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Tempered in Justice

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Summary: A chance enounter with Ethan Rayne before halloween sets off a chain of events no one could have predicted

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > Inuyasha
DC Universe > Batman
NuklearFR18212,1802247,73618 Jun 1118 Jun 11No

A single step

Disclaimer: All characters are the property of their owners, I'm just borrowing them for this story.

Feedback: Dear Gods Yes! My muse is staving to death people so please let me know what you think!

***

Ethan walked down the alley to the back door of his shop and frowned as he realized the idiot of a vampire that had been following him for the last block had decided this was its chance. The mage was summoning his magic in preparation to destroy the foolish creature when the loud crack of wood connecting with flesh filled the alleyway; Ethan turned and blinked in surprise at the sight of a dark-haired young man shoving the end of a broken board into the back of the prone vampire.

After the vampire had turned to dust - taking the board with it, the young man shrugged and gave him a lopsided grin. “You really shouldn’t be out after dark in this town and I would avoid dark alleys altogether…”

“I don’t know what that thing was but I thank you for your assistance. I don’t know how I could ever repay you…” Ethan said forcing a grateful expression on his face to hide his annoyance at being lectured about the danger of this town by a whelp like him. Faking a pleased expression the chaos mage reached into his jacket and pulled out a card as he muttered a spell. “I know… I just opened a costume shop; actually it opens for its first day of business tomorrow, but I digress. If you should find yourself needing a costume stop by and anything within reason in the shop is yours for the asking, and if it’s unreasonable I will give you as much of a discount as I possibly can.”

“Thanks, I don’t think anyone’s ever tried to reward me before…” Xander said, a pleasantly surprised grin almost splitting his face in two as he walked off sliding the card into his pocket. “I doubt I’ll need a costume but thanks for the attempt…”

“You’re welcome…” Ethan watched the young man until he disappeared around the corner, and shook his head in disgust. When the young man had given him that smile, it had almost made the mage feel sorry for setting him up like that. Sighing at silliness of it all he turned and unlocked the door to his shop. “Oh well, such is the Chaos that is my life…”

***

~ Great, this is turning out to be the worse Halloween, EVER! And I still get to look forward to escorting a group of sugar-hyped little monsters around all evening… I thought this kind of thing was against the Geneva Convention! ~ Xander fumed as he paged through a musty old book, or tome as Giles insisted they were called, trying to figure out how Principal Snyder had managed to spot and corner him in the flood of students entering the school when the bell went off, but he had and he had quickly become the first ‘student volunteer’ for the safety program.

And when he had finally caught up to Buffy and Willow, planning to warn them about Snyder’s take on the concept of volunteering, Xander was treated to having to listen to Buffy moan about her need to find some way to impress Angel and how badly her date with him went before he could make his escape.

Now it was his free period so Xander had come to the library to see if Giles could give him any help with the troll or at least help him come up with an idea for a costume. Instead he found the red faced Watcher yelling at someone over the phone. The original Scooby had tuned him out when he started in on them about how ‘they should be thankful they were just copies and not the originals’ figuring that something had happened to a shipment of his precious books.

Xander closed the tome he had been flipping through on the table and pushed it towards the stack of others that had been taken from the crate and had to say he didn’t blame the librarian. The book he had just gone through looked like the notebook a couple of bullies had thrown in a puddle in the sixth grade, pages sticking together and warped with all the words running together; even most of the pictures couldn’t be made out as more than whirly blobs.

The book slid across the table much easier than Xander expected and the young man winced as it connected with stack of tomes hard enough to cause two of them to fall to the table. Taking a quick glance at Giles, Xander let out a sigh of relief at finding the librarian’s yelling must have covered what little sound made by the their fall. Getting up Xander quickly walked around the table, straightened the stack of books, reached for the two that had fallen and stopped as a picture one of them had opened to caught his eye.

After putting the other book on the stack, Xander picked up the book and took a better look at the picture that had caught his attention.

