FIC : A Chaos Of Consequences 7/?

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Jane Davitt

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Nov 9, 2002, 6:25:10 PM11/9/02
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Disclaimers in part one.

PART SEVEN

Rack smiled lazily at the two frightened boys. Brenton had recovered
enough to be aware of his surroundings. Avoiding Scott's accusing glare,
he was gazing at Rack with haunted eyes.

"Now, I'm feeling much better," Rack said. He gave Scott an affable look
and waved a negligent hand at the door, which sprang open. "You don't
have anything I need though, so why don't you get the hell out of my
way?" Without a backward glance at Brenton, Scott fled the living
nightmare in an undignified scramble of arms and legs. The door slammed
shut then vanished, leaving smooth, unbroken wall in its place.

A sticky silence settled over the room. Brenton sniveled as he watched
Rack stretch out his arms and wriggle his neck.

"That little witch really hurt me," Rack murmured to himself. "Guess we
all know who's going to pay for that."

He turned to Brenton, his face thoughtful. "You want to help me, don't
you?" he asked pleasantly. "You know, she tried to kill me and well,
that's just not right, now is it?"

Brenton shook his head, less an agreement with Rack's words than a
denial of what was happening to him.

Rack grinned widely, savouring the delicious fear Brenton exuded.
Suddenly he staggered and smacked a hand against his skull, moaning
softly. "Hurts, still hurts so much - what did she _do_to me, the
ungrateful bitch? She had power to spare; why take mine?"

***

"Because you didn't deserve it, you bastard," Willow muttered. Giles and
Kate exchanged alarmed glances. Willow's eyes were fixed and wide, as
she looked at pictures only she could see, embellishing the story with
her memories. Speaking almost casually, she said, "He didn't get much
from that boy, you know. He'll drain again soon and when he does, he'll
go out looking for more people he can take from. He used to be careful
and take just enough, leave them begging for another session, but now
he's not going to waste time. He'll rip any power they have right out of
them." Challengingly, she looked at Kate from under downcast eyelids,
"And you know what that'll do to them, Kate, don't you? It's what
stopped you doing it to me. Take someone's power - all of it - and you
take them with it. They die. But you know that, don't you Kate? It's
what stopped you all from doing it to me when I came here. But you
thought about it, didn't you?"

Kate jerked away from Willow, alarm in her eyes. "No! We would never
have done that to you, Willow! Tell her, Giles."

Giles gripped Willow's wrist tightly. "Yes, Willow, I would have done
that in Sunnydale, but only as a last resort, and if I had no other
choice. But since our first plan worked, there was no reason to consider
it. You know that."

Willow's dark eyes were blazing with fear and insecurity. She scanned
Giles' face, paring away every evasion and subterfuge. Finally she
nodded, relief slumping her shoulders. "I believe you, Giles," she
whispered softly. "But we have to stop Rack."

Giles tilted his head, frowning. "'Stop him'?" he asked. "Willow, all
this happened weeks ago. There's nothing we can do."

Willow stood in one smooth movement and looked down at Giles and Kate.
"There's nothing _you_ can do, that's right," she said. Her eyes flooded
with ebony witch light and she rose slowly off the ground. "But me, I
can do plenty."

"No." Kate stood up and rose level with Willow. "Have you learned
nothing, child? Will nothing strip you of your arrogance?"

Willow glared at Kate and said angrily, "I am not a child! Rack has to
be stopped. I can go back and do that, you know I can. I'm not starting
something new, I'm correcting a mistake."

Kate shook her head, resignation on her face. "It might seem that way
but that's not how it works."

"How would _you_ know?" demanded Willow. The eerie, black light faded
from her eyes and she sank back to the floor, much to Giles' relief.

Kate smoothed back her hair from her forehead, her hand shaking
slightly. " Willow, if you _ever_ do that in front of me again, I'll
smack you down so hard people will be using your hair for a hearth rug."

Giles decided it was time he intervened. He opened his mouth and both
women spun round to give him looks so icy that he prudently closed it
again and snatched off his glasses quickly for a not at all needed polish.

"Where do you get off, giving me orders like this and acting as if
you're about ninety?" Willow demanded, hands on hips and lips set in a
thin line.

"When I'm acting for the Powers and I happen to be imbued with the
wisdom of the ages," Kate snapped back.

Willow gaped at her for a second, then burst out laughing. "You're a Power?"

"You're a what?" exclaimed Giles, shoving his glasses back on quickly
and staring at Kate in shock.

"Don't either of you listen?" Kate said in exasperation. "I'm as human
as they get. I said the Powers were working through me. They do that
sometimes. How do you think I'm doing this whole story telling stuff
anyway?"

"Well, it did seem a little advanced even for you - " began Giles,
quailing slightly as Kate gave him an offended look. Taking a deep
breath, he continued, "I assumed that in my time away in Sunnydale,
you'd applied yourself and made good progress, that's all. Does your
aunt know of this?"

Kate shuddered. "She'd have a fit. Don't tell her if you value my life.
The Powers wouldn't step in to save me, not from her."

The tension lessened appreciably as the three united in a common fear.
Miss Harkness was formidable, inflexible and opinionated - yet strangely
charming.

