“Honestly, Rupert, what were you thinking allowing things to get this far? Tolerating non – hostile vampire I can understand, it does have certain advantages, especially in this place, but how in the world did you allow your Slayer to get so emotionally attached to him?”
“What was I supposed to do, Sam? Buffy isn't a Council Slayer; she lacks the discipline that Kendra has, and her trust in me took quite a hit with the events surrounding the rise of the Master. Had I ordered her to stay away from Angel, she would have probably ignored me, keeping the whole affair in secret. Since the relationship didn't seem to affect her efficiency, I decided it would be best to allow it to fall apart on its own.” Giles sighed. “I should have researched the Soul Curse. Perhaps then, this mess could have been avoided.”
“Perhaps.” Zabuto agreed. “What about the mystery demon who killed the Judge? Any progress on that?”
Giles shook his head. “Nothing. The description Buffy obtained was too vague, and Willy the Snitch is an unreliable informant at the best of circumstances. The only good news I have is that the demon has somehow scared Spike and Drusilla to leave, so we only have Angelus to worry about now.” Left unsaid was that anything that could scare these
two vampires could mean very
Half - hidden behind a bookshelf, Xander almost laughed out loud as he listened the conversation. He very much doubted he
was the reason the Gruesome Twosome had left, even if Drusilla had been seriously freaked when she'd seen him. Spike was far from stupid, and Kendra had killed several vampires before contacting Giles. There was a good chance the bleached vampire had learned of the second Slayer being back in town, and was unwilling to take chances.
“This sis troubling.” Kendra's Watcher commented. “The Judge was at the top of the power level of the demons that can manifest into this dimension without the dimensional barriers being weakened from this side. Anything capable of killing him should have been seen by the Seers in contact with the Council.”
“And yet, there is nothing.” Giles said thoughtfully. “It is likely it means the problem isn't so urgent. Which is just as well. I'm afraid that even now, Buffy may be unable to bring herself to Slay Angelus. Kendra will have to do it.”
“I expected as much. Let me see what I can do about it.”
“You hit me!” Buffy exclaimed, her hand going at her cheek.
“Yes I did.” Sam Zabuto said coldly, looking town at the blonde Slayer. “Rupert should have done so a month ago. While personally, I am less than impressed with the man's behaviour as Rupert described him to me, nothing Liam O'Connell ever did warranted the insult you just threw into his face.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I speak of Angelus, you silly little girl!” Kendra's Watcher roared. “Is that bleach you use addling your brain? Because this is the only answer I can find for your failure to understand that what are you doing is insulting to the man you profess to love to the extreme! The being you know as Angel is gone; the man's soul has returned to its rightful place in the afterlife! All that remains is the vile creature he kept contained! Every time you call Angelus Angel you are calling your lover a monster! Liam O'Connell might have not been a saint, but in his hundred and twenty years of existence, he has done nothing to deserve that.”
Xander shook his head, his mind returning to the present, and reached to his observers via the psionic link. He had a vampire to find.
The thorough chewing Sam Zabuto had given her (of which Xander had only caught a part of, being sent in a courier duty for Mrs. Summers) had certainly had a profound effect on Buffy. Soon after that, a raid led by the two Slayers had descended upon the mansion Angelus had relocated to like the wrath of God, decimating his minions in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, despite the fact both Slayers reported seeing the Master Vampire in the mansion, he had vanished by the time they'd finished with the minions. Angelus had not been seen since.
But he wasn't gone, that much everyone was certain. The two Watchers were adamant Angelus never simply backed down once he had singled out a target. He was also not one for taking chances – after all, he had existed for more than twice the time most of the vampires usually managed before being cursed by the Kalderash.
“What the...” Xander swore under his breath, the shock of what he was seeing almost causing him to break the psionic link with the tiny observer. He immediately ordered the creatures forming his claws to attach themselves to his skin, and as they did, the boy jumped out of the tank and ran up the stairs and towards the exit, not caring he was leaving a trail of green ooze behind in the 'strictly human' part of his home. He needed to move. Fast.
