Taking A Stand
Disclaimer: I do not own BTVS or World of Warcraft. They are the property of Joss Whedon and Blizzard.
Story Title: Retaining the Line
Note: This is a rewrite to my original story. I had been given some insights and decided that they would be useful. So a change in my writing will be seen here. Sorry for the confusion.
Chapter Title: Taking a Stand
“…crazy and I don’t understand her as well as I did before. But, still I’m nuts about her.”
I look across the semi-greasy engine at the guy I consider the closest thing to a brother and smile.
“You know Jess, man. It still wigs me out a little that you and Willow are together. I mean, I’m happy for you and I know that I was gone for damn near four years, but still I never really saw that happening.” I said with a smile.
I see Jesse grin and shake his head at my little deceleration and can’t help but think that although he is happy to have me back is still getting used to the idea of me being here as much as I am.
“You know Xand, you’ve been gone for a while and I know that all of us have changed at least a little. And I know that we were all close friends before you left, but, well, what can I say for you besides “Dude, she’s got the shy school girl hotness going”. Well anyway all I can come up with is “I just started to see her differently”. Jesse says with a shrug.
I give off a small gruff laugh at the “Shy School Girl” bit and nod at his words.
Grabbing the ½ inch ratchet I move to secure the last bolt on the top plate of the engine.
After spending the day with Jess replacing the old headers with the racing variety, has been a good way to reconnect that brotherly bond more solidly. Even with Jesse not knowing much about engines, he has at the least been good company. The talks about him and Willow and catching up on four years of time away has been a good way to both spend time with him and finish up the small things left that I have to do with the car after Uncle Rory left yesterday.
Giving the bolt one last turn I take a step back and look over the rebuilt engine that I put into the car. A 468 big block with a M21 four speed. Given the choices and what I needed for my afterhours work, as well as for my social status. I thought that a 1971 Chevy Chevelle SS was a good choice, and what guy can say no to a muscle car.
I haven’t yet gotten the paint done yet but everything else is pretty much finished, and I already have an appointment with a good paint guy tomorrow. Given that he told me that it will take two to three weeks to get what I want done, I will have to suffer through the first couple of weeks of school, and not to mention the nights when I could use it. But I gotta say that this is a great investment, and it only cost me around ten grand to get it the way I want it. But damn will it be worth it.
Closing the hood on the car and motioning for Jesse to follow me into the kitchen. I start to think about how my life has changed since I have been back, and in a show of how I can tell that mine and Jessie’s brotherly bond has started to come back, he brings up one of the major changes.
“Mentioning things that are difficult to see happening, I still can’t believe that you have this place, or that you don’t have any parents to lord over you like the rest of us do. I mean damn man, why do you get to go around the world and then come back to live without rules.” Says Jesse as he walks into the kitchen behind me and sits on one of the kitchen stools next to the counter.
I smile as I open up the fridge and dig in for a couple of sodas. Yeah, that’s one of the big ones.
“Well, what can I say other than emancipation looks good on me”. I tell him as I hand him a bottle.
We talk more about the car and some about the upcoming school year, as we move upstairs into the entertainment room and play some video games. After a while I look out the window and see that it is starting to get dark and tell Jesse that we need to get him home soon, because I had to get up early to take the car in for the paint job.
Getting into the car and turning it on, we both can hear the sound of a roaring engine about to make some people be pissed. I rev the accelerator two or three times and turn to see Jessie let out a loud wolf call, I hit the remote door opener. As the garage door reaches its peak I gun the gas and leave behind some nice skid marks and a billow of smoke. As we leave my newly refurbished warehouse home, we head across the city towards Jessie’s house.
As I drop Jesse off at his house I tell him that I will see him and Willow at school on Monday, and that I will be busy tomorrow with some small stuff at the mall.
Afterwards, I wait and watch him walk up his driveway until he goes into his house before I drive off back to my home.
A half an hour later I watch the garage door close and head straight upstairs into my bedroom. Once I get into the room I remove all my clothing and head for the bathroom. Getting into my large shower stall I wash off the grease and grime that I gathered though my day of working on the engine.
As I finish rinsing off the body wash I have some to like as my own personal scent. I think over all the things that I have done since coming home. The biggest of them is the refurbished and restructured warehouse I currently reside in.
