A/N: Sorry it's taken so long. Tons of work decided to partner up with writer's block to kick my ass. A/N2: The whole Jasmine possessing Cordy thing didn't happen, just FYI. Cordy's human, and the Powers, Jasmine included, are busy fighting against the Warp entities trying to break into their world to do much else. FR-21 again, so be warned. –Start Chapter–
Faith walked through the gloom, carefully glancing down all of the side tunnels she passed, flamethrower at the ready. Giles walked behind her, his back to hers, his own flamethrower held ready, so that at least they couldn't be ambushed like that. However, they'd yet to see a single 'Stealer. She was starting to feel kind of cheated. She'd been nervous, given everything Gallus had drilled into her head about these things, but she also wanted to test herself against them.
“So, G-Man,” she began, “You see anything?”
“No, nothing since you asked me five minutes ago,” Giles said exasperatedly.
“Cool,” Faith nodded, and sighed. They'd been in here for over an hour, walking back to back in what was largely silence, the tunnels illuminated by the green glow of their night-vision goggles, and she was pretty sure that she was lost. They'd taken so many turns down various tunnels that she wouldn't be surprised if they ended up in the basement of the school...
Faith then spun as something caught the edge of her vision down yet another tunnel to her right. She saw a large figure in the distance leap straight up and disappear. Faith ran down this new tunnel, the scent of alien flesh filling her nose, her blood pumping as she finally found an outlet for her boredom. Then the ground exploded at her feet and something struck her, hard
, and sent her flying back into Giles, knocking the Watcher down as he ran to catch up with her. In an instant, though, she was standing and spraying fire down at the large, insectoid creature that had backhanded her down the tunnel. This thing was quicker, though, and disappeared down the hole it had come from. She released the trigger and stood still, waiting for it to reappear. After a moment of silence, a sudden feeling of apprehension came over her and she dove forward just as the beast punch up through the floor beneath her. She rolled through her dive and came up, dropping her flamethrower and drawing her pistol, wary of burning Giles alive, only to see the monster slash out with its terrible claws and tear open Giles' stomach as the old man tried to fire his own weapon. Time seemed to slow as Giles staggered back, blood soaking his jacket, even as Faith fired once, twice, three times as the genestealer reached out to slash again, each round punching through the creature's head, blowing green ichor and chunks of grassy chitin out its forehead, its right eye, its nose. The monster fell from the fatal blows, its outstretched talons almost reaching the fallen Giles' feet. The whole scene from Giles' injury had taken perhaps a second.
Time sped back up and Faith was rushing to Giles' side, pistol held loosely at her hip. She looked at the terrible wound and fear welled up in her gut. It was a deep horizontal wound, cutting him open from side to side, bisecting his belly button. Blood flowed from the cut, soaking Giles' tweed jacket and leaking down to the ground and his pants.
“Hey, G-Man,” Faith said softly, holding back her rage, her hate for the aliens that had hurt one of the few people who'd ever cared about her for Giles' sake, “You still with me, you awake? Come on, say something man!”
Faith's voice took on an urgent tone as she refrained from shaking Giles. Gallus had warned her about things like this during her medical training. Belly wounds were bad, and needed immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, she was friggin' lost in a tunnel! She took a deep breath and cursed herself for not taking her first aid kit with her. She'd assumed that she'd be fighting alone or with Gallus, and that if these things got her, either he'd save her, or she'd be dead too quick to do anything about it. So she'd left the kit back in the basement, reasoning that being weighed down would be more detrimental than being without the damned kit. Now Giles was going to pay the price for her mistake.
“Faith...” came a weak whisper, and she nearly sagged with relief.
“Hey, listen, you'll get through this, alright?” Faith assured him, or herself, she wasn't sure which, as she began unbuttoning his shirt, needing to see the wound clearly.
“A-” Giles started, and gasped as she accidentally brushed the wound.
“Sorry!” she exclaimed, but his were wide with horror, not pain, she realized.
“Giles, what-” she began, and then felt a drop of wet goo hit her neck.
