Not mine, Buffy and Angel are. Like Yoda, sound I do not.
Thanks to Starway Man, my beta. Any mistakes you see are mine.The Prophecies Cycle
Book I: The Red Moon Rises
Chapter 11: Receptions21 to 27 days until the Red MoonChase Castle, Sunnydale Town
Lordship of Sunnydale
It's not Jesse!
Still repeating that in his mind, Xander swung his sword at the creature that was wearing Jesse's face. The vampire moved far quicker than any human could – no surprise there – and blocked his swing with a sword of his own, produced from thin air, or so it seemed. The roar and crackle of flames was suddenly all around them, with the fire spreading across the various flammable objects throughout the room...
“Cordelia! Wake up the others! Then grab your mother, and get her out of here! And take Amy with you!” Xander shouted, before he swung at Jesse with his weapon once more. Again the vampire effortlessly blocked the strike, but his position on the other side of the threshold meant that the demon couldn't reach far enough in to reach Xander's neck. Without looking to see if Cordelia was obeying his orders, Xander quickly slammed the door in Jesse's face, mind racing with something resembling a plan.
“What the hell are you doing
, Xander?” Cordelia demanded, as she dragged her mother's unconscious body up off the bed, assisted by the other two guards (who were now awake, if not entirely fit and fighting). One of the guards grabbed the unconscious Amy and threw her over his shoulder, with the other guarding his back and keeping an eye out to make sure those vampires at the windowsill did not manage to strike at them again.
“Cordelia! Shut up and let me think!!” Xander shouted. I know what the first step is...but then what? Gods...Jesse...why?!
“Think?! We're going to die
if we stay in here!” the nobleman's daughter screamed, her panic quickly grabbing the former guard's attention.
Xander looked back, and saw that the bed was just starting to catch fire. He grabbed the far end of the sheets, which weren’t on fire, and flung the burning linen at the vampires still perched on the windowsill. They fell backwards, clearly hit by the flames judging from their screams. Then Xander turned back around and started to kick at the door.
the damned door!” Cordelia nearly screeched at him. Harris ignored her and kicked again. And again. Finally the door shattered outwards, pieces of wood flying forcefully towards Jesse. They crashed into the vampire, knocking him to the ground. Unfortunately none of them pierced the heart, like Xander had been hoping; and so he instantly knew that he would have to finish the job personally.
Xander held the sword up, ready to slice through the neck of the vampire that wore the face of his best friend...It's not Jesse, It's not Jesse...
Harris repeated to himself, again and again and again. Xander hesitated, unable to help himself, before the sword came flashing down...
But that moment's hesitation was enough. Jesse swung his leg to the left as he jumped to his feet, knocking Xander's out from under him. With an 'oof', Xander fell to the ground, the sword clattering a few inches from his hand.
The Jesse vampire then reached down and grabbed Xander by the cuff of his armor. “Oh, Xander. I knew
you'd hesitate at just the wrong moment! You tried to be the hero, but instead, you're just going to wind up dead.” The soulless demon smiled as if he'd made a joke, then donned his game face once more.
“Hey, fang face!” Cordelia shouted over at the Jesse vampire. She tore the symbol of Adun from around her mother's neck. “You suck at poetry!” The nobleman's daughter tossed the holy icon at the fledgling. It grazed the side of his neck, only burning a tiny part of him for a split-second...
But it was just enough time to allow Xander to pull himself free. He scrambled up from his knees, grabbing his sword. He raised it just in time to block another swing from Jesse. Keeping his sword ready, he shouted back at Cordelia and the two guards. “RUN!”
Blocking another swing, the vibrations reverberating throughout his body, nearly forcing him to drop the sword – they even made his teeth chatter together for a moment – Xander focused on the task at hand. Namely, surviving a duel to the death with his best friend. His best friend who was now a soulless monster intent on feeding on human blood and killing innocent – if annoying and bitchy – people.
Behind him, Cordelia picked up her mother again, holding onto her shoulders, while one of the guards had her feet. “Let's go!” She shouted at him. With the guard holding Amy over his shoulder leading the way, they ran down the hall, towards the stairs, escape the only thought on their minds Escape the castle, then...well, none of them were thinking that far ahead.
