Determinator by Weaver
Disclaimer: As always, if you recognise it, it isn't mine.
A/N: I wasn't quite happy with this chapter's previous ending so I changed it. I've still got the old version saved though so feel free to tell me what you prefer. As always concrit is welcome, as are reviews of all types (except flames of course, well unless they're justified). Bonus points to anyone who spots the Meaningful Name.
It lurked beneath the road, mouth upwards, waiting for the unwary to approach and be easily swallowed by its maw. It had been some time since its last meal and the ever present hunger had become increasingly pressing. However it was a patient creature. It could wait; food would be along sooner or later. It always was.
Sure enough it felt the faint vibrations that heralded approaching prey and primed itself to pounce. The rhythmic thumping came closer and closer until it was almost on top of it. With a surge it rose up though the ground, mouth parts ready to snatch its prey.
Only to feel a sudden, agonising bolt of pain followed by oblivion as a sword was driven downwards, though its mouth and into its brain, twisted and pulled out, without its presumed dinner even breaking stride. A moment later a pair of child sized boots did a thorough job of reducing its mouth parts to pulp, although given that the sword wound was almost certainly fatal this was largely unnecessary.
Gabriel flicked some unidentified gore of his blade and gave it a quick wipe with a tissue before resheathing it, mentally thanking Cali for the heads up. He didn’t have to look to know when Vlad had caught up. The young vampire looked better than he had when they’d first met, having traded in his rags for new clothes and boots liberated from an abandoned department store. Gabriel was almost certain that he was feeding, although what off was a question that he never asked. Given their circumstances and the state of the world in general though he was largely confident that anyone who had suffered death by fangs probably deserved it. Truth be told, it was a subject that he preferred not to dwell on, focusing instead on his own survival and keeping up his gruelling pace in pursuit of the horizon. He and Vlad seldom talked while they were walking, conversation was saved for when they were stationary and even then it was often stilted. Vlad was chatty enough when he felt like it but Gabriel had always been the taciturn type. They may not have talked much, but they were both glad of the others presence since even walking through hell was easier to bear when you had company and another pair of eyes to look out for trouble.
They slogged onwards for another couple of hours, the scorched fields eventually giving way to a tiny, ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ town that was largely wrecked and apparently abandoned. Finding a miraculously intact bench they stopped long enough for Gabriel to have a drink, eat a protein bar and give his body a chance to pay off some of the oxygen debt. As soon as the burning in his legs had faded back to tolerable levels, they were off, periodically checking the more intact buildings for anything that might be useful. Walking towards a house with a flattened white picket fence which looked pink in the dull red light, Gabriel felt the mental shock that came from Cali picking up something with hostile intent and drew his sword, every muscle coiled for action.
“Something’s coming. Get ready.”
Vlad nodded, a strange smirk on his lips.
For a moment everything was quiet, the only sounds Gabriel’s breathing and the thump of his heart beat. Then the ground shuddered under their feet as a jumbo jet sized creature that looked like a cross between a wolf and some sort of insect leapt out from a gaping hole in the top floor of a nearby house. Noticing the two figures it fixed them with a look that roughly translated as ‘oh look, a snack’ and lunged.
What happened next was rather confused, with Gabriel doing his best to avoid the creature’s snapping jaws and do as much damage of his own as he could. He lost track of Vlad but if the splashes of gore on the ground and the creature’s periodic stumbles were any indication he was dishing out his own share of violence.
Wielding his sword in a manner probably more suited to a club, Gabriel succeeded in knocking out a couple of the thing’s teeth, only to overbalance when dodging a swiping set of claws and hit the ground. The thing went in for the kill, giving Gabriel a good view of the damage he’d inflicted to its mouth, when suddenly it froze and collapsed, purple blood gushing from several large wounds. Unfortunately for Gabriel, the thing’s rock hard jaw landed heavily on his leg. There was a sickening crunch and he let out a single bellow of pain.
Attempting to pull his leg out resulted in more pain and the discovery that the limb was well and truly pinned. He was just starting to try and pry the creature’s jaw up, using Cali as an impromptu crowbar, when a pair of purple stained hands grabbed the head and, with some effort, lifted it up enough to free his leg. Gabriel scooted backwards, every jolt sending fresh shocks of pain up his leg. Inspecting the damage, he was dismayed at what he found. The limb was definitely broken, in at least two places by the look of things, although the skin was intact and it seemed like the breaks were fairly clean. Cursing under his breath, he tried to think of what to do next. Staying put wasn’t an option; the smell of blood would soon attract every scavenger in the area. His only choice was to get moving. Looking up he saw Vlad watching him with childlike concern, an expression that jarred with the blood on hands.
“I’ve got to splint this leg. Can you pass me some of the wood from that fence?”
Vlad nodded and did as he was asked. Gabriel took off his rucksack and started looking for something to bind his leg.
Four Days Later
Since the attacks that accompanied the declaration of war the number of guards manning the colony’s walls and gate had been increased, much to the annoyance of the ones doing the manning. It wasn’t the possibility of attack that bothered them as much as the tedium. Even in the Post-Event world it was possible to take watch after watch without anything happening and there’s only so much staring out at rubble and wasteland that anyone can take.
