A/N: In case anyoneís wondering I hate lingerie, well I donít, I just hate writing lingerie.
On the plus side I had an interesting time researching it. Cough, cough. On with the story.
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (1/?)
"Donít turn on the light."
Xander stopped at his girl-friendís soft voice as he entered their hotel bedroom, the breath suddenly gusting from his lungs. The bedroom was candlelit, flickering light across the room and rose petals covered the bed, an ice bucket with chilling champagne on the near-side table, but that wasnít what took his breath away.
It was Faith standing beside the bed that did it. Faith dressed in a white, low-cut corset that pushed her boobs up. Faith dressed in a pair of sheer, white mid-thigh length lace stockings attached to the corset via frilly suspenders. Faith with nothing but the tiniest white sequined thong covering her crotch. "Oh god," Xander nearly had a heart attack when the Slayer gracefully spun in a circle, revealing the laced-up corset had a sizeable heart cut out of the lower back, the rear suspenders stretching over her rounded rump to attach to the corsetís rear, her assí only other covering the rear of the thong that could be best described as anal floss separating her cheeks. "Iím in heaven right now, but my mindís going to make sure I end up in hell laterÖ."
Faithís grin revealed his girl had heard his muttered words. "Ya like?"
"YÖyeah," Xander was conscious of the drool running down his chin, but didnít
care enough to stop it. "But itís not Ö."
"Not me?" Faith raised an eyebrow and grinned self-consciously. "The Contessa said some stuff about if youíve got a special guy, you need to treat him special sometimes, make him understand how special he is to ya." The Slayer knelt on the far side of the bed, her eyesí luminosity briefly dimming. "Do ya think Tarís gonna, ya know talk to me?"
Xander forced the flow of blood from his crotch back to his head as he
endeavoured to concentrate enough to answer his girlís plaintively-asked
question. "Weíre family," he finally replied. "Families argue, but the best ones
come back together no matter not."
"Wicked," Faithís smile illuminated the candle-lit room, "now how about ya join me on this bed?"
* * *
"Now thatís the run of the mill business dealt with," Holland Manners looked around his boardroom, their weekly meeting coming to an end, "how about the apocalypse?" He shook his head and rapped his knuckles on the polished table, peering down imperiously at his subordinates from his position sat at the head. "Come now, letís hear it!"
"Ah," Lindsey was the first to speak up, the youthful lawyer clearing his throat before beginning. "The Trojan Horse is in position to be primed for his part in the set-up, itís just a case of getting the amulet to him."
"Plans to deal with that are under-way," Holland replied. Or more correctly, the boys in Strategic Planning were in brain-storming sessions to come up with one. If they didnít manage it, well theyíd have nothing to store their so valuable brains in. "Heís entwined with the Slayer?"
"She doesnít suspect a thing," Lindsey replied.
That was pleasing but to be less than unsurprising. Holland nodded, according to all their reports the girl was an incredible fighter but rather less than an Einstein when it came to strategy, tactics, or even personal choices. Given the disorganised state of the Council, the formidable resources of Wolfram & Hart and their vast experience at manipulation, it wasnít even a contest. "And the vampire continues to have no idea about our grander plan?"
Lindsey shook his head. "Both the new Council and Angel Investigations are as far as we can tell operating in the dark."
"Excellent, excellent," Holland nodded. Although he was confident that his forces would come out in top in a full on confrontation with Angel Investigations or the Council, there was little reason to risk such a battle that would be a drain on both manpower and more importantly resources. "What else?"
"As you know the Eliminator Program in Rome was demolished by The Mithras Quartet last month," Lillah put in.
"I know." Holland grimaced. Those brain-washed Potentials would have been a highly effective bulwark against the Slayer army. As things stood now they could have a very difficult year between the anticipated Mass Calling and The Cracking. "I assume youíve been working on an alternative counter-measure to deal with the Slayer Army?"
"Actually," Gavin half-raised his hand before continuing, "some of the boys in Viral-Technology have come up with a means of perhaps controlling the vampire population."
"Yes?" Holland raised an interested eyebrow. Vampires were notoriously difficult to control. The moment they gained any power they would immediately turn on their human partners no matter the circumstances, as proved by several slaughters at W&H housing complexes or offices in the past few thousand years. Of course those who participated in these massacres were hunted down and their bloodlines eliminated, but that was hardly the point. Using vampires was a wasteful endeavour.
"Yes, Iím not up on the technical information, but there appears to be a way of controlling vampires through their feeding. Thereís just one problem, sir."
"Yes?" Holland patiently queried at the newcomerís pause. Nobody wheedled like Gavin, he liked that in the Oriental lawyer, one should always play to their strengths.
"According to the experts, thereís only one man good enough to do this work," Gavin looked down, fingers rustling through his notes, "a Lt. Colonel Robert Neville. Heís a virologist for the US. Army."
Holland pursed his lips. "Thatís no problem at all. I assume plans are in hand to snatch him?" Gavin nodded. "Consider my consent given, have him snatched, but donít mess up." Gavin gulped slightly at his warning. "Where will this project be based?"
"Weíve decided America is too high-profile, what with the Brotherhood, Angel Investigations, and the Council," Gavin replied, "so weíve decided upon South America, specifically Colombia."
That would be handy considering their close ties with a number of the cartels. Holland nodded. "You have all the resources you need, but I want results Gavin." Gavin flinched and nodded at his tone. "As to the Mithras Brotherhood, Iíve decided to hire a man to eliminate that particular problem, the only man to survive a battle with its leader."
"You mean?" Lillah gasped.
"Yes," Holland smirked at his subordinatesí open-mouthed shock. "Iíve re-hired Darco, this time to murder Xander Harris."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (2/?)
Faith stiffened as Tara and Kennedy started into the lobby where she and
Xander were sat waiting for them. "Hey," Faith greeted, her legs unusually shaky
beneath her and heart tight in her chest, "what ya been doiní all day?"
"Been to a couple of the cityís museums," Tara coolly replied.
Faith struggled to keep her temper in the face of her sisí continuing coldness. Sheíd never been known for her patience and the New Mexican was fast fraying it. "See anythiní interestiní?" she persevered with an even tone.
Tara shrugged. "Nothing that youíd be into it."
"Hey," Faith forced a smile, "if youíre into it, Iím into it."
"Hum," Tara looked towards Xander, "are you ready for patrol?"
Xander sighed and nodded. "Iím ready."
"Come on then," Tara strode towards the hotelís exit, Kennedy shooting her a sympathetic look as she hurried after the witch.
Faithís shoulders slumped in defeat. "Hey," Xander placed an arm around her shoulder, "just give it time."
"Time!" Faith glared up at her man. "Time? How much fuckiní time?" Faith hissed. "Itís been over two fuckiní weeks! And Jesus, Iím gettiní fuckiní tired of apologising for doing something that wasnít wrong."
* * *
Xander muttered a groan under his breath as he walked through Clevelandís blustery rain-swept streets. The weather might be less than ideal, but it was practically tropical next to the frostiness between Faith and Tara. He and Kennedy had been too smart to be drawn into the feud, still it wasnít the greatest thing for group morale or camaraderie.
As group leader, he supposed it was up to him to get both sides talking. Because of course he was an expert at dealing with women, a regular Don Juan.
This would not go well, he decided even as he licked at his lips and racked his brains for what to say. Be conciliatory? Be commanding, oh yeah, Ďcause that always worked well with Faith never mind both Faith AND Tara. Be understanding? Be compassionate? Witty, perhaps?
Oh crap, he was in quicksand and sinking fast. He stopped when Tara came to a halt, the witchís brow creasing in concern. "Whatís up Tara?" he whispered.
"Somethingís near us," the witch replied. "Something demonic."
