Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and never will. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Legacy of the Aldendata belongs to John Ringo. I can only claim ideas that come from sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
The sound of blade meeting blade echoed around a grassy field. Two men wearing the armour of Samurai warriors fought with katana under a clear blue sky.
One of the warriors feinted with his sword, causing his opponent to take a step back and then launched a blistering series of blows, aiming to overwhelm the defence of the other. There was almost a musical ring as the two perfectly forged blades clashed again and again. Finally one of the swordsmen gained the advantage and managed to lock the two blades together.
“Today you die Gaijin dog!” The warrior spat, trying to use the weight of his body to push his opponent back.
“Not if this was your best day and this was my worst!” The other warrior countered before releasing one hand from its grip on the sword and smashing his gauntleted fist into the other swordsman’s face. The visor of the Samurai’s war helmet saved him from a broken jaw and nose but the blow sent him staggering.
With his blade free and his enemy distracted the warrior raised his sword to finish the fight once and for all when the entire field and the warrior opposite him froze and a voice came from the air.
“Xander, there is a call from Giles incoming.” His AID, Jessie, said.
Xander sighed. He had been enjoying the training program. Back in the dimension where he had fought for nearly ten years the soldiers who first received the armoured combat suits and AIDs didn’t take long to realise that the virtual reality settings made the systems the ultimate in gaming platforms.
“Cancel the program.” Xander said and the field and the frozen warrior disappeared in a burst of pixels revealing the converted warehouse that he called home.
Keying the blinking icon on his HUD and opened the circuit.
“Hey Giles, what’s up?”
Twenty minutes later Xander was pulling into the school parking lot. He was about to get out when he saw a couple of police cars in front of the school.
“Giles didn’t mention anything about the police!” Xander thought, concerned that perhaps one of the students had finally seen the hidden weapons cage kept in the library and went to Snyder who had called the authorities.
He was about to call Giles and find out what was going on when the doors to the school swung open and two police officers escorted an older woman in handcuffs who Xander vaguely recognised as one of the cafeteria workers towards the waiting cars.
“Those little brats!” She screamed as the police hustled her into the back of the squad car. “They don’t deserve to live!!”
Still screaming the squad car pulled out of the parking lot and went down the road.
Once the police were gone Xander entered the school and headed towards the library thankful that the corridors were empty as most of the students were in class.
When he got to the library he frowned. In front of the doors a sign had been placed, stating that the library was ‘Closed for Filing’. He knew that Giles put the sign out when he was training Buffy during school hours and didn’t want to be disturbed. Though the Watcher hadn’t used it very often after the first year Buffy was in Sunnydale once she started doing most of her training after school hours were over.
Stepping around the sign he pushed the doors of the library to find them unlocked and entered. The library was quieter than it normally was and Xander was about to call out when the door to Giles’ office swung open to reveal the Englishman who was looking extremely tense. Giles blinked when he saw Xander standing in the doorway.
“Xander, I’m glad you made it so promptly.” Giles said in a tone not much above a whisper as he crossed the room.
“You called Giles and said that there’s a problem, of course I came.” Xander said in a normal tone of voice.
Giles made shushing motions with his hands. “Please Xander keep your voice down. We don’t want to disturb her.” He whispered fiercely.
Xander was about to ask what was going on when the door to his office swung open again and a slightly dishevelled Buffy Summers was standing in the doorway.
“Giles is someone out here. I thought I heard voices. Is it Willow?...” Her voice trailed off when she saw who it was in the library with her Watcher. “Xander?”
Then her eyes grew wide and she took a shuddering breath as she looked at him.
“Oh… My… God!!” She breathed as she started at Xander. “You.. you told us what happened when you were away but I had no idea…” She gulped. “How did you survive?!!”
Buffy was about to say something more when she collapsed to the floor.
Giles and Xander rushed over to her.
“What the hell is going on Giles?” Xander asked as he helped carry Buffy back into the office and place her on the couch.
Giles ignored Xander for the moment while he checked his Slayer’s vitals. Satisfied that Buffy had just passed out he rose to his feet and drew Xander out into the main room of the library.
