Disclaimer: Btvs characters are owned by J. Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Damon Lathe and ‘Blackcollar’ are owned by Timothy Zahn and Baen publishing. I own nothing but ideas caused by sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
Giles reached up and grabbed another book from his ‘Special Collection’. “This might have something useful.” He said as he handed the heavy tome to Kendra.
“What are we looking for Sir?” Kendra asked softly, with everything that had happened since she arrived here in Sunnydale it was comforting to do some research.
“Dark Rituals that involve vampires. Specifically those that require both the Sire and the Childe.” Giles explained. “If Xander is right Spike did not go to all the trouble of hiring assassins and kidnapping Angel just because he was bored.”
Kendra nodded and opened one of the books and began reading, thankful that Mr Zabuto had taught her to read ancient Latin as well as several demonic languages.
For several minutes the silence in the library was broken only by the turning of pages and the occasional scratch of a pencil as notes were taken. Finally Kendra spoke.
“Yes?” Giles answered distractedly.
“The boy, Xander. He’s not fully human is he?”
Giles blinked in surprise at Kendra’s statement. “What makes you say that?”
“At the demon bar I saw him move. He was much faster than what a normal human should be. This morning he faced an assassin and survived. You also said that Xander worked out that the ritual would involve the Sire and Childe. A normal teenager shouldn’t be able to do those things.”
Giles took a moment to remove his glasses and give them a polish and how he could answer the girl’s question. His first thought was to explain what had happened to Xander at Halloween. But in the end he decided that if Xander had wanted the latest Slayer to know he would have told her himself.
“Xander, along with Willow, has been helping Buffy ever since she arrived here in town.” He explained. “I’ve noticed that the young man has always had extremely good reflexes and fighting vampires, even if it’s just a case of holding them at bay till Buffy can deal with them, seems to have improved them. There’s also the fact that he seems to get to the heart of a problem with remarkable ease and speed.”
“So there’s nothing demonic about him?” Kendra asked and wondered why she felt relieved.
“No nothing demonic apart from that female demons seem inordinately attracted to him.” Giles reassured her, thinking of ‘Ms French’ and ‘Impata’. “Now I think we should get back to our work.”
Xander leaned back in his chair while some guy talked about what an exciting and fulfilling career he could look forward to if he decided to become a prison guard.
The spiel finished and Xander got to his feet and looked around. He saw Willow walk through the door with a stunned look on her face and the senior Oz right behind her. He wondered what the guys in suits wanted to talk to her about and why they had to do it in private in the Teacher’s Lounge. It was then that he saw Buffy walking towards another group of students who had gathered around a beefy looking policewoman who had a clipboard in her hands.
“Buffy Summers?” The cop asked and Buffy tentatively raised her hand.
Nodding the policewoman put down the clipboard and calmly drew her service pistol. Everyone in the room apart from Buffy and Xander froze at the sight of the gun. But once the first shot was fired there was screaming and the students scattered even as Buffy dived for cover.
Xander’s eyes widened when he saw the gun, then he realised that this was another assassin, one who obviously had a clue about what they were doing. Moving on instinct Xander snatched up a Soda bottle that someone had left on a table and threw it at the cop’s head with all the speed and strength he could muster.
The Terakan Assassin, who called herself Patrice at the moment snarled as her second shot missed her target and winged a boy with blue streaks in his hair who had tackled a girl to the ground. Ignoring the screaming and running kids she lined up the sights on her target. The Slayer wouldn’t be so lucky a third time and then the bounty would be hers!
Movement in the corner of her eye caused her to turn her head just in time to get a flying coke bottle between the eyes, staggering her and throwing off her aim. As she blinked to clear her vision she saw a dark haired youth charging towards her. She was about to shoot this would be hero when a small but surprisingly strong hand wrapped itself around hers and forced the pistol to point to the ceiling.
“That wasn’t nice!” Buffy growled as she applied pressure to the assassin’s gun hand, causing the gun to fire a round into the ceiling.
The assassin didn’t hesitate, using her greater weight to shove the Slayer back and making a break for the door, slamming Principal Snyder to the ground on her way out.
“You Okay?” Xander asked as he slid to a stop next to her. She nodded and quickly looked around.
“Willow!” She gasped when she saw the redhead kneeling beside someone lying on the floor. Buffy was about to go to her friend when she was grabbed by Snyder.
“I don’t know what happened here Summers but I know that somehow your involved.” The Principal snarled. He was about to say something else when another voice broke in.
“Sir, we’ve got wounded here!” Xander snapped, shouldering aside the man and racing over to where Willow was kneeling with Buffy right beside him.
“Oz’s been shot!” Willow said with fear in her voice. Xander looked down and realised that the guy’s wound wasn’t life threatening but he did need medical attention.
“Someone dial 911!” He shouted and then saw Cordy with her mobile phone out and he could just make out her telling the operator that they needed an ambulance at the school due to a shooting. Nearby Snyder was ranting that hooligans and gang members on PCP were everywhere while trying to control the students and several members of the faculty as well as some of the presenters who had seen what had happened. Snyder knew that the Mayor would be having words with him about this in the very near future.
