringing her sword down in a cutting arc, slicing into the demons neck and cutting all the way through. She did not wait for it to fall dead in a spray of blood. She spun to avoid the claws of another demon and brought her sword down in another arc removing the arm of the attacking demon.

 

The Emperor battled with a rather large demon, easily blocking the powerful swings the creature launched at him. He was still wondering at the deeper emotion he had felt from his host, when he had seen the monster chasing the dark haired young girl.

 

He ducked out of the way, as the demon tried to pounce at him. He spun around and brought his sword ‘Imperator's Justice' down, catching the demon on its back, but not cutting deeply enough. The demon roared in pain and anger and it struck again.

 

Across from this Willow, Cordelia, Aura and Buffy, who still let out a scream every now and then, watched in horror and slight fascination, as the battle continued.

 

As Buffy was affected by the same spell, as the others she was being held in place by Cordelia and Aura, at Willow's suggestion. The other three however watched people they knew battle demons, with skill and powers they did not quite understand. Amy, Max, Miss Calendar and Xander seemed capable of fighting in ways they had not been able to do before, they were sure of that.

 

Amy's powers as a witch seemed very enhanced to Willow, as she watched the black haired girl raise her arm again and sent a large demon onto a spike, which was sticking out of a nearby fence, killing it.

 

She noted the way Max seemed to speed up and just vanish from one place and appear in another, without moving or at least that is how it looked to her.

 

Miss Calendar's skill with the sword was truly something to watch and she guessed whoever she had turned into had either no knowledge of witchcraft or was unaware her host could use magic, as for Xander he was matching skill with a demon, that almost dwarfed even his armored form and his skills with a sword seemed equal to that of Miss Calendar.

 

An assembly of lights startled them all as a man formed from them and they all noted the look of worry on his face, as he watched the battle progress.

 

Willow wondered who he was and what his purpose was here, as he moved closer to Amy's possessed form.

 

+++

 

Prue sent another demon flying, as it tried to come up behind Paul, who continued to bring down the demons with the gun he had been loaned by the armored figure. She soon noted Leo moved up to her side and nodded for him to speak, whilst keeping a close eye on the battle.

 

"It's not good Prue. What has happened was not expected by the Elders, the powers or most others in the Heavens, and so I couldn't get any answers from them," Leo reported. "However I was then stopped by Metatron, the voice of god, and all he would tell is this. What has happened is going to have some very serious effects and it will be permanent in some way, as far as he knows.

 

There is a huge argument breaking out up there," he explained, as she knocked another demon back. "I did get one good piece of information and that is the cause of all this," he added.

 

"Go on Leo," Prue said, storing away everything he had said and not liking it at all, but also noting the very revered tone Leo had used when speaking of this Metatron, a new name she had never heard before from Leo, and the title had made her shiver.

"A Chaos mage is what caused all this, by evoking Janus the god of chaos, amongst other things. He laid spells on most of the costumes he sold for Halloween, but yours and the three you see over there were specially prepared, which is how you are here," Leo informed her.

 

"I can't leave right now Leo. They need my help" Prue shot back, again helping to defend Sonya from an oncoming attack.

 

She swiped her sword through the guts of another demon causing it to fall to the ground covered in blood.

 

"That's okay, you stay and help them as best you can Prue, but do not take risks with your host," Leo told her firmly. "There is a group of people here who can help bring this to a close," he added, before moving away.

 

Prue nodded accepting Leo's advice and she knew he was correct, as she had no right to risk her host's body. She was only a guest here.

 

Sonja moved closer to Paul, bringing her sword down on another demon, as it tried to charge her fellow fighter. She was wondering why the demons were attacking them so viciously.

 

Leo quickly moved over to the watching red head and the others. He had been briefed on the Hellmouth defenders and so knew they could aid in stopping this madness.

 

Sadly he knew the Slayer had been caught up in the spells effects and so would not be as useful, as she would usually be. He noted the weary expressions on the four girls' faces as he approached them.

 

"Ok my name is Leo, Willow I am here to help you put an end to this madness," he stated, as he came to a halt in front of her. "We need to get to the Watcher Rupert Giles and inform him of what is going on, so I want you all to grab onto me," he added.

 

"Why?" Cordelia demanded to know, not exactly very trusting of the new comer.

 

She winced as she saw Xander's possessed form being knocked down hard, only to roll back to his feet as the demon came at him again. She was worried how this was playing out. Seeing four people she knew fighting for their lives under the effects of god knows what, was nerve racking. She may have little to do with most of them, bar Max, but that did not mean she didn't care when they were in danger.

 

"So that I can transport us all to the library and out of harms way," Leo replied, understanding their skepticism and taking no offense at the girl's tone. "I'm a whitelighter, a guardian angel for natural born witches," he informed them.

 

Willow thought it over, before nodding her head in acceptance, as she saw no signs of threat from the guy, plus he had seemed very friendly with whoever Amy was at the moment. She looked back and gave the others a look that indicated they should trust the guy.

 

Cordelia was not to happy with this but knew if they had any hope of stopping this and saving Xander and the others then Giles was needed, especially with Buffy currently out of commission.

 

She hauled the protesting Buffy over with Aura's help and grabbed Leo's arm, whilst forcing Buffy to do the same as did Aura.

 

Willow was slightly worried she would not be able to be taken along, but found she could touch the so called whitelighter. Leo took one last look back to where Prue was helping the others, before he orbed himself and the others out.

 

The Emperor noticed this, as he took a breath from fighting his enemy. He was impressed by the display, but quickly refocused on his charging enemy, causing him to spin to avoid its claws. This demon was strong and fast, belying its size. He was reminded of one of the lesser demons of Slannesh and Khorne.

 

He again ducked its wild swing before lashing out with his sword, catching the demon in its side before unleashing a small pysic attack, which unbalanced the demon letting him stab it again. He backed off, as the demon regained its footing.

 

He was worried by the attack these demons had launched, as it was centered on him and his three companions, who like him had been brought here against their will. It was almost like the demons sensed the threat they might bring with them.

 

Paul and Sonya were both back to back, combining their enhanced speed and agility to stab and cut the demons as they came. The bolter lay on the ground.

 

Prue was now closer to the Emperor which kept her away from the majority of the demons, who seemed scared of the armored figure.

 

+++

 

Across the town the vampire known as William the Bloody or simply Spike walked up a street, with a small group of fellow demons. He had come out on the recommendation of his lover Drusilla, who seemed convinced that he could find and kill the Slayer. Well the idea had appealed to him and now he could see why Drusilla had said what she had, some kind of spell was affecting people in very interesting ways indeed.

 

"Well this is just neat" Spike said with a wide smirk, whilst his fellow vampires just nodded and grinned. Hoping to find some easy pickings in whatever was going on. "Now lets go find ourselves the tastiest meal you will ever find in your afterlife," he added with a cruel smile, as he led his group onwards.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

Giles jumped straight out of his chair, spilling his drink, as he noted the sudden sparkling lights appear in front of him, before they turned into a man of middle height with blondish hair, who he had never seen before. He also quickly noted the presence of Willow, Cordelia, Buffy and someone he did not recognize.

 

"Willow, what the devil is going on?" he demanded, as he finally regained control of himself.

 

"Giles we have a huge problem and we need your help," Willow said rapidly.

 

"Everyone has been changed into their costumes for Halloween. That is not Buffy or at least not the one we are used to," she added, as she pointed at the currently dark haired Slayer, who was looking around the library with an interested look in her eyes at the many books displayed.

 

Giles stared at the red head in consternation, before removing his glasses and polishing them, as he tried to work out the rapid fire response. He felt like cursing as he realized Halloween was not going to be an ordinary quite night, as he had first thought.

 

"Will you please repeat that and more slowly please, Willow?" Giles asked, as he tried to get a handle on the situation.

 

"Allow me Mr. Giles," Leo said, interrupting before Willow could respond. "My name is Leo, a whitelighter, summoned here by events set in motion by a chaos mage," he explained. "He placed spells on all his costumes and then evoked Janus, transforming all the people into the costumes they bought. He prepared four very special costumes and at the moment they are being attacked by demons, who wish to eliminate them before they become a problem," he continued. "One of those special costumes happened to be a former charge of mine, hence my being here. Now you must locate the chaos mage and stop the spell and quickly," he stated seriously.

 

"Giles we have to move quickly like Leo said, because Xander, Amy, Miss Calendar and Max, another student, are the hosts for those special costumes," Willow spoke up.

 

Giles wanted to collapse into his chair, as he took all this in and especially felt worried when he heard Jenny had been caught up in all this. However he forced himself to concentrate on the matter at hand. He almost did collapse as he witnessed Willow walk right through the table and to the nearby window. Clearly she too had been caught up in this problem, although he noted Cordelia and her friend seemed normal.

 

"Willow quickly, where did you all buy your costumes from?" Giles demanded to know, as Leo orbed out as he had been ordered too.

 

"A new place called Ethan's. It must have been him, because Cordelia is fine and unaffected by this spell," Willow responded, indicating the cheerleader.

 

Giles eyes dimmed as the name was spoken. It was a name from his past that he had hoped would remain forever forgotten, but he should have known better. The past always comes back to bite people in the arse, he thought. Now it was his turn.

 

He dropped his glasses onto the table and removed his jacket and shirt, leaving him in a white t-shirt. Absently he rubbed a tattoo on his inner arm, before turning to the small group.

 

"Barricade the library and do not leave it under any circumstances, no matter what happens. I will return when I can," he instructed before he headed for the door, ignoring the looks he was receiving from the group, bar Buffy who had her head buried in a book she had found and was ignoring the strange people, she found herself surrounded by.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

Prue was getting tired, as this fight seemed to have no end, but she refused to run and leave her comrades behind. So far they must have killed at least seventeen demons with a combination of magic, sword, gun and skills. But they continued to come. She again unleashed her powers, wishing her sisters were with her.

 

Paul and Sonya continued to fight back to back, but they too were becoming tired from the constant fighting. They were well trained soldiers and knew they could not retreat. They had to hold, until whatever had caused all this was stopped.

 

The Emperor was getting frustrated with the demon he was fighting and quickly began to build up a powerful pysic attack, which he hoped would give him the opportunity to kill the demon, which he had begun to suspect was the leader of the horde of demons attacking them.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

Cordelia backed away fearfully from the barricaded door, as the pounding became louder. Willow had gone through the wall to see who it was and had come back looking very scared. According to Willow, Spike was outside with a group of his followers, trying to get inside the library. She was just glad Angel had joined them through the underground entrance, she had never known about.

 

"What do we do?" Aura asked fearfully, knowing she would never again be able to ignore the truth of what went on in Sunnydale, as she had done before.

 

"We do as Giles said. We stay inside the library and hope the barricade holds," Willow said in reply, as she kept an eye on Buffy who was hiding in the stacks, reading to distract herself from the danger close by.

 

Angel watched all this from the side, worried on how this would all play out. He had been brought up on everything by Willow and his first instinct had been to go after Giles, but Spike had found them by that point and he refused to leave the group alone, especially Buffy.

 

He was prepared to fight to the death to protect them, if he had to. This was why Whistler had come to him all those years ago.

 

+++

 

(Ethan's)

 

Giles entered the shop, prepared to counter any of his old friend's tricks. What he was not expecting was to find Ethan on the ground, clearly in pain. He walked over and knelt next to him, seeing his friend was still awake and lay next to a bust of Janus, which reeked of magic.

 

He rolled Ethan onto his back and slapped him across the face to gain his attention. He almost grinned at the look of annoyance and anger that flashed across the man's face, as he noticed who was above him.

 

"Hello Ripper, I had hoped to be able to greet you properly, but sadly the spell took more out of me than I expected," Ethan grunted out, as he recovered from seeing his old friend having arrived sooner than he had expected him too.

 

"Ethan, I am not even going to bother asking why you did this, as I know you all to well to know the reason," Giles responded. "Now tell me how to end the spell, before people I care about get killed," he ordered.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale)

 

The Emperor pushed the demon away and let loose with the bolt of power he had forged, hitting the demon square in the chest, causing it to fall back and roar in pain. Giving him the chance to dart forward and ram his sword deep into the demons heart, which caused black blood to spurt out of its wounds, before it fell to the ground and the Emperor quickly removed his sword and decapitated it.

 

As soon as the demon died, the others in the horde stopped their attack. They roared in anger before they fled in discord.

 

They would be back once they had a new leader and they would have their revenge on these four.

 

Paul, Sonja and Prue watched the retreat with relief, as they all had been close to breaking point. They turned and looked to the armored figure that now moved over to them with a smile on his face.

 

"We must move quickly to aid those who left before. They are in great danger," he told them. "We can rest when they are safe," he added, before he moved on.

 

Sonja nodded and quickly followed, her vampiric gifts allowed her to push onwards. Paul and Prue exchanged weary looks, before they followed as well, knowing the armored figure was correct.

 

+++

(Sunnydale High School, seven minutes later)

 

Angel lashed out and caught Spike on the chin, forcing him backwards, whilst Cordelia and Aura continued to use the weapons they had found in Giles' office. Willow was busy distracting any vampires she could, whilst Buffy even in her current guise flung books at the vampires to keep them away. But he knew they could not hold out for long.

 

He ducked the swing of Spike's next punch and came back with an upper palm strike, followed up by a right hook, which made Spike almost lose his footing. At that point four new people charged into the fight and Angel recognized Xander and Jenny Calendar, before he was forced back by Spike's return punches.

 

+++

 

(Ethan's)

 

Ethan groaned, as Giles picked him up and hit him again in his gut, which combined with the pain he was already in for the spell was doubled now. He knew he had to give in and so he weakly held his hands up, causing Giles to drop him.

 

"Now tell me how to stop the blasted spell Ethan, before I really start to lay into you," Giles commanded ruthlessly.

 

"All you have to do is break the bust of Janus," Ethan replied, getting ready to run as soon as Giles back was turned, no matter what kind of pain he felt afterwards.

 

Giles glared at him for a minute before he went over to the bust and hoped Ethan had not lied to him before he picked it up over his head and then threw it down. As it smashed, a discharge of energy lashed out, sending him to the floor in pain, as it went smashing and exploding everything it touched.

 

He rolled over to see Ethan was gone and he cursed, as he knew Ethan would be back some day. He remained on the ground for now and waited for the discharge of magic to stop.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

The discharge of the spell hit the library at the same time, as it did the store. The vampires it struck were turned instantly to ash. Spike quickly chose to escape, whilst Angel chose to run and knock Buffy, Cordelia and Aura to the ground and as best he could shield them form the magical storm.

 

However the four others were hit as well and they screamed in pain and agony, as they collapsed to the ground under the assault. They had no idea what was happening, but they guessed it had to do with the spell that had brought them here.

 

+++

(Heavens)

 

God smiled, as the spell ended and then unleashed some of her own power, to ensure the changes she wanted made happened. These four were now her champions and would be very useful in creating a new future. One she knew would be better than what the Elders and Powers that Be had intended for her children.

 

Once the magical backlash finished, her champions would be ready for their fate, granted they would have free will, as was their right, but at times they would be needed to follow her orders.

 

The changes, she was ensuring each underwent, would make sure they could survive their new existence, as well as not tip the balance to much. The balance was important and helped keep the world spinning. The changes they underwent were important. She would have to send Metatron soon to explain what had happened and why, so that they would not do something stupid like trying and undo what had been done.
4. Chapter 4
Imperium rising Chapter 4

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

Giles ran back into the library, quickly noting the wreckage of a barricade and a broken door before he saw Cordelia and her friend standing over the fallen forms of Xander, Amy, Jenny and a boy who must be the boy Max, which Willow had mentioned. He also noted Buffy was on the steps holding her head in her hands, as if she had a headache, whilst Angel stood nearby with a concerned look on his face.

 

"Buffy, are you alright?" he quickly asked, alerting everyone to his return, as he made his way over to his charge and knelt next to her, as she slowly lifted her head.

 

"I think so Giles, but my hair seems to have changed back to its natural color. I took the wig off, once the spell ended and to my surprise my hair has reverted back and I also have the biggest headache ever," Buffy responded, a little put out that she may have to dye her hair all over again, as it was a pain to do and messy.

 

"I see, strange the magic seems to have affected you a little deeper than everyone else I saw on my way back. Crying kids and upset teenagers, but they all seemed to be themselves," Giles mused, surprised by this as Willow came charging into the library.

 

"I'm alive again," she shouted with a wide smile. "I can't walk through things anymore and I feel hungry," she added, before she noted the four people, which lay still unconscious on the floor.

 

"I'm glad to hear it Willow," Giles said, as he stood up again and moved over to the four and bent down to check on them. "They are all breathing, but for some reason they are still out cold," he said with a confused yet worried look on his face.

 

"The Emperor said the changes might be adverse effects Giles. He said what had happened was bad and dangerous," Willow explained, as she joined him.

 

"Who is the Emperor?" Giles asked, confused about not recognizing the name.