"Never mind that, " said Willow. "We still need to sort out Rack. What
did he do? God, he was hanging there listening when I was talking to
Dawn. What if he goes after her, wanting to get the Key's energy?"

"He can't have," Giles said reassuringly. "I've been talking to Buffy
frequently and she's not mentioned Rack at all. Which is rather puzzling."

"No, it isn't," Willow said, her voice rising with excitement. "It means
we _did_ fix him. We did go back and kill him properly. We can plan it
better. There's no need to rush, I see that now - but we have to do it.
We really do."

"Willow, you can't just go back in time and change things," said Giles
impatiently. "You've never had that much power. No one has."

Willow swung round to face Kate, a challenging gleam in her eyes. "I bet
Kate's Powers can do it," she said. "In fact, I think that's what this
whole story idea was for. Well?"

Kate reluctantly nodded in agreement. "Of course I can take you back but
I was hoping I wouldn't have to," she said, chewing on her thumbnail
absent- mindedly.

"Why?" asked Willow. "Because it's dangerous?"

Kate spat out a scrap of nail and looked scornful. "Rack? That cheap
pathetic excuse for a warlock? He might scare kids into giving up their
power but I'd like to see him try those party tricks on _me_."

"He's stronger than you think," objected Willow.

"You're only saying that because he fooled you. But remember, you didn't
go back once you saw where he was taking you. You already beat him once."

Willow smiled at her gratefully. "I suppose I did," she said. "So why
don't you want to go finish him off? If he's not human, it's not like we
need to worry. Maybe Buffy can help."

Kate frowned. "Where do you get this idea that non-human equals fair
game? Giles, what have you been teaching them over there?"

Giles shrugged. "I was trying to keep things simple and let them
discover the shades of grey themselves," he said. "It's not something
you can teach, it's something you have to learn."

Willow looked puzzled. "I don't mean a 'good demon' is a 'dead demon',"
she said, belatedly realising why Kate was looking perturbed. "Clem's a
sweetie for one, Angel helped us lots and Spike, well, he's different
than most vampires, I guess."

"Most of the evil undead don't get to see the Slayer naked, that's a
certain fact," said Kate dryly. As Giles began to splutter, she winked
at Willow who smiled back.

"I was thinking more of him fighting with us and protecting Dawn, but
whatever," Willow said with a shrug. "None of that matters when it comes
to Rack though. He needs removing. He's dangerous."

"I still think you're a little too ready to hang him out to dry," Kate
remarked. "If he was that bad, how come you never got the Slayer to deal
with him?"

"Because I thought he was human!" said Willow impatiently.

"Human, demon, doesn't matter. He was using magic and that puts him
inside the Slayer's reach. If not her, who? Your police? You saw
yourself how unable they are to deal with that sort of thing. Giles,
haven't you _covered_ this for heaven's sake?"

"I've always instructed Buffy that the human world has to be allowed to
deal with human criminals," said Giles stiffly.

"Like that Ben guy?"

"Ben, Glory, Ben? That Ben?" asked Willow with some perplexity. "You
said he died of his injuries and it was for the.oh." She looked at Giles
with a dawning realisation and wasn't surprised when Giles shrugged and
nodded.

"I dealt with Ben, yes. It had to be done."

"Buffy could have done it," said Kate. "You were shielding her. You
always have. It's one of the reasons Quentin wanted you replaced."

"You know Travers?" said Willow, wondering how much more would be
revealed in the space of five minutes.

"It's a small world when it comes to magic," Kate said airily. " And
news like that gets out. This coven is linked to the Council in many
ways. They use the Manor as the place for their retreats sometimes."

Giles looked indignant as he answered Kate. "I can assure you that my
natural fondness for my charge never led me to neglect my duties as
Watcher." Relapsing into a more natural tone, he added, "Most Watchers
see their Slayers die very soon. I've been with Buffy for so long, seen
her cope with so much. She's an extraordinary young woman and I loved
her too much to burden her with Ben's death. I've never regretted my
actions but I know she would have." He gave Willow a stern look. "I
shall be most displeased if this ever gets to Buffy's ears, Willow."

Willow held up her hands in surrender. "She won't hear it from me," she
assured Giles. "But can we please focus on Rack instead of ancient
history? Kate, you said you could go back and deal with him but you
didn't want to. Why?"

Kate looked at her in silence, one eyebrow raised. Willow flushed and
said, "Consequences and ripples?"

"You seem to have - finally - got the message." Kate said, clapping her
hands rather ironically. "Yippee. Yes, killing him again would be nice
and tidy but who knows what it'll do down the road?"

"You could say that about any of the demons we kill, " objected Giles.
"Sometimes you just have to go ahead and slaughter them."

Kate shrugged. "I know that's a very pleasant option for those of us who
think with our - "

"Kate!"

"Swords," Kate finished, giving Giles an arch glance. "But some cases
are different and trust me, Rack's one of them. Don't worry too much.
You take out someone the Powers have plans for and they'll generally
work around it or fix it. But it's not a good idea to force them to work
too hard."