“Above you!” he hissed, and Faith grabbed him and ran forward, dropping her revolver on the floor behind her, even as scything talons narrowly missed taking her head off at her shoulders. –Scene Break–
To the passive observer, the tunnel would appear empty. Noises could be heard, those of large creatures tunneling, keening cries of alarm, orders from on high, but these were far away, beyond the dirt walls. In this single large tunnel, all was quiet. No monsters dared move through this tunnel, though there were many smaller ones connecting to it. None were foolish enough to risk the ire of the tunnel's creator. It was for this reason that the single, nearly invisible figure moved so quietly. Ethereal power bent around the figure, hiding him from sight. The dimly lit tunnel only helped hide him, as light could show the flickering haze of his power, revealing the presence behind the cloak of the figure's mind. This was something that the figure sought to avoid at all costs, because it knew that to hunt the being that it hunted was to hunt perhaps the single most dangerous life form in the galaxy.
Behind the veil of his mind, Gallus moved ahead quickly. He had just felt a spike of panic from Faith, and Giles' presence was fading fast. Buffy was a vibrant light of rage and pain, broadcasting her presence to all beings with the eyes to see it, and Willow was barely a shadow, so adept was she at hiding the true depths of her pain. Gallus sighed as he felt a flare of magic from the young witch. He knew that he'd soon need to talk to both of them. He hadn't known the depths of their trauma, as he hadn't been in close quarters with them since the incident, but both of the girls were heavily damaged by the incident. He was more worried about Buffy than Willow, though. The girl was taking the pain the same way he had: badly. For his first few years as an Inquisitor, he had been a mess. He'd lost his master, his friends, and had spent six months in the hell crafted specifically for him by Mael-Dannan. He'd had the disadvantage of being alone, but Buffy was doing a damn good job at isolating herself. He flinched briefly as he felt a particularly bright flare of sheer hatred from the shattered girl.
He closed his eyes as he remembered the years of terrible violence that had followed his escape from Mael and subsequent promotion to Inquisitor. He'd gone out of his way to find the most deadly situations he could get himself into and then proceeded to kill everything he could, until he finally found something that could kill him. He'd nearly died hundreds of times over. He credited his survival to the God-Emperor, and had eventually realized that he was being given a message from on high: That his life was not his own, that the Imperium yet had use for him. He'd been ashamed that it had taken him so long to realize this. He knew he still suffered the effects of Mael's torment and the loss of his friends, but he also knew that his travel through time was also part of the Emperor's plan.
He'd found something here that he'd thought he'd forever lost: Family. Faith was a daughter to him. Emperor help him, he loved the girl as if she was his own, and he knew that she had been a gift from the Emperor. She'd never had a father figure, and he'd never had a daughter. Both of them had been in desperate need of someone to care for and to care about them, and they had been lead to each other. Gallus knew that for Faith alone, he would forever owe the Emperor his life. She was his reason. He would make her the greatest Slayer to ever live, he would see her go down in history as the greatest Saint of the Emperor ever to be, for he knew that that was what she was. If nothing else survived of this era of Earth, he'd make sure that she did. No matter what.
Gallus paused in his thoughts for a brief moment. What was it about the possibility of imminent death that so lent him to introspection? Whenever he had these quiet moments before the storm, he found himself reflecting on the events that lead him to where he was. From the desolate deserts of Carana so many decades ago to the warfare in the Tyranid Hive Ship that had earned him his reputation among the Calixian Conclave, he had always found himself prone to self-reflection in these moments before a particularly dangerous fight...
He was pulled from his reverie as he reached the end of the long tunnel. There was a large step down as the tunnel reached into a massive spherical chamber with tunnels reaching into it from all sides. The walls were packed with glistening genestealer goo, the same that, Gallus realized, must have been applied to the tunnel walls to keep the wet earth stable. Idly, he wondered what creature the xenos had absorbed to make them such adept tunnelers.
Gallus focused for a moment and felt himself hover slightly into the air, and he began his decent into the chamber, towards the hulking figure sleeping in the middle of the floor, surrounded by the corpses of its prey. It took him a minute to reach the beast, and as he settled on the ground, he was struck with the fact that, for the first time in decades, he was about to face off with a broodlord of the genestealers.
The creature was massive, head and shoulders above the others of its brood. It was curled in on itself, green chitin being show off to all avenues of attack. Edged plates ran down its back, and its shoulder talons were hugged near its throat, and it crossed its more human arms to its chest. Gallus slowly, quietly drew his shotgun, a twelve-gauge loaded with twelve solid-slugs, and aimed at the back of the monster's bulbous head, and fired.