 

"That is who Xander went as. It's a character of a game Jessie and he used to play and collect models for," Willow responded with a despondent look, as it always pained her to think of their lost friend and what had happened to him. She noted that even Cordelia showed a reaction when the name was brought up. "Xander kept collecting for a bit after Jessie's death, but he kinda gave up on it. He refused to get rid of the stuff Jessie and he had bought as a way of remembering him. Somehow this Ethan got a hold of the replica armor and weapons the company made for life sized models," she continued her explanation.

 

"I see and just who was this Emperor that he would know that the changes invoked would be so adverse to him and the others?" Giles inquired, storing this information away.

 

"He was a powerful leader of an empire and a man who had amazing power. He was known as a Psyker and he could see the future and knew what was going on over vast distances, if I remember correctly," Willow answered. "He created the empire starting with Earth and moving out into the galaxy, before he was betrayed by his closest son Horus and in his final battle with him he received crippling injuries, which resulted in him been forever caged in what was called the golden throne. It kept his body alive, whilst his spirit was basically everywhere," she continued, as she stood and moved to a chair and sat down on it, noting everyone was paying attention to her.

 

"I see, this is disturbing," Giles said, as he also sat down. "Do you know who the others went as?" he inquired, hoping this Emperor was very wrong.

 

"Only who Max went as," Willow replied. "He went as Paul Atreides from the movie Dune," she added, when she noted everyone awaiting her response.

 

"I've seen that movie," Giles said, rubbing his temple as he began to really worry what Ethan had called down on them. "I fear this Emperor may have been right, considering we also saw a whitelighter drawn her by one of them, is even more disturbing," he stated.

 

"That was whoever Amy went as. Leo seemed very close to her," Willow pointed out.

 

"So what do we do, Giles?" Buffy asked, finally cutting in before wincing at a spike of pain from her headache and she wondered why she had it. "How can we help them?" she asked.

 

"I don't know yet Buffy. However I think they will wake up soon and we shall see exactly what has happened, we may be all wrong," Giles answered. "Now please help me get this place looking tidy again, before Snyder sees it," he added, before standing up and heading to the mess, scattered around the library. "Who threw all these books?" he suddenly demanded, outraged at the lack of respect shown.

 

Buffy instantly went still as memories of her flinging the books at the approaching demons played in her mind, before she slowly raised her hand. "Sorry Giles, that was me and they were the only thing I could use as a weapon at the time. The person I went as was kinda backwards," she apologized with a sheepish look.

 

Giles stared at her for a minute, before shaking his head and muttering under his breath, as he began to pick them up, joined soon by Willow. Angel began to move the table and chairs back into position helped by Buffy, Cordelia and Aura.

 

+++

 

(Outskirts of Sunnydale)

 

Ethan slid down the tree holding his side. It was still very much in pain, not just from whatever went wrong with his spell, but also from the beating Ripper had given him. He could barely keep himself going, but he knew he dare not stay here in the opening too long. He took a few deep breathes, before pushing himself back up and went towards the motel, if you could call it that. It was once built to welcome new comers to the town and it had clearly seen better times, but it was the only place he could go to rest and recover safely.

After arriving and paying for a room, he collapsed onto the dingy bed and swore to Janus he would return to Sunnydale in time and have his revenge on Ripper. His old friend had mentioned he had people in town, that he cared for and so he would strike at them when he did come back. Never in his life had he failed so badly than now and Ripper had taken advantage of his weakened state. This, to him, was not something that could stand and as his eyes closed and he fell into sleep he again swore revenge.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

The library was now looking a lot better and everyone was sitting at the table, bar the four still unconscious on the floor.

 

Giles had believed it a mistake to try and move them right now and so they had left them where they had fallen. Buffy had been given two pills for her headache by Giles, who kept some on had in the office, for whenever things went bad.

 

Aura was been filled in on the truths of the town, which she had so easily ignored for so long. They had to hand it to the girl, she was handling things better than most people would, just like Cordelia had, when she learned the truth.

 

A groan from behind them made them all turn and face the four on the ground and they noted that Xander was finally coming too, as his head rolled to the side. He began to push himself to his feet and Willow quickly moved to him.

 

Soon Jenny, Amy and Max also began to come around, until they were all seated at the table. However before anyone could start talking, a large flame suddenly burst into life off to the side and a voice began shouting.

 

"Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God. Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God. Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God," the voice kept repeating, until finally the flame turned into a tall man with white wings. He had slick black hair and rather large nose and eyes, which seemed rather dark.

 

Buffy immediately attacked him and sent the man flying into the nearby bookcase, before she was grabbed by Giles and Angel and pulled back, both shaking their heads in horror.

 

"Bloody hell Slayer don't you listen?" The Metatron complained, as he picked himself up and dusted his suit off with a shake of his head. "I said I am the voice of god. What about that screams at you to attack me? Did you miss the impressive wing span as well?" he asked sarcastically.

 

Buffy looked between Giles and Angel and noted their rather put out expressions and she guessed she had mucked up badly. She cursed before finally apologizing to the supposed angel.

 

"Every time I come here I either get attacked or doused with flame-retardant chemicals by insane women," Metatron continued to moan, as he finished cleaning his suit.

 

"I said I was sorry," Buffy shot back in a huff. "Usually when something just appears, it's a demon and something I need to slay. It's in my job description," she added, before sitting back down next to Willow, who like the others were all staring in awe at the angel in their mists.

 

"Point taken Slayer, but next time try and look before you leap at something," Metatron relented. "Now can we continue or does someone else want a shot?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

 

Giles almost burst out laughing, as the man reminded him of someone he had bumped into in his youth, but he had looked a lot worse for wear, as well as being permanently pissed off. Still he sat down and indicated the man should continue.

 

"Now the reason I am here, is because God wants me to explain a few things to you about what happened tonight, as well as the consequences of those actions taken, especially what they mean for those four," Metatron began and indicated the silently watching Xander, Jenny, Amy and Max.

 

"Why doesn't God come and explain herself? Why does she need an angel to explain anything?" Cordelia asked confused, as well as a little intimated by the angel's presence.

 

Metatron rolled his eyes at the question and wondered why humans always latched onto the small things. "Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out," he responded.

 

He noted the rather dumbfounded expressions this caused. He sighed and rubbed his head before continuing.

 

"Metatron, that's me, acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims God has spoken to them, they're speaking to me or they're talking to themselves," he added and watched as the group exchanged looks.

 

"Ok enough on things that had no bearing right now," Giles said, wanting to get on with this. "Please tell us exactly what happened tonight and the effects it will have," he stated.

 

"Ok the short of it is that plans were put in place by the powers that be and the elders for the future. Those were quite insane and so God decided to change things and add some curve balls to change what they put in place. Hence your four friends there," Metatron started. "The changes are permanent and as I am sure your friends have already discovered far more than they seem. They didn't just gain powers, skills, experience and memories," he added.

 

"Meaning what exactly?" Willow inquired looking at the rather confused and worried looks Xander and the others were exchanging between themselves.

 

"They are now sharing their bodies with the people who possessed them. In a way I guess you could say they have a split personality and before anyone of you complain, we did this for a very good reason and that was so they could learn to control everything they've gained properly, without going insane," Metatron answered. "The changes are big, so they need all the help they can get and who better than the people, whose gifts they have?" he added with a smile.

 

"I see," Giles said, wishing he had put his glasses back on, so that he could remove and polish them the right now. "How powerful are they?" he inquired a second later.

 

"Well Prue and Sonja have no changes to them as they are no risk of upsetting the balance. However the God Emperor and Paul both do and so their powers were scaled down, as I am sure they noted as soon as they arrived here, correct?" Metatron asked.

 

"Also they are not in their original dimension and that also has its effects, as does the fact they are not in their own bodies. If they had full powers here, they would burn young Alexander and Max's bodies out faster than a matchstick," Metatron explained.

 

"Indeed, my strength is about half of what it was and my powers themselves are lessened and yet are still greater than most things on this planet," the Emperor responded. Confirming everything Metatron had told them. Paul nodded his head in agreement.

 

"What about the fact I am addicted to Spice? My body needs it or else I will die," Paul said very worried by this and not just for himself, but for his host as well. "The changes I have gone through have affected my host's body as well. I only have a small case on me and that will not last long," he added.

 

"God took that into account Paul and so asked me to give you this," Metatron responded, throwing him another case. "This case has spice in it from your home dimension and will continue to refill itself and before you ask how, please remember this is God we are talking about. Creator of the multiverse and everything in it," he explained, as well as adding in a reminder.

 

Paul could only stare at the angel in surprise, as he had not expected such a response to what to him was a large problem. He looked at the case and noted it seemed to be made of a material also from his home dimension.

 

"Anymore questions?" Metatron inquired, looking around the room and noting conflicted emotions pass over Willow and Buffy's faces, as they absorbed everything he had said so far.

 

"Can I interact with my sisters and let them know I am alive in a way?" Prue asked, a little shocked she would be allowed to stay. "And can I still rely on Leo's help?" she added.

 

"Leo is your whitelighter Prue, that has not changed at all and yes, if you must you can alert your sisters to your status, but I warn you to be careful how you do it and this goes for you as well Sonja, in wanting to find Lucian," Metatron responded seriously. "If your enemies become aware of you and your new friends, you will bring more danger to the Hellmouth and that could be dangerous," he warned them both. "So think it over carefully," he added.

 

"Are we constrained in anyway?" Paul inquired. "Exactly what does your God intend us to do?" he asked.

 

"Not just my God Paul. Your god and everyone else's god as well, just because you didn't know about her in your dimension does not make her any less real," Metatron said, somewhat angrily as he hated it when humans denied God her rights. "You have free will and so can do what you want with no problem. However there will be times when God has specific missions for you and I will come and brief you. From that point until your mission is completed you must only act in accordance of the job at hand," he explained.

 

Silence descended once more, as everyone took this in and began to see just how different their lives would be. The idea that they had living proof of Gods existence in front of them was still sinking in.

 

"How will this split personality thing work?" Xander asked, as he automatically resumed command of his body, without actually realizing it.

 

Willow and Buffy instantly recognized the change and quickly rushed over and welcomed him back, which was a little hard as he was still wearing his armor. He patted them on the back and turned back to Metatron for an answer.

 

"The eight of you have access to each others skills, experience, memories and powers, no matter what they are. Each of you can assume command of the body, as long as the other allows it," Metatron informed them: "We did it this way, to assure one of you wouldn't assume control at the wrong moment and cause accidents, whilst you are not in control you will still be able to see and hear everything that is going on around you and you will be able to interact with your new roommates physically," he continued to explain.

 

"I will make one thing clear to you now, this cannot be reversed at all and to do so would kill them all. They are defendant on each other now," he stated with a serious look at each of them in turn.

 

"Will I have to stay a vampire?" Jenny asked, finally regaining control as she learned how too.

 

"Yes I'm afraid so Janna, however God has tweaked your body a little, so you can still go out into the sunlight and also you will not need to drink blood and can eat normal food and drink," Metatron answered with a sad smile, knowing this part would hurt. "You are basically a vampire in name only. You have their powers and skills, but not their blood lust and weakness," he added. "Also you are not a demonic vampire Janna, as you should already know. You are a completely different species altogether," he put it with a smile.

 

"What do you mean?" Max inquired, as his mind whirled with all the new information he had received.

 

"Liam here is a demonic vampire, who is basically an animated corpse and usually has no soul or consciousness, whilst Janna is a vampire along the lines of true Nosferatu vampires, who are very much alive and have never died," Metatron answered. "The changes take place, as they are in a semi coma and they keep their souls and personalities completely," he added.

 

"Why did you call Miss Calendar Janna?" Cordelia wondered, upset by some of what she had learned especially with how it would affect Xander, even as she tried to ignore that fact.

 

"She can tell you that, as it is her story to share and a very important one and you had better pay attention Slayer, as it concerns you a lot," Metatron answered, giving the now dark haired Slayer a long look, until she nodded in acceptance.

 

Metatron waited another few minutes, but no one else asked anything and so he turned to leave, before he paused and turned back to Buffy: "Before I leave listen closely Slayer: you are playing a dangerous game with your attempted relationship with Liam. You are a human, being blessed by God with a soul and mind, however he is not. He is a corpse in all, but soul and that was put there by magic not sanctioned by God, so it is a very unstable thing," he explained to her in deadly Ernst. "Liam the soul is here not by her will, but others and your actions can have dangerous consequences, so I would suggest you forget whatever ideas you have and move on. We have already altered the course of an old friend of yours and he should arrive here in a few days, stick with him," he told her.

 

Buffy could only stare at him in confusion and a little fear, as she listened to his tone, as well as what he said. Angel was very uneasy also, with the way Metatron spoke about his curse.

 

"Liam no offense, but you were not meant to be here. You wouldn't be had Angelus not been cursed. Your existence is under the powers control and they have plans for you and some of them are not good, which includes getting close to Buffy for a specific reason, which will have a very bad outcome," Metatron said while turning to him. "I suggest you resist, unless you want to fall into their trap. Remember why you were tapped by Whistler and you'll be okay and you may earn your true reward," he added. "And please stop using the name Angel, just go by Liam, before the other archangels, especially Michael and Gabriel get really offended by you using such a title and come and pay you a visit and believe me you would not enjoy it," he suggested, before he vanished in a sparkle of lights.

 

He left a very confused, upset and unsure group behind and it did not take long before Giles suggested that everyone goes home and get some sleep. Think over what had happened and then tomorrow they would discuss it. They hid the amour and weapons in Giles' office for now, before they headed out.

Buffy was wondering how to explain her sudden change of hair color, as she walked with the others home, as well as thinking over what Metatron had said concerning Angel.

 

Xander, Max, Amy and Jenny were silent as they walked out of the library. However inside they were talking with their new friends, as they had been told they would be able to do. They had a lot to discuss and plan and the sooner they started the better.

 

Giles was the last to leave, after writing down a few things and leaving a reminder to keep an eye out for Ethan's return.
5. Chapter 5
Imperium rising Chapter 5

(Malachi five, Great Crusade)

The Emperor stood with his loyal sons Horus, Leman Russ and Lion El Johnson, as they assaulted the last bastion of resistance on this world. The crusade to reclaim the galaxy had gone well and so far he had recovered many of his lost sons. He placed them at the heads of their perspective legions and soon he would have to return to Earth and begin the next crucial step of his plans.

 

He had great faith is Horus and the others to finish the crusade without him, but he knew in his heart that it was a risk as well, but the quicker he started on his next project the better for all mankind.

 

A blast of laser cannon fire almost hit their position and he shook his head, wondering why the humans within the last bastion resisted his attempts to bring them into the Imperium. Sometimes he wondered just what the dark times had truly done to the people cut off from Earth.

 

He looked to Leman and Johnson and gave them the order to press their attacks on the flanks, before turning to Horus and ordering him to prepare his own legion to join him and his Adeptus Custodes bodyguards in the frontal assault. He watched as they nodded and left to carry out his orders.

 

He turned and looked around. Just barely he parried an assassin's blade, as it came at his head. How the assassin had gotten so close to him without being sensed was a mystery, but he had to give the man credit. Their swords clashed, as his bodyguard rushed to help, but he didn't need it as he raised his sword and inbeded it into the man's exposed back, as he avoided the assassin's strike. However instead of dying instantly the body began to shake and jerk, before exploding in a shower of gore as a demon came into being. Suddenly it became clear why the city was resisting. They had made a pact with the chaos gods.

 

He stepped back and prepared himself for combat, as Horus quickly returned to help, along with his closest captains. The demon was large, but not one of the greater demons at least. He struck at the same time as the others, but was swept back by the demon's staff. He recovered and lashed out with a Psycic blast, whilst Horus hacked at the creature along with the others. The demon reached out and picked up two of his bodyguards and quickly bit their heads off, dropping their bodies on Horus and one of his captains.

 

A claw swipe cut one of Horus's guards in two, as more Space Marines from the Lunar Wolves arrived and poured bolter fire into the creature. He himself lashed out again with his powers, scoring a direct hit as the demon fell to the ground, allowing him, Horus and his bodyguards to inbed their swords and Guardian Spears into it and to finish it off.

 

"Send word to Russ and Johnson. The city has made a pact with the chaos gods and prepare to face more demons," the Emperor ordered, turning back to face the city. "We attack now before they call on more demonic aid. Tell the artillery to keep fireing at the walls. Order the Princep of Legio Metallica to help with their Titans," he added, before he marched out of the camp and headed for the front lines of the combined force of Lunar Wolves and Imperial Guard units waiting to attack. Horus soon joined him.

 

"My brothers have been warned and stated their flanking assault has already drawn off the worse of the defenders fire. We are clear to assault the main gate," Horus reported grimly.

 

The assault began with a single command, as the artillery and Imperial Titans rained down fire on the walls, killing many defenders and demons as they went. The doors soon opened, as they finally succumbed to the destructive hailstorm.

 

Once inside the evidence of the pact between the city inhabitants and the chaos gods became all the more evident, as screaming hordes of bloodletters charged at them, backed up by nurglings and pink horrors, but it was the bloodthirster at its center, that led them drew the Emperor's attention and he quickly engaged it in battle.

