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Author's Note: Dialogue taken from the original episode; Blood Ties, with changes to fit with my cannon of the series. Enjoy.

Qualms Before The Storm.

The slayer looked at her friends gathered around her in the shop floor of the Magic Box, a few days after the delegation from the Watcher's Council departed. Her expression was one of doubtful, if gratified as she searched for a reply, appreciating their thoughtfulness, but disbelieving if she was really in the mood for such a celebration.

"Look, I know Mom wants to gather and make with the merry tomorrow night," she remarked, "but with everything that's going on..."

Willow clasped her shoulder from behind. "This is exactly what you need. A 20th birthday party with, with, with presents, and funny hats, and, and those candles that don't blow out... Those used to scare me."

Tara nodded. "Me too," she uttered causing her boyfriend to hug her.

"I just don't think this is the best time to break out the party piñata," Buffy continued. "We need to stay focused if we're gonna find a way to stop Glory."

"We're going up against a god," Xander reminded everyone. "An actual mightier-than-thou god."

"Well, you know what they say," Willow pointed out, "the bigger they are-"

"The faster they stomp you into nothing," Anya finished.

"She's right," Buffy agreed, while everyone else glared at the former vengeance demon. "I've thrown everything I've got at her and she just shrugs it off."

"Then we have to find something heavier to throw," Jenny reasoned.

"That might pose some difficulty," Giles remarked. "From what the Council's been able to discover from the book of Tarnis and, and, and other sources, Glory and two of her fellow hell gods ruled over ... one of the more seriously unpleasant demon dimensions."

"There's more than one?" Tara queried.

Anya nodded. "Oh, there are thousands of demon dimensions. All different."

"All pushing on the edges of our reality, trying to find a way in," Wesley added.

"I guess Glory found one," Doyle remarked. "The question is, why?"

Giles studied the findings from the Watcher's Council. "There's nothing to indicate that here. Just ... vague references to ... chaos and destruction."

"Okay, so, we know where Glory's from," Cordelia allowed. "What do we know about her? You know, she's tough, but no bolts of lightning, no blasts of fire, shouldn't a god be able to do that kind of stuff?"

"Uh, usually, yes, but being in human form must be severely limiting her powers," Giles reasoned. "All we have to worry about right now is she's immortal, invulnerable, and insane."

"A crazy hell god?" Xander queried. "And the fun just keeps on leaving."

"From what I've been able to gather," Giles continued, "her living in this world is ... seriously affecting her mental state as well. She's only being able to keep her mind intact by, uh, extracting energy from us. Well, from, from the human brain."

"She, she, she's a brain-sucker?" Tara questioned.

"She, 'absorbs the energies that bind the human mind into a cohesive whole,'" Giles read from the book before him. "Once drained, all that's left behind is, uh-"

"Crazy people," Buffy finished.

"Which is, I'm afraid, why there's been a marked increase in the ranks of the mentally unstable here in Sunnydale," Wesley added.

"At least vampires just kill you," Tara mused.

"We have to find a way to stop her," Buffy uttered.

"Oh, well, Jenny, Tara and I can work on some tactical spells," Willow offered.

"I can do some research," Anya volunteered. "I know way more about demon dimensions than Giles does. Well, I do."

"This is great long-term plan stuff," Xander remarked, "but what about this ... key thingy Glory's looking for?"

Unnoticed, Buffy, Giles, Angel and Spike exchanged a meaningful look.

"Yeah, I mean, shouldn't we be trying to find it before she does?" Cordelia asked.

"I don't think that's what we should be worrying about right now," Angel remarked.

"They've got a point," Willow allowed. "Whatever Glory's planning on opening with the key, I'm guessing it won't be filled with candy and flowers."

"So where should we start looking?" Xander asked. "Do we know where it used to be kept? Who saw it last?"

"We did," Buffy replied slowly. "Giles, Angel, Spike and me. We, know where it is."

"You what?" Xander echoed.

"You know, and you didn't tell us?" Willow added.