***

Giles placed the handset in the cradle firmly, his anger all but gone after his venting at the Council’s shipping department and receiving a promise from the terrified department supervisor of a replacement shipment of fresh new copies being sent by the council’s fastest means ASAP. Giles rubbed his eyes tiredly for a moment as he contemplated whether or not he should start the lessons he had planned for Buffy now or wait for copies of the books to arrive first.

After a moment the librarian just sighed, deciding to go with something else for all the good it would do him. He was starting to worry about Buffy; she refused to focus on anything having to do with being the Slayer unless it had to do with fighting. She just couldn’t seem to understand that there was more to being a Slayer than just ‘beat on the thing that isn’t human until it stopped moving’ and that way of thinking could very well come back to bite her on the ass. There were many non-humans out there that were neither evil nor likely to put up with being attacked for no reason and more than a few of them had enough power to crush a Slayer like swatting an insect.

Giles sighed as he put on his glasses, turned to go re-crate the damaged tomes for disposal and finally saw Xander standing by the table. The librarian frowned in annoyance when he saw the young man with one of the tomes, as he had already had Buffy come into the library and bother him earlier.

She had been acting more than a little peculiar, even for a teenage girl from California, so after she had left and the Watcher had had time to think about it, he had done an inventory of his personal collection. Luckily for her he had been distracted by the arrival of a shipment of books from the council and had worked off most of his displeasure on the incompetents responsible for shipping them in such a haphazard way. So rather than chewing her out and then informing her mother that she had snuck into his office and taken one of his personal possessions without permission, he would just give her a firm lecture and double her patrols.

Giles was about to tear into the young man for thinking he would fall for the same trick twice in one day, when he saw the way the young man was studying the book. The watcher smirked, letting his annoyance slip away for the moment at the open curiosity the young man was showing, and moved up beside him so he could see what had caught his interest and make sure it was nothing more than curiosity that was causing Xander to study the book so intently.

***

Xander hid a wince as he saw Giles out of the corner of his eye.

“I see you’ve finally found something that was able to catch your attention...” Giles light tone and amused smile caught the young man off guard causing him to reply reflexively as he would to his friends.

“What can I say, it’s got picture so at least there is something I can understand in this one…” Xander wilted slightly under the glare he received in reply and attempted to change the subject. “You wouldn’t happen to know who this is, would you.”

Giles took the book from him and studied the picture and the small amount of text still visible for a moment before shaking his head and making an educated guess based on the part of the text that remained readable. “I’m afraid I don’t remember much, actually, but supposedly he was a great guardian of humanity…”

“Cool,” Xander smiled looked down at the picture again and then blinked as Giles closed the book.

“Xander,” Giles patently waited until Xander’s gaze returned to him, before speaking. “You are hardly stupid, and I would like you to stop referring to yourself as such. It may sound old fashioned but I firmly believe that if you say something of that nature about yourself often enough, you can come to believe it to be true.”

“Take it, there was nothing dangerous written in it, most of the information within is beyond reading anyway and the council has assured me that a replacement copy will arrive sometime tomorrow…” That said Giles offered the book to the surprised young man with serious expression that softened when he saw Xander wilt slightly when told the damage that had been done to the book. “And since you seem to have taken an interested in the subject, I will acquire or make you an undamaged copy at the earliest opportunity. However, until I obtain one for you I will allow you to read the copy I receive tomorrow within the bounds of the library.”

Xander looked at the librarian for a moment before taking the book cautiously. “Thanks…”

“Think nothing of it,” Giles shrugged and smiled “it’s a pleasure to help someone in expanding their horizons…”

***

“It’s not like he asked why I looking at it…” Xander muttered as he walked down the street, his head hung making it clear that he was feeling guilty over not telling Giles that he had only been interested in the book because he thought the picture was kind of cool and letting the watcher go on thinking his interested in it went beyond that. Although he did admit it might be interesting to learn more about whoever that is in the picture. It wasn’t every day that he heard Giles say that somebody that was obviously not supposed to be human referred to as a ‘guardian of humanity’; guys like that were usually called something more along the lines of ‘eater of humans’ or ‘ender of world’.

