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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 2:16 am 
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TWENTY

“You did a good job,” said Restin as Buffy walked into the parking lot of her own motel. “Although to be honest, I expected you to have finished it much quicker than you did.”

“They don’t always cooperate,” said Buffy. “Thanks for the heads up.”

“Just a good faith offering you might say,” said Restin.

“So,” said Buffy, “just what are you? You mentioned ‘we’ earlier. Who are we?”

“An interested group,” said Restin. “Let’s just say that we’re interested in people like you. People who can make a difference in the world.”

“So I’m supposed to just trust you now?” asked Buffy. “Simply because you pointed out one werewolf to me?”

“I don’t think so,” said Restin. “You don’t trust easily.”

“No, I don’t,” said Buffy. “And I definitely don’t trust anyone who won’t tell me who they are or what they want. You’ve said a lot of things but you really haven’t told me anything. And I’m getting tired of the runaround.”

“I’ll answer all of your questions,” said Restin, “in good time. As I said, you have a new destiny ahead. I’m simply here to help you with it.”

“What kind of destiny?” Buffy asked. “I’m no longer the only Slayer. “There are a lot of them now.”

“I know,” said Restin. “A side affect of fighting The First Evil. With the help of your friend, Willow, as I understand it.”

“You seem to know an awful lot about me,” said Buffy.

“I couldn’t help you otherwise,” said Restin.

“Which brings us right back to where we were before,” said Buffy. “You’re wanting me to trust you without any reason. Listen, Restin or whatever your real name is, I’m through being used. I didn’t ask to be the Slayer. I was forced into it. I even tried not to be the Slayer. It didn’t work. I’ve been manipulated and coerced and betrayed by people I thought were my friends. I’m through with all that. And just because you can vanish into thin air doesn’t mean I’m going to buy all of this new destiny crap you keep spouting.”

“I know,” said Restin. “I’m not going to try to manipulate you. Believe me, I know exactly what that’s like. I’m not even going to ask anything of you. I’m just going to give you some advice and whether you take it or not is up to you. I know you’ve told your friends about me. But they won’t have any luck discovering who I am.”

“We’ll see,” said Buffy. “But just keep this in mind. You try to manipulate me in any way and I’ll make you sorry you ever tried.”

“I’ll remember that,” said Restin, smiling. “For now, I’ll leave you to rest up. You have a lot of work ahead of you. You’re going to need your strength.”

Restin simply vanished. Buffy looked around not really knowing what she expected to see. This Restin person was certainly very odd. Whoever or whatever he was, she knew she shouldn’t trust him. And yet he had pointed out a werewolf who was apparently stalking young women in the area. Still, it would take more than that for her to let down her guard with him. Thinking about her mysterious benefactor, she headed for her room at the motel.
* * *

“So the guy really was a werewolf?” Dawn asked after Buffy told them about her encounter.

“Complete with fangs and fur and yellow eyes,” said Buffy. “If I hadn’t been there he would have killed that girl. From the looks of things he’s already killed about nine other girls.”

“Which means he’s been stalking them here for about three months,” said Giles. “I would imagine he move into an area and stalked young women for a few months and then move on before anyone got wise to him.”

“Any idea who this Restin is yet?” asked Buffy.

“Not yet,” said Giles. “It may take some looking. And it would certainly help if we knew more about him.”

“Can’t tell you any more than what I already have,” said Buffy.

She hadn’t told them about her meeting with him after killing the werewolf. There was something about him. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Every instinct in her told her not to trust this guy. But she found she liked him. And that disturbed her.

“We’ll keep looking,” said Giles. “In the mean time, if you should see him again, see if you can find out some more about him. The more information we have on him the easier it will be to figure out who he is. And what he wants.”

“Okay,” said Buffy. “Right now, I think it’s time we moved on. This power that Willow sensed. I think we should check it out. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Restin shows up at the same time Willow senses something powerful in San Francisco. For all we know Restin is this power she sensed.”

“I don’t think so,” said Willow. “Whatever it is, it’s still somewhere around Los Angeles. If it had come here, I would have sensed it move.”

“They might still be connected,” said Buffy. “And the only place we’re going to get any answers is San Francisco. If it was there, I’m willing to bet that Piper, Phoebe, and Paige know something about it.”

“Surely they can handle whatever this is,” said Giles. “They are the Charmed Ones, after all.”

“Maybe,” said Buffy. “I’d still feel better if we checked it out. We can be in San Francisco by morning. Then we can find out just what’s going on.”

Before any of them could answer a bluish light suddenly appeared in the room. When it subsided, a woman about Buffys' age stood near the door. She had reddish blonde hair and stood looking at the four. Willow stood up and raised her hands in a defensive posture. She clearly saw this young woman as a threat.

“Easy,” said Buffy, moving over to stand next to Willow. “She’s a friend. Hello, Paige. We were just talking about you.”

“Hi, Buffy,” said Paige. “Hello, Giles. And these must be Dawn, Willow and Xander. Buffy, you never told me Xander was such a cutie.”

“What brings you here?” Buffy asked, ignoring Paige’s comment.

“I came to get you,” said Paige. “Something has happened. Something that involves you. Piper and Phoebe and I thought it best if you came to the manor.”

“We were just planning to do that,” said Buffy. “Willow has sensed something in San Francisco and we were coming to check it out. Plus there’s something else I want to check with you about.”

“Great,” said Paige. “I need to orb you there immediately. What about your friends?”

“We’ll drive up,” said Giles. “At the moment, the bus and what we have in it are the only possessions we have. We should be there by morning.”

“Good,” said Paige. “Get there as quickly as you can. I’m not sure how much of this involves the rest of you but it’s best if you’re at least prepared. I’ll let Piper and Phoebe know you’re coming.”

“You guys watch yourself,” said Buffy to the group. “My new friend may be after one of you instead of me.”

“What new friend?” Paige asked.

“I’ll tell you when we get to the manor,” said Buffy. “It’s the other thing I mentioned.”

“Okay,” said Paige. “Come on. Orbing is actually kind of fun. The first time can be a bit unsettling but you get used to it.”

Buffy put her hand on Paige’s arm and Paige orbed them out of the room. Giles simply watched commenting that it was “fascinating”. Then, he, Dawn, Willow, and Xander began to collect their few belongings and headed for their bus. With the turn of events Giles wanted to get to San Francisco as quickly as possible.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 2:06 pm 
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TWENTY-ONE

“This is an unfortunate turn of events,” said Lucan. “If the Slayer tells the Charmed Ones about Cole, they might figure out who he is, even if he is using the name Restin. I’m not sure just how she’s going to react if she learns he was once the Source.”

“What do you suggest we do?” Mellock asked.

“We could block her memories,” suggested Trembor.

“That would be tricky,” said Lucan. “She has an unusually powerful force of will. I’m not sure it would even be possible to block her memories because of that.”

“Clearly we have to do something,” said Mellock. “We can’t do anything to the Charmed Ones. They’re much too powerful. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had to choose the route we have.”

“Let’s just wait for the moment,” said Lucan. “After all, they think Cole has been permanently vanquished. His description could fit any number of people.”

“But they may figure out that he’s an Avatar,” said Trembor. “And you know how they feel about us.”

“Yes,” said Lucan, “but it’s a chance we’ll have to take. We all knew there were going to be risks with this plan. Let’s see how the Charmed Ones react and then we can decide what to do about it, if anything. Besides, the last time we spoke with him – just before he left to see the Slayer – I noticed he had changed the color of his eyes. A minor change but it may be enough to make the Charmed Ones less likely to suspect him.”

“I guess so,” said Mellock. “It’s just that after all this time, it can be a bit frustrating to simply sit by when everything we’ve planned for could be destroyed in one instant.”

“I don’t think that will happen,” said Lucan. “We will need to make some adjustments. If they’ve gone to get the Slayer, I think it’s probable they’ve gone to get the vampire as well. Having them all together is going to cause some problems.”

“I’ll check on that,” said Trembor. “If they do go get the vampire, we should at least be prepared for it.”

“Good,” said Lucan. “Mellock, inform the others of what’s happened. We’ll need to keep an eye on the Charmed Ones, the Slayer, and the vampire very closely from now on. Tell the others whatever they are working on may have to wait. We may need them to keep an eye on this little group for us.”

“I’ll take care of it right away,” said Mellock.

Lucan thought about the turn of events as Mellock and Trembor moved off to take care of their duties. Mellock was right. They had to do something. But until they knew how the Charmed Ones would react to Buffys’ news, any actions would be premature and might cause things to get even worse. As risky as it was, they would simply have to wait. Something Lucan was very practiced in.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 3:55 am 
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TWENTY-TWO

“Afternoon,” said Chris coming into the kitchen.

Piper was already in the kitchen. She was busily preparing dinner and all but ignored Chris as he came into the kitchen.

“Still not talking to me?” Chris asked hesitantly.

“I don’t know,” said Piper. “The story you told us last night was an interesting bit of fiction. I have to admit, though, after telling it half a dozen times I couldn’t find any flaws in it.”

“That’s because it’s all true,” said Chris. “Piper….”

“Odd that you should call me that,” said Piper, turning to face him. “After all, I am supposed to be your mother. You claimed you were eight when this all started so I assume you remember me as your mother.”

“Yes, I do,” said Chris. “I guess I’ve just gotten used to calling you that over the past few months. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t appreciate it if I called you ‘mom’.”

“You got that right,” said Piper, turning back to the stove.

“Morning everyone,” said Paige coming into the kitchen. “How did everyone sleep?”

“Uneasy,” said Chris.

“I can imagine so,” said Paige. “How about you, Piper?”

“Let’s just save the small talk this morning, okay, Paige?” Piper asked.

“You’re still upset with Chris?” Phoebe asked, following Paige into the kitchen.

“I wouldn’t call it upset,” said Piper. “Let’s just say I’m still not convinced that what he told us is the truth. He’s lied to us before.”

“This isn’t getting us anywhere,” said Chris. “Wyatt is still out there. He orbed out of the manor yesterday so he didn’t go back to the future. Which means he’s still in our time. My guess is that he’s planning his next move.”

“And just what would that be?” Piper asked. “Supposedly all of what you told us doesn’t take place for another eight or nine years. Why come back now?”

“To stop me,” said Chris.

“Stop you from stopping him?” Piper asked.

“Yes,” said Chris. “If I can prevent Wyatt from becoming infested with the demonic essence, I can change everything that’s happened. Maybe put things right again. I was too young the first time. Maybe now I can make a difference.”