"There were reasons," Giles replied.

"Look, if Glory knew that you guys knew where it was," Buffy sighed. "I just didn't wanna put you in that kind of danger."

"As opposed to the other kind we're always in?" Cordelia queried.

Willow nodded. "You should have said something."

Buffy nodded. "You're right," she turned to her watcher. "It's time."

"Are you sure?" Angel asked her.

"If they're gonna be risking their lives, they deserve to know," Buffy decided.

"Know what?" Xander asked.

"There's something that you need to know ... about Elita," Buffy began.


"The link must be severed," one of the knights the slayer met on her way to a meeting with the Council of Watcher's delegation declared. "Such is the will of God."

"The key is the link," his comrades in arms uttered in unison. "The link must be severed. Such is the will of God. The key is the link. The link must be severed. Such is the will of God."

"You really think he is going to help you?" A voice asked.

The knights drew their swords in alarm, turning to see three cowled diminutive demons, armed with axes, standing before them.

"I fear your faith is gravely misplaced," the speaker continued, before the three of them attacked.

The fight was brief. Experienced crusading knights on the one hand, three small demons on the other determined it to be so. Jinx, the speaker of the demons, was lucky to survive, or perhaps he intended to do so.

Even so, he ended on the floor, below the point of a knight's sword, awaiting their military judgement and end.

"Shall we test your faith now?" The knight asked him.

A hand clasped the blade, making the warrior look up.

"Never send a minion to do a god's work," Glory remarked. Then she backhanded the knight, sending him flying, depriving him of his weapon.

As he crawled over the ground to retrieve it, the god attacked the other two knights, wrestling a weapon from one with ease, to despatch both.

She dropped the weapon and walked over to the knight still struggling to reach his, calmly picking it up from the ground.

"Hey, nice sword," she complimented, before pointing it at his face. "Bet it hurts." She turned to her surviving minion. "Bring him with us."

In the richness of her apartment, the interrogation of the knight began.

"Okay," Glory remarked as she circled around behind him. "One more time. Just between me and you. Our itsy-bitsy little secret." Suddenly she stood before him and grabbed his face. "Where ... is ... the key?"

"Even if I knew," the knight replied, "I'd die a thousand deaths before I'd tell you."

"Well, you won't need a thousand, sweetie," Glory remarked, patting his cheek, "I'll make the first one last. Long time." She sighed as she walked away. "What is it with you religious types?" She asked aloud, before answering herself. "It's intimacy, isn't it?" She decided, tossing his weapon away, before grabbing his face again, then running her fingers down his chest.

"Oh! You're just scared of letting someone in!" She continued. "Shh, shh, shh. It's okay. I know how difficult the first time can be. You don't have to be afraid. Just relax. You may not have the info I want ... but you still got something I need."

Her fingers pressed themselves either side of his head.

The knight screamed in terror.


At the mansion on Crawford Street, someone else uttered a scream, but from different, more joyful origins. "Prezzies!"

"See, just what you needed," Willow declared as she blew more bubbles.

"You are very, very wise," the birthday girl agreed. "Now gimme, gimme, gimme!"

Tara handed her the first gift, smiling.

"This is extremely suspenseful!" Anya cried. "I want the presents."

Buffy revealed a gorgeous dress. "Ohh ... it's beautiful. Thank you, guys."

"Well, we thought you'd get lots of crossbows, other killy stuff," Tara replied.

"Yeah, so we figured, less killy, more frilly," Spike added.

"Gotta look," Anya uttered, grabbing the dress. "Oh, it's just so lovely! Oh, I wish it was mine!"

Everyone looked at her.

"Oh, like you weren't all thinking the same thing," Anya remarked, before putting the dress down.

"I'm fairly certain I wasn't," Giles remarked.

"This is from me," Angel remarked, handing his beloved a large leather box.

Buffy gently popped the clasp in the middle, and opened to reveal a necklace and matching earrings. She gasped at the sight. "Angel, these are exquisite! How on earth did you afford them?"