"Oh thank god," Xander muttered. Saved. Raising his voice, he looked towards the witch. "Where exactly?"
Tara shot him an amusingly irritated look that gave him hope for the future
of their gang. "I donít know, itís a sense not radar."
"Fair enough," Xander passed Faith and Kennedy hand axes while drawing his favoured sabres. "Be on your guard-."
GRRRR! Suddenly a trio of powerfully-built, rock-grey demons with snouts and curved tusks leapt out of a shadowy alley mouth.
Xander spun to face the intruders, catching a forearm to the face that almost buckled his legs for his trouble. Blind instinct had him ducking under a follow up haymaker that might well have taken his head from his shoulders and then he was crashing his shoulder into the creatureís thick chest, knocking it back a step in an attempt to get some room to use his sword.
Before he had chance the demon was charging him again. Xander spun away from the creatureís snarling rush, slamming an elbow in the side of the beastís head even as he ducked an attempted clothesline. The monster grunted then began to turn to face him.
Xander left his feet, leaping into the air to catch the demon knees-first in the chest, the momentum of the collision sending the pair of them crashing to the alleyís muddy floor, Xander on top. Xanderís sword skewered down before the demon had chance to react, thrusting up and through the demonís thick neck, the bladeís point exiting in a gush of blood to scrape the ground below.
Xander didnít allow himself a half-second to catch his breath. Instead he spun to his feet only to find his companions had already dealt with the other two demons. "Real strange, demons waiting to attack us," Faith said. "Almost like they were watching for us."
"Yeah," Xander nodded. "It was a little coincidental. The first question is what sort of demon are they?"
"Theyíre Grappler demons," the witch informed him. "Mercenaries for hire."
"Yeah?" Xander cast a cautious look around. "That only leaves one question."
"Who hired them?" Faith queried.
"Exactly," Xander groaned as he rose, head thumping from the back-hander heíd caught. "Letís get out of here."
* * *
Kennedy licked her lips as their hotel room door closed behind them. Sheíd held off saying something for fear of rocking the boat, but this had gone on long enough. "You should talk to Faith," Kennedy scolded.
Tara spun to face her, eyes betrayed. "She nearly got you killed!"
"One, it was my choice, and Iím not repeating it again, my choice," Kennedy scolded. "Two, I could care less about Faith, but she loves you. Sheís one of only three people who get how amazing you are, and youíre not just hurting her by shoving her away, youíre hurting yourself too."
"You donít understand!" Tara half-sobbed. "Iíve waited so long for you, for someone who completes me and then Faith has to open her big-mouth and bait you into trouble. I was so scared I was going to lose you!"
"Iím here and Iím not going anywhere baby," Kennedy threw her arms around the sobbing witch. "I love you. And so does Faith."
A/N I can only apologise for my poetry.
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (3/?)
"Umm," Draco supped at his whiskey as he watched the wide-screen tv in his hotel room, eyes fixed on the video recording heíd made of the Grapplersí attack on the Mithras Quartet. Heíd not expected to see the Quartet defeated by some minor-powered demons of the Grapplersí ilk, but his recording of the battle had provided him with some interesting and disturbing data.
First there was the Slayer, as deadly and graceful as she was beautiful. Then there was the witch, calm and serene in the face of danger, and the potential grittily determined. But of most importance of course was the possessed youth himself.
When heíd first encountered Xander Harris, the young man had been ruggedly impressive, but now he was something else entirely, more devastating by far.
The sound of the video rewinding filled the air as he readied himself to re-watch the fight for the fifth time. In the minutes immediately preceding the fight, when heíd first begun recording the youngsters on their patrol through town, heíd noted a certain tension, a friction in their group. But when the Grapplers had attacked theyíd meshed together seamlessly.
"Of course," Draco smiled coldly, inspiration striking. Putting down the video remote he reached into his Saville Row jacket and pulled out his cell.
* * *
Holland Manners looked up from his paperwork, grateful for his phoneís sudden ringing pulling him away from the tedium. "Hello."
"Mr. Manners," his skin crawled at the immortalís distinctive rattle, "I am given to understand that any and all resources are available to me?"
"Your mission is of the highest priority to this office," Holland replied.
"Excellent," the immortal paused momentarily before continuing, "in that case I need one of your companyís sorcerers to conjure up a Hass demon."
"A Hass demon?" Holland tapped at his computerís keyboard, seeking to search the company database to find just what a Hass demon was. His eyes widened at the search results on the screen before him. "But what possible use would be this sort of demon?"
Draco chuckled. "Letís just say thereís certain cracks in the group that this demon could help me exploit."
Holland grimaced at the vagueness of the answer. Independent contractors always turned out to be pains in the ass one way or another. "Very well, Iíll get the companyís sorcerers on it immediately."
"Thank you." Draco paused momentarily before continuing. "Iíll also need-."
* * *
Xander stared around the discreetly-lit restaurant, the sixties soul music coming through the speakers nailed on the walls above every third booth and the tuxedoed waiters unobtrusively flitting between booths, taking orders, serving drinks and food, and delivering bills.
Oh yeah, and the strained atmosphere hung heavier than the bowl of pasta heíd just finished off. He couldnít forget that, forget the pasta, it was the atmosphere that had given him indigestion.
Ah hell, he could hardly make things worse. "Well that was a wonderful meal wasnít it?"
"Yeah," Faith grunted.
"It was good," Kennedy added.
"Okay," Tara muttered sulkily.
"Look, things have gone on long enough," Xander said. "Faith might have made a mist-."
"Like hell I did!" his girl-friendís ebony eyes hardened to stone. "It was a fuckiní obvious decision!"
"It put Kennedy in danger!" Tara snapped.
"We live our fuckiní lives in danger!" Faith hissed right back at the witch. "Itís not my fault ya like the diaper look on the brat!"
"Hey!" Kennedy snapped. "Iíve been standing up for you!"
"Girls-," Xander tried as he felt the conversation rip away from him.
Faith leaned over the table and glared at Kennedy. "Get this pint-size, I
donít need ya to stand up for me!"
"You just hate that I have someone!" Tara snapped. "You just wish Iíd follow you around!"
"Ya know," Faith snapped right back, "when ya did, kinda boring! Iím glad
yaíve got someone, I donít do pining stalkers!"
The colour drained from the witchís face. "In that case," the New Mexican grabbed Kennedy who was still eye-balling Faith and pulled her up, "I wonít bore you again. Weíre leaving!"
The two lesbians started out of the restaurant as Xander placed his head in his hands and groaned. "Oh that went so well-."
"You bastard," Xander looked around to see Faith rising, her dark mane swinging as her head bobbed and finger jabbed at him, her eyes blazing. "Iím yar fuckiní girl-friend, never fuckiní try and stab me in the back like this again!" Xanderís mouth opened in a weak denial. "I did fuck all wrong and ya know it!"
"If you just -."
"Hell," Faith shook her head, unwilling to listen to him, "it werenít ya or Tara who had to fight their way through the Nightmare Room to get the brat, it was fuckiní me!"
Faithís tirade crashed over him. "And I notice I didnít get any fuckiní thanks!"
"Well ya can find yar own cab back to the hotel!" Faith snapped. "And ya better hope theyíve got a spare room Ďcause ya sure as shit ainít sleepiní with me." With that the beautiful brunette stalked out of the restaurant, waiters wisely scattering before her.
"Oh yeah," Xander groaned, "Iím a regular Ghandi, just a negotiating wheeler-dealer." Dropping his fork onto his plate he looked around for a waiter. "Can I have the bill please?"
* * *
"And so from the fires of hell he comes.
Spreading dissension ensuring hatred looms.
He is the demon called Hass.
His presence has permanent effects.
All praise the Hass!
With him loathing lasts!"