When my Uncle Rory and I got home six weeks ago we immediately went to find a good place for me to live and he came across an old buddy of his that was selling this building for a really good deal. An abandoned warehouse on the corner of Forth, and Tracy Street. Rory went quick wise and bought the place for me using the Order’s funds.
Afterwards he took me around the property and we started to come up with ideas on how to use the space. Going through layout after layout over the day, we hired a construction crew to refurbish the structure. The whole process took roughly five weeks, ending with what I have now.
The building being a two story complex with a quarter basement that held an almost ancient boiler and new counter weight engine for the small two man lift going from the master bedroom and the workshop.
On the main floor we decided to split the floor into three separate sections, one being the garage with at least three grand in tools and an office space attached to the connection wall separating the kitchen.
The next section, being that kitchen as well as a decently sized dining room.
Separating that area is yet another wall with a small hallway that leads into the last and largest of sections holding the workshop and forging room, complete with yet more tools. True these tools being crafting tools in the workshop, and in the forge room a five foot two thousand pound tungsten-carbonite alloyed anvil.
When all is said and done the cost for the total refurbishment was more than I even thought was right, but the Order was the one to pick up the check. Apparently they chose to have their defenders well established and well defended, as can be seen by their orders to Uncle Rory to insulate the walls with metal plating and mystic warding.
Which leaves me with a very nice protected home and base of operations.
The car on the other hand had been a gift from my Uncle Rory which he paid out of his own pocket up until he left yesterday.
After the construction crew started working on the refurbishment, Rory and I decided that we were going to stay out at his house on the outskirts of town. The weekend after he took me out to what he is considering a nice retirement plan, a bar and grill that he bought a silent partnership in. Silent partner as in, a huge loan and the recipient paying Rory back in a percentage of the monthly income.
All things considered a good investment really.
What was really cool was the party that he had somehow put together for both a birthday and welcome home event. He somehow was able to invite both, Jessie and Willow as well as a bunch of others that I know, but would loosely term as friends. It was actually really cool and I had a bunch of fun.
The morning after we went out to a local junkyard and walked along a path a semi roughed up cars. When he told me that it was his own personal gift to me and to pick one at first I thought it was a joke. But when I looked back at the time before and during the four years we had been gone, I was reminded that we both were into rebuilding and working on old muscle cars.
Given that Rory was driving us around in a Ford Fastback, I decided that I would switch things up a little and after about twenty minutes of searching I had found her.
The body was a little dinged up and it was missing both the engine and the interior we got it for a deal of only three hundred bucks.
Rory giving me the thumbs up, arranged for it to be taken back to his garage and paid the guy.
When we got it home Rory started to call some of his back contacts and actually found the 468 big block for just eight hundred with the M21 thrown in.
Of course a lot would have to be replaced and upgraded, but it would be well worth it.
Before the end of the night though he decided to give me one last gift, and this one was the one that I truly will treasure.
Apparently before my parents had died they had given him my families “BattleBlade” as it was termed to look after until I was ready to have it.
The sword was a truly beautiful thing. It was old and very ornate, and was made of a combined alloy that was truly unheard of in metallurgy rings outside of The Order. Apparently it was a combination of all known human known metals in a small quantity. It also was said to have a small amounts of both Eternium and Titansteel, two metals that were of celestial origin according to the Triamvere. I was also a bloodline loyalty weapon, which saying will only allow itself to be handled or used by a member of my bloodline or one that I designate as worthy. If used by someone that was not of my bloodline or found worthy, it would cause great pain or possible death. Also if used by an adept of the “InnerFaith”, can be used as a blessed weapon.
When I held it, it was surprisingly light and felt like it was made for me.
I learned from Rory that it was said to be one of two things when it comes to the actual age of the blade. The first and most believable, was that it was at the least a little over two thousand years old, and was used by the orders Founder “Denivyn Vallius”.
The other was the most wild thing, was that it was only found over two thousand years ago and was actually one of the ancient relic blades.
One that was named “The Untamed Heart”.
When I looked up the information on the relic blades, all it said was that they were weapons used against the last of the old ones before they left this reality.
All a very ominus sounding thing to me really.
After all was said and about how it served in both the good of my family, the order, and the world how can I refuse to accept it.
Shaking my head from the memory I turn the water off and grab a towel to dry off.
