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This story is No. 1 in the series "Lt. Buffy "Cali" Summers, USAF". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: After the events of graduation go horribly wrong, Buffy leaves Sunnydale for another future

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Buffy-Centered > Theme: ActionbecuzitswrongFR1831164,5184422117521,5782 Oct 076 Mar 14No
CoA Winner

Chapter 22—Vamp Killing 101

Author's Note: Sorry for the big delay on updates, folks. I'll try to update a bit more often from here on out. My goal is a new chapter of one of my stories per month. I'll do my best to stick to that schedule. Now, onto the story.



Connie stared at the blank computer screen. It was the Sunday ending Spring Break and the Colorado Springs vampire threat was over. Whatever had been the vampires' intentions, it was over and done with for now. At least Connie thought it was. She was feeling tired, confused, and uncertain. So much had happened last weekend. Connie had had the entire week to think about the events and was no closer to a resolution in her mind. She had spoken a couple of times to Cali, but with the five hundred pound gorilla hanging over their heads, it hadn't been that productive.

She remembered what one of her high school teachers had always preached. Mr. Kincaid would say, “If something big happens in your life that confuses you, and it isn't something you want to talk about with someone else, write it down. Make it either a report or a story. The format doesn't matter. The main thing is to get what happened down. And usually what you'll find is that you'll get your feelings about the event down as well or you'll at least clarify them in your own mind.”

Connie thought something like that would work for her. Deciding, she put away her Physics homework and started typing, a fierce look of concentration on her face.



Vamp Killing 101

or

How I Spent My Spring Break

by Connie Perez


Well, I'm here. Here being “Obsession”, one of the newer clubs that seem to pop up all the time in Colorado Springs. Oh, sorry, I just realized I hadn't introduced myself. My name is Connie Perez. I'm a Fourth Class Cadet up at the Zoo. And I'm here at Obsession to kill vampires. Or rather to prevent any vampires from escaping while Cali kills them.

Yes, that's right. A vampire-killer named Cali. Which is actually more appropriate than her given name of Buffy. At least Cali could be construed to be the Hindu goddess of death, not just a nickname for being from California. Buffy's just... weird in that California prom-princess kind of way. But I digress.

I arrived at Obsession at 2000 Hours dressed in a short skirt and a top skimpy enough that every time I took a deep breath, I worried people will start stuffing dollar bills into my boots to pay for the show. But that's what you need to have on to get in. They don't just let everyone in. Of course, how much of that is because of their standards and how much is because this is a vampire bar, who knows?

Yes, a vampire bar. A bar that is run by vampires. Cali says vampire groupies call them the Lonely Ones. It makes it a lot more romantic than calling them what they are, a bunch of blood-sucking monsters who prey upon weak-minded idiots. Yes, I have issues. Vampires scare me. One nearly killed me the first time Cali took me vamp hunting.

I'm drinking something vaguely fruity and alcoholic. Figures, they were closer to asking me my cup size than my age. No ID necessary to get in. I don't think they are worried about the police. Cali thinks that they may have someone placed in the police department. Apparently not all cops are as stupid as the ones in Sunnydale.

At least that's what Cali says. Let me go into more detail about Cali. Her given name is Buffy Anne Summers. I met her the first day of BCT and we hit it off immediately. Five weeks later, after innumerable bug bites, a couple of nasty sunburns, and many, many bitch sessions, we'd become fast friends.

Cali impressed me from day one when she kicked the ass of practically everyone there, navigating the various obstacle courses and other physical conditioning they made us do. She was simply amazing. The funny thing is, no one really noticed. Oh, they saw what she'd done, none of our classmates are stupid, but they just couldn't seem to reconcile it with her appearance.

You see, Cali is a tiny, blonde, California prom queen. At least on the outside. She can act like a blonde ditz, but she's like an iceberg. You know what I mean. Most of what she's about is going on under the surface.

