No Returns Needed or Wanted
Anita faced off against Bruchard. She released a sigh of relief when he unstrapped his huge sword and laid it aside. He already had years of experience and a longer reach than her. It wouldn't seem too sporting if he took her on with a blade nearly as tall as she was. Who knew vampires had some sense of fair play. Well, if you considered pairing her relative skills against someone with over six hundred years of experience as fair play. She certainly didn't.
Her fingers clutched her knife tightly as she watched him wave her forward. Her mouth was suddenly dry and she wasn't too sure it was healthy for her heart to beat that fast.
Edward watched Anita as she prepared to face off against Bruchard. Nikolaos had decided to join him for the knife fight, and he couldn't say he was none too happy about it. Her age made his teeth hurt. If they survived this, he owed Anita an apology. He owed her one, wouldn't mean she'd get it.
He had to wonder where Buffy was. Edward thought he caught some movement out in the hall. It was there then it was gone too quickly for him to determine what it was. He could only hope everything she had told him was true. Hell, right about now, he'd be happy if even half of it was. Edward quickly glanced about the room to keep his eyes averted from Nikolaos' stare. There was no way he planned to become this wacko's butt monkey. He'd bite off his own tongue first.
Buffy heard Anita tell Nikolaos that Zachary was the vampire murderer. This was it. Time to slay. She watched as the tiny, clawed hand tore out the undead necromancer's throat. Edward was next on the night's menu. He attempted to stick Nikolaos with a needle filled with silver nitrate. She broke his arm with a loud – SNAP! Not his best move, she planned to talk to him about that later.
Nikolaos whirled around when the wooden box she used to torture members of her Kiss suddenly exploded. Her eyes went wide at the woman who stepped from the flying shards and splinters. No! It cannot be; they are long gone. Figures from legend.
Buffy used every second her surprise entry availed her. Her hands shot out, sending two throwing stars in opposite directions. The first hit Bruchard as he was about to slice into Anita. His pained grunt and faltering step told her she had hit just where she wanted. Buffy left him for Anita to handle. She had bigger, or was that littler fish to fry.
The second star slammed into Nikolaos' forehead. Boo-yah. Buffy winced at the vampire's shrill shrieks. She shot across the room just as Nikolaos tried to take to the air. Her Slayer roared as she leapt into the air to grab a small ankle. Nikolaos didn't appreciate her tagalong rider, and attempted to shake her free.
The air whipped around them. It spun them in circles as Nikolaos went higher. Buffy ignored everything as she proceeded to climb Nikolaos' body. She evaded the sharp claws that tried to gage her eyes as her legs wrapped around tiny hips. Buffy shoved her Slayer essence at the small vampire as she rode her body to the ground. The strange animal they created landed with a loud thump.
Her knives appeared in her hands as if by magic. Buffy crossed the knives across the fragile neck and pulled. The last image Nikolaos saw were silver streaks racing toward her. Nikolaos' head rolled behind her small corpse. Her hand shot down through fragile ribs to yank the heart from its cage. Buffy threw her head back and roared. The Slayer within her purred with satisfaction.
She rose from the body with boneless grace to take in the room and its occupants. The injury she gave him and Nikolaos' death weakened Bruchard enough for Anita to send him to his maker.
Anita shoved her knife down through Bruchard's neck. She stepped away as his body slumped to the ground. Her chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath and still her rapidly beating heart. She searched the room for the others, and found Buffy next to Edward, helping him to his feet. His arm hung at an awkward angle. It looked painful. Her own injuries came to life as she started across the room. Her teeth sliced into her lip to keep from groaning.
Poor Philip sat curled in the corner as far from where he died as he could manage. His eyes remained glued to Zachary's body. He watched in horrified fascination as it mended itself.
Anita walked by Edward and Buffy to kneel beside Zachary. She stared down at him with cold hard eyes. Her hand reached out to his arm, uncovering his Gris-gris. She placed her injured arm above the magical charm. The blood slowly started to drip down her arm.
