29 In Which There Is Action (but only a little)
Ch 29. In Which There is Action (but only a little)
Lord Xavius was growing impatient. He was unaccustomed to the feeling, having always been an elf of plans and schemes, sometimes years, decades, even centuries in the making. Yet this watch-and-wait plan of Illidan’s was chaffing him horribly. Perhaps because it was Illidan’s plan and not his own. Perhaps because Illidan was an infant compared to him. Perhaps because, mutated though the half-demon was, Illidan still wore the same face as the one that defeated Xavius so long ago. Not for the first time, Xavius wondered what Illidan’s twin thought of the changes his brother had undergone in his quest to gain more power. Illidan wouldn’t say, but he was banished, wasn’t he? That alone said how displeased his kind was with him. The other twin was a druid, an elf that followed nature’s path to power rather than harnessing the more flashy and arcane arts. Xavius made the mistake of underestimating that path and his punishment was to spend ten-thousand years in torment as the inner-sustenance of a great tree. How Illidan had freed him, Xavius could not say, but he hated owing the younger, more impulsive demon-elf.
Unnatural jewel eyes slit, Xavius glared at the mansion that he knew housed their target. Unassuming forms aside, all the pitiful demons of this place feared the inhabitance of that place, particularly the young dark-haired male that was now leaving in the company of the small feral one. The White Knight, some called him. The Hyena, others did. Others whispered of him as a Breaker of Prophecies. All Xavius saw was a pale creature, barely into adulthood. But then, before coming to this world, the only human Xavius had ever seen had been pale and seemingly weak specimen that turned out to be an incredibly powerful mage. But if this Knight knew the arcane ways, he hid it well. He wasn’t even a remarkable fighter. Yet something had the denizens of this filthy town afraid of him.
Lip curled in disgust, Xavius moved to follow the two men.
“So. To where?”
Xander smiled at Oz. He should have known his lover wouldn’t just let him sneak off alone. And, for some reason, he thought the wolf would understand.
“Sunnyhell Med. Don’t tell the girls?”
“Course not. Why?”
“We’re visiting Faith. I don’t think I’m up for explaining to them why I visit her a couple times a week,” Xander explained as they walked the street. He saw no judgment in Oz’s eyes so he continued. “I’ve thought about it a lot and I figured out that we might very well have deserved everything Faith did to us. I mean, how sad was it that the evil mayor guy treated her better than the good guys? I’m not completely sure, but she couldn’t have been more than sixteen when all that went down. Slayers are usually Called at fourteen or fifteen, and we didn’t even make sure she had a decent place to stay or anything like that. She had no one. We didn’t give her what she needed, so she found it where she could.”
Oz was quiet for a few seconds, then stopped Xander with a hand on his arm.
Oz had tugged Xander’s head down and proceeded to kiss him within an inch of his life. When he was finally released, Xander swayed with pleasure.
“Wow, not that I’m complaining but…”
“I like you,” he said and started back off in the direction of the hospital, leaving Xander to stare dumbly, then run to catch up. When he did, he slipped an arm over Oz’s shoulders, grinning like an idiot. Sometimes it was great having someone that understood him.
They reached the hospital without challenge and Xander waved at the nurses on the way in. In Faith’s room, one of them was checking thing off a list.
“Hey, Carmen,” Xander greeted. “How’s things?”
The matronly woman brightened at the sight of him.
“Oh, Xander, it’s wonderful. Faith isn’t in a coma anymore!” she announced.
“She woke up?” Both men went on high-alert.
“Not quite,” Carmen corrected. “Coming out of a long coma like this isn’t quite that simple. But she’s moved from her coma into a more natural, if deep, sleep. She’ll probably wake up for a few minutes here and there for a few days, each time a little more, maybe a week before she can get out of bed. But, who knows? She’s such a fast healer; it might take less time for her. Everyone is different, you know?”
“Yeah, they are,” Xander mused. He shared a glance with Oz. “Well, we don’t want her to wake up alone. Would it be alright to have some friends dropping in?”
“Of course. She shouldn’t be waking up any time tonight, but if she does, I have the number you left.”
“Thanks, Carmen.” Xander approached the bed. Brushing Faith’s dark hair away from her face, he said, “See you soon, Faith.”
They left the hospital in silence, but Oz could tell that Xander was deeply disturbed by something. He didn’t ask. He usually didn’t have to. If he waited, Xander would say what was wrong. While waiting for Xander to think it through, Oz wormed his way under Xander’s arm again. He liked it there. Xander squeezed his shoulder briefly in acknowledgment.
Finally, Xander spoke.
“Delvin says that a type of insanity consumes Slayers that take human life, but they can come out of it. There’s really no telling what state of mind Faith will have when she wakes up. To her, it will be back then, this last year won’t exist. And this is bad time for us to be able to keep an eye on her.”
Oz didn’t have time to answer. Just then a large figure darted from a near-by alley, right at them. Pushing off each other, the lovers threw themselves to either side, and the thing went between them. Oz leapt to his feet, already fighting the wolf’s desire to take over.
“Wow, you are one fugly satire,” Xander declared, also getting to his feet.
The satyr sneered and spoke into a guttural language that had Xander dodging a fire ball. It had dark purple skin and black and red eyes with huge horns and goat-legs. It had at least two feet on Xander.
“Okay, I get it. Satyr, not satire.”
Oz snorted, tense still but amused. Xander would crack joke at the end of the world. Come to think of it, he probably had. More than once. Another fireball and Oz was almost behind their attacker while it focused on the mouthier of the two.
“It’s not my fault you’re ugly, man. I’m sorry, but that’s the way life is. Not everyone can be as sexy as…eep!” Xander batted out the fire on his right sleeve, having not dodged fast enough that time. “Now that was just rude.”
“Would you shut up?!?” The fire-throwing creature shouted, dark energy gathering at his fingertips.
At that, Oz shifted and tackled the satyr, biting and clawing. He hazed out under the feral influence, until Xander’s voice split the fog.
“Oz, he’s out, come on. Come back to me, Oz. Now! Oz!”
Oz pulled himself away from the bloodied and unmoving satyr, the taste of its blood oily and foreign. He whined and backed away further. Muscled arms wrapped around his thick neck and the scent of Mate filled his nose.
“You did good, Oz, but I need you to change back now,” Xander said. “Goat-person will be hard enough to hide without you being furry.”
Oz soaked in the scent and sound of his mate, calming further before triggering his change. He wound up kneeling, naked in the street with Xander supporting him. Pushing Xander away, Oz crawling a few feet and threw up, the taste of their attacker’s blood coating his tongue. Again, the arms were there, around his chest, holding him through the spasms. Finally, he sagged back against Xander, glancing at the satyr.
Xander pulled Oz’s head back down to his shoulder.
“He’s dead, Oz. I’ve already called Delvin. They’re bringing the car.”
Oz nodded tiredly, and let his alpha hold him.
On the roof top overlooking the tired but triumphant lovers, Illidan fumed. That idiot! The whole town was afraid of them, and he just charged in with no plan, defying Illidan’s plan in the process. If he had eyes, he’d have rolled them. Clearly, the millennia spent in that tree had damaged the once crafty mage’s ability to appreciate a good plan. Not that Illidan would miss the first satyr. After all, that fool was the one ultimately responsible for bringing the demons down on their people to begin with. Illidan just thought Xavius would have been more useful that this. Oh well. He’d have to inform Azshara of this new development. With a final glance at the young males, Illidan took to the skies.
AN: Thank you all for the reviews and your patience with my slow updates. I hope I’ve made it worth your while.