FIC: Faith Wayne (26/26)
The Greyhound flipped onto its side and skidded across the street, sparks flying and an almighty screech filled the air as the bus crashed to a halt, flattening a line of parked vehicles as it did so.
“Quick! Connor!” Angel roared as his eyes bore through the darkness. “Illyria and I will hold off the angels, you get the people out of the bus!”
His boy nodded. “On it!” He watched with no small pride as his son sped into action, then raced to complete his own part.
Shadows twisted as the wild winds whistled through the city’s mazy streets, carrying with it the smells of burning shops, smoke, and dying people, and the sounds of fire and police sirens. Faith prowled through the darkness alone, the others having split from her to escort an injured Slayer to the nearest hospital.
Faith froze as a shadow to her right moved. “Bane,” she croaked, her stomach twisting. “You’re in prison.”
“Ha!” Bane lunged out of the shadows. “I escaped Peña Duro, there isn’t a prison built I can’t break out of!”
Faith forced a grin as she sprang at the gargantuan criminal. “You’re gonna wish you’d stayed where you were nice and safe!”
Terrific lunged into action the moment the angels charged into his underground hideout, cursing the fact that his invention could only be used the once, and that he couldn’t unveil it yet, not even to save his own life. The first angel through the door slashed out a talon that Terrific ducked under en-route to delivering a heel kick to its knee, bone splintering as it dropped to one knee, broken leg dangling uselessly beneath it. Terrific swung his elbow down into the side of the creature’s head, sending it crashing to the ground.
And then he was moving on, gliding into a spin thrust kick that caught an onrushing angel square in the face, knocking the monster onto its back.
Another flew at him, but he quickly sidestepped, grabbed it by its leathery wing and flung it into the first one he’d downed as it rose, knocking them back down.
And then the angels descended on him from all sides, and though he twisted and writhed from side to side, their talons lashed all over him.
Bane cursed when Faith sidestepped at the last moment, her foot snaking out to stamp on his outer ankle. The criminal staggered, his features twisting in pain, but he still managed to throw out a hand, grab her free-flowing mane and fling her to the ground.
At least that was the theory.
Faith hit the cold, unyielding ground on her shoulders but allowed momentum to carry her into a backwards roll and up into a crouch, her eyes fixed on her adversary. “It seems the bastard brat has learnt something from her errant father,” Bane chuckled deep in his throat before covering the distance between them in a single leap, his fist swinging down at her head.
Faith swayed away from the attempted blow, grabbed the man’s girder-thick forearm in both hands and pulled the man down while leaping up from her crouched position, her head swinging up. Skull met face in a thudding impact.
Bane let out a curse as he jerked loose of her grip and staggered backwards, face bloody. Faith grunted as he managed to catch her with a wild haymaker to the side of her head, left ear ringing. Faith ducked under Bane’s follow-up right hook then lunged in close, aiming her shoulder for the giant’s right knee.
“Oooof!” Faith grunted when the meta-human crashed a spade-sized fist between her shoulder-blades, knocking her face-down to the ground. Instinct and her father’s lessons took over, Faith rolled away from Bane’s attempted follow-up stomp, her own foot snapping out to crash into the shin of the criminal’s grounded leg.
Bane cursed and stumbled away, but by the time Faith kipped up he’d righted himself and was charging in like a bull who’d seen red. Faith waited until the last second then leapt into the air, reaching for a near-by lamp-post.
“Ooof!” Faith doubled up when Bane caught her with a forearm across the stomach, the blow’s impact reversing her flight and sending her crashing back down. Faith hit the ground on her shoulder and rolled away from Bane’s attempted follow-up kick to her stomach. Faith was half way up into a crouch when Bane caught her with a straight downward right that snapped her head back and burst open a cut over her left eye. Faith grunted as she blocked a kick to the chest on her crossed arms, impact echoing through her upper limbs, teeth gritted against the pain.
The moment she was up in a crouch, Faith sprang into a double-footed dropkick that crashed into the criminal’s thick chest, knocking him into a crumbling wall. Bane dropped to one knee, his baleful gaze fixed on her as his right hand searched the rubble for a brick he could use a weapon.
Ignoring the pain in her midsection, Faith sprang back into the attack and feinted a kick at the criminal’s face that caused Bane to swing his other arm up to protect himself. The moment Bane committed himself to a defence, Faith brought her attacking leg back and stomped down hard on the grasping fingers of Bane’s right hand. Even as Bane’s mouth dropped open in a howl Faith’s knee snapped up to crash into his jaw, snapping his head back.
Blood spewed from the thug’s mouth but he came up fast and hard, charging Faith like a rampaging buffalo. Faith grunted as he crashed into her, his barn-door shoulder thudding into her ample chest. Air burst out of Faith’s lungs like air from a popped balloon as she spun away from her attacker then grunted again as the thug palmed her retaliatory right cross in his spade-like hand, her foot snapping up in a kick to the giant’s elbow, knocking her hand loose before he was able to start squeezing down. Oxygen still returning to her tortured lungs, Faith back-flipped away from the criminal’s wildly swinging fists, giving her a moment to get some space between her and her attacker.
The giant cursed as he threw a right at her head, but Faith was already moving, using her greater speed to offset his size and strength advantages. Faith’s teeth rattled as Bane caught her with an uppercut but she twisted away from his follow-up thrust-kick to the stomach, her elbow’s point jamming down and into his tree trunk thick thigh. Faith glided beneath Bane’s attempted elbow to the side of her head and came up inside his defences to hook her arms around one thigh while simultaneously stamping on the criminal’s other ankle and twisting at the waist, flinging the criminal into the air.
