FIC: Hellmouth Heroes (25/?)
Jenny finished her tale and stared expectantly at Giles and Wesley. Finally Giles shifted in his chair. “Well?”
“Well,” Jenny gaped at her boyfriend, “I just got through telling you Xander cold-bloodedly executed a defenceless woman!”
“Cold-bloodedly executed perhaps,” Wesley commented. “In fact, I’m certain Xander’s decision was coolly thought out. But defenceless,” the younger of the two Watchers shook his head, “I hardly think so.”
“She didn’t have a weapon!” Jenny snapped.
Giles leaned forward in his seat, eyes intense. “Didn’t she?” Giles challenged.
”I just said she was unarm-.”
“Please, Jenny,” Giles interrupted her with an impatient shake of his head, “think. She was a high-ranking officer in the US. military. The black ops no less. I know from my experiences in the Council, black ops of any organisation do not employ choir boys.”
“So?” Jenny demanded.
“So,” this time it was Wesley, “if you’d have left her alive, the first thing she would have done was report us to her superiors. In a matter of hours there would have been hundreds of troops here in town, rounding up every single one of us for interrogation and probable experimentation. At the very least we’d have never seen light again and more than likely we’d have died agonising deaths.”
“Xander had no other choice,” Giles added.
Jenny looked from Englishman to Englishman. Their words sounded so bleakly final. “No,” she shook her head, “the American government doesn’t act like that.”
“Come now Jenny,” Giles said in that infuriatingly patient way that made her want to slap him on occasion. “You’ve just been in a bunker where they’d built over several dozen Frankenstein’s Monsters. Xander had no choice.”
“Actually he did,” Wesley corrected. “He could let Walsh live and condemn us all to death, probably on an examination table I shouldn’t wonder. Or he could kill her and save us.”
“And possibly the world,” Giles conceded Wes’ point with a nod. “After all, that’s what we do here, protect the world.”
“You didn’t see how emotionlessly he did it,” Jenny commented, her arguments weakening before the pair’s unexpected defence.
“You never actually read any Punisher comics did you?” Giles queried.
Jenny threw her hands up. “You’re always reading those things these days!”
Her boyfriend reddened both at her words and Wesley’s sudden grinning stare. “That is besides the point,” he coughed. “The fact is Frank Castle, the Punisher, was a most formidable character, deficient in the powers that many of us have, but possessing a pragmatic ruthlessness that the more idealistic heroes lacked. Xander saw a threat to us and our mission, and like Frank Castle he eliminated the threat in such a manner that was simplest and most effective.” Giles paused. “I’ve little doubt I’d do the same to protect any one of us, the group, or our mission.”
After a second Wesley nodded. “As would I.”
* * *
Louise smiled happily as she checked Mr. Giles’ ledgers. In the weeks since she’d started working for Mr. Giles she’d never been more secure or happier. And they were such nice people, how her wallflower daughter had blossomed with her new friends.
Of course, her smile quavered, she didn’t like the thought of her daughter fighting the forces of evil, but she supported her child in her choices, no matter how much they worried her.
After all that was all she could do as a parent.
Her brow furrowed at the sound of motor cycles roaring down the street. And then flew herself to the ground with a scream when the window exploded inwards, glass flying through the air. Her breath coming in desperate heaves, she reached a clammy hand into her pocket and pulled out her phone.
She needed one of those evil-fighters right about now.
* * *
The sound of souped-up hogs and stench of motor oil hung heavy in the air as the Dark Swords, Arizona’s most notorious demonic biker gang, rode towards the Hellmouth like vultures flying to feast on a freshly dead carcass. Tank raised a hand, eyes narrowing to slits as he noted the gangly, gothic-looking youth clad in a trenchcoat stood in the road. He looked behind him, reassuring him of the sixteen badasses riding with him, before pointing at the youth. “First one to ride over him gets first pick of the gals!”
His companions let out an appreciative roar, their engines gunning as they speeded towards the youth.
And then the road in front of them exploded in nine feet high fire. Bikes screeched as they attempted to turn away from the fiery wall, the two riders who failed screaming in agony as they fell into the flames. Tank looked around, eyes wild as he took in the chaos; the Harleys and demons sprawled across the road. “That boy,” he yanked out his axe. “I want the fucker’s head as a bike orna-.”
He gasped as a woman flew out of the copse to the road’s left, her fists crunching into Dark Sword after Dark Sword, broken body after broken body flying into the air before sending dust billowing as they crashed limply to the ground. “Get that-.” His voice trailed off as a group of boys charged out of the copse to join the girl in trashing his beleaguered gang.
“Did you forget about me?” Tank gasped as he turned to see the goth walking through the crackling fire, miraculously unburnt. And then a fireball hit him, turning his world to ash and pain.
* * *
“That was easier than I thought,” Theresa commented
“Mis-direction,” Larry commented, “while they were gaping at Michael’s tricks, we hit them from the side.” The broad-shouldered youth shrugged. “We used it in football all the time.”
