What makes a Rescue
A/N: Apologies- this was meant to go up immediately beside the previous chapter, but I got distracted. Oops?
Disclaimer: Don’t own stuff, etc.
“Uh, dude, not that I don’t appreciate the rescue, but do you think we could get out of here now?” Dean thought he was doing an admirable job of not freaking out, but the staring was starting to get to him. The staring and the nakedness. Oh, and don’t forget that his rescuer was a freaking vampire. That too. But the dude had saved him, right? And as Dean was in no position to fight him off, he’d just have to play nice with the crazy captive vamp until he was far enough away to freak out and run. Or something.
He wasn’t even sure the guy understood him but when he hobbled across the room, the vamp shuffled along after him, crouched low to the ground and making a weird whining sound in the back of its throat. Almost like a dog or something and Dean resisted the urge to pat him on the head and scratch behind his ears. He was stumbling along, using the wall to hold himself up, and super-conscious of the vampire trailing him. The hallways were quiet- thankfully- and when Dean stopped to try and figure out which way to go, the vampire moved in front of him and turned to the left, glancing back several times until he was certain that Dean was following him.
It turned out to be a smart move because Trick and his stooges hadn’t been the only vampires around and the silent vampire ripped off several heads before they reached an exit. Dean was breathing heavily and struggling to stay upright by the time they reached fresh air- they emerged into the night not far from where he’d been taken, he thought. Salt in the air meant the docks, and he could only hope that his dad was around somewhere, waiting for him. Being outside, though, changed something in his rescuer- he retreated behind the Hunter again, making those weird whining sounds again and almost (almost, because Dean wouldn’t let him actually) hugging Dean’s good leg.
“Come on, Sparky, we’ve gotta get out of here before the boss-man shows.” His dad was going to give him that what-the-hell-were-you-thinking look, but Dean really didn’t think he had any other options. He took the vampire’s shoulder and tugged him along; barefoot, the creature shuffled behind Dean again and the Hunter took slow, steady steps away from the warehouse and back toward where he’d last seen his dad. It wasn’t far, thankfully, because his knee was swelling pretty badly and he could barely bend it anymore. The Impala was gone and when he checked, his dad wasn’t anywhere around. Dean hated to do it- he really, really hated the idea of leaving someone stranded at the docks with no way out- but broke the window in the driver’s door of the only car in the parking lot and unlocked it without pausing.
He let the vampire into the back seat and went to work under the steering wheel, thankful that the car had an automatic gearbox, so he could just rest his injured leg and not do anymore damage. It was really freaky, driving without being able to see his passenger in the rear-view mirror.
“We’ve gotta get back to the house, I think. Bobby will know where dad is and if he doesn’t, we’ll get back down here to find him. And I’ll get you some clothes because no-one needs to see what you’re showing, dude.” Hopefully Bobby wouldn’t shoot first because the strange vamp had saved his life more than once and, well, the dude was clearly bat-shit crazy. He couldn’t even talk and he kept gazing at Dean with big brown eyes that reminded him of Faith when he’d first met her- confused, scared and completely unsure. “I won’t let them hurt you, okay? You’ll be fine.” Oh god, he was making promises to a vampire.
Maybe he’d been imprisoned for longer than he thought and he’d actually gone crazy himself? He considered it for a second, but decided it was unlikely. If all this was in his head then he wouldn’t be in so much frigging pain, surely. Either way, the vamp seemed to like it when he talked, so Dean kept talking- telling him that they were safe; they’d be okay; that John and Bobby would fix everything. He tried to keep the pain out of his voice because when he let it show, the vamp whimpered too and jeez, but the guy was already so broken-looking that Dean couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
The lights were out when he got the house and neither of the cars were there. Dean cursed, loudly. The hell was he supposed to do now? Dad must have come back already and rounded up the troops to go back and get Dean, he thought. Turning in his seat, he eyed the vampire.
“Stay here. I’ll be back in, like, five minutes.” He wasn’t sure if he could get the vamp past the wards and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to- this was his family’s safe house and yeah, they could probably handle one crazy vampire if they had to, but he’d seen the guy ripping off heads without making an effort, so he’d rather not risk it. Plus, leading a naked man into your house in the middle of the night was the kind of creepy behaviour that got the police called. Granted, he didn’t even know what time it was, so maybe it wasn’t the middle of the night yet- Sunnydale was always quiet after the sun went down.
He hobbled up the steps to the house and, thankfully, door was unlocked. He’d left his picks behind and he wasn’t sure he could climb in a window. The house was empty, as he’d expected. He grabbed the phone first, dialing John’s cell with one hand and turning on the cold water with the other, rinsing the vamp dust off his face and gulping down a pint to wash it out of his mouth and throat. John’s phone rang out; no answer. He was willing to bet it was on the floor of the warehouse, somewhere, along with Dean’s own. He tried Bobby and got a busy signal. Sam had a phone, too, but he could see it on the table by the door and Faith’s had been broken in the last fight and hadn’t been replaced yet. Shit. What was the point of cell phones if no-one carried them? He was going to staple Sam’s cell to him next chance he got.
Where else could they have gone? He drew a blank. They’d been in town for three days- where the hell could they be, apart from looking for him? And if they were looking for him, they’d be back at the warehouse, toe to toe with big ugly and looking for him. Dammit. He tried Bobby’s cell again and got the busy signal. Thinking quickly, he dry-swallowed some aspirin, grabbed a pair of Sam’s sweats and one of his own tees for the vamp in the backseat and armed up; knives and guns and holy water and anything else he could strap to his body. He considered the knee brace, but unless the vamp could help him get it on, he couldn’t bend his leg to pull it up, so he’d have to do without. He was in no condition to fight, but he’d be damned if he’d let them head in there alone.
