Bring It On
The Slayer’s resolve to not change thanks to the full moon was rapidly crumbling after leaving the vampire interrogation rooms. Physically, Buffy was already feeling tense. It was similar to how she felt when she was expecting a fight, like she was wound up and ready to strike. She could almost feel the blood burning its way through her veins.
Turning the corner from the street the ‘safe’ house was on, the full moon was the first thing Buffy noticed hanging low in the sky. Clouds flitting over it giving it a pale blue appearance. Looking up at it she could almost feel it as a physical presence pressing down on her. She had never appreciated what it meant to hear the call of the moon, and now she was beginning to understand. Her breathing became more rapid, and Buffy could feel her skin crawl with the heat.
Buffy stumbled into a doorway and collapsed down, leaning her back against the frame, as she sat virtually hyperventilating. The gun dug into her side as she leant against the wall. Consciously slowing her gulping at the night air, and trying to take in long slow breaths, she avoided losing control. The thought of giving in to the animal completely. Becoming what she fought. The thought of potentially harming or even killing innocent people. That was unacceptable.
Having regained some semblance of control, Buffy closed her eyes and sat simply breathing for a few minutes. The urge to go on the rampage passed, but her blood still boiled as it circulated around her body. Selene had been right. If she didn’t control this, she would become nothing more than an animal. One of the things she was supposed to fight. The gun continued to press into side through her jacket as she sat, a reminder that there was one sure way she knew of to control the change.
Opening her eyes, her line of sight fell almost immediately to her hands which were laid out holding on to either of her thighs. The thought of shooting herself was not appealing, and if she did want to investigate what she had dreamed weakening herself further wouldn’t exactly be helpful. She needed to control what she’d been inflicted with thanks to that Lycan at her apartment. And to control it, Buffy realised at some instinctual level that she had to understand it.
Looking back down to her hands, Buffy pulled them off her legs, and started to examine them – her familiar delicate hands. Resolving herself to let it to happen, she allowed the fire under her skin to start to change them. The change started at the tips of her fingers, the nails extending and becoming almost pitch. Buffy’s fingers then started to grow longer and much darker, the muscles rippling and reforming under her skin. The change continued, her hands growing proportionally to her larger fingers.
Allowing the change to continue would have been real easy, and Buffy would have almost liked to have just allowed it to happen. Almost, except the loss of control it would also mean. So, with an almost physical effort she closed her eyes and forced the change to stop. Returning her attention back to her hands, the slayer was momentarily amused to realise that they were virtually the same colour as her black jacket.
With a conscious effort she started to try and reverse the change. Making her hands go back to her normal form was very painful, and the heat under her skin heated to almost boiling point as she forced it to carry on. It seemed that her alter-ego didn’t like being forced back under the surface. After struggling for about a minute Buffy was pleased to see her hands had returned to their usual small size and her skin tone was no longer matching her jacket.
Practicing the change a couple more times, Buffy was about happy that she had a feel for how she could control the result of her being bit. The thought had occurred to her that she really shouldn’t know how to control it quite as easily as she did, but Buffy wasn’t entirely surprised that being the slayer messed with whatever would normally happen with one of these lycans.
Standing up, Buffy took a few deep breaths, before she stepped out from the door way she had been sheltering in and faced the direction of the moon. It still weighed on her like a physical presence, but she controlled her breathing and stood for a good five minutes just looking up at it – tempting it to try and change her. Rationally, Buffy knew that the idea of the moon having a will to try and cause her to change was crazy. It was a lump of rock that orbited the Earth, not an evil entity out to get her. That didn’t change how it felt though.
After satisfying herself that she wasn’t going to go all fury, Buffy looked down from the silvery disc mocking her in the sky and pulling her shoulders back started to walk slowly along the street. Making it to a main road she recognised from her patrols, Buffy started along there only to detect someone walking towards her maybe a hundred yards off.
Hugging close in a dark crevice of a doorway Buffy waited silently until the person, a man in his fifties wearing a deep green hat, had made it by her. She didn’t like the idea of being seen until she was fully secure in knowing that nothing was going to make her change. Stepping out and looking either way along the street, she started to stalk down the pavement, keeping to the shadows as far as possible.* * *
Creeping into the train station via a service entrance, Buffy was pretty sure she had gone unnoticed. In fact, she was almost certain not a soul had seen her all the way to the station. There was no doubt that while she still thought what had happened sucked beyond the telling, there were some advantages. Like she was a lot quicker, and her senses were sharper as well.