The shot rang out through the chamber, deafeningly loud and the slug punched into the broodlord's head, through the armored chitin, and into the brain of the creature. The beast roared in pain and stood up faster than Gallus would have believed possible if he had not fought such beasts before, and swung one of its talons blindly, catching Gallus with a backhand and sending him flying across the chamber, and causing him to let go of his weapon. The shotgun clattered across the floor and ended up several dozen feet away from Gallus himself. He looked up, holding his chest, sure that he had at least three broken ribs, and saw one of the most terrifying sights he'd ever seen.
The broodlord, bleeding from the head wound, had reared up to its full seven foot height and roared its displeasure, Within moments, Gallus knew that he would be beset by dozens of genestealers. As that though ran through his head, though, the broodlord charged, and all extraneous thoughts were purged from Gallus' mind as adrenalin flooded his system and all of his thought processes switched to focus on surviving the coming seconds as the most dangerous creature currently dwelling on Earth ran at him with intent to kill. –Scene Break–
Darla stormed into her apartment with a howl of rage, startling Spike, who was lying on her nice red couch, boots on the arm rest, watching his ridiculous soap operas, into motion.
“Darla, what-” he started, sitting up, but was interrupted when she grabbed him and threw him into her glass coffee table.
“How many times have I told you,” she snarled at the confused blond vampire, “No. Boots. On. My. Couch.”
“Bloody hell, woman,” Spike frowned, pushing himself up, swearing violently, and then looking at the bare palm of his right hand, which was stuck with glass, as he finally stood up, “That hurt.”
“This'll hurt a lot
more,” she hissed and threw a punch with blinding speed. If he had been human, it would have shattered his jaw and sent him flying. As it was, he caught the punch with insulting ease. She lashed out again, and he caught her once more, this time wincing from pain as the glass was forced into his palm. Spike held her like that for a moment, looking bored, until she finally calmed down. Darla sighed. She missed the days when Spike was young. She could beat him then.
“Wanna tell me what's wrong?” he asked, raising an eyebrow as he released her. Spike was confused, but also mildly amused. Darla hadn't been able to use him as her punching bag for decades, so to try meant something must have really
upset her. “Angelus,”
she hissed, fury and hurt filling her voice. Spike frowned with surprise.
“What'd Peaches do, Darla?” he questioned. He'd never seen Darla this furious at Angelus, so it had to be worth a laugh or two.
“He called me whore,”
she spat the word out. Spike shivered. No one called Darla by that word, not even Angelus in the old days, and the one time Spike had dared, she'd beaten him within an inch of his life, and he'd been a vampire then...
“He said I'd whored myself out to Wolfram and Hart, said that they own
me. Own me,”
Darla hissed, rage filling her voice, “As though I was some willing servant, rather than a valued partner in a beneficial relationship!”
Spike had his own thoughts on that, but he wisely kept them to himself. When Darla was in a mood like this, she was almost as dangerous as Angelus, and though Spike knew he could take her, he had no desire to engage the vampiress in a fight to the death, which is what it could become if he didn't tread lightly. Darla's temper, though usually hidden, was terrible to behold once she was well and truly peeved off. Add that to her natural power, and she was truly a force to be reckoned with.
Perhaps he should have gone dancing with Dru after all...
“You are quite right, Miss Darla,” a smooth voice came from the door way. Darla spun to the intruder, a young Asian man in a fine suit. Gavin Parks, she remembered, her liaison to the company.
“You are indeed a valuable partner to this firm, not some mere property. Angelus shall be made to see this in time. First, though, we need to remove his new consort from the equation.”
Darla clenched her fists in rage. “Consort?”
she asked dangerously. The lawyer smiled slightly.
“Yes, I believe we briefed you on her awhile back. A being known as Mael-Dannan. She and Angelus have begun a sexual relationship, and Angelus has been bringing her victims for an unknown reason.”
Darla's howl of rage could be heard throughout the apartment and the hallways beyond.
Angelus, in the arms of another, not forcing himself, but willingly, helping this bitch
was unforgivable. She'd get her Angelus back if it was the last thing she ever did, and make him pay
for his transgressions.