The human missile swung through the air, crashing facefirst into a parked car’s rear window. Bane let out a strangled groan as he began to pull his head out of the car only to crash to his knees when Faith swung a hastily picked up plank into his hamstrings with enough force to crack the wood in two.
Faith dropped the broken weapon and snatched hold of the back of Bane’s head before he could rise. “Ooof!” Breath gusted from her when Bane drove an elbow back into her midsection, Faith staggered away.
Bane drove himself to his feet and spun to face her, his face a mask of blood and eyes now glassy from disorientation. Faith ducked beneath a wild swing, reached up and hooked her hands around the man’s forearm, put her leg behind the giant’s legs and flung him to the ground, the back of his head bouncing off the unforgiving tarmac even as Faith stamped down hard on his throat.
“Bitch,” Faith kicked the downed gangster in the family jewels for good measure, “don’t you be comin’ up in my crib tryin’ to be all that!”
A gust of air exploded from Superman’s chest, hitting the creatures surrounding his friend like a whirlwind, scattering them to all four corners of the vast room. Superman was a blur as he flew around the room, knocking each of the monsters out before returning to his friend and helping him to his feet.
“As usual you’re better than a tonic,” Terrific wiped blood from his forehead.
“The weapon?” Kal-El demanded, in no mood for niceties.
“Yeah,” Kal-El helped the African-American genius over to the desk by the autopsy table. “This device taps into these creatures’ unique energy signature and drags anything matching it into what’s best described as a pocket dimension.”
Kal-El smiled at his friend. “You do like those.”
“Yeah,” Terrific agreed with a nod. “There’s only two problems.” Terrific pointed at the gleaming basketball-sized sphere. “Despite its relative lack of size, only someone with your strength could actually carry it because of the density of the walls of the pocket dimension I created inside the sphere. The other problem is, you have to open it as near the leader as possible, it’s best described as an avalanche effect, the more momentum you get at the start, the quicker these things will be dragged in.”
“The leader acts like a lodestone?”
“In effect yes.” Terrific nodded.
“How do I turn it on?” Superman lifted the object, eyes widening at its weight, perhaps equal to that of a small house.
“It’ll turn on automatically the moment you get in range,” Terrific replied.
“Okay,” Superman nodded his thanks before racing for the door. In the blink of an eye he was on the surface and then he was leaping into the air, flying through the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate. And then he was flying through the starry battlefield, heat vision shooting left and right to force back any and all angels who attempted to attack.
And then he was landing on the moon, its dusty surface quaking under the impact. He glared at Lucifer as the angel flung Wonder Woman away from him, the bodies of the strongest of his allies and friends lying scattered at his feet. “So your courage returned,” the angel’s hiss echoed in his head, “but it will do you no good.”
“Keep thinking that.”
The angel looked down as Superman tossed the weapon down between his feet. “Wha-.” The angel’s confused words were choked off as a shining light erupted from the sphere and engulfed him, dragging him into the sphere like a Jack-in-the-box getting stuffed back in the box. “Aaaaah!”
Superman slumped to one knee, the battle’s aches finally over-coming him, and watched as one by one the angels were forcibly disengaged from the carnage and dragged into the sphere, each and every one screaming their hapless protests.
Body still aching from the battle’s exertions and the physical effort of using the power ring for the first time, Xander took off from the moon and flew back to earth. “Find me Faith,” he ordered, the ring responding by flying him through the city’s streets. His heart tightened at the chaos engulfing Gotham, hating every time duty and honour forced him to stop to put out a raging fire, drag someone out of a crashed car, or otherwise help someone, all the while keeping him away from his girl.
But finally, after an eternity, he landed beside Faith. “Hey, brown eyed girl.”
Faith turned from cheerfully kicking the unconscious man lying crumpled on the ground before her. “Hey Mr. Major Leagues,” Faith drawled, a smile dancing in her dark eyes, “back amongst us mortals huh?”
“It got boring in the stars, so I decided to slum it-, owwww!” Xander rubbed at his leg where Faith kicked him.
“Slum it?” Faith shook her head and pouted.
“That was hurtful.”
“And that kick wasn’t?” Xander complained.
“You’re not just as stubborn as a mule, you kick like one.”
Faith’s mouth opened then stopped, eyes widening as amazement replaced mirth in her dark brown eyes. “Alien?” Faith croaked, her hand pointing behind him.
Xander turned and gulped to find an eight foot tall, barrel-chested alien in a Green Lantern outfit peering down at him. “Who are you?”
“Question is poozer, how did you get that ring?”
Xander bristled inwardly at the alien’s tone but answered civilly enough. “One of your Green Lanterns fell to earth in our city and its ring asked me to take it before he died. I take dying requests sort of seriously, I’m funny that way.”
“Huh,” the alien nodded curtly. “You handled your ring well for a poozer rookie. Now you need to come with me for training to Oa.”
“No,” Xander glanced down at his hand and pulled off the ring, dropping it into the surprised alien’s hand, “I’ve got duties here.” Xander turned away and ignored the alien’s protests in favour of taking his girl-friend in his arms.
“You sure, honey?” Faith looked up at him as he looped an arm around her shoulders. “That’s a lot of power you’re giving up.”
Xander grinned down at her. “I’ve got everything I want right here.”
Epilogue - Some time later
Ra’s al Ghul pursed his lips, thin features twisting with unaccustomed fear. His organisation in ruins, his bank accounts emptied and given to aid charities, and this, the last of his bases, finally uncovered by his enemies. Now he had to escape before his enemy reached him.
Too late. His blood chilled when a shadow shifted in the darkness in front of him. “Tell me, Ra’s al Ghul,” he swallowed at the unmistakeable growl as the Dark Knight glided out of the shadows, “did you think I’d allow you to attack my family with impunity?”