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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Maelstrom Series". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: When Wolfram and Hart decide to set up a branch in Chicago, Johnny Marcone looks for someone with experience fighting them. Wesley, late of Angel Investigations, seems a perfect candidate. Post 'White Night' and Episode 4x02 of Ats

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Dresden Files, TheAlkeniFR152574,32437722,87925 Oct 1116 Sep 12Yes

Going Hunting

Disclaimer: It is not mine. I will somehow deal.

Author's Note: I could apologize profusely for the delay, or I could just say: On with the fic!

New City, Same Enemy

By Alkeni

Chapter 21: Going Hunting

Wesley's Apartment
10:15 pm; May 25th, 2003

“Wait, three species of vampire? Okay, start explaining.” Faith demanded.

“I don't take orders from you, Faith. I never did and I never will. I suggest you keep that in mind.” He said cooly, keeping the gun trained on her as he continued to talk. “The three kinds of vampire are Black Court Vampires, White Court Vampires, and Red Court Vampires. The one's that you are familiar with are the Black Court Vampires – dead body animated by a demon. It's the only species the Council ever tells Slayers about, as a general rule.”

“Sounds typical of those fuckers. Why?”

“Relevance. The White and Red Courts are not ones the Slayer goes up against. They're far more organized, and they're usually found in larger numbers, and compared to the Black Court, on a vampire-by-vampire basis, they kill significantly less humans. They're completely evil, yes, but not the same type of threat as the Black Court.” He shrugged. “The Vampires of the White Court aren't made, but born. As long as one parent is a White Court Vampire, then the child is. They don't feed on blood either, but emotions – specifically, lust, despair, fear, wrath, things like that. And have the ability to induce those feelings for the purpose of feeding. And in the process, they eat away at the soul and psyche of whoever they feed on, and usually creating a sick dependency. You kill them just like you would a human, just takes more to do it.”

“The Red Court – they're some kind of demon that spreads through infection.” He continued. Their natural form is something like a cross between a mane and a bat. They can wear a flesh mask to make themselves look human. Stakes work, but they can be killed through more conventional means as well, though it takes a whole lot more, and they are particularly vulnerable to sunlight and fire and holy artifacts. They feed on blood, but as a general rule they don't kill their meals so much as harvest from them on a regular basis. They need less blood and there is something in their saliva that's addictive, when inserted into the blood stream via biting. They enslave their meals.” He smirked at Faith's expression. “The White and Red Courts are organized like little nations, each with a King, and nobles ruling territory across the world. The White Court is predominately in the United States and Europe. The Red Court likes the Africa, Latin America - places where they can operate without the notice of a strong government.”

“And which of the three are giving you problems?”

“The Red Court. Recently they were at war with the White Council – its basically the government for wizards, witches, et cetera – but a peace was brokered. Some didn't like the idea of peace, and decided to keep fighting. The issue is that they're replacing their losses by infecting more humans. Which is not acceptable. They're here to kill a man named Harry Dresden – he's a powerful wizard who was crucial and preventing the peace talks from being sabotaged by an unknown third party.” Well, something like that. He didn't need to get into the politics about how saving the White Court so the White King could put pressure on the Red Court to come to truce, and so on. More complication than was needed for the purposes of this conversation. “We know they're hiding out somewhere in the tunnels and caverns under the city, but we haven't found them yet. We are going down into the tunnels tomorrow morning.”

Faith looked around and laughed as he said that. “Somehow, I don't think you're about to offer to let me crash here in the meantime.”

“Most certainly not.” Wesley said. He didn't lower the gun, but took out his cell phone and dialed a number. He brought it to his ear.

“Yes Boss?” The voice of Petrovich came through from the other line.

“You know that kill on sight order I had on that escaped convict? One Faith Lehane?” He smirked when he saw Faith's expression, but the gun still trained on her kept her from talking – for a few moments, anyway.

“I do.” The mercenary replied. “What about it?”

“I'm rescinding that order.”

