FIC: Down Mexico Way (1/5)
“What’s the skinny on this guy Xan?” Faith asked as she gazed out of the SUV’s open window, the dry, sandy-brown Mexican landscape passing them by, its sweltering heat hitting them with the intensity of a physical blow.
“According to Mr. Stark’s records Seth Gecko was born in 1960 and had a brother, Richard, born in ’64. Both boys were put into foster care after their parents’ death in a 1969 car crash. The two bounced around in the system,” Faith winced, given what she’d heard from her running buddies she knew what was coming. “Then in ’77 Richard was accused of molesting a younger girl. Charges were dropped, but things went downhill fast.”
“How so?” Tara asked, always the innocent.
Xan took a sip of his bottled water before replying. “Seth took his brother and ran away but things spiralled out of control. Soon both brothers were wanted across the Southern states for a series of bank robberies and assaults, and in Richard’s case he was also suspected of a number of murders and sex crimes.”
“Fuck Xand,” Faith breathed. Did he really want this psycho in the group?
Xander appeared not to have heard her interruption. “In ’95 Seth was captured by the Feds and sentenced to twenty to life in a maximum security prison. Six months later, Richard broke him out and the two of them headed for the Mexican border, grabbing a preacher and his two kids as hostages.”
Faith couldn’t keep silent any longer. “Jesus, Xan!” she exploded. “You’re just run through a list of crimes that includes murder, bank robberies, kidnappings, and rape! Have you gone completely loco?”
Her best friend didn’t even blink at her outburst. “I hadn’t finished. They stopped at a bar just over the border called ‘The Titty Twister’.” Faith grimaced. The name reminded her of certain sleazy Boston bars some ‘friends’ had attempted to ‘persuade’ her to work at. “They were meant to meet a guy there.” Xander paused.
”W…what happened?” Tara asked.
“Turned out the bar was just a front for a vampire gang who lured unwary travellers there to feed or turn them.”
“Fuck,” Faith whistled through her teeth. “Heavy shit!”
“It got heavier,” Xander continued. “The vamps all changed and started feasting. By the next morning only Seth and Kate, the priest’s daughter, were alive. But Seth had to stake his own brother.” Xander fell silent.
Faith shared a worried glance with Tara. When they’d first gotten close, after Finch, her and Xander had pretty much opened up to each other about their pasts. One of the first things he’d told her about was staking his best friend. Maybe this was clouding his judgment, making him think he had some sort of kinship with this asshole. “Uh, uh,” Faith decided to stick with non-committal. “What’s Clyde been up to these past three years? Making happy with some girl half his age?”
“What?” Xander shot her a look that combined hurt and anger. “Do you think I’d want someone like that in the Brotherhood?” Xander shook his head. “Whether it was discovering vampires or killing his brother, I don’t know but he’s changed. For the past three years he’s hunted demons in Mexico. The locals call him ‘The Guardian.”
“E..even so,” Faith blinked at Tara’s voice. She’d never heard Tara question Xan before, she practically worshipped the ground he walked on. “He doesn’t sound very nice, can he be trusted?”
Xander shrugged. “I don’t know,” he smiled crookedly, “That’s why I brought my own little aura-reader on the trip.”
“A…and I thought it was for my personality.”
Faith snorted, it wasn’t like Tara to crack a funny, before speaking. “And how do we find this Gecko asshole?”
“We ask in here,” the SUV slowed to a stop.
Faith’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Oh this just keeps getting better and better,” she muttered before raising her voice. “You have got to be shitting me!”
* * *
Xander winced at Faith’s screech, sure that his eardrums were about to burst. Faith at full volume in enclosed spaces was definitely not to be recommended. “Look, I’m sure it’s better on the inside….” He wilted under the girls’ twin glares. “Or maybe not.”
Xander admitted to himself that the girls’ misgivings were well-placed. The dump he was parked outside made Willy’s seem like the Hilton by comparison. Beer bottles littered the sidewalk outside the bar. The bar itself, Xander grimaced as he climbed out of the car, its walls were painted a colour that he could only describe as diarrhoea brown. Seventies heavy metal and raucous shouts could be heard through the bar’s grimy and cracked windows. But as depressing as the bar looked, he knew it would be the sign hanging over the worm-ridden door that had pissed the girls off.
None of them could read the Spanish sign but then with the explicit graphic illustration they didn’t have to. The background of the sign was a gaudy red but the foreground was dominated by an improbably big breasted naked woman knelt on the ground in front of a golden pole. “Tell me you’re not serious Harris?”
Xander swallowed at the east coast native’s hard tone. “There’s no address for Gecko in Mr. Stark’s records but it’s known he comes here to relax.”
“Relax right,” Faith scowled. “Let’s just get this over with.”
