FIC: MC 44. Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (1/12)
“Susan’s okay with this?”
Spenser tore his eyes away from the towering building across the street to the man sat beside him in his car. “Intellectually she understands why I’m doing this, to show Faith that I care, that it’s not about the money, it’s showing Faith she’s a part of me and I’m proud of her. Emotionally Susan approves, although she feels Faith already knows how I feel.”
“What about Paul?”
Spenser smiled at the mention of his adopted son. “He’s not bothered.”
”Really?” Hawk glanced at him. “Except for the Mithras money, which ain’t yours and I’d really advise against embezzling that fortune, it’s not like you’ve got a lot to go around.”
Spenser ignored the barb. “He’s seen a photograph.”
“Ah,” his best friend nodded sagely, “that’d do it.”
“He really wants to meet her,” Spenser dryly continued.
“You told him about the over-protective
warrior god boy-friend?” Hawk asked.
”I told him,” Spenser grinned as he remembered his adoptive offspring’s reply. “He said every relationship has obstacles.”
“A young man’s hormones can be a hell of a thing can’t they?” the African-American commented.
“You can remember that far back?” he countered.
“I ain’t so old that my memory’s started to go, not like you.” His friend slid inside his barb like a prize-fighter evading a jab. “So you’re gonna speak to him?”
His friend looked like he’d smelt an especially foul fish, sentiments that Spenser could agree with. “He is the finest legal mind in the city and he owes me a favour.”
“You’re doing this on the cheap?” Hawk stared at him. “I thought you said this was important?”
“It is,” his glare bounced off the shaven-headed African-American, “I’m going to him because of how good he is.”
Hawk’s grin told him just how ineffective his glare was. “Don’t be getting your panties in a bunch, whitey.”
* * *
Spenser strode through the law firm’s russet carpeted corridors, the light flooding through from its many windows ensuring that any vampire wouldn’t get three paces before bursting into flames. “Hello, Spenser.”
“Hello.” Spenser turned and smiled politely at the distinguished grey-haired woman. “It’s always a pleasure to see you, I hope you’re well, Ms. Schmidt?”
“Shirley, please,” the lawyer dazzled him with her smile. “Are you here to see Denny?”
“I am,” he nodded.
”My sympathies,” she chortled. “Remember, check your wallet afterwards.”
Spenser chuckled at the not entirely-joking advice. “With him, I always do.”
* * *
Denny looked up at the knock on his door and sighed. His next appointment was a man he’d frequently employed, a man with certain brutal gifts that Denny Crane didn’t possess and wouldn’t sully his own hands learning. Still, his appointment was a fearsome prospect and not one to be dealt with clumsily. “Please,” he forced a note of welcome into his voice, “come in.”
The walnut-coloured door swung open and his guest strode in, moving with his usual surprising grace for a man of his size. “Denny.”
Denny took the proffered hand and shook it, surprised as always at how the powerful man controlled his grip, strong but far from as over-whelming as it could have been. “Spenser, please sit down.”
”Thanks,” the private eye sunk down into the leather upholstered chair. “I’ve come about my will.”
“You look surprisingly well for a man to be considering such things,” Denny commented. “Although in your line of work, it’s perhaps prudent.”
”No,” Spenser smiled as he pulled out his wallet and pulled out a photograph, “the thing is, I’ve discovered my niece I last saw almost fifteen years ago last year, and I want to make provisions, make sure she knows I care.” The gumshoe stared fondly at the photograph before placing it on the desk. “She’s my pride and joy, and if anything happens to me, I want her to know that. That I thought of her.”
“Well beam her up,” Denny’s eyes widened as he stared at the brunette bombshell’s photograph. He’d never seen a more beautiful woman, and he was a man of considerable and frequent experience. His first question was to ask how such a ‘battered-looking’ gentleman could have such a goddess as his niece, but sensed his question might just incur his guest’s wrath. He had his gun in his top drawer, but there was no point taking any risks with a man as dangerous as the private investigator. “Tell me, Spenser. Would she have an interest in a much older man with an inexhaustible supply of blue pills?”
Spenser glared at him. “She’s dating someone.”
“Ah,” Denny waved at that obstacle as trifling, “some callow youth can’t compete with what Denny Crane has to offer.”
“He’s young and a millionaire.” His guest’s eyes darkened. “Do you remember my friend, Hawk?”
“He’s the one who looks like the lead out of a really bad sci-fi series isn’t he?” Denny nodded. “Formidable fellow.”
“The first time we met, her boyfriend managed to kick both our asses at once,” Spenser replied. “Case of mistaken identity.”
”How welcoming of you,” Denny muttered. “Why does Denny Crane continue to deal with such fellows?”
”I’m sat right in front of you,” the daunting private eye warned.
“Ah,” Denny smiled weakly, “so you are, Denny Crane forgot. Blame it on the mad cow’s disease. Now, what provisions do you want made and for whom?”
* * *
Spenser hummed under his breath as he strode out of the offices and headed across the road to a waiting Hawk. Denny said the papers would be drawn up in 48 hours, and then all he’d have to do was sign them, then he’d have proof for Faith of just how much she meant to him.
His niece was coming home.
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (2/?)
“What did your uncle say when you told about me wanting him to become the Brotherhood’s second-in-command?”
Faith glanced at her boy-friend as they disembarked from comfortable first-class into a blustery Bostonian mid-afternoon. “I didn’t tell him, just told him we were coming into town for a few days.” Xander’s eyes hardened and his mouth opened. “Look, I didn’t wanna do this bullshit in the first place, you wanna ask about Uncle Spense about this crazy-ass plan, you do it yourself!”
Xander’s mouth opened again. “Maybe you should just concentrate on enjoying seeing your Uncle again,” Tara softly suggested.
“Yeah,” Faith tore her eyes away from Xander. To be honest, she had mixed thoughts about being back in Boston, she loved her uncle and couldn’t wait to see him again, but the memories she got from returning to Boston. Faith suppressed a shiver.
”Are you alright?”
Faith hid a smile at the sudden change in her boy-friend’s voice, from frustrated to concerned in a second. Most guys she knew, if they could be assed with you at the best of times, sure as hell weren’t interested when you had some sort of argument. “Five by five,” she lied, “but damn that’s a chilly wind. Maybe we should get into the terminal and fast.”
* * *
“You didn’t have to come with me,” Spenser groused between glances as his watch.
“The crew’s well in hand, and you tend to get lost without me to guide you.” Hawk paused. “Besides, I’m pretty sure Kennedy’s got a secret crush on me.”
Spenser grinned as he spun around, grabbed his daughter around the waist, lifted her off the ground, and spun her around. “FAITH!”
“Put me down ya big goof!” the Slayer laughed.
“Should we hug?” Hawk glanced towards the brunette lesbian.
“You can kiss my ass!” Kennedy scowled.
”Kinky, but a brother likes that,” Hawk replied. “I’m adaptable.”
Spenser reluctantly lowered the laughing teen back down. “You look bett-, you look good.”
Spenser tore his eyes away from his niece and shook Xander’s hand. “Pleased to see you, son.” He looked back towards the beautiful brunette. “What have you been up to?”
“Let me see,” the Slayer’s lips pulled up in a smirk. “Killed a Valkyrie, been to the Middle East, Greece, and Russia, saved Chicago from being destroyed, that sorta thing.”
“It’s good to keep busy,” commented Hawk.
“Are you staying with us?” Spenser tried to ignore his best friend, it was difficult, but if he practiced really hard…..
“I’ve booked us in at The Eliot Hotel,” Xander interrupted.
”Very exclusive,” Spenser glanced at Hawk and winked. “I think he’s in trouble and trying to make it up with a luxury hotel room.”
”Don’t take him back, girl.” Hawk advised. “I’m available.”
“Oh god,” Spenser groaned. “Whatever he’s done, it can’t be that bad. Take him back.”
By now the boy was glowing red. Faith by contrast was grinning. “Always wondered if what they say about black guys is true.”
“It’s true about this black guy,” Hawk replied.