Not that it meant if she came across the Lycan that had bit her she wasn’t going to completely slay him. There was the obvious fact he’d passed on his small case of being a lycan, but some of the ‘memories’ she’d been getting gave the impression that he hadn’t exactly been apposed to killing or eating humans either. The other lycans and vampires – she wasn’t so sure about – the memories she’d received so far hadn’t been that revealing.
To her surprise, the freight platforms at night seemed deserted – Buffy would have expected that they kept working right through the night. In LA a lot of the freight terminals never closed. Glancing up at one of the clocks she noticed it had only just gone ten, so she still had plenty of time until the vampires train turned up.
It was tempting to just sit on the station and wait for the train – but Buffy knew that being out in the open like that would make her instantly visible to anyone else who came to the station – not to mention making the whole getting there without being noticed kind of pointless. Glancing down the track she could see that the lights stopped past the end of the platform. So, following the platform along, then the track she secreted herself behind some kind of junction box that was in the dark and beside the track to her platform.
Suppressing a small shudder Buffy tried not to let her gaze wander up to the moon, and keep her attention on the track. Now was not the time to lose her focus and change. If this is what it felt like for Oz during every full moon then it was something she really would have rather not experienced first hand.
The hiding place Buffy had chosen proved to be quite effective. Over the last half hour a couple of diesel passenger trains, and a long coal train had clunked their way through the station. No one had detected her so far. Eventually, Buffy could make out the distinctive hiss and cough of a steam engine, and focusing her attention could see it pulling down the line some ways off.
As if she needed any further confirmation that things were not as they should be, Buffy noted that the players had now moved onto the field. Two black cars with tinted windows had pulled next to the platform – the occupants even from the distance she was from them reeked of vampire. Behind her she could feel more lycans taking up positions.
The train had slowed to pull into the platform, and with a thrust from her legs, Buffy leapt from her hiding place into the doorway of the ornate first carriage. Looking through the plate glass she could see that the entry door had its own little corridor that no-one seemed to be manning. Silently opening the carriage door and creeping in Buffy had made it onto the train.
If this was their idea of security then she could see why she had dreamed that it was going to be a blood bath. Spying through the interior carriage window she could see the old fashioned interior – just as she had dreamt it – all wood panels and spindly French furniture. There were maybe eight or so vampires in the carriage. Three were guards. Four looked to be servants and maids. One was the female vampire she had dreamed of.
The train jostled as it braked to a stop at platform eight.* * *
The opulent room decorated in the almost de-facto red and black that appeared on the surface to be a bedroom come study. In reality, it was Selene’s temporary prison. The door was locked with at least two guards stationed outside. Selene stood at the window looking over the grounds – the front was crawling with vampiric guards – far more than she would have normally expected.
Her head whipped around, short black hair catching up a half second later, as the lights flickered out. Selene’s brilliant blue eyes glanced around at the now darkened room. Glancing back out the window, the barking dogs caught her attention, the guards running after the dogs to the perimeter fence. She could only assume that is what had somehow tripped the power out. Though she didn’t understand how – the security and power for the rest of the mansion weren’t linked to that circuit.
With a slight click the door to her room swung open, to reveal a shifty looking Erika entering and closing the door behind her as quietly as she could. Making her way across the room towards the dark haired vampire, Erika threw the bag she was holding, Selene catching it by reflex.
Unzipping the bag it took Selene about two seconds to realise that Erika had brought her the keys to the silver car she’d been using, and the two guns with injector mags that Khan had given her to use.
“Why are you helping me?” Selene asked.
“I’m not helping anyone,” Erika said, avoiding the question.
Selene turned to jump out the window, and paused for a moment. She would have liked to talk to Erika a little longer, but the fear and worry written over her face made her turn and open the window instead. It was fairly obvious, Selene thought as she jumped from the window the guards now all distracted by whatever had triggered the power failure, that Erika was afraid of getting caught.* * *
This wasn’t going as Buffy had expected. The maids and butlers were all milling around helping the exotic looking vamp from her dream who she assumed was in charge. She felt old, even if she looked to be in her late twenties or early thirties. So far, the vampires at the station hadn’t made any effort to approach the train.