The Jamaican girl responded instantly to her fellow Slayer's words. Not a second later, a relatively small vampire flew through the place she had been, hitting the nearby tree trunk... and getting impaled through the heart on the remnant of the branch Kendra had just snapped when her stake had been knocked out of her hand. The vampire dusted, and the Jamaican Slayer used the brief respite they'd gotten to reclaim her weapon.
“They are herding us.” Buffy said angrily.
Kendra nodded in agreement. It had begun simple enough, the Slayers having picked up a couple of vampires targeting the late customers in a local diner. They had easily dusted one, but when they'd chased the other, they'd walked into an ambush. Even for two Slayers, a dozen vampires was seriously pushing their luck, so the girls had fled. Since that moment, they didn't seem to be able to get away from the pursuers, even if they had managed to dust four of them.
Angelus smirked gleefully as the sounds of fighting reaching him grew stronger. His plan was working perfectly. Very soon, he would be rid of the meddling Jamaican Slayer; maybe even sire her, and have some fun with Buffy at the same time. And the best thing was, he would do so at the very place the blonde and the do – gooder Liam used to meet.
The irony that this was only possible thanks to the Soul was not lost on the Irish Master Vampire; Liam had know that Buffy usually managed to pick up most of the newly raised vampires by waiting them to rise, her or her little helpers having read about deaths due to 'barbecue fork accidents' in the obituaries the day before. This was easily avoided, as Angelus and the few survivors of the raid on the mansion simply hid those they Turned in the sewers, thus rapidly replenishing the numbers of his minions.
Of course, that left the problem that was the Jamaican Slayer. Angelus knew that unlike Buffy, Kendra would not hesitate if things came to a fight between them. The vampire remembered all too well how she had defeated Liam. Even if he hadn't been at his full power then, the Soul being squeamish about feeding on human blood, the Jamaican Slayer was clearly not someone to take chances with. Fortunately, he had a solution to the problem standing right next to him.
Angelus was drawn from his dark fantasies by a loud crash and the sound of running feet indicating his 'honored guests' had finally arrived.
“Angelus.” Buffy hissed as the master vampire revealed himself while his minions surrounded the Slayers.
“Why are you so surprised?” Angelus said. “We used to meet, even make out here not too long ago, remember?”
Buffy just snarled at him.
“You know, it wouldn't have come to this. But I couldn't just leave an outsider get in my way. Especially one who has proven to actually be dangerous. Too bad. If she'd just stayed at home, she would have lived. But now... Allow me to introduce you to Jake.” Angelus said with a smirk, and a vampire dressed in military uniform emerged from the shadows. The vampire held up a gun. “I'm sure you'll understand I have no intention to take chances.”
Angelus nodded to the 'soldier' vampire, and the weapon fired. Kendra fell to the ground, clutching her left thigh, blood gushing from a hole in it.
“Kendra!” Buffy cried, moving to defend the suddenly incapacitated Slayer as the vampires began closing in to her.
“Don't worry, she won't die.” Angelus laughed. “Not yet, anyway. First, I must pay her for nearly killing me. I'll let you finish her if you can when she rises. If you are in condition to fight, that is. Disable her!” the Irish Master vampire ordered his firearm - wielding minion without looking at him. “What are you waiting for?” Angelus snarled as there was no response, before he looked at the place the minion was. The 'soldier' vampire was no longer there, and some dust could be seen settling in the feet of the figure standing in his place. The figure was covered in dark green and gray scales, six Wolverine – style claws protruding from the ends of his wrists, a furious look in its yellow eyes.
“You!” the Irish vampire snarled, recognizing the demon who killed the Judge from Spike's description
“You've heard of me.” Xander said, inwardly cursing his slowness. Not that he had had much of a choice – the firearm – wielding vamp had had to go first. The carapaces of the creatures forming his armor were not bread to stop firearms. They would stop a shot from the Beretta the vamp was holding, but that was it. Two or three close successive shots, and one would get through, and Xander had no illusions. This was not the game, where a Zerg critter beaten up to an inch of his life would recover completely. One good shot in his heart or his head, and it would have been game over. “I'm flattered. Almost.”
“What do you want?”
“What do you think, vermin?” Xander sneered, stepping closer to the vampires surrounding the Slayers. “I tolerated Liam, since he wouldn't hurt anyone. But you I would have finished off a month ago if the overgrown Smurf hadn't hurt me.”