* * *
Faith’s scowl deepened as she entered the dark, smoke-filled bar. She surveyed the bar, her disdain growing. The music boomed out of crackling loudspeakers, while fluorescent lights danced throughout the bar illuminating the naked table dancers, the scum surrounding them, the well-stocked bar, and its pot-bellied tender. “I’ll go talk to the owner, you two stay here,” Xander looked at her. “And try and stay out of trouble.”
“Yes sir boss,” Faith mock-saluted before pulling Tara into the shadows with a pout. It wasn’t her fault trouble followed her everywhere. Her pout turned to a smirk. Trouble was probably a guy who thought she had a great ass. Like the rest of them.
* * *
Xander’s trepidation grew as he battled his way across the busy floor and towards the dirty-looking counter. Bringing Faith and Tara here had been a mistake, but keeping the group together was the best option. If they were outside, someone might notice them and start trouble.
His nose wrinkled with disgust at the over-powering stench coming off the bartender. Obviously hygiene rules didn’t apply this far south of the border.
Taking a deep breath of marginally cleaner air, he stepped up to the busy bar, caught the attention of the stubbly chinned barkeep and began talking.
Several minutes later and he was fighting the over-whelming urge to introduce the surly bastard’s face to the bar counter. A combination of the bartender’s general lack of interest and their mutual inaptitude in one another’s language meant he wasn’t getting anywhere fast. “Look,” he decided on one last attempt before beating a retreat. “He’s about six -.”
Sensing a body flying through the air towards him, he dropped to the floor, allowing the human projectile to flying through the air. “Faith! I said low profile damn it!”
* * *
“Wasn’t my fault!” Faith snapped. She caught hold of the nearest thug’s incoming fist and squeezed, cracking knuckles even as she slammed her other palm into his nose, knocking the sleaze to the ground with a thud. Well okay technically it was, but it wasn’t like the over-grown boy scout wouldn’t have stepped in when four of the assholes started dragging one of the dancers off her table. Only trouble was then the whole bar had noticed the new babes and decided liberties needed to be taken.
Still, Faith grinned as she ducked a right hook from one attacker while grabbing a foot from another and flinging her assailant into the air, it had been a while since she’d wrecked a bar. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the jagged edge of a bottle flashing towards her face. Her hand snapped up to grab hold of her would-be attacker’s wrist and twist until the bone broke and the bottle fell to the ground. “Naughty, naughty,” she taunted as she flung the man into the jukebox. Another man lunged at her, his hands aiming for her neck, she knocked the hands apart and drove her head into the man’s face, shattering his jaw. Even as the Mexican wailed in pain, she grabbed his still out-stretched arm and flung him into the drinks cabinet behind the bar, shattering glass.
Moving on, she ducked under a wild swing and smashed a knee into her rival’s groin, doubling him up with a croak. Snatching a handful of the man’s greasy hair, she drove him face first to the threadbare carpeted floor. Sensing another thug looming over her, she straightened, driving an elbow into his mouth, knocking teeth out and sending the man crashing into a near-by table. Feeling a pair of hands on her shoulders, she stepped backwards, propelling a back heel kick into her attacker’s balls. The man croaked, a half-second later there was the thud of a body hitting the floor.
“Calm down puta,” a heavily-accented voice said. “Otherwise your amigos will be hurt.” Faith looked around. Her heart dropped when she saw Tara being restrained by a knife-wielding scumbag and Xander lying unconscious on the floor, the bodies of five assholes surrounding him, but a handgun trained on his head.
Mouth drying, she raised her hands. “It’s cool man,” she said shakily. Tara was near enough for her to get to, but Xander…. “Just let me get my buds and we’ll leave okay?”
The speaker, a tall man with a goatee and pony-tail shook his head. “No, not okay,” the guy replied. “You come into our place, wreck it.” The man looked around. “And expect to just leave? No,” Faith’s heart sunk at the man’s leer. “We require payment. Strip. We,” the massed bar began to chuckle. “Want to see that pretty little body dance. And if it tastes as good as it looks.”
Faith’s eyes hardened, this wasn’t going to happen. “Go to hell!”
The man’s leer intensified. “Paco, peel the other puta’s face off.”
Faith’s shoulders slumped. “D..don’t,” she whispered. “I’ll do it. Just don’t hurt them.” She dropped her trembling hands to her jeans belt.
FIC: Down Mexico Way (2/?)
His shotgun’s boom filled the air. “No you won’t.” Seth’s tone was quiet but determined, carrying to the bar’s far corners. Just his damn luck, first night off in three weeks and he walks into three of his fellow Americans being bullied. Although, his eyes narrowed as he noted the crumpled bodies littering the floor and the injured men slumped against the bar, it seemed the kids had been doing the bullying.
“We got you out-numbered gringo.”