There was a howl. No doubt one of the Lycans. Buffy clenched her fists and forced herself not to lose control in sympathy with the other lycans.
The occupants of the train were starting to get a bit skittish, clearly worried from the noises coming from outside. The vampires in the cars outside still hadn’t made a move to help. It didn’t make any sense.
A second later the carriage was rocked as a number of thuds sounded on the roof. Buffy knew from her senses that these were Lycans. At least four of them, maybe more. Another couple of seconds later two crashed through windows down the far end of the train at the same time in a shower of broken glass. They were already in their dark lycan form, over seven feet of muscle, fur, claws and teeth. They made the werewolves she’d run into in Sunnydale look like cuddly puppies in comparison.
Peering through the window Buffy could see Amelia step back towards the compartment door, the maids and servants scattering, as her three armed guards opened fire on the Lycans. Bullets hit the two lycans in the chest, the puncture wounds leaking blood through their dark grey fur. The fire fight was holding the two of them back, but the additional lycans coming through the other end of the carriage were going to be a problem.
The Slayer was vaguely aware that the cars that the vampires outside had used were peeling away from the station. They were going to leave them to die? That couldn’t be right – why would they come to see a bunch of lycans kill? The vampires were supposed to be at war with them, weren’t they?
Her questions, however, had not time for answers. The additional lycan numbers in the carriage had quickly started to tell. One of the lycans near the rear of the carriage has lashed out at a servant, its lethal claws effectively gutting the vampire – its blood painted across the side of the carriage.
Another had sprung ahead, its claws digging into woodwork and furniture, and jumped to the forward vampire guard. In an act of brutality it slashed across the guard’s front, his neck and his face. The vampire was unrecognisable. The lycan and everything surrounding the vampire was covered in its blood.
As a rain of bullets from another guard hit the lycan that had just attacked it leapt at the source of its trouble, while one of the original lycans that had entered the carriage bounded forwarded to the last remaining guard.
Watching from behind the glass, mortified by the rate the lycans were ripping through the guards, Buffy saw another two lycans make it into the carriage accompanied by what appeared to be a human though her senses told her it was a lycan also.
Unless she did something serious there was no way that the outcome of her dream was going to be anything other than what she’d already seen. The gun was still sat handily in the left hand inside pocket of her jacket. Not that it would do her much good, the way these creatures handled bullets unless she had a lycan that was already vulnerable and she could shoot it in the head she doubted that it would do her much good. It was so unfair – one or two bullets would kill her, but these lycans would barely flinch at that kind of damage.
Buffy unlatched the door and slipped through in a single fluid movement, silently closing it behind her. She glanced over to where she could feel the vampire, who was still standing but looked nervous to the slayers eyes. The vampire’s eyes widened and looked over what it had to consider a new threat.
“Try to stay back,” Buffy told her needlessly, turning her attention back to the lycans before she’d even seen the vampire’s response.
Of the two closest Lycans, one was now ripping into the flesh of the last vampire guard he had killed, while the remaining Lycan pounced at Buffy. Reacting on instinct Buffy half turned, and kicked out at the lycan sending him sprawling back down the carriage.
This got the attention of the other Lycan snacking on the dead guard, and it started to approach Buffy warily, giving time for the others to catch up with it. A low growl emitted from its throat, and Buffy was faced with a wall of six demonic weres; sharpened claws digging into the floor and furniture. Behind them approached the final remaining lycan who wore glasses and had yet to change.* * *
Driving as fast as she could, Selene had already made good progress to the station. She knew exactly where Buffy would be, given the time. Not that the vampire actually believed in such fancies as prophetic visions.
As she sped down the road, Selene was surprised to see Soren’s car driving back in the opposite direction. She could only assume that the pickup had gone as planned, so slowed down slightly, since there obviously wasn’t such a rush. Perhaps she would still check out the station though.* * *
With a stretch and scratching of claws on the floor, the Lycan nearest had tried to pounce on Buffy. She slid forward to meet him in a liquid movement, and with one hand held his neck, while with the other grabbed its jaw twisting and snapping its neck. The second nearest turned too slowly, and with a rapid movement the slayer had grabbed its head with both hands and broken its neck as well.