 

The large axe and whip of the bloodthirster crackled with the essence of the warp as it attacked him, but he brought his full powers to the fore and struck with everything he had, quickly burning a hole through the things chest, before throwing his sword straight into its brain as it roared in pain and agony. He retrived his sword and went to help Horus, who was now fighting back to back with Abaddon, his closest captain.

 

The battle continued for another three hours, before Johnson and Russ finally broke through the flanks and enveloped the remaining soldiers, whilst cutting down the demons. The blood soaked city was full of corpses of people, who had been sacrificed to the chaos gods and it made him sick and angry. Clearly not everyone in this city had wanted to make the pact and had paid dearly for it. He looked down into the eyes of a woman, no more than twenty years of age and saw the terror that was fixed on her face. He gave a silent prayer for her soul before moving on.

 

+++

 

(Xander's house)

 

Xander awoke covered in sweat and he felt his heart beating a mile a minute, as he took deep breathes he recovered from what, to him, was a very real dream. It had felt like he himself had been there, directing the battle and fighting such horrid monsters.

 

He had seen demons before, but none like the bloodthirster. It truly terrified him just to think of coming upon one like it. He got up and headed for his bathroom and splashed water on his face before staring at his reflection.

 

‘What was that?" he asked the Emperor, as he could do now with ease.

 

‘A memory of a long ago time,' the Emperor's voice came back clear and he could detect the bitterness in his tone. ‘That was a happier time, when my sons were all united and still with me, before half of them were corrupted and turned against me. The war that followed, made the crusade look like a small battle,' he added darkly.

‘How can you call that a happier time, considering what happened to those people?' Xander questioned him, as he returned to his room making sure not to make any noise or else he would awake his damn father.

 

‘Because the crusade, had it not been stopped, would have united the humans in the galaxy as one and stopped the chaos powers in their tracks. Yes many lives were lost, but had we succeeded it would have been worth the sacrifice,' the Emperor responded. ‘It was the only thing we could do to stop them. They are a plague, but the fall of Horus put an end to all our hopes,' he added and the voice of the Emperor became even darker.

 

‘I know a lot about your history from the many books and background information given, but just how bad was your world really?' Xander inquired.

 

‘Having seen your memories of my world in what is laughably called a game here, I would say vastly different. The horrors we saw on the crusade were much worse,' the Emperor responded bitterly, not liking the fact that his whole life was nothing but a game to a whole world. ‘We saw hundreds of what you would call war crimes in a time of madness. We lost many comrades and the Heresy multiplied that loss all the more,' he continued. ‘Now we are just surviving and fighting an endless defensive war, until my body can be healed the crusade will never rise again,' he finished before going silent.

 

Xander finally lay back in his bed and shivered, wondering just what other horrors the Emperor had seen and hoping his dreams would not always be overwhelmed by his memories. It took a while, but finally he managed to fall asleep again.

 

+++

 

(Jenny's house)

Jenny stared at the wall, still going over everything that had happened in the last few hours. It was a lot to take in, but no more than the longing she felt from Sonja to set out and locate her husband Lucian. She had began to view Sonja's memories of what had transpired and she was sickened by what Victor, her own father, had done. She did not understand why he was so horrified by the idea of a blending between vampire and Lycan bloodlines.

 

She had to sort out what she was feeling and what she would do about her growing attraction to Giles. This changed everything for her, no more so than she had been told by Metatron to tell the group why she had come to Sunnydale in the first place, which meant there would be problems. Maybe it was best if she did not get to close to Giles, as his loyalty to Buffy would also come before her.

 

Lucian was loyal only to Sonja and his fellow Lycans and as the host for his wife's spirit did that not make her responsible in staying loyal to him? Sonja was sure he had for her in the centuries since her death. She closed her eyes and just sank back into the memories of her new friend and hoped the answers would come before the sun rose the next day.

 

+++

 

(Amy's house)

 

Amy awoke shaking, as she witnessed Prue's death at the hands of the demon hitman Shacks. She knew Prue had been murdered, but seeing it as if you were actually there was disquieting to say the least.

 

She knew this night would have serious repercussions, but hopefully nightmares would not be one of them. What was worse was the sense of loss she kept feeling from Prue. She hated been cut off from her sisters and was trying to work out how to contact them and let them know that she was back, at least in a way. She was scared of being rejected, even with Leo vouching for her.

 

She could also feel Prue was trying to come to terms with the idea of having a half sister, she never knew existed, taking her place as the third Charmed one. Prue knew her life would not be like it was before, as for one the body she was in was not her own and two she had been told by the Voice of God that her path was now different to that of her sisters and yet no less dangerous.

 

Amy herself knew her life would never be the same. She had known the truth about Sunnydale since the incident with her mother, but had not stepped up to help Buffy as

Xander and the others had, but now she knew there was no longer a choice, she had to help. She felt Prue's dedication to saving innocents and she could not, would not ignore the dangers any longer. She would fight and help as many as she could. This seemed to settle Prue down somewhat and so she rolled over and soon fell back asleep, wondering how the morning would turn out.

 

+++

 

(Max's house)

 

Max paced his bedroom, being as quite as he could which strangely enough was very easy to do now. He felt anxious and very unsure and he knew it came from Paul what he was feeling. Paul did not like that he was cut off from home and from his loved ones especially Chani. He missed her and it felt like a raw wound in his chest that would not leave him.

 

Trying to sleep at the moment was useless and so he paced and tried to get Paul to calm down, but nothing he said or did was working. He still found it hard to believe what had happened tonight and the changes it had invoked inside of him. He now knew the horrifying truth about his home town and it chilled him to the bone, even worse was the knowledge of why this had happened to him had come to pass. He did not know if he could take it, but he would try. He was worried about Paul's response to all of this and he just hoped things would work out for the spirit within him.

 

+++

 

(City Hall)

 

The Mayor leaned back in his chair, reading a few reports on how the town was running when a knock came and he quickly put the report down and gave permission for whoever it was to enter. He was not to surprised to find Alan Finch, his deputy, enter, however he was surprised to find a demon following him in.

 

Clearly something had happened or else the demon would not dare to come here. He noted the rune mark carved into the demons head and saw that he came from one of the larger clans of demons, he had enticed to Sunnydale so the question became where the clan chief was.

 

"Is there a problem?" he inquired. He hoped not as he had only another year to go before his ascension could take place and being this close he did not need problems.

 

"Our lord is dead, killed by a new threat he sensed in the area, coming from four individuals. Chaos magic caused them to change and we set out to wipe them out, but we failed. Many of our brethren are dead and we now wait for a new leader to rise, but we knew you would want to know of the threat," the demon responded.

 

"Four people changed by chaos magic?" The Mayor asked, as he leaned forward and folded his hands together. "Alan did something accrue tonight?" he inquired of his aid.

 

"Yes sir. It seems a chaos mage named Ethan Rayne came into town and transformed everyone who bought a costume from his shop into those costumes. The reports I have gotten back, state that everyone changed as far as we know," Alan replied.

 

"Clearly that may not be the case, so have some of our people look for any strangeness or change of character from anyone involved. Especially if any of the Slayer's group were involved," the Mayor ordered. "They are only a minor threat as far as I am concerned, but that does not mean they could not become a bigger one in the future. Magic is one sure way of that happening, so look into it," he added.

 

"Yes sir. I shall send the word out and hopefully have a report back by tomorrow night," Alan said, before he led the demon back out of the office, once he had the Mayor's permission.

 

The Mayor leaned back in his chair and rubbed his forehead, as he pondered the possibilities that could arise from this situation. If he was honest with himself, he did not like what his mind came up with, the possibility of the Slayer and her group being a major problem, so close to his ascension was not a good thing.

 

If it turned out that this magic had affected them, then he would have to take action, but careful action at that. They did not know he was a threat and he needed it to stay that way and so he leaned forward again and began to work out some plans for the future, just in case his worst fears came true.

 

+++

 

(Heavens)

 

Metatron ignored the complaints from the powers and the elders, as he watched events begin to unfold down on Earth. Clearly things were going to pick up if the demonic Mayor got involved sooner than anticipated, but he thought God had factored that into her plan and he was sure, that together the group could deal with whatever he sent against them, as long as they stuck together. However he was worried by what he saw of Paul and Max. Unlike the other three possessing spirit, he was finding being cut off from his world and loved ones harder then he could deal with.

 

He felt this could become a problem even God might not have truly taken into account, as she had been known to make mistakes before. He would have to discuss this with her he thought, before he stood up and headed out, leaving the still complaining powers and elders to watch his back, as he left them behind.

 

He nodded to Gabriel and Michael, as he passed them. They seemed a lot happier now that he had given some warning to Liam about his use of the title angel. He did not want to have to listen to another of Gabriel's rants about the monkey corpse's disrespect to God and them.

 

Even with his redemption it seemed Gabriel could not help himself in calling humans monkeys, just for the fun of it. Michael seemed to take it in stride, but to him it was an annoyance.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School, next day)

 

The group met up as soon as the first couple of classes had finished. The group now included Aura, Amy and Max. Aura's insistence to help was a surprise, but a welcome one, as any help was welcome. Silence rained for a few minutes, before Giles decided to break it. He knew they had a lot to talk and discuss about, but the sooner they started the better he thought.

 

"I am sure last night was tiring especially for most of you, but we do have a lot to go through, so I suggest we start with you Jenny. Just what is it Metatron suggested you should tell us and why he called you Janna," he stated, looking to his fellow, but silent, teacher.

 

"My actual name is Janna Kalderash of the same tribe that Angelus attacked a hundred years ago," Jenny answered, after a bit of prodding from Sonja.

 

Buffy looked up from the book she had been reading and began to pay close attention to what was been said. She missed the curious looks Xander and Willow shot her, as they noticed her interested look at whatever it was she was reading. They were also still getting used to seeing their friend with black hair, instead of the dyed blond she usually had. It seemed to them that she looked older and more mature with her natural look.

 

"I was sent here to ensure the curse held, although why it is necessary was unclear to me until Metatron mentioned how unstable it was, which tells me the curse can be broken and considering also the warning he gave Buffy last night, she might be the key to that," Jenny continued, hoping this revelation would not cause an argument.

 

"But you don't know that for sure do you?" Buffy asked, but everyone could tell by the tone of her voice, that she was sure that was the truth of the matter, thanks to Metatron's warnings.

 

"I think it is a good guess Buffy and to be honest, the idea of having a relationship with a demonic vampire is kind of sick, if you truly think about it. More so when put into context as Metatron did," Jenny responded, as gently as she could. "In the end do you really want to take the risk of unleashing Angelus, considering he would know everything Angel knows about us, as well as having access to some of your homes?" She inquired seriously.

 

Buffy stared at each of her friends and even the new comers, as she considered this. She knew the fact that the possibility of her being the key to breaking the curse was high. She knew she could not endanger everyone, especially her mom and so she would have to separate herself from Angel and push away any romantic feelings she had begun to develop as well. The warning from Metatron was still ringing in her ears and she could not ignore it, so she finally made her choice and just hoped Angel would understand.

 

"No I don't want to take that risk. I'll keep away from him, except for patrols and slaying business," she finally responded, much to the surprise of most of them.

 

"I know it does not seem fair Buffy, but in the long run that might be the wisest choice you'll ever make at this point in time," Giles said, feeling a little bit of pride in Buffy truly thinking it through, before making her choice instead of the immediate rejection he had expected.

 

"I point out that this is what Metatron said about the powers laying a trap for Angel. It is almost as if they wanted his soul curse to be broken, by getting close to Buffy," Cordelia spoke up, as she really did not like how this had sounded last night. "Why would they wish something like that on us?" she asked, as everyone looked thoughtful.

 

"I think Leo may have some clue," Prue put in, before calling her whitelighter and was pleased to see him appear almost immediately. "Hey Leo, I take it you've been made aware of what's happened right?" she asked, as he joined them at the table.

 

"I have and to be honest Prue I am amazed God has intervened, but then she has that right. The powers and elders are not happy I can tell you that, but they can't do anything about it and they cannot interfere with you at all," Leo replied. "I will also say Prue that it is great to have you back. At least in some shape or form, as you've been greatly missed," he added with a warming smile.

 

"Thanks Leo, it is good to be alive somewhat. Why do the powers have such dire plans for us?" Prue replied, before asking the question.

 

"From what I've heard from some of my fellow whitelighters and a few archangels, the powers think they need to keep you low and emotionally scared," Leo responded grimly. "I can't say for sure if it is true, but it might explain God's actions," he added.

 

The group looked between themselves uneasy with this response and not liking it one bit. It spoke of a danger that none of them were truly ready to face. The Emperor in the back of Xander's mind began to calculate plans to protect his new found allies, as best as he could. He also began to see why God had chosen him and the others for whatever her final goal was. He was still getting used the change in his powers, but he could already detect various threats. He would have to think long and hard before discussing this with the others.

 

"Prue, I've been told you can alert your sisters to your existence, as long as you are careful and I agree. The fight against the Source is really picking up right now," Leo spoke up again. "You will have to plan this carefully, because it's going to be a lot to take in for them to see you in someone else's body. It will be especially hard for Piper, as the loss is still very raw for her," he added.

 

"I know Leo and I'll work on it, so for now let them keep thinking that I am dead," Prue said, through it pained her to say it. "I don't want to distract them, when they are up against the Source itself," she added.

 

"Who is the Source?" Aura inquired, not recognizing the name from anything she had learned last night.

 

"The Source runs the underworld and controls most demons and evil beings, but not all as in reality he is but one of the main control points for the darkness on Earth," Leo informed them all. "The Charmed ones, which Prue belonged to are destined to fight and hopefully destroy it permanently at some point in time," he continued.

 

"So that explains why we have to be careful when contacting Prue's sisters. What about you Sonja, why were you warned about contacting Lucian?" Xander inquired, taking all of this in, as he began to see the vastly bigger picture of the fight.

 

"Lucian is my husband and leader of the Lycans, which is another term for werewolf," Sonja replied. "He is at war with Victor, my father, and his army of my type of vampires. He has been, since Victor ordered me killed along with my unborn child," she explained, having watched her lover from her place in the afterlife, as much as she could and she had witnessed what had happened since her death.

 

"Why would he order your death?" Willow asked, horrified at the very idea.

 

"My union with Lucian was forbidden and for some reason my father feared a blending of the bloodlines, for which I am still at a loss to explain. My death was the only way it could end, once he knew about the baby," Sonja responded bitterly.

 

"Lucian has raged war on them, hoping to extract revenge since that time. If I reveal myself to him, I also take the risk of Victor learning of my return and about you, which may make you targets. Hence the warning," she stated. "Whilst I do plan to reveal myself to Lucian, I will not do so recklessly. I will wait until I have found a way that does not expose us all to Victor," she finished.

 

Before anyone else could say anything the bell went, signaling the start of the next lesson and so the group broke up and headed out, whilst Leo orbed out as he heard Phoebe calling for him. Giles remained behind, as he went over everything he had learned and he wondered just how they would deal with it all.

 

+++

Outside the school a motor bike pulled up and the driver, who wore a leather jacket and black jeans, looked over the place with a critical eye, he had developed over the years since learning the truth of the world. He did not wear a helmet and so the short blond hair could be seen, as well as his brown eyes. He wondered where his friend and former lover was in this place, before getting off his bike and heading inside.
6. Chapter 6
Imperium rising Chapter 6

 

(Angel's hideout)

Angel paced as he continued to argue with himself over what to do with the information he had gained the night before. It was a lot to take in and he was unsure what to do about it. One thing he did suspect though was the growing relationship between him and Buffy was over before it had even begun.

 

Whilst he felt sad and angry about this, he believed it was the best option to avoid whatever plan these so called powers that be had for him and the others. It had taken a lot of time and effort to gain the respect and trust of the majority of the group, especially Giles and Xander and to a lesser extent Cordelia and he did not want to lose that.

 

He did not want to ever see Angelus released back into the world, so that he could once again run amok, if Buffy chose to step away from him, he would understand and accept it. He finally sat down and ran a hand through his hair, before he grabbed the nearby glass of whiskey and then downed it in one go. He wondered if he could somehow get a hold of Whistler and see if he had any advice on what to do.

 

"Hey rat breath how's it going?" he was vaguely surprised to hear Whistler's voice from behind him. He turned around to find the balance demon leaning against the wall, drinking from his bottle of whiskey.

 

"I take it you know what has been going on?" Angel inquired, as he grabbed the bottle from him and poured himself another drink.

 

"You have to be blind not to, the powers are in an uproar, although its not like they can do much about it, as this is God who has stepped in and changed things," Whistler replied with a smirk, as he took the bottle back. "I suggest you listen to Metatron and just do as you are told as you'll live longer," he advised.

 

"I thought you worked for the powers?" Angel asked somewhat confused.

 

"That is basically true, however what you have to remember is that the powers answers to people higher than them and if they order me to do something even against the powers will, I would not hesitate to do it," Whistler responded.