Which is why when the gate guards spotted something moving down the road towards them they thought that their day was looking up.
“Reckon it’s another attack?”
“Can’t tell. Doesn’t look like there’s many of them though.”
The guard grabbed a pair of binoculars and looked though them.
“Nope. As I thought, there’s only two of them. One looks like a kid and the other’s injured, bust leg by the look of things.”
The guard continues to watch as the crippled figure limped along, leaning on a makeshift crutch. After a minute or two he stumbles and falls flat on his face, only to immediately haul himself back onto his feet with help from his companion. Even from this distance it was easy to see that he had to be in pain but he kept moving, inch by agonizing inch. A few more yards down the road he falls down again, and again he picks himself up and resumes hobbling down the road.
“Should we send a car out?”
“I don’t know. For all we know he could be bait to get us to open the gates.”
“But what if they’re not and something grabs them before they can reach the gate?”
The guard looks back out at the figure stubbornly making its way towards them and reaches a decision. Putting down the binoculars, he picked up one of the radios modified to operate despite the interference from the Red Sky.
“This is Bernardo. I’ve got two unidentified individuals approaching from the North. As far as I can tell they’re non-hostile. At least one of them is injured and they’re still some distance away so it might be a good idea to send a car out to pick them up before something pops up and eats them.”
A few minutes later the gate was opened just enough to allow an armoured SUV to get though. Although too small and insufficiently protected for long distance travel (a role better left to the buses) it was ideal for occasions where it was necessary to go outside the walls without going very far. Once it was clear, the gate was swiftly closed behind it and the SUV sped off towards the two walkers.
Gabriel hit the ground with a grunt. A couple of days ago it would’ve triggered a bout of cursing but profanity seemed somewhat pointless after he’d fallen over for the umpteenth time. It was somewhat inevitable really, one leg more or less had to do the work of two and exhaustion had taken its toll on that one. The impact sent a jolt of pain though his broken leg but pain of one sort or another had been a virtual constant since Halloween and he’d learned to live with it. Gritting his teeth, he got up so that he was kneeling on his ‘good’ leg and between using his crutch and Vlad’s help managed to pull himself upright. A lesser (and/or saner) individual would probably take falling over three times in under five minutes as a sign that they should take a break but Gabriel was a man on a mission. He could see the walls of what appeared to be some sort of stronghold in front of him and he’d made up his mind not to stop until he reached them. No number of falls or the resulting bruises and scrapes would ever convince him otherwise. He limped on, head down, jaw clenched tight against the pain. The sound of an engine made him look up but not stop. It wasn’t over until they was on the other side of the walls and until then they had to keep taking care of themselves, which in this instance meant reaching the wall. If help was on its way then good, if it wasn’t then it didn’t matter, they could manage without it.
When the SUV drove up to them and pulled to a halt however, it seemed like stopping might be a good idea after all, particularly when the door opened and a dark haired young woman offered them a ride back to the colony. Neither of them replied straight away. Walking through hell on Earth has a way of making you paranoid and Gabriel just stood there for a moment sizing up both the woman and the SUV. The vehicle was fairly impressive looking while woman looked fairly ordinary, though that didn’t mean much. Both males had seen enough to know that these days judging a book by its cover was a Bad Idea.
The woman and the driver sitting beside her were, for their part, somewhat mystified. In front of them was a pale, thin kid who looked to be about nine or so judging by his size carrying a backpack that was too big for him, and a ragged, grimy scarecrow of a man with a crutch and a leg in a splint made out bits of fence and duct tape, who looked like he’d passed the ‘dead on his feet’ stage some time ago, his face ashen, and marred by both fresh bruises and scraps and an eyebrow that was more scar then eyebrow. They’d offered to help them and here they were actually thinking about it.
Gabriel had reached his decision. Either way they were going to the colony so they may as well do it in some comfort. Cali was quiet so they apparently weren’t a threat and if it turned out to be wrong, he could always brain them with his sword and/or sic Vlad on them (although the actually siccing would probably be unnecessary, the vampire generally didn’t need telling about that sort of thing). Looking the women in the eye he nodded.
“Hurry up and get in then.”
One of the rear doors was opened and with a certain amount of difficulty Gabriel climbed in and settled down on the seat. Vlad got in after him with a look on his face like he wasn’t sure what to make of the vehicle but would quite like to find out. Doors shut; the driver executed a perfect U-turn and headed back towards the colony. After a few minutes worth of awkward silence, the woman spoke up.
“So what are you called?”
There was a moment’s hesitation.
“Either of you got a last name?”
Vlad remained silent. Gabriel adjusted his leg and replied.
By now they’d reached the gates, which started to open.
“Well then Mr. Stoker,” said the woman as they drove into the colony, “Welcome to Sunnydale.”
A/N: After finishing the last chapter I decided that I wasn't really satisfied with leaving him wandering the earth, so I wrote this. As for why he ended up in Sunnydale, the possibility of Vlad encountering Seras was oddly appealing. I might catch up with them post-timeskip, but if anyone wants to borrow Gabriel and Vlad before then feel free to do so, just ask me for any details you may need regarding the character.