There was no time to think, Buffy span around and found the remaining four seemed to form a little pack, two at the front, two at the rear. The other lycan who still hadn’t changed was at the back of these. Ripping into them, Buffy kicked one around the head, and spun just in time to duck and avoid being clawed by another. That lycan lunged at her again, but this time she lent into the attack and grabbing the lycan bodily threw him towards the last two knocking them back.
Jumping on the lycan she downed first, Buffy pounded into him – a hit to the side of its head. With a sharp yank its body twisted around and without any active thought her hands changed, with a vicious slash using her right hand she clawed the lycans throat out. Leaping up and moving over to the lycan she had used to bowl over the two others she batted away its defences like they weren’t there before finishing it off with another swipe from her clawed hand.
Somehow the lycan that hadn’t changed had gotten in front of the other two when they were knocked back. With a sharp backhand Buffy sent him to the ground unconscious. And, by now the other two had regrouped and attempted a joint attack.
The two lycans joint attack would have worked as well if Buffy hadn’t managed to almost seem to slide to one side and grab one of the Lycans painfully by the shoulder, her clawed fingers digging into its flesh. With a howl it was forced to turn, and Buffy landed a rapid succession of blows on its chest and head, until with a flick of her wrist she finally cut its throat.
The final lycan cowed away from her slightly, but with a pounce she had it pinned against the wall of the carriage and rained blows down upon it until it sank to the ground leaving a bloody trail on the wall behind it. Taking its head in both hands Buffy twisted it violently, snapping the creature’s neck and partially decapitating it.
A double-click sounded behind her. Buffy was up and had spun around before it would be possible for anyone to shoot. Taking in who was standing there though, she stopped herself before she’d crossed the distance to where the noise had come from.
Selene had a gun drawn and pointed at Buffy. Amelia was standing next to her, but Buffy could make out a slight tremble in her stance. Concentrating her hands returned to normal – they were almost better than having a knife – and they’d certainly come in handy, no pun intended.
“I take it Mr ‘I’m the best body guard ever’ didn’t come back?” Buffy asked.
“Soren is gone,” Selene said, not lowering the weapon.
“You know,” Buffy said addressing Amelia, “If I were you, I’d get myself some better minions.”
Amelia looked a bit embarrassed and still a lot frightened. Selene lowered her gun, no doubt having assumed that if Buffy had wanted to kill them she would have done so by now.
Looking down at her light blue top that she’d been wearing Buffy let out an audible sigh when she noticed the splatters of blood that had gotten onto it. “There goes another shirt,” she grumbled to herself.
“Thank you?” Amelia said, sounding unsure whether it was the right thing to say.
“No worries,” Buffy said, fretting with the now ruined top, “but if you do want to express your thanks for saving your butt, nothing says thank you like new clothes… especially when mine got messed.”
“You’re very strange, even for a Lycan,” Selene told her.
“I am in your debt. Clothes would be a pittance for saving my life.” Amelia said to Buffy, giving Selene a pointed look as if to say she should agree to avoid the dangerous blonde girl going off the deep end.
“See!” Buffy said smugly to Selene. “Thank you,” she added to Amelia.
A moment later the door to the carriage banged open and a tall male vampire with a skin head dressed in black leather stood there. Buffy eyed him up warily, thinking he looked like Selene’s dastardly twin with what he was wearing.
“What are you doing here?” Selene asked quickly, but not taking her eyes from Buffy.
“Khan sent me. He thought there might be trouble,” the male vampire said looking around the carriage. His eyes widened as he surveyed the damage. “What happened?”
“She did,” Selene said, indicating to Buffy who stepped to the side slightly so as he could see her.
“Shit! What’s up with her eyes!” the vamp said, his eyes widening almost comically as he looked at Buffy.
“My eyes?” Buffy queried sounding a bit unsure of herself for the first time since she came on to the train.
“They’re red,” Selene confirmed.
“Red!” Buffy eeped. She turned and looked in one of the windows. The lights not having been smashed at their end of the carriage made the glass fairly reflective.
Examining her reflection Buffy could make out that her irises were indeed glowing a deep red – the analogy like glowing coals sprang to mind. She didn’t like that analogy, no way, she liked her eyes green and non-glowy and Buffy like. Red glowing eyes just screamed ‘demon’. Closing her eye lids, she concentrated on removing whatever hold the bite had on her, and a moment later when she looked in the glass she was relieved to see her normal green eyes had returned.