Xander stopped as he realized he was in front of the costume shop they had agreed to meet at, or rather Buffy and Willow had all but ordered him to meet them at after they had told him how Snyder had grabbed them for the program. Checking his watch Xander saw he was actually pretty early so he decided to check the place out before they got there and promptly wished the earth would open up and swallow him whole as he recognized the man that had just finished helping a customer as he turned and spotted the original Scooby.

Ethan Rayne smiled when he saw the uncomfortable young man that had just entered his shop. “Well hello again my young friend, should I take your presence here to mean that you wish to take me up on my offer?”

“Yeah, sure I guess…” Xander looked around uncomfortably, desperately try to think of a way out of this that wouldn’t insult the man or make look like he was charging the guy for saving his life. “I have a set of surplus fatigues at home, so I was thought I’d just grab a toy gun and go as soldier…”

Ethan’s surprised expression slowly changed into a frown. “Are you trying to insult me?!”

“Huh? What… No!” Xander babbled in confusion at the man’s anger.

“Well, how else am I supposed to take your believing that saving my life is only worth a two dollar toy gun?” Ethan asked, his anger only half faked over the unintentional snub. “Now I’ll have you know that the life of Ethan Rayne is worth much more than that, so you’re not leaving here until you have the best, most exuberant costume you can possibly come up with. And I will settle for nothing less.”

“Ah, okay…” Xander cursed the old Harris luck for getting him into this while mind raced for a costume idea or for a way out of this as he began to wilt slightly under the irate man’s heated gaze. Finally hitting on inspiration that should let him off the hook, at least a little ‘cause he doubted the shopkeeper would have the items needed for it on hand. Reaching into his pack Xander pulled out the book Giles had given him and opened it to the picture of the warrior. “How about that…?”

“Let me see,” Ethan looked at the picture for a moment, before taking the book from the young man and nodding with a confident air as he started for the backroom, giving the girl running the cash register a wave to let her know he was heading for the backroom again. “I’ll see what I can do; I believe I have most of items necessary in the backroom. Still this might take a while, feel free to look around the shop until I return…”

Xander watched the man go with a slightly case of the wiggins, but shook them off as just left over nerves and adrenaline from the man’s reaction to his first costume choice. Just because the man was confident, he could come up with the unusual costume was no reason to suspect him of anything hellmouth-y.

“Bloody American brat, try to brush me off with a toy gun, will he…” Ethan muttered as gathered what he needed from the damaged or surplus costumes stored in the shop’s backroom; a quick spell on the pieces of samurai armor and other items made the necessary cosmetic alterations to give them the desired appearance; then gathering all the power he could and still be sure he would be able to perform the ritual that evening, he cast the spell preparing it for that evening.

When he was finished Ethan looked over the costume and grinned, though he wasn’t sure what the young man would be turning into once he completed the ritual, but one thing he was for certain, with the amount of power he had placed in that costume he was in for a wild night.

***

Xander gritted his teeth, doing his best to ignore the fact that Buffy and Willow were standing on the other side of the rack talking about the walking corpse and how the slayer could get some more cuddle time with something, that in his opinion, she should have just staked. Willow had arrived a few minutes before Buffy and hurried to greet her, paper bag in hand.

“So what did you get?” Buffy asked, not able to stop herself from smiling at her friend’s grin, when she finally noticed the bag Willow was carrying.

“A time honored classic…” Willow said happily pulling out her purchase out of the bag to show her friend.

Xander grinned already knowing what it was; Willow had worn a ghost costume almost every Halloween for as long as he’d known her.

“Willow,” Buffy slowly lost her smile as she looked at her friend’s costume “can I give you some advice…”

“What? Not scary enough?” Willow glanced down at the package with a frown.