Holland watched with mild disinterest as the seven company wizards finished their summonsing spell, their cowled heads bowed as they stood at the points of their blood-drawn septegram. The candles at the wizardsí feet suddenly extinguished, a chill and sulphurous stench suddenly filling the room.
And then it appeared in the septegramís centre, a grey blob-like thing, its skin hanging from it like fat layers of an obese man. It had a single unblinking eye and a cavernous mouth, with no apparent limbs to speak of.
"Gavin," he muttered as he stared at the hideous beast, his underlings beside stood him, the whole group in the officesí basement, a space reserved for the foulest of sorceries, "phone Draco, tell him his Hass is on his way."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (4/?)
Xander groaned as he awoke and rolled up into a sat position, his neck kinked from his night spent snoozing on the sofa in the hotelís staff room. Suddenly conscious of a presence in the doorway behind him, he turned, suppressing another groan as hurt blazed through his neck again. Faith had always been a pain in his behind, now it seemed sheíd spread to his neck too.
"Sorry about the sofa sir," the portly porter apologised. "But as I said, weíre booked up."
"Thatís alright," Xander waved the manís apology away, "not your fault." He looked at the towels draped on the manís arm. "Are they-."
"For you, sir?" the porter nodded. "The staff changing rooms and showers are just down the corridor, if youíd like I can show you there."
"Thanks," Xander nodded, then winced again as pain once again shot through his neck. This was shaping up to be one hell of a day.
* * *
Draco stared at the demon, ensconced as it was in the lounge of the house heíd rented. "I assume youíre ready?" The Hass demon nodded silently. Draco continued to stare at the demon. Normally one had to be careful around such a malignantly powerful creature, but given that he was now employed by Wolfram & Hart, any demon would think twice about attacking him, therefore he was relatively safe.
Relatively being a very dangerous word around the Hass. "Please," he nodded and smiled. "Feed on them."
* * *
Faith scowled as she awoke, the other side of her bed depressingly empty. Bastard hadnít even made an effort to come in and try and apologise. Showed how much he cared.
Her temper still building, she got up, strode into the shower, and turned it on. Normally a warm shower cooled her off, relaxed her, not today, she was still seething even after washing, drying, and dressing in a pair of low-riding jeans and a black gym-top.
The one other thing she noticed, other than the cold, burning rage that didnít have appeared to abated a single bit since the previous night, was how hungry she was. "Breakfast," she grunted as she grabbed the room keys off the bedside table and headed out of the room.
Sheíd barely stepped out of the corridor when the second most unwelcome person in the universe confronted her. "I know why you sent me into the potential smuggling ring!"
Faith shook her head, her temper hardly improved by Kennedyís accusation. "Fuck off, Ken," she grunted, "not in the mood."
"You wanted me dead donít deny it!" Kennedy waggled a finger in her face. "Youíve always been jealous of me and Tara!"
"I donít swing that way, kid," Faith replied through gritted teeth.
"So," Kennedy ignored her, "you figured, get me killed and take my place in Taraís bed! Would you have waited until I was buried?" Kennedy laughed mockingly. "I doubt a slut like you could wait that long!"
"Listen good, brat," Faith snarled, a red mist seeming to descend over her eyes, "Tar was sniffiní Ďround me, long before she realised I was waaaay too much woman for me and decided ya were more her speed."
"You bitch!" Kennedyís eyes blazed.
"Fuck," Faith sneered, the insults flowing out. "If I wanted Tara, all Iíd have to do was cock a finger and sheíd be on her back begginí for me, and yaíd be nothing but an unpleasant memory-."
"You tramp!" Kennedy threw a straight right.
Faith caught the blazing-eyed potentialís fist and squeezed, using her Slayer powers to force the potential to her knees, the smaller brunetteís face whitening from the pain as the bones of her hand bruised under the inexorable pressure. The moment the potentialís knees touched carpet Faith grabbed her around the throat, turning the smaller girlís moans to panicked gurgles. "I donít need to kill ya to get Tara." It would be so easy to just squeeze. "But I could anyway!"
* * *
Faithís head snapped towards him as he raced to his girl-friend and Kennedy. "Fuck," Faith spat as she released her grip on the potentialís throat, Kennedy folding to the carpet as she coughed and wheezed for breath, "I was just teachiní her a little respect."
"A little respect?" Xander crouched down by the purpling potential, relieved to see she was still breathing. "You were close to killing her!"
"Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades," Faith philosophised before grabbing him by his shoulder and yanking him to his feet, "and why the hell are you taking her side against me?" Faithís glare cut through him. "Again! Ya know ya Sunnydalers donít know shit about loyalty!"
Xander gasped when Faith slammed him into the wall, something that didnít help his aching neck any. "Faith!" he snapped as he grabbed his girl-friendís wrists and tried and failed to pull them off his shirt. "Let me go!"
"Fuck you Harris!" Faith spat. "Iím not some dumb bitch ya can order Ďbout, ainít been that for a long while!"
"Shit!" Faith squawked as she was flung from him and into the wall opposite, the brunette beautyís dark eyes widening in shock as she turned to face a scowling Tara. "What the fuck!"
"You two, always arguing about what we do next!" Taraís eyes glittered in a most unTaralike way. "Sometimes you forget Kennedy and I are even here!" the normally gentle Wicca shook her head. "Sometimes you forget Iíve more power than either of you!"
Faithís eyes glittered. "Listen sis-."
"Hesychia!" Tara snapped, Faith silencing instantly. "Thatís better. Maybe the pair of you should listen to me," the wicca poked herself in the chest, "what do you think about that?"
"Thatís it!" Xanderís temper snapped, he was sick and tired of refereeing this estrogen-fuelled mess. "You bunch of Cordettes decide whoís head cheerleader amongst you, Iíve had enough!" Xander spun on his heel and strode towards the stairs. "See how far you get without my money and organisation!"
He barged past a couple coming up the steps, his molten gaze dissuading the man from any protestations before continuing on, through the lobby, and into the street outside. "Women," he shook his head as he took a futilely-hoped calming breath and started on his way, slamming his money down on a newspaper-sellerís stand and grabbing a paper before striding off.
* * *
Draco picked up the ringing phone. "Yes?"
"Harris just left on his own," the voice at the other end of the phone
reported, "looked real pissed."
"Good," Draco nodded. "I assume your men are tailing him?"
"Everythingís in hand," the man reported.
"And youíre still watching the hotel?" Dracoís eyes remained fixed on the Hass demon, grimacing slightly at the milky-grey light surrounding it.
"Me and two of the boys at the front, three at the back."
"Excellent," he replied. "Should any of them attempt to follow Harris, kill them. Iíll go and meet your men at the agreed execution point."
"Understood." The phoneís click indicated the end of the conversation.
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (5/?)
Xander was still steaming ten minutes and a mile later. Who the hell did those bitches think they were? He was the resurrected warrior god, the first of his line in millennia! Slayers came along every couple of years and witches? There were hundreds of them in every generation.
His head shaking, he entered an alley heading towards a park. Maybe a few hours away would get him to begin to calm down, but if they were still bickering when he got back, screw Ďem, he had the money and the organisation behind him, they were dust in the wind.
Xanderís eyes narrowed as a shadow to his left seemed to shift, he was already darting back when a fist erupted from the shadows. Xander grabbed the manís arm at the wrist and elbow before his assailant had chance to pull back and propelled the man forward and over his out-stretched foot, and into another man rushing at him from the right.
"Damn!" Xander cursed as the alley seemed suddenly swarming with attackers, if those tramps hadnít had him so distracted, heíd have never walked so tamely into this trap.
Sensing a man reaching for him from Xander drove his head back, grinning slightly as the man grunted and fell back. Xander side-stepped an on-rushing black the size of a linebacker, his elbow rising and shooting up at a man to his left.
