Coming to Terms, Chapter One
POWER RANGERS :- Demon Wars
Coming to Terms
Faith lay back and starred at the celling of her hotel room for the tenth time. If she sold off her car, saved up and maybe sold a kidney she could afford an apartment. As it was she had to make do.
It wasn't that bad, not like the motel she stayed in back in Sunnydale. She'd been in better prisons. Still ten months in the same hotel room, not something she was expecting to do when Buffy had sent her to babysit Dawn.
Grunting Faith threw the bedclothes off and quickly put on the first tee and pants she could find. Grabbing her watch-communicator she hit the teleport button. Dawn wasn't the problem this time though, it was their new Red Ranger.
Connor, oh she was so going to kick Angel's ass for this one. He had a son, the vampire with a soul had a damn son. She still didn't understand all of it, which is why she was heading over there.
Alpha was hovering over some controls, but as soon as she landed he turned to her. "Ay ay ay, Faith! Thank Zordon you came. I need your help."
"No he doesn't." Connor said and Faith turned around. He was still morphed, the Ranger hadn't even taken off his helmet.
"It's been two days." Faith said, she didn't know if he could sweat but his costume must have absolutely reeked. "Why haven't you de-morphed?"
Connor seemed to sigh and looked away. "He doesn't want to." Alpha told her. "He's worried that if he does he'll change back to his demon form."
"So? What difference does that make."
"Everything." Connor said viciously. "I might have been part demon, but I looked and felt human. I'd rather starve than look like that again."
Alpha almost jumped. "You said you weren't hungry." The little saucer headed robot shuffled over to a plate.
"Where's Sari?" Faith asked looking around. She was also supposed to be staying there with Alpha.
"She's in her room, I've not told her." Connor explained.
"If you had she'd prise the helmet off with her bare hands." Faith said darkly from between clenched teeth. "Not before I do. Are you a freaking idiot, or is it a family thing?"
"We need you Connor." Faith grabbed him by the arms. "Look after what you've told us we are all in serious trouble. Like Dawn said A'Zores is going to blame what happened to the Warlord on us, that means sooner or later we're going to have every one of his generals coming here looking for a scrap."
"You can handle it."
"No we can't. This guy beheaded his own boss to keep the fight going, I don't think a bloody nose is going to throw him off." The red helmet lowered, but Faith kept going. "We need all the help we can get. That includes you!"
"You don't understand." He shook his head. "I was brought up in Quor'toth, one of the worse hell dimensions you can imagine, to hate demons. It would be like asking you to become a vampire, or worse."
Faith winced. It would be like her becoming a murderer again. No never. "Since when did it matter what you look like on the outside. I don't think anyone cares if you have blue skin or tentacles."
"You just need help."
"No. We just want a friend." Sari said gravely as she came into the Command Centre. "I get it, when I found out I was a robot I freaked. Ran from home and even refused to speak to my dad."
"It's not the same."
"Really?" Sari asked as parts of her face began to move. Her cheeks folded into themselves as her nose split three ways down the middle. Faith had never seen her like this before. Inside she seemed to be made up of black panels and lines of yellow light running around and into each other. The yellow light glowed even brighter. "It's what I am. If you're a demon it's who you are. Doesn't matter what you look like on the outside." Faith saw that Alpha was covering the row of lights he used as eyes. The way he wasn't looking at her was almost shy.
Connor tilted his head, but Faith got it. "What she's trying to say is you can wear your Ranger costume or pokadot PJ's you're still a demon inside."
Sari nodded, her face closing back up.
"You can still go out there can't you. You can still walk the streets and not have people staring at you." Connor spat angrily.
Faith felt a jump at that one, other than meeting up with her and the others at the Coffee Shop Sari had spent most of her time in the Command Centre. She said so.
Sari looked uncomfortable. "It's not my world and other than you guys I don't know anyone out there." She took a deep breath. "I grew up in my dad's factory. Just him, me, a tutor-bot and my robot dog."
"Sounds lonely." Alpha said, an odd note in his voice.
"I thought it was normal." She shrugged. "Then I met the Autobots and everything changed."
"And now you're here." Faith smiled. "What's your Dad think about you being here anyway, you don't talk about him much."
"No, I don't." Sari snapped. "Sorry, it's just… He's not, I mean…" Faith felt a sudden chill.
"Oh crap." The Slayer hissed. "Sorry I didn't know."
Sari shrugged "I don't, don't want to talk about it."
Faith put a hand on Sari's shoulder and tried not to give her too tight a squeeze. "You see Connor, you're not the only one that's lost something, or someone."
