By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2015 MultiMapper.
All Rights Reserved.

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Chapter 2

Xander left the doughnut shop and stopped. Something was giving him a serious case of the wiggins. He looked around and noticed that there was no one else on the street. The sun's light seemed to be an unusual orange glow. Xander shifted his burden and hurried his pace back to Gile's apartment. This felt so absolutely wrong.

Entering the apartment, he sat down the coffee and doughnuts quickly. He went into the living room. "Giles, you need to look outside. Something majorly wiggy is going on." Xander said, out of breath.

Giles went to the window and looked out. The orange light was immediately noticeable. "Merciful Gods!" he said in exclamation, turning back to the room.

Four flashes of light gave way to four oddly dressed men, one of whom had wings. "Hows 'bout that fer an intraduction?" One of the men said.

Everyone in the room got into battle stance. Giles broke the ensuing silence by saying, "Who are you and what are you doing here?"

Three of the men looked toward the fourth who rolled his eyes, then spoke. "I am Ares, god of war. It seems something is going on here that requires our attention."

More silence flooded the room as the Scoobies processed what they had been told. Finally it was Buffy who broke this bout of silence. "Who are the rest of you and what do you need to do?" She said, giving an obvious leer toward Cupid.

Strife put his arm around Cupid possessively and said, "We was sent here ta stop sumthin from destroyin the world. Like he said, he's Ares, that's Joxer, I'm Strife and this is my Cupid."

Everyone in the room noticed the possessive 'my' that Strife used, except maybe Buffy. She had a habit of not hearing what she didn't want to.

"The fates gave us a riddle and said that we would be the ones needed to stop what was trying to enter this world." Ares said with tension in his voice.

Joxer took hold of Ares arm and he immediately calmed.

"Greek!" Giles shouted as he ran back to the table and started searching for a particular book.

Everyone else just watched while he dug, trying to put the pieces together and figure out what was going on.

"Here, I think I've found the prophecy that we're looking for. I didn't consider before that it could be Greek in origin." He started reading the page silently then looked up to see all eyes fixed on him expectantly.

He read the passage aloud.

The time has come,
The end is near,
The twilight of mortals,
The days of fear,
The end of mankind,
The end will come,
Through an open door,

Witches come
to seal the gate,
Gods and keys
can alter fate,
Key of mischief,
Key of heart,
Key who fights
and stands apart,
Key of darkness
sirens call,
Key of evil
saves us all.

"Um." Strife said, drawing everyones attention. "That ain't tha same as what tha Fates said ta us."

"And just what did the fates say?" Giles asked in full research mode.

The gods looked at each other questioningly until Joxer created a pen and paper.

Giles waited as he wrote down what the fates had said. When he was finished, Giles took the paper and compared it to the book.

While he was comparing, Buffy, being her usual tactful self, asked, "Can't he speak?"

An angry look crossed Ares face but Joxer calmed him with a touch. Finally Strife spoke, "Jox was born a mortal, he use ta hang with these skanky hoes, Xena and Gabrielle. They was in a religion call 'the way' an tried to make everyone round em follow it. When they heard Jox tellin someone bout how tha gods was good an helped people, they got pissed. They beat him up an left him fer dead. Gabrielle used this god killin thing that Xena had, to cut out his tongue, so it couldn't be healed. He was gonna die, but cause he was always loyal ta Ares and was defending tha gods, Ares decided ta make him immortal. Bout a hundred years latah, he was made a god."

"That sucks!" Xander said, then shrunk back when everyone turned to look at him.

Joxer cast a meaningful look toward Ares. A moment later Ares turned to the group and said, "Joxer wants you to know that he can communicate mentally, he just doesn't like to do it around a group of people, he feels it's impolite."

Giles cleared his throat, drawing attention back to himself. "I believe that I understand what we have here, but if I am correct, we are missing one part of the prophecy... the part regarding witches."

* * * * *

Piper was driving furiously, trying to get them to Sunnydale as quickly as possible. Leo was in a state of near panic, but not from what the elder's had said, it was Piper's driving. He never liked driving anyway, but his wife made the experience like a carnival ride.

Paige spoke up from the back seat, "I think we found it. It says..."

And before she could continue Phoebe broke in. "Paraphrase, Paige. We can read it all once we get the general idea."

"Fine." Paige said with a glare at her sister. Then she continued, "Basically it says what Leo said, demons will open the door... they will kill every living thing, they will kill the earth itself. They believe that they are superior to all other things and only they deserve to survive. This thing reads like it's a sure thing that the door will open. The only clue how to stop it is in a rhyme."

She looked inquisitively at her sisters and Leo, silently asking if they wanted to hear it. After a moment she began to read.

The time has come,
The end is near,
The twilight of mortals,
The days of fear,
The end of mankind,
The end will come,
Through an open door,

Witches come
to seal the gate,
Gods and keys
can alter fate,
Witch of laughter,
Witch of love,
Witch who fights
to stay above,
Witch who longs
to find her own,
Witch who dreams
the dreams unknown.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Asked Piper from the driver's seat.

"I didn't write it. I think it's a clue on how to seal the door so it can't be opened." Paige said defensively.

"Sorry, these things just upset me when they get all cryptic. I don't know why they can't just spell it out." Piper said, irritated.

"Does anyone know what we're going to do when we get to Sunnydale? I mean, where do we look for this door thing?" Phoebe asked.