"I have my ways," he uttered mysteriously. "You like them?"

"Adore," she replied, kissing him.

Everyone else bestowed their gifts, and they moved on to the meal of savoury snacks and slices of birthday cake.

Later, as the party was winding down, the slayer joined her watcher and mother in the kitchen, where the former was pouring a glass of wine.

"It still seems to me like there's a lot you don't know about this," Joyce remarked. "I mean, is she dangerous?"

"No," Buffy replied.

"Well, now, wait just a second," Giles forestalled. "I assume you're talking about her existence rather than her intentions."

Buffy turned, and inwardly froze, seeing Elita on the threshold.

"Exactly," Joyce replied.

"Elita?" Buffy greeted, making them turn to see the girl in question. "What are you doing in there? Party getting slow?"

"Uh," Elita grabbed a stack of plates from the dining room table. "We need plates. Cake time."

She returned to the double height living room, finding everyone for once not falling into silence at her arrival. They had been doing that for most the day, and the day before. Then Anya noticed her entrance and pushed Xander away. Willow and Tara looked up from their cake preparation, Doyle, Oz and Wes from their drinks, and Spike from his conference with his sire.

"Why does everybody start acting all weird when I'm around?" Elita asked.

"Me?" Xander queried. "Me not weird."

"I'm not an idiot," Elita added. "I know you're talking about me."

"No, no, we really weren't," Xander assured her.

"We were talking about sex," Anya lied.

Elita turned as the slayer, watcher and Joyce walked in. "They were talking about me, just like everybody is."

"Again, not so much," Xander replied. "In fact, none."

We were talking about sex," Anya protested. "I mean, you know us, sometimes we like to pretend stuff-"

"Anya!" Her boyfriend cried.

The former vengeance demon carried on regardless. "You know, like, say there's a fireman, or a shepherd-"

"You know what?" Buffy remarked pointedly, "let's not have this exchange of images right now."

"Oh. Right. Of course," Elita uttered. "Can't let Elita hear anything. Fine. I'm just gonna go to bed. That way I won't accidentally get exposed to, like, words."

She stormed upstairs, everyone turning to watch her go.

"Sweetheart," Angel turned to his beloved, "do you think it's wise to keep it from her? After all she knows she was sent to us for your help. Sooner or later she's gonna figure it out, and wouldn't it be easier on her if it came from us?"

"What if Glory catches her?" Buffy replied. "I'd rather have her in ignorance for now. As opposed to scared."


Upstairs on the Mansion's third floor, Elita carefully opened the window in her bedroom as far as it would go. Carefully, she tossed her collection of knotted bed sheets over the ledge, watching and waiting for them to reach their end. Satisfied with the finished drop from the makeshift rope to the ground, she checked that the other end was securely tied to the doorknob of her ensuite, then climbed down.

She reached the end and dropped quietly to the ground, grateful that the blinds were covering the living room before her. She turned and walked away, determined to find out what it was they were hiding from her.

Reaching the Magic Box without incident, Elita slotted the key she had lifted from Spike's room into the lock. Mindful of the darkness surrounding her, she switched on the flashlight she had also purloined, and began searching behind the counter for Giles' notes, knowing that he had not had time to move them from here to his apartment.

Just when she was almost ready to admit defeat, she discovered a hidden drawer, which, when opened, contained what she was looking for. She lifted the book out, and setting her flashlight on the floor, she opened placed the book before it, so the pages were readable.

"Tarnis, 12th century," she murmured. "'One of the founders of the monks of the order of Dagon. Their sole purpose appears to have been as protectors of the key. The key is not directly described in any known literature, but all research indicates an energy matrix vibrating at a dimensional frequency beyond normal human perception. Only those outside reality can see the key's true nature. The key is also susceptible to necromanced animal detection, particularly those of canine or serpent construct.'"