"I know, it's just that… Oh what the hell, you're right." He undid the clasps either side of his helmet and took it off.
"You really do look like hell." Jenny said for the tenth time as they walked down the street, heading for the Coffee Shop. It was the four of them, Marcus had an early morning class and it was the first time in days she'd left the dorm room. DVD marathons, pizza and rest. it had been a great way to spend two days while the window to her dorm was fixed.
Dawn tried not to roll her eyes, Cassie had dragged her out again with a couple of her other friends from her class. Jenny and Michael were a sweet couple, Michael was a little dim, especially for a medical student, but he cared for Jenny. Who could have done with a lesson or two in tact. "Thanks for that." Dawn tried not to sound too sarcastic. "I do have a mirror."
'What happened, I mean really?' Jenny asked.
Dawn glanced at Cassie who smirked. "I told you." She said. "Dawn here really needs to learn how to pace herself." That was their cover story and it was getting real old, all too quickly.
"It's the finals that are coming up. You know how I started late." Dawn shrugged. The idea of her being a workaholic had been her excuse for everything from paper cuts to her deathbed.
"But I thought you'd caught up?" Michael asked. "You've had almost all year."
"I have." Dawn started.
"Thing is Dawn here's doing like four different courses, right?"
"Five. Science, English, History, Latin and Archeology." The only one she was having trouble with was Science. It was worse than math.
"What type of Science?" Jenny asked.
"Chemistry." Dawn shrugged. She'd taken it at first because Willow had told her how it could help with spells and potions. A lot of the rules and stuff worked both ways. After a years worth of lessons she was sick of the smell and she was thinking of dropping it next year. Same with Latin. She already knew more than the teacher, who got their grammar all mixed up, and the only reason she took the course was to get the qualification. English was dull, but it added to her Oxford application Giles and Buffy probably already had written.
Surprisingly she had enjoyed Dr Oliver's Archeology classes and History, for other reasons.
"Five?" Jenny asked stunned. "You're doing five qualifications? No wonder you had a cramming session."
"Well I am cheating a little." Dawn admitted. "I kinda grew up in a library, with this english librarian that was a friend of the family. I know a load of this stuff already. It's just cramming it all in, you know."
"It's kinda like why I'm doing alright in our Class." Cassie pointed out. "My mom left me in her office during school holidays and I'd pick up all sorts of things."
Jenny looked at the two of them as they turned the last corner. "Cheating huh? So tell me about english guy. Was he cute?"
Dawn didn't have to fake the shudder. "No way, he's like fifty! After Dad skipped out on us we moved. My sister made two great friends and they hung out there. I just tagged along. Spent long nights reading really old books."
"Don't take this the wrong way Dawn, but you're kinda weird." Jenny said. "In a good way, you know. Not carnival freak weird but, well you know." A few years ago she'd have been insulted by that. Bitterly Dawn remembered once being called a freak in front of a cute guy and how it had her crying in a bathroom.
Now though she smiled. A big, devil may care but she didn't, smile that she enjoyed. "I'm a freak and proud of it. I'd rather be me and a freak than what someone else thinks is normal."
Cassie laughed. "Make that freaks united."
"Oh come on, you know I didn't mean that…" Jenny began but Dawn just threw an arm over her shoulder.
"I know, but I did."
Michael clumsily tried to change the subject. "So you're saying this is the best place for coffee in town?"
"Well I don't know about the coffee but the hot chocolate's good." Cassie smirked as they opened the door. "Hey Faith, how's things?"
Faith, in her usual dark tee and jeans waved back from behind the counter. "Cass, Dee. What kept you guys?"
"Oh some friends of mine. I'd like you to meet Jenny and Michael. We're in the same class at College."
"Can you get us four hot chocolates?" Cassie asked, but Faith was already whipping them up. Dawn looked around and saw Sari talking to a boy at another table.
She almost had to do a double take. He was about average hight with floppy blond hair and was wearing a red shirt and jeans a couple of sizes too big. Like he was borrowing someone else's clothes. Worse than that Sari kept to herself usually, she wouldn't just be talking to some guy.
The colour of his top was a big clue though. "Sari! Hi, how's things?"
"Dawn!" The red haired girl beamed. "You remember Connor right?"
"Sure, hello Connor. Good to see you again."
He stood up "Dawn right? Who are your friends?"
"Jenny, Michael this it Connor and Sari."
Jenny looked him up and down. "Lost a lot of weight recently?"