“And what if you can’t?” Piper asked. “What will you do then? Neither Leo nor any of the other Elders can seem to be able to sense Wyatt or whoever he is. Which means he could be anywhere. What happens if after everything you’ve done you still can’t prevent my son from being infected? What will you do then?”

“I don’t know,” said Chris. “At least you guys have been warned this time. So have the Elders. Maybe that will make a difference.”

“From what I saw,” said Paige, “I’m not sure that will make a difference. Wyatt was pretty powerful. Stronger than any demon we’ve ever faced. At least the potion Chris gave us will protect us from being frozen by him again.”

“It should last for about four months,” said Chris. “But we have to remember that you three aren’t his only targets. He’s going after the Slayer and the vampire with a soul. I think you called him Angel. We need to find them and try to figure out why they’re a threat to Wyatt.”

“Well, Angel was living in Los Angeles the last I heard,” said Phoebe. “As for Buffy, I’m not sure exactly where she’s at. Sunnydale disappeared into a giant sinkhole. Most of the townspeople had left but some were still in the town when it happened. It’s possible she died along with them.”

“No, she’s still alive,” said Chris. “And it wasn’t exactly a sinkhole. It was something called the Hellmouth. And it collapsed when she defeated something called The First Evil.”

“Any idea where she is now?” asked Paige.

“Somewhere along Route 66 if I remember correctly,” said Chris. “She eventually moved to San Bernardino and settled there. That’s where Wyatt found her and killed her.”

“Okay,” said Piper, “assuming you’re telling the truth – and I’m not conceding that you are – you’re right about one thing. We need to find them and figure out why they’re a threat to him. Whether he’s actually Wyatt or not he’s definitely a threat. And they definitely don’t have the power to stand against him.”

“I might be able to find Buffy,” said Paige. “If she’s moving down Route 66 she’s probably staying in a motel or hotel on the highway. If I concentrate hard enough I might be able to sense her.”

“Good idea,” said Piper. “Chris, you can orb Phoebe to Los Angeles and find Angel. Try to convince him to come back with you. Once we have them both here we’ll start trying to figure out what to do next.”

“What about Leo?” Phoebe asked.

“He’s trying to track Wyatt down,” said Piper. “As an Elder he can follow an orb trail. Only with Wyatt masking himself the way he is Leo’s having trouble following him.”

“You keep calling him Wyatt,” said Phoebe. “Does that mean you may be beginning to accept what Chris told us last night?”

“I’m not sure,” said Piper. “But we have to call him something. For now we’ll just stick with Wyatt. Until we find out who he really is.”

“Piper,” began Chris.

“You guys better get going,” said Piper. “The sooner we get Buffy and Angel here the sooner we can start to plan our defense against this demon. I’m going to work on some potions that might help when – and if – he comes back.”

“Come on, Chris,” said Phoebe, linking her arm in his, “her mind’s made up. Just give her some more time to get used to the idea.”

Chris just sighed and then orbed the two of them out of the manor. Paige concentrated for several seconds then she, too, orbed out of the manor. Piper went into the living room and looked at baby Wyatt playing blissfully in his playpen. If the man who had attacked them was her son all grown up he was a far cry from the baby she was looking at. And while she desperately didn’t want to believe Chris’ story, some small part of her kept insisting it could be true. And the implications of that were too terrible for her to contemplate.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 5:24 am 
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TWENTY-THREE

Cole watched as Lucan and Mellock walked up to him through the swirling mists that were the home for the Avatars. He didn’t know why they had sent for him. They had made it clear that getting the Slayer to trust him had been his top priority. He couldn’t do that if he was up here.

“Cole,” said Lucan, nodding to him slightly.

Mellock didn’t say anything. He rarely did. He usually just started talking, telling Cole of the plans that needed to be completed. Cole got the distinct impression that Mellock was impatient about something. Unlike Lucan, who never seemed to betray his emotions. Nothing seemed to bother the elder Avatar. Something that Cole found decidedly odd.

“Why did you send for me?” Cole asked. “I’ve only just begun to interact with the Slayer. It’s going to take more than my telling her about one werewolf for her to trust me.”

“We know,” said Lucan. “But there has been a…. complication. The Slayer is going to see the Charmed Ones. She will undoubtedly tell them about you in the hope that they will be able to tell her who you are.”

“That’s a problem,” said Cole. “The girls think I’m dead. If they figure out who I am….”

“Precisely why we had you use a false name,” said Mellock. “None of us use our real names when we interact with mortals. Her description of you can fit any number of people. I doubt they’ll figure out it’s you. As you said, they believe you to be dead.”

“But what if they do?” asked Cole. “And why would Buffy be going to see them anyway? She’s rarely sought outside help before. With her human Watcher and her friends she’s usually been able to handle whatever she’s come up against.”

“It’s different this time,” said Mellock. “She’s not exactly going to them. They’re going to bring her to them. They’re fighting a particular demon and they believe she can help them.”

“Which demon?” Cole asked. “Why would they need the help of the Slayer to fight a demon? They have the Book of Shadows and the help of an Elder. Not to mention their White Lighter.”

“It’s a demon the Slayer has fought before,” said Lucan. “They are simply seeking out the Slayer to find out what she might know about this demon. That’s not a very unusual occurrence. The Charmed Ones often do research to learn about their adversary.”

“Still,” said Cole, “I find it odd that they would take her to the manor instead of just going to talk to her. If there’s a demon after them it would put Buffy in danger and that’s something they don’t normally do.”

“That particular matter is actually incidental,” said Mellock. “We just thought we’d let you know what was going on. So that you can make sure you don’t appear to the Slayer while one of the Charmed Ones is around. If they discover you’re still alive, and that you’re helping the Slayer, they’re sure to tell her about you. I don’t think that will sit well with her.”

“No, it wouldn’t,” said Cole. “Especially from Phoebe. If they tell Buffy about my past she’s sure to turn against me.”

“Precisely,” said Lucan. “However, this does present us with a unique opportunity to help you build the trust of the Slayer even further. The Charmed Ones don’t know exactly which demon they are fighting. And the Slayer is not likely to be of any help to them based on the information they will give her. However, you can help her with that. Pass on some information about the demon that the Charmed Ones can use. When the Slayer sees that you’re providing valuable information on the demon her trust in you should become more solidified.”

“Okay,” said Cole. “But I need to know what demon it is so I’ll know what information to pass on.”

“Call it a Sycophant,” said Mellock. “I’m sure you’re aware of those types of demons.”

“Yes, I am,” said Cole. “Bodiless demons that inhabit babies. They push the spirit of the child out and take over the body. They account for most of the psychopaths and serial killers throughout history.”

“Yes,” said Lucan. “This particular demon is after the Charmed Ones child. Wyatt, I believe his name is. While the Sycophant has not yet taken possession of the child’s body, it is only a matter of time.”

“That’s hard to believe,” said Cole. “Wyatt is such a powerful baby. And his power is only going to grow as he gets older. Sycophants don’t normally go after magical babies because of the power they possess. It prevents them from taking control of the body.”

“This is an exception,” said Mellock. “In a short time the child will become vulnerable. Enough so that the Sycophant will be able to possess the child’s body. It’s a very narrow window of opportunity. One the Sycophant will make full use of.”

“Okay,” said Cole. “I’ll let Buffy know so she can pass it onto the girls. I think there’s an entry on Sycophants in the Book of Shadows. It will help them prepare a defense against the demon.”

“Excellent,” said Lucan. “Just be sure the Charmed Ones don’t see you. It’s important they do not know you’ve returned.”

“I understand,” said Cole. “I’ll go see Buffy again when she’s alone.”

Cole watched as Lucan and Mellock walked away. As usual they gave him only enough information so that he would do what they wanted. And they avoided the questions he asked. A Sycophant demon made perfect sense. If one took control of Wyatt, its power would be staggering. Wyatt was a child of a Charmed One. He’d have access to those powers when he got older.

And if Cole had been anyone else, their little explanation might have fooled them. But Cole was half demon. And a former Source. Not to mention he’d actually survived the Wasteland twice. Even if Wyatt were at deaths’ door, the magic he possessed would make him much too powerful for any Sycophant demon. These demons preferred the path of least resistance.

Which meant that the Avatars were using him. Just as he had been used his entire life. First by his mother, and then by the Triad, and finally by the Source. Even Phoebe and her sisters had used and manipulated Cole. Everyone wanted him to be what they wanted, not what he was. Or what he wanted to be.

Joining the Avatars had seemed like a good idea after Phoebe had vanquished him a second time. It no longer seemed like such a good idea. Once again the people who claimed to care about him and want only what’s best for him were really just using him to further their own ends. That would end soon enough. As soon as he knew what they were up to, he’d make some changes.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:37 pm 
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TWENTY-FOUR

Chris and Phoebe appeared in a large, spacious office. It was extravagant. Standing at the window, looking out on the city below, was a lone man. Dressed in dark clothes, he stood with his back to them, his hands behind his back. He didn’t move as they orbed in.

“Orbing is for White Lighters,” said the man without turning. “It’s been a long time since I encountered a White Lighter. What do you want here?”

“We’re, uh, looking for someone,” said Chris hesitantly. “We understood this was where he was at now.”

The man turned to face them. He appeared to be in his mid twenties, but the wisdom behind his eyes belied that appearance. There was no fear in him. He stood looking at Chris and Phoebe as if trying to judge their next moves.

“I’m the only one here,” said the man. “And I can’t imagine what a White Lighter would want with me. We don’t exactly travel in the same circles.”

“I’m Phoebe Halliwell,” said Phoebe. “And if you’re Angel, then you’re the one we’ve come to see.”

“I’m Angel,” said the man. “And I’ve heard of you. If you know who I am then you also know what I am. What use does a witch have with a vampire?”

“A vampire with a soul,” corrected Phoebe. “And we think you’re in danger. Something is coming after you.”

“Something is always coming after me,” laughed Angel. “Humanity doesn’t trust me because I’m a vampire. And demons don’t trust me because I have a soul. So as you can see, there’s always someone ready to take me out. It’s nothing new.”

“This is,” said Chris. “The person coming after you is not something you’re used to dealing with. You don’t have the power to fight it. We need you to come back with us so we can protect you.”

“He’s right,” said Phoebe. “My sisters and I fought him yesterday. Trust me, he’s a lot more powerful than whatever you’re used to fighting. Besides, if you try to fight him, he’ll kill you.”

