Bad Plans in Action
Xander contacted him the next day, with a voice mail that only made sense because of their talk. Honestly - 'The plan is go, got the party loaded for major badness but not pocali. Keep your Saturday open and don't forget the bandages.'
If the whole thing wasn't so serious, Michael would have to call him back just to harass Xander about the message. And he doubted that 'pocali' would be the right plural for apocalypse, it sounded too much like a vegetable - pocali, the lesser known cousin to broccoli. He didn't like dragging Xander, Willow, and Oz into this either, but he'd already tried to tell Xander that, and it hadn't worked. Though he did rather like the idea of not having to fight David alone...
Saturday started with Michael fretting over 'the plan', and wondering just how badly he was going to get his new friends hurt by dragging them into his mess. The zebra-striped van playing classic Beatles that pulled up a little before noon was distinctive, and somehow perfectly Oz. The whole situation just seemed somehow unreal.
Michael settled into one of the back seats, with a small wave to Xander. Then he blinked as he realized that there was a sword hiding under the jacket, and a crossbow that wasn't quite covered by the donut box. "Swords and crossbows? Isn't that..."
"Those we hide in case of meeting Mister Police Officer, who probably wouldn't understand. The squirt guns filled with holy water can be out in the open, because nobody thinks of those as weapons," Xander grinned at him.
"Unless they heard you and Jesse talking about how the Joker should have just used squirt guns filled with acid or his toxic smile juice if he was really the crazy villain," Willow countered. "I haven't been able to look at a squirt gun quite the same ever since."
Michael gave a small smile, "I wouldn't want to explain swords to the police either."
Xander nodded before reaching into the donut box, "Want one? Sugar helps with the crazy plans. And you need to tell us what you can about your fangy bastard and any help he might have."
The donut did help, though as he talked about David and the rest of Max's boys and how they'd been killed he was quite glad that Xander hadn't brought any with the red jelly filling.
"None of ours fly," Oz commented.
"A fact for which we are all quite pleased," Xander added, before frowning, "Tell me I didn't just sound like Giles there. Please?"
Michael caught a glimpse of Oz smiling, reflected in the mirror. Bending the truth just a little, he countered, "Not like Giles at all." He waited for a moment before adding, "You just don't have the accent."
Willow just started to giggle. Xander made an exaggerated pout, and grabbed another donut.
If they hadn't moved on to discussing how to adapt their usual tactics to include the chance of flying vampires, Michael would have thought the whole scene rather silly and childish. But he was starting to recognize when you needed a bit of laughter to keep from screaming about the awful things. Things like maybe getting killed, or seeing your friends killed... or getting turned into one of the things that might kill them. The advantages of ranged weapons, as well as the fact that all of them were experienced in using them, could only help.
He still blinked when a pair of glazed donuts floated out of the box, one to Willow's hand and the other to Oz, who gave a low, 'thanks sweetie.'
No matter how many times he'd heard about Willow 'having the mojo', it was still a bit unsettling to see things like that. It also made him wonder just how much she could really do. And what Xander had in mind for Willow's mojo in today's not-so-fun adventures. He also couldn't help but wonder how much training she had, and what could go wrong with 'the mojo'.
Michael could admit to himself that he was frightened. Facing David had been terrifying the first time, when he didn't really know much about what was happening, only that it was serious, and bad, and that David and Max were after him and his mom. It had been a mess, and a small miracle that none of them had been killed. Today... today he knew just how ugly things could get. It was just that the cost of doing nothing was worse than the possible costs of looking for David.
end part 1.
“We can stop at my grandpa’s while we sort out what to do,” Michael suggested, feeling anxious to get out of the van and stretch his legs.
“Does he know about the vampires?” Xander asked. “And about… well, your issue?”
“Vampires, yes. My issue? No, and I’d prefer it stays that way,” Michael answered.
“I guess we won’t have as much trouble explaining if he sees the weapons then,” Willow then frowned before asking a question. “Does he know that you’re planning to at least on this one occasion fight vampires, or would he prefer you stay fray-adjacent?”
“He’d prefer I stay fray-adjacent, but if I mention that it looks like David’s back, he’ll understand that I can’t just stay out of the way and hope someone else does something,” Michael explained. “He’s spent a long time being fray-adjacent himself, but he’d act if he knew someone were after him or his family. He’s just… I don’t think he’s up to fighting vampires anymore.”