Halfway down the driveway, talking the vamp through the process of putting on pants, he realized that there was one other place in town that he could try for help. His dad was already going to kill him for hanging out with vampires, so what was a Watcher on top of that? At least if he turned up with the other Slayer in tow, he wouldn’t be a complete liability.
“What do you think, Sparky? Should we go find a Slayer?” He didn’t see it, but the vampire made a face at the word Slayer; almost recognition. Almost awareness.
The mood in the library was tense but focused. Giles had pulled maps of the town out of his office and Willow had the corresponding maps open on the computer, cross referencing who owned what and which buildings were empty. Faith paced nervously near the door and only belief in her dad and Sam’s occasional comments kept her from running out of the school and straight to her brother. Well, straight to where they were pretty sure her brother was.
“What the hell were you thinking anyway, wandering around the Hellmouth at night?” The brunette girl- Cordelia- asked with no anger in her tone, just… disbelief. “You guys are Hunters, right? Aren’t you supposed to know better?” Faith could see the words hit her dad and he took a deep breath, swallowing whatever angry response was boiling up. Bobby spoke for him, instead.
“Following a lead on a rabid animal, girl, and the idea was to stop it before someone died.”
“But that’s the Slayer’s job.” The blonde girl had made a point of introducing herself as the Slayer but Faith hadn’t been nearly as forthcoming. Now that she knew who it was, though, she thought she could feel something; like the itch on her spine that told her that vampires were nearby, but different. Weaker. The blonde Slayer didn’t seem to notice anything, or if she had, she hadn’t given any sign of it.
“If it’s her job, then where was she?” Surprisingly, it was Sam who snapped, worry over his brother and fury at the delay finally driving him over the edge. Buffy’s head snapped in his direction and her eyes narrowed, not liking the criticism in his tone.
“Hey! This isn’t my fault. I was doing my job- I was patrolling tonight when I had to make a diversion to deliver that stupid letter to Giles!”
“Patrolling? That’s what you call aimlessly wandering around town until something evil accidentally crosses your path?” Sam even scoffed, folded his arms across his chest and muttered something unpleasant about amateurs. Faith would have laughed if her heart and stomach weren’t in knots with worry.
Bobby jumped in, anyway, before they could get to anything good.
“Sam, it’s not Buffy’s fault. Your brother knows well what being a Hunter means.” He turned to Buffy, then, his expression hardening a little, “And that letter was a warning, meant to protect you. You could show a little gratitude.” The blonde blushed and ducked her head. Sam would have gloated a little, except Bobby glared at him until he ducked his head, too. John glanced over and met her gaze and tried to smile; tried to reassure her that everything would be okay, but it didn’t really work. That he tried was nice, though.
“We have to move out. We’re wasting time.” Her father nodded his agreement and Bobby, too. Sam moved to stand behind her, a comfort even when her whole body was vibrating.
“Let’s go.” Decision made, John made to move out the door, stopped suddenly by the movement of a tiny blonde.
“Hang on one second- this is my town, and we’re not going in there until we know what we’re arming for. I can’t let you get yourself killed.” She was earnest; she really did care, and John felt almost sorry that they hadn’t told her the truth. Maybe she’d be more confident of going with them if she knew that Faith was a Slayer, too. But they didn’t have time to deal with that ball of crap, so he stepped to the side and moved out the door, Bobby at his back.
“We arm for bear. You come or you don’t.” He was halfway to the door when it opened and he tensed automatically. Buffy was in front of him -he never even saw her move-, but Faith and Sam were closer to the door and they took point, falling into defensive stance immediately.
“Oh good. You’re all here. That’s handy.” And his boy- his beautiful, smart, crazy boy limped into the library, using the shotgun in one hand as a crutch. “I found Kakistos.”
For a second, no-one reacted, and then Faith was at her brother’s side, running her hands over him with the efficiency of a field medic. John left that bit to her- he just pulled the boy into his arms and felt his heart relax. Sam was at his side and Bobby was there somewhere too and part of John was aware that this was a completely embarrassing display of affection but right then, he really didn’t care.
And then he realized that the door behind Dean was standing open, and that there was a vampire wearing Dean’s favourite shirt crouched on the ground in the doorway. He moved slowly, it seemed, twirling to put his body between his children and the newcomer, ignoring Dean’s cry of pain as his leg gave out and he crashed to the ground, taking Faith with him. Sam and Bobby had their weapons raised; pointing at the vampire, before John even remembered that he was armed.
“Wait! Don’t hurt him- he saved my life!” Dean, limping worse than before, pushed past his father to stand beside the vampire. “Dad, this is Sparky. Sparky, that’s my dad. I have no idea what’s wrong with him, but he saved my life like, six times tonight.” He glanced down at the vampire, who was watching him with wide eyes. “He’s not all there, but he seems kinda harmless.”
And then, through the crush of bodies, Dean caught sight of the pretty blonde Slayer, who looked completely and utterly shocked; deathly pale and heartbroken.
“Angel?” She breathed, taking a step forward. “Angel, is that really you?” At his side, Sparky growled and backed away, shaking his head violently.
“Who’s Angel?” Sam’s words were quiet, but they carried, and it was Cordelia who answered him.
“Angel, vampire cursed with a soul, all-round good guy until his curse broke and he killed a bunch of people and then he got his soul back but Buffy had to send him to hell.”
“That’d definitely explain the crazy.” Dean commented.