“I’m a vampire,” said Angel. “I’m already dead. And I can usually hold my own in a fight. I’m not exactly powerless, you know.”

“Yeah, we know,” said Chris. “But you don’t understand what you’re up against. This think has already killed you once. And if you stay and try to fight it, it will happen again.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Angel.

Suddenly the door to his office opened and a man with stark white hair breezed in as if he hadn’t a care in the world. He was whistling as he entered the office and for a moment didn’t notice Chris or Phoebe standing in the corner.

“Thought I’d go out for a bit,” said the man to Angel. He had a distinct British accent. “A bit tiresome being cooped up in here all day. Now that I’m meself again I thought I’d….”

His voice trailed off as he suddenly noticed Chris and Phoebe.

“’Ello,” he said, looking Phoebe over, “didn’t know you had company. Sorry about that, mate. Good looking bird.”

“Spike,” said Angel, “this is Phoebe Halliwell. And….”

“Chris,” said Chris. “Chris Perry.”

“Chris is a White Lighter,” said Angel.

“Really now?” said Spike. “Never met one of those. Heard of ‘em, though. What does a White Lighter want with you? He doesn’t strike me as being your type. She might be a different matter, though.”

“Actually,” said Angel, “they’ve come about us. You and me. They think someone is coming after us.”

“So what else is new?” asked Spike. “Look, love, whatever the big baddy is that’s coming after us I’m sure we can handle it.”

“Not you, him,” said Phoebe, indicating Angel. “I don’t know who you are but it’s after Angel not you.”

“Actually, it could be after either of us,” said Angel. He turned to Spike. “They’re looking for a vampire with a soul. Naturally they came to me. Guess word hasn’t gotten out yet.”

“Well, that’s an interesting twist,” said Spike. “Just what might this horrible evil thing be that’s looking for a vampire with a soul?”

“I don’t see how it concerns you,” said Chris. “It concerns Angel.”

“It concerns both of us,” said Angel. “You see your information is a bit out of date. Spike is also a vampire. And he, too, has a soul. So you see, if you’re looking for a vampire with a soul, you’ll have to be a bit more specific. The club has been adding members lately.”

Chris and Phoebe just looked at each other. It was obvious Chris had no idea there were two vampires with a soul. Which meant they had no idea which one Wyatt would be coming after.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:35 am 
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TWENTY-FIVE

Paige and Buffy orbed back into the living room of the manor. Piper was just coming out of the kitchen as they finished materializing.

“Hi, Buffy,” said Piper.

“Hi, Piper,” said Buffy. “Paige said there was a problem you needed my help with.”

“Something like that,” said Piper. “Actually, we needed you here so we can better protect you. And don’t give me all that Slayer crap about how you can protect yourself and everything. Believe me, in this situation you’re going to need our help.”

“Okay, no crap,” said Buffy. “Besides, there’s something you might be able to help me with, too. This must be little Wyatt.” She walked over to the playpen where Wyatt sat. “He’s adorable. Paige has been writing me about him but she never told me he was such a cutie.”

“Thanks,” said Piper. “Sit down and let’s have a chat. Oh, before we get started, I think you should know that Angel might be joining us. This involves him, too. I just thought you would want to prepare yourself.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that,” said Buffy. “Angel’s not the same person I knew a few years ago. He’s changed. I’m not sure I completely trust him any more. He’s gotten himself involved in some kind of demonic law firm or something in Los Angeles.”

“Chris and Phoebe aren’t back yet?” asked Paige.

“No, not yet,” said Piper. “I expect it will take a bit more talking than it did with Buffy. He doesn’t know us. It might take some convincing to make him believe he needs our protection.”

“Good luck,” said Buffy sarcastically. “He can be really bull headed. The whole vampire macho thing. Who’s Chris?”

“Part of the reason we asked you to come here,” said Piper. “If he’s telling the truth, he’s my son.”

“I thought your son was named Wyatt?” Buffy asked.

“He is,” said Paige. “This would be her other son.”

“Other son?” Buffy asked. “Okay, now I’m confused. I didn’t know you had two sons.”

“I don’t,” said Piper. “He says he from the future. So technically he hasn’t been born yet.”

“Okay,” said Buffy, “so you have your son staying here. A son who hasn’t been born yet. Who came back from the future to….”

“Long story,” said Paige. “Just get comfortable. This is going to take a while. Hopefully, Chris and Phoebe will be back by then.”
* * *

“And I thought my family was dysfunctional,” said Buffy. “So what about this Chris character? Do you believe him?”

“I don’t know,” said Piper. “He hasn’t been exactly truthful with us in the past. But if he was after us he’s had more than enough opportunity to do something. Despite everything he’s done he has been a big help. I just can’t believe that Wyatt would grow up to become this horrible evil that attacked us.”

“People can change,” said Buffy.

“And Wyatt is still only a baby,” said Paige. “There’s really no telling what he’ll be like when he’s grown. I think we have to at least consider that Chris is telling the truth.”

“I can’t,” said Piper. “Wyatt is my son. I can’t believe he’d turn evil.”

“I guess I can understand that,” said Buffy. “Okay, so if he’s telling the truth, why would Wyatt be after Angel and me? What do we have to do with any of this?”

“We don’t know,” said Paige. “And Chris said he doesn’t know either. Only that Wyatt killed you and Angel before he came after us. He didn’t know why.”

“Forewarned is forearmed,” said Buffy. “Now that we know he’s after us we can be ready for him.”

“Come on,” said Piper. “We have a potion you should take. It should protect you against the Wyatt’s freezing ability. Unfortunately it won’t do anything for his other powers.”

“Any help will do,” said Buffy. “If this guy is as strong as you say he is we’re going to need all the help we can get.”

“He is,” said Piper. “He’s just about the strongest thing we’ve ever come up against. And if this is my son he may know things about us that he can use against us. According to Chris, he killed us. If he did it once he won’t have a problem doing it again.”

“So why didn’t he?” Buffy asked.

“What do you mean?” asked Paige.

“When he was here yesterday,” said Buffy. “Why didn’t he just kill you then? You said you were frozen. It should have been easy for him to just kill you. But he didn’t. He seemed more interested in Leo and Chris than you. So that begs the question. Why didn’t he just kill you while he had the chance?”

“That’s a good question,” said Paige. “He did say he had come back to kill Chris. Or rather, to make sure he was never born. If you’re his mother, why did he just sit and wait for Leo to die from the Dark Lighter’s bolt? Why didn’t he kill you while you were frozen? That would have prevented Chris from being born.”

“I can’t answer that,” said Piper. “When Chris and Phoebe get back we have a few more questions for Chris. If he is telling the truth we’ll need all the information we can get. If we’re going to prevent Wyatt from being infected by this demons’ essence.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:30 pm 
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TWENTY-SIX

“What do you mean he has a soul, too?” Phoebe asked.

“Just what I said,” said Angel. “Spike also has a soul. So if you’re here for a vampire with a soul you’ll have to be a bit more specific. If this thing is after Spike it’s welcome to him.”

“Up yours,” said Spike.

“Chris, any idea why Wyatt is going after the vampire with a soul?” Phoebe asked.

“No,” said Chris. “He only said the vampire with a soul had to be taken out. And that the Slayer was next.”

“Buffy?” said Spike and Angel in unison.

They looked at each other momentarily.

“This thing is after Buffy, too?” Angel asked.

“Yes,” said Phoebe. “My sister, Paige, went to get her. Wyatt, the guy who’s after you two, is powerful. There’s no way she could resist him. Neither can you. You may be a vampire but Wyatt is so far beyond that. He’ll probably just vanquish you with a fireball without any fuss.”

“Interesting theory,” said a voice across the room. “Only it’s not going to be that easy for the vampire. Or the Slayer. They have to be punished for what they did. Then I’ll take care of you meddlesome witches.”

Everyone turned to see Wyatt reclining on the bar in the back of Angel’s office. He was smiling at them as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

“Wyatt,” said Chris.

“Hey, little brother,” said Wyatt. “And Aunt Phoebe. I didn’t expect to find you here. Oh, Chris I can understand. Always wanting to save the innocent. Only they aren’t innocent. What they did to me must be avenged. And neither you nor your sisters can protect them.”

“Bloody hell,” said Spike turning to look at Wyatt. “Who are you?”

“I’m retribution, vampire,” said Wyatt.

“Okay, you want me,” said Angel, “here I am. Only I don’t remember ever meeting you. Whatever beef you have with me you’ll have to remind me what it is.”

“You?” questioned Wyatt. “I don’t even know who you are. I’m after him.” He pointed at Spike. “The vampire with a soul. Of course, I thought he had been destroyed. He should have been. I didn’t know it was possible to survive the power of the amulet.”

“Wyatt, you don’t have to do this,” said Chris moving to stand between Wyatt and the others. “You have a second chance here. We can correct what went wrong the first time. Now that you’re here we can see to it that the evil in you never gets there.”

“Evil?” questioned Wyatt, jumping off the bar. “You just don’t get it, do you? I’ve told you before. It’s not about good and evil. It’s not even about right and wrong. It’s about power. That’s all it’s ever been about. You just never understood that.”

“What the?” gasped Spike. “That’s not bloody possible.”

“Wyatt,” said Chris, ignoring Spike. “Please, you’re my brother. If I have to I’ll kill baby Wyatt to stop you. I don’t want to do that. But after everything you’ve done, I can’t let you do it again. If you won’t come back voluntarily, I’ll have to stop you anyway I can.”

“You won’t do that, little brother,” said Wyatt, smiling. “You can’t kill an innocent. We both know that. Not even knowing what he’ll become. There’s nothing you can do to stop me. And seeing that he’s now corporeal again,” he looked at Spike, “it means it won’t be long now. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

“We’ll see about that,” said Chris.

Suddenly, Chris raised his hand and a brilliant light flashed directly in front of Wyatt’s eyes. Wyatt spun impulsively and put his hands to his eyes to shield them, but it was too late. The flash had already blinded him. Chris knew that wouldn’t last long. He suddenly turned and moved back to the other three.

“Take my arm,” he said to Phoebe.

Phoebe didn’t hesitate. She reached up and took hold of Chris’ left arm. As she did, Chris reached out and grabbed Angel and Spike by the arms. Then he orbed them out of the office as Wyatt turned back, having recovered from the flash.