“See, all normal and not glowing,” Buffy announced, seemingly quite pleased with herself.
“What exactly did she do?” the male vampire asked, edging nearer Selene.
“She stopped the Lycans before they could get me. She killed seven of them by herself.” Amelia stated.
“Seven?” He repeated, looking at the mutilated corpses around the carriage, before looking back at Buffy. She had that affect, she realised that – not being six foot something and built like a sports jock made people assume she’d be all meek and gentle.
“Shame you didn’t keep one alive for questioning,” Selene told her.
Buffy raised an eyebrow, and gave Selene a sideways glance.
“You kept one alive for questioning?” Selene half questioned, a small smile threatening to form on her face.
“It would be useful to know how a Lycan den capable of this has managed to assemble without gaining the attention of the death dealers,” Amelia said, throwing Selene a look.
“I tried to warn Kraven,” Selene stated, watching Buffy as she walked through the unmoving Lycans and picked up the one that hadn’t changed by the shoulder of his clothing. She moved the man into a chair before returning to stand in front of the three vampires.
“Excuse us,” Selene said politely to the male vampire Kahn had sent to see what was happening. He took the hint and left the compartment.
Selene continued, “A den of this magnitude hasn’t existed since the time of Lucien. Kraven’s story that he killed Lucian was nothing more than that: a story. I can only assume he has been working with Lucian for this to be possible.”
“How can this be possible? Why would he do this?” Amelia asked, confusion written over her face.
“It must have been incredibly simple for Kraven. No one saw his confrontation with Lucian, and the Lycan’s body was never found.” Selene continued, though more musing to herself, “we all wanted to believe Lucien to be dead and who would dispute it when Viktor believed him.”
Buffy wasn’t really following all that was being said. She got that Lucien was the lycan that had bit her, and that was about all she knew other than seemingly random flashes and thoughts passed on. It didn’t help that half her attention was focused on the unconscious lycan that was rapidly recovering.
“He’s waking up,” Buffy said quietly, turning and heading back for the chair, grabbing one for herself on the way. Selene and Amelia followed.
Buffy set the chair down, and sat watching as the lycan wearing human form started to wake. He had a good bruise starting to form where she had backhanded him. Not that she regretted it at all, from the sketchy memories that she did have, she was fairly certain this creature had been experimenting with human subjects for some reason.
Finally having regained consciousness he looked through his glasses at the women in front of him. “Buffy Summers,” he said, looking directly at her.
“And you know me, how?” Buffy queried.
“You don’t know, do you?” he said, a nasty smile forming on his face.
“Know what?” Buffy responded, starting to sound cross. Amelia took a couple of paces back, and lent against a small set of drawers.
He bit out a nasty little chuckle, “I thought you had been bitten.”
“I was, thank you so very much,” Buffy said sharply.
“A female lycan would be highly valued,” he said, eyeing her blatantly up and down.
“Eugh!” Buffy winced. “You’re going to answer me some questions.”
“I will tell you nothing. You understand me woman?” the lycan snapped back.
“Perhaps I should handle this?” Selene suggested.
“I can manage,” Buffy said through gritted teeth. She was the slayer. She didn’t need some vampire to do her dirty work. If this lycan knew something about what had happened, and why she was being followed, she’d find out.
Taking out the gun she released the safety. The lycan squirmed in the chair, but she had shot him in the left knee before he could move out the way. Ignoring his screams, she calmly returned the gun to her pocket before she walked over to one of the dead maids and tore the piny from front of her dress. On returning to the lycan Buffy tied it tight around his knee, she had to bat his hands away a few times but he wasn’t exactly challenging for her to stop.
She didn’t want him to change on her.
The knee wound was bound with her makeshift tourniquet, and on standing Buffy was happy that he wouldn’t bleed to death on her. Going to his right she took up his hand in a vice like grip. Taking his little finger she bent it back until she felt it snap as it made a cracking noise. She repeated the process with his ring finger next.
“Stop!” He pleaded, temporarily stopping Buffy from snapping all the fingers on his right hand. “I’ll talk – please – if I help you’ll release me?”
“I hadn’t asked you anything yet,” Buffy said pouting and moving along to his middle finger and snapping it. She wanted him to know that she meant business.