Seth’s smile widened as he trained his shotgun on the speaker, the man who had been telling the beautiful brunette to strip. Maybe he should have been another couple of minutes later. Giving himself a mental shake, he glared at the man. “No it isn’t Miguel,” he corrected. “This is just you and me. You know how good I am. No matter what I’ll get one shot off and that’s your head exploding like a tomato. Girl, get your friends.” The brunette continued to glare at Miguel. “Miss,” he put a firm note in his voice, “get your friends.”
He was relieved when the teen nodded before striding across the floor towards her unconscious companion. Seth couldn’t help but shake his head slightly in admiration at the way the shapely female stalked across the hushed bar like she owned it.
His eyes widened as one of the bar’s patrons lunged at the girl from behind, hoping to grab her as a hostage perhaps. Even as he opened his mouth to shout a warning, the girl’s elbow snapped backwards into the man’s nose.
The would-be attacker screamed as his nose shattered in a mist of blood before falling to a whimpering heap on the floor. The girl continued on without a backwards glance, the crowd wisely backing away from her like gazelles retreating from a lioness.
Finally the babe reached the crumpled man. After a warning glance that backed off the thugs surrounding the male, the girl crouched down beside the body. “Holy shit,” Seth muttered as the girl effortlessly hoisted the unconscious man over her right shoulder. The muscleman had to be twice her weight but the girl had picked him up like he was a feather.
Next the brunette strode over to the hostage. “You wanna drop that knife or do you want me to take it from you?” she demanded of the blonde’s captor. The raven-haired beauty nodded when the blade clattered to the ground. “Smart move.” The teen’s eyes turned to the trembling girl, her tone softening. “You five by five Tar?” the blonde nodded. “Wicked. Let’s get out of this shithole. You first.” As the girls passed him by the door, the brunette stopped, her brown eyes enquiring. “You Seth Gecko?”
“That’s me,” Seth confirmed with a nod, his own face held steady even as he considered the enigma of the kids before him. They were too young to be feds, but they knew who he was. And somehow they’d managed to rip apart the meanest bar for a hundred miles. Who the fuck were they?
Quelling his curiosity, he asked the more pressing question. “You know how to drive kid?” he demanded.
“Name’s Faith not kid,” the girl growled before smirking. “Been boosting cars since I was fourteen.” The girl’s grin widened. “X wouldn’t let me drive his SUV after I nearly crashed his last car. Now he ain’t got a choice!”
Seth translated all that as a yes. “In that case, you get them out to your car,” he hesitated. Curiosity won out over caution. “I’ll be out in a minute, follow me to my place.”
“K,” the girl nodded. Her tone softened. “Let’s go Tar.”
Seth gave the girls a minute before backing out of the hostile bar. “If you’re thinking of following, don’t,” he warned.
“You’re barred Gecko!” snarled the barkeep.
Seth laughed. “Gee, the high quality booze, congenial company, and great atmosphere,” he reached beneath his trench coat. “How will I survive?” Dropping a canister on the floor, he stepped out of the doorway the moment smoke exploded out of the grenade.
He hurried out of the bar to see Faith sat behind the wheel of a SUV, the vehicle’s engine purring in readiness. Nodding his approval, he leapt into his car and drove off, the SUV in hot pursuit.
* * *
“He’s gonna be okay Tar? You think we should call Le-.”
“N..no,” Tara interrupted Faith with a shake of her head. “It’s just a bang to the head.”
Faith looked uncertain and she shifted nervously from foot to foot. “You’re sure?”
Tara sighed. “Why don’t you take a walk outside?”
Faith rolled her eyes. “Geeez, if it ain’t Xander ordering me about it’s you,” her best friend grinned at her. “What happened to the shy girl -,” Faith gulped at her glare. “Fine, I’ll be outside.”
* * *
Faith leaned her elbows on the hitching rail and peered into the night. The moonlit countryside was beautiful, the view something she couldn’t have even dreamed of growing up in a Boston slum.
Yet despite the breath-taking view Faith’s mind was consumed with thoughts of the bar. When she’d got her powers, she’d sworn that was the end of men using her, that she’d be in control. But if it hadn’t been for Gecko….
Realising her hands were shaking she took a rattling breath. “Damn it girl,” she whispered. “We all got out fine, that’s the important thing.” Sensing the door behind her opening, she spun around only to relax slightly when she saw Gecko stood there.
She had to admit, if only to herself, Gecko was a hell of a stud. Tall and well-built, with startling blue eyes, and a million-dollar smile. Only problem was, he had the look of a guy who knew it. “Xan, is he awake?”
“No,” her heart dropped at the former bank-robber’s shaken head. “I just needed some fresh air.” She nodded and began to turn away. “Why are you looking for me?”
Faith shrugged, unwilling to continue this conversation with the slime ball. “Xan’s story to tell.”
