Chapter Twenty Six
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and never will. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Legacy of the Altendata belongs to John Ringo. I can only claim ideas that come from sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
Chapter Twenty Six
Buffy Summers, Faith Lehane, Alonna Gunn, Rupert Giles and Alexander Harrison were quietly waiting in the corridor outside the library. They all looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps to see Wesley Whyndam-Price hurrying towards them.
“Am I too late?” He asked, slightly out of breath from his dash from the car park.
“No the moon won’t rise for a few more minutes.” Giles said, closing the copy of the ‘Recollections of Gaston the Pious’ he had been reading. With all that had happened over the last month, Xander’s return, the exposure of Richard Wilkens III and the arrival of Quentin Travers, the older Watcher had completely forgotten about the Slayer Dream that Buffy and Faith had shared. Now with the Hellmouth appearing to have calmed down slightly he was once more trying to understand what that particular dream meant.
Wesley nodded and looked at the group, realising that several people were missing.
“Mr Gunn and Miss Madison are not joining us?” He asked.
It was Alonna who answered his question. “Big Brother had to stay late at work tonight and Amy’s spending the night with her dad.”
Wesley perked up at hearing that. If Alonna’s very protective older brother wasn’t going to be here he might just have a chance to talk to the young woman without interruption. Something that he’d been trying to do ever since he first met her.
Buffy, who was leaning against the wall while idly twirling a stake like a baton glanced towards the doors of the library. “I hope Willow will be all right.”
Next to her Faith just shrugged. “Girl’s been locking up Wolfie for over a year now, she knows what she’s doing.”
Giles checked his watch and glanced out a window to look at the night sky. “Any minute now!” He murmured.
The gang went silent as they listened, praying that they wouldn’t hear the sound of screams and something breaking. Instead what they heard was a smothered grunt quickly followed by a sigh and then Willow’s voice shouting.
“Guys get in here!”
In a rush the assembled demon hunters raced to the door, not sure what they’d find in the library.
Several minutes earlier
Oz stepped out of Giles’ office with only a towel wrapped around his waist to preserve his modesty.
“What do you think will happen?” Willow asked, trying to keep her focus on Oz’s face and not his almost nude body.
“I honestly don’t know.” Oz said, walking over to the cage where he’d spend the next three nights. “I can still fell the Beast inside me, but it’s not the same as it was last month.” He paused and gave Willow a small smile. “Maybe things will be different this time.”
Willow nodded in understanding, knowing how much Oz hated having to lock himself up every month. But she also knew that there was no way that he’d allow himself to run free while he was a wolf and risk killing, or worse, infecting someone else with his curse. She just prayed that whatever it was that the device that Xander had used on Oz would help him.
Suddenly Oz gave a grunt and a shudder before turning to face Willow.
“It’s time.” He said calmly and quickly walked over to the heavy steel cage in the back of the library. Once inside he pulled the door closed and Willow double checked that it had locked correctly and gave Oz a quick kiss through the bars.
“I love you.” She said, stepping back from the cage.
“I love you too.” Oz replied before taking a deep breath in preparation for the change.
Then it hit him and he collapsed to his knees as the Change went through him. Oz ground his teeth to stop himself from screaming as his body transformed.
Despite her best efforts Willow could never watch as Oz succumbed to his curse. There was something about the way that his body changed that disturbed the young woman on an almost instinctive level and that was something that she was ashamed of. She loved Oz and wanted to share a life with him and she felt bad that she couldn’t stand to see him change.
Finally she heard Oz grunt and then sigh and she turned around to face the cage. Her eyes widened and without averting her gaze she called out to the rest of the gang who were waiting outside the library.
“Guys get in here!”
There was the sound of running feet followed by the doors of the library slamming open as the gang barged in. They all came to a shuddering halt when they saw what was now in the cage.
“Well this is different.” Xander remarked as he let the Charge pistol that he had brought just in case he needed to stun Oz drop to his side.
No one could disagree with him. They had all seen Oz when he succumbed to his curse. The musician became a wolf, though with longer and thicker forelimbs than what a natural wolf had.
But tonight he was completely different.
For starters, Oz was standing upright on his hind legs with the knees bending backwards. He was also taller, at least six feet tall and he had also gained a large amount of muscle on his upper body. The only thing that identified the figure in the cage as Daniel ‘Oz’ Osborne was the streaks of blue fur on its head.
Willow briefly glanced around to make sure that everyone was in the room with her before taking a deep breath and cautiously approaching the cage.
“Oz sweetie, can you understand me?”
Oz blinked and slowly got to his feet. For a split second he thought that the night was over and he was human again. Then he realised that for the first time he was aware of himself and his surrounding while transformed. Normally when the wolf took hold he had no clear memories of what happened, just a series of fragments that flashed through his mind. But now he was aware of everything in the library.