“Just don’t.” Spenser shuddered. He glanced towards a simultaneously giggling and blushing Tara. “And how are you, Tara?”
“Fine thank you, Mr.-,” the girl’s blush deepened, “Spenser.”
“Good,” Spenser looked towards Xander. “You haven’t seen our base yet, have you?”
“No,” Xander shook his head. “Last time we were here, we were in too much of a hurry.”
“Then tonight it is,” he decided. “The trainees are looking forward to meeting the people funding our operation.”
”Has Hawk been showing my photo around again?” mused Faith.
“Girl, I keep it to myself, you know that.”
Kennedy grimaced. “God, I’m going to throw up.”
“I’m think I’m going to join you,” Spenser muttered.
* * *
“Read this,” Xander shoved a print-out into her hand as they clambered into their cab, “that’s what the Eliot offers.”
“The Eliot offers 95 luxury suites complete with private pantries, fully stocked minibars, Italian marble baths and a large writing desk with private fax machine. The bedroom is separated from the spacious living room by French doors, offering privacy and efficiency for the guests.” Faith grinned at Xander. “Sounds nice. We gonna try breaking a four-postered bed again?”
Xander grinned back at her, their
earlier argument forgotten. “Sounds like a plan.”
“Wicked,” Faith winked at her man, “now you have better brought a flogger, cause you’ve been such a naughty boy.” Faith threw her head back and laughed at Xander’s terrified look.
* * *
Water drip-dropped from the ceiling, splattering on the darkened room’s stone pavings. A chill wind rushed through the otherwise clammy room, the candles lighting it dancing when the door was swung open and the last of their number hurried in, cowled head bowed in subservience. “Ssssshe hassss arrived!”
Coluber smiled, forked tongue dancing over his jagged teeth. “Then our master’sss return issss at hand!”
“But firsssst we must take her.”
Coluber waved away the nay-sayer. “A ssssmall thing, begin to prepare the ritesss, sssshe will ssssoon be ours!”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (3/?)
Johnny ‘Fast-Hands’ Johnson looked from his hand of cards to glance at the excitable teen who’d just burst into the rec room, his raised voice briefly drowning out the garishly-coloured jukebox. “Whose here?”
The pimple-faced youth glanced towards him, eyes gleaming. “Spenser’s niece! The Slayer! Oh boy, I can’t believe this!”
With that the boy raced back out. ‘Fast-Hands looked towards the others. “Call this hand a draw?” His three companions nodded and joined him in throwing their cards down, rising, and striding out of the room, and into their four storied 19th century house’s entrance hall. ‘Fast-Hands’ eyes widened at what he saw.
She was five feet five of pure bombshell packed onto a centrefold’s body. A silky black mane hung down just below her athletic shoulders, a man could drown the girl’s pool-like eyes, and deep dimples framed the temptress’ full, red lips as she pulled them up into a dazzlingly perfect smile. The brunette’s black gym-vest barely contained her ample chest and displayed several inches of alluringly deep cleavage. The shirt itself was tucked into a pair of black jeans that snugly hugged her high, round butt and long, muscular legs.
“That’s the Slayer?” ‘Fast-Hands’ chuckled deep in his throat when he found his voice. “Damn nice T&A, but her a fighter? Come on.”
“Wanna say something like that again?” ‘Fast-Hands’ stiffened at the recognisable deep voice behind him. Face paling, he turned to face the hulking black man stood glaring down at him. “’Cause I’m sure I could call her over to discuss it with you.” The black man flashed him a cold smile. “’Course, she might laugh it off. And then I’d be forced to royally whip your ass, and I can assure it’ll take longer than if she did it, won’t hurt any less though.”
‘Fast-Hands’ gulped at the threat. While everyone respected Spenser, everyone feared his best friend. “No sir,” he shook his head. “Not at all, sir.”
”Good, ‘cause my friend loves that girl and hearing you talk like that brings you just a little bit closer to god.” Hawk’s smile widened and chilled at the same moment. “And trust me when I say, not in a good way.”
“Yes sir,” ‘Fast-Hands’ gulped again before returning to inspecting the newcomers.
The other women were pretty enough, although they paled beside the boss’ temptress of a niece. The young man though, ‘Fast-Hands’ could believe the whispered legends he’d heard about him the past few months. He was tall, maybe six foot, with wide shoulders and a powerful physique packed with muscle, keen dark eyes and a square determined jaw. But it wasn’t his looks that impressed ‘Fast-Hands’ or even the way he moved with a sort of grace that belied his size, Hawk and Spenser moved in much the same way. It was the way the air seemed to crackle around him, almost as if it was getting charged by the power emanating from him.
Whatever he was, he was one scary mother. Forget about worrying about Hawk kicking his ass for saying anything about the Slayer, as far as he was concerned, she was a nun from now on. Not another word that HE might construe as an insult.
* * *
“Hi,” Spenser beamed at his niece and her friends. “It’s good to see you came.”
“Hey,” Faith beamed back at him. “You promised us a vamp hunt, right? Girl’s gotta get her thing on somehow.” Xander sighed theatrically. The brunette glanced suspiciously at her boy-friend. “What?”
“I remember the days when I was enough excitement for you,” the young man dolefully replied.
“Babe,” Faith smirked, “I’m just real good at fakin’.”
Spenser choked back a laugh as the young man’s mouth opened and shut without any sound coming out. “First time in a while, no ever I’ve seen Xander lost for words.”
”I’ve got mack skills,” Faith gleefully replied. “He’s often speechless with me.”
“Something I don’t find hard to believe,” Spenser placed his hands on his niece’s shoulders. “I’ve got something to discuss with you.”
“Yeah,” Faith shot Xander a strangely uncomfortable look. “So have we.”
Even as he pondered the glance between his niece and his ‘boss’, Xander spoke. “I assume you’re using the new protocols I sent out a few weeks ago?”
Spenser nodded slowly. “For the most part we’d already organised ourselves like that. I take one patrol of seven, Hawk takes another, and one of our seconds takes the third, the rest of our group stays here as back-up.”
“Great,” Xander nodded. “What have you got for us tonight?”
“We’ve found a nest of fifteen maybe twenty vampires hiding out in an old fish market on the South Boston waterfront,” Hawk declared as he made his way through the surrounding circle watching them. “We were going to hit it en masse last night, but when you phoned in we decided to hold off, maybe cut down on the bloodshed.
“He means,” Faith bumped the African-American with a hip, “get the experts in, right?”
“But expert in what?” the black asked.
”Plenty of wicked cool stuff,” the Slayer flashed the black a flirty smile. “Not that you’ll ever know the half of it.”
“Ah,” Hawk grinned at him, “and there’s me hopin’ one day to call Spenser, Uncle.”
“Maybe if you’re really lucky I’ll call you daddy,” suggested the brunette bombshell.
Spenser joined Xander in shuddering. “Shall we move out?” Anything to change this subject matter.
Faith grinned. “I’m just guessin’ but maybe you should get some weapons first?”
* * *
“Oh, for crying out loud!” Xander put down the binoculars, cursing the typically Bostonian downpour. The long, one-storey building was shrouded in thick rain and long dark shadows. “Does it ever stop raining in this hellhole?”
“That’s my home city you’re calling,” Faith warned before shrugging. “But when you’re right, you’re right. See anything?”
“Nothing,” Xander scowled. “But that doesn’t mean they haven’t posted a guard. If it was humans, I’d use infra-red goggles, but they’re no help with vampires.” Xander sighed as he wriggled uncomfortably, a distracting trickle of rain running down his neck. “Three entrances you said?”
Spenser nodded. “Two at the front about one hundred and fifty metres apart, one was for deliveries, the other for customers. There’s also a door at the back where they used to dump the day’s waste.”
“Okay,” Xander nodded. “My five take the right front, Faith’s the left front, Spenser, you take your five through the back, Hawk you’re outside on clean-up. Any-one who gets out, it’s your job to take them. Any questions?” When there were none, he nodded. “We go in five.”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (4/?)
Faith grinned as she heard her man’s whisper in her earpiece. “Ready when you are, stud,” she whispered.
