Jun ’99 LA Style (1/2)
Faith smirked as she glanced across the shadowy street, her blood pounding as it always did before a battle. “Ten minutes into our first LA patrol and we find trouble.”
Xander smiled back at her. “It’s a handy skill to have,” her companion’s gaze narrowed as he looked across the road to the three vampires dragging a pair of teenaged girls into an alley. “Shall we?”
“Yeah,” to her surprise Faith found herself squeezing Xander’s hand. “Don’t be doing anything dumb bud.” Xander nodded even as he reached into his jacket with his free hand, pulling out a stake. Embarrassed by her emotional display she released her grip, allowing her hand to drop to her side. “Then what the fuck are we waiting for?”
* * *
Barr grinned as he surveyed the two blondes he and his companions had dragged into the alley. They were real babes, a pair of late teens with models’ faces and cheerleaders’ bodies. Just the sort he’d always been into but never got close to before William the Bloody had turned him in New York in late ’77. But now, he could take all the women he wanted. Throw in the fear he could smell off them…. “Oh,” he leered as he ran an ice-cold finger down the taller girl’s neck. “You’re a cutie aren’t you?” his smile broadened at her answering whimper. “We’re going to have some real fun aren’t we?”
“Somehow I doubt she’d enjoy it.” Barr turned his head at the husky voice only for his world to explode in pain when a bone-shattering fist collided into his nose.
Surprised, he stumbled backwards, blood dripping from his crushed nose and tears of pain blurring his eyes. “Who the fuck are you?” he growled at his attacker, a curvy brunette with mocking brown eyes.
The sultry beauty winked and chuckled throatily. “I’m a Slayer,” she explained. “Maybe you’ve heard of us?”
Barr’s world collapsed. He’d seen William the Bloody kill a black Slayer. The skill and strength she’d shown had terrified him and now he was facing one. Looking round he glanced at his two minions. “Get her!”
After a moment’s hesitation, his two minions lunged forward. Her coal-black eyes dancing with mirth, the Slayer leapt to meet them, side-stepping to the right and snapping out a heel kick that cracked into the nearest vampire’s knee, propelling him shoulder-first into the wall. His other minion snatched out at the girl only to catch a back first that sent him sprawling into the bins with a clatter.
Barr roared in half-fury, half-fear. Tonight had started so well but now this. He leapt forward, the Slayer crouched down, and he started to fly over his target's head only for the teen’s hand to fly up and grab him in an incredibly strong grip and fling him into his childe by the left wall.
His heart soared as his other childe rose from the bins. Maybe the had a chance after all. Suddenly a shape appeared between the back of the Slayer and his demon. Barr saw his subordinate throw a punch, the shape block it on the shoulder, and pound something into his adversary’s chest. His childe exploded into dust.
As his childe was being thwarted, the Slayer continued her charge towards him and his other minion. Sweat pouring from him, Barr threw himself away from his companion, narrowly avoiding a downward strike. Undeterred, the raven-haired beauty slammed a foot into his surviving childe’s stomach. Barr winced at the sound of cracking ribs and before his childe had chance to move she’d driven a stake through his heart.
A split-second later and the Slayer’s eyes focused on him like a laser beam. Pushing himself up to his feet, he launched himself forward, throwing a kick at the girl’s ample chest that she blocked on her arm before punching him straight in the throat.
Propelled by the force of the blow he flew into the side of the dumpster, the impact sending him bouncing off to crash into the unforgiving ground. Before he had chance to recover, the Slayer grabbed him by the collar and flipped him onto his back. He tried to rise only to have his throat stamped on, pinning him to the ground. “Tell ya what stud,” his eyes widened as the raven-haired beauty began to juggle her stake. “You tell me where you demon types hang and I won’t kill you.” As the Slayer talked, her companion, a young male, strode up.
After a second he nodded. “Caratis.”