"Damn!" Xander croaked as the Oriental with a drooping moustache blocked his elbow on his forearm while managing to ram a knee into Xanderís side. Fighting off the pain with the ease of long experience, Xander leant forward at the waist as he stepped towards the Oriental, ducking his assailantís follow-up right before twisting at the waist and jabbing his fingers at his opponentís throat.
Xander grunted as the man parried his attack again, Xander side-kicking another assailant in the chest away from him. Pain flared through his head as someone yanked on his hair and pulled his head up. Blood gushed from his mouth when the Oriental caught him with a teeth-rattling right.
Xander rolled with the punch, twisting around to face the stocky six footer behind him and ramming his forehead into the manís bulbous nose, the man squealing like a pig as his nose splattered across his face. Hearing the Orientalís footfall behind him, he leapt into a spin-kick that the Oriental ducked under.
But not under Xanderís trail foot that swung up to crash into the Orientalís neck, blood exploding from his mouth as he flew into the wall behind it, bouncing off it to crash to the ground in the garbage cans.
Xanderís feet had barely touched the ground when one of the remaining five men charged him. Xander waited until the manís out-stretched hands were almost on him, then hooked his right arm and hip-tossed the man to the ground. "Owww!" he grunted as another of the men rabbit-punched him to the back of the neck, pain flaring down his limbs.
Dazed, Xander stumbled into a cannoning right to the chest from the big black, the wind exploding from his lungs.
Xander ducked under a follow-up left, cursing under his breath as he did so. If he could just get a secondís respite, he could draw something, anything from the Always Pocket, but they werenít letting up for an instant.
"Iíve got him!" growled a fireplug Latino, his tattoed arms grabbing Xander around the throat in a choke-hold, one thick arm wrapped around Xanderís throat, the other arm around his head.
Xander let out a near-maniacal laugh. "Are you sure about that?" he queried as he leant back against his attacker, reached behind himself to grab the Latinoís left leg and pull it forwards while pushing his body back.
"AhhhH!" The Latinoís shriek was cut short when he hit the ground, his head bouncing off the unyielding concrete and right into Xanderís head as he drove it down with enough force to cave the manís face in. And then Xander was backward rolling off the mewing man and back to his feet.
Heíd barely made a crouched position when he was ducking under the blackís downward clubbing fist, grabbing his arm and beginning to bend it back while kicking another of his attackers in the gut. "Damn!" He howled in frustration when the shaven-headed black grabbed the back of his hair and dragged him off, propelling him backward to the wall.
Xander twisted, hit the wall shoulder-on, and kicked an approaching pony-tailed man in the chest, knocking him back on his ass. Then three of the remaining four were on him, punches and kicks raining in.
It suddenly hit Xander as he twisted away from a right cross that this was no random mugging. Xander sidestepped a thrust kick, hooked the leg at the ankle, and drove his palm down on the manís leg while sweeping his grounded foot from the ground, the manís scream drowned out by the snap of his leg as he fell. No, these men were too well-dressed, too expert in the movements to be street thugs, something else was going on here.
A right to the eye burst open a cut above his left eye, dazed, he almost stumbled as he blocked an attempted elbow on his shoulder only to double up when a flung trash can crashed into his gut. And then a strong hand grabbed him by his collar and shoved him down to his knees.
Xander caught a foot coming at his face, blocking it on his arm, ignoring the pain that the block sent reverberating through his arm and shoulder and started to struggle to his feet. And then a trash can crashed into the back of his head.
* * *
"Fuck!" Luther grunted as he fell back, the dented can falling from his hand
and eyes fixed on the downed target. "Who is this bastard?"
"My leg, leg, my leg!"
Luther glanced down at Greg, the wailing man clinging to his leg. "Shut up, he killed Miguel and Fu, youíre lucky youíre still living," he pointed out even as he shook his head, every one of them had been injured, two of them were dead, and a third probably permanently injured. And that was coming from a six on one ambush executed by the baddest team of hombres heíd managed to put together, a team that had been at this work most their adult lives. The boy was a fuckiní wrecking ball. "You know the instructions," Luther looked at his two relatively uninjured companions, "Iíll get Greg into the van, you cuff this asshole, and remember the instructions, he wakes up, knock him out again."
"What about the others?" Donny noticeably didnít look at the two corpses.
Luther grimaced. "Weíre leaviní them. Make sure they havenít got any ID on them."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (6/?)
"Donít you ever cast a spell on me again!" Faith howled as she spun to face a
glitteringly-eyed Tara. "Or Iíll-."
"Youíll what?" the Wicca sneered, sparks dancing from her fingers. "You forget whoís got the power!"
Faith clenched and raised her fists as she stepped towards the wicca. "Iíve got yar power right here-, shit!" She yelped in shock as Kennedy hit her with the corridor table, the blow knocking her through her roomís door and onto the hotel room floor.
* * *
"You donít threaten Tara!" Kennedy snapped as she snatched hold of a brass lamp-stand, tore it out of its socket, then slammed its top against the wall, the bulb shattering, and started advancing on the prone Slayer, the make-shift weaponís jagged bulb leading the way.
Taraís teeth barred as the uppity bitch jumped up. "Get her Ken!" she screeched. "Kick her ass! You can do it! Teach that bitch some respect!"
A casual hand-gesture sent the approaching hotel employee flying the length of the corridor, colliding into the wall, and sliding down to the floor. Tara glared at the people edging out of their hotel rooms, sparks dancing from her finger-tips. "Inside. Now." She cackled when they obeyed, returning her eyes to the on-going fight. "Kill her Ken!" she ordered.
Her eyes widened when the Slayer slid inside Kennedyís attack, grabbed the lampstand with one hand, and tore it away from the potentialís two-handed grip, flinging it through the balcony window. "I donít need weapons to end you, bitch!"
Kennedy used the half-second it took for Faith to throw the lamp-stand away to lunge at the Slayer. "Oooooh!" Kennedy grunted when Faith caught her with an elbow, the blow opening up a bloody faucet above her left eyebrow.
"Not even close to quick enough," Faith laughed as she twisted until she was side-on to Kennedy, grabbed the potentialís hair and drove her face-first into the wall. "Fuck!" Faith grunted as Kennedy caught her with an elbow to the chest, the Slayer responding with a kick to the back of the knee that would have sent Kennedy to her knees except for Faith grabbing the potentialís wrist and flinging her up and into the ceiling. Kennedy hit the floor with a groan the evil Slayer grabbing her by her arm and lifting the limp potential back up, her right sleeve tearing away. "Told ya not to fuck with me!" the busty Bostonian snarled as she grabbed Kennedy around the throat.
"Oh goddess!" Tara gasped, the red mist resting before her eyes dissipating as Faith began squeezing, her girl-friend purpling as she futilely attempted to break the Slayerís grip. Taraís eyes were fixed on the potentialís right shoulder-blade, a greyish sigil of a pentagram pulsing there. "A Hass!" Tara looked at Faith before forcing her own temper under control. "Faith-."
The Slayerís head snapped towards her, long mane whiplashing, and eyes hard, drool dribbling out of the sides of her mouth. "Just give me half a minute, bitchy-witchy, Iíll get to you-, ahhh!" The Slayer flew to the other side of the room at Taraís gesture, crashing into the wall by the shattered balcony window.
"Iíll kill her," Kennedy gasped between gulping breaths, the potential rolling onto her hands and knees, eyes fixed on the downed Slayer. "You just see if I donít."
Tara grabbed her girl-friendís shoulders. "No, itís a curse-."
"You donítí think," Tara reared back when Kennedy swung up, her backhanded slap narrowly missing her, "I can take her!"
"Oh goddess!" Tara felt her own temper flare as she brought her heel down on the back of Kennedyís head, knocking the dazed potential out.