“Okay,” she heard Gecko take a breath. “So what are you?”
Again she shrugged. “Xman will tell you when she comes around.”
She started to turn away from the crook only for him to grab her elbow. “Maybe you want to park the attitude, I saved your ass-, ow!”
The outlaw winced as she snatched his hand off and twisted it back. “Word to the wise, you don’t put your hands on me. And another thing, just ‘cause you saved my ass don’t give you rights to it.” Her warning given, she disdainfully released her grip.
“Damn it girl,” the escaped convict looked pissed as he rubbed at his wrist. “You don’t know jack about me!”
“I know enough,” she stepped into the crim’s space. “Seen your rap sheet.”
“Whoa,” the former bank robber stepped back. “Reformed -.”
Faith ignored his attempt at a defence, she was on a roll now. “I could give a shit about the bank robberies. But I saw the other shit too.”
“Hold on!” Gecko’s eyes widened in outrage. “That was my brother not me!”
“And you,” she jabbed an angry finger into the man’s broad chest, years of repressed emotions bubbling over, “stood by and let him! You think that makes you any better? Looking the other way!” Just like my ma, she added silently.
Gecko opened his mouth to reply but whatever he would have said was cut off by Tara’s shout. “Faith! He’s coming round!”
“Wicked!” After shooting Gecko a final disgusted look she hurried inside.
* * *
Alvarez stared at Miguel. “You’re certain this chica was super-powered in some way?” The terrified thug nodded, he scowled. As the local shaman he’s ruled the locality for over a century, but since Gecko’s arrival he’d found his power base eroded. From living in a beautiful hacienda he’d been forced to retreat to a dingy cavern guarded by his minions.
And now, Gecko had apparently somehow managed to recruit the Slayer to his cause. This was a worrying development. He nodded to his nervous informant. “Thank you Miguel, I only require one more thing from you.”
“Good,” he smiled. “In that case I’ll take your life force.” The man screamed as he was engulfed by a ball of energy. Ah well, he smiled, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
FIC: Down Mexico Way (3/5)
Gecko stared in disbelief at the battered young man sat on his lounge couch. All this talk of armies to fight an upcoming apocalypse. Armies led by a kid possessed by an ancient god, a god who apparently thought he, a former lone-wolf bank robber was suitable to run one of his units.
But on the other hand, he looked towards a still scowling Faith, she really didn’t like him. He’d heard of the Slayer legend, you didn’t hunt vampires for long without hearing of them and what he’d seen at the end of the bar brawl was definitely Slayer-like.
But him the leader of an unit? The most planning he’d done was organising a bank robbery. Finally he shook his head. “Xander, I appreciate the offer but I’ve done things, I don’t think you need someone like me in your army.”
“Hooray, at least one of you is talking sense.”
Xander appeared not to have heard the Bostonian’s muttered comment. “Tara?”
“H..his aura’s murky but he has a good heart.”
“Thanks Tara,” the young man continued to stare at him. “My army’s going to take in plenty of different people – ex soldiers, cops, experienced demon hunters, mystics. All they have in common is an unwillingness to turn away from the darkness. I know all about what you’ve done in Mexico these last three years. You’re the sort of man I need.”
Seth stared at the kid for a second before shaking his head again. “I don’t know Xander. I don’t think-.”
“Faith, Tara.” The teen’s gaze didn’t shift from him. “Can you give us a minute alone please?”
“Hey Xan, guy said no. You can’t press-gang-.”
“Faith.” A commanding note had entered the young man’s voice.
After a second the east coast girl sighed. “Fine!”
* * *
“You know I told you a lot of stuff about the Mithras Brotherhood, about Slayers. But what I haven’t told you about is me,” Xander looked at Gecko, reading the uncertainty in every line of the former bank robber’s face. “I met my first Slayer, not Faith, when I was 15. That night, my best friend was turned. The next night I had to stake him.” Xander’s heart tightened at the memory.
“Sorry for your loss but what’s your point?”
“The point is I understand what makes you fight what pushes you on. I want that in my army. I can provide money for arms, a base, personnel, the tools to make a real difference.”
The older man stared intently at him for a minute. “Okay, suppose I join you. Just suppose. Faith has a serious problem with me.”
Xander took a breath, he’d noticed Faith’s instant dislike of the bank robber on the way here, you’d have to be blind to miss it. And clearly him saving them in the bar hadn’t eased any of those bad feelings. “Faith and Tara are my best friends, I’d die for either of them in a second.” He paused. “But this army, this battle, is my responsibility. I’ve been chosen to run it,” for some reason, he mentally added. “While I respect both their opinions, I take the final decision. And I want you.”
“Okay. Then,” Gecko swallowed, “any one taken Arizona?”