Moving from the bathroom back to the bedroom I regard the furniture and items that sit in various places. The furniture I chose and bought just a week ago and some of the things are from my travels across Europe.
A few pictures from Italy and England there, a sword and stand from Spain there, an hourglass full of sand from the nude beach in Rhodes on the dresser, and a tapestry of my ancient Romany family crest on the wall.
I definitely have quite a few mementoes from some nice places.
Shaking my head once again, I move to my walk in closet and search through the clothes I find in there.
Skimming through the choices, I make decisions on what would be appropriate wear for the activities I have planned for tonight.
I pull out a dark blue shirt, a set of black jeans, and a pair of steel toed flight deck boots.
I get dressed and go downstairs to my workshop. Once down there I move to a door on the southern wall and go through the door.
Inside is a room filled with what I term my warrior gear.
I take down a black leather harness of my own design and strap it over my shoulders. The harness allows me to carry all of my secondary gear such as stakes, holy water, and a cross that acts as a clasp while being able for me to hide it all under a jacket or coat. It can carry six stakes in various slots across the waist, three sheaths for fighting or throwing knives, and holy water by a small gun and holster under my arm. There are also three pouches that hang from the belt near the small of my back that can be used for miscellaneous items such as food and drinking water, or objects found on the scene.
Once the harness is secured I move to the opposite wall and equip myself with the proper items for the individual slots.
After I am done I turn to the far wall and find myself by a slide out hanger system. Pulling the handle on the slide it opens to reveal a few things. A couple of free motion zylon suits, three bulletproof vests and my favorite, a deep red heavy leather duster.
Taking down the duster, I slip it on and adjust for comfort and movement.
Afterwards I push the slide back into the wall and turn to the right. A horizontal slide is seen in the wall and I move to pull on the handle. Once open I can see my family sword lay in an indented felt slot and pick it up. My jacket I found in a specialty shop in L.A. on one of mine and Rory’s engine part runs. I grabbed it for use as a more modern form of armor, and well because it looked really cool. After coming back Rory found a mage and hired him to put in small protection runes for use against fire and different types of demonic acid. Of course that wasn’t enough I eventually I put in some zylon weave patches to make it act as a bulletproof vest. The last thing was a back sheath with a small concealment charm to make my sword unseen by others when held within.
Leaving the room I make my way through the building to the front door and leave.
My place is on the fringes of the west side and since there are eleven different cemeteries in this town I have a good starting point.
Only two blocks away is the first of the graveyards i will patrol tonight ,Restveiw Cemetery. Starting there and then swinging south to the next one Morningside Graveyard.
That is where I run into my first trouble of the night.
Luckily it was only two fledgling vamps fresh from the grave.
As I peer through a small thicket of tree I see them emerge from a small mausoleum a hundred feet in front of me.
I immediately pull my sword from my back and take a breath.
This would be only my third solo fight against agents of the dark. Before he left, my Uncle Rory would come along with me on patrol. But in the weeks since we arrived back in Sunnydale, we only came across a few vamps.
My first encounter after finding out about the dark had been a vampire in Amsterdam, one that I had barely survived.
The second being a Larsti beast in the ruins of a castle on the island of Rhodes, that one had very little to do with fighting really.
It tried to attack me, but I kinda tripped over it and kicked it just right to render it unconscious, before tossing it into the nearby ocean.
Considering that it was only two feet tall and looked like a really big gopher, it was kinda hard not to.
I begin to focus my energies into the mystical skills I learned from my time training under the order’s tutelage.
The first skill that I instill is my personal aura effect, one that I am told is specifically for retributional actions. The effect being that it bolsters my physical durability and radiating an energy field that extends in a fifty foot radius to weaken or hinder any demonic entities. I have been trained to mentally access this skill in an instinctual level, sort of like flipping a switch. To my perception it feels like throwing a baseball though, I guess it is something of a mental visual, so a term I use to institute the skill is a “Toss”.
The second skill I instill is my wild card. A personal seal of power called “Judgment” which when released against an enemy can stun it for up to a full minute depending on the demonic constitution. Normally with vampires though it only last five to ten seconds.
Once the skills are in place, I take a breath and begin to walk towards the enemy.
As soon as I am close enough to place them in the area of effect for my Retribution aura, I can see them flinch slightly and begin to pick up my movement rate.