Tara sighed as she looked around the devastated room with its two unconscious brunettes. Sheíd have to tie them both up and hope they were slightly saner when they woke up. Heh, a smile spread slowly across her face as she glanced from Faith to Kennedy and back again, and it had started out such a crappy day.
* * *
"Ooooh," Faith groaned, her head thumping like a night filled with Tequila Slammers. Gritting her teeth, she forced herself to push forward, towards consciousness. Her eyes slowly opened, taking a second more to focus.
And then rage flared through her as she saw her treacherous sister. "Come here!" she screamed, spittle flying from her mouth as she strained to rip free of the restraints binding her wrists behind her, arms flexing furiously.
Tara looked towards her, eyes momentarily irritated then serene. "Aequus,"
the witch snapped. Faithís shoulders slumped as she relaxed, the witch wiping
her forehead clear of sweat a second later. "Okay," Tara looked towards the
still unconscious Kennedy, "when you two were fighting-."
"Call that a fight?" Faith snorted, her ire raising again. "More like a fuckiní massac-."
"Just listen!" the witchís eyes flashed, Faith reluctantly silencing. "When you fought Kennedy, you ripped her shirt, and I saw a mystical sigil on her shoulder-."
"A what now?" Faith queried only to shake her head when Taraís eyes bored into her. "Jeez, just askiní!"
"Sorry, itís hard to fight off." Tara took a breath. "A sigil is a magic
symbol created for a specific purpose. I recognise these as belonging to a Hass
Faith waited for her sister to continue. When she didnít she took a breath. "And?"
"Sorry." Tara winced. "Controlling the anger is hard, I can only manage it
now I recognise what the demon is. A Hass demon feeds on and creates disharmony.
Turning a simple domestic dispute into a murder, a disgruntled employee into an
angry man with a machine gun, that sort of thing."
"Nice," Faith shook her head, "so thatís whatís infected the brat, made her crazier than normal?"
Tara shot her a steady glance. "Itís infected all of us, Faith."
"Uh, uh," Faith was less than convinced she could be infected, but decided to
play along, "so whatís the sitch?"
Tara shot her a wan smile. "Iíve got a spell going thatís protecting us from the demon, but it wonít last. We need a priest to actually kill the monster."
"Priest huh?" Faith raised an eyebrow. "Iíll have to find my Catholic school-girl outfit-, aw crap" Faithís eyes narrowed as a troubling thought occurred. "This demoníll be infecting Xan too?" Tara nodded. "Ah crap, we better get moving Ďfore he does somethiní even dumber than normal."
Faith noticed she and Kennedy were just in their bras, their arms and legs tied with torn-off strips of their shirts. "Jesus, Tar," she shook her head, "that was my favourite shirt, why couldnít you have used the bed sheets for Christís sake?"
"Ooops," Tara flushed. "I should have thought of that. Didnít even enter my mind."
"Yeah," Faith stared suspiciously at her best friend. "I bet."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (7/?)
Luther glanced behind him as they pulled up into the deserted and derelict warehouse they were meant to meet their employer in. "Is he still out?"
"Sleeping like a bludgeoned baby," laughed Donny. "Donít know why we didnít kill him there and then."
"The employer," Lutherís lips pursed at the mention of the unsettling man they were working for, "wants it this way and he paid big for it."
"Not big enough," sobbed Greg.
Luther rubbed at his forehead. All the way over Greg had been moaning and groaning. Telling himself that at least after this job heíd never have to see Greg or the others again, heíd have the funds to buy himself a new, more sophisticated team, capable of doing better more high-paying jobs, Luther opened his van door. "Bring him out."
He watched as Donny and Ernie picked the hog-cuffed youth up and dumped him
on the dusty ground. "Battered but still alive, excellent."
Lutherís heart skipped a beat as he heard their employerís voice. Wondering how the man could manage to so ably sneak up on him, he turned and faced the man, noting his full-length leather trenchcoat over what looked to be a custom-made, pinstriped suit. "You never said how dangerous he was!" Luther blustered to cover his shock. "If youíd have said weíd have asked for more!"
"I trust," Lutherís sudden chilling had nothing to do with the cold April winds and everything to do with his employerís smile, "youíre not going to try and push the matter?"
Luther licked his lips and looked at his two companions. There were three of
them and only one of him. But then, less than an hour ago it had been six to
one, and their captive had managed to halve those odds before falling. Deciding
to take what was on offer, he shook his head. "No," he forced a note of
confidence in his voice, "a dealís a deal."
"Very wise," his contractorís chuckle suggested he wasnít fooled by Lutherís pretence of honour. The manís face stiffened. "Lift him up and unfasten his arms and legs. Itís time we finished this."
Luther began to turn towards his two companions to tell them to obey only to spin back, mouth dropping when their employer drew a gleaming broadsword. "What the hell is that?" he gasped, eyes flooding with shock as he reared back.
"A tradition of my people," the mystery man chuckled as if heíd told a great
joke that only he knew the punchline to. "As is this," the contractor looked
towards his men, "uncuff him, please. Itís time for his beheading." The
swordsman chuckled. "Another
tradition of my people."
Luther resisted the urge to shudder at the crazy turn of events. He wanted to protest, to grab his men and flee this freak show. But for some reason he suspected getting paid would be the least of his problems. "You heard the man."
* * *
Luke Kovak shivered as he made his way through the blustery Cleveland day, shivering slightly as he did so. Ever since fleeing the CIA heíd lived under the radar, taking menial jobs, living in flophouses, avoiding anything that could bring him to attention.
His heart skipped a beat as he heard muttered voices in a supposedly derelict warehouse. For some reason ignoring every instinct that told him not to get involved, he crept up the warehouseís dusty wall and peeked in.
His eyes narrowed at the polished black van between him and the men. His curiosity growing, he glided over to the near side and pressed his ear to the vanís cool side. His jaw dropped at the talk of beheading. Before he knew it he was clambering on top of the van and sliding across the roof. Looking over the top, he pursed his lips, four men with the advantage of surprise to him. Tough but doable.
Before he knew it, he was launching himself through the air, his foot crashing into the back of the head of the nearest man, downing him, the supported captive likewise plunging to the ground. Luke landed in a crouch, the other man whoíd been holding up the unconscious man charging him.
Luke leaned back at the waist, the manís overhand right hammering the air where his face had been. His hands snapped up to grab the manís beefy forearm and pull him into a kick to the gut that folded him like a cheap deck-chair.
Then he heard the swordsman yell. "In now!"
* * *
Xander groaned as he awoke, why did they have to shout? He just needed to res-.
His eyes shot open as he registered his situation. Burying the pain inside, he surged to his feet, grabbing the nearest man, the black man whoíd led the initial assault, by his collar, he pulled him down and into a knee to the small of his back, the manís spine shattering with a vomit-inducing crack.
However even as Xander threw the man away, more charged in, Xander gasping as he recognised their leader as Draco, the Immortalís face red with rage. Xander started to pull his Desert Eagle out of the Always Pocket but his concentration was shattered by a thudding right to the jaw.
Stunned, Xander stumbled backwards, barely ducking beneath a follow-up left hook to kick his opponent square in the balls. The man began to double up and into a knee to the jaw, knocking him onto the floor, his foot crashing into the felled manís belly.
And then the others were on him, pummelling him into his second bout of unconsciousness of the day.
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (8/?)
"Youíre lucky that Tara reckons this Hass demon was inflaming us," Kennedy commented as they strode through the hotelís lobby, the patrons and staff hurriedly parting before the trio, "otherwise Iíd have kicked your ass."
Faith cocked an eyebrow. "Yeah, sure thatís why you were gurgling like a fish out of water when I was chokiní you out," she taunted.
"You bitch!" Kennedy started towards her.