“Oh yeah,” the brunette nodded sagely. “Where’s that?” he quickly babbled out some directions. The Slayer winked and turned away. “Thanks.”
Seeing his chance, Barr lunged down to the .22 he kept in an ankle holster, exulting inwardly, his first Slayer. As his fingers closed on the gun he heard a cold voice behind him. “I don’t think so.” Looking up, he saw the Slayer’s companion’s stake arching downwards to his chest.
* * *
Xander looked at his pal and winked. “How dumb do you think he was? Actually thinking we’d let him live?”
Faith grinned back at him. “Maybe he got me mixed up with B uh?” Xander raised an eyebrow. He might not be as close to Buffy as he once was but he didn’t appreciate the digs. Faith smiled apologetically and shrugged. “What happened to the girls?”
Xander looked around; the alley was empty apart from them. “They must have run.”
“Smart,” Faith grinned wickedly. “Don’t think they’ll be going out much in the near future.” His companion’s face turned serious. “We heading for the demon bar?”
Xander grinned; he hadn’t wrecked a demon bar in a while. “Sounds like a plan.” He grimaced as he remembered something. “Faith,” he admonished. “You left your back unprotected in that fight.”
The Slayer appeared unfazed by his criticism, nudging him with a well-rounded hip. “No I didn’t,” she corrected. “I knew you were watching it.” His heart blossomed at the implied praise, finally someone who thought he could contribute. The Bostonian smirked. “Well, either that or my ass.”
Xander flushed. “Little bit of both?” he suggested weakly. Faith’s throaty laughter was his reply.
* * *
“You have got to be kidding me?” Xander stared around his surroundings in disbelief. It had taken them some time to find the bar’s magically hidden entrance. But this place, this place was definitely worth the wait.
It wasn’t just a bar, but a karaoke bar that looked like it had been decorated by a Village People member on acid, its walls a brilliant red and its tables and chairs a gleaming gold.
His eyes bulged at the sight of a vamped out vamp stood on the stage at the front of the bar, wailing out AC/DC’s ‘If You Want Blood’ in a key that made his ears bleed. He threw his companion a bemused glance. “This place is too weird,” he commented. “Forget wrecking it. Let’s find another bar.” Any bar, human or demon. Just as long as it wasn’t here.
“Oh shut up whining,” by contrast his accomplice’s eyes were shining with excitement. “This places looks great!” Xander raised an eyebrow, different sure but great? “I mean look at all the different demons!”
“My point exactly,” he muttered before raising his voice. “Stop it,” he said, injecting a note of firmness into his voice. God help them if he was going to have to be the brains of their little operation, they were doomed. “You’re frightening me. I should have known you were nuts when you agreed to come with me. There’s too many -.”
Suddenly the east coast native’s eyes hardened. “Croix!” Her hand flickered inside her jacket, coming out carrying a knife she flung at a yellow-skinned demon with three eyes, no nose, and a forked tongue.
Xander’s eyes widened when the knife hit an invisible barrier just inches from its target and cluttered to the ground. “What the fuck!” Faith exclaimed.
“Now there Xena,” a green demon with red horns and wearing a revolting yellow suit moved to greet them. “Calm down cutie pie. There’s a non-aggression spell in here so all races can mix in peace. After all,” the demon’s welcoming smile widened. “I’m a lover not a fighter.” His explanation finished, the bar’s apparent manager turned to him. “I do so love Caritas virgins -.”
Faith snorted. “Been a long time since I’ve been called a virgin.”
The demon continued, apparently oblivious to Faith’s muttered interruption. “I’m Lorne, the owner of this exclusive establishment. How do you like my place?”
“Well,” noting the expectant look in the demon’s eyes, Xander struggled for words. For once in life he decided to go with diplomacy. “It’s an experience.”
The demon beamed. “Isn’t it just? What do you want to drink? First on the house?”
Xander glanced at Faith for guidance. “Are we staying?” he asked.