“I think you’re missing the whole point of Halloween…” Buffy smiled taking the ghost costume from her.

“Free candy?” Willow asked with a big grin.

“It’s ‘come as you aren’t’ night,” Buffy shook her head and smirked. “The one night a girl can get wild and crazy without any consequences.”

“Oh no, I don’t do wild…” Willow snatched back the ghost costume and clutched it to her as she shook her head with a terrified expression. “Wild on me equals spaz…!”

“He’s never going to notice you if you keep hiding.” Buffy said in exasperation, smiled as she saw Willow was starting to waver. “Trust me, a little makeup, a change of clothes, when I’m finished one look at you and Xander or any other guy that sees you will go completely non-verbal. Easy pickings you just have to go in for the kill…”

“Are, are you sure?” Willow asked not letting go of the ghost costume but obviously starting to cave. “I, how would I…”

“It’s easy, once your looks have him speechless; you just go up to him and…” Buffy looked near to cheering as she began to outline her plan to Willow.

Xander almost had to bite his tongue off to avoid screaming at the pair in frustration that as far as he was concerned Willow was his sister and he wasn’t into incest when the Slayer started to help the hacker in her quest to ‘get’ him.

Luckily that was when the shopkeeper showed up at the counter with his costume, and Xander was able to make his escape before he could forget himself and say something that, while true, would probably have hurt his friends deeply and damaged their friendship severely.

Xander pretended not to hear the pair calling his name as he took the two large bags Ethan handed him and with a hurried thanks left the shop, not sure he could keep a civil tongue after hearing his ‘friends’ planning out his love life behind his back as if his feeling on the subject didn’t matter at all, on top of the humiliation of having Buffy save him from Larry this morning in front of half the freaking school.

***

Buffy watched her Xander-shaped friend as he took the bags the middle-aged man, that had been helping them a moment ago, offered him before leaving the shop, seemingly without hearing them call him. Buffy frowned, she wasn’t stupid no matter how much she might act like the stereotypical airhead valley-girl; the store wasn’t that big and while busy, it wasn’t packed so barring a sudden bout of deafness he shouldn’t have had any problems hearing her. She would have chalked it up to him still being mad over her saving him from Larry during lunch if it hadn’t been for Willow’s pained expression.

If not for Willow’s lifetime of studying him, she might have been able to convince herself that Xander hadn’t heard them. But one look at the way his body language had changed when she and then Buffy called out to him had been enough to tell that yes he had heard them but he was really mad and he wanted nothing to do with them at the moment.

“Here you are, my lady. All ready to go…” Ethan said cheerfully doing his best to come off as nothing but a kindly shopkeeper, while still taking great pleasure in the way both girls started out of their respective thoughts before smiling their thanks at him and hurriedly leaving his shop.

***

Later that night

Xander knew it had been unfair of him, to take his anger and frustration out on his girls, even indirectly as he had at the costume shop, but he was finding it hard to care. His day had been a pain before the incident with Buffy and Larry, the teasing he had gotten for the rest of the day over that hadn’t helped, and then overhearing them talking about getting him to notice Willow had been the last straw. In the morning he knew he would feel bad about how he was acting and probably apologize to them, but at the moment he didn’t want to be anywhere near them.

Contrary to what his friends obviously believed Xander was neither blind nor stupid; anybody that wasn’t blind could tell she was far from hard on the eyes, although her intelligence intimidated most guys into avoiding her. Even before the hyena possession he had been aware of her crush on him but just couldn’t bring himself to feel that way about her as anything but a sister. He also knew that if he flat out told her that she would have been crushed and unless he was willing to distance himself from her afterwards she would think she still had a chance.

He had dropped some subtle hints over the years leading up to Buffy’s arrival and what should have been the equivalent of several blatant blows to the head since then, thinking that the smartest person he knew should have been able to figure it out. Asking a girl to help you practice for another girl was usually a clear sign they weren’t interested in you!