 

"Things are shifting up there Angel and if the powers and elders do no reel themselves in, they may find themselves on the wrong end of the archangels swords and I have no interest in going down with them," he explained, downing more of the whiskey. "I would think you would understand that," he added.

 

Angel nodded, relieved that he was not the only one who was caught in the growing cross fire between God and the powers/elders group. When he had been alive, his father had tried to instill a strong belief in God and that had held, although it had not stopped him from being a drunk and interested in any woman that crossed his path.

 

Now he had true proof of God's existence and he had no wish to get on her bad side. He would take Whistler's advice to heart and do what he was told on both accounts, so from this point on he would call himself Liam.

 

"Don't call me Angel anymore, my name is Liam," he said before downing his own drink.

 

"Wise choice Liam," Whistler said with another smirk, before taking one last drink before putting the bottle down. "If you need any advice just call me and I'll turn up and remember no matter what, resist any temptation you may feel for the Slayer," he warned, before he vanished as he had appeared.

 

Liam sat back down and felt a little better now. He had made his choice and so he got comfortable on the couch and went to sleep, he would see Buffy and the group later tonight and tell them his choice.

 

+++

 

(Heavens)

 

Gabriel and Michael both shook their heads in disappointment as the vampire came to his senses and decided to use his real name. They had been hoping he would decide to continue using Angel as his name or just forget the warning Metatron had given him, so that they could drop in on him and scare him a little.

 

They had even made a bet with Rufus, Loki and Bartleby which they had now lost and they both noted the smug looks on the reborn Angels and the 13th apostle and sighed before forking over the winnings and hoping to get their own back later on.

 

"Come on guys you should have seen that one coming," Loki said with a chuckle and a shake of his head. "No vampire, especially one with an actual soul is gonna risk pissing off two archangels," he continued.

 

"Considering his previous ego that was not so certain this time Loki," Michael replied. "Anyway there is plenty left to bet on, but for now we have to go," he added, as he turned and left with Gabriel right behind him.

 

"I think those two have something planned," Bartleby mused, as he knew no one took the bets they made up here seriously, it was just something to pass the time.

 

"Most likely they do," Rufus agreed with a smirked. "And we'll probably be laughing our asses off when it hits, so keep an eye out," he added, before taking off himself.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

Giles looked up as he heard the doors open and he was surprised to see someone enter, who he was sure was not a student. He wore a black leather jacket and black jeans. His brown eyes were sharp and swept over the library, before coming to rest on him. He stood up straighter from where he had been looking at one of his many books.

 

"Hello, how may I help you?" he inquired, wondering who the young man was.

 

"You're British," the younger man replied with a smile. "I don't suppose you know a Buffy Summers do you?" he asked, shocking Giles with the use of his Slayer's name.

 

"Who are you and how do you know Miss Summers?" he asked, wanting to make sure this new comer was not a threat to Buffy or the others.

 

"My name is Pike. I'm an old friend of Buffy's from LA," Pike replied more sure than anything that he had come to the right place, although he still did not know how he knew where Buffy was or why he had come to see her. "We used to go out for a time before she moved here," he added.

 

Giles quickly racked his brain for any mention of the name, before recalling a short report Merrick had filed about a young man, who had gotten involved in Buffy's calling, who was called Pike.

 

Merrick had stated he believed the young man had potential. Of course the council had dismissed Merrick's report as pointless, but then Merrick did not answer to the Council, as he was a watcher unlike any before him. The myths surrounding the man were many, but one he did believe was true was he would be back.

 

Merrick showed up every so often to find what would turn out to be the best Slayer in years and train her. Sometimes he would die in the line of duty and in others he would simply vanish, but he would always return. No member of the Council could control him or order him about. He was above the Council and was classed as the first true watcher. How he continued to return from the realm of death was not know, but the speculation was he was revived by the powers or someone linked to them.

 

Turning his attention back to the young man he decided to ensure this was indeed Pike, before he allowed him to see Buffy and the gang. It would not do any good, to allow an enemy into their inner circle, especially now.

 

"I do remember reading about you Mr. Pike in a report from a gentleman of your acquaintance," he replied.

 

Pike smiled, sensing he was being tested by what he assumed to be Buffy's new watcher. "You mean Merrick, the old dude, as I used to call him," he shot back. "Good guy, a little strange, but he was loyal to Buffy and in the end gave his life to protect her," he stated. "That affected her badly, but she came through it alright to deal with Lothos and his minions," he explained, as he took a seat at the table.

 

Giles relaxed slightly as the young man certainly seemed to know a lot about what had transpired back in LA. He then recalled what Metatron had said to Buffy the night before about them redirecting one of her old friends to Sunnydale, to turn her attention away from Angel. Clearly Pike was the one he had meant, he wondered how Buffy would react to this.

 

"A pleasure to meet you Mr. Pike, I believe Buffy will be quite surprised to see you," he finally said, as he also took a seat.

 

"That's what I am hoping," Pike responded. "I want to surprise her and please it's just Pike," he added.

 

+++

 

(City Hall)

 

The Mayor looked up as Alan walked into the office, still going over whatever report he had in his hands. He folded his hands together and waited for his deputy to speak. A few minutes silence followed before Alan looked back up, he looked a little nervous and he began to suspect he had bad news. Alan had always been a little high strung, but he was someone he could rely on to get things done.

 

"I just got the report back from most of our spies and so far nothing has turned up at the school," he reported. "No strange actions have been reported about the Slayer and her friends, however I am still waiting on three more reports that have yet to come in," he added. "It is possible the demon was over stating matters last night," he suggested.

 

"It is possible I suppose Alan," the Mayor conceded. "These demons sometimes over react to things, but still better safe than sorry," he added. "I do not want my plans disturbed at all. We only have another year to wait before the ascension can begin," he added. "Wait for those three reports before closing the investigation down, but keep a close eye out for this chaos mage," he ordered. "If he comes back, I would like a nice chat with him," he added with a cold smile, which sent chills up Alan's spine.

 

"Yes sir, I'll see to it," Alan said, regaining control of himself and focusing back on the job at hand. "We have a few sightings of some new demons in town, as well as a report of a possible former minion of the vampire Lothos, also heading in our direction," he said, moving on to other topics.

 

"Have our people keep a close eye on these reports. Lothos' minions have not been very active since their master's demise, so I wonder why one would be coming here," the Mayor mused.

 

"I don't know yet sir, but I have ordered our people to have a look around and see if there is anything or anyone that might draw one of them to town," Alan quickly responded.

 

"Capital thinking Alan," the Mayor replied with a smile. "Is that all?" he inquired.

 

"Yes sir, everything else is running smoothly," Alan answered.

"Good, glad to hear it," the Mayor said. "Very well Alan carry on," he said, before going back to his reading, whilst Alan quickly left.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

Buffy walked back into the library somewhat perplexed by her sudden attention in class. She had been intently reading the text book instead of staring out of the window, as she normally did during certain classes, but this time she had listened to the teacher and done the work assigned, much to the confusion of Willow and Xander who sat beside her in class. Their looks of shock and confusion were almost amusing, but she was just as confused by this change in her personality.

 

Listening to the conversation of the others she failed to notice Pike, as he stood up from the desk and waited for her to notice him. It wasn't until she noticed all sounds had ceased, that she looked up and was shocked to see a face from the past standing before her.

 

"Pike," she said, pleased beyond measure to see him and relieved to know he was still alive and kicking. She quickly pulled him into a hug which he quickly returned.

 

Since they had parted ways she had worried off and on if he had gotten himself killed fighting her fight. He had been committed to this war just as much as she was. In fact Xander and Pike had a lot in common, both were or at least had been normal people who had learned the truth about the world and once they knew that truth, had made the choice to fight with no desire to ever quit.

 

They would never walk away from the fight, as long as they believed they were needed. She admired that about them both and yet it worried her much about how many risks each of them is willing to take. They both could be classed as reckless to the extremes; still Xander was now in a completely different boat after what had transpired on Halloween.

 

"What are you doing here?" she asked, as she finally broke the hug and stepped back.

 

"I don't really know, but I felt the need to come and find you and make sure you were okay," Pike responded, still wondering why he had become so concerned about his ex.

 

"I do believe we can answer that, but that can wait until later," Giles interrupted them. "Buffy, maybe you should introduce your friend to the group?" he suggested.

 

"Of course I'm sorry. Pike I'd like you to meet Xander, Willow, Cordelia, Max, Aura and Amy and that is Miss Calendar," Buffy introduced her friends. "They all know the truth of who I am and help me in the fight," she added. "Guys this is Pike, he used to help me up in LA, as well as being an ex boyfriend," she continued.

 

"You seem to be expanding your team Buff," Pike said, amazed to see so many people involved in her calling now. "I thought it was supposed to be a big secret," he added.

 

"They all found out at different times and like you, committed themselves to the fight," Buffy responded. "We've taken down some dangerous enemies since I got here and it's the fact we're a team that has made us so effective," she added. "This town is built on the Hellmouth so there is a higher volume of vampires and demons here and on my own with just Giles, I doubt I would have lasted long," she admitted.

 

"Well you can consider me also part of the team as I doubt I'll be leaving anytime soon," Pike told her, clapping her on the back with a smile. "By the way what's with the change in hair color?" he asked with a straight face. "I thought you said you'd never go back to your natural color?" he added.

 

"You might as well sit down as it's a long story," Buffy said, running a hand through her now dark hair. "At least with it being lunch, we can get through it all," she added, as she sat down next to Pike, who had already taken a seat.

 

The others all soon joined them, not exactly sure what to make of the new comer, but they could tell Buffy seemed very happy to see him and they could tell he meant what he said about helping them out.

 

Giles began with reminding them what Metatron had told them about one of Buffy's old friends being redirected here, which explained why Pike had felt the urge to seek Buffy out so much.

 

Explaining who Metatron was however was much harder, as was what had transpired during Halloween and before that, the events leading up to it. Including some of Giles' past and the fact he knew the chaos mage behind the spell.

Pike took in everything he was been told and whilst some of it seemed far-fetched, it gave him a sense of hope that maybe they were not alone in the fight.

 

He guessed that if demons and vampires existed, then the idea of Angels and God should not be that difficult to believe in. In fact he thought he should be relieved they existed.

 

"Sounds like you've moved up in the world Buff," Pike finally said. "And the war seems a whole lot bigger," he added more somberly. "Still I'm in," he added, before standing up. "I better get out of here before I'm caught, plus I need to find a place to stay," he added.

 

"I'll see if my mom will mind renting you the spare room when I get home," Buffy told him with a smile. "Tonight you'll find us at the Bronze, it's the town's only nightclub, so you'll find it easily enough," she added.

 

"I'll see you tonight then," Pike replied, before he turned and left the library.
7. Chapter 07
Imperium rising Chapter 07

(Summer's House)

Buffy watched her mother pace up and down the room, as she contemplated what she had just told her about Pike being in town and needing a place to stay. She knew that in the past her mother had not exactly approved of him, but she had felt that near the end, before she had burnt down the school gym and had been kicked out of school, she had come to like and maybe even trust Pike, especially when it came to her.

 

This was a big risk she knew that, as it reopened a lot of old wounds from their final few months in LA. Months she really did not want to think about if she could help it. The memories of her time in the asylum under a shrink when she made the mistake of trying to tell her parents about vampires and demons came to her anyway. She shook her head to clear her mind of those memories. That was a time she would rather never think of again, the loss of Merrick and the close brush with death at Lothos's hand had made her reckless. She had slipped up and made the mistake of trying to tell the truth about her life and she had paid the price. She had sworn never to allow it to happen again.

 

She just hoped that by bringing up Pike with her mother in conversation, that her mother did not start to believe those events were happening again. She looked up as her mother stopped her pacing and then finally faced her with a look that she could not decipher.

 

"I'm sorry Buffy, but I am not comfortable in letting Pike stay here during his stay in town," Joyce finally said after thinking it over long and hard.

 

She remembered the young man, who had dated her daughter during what was to her the worst part of her life in LA. First the clear mental breakdown of her daughter and then following up on that was the degeneration of her marriage with her husband Hank. Finally she had made the choice to leave LA behind, only for Buffy to run away with Pike for the next few months. When she had returned Pike was nowhere to be found and Buffy had made it clear she had been responsible for leaving.

 

As she looked at her daughter now, she noted Buffy looked slightly let down, but she could also see she had expected her response. She sighed and wished she could be more helpful, but in this situation she did not want Pike that close to her daughter. She was wary of a repeat of those very dark days, moving over to the sofa she sat down and decided to press on.

 

"Look Buffy, I know you consider Pike a friend, but I am not about to let someone who helped you run away from home for months stay in this house. Do you understand me?" she asked looking her daughter in the eye.

 

"Yeah mom I do," Buffy responded, not exactly surprised by this turn of events. "Thanks for considering it at least and don't worry I have no intention of disappearing again," she assured her, before she went up to her bedroom to get ready for the night ahead.

 

Joyce remained where she was for a few minutes before going into the kitchen and pouring herself a glass of wine and then she sat down at the table and she thought of the past. She truly hoped that it would not come back and bite her, now that Pike had come back into Buffy's life.

 

+++

 

(Xander's House)

 

The Emperor opened his eyes, as he finished his scan of the planet and confirmed some of what his latent pysic scans had showed him already, there were many threats facing this world and the human race in general. Some of them even his new friends and allies did not know about.

 

He relaxed into a more comfortable position still getting used to having a corporeal body again, it was taking him time to adjust to the changes he had undergone since being brought here. Becoming joined to another human being in the same body was also taking time to come to terms with, but he found Xander to be quite insightful when he truly put his mind to work. He hid behind a facade of being a comedian, when on the inside he had the heart and mind of a warrior. This was no surprise, considering what he had chosen to commit his life to, he found the small group he was now a part of a unique assembly of people, each separate and yet part of a whole and now much expanded thanks to Halloween.

 

‘Strange isn't it,' Xander's voice whispered inside his mind. ‘When you consider what we're up against you would think we would have fallen already and yet we endure,' he added.

 

‘Humans are capable of enduring a great many things in my experience Alexander,' the Emperor responded. ‘I have see many people survive fighting things on the frontier of Imperial space that make your vampires and demons look small in comparison,' he informed him. ‘We are a durable species, we have to be to survive the darkness of the universe,' he stated.

 

‘I suppose we do,' Xander agreed. ‘So what do we do about these other threats?' Xander inquired, having seen exactly what the Emperor had seen during his pysic scan.

 

‘I do not know just yet Alexander. I am still contemplating our options,' the Emperor replied. ‘For now I think it best, if we concentrate on the vampiric and demonic threat in this town. I will continue to think over what we have learned and consider our best options before we bring this up with the others,' he continued.

 

‘I understand and now I think we best get ready to go the Bronze to meet up with the others,' Xander responded, as he assumed command of the body and the Emperor faded into the background for now.

 

As Xander went and got into the shower and prepared for the night ahead, the Emperor was considering what kind of life he was about to embark on. He would be doing things he had never done before, even if only in the background. He thought back to his reaction when Cordelia had been in danger and his body had responded without any conscious thought on his part to help her. Xander obviously cared about the young girl even if at this moment in time he was afraid to admit it.

 

His life had always been one of war and strife and so the things he had seen in Xander's mind surprised him and made him wonder what his life had lacked, but he quickly shook that thought off and concentrated on what was going on.

 

Xander was soon dressed for the night ahead and quickly picked up a couple of stakes and a bottle of holy water that he placed in his inside jacket pocket, when he was finished he headed out saying a goodbye to his mother as he passed her, but refused to even look at his father who was passed out in the living room again.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale Motel)

 

Pike was getting ready to leave to meet up with Buffy and her friends when he considered telling Buffy that he was being chased by one of Lothos's damn minions. He had been since hitting LA again a year ago. He ran a hand through his hair and let out a sigh as he weighed up the pros and cons, as he knew deep down Buffy still had nightmares about Lothos, especially where they concerned Merrick.

 

This had played a very large part in Buffy running away for a few months, when her mother had made the choice to move here from LA. He sat down on his bed and wondered what the best thing to do was. They had their own problems to deal with at the moment, considering what they had told him about Spike and Drusilla and so he wondered if he had the right to bring one more. He could leave and lure Bracus away from here, but he promised to stay and help Buffy. He guessed he had no real option, but to tell her the truth. Getting back up he headed out of the door ready for the night ahead and hoped that Buffy would not react too badly to the news about Bracus. She needed to keep her head clear and focused for what he feared may lie ahead.

 

+++

 

(Deserted factory)

 

Spike snarled as he paced up and down, trying to plan out his next moves on the Slayer and her group of friends. He was still annoyed beyond all reason at losing the best chance to kill her and add a third Slayer to his tally of kills on Halloween. He had been so close to tasting her blood and watching the life drain out of her eyes. Growling in pain he punched a nearby lackey right in the face with enough force to break his nose with a satisfying crunch. Not even bothering to look down at the fallen vampire he walked back over to where Drusilla sat and was playing with some tarot cards. He wondered if she had any insight he could use.