”Ready,” came her uncle’s more stolid reply.
”On three, blow them,” her boy-friend whispered. “One, two, three!”
The air thundered and the building shook to the three simultaneous explosions, the hefty doors torn off their hinges as they flew inwards. Lips parted in a shit-eating grin, Faith let out a yell, voice made even huskier by the adrenalin surging through her. “Last one in’s a pussy!”
* * *
‘Fast-Hands’ gaped as he watched the Slayer charge into the warehouse, brunette mane flowing behind her as she moved with an inhuman, impossible grace. She was barely over the threshold when she left her feet, surging into a flying, feet-first leap that took her between two vampires stood some twenty-five feet inside the dimly-lit vampire lair.
Neither demon had chance to register the beauty’s presence before she’d turned them to dust, her stake jabbing left and right at a blur. Upon landing in a cat-like crouch, the raven-tressed teen was charged by a hulking Hispanic, easily twice her size, his demonic powers allowing him to move at quarterback speeds.
Even as ‘Fast-Hands’ mouth started to open in a warning shout, the supernatural warrior dropped into a flawless leg-sweep. “Ahhhh!” The demon’s mouth opened in a wordless scream as it flew over the crouched girl to crash face-first onto the ground.
Another vampire charged in, aiming a kick at the Slayer’s head. The girl’s lithely-muscled arm snapped up to block the demon’s attack on her forearm even as she drove her stake through the demon’s grounded foot.
”FUCCCCCK!” Even as the demon gave vent to his pain, eyes widening in shock, the Slayer surged upright and smashed another stake into his unprotected chest.
Another demon, muscles practically popping out of his skin-tight checked shirt, leapt at her through the disintegrating demon’s dust. The Slayer grabbed the muscle-bound demon’s arm and twisted her body, flinging the creature in an arm-drag, leaving her feet to give her throw extra momentum.
Momentum it scarcely needed. Fast-Hands gaped as the monster flew some twenty feet before hitting the ground and sliding on another ten before screeching to a halt. A grin on her face, the Slayer bounded to her feet and charged the downed demon, long hair swinging from side to side.
Just as she was two or three feet from the vampire, it bounded up, leaping at her in an attempted takedown that suggested at a previous career as a collegiate wrestler. The vampire’s head snapped back when the Slayer kneed it in the face, but his weight still managed to take the Slayer down to the ground.
Or so it appeared for a half-second.
The Slayer wrapped her powerful thighs around the bulky vampire and somehow managed to twist him in mid-air, meaning she and not he landed on top. Before ‘Fast-Hands’, much less the demon could fully register this surprising change in circumstance, Faith’s stake was already crashing into his heart.
The Slayer’s full lips parted in a pout when a boot crashed into the back of her head. The Slayer fell forward and into a forward roll that carried her six feet away from her opponent before springing up. Even as she started to turn to face her attacker, the blonde-haired, busty demon came in fast with a kick to the back.
The east coast beauty stumbled forward, foot shooting out in a clumsy side-kick that her opponent laughingly caught. And then the curvy brunette was suddenly in mid-air, her ‘trapped’ foot acting as leverage as she spun-kicked her free foot into the side of the vampire’s head.
The blonde hit the ground, the Slayer smoothly landing in a crouch beside her. The brunette’s stake powered down, only for the blonde to grab her wrist and kick her in the side. The Slayer grunted as she hit the ground and rolled up, foot lashing out to catch the rising vampire full in the face.
The blonde squealed as her head snapped back and she stumbled, barely managing to wriggle out of the way of the Slayer’s attempting staking, but still managing to smash an elbow full in the beauty’s face. The Slayer stumbled to one knee, the demon lunged at her.
And exploded into dust as the brunette rose up to meet her, stake uppercutting into her chest.
“Wow,” Fast-Hands shook his head as the laughing Slayer looked around for any other competition but there was none about, all other demons having died or fled. He’d never seen anyone so beautifully deadly. He was hopelessly in love.
Hopeless because he’d seen the way the Slayer was looking at the Mithras leader, and if that wasn’t love, he didn’t know what was. And yet because it was Mithras rather than some ordinary Joe, he couldn’t even find it within himself to be jealous.
* * *
“You were on fire tonight.”
”You’re only sayin’ that ‘cause it’s true.” Faith grinned as she leaned in for another kiss, her arms wrapped around Xander’s shoulders, and his hands on resting on her waist.
”Wait,” Xander blushed as he looked around the inoffensively decorated corridor, hand reaching behind to unlock their hotel room door. “Let’s not take this any further until we’re actually inside.”
Faith chuckled, as charmed as always by Xander’s shyness. ”Killjoy.” Faith’s eyes widened as she looked over her man’s shoulder. ”What the-?”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (5/?)
Xander had the briefest split-second to register Faith’s shock and then a fist crashed into the middle of his shoulder blades. Pain blazing through his shoulders, he stumbled to his knees, only peripherally conscious of something snatching Faith by her shoulders and flinging her into the wall.
Fighting back against the pain, Xander twisted at the waist, took a blow on the shoulder while grabbing his attacker’s foot and pulling. The creature, he couldn’t see well in the shadowy room but it definitely wasn’t human, crashed to the ground. Xander surged up to his feet, blocked a fist on his forearm, and ducked a kick at his face, grabbing the attacking foot, and twisting.
Bone broke with a satisfying crack and his attacker’s scream. Xander’s foot shot out, catching the whatever in its stomach. The beast doubled up into an elbow to the face.
Xander scowled. Now he was beginning to get his bearings, as much as he could, and the situation wasn’t good. There were ten or more of their opponents, big seven-foot yellow-scaled biped lizards. If he was on his own, he’d pull out a gun and start blasting, but in the darkness he might hit Faith. It had to be fists and feet.
“Lucky I watched Bruce Lee as a kid,” he mused as he ducked a gnarled fist from the right while driving his left elbow back in another monster’s face. “Damn!” Xander grunted as a tail whipped around the demon he was facing to smack him full in the face. Stunned, he stumbled backwards, viscera dripping down his face.
The demon leapt at him, powered by its tail, crashing into him even as Xander yanked a dagger out of the Always Pocket and thrust it deep into the underside of the lizard-thing’s chin. A yellow viscera gushed out as the creature slumped against him, soaking them both.
Xander grimaced with the effort of shoving the monster aside, only to catch blows from attackers both to his left and right. Head ringing, he snatched up the lamp from the bedside table to his right, and swung it in into the side of the head of the nearest demon.
The demon grunted as the object shattered against its head, stumbling backwards. Seeking to take advantage of the brief respite, Xander drove his head into the other monster’s snout.
“Oh bad move.” Head ringing from the impact, Xander slumped against the wall, feebly blocking a renewed assault. Bracing his feet against the wall, he pushed off, using his body as a missile, smashing into its throat with a pro-wrestling styled clothesline.
The moment Xander and his opponent hit the ground, he was rolling up, leg-sweeping his nearest attacker to the ground. And then a couch wielded by two of the demons dropped onto him and he was out cold.
* * *
Faith gasped as Xander fell. Her hands
were barely clenching when one of her attackers grabbed and flung her into the
wall, smashing a mirror in the process. “Don’t worry about that,” she growled
as she sprang up, blocked a left, and kneed the thing in its groin, “you’re just
about to get your seven years bad luck all at once.”
The chandelier was next to go, taken out when Faith somersaulted over her opponent, back-heeling it in the head upon landing. “Lots of you, huh?” Faith smirked as three more monsters charged her. “Wicked, plenty of pain to go around.”
Leaping back into the air, she caught the one to the left full in the face with a dropkick that sent it crashing into the far wall. Hair flowing behind her, Faith allowed her momentum to carry her until she was parallel with the end of the four-postered bed before grabbing a hold of the post and swinging around it to kick the second of the demons in the face.
Landing beside the third, Faith gasped as it crashed an elbow into the side of her head. Suddenly she remembered seeing the demons before and where and when it had been. “Oh shit.” Recovering quickly, she ducked a straight left and landed an elbow in its ribs. “SHIT!” Blood spewed from her forehead when the demon’s tail whipped around to lash into her forehead.