“Your grandpa’s probably no spring chicken, and fighting vampires is definitely not a good plan for those who could break something by falling,” Xander paused, “I’m not sure it’s a good idea for us, but we’re doing it anyhow. Have been for years.”
“Guys…” Michael didn’t know what to say.
“It needs done,” Oz commented.
“And we volunteered to help you with this problem. If not us, then who? Not everybody knows, and if those of us who know stand back and do nothing, then… well, then you get monsters roaming the street eating people, sunset curfews, and the graduating class eaten by a giant snake before the world becomes the newest suburb of hell. That just doesn’t sound like anybody’s idea of fun, with the chance of it being fatal being one of the better options, and..”
Oz put a hand over Willow’s mouth, “You’re babbling again.”
Michael managed a smile, “thanks.”
It happened that Michael’s prediction about his grandpa was spot-on. Though there was a comment about at least they wouldn’t need to borrow his car this time. Michael had no intention of sharing that story, even if the Scoobies asked later. There was a passable lunch, during which he was caught up on the news that Mom was still running her movie store in LA and dating someone that grandpa didn’t much like but at least could go out in the daytime. Sam was off at college, and according to Grandpa paying too much attention to pretty girls and not enough to his grades. There was a bit of laughter and the agreement that it was easy to pay attention to pretty girls.
“There must be a reason why you kids brought in some crossbows. Am I going to like it?” Grandpa asked.
“David isn’t dead enough,” Michael growled.
His grandpa looked at him for a few moments before shaking his head, “Just… don’t get killed or come back with fangs.”
“I have no intention of becoming a vampire,” Michael shuddered. “That’s been one of my nightmares since the first time around.”
If his grandpa noticed that he hadn’t promised not to get killed, Grandpa didn’t say anything. Instead, Grandpa retreated to his workshop, which Xander had peaked into and pronounced ‘creepy’.
“Do we find David, or does David find you?” Xander asked.
“If he doesn’t show up, I can try a tracking spell,” Willow offered.
Michael sighed, “I don’t know how active he is, or if he’s just not dead enough.”
“Then the first stop should be checking the hole where you dumped fang-boy. If he’s there, we torch him and go home. If he’s not there… then it sucks that the easy way is out, but nobody’ll be too surprised by that anyhow," Xander suggested.
"If he’s up and about, he might come after me,” Michael ran his hand through his hair, “He’s probably not pleased that I almost killed him before. I just wish I’d killed him a little better.”
“They are rather big on the whole revenge thing,” Xander agreed. “He’ll probably come after you, possibly with minions, and the plan will be death, possibly pain and then death. Let’s just flip that around on him.”
Michael nodded. He still thought parts of this were a bad idea, but they didn’t have a better one. And he’d rather be dead than a vampire. “I don’t think he’ll be alone. Compared to the Sunnydale vampires, David’s almost a social butterfly. He’ll want company, but he’ll want to stay in charge.”
“Sounds pretty normal for a vampire then,” Xander shrugged.
End part 2.
With the use of the van, it didn’t take long before they reached an unwelcoming stretch of cliff, with rocks and wind-twisted trees. For a few moments, Michael tried to remember where they had buried David. They hadn’t wanted to leave any sort of obvious grave marker – it would draw too much attention. Finally, he pointed at a tree marked with an old lightning scar, “Under that one. Away from the cliff.”
Fifteen minutes later and they concluded there were no bones, no bodies of anything bigger than an old rabbit, and it wasn’t just a matter of having turned a little too far or not far enough. Simply, there was no body was under this tree.
Willow knelt down, ignoring the reddish dirt and murmured a few words that might have been Latin. A section of the turned up soil took on a pale glow. Her eyes were closed as she murmured, “There was a vampire buried here. The vampire rose… not quite a month ago?”
“I was already on my way to Sunnydale then, looking for a vampire expert,” Michael mused. “I’d been noticing things changing.”
“Right, that funky almost turned into a vampire without getting killed first thing,” Xander nodded.
“Yeah, that thing,” Michael couldn’t help smirking at the way Xander summed up one of his ugliest fears.
“Do you think he’ll know you’re here? I think I can track him… sort of. Not enough to give us an address, not without a map and some herbs, but I can get a feel. He’s that way, not quite all the way to town,” Willow let the words spill out, gesturing along the coast.
Michael stared along the coast, and shook his head, “He went back there. He said it was a fancy hotel before an earthquake tipped it over, and they’d taken it over. All the comforts of home with dozens of feet of rocks between them and the sunshine.”