Speeding towards them I create enough noise for them to notice and they turn towards me.
Unfortunately for them I am quicker than they realize and am already close enough to take action. Within the last few feet of my run, I bound onto and off a close by tombstone and take flight to a height of five feet above them. Then reversing my grip to bring the blade at downward point, I come down on top of the closest one I land with my feet on the vampire’s chest. Leading with my blade I use my weight and momentum to knock the demon on its back and stab it through the heart. With the sword being a blessed weapon, it reacts just as a stake would and quickly dusts my enemy.
I look up and see a stunned vampire and quickly move into action before it does. I move to slash at the demons thigh, cutting down its movement. Then moving with the attack, I move to the side of the vampire and kick its leg out, sending it to its knees.
Then reversing the grip once again, I bring the blade to an upwards point to strike downwards and decapitate it, turning it to dust.
Looking up from the ashes, I look around for any other possible threats.
Using my senses, I cannot find any demonic entities in the nearby area and after a moment I sheath my blade.
“Well, that was better than the first time.” I say in with a shrug.
Afterwards, I move towards the mausoleum and begin to look around inside.
I notice that apparently the vamps were not just recently risen and had been cracking open the burial slots. Taking jewelry, watches, and various family relics to be sold off later, and placing them into a small pile.
Looking through the pile of pilfered objects, I try to place which slot it was stolen from. After replacing most of the items back I come across a small bag of pinky nail sized gems. Pouring the contents out, I see many rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.
Not finding a candidate that they could belong to I chalk it up to being the spoils of war so to speak and leave the mausoleum.
Making my way through the grave yard and across town, I enter tonight’s last cemetery to patrol, Rosefield.
Walking through the graveyard I check the time and see that it is ten past two in the morning. Deciding that it is late enough and having to get up at seven in the morning, I turn north and head to the outskirts of the cemetery.
As I come to the small three foot wall that surrounds the area, my sense for demonic entities picks up a presence. I look around and see that to my right about twenty-five yards away is an eight foot lizard man staring at a pair of humans getting out of a car. I don’t know which demon it is exactly, but following it line of vision to the woman and her daughter, I can only assume that it is not a nice one.
I pull my sword and toss up my aura, then begin to advance on the demon.
Running along the top of the small wall I see it about to jump over and attack the pair. It soon swings its vision to me and lets out an audible hiss and gets into a defensive stance. Reacting to movement I raise the blade point forward and jump at my enemy.
It raises its claws and opens its jaws, then jumps to meet me.
As soon as it comes within striking distance I lunge forward with my blade down its throat and stab through the back of its head.
As it quickly dies and falls to the ground, I look at the mess of its corpse shake my head slightly and mutter.
“Easier than I thought.” In a sigh of relief.
I watch it for a moment before it begins to smoke and dissolve. The only things that remain is the skull and two topaz gems where the eyes once were. Finding these of interest pick them up and place them into one of my pouches.
Afterwards, I reach out with my senses for any demonic activity in the area.
After a moment I feel something slightly weird, something that makes me think of chewing tobacco and bubble gum.
Looking around and into a patch of trees, I try to focus on that feeling only to lose it a moment later.
Looking from the trees back to the mother and daughter, I see that they are grabbing some boxes out of the back of a Jeep Cherokee. The mother closes the back cargo door and says something to her daughter.
Looking at the daughter I can tell from this distance that she is around my age, has blond hair, and is about five feet three inches tall.
Other than that from the distance of roughly three blocks I can’t tell much.
I sheath my sword and start to head north on a path home, when I start to wonder if she will be going to the high school. That thought brings in a little nervousness and anxiety about starting school soon. It has been awhile since I have been outside of private tutelage and in a public setting with school. I hope that everything goes well.
Some time later I enter my home and make my way to my armory and begin to strip down for the night.
Stripping down, I spot on the left cuff of my duster, four three inch long razor sharp talons. When I think of where they may have come from, the only thing that could be of a possibility is that Lizard man.
Looking closer at the talons I can see that they are metallic, almost of a platinum coloring and together weigh nearly a full pound.
Placing them on a counter top with the skull and topaz eyes, I turn and hang my duster in the hanging slide, then continue on to clean my weaponry.
After about a half an hour of maintinance to my gear, I head upstairs for a shower and turn in for the night.