 

Most people considered his lover insane and completely out of her mind, but he knew better, as had Angelus before him, that Drusilla had a special gift. One that had allowed him to avoid or to deal with many problems over the long years they had been together. Thinking about Angelus made him remember that the ensouled version of his grandsire was also in Sunnydale. The idea of killing him was just as appealing as killing the Slayer. He may have some problems with Dru in that regard, but he felt it might be worth it, to forever remove the threat of Angelus' return. A return he was unsure if he would even survive, but off one thing he was sure and that was that he would lose Drusilla to Angelus.

 

"Darkness falls on the mouth of hell, but standing in the light are the guardians," Drusilla's voice broke him out of his current thoughts and made him concentrate on his lover. "They strive to protect all and threaten all with evil in their hearts. They must be killed, if darkness is to ever rule," she added, with her eyes looking lost in something only she could see, whilst her voice held a vagueness he had become used to, when she had her visions.

 

"The double eagle rises over the battlefield, lighting the way for the forces of order and legions of followers flock to its banner," she continued. "At its head the golden haired Emperor reigns supreme and the darkness falls before him, unless he is killed quickly," she warned him with her eyes darkening. "The time of chaos is close, the dark gods wait in the shadows for the time to strike," she finished before she collapsed.

 

He quickly checked her over and noted she was out cold, which was unusual, when she normally had visions she had never passed out before. He picked her up and carried her over to the nearby bed and placed her in it. He then began to pace and wondered what was so different about this vision then any of the others she had seen.

 

Clearly more was going on here than he was aware off. He decided to have some of his minions check the books for any prophecies, he may not be aware of. He quickly lit a smoke and went to find Dalton and have him and the others get to work on those books, he needed answers before he could make a plan.

 

+++

 

(City Hall)

 

The mayor read over the reports that Alan had just given him and noted that his remaining spies had not found any evidence of trouble from the chaos mages actions. He leaned back in his chair and wondered if the Slayer was just better at hiding the changes. Still with no proof for now all he could do was keep a closer eye out on her and her friends, as well as keeping his ascension plans as hidden as possible. He glanced over at Alan who stood near the door. He looked slightly nervous, but then he always seemed nervous in his presence, something he found very amusing. He wondered what Alan truly thought of his long term plans, before he shook that idea out of his head, as he knew Alan was loyal and so it did not matter what he thought.

 

"Any more news of this childe of Lothos who is heading to town?" he inquired, moving onto other business.

 

"From what sources I have been able to contact, his name is Bracus and is one of the few childes of Lothos left alive," Alan reported. "From what they told me, he is currently hunting a human named Pike, who used to be an ally of the Slayer in LA when she first became active," he continued. "Pike, it seems has made himself quite well known in certain vampiric circles, since helping Buffy Summers take down Lothos and most of his followers. Bracus wants revenge for his master's demise," he finished his report.

 

"So are you concluding this Pike is in town or is Bracus coming here to fight Miss Summers?" the Mayor asked, as he stood up and looked out into the darkened skies of Sunnydale from the nearby window.

 

"I believe that Mr. Pike is indeed in town, as reports have come in of a new human who met with the Slayer's group this morning," Alan replied. "From what I know, none of Lothos's remaining children do know where Miss Summers currently is," he added.

 

"I find that hard to believe, considering she is supposed to be guarding the Hellmouth, which must have gotten out into the various rumor mills of the various vampiric and demonic circles," the Mayor countered and glanced at his aide in slight disbelief.

 

"As you said yourself sir, the remaining children of Lothos have gone very quite since their master's demise," Alan answered. "It seems they have little thirst to do much without their master's presence," he speculated.

 

"Strange that some vampires lose all their heart if their masters are destroyed, isn't it Alan?" the Mayor asked with a slight smile to which his aide nodded. "Whilst others become either insane or just take their fallen master's place. That is why I am so careful in trusting the vampires I employ, as they can be quite tricky and untrustworthy," he added, as he went and retook his seat.

 

"Yes sir," Alan agreed. "What should we do about Bracus and Pike?" he asked, moving the conversation on.

 

"Nothing for now, if we made a move on Mr. Pike it may tip our hand to the slayer and her friends and that is something I want to avoid for as long as possible," the Mayor ordered. "As for Bracus let him in and hopefully he may remove Mr. Pike for us, as well as some of the Slayer's friends, although I doubt he will succeed going up against the Slayer herself, when even his master could not," he added with an oily smile that made Alan shiver.

 

"Of course sir," Alan nodded, before he left the office. As he walked into his own office, he thanked his lucky stars he was still able to maintain his facade of disinterest.

 

He knew that one day he would have to either take action to prevent the Mayor from succeeding in his plans or hope that when the Mayor became a first circle demon that he would not be killed. He downed a glass of whiskey, before issuing the orders he had just received.

 

+++

 

(The Bronze)

 

Pike looked over the dancing mass, somewhat surprised that Buffy and her friend would come here, as to him it was a death trap waiting to happen. He had seen places like this before, where people could easily be killed or worse turned by vampires, as there was no way to keep them out. He finally saw Buffy at one of the tables at the back, her friends Willow, Cordelia and Xander were already there and he quickly headed over to join them, but he kept an eye on his surroundings.

 

"Hey Pike, glad you could make it," Buffy said with a smile, which he felt was slightly off, so he guessed she had some bad news for him. "So what do you think?" she asked indicating the club.

 

"Not bad and I'm pretty impressed to see a live band in such a small club," Pike replied, as he indicating the current band on stage.

 

"That's Oz and his friends," Willow spoke up. "They are called ‘Dingoes ate my baby'," she added with a smile. "I've been getting to know Oz since a small incident we had a couple of months back with an assassin," she informed him.

 

Buffy almost blushed as she recalled the brief meeting with the guitar player, as it was still a very vivid memory for her, she had become very paranoid about the assassins Spike had sent after her and she had accidentally almost assaulted Oz, thinking he was one of them. He had been very forgiving about the whole thing and even slightly more amused than angry or annoyed.

 

"Anyway I'm afraid to say Pike that my mother refused to let you stay at the house," Buffy said, moving the topic onto something else and tried to be as apologetic as she could.

 

"I'm not surprised really, considering what went down before you came here," Pike said with a smile. "Tell her I understand and I apologize for my actions in helping you run away for a few months, as for the room, don't worry. I managed to find a motel to stay at for now," he added, as he took a seat. "So are the others coming?" he inquired.

 

"They should be," Xander replied from where he was sitting next to Cordelia, both very aware of each other and yet they tied to ignore the continuing changes in their feelings for one another.

 

"Buffy I think we need to talk later," Pike finally brought up the subject he was dreading to get into. "There are some things I need to discuss with you in private," he added.

 

Buffy looked Pike over before she nodded her head, not exactly liking his tone and something about the look in his eyes chilled her to the bones. She looked away and noted Max, Amy and Aura headed for their table and she pushed whatever Pike wished to discuss out of her mind, as she greeted them. As they all discussed recent events first and then moved to more normal subjects Buffy let her mind wander, as she looked around the club.

 

As she looked up onto the upper floor she froze as her gaze looked onto three individuals looking down at them all. Her senses screamed at her that they were vampires. She reached out and shook the nearby arms of Xander and Willow, who sat beside her and they stopped talking and looked up as well, when they noticed her distraction, from there the rest of the table all looked up as well. The lead vampire snarled at them, before that changed into a cruel smile, as he backed away from the railing and moved off, followed by his two friends.

 

"Vampires?" Aura asked, still getting used to the things she had come to learn truly existed.

 

"Yes they are and I have a very bad feeling they are not alone," Buffy answered. "Is everyone armed?" she asked, as she looked around the table.

 

The others nodded. Even the newcomers had quickly learned that it was best to have some stakes and holy water on hand, whenever they went out at night.

 

Buffy got up and made her way to the back of the club towards the exit. She was confident that they could deal with whatever awaited them. Especially in light of the fact there were more of them now, with a lot more skills available to them.
8. Chapter 8
Chapter 8

(Heavens)

Metatron stood next to God, Michael and Gabriel. They watched the events about to happen and they were somewhat surprised by the appearance of the vampire in question. He was not supposed to show up in Sunnydale for a few years yet, but then again, as with all things on Earth, they could do what they want and demons and vampires did not care about such things.

It would be a hard fight he mused, but then again when you factored in the Emperor, Paul, Prue and Sonya maybe not as hard, as it would have been before Halloween or if Halloween had happened as the Powers had originally planned it. Glancing at Gabriel and Michael he noted the two archangels were looking forward to a good fight. He also suspected they were hoping to witness this particular vampire's destruction as he more than warranted it.

"This should be good," Gabriel said with a smile, which was shared by Michael. "That vamp wannabe should have stayed away from the Hellmouth," he added.

"Yes, but I think the real Dracula has enough on his plate than to worry about every two bit impersonator in the world," Metatron observed. "Still I think should they succeed in deal with the impostor, it might even draw the Hellsing organizations attention to them sooner than expected, especially the one of Alucard," he continued.

"I agree. What has been set in motion is going to shake up a lot of things and cause some problems for her chosen champions," Michael concluded to which God only nodded.

"Still it will not be as easy you might suspect Gabriel," Metatron pointed out.

God held up a hand silencing them all and making them pay closer attention on the events about to unfold. Metatron only glanced to the side for a moment, as Rufus and the Muse joined them.

+++

(Outside the Bronze)

Buffy stepped outside the Bronze and took note of the seven vampires standing around the obvious leader of this particular group. He was tall with longish hair and rather disturbing eyes that seemed to bore right into her. Pike took up a flanking position on her left, whilst Xander took the right. Both were armed with stakes, Amy moved back and prepared to fight, as Max pulled his own stake, whilst Aura and Cordelia remained near the back entrance of the club and watched.

"So you are the slayer I have heard so much about?" the leader of the group said while he stepped forward with a smile. "You are very beautiful," he added and Buffy felt like throwing up as she heard that and a glance to the side showed her friends didn't like it either.

"And you would be?" she shot back trying to ignore the look in the vampire's eyes.

"I am Dracula," the vampire responded, as if it should be obvious who he was.

The group exchanged unsure looks at this, not really sure if to believe him or not. They all knew the stories and myths about the famous vampire, but none of them knew if he was actually real or not.

Xander shifted a little to make sure he could see a little better and not wanting to be caught off guard by any vampires who were hiding out of sight. He noted Amy taking a quick look behind them clearly thinking the same thing, as he was. The Emperor did not bother trying to gain control of their shared body, as he believed Alexander could deal with this threat on his own, he also suspected Paul and Prue would decide the same thing, but if they needed all they needed to do was ask.

"Color me impressed," Buffy finally said, deciding to try and insult the vampire and maybe make him slip up.

Dracula scowled not liking to not been taken seriously, but he was old enough to know not to just rush in. He had to give the Slayer credit, she was not as dumb as some of the ones he had fought before and killed so easily, due to their lack of control.

"Kill her friends and bring her to me," he ordered after a few moments.

The vampires rushed them only to be met by a combined counter strike from now seasoned warriors. Max struck with such speed that the vampire did not even feel the stake pierce its heart. Xander too moved at a faster pace than normal and imbedded his stake right on target, and was watching in satisfaction as the vampire dusted. Amy unleashed Prue's power on two vampires who came at them from behind, as she suspected they might do, they were flung into the nearby wall with enough force to cause a dent to appear. Cordelia and Aura pulled their own stakes and rushed over and staked them. Cordelia was annoyed that their night had been disrupted and so thrust the stake down hard.

Buffy jumped right over the vampire leaving it to Pike to handle and ran straight for Dracula. Her strike was blocked easily and she was pushed away. The smirk he gave her irked her and she lashed out with a back kick which was blocked as well. Growling a little she backed off again and tried to take the measure of the vampire.

Pike flipped his vampire onto its back and twisted the arm he still held back, breaking it and causing the vamp to cry out. Bringing his knee down onto its throat he pulled his stake and plunged it into the things heart, dusting it. Looking up, he watched Max and Xander meet another couple who came off the roof of the club. He moved to help only to see two more charge Amy, who had not yet seen them. He changed direction yelling her name as he went.

Amy turned as fast as she could, but knew she would not be able to cast any spells in time before they reached her.

Prue seeing this came to the fore and Amy allowed her to assume control of the body, Prue used her martial arts knowledge to evade the attack, as Pike intercepted the second vampire. Turning she lashed out catching the vampire in the side forcing it back.

Off to the side Xander exchanged blows with the vampire he was facing, whilst Max used his speed to dodge the vampire's blows and waited for an opening.

Buffy attacked again, only for Dracula to avoid it this time and then land a hard blow to her face. This unsteadied her, but she quickly regained control and shot her left foot out, catching him in the back of his knee this time, as he tried to turn around.

This forced him to one knee and allowed her to launch a sweeping kick at his head which sent him flying into a nearby bin. He groaned as he climbed back to his feet. He no longer entertained any ideas of playing with this slayer and focused on killing her instead. He did not see another body coming up behind him, until he was sent to the ground from a blow to the back of his head.

Looking up he was shocked by who he saw standing above him. "Angelus, what are you doing?" he demanded to know.

"Name's Liam actually and I intend to help kill you," Liam responded, relieved he had managed to find Buffy and the others in time to aid them fight his old nemesis.

He had only learned he was in town from Willy the snitch a half hour ago, since then he had been searching for him and his followers. He should have realized he would go for the slayer. Buffy was relieved to get some more help, as this vampire was actually no pushover. Dracula got back to his feet snarling, as he realized he was trapped.

He glanced at Buffy and then at Liam, before using his enhanced speed to charge Buffy, who was almost caught off guard.

Xander growled as he just barely managed to block the strike from the vampire and twisting around, he shot his leg out and caught the vampire's own legs, sending it to the ground. Cordelia following some strange instinct inside her shot out from her cover and staked the vampire, whilst it was on the ground before it could react. Xander gave her a small smile, as he helped her up and then turned to help Max. At that point Max got his opening as the vampire lashed out, over extending himself and leaving himself wide open to Max. He quickly plunged his stake right into the things heart and just glared, as the thing dusted.

They turned to see Pike destroy the vampire he was fighting by first breaking the kneecap and then he brought down his elbow onto the things neck with such force they all heard it snap. The vampire dropped to the ground paralysed, leaving it defenceless as Pike staked it. They all turned to Prue who now had her vampire up against the wall, but had not stake so Aura rushed over to help and staked it whilst Prue held it.

Dracula did not notice the destruction of the last of its followers and concentrated on sending the slayer sprawling onto the ground with a viscous backhand. Liam however caught him, as he turned back to face him and sent him stumbling backwards. As he went to strike back he was sent flying into the wall with such force he could not get back up to his feet straight away, Prue concentrated again and sent the vampire right back into the wall. Buffy nodded her thanks and quickly rushed over and thrust her stake straight down into Dracula's heart. She caught the shocked look in his eyes before he dusted.

"Well that was fun," Cordelia muttered.

"Such is our lot in life Cor," Xander replied with a smile. "Our nights always end up disrupted," he reminded her, which caused her to glare at him in return.

"Well at least we killed Dracula," Max put in, replacing his stake and sensing Paul's satisfaction with his performance during the right.

"Maybe," Liam countered. "He has been staked before and come back. He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve," he warned them.

Before any of them could respond they were startled by the arrival of Metatron in a hail of lights, he smiled and nodded in greeting.

"Not bad," he commented. "Destroying that impostor has made some impact with the powers and elders, much to God's delight," he informed them, his smile growing.

"Did you say impostor?" Buffy demanded to know, locking only on that fact.

"I'm afraid so slayer," Metatron responded. "He was just a demonic vampire trying to use Dracula's name to his advantage. With much success I have to admit," he went on with frown. "The real one is a far different game as you may find out in time, but remember this, not all vampires are the same race or type," he advised before vanishing again.

"What the hell did he mean by that?" Prue said, with quite a bit of annoyance in her voice.

"I guess we will have to wait and find out," Buffy shot back almost annoyed. "Come on, we better tell Giles about all this," she added and began to lead them to the library.

+++

(Heavens)

God smiled, as she watched some of her chosen champions head back to their base. Killing the false Dracula was a good start and it had shut up a lot of the arguments they had been hearing from the powers and elders since this had happened. Glancing around she noted the satisfaction on Gabriel and Michael's faces, Rufus and the Muse were smiling, clearly also pleased by their success.

Metatron returned looking just as satisfied as he rejoined them. However she knew he also was slightly worried about certain things. She knew also what those points were and if they did turn out to be a problem she would act to correct them. Hopefully her champions were up to the challenges they would face as time passed.

+++

(City Hall)

The Mayor looked up as his aide Alan all but ran into his office, much to his amusement. Alan had always been high strung and right now his emotions seemed to be getting the best of him.

"Problem Alan?" he inquired.

"The Slayer and her friends were involved in a large incident tonight sir," Alan answered. "One of your followers was jus lucky enough to be on site to see it," he added.

"Oh what made this clash so special?" the Mayor inquired, as he leaned back in his seat and folded his fingers together.