She'd make him pay. –Scene Break–
Buffy lay back, desperately firing her last shots from her revolver through Willow's one way shield as the young Wicca fought to maintain the golden barrier against the assault of the six genestealers circling them. One bullet punched through the skull of a 'stealer, but far from killing it, the creature merely howled in pain and lashed out at the shield. A powerful shock knocked it back, but the bleeding beast only hissed in pain and struck again. Willow moaned in pain and swayed. Buffy knew that her friend couldn't take it much longer. They were going to die here, at the hands of these aliens, and, once again, it would be her fault...
Suddenly, though, the monsters stood straight, and then turned to flee down various tunnels, leaving the fallen bodies of their fellows where Buffy and Willow had killed them.
“What-” Buffy began, when a psychic cry echoed through her head. 'The stealers' are coming for me, run, RUN!'
the message was almost painful, and it didn't have to be sent twice. Willow let the shield fall and turned to Buffy, muttering some arcane command and pointing at the Slayer's leg. Buffy howled in agony as her leg set itself into a rigid magical splint. Willow reached down and helped her to stand. Buffy found that she could put weight on her leg without much more than a twinge. Willow looked truly guilty.
“I'm so sorry, but it's the only spell I could do that would help. I'll try to levitate you, but this way you won't damage your leg from moving.”
“Don't worry about it,” Buffy brushed off the apology, she didn't deserve it, “Let's just get moving.”
Willow nodded and waved her hand, causing Buffy to float up. The young witch set a steady pace down the tunnel, floating her injured friend behind her, praying that they would escape in time.
Then she heard Buffy cry out in warning, heard the deafening boom of a shotgun firing, and heard the sound of a genestealer crying out in pain, and then heard Buffy cry out as Willow dropped her in shock, turning around, fire lighting up in her hands as she turned to the bleeding alien, murder on her mind. –Scene Break–
Faith held Giles in her arms like a small child as she ran, Slayer reflexes allowing her to jump holes and dodge through tunnels as genestealers ran past her, heading in the direction of the closest thing to a father she'd ever had. She needed to get Giles to safety, then she could go reinforce Gallus, but Giles came first. Gallus' orders were to run, so that's what she'd do.
She smiled. At least until she knew everyone else was in the clear. Then Gallus could shove his orders up his ass. She'd be damned before she left him to die. She heard shouts in the distance, and gunfire. She turned in the direction of the noise and hurried her pace. It sounded like Buffy and Willow might be in need of some assistance. She heard a genestealer shriek in pain, and the boom of a shotgun firing. If she focused, she realized as she turned to her left and ran down the new tunnel, she could hear the rushing of fire. Sure enough, after another moment, a blazing genestealer ran in front of her and down another tunnel. She turned as she came to where it had come through and ran down the tunnel, wrinkling her nose at the smell of burning chitin. “Buffy! Willow!”
she called, “That'd better be you up there!” “Faith?”
a voice called from down the tunnel, and she saw Willow's scarred face peek around the side of the tunnel. Faith smiled in relief, but Willow gasped in horror as Faith reached her and set Giles down carefully on the ground. Faith realized how bad she looked. Giles had a horrible gut wound, and Faith herself was covered in Giles' blood.
“I'm fine,” she assured, “It's G-Man who's in trouble.”
“Don't...call me that...” Giles murmured weakly, his eyes fluttering. Faith heard Buffy moan in horror from her position sitting against the wall of the tunnel, her right leg stretched straight out in front of her, as she saw her Watcher, the man who was every bit as much as father figure to her that Gallus was to Faith. She felt a surge of pity for Buffy. She could imagine how the girl felt. “Giles!”
Buffy cried, and crawled towards the British man, tears streaming from her eyes.
“Buffy...” Giles smiled tiredly, even as pain showed in his eyes. Buffy almost hugged him, but Faith's hand on her shoulder stopped her.
“Don't touch him, he's hurt bad,” Faith warned.
“What do we do?” Willow asked, staring down at the man that she'd long since come to care about.
“Get him out, call 911,” Faith shrugged, “I'm leaving him with you guys.”
“Wait, what?!” Buffy exclaimed, anger showing through her tears, “You're leaving us like this? In case you didn't notice, neither of us are exactly at full fighting form!”
“I'm going back for Gallus,” Faith said firmly, “No way he survives much longer down there. Now, give me your spare ammo. You guys are in the clear as long as me and him keep their attention away, and we'll need it more.”
“We're both out,” Buffy informed her, “We used it up when I broke my leg. I was actually down to my six shots with the revolver when those things went for Gallus.”