She paused, remembering the giant Cobra's reaction to her. "'The monks possessed the ability to transform energy, bend reality. They started work. But the Council ... has suggested ... to us that they were interrupted. Presumably by ... Glory. They obviously did manage to accomplish the task. They had to be certain the Slayer would protect it with her life. So they sent the key to her ... in human form.'"

Elita froze. She was the key. That was the secret everyone had been keeping from her. She was nothing. She had never existed. Never was born, never conceived, never raised, never lived. Only as a ball of energy, without form, thought or emotion. That's what everyone had been so scared to tell her.
Or were they scared of her? Of what might happen if Glory got her hands on her? Elita frowned. She had no choice, no free will. She was only an object to be used, a means to an end. A thing to be sacrificed for the will of a god.

She rose from the floor and returned the book to it's hiding place. Silently she left the shop and returned to the Mansion.

Gathering the blanket rope up from outside, she wondered what would happen if she ended her mortal existence. Presumably, Glory would not be able to use her body, as it only contained her energy.

Perhaps it was the best for everyone concerned.


They were laughing about something Doyle had said, when Tara broke off at the horrifying sight which arrived from the kitchen. "Oh-oh my god."

"Is this blood?" Elita queried, her tone full of grief, as she displayed her arms, let open and wounded from the large bloodstained knife which she held in her hands.

"Elita!" Buffy cried, rushing over to her. "What did you do?!"

"This is blood, isn't it?" Elita asked her in despair. "It can't be me. I'm not a key. I'm not a thing. What am I? Am I real? Am I anything?"

"Yes you are," Buffy replied. "Your someone who needs my help and protection. And you have it," she added, hugging her. She turned to find Angel standing behind them, and motioned him to see to everyone else.

"Guys," Angel remarked, walking over to them, "could you give us the night, please? We need to sort this out."

"Sure," Wesley remarked.

The others nodded and gathered their things before heading to door.

"If you need anything," Willow offered as she paused before leaving.

Angel shook his head. "Thanks, though," he added.

Willow hugged him then let herself be ushered away by Oz.

"Perhaps I should stay, you know, just in case," Giles offered.

"You and Jenny need to get Ellis back home," Angel replied. "Don't worry, we can deal with this."

Giles nodded, and left, leaving Angel to close the door behind him.

"I hope we can," he murmured before walking to stairs.

The slayer had moved to Elita's bedroom, where she and Joyce cleaned her up while Spike stood by, Tara with him. They moved aside from the door to let Angel through.

Elita looked to the slayer. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"We were going to," Buffy replied. "When Glory was dealt with."

"The monks," Elita murmured. "When did ... when did they ..."

"Six months ago," Buffy informed her.

Elita swallowed back tears. "I've only been alive for six months, huh?"

"You're still alive," Angel remarked softly. "You have lived, and are living. And you were sent to us for protection. Which means we will find away to keep you so."

"How do you know?" Elita cried. "Maybe I'm not supposed to!" She raised her voice, pushing the slayer away. "Get out."

"Elita.." Buffy began.

"Get out, get out, get out!" Elita continued, her voice rising to a shriek.

Buffy rose from the bed, and quietly followed Angel out of the room.

Alone Elita let loose her grief until exhaustion claimed her.


"We need answers, Giles," Buffy remarked the next day at the Magic Box. "We need to find out everything we can about the key. What's it for, who created it."

"And why Glory has a big girl-god jones for it," Cordelia added.

"This isn't about her. It's about Elita," Buffy corrected. "She deserves to know where she came from. She needs to know. Or it's just gonna eat away at her."

"How did she find the notes?" Giles wondered. "How did she get in here?"

"I think she stole the key from my room," Spike revealed. "I found it tossed on the bed when I went to sleep. And there's no sign of forced entry."

"She tied the bed sheets together to get out of the mansion," Angel added. "She knew what she was doing."

"We should have told her," Tara remarked. "I know how hurtful it can be to find out something about yourself everyone else has already known."

"I know," Buffy replied. "I just hoped that we'd be able to kill Glory before we had to tell her. She's so terrified now, because the god's after her."