Anyway, while every guy at BCT, even a lot of the student instructors, were salivating over Cali's looks, none of them were really seeing the person underneath. Yes, she's that hot. And it was worse with the girls because they were all jealous. Jealous of Cali's looks. Of her physical prowess. And of the attention she got from the guys here.

But back to what Cali is really like. The best description is that she's like a force of nature, a hurricane or tornado. The smartest thing you can do when she's coming is to just get out of the way. Even then, you'll get swept away in her wake. That's what happened to me. Except, instead of getting out of her way, I jumped right in and got carried away like Dorothy. Except there's no Cowardly Lion or Tin Man here. Just monsters who make the flying monkeys seem not so scary.

How did I find out about Cali being a vampire killer? Oh, wait, sorry, Vampire Slayer. Yes, capitalized just like a proper title. I have been suspicious of Cali from shortly after we first met. She just isn't like other cadets. For one thing, nothing rattles her. When a Firstie would get in her face and scream at her, she wouldn't even bat an eye. It was like she'd been through worse. Nothing seemed to faze her.

Also, she kept doing crazy stuff physically. She beat up on some huge Annapolis cadet who was Marine-bound at the UA Championships. That was pretty crazy. Also, no matter how much drill punishment she received, Cali would just do it as if it wasn't even a challenge. I was ready to toe the line after walking a few 'Squares'. Cali wore out the soles of three pairs of shoes doing so.

I could go on and add her sleeping patterns, her nightmares, and a host of other details, but that would just be redundant. Cali's just not normal. Whether it's because she spent so much time in high school killing vampires or part of the whole Slayer package, she's unique. Very unique.

But enough about Cali. We're here about vampires. Vampires. Where to start. Well, I now know how to kill them. Vampire Slaying 101, as Cali calls it. This is what Cali said about killing vampires.


Cali grinned at my look of distaste. She had all of the tools of vampire killing laid out on her bed. One by one, she went over them. “Okay, this is a wooden stake,” she confidently stated, effortlessly whirling it around in her hand. “Quickest and easiest weapon to use on a vampire. You stick them in the heart and they turn to dust.” She put it down. “The only problem is, if you're not a strong man, or me, it can be pretty tough to hit the heart with one. Getting through the skin and muscle, that is.”

“Ugh.”

She shook a chiding finger at me. “You're the one who wanted to know about this stuff, Sundance, so shut it!”

I stuck out my tongue to which she responded with a beatific smile. “Next, we have a short sword. Best if razor sharp. 'Cause you gotta decapitate them with a sword in order to kill them.” Cali looked thoughtful for a moment. “Though I guess if you cut off their arms and legs, they would pretty much be helpless.”

I was getting sick. “Please tell me you're joking. You wouldn't do that, would you?”

Cali looked offended. “Please. I rarely play with vamps, but when I do, I usually just beat on them with my fists. I'm not into random torture.”

But you're okay with non-random torture, I thought. I left the words unsaid. “And the lighter fluid?”

Cali picked up the lighter and lighter fluid. “Vamps are combustible. Is that a word? Anyway, you can set them on fire pretty easy, and you get vampire flambes. Then they dust. But when you squirt them, it tends to make them pissy, so watch out.”

“Is that it?” I asked.

“Nope. If you can get one into sunlight, it'll burn up pretty quickly.”

The odds of me getting a vampire to follow me into the sun were minor. “Okay, stake 'em, decapitate 'em, burn 'em, or tan 'em.”

“And one more.”

She carefully put away all of the various weapons back into her 'weapons trunk.' Then from under her pillow she pulled a super soaker.

“Umm... Cali?”

She gave me an innocent look. “Yes?”

“What's up with that?”

“What?”

I gestured at the water gun she had in her hands. “The toy? You planning to squirt them with lighter fluid?”

I shuddered at the gleam in her eyes, but then Cali shook her head. “Nope. Interesting idea, though. I'll have to try it one day. But for now, we're sticking with this.”