Dazed and blood dripping down her forehead, Faith stumbled backwards. Befuddled by her sudden realisation, she barely managed to block a claw-swipe on her forearm.
“FUCK!” The pain suddenly blazing through Faith’s arm snapped her back. Blood leaking from her forehead and arm, she caught the demon with a blistering combo of punches and kicks.
Her Slayer-Sense kicked in, warning her of a threat behind. In an instant, her left foot was powering back in a heel kick. “Shit,” she grunted as she felt the demon’s claws around her ankle. Quick as thought, she adapted; using her trapped leg as leverage, she leapt into the air, her right foot swinging around to smash into the monster’s face.
The demon’s head snapped with a satisfyingly fatal crack. The creature’s claws no longer gripping her leg, Faith landed in a crouch. “Ah hell,” she muttered as she registered the increased number of monsters crowding her. The increase could only mean one thing.
Xander was out.
They’d hurt him.
Fury replacing weariness, Faith surged up, an elbow snapping into the face of one demon to her right, her headlock around her dazed opponent turning to a modified judo throw as she flung her opponent into two more. Faith looked left and right, five left, she could win -.
A punch slammed into the back of her head, knocking her optimism out of it. Suddenly she was blocking punches and kicks from every direction, her own thoughts of winning or even attacking beaten out of her, only surviving.
A chair smashed onto the top of her head, the blow’s impact putting her to her knees. She managed to twist away from a foot to the face, grabbing the foot and flinging its owner over her shoulder, but then a tail wrapped itself around her neck, cutting off her oxygen with crushing effect. Her hands shot up to the tail, but try as she might she might, a combination of the demon’s tail and his companions’ punches reigning down on her forced her into unconsciousness.
The last thing she saw before passing out was Xander’s blurred outline lying under a couch.
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (6/?)
Kennedy giggled as the shower’s hot jets cascaded off her, running down her back in steamy rivulets. “So,” she raised a flirtatious eyebrow, “who gets soaped up first?”
“Wait.” Tara’s expression suddenly
sobered, her girl-friend pushing her away. “There’s something wrong!”
”Yeah,” she pouted, “you’re not soaping me up and I’m not soaping you up.”
”I’m serious Ken,” Tara scolded as she climbed out of the shower. A towel quickly wrapped around her midsection, the witch hurried out into the lounge, watery footprints covering the previously pristine carpet. “I can’t hear the others.”
”Maybe they’ve got better things to do,” Kennedy scowled. “Take a clue.”
Her girl-friend ignored her. “There must be something up,” the New Mexican mused before glancing over her shoulder to Kennedy stood framed in the doorway. “Get your clothes on, we’re going to check.”
Kennedy rolled her eyes. “Yes boss,” she muttered even as she picked up her clothes lay strewn across the floor. “You realise Faith is going to be really piss-.” Kennedy grinned. There was an upside to everything it seemed.
* * *
“Oh boy,” Kennedy whispered as she followed Tara into the wrecked room. A chair lay shattered in the centre of the floor, mirror broken on the carpet, a blood-crusted lamp resting against the wall, and Xander buried under a couch. “They really wrecked the joint. This was one hell of a domestic!” Tara glared at her. Kennedy shrugged. “Hey. I’m tasteless. That’s why you date me, I say all the things you daren’t.”
Tara shook her head before looking towards Xander. “I’ll levitate that couch off him while you pull him out, on three. One, two, three.”
Kennedy grabbed Xander’s shoulders and dragged the young man out from under the furniture, grunting slightly at his weight. Xander didn’t stint on the Twinkies. Even so she couldn’t help leering at Tara. It got her so hot watching her girl in action, she loved quiet Tara, but super-powered Tara was a buzz.
The witch lowered the wrecked couch to
the ground before hurrying over to where she was knelt cradling Xander’s
battered head in her lap. “Do you want me to call-.”
“Hush,” Tara interrupted, “we haven’t the time to deal with the police, Faith’s missing. I’ll take care of this.” With that, the witch placed her hands either side of Xander’s head and closed her eyes. Kennedy gasped as a golden glow enveloped the young man’s head, the luminosity seeming to pulse with power. Finally Tara pulled her hands away and opened her eyes. “He should wake-.”
”Faith,” Xander’s eyes flickered open, blearily looking up at her.
”No, it’s the hotter brunette,” Kennedy replied.
“Faith!” Xander’s eyes suddenly focussed. “Faith! Those creatures, they grabbed us!”
Kennedy reluctantly closed her mouth at
Tara’s raised hand. “Xander, we don’t have the time,” the witch stared down at
the man, “we should meet up with Spenser and his group.”
“Spenser?” Xander groaned. “Someone knock me out again.”
”What?” Kennedy reluctantly put the lamp down at Tara’s glare. “He did ask!”
* * *
“You let her get kidnapped!” Spenser growled.
“Hey!” Xander got in the detective’s face. “I didn’t let anything happen. There was ten of them, and they had to drop a damn couch on my head to knock me out!”
“I offered to let you stay here, she’d have been safe here!” Spenser snapped back, eyes unflinching. “But that wasn’t plush enough for you was it!”
”Plush has nothing to do with it!” Xander snapped back. “Maybe if you weren’t so over-protective, always ready to judge-.”
”While you sure as hell failed this time, didn’t you?” the private investigator snapped. “I trusted you to look after her!”
”I’ll get her back!” Xander growled. “And I don’t need your help to do it. If Tara hadn’t-.”
Predictably it was Hawk who tried to
step in. “Listen the pair of you, Faith’s the concern here, you need to bench
”Bench my issues?” Spenser didn’t look away from Xander. “My issue is because this ass has always to be the big man, my niece has been spirited away to-.”
“Oh,” Xander interrupted, eyes
glittering in that dangerous way that told Kennedy she should grab anything
breakable and shift it to a different state, “and while you’re talking about me
failing to protect Faith, you did a great job when she was a kid.”
”Why you-.” Spenser’s fists clenched and his face mottled in rage. “I’m going to -.”
“ENOUGH!” The two men flew to either side of the Unit’s common room, crashing into the opposing walls. Tara walked between the two of them, skewering each in turn with a look, the rest of the room’s occupants shocked into silence. “While you two are deciding who has the biggest set anything could be happening to Faith! Now focus!”
Oh yeah, Kennedy grinned. So hot.
“Tried to tell them,” Hawk drawled, apparently the only Bostonian Brotherhood member unaffected by Tara’s show of power.
* * *
The cell was dark, the sound of water drip-dropping from its low ceiling the only sound, and the stench of musty air the only smell. All this Faith took in in the instant she awoke, laid on the floor, her hands cuffed behind her back, and her legs likewise shackled. “Me! Again! Why does no one else get kidnapped around here?” she raged. “Am I wearing a sign that only I can’t see saying ‘Please Snatch Me Now’?” Faith shook her head. “Aw fuck, this is getting embarrassing.”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (7/?)
“Okay,” Tara forced the gnawing ball of
fear in her belly down as she stared at Xander as her friend straightened
himself, a wary look in his eyes. The rest of the room was hushed, every eye
staring at her. “How about you describe the demons and then we can start
tracking them?” She paused. “First give me the demon disc and my laptop.”
”Sure,” her friend hurriedly opened his Always Pocket and passed the gadgets over. She’d have to use her powers more often if it got her this prompt of a response. “Ready?” Tara nodded as she slipped the disc into the disc drive. “Okay.” Xander closed his eyes, face scrunching in thought. “They were biped lizards, with tails, strong tails too they hit like a prize-fighter, they were about seven feet tall, with a crocodile’s head, and yellow scales.”
“Right,” the room filled with the click click of keyboard keys being pressed as Tara typed in the variables and hit the enter key on the search program Angela Bennett had created for them. A few seconds later and the machine’s beep signified the program had finished running. Tara’s eyes widened as she quickly read the results. “They’re Phonos Herpos, a group of intelligent reptile demons who make their living through the kidnap and sale of healthy young humans to other demons for whatever they wish to use them for-.” Tara’s voice trailed off, her blood running cold as she finished reading the report on them and reached the further reading notes. Her gaze snapped up to Xander. “I need the disc on the Watcher libraries.” Xander’s mouth opened. “Now, Xander!”
