Two Slayers and a Vampire Walk into a Town...
Thanks to Starway Man, my beta, for helping me with this. Especially this chapter, and the writers block I had.The Prophecies Cycle
Book I: The Red Moon Rises
Chapter 9: Two Slayers and a Vampire Walk into a Town...21 to 27 days until the Red MoonSunnydale Town,
Lordship of Sunnydale
The trip from the Agaden Temple to the town of Sunnydale could have been managed, most likely, in about two days by Buffy and Faith alone, give or take. Between their enhanced speed and endurance, as well as their ability to go longer stretches of time on less sleep than most people, the distance, normally a good three-days travel...well, they could have done it noticeably faster alone.
Unfortunately, though, thanks to the third member of their party, the Slayers didn't have the luxury of traveling all day and then part of the night. Not unless they wanted to leave Angel behind, that is. Because ensouled though he might be, Angel still had all the weaknesses of the undead, as well as their strengths. Including that annoying
vulnerability to rays of the sun's light. Sineyan religious doctrine decreed that said vulnerability was due to the purifying powers of the sun god Adun, purging corruption from the world in the form of the vampire...
Personally, though, Angel was a little skeptical of that, as well as all religion in general. But he had to acknowledge that holy symbols and icons did have the power to harm and repel him and other vampires, which did speak of some kind of higher power behind religion in the strictest sense. Whether that was the Creator itself or something else, no one could say for certain; indeed, most people chose not to inquire too closely about the subject, as it involved acknowledging that they were mostly ignorant about whether the Creator of All Things actually existed.
Of course, Angel didn't mention his skepticism where the Daughters of Sineya or those aligned with them could hear. Some, such as Faith, didn't take the religious aspect of their training, and duty, all that seriously. Of course, as one of the more successful Slayers in the Order, Faith could get away with blatant irreverence a lot more than easily than, say, her novice sisters. Others, such as Buffy, took such teachings more to heart, although compared to some – such as one of the oldest of the Daughters, Nikki Wood – she was almost as irreverent as Faith.
Still - whatever the reason behind vampiric vulnerability to sunlight, the unavoidable fact of that vulnerability's existence had limited the trio to traveling just during nighttime. Which was why it had taken them three days to get to Sunnydale Town. And as the Slayers strolled into town Angel silently stared off towards the horizon, he could tell that there was only about three hours left before dawn.
“Okay, I know most people sleeping during the night, rather than, you know, hunt demons and vampires.” Faith started. “But is it just me, or does this town seem...” her voice trailed off a moment. “Well...I mean, even this late, shouldn't there be a little activity? A few people moving around, at least?”
Angel looked around. “Not necessarily. I've been in towns that are this...dead at night, before.”
“Let's hope those words aren't more apt than they seem.” Buffy said, concentrating on the task at hand.
“Oh, they're apt.” Came a voice from their left. A black robed vampire, leading four others, was coming down the main street towards them. All five of them wore their demon faces. They drew up short some twenty feet away from the heroic trio, and Angel noticed the two Daughters instantly switch into combat mode. He knew Buffy and Faith well enough by now to comprehend when something mind-numbingly violent was about to happen...
“I must say,” The black robed vampire continued. “You are the last person I expected to see, Angelus. How long as it been, a century?”
“A little more.” Angel said, shaking his head slightly. “I'll be honest. I didn't really expect to see you again either, Sybold. I'd have figured that Darla would have killed you by now...if I'd given you any thought at all.”
“Ah-ha, ah-ha, ah-ha.” Sybold replied flatly. “You're so funny. See? This is me laughing. This is my amused face.” The soulless vampire pointed to his face. It was utterly devoid of any sign of mirth.
“Angel?” Buffy asked, pulling a stake from her belt. Like Faith, she also had a sword, but for some reason, Angel knew, she'd always preferred killing vampires with a sharp piece of wood, rather than with a steel blade. Angel also knew that she had no good explanation for it – using a sword to cut their heads off was easier, and even a little less risky, usually – but there it was. He had once heard her say in passing that using a stake was the way that vampire slaying was 'supposed to be done', but that was it.
Faith, with her usual...unique...perspective, had once claimed that her fellow Slayer's choice of weaponry was basically because Buffy 'liked to feel wood in her hand, late at nights.' Needless to say, the blushing Buffy had glared furiously at Faith for that and avoided meeting Angel's gaze for days afterward.
Back to the matter at hand. “Angel?” Buffy repeated. “Why are we just standing here chatting with them? Shouldn't we be...you know...dusting these things?”
“Oh, you are just too cute!