"Bring it bitch!" Faith laughed.
"Stop!" Tara stepped between them, blocking the potentialís advance. "Itís hard enough to block the Hass without you two bickering! Quiet!"
"Sorry," Faith muttered as she forced her temper under control and started through the hotelís exit. "Shit!" Faith screamed as the glass entrance exploded behind her. "Gunfire!" she dived sideways, bundling Tara to the ground and behind a gleaming red sedan, its windows exploding in showers of glass a half-second later.
"Shit!" Faith cursed as she looked up to see gunfire blazing out from around a tinted-windowed SUV. Faith looked around, eyes desperate. "Say," she glanced towards a yellow mini parked just down the street, "can you throw that at them?"
"Iím blocking the Hass!" Tara snapped, face pale and stretched. "I donít have the power to continue blocking the demon and flip over a car."
"Kay," Faith risked a glance up and then hurriedly pulled back when shots flew in her direction, "Jesus!" Faith looked over her shoulder and to the tight-faced witch. This situation was particularly crappy, especially considering their lack of weapons. They could wait for the police to turn up, but every second counted with Taraís control. "See that fire hydrant just to the right of the suv?" Tara nodded. "Can you open it up while keeping a hold of the Hass?"
Tara nodded. "Just about."
"Cool," Faith tensed. This was a really stupid idea but their other options sucked. "On three. One, two, three!"
The moment she yelled three she was moving, leaping over the carís sleek hood as the hydrant exploded, water fountaining three-stories up. The wind snapped her dark mane back as she raced across the road. "Shit!" she cursed as she saw two of the three gunmen beginning to turn towards her.
Ah to hell with it.
Faith leapt into the air, bounding over the back of the SUV, and coming down on the top of the central man of the trio. Not that he was complainí, her knee cracking his skull saw to that.
Faith landed in a crouch, the two men flanking her turning towards her. Faith
threw herself forward and through a shopís window as the two menís guns came up,
two streams of fire meant for her cutting through the duo. "Still think ya can
take this, kid?" Faith rose from the derbies of the shop front, waved the shop
manager away, and turned, a jaunty hand on her hip as she smirked across the
"Iím gonna kill you!" screamed Kennedy.
"Will you two stop!" Tara gasped. Faith started back across the road, conscious of the sound of approaching sirens. "Whose got the car keys?"
Faith stopped. "Aw crap." Faith halted then continued on, picking up pace as
she hurried towards the crowd. "Look, I used to run with a bunch of
"Oh you were a delinquent," Kennedy cackled. "Big surprise!"
Faith almost started towards the baiting potential then clenched her fists and continued back to the car. "Come on!"
* * *
"A Church," Faith slammed on the brakes, car screeching to a halt outside a dark-bricked gothic-styled structure. "Iíll go get us a priest."
"How will you explain all this to the priest?" Tara queried.
"Explain what?" Faith queried as she opened the car door and then looked over her shoulder to a glaring Kennedy, the potentialís curses muffled by the sock sheíd stuffed in her mouth. "And donít you dare ungag or untie her hands," Faith warned before slamming the door shut.
* * *
Father Callahan groaned, hard decades causing his joints to ache, desperate living causing his spirit to do the same. "Hey, padre?"
"Yes," he turned at the bewitching voice. His eyes widened at the beguiling brunette stood wearing a pair of skin-tight leathers and matching jacket. If he was four decades younger sheíd cause him a second thought or three about his priestly vows.
Well alright, two decades.
He forced a smile as he pushed away all unseemly desires. "How can I help you, child? Do you need confession or advice?"
"Not Ďxactly what I was lookiní for." The girl cocked her head to her one side, her gaze disconcertingly considering. "But letís face it, ainít got time to be fussy." Father Callahan began to open his mouth to query the young womanís confusing statement, but before he could utter a word she was on him, grabbing him by his shoulders and unceremonially flinging him over her shoulder. "Youíll have to do."
"I am a man of God!" Callahan squealed. "Put me down."
"Kinda what Iím countiní on," the brunette beauty laconically replied. "Donít worry, I ainít planniní to sacrifice ya to a pagan god or nothiní."
"Unhand me!" he wailed as the young woman stalked towards the entrance, carrying him as if he was a bag of feathers.
"Oh shut up," the girl snarled. "Men are usually grateful when Iíve got my hands on them. Figures Iíd have to pick the one priest in the world who isnít a dirty old lech."
"How dare you?" he gasped as the girl effortlessly carried him out of the shadowy church and into the dayís blazing sunlight.
"Iím Faith," the girl brazenly replied. "I pretty much dare do anything."
"Faith, you didnít kidnap him!" a honey-blonde with kind eyes and wearing a pagan pendant rose out of the car.
"íKay, if thatís what ya need to believe I didnít," the girl identified as ĎFaithí equably agreed before opening the carís rear door and dumped him beside a gagged and tied girl. "For godís sake donít remove her gag padre, sheís got a gutter-mouth. Tar, youíre on directions and explanation."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (9/?)
"I demand you let me go!" Father Callahan blustered, vacillating between anger, terror, and bemusement at just what was happening to him.
"Strap yourself in, Padre," Faith drawled, "yaíre in for quite a ride."
Father Callahan gasped as the car tore away from the kerb, the force throwing him back in his seat. "You see Father," at least the apparent, soft-eyed pagan seemed respectful, unlike the leather-clad, possibly satanic beauty, "the world is far far older than you imagine. And I regret to tell you, earth did not begin as an Eden as your bible says." Callahan opened his mouth to protest but the pagan continued over him. "And creatures such as vampires and demons arenít merely stuff of legend, they exist."
"I know," Callahan shuddered as memories crowded around him, "I helped fight a vampire infestation in Salemís Lot over twenty years ago."
"Wicked cool!" commented Faith. "Ya got some stones under your cassock. I knew there was a reason that I picked you!"
"Faith, take the turn to the right," the pagan instructed, "Faith here is her generationís Vampire Slayer-."
"A Slayer?" Callahan squeaked as the car mounted and then dismounted a kerb.
"A Slayer is a young female human bestowed with mystical giving her superhuman senses, strength, speed, endurance, agility, and healing in the fight against forces of darkness," the pagan patiently explained. "All these abilities are given to her so she can fight vampires, demons, necromancers, and the like."
"The bitchiní hotness is just natural," Faith added. The gagged girl shouted something that was muffled by the sock stuffed in her mouth.
"Faith, can you concentrate on the driving please?" the pagan snapped. "Turn next left."
"Tetchy much?" Faith snarked back before grabbing the wheel and pulling across two lanes of honking traffic, the car barely making the turn in front of an eighteen-wheeler.
"Iím Tara, a witch, Kennedy is a potential," Tara continued, "and Faithís boy-friend is possessed by a war god-."
"A what!" Callahan spluttered.
"Hate to break it to ya," Callahan groaned as the car left the road and shot
over a humped-back bridge. "But yar god ainít the only one, not even close. My
boytoyís sorta a whatsit-."
"Avatar," Tara helpfully added.
"Yeah," Faith agreed, "for the general who led the armies that first beat the demons a few million years ago and him and all his followers ascended to godhood."
"WÖwhat do you want me for?" Callahan closed his eyes as the car two-wheeled it around a tight bend.
"Weíve been possessed by a demon that causes aggression, Iím holding it off, but we need to have the demon exorcised!" Tara explained. "Faith, next right!"
"Canít you just kill it?" Callahan weakly queried, heart quailing at the thought of facing another monster of hell.
"Yeah, that was my first question," Callahan gulped as he was flung first one way and then the other as Faith careered in and out of traffic, "but Tar says that the demon has to be exorcised before we kill it, otherwise the spell will stay on us forever."