“It won’t do you any good, little brother,” Wyatt said into the air. “It doesn’t take a genius to know where you’re taking them. Enjoy your brief victory while you can. I’m coming for you. And when I’m done, the vampire and the Slayer will pay for what they’ve done. And not even the famous Charmed Ones will be able to stop me.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 1:01 am 
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TWENTY-SEVEN

“So,” said Buffy, “any idea who my mysterious benefactor might be?”

“No,” said Piper. “He could be any one of a number of beings.”

“You know,” said Paige, “the way Buffy describes him sounds like Cole.”

“Who’s Cole?” asked Buffy.

“Phoebe’s ex-husband,” said Piper. “Only it couldn’t be him. We vanquished him months ago. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the way you saw him was his true form. We’ve run into shape changers before. Even Paige and Leo can shape change.”

“Really?” questioned Buffy.

“Yeah,” said Paige. “I guess it’s kind of like a standard White Lighter power. It took me a while to get the hang of it but I can do it pretty good now.”

“You say this Restin didn’t do anything except tell you about a werewolf?” Piper asked.

“That’s about all,” said Buffy. “He said something about me having a new destiny or something. And that he’ll be around to help me learn about it. Sort of be my guide for it.”

“You think it could be Wyatt?” Paige asked Piper.

“I doubt it,” said Piper. “From what Chris told us, Wyatt is out to kill Buffy, not help her. I can’t see how telling her about a werewolf would help him do that. Or why he wouldn’t just kill her outright. When Leo gets back we’ll ask him. He might know who this Restin is.”

“I hope he gets back soon,” said Paige. “There’s a lot we still don’t know and I for one don’t like it. And where are Phoebe and Chris? Shouldn’t they be back by now?”

“I don’t know,” said Piper. “Like I said, it might take some convincing to get Angel to come here.”

Suddenly a bluish orb began to form in the foyer. Both Piper and Paige recognized it as the orb of a White Lighter. Buffy had seen it as well. When Paige had orbed to her motel room. Still, she wasn’t experienced with White Lighters and wasn’t sure if this was a friend or foe. When the orb completed, Phoebe, Chris, Angel, and Spike stood in the foyer of the manor.

“In coming,” Phoebe called out, moving into the living room.

Everyone took up defensive postures ready for whatever might suddenly appear in the manor. They waited for several moments then decided Wyatt wouldn’t be making an appearance.

“Spike?” Buffy questioned, looking at the white haired vampire. “But, you’re dead. You were destroyed when we defeated The First.”

“Long story, love,” said Spike. “But I’m back now, good as new.”

“Hi Buffy,” said Angel tentatively.

“Angel,” Buffy responded, little emotion in her voice.

“We had a little visit from Wyatt,” Phoebe explained to Piper, Paige, and Buffy. “Chris flashed this light in his eyes and orbed us out before he could attack.”

“Yeah,” said Chris, half smiling. “I haven’t done that since we were kids. I figured he wouldn’t be expecting it. But he’ll be ready for it the next time. So we need to get prepared.”

“What did you tell them?” Piper asked Phoebe.

“As much as I could,” said Phoebe. “We didn’t have a chance to explain who Wyatt was or anything but Angel knows he’s after him. At least, I think he’s after Angel.”

“What does that mean?” asked Buffy.

“Phoebe’s right,” said Chris. “All I knew was that Wyatt was after a vampire with a soul. The only one I knew about was Angel. But apparently this Spike is also a vampire with a soul. And from the way Wyatt talked, he was after Spike not Angel.”

“Two vampires with souls?” questioned Paige. “Is there a virus going around that we don’t know about?”

“Nothing like that,” said Angel. “It’s a long story. I don’t know who that guy was but he got into my office past our state-of-the-art security. And a lot of it is supernatural.”

“That,” said Piper, looking at Chris, “is supposedly my son. The same one who’s sitting in his playpen right now.”

“Okay now that will take some explaining,” said Spike. “If the little blighter is sitting in his playpen how could he attack us in Angel’s office? And just where the hell are we anyway?”

“San Francisco,” said Piper. “And the little blighter, as you call him, is in his playpen but his grown up self has come back from the future. Or so Chris would have us believe.”

“It’s true,” said Chris. “Piper, I know you find it hard to accept, but you have to believe me. If you don’t Wyatt could do it all over again. He has to be stopped. If you’d seen the future I’ve seen you wouldn’t hesitate.”

“Well,” said Phoebe, “I think the first thing we need to do is bring everyone up to speed. Apparently Wyatt isn’t coming right now so we have a little time. We’d better all sit down and make sure everyone is sure about what we’re facing here.”

“Giles and the others will be here in the morning,” said Buffy. “Willow’s with them. She’s a powerful witch herself. She might be able to help.”

“Good,” said Piper. “We need all the help we can get. So, everyone make yourself comfortable. We’ll start from the beginning and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. It looks like it’s going to be a long night.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:59 am 
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TWENTY-EIGHT

Cole stood in the darkness outside the manor watching the group gathered inside. It had been a long time since he’d been back here. He remembered how he has once been welcome in that house. Now he was dead to them. Concealed in the shadows as he was he could safely keep an eye on them without giving himself away.

“It’s risky being here,” said a voice behind him.

He turned to see Mellock standing only a few feet away.

“Just keeping an eye on Buffy,” said Cole, turning back to the window. “That is what I’m supposed to be doing, isn’t it?”

“Of course,” said Mellock, glancing in the window. “Just want to make sure you’re not entertaining ideas of getting Phoebe back. She’s never going to accept you, you know? She’s past you.”

“I know that,” said Cole. “And, no, I have no intentions of trying to get back with her. As I said, I’m simply keeping an eye on Buffy.”

“Good,” said Mellock. “Lucan asked me to let you know that the Sycophant may try to attempt to take the child soon. They’ll need to be ready for it.”

“How do they do that?” asked Cole, turning to the Avatar. “Sycophants can’t be affected by magic in their spirit form. And once it takes possession of Wyatt, it will be too late to do anything about it. What can they do to be ready for it?”

“There are a few moments when the Sycophant makes the attempt,” said Mellock. “In those few moments, it will be corporeal. But it won’t have yet taken control of the baby’s body. That will be the window of opportunity for them. If they can get to it while it’s in that corporeal state, they may be able to vanquish it.”

“I didn’t know that,” said Cole. “How do you know this?”

“We’ve spent a long time studying demons,” said Mellock. “Since we strive to maintain a balance between good and evil, it’s not always necessary for us to prevent a possession. But we have learned a few things.

“Most Sycophant attacks take place when no one else is around. So there’s nobody to pass on any relevant information. Besides, not even you know everything there is to know about demons. I’m sure you have information about demons we lack and vice versa. When this is all over we’ll have to correct that oversight.”

“Yes,” said Cole, eyeing Mellock. “But right now I have to keep an eye on Buffy. If they’re going to be ready for the Sycophant, I’ll need to be ready to pass on the information as soon as she’s alone.”

“Good thinking,” said Mellock. “Let us know when you’ve done it.”

“I will,” said Cole.

Mellock simply vanished from the yard next to Cole. Cole thought about what Mellock had said. It was strange that he wouldn’t know that little bit of information. He had been the Source of all Evil. The coronation had not only passed on the powers of the former Sources, it had also passed on their knowledge. And in all the centuries of recorded history not even a single Source had learned that tidbit of information.

Cole turned back to the manor as he listened in on what the group was talking about. With his Avatar powers it was a simple matter to hear their conversations. And what he was hearing was telling him a lot. Enough to let him know that this was no mere Sycophant after Wyatt. As he had told Lucan and Mellock, a Sycophant would not have been able to possess Wyatt no matter how vulnerable he was.

Things were beginning to come together for Cole. There were still a few missing pieces. But he was confident those would be revealed very soon. When they were, he’d have all the information he needed. And he had been honest with Mellock, at least to a degree. He did have information to pass on to Buffy. Only it wasn’t the information his fellow Avatars thought it was going to be. Cole settled in to listen to what the group was talking about now.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 4:09 pm 
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TWENTY-NINE

“I guess that’s about all of it,” said Piper when she and her sister had finished telling what they knew about Wyatt. “Did I leave anything out?”

“Sounds like you covered it all to me,” said Phoebe.

“You were very thorough,” said Chris.

“Tell me something,” Angel said to Chris. “You told this Wyatt that you’d kill baby Wyatt to stop him. Do you still plan to do that?”

“What?” Piper nearly screamed. “Don’t even think about it, buster. No one’s laying a hand on my baby.”

“It was a bluff,” said Chris. “I needed to buy some time to get close enough to him to flash him. It was the only way we were going to get out of there alive.”

“It could solve a lot of problems,” said Angel. “If baby Wyatt dies, grown up Wyatt doesn’t exist.”

“Leave it to you to come up with that,” said Buffy, a hint of contempt in her voice. “We can’t even consider killing a baby.”

“Easy, girl,” said Paige. “I don’t think he meant it. Not really. I know you guys have some history but we have to stay focused on our objective here.”

“She’s right, love,” said Spike. “This Wyatt is out to kill us. Any differences you and Angel have will have to go on the back burner for now.”

“Chris,” said Piper, “why didn’t Wyatt just kill us when he was here the other day? If he supposedly came back to prevent you from being born he could have done that by killing me instead of waiting for a Dark Lighter’s bolt to kill Leo. Why did he leave us unharmed? But he didn’t seem concerned with us. Just you and Leo.”

“He obviously came back to stop me,” said Chris. “That would have been his primary goal. But he couldn’t kill you. Not just yet. If he kills you too soon it might alter his past too much. It might actually prevent him from becoming evil.”

“I don’t understand,” said Buffy. “Supposedly baby Wyatt was infected with some kind of demonic essence. How could what they do have an affect on that?”

“It’s something they have to do that they haven’t done yet,” said Chris. “Until they do Wyatt can’t take the chance of harming them. If he harms one of them the other two may not do what they originally did. Which means everything he’s done will be in vain.”

“Just what do we do that we haven’t done yet?” asked Phoebe.

“That’s a good question,” said Leo, walking into the living room. “I just got back. I followed Wyatt to Los Angeles but I lost him there. Then I checked in with the other Elders to see if they had found out anything.”

“Leo, everybody,” said Piper. “Everybody, Leo. We can make the formal introductions later. Right now we need to know what you learned from the Elders.”

“Something happened in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago,” said Leo. “They can’t figure out exactly what it was but it was big. They sensed a powerful magic appear. Like it just came out of nowhere. And they think it has something to do with him.”

Leo looked directly at Spike.