"Well, we'll do what we can," Giles replied, gesturing to him and Wesley. "There are a few avenues we've yet to explore. But I can't promise anything, Buffy."

"I know," the slayer said, "but I need us to try, Giles. For Elita."

At Sunnydale General, Ben affected a bright smile as he prepared to serve the patients of the mental ward their jello.

"All right, fellas, today we've got blues, greens, and oh, hey, chartreuse. It's a party."

"It won't stick," one of them cried. "The birds have been pecking too hard." He laughed, causing Ben to catch sight of him, and be amazed.

"Byzantium," he observed.

"Yes, they've arrived," a voice agreed, emerging from the shadows to reveal it's owner as Jinx. "Unfortunate, but not completely unexpected."

"How many?" Ben asked.

"Their numbers are few for the moment, but they will grow," Jinx replied. "The Knights of Byzantium are like ants. First you see one, then two, then the picnic's ruined. No matter how many we kill, they'll keep coming ... wave after wave." He looked at Ben. "It's time to set old animosities aside. Your fate is directly linked to her magnificently-scented Glorificus. She's been extremely forgiving of your considerable foibles up until now, but if you persist in your defiance, she'll be forced to-"

"To what?" Ben scoffed. "What is she going to do? Send a six-pack of minions to bore me to death? Glory can't lay a finger on me. You know it, I know it, she knows it. So save the threats, or I'll finish the job I started on your head."

He put the tray down and walked out of the room, leaving Jinx staring thoughtfully after him.

As night fell upon the hellmouth, the form Glory was searching for, entered the mental ward of the hospital, looking for answers.

"It's here," a patient cried. "It's here. It's here."

"Can't stop," another uttered.

"It's here. It's here," the first continued.

"Make it stop," the second added. "The skin's too tight."

"Can't hear it," the first murmured. "What's the frequency? Empty. All spilled out."

Elita walked over to his bed. "Please. You see me, right? Look at me."

"Can't stop it!" the second cried.

"You know what I am, don't you?" Elita persisted. "You all know!"

"Can't hear it," the patient muttered. "Can't hear it, can't hear it."

"Tell me!" Elita cried.

"Can't hear it, can't hear it ..." the patient continued.

"What am I?" Elita asked.

"The key," another cried, causing Elita to turn, and see the insane knight of Byzantium. "I found it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

She rushed over to him. "You know what the key is? Where did I come from? Who made me, what am I?"

"Thank you, thank you." the knight repeated.

"Please!" Elita begged.

"Destroyer!" the Knight suddenly cried. "Cracked ... bones ... the sun bleeding into the sky! The key is the link."

Elita backed away in fear. "No, no."

"The link must be severed," the knight replied. "Such is the will of God. Such is the will of God. Such is the will of God."

She backed away until she reached the doors. She pushed them open, only to find an intern on the other side.

"Who are you?" He asked. "You shouldn't be back here."

"I'm sorry," Elita replied tearfully, "I just," she hiccuped.

"Come on," the intern wrapped an arm around her. "Let's get out of this ward. I'll rustle up a drink in the locker room."

Elita let him lead her away to the locker room, sitting down before a table, recovering herself while the intern made two steaming cups of chocolate.

"Here," he said as he deposited them before her, "two steaming cups of chocolate goodness courtesy of ... whoever I swiped it from out of the cupboard. Couldn't find any marshmallows. I'll try to steal some for next time."

"Don't like them anyway," Elita replied.

"What? Is that even possible?" He asked her.

"Too squishy," Elita replied.

"So what's wrong?" He inquired. "Was one of those patient's a relative? Did they upset you? You know they don't mean whatever they say."

"You don't understand," Elita replied. "I'm not real. None of this. They made it. I'm nothing! I'm just a thing the monks made so Glory couldn't find me. I'm not real."

Ben rose from his seat in horror. "You're the key?"

Elita looked up. "How do you know about the key?"

