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Title: Divine Interventions (15/16)
Fandom: Buffy/Angel
Characters: Dawn, Amy, Cordelia, Ethan, Willow, Kennedy, and others.
Rating: The overall fic includes material up to and including NC-17; it is clear sailing from here on out, though.
Warnings: Het, femslash, BDSM, noncon—but none of these as the main focus of the fic. And if you've been reading, they're all behind you. If you're just beginning, why not try out starting with Chapter One?
Warnings for this chapter: Language. Vague references to past sexuality.
Timeline/Spoilers: Takes place after “Why We Fight.” Spoilers up to “You’re Welcome.”
Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] spikendru for a great beta.

Previous chapter can be found here.
All chapters can be found in my memories.

Chapter Fifteen

For a long moment, everyone present just stared at each other in a daze. Then, as it gradually began to sink in who exactly had won, various members of the Order of Osiris began to flee. Amy ignored them; individually, they were harmless.

Instead, she sent out her mind searching through the temple. “You can’t hide from me,” she said out loud, as she searched, hoping her voice would carry. Quickly, she found the nexus of energy she was looking for, the hodge-podge of stolen life forces fashioned together in a single parasite. Following her senses, she made her way to a door and opened it. There, sitting on a chair and looking up at her with a coolness behind his eyes, was Rack.

“You’ve come to kill me?” he asked. “Like your little dark friend, I suppose. Only now she’s locked up that part of her so deep we needed to use magic to get it out. Unlike you. You’re not afraid to use dark magicks, are you, Amy?”

No. She wasn’t.

He stood up, took a step towards Amy. “I have to admit, I underestimated you. So distracted by your friend Strawberry, with so much raw power, that I missed the true potential. Light and dark, together in a single witch. Vanilla and chocolate. You’ve matured, Amy. Beautiful.”

“And you,” Amy said, entering the room, “are still ugly.”

“So you’re going to kill me?”

“No,” said Amy. “I’m not Willow.” She walked up to him and raised her palm a mere six inches from his chest. “Уберите все, что отделяет этого человека от смертных, которые идут эта Земля,” she chanted, feeling the power drain out of him. When she was done, she turned towards the door.

“You should have killed me,” he called out to her.

Amy looked back at Rack, a smile on her lips. “I was sort of hoping you would say that.” She left the room, leaving him behind her, and reëntered the Inner Sanctum.

“What did you do to him?” Willow asked as Amy stepped up to the assembled group.

“Broke his connection to the magicks,” Amy answered. “He’s mortal now. Human. He’ll never again be able to feel magic in any form. Let him experience what withdrawal feels like.”

Willow nodded. “Appropriate,” she agreed.

“And her?” Amy asked, looking down at the priestess’s unconscious form and fighting the urge to give it a good kick.

“Alexia? We’ll take her with us,” Althanea offered. “The coven can keep her safe, make sure she doesn’t cause any more destruction. If she can be rehabilitated, we will do that, but most likely . . . we will treat her well until the day Osiris claims His own.”

“The Staff of Toth,” Dawn instructed Vaughne, breaking into the silence. “Search this place until you find it. Then break it.”

Vaughne nodded and led a few of the other girls in looking for the staff. Amy glanced at Dawn, who was now just staring at the Inner Sanctum. Amy could guess what the girl was thinking: it was over. They had won the war. But then why did everybody just feel so damn empty?

* * * * *

Ethan and Beth were nowhere to be found when they returned to the house, although Dawn did finally find a letter left in what had been their bedroom.

Miss Summers:

Beth and I are wanted fugitives, so now that the world is saved it didn’t quite make sense for us to wait around for Council representatives to arrive and take us into custody. We thank you for our freedom.

Chaos can be a hard path, as much as it seems—and often is the fact—that I treat it as mostly fun and games. I know that I will not be able to entreat you to indulge yourself again: the sin of temperance is one of the many curses of the Watcher. Nor would I want to stay, not really; you remind me of Rupert in far too many ways.

Chaos can be either fought against or embraced; the more chaotic option by far is it to fight it.

E.R.


Dawn read the letter, then folded it and slipped it into her handbag, making her way out of the bedroom. Quickly and silently she descended the staircase into the kitchen, where she found Kennedy sitting at the kitchen table, the large bandage wrapped around her waist mostly obscured by her shirt.

“How are you feeling?” Dawn asked.

“I’m getting stronger,” Kennedy answered. “It’s just . . . I can’t do it. I can’t just go on living as if. . . .”

“I understand,” Dawn said. “You’re going to move out?”

Kennedy nodded, glumly. “I’ll find a place somewhere nearby, so I’ll still be able to train the Slayers. I won’t let this interfere with my calling.”

“Kennedy, you were—”

“Dawn,” Kennedy interjected. “Don’t.”

Complying, Dawn said nothing. After a moment, Kennedy began to speak again.

“When I found out I was a potential Slayer, it was like the world turning upside down. I realized how dangerous the world really was, and just how vulnerable I was. I was six years old. And since then I’ve worked my ass off to be the best the Slayer I could be. When we all showed up at Buffy’s door, who was the best? I was. The fastest, the strongest, the best trained. And then I became a Slayer, and I knew the only time I ever had to fear anything was when there was a huge apocalyptic foe. Well, I suppose this time it was an apocalypse, but guess that the foe would be Willow? Never. As much as she told me, as much as I thought I understood her fear, I realize now I never really knew anything. And now I feel like I’m six years old and meeting my Watcher for the first time all over again.”