“Last night whilst on patrol Buffy encountered a very rare type of demon.” He said, grabbing a thick book of the table and opening it a pre-marked page. Xander looked at the page and saw a drawing of a thin, pale skinned creature with large eyes and no mouth.
“During the fight some of the demon’s blood splashed on Buffy.” Giles said, closing the book.
“So what’s the problem?” Xander asked. “Every one of us has been hit with demon goo at some point over the years.”
“Yes that’s true Xander.” Giles replied. Over the years he had endured many rants from Buffy after one of her outfits, or worse, her shoes had been ruined by whatever demon it was that she had fought. “However in this case the demon’s blood is infecting her, causing her to assume an aspect of the demon.” He paused. “Specifically telepathy.”
“Say what now?!”
“Buffy can now hear the thoughts of anyone around her.” Giles stated.
“Did she have something to do with the police taking one of the lunch ladies away in handcuffs?” Xander asked.
“Yes.” Giles replied. “This morning she walked by the cafeteria and ‘Heard’ one of the staff planning to add rat poison to today’s lunch. After discussing it with myself, Willow and Alonna we came up with a plan where the contaminated food would be spilled on the floor.” Giles paused as he remembered how Alonna had killed the lights in the kitchen and in the confusion Buffy had used her now enhanced Slayer speed to race in and knock the pot of stew off the stove. “When the cook saw what had happened she started shouting and the other staff called the police.”
“She was also able to stop a classmate of hers, a Jonathon Levison, from doing something extremely foolish.” Giles said. From what Buffy had been able to tell him before she passed out the young man had decided to get revenge for all the slights and bullying that he had suffered over the years with his father’s rifle. “It was after that that she collapsed.”
“So Buffy can now read minds?” Xander said, wondering exactly what Buffy had seen when he came into the library before she passed out. The Lord knows that he still had nightmares of the terrors he had experienced fighting the Posleen.
“Yes and unfortunately unless we cure her she will either go insane or die before midnight tonight.”
Xander shot a look at Giles. “So what are we waiting for? Let’s load her into my car, get her back to my place and put her on the Slab.”
The Watcher shook his head. “I don’t think that your ‘Device’ will be of much use to her.” He paused to remove the clear lens glasses he wore to conceal the fact that he was now had the body of a young man again and gave them a polish. “I surmise that the ‘Slab’ does not affect mystical afflictions to a large extent. Mr Osborne is still a werewolf despite what you have done for him and both Buffy and Faith are still Slayers after having a ‘treatment’. I’m concerned that if we put Buffy back on the Slab we may save her life but she will still suffer from telepathy. And unless she decides to live as a hermit as far from other people as she can she will never know a moments peace.”
“Well in that case please tell me that there’s a cure in one of these books.” Xander said, waving a hand to encompass the library.
“Yes there is.” Giles said retrieving another book from the pile on the large table in the centre of the room. “But it requires the heart of the same type of demon for it to work. Fortunately that type of demon always works in pairs and Buffy only defeated one last night. Its companion should still be in Sunnydale.”
“So we need to track down a particular demon and cut out its heart before midnight?” Xander said. Seeing Giles nod he plucked Jessie off his wrist, the AID automatically configuring itself into ‘phone mode’.
“Contact Faith.” He said and with moments the sultry voice of the Boston born Slayer came from the speaker. “Hello?”
“Faith its Xander. Get your ‘battle-rattle’ together we’ve got a mission.” Xander ordered.
Willy, owner, bartender and chief bottle washer of the only demon bar in Sunnydale stood behind the bar as he chatted with a demon named Clem about the state of the world and idly polished a glass while keeping an eye on his customers. While the place wasn’t packed there were enough vampires and assorted demons whiling away the daylight hours to ensure his days trading would definitely be in the black when he closed up in the early hours of the morning.
The sound of the door that led out onto the street opening caused him to look up and when he saw who it was that had just entered his bar he blanched.
It was the newest Slayer, the one many demons and vampires referred to as ‘The Mad Slayer’, Faith Lehane sauntering into the bar wearing a knee length leather coat.
“Hey Slayer!” He said loudly enough so the rest of the bar knew that the Slayer had just walked in. “Don’t normally see you here this time of the day.”
Several of the smarter demons made a bee line for the sewer exit of the bar, not wanting to get involved with a Slayer even if they had her outnumbered.