Xander watched as the paramedics wheeled out Oz on a gurney while nearby Detective Stein was talking to Snyder, telling him that the officer who was supposed to be here today never arrived for work that morning. The door to the auditorium swung open to reveal Giles with Kendra trailing in his wake.
“What happened?” The Englishman asked.
“I think that assassin number three showed up.” Buffy said quietly. “As soon as I said I was me she pulled a gun and started shooting.” She looked over to Xander who resting a comforting hand on Willow’s shoulder. “Thanks for the distraction Xander.”
Xander nodded and turned his attention back to Willow. “Don’t worry Willow Oz is going to be fine. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back at school before the end of the week.”
“You really think so?” Willow asked in a very small voice while at the same time cuddling closer to her oldest friend.
“I do.” He said and gave her another reassuring hug. “So Giles, have you and Kendra found anything?” He noticed that the younger Slayer was looking a little uncomfortable and had placed herself so that she could see the entire room while at the same time her back was against the wall.
“We did.” Giles said, looking around to make sure that there was no one nearby to overhear them. “Once you’ve finished her come to the library and I’ll explain there.”
Buffy was about to demand he explain immediately but a detective walked up to ask her questions about what had happened.
“So Miss Summers is it?” The cop asked. “Do you have any idea why someone would draw a gun as soon as they heard your name?”
“No officer.” Putting on her best ‘Valley Girl’ accent. “I never saw that woman before in my life. Do you think that she’ll be back?” She put a slight hitch in her voice. That and her best rendition of ‘Puppy Dog Eyes’ convinced the detective that the girl knew nothing and he let her go on her way after giving her the card to a ‘Trauma Counsellor’.
Spike looked up as Dalton approached him. “Well?” He asked.
“I’ve found a church where we can do the ritual. It’s on the other side of town but it’s been abandoned for nearly ten years.” The vampire reported.
Spike glanced at his watch, still several hours till sunset. “Can you use the tunnels to get there?” He asked and Dalton nodded.
“Take some of the boys and get things set up. Me and Dru will be there once the sun sets.” Spike ordered before ignoring his minion and heading to the room where Dru was ‘playing’ with her Sire.
His ‘princess’ would be disappointed that her fun would be interrupted but after tonight she’d be back to her full strength. Spike wasn’t sure if they should stay here on the Hellmouth after that, killing the Slayer, especially after he spent some time taunting her that he had killed Angel, would be fun. But there was a whole big world out there for the two of them to run amok in and the thought of a ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe was also tempting.
Maybe he’d head back to Rome and deal with the Immortal for his insult.
“Now thanks to Kendra’s help I believe that I have identified the ritual that Spike intends to perform.” Giles said to the assembled teenagers. “In essence it will heal an injured vampire back to full strength.”
“And that’s why they grabbed Angel?” Buffy asked with a growl. After the police had left the school Xander had told her that he believed that Angel had been kidnapped by Spike. She had raced to the library intent on collecting some weapons before heading out to rescue her Soul mate from the horrors he was suffering at the hands of Spike and Drusilla.
But Giles had stopped her, telling her that until they knew exactly where Angel was roaming the city was a waste of time. When Buffy said that she was going to Willy’s to beat the information out the bar owner her Watcher reminded her that Willy was, despite his appearance, human. If she did beat him up Willy could have her charged with assault and battery. That brought Buffy up short and she grudgingly agreed to wait.
“Yes Buffy that is correct. While I was unable to find the specifics of the ritual it does call for the vampires Sire, the Cross and needs to be done on the night of a new moon in a consecrated church.” Giles looked over to Willow. “Willow if you could be so kind as to do a search?” He asked and gestured to the computer.
“Sure Giles.” Willow said as she sat in front of the terminal. After some quick typing she brought up the information. “There’s forty two buildings listed as churches in Sunnydale.” She frowned when she saw the numbers. “I guess being on a Hellmouth makes people pray extra hard.”
Xander looked over her shoulder at the screen. “Can you show the churches that have been abandoned?” He asked, doubting that Spike would be willing to go into a church where people prayed on a regular basis.
Willow nodded and typed again. “There are five that aren’t in use.” She said.
“That’s still a lot of places to search.” Kendra said quietly. “And it will be night soon.” Beside her Buffy nodded, the abandoned churches were scattered across town.
“Maybe not.” Xander said as he ducked into Giles office and reappeared with a map and a sheet of clear plastic in his hands. Moving to the table he unrolled the map and placed the plastic over it. Looking at it Buffy saw that the map was of Sunnydale and the overlay was covered with red lines.
“What is this Xander?” She asked.
“It’s a map of the tunnels under Sunnydale.” Xander explained while he made sure that the overlay lined up with the map properly. “Angel once said that a lot of vampires use them to get around during the day. I figure that Spike uses them as well.” Looking at the map for a few seconds he pointed to a spot. “Here, it looks like there’s a tunnel that runs directly underneath this church.”