He could easily hear the tick of the clock that hung on one wall and the faint hiss of static for the speakers for the school’s PA system. Looking around he saw that everything was clearer and brighter to him, from across the room he could read the titles on the spines of the books on the shelving. Instinctively he inhaled, automatically cataloguing the different aromas in the air, the smell of paper and ink that filled the room, a hint of tea that came from Giles’ office and the individual and distinct scents of everyone in the library.
And he felt good. No not good, great! Like he could run all day, set up the band’s equipment for a gig, play all night, make love to Willow till she cried for mercy and then do it all again without slowing down.
But then he felt something else. The urge to break out of this cage and run free through the night. To hunt his prey by moonlight and drag it squealing to the ground and to taste it’s hot, sweet blood in his mouth and despite the desire to do that he also felt disgust as well.
Clenching his fists to suppress the bestial urges he was feeling Oz suddenly looked at his hands. Hands that were larger than they were before and covered in reddish brown fur with fingers that ended in two inch black claws that almost glittered.
“I guess Xander’s ‘Slab’ really did do something.” He thought.
Looking up from his new hands he saw Willow cautiously approach the cage and suddenly his brain was flooded with her unique scent, a combination of the soap and shampoo that she used and something that just screamed to him ‘Mate!’
“Oz sweetie, can you understand me?” Willow asked and Oz detected a new scent on Willow. The best he could describe it would be hope. The aroma increased in intensity when he looked at her and slowly nodded.
As soon as he nodded Willow closed on the cage and dug into her pocket for the key to the lock only to stop when Oz held up his hands and shock his head emphatically.
“What’s wrong?” Willow asked and Oz noted that both Buffy and Faith dropped into fighting stances and Xander raised his pistol slightly. Behind them Giles’ eyes flickered to where the tranquiliser gun was kept while Wesley stepped in front of Alonna only to be elbowed aside as she moved to a better position to see what was going on.
He quickly mimed writing and Willow dashed to a desk to fetch a notepad and pencil. Carefully she passed the items into the cage and Oz fumbled with the pencil slightly, still not used to his new hands and started to write. Finished he tore off the page and passed it through the bars of the cage.
Willow quickly scanned the page and frowned at it before looking at her boyfriend. Seeing his nod she read out what Oz had written.
“Yes Willow I can understand you. I seem to be in control at the moment. But I don’t think it would be a good idea to let me out of the cage just yet. The Beast is still there and wants to escape to hunt.”
With wide eyes Willow looked at him. “Oh Oz I know that you can beat this!”
“This is extraordinary!” Wesley exclaimed as he looked at Oz, wishing that he had thought to bring a camera tonight.
“Why is it extraordinary Two Dads?” Alonna asked and Wesley felt himself wince as the object of his infatuation used the nickname that Mr Harrison had given him.
“A classmate of mine at the Academy wrote his senior thesis on Lycanthropy.” He explained. “According to his research it is extremely rare for any werewolf to be anything but a wolf. Only after years of experience can a werewolf change their appearance and even then it’s usually limited to developing opposable thumbs. In fact,” He paused as he recalled the paper which had read prior to his graduation. “There was only one other instance where a werewolf was able to transform into something similar to Mr Osborne. That was a Lycanthrope that had been cursed for nearly eighty years and seemed to have gained a measure of control over his ‘Beast’.”
“Is he still alive?” Willow asked. “Maybe we could contact him to help Oz?”
In the cage Oz’s ears perked up at the thought of meeting someone who would be able to guide him.
Wesley shook his head. “I’m sorry but that was nearly one hundred and fifty years ago and unfortunately he ran afoul of a group of demon hunters who only saw a dangerous monster that needed to be put down.” The Watcher paused to give his glasses a quick polish before peering again at Oz. “Though it is very curious that Mr Osborne has been able to exhibit so much control after being infected for so short a period of time.”
He noticed that as soon as he said that everyone in the room seemed to look at either Mr Osborne or Mr Harrison. Mr Harrison, the young man who had ‘talked’ to him about being a Watcher looked over to the cage and the werewolf nodded slightly. Shrugging his shoulders Alexander turned to face the young Englishman.
“Well Wesley, there’s a bit of a story behind that.”
He was about to say more when suddenly Oz’s ears flattened against his head and he snarled. Nearby Faith spun to face the doors, hands reaching into her jacket to grab the stake and knife she hid there.
“Ambush!!” Xander shouted just as the doors to the library exploded inwards to admit a horde of vampires.
From the shadows across the street from the school Mr Trick, former acolyte of Kakistos and ‘Right Hand’ vampire of the missing Mayor watched as the newest Watcher to the Slayers got out of his car and dashed into the building.
