maryperk73703: (The Void)
[personal profile] maryperk73703
Ben comes to a nasty end.



Chapter 3

As soon as Joyce stepped into the house, she was besieged by her two exalted daughters.

"Mom! Look what I found!" Dawn waved an envelope in Joyce's face.

"I found something too," Buffy said.

Joyce nodded. "So did I. At the gallery, it was on my desk."

"I got a gift card to Ralph's for $500." Buffy opened the envelope.

"Me too!" Dawn exclaimed while Joyce nodded. "I squealed so loud that Janice was sure all the dogs in town heard me."

"$1500?" Buffy sagged against the wall. "Who would do this for us?"

Dawn shrugged. "Giles maybe?"

"I don't think so." Buffy shook her head. "He swore on a stack of Sumerian prophecies that it wasn't him."

"It must have been that Lord Chesterfield person. Who on earth is he, and why is he being so generous to us?" Joyce was just as confused at her daughters. "Frankly, at this point I don't even care. If we budget these right, we can eat for several months."

"Buffy needs some cooking lessons," Dawn chortled.

"Like you don't?" Buffy looked around the room. "You know, if the next thing to show up is a certificate for a cooking class, I'll be convinced that our house is bugged."

Dawn and Joyce looked around too. It didn't seem too farfetched of an idea.

Dawn shook her head in denial. "No, nobody would do that. We're not that important."

"Clearly, we are to this Lord Chesterfield." Joyce grabbed the envelopes from her daughters. "Let me make up a quick shopping list. Then, we can go to Ralph's for some food."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Later, when Buffy entered the Magic Box, Giles waved her aside. "I think I found the spell that we're looking for to help us against Glory's spell."

"Awesome. We should get on that later today."

Giles glanced at Anya and the customers. "After hours."

"Sounds like a plan."

Buffy drifted over to where the Scoobies were all sitting at the research table. Tara and Willow were doing homework, while Anya counted the day's take. Xander just watched the girls with a happy smile on his face.

"Hey, guys," Buffy greeted her friends. "We're having a potluck get together at our house Christmas Eve. You're all invited."

"A potluck? I love potlucks," Tara said.

"What time do you want us to get there?" Anya asked. "What should we bring?"

Buffy shrugged. "How about 6 pm? We like to watch a Christmas movie or two after dinner. It's a Summers family tradition."

"That sounds like a good time to start," Willow said. She turned to Buffy. "What is your mom planning on making for the party?"

Buffy grinned. "Whatever she wants. We have an anonymous benefactor that's given us a tree, presents, and gift cards to Ralph's."

Xander looked thoughtful. "Maybe it's Riley trying to make up for the vamp he was visiting."

"I don't think so," Buffy said, shaking her head. "He was all 'me, me, me'. Doing something this nice isn't his style."

"Maybe it's Angel," Willow suggested. "Maybe he realizes you're still mad at him about the whole Faith thing, and he's trying to show you he's sorry."

Buffy stared at Willow before she raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

"No," Willow giggled while she shook her head. "I just thought I'd throw it out there."

"Maybe it's your Dad," Tara suggested. She didn't know very much about Buffy's father, just what little Willow had said in the past.

"It's not Buffy's Dad," Xander said with confidence. "I don't think he'd do anything that would be helpful to her Mom." He stopped talking and blushed. "I was there a few months ago checking on a loose cabinet door for Mrs. Summers when he called about being late with Dawn's child support. He wasn't very nice about it."

"It's not Dad," Buffy agreed. She glanced over at Giles for a second. "I have an idea, but I don't want any of you to go postal. Especially you, Xander."

"If he does, I'll smack him silly," Anya assured Buffy. The customers had left, and she joined the gang around the table.

So, Buffy ended up telling her friends about the dream with Spike. The only thing she left out was what the Dream Buffy had said about Glory and Ben.

Willow sat back in her chair with a thoughtful look on her face. Ever since the Scoobies had shared Buffy's dream after the battle with Adam, the redhead paid closer attention to any time the Slayer mentioned her dreams.

Xander opened his mouth to speak, but he closed it again as he thought better of what was in his mind. He was pretty sure the others weren't too interested his opinion of Spike and vampires in general. It wasn't like he'd been quiet on the subject matter.

Anya's only thought was, 'Good for Buffy. She needs some good orgasms after that jackass Riley played with her. Spike is just the guy to give them to her.'

Tara glanced around the table at the swirling emotions. It appeared that Buffy wasn't as against the thought of Spike being in love with her. Tara couldn't wait to see what the vampire looked like with a soul. She was sure it would be beautiful.

"Has anyone heard anything from Spike since he left?" Willow asked.

Everyone in the room shook their heads.

Buffy held up a hand before anyone could say anything. "No, I'm not going to ask Angel about Spike. Besides, last time I was in Los Angeles, I called Cordelia. She said they hadn't seen or heard from Spike either."