"The vampire leading the attack was Dracula," Alan reported, going slightly pale just thinking of meeting said vampire.

"I somehow doubt it," the Mayor replied after a small silence. "The real Dracula is no longer what he was. Must have been that impostor I have heard so much about," he mused with a slight smile. "What happened?" he asked giving his aide his full attention.

"Dracula or the impostor and all of his followers were staked," Alan reported. "However your spy reported new faces aiding the slayer, we do not yet know who they are, but it seems she is expanding her group," he continued nervously.

The Mayor frowned not liking this piece of news one bit, the more people involved in helping the slayer the more trouble she would be when his time to ascend came. He needed to know who these newcomers were and what skills they had. He also needed to find a way to trim them down and kill some of them without exposing himself as a threat.

"Have our people look into these newcomers. I want detailed reports on who they are and what they can do," he ordered. "And send someone to bring Spike to me. I think he can help me with this problem," he added, after deciding on the best course of action.

"Yes sir," Alan responded instantly and quickly fled the office, easily able to see his boss was pissed and that was never a good thing.

The Mayor stood up and went to the window to look out into the darkened town. Spike would be the perfect tool to use against the slayer and her friends and if he failed then no harm was done.

+++

(Sunnydale High School)

Giles looked up as Buffy and most of the group returned. All were caught up in either small talk or deep thought. He glanced over to where Willow sat and was reading one of his many books and noted she too had noticed the others return. Jenny came out of the stacks, as she heard the noise and noted the group was back, however she quickly noted they were all tense. Thanks to her knew vampiric senses she could detect increased heart rates and blood rush, they had been in a fight.

"What happened?" she asked, as she moved to the table as everyone collapsed into a seat around it.

"We were attacked at the Bronze by a group of vampires led by someone claiming to be Dracula," Buffy reported.

"Good Lord," Giles muttered, removing his glasses and polishing them. "Are you sure it was really him?" he asked his charge.

"At the time we had no reason to doubt him and An...," she stopped glancing at Liam. "Sorry Liam, confirmed it was him however after we dusted them all, including Dracula, Metatron appeared and told us he was an impostor and we may meet the real one someday," she continued.

"Oh dear," Willow gasped in horror at the very idea.

"He also gave us a cryptic warning as well," Amy put in, having resumed control of her body again now that the danger was passed.

"What did he say?" Jenny asked, leaning forward slightly.

"He told us ‘remember this, not all vampires are the same race or type'," Amy answered, still very confused as to what he meant and she could feel Prue was just as confused.

"I see," Giles said, putting his glasses back on as he thought over the archangels words. "Maybe he is referring to the fact the demonic vampires are not the only type of vampires out there," he mused aloud.

He missed the shocked looks most of the group exchanged at this, especially Buffy and Willow. Liam winced as he realised he had forgotten to warn them about this as well. He had never expected any of them to have to face maybe a Nosferatu type vampire, then again they should realized this when Metatron told them about Sonya's type of vampire.

"I would have thought your would all understand this by now," Jenny said, having the same thought as the souled vampire. "I am a completely different type of vampire than the demonic ones you are used to," she reminded them. "Thank god," she muttered under her breath.

"Yeah, I guess we just forgot about that and what it really meant," Xander spoke up, his mind going a mile a minute as he thought over what kind of threats these other types of vampires would be.

Inside the Emperor also turned his attention to this new problem, he had not detected any immediate problems from these other types of vampires when he had scanned for threats, most likely because they meant no harm to his allies. Still he decided he would do a more detailed scan later on tonight and see what they might end up fighting. His mind then went back to the other problems facing them.

"So what do we do Giles?" Buffy asked.

"For now I suggest you all go home and get some rest. Tomorrow I will bring you up to speed on the other types of vampires out there," Giles responded. "Mr. Pike, I recall you need somewhere to stay and I think my spare room will be better than a motel, as they offer no real safety from vampires," he added, glancing at the younger man who nodded gratefully and caused Buffy to give him a large smile in thanks.

The group broke up with Buffy walking Willow and Amy home. Xander made sure Cordelia and Aura got back alright. Max and Jenny hitched a ride with Rupert and Pike.

+++

(Spike's hideout)

Spike leaned against the wall and was going over his sudden meeting with the Mayor he had just got back from. He did not like being bossed around by anyone. However he knew how dangerous the warlock was. So he guessed he would do as he was told and kill some of the slayers new friends and if he could, the slayer herself. Not like he was opposed to some real violence after all.

What he needed though was a good plan, as the last few times he had tangled with the slayer and her friends he had come off worse for wear. Her allies making her a much more challenging enemy, but that just made it all the more fun for him, maybe he should use some outside help before he remembered he had tried that already and failed thanks to the efforts of the second slayer who had showed up. He had been lucky not to be injured worse than he had been during that mess. He would hate to think what might have happened had that damn beam hit him.

Turning away and heading for his bedroom and Drusilla he kept turning ideas over in his head. Ah he would come up with something he was sure, but for now he had other duties to take care off.
9. Chapter 09
Chapter 09

(Xander's House)

Xander sat cross legged as he thought over the events of the night, their failure to recognize important information that had been given to them and then finally his growing closeness with Cordelia. He thought over the cryptic advice Metatron had given them. Somehow he did not think the voice was talking about just different species of vampires. No he had meant something else, but he could not put his finger on what it was and that annoyed him.

 

‘What do you think?' he asked the Emperor.

 

‘I agree that he meant something else but I am not going to tell you what I think it meant. I believe working it out yourself will be best,' the Emperor responded with an amused tone.

 

Xander frowned, before he shrugged his shoulders and allowed the Emperor to assume command of their body. It no longer bothered him that he shared his body with someone else, because at least now he could truly help keep this world safe. More importantly he could stop what happened to Jesse happening to anyone else, especially his friends.

 

The Emperor stood up and moved to the window looking out into the darkened sky. His mind was once again on the greater threats he had sensed in space. Dangerous situations were arising and whilst the military of this country was beginning to fight back, they were divided from possible allies by secrecy and lies. Like his own world it needed uniting under one banner. He could offer them much and help protect this world, until they were ready to truly walk around the galaxy.

 

The danger was exposing himself and Xander and his friends to the government. He knew that not all of them could be trusted to not try and misuse what he offered and worse there were some who would attempt to capture and experiment on them for their own purposes. He would discuss this with the others tomorrow before taking action. He believed the longer he waited the more threats to Earth would appear. After deciding that he released control to Xander who began to get ready for bed, he hoped his memories would not wake his new friend again.

 

+++

 

(Max's house)

 

Paul paced around, feeling cut off from his home and more importantly from Chani. He knew that he was here for an important reason, but the loss of Chani was beginning to get to him. He also knew his pain at the loss of his love was impacting Max as well. He could not control that, no matter what he did to stop it reaching his host.

 

Ever since he had met Chani she had become his anchor, his reason for living. She was a port in the storm that had been his life back on Arrakis, his safety net against the destiny that stalked him all his life. Now that she was no longer by his side he felt lost and alone. He felt like he was dying on the inside. Finally he let go of control and let Max come to the fore. He hoped sleep would at least stem the pain for a time. Max shook his head, but doubted even in sleep he would escape Paul's pain and his longing for his lost love. But at least it would muffle the pain somewhat, getting into bed he closed his eyes and waited to fall asleep.

 

+++

 

(Heavens)

 

God and Metatron watched with ever growing concern as Paul fall into depression began to affect his host badly enough that it could cost them both in a fight. God knew action would have to be taken and quickly, so that the situation would be cleared up and Paul could then focus his full attention on the reason why he had been brought here.

 

Of course for the situation to be sorted out she needed to bring Chani here to help in the same way as Paul had been brought here. Just without using the chaos mages spell, but her own power. She knew exactly who to send the voice to, to discuss this.

 

Metatron nodded in agreement and vanished.

 

+++

 

(Aura's House)

 

Aura was just about to jump into bed when she was surprised to see Metatron appear in her room in his usually sparkle of lights. He seemed to cringe somewhat, as if expecting to be attacked. When he opened his eyes and noted she was just watching him he grinned in relief. She wondered what had happened to him before to make him so nervous.

 

"Makes a change," he stated and at her raised eyebrow he continued. "I usually end up attacked in some way when I just pop up in a woman's bedroom," he explained.

 

"Oh really?" Aura inquired trying hard not laugh at the idea of the powerful angel been attacked by a normal woman.

 

"Oh you have no idea, you women are all crazy," Metatron stated. "Last time I got pelted with a fire extinguisher and the time before that it was a bucket of water," he complained. "I mean come on, does every woman think a guy popping into her bedroom thinks he is after her body?" he asked.

 

"Yes actually," Aura answered before breaking into laughter, but she quickly brought it under control as she noted the glare coming from the Voice. "So what do I owe the solo visit for?" she inquired.

 

"I'm afraid we have a slight problem and God believes you may be the key to sorting it out," Metatron explained. "But I will warn you first, if you agree to help it will put you more on the front line of this fight," he added.

 

Aura took all of that on board and frowned not exactly wanting to be in so much danger, but she knew in hear heart that she could not turn her back on her new friends and allies and the world in general.

 

"What's the problem?" she asked, wanting a bit more information before she made her choice.

 

"It's Max and Paul," Metatron answered with a sigh as he sat down on a nearby chair. "Paul is not handling the separation from his lover Chani well and it is causing him and through him Max great pain. This is dangerous and could lead to them either getting killed or something much worse," he informed her. "We cannot allow that to happen and so God needs to bring Chani here in the same way Paul and the others arrived. She would like you to host Chani," he stated.

 

Aura blinked. She had expected quite a few things, but that had not been one of them. She sat down on her bed and tried to organize her thoughts. Did she think she could actually live a life while sharing her body with another person? To be honest, she had no clue. What she did know, was that she cared about Max and did not want him to suffer due to the affects of Paul being separated from someone. Someone he clearly loved so very deeply that it causes him pain to be so far away from her.

 

She also knew she wants to be able to help defend their home town more and this would be a way of doing just that. She had long grown tired of seeing so many people she knew vanish into the unknown. Except she now knew what had happened to them, she wanted to help put a stop to it all and so she concluded that sharing her body with someone else, was something she could live with, if it let her help people.

 

"I'll do it," she finally spoke in a determined voice.

 

"Then I suggest you go to bed. We will do this whilst you are asleep and spare you the pain the others felt. Chani will be told why this is happening before we join you together," Metatron responded, pleased by her response. "When you wake up, I am sure the two of you will have much to discuss. I will turn up during your meeting tomorrow to explain the change," he continued before he vanished.

 

Aura remained seated for a few minutes before she climbed into bed and waited to fall asleep. Tomorrow a new life awaited her and she felt both fear and excitement at the thought of it.

 

+++

 

(Heavens)

 

Metatron reappeared to find God was very happy about Aura's choice, not that he was surprised by this. Whenever humans acted like the beings God had intended them to be, she was always very happy. It was just a sad state of affairs that so many of them fell to their baser instincts and did so many evil things. At those times God never smiled and was always in a very grim mood. He turned around and headed off, hoping this would stop Paul's fall. He would be needed as events unfolded, as would Max himself.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School, next day)

 

Aura entered the school and headed straight for the library. She felt completely different than before she had gone to sleep, but then again she had expected as much. Waking up and in a sense meeting Chani for the first time had been a mind blowing experience. She found the woman to be a very unique person unlike anyone she had met before.

 

Granted that should have been expected as she was a woman not only from another planet, but another dimension. Her reaction to being brought to a galaxy that was so different than her own was filling her with awe and a little fear, but she knew Paul was here and that was all that mattered to her. She just hoped Max and Paul would accept this new twist. Chani did not seem to think they would have any problems, but she was not so sure.

 

Entering the library she found everyone had already arrived and was seated either at the table or nearby. She quickly glanced to where Max was sitting and felt a swell of emotions wash over her from Chani. Taking a deep breath she walked over to the table and took a seat. A few seconds later Metatron appeared in a flash of light and was leaning against one of the book stacks. Everyone glanced up, surprised to see him again so soon, except for Aura who knew he would be showing up.

 

"You know, I'm beginning to think you like hanging around us Voice?" Xander said with a smile.

 

"You provide some measure of amusement, but I wouldn't go that far Alexander," Metatron responded easily making Xander grimace at his full name.

 

"Is there a reason for your visit or did you just come to have us amuse you?" Buffy asked darkly, but the tone of her voice gave her away and they all knew she meant no hostility.

 

"Temper, Slayer, temper," Metatron shot back as he took a seat. "Yes there was a reason I showed up," he continued. "I always come with a purpose, no matter if it is big or small," he informed them.

"And your reason for showing up now is?" Jenny asked feeling amusement from Sonja at Metatron's act.

 

"God has decided to add another champion to your group in part to ground one of you better," Metatron answered seriously. "Now I know what you are going to ask, so before you do, listen and listen well. God may know all, but that does not mean she cannot make mistakes," he continued with a slight glare. "It has happened quite a few times in your history and before that. Mankind has a rather flawed vision of God," he stated.

 

The whole group remained silent, as they all took this in. It was a rather surprising thing to hear, but they had to give Metatron his due. Humans in general always had a flawed opinion of God and especially of themselves.

 

"Who was chosen as host and who did you bring forward?" Amy inquired, bringing them back to the most important factor of this discussion.

 

"Aura was chosen, due to certain circumstances and as to who we brought here," Metatron replied, before he smiled. "Well I will let her introduce herself," he continued.

 

Aura closed her eyes and allowed Chani to come to the fore, surprised by how easy she found this. She again prayed this went as well as Chani seemed to think it would.

 

Chani stood up and looked around the room at the assembled group. She had been told who and what they did. Who the other champions alongside Paul were and what they had done in their own realities. She was quite amazed to be honest, but all that mattered was, that she was where Paul was, no matter what shape he took.

 

"Hello Paul," she said turning towards Max.

 

Max had to force himself to relax, as he felt Paul surge to the forefront of his mind. He knew that voice. Knew it so well that it made Paul wanted to shout in joy, she was here. Max felt relieved that Paul would be free of his pain and so would he. He had been reunited with his lost love and now they could focus on the fight ahead.

 

"Chani," Paul responded, jumping to his feet and swept her into his arms, ignoring the fact that like him, she was now in a host body. It did not matter to him, because his reason for living was once again by his side.

 

"Cool," Willow said with a smile, as she watched the reunion. "So Metatron, do you moonlight as a date agency?" she asked, causing most of the room to burst out laughing.

 

Metatron rolled his eyes and vanished in a flash of light, very sure he would get some annoying jokes from Rufus, Loki and Bartleby for the red head's question. God would smile and skip away he was sure. Sometimes he wondered what he had done to earn such a life.

 

+++

 

(City Hall)

 

The Mayor looked up as Alan once again walked into his office with an update, as normal the man looked nervous and almost afraid of him, which always amused him.

 

"Ah Alan, what news?" he inquired, while leaning back in his chair.

 

"We have managed to identify one of the people now helping Miss Summers. It is a witch of known ability and one of those you have under watch," Alan reported. "Miss Amy Madison, why she is now getting directly involved in the Slayer's actions we don't know, but she is," he continued. "As to the others so far our sources have not found out their identities," he said with worry.

 

"I see, well tell them to increase their efforts, won't you Alan?" the Mayor responded.

 

"Of course sir, another piece of news sir is that the minion of Lothos, Bracus, has arrived in Sunnydale," Alan continued. "It was confirmed during the night. He has taken up residence in one of the abandoned warehouses," he added.

 

"Is he alone?" the Mayor inquired with a raised eyebrow.

 

"I am afraid not sir. He has brought four other of Lothos's minions with him," Alan answered, knowing this would anger the Mayor.

 

"I see, well let us hope he kills Mr. Pike quickly and then moves on. If he does not and he becomes a problem, have our people deal with him Alan," the Mayor ordered.

 

"Yes sir. I am afraid that is all at the moment," Alan replied, wanting to leave the office quickly.

 

"Very well Alan. Keep me apprised of the situation," the Mayor ordered and watched as the man all but ran out of his office, which caused him to smile.

 

+++

(Warehouse)

 

Bracus growled as waited for the day to finish so that he could go out and hunt. Now he had the chance to finally kill not only Pike, but the murderer of his master Buffy Summers. Finally they had found her and they would have their revenge finally. He turned and stalked up and down thinking over what he would do when he got his hands on them. He ignored his fellow vampires, the only ones of the master's children who would follow him, instead of wallowing in misery as most did these days.

 

+++

 

(Sunnydale High School)

 

Finally Paul had stepped away from Chani, but kept her hand in his and explained why God had taken this action. Chani backed him up by telling what she was told before being joined with Aura. Giles and the others could understand why Paul had it so much harder than the others. They were at least pleased to see God had not just flung them together and then forgotten about them.

 

"Is there anything else to discuss right now?" Giles inquired from the head of the table.

 

"Yes," the Emperor spoke and stood up, having taken control from Xander. "As some of you know I am a Psyker. Using my powers I have sensed many threats on this planet and off it," he informed them.