“You're going to pay
for this, Xander!” Jesse yelled, anger pouring through him. “Now another vampire is going to get my
Cordelia!” He swung again, and again, Xander blocking as well as he could. “See, I was going to turn you too, for old time's sake...” Jesse said, snarling. “But now I think I'll just settle for drinking every single drop of blood you have!”
“I hope you choke on it.” Xander retorted. “No, wait. I think I'll just cut your head off instead!” The words were sincere, but despite everything, a part of Xander was still trying to convince himself that this wasn't his best friend anymore. It's not Jesse...
No matter how many times he said it, it still wasn't completely working.
“Never going to happen!” Jesse replied, the fledgling's tone somewhat overly-dramatic. “I'm not the Jesse you knew anymore. Like I said before, I'm a new man!
I'm faster and stronger than I ever was – and more than you'll ever be!”
“You're faster.” Xander swung at Jesse and the vampire ducked under the attack. “I'll grant you that.”
Jesse swung back at Xander, and once more their swords clashed, sparks flying off to the side from the force of the blow. Xander felt his teeth chatter again, the sword once more almost dropping from his grip.
“And you're stronger, I'll even grant that too.” Xander feinted left, then swung around to the right, cutting across Jesse's side, the vampire's speed allowing him to move fast enough to avoid decapitation even after being feinted. “But that doesn't change the fact that you have no idea how to use a sword. And you never did
“Don't need to know how to use it.” the Jesse vampire said arrogantly. “Not when I can move like this
He dropped down to a crouch and slashed at Xander's waist. And he moved too fast for Xander. The sword didn't slice him in two, or anything close but it did cut a line, shallow and thin, from his waist down one leg. Xander grunted and fell to one knee. And close to one of the door shards. This one sharpish on one end and with some thickness and heft to it. Jesse jumped back to his feet, sword ready to cut across Xander's throat. “Goodbye, Xander-”
“Hang on!” Xander said, looking up at the vampire. Incredibly, he smiled
. “Heads up!”
He flung the piece of wood in the direction of Jesse's chest. Instinctively, the vampire moved aside to avoid the attack – which would have failed to hit the heart, anyway. But that gave Xander the time he needed to get to his feet again. Blood trickling down his leg, he ran for the stairs. The Jesse vampire chased after him, and barely two seconds later was standing right on the edge of the first step. Between the stairs and him.
“You're not getting away that easily!” The vampire snarled, pointing his sword at his prey.
“You really need to learn how to use that thing.” Xander managed to quip. So saying, he reached out with his sword handle and then pushed Jesse's weapon backwards. The vampire, taken completely aback by the unorthodox tactic, lost his footing and staggered backwards, falling down onto the stairs. And then falling head over heels all the way down, right to the bottom of the stairwell.
"Ugghhh..." Vampire bodies can take extreme punishment, yes, but broken bones do take some time to heal even for them. Still bleeding, Xander conserved his energy and quickly walked down the stairs, only running after he'd reached the bottom and stepped over the groaning Jesse.
Perhaps he should have stopped and ended the soulless creature then and there, but Xander just couldn't bring himself to do it. True, time was an issue and there was a risk of other vampires stumbling onto them; and in his current condition, Xander knew he would last less than thirty seconds in another fight with the undead. But if Xander was honest with himself – if it had been any other vampire, then he wouldn't have left the enemy 'alive' to chase after him at some point in the future.
It would probably come around to bite him – hopefully not literally – later, but it was too late to go back now and besides...it was his best friend. And despite himself, Xander still felt like there was something
of Jesse in there. Foolish of him, perhaps, but then the heart wants what it wants; and often pays no attention to what the head is telling it.Chase Castle, Sunnydale Town
Lordship of Sunnydale
Angel forced himself to not fidget as they waited for Drusilla to come down and confirm that he really was who he said he was. And since he was saying that he was the soulless Angelus, when he really wasn't...that was a problem. And he didn't actually know if Drusilla could tell one way or the other, but her powers as a Seer had allowed her to know a great many things before.