“Sure.” Xander started at her shrill tone before reaching into the Always Pocket and passing the requested disc over. “There you are.”
“Thanks,” Tara nodded, gaze returning to the computer as she impatiently awaited the disc loading. In reality it only took a second, their laptop being several generations ahead of those in common use, but to her, it seemed like an eternity. The girl who’d been the first to offer friendship to the shy, slightly awkward girl she’d once been, her sister, her idol, was missing. Tara started slightly when the machine beeped to signify the disc had loaded.
Heart hammering, she quickly made her way through the pull-down menus to the entry for the Watcher she wanted and scrolled down to the entry on the date she was looking for. “Oh goddess,” she whispered as she read its contents.
“Oh god what?” Spenser demanded, voice curt with worry.
Tara looked up at the private
investigator. “Faith’s already met these demons! She killed their leader when
she was first Called!”
”Say what!” Xander gasped. “What happened?”
* * *
30th June 1998
“I can’t believe you never mentioned these things before!”
Alison sighed at her enraged charge, the young teen’s coal-black eyes glittering indignantly at her. “Faith, I think you should wait before taking on such a challenge, you’ve only had your powers for just over a month.” If only the darn girl hadn’t broken her curfew and gone out partying at a warehouse on the docks, she would never have seen a Phonos Herpo. Now she had, Alison would have to do damage control.
“Hey!” Faith’s ebony orbs flickered with outrage. “I haven’t skipped any training sessions I got Called. And I kick ass! You said yourself, you said I was ‘the bomb’!”
“I have most certainly never said anything of the sort,” Alison replied, mortified by the very suggestion. “I would never butcher the English language in such a manner.”
“Okay you said,” her charge’s nose scrunched in her delightful way, “’you’re performing past my highest expectations, Faith, jolly well done.’ Oh hockey sticks!” Thankfully the brunette teen dropped her appalling English accent before continuing. “Well maybe I made the last bit up, but it means same thing don’t it?”
“A rough approximation,” Alison dryly conceded.
“A rough approximation,” Faith
mimicked. “So they’re demons. I kill demons. What’s the problem?”
Alison felt the throbbing beginnings of a migraine, something that become far too commonplace since taking guardianship of the wonderfully spirited but also astonishingly infuriating American teen. “No problem, I merely don’t wish to force you into a situation that you’re as yet unprepared for.”
“No way,” the east coast native’s
jet-black mane swung from side to side, her jaw taking on a familiarly stubborn
look. “I researched them-.”
“You researched them?” Alison gaped at the beautiful Slayer.
“Yeah,” Faith waved her hand, “just work through the shock, ya all.”
“I’ll try,” Alison muttered.
“And I know what their gig is.”
“Their gig?” Alison asked faintly. Why didn’t this darn girl come with a translator?
“What they do, how they make their money!” the Slayer snapped.
”Ah,” Alison felt a sinking feeling as she realised her last chance of reining in the head-strong beauty had faded away. “Faith-.”
It was as if she hadn’t started to speak. “They snatch kids my age off the street and sell them to other demons for slavery, sacrifice, whatever the hell they wanna use they for!” Tears seemed to well in the beauty’s ebony orbs. “Kids like me!”
“Faith,” Alison sought to comfort the
over-wrought Slayer, “that isn’t you any more-.”
”No, it ain’t!” Faith snapped, head bobbing as she nodded. “And I can’t help them get their lives together, I get that! But I can protect them from this pack of bastards!”
“Very well,” Alison sighed. “But we’ll do it my way.”
* * *
“You mean Faith’s encountered these demons before and they’re after vengeance?”
Tara shook her head at the private eye’s question. “No, it’s worse than that.”
“Worse how?” Xander demanded.
Tara shot her friend a stony look. “If you’ll let me finish I’ll tell you.”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (8/?)
30th June 1998
The noise masquerading as music coming from the grotty-looking building was horrifying, not to mention the nauseous and possibly illegal smells drifting out from the derelict building, its double doors guarded by a pair of thick-armed African-American, an inexplicably long queue awaiting entrance to the hell house.
“This is where I saw the thing, I was making out with the bouncer by the side alley-.”
”Faith!” Alison snapped, horrified by Faith’s casual revelation. “You’re only-.”
”Jeez, cool it,” the ebony-eyed Slayer looked around, eyes scanning the inky darkness. “Making out’s all we did, moment I saw the thing I started after it.” The Bostonian chuckled throatily. “Man, was he pissed, had to knee the jackass in the nuts before he’d let me go.” The brunette’s forehead furrowed. “Trouble was,” the bombshell started to the left, ducking between warehouse and shop, “by the time I got away from the asshole, the thing had a distance on it, and with the lousy light, and everything, I lost it.”
“They like oils for their scales, some
sort of moisturisation I believe,” Alison mused as she ducked under a
down-hanging fire escape ladder.
”Why can’t they buy face cream like every one else?” Faith muttered.
Alison struggled to ignore Faith.
Although lord knew the girl made it hard. “The point is, fish oils.”
”Say what?” Faith glanced at her, eyebrow raised.
“We need someone where they’ll be
plentiful fish oils.”
”Eh, Jan, we’re at a docks,” Faith pointed out. “Lots of water with fish in it.”
“Precisely,” Alison patiently agreed,
“but they can hardly easily go out in broad daylight can they? No, they have to
have somewhere near the water-.”
”Like that building between the fish market and fish processing place?” Faith pointed between two buildings, her nose wrinkling. “And man, the smell.”
Alison shone her torch on both battered
building signs to the left and the right before the building between them.
“This could be the place.”
”Wicked,” Faith smirked. “We need a car.”
”A car?” Alison looked towards her charge. “Admittedly the smell is quite rank, but now you’ve dragged us down here, I don’t think we should be running away.”
”Me run?” Faith snorted. “Ain’t in my vocabulary, Jan.”
“Plenty of things aren’t in your vocabulary, Faith.”
Faith grinned at her. “Nice zinger, but no I got a plan.”
“Oh gods,” Jan shook her head. “Now I am truly terrified.”
“You’ll get over it,” her charge responded before striding away. “Let’s go back to the club.”
* * *
”We can’t just break into a car!”
Faith grinned at her horrified looking Watcher. Damn, but the English were so easy. “Sure I can,” she replied as she glanced left and right before stepping towards the tinted windowed 4 * 4 parked down the road from the club, “I’ve been boosting ‘em for over a year.”
”That’s not what I meant and you know it!” Alison snapped.
“Look, we need a,” Faith grinned as she realised she didn’t need to mess around trying to prise the lock open, “distraction.” Instead she just grabbed the lock and tore it off. She turned and challengingly eyed her guardian up. God, she loved Jan, but she could be such a stick in the mud sometimes. “Unless you wanna use your car.” The Watcher shuddered. “Figured,” she smirked, “get in.”
”Oh no,” Alison shook her head. “I am not further contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.” Faith stared at the Watcher, damn why didn’t she come with a translator? “I’m driving.”
* * *
Faith groaned as she looked down through the skylight. “Figures,” she muttered as she inspected the den the demons had made for themselves, “way too many.”
There had to be close to twenty of the demons, she’d counted at least that many. But she’d also seen them pull a human male a couple of years older than her into a room towards the back, so they had one captive, she couldn’t just retreat. ‘Sides she had an advantage, the book she’d read said they had a hive mind, and if she killed the leader, the others would shut down out of shock for five minutes giving her time to free the prisoners.
That left only one problem, killing the lead demon before the others leapt on her. At least she knew which one was the lead, even if she didn’t know the chief Herpo, she smirked, imagine giving a demon a name that sounded like a STD, was the biggest, she’d have guessed it from the way the others grovelled around him. Gathering herself, she checked the demon’s position again before taking a breath, stepping back, and leaping through the skylight.