Xander just shook his head, “Typical high end vampire lair. I guess it does beat an abandoned factory, but… so much for go in the daytime and open all the windows.”
Michael managed a chuckle, “That would be convenient. Are there ever vampires that stupid… careless?”
Oz nodded, with a thin smirk, “Yep.”
“Unbelievable,” Michael shook his head. “Hitting the grave is a bust, let’s get back to Grandpa’s and plan a few things. Here feels too open.”
As they were all settling back into the van, Michael looked towards Willow and asked a question that he knew he wouldn’t like the answer for – “How do you know that was the right place?”
“This whole mess is because a vampire named David tried to turn you, right? And this same vampire is the one who was buried under that tree. There’s a tiny little connection between you and him, from what he did to you that’s made you freak out and go looking for a vampire expert, and that means I can track him because of that connection to you, ‘cause he’s on the other end of that thread. And he’s not in that hole anymore, though he was for a while. So now we can either wait for him to find you or try to track him down with it, which doesn’t sound easy, ‘cause he’d be a moving target and it’s kind of like trying to find the end of a thread flapping in the wind and…”
Oz put his hand over Willow’s mouth again and translated, “Magic connection, follow the magic link-scent. Bad guy’s that way.”
“We can always count on Oz to put the Willow-babble in the shortest, simplest terms,” Xander smiled.
All that remained was the planning and the fight to the death. Hopefully David’s death. And with their Sunnydale experiences to point out just how awake vampires could be during the day, it was quickly decided not to go looking for David inside the collapsed hotel.
End part 3.
In the end, their plan was sketchy. Too many things depended on what David would do, and how many other vampires he might have with him. If he’d attack tonight or if he’d stay away, lurking. If he was still weakened, and if so, how weak compared to before. While Michael had a slight advantage from his unwelcome vampire traits, he didn’t like that, hated the idea of counting on it, and they flat-out scared him. The only benefit to the whole mess was that his current mess didn’t seem to make Xander, Oz and Willow afraid of him. Xander had promised not to let him turn into ‘another fanged bastard’, Oz had just blinked – what did it take to get a reaction out of him anyhow? – and Willow had babbled. Buffy… he wasn’t going to think about that right now. Thinking about Buffy and how she’d reacted hurt.
“I say we give a little time to see if he’s going to try to attack you, now that he’s not dirt-napping and you’re back in the area. We can get things ready for if he shows up, and just wait in relative comfort with the rest of the donuts. Then if he doesn’t, we can track him down later,” Xander suggested.
“That sounds better than trying to attack the old hotel tonight,” Michael admitted. “So, how much is a little time?”
After considerable discussion of schedules and the need for sleep as compared to the power of caffeine and sugar, they figured that they’d wait tonight. If David didn’t attack tonight, with or without minions, then they’d crash around dawn, and plan for attacking the hotel the next day. This plan was kicked around and they decided that instead of just sitting around eating donuts, they’d work on plans for if they needed to attack the hotel. This would keep them from forgetting about the possible vampire attack and have a plan before they needed to go get things for their attack. While they had that debate that didn’t manage to become an argument, Willow stepped outside for something. Nobody worried too much, as it was still daylight, though that was fading by the time she stepped back into the room.
Xander insisted that they could still finish the donuts while planning a possible attack on a sunken hotel turned vampire lair.
While Michael tried to sketch out a map of the hotel, or as close as he could remember, Xander and Oz had what was almost an argument over the last donut, resorting to a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to determine who got the donut. The victory and the donut went to Oz, leaving Xander to give an exaggerated pout and an accusation of trying to starve him of the sweets that he himself brought along, before dragging forward a box and producing a Twinkie to eat. Willow was giggling through the whole thing.
Then Willow stopped giggling, “Guys? We have incoming vampires.”
“Magic trip lines?” Michael asked, raising one eyebrow even as he moved towards the crossbow.
“I haven’t figured out how to make them set off any attacks yet, but I can make them so they let me know when a certain type of company is heading into an area. I just set one up around the property – just inside the little fence – to let s know if any vampires show up. More than one, and I think David’s in the group.” Willow sighed, “if I could just tie in a bright flash, or maybe a fire spell…”
“Goals for the future,” Oz smiled as he touched Willow’s arm.