Cali pulled out a bottle from under her pillow. She tossed it to me. It was labeled ”Holy Water”. “Cali. What. The. Fuck. Look, I get that you're not religious, but there's no reason to make fun of us that are. I mean it was one thing to give me that down in the Tunnels, but for shooting out a squirt gun?” Practicing Catholic here, folks.

I stopped at the look in Cali's eyes. Slowly she stated, “Connie, I never said I don't believe in God. I see evidence all of the time of His existence. I just don't like him very much. But he does provide one good thing.” With that, she gestured towards the bottle I held.

“Holy water works against vampires?”

Cali nodded. “It acts like acid on them. Dissolves them if they get hit by enough. Remember me telling you about the Cruciamentum?”

Ugh, yeah, who could forget? Aloud, I said, “I remember.”

“I managed to kill this crazy vamp, Kralik, by tricking him into drinking holy water. He literally burned from the inside out. Turned right into ashes while standing there. I even got a pat on the head from big guy from the Watchers' Council for being so clever. 'Course, I ruined it when I told him as soon as I got my powers back I was going to hurt him, but that's another story. Anyway, holy water works great in a squirt gun. And since this is going to be your weapon, I figure you might want to practice.”

With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I took the super soaker. Hefting it, I noticed there was already ammo inside. Okay, this thing might be fun. I aimed it at Cali and shot her squarely in the face. I fell to the floor laughing at the look of astonishment on her face.



So these are the ways to kill vampires. The only problem is that for most of them, you need to be close enough to interact with the vampire. Who just happens to be two to three times as strong as a large man and a soulless killer.

Not that Cali intends me to kill vampires. I am strictly backup. That's why the super soaker filled with holy water. I'm also armed with a bunch of crosses and a handful of wooden stakes. According to Cali it's better to be prepared than not. That's pretty much the inventory of weapons on me at the moment. Oh, I almost forgot. I also have a short sword that looks like something out of Lord of the Rings that I have to hand off to Cali in the bar.

The plan goes like this: I go in, order a drink, while waiting for Cali. Once she arrives, she'll head towards the vampires and I'll follow behind her after a moment. My job is to keep the vampires from escaping after I give her the sword. Oh, by the way, I do have a long leather coat on to hide the weapons. Which doesn't look odd. I promise. It is still extremely cold in March in Colorado after all.

We're here on a Sunday evening because it turns out that sneaking out of the Zoo on a Saturday, even during Spring Break, when you are under confinement, isn't really possible, not unless you can be in two places at once. Yesterday was filled with last second inspections and busywork, even a SLAMI, where they tore our room apart, apparently just to do it. This morning, Cali said it'll help prepare us for Recognition, but at the time, she was all white knuckles and lip biting. Not to mention the cursing as we cleaned and organized everything afterwards. The girl's got a temper.

I still haven't seen a vampire. Or anything resembling one. Just a bunch of wannabes dancing to crappy techno music, interspersed with the occasional Top 40 garbage. Where were the Cranberries when you needed them? The beat is starting to give me a headache. But such are the sacrifices of helping to save the world. Or at least my little corner of it.

Just like that, the music changes. I recognize the song. It's “Building a Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan. A song I actually like. I sit for a moment, relaxing as I listen to the beginning lyrics. Then all relaxation is forgotten. Cali's here.

You come out at night
That's when the energy comes
And the dark side's light
And the vampires roam
You strut your rasta wear
And your suicide poem
And a cross from a faith that died
Before Jesus came
You're building a mystery

You live in a church
Where you sleep with voodoo dolls
And you won't give up the search
For the ghosts in the halls
You wear sandals in the snow
And a smile that won't wash away
Can you look out the window
Without your shadow getting in the way?