“Sir?” Very few people could pack a so much into just that one word.

“No, I'm not under duress. She is actually in my apartment right now, but I've got a gun on her at the moment. If anyone is under threat of getting killed in this situation, its her.”

“Do you want to put that to the test, Wes?” Faith shot back, apparently having found her tongue.

The watcher lowered the phone from his mouth for a moment. “I'd really rather not.” He said in reply, then brought the phone back up to his mouth. “No. I haven't used the duress word, have I?”

“That's hardly foolproof Sir.” Petrovich replied.

“No. But its the best you'd get over the phone one way or another. We'll be arriving in about a half an hour. Make sure the guards know not to shoot her when we arrive.” Wesley hung up the phone and looked at Faith.

“You had a kill on sight order on me?” The slayer sounded like she couldn't believe it.

“Of course.” Wesley said in a matter of fact tone. “Look at it from my perspective. You strap me to a chair and torture me after already having killed two people. You go to prison. I find out you've escaped. What would you do? I hardly suspected that I'd be high on your list of people to kill, if that was what you were inclined for, but I wasn't going to take any chances.” He pressed lightly on the trigger, smiling. “Do you have a problem with that?”

“Damn Wes,” Faith said, smirking. “You really have gone hardcore.” She laughed. “I wonder what Giles would say if he saw you now?”

“There would be a great deal of nervous cleaning of glasses, some stammering and some throat clearing.” Wesley replied. “And possibly a lecture about what it means to be a watcher.” He released the trigger and holstered the gun. “Well? Shall we leave for Oracle Securities, then?” He headed for the door.

“You'll have to tell me why you named it that.” Faith said, following him out.

“Its a long story.”

In Front of the Oracle Securities Building
10:37pm, May 25th, 2003

“ tortured the vamp with a slow drip of Holy Water?” Faith asked, as Wesley's car drew to a stop in front of the Oracle Securities building. “What was left of the fucker when you were done?”

“More than you'd expect. He gave up far too easily. Still, he was a gibbering wreck by the time he was done talking.” He opened his door and stepped out, his former Slayer doing the same. She saw the four men at the door, all of who had leveled their guns at her.

“You do use more than a gun to take out the vamps, right?” Faith said. “And everything else, for that matter?”

Wesley shook his head. “For most things, a gun is plenty. Don't underestimate the power of modern firearms. You put enough lead into most species of demon, they'll be just as dead as a human filled with lead. Only difference is that most demons take more lead to kill than a human.”

“Still doesn't cover what you do with a Vampire. You don't shoot them to death.”

“If you shoot a vampire through the kneecaps, it can't walk for a good thirty seconds at least. More than enough time to walk up and stake it and/or decapitate it. You blow a shotgun in a vampire's face, its staying down for more than enough time to be killed in more conventional ways. Then there's phosphorous grenades.”

“Phosphorous grenades?”

“Fire. Lots of it. Like a Molotov cocktail but better.”

“Damn.” Faith said after a moment. “Could've used that kind of hardware back on the Hellmouth.”

“The Watchers' Council, and extension, the Slayer, has been institutionally incapable of catching up with the times. The Industrial Revolution passed us by centuries ago, and they didn't even notice. Besides, I've noticed that Buffy Summers seems to have a serious problem with guns. Doesn't really seem to be logical, but then, logical thought – or really, thought at all – was never Miss Summer's strong suit.” He waved at the guards as they drew close. “See? No duress. You can tell them to stand down now, Petrovich.”

“You heard the boss.” The Russian man replied. “Stand down, let them through.” The mercenaries lowered their weapons and stepped aside. Petrovich opened the door and let them through. “This is Faith?”

“Indeed.” Wesley replied. “Faith, this is Nikolai Petrovich, second in command of the Oracle Securities Assault Forces. Petrovich, this is Faith Lehane, convicted murderer and Slayer.” He paid no attention to the aggrieved sound Faith made as he brought up her criminal status.”