“That’s all of them.” He said to the fifteen vampires that were with him. The group of vampires he had managed to recruit for this task were pathetic. Most of them still had dirt in their ears and the rest thought the Slayer was a myth, something older vampires used to keep newbies in line.
“At last,” A blonde vampire who called herself ‘Sunday’ he had found hanging around the college campus said. “I’m gonna enjoy draining that bitch dry!” Several of the vampires snickered in agreement. All of them were sure they were the one to bag themselves a Slayer tonight.
Trick couldn’t help but grimace. Sunday thought she was a Master Vampire just because she happened to sire a few minions, if she was over ten years as a vampire Trick would gargle holy water while standing in the midday sun.
He knew that most of the vampires would not survive the night but that didn’t matter. Once he had killed the Slayers he would be able to cement his control over the Hellmouth and every demon and vampire in Sunnydale would bow to him and to him alone.
“Let’s move out.” He said and the vampires quickly crossed the street towards the school. As Trick brought up the rear his hand rested on the ‘Equaliser’ that he brought with him.
Minutes later he was outside the library, well back from the front but still close enough to be in a position to see everything once the fight started. From inside the room he heard a voice talking.
“Well Wesley, there’s a bit of a story behind that.”
Looking at the vampires he gave a nod and they charged towards the door. Just before they hit it he heard someone shout “Ambush” and then he was in the room.
Buffy stood in the library staring at the new version of Oz. Willow had told her that Xander had used one of the toys he brought back with him on Oz in the hope that it would make his life a little easier and from the looks of it, it seemed to have worked.
Of course Oz hadn’t stayed human but unlike other nights when he transformed he wasn’t a snarling beast without thought or conscious. Maybe whatever it was that Xander had done to Oz would allow him to lead a semi-normal life after all.
She heard Wesley comment on how curious it was that Oz was able to exhibit so much control in such a period of time and she wondered how they would explain it without giving away Xander’s secrets when she saw Faith’s head snap up and turn to the door while at the same time Oz started to snarl.
As Xander shouted “Ambush!” Buffy realised that they were about to be attacked and as vampires burst through the door she immediately snatched up a chair and hurled it at the oncoming vampires before grabbing up a stake and a short sword from the pile of weapons that had been moved out of the cage, all the time cursing herself for not bringing the sword that Xander had given her tonight.
Even as the chair connected with leading vampires, tripping them over, she heard a pair of muted, high pitch crack and two vampires fell to the floor twitching.
Buffy guessed that was caused by Xander but she didn’t have a chance to ask a question of her friend as a blonde haired female vampire landed in front of her. The demon didn’t look much older than herself and if Buffy had seen her on the street or at The Bronze she would have pegged her for a college student. The vampire shot her malicious grin.
“Your mine Slayer!” She smirked, flexing her fingers, causing her nails to extend and turn into talons.
“Sorry bitch but you’re not my type.” Buffy shot back before feinting at the vampire’s eyes with her sword before plunging the stake into her heart, turning her to dust and moving onto another demon.
As she fought she could see her friends fighting as well. Faith was like a whirlwind as she fought with stake and knife and Giles was beside her, he had managed to grab the tranquiliser gun and was using it as a club. On the other side of the room Xander fought hand to hand against a vampire. He blocked two punches from the vampire before thrusting his fingers into the vampire’s eyes, causing to fall back with a shriek of pain. Near the cage Wesley was swinging a broken table leg, trying to keep the vampires away from Willow and Alonna who were shoving the crosses they both carried into the attacker’s faces.
Buffy spun out of the grasp of one vampire and elegantly staked another. It was then she realised that there were too many vampires for them to fight and survive. Maybe if they were in a graveyard where they had space to move they might’ve been able to do something, even if it was just running away but here they were penned in.
She couldn’t help but gasp as she saw Wesley go down, half of his face slashed away by a vampire while at the same time another vampire managed to punch Xander hard enough to knock halfway across the room. Buffy saw the vampire, Mr Trick standing in the doorway, a gleeful smirk on his face.
“Kill them all!” He ordered.
Just then there was the shriek of rending metal followed by a bestial roar that had everyone frozen in place. Before anyone, human or demon could recover there was reddish brown blur that landed on a Letterman jacket wearing vampire that was closing on Willow and Alonna. With a snap of his fangs he ripped the vampire’s head off then leapt again, this time attacking the vampires that were closing on Faith and Giles, hacking and slashing with his claws.
Buffy immediately took the advantage, charging the vampire that had knocked Xander across the room.
“Maybe we will survive this.” She thought as she jammed her stake into the vampire’s back.
