Epilogue: Training Montage
And so, they hired Nina Cassady to, part-time, teach the Slayers investigative techniques – since, apart from research in old books and Willow and her occasional forays into I-wanna-be-Gil-Grissom, Slayer investigations consisted mostly of beating things up until they told you what they knew, and Jack Bauer aside that wasn’t necessarily a guarantee of accuracy.
Firearms training was on the horizon, but that would have to wait, because apart from Cassady and Natasha Romanova, no one associated with the New York contingent was licensed to carry in New York. (The Gramercy Riffs weren’t licensed, but damn few of them actually carried anyway. They were a martial arts-themed gang; guns were only used in emergency situations.)
Kennedy made sure that Cassady knew that not all vampires would be as easy to kill as the rookie she’d encountered the first time. Cassady went out on several patrols whose sole purpose was to experiment with what bullets would do to vampires. (Buffy recoiled at the word “experiment,” but got the difference between finding newer and better ways to kill vampires, and trying to make them into your unstoppable army of the night.)
Game faces slowed revolver bullets down, slightly, but didn’t stop them. Shots in the feet or legs slowed a vamp down unless they completely missed bone and muscle. Anywhere else was pretty much “Ouch, you bitch, I’ll get you.”
They didn’t experiment with any other kind of firearm; while Cassady owned a hunting rifle, those were kind of obvious, and people tended to frown when you carted them openly through the streets of Manhattan.
Willow went through the demons that would and would not be hurt by bullets, with special emphasis on those the bullet would either pass through making only a hole, or simply bounce off. She also never did get a coherent answer to “why haven’t Slayers ever used guns?” unless “tradition” can be counted as a coherent answer. Giles and Charles independently warned about the possibility of dependence on firearms, which wasn’t a problem at the moment but could possibly be one in the future if they weren’t careful.
Harriet and Milla expressed an interest in learning once the paperwork was hashed out, though Milla wanted to be absolutely certain that Natasha Romanova wouldn’t be doing the teaching. She still refused to work with the ex-Russian spy at all, and wouldn’t give a good reason; but she could barely say Natasha’s name without making it sound like a cuss word. (For her part, Natasha either wouldn’t or couldn’t explain it; she simply trained everyone else.)
After a couple of sessions with the former spy, Kennedy realized that she could set up a fight between her and Buffy, and sell tickets. Natasha’s vast experience would have made up for Buffy’s advantage in strength and speed. Still, Kennedy followed Charles’ advice on that: When you have someone who’s developed their own style, you don’t change it. Buffy was given the option of training with Natasha if she wanted, and Kennedy left it at that.
And, oh: they found someone to bless their holy water, a local Episcopalian minister. You’ve never heard of her.
So, given the above, things went smoothly as they could for the New York Contingent.
For about three weeks.
And then this happened:
X X X X X
She waited by the edge of the alley. Why was she doing this?
She had no idea. But she had to. It had taken so much effort, so much, to not have this be her son.
Something had told her to do it with her hands; she couldn’t. She had a baseball bat.
Here came someone. She didn’t want to but she had to.
“Excuse me, sir?” she said as the man approached.
“Yes?” he said, smiling.
“Could you tell me how to get to Handelman Street?”
X X X X XTo Be Continued Soon in Murder Ballad, Available at Finer Websites Everywhere . . .