“I gave mine to Buffy earlier,” Willow shrugged, “They were heavy, and the guns pushed me back too much anyways.”
“Shit,” she said, “I've only got two drums left.”
She ran her hands through her hair, and sighed again.
“Fine, whatever, I'm still going. You guys just run. Drop whatever unnecessary equipment you still have and run. I'm going for him, before it's too late.”
With that final order, Faith turned and ran back down the tunnel she'd come through, intent on finding her Inquisitor. –Scene Break–
Gallus leapt over the broodlord's head with a burst of telekinesis and landed several meters behind it, rolling to his feet and turned, focusing his power and releasing it into a single controlled burst. A lance of psychic energy struck the emerald-green monstrosity in the chest in midair and knocked it back, sending it sprawling. It picked itself up swiftly and snarled at him, goo dripping from the hole in its head. Gallus smiled as he saw the injury. Was it truly that simple? He focused, and realized that it was. An invisible ball of power appeared in the broodlord's head and rapidly expanded. The beast's head burst with it in an explosion of green ichor, splattering the surrounding area, and Gallus, with the vital fluids and gray matter of the Tyranid agent.
Gallus smiled with grim satisfaction, before movement from the walls of the massive chamber caught his gaze. Through the numerous tunnels came the genestealers, scuttling down the walls, first one by one, then in twos, then threes, and fives, as more and more answered the call of their deceased leader. Gallus sighed, and called two, then four, then six psychic blades into existence. The blades of his will were each a foot long and edged at the molecular level, though they did not technically have molecules. He himself flickered as an aura of nothing surrounded him, removing him from view. This would be an interesting fight.
The first genestealer hit the ground a few moments later and made a beeline for his position. Once it closed, he knew it would know exactly
where he was. Their smell was too good to do anything but confuse them at a distance. It didn't matter much, though. The first blade lanced out and pierced the skull of the 'stealer, killing it instantly and circling around to remove its head for good measure. The other 'stealers were now hitting the ground, moving steadily towards him, hunger evident in their alien eyes. He shifted the focus of his will, and the blades began spinning around him, faster and faster, making an upside-down cone of deadly psychic energy.
One of the closing genestealers decided to make its move and leapt at him, and was promptly cut to shreds by the blades. The severed right talon of the alien dropped at Gallus' feet, having made it through the blades. Gallus frowned, and called two more blades into existence. He didn't want their talons getting through, even partially. The genestealers were now finishing their descent. Gallus extended his mind, counting the number of alien presences. Thirty, at least. He smiled slightly. There was no way he'd take out thirty of them. He didn't want to die, but Faith and Buffy were still alive, and Faith knew where his armory was. She could carry on his work. Here Gallus' smile grew wider as he sent a blast of telekinetic power up towards the massive stone roof. The roof that supported ton after ton of dirt. The roof that already had cracks in it due to poor maintenance. The roof that he was steadily breaking apart. One way or another, the genestealer infestation ended here.
One way or another. –Scene Break–
Faith ran through the tunnels at top speed, heedless of the dangers of the tunnels. They were all fighting Gallus, and she needed to rescue him. Her axe was in her hand, ready to hack through any of these damned aliens that thought that they could harm her Inquisitor. Faith's face twisted into a snarl. Over her dead body. In the distance, she heard the sounds of shrieking genestealers. They were nearby. She put on a further burst of speed. No way would she allow Gallus to die, not here, not yet. He was still needed. They were both
She turned a corner and saw an opening into a large chamber at the end of the tunnel. She slowed down and stopped just before the edge. She looked over the end of the tunnel and saw Gallus standing in the middle of the chamber, surrounded by almost thirty genestealers. Several corpses lay by him, and as she watched something removed the head of one of the abominations. At the same time, a 'stealer jumped at Gallus, and its talons reached almost to his chest before something cut the beast in half. The ruined corpse was thrown back into the 'stealers, knocking two others down. Faith looked at the drop. Almost thirty feet. She smiled. She could take it.
She backed up several steps, took a deep breath, began running, and leapt down to join her Inquisitor. –Scene Break–
“You want us to lock you up?” Fred asked, staring at Angel with confusion. Wesley stood right beside her, staring at Angel, his expression unreadable. Gunn stood on Fred's left side, an uneasy expression on his face. Cordelia stood off to Gunn's left, her face filled with concern and fear.