Cali walks in like she owns the place. She's dressed all in black. Extremely short, black leather skirt. Incredibly slutty black halter top. Black fishnet hose. Black knee-high leather boots with a heel so high I'm not sure I could even walk in them. And a black wig that almost made her look like an anime character out of a Japanese cartoon. The funny thing was that when I saw everything laid out on her bed, I didn't find any single part of the outfit all that bad, except maybe the halter top. Okay, there's no maybe about the halter top. I'd said slutty then and now I'm thinking slutty with a side helping of skanky with a big ol' order of ho-bag for dessert.

As Cali stalks into the room, I find the music oddly fitting. Maybe she does too because I see her put even more wiggle in her walk. And with heels that high, she's already wiggling plenty. Jiggling plenty, even, in that skimpy halter top. And getting attention. Lots and lots of attention.

A girl dancing with a guy slaps him when his head turns to follow Cali. Another pair of guys stop talking, as they are drawn into her orbit, eyes traveling down the slim line of her bare back to her leather-clad buttocks. Like a wandering star, Cali's gravity affects everyone in the room, male or female. Everyone there wants her or wants to be her.

Cali arrives at the bar and leans slightly over the bar to speak to the bartender. Her skirt, already so short as to be indecent, is in danger of doing the big reveal. Everyone is watching and waiting, conversations on hold. I can see one guy, drink halfway to his mouth and completely forgotten, staring. But somehow the hemline of her skirt stays in place for the few seconds it takes the bartender to smile, nod, and gesture her towards a door that nearly blends into the wall near the other end of the bar.

Cali straightens, smiling her thanks and sashays that way. As she passes near my table, I catch her wink, her eyes bright with amusement. After all, I am not staring at her jiggling chest or anything else in motion, unlike the rest of the bar. Then she's through the door and gone.

I hit the timer on my watch. I have two minutes until I need to follow her. Two minutes that are going to last for an eternity. As I wait, I ponder Cali's genius.


“Won't someone recognize you? Or at least be able to provide a description?” I asked, staring uncertainly at the clothes that Cali had laid out on the bed.

“Not if they're all staring at my boobs. Or my ass. Which they will be.” Cali was grinning as she said it.

“Buffy.” Joyce's quiet remonstrance dimmed Cali's grin, turning it into a pout. “Don't give me that look, young lady. I can see how this is going to work, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. No mother likes seeing her daughter looking like a street walker.”

Cali's pout turned back into a smile. “And that's why you wouldn't buy me that dress back in high school.”

“Exactly.” They shared a quiet glance with communicated so much. It made a lump form in my throat.

Cali's face turned wistful. “But it made me look so thin.”

Joyce shook her head and stared at the outfit spread out over Cali's bed. “And like a street walker. Although, I'm pretty sure this is actually worse than that dress. After all, that dress at least covered your back. I've seen swimsuits that covered more than what you're planning to wear. And where exactly do you plan to put a weapon?”

Cali shrugged, “I can carry a stake in this. Trust me when I say I've had lots of practice at hiding one of those. As far as the heavy artillery is concerned, Connie's carrying that.”

I nodded at Joyce's look. And wondered where exactly Cali was going to put that stake. Even Mr. Pointy (don't ask) didn't look like it would fit anywhere. But then again, that was why Cali was the Slayer.

End Flashback


Okay, it was time. I got up from my table and headed towards the door that Cali has just strutted through. As I reached it, I was intercepted by the bartender. Up close, he had a kind of Neanderthal attraction, dark intense eyes under thick brows. He said something I couldn't hear over the music, so with a sultry smile and a hand cupped to my ear, I leaned in. As he started to repeat what he'd just said, breath warm against my ear, I drove my knee into his groin with enough force to actually lift him slightly off the floor. He dropped to the floor into a fetal position, rocking in pain, hands wrapped around himself.

Grabbing the door handle, I quickly pushed it open into a long hallway with a single bulb hanging down providing a dim light. There was only one door located at the opposite end of the hallway. I ran at this point, almost tripping in the heels I wore. Steadying myself against the wall, I could feel my pulse pounding. But I didn't hesitate once I reached the door, throwing it open. Into Hell.