Faith strutted over to the bar, her leather coat disguising the fact she was wearing the armour that Xander had given her. She looked at the floppy skinned demon and identified him as one of the more harmless demons that made Sunnydale their home. Not that they weren’t dangerous in the right, or wrong circumstances but they seemed to prefer to live and let live unless provoked.
“Hiya Willy.” Faith said as she leaned her elbows on the bar.
“Slayer.” Willy said neutrally, hoping that the girl would leave quickly before some of his other patrons decided that they’d enjoy a snack of Slayer blood. “What can I do for you?”
Faith smirked. “Nothing for me Willy but I’ve got someone who wants to talk to you.”
Willy was about to ask who when there was the sound of ponderous steps approaching and looked up. If having one of the Slayers show up in place was frightening what walked through the door was downright terrifying.
It was the creature that was known as ‘The Threshkreen’. It had appeared here in Sunnydale mere months ago and since its arrival it had torn through the aggressive breeds of demons like a chainsaw through balsa.
No one knew or was willing to admit that they knew where it had come from. Some of the few survivors claimed it was a soldier of God, sent to Earth to cleanse the wicked. Others said that it was the spirit of a Christian Crusader who had committed a sin so terrible during the fall of Jerusalem that he was bound to his armour until such time as he’d redeemed himself and could finally pass through the gates of Heaven.
But one thing they all agreed on was that if you saw the Threshkreen in the tunnels and caves below Sunnydale or the graveyards and crypts above you ran in the opposite direction as fast as you possibly could and prayed to whatever Dark Gods you worshiped that he didn’t see you.
And now it looked like he had teamed up with the Slayers.
The armoured figure looked down at Willy. Even though the face was a piece of faceted metal Willy knew that whatever this creature was he could see everything in the bar.
“You are Willy. You know things.” A metallic voice rumbled out a statement, not a question and Willy found himself nodding.
“There’s a certain demon I’m looking for.” The Threshkreen opened a pouch and reached for something. As soon as the pouch was opened Willy knew what it contained. Gold! He could smell the rich, intoxicating aroma of the precious metal and several of the demons in the bar perked up when they smelt it too.
The Threshkreen laid a small ingot, about the size of the last joint of Willy’s little finger on the bar. “It’s thin, pale skin, large eyes and no mouth. Usually runs in pairs and got into a fight with the other Slayer last night in Restfield Cemetery.”
Willy was about to make some vague noises about knowing something in order to get more gold when one of the demons walked up behind the Threshkreen.
The demon was big and looked like a mountain gorilla that had been force fed steroids for several months then shaved and covered in red paint. It was one of several demons who had been in the bar drinking all day.
“You have gold.” The demon rasped through a maw filled with fangs.
The Threshkreen turned to face the demon.
“I have gold, do you have information?” He asked.
The demon sneered. “No information. You give me gold and the girl and my brothers will let you live for now.”
The other demons who the first had been drinking with all chortled, expecting that soon they would have gold and a Slayer’s blood to enjoy.
Faith looked at the metallic figure beside her and eased a hand inside her coat for one of the many knives she had hidden there. At the same time she silently cursed herself for leaving her sword in Xander’s car. This demon was supposed to have an extremely tough hide and she wasn’t sure if her knife would be enough to bring it down.
She was about to throw the knife, aiming for one of the demon’s eyes when Xander simply waved his hand in front of the demon’s face, almost too fast to see.
The demon blinked before smirking.
Whatever it was it was going to say was cut off when the front half of its face slid off its head and it collapsed bonelessly to the floor. For a moment there was stunned silence in the bar till the assorted demons started growling.
“Faith, make sure Willy doesn’t wander off.” Xander said. “It seems the natives are a bit restless.”
Faith nodded and reached across the bar to snag Willy by his collar.
“Don’t even think of going anywhere Willy. This is something you don’t see every day.” She said as Xander slowly advanced towards the crowd of demons. There was a muted ‘snik’ as the blades in his armour’s forearms flashed out.
Then the fight started.
Willy had seen many fights in his bar. Demons were not the type to settle their differences in a calm manner and he thought that this Threshkreen, whatever it was, had bitten off more than it could chew. If nothing else the demons could dogpile him and keep him pinned to the floor until they found a weak spot.