Finally dropping his mental rant, Xander held up the book to compare what he saw in the mirror with the picture in the book and smiled; although it wasn’t perfect he was pleased with the results. Xander picked up the last two items to his costume and shoved the swords into his belt as he left his room and made his way out of the house.

Had he bothered to look into the living room he would have been treated to seeing his father wet himself as he followed Xander’s path out of the house with a wide-eyed stare. Xander’s mother blinked as for the first time she could remember when she asked Tony if he was alright he didn’t explode in a fit of temper or violence, but rather just told her he was fine, climbed to his feet and went to stare out of the window with a haunted expression.

***

“Buffy, you’re going to be late!” Joyce called as she gathered her purse, smiled as she heard her daughter come down the stairs. “Well I hope you’re ready to go princess, because if you don’t leave soon you’re carriage is going to spoil…”

“Yeah, we’re ready to go, you really gotta see Willow costume mom, she’s…” Buffy called out cheerfully from the entrée, and missed seeing her mother’s entrance by turning to watch Willow come down the stairs and let a note of disapproval enter her voice as Willow froze on the steps. “Casper.”

“You both look great!” Joyce looked the ghost over and smiled. “I always loved the classics… That’s a nice boo, Willow.”

“Thanks mom…” Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes as she turned to say good bye to her mother, only to have her eyes bulge as she blushed redder than Willow looking at an adult magazine or nearly as red as the hacker was at the moment. “MOM!”

“Yes, Buffy?” Joyce smiled at her daughter’s reaction to her costume, the sheer light green silk of the harem girl outfit’s leggings and top showed off almost every inch of her beautiful skin, while the bikini-like garments worn underneath kept the important part from being seen, while the pointed tips glued to her ears stuck out of her wild hair.

She had been upset that she would have to miss the costume party a friend of hers was throwing, do to having a trip to LA she had to take for the gallery; but when her trip to LA had fallen through and Buffy staying at Willow’s, she had made the decision to go that started a mad dash to find a costume for the party which soon led to her finding herself at the only place that wasn’t sold out a new place called ‘Ethan’s costumes’.

At first Joyce had been hesitant of the costume, even with the shopkeeper’s flirting reassurances and encouragement, because the entire costume was completely sheer and while she might want to turn heads she didn’t want to be arrested for indecency.

However upon giving in to his request to at least try it on she found that while you could see through the skin tight bikini-like garments, when the billowy leggings and top were worn over them the sheer fabric suddenly became opaque, concealing her as good as the swim suit she had regularly worn to the beach until life had made going to the beach a luxury she didn’t have time for.

After seeing that it would keep her decent it had only taken her a moment, of looking at how the costume had made her look, to decide to get it, the ears she had added to give it an even more exotic look. Joyce mentally shivered at the naughty feeling the thought that everything she was wearing was in reality see through gave her; she hadn’t had any companionship since well before her divorce and the odds of finding a man interested in a relationship with a thirty-five year old single mother, make winning the lotto twice in a row look easy, even in California!

As much as she knew that it was frowned on for single mothers, let alone women her age, to go looking for anything less than a serious long term relationship; but with Buffy going to be staying at Willow’s after they finished guiding the trick-or-treaters Joyce figured she could take a chance. She would have the house to herself for the night, so she figured that if something happened, it happened and she wasn’t going to let what somebody else thought was ‘proper’ bother her, unless it would hurt Buffy.

Buffy’s mouth opened and closed for a few moments before giving her a weak smile. “N-nice costume…”

“Thank you, Buffy, now you had better get a move on or you’ll be late.” Joyce smile turned into a full-fledged grin as she watched them leave. “And remember the party ends at nine so if you need to get hold of me before then you’ll need to call my cell…”

“No problem, mom.” Buffy said as she walked started towards the school throwing confused and incredulous looks back at her house every few moments until it was out of sight.