“Me?” Spike asked. “I don’t know what it could be. Up until a couple of weeks ago I was nothing but a phantom. I couldn’t even leave Los Angeles. Not likely it was anything I did.”

“Spike,” said Angel, “that would be about the same time you got your body back.”

“I suppose,” said Spike. “Maybe that’s what these Elders of yours sensed.”

“No, it was bigger than that,” said Leo. “Something powerful and evil. And before you ask, it wasn’t Wyatt. Wyatt was still in the future when this happened. But whatever it was, it seems to be heading toward San Francisco.”

“The demon,” Chris said suddenly. “It could be the demon that infects Wyatt.”

“Maybe,” said Leo. “But you haven’t answered my question. What is it the girls are supposed to do that they haven’t done yet? The reason why Wyatt can’t harm them?”

“They vanquish a demon,” said Chris.

“We’ve done that dozens of times,” said Piper. “What’s so important about this one?”

“It was after Wyatt,” said Chris. “He didn’t have enough control over his power to protect himself effectively against it. If you hadn’t vanquished it, it would have stolen Wyatt’s power, killing him in the process. Without you here to protect him, Wyatt will die before he can be infected. That will change everything.”

“There’s a demon after my baby and you didn’t say anything?” Piper asked angrily. “Just how long were you planning on waiting before you told us?”

“You have to remember I’m going by what happened the first time,” said Chris. “Wyatt, the grown up Wyatt, wasn’t here. I’m not sure how that’s going to change things this time around. But I do know the demon is going to attack baby Wyatt and you have to be here to protect him.”

“What kind of demon?” Leo asked.

“It’s called a Collector,” said Chris. “It’s a non-corporeal demon. It searches out magical infants and drains their magic from them killing them in the process.”

“If it’s non-corporeal,” said Buffy, “how do they fight it?”

“In order for one to drain the magic from a child,” said Chris, “it has to become corporeal for a few moments. That’s when you’ll have your chance to vanquish it. They aren’t particularly powerful. That’s why they feed off the magical energy of infants. Until you vanquish it Wyatt can’t take the chance of harming you.”

“So now we have two things to worry about,” said Piper. “My supposed grown up son out to kill us all and this Collector demon out to drain my baby’s power. This is just getting better and better.”

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 2:54 am 
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THIRTY

“You vanquished it before,” said Chris. “And you weren’t even aware that it was coming. Now that you’ve been forewarned, you won’t have to worry about it. As I recall, Piper simply blew it up when it became corporeal. Just don’t leave baby Wyatt alone and when the Collector shows up you vanquish it like you did before.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” said Buffy.

“Except that it doesn’t explain what the Elders sensed,” said Leo. “If this Collector isn’t that powerful, it couldn’t be the evil they told me about. They said it was one of the most powerful things they’ve sensed in a long time.”

“Here now,” said Spike, “you said it appeared about the same time that I got my body back?”

“I appears so,” said Leo. “Why do you ask?”

“Nothing really,” said Spike. “Only while I was a ghost I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t alone. That someone – or something – else was with me.”

“You never mentioned that before,” said Angel.

“I was never a ghost before,” said Spike. “The whole thing was a bit new to me. I just figured that’s how it felt to be dead for real. When I got my body back, I didn’t feel it any more.”

“Do you think something might have hitched a ride with Spike?” Buffy asked.

“I don’t know,” said Leo. “I’ve never heard of anything that could do that.”

“There’s something else,” said Spike. “When that Wyatt fella’ appeared in Angels’ office. He said the queerest thing. Had me thinking some bloody crazy thoughts for a moment.”

“What was it, Spike?” Paige asked.

“He said it wasn’t about good or evil,” said Spike. “It was about power.”

“Wyatt use to say that all the time,” said Chris. “He said I’d never understand as long as I thought in concepts of good versus evil. He said there really wasn’t any difference between the two. That it was about power not some man made concepts like right and wrong.”

“Well,” said Spike, “it’s just that it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. Mind you I was being tortured at the time and all. But I do remember it.”

“Remember what, Spike?” Buffy asked, her patience wearing thing.

“The First,” said Spike. “It said the same thing to me. That it wasn’t a question of right or wrong. That the only thing that was important was power. I just think it’s a damned odd thing for someone to say, that’s all.”

“But we defeated The First,” said Buffy. “You should know. It destroyed you when you destroyed it.”

“It can’t be destroyed,” said Leo. “At least not in the sense that we understand destruction. The First Evil is not exactly an entity. It’s more like a sentient force. You can’t destroy it any more than you could destroy the wind. At best you would have rendered it with so little power that it would take centuries or millennia to regain.”

“That’s what supposedly happened the last time,” said Angel. “It was rendered powerless and didn’t regain enough power to be a threat until Buffy faced it.”

“So where was it all those centuries?” asked Paige. “If it wasn’t destroyed, it must have been hiding somewhere.”

“In the Hellmouth,” said Buffy. “When we destroyed its power the Hellmouth collapsed. Taking Sunnydale with it.”

“Which means it couldn’t be in the Hellmouth any longer,” said Leo. “The power and evil the Elders sensed is powerful enough it could be The First. And as I told you, it appears to be heading toward San Francisco.”

“You’re not saying what I think you’re saying,” Chris said to Leo.

“Do you have a better explanation?” Leo asked. “Even as a baby, Wyatt is so powerful no low-level demon like a Collector could drain him. It wouldn’t be able to get through his force field. And Collectors don’t hang around for long. If they can’t get what they want, they move on pretty quickly.”

“Are you saying The First still exists?” Buffy asked. “After all we went through to defeat it? After all the deaths and pain and suffering? That it’s still out there just waiting to try again?”

“Like I said,” said Leo, “it can’t truly be destroyed. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my son was infected with the essence of a demon at the same time this thing is heading for San Francisco. I don’t think he was infected with the essence of a demon. And I don’t think a Collector attacked him and was vanished by the girls. I think The First came to San Francisco to get Wyatt’s power and when the girls intervened, it took refuge in the last place anyone would think to look for it. In the body of a baby.”

Everyone looked over at Wyatt who was playing blissfully ignorant in his playpen. If Leo was right, it was only a matter of time before this innocent little boy became the most powerful evil in the world. And only a matter of time after that before he destroyed the world.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 9:38 am 
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THIRTY-ONE

It had been three days since Buffy and Angel had come to the manor. In that time there hadn’t been so much as a peep out of grown up Wyatt. It was as if he had simply vanished from the face of the Earth. Neither Leo nor any of the other Elders could discover his whereabouts.

Giles and the others had arrived the following morning. Introductions and explanations were made all around. Everyone had spent the time studying up on what they could learn about The First Evil. Of course, Giles, Buffy and the others were able to fill them in on a great deal. Still, sitting around waiting for Wyatt or The First to attack was beginning to tell on their nerves.

“He did the same thing before,” Chris explained. “He didn’t do anything for several days. Then he began to send less powerful demons after you to harass you. To weaken you before he moved in for the kill.”

“Why would he alter things now?” Giles asked. “You said he was about ten when he did it the first time. Why come back from the future and accelerate what happened?”

“Things must be changing in the future,” said Chris. “Once I came back, there were bound to be some changes. Just you knowing what’s going to happen might have caused some changes he didn’t like. So he must have come back to make sure things go as they did before.”

“But he said he came back to kill you,” said Phoebe. “That’s why he had the Dark Lighter shoot Leo. So that Leo would die and you wouldn’t be born. That way he could prevent you from interfering with him.”

“I don’t think he was telling the truth about that,” said Chris. “If he had wanted to stop me, he could have just killed me. Instead, he had a Dark Lighter shoot Leo knowing there was a good possibility you’d save him. You’ve done it before.”

“True,” said Piper. “But why the charade? Why not just kill us? It can’t be because we vanquished a Collector demon. It wasn’t a Collector demon at all but this First that supposedly took over Wyatt. He must have known you’d tell us the truth eventually. And that we’d get Buffy and Angel. So that brings us back to why.”

“I can’t answer that,” said Chris. “But you can bet he has a reason. He doesn’t do anything without a reason.”

“I’m really not looking forward to facing The First again,” said Buffy. “We defeated it before but only barely. And it cost too many lives. Lives of some very good friends.”

“Some of us made it out okay,” said Spike.

“Not before it destroyed you,” said Buffy. “What about the amulet? You said you had been trapped in it. And that Angel released you. We’re going to need it again if we’re going to defeat The First.”

“It’s disappeared,” said Angel. “I had it locked safely away but it just vanished.”

“Great,” said Buffy. “Without it we don’t stand a chance of defeating The First.”

“I don’t know,” said Paige. “We do have the Power of Three. You didn’t have that the first time around. Nothing is supposed to be able to resist that. And we’ve vanquished plenty of demons with it.”

“Perhaps,” said Giles. “You three would certainly know more about it than we. But Buffy is right. Without the amulet it’s going to be extremely difficult to defeat The First.”

“Well,” said Phoebe, “with what you’ve told us about it I should be able to write a Power of Three spell for it. At least it’s something.”

“Leo,” said Piper, “any idea where The First is right now? You said the Elders could sense its power. Is it still moving toward San Francisco?”

“They think so,” said Leo. “It’s hard to get a fix on it.”

“How did it survive?” Willow asked. “I thought you said the amulet destroyed it when Spike used it against The First?”

“Evil of that magnitude can never truly be vanquished,” said Giles. “All the amulet did was deprive it of the use of its power for an extended period of time. Eventually it will regain that power but that should take centuries.”

“Giles is right,” said Leo. “When you vanquish a demon you don’t really destroy the evil. You just destroy creature serving the evil. The evil still exists.”

“Well,” said Piper, picking baby Wyatt up out of his playpen, “I think someone needs to go to bed. He keeps nodding off in his playpen.”

“Just remember,” said Leo, “we can’t leave him alone for a second. Someone has to be there when The First shows up.”

“I do remember,” said Piper. “I’m just going to put him in his crib and let him get some sleep. I can read a book while he sleeps.”

“I’ll spell you in a couple of hours,” said Phoebe. “In the mean time I’m going to check the Book of Shadows again. Maybe there’s something we missed earlier.”

“Okay,” said Piper. “And if anything happens I’ll be sure to give you all a call.”

“Just be careful,” said Giles. “A lot can happen before we can get to you.”

“Speak for yourself,” said Paige. “I can orb there in almost no time at all. So can Leo. If nothing else we can orb Wyatt away before anyone can do anything.”

“Thanks, guys,” said Piper. “I really appreciate all the help.”