"Go!" Ben cried. "Before she finds you. Don't ask me how she knows, 'cause she always knows. Just go."

"Wait!" Elita commanded. "Calm down, just tell me-"

"You don't understand, you're a kid," Ben continued. "You stay, she'll find you. She finds you, she'll hurt you."

Elita looked at him, puzzled. "What's wrong with you?"

"You're what she's been searching for," Ben remarked. "I am telling you, run. You don't know, you -" he broke off, glancing around the room. "Oh god. Oh god no, she's coming. I can feel it, you've gotta get out. No ... oh no, she's here!" He grabbed her by the arms, shaking her until she screamed.

"She's here!" he cried as he morphed into Glory.

The god halted, staring at her. "Hey, don't I know you?" She asked. She caught sight of the scrubs she was clothed in and released her. "Ugh, cotton!"
She turned crossed the room to the lockers. "Could a fabric be more annoyingly pedestrian?" She retrieved a red silk blouse from the locker. "Now this is what I'm talking about. Makes your skin sing."

Elita stared at her, transfixed. "You're-you're Ben..."

"Uh, it's an eensy more complicated than that," Glory replied. "Family always is, isn't it?"

Elita looked to the door, measuring the distance, wondering if she could reach it before the god snatched her up.

"You'd never make it," Glory replied. "I'd rip out your spine before you got half a step. And those little legs? They wouldn't be much good without one of those." She suddenly pounced next to her form. "Would they, Elita?" She grinned. "Now. What I'm trying to noodle, is what in the world was the Slayer's little friend doing here with gentle Ben?"

"Y-you don't remember?" Elita asked her.

"Remember what?" Glory asked as she brushed Elita's hair back. "You were talking to him, not me. Oh, he wasn't being naughty, was he?"

The door opened, and a hospital guard entered. "Excuse me, ma'am. This area's for hospital personnel-"

It was as far as he got. Glory grabbed his head, and twisted, breaking his neck. "Rude! I was talking!" She sighed and pulled Elita out of the chair. "What do you say ... we find a nice place off the beaten track where you and I can have a long uninterrupted chat."

The god soon found an deserted chemistry lab and pushed Elita inside, shoving her against a counter.

"Okay. Small talk over. I'm in a bit of a crunch here, so let's cut right to the ooey gooey centre. The Slayer, has my key. It's mine, I want it. Do you know where she squirreled it away? There's ice cream and puppy dogs in it for you if you start singing."

"I'm not sure," Elita murmured. "What does it look like?"

"Well..." Glory sighed wistfully as she walked away. "The last time I caught a peep ... it was a bright green swirly shimmer. Really brought out the blue in my eyes. But then those sneaky little monks pulled an abracadabra, so now it could look like anything. You see the predicament I'm in."

"Maybe..." Elita began.

"Yes?" Glory asked.

"Well, maybe if you ... told me more about it, I'd know if I've seen it," Elita finished.

Glory placed her hands either side of her, staring at her long and hard. "Okay."

"So this ... key thing ... it's been around for a long time?" Elita asked.

"Well, not as long as me, but ... yeah," Glory replied. "Just this side of forever."

"Is it evil?" Elita asked fearfully.

"Totally!" Glory replied, laughing. "Well, no, not really. I guess it depends on your point of view."

"What's it for?" Elita asked. "I mean ... if it's a key, there's gotta be a lock, right?"

Glory nodded. "Yes. We have a winner."

"S-so what does it open?" Elita asked.

The god sighed. "I smell a fox in my hen house. Is that why you've been playing sugar and spice with old Uncle Ben? Trying to get a peek at Glory's unmentionables?"

"No, I-" Elita began.

"Shh! I kinda wanna hear me talking right now. Me talking. You know what I'm starting to think? I'm thinking ... that maybe you ... don't have any idea where my key is." She turned away. "Very irritating. Irrational. Know what I mean, tiny snapdragon? Like..." she paused to rub her head. "Bugs under my skin. And say, I'm feeling a little..."