"You powered your Gris-gris with vampire blood. I thought I'd let you taste some human blood for a change."
Her smile became feral as she watched his face pale with realization. Zachary struggled to move away from her but he hadn't recovered enough.
"No, Anita. You mustn't. No, I deserve to live," he pleaded.
The blood hit the Gris-gris and he stilled. It raced through his system. Live cells devoured the dead. Zachary's skin turned grey. His skin tightened against the bone, squeezing the life from him. He let out one loud pain filled shriek then was no more. His body exploded into ash as Anita's blood removed the magic like blowing out a candle.
Buffy came over to help her to feet. The two small women exchanged knowing smiles. They had pushed each others buttons, and still weren't sure if they could ever become real friends. But, one thing they did know was that they could rely on each other whenever needed.
Anita laid Philip to rest underneath the Circus of the Damned. She kissed his forehead then placed him back in the ground. His last words were Thank You.
Buffy and Edward watched from the doorway, knowing she needed to do this alone. They stood silently by as she knelt down and prayed beside the makeshift grave.
She rose to her feet and asked Buffy if she had found any other coffins. The blonde Slayer nodded and took off in the opposite direction. She led them to another room filled with coffins. The difference here was that chains held the lids closed and large crosses locked the chains in place.
Buffy and Anita started removing the cross then started on the chains. Edward stood back with the Uzi trained on the coffins. They had rigged a makeshift sling for his arm, and he had the gun propped across it.
The first coffin held Willie McCool. Anita smiled at the disheveled vampire. He opened his eyes to give her a crooked smile, before he whipped around to see if the Master was anywhere about.
"Don't worry about it, Willie. Nikolaos is dead."
He slumped against his coffin's side. Relief was written all over his face.
They turned toward the next coffin, and stilled when it started to open on its own. Buffy drew her knives and Anita had her retrieved Fire Star in her hand.
Jean-Claude rose from his coffin. He looked unaffected from his confinement. His lips turned upward into a beautiful smile when he saw Anita. It quickly faded away when he noticed Buffy. His eyes widened for a bare second, before he pulled himself together.
His voice did wonderful things to her body. Anita suppressed a shudder.
Buffy narrowed her eyes at him. He was pretty, but so were Angel and Dracula for that matter. This one enjoyed minds games just a little bit too much. She saw Anita's reaction, and the way the dark haired woman played with her charms told Buffy that she needed to intercede. The differences in this world kept playing over in her head. She thought she had an idea on how to break the link between them, and decided to gamble. It couldn't hurt, and who knew maybe it would actually work.
She slipped one knife back into her boot, while she stepped next to Anita. Buffy quietly slid the knife across her palm. Her hand shot out to press against the wound on Anita's arm. She ignored Anita's gasp, while she watched, Jean-Claude's nostrils flare. Buffy held the master vampire's gaze. He found himself the one enthralled.
"I claim you, Anita, as blood kin."
Her words had everyone in the room staring at her with mixed expressions. Buffy forged onward as Jean-Claude stilled in that way only vampires could. His eyes flamed with his power at what was happening, and that he was helpless to stop. Buffy allowed her Slayer to peek out from behind her eyes. Her lips drew upward into a predatory smile.
"May those who dare harm my family know that I will hunt them to the gates of hell and beyond."
A strange rush of heat raced through Anita's body. The place where Buffy still held her arm felt as if it were on fire. She listened to the small blonde claim her and was unsure what exactly was happening. The heat settled into warmth that infused her body with a sense of belonging. Anita fought the urge to protest when Buffy removed her hand.
She had forgotten about Jean-Claude until that moment. Anita wasn't sure why she turned to him for answers, but she did so anyways.
"What just happened? What did she do?"
His lips pursed momentarily as if he fought the words about to leave his mouth. "She took you into her family, and swore a blood oath to anyone who tried to remove her claim." He bowed his head toward Buffy. "Well played mademoiselle, well played indeed."