Petrovich looked her over a moment, then smirked. “ re a Slayer. I hear Slayers are very strong, very fast.”

“I could get you on the ground inside of a minute.” Faith replied. Petrovich smirked wider, and Faith chuckled. “So you like that? Don't mind the woman being on top?”

“A woman as sexy as you? Not at all.”

“Oh dear.” Wesley pressed two fingers to his throat and made a fake gagging sound. “Flirt on your own time, Petrovich. I'm not paying you to pick up women.” He entered the building. “Where is Abigail? Should probably warn her.”

“Already did.” Petrovich replied. “She wasn't that happy.”

“Of course not.” Abigail said, walking down the stairs, “Who wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect of sharing a building with a convicted murderer?”

“Abigail, every single one of us has killed at least one human being in our time as mercenaries.” Petrovich pointed out. “Wesley's killed humans too. Indeed, the only person in this building who hasn't killed a human is you, and that's only because no one wants to piss the Wardens off.”

“Wardens?” Faith interjected. “What the hell are they?”

“How can she be so ignorant?” Abigail demanded of Wesley.

“The Watchers' Council has kept a policy of keeping Slayers ignorant of the greater supernatural world beyond the immediate concerns of wherever they happen to be.” He turned to Faith. “Wardens are the wizard police, at the most basic level. They're about as narrow-minded and judgmental as the Watchers Council but a great deal more effective.”

Abigail looked at Faith, raising an eyebrow as Wesley elaborated. “So...” She said when the Englishman was done. “You're the psycho Slayer.”

“Call me psycho again and I'll tear your arm off and beat you to death with it.” Faith said with deadly seriousness. Abigail laughed.

“I think I'll like you.” She held out a hand. “Abigail St. Pierre.”

Faith looked confused for a moment, then smirked and accepted the hand, shaking it. “Faith Lehane.” The Slayer gave the other woman a once-over. “I don't see a gun on you. What do you do here?”

“Magic. Kinetomancy, specifically.” At the quizzical look on Faith's face, Abigail explained. “Force magic. Here's a pretty tame example.” She pointed a finger at Wesley, and before her boss could protest, “Expello.

She cast the spell, her voice soft. Wesley flew back a few feet and sprawled on the ground. “Wicked cool.” Faith said with a smile.

“I can do a whole lot more, but I figure Wes wouldn't be happy if I injured him.” She looked worried a moment, as Wesley pulled himself to his feet, grimacing. “You're not hurt, right?”

“Just my pride.” Wesley replied. “Though I would appreciate not being your demonstration subject next time you want to show off what you can do with your powers.”

“You'll get over it, Wes.” Abigail replied. She turned back to Faith. “So...what's it like? Being a Slayer?”

Wesley sighed, “I'm returning to my apartment. Try to get some sleep.” He told Petrovich. “I'll need it, with her about.” That amulet she mentioned. If that's what I think it is... Well...if it was, Chicago was going to get a great deal more interesting.

Lilah Morgan's Office, Wolfram and Hart Chicago
10:41 pm, May 25th, 2003

“And you're absolutely sure it was Faith Lehane?” Lilah asked into the phone. “No chance that you're mistaken?”

“Definitely not.” The man on the other end replied. “She's pretty distinctive, both in attitude and appearance. It was definitely her that Wyndam-Pryce brought into the Oracle Securities building.”

“Alright. Keep the building under surveillance, as normal. If any other Slayers or their associates show up, call me immediately.”

“Understood, ma'am.” The phone hung up on the other end, and Lilah put hers down as well.

“Do we do what you did in Los Angeles?” Denna Frost asked, sitting across Lilah's desk from her. “Report her presence to the police?”

Lilah leaned back in her chair and steepled her fingers. “I don't think so. No need to get on the bad side – at least overtly – of whatever new organization the remnants of the Watchers' Council and all these newly energized Slayers make. We don't want them mobilizing against us before we're ready. The damages could be...catastrophic.”

Just catastrophic?”