Bodies were flying everywhere as what seemed like dozens of figures tried to converge on Cali. Who somehow wasn't there when they hit, avoiding them all, except for the ones she'd staked. A dusty haze hung over the room, testament to how many she'd already killed. Even as I watched, Cali executed a perfect palm strike to the chin of a lunging vampire, snapping its entire body straight for perhaps half a second. Which turned out to be plenty of time for Cali to drive the wooden stake in her hand into its heart, turning it to dust.

Another vampire snapped her head back with a hard left, only to have its follow up blow blocked, its arm seized, straightened, and the entire joint destroyed, almost faster than I could follow. Cali dusted it, turning that move into a vertical jump split kick that caught two vampires coming in right in their faces, sending them head over heels into others. Of course she must have flashed them big time. I somehow doubted that they felt it was a fair trade. I reflected that it was a damn good thing that skirt was that short or Cali would never be able to pull off half her moves.

Cali continued to fight, seemingly striking three blows for every one she took. Then I shook off my trance. I was here to do a job. Grabbing the short sword from its sheath beneath my coat, I shouted, “Catch, Cali!” and threw it as hard as I could at her.

Just as we'd rehearsed, Cali effortlessly snagged the blade from the air, whipping it around so fast that I could hear the hum from where I stood even over the cacophony of the vampires. It removed two heads even as another was dusted by a stake thrust. Then I realized that I had attracted some attention of my own and lost track of Cali's movements.

Hastily unlimbering the super soaker from beneath my coat, I aimed at the two vampires stalking towards me. With a quick pump, I sent a stream of water that hit the first directly in the eyes. The result was gruesome, his flesh crumbling as if I had sprayed acid on him. Blinded and screaming in agony, he turned away from me and quickly became fodder for Cali's spinning blade.

The other vampire, an attractive brunette girl, dressed for clubbing with some serious waist-low cleavage, hesitated a second, then lunged at me. I missed her face, but soaked her scalp with holy water, sending her into a frenzy of screams as she tore at her smoking hair. Unfortunately, she didn't stop running towards me and I was too slow to get out of the way as she barreled into me, knocking me onto my back. Luckily, I was able to take the fall like a judo throw and while I knew I would be bruised tomorrow, I wasn't injured.

I was also able to hold onto the super soaker, and hit her again from my prone position. The blast of holy water literally burned a hole straight through her chest, dusting her a moment later. Dusting being a more of a metaphor as she became part of a muddy mist that hung in the air. It was unbelievably disgusting as I could literally taste the vampire.

I started up, only to be hit by another figure. This time, I slammed painfully into the floor, breath leaving me in a big 'whoosh' as a figure pinned me. I'd lost the super soaker when I hit and turning my head, saw it off to my right. I was just reaching for it when I felt breath at my throat. Even as a cold tongue was licking across my collar bone, I reached down and felt around the skull of the vampire that was on me until I found what I was looking for. Without hesitation, I drove my fingers into the vampire's eyes, feeling the soft gelatin-like orbs tear and squish.

The vampire reared up into the air, screaming at the top of its lungs as it clutched its eyes. I managed to grab the super soaker and started spraying it right in its open mouth. In a moment, screams were replaced by a 'whoosh' sound, and I was covered again in wet, sticky, vampire dust. Between that and what was on my right hand, I was barely keeping it together. My internal mantra became, 'Don't vomit. Don't vomit. Don't vomit.'

Scrambling to my feet, I took a second to survey the fight. Cali had the vampires down to just six, but they were hanging back, staying out of reach of her sword, taunting her, and trying to get to her back. Fuck that. I started spraying everything in sight with holy water. Damn, a super soaker had good range. And holy water was a great distraction. Vampire screams and roars rang out before Cali silenced them with a thrust or slice.