Would the Sight allow her to know the truth, here and now?
“So tell me more about this Master you've apparently come here for, Darla. If you'll recall, I've never actually met the bat-nosed freak; so what's so special about him, other than the fact that he's got good taste in who to turn?” Angel asked. Leering, as Angelus always had, at Darla.
Darla smiled a little at his words. “Don't call him that, dear boy. Not even in private! The Master is the leader of the Order of Aurelius. And to answer your question, he will open the Hellmouth and bring forth the Old Ones themselves. And then all the lands everywhere shall be cleansed of the scourge of humanity! The Master shall rule that new, pure world...with me at his right hand!”
“The Old Ones, huh? And you want to get rid of humanity?” Angel schooled his expression to not show the horror he felt at his sire's mini-speech. Has Darla lost all reason completely? I never thought she was that insane!
“Question: once all the humans are gone...what do we drink, Darla? Animal blood? Because I've been living on that for the past century, and I'm not interested in doing that any longer. Certainly not for all eternity! Besides, humans are just too much fun. Killing them, eating them, torturing them. I know you, darlin', so tell me; can you really give all that up?”
“Humanity is a plague of vermin on the world.” Darla said dismissively. “They are so far beneath us as to be gnats. We are tainted
by the remnants of humanity that we still have!”
“Well, maybe. But the way I remember it...you enjoyed those remnants plenty of times, Darla.” Angel pointed out. Continuing the act, the so-called Angelus allowed a frown to appear on his face. "It looks like you've changed, more than I anticipated...
“Well, never mind. So, how does that ugly old bat propose to bring the Old Ones back, then?” Angel quickly changed the subject. Whatever else happened, the Master couldn't be allowed to summon the Old Ones. Or even 'an' Old One. Even the Daughters of Sineya had no way of killing such a creature that he knew of. Granted that long ago, as the last Old Ones were leaving this world, Sineya has supposedly created the first Slayers and given them powerful weapons that they had used to tear asunder those few giant demons that hadn't left yet.
But if those weapons still existed – or had once existed – the Daughters, as far as he knew, had no idea where they were now. And if they really had existed at one point, and the Daughters really didn't know where they were now – which wasn't necessarily the case, since it wasn't as if he was privy to all the secrets of the sisterhood – then Angel had to wonder how those women had managed to misplace such powerful, rare and valuable objects!
Before Darla could answer, though, Spike came back into the room with Drusilla in tow. Drusilla started to murmur incoherently when she saw Angel, her eyes wide with surprise.
Angel tensed, before he smirked and got back into character. "Hey, baby. I'm back!"
“Daddy...” She said softly. Then Drusilla scowled, donning her game face for a moment before returning to normal. “NO! It's not Daddy. You're the Angel-beast, you are! His heart's not full of you no more, Grandmummy – it's full of that nasty, wicked Slayer!” Dru abruptly hissed at Angel, then swatted in his direction, as if trying to get rid of a fly. “Shoo. Shoo!”
“Shit.” Angel said, seeing the infuriated looks directed at him from both Darla and Spike. The ensouled vampire knew when the jig was up, and there was no point in continuing this little charade after he had been outed so spectacularly. “I'd say I'm sorry, Darla; but really, I'm not...”
He grabbed Drusilla's arm and instantly flung her like a rag doll at Darla, knocking both female vampires to the ground. With Spike distracted over concern for his sire, Angel pulled a stake from his belt and dusted the vampires guarding the door before the other three members of the Whirlwind could chase after him. Still, they would do so soon enough. Spike in particular would relish the chance to finally end him.
Angel ran down the hall. Spike had led him in through the main entrance hall, then up several flights of stairs...there. The stairs. He heard footsteps behind him, and Darla bellowing for all to hear, 'GET HIM!!!' Well, I guess my little act wasn't a complete failure...
Angel considered, forcing himself to see the bright side of things as he ran for his un-life. At least, now I know what the big plan is. I just have to make sure I last long enough to get the information to Buffy and Faith.