“I'd have to consult the company psychics to make a truly accurate guess.” Lilah replied. “But I suspect that's the highest it would be, in terms of damages. The Firm is just too powerful to be destroyed by even an army of Slayers.”

“But the damage could set the Firm back decades.” Denna pointed out.

“Centuries, even.” Lilah countered. “I don't want to give the Senior Partners any excuse to lay the blame on me if we come to blows with the Slayers.”

“The Most Ancient and Noble Art of Ass Covering?” Denna cocked an eyebrow.

“Of course.” Lilah said frankly. “Its the first thing you learn here at Wolfram and Hart if you intend to succeed. Richard, of course, failed in that lesson. Or at least didn't learn it as well as you did, since he's dead now, and you're...not.”

“What can I say? I used you as my model.” Denna smirked.

“Flattery, Denna, will get you somewhere between nowhere and everywhere.”

“I'll keep that so helpful advice in mind.”

Lindsey McDonald's Office, Oracle Securities Building
7:29 am, May 26th, 2003

Wesley walked into Lindsey's office and cleared his throat. The lawyer looked up from the brief he was typing. “Yea?”

“How goes the litigation?” Wesley asked, picking up one of the paperweights on Lindsey's desk and tossing it from hand to hand lightly.

“About as well as can be expected. Wolfram and Hart is winning a hell of a lot more often than I'd like, but then...well, they're Wolfram and Hart.”

“Do you think you could afford to leave the cases in the hands of your department for a week?”

Lindsey cocked his head for a moment, thinking. “Maybe. Depends on what you want me to do in that week?”

“How would you like to take a short vacation to Sunnydale?” Wesley asked, smirking.

“...There isn't a Sunnydale anymore.” Lindsey said, confused. “And I can't imagine what's left of it would make much of a vacation spot anyway.”

“True. Very true.” Wesley conceded. “But there's something I need done down there, something that involves your particular area of expertise.” He reached into his coat and handed a folded piece of paper to Lindsey. “Your orders.”

Lindsey unfolded the paper curiously and then looked up when he was done reading it. “You're sure this is a good idea?”

“Not in the least.” Wesley admitted. “But I think that it is more likely that it will turn out to be a good idea than a bad one.”

“Alright. You want me to go alone, then?”

“No. Take a team with you. Who knows what might be living down there.”

“I'll leave at the end of the day, then.” Lindsey replied.

Undertown, Chicago
9:52 am, May 26th, 2003

“Are you absolutely sure that this is a good idea?” Mark asked Wesley quietly as they led a team through the tunnels of Undertown.

“We're out of options for dealing with the Red Court apart from this.” Wesley replied just as softly. “Taking the fight to them is what we have left. I'm quite sure we won't be able to kill all of them – not even close, unfortunately – and we're going to be completely outnumbered, but its our best bet.”

“I wasn't talking about that,” Mark said. “Though I have concerns about this plan too. No, what I meant is do you really think that bringing her,” He jerked his head in Faith's direction “along with us?”

“I've not taken leave of my senses, Mark. It might be a momentary lapse in judgment, I'll admit, but she is a Slayer. She's here in Chicago anyway, so we might as well make use of her abilities.”

Mark sighed. “You know her better than I do, I'll give you that. But she strapped you to a chair and tortured you! Forgive me if I'm a bit worried about you!”

Wesley sighed as well, “Look...I appreciate your concern, but we need to deal with these Vampires. Under normal circumstances I'd not be bringing her along. But...these Red Courtiers are sending this entire city to hell in a hand-basket. We need to take them out. The sooner the better. I'm not having more civilians die. We need to go in and take out as many as we can, and particularly the leadership. And we need to separate them from whoever they're using as their food supply. We need to decapitate the Red Court presence here now.”

“They've really gotten to you that much?”

“Yes.” Wesley replied flatly, as the team continued through the tunnel.

“You're just operating on guesswork as to where they are, though.” Mark pointed out.

“True. But its all we have. They have to be stopped.”
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