Buffy returned the nod. "Might want to think about asking next time you throw those marks about willy nilly. You didn't tell her the best part did you?" Her lips spread into a beautiful smile when she saw him frown. It was fleeting and if she weren't looking for it, she would have missed it.
"What best part?"
Anita looked from Jean-Claude to Buffy. They were caught in some staring contest that she still didn't understand. She grabbed Buffy's arm, turning her around. Her anger was reaching volcanic proportions. She wasn't about to trade one unknown for another.
Buffy smiled at Anita. She had never known anyone that blew this hot and cold. "No vampire can ever mark you again."
She didn't expound on the subject, simply waited for it to sink in for Anita. Buffy saw the exact moment she understood. Anita's eyes widened momentarily, and then she glanced at Jean-Claude. She returned to where Buffy waited patiently for her response.
"If I were into women, I think I might kiss you."
She turned and walked over to where Edward still held the Uzi prepped and ready to shoot. Anita slipped it from his hands, and wrapped an arm around his waist. They smiled at each other when they heard Buffy's bright laughter fill the room.
Buffy waited for them to exit before turning back to Jean-Claude. She moved next to his coffin and unleashed the Slayer essence. He never even saw her move, when the next thing he saw was her staring up at him. Jean-Claude felt her fingers around his throat, while fear raced down his spine.
"I want you to listen and listen well. I understand all about the lovely little vampire games your kind enjoy so much. Don't even attempt to play them with Anita. There's no way for you to break the bond. It will follow her even after my death. You see, I didn't claim her." She almost laughed in his face when his brow went up in question. "The Slayer did."
Buffy dropped him into his coffin, and turned and walked away. She whistled a happy tune as she went to catch up with Anita and Edward.
Buffy and Edward stayed the night, and then packed up and left the next day. Anita and Buffy talked about dating vampires, which Anita had no interest in ever happening. Buffy told her that if she wanted to maybe find someone who could understand all the preternatural stuff her life entailed, she might want to think about dating a were. She thought Rafael had possibilities. They knew who and what they were, had similarities in their background, and he cared about his people. Not bad qualities to have in potential honey. Buffy did warn her about getting involved with a werewolf. They mated for life. If things didn't work out between Anita and some wolf, well only bad things came from that.
They promised to keep in touch, and to help should the other ever need it. Buffy tried to convince Edward into letting her drive. He soundly refused. Anita watched them drive away still bickering like an old married couple.
Jean-Claude sent Anita flowers with an invitation to dinner. She sent them back with a huge HELL NO written across the card.
Edward told Buffy about the new job he accepted. She leaned back in her seat to listen to him break down the details. There was some baddie in New Mexico that was skinning people alive. It sounded good to her.
She watched him underneath her lashes, thinking Death was her gift. This time she thought it was one she had no intentions of returning.The End
Here was what suspended belief for me in what LKH wrote in the original GP. How could Anita have bested Bruchard in the original storyline? The man had 600 years of sword fighting experience. Anita at this time had no enhanced powers. Sure, she knew how to defend herself through her martial arts training; shooting capabilities and knowledge of sharp implements, but that in no way gave her the upper hand against Bruchard. She wasn't any faster or stronger than a normal fit person was, and her body type wouldn't allow her to have enormous upper body strength. (I know this from personal experience. I'm 5'3", weighing in at whopping 105 lbs, and work out regularly.) So, how in the frilly heck was she even able to get underneath his defenses to cut him let alone kill him? This made no sense. Then, to add insult to injury, LKH has her using a sword that she could barely hold, while injured no less, to impale and then chop off Nikolaos' head. The impaling I could see, given enough room to take a running start at a target. Momentum would propel you forward from the sword's weight and your own movement, but then she lifts the sword and decapitates Nikolaos. Huh? I could see it if she had left her impaled on the wall, and then used her own knife to remove the head. This would have been a more logical scenario than the original scene. Maybe it's just me, but I rather prefer the "normal" human to figure out a way around an opponent's greater strength to defeat them. Isn't that what the hero does? They overcome their situation to persevere.
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