"I'm getting tired of this," said Willow angrily. "What about Brenton?
What about all the other people Rack's going to hurt, trying to get his
power back? What about _me_, if I can get all personal. He'll be after
me the second I get back in town."

"I certainly agree that he needs to be neutralized," Kate said calmly.
"He's causing - caused - too many ripples of his own. But there's no
need to kill him. The Powers think it would work well to move him back
home. You've killed his human side. What's left is a crippled demon,
dangerous here, but quite ineffective in his native dimension."

"So why don't they just shove him through a portal then?" asked Willow.

Kate sighed. "Brenton. Rack has anchored himself to this plane using the
lad. We send Rack home, Brenton goes with him. Body and soul. Forever."

Giles frowned. "I'm still a little hazy on this. As I told Willow, it's
been weeks since the events of that night. What is Rack doing right now?
And isn't it the case that the longer we wait, the more changing things
will impact on the present?"

"I'm getting a headache," murmured Willow.

Kate nodded vigorously. "It would do, but for one factor."

Giles looked cynical. "I'll feed you your line. What factor would that
be, then?"

Kate smirked, then sobered and said, "Rack and Brenton are trapped in
that silly house of his. When Rack let Scott go, the doors slammed shut
to keep Brenton there. The Powers reinforced that so that no one can get
in or out. They've basically frozen time inside the house. If we go
there to tackle Rack and it's looking inevitable, we'll be appearing
right at the point where the story broke off. No time travel involved,
just teleportation inside a magically sealed room. The sad part is that
Brenton's parents are beside themselves but, well, it's Sunnydale."

Willow nodded. She was well aware of the implications of missing people
in Sunnydale. Brenton's parents would be in a very small minority if
they actually got their child back.

"Well, that makes things simple," she said brightly. "The water's all
calm and unripply. Let's get some spells, weapons and jump on in. Splash
around a bit."

Kate gave Giles a look of disbelief. "Are they all like this?" she said.

Giles rolled his eyes. "Willow's the calm one," he confided.

"Ask Travers for a raise. You deserve it."

TBC

--
My Buffy the Vampire Slayer fiction is archived at
http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=231516
at http://dotcreative.envy.nu/archive/al.html and
http://www.sflare.com/Fanfiction-options-DisplayStory-storyid-238.html

kimberly seymour

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Nov 9, 2002, 7:59:44 PM11/9/02
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Can you repost part 6? I seem to have missed it.

Kim

"Jane Davitt" <jdav...@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:3DCD9922...@rogers.com...

BrendanM

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Nov 9, 2002, 9:21:13 PM11/9/02
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"Jane Davitt" <jdav...@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:3DCD9922...@rogers.com...
> Disclaimers in part one.

[snip]

> Giles rolled his eyes. "Willow's the calm one," he confided.
>
> "Ask Travers for a raise. You deserve it."

Great line!

Keep up the good work!

-Brendan


Jane Davitt

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Nov 9, 2002, 9:18:50 PM11/9/02
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kimberly seymour wrote:

> Can you repost part 6? I seem to have missed it.
>
> Kim
>

Sure; just did. Hope this one gets to your server OK.

Jane

Jane Davitt

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Nov 9, 2002, 10:33:36 PM11/9/02
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BrendanM wrote:


>>
>
> Great line!
>
> Keep up the good work!
>
> -Brendan
>
>
>

Thanks! The next part is written and beta'd (thanks, Jen!), ready to go
but <shuffles feet> I haven't even started what should be the final part
yet.

Jane

BrendanM

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Nov 9, 2002, 10:50:47 PM11/9/02
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"Jane Davitt" <jdav...@rogers.com> wrote in message
news:3DCDD35D...@rogers.com...

> Thanks! The next part is written and beta'd (thanks, Jen!), ready to go
> but <shuffles feet> I haven't even started what should be the final part
> yet.

Don't sweat it. It'll be ready when it's ready. If it makes you feel any
better, part 4 of *Nosebleeds* is still being betaed.

It's amazing what happens when your beta reader's grandbaby comes up for a
week. No e-mail whatsoever is read.

:-)

-Brendan


JLB

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Nov 10, 2002, 10:31:36 AM11/10/02
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I don't know if you saw my review on FF.Net but I'm really enjoying
htis and I hope you have Willow tell Kate if she was a little quicker
about mentioning Rack was trapped she wouldn't have sugggested time
travel.

JLB

Jane Davitt

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Nov 10, 2002, 12:15:26 PM11/10/02
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JLB wrote:

Yes, I did; thank you, the feedback is always appreciated. I can't
remember if she says that exactly, but I have a feeling that it's
mentioned somewhere.It's also important that time travel comes up as
something Kate can do but I don't want to give anymore away :-)
Obviously, when dealing with Rack, the simpler spell of teleportation is
preferable to time travel and creates less problems with paradoxes and such.

Jane

Gert Wallage

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Nov 10, 2002, 4:32:42 PM11/10/02
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>> Can you repost part 6? I seem to have missed it.
>>
>> Kim

> Sure; just did. Hope this one gets to your server OK.

Ah. I must have missed it too.

(Now part 7 makes a LOT more sense :-)

Thanks!

Gert

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