He reached the bottom of the stairs, Spike and the other vampires just one flight behind him.What the-? There are humans still alive in this place?Chase Castle, Sunnydale Town
Lordship of Sunnydale
Cordelia couldn't believe that they'd managed to make it this far without running into any of the undead. Probably the fact that they had been safe behind thresholds for so long had kept the vampires away, knowing that attempted entry was pointless...but now they were in the main hall.
“There's no way that we won't run into vampires here, or once we get out.” The guard helping her carry her mother voiced what the young woman was thinking.
“Too late.” The other guard said, drawing his sword, leaning down just enough to drop Amy without hurting her more than bruising. The other guard let go of Miriam Chase's legs and drew his own sword.
“No, wait! I'm not here to fight you.” Angel said hurriedly. “I'm on-”
“You actually expect us to believe that you're still alive?” Cordelia cut him off angrily. “You're a fucking vampire! There's no one left alive in this castle, except us!"
“And how would-” Before Angel could say any more, Spike and three other vampires were down the stairs.
“Time for you to die, Angelus!” Spike shifted into his demon face. “For good.” He lunged at the older vampire, tackling him to the ground.
The other three undead saw the humans, and instantly felt hungry. Rather than helping Spike against Angel, they went after the guards. Immediately the two guardsmen gave ground, closing ranks around Miriam Chase. "Lady Cordelia..." one of them said hesitantly.
Cordelia grabbed Amy's limp form and dragged her back, so she was covered by the guards as well. Then she crouched down. “Wake the fuck up, Amy!” Cordelia slapped the witch in the face, as hard as she could. No response. “Wake up!”
The two guards, armed only with swords and stakes, were managing to keep the unarmed vampires at bay for the moment. They were in a better condition than Xander, having not fought against the undead for a while. One thought crossed both their minds, though.How long until our luck runs out?
Not far away Angel threw Spike off him, even as two more vampires came down the stairs. They charged at Angel, apparently less interested in eating than carrying out Darla's orders. Angel crouched down and grabbed his stake, kicking out at one vamp, sending him flying into Spike just as he got back to his feet. Angel then staked the other vampire, dust raining down. Hmm.
Cordelia thought upon witnessing Angel's feats of heroism, amazed over how she was being so calm, her thoughts so detached...even though she was close to hyperventilating. I guess the he might have been telling the truth, if he's actually fighting the vampires. Heroic, and handsome too. I wonder if he's nobility, he'd be the perfect husband for me!
Part of her mind informed her. Then Cordelia asked herself, At a time like this, why am I thinking that?!
Angel tried to stake Spike as the vampire came at him, but the stake collided with the long coat the vampire was wearing and bounced off, the wood shattering.
“Oh yea.” Spike said, smirking. “I forgot to ask, Angelus; how do you like my new coat? Got it off a Slayer I killed some thirty-odd years ago. She'd had it enchanted. Good as armor, and without the weight. And it looks a lot cooler." The blonde vampire smirked and then took advantage of Angel's shock to lay into his face with a punch that sent him flying back. Angel then crashed into one of the vampires that was fighting one of the guards, knocking him and the guard he was fighting to the ground. Angel just barely avoided a sword to his stomach. The vampire beneath him wasn't as lucky.
Rolling off of the human, Angel jumped back to his feet in time to see three more vampires coming down the stairs, and another two coming down another flight of stairs. "Well, shit..."
“You're a pretty popular guy, aren't you?!” The guard that had fallen to the ground said, the vampire that had been atop him dusted.
“I, uh, I think I pissed them off.” Angel disagreed. He saw the stake in the guard's other hand, and took it from him within the blink of an eye. “Sorry, I just need to borrow this..."
Two vampires reached him, and Angel ducked under their attacks – these bloodsuckers had swords – before he staked one, catching his sword before it could land on the ground. He used the weapon to block a second swing from the other vampire, tossing the stake back to the guard. “Thanks.”
The guard didn't catch it, and ducked down to grab it – just in time to dodge a swing that would have taken his head clean off from a third sword-wielding vampire. He grabbed the stake and then was locked in combat. And, just to make everything perfect, more
vampires started coming down the stairs
“Really popular.” The second guard managed to half-gasp out, having dispatched his opponents and running up to help his compatriot.