Xander beamed. “You’re in? That’s great! I’ll work out the details in the morning.”
“Speaking of which,” the older man looked embarrassed. “I’m sorta still one of America’s Most Wanted.”
“Yeah,” Xander nodded. He’d thought of that, Stark was busy creating a new set of documentation for Gecko and while Angela was removing all reference to the Geckos from the various law enforcement computers. All highly illegal but if he got a new team leader out of it… “Not a problem, working on it.”
* * *
“Tara can I come in?”
Tara looked up at Xander’s voice at the other side of the door. She nodded then, realising he couldn’t see the gesture, she spoke. “S…sure.”
“Thanks.” The door swung open and Xander strode in. “Seth’s said He’ll join. Took oodles of charm,” her friend grinned. “Lucky I got loads to spare.” She smiled weakly. A concerned look on his face, Xander sat down beside her. “What’s up Tara?”
“D…during t..the fight i..in the bar, I froze, I couldn’t access my powers.” Tara’s head dropped as she readied herself for Xander’s inevitable condemnation. He’d been right about her, she couldn’t be relied on. He’d tell her to get lost, that she was useless, make her leave.
“I know, Faith told me.”
Tara looked up at her friend. “Aren’t you angry?”
“Angry?” Xander snaked around her shoulders. “Why would I be angry?”
“I….I failed you. I couldn’t help in the bar, if I’d been able to stay calm I…I could-.” Tara began to cry, her cheeks flamed with embarrassment.
“Hey, hey,” Xander’s arms wrapped themselves around her. “It’s okay. How would Faith put it, ‘no harm, no foul’.”
She refused to be comforted. “Y…you were right, I…I’m useless, you or Faith would never lose it like that.”
Xander chuckled. “Well I’m possessed by the spirit of a warrior god, and Faith’s the latest, and I’m sure she’d tell you the best, in a long line of supernatural warriors. It’s not fair to compare yourself with us. But,” her friend tousled her hair. “When Mithras was being trained he learnt meditation techniques to calm himself before fights. Over time they became second nature. If I taught you them you could access your powers no matter what.” Tara nodded and smiled, that sounded like a great idea. “And if you wanted, I could teach you how to defend yourself. Not the advanced stuff, at first anyway, but enough so you could defend yourself against a bigger but untrained opponent.”
Tara stared at Xander for a second before reluctantly nodding. “I guess.” Her gentle nature rebelled at the thought of fighting, but common sense told her she’d have to learn.
* * *
“You don’t like him much do you?”
Faith stopped glaring at the land surrounding the ranch-house long enough to glance over her shoulder at Gecko’s daughter\little sister\lover, whatever the hell the dumb bitch was. “No,” she admitted shortly before turning back to the view. Man, she was so pissed. It was like her opinion meant shit to X. Maybe he wasn’t that different from all the rest, just wanted her around for decoration. No, she shook her head. X was better than that. But…
“Seth is a good man.”
Shit, Faith shook her head, she’d forgotten about the girl behind her. Berating herself for her inattention, she turned around to stare at the pretty brunette. “Oh yeah?” she made sure every word carried a ton of scepticism. “That’s just what I thought reading his rap-sheet. What a great guy, what a prince. Sort of guy every girl should have.”
“When they kidnapped us I was scared of Richard, the way he looked at me.” The older girl shuddered. “But whenever Seth was around I felt safe,” Faith raised a dubious eyebrow. The other girl coloured. “Well safer. I felt sure he wouldn’t let anything happen to me.”
Faith rolled her eyes. Man that was the most fucked up thinking she’d ever heard. She’d read the Geckos’ rap sheet while waiting for Xander to come around and Seth sure as hell hadn’t stepped in and helped his little bro’s sixteen rape victims. Way she saw it, Kate had got lucky when they ran into the vamps and she didn’t say that about many people who ran into demons. “Sure he wouldn’t,” she didn’t bother to conceal her disdain. “He’s like Fabio in disguise.”
The other woman sighed. “Fine, don’t believe me. Seth saved me a ton of times that night in The Titty Twister and has looked after me ever since.”
“Uh, uh.” Tiring of the increasingly pointless discussion, she turned back to the view. Her blood chilled at the sight that greeted her. “Aw fuck! Yo Xan! Get your ass out here pronto!”
FIC: Down Mexico Way (4/5)
“Faith. What’s wr-,” Xander trailed off as he saw the trio of red-skinned hulks shambling towards the ranch. “Oh crap!” Pulling his shotgun out of the air, he fired off three quick bursts. Each shot hit home, staggering but not dropping the monsters. Xander scowled. “’Course that wouldn’t work. Too easy.”
“Xman! Sword!” Reacting instantly to the Bostonian’s cry, he pulled out their broadswords and flung Faith hers. “Thanks Xan, you take the one to the left, I’ll take the other two!”