"I have an idea where to start, I mean the book talks about five witches and we have three. I'm guessing that we need to find local witches to find the other two. They will probably have an idea of where to look." Leo said, proud of himself before he flinched and took another death-grip on the dashboard as Piper swerved past a semi-truck.

"So do we look in the yellow pages under 'Witches' or 'Black Arts'?" Paige asked, watching Leo's face scrunch up as Piper passed another truck.

"This would be a lot easier if you could just orb us there." Paige said conversationally, trying to take Leo's mind off the drive.

"It would, but I've never been there and I don't have anyone there calling me to orb to." Leo said, feeling useless.

"Don't worry about it, I was just saying..." Paige drifted off, letting silence fall over the occupants of the car.

* * * * *

"Bloody 'ell woman! First you leave me for the bloke with the snot covered antlers, then you kidnap me and drag me back to the bleedin States? What in hells name is goin on with you Drew?" Spike asked while trying to work loose from his ropes.

"Shhhh. Mummy's gonna make everything all right. We just have to close the door and then Spikey can go and play wherever he wants." Drucilla said from Mrak's arms.

"What door are you talking about, you bloody loon?" Spike asked furiously.

Mrak carefully moved Dru aside and walked over to Spike. He took hold of Spike by his duster, lifted him, and said, "The stars told her that you were needed to close the hellmouth, but they didn't say every piece of you was needed. So. shut. up."

Spike wisely shut his gob. He knew that Mrak had the ability and the will to leave pieces of him scattered across the Americas. It was only by Dru's goodwill that Mrak hadn't dusted him months ago.

The flight continued in silence, except for some cooing noises coming from Dru as she snuggled Mrak.

* * * * *

The sun had set an hour ago and they had finally reached Sunnydale. Piper drove slowly down the main street of the town, much to Leo's relief. There was no one. The town seemed to be abandoned. The eerie silence of the town carried into the car as no one could find a word to speak. All they could do was listen in hopes that some sign of life would make itself known.

Finally they got their wish, but not exactly the way that they would have wanted. A group of some twenty men and women, obviously not of the human variety walked out into the street. Piper stopped the car reflexively so as not to hit them and the car was quickly surrounded.

As Piper was about to try exploding one of the creatures, another car pulled up behind them and the creatures turned to see who else had joined them.

The doors of the second car flew open and two men got out. One tall and dark, the other small and skinny. The group in the first car witnessed that after saying something, the tall one threw himself into the largest concentration of creatures and started to fight with a vengeance. The smaller man defended himself against any creature that attacked him.

Finally Piper came to her senses and opened her car door, ignoring the shouts of the others in her car. As a creature turned to attack her, she lifted her hands and it exploded into dust. A moment later Phoebe was beside her. There were eight creatures still fighting. Phoebe went to the nearest creature and began... basically kicking its ass. Piper exploded three more before the strangers finished off the remaining four.

When the fighting was finished, the remaining occupants of both cars got out and everyone stood around looking at each other dumbly.

Finally Cordelia spoke, "Wow, that was really impressive, I mean that exploding thing, I see how that could come in real handy. I'm Cordelia, this is Angel and that's Doyle." Angel looked at the group, when he came to Leo, he averted his eyes.

"What were those things?" Paige asked in awe.

"Those were vampires, and you are?" Doyle asked, with obvious interest.

"Paige, these are my sisters Piper and Phoebe, and that guy is my brother-in-law Leo." She said with a flirtatious look at Doyle.

Cordelia took Doyle's arm possessively and asked, "So what are you guys doing in Sunnydale, I mean it looks like everyone but the vamps have left."

The witches looked at each other and Leo finally answered, "We got a message that we were needed here. But since we don't know anyone here, we're kind of lost."

"This message wouldn't have anything to do with an open door, by chance?" Doyle asked, receiving disapproving glances from Angel and Cordelia.

"That's the one." Paige said simply.

"Let's go, I know a place where we can talk more safely than in the street." Angel said with authority.

"Okay, you lead, we'll follow." Piper said, getting back into the car. She had no desire to stand in the street anymore than necessary.

The others followed suit and soon both cars were headed toward the house of the watcher.

* * * * *

"If I understand this correctly, there will need to be at least fourteen people involved in closing the hellmouth. Probably more if they have to be defended while they close it." Giles said with exasperation.

"Well let's look at this thing and see if we can figure out the keys, I mean the gods is pretty obvious." Willow said then shrunk timidly.

"Quite." Giles added as he read the relevant passage aloud.

"Key of mischief." Giles said absently, "Lord Strife, are any of those in this room aligned with mischief?"

Strife looked at each person in the room and stopped when facing Giles. "You're tha only one what carries mischief in his heart, but it's dormant. Damned shame. Ah don't think it's you."

"Right then, moving along. 'Key of heart', " Giles cast a questioning look at Cupid who just shook his head.

"'Key who fights and stands apart.' What do you suppose that means?" Giles asked the group in general.

"A fighter who's a loner. Someone who keeps his own counsel." Ares said, then with a glare from Buffy he added with a smirk, "or her own counsel."

"Deadboy." Xander said, and all eyes turned to him. "Angel is a fighter who keeps to himself."

"That doesn't do us any good if he isn't here." Buffy said snottily as there was a knock on the door.

"Angel?" Willow said as she opened the door.

"Speak of the devil." Xander said with a sour look.

"...and in he walks." Giles finished with his own sour look.

To Be Continued...

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