***

Skipping his planned visit to Buffy’s house, Xander was able to get to the school, pick up his group of kids and leave without running into Buffy or Willow. His temper had finally cooled enough that he was beginning to feel the first twinges of guilt over how he had treated them, fortunately he now had something else to occupy this thought and keep his mind off of that uncomfortable subject.

~ Okay, those two are officially starting to creep me out! ~ Xander thought as another glance told him that, yes, the pair of kids that had been staring at him in awe, almost from the moment he picked them up, were at it again. While Xander would have admitted his costume was eye-catching, he didn’t think it was worth the kind of attention it was getting from them and a few of the people they had passed.

“Okay, you two… what’s up?” Xander asked, finally having had enough, as he turned to look at the kids that were staring at him. “Why are you staring at me like that?”

The identically dressed kids, each having pointy ears and a bushy tail attached to the back of their pants looked at each other then looked up at him and smiled as the answered in unison. “We really like your costume, sir.”

“Um, thanks…” Xander looked away from them and shrugged, a little unnerved both by their answering in stereo and their calling him ‘sir’. “I guess we have time to for a few more houses before we have to head back.”

The kids nodded and fell into line with the others beside him as he led them towards the next house in search of sweets to extort.

They had just reached the final house when Xander felt a chill run down his spine.

***

Ethan’s Costumes

Kneeling before the bust of Janus sitting on the makeshift altar in the back of his shop, Ethan Rayne tilted his head back and opened his eyes with a demented smile. “Showtime…”

The chaos mage’s eyes went wide a split second before a burst of power from the bust sent him flying into the main part of the store. Slowly climbing to his feet, Ethan shook his head to clear it and slowly made his way over to the doorway and peeked into the backroom. Seeing the bust back to the usual glowing eyes, Rayne frowned and rubbed the bump slowly rising on the back of his head. ~ What the hell was that about? That’s never happened before… ~

***

A wave of energy swept across the hellmouth leaving chaos in its wake as everyone it came into contact with that was wearing something from Ethan’s shop changed in its wake. Monsters and villains that a moment before had been normal people attacked their stunned friends and families, while heroes from comics, movies and television rushed to save them, and people that had been wearing more neutral costumes just tried to get out of the way.

On one street an angel drew a flaming sword and began to battle three red skinned pitchfork wielding devils as a group of fairies jumped to her aid; elsewhere a Valkyrie and Wolverine of the X-Men tore into the group of monsters that were trying to eat the others at the party they found themselves suddenly attending, and still elsewhere Magneto found himself fighting side by side with Captain America, Superman and Spawn against Apocalypse and a growing number of Borg.

Xander looked around the chaos wildly looking for a place to take the children where they would be safe when he felt his body pulse a split second before his world disappeared in a wave of burning pain. The terrified children watched as Xander changed, growing until he was at least six inches taller while his muscles increased in both strength and mass as fangs, claws, facial markings and hair took the place of their fake counterparts. Then the transformation was over and a confused set of golden eyes snapped open. The warrior looked around and snarled warningly at the madness going on around him as he grabbed the hilt of one of the swords at his hip. ~ Where am I? ~

The warrior tried to search his memories for how he had gotten to his current location, and growled at the lack of answers the hazy fog that seemed to fill his mind at the moment provided him with. ~ I must have taken a blow to the head… But who or what would have the power to deal such a blow to me? ~

A child’s crying caused the hardened warrior to turn and stare at the group of terrified children huddled behind him. Taking another look at the chaos around him, the warrior cursed the parents foolish enough to allow their offspring to go out in this madness…

While something within him demanded he protect the young ones, the presence of two Kitsune pups among the human children made it a matter of honor no matter how much it surprised him that the fox clan would allow their young to risk mingling so freely with humans. “Children, come with me…”

One of the Kitsune looked up at him, eyes wide and swallowed hard before hesitantly speaking. “Where are you taking us?”

“Inside, and out of this madness…” The warrior smiled kindly at the child, before scanning the area and muttering darkly. “Where are the soldiers? Has the lord of this village gone mad?”