“You know that Willow would never really—”

“But she did,” Kennedy cut Dawn off. “You said it yourself, Dawn. That was Willow in there—her power and her passions. Only part of her, yes, but that means somewhere, deep down, there is a part of Willow who can do that to somebody. And I don’t know if I can live with that.”

Dawn nodded, knowing not to press any farther. “Don’t be afraid to take some time off. The Council will give you all the time you need.”

The Slayer shook her head. “I need this, Dawn. I need to be strong. Don’t take it away from me.”

“Whatever you think is best, Kennedy.” Dawn considered touching the Slayer, laying a reassuring hand on her shoulder, then decided against it. Silently, she left the kitchen, to find Willow and Althanea conversing in the living room.

“How is she?” Willow asked.

“Althanea is a good healer. Physically, she’ll be fine in a couple of days. Psychologically. . . .” She trailed off, not knowing the answer. Would the brash, confident Slayer the Council desperately needed ever be back?

Willow nodded, her head hung low. Dawn almost flinched. Kennedy’s bout of sullen reflection was bad enough. If Willow went back to the level of insecurity she had displayed that last year in Sunnydale, the Council would have lost its most valuable operative.

“Willow, what happened wasn’t your—”

“It was me, Dawn. She’s right: there’s some part of me which enjoyed what I did to Kennedy. Enjoyed it!” Her voice rang out, much more obvious than she intended. Willow cast a shocked glance towards the kitchen and cringed.

Dawn continued more softly, but firmly. “It’s still not your fault. You didn’t lose control this time; you had it stolen from you. We all have our dark sides, Willow. Dark sides which, if freed, would drive any one of us to do horrible things.”

After all, if her own dark side managed to drive her to sleep with Ethan Rayne without the aid of the Staff of Toth, what would Dawn turn into if it were truly let free?

“‘Good’ controlled Willow was pretty much just a big waste of space until you finally faced down Osiris together,” Dawn continued. “We don’t need a Willow who is in perfect control and communes with the universe. We need a complete Willow, one who knows power and isn’t afraid to use it but can control that power. We need our dark sides; they’re part of who we are.”

Willow said nothing, but Althanea smiled. “You have learned a truly valuable lesson, my girl.”

Dawn frowned. It wasn’t a lesson she really wanted to learn, and she didn’t want to think how it could be applied to her.

So she changed the subject. “If Willow hadn’t drained Kelsenia,” she pointed out to Althanea, “she wouldn’t have had the power to stand against Osiris. You knew that, and brought her here.”

Althanea shook her head. “I am no seer, child. I knew nothing. I only feared the sacrifice I would have to make.”

Dawn didn’t say anything for a moment. She didn’t know what scared her more: the fact that one day she would have to make such a sacrifice, or the knowledge that, when that day came, she would be able to do it.

* * * * *

You have done well, child.

Cordelia supposed that she shouldn’t feel patronized that the goddess Hecate called her “child.” After all, it wasn’t condescension so much if She actually was insanely more powerful than Cordelia. But still, she was a Higher Power! Didn’t that count for something?

If recent events were any guide, not much. “It’s not as if I did any good,” she complained. “I was of exactly zero usefulness.”

What did you expect? Hecate asked. Each of those whom you once called friend has her own path that she must find. You know quite well that you cannot interfere with free will.

“Then you knew I wouldn’t be able to do any good,” Cordelia accused.

Even My omniscience does not extend that far, Hecate contradicted. Fate works in mysterious ways, even to a god. Your presence could have influenced events in an infinitude of subtle ways. Why do you think I allowed you to incarnate?

“Is this one of those butterfly-storm Ashton Kutcher things? Because I never really got all that no matter how many times Xander or Willow tried to explain.”

You are young yet, Cordelia. You have all Eternity to learn the mysteries of the universe. For now, be glad that your friends are safe, and that the apocalypse has been averted . . . for the moment.

Suddenly, Cordelia felt like Eternity was going to be a long, long time.

* * * * *

What had once been the administrative headquarters for a full-out Slayer war was now an empty house. Amy and the Wiccans had returned to the United States using Angel’s jet. Ethan and Beth had slipped away. Althanea had teleported the priestess Alexia to Devonshire, and now she and Kelsenia were on a commercial aircraft traveling back themselves. The Slayers, too, had dispersed back to the ends of the Earth from which they came. Kennedy had already moved out and was staying with one of her Slayers until she could find a new place. Cordelia hadn’t been seen since the final showdown between Willow and Osiris—the assumption was that she had re-ascended and was busy being a Higher Power again.

So Dawn was alone with Willow now, making preparations for her own return back to Italy. She had shipped her handgun, knowing she wouldn’t be allowed to take it on a plane. Now all she had to do was relax until she had to leave for the airport later that afternoon. She leaned back and closed her eyes. Relaxation wasn’t something of which she had been capable for the last few days.

She let the stress fall from her body, and let her thoughts wander as they would. Blissfully, her mind was empty. She sat there, finally feeling restful, when the doorbell rang.

She rose to answer the door, wondering who it could be. For the last few days, the house had been a center of activity, but now that was over and silence reigned. Who would be visiting Willow?

“Oh, shit,” Dawn said as she peered through the peephole and saw who was on the other side of the door.

It was Buffy and Giles.

TBC. . . . here

(no subject)

Date: 2005-09-28 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bittersweet325.livejournal.com
Nice chapter...looking forward to the end!

(no subject)

Date: 2005-09-29 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alixtii.livejournal.com
Thanks. I'm a little bittersweet in my reaction to the coming end, actually. The fic's over. *sniff*

August 2014

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