Trick could only snarl in frustration. The attack was about to succeed, one of the Watchers was down and the Slayers were hard pressed. He was under no illusions, he knew that he’d lose most of the vampires tonight but he didn’t care as long as the Slayers died.
But then without warning the werewolf that had been locked in the cage had burst out and instead of attacking the humans it gone straight for the vampires. He knew that without silver weapons there was no way that he or any of the vampires with him could stop the beast. The only option was to escape and pray that the werewolf would then concentrate on the Slayers and their friends.
“Everyone get out of here!” He shouted and the few vampires that were still mobile rushed to the door. Reaching into his suit he grasped the pistol that he had acquired earlier and blindly emptied the magazine into the room. His wild fire was rewarded with a pained yelp from the werewolf and even better, that bitch Faith jack-knifed with a bullet in her guts, the older Watcher spun around when a bullet hit him in the shoulder and Alonna Gun fell to the floor clutching her leg.
“Well Wesley, there’s a bit of a story behind that.”
Oz felt his prick up when he heard Xander say that. Like everyone else in the group he wanted to learn more about what had happened to Xander while he was away. All that he had told them was that he had been there for a little over ten years and had fought in a war when humanity allied itself with four alien races to fight a fifth. But apart from that he was extremely close-mouthed about exactly what he had done in that war.
Suddenly he smelt it, the scent of dead flesh but not decay. It triggered something in his mind that screamed ‘Enemy’ and he felt his ears flatten against his head while at the same time he started to growl. Outside the cage he saw Faith drop into a fighting stance and face the door just as Xander raised his weapon and shouted ‘Ambush!’ before the doors broke under the press of vampires getting in.
Oz could only watch as the vampires attacked his friends. Buffy and Faith were giving a good accounting of themselves.
Then he saw it. Wesley, who had been trying to keep the vampires away from Willow and Alonna with a broken chair leg go down with half his face torn off. That left to the two women without any defence apart from the crosses they were both holding.
Oz felt a flush of anger roll through him at the thought of his ‘Mate!’ being in danger. With a wrench of his hands he tore the door to his cage off its hinges and he leapt out with a snarl.
His first target, a vampire that he vaguely recognised as a classmate from two years ago that was about to attack Willow. The vampire could only gape in surprise before Oz’s jaws closed around his throat. With a flick of his head Oz tore the vampire’s head off and the creature dusted.
Without pause Oz waded into the fight, claws and fangs flashing as he bit and tore into the vampires.
Suddenly there was a series of sharp reports and he felt a burning pain in his side that caused him to yelp and spin around. He turned in time to see a dark skinned vampire tucking a pistol away into his jacket as it turned and raced out of the library.
Then it hit him. The hot, intoxicating smell of freshly spilled blood that made his mouth water. It was enough to cause Oz to lose control and the Beast was in the driving seat now. Looking around the room he longer saw his friends, he saw prey and he was hungry. Gathering himself he prepared to leap on his victims when it felt like every nerve in his body was on fire for a fraction of a second and then everything went black.
Xander let the charge pistol that he had snatched off the floor drop slightly as Oz collapsed in a boneless heap. Xander wasn’t sure whether Oz was about to charge out of the library to hunt the vampires or attack everyone left in the room but he wasn’t taking any chances. The last thing they needed was an out of control werewolf and if was wrong he could apologise to Oz in the morning.
Ignoring Buffy and Willow. Buffy who had raced over to the side of Giles and Willow who seemed to be about to succumb to a panic attack he quickly went to the counter close to the weapons cage and snagged the plastic box that was sitting there.
With the Hiberzine in hand he went straight to Wesley. The younger Englishman was breathing and Xander prayed he was in time as he injected the suspension serum. Leaving the body of Wesley he crossed to Faith.
“Xander it hurts!” Faith gasped as he quickly checked the wound. Faith had caught two bullets in the abdomen.
“I know Faith, bullet wounds tend to do that.” He said as he prepared another shot of Hiberzine. “In a second you’ll go to sleep and when you wake up good as new.” With that he injected her and watched as her face went slack and pale as her heartbeat and breathing slowed down to a point barely above stopping completely.
Kennedy Lucas was brushing her teeth prior to going to bed when suddenly she gasped and staggered slightly. Instinctively she clutched at the sink and was surprised to hear the thick porcelain groan in protest.
Quickly spitting out the mouthful of foam she raced out of the bathroom.
“Sophia! Something’s happened!” She shouted. “I think I’m a Slayer!”
Sophia Cranston stepped out of her room at the shout of her charge and felt her heart wrench.
“Oh my!” Was all she could think to say.
Author’s Note: Just to give you an idea of what Oz looks like now when he transforms, picture the werewolves in the movie Helsing. Olbear. Again thanks to everyone who takes the time to read and review.