“Yes,” Angel answered flatly, pacing through the dark gray basement of the Hyperion, directly in front of the large cage that took up the lion's share of the room's back, “I don't know what's happening, but I spoke to Lorne, and he thinks its a possibility that I might be unleashing Angelus in my sleep. We need to know as soon as possible if this is true. This killer knows too much about me, about him, to be just a copycat. The only ones who knew Angelus this well were himself and Darla. The Watcher's council knows a lot about my exploits, but not even close to this much. Spike only knew Angelus for a short time before I got my soul back, and he doesn't have the patience for a plot like this anyway, Drusilla knew more, but she doesn't have the mental capacity to mimic him like this. Darla's dead, and so are the others in our group that could have done this. We need to find out if I'm sleepwalking as Angelus. The best way to do this is lock me up, and see what happens when I sleep.”
“I dunno, Angel,” Gunn spoke up, “If you're asleep, and not, you know, evil,
what happens if the killer shows up here?”
“You guys can deal with a copycat vampire if he shows up,” Angel said shortly, “But we need
to know if Angelus is here. He's the one I'm worried about. We need to know, and this is the best way.”
“Loathe as I am to say it,” Wesley sighed reluctantly, his sudden input causing the others to turn towards him with a start, “Angel has a point. I have been going over all of the records we have, as well as those I've managed to get from the Watcher's Council, that reference Angelus, and these crimes fit his modus operandi to a T. If Angelus is indeed breaking free of Angel's control, there isn't any time to lose.”
Angel took Wesley's words as his cue to step back into the cage. Wesley moved forward and shut the large metal door with a loud clang. He took the key from his pocket and locked the cage door and quickly stepped back. A look of deep unease covered the faces of the rest of Angel Investigations, but all were willing to accept the necessity of the situation.
“I'll be monitoring everything on the video feed upstairs,” Wesley promised Angel, who simply nodded in response.
“Do you want a book, or a TV, or something?” Fred blurted out suddenly, still looking worried. Angel shook his head.
“I'll be fine,” Angel assured, “I'm just going to try to relax, and sleep. I want this over with as soon as possible.”
With those words, the other members of Angel Investigations took their leave, heading up the stairs to the main floor of the Hyperion, only sparing a few worried glances to their employer, who was now laying back on the single cot in his self-made prison, a calm facade masking the anxiety that they all knew lay beneath. –Scene Break–
Gallus reached out with his mind and tore a chunk of rock from the heavily damaged roof above him and brought it down on one of the Genestealers, crushing it with a crunch of shattered exoskeleton. The effort left Gallus' vision blurred with pain as sharp spikes seemed to sprout in his brain. A wet trickle running down his lips and chin told his his nose was bleeding. He was fairly certain that he was crying, as well. He could feel the tears running down his cheeks, and from the stinging pain in his eyes he was sure he was weeping blood. He shoved the pain aside and sent another burst of telekinesis at the ceiling, and was rewarded with another burst of razored agony in his brain and several fallen chunks of concrete. None hit the horde of 'Stealers around him, but he knew he was close to collapsing the ceiling on the insectoid abominations surrounding him. No matter what, he needed these things dead. Their presence on Holy Terra, no matter the time period, could not be tolerated, even if their destruction meant his death.
Suddenly, a new screech, one of alien surprise, split the air. Gallus turned his attention to its source, and saw something that both surprised and enraged him.
Faith, armed with only her axe, had just split the skull of one of his assailants. She rolled beneath a scything claw that should have torn her apart and leapt up slashing, driving her axe deep into the chest of another alien monstrosity. She dodged to the side as her other would-be killed slashed at her from behind and drove her axe into its forehead, tore the weapon free and, with one great blow, severed the head of the other injured alien. All of it had taken mere seconds, and now she was running towards Gallus once more, and the Inquisitor sent out a pulse of immense power, staggering in pain from the exertion even as the expanding wave of power knocked back over a dozen Genestealers as they converged on Faith. The monsters that had been sent back struck their fellows behind them, and a way was suddenly, beautifully, fleetingly clear. Gallus opened a hole in his razored psychic sanctuary for Faith to come through, but before he could so much as speak, or even close the gap, she grabbed him and hoisted him over her shoulder as though he weighed no more than a child and ran back through the newly cleared path to the tunnels. The storm of blades dissipated as Gallus' attention left them at last, and the Genestealers roared as one and began their pursuit anew. It had been all of eight seconds since Faith had slain the first 'Stealer. Through his surprise and pain and anger, Gallus managed to through another wave of power, far weaker than the first, but still enough to send their closest pursuers sprawling. The rest simply leapt over their fallen comrades and swiftly began to close the gap. With one final exertion, Gallus extended his mind and spirit and tore at the fractured stone roof. Years of water damage and disrepair, combined with the damage Gallus had wrought, caused the reinforced concrete to finally expire. The burst of telekinetic power tore great chunks of rock free from the roof, and the weight of the dirt above did the rest.