"Third house to the right, the detached one," Tara snapped, the witch looking
suddenly haggard. "Iíll have to stay in the car, if we go into together, the
closeness to the demon will turn us on one another."
"Five by five," Callahan was jammed against his seat belt as the Slayer screeched to a halt, leaping from the car seemingly before it had even stopped. Before he had chance to catch his breath the door beside him was reaching in to grab his shoulder and casually lift him out of the car. "Tire-iron will have to do," the Slayer muttered as she reached into the trunk and yanked out the aforementioned object. "Ya got yar cross?" Father Callahan nodded. "Five by five, but stay behind me until weíre in the house, got me?"
Callahan nodded again. "Damn, find yar voice Padre, I need ya to yell out some stuff to this fuckiní demon for Christís sake!"
"Please," he mumbled, sweat beading down his forehead and heart pounding. "Stop swearing."
"There ya go!" Faith buffeted him with a slap to the shoulder. "Yaíve found Ďem again! Come on!"
Father Callahan turned to the nondescript although large house and squared his shoulders. "Very well." It seemed duty found you even if you hid from it.
* * *
"Ready?" Faith asked as they drew level with the houseís front door. The priest nodded, lined face haggard with worry and eyes darting everywhere. "Hey relax," Faith winked, "youíre with the heavy hitters this time, padre, you concentrate on exorcising the demon, Iíll deal with any human guards, ya got me?" Without waiting for a reply, Faith kicked in the door and charged in, the priest in probably reluctant pursuit.
The hallway was a bland beige, Faith speeded up as a door crashed open to her left, foot swinging up in a thrust kick to the belly while her elbow smashed into the wanna-be tough guyís head, sending him flying into the far room. And then she was in an equally bland lounge dominated by a greyish blob thing, the roomís other occupants two square-bodied thugs who wasted no time in charging her.
"In the name of Christ our saviour," out of the corner of her eye, Faith saw the preacher approaching the demon, cross held before him, "I renounce your powers! You have no claim on this dimension demon! Though I walk with temptation," Faith wondered if that meant her, "I will be unsullied, your spells have no strength here!"
The priest went on, but Faith was too busy blocking a left on her arm, and swinging the tire-iron at one of her assailants, the man grimacing as he blocked her attack on his hip. Faith grunted when the second man grabbed and yanked on her hair. "Pulliní hair? What are ya?" The man squealed, face greying as she swung her tire iron up and into his elbow, bone shattering. "A girl?" The moment the man released his grip on her hair, the other tried to take her down with a waist tackle, but a knee to the chest sent him wheezing to the ground, a follow-up side elbow to the face of the man with the broken arm sending him flying over the sofa to crash motionless on the floor.
"Faith! The -." The padreís voice trailed off when her tire-iron flew through the air and impaled the demonís solitary eye, the blob deflating like a puncture balloon to lie on the ground, a greyish puddle.
"There itís dead." Faith grinned as she looked at the shocked priest. "Come on padre."
The moment she walked out of the house Kennedy was out of the car and charging towards her, eyes blazing. "A sock in my mouth!" Kennedy screamed. "You stuffed a sock in my mouth!"
"Hey," Faith winked at the half-pint, "coulda been my panties! Whoa!" Faith jumped to the side and grabbed the padre as his legs seemed to fold under him. "Shit! Heís fainted!"
"From the strain of fighting the demon or the image of Kennedy with your panties in her mouth?" Tara asked, an impish glint in her sisí eyes.
"Guess weíll never know, lucky I didnít mention I ainít weariní any," Faith winked back before sobering. "Centre us on Xan," she ordered. "If I know boy-toy heíll be in trouble right about now."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (10/?)
"Oh good lord," Callahan groaned as he awoke, his body weak and head thumping, he was back in the car, would this nightmare ever end. And if it did would it end in a fiery wreck?
"Hey padre," the insanely cheerful Slayer greeted from her seat behind the wheel, "glad to have ya back in the land of the liviní."
"For however long that lasts." Callahan began muttering a hail Mary. Might as well get his introduction to St. Peter readyÖ.
* * *
"Finally Mr. Harris it is time," Draco smirked down at the pummelled youth, blood leaking from his mouth and cuts above his left eye and from both his nostrils, his clothes torn, and eyes glassy. The youth didnít have anything to say, couldnít even manage a glare. Draco drew his sword and looked towards the other man, likewise held by three of his men. "Good Samaritans rarely have a happy ending." He stepped forward as he raised his sword.
Draco spun around as a car crashed through the back of the warehouse, corrugated steel flying everywhere as the vehicle skidded to a halt. Dracoís heart dropped as he saw the Slayer, the Witch, and the potential climbing out of the car. Clearly the Hass demonís spell had been broken. "Kill them!" he screamed at his eight remaining men. "Bury those bitches." He watched as his men charged into battle.
"You know I donít like people calling my girls bitches." Dracoís stomach hollowed as he turned to find Harris standing, battered yet defiant, a broad sword in his hand. Then the boy smiled a smile colder than ice. "Shall we dance?"
* * *
Faith leapt into the air, taking the first two men to reach her down with a leaping spin kick to the face, jaws breaking and blood flying as the two men fell. Another, a burly black with knuckledusters charged her, Faith ducking an overhand right, but catching a left hook to her ribs.
"Not nice," she grunted as the man followed that up with a backhand to the side of her face, blood spewing from the wound as she grabbed the manís wrist, leaned back and threw him over her and headfirst into her carís hood. She barely straightened in time to drop into a crouch beneath a spin-kick before surging up, hooking an arm around her assailantís leg, blocking an attempted back-fist on her other forearm, and surging up, dumping the man on his head.
Seeing the two men sheíd kicked to the ground struggling to their feet, she grabbed them by their heads and drove them together, their skulls making a satisfying crack as they collided, the two men falling back to the ground.
Sensing a man behind her she darted back, full mane swinging as she drove her head back into the manís mouth, wincing slightly as the back of her head hit teeth before reaching up, grabbing the manís arm that he had been about to wrap around her neck, bending forward and flinging her would-be attacker to the ground by her feet, a simple stomp to the head putting him out of action.
And that was the end of the fight, Tara, Ken, and the mystery man having taken care of the other four men.
ExceptÖ Faithís heart skipped a beat, where the hell was Xander?
* * *
Draco paled then leapt at him, sword flashing down. Xander swung his own blade up to meet the immortalís, almost screaming with pain as the bladesí collision reverberated through his battered limbs.
Draco smirked at his pained reaction, before pulling back and slashing at his throat, Xander leaping back out of the attack. "This will be easier than I thought," Draco commented as he advanced, stalking Xander like a jungle cat hunting an antelope.
"Donít bet on that," Xander bluffed as he twisted out of the way of a lunge, his own retaliatory back-handed slash slithered away from.
"Such bluster, how typically American." Draco came in fast with a slash at Xanderís knees that he knew he didnít have the strength to leap over so scurried back instead and then darted back in before Draco could pull his blade back, leading with a sword thrust that Draco just managed to bat away.
Sweat beaded on Xanderís forehead as the immortal forced him out of the warehouse with a relentless flurry of slashes, lunges, and thrusts, into the dayís unforgiving sunlight.
He knew he couldnít keep this up, even if he was completely healthy facing Draco was a hell of a threat, but in his weakened condition, he had two chances, slim and none, and slim was packing his cases and getting ready to mosey on out of town.
Xander leaned away a lunge, sword coming up to block when Dracoís lunge turned to a back-handed slash. Xander twisted with the strike and towards his adversary, heel slamming into the immortalís gut. Draco staggered back, then lunged at him even as he tried to press his brief advantage.
Xander grunted as the immortal collided with him, their swords locked overhead. Then pain exploded in his head when his rival rammed his head into his face, bruised forehead splitting like a bloody dam. Xander stumbled backwards, his already impaired vision further blurred by the blood leaking into his eyes.