Piper went upstairs with Wyatt. She was more concerned than she was letting on to the others.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 7:15 pm 
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oh wow...This story is fantastic. You have a great grasp of the characters for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 7:51 pm 
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THIRTY-TWO

Wyatt had only been asleep for a couple of hours when Piper suddenly stood up from the chair she was sitting in next to his crib. The others had checked on her a couple of times to make sure she didn’t need anything. The book she had been reading slid of her lap to the floor.

She had definitely heard a noise. But it was indistinct, undefined. She couldn’t be sure where it had come from. She was contemplating calling for the others when a sudden movement caught the corner of her eye. She spun around to see an elderly lady standing near the window.

“Grams?” Piper said in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

“I expected you to summon me days ago,” said Grams, annoyance in her voice. “Wyatt is my great grandson, after all.”

“If I remember correctly,” said Piper, “you practically disowned him when you found out he wasn’t a girl.”

“Water under the bridge,” said Grams. “Wyatt is my grandson and if something is coming after him I’m damn well going to be around to protect him. I’m really disappointed in you, Piper. A powerful evil is coming to steal your baby and you haven’t done anything to protect him.”

“We’re doing everything we can,” said Piper defensively. “You of all people should be aware of finding out as much as we can about an opponent before we fight it. That’s why we have the Book of Shadows and a White Lighter to get information for us.”

“But you can’t just sit around and do nothing,” said Grams. “You have the Slayer with you. She’s fought this evil before. You should be downstairs learning everything you can about this evil. Not sitting up here reading romance novels.”

“Buffy’s already told us everything she knows about The First,” said Piper. “How did you know what was going on, anyway?”

“Well I do keep an eye on my girls,” said Grams. “I may be dead but I still have a responsibility to protect my granddaughters. And my great grandson.”

“Really, Grams, we have everything well in hand,” said Piper. “When and if this thing attacks we’re going to send it back to whatever hell it came from. For good this time.”

“Not sitting up here reading a book you won’t,” said Grams. “You should be putting charms on the manor to let you know when something enters. Or working on potions that will affect this evil. Or writing a spell. Something besides sitting up here while my great grandson sleeps.”

“The others are working on all that right now,” said Piper. “We can’t leave Wyatt alone for a second. Phoebe’s going to relieve me in a while and I’ll be working on those things then. We’re taking turns watching him in case this thing attacks.”

“Well, now you can go work on them,” said Grams. “I’ll stay here and watch my little great grandson for you.”

“Grams, you’re a ghost,” said Piper. “If The First attacks there’s not much you can do about it.”

“Spirit, dear, spirit,” said Grams. “And I do much more than that. I’ll know when this thing gets close and let you know before it gets here. That’s more than I can say for your Elder. Or any of the others.”

Just then Phoebe came into the room.

“Hey, Piper, thought it was about time I relieved you for a while,” said Phoebe. Then she noticed Grams standing near the window. “Grams. I didn’t know you were here.”

“I came to watch over my great grandson,” said Grams, “since Piper seems to be wasting her time just sitting around.”

“Oh, she’s doing more than that,” said Phoebe. “She’s watching over Wyatt right now. That’s very important.”

“Well, now I’m here,” said Grams. “You girls should be making preparations. I can watch Wyatt while you get ready.”

Phoebe looked at Grams for a moment. Her eyes narrowed slightly as if she were trying to focus her eyes. Suddenly she stepped between Piper and Grams.

“Piper, get Wyatt out of here now,” said Phoebe suddenly.

“Phoebe, are you okay?” Piper asked. “Did you have a premonition or something?”

“Just go,” said Phoebe, not taking her eyes off Grams. “Get him out of here before she – it – does something.” Phoebe turned her head toward the open bedroom door. “Leo, Paige, everyone, get up here. We have company.”

Grams stood smiling at the two as Leo and Paige suddenly orbed in. A few seconds later the rest of the group came running into the room.

“Grams,” said Paige smiling.

“That’s not Grams,” said Phoebe. “Leo, get Piper and Wyatt out of here. We’ll hold this…. this…whatever it is.”

“That won’t be necessary,” said Piper.

She raised her hands and used her explosive power on the figment of Grams. But instead of the phantom exploding, the window behind it exploded into a thousand shards. The phantom just laughed.

“Your power can’t affect me,” said Grams smiling. “I’ve existed since before your kind walked the Earth. And I’ll be here long after you’re nothing but dust in your graves. I see I underestimated you. I really didn’t think it would be this easy but I did have to try. You can’t protect him forever. Eventually I’ll get what I came for. It’s only a matter of time.”

Suddenly Grams vanished from the room. Everyone stood looking at Phoebe.

“Okay,” said Piper, “just what the hell was that?”

“That would be The First,” said Buffy. “It has the power to take the form of anyone who’s died. And it can be very convincing even though you know what it really is. It’s one of the reasons it’s so dangerous.”

“What I want to know,” Paige said, “is how come Phoebe knew what it was? You apparently didn’t know since you didn’t call for help. And I thought it was Grams. But Phoebe knew what it was. Did she have a premonition about it or something?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” said Piper. “For a minute I almost took her up on her offer to watch Wyatt while we prepared for it. If not for Phoebe….”

“Come on,” said Phoebe, picking Wyatt out of his crib, “he can sleep downstairs where we can all keep an eye on him. We can talk about it down there.”

Everyone followed Phoebe, Piper, and Paige downstairs thankful that they had thwarted at least one attempt by The First.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 3:39 am 
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THIRTY-THREE

“Okay, sister, spill it,” said Piper after she had put Wyatt down in his playpen to sleep. “How did you know it wasn’t Grams?”

“She sensed it,” said Chris.

“He’s right,” said Phoebe. “We all took that potion so I couldn’t get an empathic impression of what you were feeling. But Grams is a spirit. She couldn’t have taken any potions. At first I didn’t sense anything. Then I began to sense immense hatred and evil. I couldn’t believe Grams could have that level of hatred in here. And she definitely wouldn’t have been evil.”

“Thank God for my sister the empathy,” said Piper, hugging Phoebe. “Well, I think we know where The First is now. And I’m pretty sure it will be back. Now all we have to do is figure out where grown up Wyatt is. Then we have to figure out what we’re going to do about it.”

“I’ll let the Elders know what happened,” said Leo. “I can also se if they have a fix on grown up Wyatt yet. He can’t stay hidden forever. Eventually he has to show himself.”

“I can check a few places myself,” said Chris. “I know some sources that will be more willing to talk to me than an Elder.”

“I’m still working on the spell,” said Phoebe. “It’s harder than I thought. Piper, have you come up with any potions yet?”

“Not yet,” said Piper, “but I have a couple of ideas. I’ll need some ingredients for it that we don’t keep on hand, though. Only I’m apprehensive about leaving Wyatt alone even for a minute.”

“I can get the ingredients,” said Willow. “It’s been a while since I went shopping for ritual ingredients anyway.”

“I can go with her,” said Xander. “Other than helping Giles do research I’m feeling like a fifth wheel here anyway. Besides, it will give me a chance to have a look around San Francisco.”

“Thanks,” said Piper, “I appreciate it.”

“I’m a little tired,” said Buffy. “If no one minds I think I’m going to go upstairs and take a nap.”

“No one says you have patrol at night here,” said Paige. “San Francisco isn’t exactly known as the vampire capital of the world, you know?”

“I’ve gotten a couple,” said Buffy. “Besides, while I’m patrolling I might learn something about Wyatt. Like Leo said, he has to surface sometime. When he does I’m betting the lowlifes around here are going to know something about him.”

“She always was an over-achieving Slayer,” said Angel coyly.

“Go on, Buffy,” said Piper. “When Wyatt attacks we’re going to need everyone at their best.”

“Thanks, Piper,” said Buffy. “Don’t let me sleep too long.”

“We won’t,” said Piper.

Piper began to make a list of the ingredients she needed for the potion as Buffy went upstairs. It was a bit cramped in the manor right now. Instead of everyone staying at a hotel they had all agreed it was best if they stayed in the manor. To give the others a bit more room Angel and Spike said they’d sleep in the basement. They both insisted they had slept in worse places in their lives.

Buffy was sharing a room with Paige and Willow was sharing a room with Phoebe. Wyatt, of course, was with Piper in her room. Giles, Dawn, Xander, and Willow had cots sat up around the house. But someone was always in Piper’s room while she and Wyatt slept to watch out for any attacks.

Willow and Xander took Piper’s car to China Town to pick up the ingredients Piper needed. Since it was still light out, Angel and Spike could do little except lounge around the manor away from the windows. Dawn, who was uncharacteristically quiet during the past three days, was helping Giles do research. He was still looking up what he could find about The First in the hope that they would find some weakness they could exploit.

Buffy went to Paige’s room and quietly closed the door behind her. As she turned around she was startled to see a man sitting in a chair in the corner.

“You’re a hard girl to see alone,” said Cole, whom Buffy knew as Restin. “I’ve been waiting to speak to you since you got here.”

Buffy just stared at Cole.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:12 am 
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THIRTY-FOUR

“What are you doing here?” Buffy asked.

“As I said, I wanted to speak to you,” said Cole. “I have some information for you. Information that might help you with your current dilemma.”

“What information?” Buffy asked.

“Well, as you know,” said Cole, “an old foe has returned. And it has a new agenda of sorts. It’s learned that it can’t defeat you head on. So it’s going to try a different approach.”

“Like killing an innocent child and taking his body,” said Buffy.

“In a word, yes,” said Cole. “I know you don’t have the amulet any longer. My colleagues have retrieved it and put it away for safe keeping.”

“Then give it back,” Buffy insisted. “You know we can’t defeat The First without it. If you don’t give it back we’re going to lose.”

“No, you won’t,” said Cole. “First, I don’t know where they’ve put it. It’s much too powerful to leave lying around for just anyone to find. Second, the first has a weakness. It’s not recorded anywhere so your former Watcher isn’t going to find it. But I know that weakness. Something that will help you defeat it again.”

“What weakness?” Buffy asked.

“As you know, The First doesn’t have a corporeal form,” said Cole. “That’s why it couldn’t attack you directly. It had to gather minions to itself to do that actual work. But that has not always been the case. Millennia ago it had a form. But a powerful being forced the spirit from that form. Since then, The First has existed in only spirit form unable to personally affect anything physical.”

“I know it can’t affect anything physical,” Buffy said. “What does that have to do with us or that weakness you mentioned.”