"What's wrong with you?" Elita asked her.

"Hey. Hey!" Glory suddenly brightened. "This doesn't have to be a complete waste of my precious time. I've been meaning to send the Slayer a message. And I could use a little pick-me-up. Two birds, one stone, and Boom. You have yummy dead birds."

The door burst open, revealing the slayer, and a few friends.

"Get away from her," Buffy commanded.

"Hey, we were just talking about you," Glory remarked, while Elita ran over to the slayer, hiding behind her.

"Conversation's over, hell-bitch," Buffy replied. She punched her again and again, kicking her away, before grabbing her, spinning her around, slamming her into a display case.

Glory kicked her away.

Spike came up behind her and grabbed her by her arms, restraining her for Buffy to punch the god.

"I thought you said this skank was tough," Spike remarked.

Suddenly Glory broke free, grabbed the chipped vampire, and flipped him over, throwing him against a wall. She picked him up, head-butted him, then threw him across the room the exam table.

"He wakes up, tell your boyfriend to watch his mouth," Glory remarked.

Buffy grabbed her. "He is not my boyfriend." Abruptly she released her, and Glory was sent reeling from a punch from behind. "He is," Buffy added, as Angel punched the god once more.

On the threshold of the room, Willow and Tara began chanting.

Glory grabbed her foot as she tried to kick her. "Hey, those are really nice shoes." She pushed her foot away. Buffy allowed her, using the move to fly into a back flip, kicking Glory in the face.

"Giles, now!" She cried.

The watcher fired the crossbow. The arrow ricochet off the god's stomach.

"Oh, please. Like that's," Glory scoffed, just before Xander hit her over the head with a tire iron. "Hey!" she grabbed her. "Watch the hair," she warned, flinging him away into Giles, where they hit the x ray screens, breaking the glass, showering electrical sparks all over them.

"Time to start the dying," Glory announced, tossing the tire iron at Elita. "Start with the whelp!"

"Elita!" Angel cried, throwing himself into the trajectory path of the object. It took him in the side.

"Angel!" Buffy cried.

"Nice catch," Glory remarked. "Is that the best you little crap-gnats can muster? 'Cause, I gotta tell ya, so not impressed."

She walked to Willow and Tara, who threw a handful of magical powder over her, covering the god from hair to toe.

Glory was outraged. "Look what you did to my dress, you little-"

Willow clapped her hands. "Discede!"

Two things happened at once. Glory suddenly disappeared into thin air, and Willow collapsed to the floor.

Buffy looked up from Angel's side. "What did you do to her?" She asked.

"Teleportation spell," Willow gasped out, her energy severely depleted. "Still working out the kinks."

"Where'd you send her?" Angel asked as he struggled up.

"Don't know," Willow replied. "That's one of the kinks."

High above the hellmouth, a magical dust materialised in the night sky, coalescing into the form of a blond woman.

Glory opened her eyes and looked about her. "Oh, sh-" She started to swear, before gravity caught up with her, sending her to the ground.

"Careful," Buffy instructed her boyfriend, as he rose to feet after she removed the tire iron from his chest. "You're half human now, remember? We haven't tested that against impaling tire irons."

"I'm alright," Angel assured her. "I just need to rest. And eat, probably."

"Spike," Buffy turned to him. "Are you all right to drive?"

"Yeah, luv," Spike replied. "I'll get us home."

Giles struggled to his feet. "That was an incredibly ... dangerous spell for an adept at your level," he said to Willow.

The redhead nodded. "Yep. Won't be trying that one again soon."

"Are you okay?" Buffy asked Elita. "Did she hurt you?"

Elita shook her head as she stood up. "Wait," she said, remembering suddenly. "Ben. He was here, he was trying to help me. He... I ... I think he might have left before Glory came. I can't, I can't remember."

Buffy took her hand. "It's okay. Don't worry about it. Next time we see him, we'll thank him."

The End.
To Be Continued In.

Beasts of Hell.