 

"Of it?" Buffy asked in confusion.

 

"I am talking about alien threats Buffy," the Emperor responded with a smile. "They exist in this reality just as they did in mine. It seems your military has found a device which allows them to travel to the stars and have stirred up great trouble for Earth in general," he explained, amused by some of the reactions he saw. "However they are isolated and keeping it secret from the other governments, which weakens their position and could lead to this world being conquered," he stated.

 

"What can we do?" Max asked, as he felt the shift in Paul who was focused on this new problem.

 

"I can offer a lot of help to those using this device. Armor, weapons and even ships," the Emperor answered. "At least plans for them, Paul can do this as well, but it means taking a certain risk in exposing ourselves to these people," he warned. "You see, some in the government are trying to misuse this device for their own gain and would think nothing of capturing us and experimenting on us," he continued.

 

This caused a complete silence to descend on the room as they considered this new piece of information. Buffy was not sure she wanted to get involved in a fight even bigger than the one being the Slayer had thrown her into.

 

"Is it worth the risk?" Cordelia asked at last.

 

"I think so. If the people fighting these aliens fail, then Earth will be conquered. Millions will die and we will fail in our duty," the Emperor answered.

 

"Then I guess we will have to take it, won't we?" Cordelia responded, glancing at the others who slowly began to nod in agreement.

 

"Whilst we digest that, Buffy, I am afraid I have to admit something as well," Pike stated into the new silence that descended.

 

"Such as?" Buffy asked.

 

"I have been hunted by one of Lothos's minions. A real sick piece of work named Bracus," Pike admitted. "Most likely he will have followed me here," he added grimly.

 

Buffy stared at her ex silently as she heard his response and felt an anger begin to burn in her. Not aimed at him, but at Lothos and his minions. She fought off the memories of Merrick's death or at least tried to, but it still came anyway.

 

If any of Lothos's followers were in her town and wanted a fight, then by God she would give it to them and destroy them just as she had their master.

 

"Then we will deal with them Pike, just like we dealt with Lothos himself," she stated darkly, surprising a few with her tone of voice.
10. Chapter 10
Chapter 10

(Xander's House)

The Emperor stared out of the window as he sensed a dark and evil presence he had only briefly seen before. It was in the town and its focus was squarely on his new allies. This increased his own worry about how bad things might get if alliances were not struck and quickly. He and Paul were already working on how to approach Stargate Command and hope the government did not try anything underhanded. Prue, Amy and Leo were working on how to let Prue's sisters know that she was still alive after a fashion and finally Sonja and Jenny were discussing how best to approach Lucian and let him know of her return to life somewhat.

This move to form alliances had been pushed forward by the many threats they seemed to be facing. First there was Spike, Drusilla and their vampire followers who still posed a great threat, then there were the Lothos minions in town hunting Buffy and Pike and he considered them a greater danger than Spike and Drusilla. After that there was the many threats from space he had sensed and even Paul was now beginning to take notice of them with his prescience, of course then there was the underworld full of demons that the Charmed Ones dealt with as well as the vampires led by Victor. This new evil was just one more problem for them to deal with, but this evil was able to hide from his senses nearly all the time, which presented them with a problem.

‘How do we track him down so we can stop him from whatever it is he is doing?' Xander's thoughts quickly registered in his mind as the two souls shared one body their thoughts always came through to the other no matter who had control at the time. ‘He is clearly up to something if he is hiding his presence from us. Most other bad guys come right at us,' he added.

Considering the memories he had viewed of Xander and his friends past battles forced him to agree. This evil, whatever it was, clearly wanted to stay hidden until such a time as it was ready to attack. He would talk to Mr. Giles and Sonja on this matter tomorrow. This was not going to be easy and then there was the brief but worrisome sign of the chaos gods at the edges of this dimension. Clearly even with his power reduced by half they could still sense him. He wasn't sure they could breach the walls that separated their dimensions, but if they could it would cause a problem he doubted any of them could solve.

He would have to keep a very close eye on them as best he could and if it looked as if they might find a breach he would have to take drastic measures and ask God for a big favor. But right now it was not a huge problem and so he released control of the body and allowed Xander to come forward and prepare for bed. He found being in a human body again a pleasant yet strange experience after so many years of being outside of one.

Xander quickly had a shower and then slipped into bed wondering if there would be any more problems they might have to go up against. It seemed they had tons to do already. He sighed as he tried to get comfortable and hoped their plans would pan out. He did not look forward to the next couple of days. He was also worried about Buffy and how affected she seemed to be after Pike told her about the minions of Lothos, who had chased him straight to Sunnydale. He had never seen such anger and raw hatred in her and it worried him because it might make her prone to mistakes and so he vowed to keep an eye on her.

+++

(Deserted Factory)

Spike paced restlessly as he listened to the report from one of his minions, he was greatly surprised to hear there were some minions of Lothos in town. From what the minion had heard they were after the Slayer and one of her former allies who had come to town. He was unsure if he could use these vampires to his own benefit by offering an alliance, Lothos's progeny were not prone to being too smart.

He looked across the factory to where Drusilla lay sleeping and wondered if he should wake her and see if she had any advice on this matter, before reconsidering. He sent the minion away and decided to think on the matter some more, he was sure he could come up with a plan which would keep him and Dru out of the firing line should the plan fail. Maybe he could trick Lothos's followers into attacking the Slayer and her friends head on with some help and then he could attack with a second force when they were greatly weakened. ‘Yes,' he thought with a smile this seemed like a workable plan, but how to approach Lothos's minions without it turning into a full out brawl? Those of the Aurelius bloodline and those of Lothos's did not get on very well in the past and he was sure these particular ones would be in the mood for a fight with anyone since their master's death.

+++

(City Hall)

The Mayor listened as Alan read a list of regular reports, but he could not help but notice that he had nothing new of the new allies of the Slayer. Clearly they were trying not to advertise themselves or what they could do for reasons he could not yet fathom. He needed to know if these new players posed any threat to his ascension plans and he glared a little at Alan who began to shift nervously around in response. "Nothing new of the new allies of the Slayer then, Alan?" he inquired in a soft tone, yet anyone would be stupid to miss the hint of anger within it.

"Only that we've identified another of the people involved," Alan answered, doing his best not to sweat. "Aura Greenway, one of the rich and popular crowd," he informed the Mayor. "Her reasons for helping and what she brings to the table is as yet to be found out," he added.

"Another of the rich crowd's children has joined them?" the Mayor asked for clarification to which Alan nodded. "Strange, I would think they would stay well clear of them, there must be something we are missing Alan," he mused. "Tell our spies to try harder. I want to know why these people are getting involved now and I want to know just what the Slayer is up too," he ordered. "Is that understood, Alan?" he asked glaring at the man again.

"Yes Sir," Alan answered quickly nodding his head a few times before turning and leaving as fast as he could. Each meeting was getting more and more uncomfortable for him and it was getting harder to ignore the evils of the man.

The Mayor watched his deputy flee as if the devil himself was chasing him and let out a chuckle. Alan was round a little tight, but he was at least loyal and did not question him. He leaned back in his chair and wondered if he would have to remove the Slayer and her group before his plans could go forward. He hoped not as he wanted to snack on them all once he had ascended.

+++

(Jenny's House)

Jenny Calendar breathed deeply as she prepared for what was about to happen. Leo and Amy stood with her ready to help her set up a meeting with Lucian. She prayed Sonja knew what she was doing by moving this along so fast without informing the others. Sensing that all was ready she let go and allowed Sonja to take control. Leo watched as Amy also released control of her own body to Prue, he wondered just how hard this was going to be. At least this would give him some kind of look at how a meeting between Prue and her sisters would go when it was time, he knew hard would not even cover it at that time.

"Are we ready?" Prue inquired as she glanced at the other two. "Yes we are Prue, now I know this is not going to be easy, but I think the sooner we get these meetings out of the way the quicker we can form an alliance and prepare for what is to come," Sonja responded.

"I can see your point Sonja, but we are dealing with reunions which will involve a lot of emotions and will not be easy to work through," Prue replied thinking of how to deal with telling her sisters about her semi return to the living. "Lucian may not, will not accept you as you are now," she argued, her eyes showing this was one of her own fears.

"I know, a thought that chills me," Sonja responded with a shake of her head. "But I believe our love will prevail, it has guided him since the day I died all the long years since," she explained. "It has sustained his will to live, I have to believe he will recognize me for who I am no matter the body I am in and accept me," she stated as confidently as she could.

"Let us hope so," Leo put in as Prue did her best to look confident as well. He offered his hands to both women who after a second or two took hold and prepared for the meeting ahead, Leo orbed them all to the hidden layer of Lucian.

+++

(Sunnydale, Graveyard)

Buffy stalked through the graveyard with Pike, Max and Aura by her side. Giles was back at the library researching Lothos and his minions even though Lothos himself was dead. He had said any information they could gain was helpful in the end. She had to agree, since Halloween she had been reading more and more doing her best to make sure she was not caught off guard by any potential threat. She knew Giles was not always going to be on call to aide her. Anything could happen in the future and thus she had to start being smarter how she faced her calling.

At the moment though she was trying to finish some very old business, the idea of any of Lothos's minions being in her town brought out a dark bitter anger that she had not felt since she had slayed Lothos himself and avenged her fallen watcher. She would send each of these foul beasts to hell to join their Master in what she was sure was a painful afterlife. She gripped her stake tightly ready for a fight. She wished Xander was with them, but he had wanted to think over how to deal with the government unit the Emperor had sensed. They were also missing Amy and Jenny who had begged off for some reason.

"It's getting late Buffy," Pike's voice broke though her thoughts and made her refocus on the here and now. "Maybe we should call it a night and try again tomorrow" he suggested.

"I think Pike has a point Buffy," Aura agreed. "The darker it gets the more chance we will run into a group of vamps not even we can deal with," she argued. "Something tells me these vampires are not going to be stupid enough to attack us without help," she added.

"I agree," Buffy reluctantly agreed. "Ok, we'll call it a night, but tomorrow we'll come out in force and see what we can find," she stated annoyed, but only at the fact she would not be able to slay Lothos's minions. "Let's go home," she said before turning around and heading home.

Max kept an eye on the rear as they exited the graveyard but saw nothing. He found it strange that they had not encountered anything other than three normal vampires during the patrol. He wondered if something big was going on elsewhere, as they walked he took a hold of Aura's hand without really thinking about it. He missed the look Aura sent him not that she seemed to mind his act of affection, finally the group broke up with Buffy escorting Pike back to Giles' place where he was staying.

+++

(Lycan's Lair, Budapest)

Lucian the great Lycan leader sat in what passed for his private quarters looking at the only painting he had of his precious Sonja, murdered at the hands of her own father Victor for daring to love him and even more dangerous, at least to Victor, to have his child. He had relived that day over and over again, having to watch as she was burned alive unable to do anything to save her except scream her name in agony. He had escaped his own execution by forcing the change on himself and attacking Victor. He had wanted to bathe in the elders blood, but he had noted more vampires coming into the room to protect Victor and so had fled. The only thing he had of Sonja's was the pendant she had always worn even before he had met her. He touched it and ran a finger across its surface from where it hung on his neck. Leaning back in his chair he wondered what Sonja would think of his plan to finally end the war and more importantly avenge her death. Would she approve his risky gambit or would she consider it to risky. He missed her council so very much, he had walked this earth for so many years without her, set on only one goal to free his people of the danger the vampires posed and avenge his wife's death. Not once in all those years had he taken another lover, not once had he allowed himself to be swayed by another. He had remained loyal to Sonja's memory, only Raze his best friend and loyal second in command understood his reasons and he helped to keep the rest of the pack under control.

He was startled out of his seat when he noted what looked like a pack of small lights appear of to the side. His eyes widened in surprise as they coalesced into three people. A man with blond hair and sharp green eyes stood in the middle of two women, one seemed older than the other with longish dark hair and brown eyes which immediately locked on him, while the other also had black hair but had blue eyes.

"Hello Lucian," the greeting came from the older of the two women and was spoken with deep longing which stopped him from calling out for his body guards. He was confused as he had never met any of his guests and yet he could see the raw need and longing in the woman's eyes as she stared at him. ‘What was going on?' he wondered.

"Who are you?" he demanded to know. "And how did you get here?" he added moving his hand to one of his desk drawers where one of his pistols lay.

"Easy Lucian, we mean you no harm," Sonja responded, doing her best to keep her emotions at seeing her husband again. Face to face it was so much harder than she had originally believed it would be. "We are here to seek an alliance and to aide you as best we can and as to who we are well you might find the answer to that question somewhat hard to swallow," she explained.

Lucian frowned at her response not to sure how to take it. He glanced at the other two newcomers and noted they looked uncomfortable or at the very least uneasy. He sensed no threat from them and he had to admit he was intrigued by their offer of an alliance. Maybe they could aide him in destroying Victor without relying on such a fool as Kraven. He was no fool and knew he could not trust Kraven not to try and double cross him at some point. The man was a proven coward who had only survived this long due to Lucian tolerating him. Finally he indicated that they should sit down and he reclaimed his own seat. Something told him this was going to be interesting.

"Please regail me," he said with a smile, maybe this could distract him from the choices he would have to make soon.

Sonja took a deep breath before she launched into her tale, hoping Lucian would believe her. She could feel Jenny was just as uneasy about this as she was. In fact Jenny was fearful this would back fire and give the group more enemies to deal with. She prayed her host was wrong, she could not imagine ever taking arms against Lucian.

+++

(Summer's House)

Buffy sat on her bed thinking over how to go about finding the minions of Lothos and ending the threat they posed. She needed information and a small smile graced her lips as she decided to pay a visit to Willy tomorrow night before patrol. She was sure that snitch would have some clue as to where they were. Looking out at the darkened town she knew things in Sunnydale were about to heat up. Settling down in bed she closed her eyes and hoped for good dreams. She let out a sigh and wondered how Angel was getting on before she yawned and slowly fell asleep.

+++

(Imperial Palace Earth, Horus Heresy)

The Emperor looked out over the palace grounds as the battle for the planet continued to rage. He saw so many of his loyal soldiers dead or dying all over the place. His sons Sanguinius and Rogal Dorn were doing all they could to stop the followers of Chaos breaching the palace walls, but he knew in the end they would get in. The war was coming to an end and it would be a very bloody end. Somewhere up in space was Horus on his battle barge, corrupted by the powers of chaos his favorite son now intended to kill him.

‘How had it come to this?' he couldn't help but wonder. Everything had seemed to be going to plan, but somehow the Chaos gods had managed to corrupt not only Horus but eight of his fellow Primarchs, all now lost to him. They had been so close to uniting the human worlds under one banner, they had driven the powers of Chaos to the brink and now it was all falling apart. He should not have come back to Earth before the Great Crusade was finished. Had he not come back he could have kept a closer eye on Horus and the others and helped them resist the temptation of the Chaos gods. He was certain he could have stopped this before it got this far had he remained with his sons out there in the darkness of space. He had made a critical mistake coming back so soon.

"Father, the outer walls have been breached," Rogal Dorn reported as he came up behind him. "There was nothing we could do to keep them out," he added with a touch of bitterness in his voice.

"I am sure you did all you could to keep them out," the Emperor responded. "We must prepare for our final defense, we must...," he started to say before he trailed off. He could sense Horus and his exact location above them on his battle barge, for some reason he had dropped the shields around the ship and left himself open for an attack.

‘He is challenging me to come for him,' the Emperor realised. ‘I will accept the challenge and maybe just maybe I can stop the final assault by slaying Horus,' he decided.

"Father, what is wrong?" Rogal Dorn inquired as he noted the frown on his father's face.

"Gather your brother Sanguinius and a group of loyal Terminator suited Marines and Adeptus Custodes together and quickly," the Emperor ordered. "We may have one final chance to stop this madness, but we must move quickly. Horus has slipped up and we must take advantage of it, even if it is possibly a trap and we die in the attempt," he explained. "The last moves of this war are upon us," he finished.

"Yes Father, I will do as you order," Rogal Dorn said with a nod of his head before moving to comply with his orders. He hoped he would get a chance to face the traitor Horus and make him pay for all he had done. He knew that it was a chance Sanguinius would want as well.

Thirty minutes later the Emperor walked into the room which held the teleporter banks of the palace. He noted Rogal Dorn had managed to form a group of twenty Terminator suited marines made up from both Blood Angels and Imperial Fists legions. They were joined by twenty of his Adeptus Custodes bodyguards and he hoped it would be enough to break through whatever defenses Horus had in place on his ship. No matter what else happened he had to confront Horus face to face, stepping onto the teleporter pad he waited until the others had joined him before ordering the Servitor to begin the teleporter process.

When the teleporter process was done they found themselves in the belly of a clearly corrupt vessel and he noted their group had been somehow split up. The walls were coated in blood and the Emperor noted many arms and other human appendages sticking out of it including human heads. It was a grotesque sight and was enough to drive five of the Marines accompanying him insane, this was just more evidence that Horus was truly lost to him. He had to be destroyed for the good of all mankind, it was a bitter thought.