This was turning out to be a really crappy day.
Xander ducked another sword swing then grimaced. "Screw it, thereís a time to be noble." He reared up, gun in hand. "This ainít it, just call me Indiana Jones." Dracoís eyes began to widen in shock, then Xander pulled the trigger as the immortal dived for the water.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Draco screamed as the bullet impacted, ripping through his forearm, blood blossoming from the wound as his severed hand fell to the ground.
Xander grimaced as he heard the telltale splash of the immortal hitting water. "Oh no," he muttered as he began staggering towards the water, "you are not getting away from me."
"Freeze! Police!" Xander groaned at the sound of a police officer behind him. "Drop the weapon and put your hands behind your head, and then turn slowly to face us."
Xander sighed as he let the gun drop and obeyed the policemenís instructions, turning to face two fresh-faced kids who looked like they were barely out of the academy. "I donít suppose youíd believe me if I said I could explain?"
"Get on your knees!" barked the younger of the two, perhaps five years his elder.
"Hey boys!" Xander hid a grin as his girl-friend strolled up behind the two police officers. "Wanna see somethiní cool?"
Xanderís eyes widened when his girl opened her leather jacket to reveal she was naked underneath. "Holy shit!" the cop whoíd turned to face Faith gasped, his gun drooping enough to give Faith chance to leap forward and hook-kick him to the ground. The other cop began to swing from him and towards Faith only for the mystery man whoíd tried to help him earlier slide over the patrol carís hood and grab him in a choke hold that also secured his gun, the policeman sliding to the ground scant seconds later.
"That was," Xander smirked, "unconventional."
"Yeah," Faith smirked, "even my hooters are deadly weapons." Xander began to grin, then staggered as the last of his strength left him. "Shit!" In a second Faith was by his side. "Letís get the hell outta here."
FIC: MC 52. Apr í02 Bounty (11/11)
Luke Kovak blinked as Tara finished her explanation about just who they were. The roadside cafť seemed a ridiculously mundane place to be having such a conversation in, a talk about mystical warriors, demons, vampires, prophecies, and magic.
Xander stared at him, the avatarís dark eyes disconcertingly probing. "I was
wondering," Xander licked his lips before glancing at Tara. After a second the
witch nodded. Xander turned back to him, cheeks flushing in embarrassment, "I
was wondering, youíre obviously down on your luck, but you can also handle
"Youíve got some wicked cool moves," Faith agreed, her eyes an unsettling twin to her loverís.
"So I was wondering if youíd be interested in working for The Brotherhood." Xander raised a hand as he opened his mouth to reply. "Youíd have the resources of my arms, electronics surveillance, and research departments behind you, in addition to the pick of any state or country that hasnít already been taken that you want to command as your own, as well as details of all of that areaís demon hunters, white-arts mages, and the interest off an hundred and fifty million dollar trust fund at your disposal."
"I have people after me," Luke admitted after a momentary pause. The mind-reeling offer was mouth-wateringly tempting, but if wasnít really practical, not with the sort of people he had chasing him.
"What sorta people?" Faith queried.
"Bad ones," he evaded.
"Ya might wanna clarify that," Faith pressed. "Weíre pretty bad people ourselves."
The seconds ticked away as Luke struggled to decide what to do. Finally he nodded. "Okay, about five years ago I worked," that fudged around the area nicely, "for a government agency doing black ops work. I was ordered to kill one of my team, and fled."
"Right," Xander looked towards Tara. "He reads alright?"
The soft-spoken witchís answering smile filled him with reassuring warmth. "Heís fine."
Xander stared at him for a long moment before nodding. "You saved my life," he said. "The choice is yours, we can fix you up with a false identity, whatever you need."
Luke took a breath. Heíd run for so long, he wasnít entirely sure he could stop, but there had to come a point where a man turned and faced his fears. "Are the Carolinas free?"
Xander grinned before looking towards Tara. "What potential assets do we have in the Carolinas?"
The witchís fingers flew over her laptopís keyboard, eyes squinting slightly as she peered at the screen. "In North Carolina, Raleigh has a team of eight demon hunters, Charlotte has two teams of six, and Greensboro has a team of six. In South Carolina, Carolina has a team of nine demon hunters, Greenville has two teams of six, and Charleston has a team of seven."
Luke licked at his increasingly dry lips. "Iíll take it," he decided.
* * *
"Um, thank ya for helping me slay that demon, it really took some guts for ya to do that," Faith half-laughed, "not that I exactly gave ya a choice."
Father Callahan looked at the leather-clad beauty as she accompanied him up the path leading to his church. In contrast to her previous brashness she now appeared nervous, something he guessed was uncharacteristic for her. "No you didnít," he softly replied, "nevertheless I was glad to help. And thank you for your efforts in protecting us all."
"Itís nothiní special," a rare blush rose in the brunetteís high cheeks.
"On the contrary," he corrected, "itís very special indeed. I should know the rare courage it takes to stand against the beasts of darkness, once left me drained. And yet, you do it daily. On behalf of everybody, thank you."
The Slayer stopped as they reached the steps leading up the church and turned
to him, the uncomfortable shuffling suggesting she was unused to receiving
praise. "Hope ya didnít miss too much here today."
Callahan chuckled. "A couple of missed services is I dare say unimportant next to aiding intrepid heroes."
The Slayerís full lips parted in a sudden smirk. "Yeah, plus letís face it, waaaaaaaaaaay more exciting."
* * *
"Okay," Xander waited until heíd closed the door of their newly booked into hotel room, apparently Faith, Tara, and Kennedy had caused too much of a disturbance at the last one to go back there, "after the last twenty-four hours we need to talk."
It was unsurprisingly Faith who broke the long silence that followed Xanderís words. "Look," Faith stared around the room, "me and the brat donít get on, ainít no denyiní that, but Iíd never deliberately put her in danger. Sheís part of the gang and one thing the streets taught me, is ya have yar gang-membersí back. ĎSides," Faith looked towards Tara, "ya might have lousy taste in chicks, but ya love her, I ainít never gonna do nothiní that might hurt ya."
"Weíre in this together," Kennedy added, her dark eyes likewise fixed on the witch. "I have to do my part and if that means going undercover sometimes, I have to do it. You canít wrap me in cotton wool."
"IÖI know, but I love you so much," Tara sniffled as she wiped at her eyes. "I canít lose you."
"Iím not going anywhere, youíll never get rid of me Witchy," Kennedy promised.
"Yeah," Faith added. "Weíre a team, together weíre fuckiní unstoppable." Suddenly the three girls were in a group hug.
Xander cleared his throat after a second. "Would this be a good time to turn some sexy music on low and get some baby lotion, whipped cream, and a video camera?" Xander laughed as he danced out of the way of angrily flung cushions. "What? Something I said!"
* * *
"Aaaaaaaaaaaah!" Draco screamed as he used the blow-torch heíd found in the second-hand car garage heíd broken into to cauterise his severed wrist. The stench of burning flesh filled the dirty garage, Draco almost dropped the torch as the world swayed around him. Putting the torch down for a second, he wiped the sweat pouring down his forehead away with the back of his still attached hand and took a rattling breath before lifting up the torch and re-applying its flame to his severed limb. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"
Three times heíd died thanks to Harrisí attack. Twice from drowning during his swim in the harbour and then once after heíd made dry land from blood-loss.
"That bastard," he whispered as he took another rest, eyes this time fixed on his maimed limb. Before this injury heíd been after the Mithras Quartet strictly for the money and the kudos of taking them down, but now it was different. Draco hissed, pain blazing through his wrist, his entire body aching from the shock. Now, it was personal and Harris was going to die in the most painful possible manner.
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