Instead the Threshkreen tore the attacking demons apart with almost contemptuous ease. Only one managed to land a blow and it fell back shrieking with a broken hand. Other demons were either sliced in half or hit so hard that they literally lost their heads. One was even thrown with enough force to embed itself into the cinder block wall.
Finally the fight was over and the only ones living in the bar were the Threshkreen, the Slayer, Willy and Clem who was cowering in the corner and cursing himself for stopping by for a quiet drink when he finished work.
The armoured figure silently surveyed the destruction before turning back to the bar where Willy was doing his best not to piss his pants.
“So Willy do you have any information?” The metallic voice asked.
Will was about to answer when Clem got to his feet.
“Excuse me sir.” He said with a quaver in his voice. “But I saw the demon you described in the tunnels near Shady Acres Cemetery. I think its living in one of the crypts there.”
Xander looked at the demon for a moment before turning to Willy.
“Is he right?”
Willy nodded emphatically. There was silence in the bar before Xander reached into the pouch at his waist. He dropped half a dozen small ingots of gold into Clem’s hand.
“Let’s go Faith, we’ve got a demon to find.” He said and started heading towards the door.
Just as he was about to reach the door he paused. Turning back to Willy he placed some more gold on the bar.
“For the clean-up.” Was all he said then he and the Slayer were gone.
Willy and Clem, the only two left in the looked at each other. Finally Willy reached under the bar for two shot glasses and a bottle of his ‘Special Reserve’.
“I think that we could both do with a drink.” He said as he poured the liquor.
The bartender and the demon quickly downed their drinks.
Clem looked at the gold in his hands. “I think that now would be a good time for me to see my family in Montana.” He said.
Willy nodded. “Yeah that sounds like a good idea.” If he had any family that wouldn’t spit on him if turned up on their front door he might do the same.
Clem carefully placed his gold in his pockets and left the bar.
Alone, Willy looked around the ruins that had been his place of business and sighed. The gold that the Threshkreen had left would pay for the damage but once word spread of the massacre, and that was the only way to describe it, a massacre it would be a while before many of the demons that frequented the bar came back.
Reaching under the bar again he grabbed his phone and dialled the number for the clan of ghouls he had on retainer for clean-up and disposal of dead bodies.
The sound of the door swinging open made him look up, fearful that the Threshkreen might be coming back.
Instead of an armoured figure a man in his mid to late twenties dressed in a well-tailored suit stepped into the bar and Willy relaxed slightly.
“We’re closed for repairs.” He said.
“So I see.” The man said as surveyed the destruction, noting the number of demon bodies scattered around. Reaching into his jacket he produced a business card and laid it on the bar.
“My name is Lindsay MacDonald. I work for Wolram & Hart.” He said and Willy blanched at the mention of the inter-dimensional demonic law firm. “So care to tell me what happened here?” He asked in his most charming tone and waved an arm to encompass the wreckage.
Willy swallowed nervously and fervently wished that he could go back in time to the start of the day. If he did he’d stay in bed for the entire day.
Faith looked across at Xander as he drove his car through the streets of Sunnydale. Once in the car Xander had removed his helmet but still wore the rest of his armour.
“Colonel.” She asked. “Back in the bar why did you insist that I call you ‘Threshkreen’ and not your name?”
“Diversion.” Xander explained. “There are a few demons in town that have been here for years. They know Buffy and who her friends are. If you had called me Xander or Harris one of them might have made the connection between what the Threshkreen is and the friend of the Slayer who disappeared last year.”
“That makes sense.” Faith paused. “But what does ‘Threshkreen’ mean?”
Xander turned slightly to look at her and gave her a small grin. “Its Posleen. It’s the name they gave to humans during the war. Roughly translated it means ‘food with a sting’.” He said as he brought the car to a halt outside the fence of Shady Acres cemetery.
Reaching behind him he grabbed his helmet from the back seat and put it on.
"Bucket on Faith and let's go hunt us up a telepathic demon's heart." He said and Faith nodded, taking her own helmet from the bag at her feet and making sure that she had her Boma blade as well.
Now ready the two warriors left the car and headed into the cemetery.