“The child will afford The First the opportunity to once again take physical form,” said Cole. “Even at his young age he can orb. He’s half White Lighter. The First will simply bide its time. Sooner or later the child will orb somewhere. When he does, The First will be able to join with the child. When the orb is completed, The First will again have physical form.”

“How does that help us?” Buffy asked.

“When The First attempts to join with the orbing child,” said Cole, “it is possible to vanquish it. It won’t destroy The First but it will scatter its essence. By the time it can coalesce back into its spirit form the child will have grown enough to prevent it from happening again.”

“Why Wyatt?” Buffy asked. “Why not just find any White Lighter and wait for them to orb then join with them?

“It wouldn’t work,” said Cole. “Wyatt is still young enough to be unaware of what’s happening. Someone older would be aware of it and be able to prevent the joining. So The First has to take advantage of this, possibly its only opportunity.”

“How do we prevent it from joining with Wyatt?” Buffy asked.

“That I don’t know,” said Cole. “The Charmed Ones will have to figure that out for themselves. I’m confident they will. They are quite resourceful.”

“Tell me something,” said Buffy. “Are you Cole Turner?”

“Why do you ask?” Cole asked, smiling coyly.

“They said what I’ve told them reminds them of Cole,” said Buffy. “Especially your description. It’s supposed to be a dead ringer for Cole.”

“Cole Turner was vanquished some time ago by the Charmed Ones,” said Cole. “As for my appearance, just coincidence. I can take many forms. And my description can fit literally thousands of men right here in San Francisco.”

“You didn’t answer my question,” said Buffy.

“How could I be Cole Turner if he was vanquished?” Cole asked. “Vanquishing is a term that means kill. If I had been killed how could I be sitting here now?”

“I’ve died,” Buffy said. “Twice. And I’m still here.”

“True,” said Cole. “But you didn’t come back on your own. Both times someone else brought you back. Cole Turner was half demon. There are few demons that would be able to bring him back. More importantly, they would have little reason to. And you would be hard pressed to find anyone on the side of good who would be willing to bring back a half demon, especially one with Cole’s reputation.”

“So you aren’t Cole Turner?” Buffy asked.

“Cole Turner is gone forever,” said Cole. “I belong to a select group of individuals. A group I was asked to join long before Cole was vanquished.”

“What group?” Buffy asked.

“That’s unimportant,” said Cole. “What is important is that this current dilemma is the first step toward your new destiny. I’ve given you this information to help you defeat your enemy and protect your friends. I don’t think it will be much longer. You will need to get this information to your friends quickly so they can use it.”

“Okay,” said Buffy. “But why don’t you just come and tell them yourself? In case they have any questions?”

“My business is with you, not them,” said Cole.

“I see,” said Buffy. “You still don’t say much when you talk.”

“I say what needs to be said,” said Cole. “The longer we are acquainted the more I will be able to tell you. For now, let’s just say I don’t want to give you any extraneous information. Nothing that might confuse you or divert your attention away from your present problems.”

“That’s diplomatic,” said Buffy. “Still, I guess there’s not much I can do about it right now. But don’t be fooled. If I find out you’re trying to trick me or hurt my friends, you aren’t going to be happy. I don’t care what powers you might have.”

“You have no need to worry about that,” said Cole. “I have no intentions of letting your or your friends be harmed. That’s why I’ve given you the information I’ve given you. So that you can protect yourselves.”

“That has yet to be seen,” said Buffy. “Just keep what I told you in mind.”

Cole didn’t say a word. He simply smiled at Buffy, and then vanished from the room. Buffy hurried down stairs to tell the others what Cole had told her.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 4:10 am 
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THIRTY-FIVE

“He was just waiting for you in my room?” Paige asked.

“Pretty as you please,” Buffy said. “Like he had some right to be there or something.”

“You don’t think he really is Cole, do you?” Piper asked.

“Cole’s gone for good,” said Phoebe. “We vanquished him, remember? He didn’t have the powers he had when he came back from the Wasteland so he couldn’t have survived.”

“Restin said the same thing,” said Buffy. “That Cole Turner was gone forever. And he told me what I told you about The First. That you can vanquish it when it tries to take over Wyatt.”

“But he didn’t tell you how,” said Leo. “And Wyatt has the bad habit of orbing out whenever he isn’t happy where he’s at. Now that The First is here, it could try to take him over every time he orbs.”

“Well,” said Piper, “he usually orbs back to the manor. Or to his toys when they’re in another room. All we can do is keep his toys around him in his playpen. Maybe that will keep him from orbing out.”

“We still have to come up with a defense against The First,” said Giles. “This Restin has provided us with some protection. We simply have to figure out how to take advantage of it.”

“I could help,” offered Willow. She and Xander had returned from their errand for Piper. “Maybe we could combine my power with the Charmed Ones’ powers. That might give them a boost to fight The First.”

“It won’t work,” said Piper. “We can only combine our powers because we’re related by blood.”

“Besides,” said Leo, “as true witches your power couldn’t combine with theirs.”

“I beg your pardon,” said Willow. “I’m just as much a witch as they are. I could tell you some stories.”

“I’m sorry,” said Leo. “I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t a witch. Only that you aren’t a true witch.”

“He means a natural witch,” said Chris. “Your power is learned. They were born with theirs. It kind of makes a difference.”

“Well, I like that,” said Willow. “I’ve spent a lot of time developing my power. And I’ve done pretty well so far, I think.”

“Absolutely,” said Leo. “Let me see if I can explain what I meant. Ages past certain people were born with magical abilities, just as Piper and her sisters were. But much of witchcraft can be duplicated with rituals and such. With enough study and experience, a person not born with the ability can become very powerful.”

“Think of it this way,” said Chris. “The Craft is part talent part skill. Many people can learn the skill. It’s like any other skill. You just need to have the right teacher. But talent is something you’re born with. Some people are natural artists, some are natural musicians, and they are just natural witches. It’s why they each have certain powers that you don’t.”

“But we still had to study,” said Phoebe. “Our powers alone haven’t always protected us. We had to study to make potions, write spells, all the other things you’ve learned to do.”

“Is that why her power is different from theirs?” Xander asked.

“Yes,” said Leo.

“It’s kind of like vampires,” said Angel. “There are basically five types of vampires. But there are variations of each type. Many of the differences are only superficial. And most have a tendency to associate only with their own kind.”

“Amazing,” said Giles. “I never knew that about vampires. You’d think as a Watcher I would have had that information.”

“It’s not common knowledge, mate,” said Spike. “Demons aren’t known for broadcasting possible weaknesses, you know.”

“Xander,” said Buffy, “I want you to take Dawn and go somewhere. Now that we know what we’re facing, I don’t want either of you around here. It’s too dangerous.”

“Wait a minute,” said Dawn. “I can handle myself. You said so yourself. And Xander and I helped you fight The First last time, remember?”

“She’s right, Buffy,” said Xander. “We all fought The First together. You’re going to need us here.”

“I think Buffy is right,” said Piper. “It’s not just The First we have to worry about. There’s also grown up Wyatt. He’s still out to get Buffy and Angel and Chris. Neither of you have any powers. You’d be extremely vulnerable when they attack.”

“We can help,” protested Dawn. “We can do research and stuff. Besides, Giles doesn’t have any powers. Why does he get to stay and we have to leave?”

“I know a trick or two,” said Giles. “It’s not like I’m exactly powerless.”

“Dawn, Xander,” said Buffy very deliberately, “I know you guys can take care of yourselves. You did help against our fight against The First last time. But a lot of people died during that fight. Any one of us could have been killed. Xander was maimed. Anya died. And this time we don’t have the amulet to protect us. I can’t risk your lives in this fight.”

“But,” Xander began to protest.

“It’s not just you she’d be risking,” said Chris. “You’d be risking all of us. When Wyatt and The First attack they’ll have to concentrate on the fights. They can’t be worried about protecting you or we could lose.”

“Dawn, Chris is right,” said Buffy. “If you stay I’ll be constantly worried about you and Xander getting hurt. Even baby Wyatt has powers to protect himself. Please, don’t fight me on this. I have to make sure you’re safe if I’m to help them stop these evils.”

“Okay,” Dawn pouted, “but I won’t like it.”

“Xander?” Buffy asked.

“Okay,” said Xander. “But I want it understood I’m not doing this because I’m scared. I’m doing it to protect munchkin here.”

“We know you’re scared,” said Phoebe. “We all are. But this really is the best solution.”

“I have a friend in San Diego you can go visit,” said Giles. “Another former Watcher. I’ll write her a letter and she’ll be glad to put you up until this is sorted out.”

“They can leave first thing in the morning,” said Buffy. “Xander should be able to handle the bus to San Diego. We won’t need it until this thing is resolved.”

“In the mean time,” said Piper, “Phoebe, Paige, and I need to work on what we’re going to do when Wyatt or The First attack. We’re going to need some real strategy.”

Satisfied that Dawn and Xander would be safer away from the manor, Buffy decided to return to Paige’s room for her nap. She was thankful to find the room empty when she entered this time.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 2:37 am 
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THIRTY-SIX

Piper put Watt into his playpen and gave him his bottle. The infant began to hungrily devour the liquid as if he hadn’t been fed in days. Xander and Dawn had been gone for two days. They had arrived at Giles’ friend and their call had allowed Buffy to relax, knowing they were well away from the danger.

“Where are Angel and Spike?” she asked as Buffy came into the room.

“They left as soon as it got dark,” said Buffy. “Spike thinks he’s learned something about grown up Wyatt. Apparently some new power has moved into the fringes of the demonic community here. He went to check it out.”

“And Angel?” Piper asked.

“I don’t know,” said Buffy. “Things are kind of strained between us right now. He doesn’t confide in me like he used to.”

“I’m sorry about that,” said Piper. “For a vampire, he’s pretty caring.”

“It’s because he has a soul,” said Buffy. “He’s trying to make up for all the evil he did when he was Angelus. It’s a pretty big load to carry.”

“I can imagine,” said Piper. “Phoebe’s in the attic with Willow. They seem to be hitting it off rather well. She’s giving Willow a crash course in the Book of Shadows.”

“Willow always was the studious type,” said Buffy. “Any idea where Chris and Leo are?”

“Leo is with the Elders,” said Piper. “They’re still trying to locate Wyatt. Chris is with Giles in the study.”

“We were,” said Chris as he and Giles walked into the living room. “Giles knows a lot about demons. More than most mortals. We’ve been trying to figure out the best way to protect baby Wyatt when The First attacks.”