Angelus shifted into game face. “Get them!” he snapped, and the minions attacked.
“Damn that coward!” Xander growled as he kicked the pieces of what was less than a minute ago the wooden door keeping the 'human' and 'Zerg' parts of his home apart. He had struck the thing repeatedly, viciously in an effort to vent out his frustration over what had just transpired. Pretty much the only good thing was that both Slayers were alive, whatever Angelus had planned for them thwarted. That is, if Kendra was indeed still alive.
He and Buffy had come out victorious in the confrontation with the Master Vampire and his minions, even if nobody had gotten out uninjured. Angelus had managed to rip off one of his claws and impale him on the shoulder with it, paying for that with a three very deep cuts in the stomach area. Buffy had gotten out with a limp and a deep cut on her right thigh. Kendra, however... it was nothing short of a miracle the Jamaican girl was still alive when the battle had ended, never mind making it to the hospital, with the the bloody gunshot wound in her left thigh and the sharp piece of wood impaling her side – when he'd blocked a wooden pole Angelus had tried to use as a club against him, it had splintered, the tip of it flying off. The boy hadn't realized the trajectory of the piece before it had been too late. Angelus had gotten away, disappearing into the sewers, and getting Kendra to safety had taken precedence over pursuit... or Buffy trying to figure him out.
Hopefully, he wouldn't have to grow the creature forming his claw again. And when he and the damned vampire met again, Angelus would end up as dust.
Kneeling before the ritual circle made of runic stones, animal bones and burning incense, the gypsy known as Jenny Calendar chanted. Suddenly, the Orb of Thesulah glowed bright. As it faded, the gypsy slumped back, exhausted.
In his lair, the Master vampire Angelus inspected the wounds received in the last night's fight with a scowl when suddenly, his entire being was consumed by unbearable pain. His eyes glowed. Author;s notes: Explanation time The Xander – Angelus confrontation – lame way to dodge describing it, I know. But I simply couldn't get it right, so in the end, I just gave up and described the consequences as I had them planned. Xander's abilities – he has strength equal to a vampire, but is slower than one. Without his armor, he has no decisive advantage over the vampires. I believe it fits with Starcraft lore, where the infested terrans are not overwhelmingly powerful – Kerringan's power comes from her psionics, not her strength. Currently, Xander's psionics are several kilometers for Zerg to Zerg link, and about 100 meters for external psionics, and he needs to focus to read thoughts. Master Vampires surviving – I understand some of my readers might get annoyed at my leaving Angel alive. They had made their distaste of the character clear in their reviews for this fic and the others. Personally, my least favorite BTVS character is Spike. At least Angel is straightforward – with soul – good guy, without soul – bad guy, even if his efficiency as a good guy is arguable, especially before the Angelus arc. Spike, on the other hand, seems to change his mind on a whim, regardless of his circumstances. And there's Season 7, where Spike keeps wearing his trophy of killing a Slayer even before her son. Remorse for his time as a soulless vampire? But in this fic, I think his escape is the only thing that makes sense. In this period, he would do anything for Drusilla, and if she is freaked from what she'd Seen about Xander, he'd join her when she leaves. Angelis, on the other hand, is a coward; he is a tough opponent at the time of the show because of his age, but he still prefers not to get in a fight unless he has an ace up his sleeve, or before he does everything in his power to break his opponents mentally. He isn't the kind to take changes with the 'demon' who has killed the Judge. And without Dru's warning, he wouldn't risk attacking Jenny Calendar. Not with two Slayers to worry about. About the fic itself, I certainly can't complain about the interest, with two thresholds (100 reviews and 10000 hits) crossed already. The input is appreciated, even if some of the suggestions contradict each other. I'll make sure to mention those of you whose suggestions I use. Ah, and by the way. When I started this fic, I had three scenes stuck in my mind. One, Heimdall and Xander working together. Two, Apophis meets a hydralisk (needs no comment) and many Scourges ramming a hive ship. (also needs no comment.) I had absolutely nothing planned at first for the SunnyHell period. Next chapter: Xander's angry, and Angel's soul will make little difference.