”Yippee Ki Yay, Motherfucker!" Faith grinned as she dropped through the air, she’d always wanted to say that, and cross-bodyed the demon across the chest, taking it down to the ground. “Hey!” she yelled in protest. “You didn’t have to fall! You saying I’m fat?”
The other demons started moving in on her. And then their stolen car crashed through the corrougated iron entrance, taking out three demons before screeching to a halt. A crossbow bolt punched its way through the driver side window en-route to crashing into another demon’s throat.
”You go Jan,” Faith enthused as she crashed several blows into the demon’s face before shoving a K-BAR deep into its left eye.
“Ahha!” The demon howled in pain as viscera juiced out of its eye, its fists crashing into her chest, flinging her across the room.
“Shit!” Faith grunted as she hit the dusty floor shoulders-first, pain raging through her as she instictively used the fall’s momentum to backwards-roll to her feet. Her agony was forgotten as she looked around to find all the remaining reptile demons stood statue-still, frozen in their positions. “It worked!” she punched the air. “It fuckin’ worked!”
”Get the others,” Alison tersely ordered, “and hurry, they’ll go wild the moment the shock runs off!”
”Watchers,” Faith muttered as she plunged into the inner doorway, squinting warily in the darkness, “never happy.”
* * *
It was Xander who broke the room’s tense silence after Tara completed her briefing. “So they’re after revenge?”
“No,” Tara shook her head, “it’s worse than that.”
“How can anything be worse than that?” Spenser gruffily demanded.
“They want to use Faith’s essence to power a spell to resurrect their master. And they’ll kill her at midnight tonight.”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (9/?)
“Yes!” Faith exulted as the cuffs shackling her wrists finally snapped, the chain broken by her pulling her wrists apart, ignoring the cuffs cutting into her hands and the pain in her shoulders from all her attempted lateral raises. “Jesus,” she rubbed at the welts on her wrists, “that was fucking hard work.”
Looking around, she laid back down on the cold stone floor, brought her knees up into her chest and began stretching her legs apart. “Jesus,” Faith cursed through gritted teeth as the cuffs cut into her ankles and her hip flexors ached, “remind me again why I’m not into bondage?”
“Oh yeah,” she continued, sweat beading down her forehead, “that dozy ass I’m datin’ would only lose the freakin’- yes!” She grunted as the chain snapped, her stronger legs making quicker work of the cuffs around her ankles.
Faith leapt to her feet and grimaced as she looked towards the iron barred door. A normal door would take a couple of kicks to take down, but this one was more formidable than the usual door. More to the point, she scowled, the five or six kicks it would take would only alert her captors of her attempt, and even if didn’t, she guessed the outside passageway led out past some guards. Faith looked up and the window, grimacing slightly as she noted the glass window had been bolstered by an iron grille, and seeing as she’d have raise her arms overhead to reach the damn thing, she’d not have any leverage to work it loose with.
”Door it is then,” she muttered before starting forward. Hell, she smirked grimly, it wasn’t as if she actually liked sneaking away. And she wasn’t about to sit on her pretty little tush and wait for Xan to get his act together and rescue her.
She stopped at the sound of the corridor door opening and approaching footsteps. “Damn.” Thinking quickly, she laid back down, placing her hands back behind her back. If she could take down at least one in an one on one situation and get the keys off his corpse, it would mean she wouldn’t have to kick the door down to get out, and then she’d have the advantage of surprise on her side. If she was really lucky he might have some weapon she could use.
Faith risked a quick glance to see one of the Herpos entering her prison, tail trailing behind. After a quick look around and a lick of his lips, the demon hurried over to her. “So pretty,” he muttered before running the back of his hand down her face.
Oh god, Faith’s skin crawled as she forced herself to remain stock-still, what was it with demons and a nice piece of ass? They were such men. The moment the demon lowered his head to sniff her hair, Faith opened her eyes. “Surprise,” Faith drawled. Before the demon had any chance to speak, she swung her leg up and kicked it full in the face. Blood flew from the demon’s face as it fell into the wall.
Faith leapt up and charged the demon, slamming a palm into its throat. “This is the last time,” a spin kick to the shins brought it down to its knees, “you get your rocks off,” an elbow to the head snapped its head to one side, “by hassling a hottie!” Faith growled before wrapping her hands around the demon’s head and repeatedly driving its face into her knees until her pants were smothered in its blood.
Finally satisfied it was dead, she flung it to the ground, stepped over it and crept through the open cell door. Eyes squinting in the corridor’s darkness, she flattened herself against the wall and edged towards the door, a combination of tension and the dank, close atmosphere causing sweat to bead down her, making her clothes stick to her.
She’d almost reached the doorway when it swung open, a demon stepping through it. For a split-second they stared at one another, shocked by one another’s presence. Then Faith smashed a leaping thrust-kick into the beast’s upper chest. Sneaky really wasn’t working for her today.
The reptile flew backwards and into a table, knocking cards, money, chips, and beers to the ground. Faith groaned as she charged through the doorway, crashing shoulder first into the nearest of the demons rising from his seat ringing the now flattened table.
Even as the reptile hit the floor, Faith was moving, leaping onto his vacated chair and spring boarding into a ball that carried her over the grouped demons. Landing in a crouch, she back-heeled the nearest demon in the back of his leg, knocking him into his companions.
Muscles straining, she charged for the door, ignoring the demons’ yells behind her. A gust of wind to her left signified another door opening, Faith responded with an instinctive side heel kick aimed at roughly shoulder level.
Her efforts were rewarded with a howl of pain. A grin on her face, she reached for the corrugated iron entrance. All she needed to do was flip it open and run like hell to the nearest highly populated place, then she’d-.
Just as she wrapped her fingers under the door, it swung up. She’d barely time to register the trio of Herpos stood there and they were charging her. “Shit!” She blocked a straight right on her shoulder, conscious of the demons behind charging to enter the fray. She was so screwed.
A left knee was blocked on her hip, pain raging through it at the impact, she hissed when a clawed hand snatched at her hair and yanked her onto her back. She rolled up instantly, kicking the demon back and then looked around, teeth baring in a grimace. “Ah fuck!” Faith raised her hands before directing what she hoped was a winning smile at the demons’ apparent chief. “I surrender? I hope you ain’t gonna hold a grudge about the dead one in my cell, but he did wanna take liberties.”
Looked like she was gonna need help getting out of this place after all. It was gettin’ real embarrassing.
FIC: MC 44. Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (10/12)
“That’s not going to happen,” Xander growled, eyes hardening and fists clenching. The witch drew back when he looked towards her. Xander forced himself to reign in his anger in. “Sorry,” Xander glanced at his watch. Thankfully it had been past midnight when they’d been attacked, so they had just over 18 hours to find Faith, but Boston was a big city, half a million people in the city itself, and over four in the metropolitan area. People could spend a lifetime lost in the place. “But we need to find Faith and quick.”
“Don’t worry,” Tara soothed. “I know
where they are.”
Xander blinked. Tara’s powers must be increasing if she could find Faith without even having to utter a spell. “How did you-.”
Tara grinned suddenly. “I didn’t do a
spell silly!” she giggled. “It says on the essay I read about Herpos that they
will never leave a home unless it has been destroyed. They’re nest-builders.”
”So all we have to do is find the warehouse Faith and her Watcher raided,” Kennedy finished for her girl-friend.
“Yeah,” Xander glanced at Spenser. “Are you in?”
The private eye shook his head as he rose. “Do you even have to ask?”
“Kinda do, yeah.” Xander paled at Tara’s meaningfully cleared throat. “After all, manners are important,” he hurriedly added.
He did not want to piss her off again. God, lesbian witches had even worse tempers than your usual woman.
* * *
Faith’s eyes widened as three of the demons brought a steel x-cross through into the hallway and rested it against the far wall. “You’re gonna crucify me?” Faith shook her head. “Big mistake, I’m no one’s idea of pure, or a martyr.” Faith looked at the impassive demons surrounding her. “Really, ask anyone. I could give you references.”