"You think he's being back in town and being secretive?" Anya had a faraway look on her face. "It's very romantic. Brooding, soulful hero longing from afar. The sweet, innocent heroine needing to be rescued." Then, she shook her head when the others snorted at her. "Sorry. I really need to stop reading all those gothic romance novels.

"Yeah, I was so over that when Angel left," Buffy said. "He sure was brooding from afar, and he thought I was sweet, innocent, and in need of rescuing."

"Well, whoever this mysterious benefactor of yours is, he isn't our highest priority right now," Giles said.

"I know," Buffy agreed. "I've been considering something, but Giles and I need to do something first. That will determine if I keep considering this course of action."

"Something to do with ... the Key?" Willow asked.

"Yes, the Key must be protected at all costs," Buffy said with a nod. "I will do whatever it takes. On that note, it's closing time. Giles and I need to use the back room for something. You all make sure we're not interrupted?"

The Scoobies all nodded. They watched in silence as Buffy and Giles collected books and spell ingredients. The Slayer and her Watcher retired to the back room. Once they were alone, the Scoobies turned to each other to speculate about Buffy's dream and her idea on Spike being her anonymous benefactor.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Once Buffy and Giles were in the workout room, they started in on the spell to counteract Glory's spell. When the spell was cast, Buffy looked straight into Giles eyes, and she said, "Ben at the hospital is Glory's host."

Giles' jaw dropped. "Really? Ben is Glory's human host?" Then, a thoughtful look crossed his face. "If we get rid of the host, we get rid of Glory."

"But he's human. Isn't there a way to bind her so she can't appear again?"

"Probably, but, Buffy, it could take me years to find a spell strong enough to bind a creature that is as powerful as Glory," Giles informed the Slayer. "In fact, I'm not sure that we have such a spell in this realm. The only place to find one might be whichever Hell dimension Glory came from."

Buffy looked puzzled. "There's more than one? I mean, I know I went to one, I just didn't realize there were so many."

"There are quite a few Hell dimensions, Buffy. The thing is one man's hell is another's heaven. What is a hell for you might be a heaven for someone like Spike."

"I guess that's true." Buffy huffed. "So, what are we going to do about Ben and Glory? What are our options?"

"Magic, fight, or death," Giles said. "Those are our options."

Little did Buffy and Giles know that they had an eavesdropper. Luckily for them, it wasn't anyone they needed to worry about.

The eavesdropper smiled like the Cheshire cat. Here was something he could do for his Slayer. Time had been plentiful for the eavesdropper since he'd left Sunnydale. He'd come to grips for the love he harbored for his mortal enemy. There was just something about Buffy that made a monster feel like a man.

"Don't you worry, Buffy," the eavesdropper said. "Nobody will hurt the Nibblet. Not while I still have life in my body. Good thing Glory's minions are stupid or they would have broken in to read Rupes' diary just like I did."

The eavesdropper strolled off towards the hospital. He had a date with an intern.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Ben Charles stepped out into the cool Sunnydale night. He stretched his sore muscles. It had been a long day at the hospital. For some reason there were a lot of crazies out that night. Ben started off down the street towards his apartment building.

Ben glanced into the dark alley before he sauntered past. There was nothing in the dark that made him scared. He knew his companion's minions kept an eye on him.

"Hey, mate."

A vaguely British voice sounded from the alley. A lighter flared, glowing on the features of a lean-faced man with blue eyes.

"I heard you lot were looking for something special. I happen to know where the Slayer keeps it."

Ben blinked in surprise. Someone was willing to sell out the Slayer?

Great.

Maybe now, Ben could get rid of Glory and have his own life. "Can you show me where?"

"I can do that." The man stepped out of the alley. He was dressed in a duster, button up shirt, jeans, and boots. The cigarette still hung from his lips.

Ben wasn't worried. He was sure that Glory's minions were nearby. If he had been able to see into the dark alley, he wouldn't have been so confident. There was a pile of dead minions. Each one had their necks broken.

Ben and the man made their way to the burnt out husk that was the former high school. A big sign outside announced the start of construction in the spring of a new school. The man dropped his cigarette butt on the sidewalk, and he ground it out with the heel of his boot.

"She hid it in here?" Ben asked. "Why?"

The man shrugged. "Probably thinks all the emanations from the Hellmouth will cover its signature."

Ben and the man entered the building. They walked down hallways filled with graffiti and trash. When they got to a certain spot, the man spoke again.

"This is the first place I ever fought the Slayer." He laughed. "Her mum is one hell of a woman. Her daughters take after her."

Ben turned to the man. "Shut up and show me the Key."

"Right this way." The man pointed down a hallway that lead to the library.

Ben started walking towards the library. He didn't even register the threat until it was too late. Before he could even respond, his neck was broken and he was dead.

Ben crumpled to the ground. The man sneered down at his dead body. "Nobody hurts the Summers' women. Especially not some wet behind the ears wanker like you." He turned and strolled away from the body without a second thought.

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