After a second his friend shrugged her slender shoulders. “A free drink’s a free drink,” she declared. “Mine’s a double JD.”
“Coke for me thanks,” thanks to his dad he never drunk. Xander hesitated. “How do you get everyone to sing? What’s the gimmick?”
Lorne’s smile widened. “I’m the gimmick,” he replied proudly. “When people, demons, whatever, sing I can read their futures, advise them on what they need to do.”
Xander groaned at the speculative gleam in Faith’s eyes. This was so not of the good. “No shit!” the brunette exclaimed. “You know the state lottery numbers?”
Lorne giggled before slapping Faith on the back of her hand. “Oh you are a delight. No,” the demon shook his head. “Nothing like this. Maybe I’ll tell someone to leave his or her job or to take a chance on that certain somebody. Things like that.”
“Wicked!” Faith’s eyes shone with excitement and she began to bounce up and down on the spot. “This sounds like real fun. We could do a duet Xan!”
“Oh, that is so not going to happen,” Xander shook his head firmly. There was no way in hell he was standing on a stage entertaining a bunch of demons, he was meant to kill not amuse them. Not that anyone with normal hearing would call Faith’s screeching entertaining, if anything it was scarier than her charging at you with a battle-axe in hand. Putting his glass down on the bar counter he turned towards the entrance only to be picked up by the scruff of his neck. “Damn it Faith!” he cursed, his cheeks flaming. “Put me down!”
“Where are you going?” the brunette demanded.
“Anywhere the Jolly Green Demon doesn’t want me to sing!” he replied with a defiant look over his shoulder.
”Don’t be so rude to Lorne.” Xander shook his head as his friend beamed at the smiling bar owner. Now she was making friends with demons, this was getting beyond surreal. Although maybe he should be used to Slayers getting close to demons, ugh scary mental image. “Please,” the raven-haired Slayer whined and pouted for all she was worth. “It’ll be wicked fun. We could do a duet.”
“Uh, uh,” he shook his head. “Pout all you like, but I have too much self-respect to sing in this place -.”
“Hey!” Lorne exclaimed, his expression hurt. “There’s no need to get personal! What’s wrong with my place?”
Xander ignored the demon’s interruption to continue staring resolutely at the Slayer. “Besides, your singing’s nobody’s definition of fun.”
Seconds later he found himself being dragged towards the stage. “’Don’t Know Much But I Know I Love You’, have you any idea how lame that is?” he protested weakly, knowing in his heart of hearts he’d already lost the battle.
“Oh stop your moaning!”
“Sing, shut up. Make your mind up why don’t you?” Xander groaned. Deadboy thought he had it bad but this was true hell.
* * *
Lorne hid a smile as the beautiful brunette dragged her vehemently protesting friend towards the stage. It was obvious not only from her aura but also from every look she shot his way, the Slayer adored her companion. And it was equally apparent that while the young man returned the girls’ affections he didn’t have a clue how deep her feelings ran. Human males, they were so clueless.
His amusement faded when the pair began to sing. The female’s singing was awful although, judging from the reaction of the largely male audience, her enthusiastically sensual bump ‘n’ grind dancing more than made up for it. The boy though had a pleasant enough although unremarkable voice.
But the readings he was getting off them. Lorne felt the bile rising up in his throat but forced back the urge to vomit. He’d expected the girl’s readings to be strong considering her calling, but what he also saw of her past caused his stomach to clench painfully.
But the young man’s readings were off the charts. And the things he’d seen in both their futures. Somehow he didn’t think he’d sleep much tonight.
Realising the two were finishing their number to a round of scattered applause that grew rather more animated at the raven-haired beauty’s warning glare Lorne schooled his face to its customary happy-go-lucky expression. “Xena! Soulful!” he exclaimed, sometimes he found his calling exhausting. “That was wonderful! Linda and Aaron had nothing on you!”