The lycan howled in pain, but Buffy didn’t stop as she first broke his index finger, then forced his thumbs away from his palm until she assumed she had dislocated it when it went pop. The lycan’s hand was a wreck. She collected her chair and placed it nearer to him while she waited for his screams to subside.
“Now. Why have you been following me and the others?” Buffy asked, her voice without any real emotion.
The lycan looked down at his hand and sucked his breath in. “We’ve been looking for someone with a special trait, a direct descendant of Alexander Corvinus. A Hungarian warlord who came to power in the early stage of the fifth century. Just in time to watch a plague ravage his village.”
After a moment, he continued, “He alone survived. Somehow his body changed it, moulded it, to be able to live. He became the first true immortal. And years later he fathered at least two children who inherited the same trait. The sons of the Corvinus clan.”
“How does that relate to now?” Buffy asked, her voice taking on an edge that made it obvious she was running out of patience with the lycan.
“One was bitten by bat, the other wolf... and one to walk the lonely road of mortality as a human,” the lycan told them.
“It’s nothing but a legend. A meaningless legend.” Amelia said, from where she sat.
Buffy quirked an eyebrow and nodded for the lycan to continue, which he did.
“It may be a legend, but our species do have a common ancestor. A mutation of the original virus that is linked to his bloodline.” The lycan explained.
“Marcus is a descendant of Corvinus,” Amelia told the lycan.
“Yes, but Marcus has already been bitten. We needed a pure source, someone who had not been tainted, an exact duplicate of the original virus which we learnt was hidden away in the genetic code of his human descendants.” Buffy wasn’t entirely convinced that these vampires and lycans were created as a result of a simple virus, though she didn’t doubt the way they spread their condition must seem that way. She didn’t interrupt the lycan.
“It was passed through the bloodline through to you,” he said looking directly at Buffy.
“I see. But why did you need me?” Buffy queried her voice softening slightly as she shifted uncomfortably. How many of their ‘potential candidates’ had wound up dead, like the girl in LA, before they got to her?
“For years we have tried to combine the bloodlines, and for years we failed. Every attempt ended in the same result. Even at a cellular level our species seemed destined to destroy each other. That is until we found you. The Corvinus strain allowed us to combine vampire and lycan.” The lycan announced, triumphant despite his pain.
“That’s not possible,” Amelia stated, getting up from her chair.
The lycans eyes followed the vampire elder. “We’ll see. If Lucian were able to get his hands on the blood of a pure born.”
“Lucian is dead,” Amelia said defensively.
“According to whom?” the lycan smirked, then continued, “If he were to inject her blood with the blood of an elder…”
“No!” Amelia said sounding hurt.
“A hybrid. Half lycan. Half vampire. Both their strengths and none of their weaknesses.” The lycan concluded affecting another laugh.
No one said anything for a moment.
“He must be taken to Viktor,” Selene announced.
“Viktor’s awake?” Amelia said, surprise written across her features.
“Yes,” Selene answered simply.
Amelia seemed momentarily stunned. Buffy used this opportunity to quiz the lycan on where they were holed up. He didn’t fight her questioning.
“We will take him now,” Amelia eventually told Buffy.
“Okay,” Buffy agreed, getting up and leaving the man to Selene and the other vampire.
Amelia grabbed the lycan roughly by his left arm and hefted him out of the chair. Buffy had to give her that she might look delicate, but she must pack a punch based on how easily she manhandled the lycan.
As they exited the carriage Selene fell behind a step so as to talk to Buffy.
“How did you prevent the change?” Selene asked.
“I didn’t have time to go fury,” Buffy told her with a negligent shrug.
Selene didn’t look convinced, but didn’t probe further. “I would mind my advice from earlier about coming back to the mansion.”
“Hmm, right,” Buffy nodded in understanding. “I’ve got places to be anyway.”
The blonde slayer wasn’t lying either. She sincerely wanted to catch up with the lycan that had done this to her. He might think he just had a virus that happened to make him immortal, but Buffy was far from convinced. Not to mention he was an immortal. That made him of the freaky supernatural world she lived in.
A wry smile played across Buffy’s lips. She’d make him remember why you didn’t piss the slayer off. And she wasn’t totally convinced about the vampires either.