“From the killer’s flesh shall rise the one she slayed.” It was the first any of the demons had said, and as an opener hardly encouraging.
“See, that just ain’t the sorta thing you say to a girl on a first date.” Faith grunted as she caught a backhand to the mouth. You try and help a man. Faith spat blood onto the floor before eyeing the demon up. “At least buy her a drink first.”
Another punch to the head had her snapping off a retaliatory kick to the face and crashing an elbow into the face of the demon stood behind her. Out of the corner of her left eye, she spied a demon charging her and swung her leg back to crash into his face.
And then the other reptiles fell on her, beating her down to the ground with repeated blows, stamps, and kicks. She was barely conscious as her pants and shirt were torn from her, leaving her in her bra and panties, and foul-smelling paint daubed on her, a pentagram painted on her torso. Head woozy and body aching, she was unable to resist the now chanting demons carrying her limp body over and tying her limbs to the cross with barbed wire. Faith groaned as she looked at her restraints, blood from a cut to her head dripping into her left eye. Even if she managed to come around from her beating, she’d never get out of these restraints without ripping her tendons apart.
She was royally screwed. “Jesus, X,” she muttered as the demons continued to chant, “cutting it tight aren’t you?”
* * *
“This is the building?” Xander glanced at the sky, it was barely seven but already the docks were beginning to bustle into life, early-morning deliveries being made and people arriving for work.
“I think, the instructions are sorta vague and it’s a real maze down here,” Tara replied.
”You think?” Xander shook his head at Tara’s sigh. “Sorry, I know it’s a rabbit warren around here. There’s one way to find out.” He reached into the Always Pocket for his costume.
Kennedy’s eyes widened. “You’re going to use a pizza box?”
“Hey, demons have to eat,” Xander defended before turning to Tara. “Contact Spenser, check if his men are in position then get ours to the right and left of the door. If I drop the pizza box, we’re going in heavy.” Xander opened the pizza box.
”This is no time to be eating,” Kennedy pointed out.
“I’m putting my Desert Eagle inside it.” Xander shot the potential a scornful look. “I wouldn’t waste pizza on demons.”
“Oh god,” Hawk muttered from the back seat. “I’m getting the worst head ache. Is this how you always plan things?” The bald-headed black shook his head. “If you’re meant to save it, the world is doomed.”
Xander took the high road and loftily ignored the African-American as he climbed out of the car. His heart hammered as he turned towards the grey-bricked warehouse, his clammy hands wrapped around the pizza box. After a nervous lick of the lips, he exited the shadows Tara had parked in and headed towards the warehouse.
As he neared the building, he heard the eerie sound of chanting. “Definitely something going on,” he muttered, “unless it’s just a bunch of Mormons.” Stooping at the entrance, he rattled on the corrugated iron. “PIZZA!” He waited for five seconds before knocking again, even harder. “PIZZA!” Still no response. “HEY! SOMEONE ORDERED PIZZA DUDE! AND I’M GONNA KEEP KNOCKIN’ ‘TIL I GET MY MONEY! YA DIG?”
God, he shook his head, did all Watertowners sound like that? “No pizza,” a voice growled from inside, the chanting diminishing but not stopping.
”Hey man,” Xander kicked the still closed door, “I still need payin’.”
“Oh you’ll get paid,” the door swung up to reveal a Herpo stood glaring down at him.
”Oh yeah,” Xander muttered as he dropped his box and drew his gun, shooting the demon in the face. Blood showered everywhere as the demon crashed to the dusty floor. “You’re not human!” He shook his head as he saw Faith tied to the cross at the back of the room. “Faith,” Xander sighed as Spenser’s men rushed in. “You knew I was bringing company, couldn’t you have put some clothes on?”
Faith’s eyes impaled him in a glare. “Believe it or not, not ‘xactly my fucking choice, Harris! And you took your fuckin’ time didn’t ya!”
Xander sighed again. Why did he even try?
FIC: MC 44. Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (11/12)
Faith glared at her boyfriend even as the fighting burst out around her, her uncle’s men taking on the demons who snatched her. Like she had a choice about being semi-naked in front of everyone, it wasn’t like she liked it!
Well okay, maybe just a little.
“So I’m an exhibitionist,” she muttered, “sue me.”
“If we die so must the slayer of our leader”
“Oh fuck!” Faith groaned as a demon charged her, claws held ready to maim and kill.
The demon leaned in, its breath foul against her face. “You who are the demise of our tribe shall also fall.”
“Yeah?” Faith brought her head back and then powered it forward, forehead crashing into the Herpo’s snout. “Breath mints, invest in some,” Faith advised as the reptile stumbled backwards. “Oh shit,” she grunted as it righted itself.
And then a man thrust his sword through its neck, viscera spraying her. The beast fell to the ground, body twitching, to reveal a short lithely built Italian-American stood behind it. “Wicked,” the man stared at her, “how about you get me unfastened?”
The man started at her voice. “S…sure.”
“What’s your name, hon?” Faith asked as the man stepped towards her and drew a K-BAR.
“F…Fast-Hands, ma’am,” the man gulped as he used a K-BAR to cut through her restraints.
Ma’am, from a guy at least five freakin’ years older than her. “Yeah well,” Faith’s lips brushed the man’s cheek as he cut loose her left arm, “thanks for the save. Now, it’s kinda cold in here.” The red-faced man continued to stare at her. So subtle didn’t work. “Stop staring at my goodies and give me your jacket.”
The man’s blush deepened. He cast a furtive look over to see what Xander was doing was before pulling his jacket off and passing it over. “Y…you won’t tell h…him I was s…staring will you?”
“Xander?” Faith’s brow furrowed as she slid the leather jacket on. “Don’t worry about boytoy, he’s a pussy.” She ignored the man’s shocked gurgle to let out a yell. “A late pussy!”
* * *
“I was wondering if we could speak to you in private?” Xander asked as they arrived back at her uncle’s base. “You and Hawk?”
”Sure,” Spenser glanced towards her as they walked inside, face colouring slightly at her naked legs. ““I can get one of the girls to give you-,” Spenser trailed off as Xander passed her a T-shirt and pair of jeans. “Oh the Always Pocket, forgot about that.” The private eye paused as he closed his office door behind them. “You wanted to speak to me in private?”
“Yeah,” Xander shuffled from foot to foot.
”Oh,” Kennedy interrupted before Xander had chance to get going. “You’re still going to ask him after before?”
“What happened before?” Faith asked as she pulled the t-shirt over her head, eyes swivelling suspiciously from each of the suddenly uncomfortable-looking men.
“Noth-,” her uncle and her boy-friend started to say.
“Oh, there was a huge throw down about who was to blame for you being snatched,” Kennedy cheerfully informed. “It would have gotten physical if Tara hadn’t kicked ass. My girl rocks.”
“Yes Xander?” Kenendy innocently replied.
“Don’t tell Ken to shut up,” Faith warned. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t know how you behaved when I wasn’t here!”
“Are they always like this?” Spenser mused. Tara nodded and sighed. “I can only apologise.”
“Anyway,” Xander shot the potential a final scorching look before looking back towards her uncle. “I’ve been thinking about the Brotherhood’s organisational structure recently.”
“Those pins you sent us?” Hawk queried.
“Yeah,” Xander nodded. “At least that’s part of it.” Xander looked towards her uncle. “Here’s the thing. With us being the troubleshooting unit, we’re always in the line of fire, and we need back-up leadership. You know just in case. You’re perfect, experienced, there’s a blood link, yeah just perfect. I was wondering if you’d be our second. We’d have to take you around all the groups to introduce you.”
”What about my unit?” Spenser queried.
”Hey dog, I can run it for you,” Hawk grinned. “Everyone knows I do the heavy lifting around this place anyhow.”
”Sure they do,” Spenser snorted before nodding. “Okay, I’ll be your back-up. But on the condition you make sure I never have to replace you.”
”I’ll try,” Xander agreed.
”Good,” Spenser’s eyes zeroed in on her. “Can I have a moment alone with my niece please?”
“Sure,” Xander nodded as he rose, the others following suit behind him.