“Stow the bs,” the brunette shot him an amused look. “What did you see?”
”Faith,” the male teen looked uneasy. “Maybe we shouldn’t -.”
“Aw don’t be such a chickenshit X!” The sultry teen nudged her companion in the shoulder with her elbow and winked at him. “This is gonna be fun! Like having our palms read.”
Even with his pounding head Lorne had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Him being compared to a common a carnival charlatan. His skill was far more refined than that. Why some of the clientele he had. “So spill Shamrock.”
Shamrock, Lorne winced, oh wonderful, it seemed Xena had given him another nickname. Gathering his thoughts he began to talk. “There’s a warehouse on seven street, by the docks, 10 street kids against a whole bunch of vamps. They’re in big trouble.” He couldn’t tell them the rest, to do so would mean messing with major bad mojo.
“Five by five,” the raven-beauty’s chocolate brown eyes gleamed with anticipation. “We gonna get this done Xman?”
“Sounds like a plan Faith.”
He was surprised when the Slayer engulfed him in a hug. “Thanks for the heads-up Shamrock.”
“Well thank you sweet child,” Lorne forced a trademark dazzling smile. God, two sweet kids like these didn’t deserve what he’d seen. “Now don’t you kids be strangers!” he called out as the two heroes, yes they definitely were that, hurried out of his club. Somehow he doubted he’d ever see them again.
LA Style (2/2)
“You’re gonna die tonight!”
Gunn stared defiantly at the towering vampire crowing at him and his crew. “Eat shit you grey-faced mother-fucker!” he shot back.
As retorts went it wasn’t amongst his greatest hits but then he knew deep down that their position was the shits. They’d burst into the warehouse after hearing about a bunch of unexplained disappearances in the area and tracking the vamps down to a deserted warehouse, an abandoned meat packing plant. They’d figured on ten vamps at the most, tricky but, with the advantage of surprise, manageable. Instead they’d faced twice that number.
They’d fought resolutely, take down half a dozen of the blasted bloodsuckers, but now, with two of his crew injured and another dead, the tide was turning. “We’re gonna die aren’t we?”
”Hey, no way,” Gunn forced a smile as he looked down at the most important person in the world. “Us die? You doggin’ me sis?” he put a note of scorn into his voice. “Haven’t I always looked after you?”
His words were rewarded with a shaky smile that disappeared when his sister’s eyes fell onto Jose’s corpse. “This is one scrap you’re not gonna get us out of big bro.”
* * *
“This the place Faith?”
Faith nodded. Even if she hadn’t been able to hear the sound of fighting, her Slayer senses were going crazy. There was a hell of a lot of vampires inside there. “This is the place Xman,” she confirmed.
“How do you want to do this?” Xander asked.
She smiled flirtatiously at Xander. “You know me Xman,” she purred. “I like it hot and heavy. Go the direct method!”
Xander flashed her his goofy grin. “Weapons ready?” she nodded. “Let’s rock ‘n’ roll!”
Xander gunned the engine. The car shot forward, the specially reinforced grille on the bumper splintering the warehouse door as the vehicle smashed through it, sending them speeding into battle.
Everyone, humans and demons, turned at their sudden arrival. Xman hit the brakes, bringing the car to a screeching halt but not before crushing two of the vamps beneath its wheels. “Eleven to go,” Faith muttered as she leapt out of the car, a half-second before her bud. She’d never taken on more than half a dozen on her own before, but then again she had the Xman watching her back, she just hoped the street kids could pull their weight.
A huge vampire, maybe a foot taller than her with a massive build, grabbed at her, but she knocked his clutching hand away from her throat and retaliated with a stake thrust to the chest that instead caught the vampire on a thickly muscled shoulder. “Damn it!” her world exploded in pain when the vamp slammed a shovel-sized fist against the side of her head. Dazed, she only barely managed to sway from his grasping claws. Grabbing the vamp’s out-stretched arm, she pulled him onto a boot to the midsection. When the vampire doubled up with a satisfying pained bellow she grabbed hold of his collar and pulled him behind her, placing his head in the open doorway of Xander’s car. Her lips parted in a triumphant sneer, she back-heeled kicked the door shut, decapitating the vampire.