“Do you think they’ll come to the front door, or try the back?” Xander asked, picking up an axe and passing the sword to Oz.
“I…” Michael paused before shrugging, “Would like to know that one myself. Maybe we should split up and keep an eye on both?”
end part 4.
Willow and Oz headed towards the front door, and Xander muttered something about horror movies loving decisions like that and making sure that they were always, always the wrong choice before taking a few steps towards Michael. Certain that the immediate future would hold both fear and pain, but hopefully not human death, they moved towards the back of the house.
“This is going to get ugly, I just know it,” Michael muttered.
“I’d say it got ugly as soon as vamps got involved, but there are a few who’d call me a bit biased,” Xander countered. “You need the help, and I volunteered.”
Michael managed a laugh, more than a bit bitter and tinged with that feeling that if he wasn’t laughing he might be screaming. He didn’t want to scream, and he didn’t want to curl up in a corner and give up. He was going to fight – even if it killed him. Though he’d rather it kill David.
Antelope horns. Antelope horns and burying the body… What had they been thinking?
“Did you really think it would be that easy, Mikey?” The mocking tones of David’s voice were easy to recognize. They’d only haunted his nightmares since he’d first met the vampire.
“I’d hoped for a while,” Michael frowned at the blond vampire. David looked almost like he remembered, though without the jacket. Ripped pants, dark tee shirt, the same bleached blond hair. He looked a little thinner, a little deader, if that made sense, but still David.
“Please tell me you never invited the fanged blond into your house,” Xander muttered.
“We’ve got ways around that in Santa Carla,” David grinned. “My pal’s going to like meeting your little friends. I doubt it’ll be mutual though.”
“Remind me to have a long talk with you on some of those details that you skipped about round one of vampires causing problems for you when we get through this,” Xander shook his head. “They can fly, they don’t need an invitation… awful.”
“Another vampire hunter, Mikey? Is this one going to be better than those other two?” David taunted.
“I’d hope so, but I’ve been living in Sunnydale, not Santa Carla, so what would I know?” Xander snarked.
“Sunnydale?” David looked surprised.
Michael took advantage of David’s surprise – dare he hope that the vampire was shocked, or even intimidated? – to squirt at him with the Holy Water, spiked with a bit of garlic oil and lemon juice. His friends had insisted that even if garlic’s only effect on vampires was a powerful stench, it couldn’t feel good to get that stuff in your eyes. That was also the reasoning behind the lemon juice. The spray didn’t catch David’s eyes, but it did go across his chest and the side of his neck, even catching his cheek a bit.
David snarled, his eyes going yellow and his teeth turning to wicked fangs as the water burned him. “Still a fighter, Mikey.”
Xander attacked from behind, the axe gleaming in his hands and whistling through the air. David twisted, attempting to avoid the blow. He didn’t quite manage, and the axe left a deep gash down the back of his left shoulder and past the rib cage, deep enough to show bone. David wasn’t laughing anymore.
Then things sped up, and Michael was having trouble tracking everything. He dodged as David tried to rip him open with his claws or to snap with his fangs, he squirted the water and swung the sword. He could feel his own teeth getting sharper as they fought. He could feel places that would bruise if he lived that long. Somehow, he’d split open his cheek, and there were shallow slashes along his right arm, spaced in a way that suggested David’s claws had caught him.
The fight had moved from the hallway into what had been his bedroom. Furniture had been broken, the mirror frame was almost empty, with some broken shards still hanging there with the majority on the floor. The dresser and the mirror frame itself were broken, and there were cracks and gouges in the wall, torn by claws and axe and fists.
If he survived this, Grandpa would be furious.
Michael grabbed part of the broken mirror frame, swinging it at David’s head like a baseball bat. He’d lost the sword during the fight. The broken wooden post clipped David’s arm, giving a solid thump that shook not only David’s arm but Michael’s as well.
Unfortunately, that left Michael open to attack. David moved, eyes burning, jaws gaping open. Faster than the vampires in Sunnydale, faster than Michael could evade. David’s fangs tore into his shoulder.
Michael was certain that he was screaming. He raised the broken post, rotating it so the sharper end was towards him, and stabbed inwards. The jagged point slid right into David…
… and kept going into his own body.
For Michael, everything dissolved into a red and black haze. Sound blurred into something like a drumbeat. It was getting slower. Slower. As everything faded away, Michael hoped that the pain would stop.
End part 5.
End Lost Boy 8: Bad Plans in Action