Finally, silence fell. Every vampire was dust. Only Cali, myself, and a third figure I could just make out at the other end of the room remained. I walked up to Cali's side, warily watching the other figure. She flashed me a quick smile, then casually announced, “You might as well come forward. There isn't another way out.”

Slowly the figure shuffled forward. It was clad in a dark robe with a hood. Raising its arms, the figure pushed its hood back. Somehow I swallowed my instinctive scream as its face was revealed. The thing screamed its alienness as it stared at us through cruel yellow eyes. Somehow my mind made the connection. It was a demon. A demon. A mouth with way too many teeth for anything natural opened and it spoke in unaccented English. “The Slayer lives far to the west of here?”

It was half statement and half question. I was trying to wrap my mind around something from a horror movie speaking perfect English, but Cali seemed to take it in stride. Flippantly, she said, “That's what I hear. Me, I'm just a girl.”

It gestured around the room. “Cain did not warn of us of you. Now you have killed my brethren.”

Cali seemed genuinely surprised. “Your breth-who? Since when have demons and vamps been hanging out together? You guys like bunk-buddies now with the touch-feely? Cause, that's like ewww...”

The demon stood taller. Spite and malice dripped from its voice. “Cain has promised us a new world if we work together. One where we do not have to be afraid. Where we will rule and humans will be fodder. Where—”

With a look of almost pity on her face, Cali interrupted him, “And you believed this 'Cain?'” She strode forward until she was standing right in front of the thing. “'Cain' is wrong. Demons will never rule here again.”

The demon tried to sneer as it stared down at her, but even I could see that it was afraid. It was a strange emotion on that horrifying visage. “Who are you to speak such words?”

Cali paused a moment, then the blade of the short sword she carried was sticking out the back of the thing's head. I had never even seen her move. Her speed was terrifying. The figure toppled, pulling the blade from her hand. Staring down at slain demon, Cali stated, “I'm the Slayer.”

Cali looked up from the corpse at her feet and asked, “You have the lighter and fluid?”

I nodded and produced them from one of the many pockets in the coat. Cali took both, retrieved her sword, and after cleaning and sheathing it, proceeded to spray the lighter fluid all over the room. After the container was empty, she tossed it to the ground. The lighter she lit and kneeling, touched the lighter fluid. The room started to burn.

“And that's our cue to get out.” Cali grabbed my arm, pulling me out the door.

I won't burden you with all of the events that happened next. Suffice it to say that even vampire bars have pull-tab fire alarms. At least this one did. The bar was evacuated. No one was killed. No humans, anyway. And it was pretty much gutted before the fire department got the blaze under control. Cali did say one thing as we watched it burn. “Fire bad, tree pretty.” I had to agree with her there.

Anyway, that is how I spent my Spring Break, killing vampires and burning down a bar. I know it's not a gym or an entire school, but hey, learning here. Cali found out something from that demon before she killed him. Otherwise she probably would have tortured him. I think I understand as well. If not, I'm sure she will tell him in time what she discovered and what it means. Right now I am back at the Zoo and am not going to think about monsters for a while.

Conchita Perez
Fourth-Class Cadet
United States Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, CO




There, she was done. It read more like a trashy adventure novel than a report, but that was okay. No one else was ever going to read it. Not even Cali. Connie had written it for herself, and it was no one else's business what was written or how it was written.

Connie silently stared at the computer screen. She could feel Cali's curiosity about what she'd spent the entire day doing. Cali's stare on the back of her neck felt like an actual touch. It made her shiver. Monsters were real. Her worst nightmares didn't even come close in comparison to what was really out there. Horrors that wanted to end the world. With only one person, well, now two people, standing between the world and its extinction.

“I'm sorry.”

Connie ignored the voice for a moment, but finally allowed herself to be pulled out of her funk. “You played me.”

“I know I did. I had my reasons.” Cali's voice was oh so reasonable as she spoke to Connie's back. Fuck that.