Sensing a vampire to her right, she spun round to face her attacker. The female vamp attempted to catch her with a clothesline but Faith slid smoothly underneath the attack and smashed her stake into the vamp’s chest.
Even as her adversary opened her mouth to scream, Faith was on move to the next, slamming her stake into the back of a vampire standing over a stunned black girl. Next she turned her attention to a pair of demons. A slight grin parting her sensual lips, Faith waited until the vampires were just a couple of feet away before leaping into the air, tucking herself into a ball, and somersaulting over the surprised demons. Landing with her feet apart and knees slightly bent to minimise the bone-shuddering impact, she spun round and slammed her stake through the back of the left vampire before the one to her right turned to face her. “Bitch!” he screamed.
Faith ducked under a left hook. “See,” she grunted as she caught a overhand right on her forearm. “Nobody likes a potty mouth. What girl vamp’s,” she stamped down on his right instep, resulting in a pained shriek. “Gonna go for that?” she asked as she slammed her stake home. “Course that ain’t exactly a problem for you anymore.”
Faith risked a look around to see if her bud was five by five.
* * *
The moment Xander’s feet hit the warehouse’s dirty floor, he was charged by a snarling female vampire. “Women,” he smoothly sidestepped her headlong rush, leaving his stake behind for the vampire to run into. “They’re always dying to get their hands on me.”
Seeing another vampire approaching from his left, he shot out an elbow, catching an adversary on the point of his jaw, knocking the demon back a step. Taking advantage of the vampire’s distress, he twisted around and thrust a stake through at its chest. Unfortunately the vampire sidestepped his attack and rammed a right into his chest, knocking him against the car. The vampire lunged in with fangs bared but he managed to sidestep the attack. The demon spun to meet him but this time he was ready, plunging his stake into its chest.
Even as the vampire exploded into dust, a pair of crushingly strong hands grabbed his shoulders from behind, flinging him into the wall. Groaning slightly at the bone-jarring impact he struggled to his feet only to catch a clubbing right that put him right back down. “Time to die human,” his attacker growled.
“Don’t think so,” he retorted before driving his foot up into the vamp’s balls. The vamp groaned and stumbled backwards, giving him time to make his feet again. Before he could follow-up, the vamp hit him again, striking him on the top of the head. Groaning slightly he staggered backwards.
A grin on his face, the vampire advanced on him – only for one of the street kids to get in his way. The vampire knocked the kid out of the way with a backhander but the delay was enough to give Xander the chance to scoop up his stake and slam it into the distracted vampire’s chest.
* * *
“Damn,” Gunn muttered as the last of the vampires exploded into dust. “Those two have got it going on.” He exchanged an awed look with Alonna. Just seconds earlier he’d been mentally writing his will – considering who he'd leave his soul train albums to... since most of his friends were as screwed as he was, he didn't have a lot of choices to work with..
And then their rescuers had burst in. The male, a kid maybe 3 – 4 years his junior, had fought with a rugged efficiency beyond his years. The brunette bombshell though, Gunn shook his head, man it was like watching something out of The Matrix – fast as hell with Jackie Chan’s moves and the strength of a bull, all wrapped up in a slight, curvy package.
Between the two of them they’d taken down eight of the bloodsuckers – ten if you included the two decapitated under their car. He just hoped the pair were on the side of the angels. After winking at his sis, he stepped forward. “Thanks for the assist,” he took a breath. “What are you?”
The babe raised an eyebrow while her companion chuckled. “Not the warmest welcome we’ve ever received,” the young man grew serious. “My name’s Xander Harris, my friend’s Faith -.”
“Can you teach me to fight like that?”