“Yes Faith,” he muttered. He was in charge? That was a laugh. After vaulting over the hitching rail he rushed towards his target only to jump back when the creature raked the air just above his head. “My hair doesn’t need cutting thanks!”
The monster snarled in response to his jibe before lunging at him. Xander threw himself to the creature’s right. Landing on one knee he swung his sword to his left. The blade ripped through the monster’s thickly muscled thigh, showering him with blood.
The beast roared in agony but continued its attack, throwing a backhander that he slipped away from, coming up on the demon’s other side. He thrust the point of his sword at the monster, aiming for its distended belly. His eyes widened as the creature knocked his blade away with his right hand while simultaneously slamming a left hook into his forehead.
The sledge-hammer punch picked him off his feet and sent him crashing onto his back, sending dust billowing. The demon immediately followed up with a stomp at his chest that he just barely managed to roll away from.
Rising, he saw the demon stalking him. Suddenly it lunged at him. Eyes widening, Xander ran to meet his attacker before aiming a flying dropkick at the beast’s right knee. The monster’s knee splintered with an almighty crack and the wailing monster crashed to the ground, just missing landing on him, crushing him with its bulk. Chest heaving with exertion, Xander struggled to his feet. Hefting his sword, he decapitated the demon before slumping to one knee, his breath coming in wheezing gasps.
* * *
The moment she plucked her sword out of the air, Faith hurdled over the hitching rail and charged towards her advancing opponents, her blood racing and lips parted in a feral grin. The nearest of the two ogres lunged towards her, gnarled hands out-stretched. He foot shot out in a side kick that collided with the demon’s stomach, doubling it up, and dropping it to its knees.
Turning her attention to the second demon, she executed a leg sweep, taking its legs from beneath it at the ankles. The monster hit the ground in a heap. “Score another victory for East Coast Slayer Inc!” she crowed as she triumphantly raised her sword above her head.
A thudding pain exploded in between her shoulder-blades, sending her stumbling forward. Cursing herself for forgetting the other demon, Faith spun around, blocked a bruising right on her forearm, and leapt into a dropkick to the monster’s chest, knocking it on its back. Sensing the other monster behind her, she spun around to face it.
”Ah crap!” Faith winced as a white-hot pain lanced through her left knee. Distracted by her leg, she failed to react in time to a back-handed slap that knocked her onto her side.
Grimacing slightly with the effort, she rolled to her feet. Ducking beneath a right cross, she stepped inside the monster’s guard and thrust her blade hilt-deep into its belly.
The creature fell to its knees and its mouth opened in a scream but before it could utter a sound she’d pulled her sword out of its belly and decapitated it, blood erupting out of its severed neck. Favouring her left leg, she turned to face the other demon. “You gonna keep a girl waiting?” she arched an eyebrow challengingly.
The beast bellowed a wordless reply to her taunt before charging her, the ground trembling under its ponderous advance. At the last second, Faith dropped into a forward roll, tumbling between the creature’s legs. Her sword flickered left and right as she came out at the other side of the creature’s legs, hamstringing it.
The screaming gargantuan toppled to the ground like a lumberjack felled redwood. Coughing slightly at the billowing dust resulting from the monster’s fall, Faith limped over and decapitated it. “That leg okay Faith?”
“It’s cool X, just twisted my knee is all,” Faith hid her delight at her friend’s concerned voice and worried eyes behind a nonchalant shrug. All her earlier worries dissipated, yeah he really cared. “Slayer healing, ya know?”
“Good.” She felt her entire being warm at Xander’s relieved grin. Concealing her contentment she smirked. “What the hell are they?”
“Davskips. They’re big and strong, but dumb. Question is who sent them?”
“Um,” Faith looked up to see a pale faced Seth Gecko. “I think I know.”
* * *
Gecko stared at the two warriors sat on his lounge couch. At the bar he’d come in too late and had only seen the aftermath of their actions, but to see them both in action….
Both were ruthlessly efficient, but very different in execution. Xander was brutally direct while Faith was like graceful death. “You were going to tell us who you think is behind this crap?”
Graceful but impatient death, he amended. Seth nodded at the Slayer’s question. “Yeah. The big cheese around here since the 1870s is this mage Alvarez.”
“1870s?” Faith’s nose wrinkled in concentration. “What is he, some sort of a demon, a vampire?”
“No,” he shook his head. “He appears to be human.”
The raven-haired beauty turned to the young man sat beside her. “Sound like a Wilkins deal to you X?”
“Excuse me?” Kate interrupted. “A Wilkins deal?”
“Mayor Richard Wilkins I, II, and III of my hometown,” Xander explained with a wry grin. “Even for a politician he was corrupt. He sold his soul in exchange for immortality. At my graduation he ascended to demon hood and we killed him.”