Dawn winced as he frowned. It wasn't hard for her to guess what happened. De-morphing he'd somehow stayed human, or as human as he could get. Somewhere in the Command Centre's storage they'd found the only clothes that would fit. Way out of date but it had to be better than nothing.
"Oh I, I only just moved into town. Lost my luggage on the way in and had to get these at a charity shop. It's either these or the same thing I've worn the last week."
Michael let out a slow whistle. "Sorry to hear that, planes suck."
Connor nodded and had a mouthful of hot chocolate. "He got a room in the same hotel I'm staying at." Sari told them, expanding on the lie.
"So how do you know Cassie and Dawn?" Jenny asked sitting down.
"We just always end up here around the same time." Dawn tried to sound casual, and I know Faith from way back.
"Her sister and me used to have the same job." Faith explained, carrying a couple of steaming mugs, Cassie had the other two.
"Kinda we errr, taught self defence."
"Really?" Jenny asked, her jaw dropping. "That sounds great!"
"Not really, didn't have what it took. Bee was always better anyway so I let her keep the gig and kept on traveling. Bumped into Dee just after I decided to settle down here."
Michael looked back and forth between them. "Dee?"
"She means Dawn, calls me Cass some times."
Faith smirked at them and Dawn finally got her drink. From the look on Jenny's face when she tried heres she agreed with them that Faith had the best hot chocolate in the City.
Dawn was about half way thought her drink and Jenny was trying to convince Faith that girls still needed self defence and Faith was trying to wave her off when in the distance something electronic started howling.
Connor heard it too, then Faith and Cassie at the same time. "What's… oh my god." Jenny gasped as the siren got louder, jumping to her feet she spilt her drink. Looking in every random direction "The monster alarm!"
Around the table four watches bleeped an all too familiar tune 'What was that?' Michael asked.
"Oh that… that's"
"In case we miss the alarm." Sari said. Dawn winced, that was the worse lie she'd ever heard. Missing the alarm would be kind of like missing the Dragonzord on a rampage. Neither of them noticed though as they looked about panicking.
"Is there a room or something?" Michael asked.
"I don't know, is there?" Dawn asked Faith. If the two of them weren't there Dawn would have answered Alpha, morphed and would probably be neck deep in whatever was out there already.
"Urm… crap. Guys." Sari pointed at the front window. Jenny screamed.
It was short, about the size of a tarantula and built like a bulldog. Four stubby legs, a body and what could best be called a head. Alone it was an ugly yellow wart ridden thing that wouldn't last long. Problem was it wasn't alone. There was a whole swarm of them.
It stopped, a spear like tongue lanced the air and as one the swarm turned and headed right for them.
Connor grimaced. There was something familiar about the little creatures but he couldn't place it. The window exploded inward and they flew at the people like a wave. They had to get Jenny and Michael out of there to morph, weapons was what they needed.
Faith was the first to react, kicking her own chair from under her she caught it and with a sharp twist broke it into two rough staves. Dawn wasn't half as spectacular and just started waving her chair like a lion tamer, sweeping the ground around her.
Connor vaulted over the table landing foot first on one of the lead creatures. Kicking his way through them.
Sari and Cassie grabbed the civilian couple and tried to hustle them out of the Shop. Jenny screaming all the way.
One of the creatures's lashed out, as if it was trying to sting him. That's when Connor remembered where he'd seen these things before. "Don't let them bite you!" he shouted.
"Thanks Sherlock, that's real helpful!" Faith snapped, swinging her arms like a 70's rock drummer in the middle of a solo. Connor was the one at a disadvantage, left stomping anything Faith and Dawn missed but it was working.
Then one of them leapt up at Connor's face. He caught it, but only just. Stumbling back his back hit the table as the barbed stinger flicked out again and again. Somehow he was fast enough to get his head out of the way. He just couldn't get the leverage he needed to get it off. Then something warm and wet sloshed into his back, followed by something hard.
Not thinking he reached back grabbed the mug and smashed it on the side of the table. Shoving the sharp, broken edge into the things face killed it and Connor threw what was left at another one.
"Nice!" Faith shouted, the metal chair legs she was using now bent over backwards from the way she was using them. "But those come out of my salary!"
Connor didn't really think it mattered and grabbed a couple of other mugs. "I'll pay for them later!" he shouted back, throwing the mugs at the endless horde.
Just behind them Jenny's almost endless screaming came to a gurgling stop. "God no!" someone shouted and Connor spared a glance.
Either some had gotten past them or gone around because Jenny began shaking, foam coming from her mouth and quickly collapsed. Before anyone could do anything about it another of the creatures leaped and stung Michael. After a few jerky movements he went down the same way.
End Chapter One