Gunn’s eyes widened as he realised as his sister had stepped up to the female newcomer. Damn fool girl, she’d get herself into trouble one of these days. To his relief, the brunette just threw her head back and laughed huskily. “Sorry hon,” the lovely apologised, her husky voice sounding ideal for a phone sex worker. “Can’t do that. My skills are sort of pre-destined. See, I’m the Slayer,” the girl explained, her voice filled with pride.
“What’s a Slayer?” Gunn recognised the nasal voice behind him as belonging to Avi, a Jewish kid who’d been running with them for six months. A runt of the litter type, but a good kid, a real trier.
The two newcomers exchanged a stunned glance then the girl began to laugh, her entire body shaking enticingly. Gunn stared until his ear was grabbed in a vice-like grip. “Oww!”
“What,” his sister’s tone was low, pissed. “Have I told you about leering?”
“That my ear starts hurting soon after I start?” his attempt for levity was hampered by the excruciating pain in his earlobe.
“No, don’t do it.” Thankfully his sister released her grip.
“Let me get this right?” Xander chortled. “You hunt vamps but you don’t know what the Slayer is?”
The brunette nudged her companion with a slender hip. “Shut it X,” she growled. “I’m the one empowered by The Powers That Be to battle demons -.”
“But you’re a girl!” commented Andy, another of his crew.
“Really?” Faith looked down at her chest, her eyes widening theatrically. “Who the fuck put those mammas there?” she gasped, cupping her breasts and inspecting them. “Well what to you know, you’re right!” releasing her grip, the girl tilted her head to one side. “You heard of girl power right?”
“What he meant,” Gunn broke in before Andy got all their asses kicked. “Is how come you’re a Slayer?”
“Don’t know,” the teen replied with a shrug. “The how or why a girl’s called has been lost for centuries. All I know is that when one girl dies another one gets called.”
“And,” Gunn glanced towards his sister to see her staring at the Slayer’s companion with undisguised interest. “What are you? Are you a mystical warrior too?”
The youth chuckled. “No I’m just-.”
“Just nothing,” the Slayer interrupted with a growl. “He’s a guy who’s fought on the Hellmouth for three years, helped save the world a ton of times, and saved my life.”
In that moment, any thought he had of sweet-talking the supernatural babe died. Judging from the fervour in her tone, the Slayer was crazy about her apparently oblivious companion. “Well thanks for your help.” Gunn turned to facilitate the moving of the injured and the disposal of the dead.
* * *
“What do you think of them X?” Faith asked as they sped away from the warehouse.
Her bud shrugged. “Gunn seems to know what he’s doing.”
“Yeah,” Faith nodded. “We did good tonight, saved two girls, killed some vamps, and rescued a gang of demon-hunters. Even,” she glanced at her companion. “Gave away 5K to a bunch of street kids.”
Xander sighed. “Faith, they needed -.”
“I’m just fooling with ya,” Faith soothed. “Ya did a good thing.” Her own street waif days had left their scars. She wished she’d had someone like Gunn leading her gang, he seemed like a good guy, and anything they could do to help…. “Back to the hotel?”
* * *
Lorne looked bleakly around his darkened apartment, his hand never straying from the glass on the table before him. Hand shaking he lifted it and took another sip of his tenth Sea Breeze of the night. Now more than ever he regretted his inability to get drunk, although not as much as he regretted his demonic ability. As he’d predicted the images continued to flash before him, forcing sleep away.
Xander lying in a dark alley, blood pumping out of his head.
A manacled Faith in a dungeon.
Xander fighting in a pit surrounded by demons.
The two kids fighting one another.
Faith lying in a ball as a group of suited men kick her.
The duo in a hell dimension.
Faith tied by barbed wire, half-human monsters surrounding her.
Xander and Faith leading an army against a demonic horde.
Xander on a morgue table.
A weeping Faith knelt by a headstone.
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