+++

(Xander's House)

Xander woke up and quickly ran to the toilet and was sick as the images the Emperor had seen on that ship continued to play in his mind, it got worse the deeper they had gone into the belly of the ship heading for its command centre. Finally it stopped and he took a deep breath and stumbled over to his bed, running a hand through his hair he wondered how the Emperor had managed to win that final fight.

‘With everything I had left in my body,' the Emperor responded to the question he had just thought. ‘I might have won that fight and saved my people, but it cost us dearly. My body was all but destroyed and we lost Sanguinius,' he explained. ‘Many more died during the final hours of the war and they were not easy or painless deaths,' he told him with a sigh. ‘I know it is not easy to see what I have seen Alexander, but examine my memories and learn from them. A war is coming or at least a far more active part of a war that is already raging and you will be on the front lines,' he advised.

Xander couldn't disagree with him on that point, with the events that were happening and what Metatron had told them he knew the Emperor was right. The war was about to explode into a much bigger one than ever before. He closed his eyes and prayed even with the help the Emperor and the others brought to their group they were up to the challenge ahead of them.
11. Chapter 11
Chapter 11

(Lycan's Lair, Budapest)

Lucian stared at the three newcomers with dark eyes as his emotions warred within him at their tale. He immediately wanted to dismiss this all as some kind of trap of Victor, but as far as he knew the deadly Elder was still in his long century hopping sleep. He felt anger, sadness and uncertainty waging inside him at what to believe. The one claiming to have Sonja’s spirit inside her kept her eyes locked on his, waiting for his response.

“I don’t know what you hope to gain with this deception, but...,” Lucian started to say, but Sonja cut him off.

“It is no deception Lucian and I can prove it,” Sonja told him, having expected some disbelief from him, but still hoping he would not prove resistant for too long.

Lucian got to his feet unsure what to say as this was all beyond anything he had encountered in his long life. ‘What could he say?’ he wondered at her insistence that what she said was the truth. Before he could say anything she began to tell him things only two people knew. One was himself and the other was Sonja. Collapsing back into his chair he could only stare at the woman in front of him. ‘This couldn’t be,’ he thought, but it was because of the things she was saying only he and Sonja knew that he started to believe it.

“How?” he started to say before pausing as he tried to gather himself. “How is this possible?” he finally managed to ask, once Sonja had sat back down.

“As I told you already Lucian I was brought back to alter the balance and change the plans put in place by these beings called the powers,” Sonja answered calmly, relieved he had so far not called for his guards. “Just before I died you leaned I was pregnant with our child as I tried to convince Victor to spare us both,” she reminded him, seeing he was still unsure. “Instead the news condemned us. I was ordered to be burned alive by my own father even as you pleaded for my life,” she continued. “You were forced to watch me burn,” she finished.

“Enough,” Lucian ordered as he shot to his feet as the memories of those events invaded his thoughts, although they were never far of his mind. He tried his best not to think about it. The memories still inspired so much rage and hatred that it was hard to keep in control.

“Hear me Lucian,” Sonja pleaded with him. “I am Sonja no matter what you see with your eyes. I’m here within Jenny,” she told him as he faced her once more.

Lucian looked deeply into the eyes of the woman claiming to have Sonja’s spirit within her, but he ignored what he could see with his eyes and instead focused on what he could see with his heart. While the woman looked nothing like Sonja, he suddenly noted how she moved and even more importantly how she spoke. Something he had not bothered to see before, not exactly knowing why he reached up and removed the pendant he wore and handed it to her. Sonja took it from him allowing her fingers to graze his as she did so. Looking down at the pendant she had carried all through her life Sonja felt the pain of knowing the man who gave it to her could ordered her killed once more. However she pushed that pain away and instead placed her finger on the pendant latch and watched as three sharp sections shot out.

Lucian watched in silence knowing the only way for her to know about the secret of the pendant was for her story to be true.

“Sonja?” he whispered.

+IR+

(Xander’s house)

Xander awoke again only this time it was not from the Emperor’s memories, no he had sensed a vampiric presence outside his house. Getting up he quickly headed for his window and looked out, there standing near a tree was a shadow which he guessed was a vampire. He was half tempted to jump out and kill it, but something stopped him. This was too brazen even for an experienced vampire unless it had some kind of plan.

‘This vampire is here for a reason beyond trying to bait you outside on your own,’ the Emperor warned him. ‘I believe it is here to gather information, more than likely for that hidden threat we have been sensing,’ he added.

‘How can you be so sure?’ Xander thought back.

‘This hidden threat might know about your new allies or at least that you have new allies and may want to know who and what they are,’ the Emperor advised.

‘That’s disturbing to think he could have such good sources,’ Xander responded with a shake of his head as he kept a close eye on the vampire who he was certain could see him.

‘He maybe more of a problem than we originally believed,’ the Emperor told him. ‘I believe we should inform the others of this, perhaps Max and Paul have sensed him as well,’ he suggested.

‘I guess it would be better putting them on their guard,’ Xander agreed after a brief silence. ‘I just hope we could hold off on that with the Lothos minions distracting Buffy,’ he continued, before letting out a frustrated sigh. ‘Then we have Spike, Drusilla and their followers always dogging our heels. Sonja and Jenny are preoccupied with meeting with Lucian and soon Prue and Amy will try and meet up with Prue’s sisters,’ he went on as he saw the vampire finally turn and leave. ‘Then we have the various alien threats out there, and last but not least on the edges of our dimension the Chaos gods wait,’ he finally finished as he let his head drop against his window.

The Emperor let out a brief chuckle before becoming serious. ‘Be calm Alexander. I know it is not easy being in such a position, facing multiple threats,’ he advised calmly. ‘However we are not beaten or weak until we are dead. What Prue and Sonja are doing is important as you well know,’ he told him. ‘If we can ally with Prue’s sisters and Sonja’s lover then we will be a stronger unit for it,’ he stated. ‘Your worry about Buffy is justified as she is letting her rage lead her. That is dangerous, but hopefully she can reign herself in before she gets herself into trouble,’ he went on.

‘Buffy’s temper is not something to dismiss. These Lothos minions have truly awakened something dark inside her,’ Xander pointed out.

‘Not dark Alexander, they have brought forth her rage at her first watchers death at their Master’s hands,’ the Emperor reminded him. ‘More than likely deep guilt as well that she couldn’t save him,’ he added after a brief pause. ‘She is strong. Have faith in her that she can control that rage,’ he told him.

‘I do,’ Xander responded with all the belief he could muster.

‘Good, it is that kind of trust and belief that will see us all through what is to come Alexander,’ the Emperor replied. ‘As for your concern about the Chaos gods, I am troubled as well that they have sensed me even through a dimensional barrier,’ he admitted. ‘Should they attempt to breach the barrier we may have to take a very grave risk to stop them,’ he explained.

‘I know exactly what you mean, as I’ve seen it in your thoughts,’ Xander told him as he pushed away from the window and went back to his bed and sat down. ‘If it is the only way to stop the Chaos gods coming here and destroying all we are trying to protect, especially my friends, then I will do whatever it takes,’ he swore.

‘I would expect no less from you Alexander, but we are not at that point just yet,’ the Emperor replied. ‘Now try and get some rest, tomorrow will be a long day,’ he added.

Xander just nodded his head as he lay back down, although the Emperor’s advice was sound he could not help but continue to worry until finally he slipped into a troubled slumber.

+IR+

(City Hall)

The Mayor looked up as Alan entered his office looking annoyed, which was a rare thing for the man. He leaned back in his chair and waited for his aide to begin speaking as he clearly had something on his mind.

“A few of your vampire servants have returned from their scouting missions, however they have very little to report,” Alan informed him. “They tried to lure a few of them out, but none of them would take the bait, not even the Slayer,” he added with a frustrated look.

“They are not as stupid as to not be suspicious of a lone vampire showing up at their home,” the Mayor told him with a small sinister smile. “My servants should do well to remember they are not dealing with fools. This Slayer and her friends are dangerous,” he reminded him. “Hell this Slayer is probably one of the most dangerous Slayers to exist for some time, which is why I have tried to keep my intentions hidden,” he admitted as he stood up and paced a little. “These new allies she has might make her even more dangerous or less so. What we need is someone on the inside,” he muttered.

“I do not think any of them will betray the group sir,” Alan pointed out.

“No I don’t think so either, but maybe we could find someone in the school who might infiltrate the group and get our answers for us,” the Mayor shot back thoughtfully. “Someone we can control to do what we need, maybe even put our enemies off balance or lead them astray,” he continued.

“Does that not pose a risk to us as well sir?” Alan inquired with a slight frown. “They could turn on us, sell us out to the Slayer and her friends,” he argued.

The Mayor stopped pacing and frowned at this as Alan made a good point, bribing a teenager to join the Slayer’s group was risky. Teenagers couldn’t be trusted not to try and play both groups for the greater reward, enforcing control of a youth came with its own problems.

“I shall think on this some more,” the Mayor finally said. “We have plenty of options open to us and even better, time is on our side,” he pointed out as he took his seat once more. “Was there anything else Alan?” he asked as he took out a few notes to look over.

“Lothos’s minions have begun to stake out a territory from which to strike. However they are not attempting to gather any followers,” Alan reported as he moved onto other business. “They have killed any vampire or demon they have come across. From their actions I gather they may have become slightly unhinged by the death of their Master,” he added, again looking troubled.

“Have they gone anywhere near the normal humans?” the Mayor asked, glancing at him.

“Not so far, I have three vampires keeping track of them,” Alan answered. “I believe once they have ensured no more vampires or demons are in their territory they will strike out at the Slayer,” he speculated.

“Maybe if we are lucky they will take each other out, but with these new allies I doubt it,” the Mayor shot back with a shake of his head. “Just make sure they don’t start running amok amongst the humans,” he ordered.

“I understand sir. The only other news I have to report is the lack of action by Spike and Drusilla,” Alan replied. “For some reason they have pulled back from the constant action they have indulged in against the Slayer and her friends,” he explained at the Mayor’s look of interest.

“Spike for all his bluster is not a fool either. He is more than likely aware of the newcomers as well,” the Mayor replied with a grunt. “He is probably trying to gather information just as we are, plus he will not want to risk Drusilla as she is still weak from what happened to her in Prague,” he informed Alan. “Still keep an eye on them just in case they are planning something that might interfere with my plans,” he ordered.

“Of course sir,” Alan said with a nod before he turned and left, leaving the Mayor to his reading.

+COF+

(Lycan's lair, Budapest)

Sonja almost lost control as Lucian finally seemed to be coming to believe she was real. Jenny whispered whatever encouragements she could, but she had no real idea how to help her.

“Yes Lucian it is me,” Sonja told him with a smile. “I have returned although not in any way I would have thought possible,” she added.

Lucian looked at Leo and Amy who had remained quiet throughout the entire discussion. He didn’t know what to make of them but they showed no hostility and so ignored them. He moved closer to Sonja who remained where she was, waiting and watching what he would do. The moment was charged and could go either way, finally Lucian seemed to come to a decision and pulled her to him and kissed her long and hard. Sonja eagerly gave into the kiss, while it was a strange thing for Jenny. She could feel the sensations of the kiss running through her body even though she was not in control of it at the moment, it would seem Sonja’s faith in Lucian had been justified.

Finally Lucian pulled away, but kept his eyes locked on Sonja’s. If he looked deeply enough he could almost see her features looking at him. Backing off a bit he tried to gather his thoughts, within that kiss he had felt Sonja’s passion and love and could not deny it was her. ‘It has to be,’ Lucian thought.

“I can barely believe this is happening,” he admitted as he faced her once more.

“When I first returned to life I could barely believe it myself,” Sonja admitted. “Now I have grown used to it, as well as sharing a body that isn’t mine,” she added.

“How does this Jenny feel about your love for me?” Lucian couldn’t help but ask. “In a sense I just forced a kiss on her which she didn’t want,” he pointed out.

“She knew it was a possibility before we came here Lucian. She doesn’t know you like I do although she has access to all my memories,” Sonja explained to him. “But maybe in time you both will grow to know and even possible love one another, because one thing I know for sure is if we are to continue our own love you two must find a way to co-exist,” she stated before allowing Jenny to assume control.

“That is something I’m willing to try,” Jenny told him with a hesitant look. “But that is for later. For now we have more to talk about Lucian, but maybe it is best if we leave you for now so that you can fully grasp what you already know and the comeback tomorrow night to talk more?” she suggested.

Lucian was surprised. He could actually see the change between when Sonja controlled the body in front of him and when this Jenny was in control. It would take a lot to get used to he thought, but for a chance to be with Sonja once more he was willing to get used to it.

“Very well, I will see you tomorrow night then,” he agreed finally as Jenny handed him back Sonja’s pendant.

He watched as her two friends all held hands before they vanished the same way they had arrived. Collapsing back into his chair he turned to look at the picture of his beloved and for the first time since her death he felt truly alive.

+IR+

(Sunnydale High School)

Giles looked up as Buffy entered the school looking frustrated as she moved to join Max, Aura, Cordelia and Willow at the table. So far no one else had arrived bar Pike who he had managed to get into the school by convincing Snyder he needed someone to help him in the library.

“Are you okay Buffy?” Giles inquired as she sat down with a huff.

“I had a stupid vampire show up outside my house last night. He didn’t try anything, but he remained there for a full hour,” Buffy answered. “I was going to go out and slay the arrogant twit. However I suddenly realized he might be trying to draw me out into a trap and so I remained where I was,” she explained.

“Which is probably exactly what it was Buffy,” Xander said as he came in, making her turn to face him. “I had a vampire show up as well, like you I was going to go out and stake it before I realized it was too convenient he would show up alone outside my house,” he went on as he sat next to her. “My guess and the Emperor agrees, is that they were scouting us out. They know we have some new friends and they want information on them,” he told them with a frown which was suddenly mirrored on the others faces. They were not beyond trying to lure us into a trap so they could torture the information out of us,” he stated as Jenny, Leo and Amy finally arrived looking slightly tired, but happy.

“Do you think they were working for Spike and Drusilla?” Cordelia inquired with a quick glance at Xander before quickly looking away slightly flustered.

Her feelings for Xander were continuing to change at an ever increasing rate and she still didn’t know what to make of it all. Then she had to factor in the fact Xander was sharing his body with someone else’s spirit. A part of her was creped out by the whole thing, while another tried to ignore it as best she could while she focused on Xander and the new feelings she had for him.

Xander was not blind to the look Cordelia shot him, but right now focusing on her was the last thing he needed or was he just trying to put off dealing with the new feelings he had begun to feel for her? He just did not know what to make of his sudden shift in that area after so many years of disliking the girl to suddenly begin to develop actual feelings for her was weird.

“No I don’t Cordy,” Xander responded with a shake of his head. “The Emperor and I have been sensing a hidden threat. Someone in this town is a far more dangerous enemy than Spike and Dru,” he informed them, causing a few more frowns to appear. “However he wants to remain hidden from us right now. We don’t know why as he is using very strong magic to keep himself hidden,” he explained.

“Is he a demon or a vampire?” Max asked. He had tried to reach out with his own powers to find this new threat, but he found nothing and thus released control of his body to Paul who quickly managed to find the target as he had far more control of his powers than Max, who was still learning how to use them. But as Xander had stated the being was using some very powerful magic to hide itself, he could get no real measure of what it was.

“I can’t say Max. The magic it is using to hide itself is troublesome even to me and the Emperor,” Xander answered. “So it must be something truly powerful,” he added.

“Wonderful,” Cordelia muttered in response. “As if we don’t have enough trouble to deal with already,” she added with a shake of her head.

“We’ll deal with it Cordelia,” Willow told her with a reassuring look. “Just like we’ve dealt with everything else,” she added as a confident smile appeared on her face. “Right Buffy?” she asked.

“As long as we don’t do anything stupid, then yes,” Buffy responded as she felt Pike lean on her chair from behind her. “We’ll deal with it,” she stated to which the others nodded.

“We have some good news,” Jenny spoke up after a short silence had descended over the group after Buffy’s reply. “Our meeting with Lucian actually went well. We managed to convince him that Sonja was back and sharing my body,” she informed them with a smile.

Sonja had been overjoyed by the fact she had managed to get through to him, it had lifted a weight off her shoulders. Jenny however was still trying to work out how she and Lucian would be able to deal with one another. Sonja was confident they could work something out once they knew one another better. She just hoped she was right.

“That is good news,” Giles said with a small smile.

“Yes it gives me a lot of hope to ensure my meeting with my sisters goes just as well,” Prue said taking over for Amy.

“Easy Prue, we can’t rush that meeting,” Leo cautioned her gently. “I sense a lot more problems there than we faced with Sonja and Lucian,” he warned.

“If you are talking about the Elders Leo then they have two options. They can either accept what will be or get out of my way because nothing will stop me from reuniting with my sisters,” Prue told him with a glare.

“Let us hope they will be as accepting as we hope them to be or we could have a lot more trouble on our hands than we already have,” Leo responded, causing another silence to fall.