Angel cut down another vampire. This time only to see Spike, having armed himself with a sword.
“Can't say I like using a blade, mate.” Spike said, swinging at Angel; only to have him block it. “Truth is, I prefer me own fists. Always have, always will. But, if it means I get to kill you, I'd even use a bloody spear at a hundred paces!” He sliced at Angel, and this time, cut him across the chest. Angel recoiled back, then slashed at Spike's legs. His sword evaded Spike's coat, and sliced across one leg.
Spike cursed in what sounded like the Fyarl tongue and then he lunged at Angel again. "Enough with the foreplay!!" Spike exploded with a furious series of blows, forcing Angel on the defensive as he gave ground. Then Spike knocked his grandsire's feet out from under him, and raised his sword for the death blow-
The human body can't just ignore a well-placed strike with a lot of strength behind it. Even if you're a vampire, with all which comes with that. Xander's sword aimed at Spike's neck just bounced off the collar of the coat, but it distracted the soulless demon, throwing off his aim. The vampire's sword passed right over Angel's head, catching a few hairs along the way. Angel took advantage of the opportunity and kicked Spike away.
“Thanks.” Angel said. Xander extended a hand – and then as he helped Angel pull himself up, saw one of the vampires disarm one his fellow guardsmen...then sink his fangs into the man's neck. Xander didn't quite run – that was impossible with his leg injury, plus all the exertion lately...still, he struck at the vampire the moment he got within range. He cut off the creature's head, but too late. Too much blood had already been lost...and then the other guard had his neck broken, by a particularly large vampire.
It was just him and the three women, two of which were unconscious, left. Xander nearly dropped to the ground, feeling numb. Angel kept fighting...but there were so many damned vampires...
Two of the undead, far from the 'front', suddenly exploded into dust. Two Slayers, each holding a stake and a sword, stood amid the remains as they rained down. “All this and you didn't invite us to the party, Angel?” Faith said exuberantly.
With a gusto, the two Daughters plunged into the fray, somersaulting over two vampires, and taking their heads as they landed, then staking two others. They moved too fast for Xander to watch, and the other guy – whoever he was – was keeping up with them, somehow. But surely no mortal could keep up the pace like these two Slayers...
The blonde vampire with the long coat apparently decided that discretion was the better part of valor, since the odds were no longer overwhelmingly in his favor. He ran over to one of the flights of stairs and disappeared up it, yelling for reinforcements.
“I thought I told you two to wait at the entrance of town!” Angel snapped, as the remaining vampires also made the same decision that Spike had made and ran for it.
Faith shrugged. “B was too worried about you to wait.”
“Excuse me!” Buffy protested. “You were the one who was impatient to get into the Slayage!”
“Hey, uh, Slayers? I mean, I am right, aren't I? You're both Daughters of Sineya?” Faith nodded and Xander went on, “Good. Because they're gonna come back soon in overwhelming numbers, and as you can see, civilians here to protect.” He gestured to Cordelia, and the two other unconscious women. He pointed to Angel. “You're Angel, right? That Slayer over there called you that, didn't she?”
Xander gestured towards the still-unconscious Amy. “Could you carry her? She's probably the only reason we-” He gestured to himself and the three women - “are still alive.” Harris grit his teeth as he looked again at the dead bodies of the last two guards. Wonderful. I'm the last House Chase guard; well, I would be if I hadn't resigned-slash-been fired after Lord Chase was killed.
"The woman's a witch, and I'm pretty sure we'll need her help to escape the township safely."
"All right." Angel easily picked up the unconscious Madison woman and slung her body over her shoulder.
Ignoring he pain from his leg as best he could, Xander grabbed Miriam Chase's legs, and gestured at Cordelia. “Come on. Help me get your mother out of here!”
Much to his surprise, Cordelia actually failed to complain as she grabbed her mother's shoulders, even as Angel hoisted Amy's body into a more comfortable position. And with Buffy and Faith leading the way, the group began their mad, desperate dash for safety...