After quickly gathering the children the warrior led them to the nearest dwelling and pounded on the door. Scanning the area for dangers, he took note of this building and the ones surrounding it. He didn’t recognize the way they were built but judging from the craftsmanship they must have been the homes of either rich merchants or minor nobles. The warrior smiled as he realized his memories were becoming clearer; slowly, true, but the fog hiding them from him was lifting.

Losing patience, the warrior reached to pound on the door again when a woman’s voice asked what he wanted. “I have a group of children in need of refuge. Will you grant them the protection of this house?”

There was a moment’s hesitation, before there was a series of clicks and the door opened to reveal a dark- haired human woman. She glanced towards the children as she stepped aside to allow them to enter.

***

Jenny Calendar frowned at the warrior standing at her door, watching him closely as the children slowly entered. Her head was still pounding from the wave of magic that had passed by only minutes earlier but something about him was putting her on edge.

Whoever he was couldn’t have been out of his twenties; he had elfin features right down to the pointed ears. On each cheek he had a single violet slash-like marking that came from the hair above each ear, arched down and followed each of his cheekbones to end below the corner of his eye. His long silvery-white hair was tied back into a loose ponytail with a blue cord that hung past his waist, except for a wild bangs that fell over his golden slit-pupilled eyes.

The warrior had two swords thrust through the violet sash-like belt at his waist, with a third strapped across his back with the bone-like hilt sticking out over his right shoulder so that the softball sized gem-like sphere placed in the pommel could be clearly seen. Over his white-with-blue-trim formal kimono he was wearing some kind of armor that vaguely resembled a samurai’s and a cape of white fur that was spilt starting at his waist giving him the vague appearance of having two tails.

His armor consisted of a black and gray chest plate which had a curved spike on either side of a red diamond shaped gem in the center and wrapped completely around his torso, a set of shoulder guards made up of five connected plates of increasing size that ran up his biceps to the top of his shoulder and a set of forearm guards that came down to cover the back of his hands. Each of his shoulder guards had five spikes; the plates on his bicep had a single curved spike, each getting larger as it went up until the plate that covered the curve of the shoulder, which had no spike. On the plate that came up over his shoulder were the final two spikes-the largest ones- ending at the same level as his ear.

As the last child crossed the threshold, the warrior stepped through the door and every one of her wards broke like wet Kleenex trying to stop a bowling ball.

The techno-pagan paled as she watched the being that had just entered her house. As he looked around her living room, clearly checking for dangers, she could feel power unlike anything she had ever encountered before pouring off him like a waterfall and it was steadily rising, quickly growing towards levels she had never believed possible. The warrior finally nodded, turned to fix her with a gaze that seemed to pierce her very soul demanding obedience. “Listen well, Sorceress, if any harm befalls these young ones you will taste my wrath!”

“Very well,” Hackles rising as the warrior turned and made his way to the door, his back to her as if dismissing her from his mind, Janna Kalderash crossed her arms and scowled as she planned exactly how she was going to get even for that slight. “Might I have the name of the person whose wrath I am to be afraid of…?”

“If you must address me, you may do so as InuTaishou…” The warrior said without bothering to turn as he stepped out of the door, closing it behind him.

The Romanian woman stared at the closed door for a moment, blinked and swallowed hard before beginning to recast the wards on the apartment. Once she was finished Ms. Calendar walked into her kitchen, for the moment ignoring the children that were now huddled in fear in her living room or trying to figure out the satellite remote, pulled a bottle that was a gift from one of her cousins from the back of a cabinet and poured herself a good strong drink.

Downing the glass in one long swallow, the teacher mused that the school would hardly approve of her drinking with children present but found she couldn’t bring herself to care what anyone might think at the moment. After all it isn’t everyday that you find yourself with someone thought to be death for over 700 years, who happens to possibly be one of the most powerful beings to ever exist, in your living room.
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