At the moment Faith ran into the tunnel opening that lead to freedom, the immense, deafening sound of tens of tons of dirt and concrete falling from above onto the remaining Genestealers sounded throughout the tunnels and even the ground above. The hardy alien physique of the 'Stealers couldn't withstand the terrible weight of the falling material and the beasts were crushed under the falling roof. Faith continued her run for the exit, even as the tunnels shook and began to fall apart around her. Her only thought was to escape the 'Stealer den before the entire area collapsed.
Gallus himself was entirely unaware of the fruits of his efforts. Exhaustion and overexertion had finally overcome him, and he had fallen into unconsciousness at the same moment that the ceiling had finally given way.
Sunnydale above, however, was not unaware of the collapse. The cave-in had brought the road east of the cemetery down in a massive sinkhole. Miraculously, no one had been hurt, despite the McDonald’s that had fallen into the hole along with several hundred feet of road and three parked cars. The owners of the cars had been parked outside as they visited lost loved ones in the cemetery, and the McDonald’s had been closed for the evening. The cemetery itself remained oddly undamaged, despite its proximity to the sinkhole, and, like many such incidents in Sunnydale, people decided it was best not to ask questions, and went on with their daily lives. –Scene Break–
Wesley sat still at the counter of the Hyperion lobby, watching the feed coming from the basement. Angel remained apparently asleep, despite hours of uninterrupted surveillance. Cordelia was busying herself making a pot of coffee, Fred had fallen asleep on one of the couches, and Gunn sat beside Wesley, watching the feed with quiet anxiety.
Perhaps it was because of the late hour that none of them were watching the door. Perhaps it was because of their worry for Angel, or perhaps simple exhaustion. Perhaps it didn't even matter, as it was highly unlikely a warning would have done anything to aid them, aside from giving them fruitless seconds to fight or flee. Whatever the cause, none of them notice as the door of the hotel quietly opened. None of them notice the familiar figure, dressed handsomely in a long sleeved black shirt and pants, move silently towards the counter where Wesley and Gunn watched Angel, looking for any signs of a change. None of them noticed until the figure burst into sudden laughter as he saw what they were watching.
In a moment, both men were on their feet, crossbows in hand, only to nearly drop their weapons in shock. Cordelia did
drop the cup of coffee in her hand as she turned to the terrifyingly familiar laughter, panic and terror on her face.
“Oh my God,
I can't believe he actually did it!” Angelus exclaimed, still chuckling as he stared at the screen, “I can't believe he actually
locked himself up. I mean, I knew he might, but to actually make things this
Gunn fired his crossbow directly at the heart of the laughing vampire. Angelus effortlessly caught the bolt, looked at at for a moment, and threw it like a dart directly into Gunn's chest. The bolt impacted with a wet thunk and knocked Gunn back. Blood flowed from the wound, slowly soaking his shirt with red.
“Angelus,” Cordelia whispered, her voice filled with terror. Angelus smiled, his cruel eyes meeting her fearful gaze.
“In the flesh, baby,” he confirmed, and with one horrifyingly fast movement and a sickening crunch, delivered a punch that sent Wesley, who'd been carefully backing away and seeking a chance to fire, sprawling across the floor with a shattered jaw and blood pouring from his mouth.
“Now, Cordy,” he said, still smiling, “Me, you, and little Freddy over there,” Angelus gestured to the still sleeping Fred, “are going to go on a little trip. There's someone very special to me that is just dying
to meet you.” –End Chapter– Okay, I know it took 65 days, but I'm almost done with school for the summer, so I should have a lot more free time soon. Reviews are, as always, really fucking awesome.