” Sybold smiled. “Who are your friends, Angelus? You know its not nice to not share.”
“His friends can speak for themselves.” Buffy cut in. “My name is Buffy.”
This time, Sybold threw his head back and laughed for real. He kept laughing for several minutes. “You really are
too cute!” He laughed some more. If he had still been possessed of a pair of functioning lungs, he'd have been out of breath by the time he was done laughing. “Seriously though, your name is Buffy?” He looked at Angel again. She's joking, right? She must be. Because no mother in her right mind could ever possibly name their daughter something so completely stupid as Buffy!
“You're gonna be sorry for saying that about Joyce, dead thing,” Faith said, swinging her sword idly, as if experimentally. She glanced briefly at Buffy's infuriated face and added, “Still, I keep telling her she should change it. I mean, whoever heard of a Slayer with a name like that?”
“Slayer? You're hanging out with Slayers now Angelus?” Sybold's face abruptly lost all traces of amusement.
“You did hear about how the Daughters of Sineya gave me a soul?” Angel shrugged. "As I recall, it was big news at the time."
“Yes, but I couldn't force myself to believe that it had truly happened. That it could
happen. Despite personal feelings, the legend that was Darla's favorite childe deserved better than that, to be honest with you. Wishful thinking on my part, I suppose.”
“Where is Darla?” Angel demanded. “And when exactly is the Red Moon coming then?”
“Wouldn't you like to know the answer to both?” Sybold replied. “But I'm not really in the mood to talk any more. Fuck it. Knife.”
“Knif-” Angel was cut off by the three-inch long blade embedding itself in his neck. Still, he had managed to move so that he avoided decapitation, which was what the enemy vamp had been aiming for; and looking disgusted, Sybold backhanded his minion away with a hard slap to the face. "You incompetent fool!"
“Hey, Asshole!” Faith said, raising her sword. Sybold looked towards her, unable to help himself.
“Made you look. Stake.” Buffy said, flinging her sharpened stake at the black-robed vampire. In an instant, he turned to dust. "Now who's the fool?" Drawing her sword, Buffy then launched herself at the other four vampires. Between the two of them, Faith and Buffy dusted the gang of undead thugs in less than a minute, during which they were not even breathing hard.
In the meantime, Angel yanked the knife out of his neck, the wound mostly closing behind it. Tossing it to the ground, he spoke, his voice a little raspy. “Ouch.” Angel then opened the canteen that had been on his belt and drank the last of the pig's blood that had been in it. That quickly healed the remainder of the wound. Angel looked at the two Slayers, feeling troubled. And not from the neck wound. “So...Darla is in town. She'd probably be in the castle, which would also be where most of the other vampires are.”
“So let's go and kill them.” Faith said. “This was just a warm up.”
“I believe the technical term for what you're proposing, Faith,” Angel said tersely, “Is suicide. There's going to be way too many vampires in that building for the three of us to take on alone.”
“What, you think we're not good enough? You didn't notice how Buffy and I took out those five, while you were all, you know, knife in the throat?” Faith shot back in annoyance. “Fat lot of use you were.”
“Hey!” Buffy stepped in, automatically defending Angel. “If he hadn't distracted the leader with all the talking-”
"Then we wouldn't have had to waste our time chatting with the undead!"
"Waste our time? Why do you always disregard the value of information?"
"The only information I need is how quickly we can kill all of these damned things, before that Red Moon thing happens!"
Angel shook his head, as Buffy fired back a stinging retort about how Faith always rushed headlong into danger. “I wasn't finished!” He said over their arguing. This happened every time, and Buffy always expected him to side with her. Which, to be fair, he usually did, during those times when he couldn't avoid taking sides; even though he always ended up regretting it later.
“I said,” Angel raised his voice. “I WASN'T FINISHED!” The two Slayers finally shut up, looking at him. “Thank you. Now, as I was saying, Darla is here. And if she's here, the odds are Spike and Drusilla are here as well. That's why we're going to have to be VERY careful; like I've mentioned before, Dru has the sight, she could have already sensed our arrival in Sunnydale Town. If so, with her advance warning, any full-on assault we undertake would mean that we'd be walking straight into a trap."
"So, what do you suggest we do?" Faith shot back, looking annoyed.
"Yeah, Angel, what?" Buffy demanded as well.
Angel pseudo-sighed. "Well, the good news is that I do have a plan. The bad news is, I already know you're both going to hate
Yes, I'm an ass for ending it there.Next time, on Red Moon Rises: Angel's plan goes into motion – and yea, Buffy and Faith hate it – just as the situation in the castle for Xander, Cordelia and Amy starts to go downhill, and fast.