“And wasn’t that a party?” Faith chuckled.
Xander grinned. “Yeah, we should have brought marshmallows. Not many kids get to burn the school down at their graduation!”
“Hey X!” Faith nudged her companion in the ribs. “Your graduation not mine. I’m not an old-timer like you!”
Seth looked from the Slayer to his new boss. They were nuts, completely loco. Shaking himself, he continued. “Before we came to town, Alvarez ran everything for fifty miles in all directions, controlling maybe half a dozen towns and twenty thousand people. Anything he wanted – money, food, girls – he got.”
“What about the police?” Xander broke in. “Didn’t they do anything?”
Faith chuckled. “Bought off right?” Seth nodded. “Way of the world X.”
“Since I’ve arrived I’ve had several run-ins with Alvarez, killed some of his allies. He must have heard about your arrival and figured I sent for you to help me against him.”
“Um, um,” Faith nodded. “It’s good to be wanted. Makes a girl feel special, all warm inside. What we gonna do about this Xan?”
The look in the younger man’s eyes sent chills up his spine. “You know where Alvarez’s base is?” he nodded. “Good. In that case it’s simple. We kill him.”
FIC: Down Mexico Way (5/5)
Xander pursed his lips together as he looked through his binoculars to the boxed canyon’s entrance some five hundred yards away. Scowling slightly, he passed the glasses to his best friend. “Tell me if you see it.”
“Ah fuck,” Faith’s muttered curse confirmed his fears. “Two vamps lurking in the shadows.”
He sighed. “You’re sure they’re vampires?”
“Look at the way they stick to the shadows, I’d bet good money they’re are. How we going to handle this?”
Xander grimaced. There was little cover between the boulders his party were hiding behind and the vampires. It was too dark and far for a crossbow and he wasn’t confident enough with a rifle, modern technology coming less naturally to Mithras and rifles least of all. The options were limited. Finally he spoke. “We’ll have to go with the classics.”
“The class-,” Faith’s confused expression cleared. “Oh crap. For the record, this really blows.”
* * *
Nunoz poked Nadal in the ribs as the SUV pulled up in front of them. “Dinner’s here.”
“More than dinner,” Nadal muttered as the car door opened and its occupant dropped out onto the sandy ground. “She’s a keeper.”
The driver was a gringa brunette with smoky, bewitching eyes and full, crooked lips. And the body – the girl’s denim shorts left most of her long, slender legs uncovered while hugging her perfectly shaped ass. The raven-haired temptress’ sweat-stained midriff top stuck to her ample chest while a line of sweat rolled tantalisingly down her taut stomach. “Hi guys,” the brunette sauntered towards their shadowy hiding place, a worried expression on her face. “I was wondering if you could help me with something?”
Nunoz strutted to the edge of the shadows, his childe leering beside him. “Always try to help a pretty girl. What can we do?”
The brunette’s ruby lips parted in a cocksure smirk. “Dying would be wicked cool.” Suddenly the teen was slamming a stake into his fellow demon’s chest. An instant later the girl was lunging through Nadal’s dust towards him.
“Puta!” Lips parting in a snarl, he leapt to meet the girl. He grinned as she stumbled to one knee, the little bitch was his. His hand reached out to grab his quarry around the throat.
“Gotcha!” The brunette’s hand up to snatch hold of his wrist, gripping him in a bone-crushingly tight grip. “Thank you for flying Slayer Airlines.” The girl winked at him before dropping onto her back, flinging him over her, out of the shadows and into the sunlight. He opened his mouth to scream.
* * *
“Winner and still champion!” Faith whooped as the vampire burst into dust. She grinned as Xander and the others hurried across the open space. “You see that arm-drag X-Man?” she boasted as she dusted herself off, vamp hunting was hell on your threads,.
“Yeah,” Xander winked at her. “Pretty wicked, have you on the WWF soon.”
Faith smirked at her friend. “You know it, kicking Stone Cold’s ass with my hands tied behind my back,” she boasted before turning serious. “What’s the plan?”
Xander’s brow furrowed in concentration. After a second her best bud spoke. “Where’s the back exit to this place Seth?”
“Don’t know if there is one,” the older man retorted.
Xander raised an eyebrow. “Oh really? When you were on the run I bet every hideout you had, had a secret escape, am I right?”
Seth Gecko grinned wryly. “You’re right,” he conceded.
“Okay, this is the plan.” Xander talked for a couple of minutes.
Faith groaned. “You have gotta be shitting me!” She scowled at Xander. “You’ve got a freaking’ warrior god inside you and that’s the best you can come up with?”
Xander squirmed. “He’s sort of out to lunch right now.”
“Fine,” Faith shook her head and raised a hand. Muttering to herself she started into the canyon, sticking to the shadows to avoid any watching eyes.
