See main disclaimer in previous chapters. Disclaimer for this chapter at the end.
Castle patrols the streets of Sunnydale looking for criminal activity. Even knowing the type of nightlife that inhabits this town, he knows he can count on human greed and desperation to show its face at some point. The center of town was eerily quiet so he moved on toward the outskirts. For some unfathomable reason or maybe it was just sheer stupidity, the local teen hangout is almost always open and full of people.
He hadn't gotten much out of Stein before either a post-hynotic suggestion or something else kicked in. Stein did manage to let him know that cover-up went above him but not how far up. Guess he'd have to do it the hard way then. He was passing near The Bronze when he hears a scream echo through the alley. Castle quickly reaches into his coat and pulls out an Auto-9 while making his way to the source of the scream.
Turning a corner, he comes across three figures standing over a fourth. The fourth, a blonde female, was on the ground with a hand on her face like she'd been struck and tears forming in her eyes. The shocked look on her face made it clear that she wasn't used to being treated so poorly.
'Probably one of the local brats.' thinks Castle. All he needs is an excuse to deal with the punks in his special way. Castle moves closer.
"Well, boys, looks like we get to have fun with our dinner." One of the standing three states, casually hitting the others on the arm.
"I bet she'll scream real nice like." One of the others replies.
"What are you freakoids talking about?" the blonde asks, "If you left a mark on my face, you will regret the day you crossed Harmony Kendall."
The three males laugh at the brevity their meal shows in its final moments. The faces on all three change to a more animalistic visage with yellow eyes, ridged brows, and fangs. Harmony looks at the faces of her attackers and screams once more. The first speaker picks Harmony up and is about to bite her when his companion on the left bursts into a cloud of ash accompanied by the loud report of gunfire.
Another loud report dusts the other assailant as the two that were left turn toward the shooter leaving only the one holding Harmony left. The vampire quickly turns Harmony around and grabs her by the throat using her as a shield.
"Rude much." Harmony says, displeased with her current situation.
The man growls at her to shut up. Harmony and her captor look on as the shooter steps closer. The red glowing orbs moving ever closer to them. As the being steps into the light, the skull on his chest becomes visible to them.
"Oh crap." the vampire whispers in Harmony's ear.
Harmony feels something wet on her backside.
"Oh, ewww! Did you just pee on me? This is a designer skirt and you just ruined it!" Harmony screeches as she stomps down on the foot of her assailant. She then begins to beat on him with her fists.
Castle quirks an eyebrow as he watches as the blonde beats on the vampire for a few moments before the demon has enough and pushes her away. Harmony stumbles back into him. The vampire takes advantage of the situation and runs away. It doesn't get far before it feels something hot tear into its chest. The roar of gunfire the last thing it hears before fading to oblivion.
"Are you TRYING to make me deaf?" Harmony states as the ringing in her ear closest to the gun continues, "Just who do you...you...you? YOU!"
The glow of Castle's eyes fades, revealing his true face to the woman in front of him. She looks stunned and rendered speechless. She can't believe what she's seeing. He was supposed to be dead. She had gone to his funeral, had seen the body in the open casket, and had watched it lowered into the ground. There is no way it can be him.
"Xander?" she says softly before passing out.
Castle's eyebrows rise at the passed out girls proclamation.
"Huh." he said before he turns and walks away.
"Are you just goin to leave her there?" A voice asks.
He had just passed the entrance of the alley when he suddenly turns, aiming the Auto-9 in the direction the voice came from. The figure raises his hands in surrender, hoping that it's not a shoot first, ask questions later scenario.
"Whistler." Castle growls when he sees the balance demon.
"Nice to see you too." Whistler jokes nervously before Castle puts the gun away.
Castle has very little patience for the being since learning of his involvement with Angelus. As far as Castle is concerned, Whistler deserves equal punishment for the events that occurred. 'Just following orders' is no excuse. He continues to walk away from the alley when Whistler calls to him.
"Why bother saving her then?"
"I didn't. I took care of some parasites. That she happens to survive the encounter is not my doing." Castle replies, remembering how she had fought back comically after her clothes had been ruined. A lop-sided grin appears on his face. The grin quickly disappears at Whistler's next words.
"Do you really think the kid would just leave her there exposed?" Whistler called after him.
Disclaimer: The Auto-9 is from Robocop so it belongs to whoever owns the rights to that property.