I don't own BTVS or any of Joss Whedon's characters.
The roaring glory of the fire consuming the arena drew every eye like a hundred-foot--tall red gem among the glowering gloom of the landscape. Screams faded under the sound of crumbling stone walls and the usual crackling of the atmosphere.
“Way to go, Willow,” Xander’s voice was a whisper of awe.
“No time to gloat.” Buffy turned to Xander and Danaia. “I’m going out there. You both have to stay here, do you understand? I’m going to release as many slaves as I can, but someone has to be here to guide them out of this place. There’s going to be panic. They may not think to go through the gateways.”
Danaia stared somberly back at her while Xander gave a little salute. “Good luck out there, Buff. Take care of yourself. We’ll hold down the fort.”
Buffy smiled wanly at her long-time friend, but her eyes lingered on Dania with a feeling of heavy dread at the pit of her stomach when the half-demon stared back at her with eyes like flint and no response to her command.
She gave her friend one more severe look. “Please, be careful.”
“Don’t worry about us, Buff. You go save some souled vampires.”
The slayer looked between one of her two closest friends and their new ally, then turned reluctantly and with one last look towards the burning arena, dashed back towards the tower without its roof with all her slayer might.
Xander looked at the female demon beside him. “Definitely one of the top five things I never thought I’d say in my life.”
Danaia didn’t acknowledge him, but simply watched as the slayer ran for the tower.
The smoke from the incense that had risen benignly towards the missing ceiling took on a new life. It danced, kinking back and forth like the sway of feminine hips before flowing and circling the black-eyed witch like a serpent come to life. She breathed in, inhaling the wisp of it the way a dragon would exhale it.
She spoke softly. “Gods of all free beings...gods of the Norse, the Greek, the Mayan...gods of demon worlds, hear me.”
Lightning sparked and illuminated the wasteland below. The flames rising from the arena made light dance across the witch’s face and the pitch pits of her eyes even from the immense height of the tower. The screams of confusion and panic below were muffled to her.
“Hear and answer me.”
When the slayer disappeared into the tower of torment, Danaia slung her crossbow over her back and made towards the exit.
“Hey,” Xander put a hand on her shoulder. The half-Thorsosh demon halted stiffly. “Buffy said to stay here.”
The blonde slayer kicked the doors of the auction floor open. The bang of them slamming against the walls to either side echoed, halting bids. She marched in fearlessly, finally free of the cloak and dagger routine that she and her friends had employed their entire time in the hellish pocket-dimension.
The auctioneer had been looking towards the ceiling suspiciously, his horned and scaled face wrinkled in concern from the unfamiliar sound of explosions. The crowd of various species rose from their seats. The nude and shackled vampires on the stage stared towards the floor, shivering and vacant-eyed.
The demonic auctioneer in his three-piece gray suit flared his nostrils, then grinned, exposing needle-like teeth. “A human…”
A pig-faced guard with tusks drew a jagged dagger and charged the small blonde. With a bored expression, she drew her battle axe and sliced its head from its neck. Its body fell to the floor.
“That’s Slayer to you,” she corrected. “comma The. And if you want to keep the extensions that have been touching those vampires without consent, you’ll take the the chains off them and leave, now.”
Danaia’s body was rigid under the carpenter’s touch. “If you value your person, you will remove it from mine.”
He yanked his hand away from her shoulder as if burned. “Sorry. The Buffster just told us to stay here.”
“Your friend presumes to order. That presumption is not my concern.”
The human male held up his hands in a placating manner. “Buffy knows what she’s doing. Just wait until she gets back--”
Danaia whirled and slammed her crossbow butt across Xander’s face. He crumpled onto his side on the ground. The demon looked down at him with contempt before slinging her weapon across her shoulder again. She scanned the wasteland for signs of the slayer before leaving the squat stone building housing the gateways, and Xander unconscious and alone.
Demons of all colors, species, and sizes, dressed in fine gowns and shining armor, all scattered from their seats in panic. They pushed and shoved one another to get to the passageway deeper into the tower in the opposite direction from the small-statured slayer blocking the doorway to the outside.
“Now now, let’s stay calm, we have fine merchandise here, don’t let a little girl…” The auctioneer watched his customers scatter like rats abandoning a ship. “...crog.” He looked at Buffy. “Well little lady, I’m just gonna have to make sure you leave. You’re bad for business.”
He motioned towards the two remaining armored guards standing by the stage. They drew swords and charged. Buffy strode calmly towards the stage. She blocked both their strikes with her axe, hooked their weapons with the curve of her blade, and turned sharply to yank them from their hands and send them skidding across the floor. She ducked their swings and sliced them both in half at the waist.
They stared down at her dumbfounded before their upper bodies slid off of their lower bodies and their lower bodies tipped and fell.
The incense sticks Willow lit to keep calm lifted from the ground and floated in the air around her, the smoke still curling around her like serpents and drifting up her nostrils like reversed dragon smoke.
Other items lifted from the floor: broken pieces of wall, discarded clothing, weapons, and Spike. When his feet no longer touched the stone floor he latched onto a windowsill and pulled himself back downward. He grasped one stone, then another, until he maneuvered himself back to the original wall he had huddled against when he was first brought to the topmost chamber of the tower by the figments in his head of the people he’d known from Sunnyhell California.
He grabbed hold of the altar and the outer lip of the portal and pushed his floating body back towards the floor. He hovered as close as possible, curled his body in a tight ball, but couldn’t help peeking over at the figure of the red-headed witch.
Willow sat calmly, cross-legged, and stoic among the objects floating around her. She spoke to the pitch-black sky. “Agni, Prometheus, Mahuea, Pele, Ney-Anki, gods and keepers of fire, take back what was stolen.”
Masters and Mistresses with singed clothing who managed to escape the burning inferno of the arena huddled together in a loose crowd and watched the building burn in bewilderment. The roar of it was deafening, but the sudden silence when it shrank before their eyes and snuffed out to leave a blackened husk was more so. They looked at the ruins, breathless and confused, the only sound in the empty world around them the crackling of the ever-present lightning and distant screams..
All around the pocket world, torches in every building snuffed out.
The auctioneer watched the bodies of his guards hit the ground and their green-sludge blood pool. “Well…” he shrugged.
When the Slayer began her stoic march towards the stage, the demon extended his thick brown claws with a roar and reached towards the diminutive naked female vampire beside him to take a hostage. Buffy threw her ax and it spun end over end through the hair and through his skull, splitting it like a watermelon.
Chunks of brain splattered the black-haired vampire’s human-looking face and she blinked, taken out of her vacant trance. She looked up from the floor, and saw the excessively-armed blonde heading towards her with a look of determination on her face. She jumped when the body of the demon that had pawed and took bids for her slumped onto her feet. She screamed.