The moment the door closed behind the others, Spenser walked over to the desk and pulled a document out of the drawer before turning back to her. “I um,” her uncle licked his lips, “wanted to give you this.”
Faith took and stared at the proffered document, brow furrowing as she tried to make sense of the legalese. Giving up, she looked up. “What is this?”
“I had my will drawn up-.”
“Y..your will?” All at once Faith felt the air leave her lungs. “W…why?” she swallowed again. “You ain’t ill or nothing? You’re not,” she swallowed, “Dying?”
“No, no,” Spenser shook his head. “It’s just,” the private eye licked his lips. “You’ve been out of my life for so long, I wanted you to know how much having you back in it means to me.”
“Thanks.” Tears welled in Faith’s eyes, a ball of emotion wedged in her throat. “But I already knew.”
Her uncle reached out and squeezed her shoulder. “I’ll see you tonight for the meet and greet?”
Faith nodded even as she hurriedly reached up to wipe her eyes clear, her uncle having the decency to look away. “You betcha.”
FIC: MC 44 Nov ‘01 – Where Everyone Knows Your Name (12/12)
“How come ya not coming with us, Xand?”
Xander smiled at his girl-friend. “I just need some alone time, you know?”
“Jeez,” Faith shook her head and winked, “you can be a moody bastard, ya know?”
“Look at who I’m dating, surely I deserve some time off?” he countered.
“Oww!” Xander rubbed his arm where Faith had punched it.
”Jeez, that was a tap,” the Slayer beauty grinned unrepentantly at him. “If I hit you properly you’d be lying on the other side of the bed wondering if someone could get you the number of the truck that ran over you.” His girl-friend’s face sobered. “Ya happy that Uncle Spense accepted?”
”Yeah,” Xander nodded. “We’ll just have to organise a meet with Gunn away from Angel to organise his stand-by status and then the tweaks are finished.”
“Then where are we running recruitment for next?”
“I was thinking possibly Africa,” Xander replied. “We’ve got no cover there.”
“Wakanda maybe?” Faith asked, eyes gleaming. “I wanna see if that Black Panther is as bad ass as everyone says!”
Xander gulped at the very thought. “Maybe.”
Faith nodded as she strode to the door. “You’ve the address if you change your mind, see you later.”
A few minutes after Faith and the others had left, Xander stood. He felt bad about ducking out of the party with Spenser’s group, but he knew how these things went. He’d be the centre of attention, at least until Faith started table-dancing, and he was always self-conscious in those situtations. He should be the wisecracker, not the leader.
Stuffing his hands in his pockets and slouching over, he sauntered out of his hotel room, heading downstairs and out into downtown Boston. Coat wrapped around him to keep out the biting fall wind, he strode through the city’s cold streets, ducking in and out of the crowds on the streets, the comforting bustle of every-day life at least partially shielding him from his worries.
The noise from a small old-fashioned bar drew him inside. Smiling slightly at the olde-world feel of its furniture and lack of a jukebox, Xander walked over to the bar. A flame-haired buxom beauty with sparkling hazel eyes hurried over to him, her ample chest bouncing hypnotically under her ruffled apron. “And what it’ll be, love?”
Xander glanced at the blackboard with the price list chalked on it stood behind the bar. “Can I have an orange juice please? Actually,” he reconsidered, “make it two so I won’t need to come back for a while. Ice, no lemon please.”
“There you go love,” the red-head beamed at him as she passed the drinks over the counter.
“Thanks,” Xander passed over a twenty dollar bill. “Keep the change.” The barmaid’s thanks ringing in his ear, he made his way over to an empty table close to the bar’s flickering fire.
* * *
“Mind if I sit down, young man?”
Xander looked up at the voice. The speaker was definitely out of place in this working-class bar. Tall, with rangy-shoulders and dressed in a custom made black suit, the man had sharp brown eyes, a receding hairline touched with grey, and the sort of sharply angled features you could almost cut yourself on.
Xander hid a grimace as he looked around. There were a few empty tables and he did want to be alone. On the other hand, he never liked being rude. “Go ahead,” he nodded.
”Thank you,” the middle-aged man sat down opposite, “such manners are a rare find in someone so young.”
Xander nodded as he sipped at his drink, noting for the first time a strange smell, almost as if his unwanted companion had just come from a fire. Which didn’t make any sense because no way could a fire-fighter afford a several thousand dollar suit like the man’s.
When he didn’t speak, the man continued. “You look like you have the weight of the world on your young shoulders. Such a shame for one of your tender years.”
“I manage okay,” he replied before the man’s relentless chatter.
”Myself I’m in real estate,” the man smiled, “always looking to expand my holdings.”
“I imagine that could be stressful,” Xander said for something to say.
“Oh yes, I occasionally meet opposition,” the man chuckled. “No-one as persistant as you though, Alexander.”
Alexander? Xander looked up. “Do I know you?”
“Oh everyone knows me,” the man smiled. “But you, I must admit a grudging admiration for you. Demons, assassin orders, clandestine organisations, sorcerous cults, it doesn’t matter, you just sweep them away.” The ‘man’s’ smile broadened. “Relax, you won’t need that.”
Xander gasped as the Always Pocket closed before he could pull a weapon out of it. “Who are you?”
The ‘man’ chuckled. “Dear boy, do I have to spell it out?” Xander stared evenly at the creature. “I’m known by a myriad of names. Some call me Ahriman. Some call me Leviathan. Some call me Be'elzebub. Some call me Satan. I however prefer Lucifer."
Xander swallowed the ball of fear that had climbed into his throat, threatening to choke him. He wanted to deny it, demand proof, but somehow he didn’t need it. “So Lucy,” he figured he might as well get one last dig in, “I’m that big of a pest you’ve come to collect me personally have you?”
“Oh dear boy!” the devil threw his head back and laughed. “Such a wit.” The devil’s gaze impaled him. “If I wanted you dead, I’d have come in my true form and shrivelled your brain with a single glance. No, no, no.”
”What then?” Xander asked after he began to breathe again.
”You are a valued soul, one that certain constraints apply to, I cannot just take you as I would a normal mortal who balked me. No, no,” the devil shook his head. “Do you know that I alone of the Fallen can walk in this dimension? I find it such a pleasure to walk unsuspecting amongst you mortals, luxuriating in your depravities and petty cruelties.” The devil paused. “But once my forces break through into this dimension we will feast,” the devil sighed in apparent ecstacy, “oh we will feast. And I wanted to meet you before that. To talk to the one who dares to rally an army against me.”
“Maybe we’re not going to let them in?” Xander replied.
The devil smiled. “Son-.”
“Don’t call me that,” he interrupted. “My dad’s a bastard, but he’s not you.”
“As you wish.” The devil seemed untroubled by his reply. “Alexander, the plan for my legions was put into place generations ago, and you’re not involved in them. The only question is what will you do? Will you uselessly stand against me,” the demon smiled, “and watch those delicious girls of yours die horribly, hear your friends and followers scream and curse you for leading them into a slaughter, and spend a century of lifetimes being tortured and punished until you’re something even less than human?” The devil’s smile broadened. “Or will you stand aside, and allow your girls and yourself become valued governers of my new realm?”
Xander smiled. “I’m guessing this meeting was meant to intimidate me.” He shook his head. “And there was me worrying about what I was fighting against.” Xander grinned at the demon. “Give it your best shot, bring all your legions. I might not win, but my people will make you pay for your victory-.”
“You have no idea who you challenge,” for the first time the demon showed the slightest rage, teeth elongating into curved fangs and eyes flickering into golden fire.
“Oh I know,” Xander leaned back in his chair, utterly relaxed. “My ancestor kicked your sorry ass off this piece of rock, no way are you getting it back now. Send your best,” he shoved his chair back and stood, “I’ll send parts of them back to you, nicely gift-wrapped. By the way, invest in a good-quality shower-gel, it might do wonders to get rid of that smell of brimstone.” Xander shook his head. “I’d like to say it’s been fun, but you’re The Prince Of Lies, not me.”
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