* * *
“Faith didn’t seem too happy.”
Xander chuckled at Seth’s comment. “You noticed that did you? Faith’s,” he dropped through a hole in the back of the canyon, “got issues.” His eyes narrowed. “Seth, look at this.”
Gecko crouched by the opening in the rock face he’d noticed. After a second the wanted man looked up. “Looks to be man-made.”
“Doesn’t it just,” Xander grinned. This had to be Alvarez’s emergency exit. “Let’s go.”
The downwards heading tunnel’s narrowness meant that Xander and his companion had to traverse it side-ways on, their faces scraping against the opposite wall. “What is this Alvarez?” Xander wheezed, his face red with effort. “A midget?”
After what seemed an eternity they came out into an opening. Xander glanced around. His heart dropped when he couldn’t see any hole in the rock face. He’d been so sure this was the route.
He turned at a tap on his shoulder. Gecko pointed towards the ceiling. “Up there,” his companion whispered.
Xander’s heart leapt when he saw the hole in the ceiling. “Give me a leg up,” he instructed. In seconds his head was popping through the opening. His eyes widened when they levelled with a pair of boots facing away from him. Thinking quickly, he grabbed hold of the boots and pulled.
Beneath him Seth let out a surprised cry and released his grip on Xander’s feet. A half-second later and Xander and the guard were plunging through the opening like champagne flowing back into a bottle.
Xander managed to twist in mid-air and land on top of the guard. His opponent snarled viciously, slamming a clubbing right in his jaw, knocking him onto his side. In an instance the demon was on his feet. Gecko lunged forward, stake in hand, but the demon blocked his attack on his forearm before crashing an uppercut into the man’s stomach, buckling the bank robber’s legs, sending him to his knees.
Taking advantage of the distraction offered by his companion, Xander leapt to his feet and beheaded the vampire from behind. A grin on his face, he turned to his associate. After helping him to his feet he asked. “Want to try again?”
Seth grimaced. “Can hardly wait.”
Xander sighed. “Aren’t you having fun yet?”
* * *
“Five by five,” Faith dropped her radio into her pocket before peering through the shadows to the vampire stood in the canyon’s doorway some sixty feet away. Faith grimaced, he’d be screaming for help before she got close.
Unless….. She looked at the wall behind her, judging the foot and hand holds in it. Grinning slightly, she climbed up the wall and onto the top of the canyon. She crawled over to the doorway, her eyes fixed on the demon below. Once she was directly above the creature, she dropped off the wall, and crashed feet first into the demon’s back, knocking it to the ground. Before the vampire had chance to recover, she’d slammed her stake through the beast’s back. Faith took a breath. “Time to get down and dirty.”
* * *
Alvarez fumed as he looked around the cavernous chamber that was now his home. It was a far cry from the decadent opulence that had once been his home – the hacienda with his luxurious furniture, servile lackeys, and plentiful food.
“But it’ll be mine again,” he muttered, his gnarled hands clenched into fists. The Davskips might have failed but….
“Hey love what you’ve done the place. Can I have the number of your decorator?”
Alvarez’s head snapped up. He snarled at the beauty swaggering into the shadowy hall. “Slayer!”
“Hey!” The supernatural warrior waved at him. “I forget to bring a present but hey,” the raven-haired chica shrugged. “I figure meeting me is gift enough.”
”DIE!” Alvarez raised his hands and fired a blast of energy towards the dazzling beauty. The brunette dived to the ground, moving smoothly into a sideways roll to hide behind one of the stone pillars lining the path up to his pedestal.
* * *
“Hey!” Faith ignored the sweat rolling down her face. “If you didn’t want me to come you shouldn’t haven’t sent me that invite!” Damn it, she hoped Xander hurried up.
* * *
Alvarez squinted in concentration. Another blast and the puta’s cover would be gone and then he could kill her at his leisure. “Hey asshole,” he started to turn his head at the voice behind him. “I take people trying to kill my friends and I personal.”
* * *
Xander pulled the shotgun trigger, wincing slightly as the mage’s head exploded in a mist of yellow blood. Yellow? He let out a relieved gasp when the corpse hit the floor. “What the hell?”
He turned to Gecko behind him. “It must have been at least part demon,” he explained, his even tone masking his relief of not having to kill a human, even one using dark magics to unnaturally prolong his life. Not yet anyway.
“Hey Harris,” he looked around to see a pissed off Faith striding towards him. “Took your damn time didn’t you?”
Xander grinned. “I know better than to interrupt a Slayer in full pun.”
“Funny Harris, real funny.”
“I try, I try.”
* * *
“You sure about this?” Xander passed him his new papers.
Seth stared at the documentation. He’d never had a purpose, a reason to live. But now. “I’m certain,” he replied.
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