Giles looked over Buffy and Xander’s shoulder at the map before nodding in agreement. “We’d best be going then.” He said simply and began to distribute stakes and crossbows.
Xander quickly rolled up the map and put it away. “I’ll meet you outside. I want to grab something just in case ‘Bug Boy’ turns up.” He said as he left the library and headed to the janitor’s supply closet. If the bug demon really was made up of bugs then a few cans of ‘Raid’ should deal with him.
Soon the group of demon hunters were on their way to the church, hoping to get there before Spike completed the ritual and killed Angel.
Picnic area, outside Sunnydale
Patrice eased the stolen car to a stop near the dark sedan that was already parked there. As she got out of the driver’s seat she could feel the wound in her side open again. Ignoring it for the moment she walked over to where the man she knew only as Carl was staring out over the ocean.
“Well?” The man asked, turning his attention to her.
“I’m sorry Sir but I failed to complete my mission. The target is still alive.” She replied, her dislocated jaw slurring the words. Taking a deep breath she continued speaking. “I formally request permission to return to Sunnydale and fulfil the contract.”
Carl simply shook his head. “There is no contract, not any more. William the Bloody never had the money to pay for a full contract. If you had succeeded the Order would have dealt with the vampire in a terminal fashion.”
Patrice nodded in understanding. Several times in the Order’s history there had been those who, for various reasons had been unwilling or unable to recompense the assassins once they had completed their mission. The Terakans response had been simple and bloody. Not just the one who had failed to pay was killed but their entire family and friends had also paid the price.
There was silence again for a moment while the man, Patrice’s superior in the Order turned his attention back out to sea.
“I take it that since neither Norman or Barry are with you they have fallen?” He asked.
Patrice shook her head. “No Sir, Barry never made it to the rendezvous and Norman was killed by a boy.” She carefully suppressed a snarl at the thought of the dark haired teenager who had not only killed her fellow assassin but had almost killed her.
“Lost Sir.” Patrice took a deep breath to calm herself. “Even if there is no contract I still wish to return to Sunnydale. The honour of the Order is at stake. Those that thwarted us must pay the ultimate price!”
Carl turned his attention back to Patrice and she felt a tremor of fear run through her at the blank stare. “No!” He said simply while reaching underneath his coat.
Patrice reacted instinctively, reaching for her own gun.
The quiet of the night was shattered by a single shot. Carl lowered his .40 Smith & Wesson as Patrice collapsed to the ground. Holstering his pistol Carl walked over to the dead assassin and removed her ring. Carefully he raised it to his lips and murmured an incantation before placing it in his mouth.
What few people realised, even in the Order itself, was that the rings that all assassins wore were not just a way for them to identify themselves. The rings were mystically enchanted to store the memories of the last week of the wearer.
Standing on the deserted stretch of coast Carl saw and heard everything that Patrice had over the last seven days. He nodded as he saw Patrice’s arrival in Sunnydale and her decision to impersonate a local police officer. Then he frowned when she walked into the school to complete her mission. Unlike other members of the Order Patrice didn’t need to get close to her target. A simple rifle shot while the girl walked to school would have done it.
His frown deepened as he saw how what should have been a clean hit quickly turned into a three ringed circus when a gun was pulled in a crowded classroom and Patrice was lucky to get out of there without anyone being able to identify her.
Then there was the fight in the church. A swirling, chaotic battle as a group of teenagers battled vampires in the deserted House of God. Patrice never saw exactly how Norman had died, only that he had raced off after a teenage male, only to have the same male appear, minutes later, apparently unhurt, and attack her with knives and Nunchuckas.
He grunted as he felt the pain that Patrice felt when the boy had buried his knife into her side before smashing her in the head with the flail. Only the yell that the building was on fire forced her attacker to retreat, otherwise she would have been thoroughly defeated.
Carl watched as a wounded Patrice stole a car and made her escape, all the while thoughts of vengeance swirled through her mind, thoughts of vengeance against the Slayer who had refused to just die like she was supposed to and vengeance against the unnamed youth who kept getting in her way.
If hadn’t killed Patrice for failing in her mission he would have killed her because of her plans. The Terakan Order did not kill for vengeance, they killed for money and only for money.
Spitting out the ring the former Grupenfuhrer of the Das Reich Regiment of the Waffen SS got in his car and drove away into the night. With the contract on the Slayer voided there was no need for him to stay in the area. As he drove he thought of the memories he had seen.
Yes the Slayer was everything that Slayer’s were supposed to be. Fast, agile and skilled but it was the dark haired boy who interested him. The unnamed youth showed more than average fighting skills, perhaps in a few years he might be someone the Order would be interested in recruiting. Then there was the dark skinned girl that Patrice saw fighting alongside the target, who was she? She fought like a Slayer but everyone knew that there was only ever one Slayer.
Shaking his head he slipped a CD into the stereo and soon the strains of Wagner filled the car as it raced down the highway bearing an assassin to his next target.