“All ready taken care of,” said Piper, looking at her son.

“You’ve formulated a plan then?” Giles asked.

“In a manner of speaking,” said Piper, unable to stifle a small laugh. “I’m sorry. It’s just that your choice of the word ‘formulate’ just struck me funny, that’s all.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand,” said Giles, confused.

“Well,” said Piper, looking at Wyatt again, “I just gave Wyatt his formula. And that should protect him until this is all over.”

“How can formula protect him?” Chris asked. “There’s nothing magical about it.”

“There is about this one,” said Piper. “I took what you told me about The First and I think I’ve come up with a vanquishing potion. I can’t be sure of course until we use it but it’s the best I could come up with.”

“Excellent,” said Giles. “The only problem is using it against The First when it attacks. Things can get quite hectic in combat. Are you sure you’ll be able to use the potion in time?”

“I don’t have to,” said Piper. “I put it in Wyatt’s formula. That’s why what you said struck me as funny. All we have to do is put some of the potion in his formula every time we feed him. Then, when The First tries to possess him, boom. It’s all over.”

“Is that wise?” Chris asked. “Feeding a vanquishing potion to Wyatt? You don’t know how that might affect him.”

“It’s the best I could come up with,” said Piper. “Besides, it shouldn’t hurt him. It’s designed for The First. And I was even able to make his formula the base of the potion. That took some doing, let me tell you. But as long as we keep feeding it to him, it should be in his system when that thing attacks. If we can’t vanquish it another way, the potion should do the trick.”

“Excuse me a second,” said Chris. “I’ll be right back.”

Chris orbed out of the manor without another word.

“I’d still be careful,” said Giles. “Potions can be notoriously unpredictable. It might be best if you varied the potion-based formula with regular formula.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Piper. “Especially if this goes on for a while.”

“I don’t think that’s likely to happen,” said Buffy suddenly.

Everyone turned and saw a strange man standing over the playpen where Wyatt sat drinking his bottle. The man smiled an evil smiled and reached for the young infant. Buffy didn’t hesitate. He leapt across the room, stepping up on the edge of the playpen, launching herself at the man. Just as she cleared the side of the playpen, Wyatt’s force field activated. Caught off guard, Buffy collided with the force field and fell to the floor. She was slightly dazed but otherwise uninjured.

“Oh no you don’t,” said Piper raising her hands to bring her explosive power to bear.

The man raised his hand and it glowed a light blue. Piper’s power bounced harmlessly off the man causing no harm to him. The man then reached into the playpen for baby Wyatt. Without warning Wyatt’s force field suddenly vanished leaving the baby at the man’s mercy. And no one close enough to stop him.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 12:02 am 
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THIRTY-SEVEN

Suddenly, Chris orbed in behind the man. At nearly the same instant, Leo orbed in next to the playpen. Chris grabbed the man by the back of his shirt collar and threw him away from the playpen. The man fell to the floor and slid toward the solarium.

“What’s the matter, Keltrack?” Chris asked. “The outer fringes of the underworld no longer good enough for you?”

“You stay away from my son,” Leo said.

The man looked at Leo for a moment without attempting to rise.

“An Elder?” questioned the man. “Your son? That bastard set me up. I should have known no one would pay that much for an ordinary human baby.”

The commotion brought Phoebe and Willow down from the attic. Piper rushed over and scooped Wyatt out of the playpen as the Phoebe and Paige moved up between the man and the playpen. Giles, having no powers of his own, moved over and stood next to Piper, ready to offer whatever assistance he could. Willow moved over and stood between Leo and Giles. Buffy recovered from her failed assault and moved up next to Leo, ready to defend Wyatt against any attack.

“Look, I don’t want no trouble with you,” said the man, standing up and putting his hands up as if to ward off another attack. “I didn’t know it was you I was coming after. If I had known I would never had taken the job. We all know what happens to demons that go up against you.”

“Well, you’ve got trouble in spades,” said Phoebe.

“Who sent you?” demanded Paige.

“I don’t know,” said the demon. “Some human just appeared out of nowhere. He had power that would have rivaled the Source. He paid me an outrageous fee to snatch the kid. He didn’t want the kid hurt. Just that I was to snatch him and deliver him over. He didn’t say nothing about it being the Charmed Ones’ baby. Believe me, if I had known if was your kid I was being hired to get I would have told the guy to take a flying leap.”

“I say we just vanquish his butt,” said Paige.

“Hey, wait a second,” the demon protested.

“I have a better idea,” said Piper, handing Wyatt over to Giles. She walked up to the demon and stood toe-to-toe with him. “I want you to deliver a message for me. Your kind isn’t welcome here. Ever. Any demon that comes here, I don’t care what it’s for, gets vanquished. If they show up we’re just going to vanquish them and not worry about asking any questions. So you’d better tell all your friends that if this guy tries to hire anyone else to come here, they’d better think long and hard. Whatever he pays them won’t do them any good if they’re dead.”

“I’ll tell them,” said the demon.

Piper walked back over and stood next to her sisters.

“Oh, and just one more thing,” she said.

Suddenly Piper raised her hand and the demons’ right hand exploded. He screamed in agony and grabbed his right wrist with his left hand. He looked up at Piper, fear and agony in his eyes.

“Just in case they think I’m bluffing,” said Piper. “Tell them that’s just a little demonstration of what they can expect the second they shimmer in here.”

The demon didn’t say a word. He just shimmered and was gone.

“That was Keltrack,” said Chris. “He was banished by the Source several decades ago. He’s been living in the outer reaches of the underworld since where all banished demons go. It’s just like the first time. Wyatt hired those demons to harass you constantly until he felt the time was right. Then he attacked.”

“So, why’s he doing it now?” Buffy asked. “You said he didn’t kill them earlier because he needed them to vanquish some Collector demon from taking baby Wyatt. Well, we all know it was no Collector demon that attacked Wyatt. It was The First. Which means he didn’t need to let you live. In fact, by killing them he could have prevented them from giving baby Wyatt the potion Piper gave him. So why go through the whole thing over again?”

“That’s a good question,” said Leo.

“Chris,” said Piper, “how did you know that demon was going to attack? You orbed out just before it did.”

“He didn’t,” said Leo. “I called him. After he had orbed to me we sensed the demons’ attack so we got back here as quickly as we could.”

“Have you found out something?” asked Phoebe.

“A little,” said Leo. “As I’m sure everyone has already learned, grown up Wyatt is back in town.”

“It would appear so,” said Phoebe. “And apparently he told that demon that baby Wyatt was just another human child. What I don’t understand is why the demon didn’t know this was our house. I thought all the demons knew where we lived now.”

“Not all of them,” said Chris. “Ones like Keltrack wouldn’t have any way of knowing that. They’re forbidden from interacting with other demons. It’s part of their banishment. So there’s a lot that most demons know that they won’t. But apparently they’ve heard of you. I guess word about who you are has spread to even them.”

“It’s the other reason I summoned Chris,” said Leo. “Let’s all have a seat. I guess I should just tell everyone since we’re all here together. What we’ve learned isn’t good.”

Everyone took a seat in the living room wondering what terrible news Leo had to bring them.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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 Post subject: Re: The Confrontation (AU Story)
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 3:37 am 
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THIRTY-EIGHT

“First,” said Leo, “Piper, you have to stop giving Wyatt that potion. One of the other Elders had a premonition about it. If you keep giving it to him it’s going to make him violently ill. Even though it’s not designed for him, it’s still a vanquishing potion. And it’s going to have an effect on him.”

“Well, so much for my bright idea,” said Piper, taking the bottle from the infant. “We’ll just have to come up with another solution.”

“There’s more isn’t there?” asked Giles.

“Yes,” said Leo. “Evil activity is on the increase. The Druids have their hands full. Their antagonists have suddenly launched nearly full-scale attacks against them. So they aren’t going to be able to provide us with any assistance.”

“That’s just great,” said Paige.

“There’s also indications that someone is reorganizing the underworld,” said Leo. “Michael told me that a lot of the demonic leaders are starting to work together. Demons who totally hate each other. Rumors are that a new leader is working behind the scenes. Someone with enough power to control all the demons.”

“That would be Wyatt,” said Chris. “In the future, he has many demons working for him. Most of the demonic leadership is dead. Those that aren’t follow him without question.”

“He hasn’t vanquished any of them yet,” said Leo. “Either he’s waiting for the right time or he’s changed his tactics. If the demons begin to cooperate, witches everywhere are going to be at a distinct disadvantage.”

“Is Michael okay?” Piper asked. “If this Wyatt is from the future he might know about Michael. That could put him at risk.”

“I don’t think Wyatt ever knew about Michael,” said Chris. “He never made any moves against him. If he had known, I’m sure he would have vanquished him immediately.”

“So how do you know?” asked Phoebe.

“It became too dangerous for Michael to stay in the underworld,” said Chris. “He knew I was trying to stop Wyatt so he came to me. I helped hide him. I know a few places someone can hide where they won’t be detected.”

“We could take Wyatt there,” suggested Piper. “Until this is all over. At least he won’t be in danger there.”

“I doubt that would work,” interjected Giles. “The First is a very powerful force. From all indications it would be able to sense him no matter where he is. And we wouldn’t be here to protect him.”

“Giles is right,” said Leo. “The First pre-dates most demons and witches. There aren’t many places it can’t get to. The Elders have been researching it. And I’ve told them what Giles told us about it. Still, there’s very little we do know.”

“Well, we’d better think of something soon,” said Willow. “Without the amulet I don’t know how we’re going to defeat The First. Even with all the power we have here, we still don’t have a way to defeat it. And every minute we delay is that much more dangerous.”

“I shall redouble my research efforts,” said Giles. “But without Xander to help I’m afraid it’s going to be more difficult.”

“I’ll help,” said Paige. “It beats sitting around waiting to be attacked.”

“I’ll help, too,” said Phoebe. “And when Angel and Spike get back maybe they’ll have some more information for us.”

“I’m going to see about working up a new potion,” said Piper. “At least we have the one I already made. Maybe I can’t give it to Wyatt but at least we have it on hand.”

Phoebe and Paige moved over next to Giles and Willow to begin with the research. Piper left Wyatt with Leo and went into the kitchen to start work on another vanquishing potion. Chris was left to his own devices.

_________________
"One day we are going to look in our microscope and find outselves staring into God's eye. And the first one to blink is going to loose his testicles." - Peter O'Toole in "Creator"


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