Spinning around, Connie lashed out, “I was never in any danger back in the Tunnels, was I?”

Cali's fierce gaze was dimmed, as though she'd deliberately banked her fires. Gently, she said, “No, you were never in any danger.”

Connie shook her head. Damn she was pissed. It hadn't registered with her until halfway back to Cali's house just how easily Cali had dealt with so many vampires. Even if they were all newbies, as she'd stated, Cali had torn through them like a chainsaw through balsa wood. Even without Connie's help, Cali would have won that fight. After coming to that realization, Connie concluded that there was no way that Buffy would have been thrown around so easily by the vampire in the Tunnels. It was just one of the things that had so obsessed her thoughts the past week.

“I've never fought that many vamps by myself before and I didn't know what to expect.” Cali's voice was introspective as she continued, “I've gotten quite a bit better fighting here at the Zoo. Maybe because I have to pay so much attention to technique when I go so slow, or maybe because I'm teaching others. They say you learn best while teaching. But—”

Forcing down her interest in what Cali was saying, Connie interrupted, “What were you trying to accomplish? Did you want to scare me off? Is that it?”

Those banked fires suddenly blazed as Cali's stared at her. Connie could feel the heat of her gaze as Cali weighed her words before she emphatically shook her head, “No. I wasn't trying to scare you off. At that point, I didn't think it would work anyway. But I needed you to be careful.”

“Careful? We were hunting monsters. Of course I was being careful...”

“No, you weren't. You were off on an 'adventure'. You had no idea what was out there. Yes, I let that vamp grab you. I wanted you scared. I wanted you worried and cautious. I did not want you overconfident and careless. Too dependent upon me. I don't want to lose you.”

“I'm not a child!”

Softly. “I know. I'm sorry. It's just... I can't lose anyone else. Not again.”

Connie took a deep breath. Shit, she thought, damn her for being right again. “It saved my life,” she admitted, a wry smile tugging at her mouth. Smile disappearing, Connie met Cali's knowing gaze squarely. “Don't get me wrong. I'm still mad at you. I'm going to be mad at you for at least another week. But, what you did, it saved my life in there. To know how strong a vampire was. How little chance I had against one hand-to-hand. How utterly cruel and amoral they were. I was completely ruthless when I dealt with them. If I had hesitated, even a split second, I'd probably be dead. So thanks.”

Cali smiled, eyes full of some undefined emotion. “You're welcome.”

Connie spun back around in her chair. With her back to Cali, she stated, “Remember, I'm going to be mad for another week. At least.”

Cali's soft words brushed her spine, “I'll remember.”

Connie could feel warmth steal into her. Sure there were monsters out there. Things worse that her worst nightmares. But there was also something else out there. A hero. Someone who would save the world. Because that was what she did.

Connie stared at her computer screen. She clicked 'Edit' then 'Select All'. Her finger hesitated over the 'Del' button, before finally pressing down. She didn't need the words anymore. Her thoughts were clear. Her future was decided. Smiling, Connie leaned back in her chair and listened to her roommate mumbling something over her Physics homework. Everything was going to be okay.



Sunnydale, California

Cain stared into space, his thoughts savage. The team he had sent off to subjugate the Air Force Academy were dead, their base of operations destroyed. He had no idea who had done it. Based on what he knew from gleaning the Internet, most of the United States Government knew nothing about the supernatural or what was happening in Sunnydale. But someone knew. And they had taken steps to prevent him from succeeding.

Anger fading, he shook his head at the foolish emotion. Victory was assured. With regrets he canceled the two additional missions to Annapolis, Maryland and West Point, New York. No point in wasting resources at this point. All three would fall to him soon enough. First, however, he needed to bolster his forces and he would need the Initiative to do so. Smiling faintly, he decided that it was only a minor setback. The Slayer was no match for him. Soon, the world would be his.
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