”It went so well here, you’d think we’d have won more games,” Lance commented.
Larry glared at his boy-friend. “You’re so not-.” His voice trailed off as he noticed an off-roader heading towards them. “Who’s that?”
“Just be ready,” ordered Devon.
A tension filled minute passed by as the 4 by 4 came to a stop. After a second the right door swung open and a long-haired lithe blonde maybe a decade older than them climbed out. “Relax people,” the blonde didn’t seem too relaxed herself. “We’re on the same side, we were just coming to intercept this gang. Nice job by the way.”
“Yeah,” a tall guy that Larry recognised from one of the local garages as Oliver Pike climbed out of the left, “like Kate said we’re on the same side. Maybe we could join forces.”
“Maybe we could,” Larry looked at his team-mates, “maybe we should head into town and discuss this after we’ve fought the others?”
* * *
Razor grinned as he rode down Sunnyale’s main street, his companions riding behind him, the humans screaming as they rode through, occasionally stopping to rip a trash can from the ground and fling it through a shop window or flip over a car. The humans’ screaming could even be heard over the roar of their bikes.
And then he saw her stood in the centre of the road.
* * *
“That’s right,” Faith murmured as the bikes headed towards her, “come to the hot mama.”
When she was satisfied the group was closing, she spun on her heel and ran like she’d never run before, the bikers chasing after her. Turning a bend in the road, she charged down the street, breaking off to head towards of one Sunnydale’s scenic parks, and more specifically a hedge that she hurdled over.
The moment she flew over it, Wesley, Xander, Jonathan, and Oz knelt up from behind the greenery and let loose with their shotguns, their rounds tearing into the unsuspecting bikers, ripping them apart as they fell from their bikes, the riders behind them either just managing to peel off or crash into the fallen bikers before them.
Faith spun to check on the carnage, eyes widening as she saw the gang’s leader, a huge bear-like creature, manage to evade her friends’ attack, veer around the bush, and head towards her, huge axe in hand and burning rage in his eyes. “Awww crap.” Faith set herself, feet apart as the demon came on. At the last second she left her feet, grinning slightly at the demon’s shock as she flew at it, fists outstretched in front of her.
Her fists crashed into the demon’s chest, lifting it from its saddle and dumping him on the lawn. The demon leapt up with a snarl. “I don’t know what the fuck you are, Slayer, ‘cept dead!”
“Talk’s cheap dickless, come get some.”
The demon roared before lunging at her, axe cleaving down. Faith swayed away from the weapon, grabbed it around the shaft and reversed its swing so that the weapon ended up embedded in the demon’s head. “You know,” Faith drawled as the demon fell away, “it’s getting so you guys aren’t even competition any more.”
* * *
Rona charged through Sunnydale’s chaotic streets, careful to keep enough distance between her and her pursuers while pretending the actual chase took more effort than it really did. Rona passed between two parked cars, grinning at the people she saw hidden either side of the road, then she fell with a theatrical wail, her trap set.
“Well done, Rona.” Her grin widened at Mr. Giles’ calm voice in her head.
The moment before the bikes drew parallel with the cars, Gunn and Cordy rose, the super-strong duo holding a heavy chain across the road at chest-level. The first row of bikers crashed into the tightly held chain, the juddering impact lifting them from their bikes and flinging them backwards while their bikes skidded on under the chain, sparks flying from the tarmac.
And then fire and lightning tore into the beleaguered bikers from the rear as Kennedy and Alonna used their powers to rampage through the city’s attackers.
* * *
“That was eventful,” commented Doyle as he led his group and the youths into his and his wife’s house, the street outside a mess of over-turned cars, crashed motor-bikes, and wrecked gardens. They’d taken care of one gang, and the Slayer’s gang two more, thus ensuring the surviving bikers wouldn’t be back any time soon. “Please,” he looked towards the lounge sofa, suddenly conscious they had nothing like enough seats, “sit down.” Once his companions had sorted themselves out, either sitting on the sofa, on its arms, or on the floor, he spoke. “Okay, so we were wondering if you’d be interested in working with us.”
Owen broke the silence after a few seconds. “That really depends on who you all are and what you can do.”
“Okay then, I’ll start the show and tell,” Doyle grinned. “I always tried to get the lasses interested in that at school.” Doyle sobered. “I went as Damion Hellstorm. As a result I have a vast knowledge of demonology, magic, and theology.”
”Hey,” Lance’s brow furrowed, “but your knowledge should be useless, this isn’t the Marvel universe after all.”
“Yeah,” Doyle nodded. “Strange thing that, all my knowledge seems to have transferred over and changed into knowledge of this universe.”
“Okay,” Owen stared at him. “If you know so much, what is Faith? She was strong before all this!”
“Other than a smoking babe,” Doyle raised his hands at Harri’s glare, “sorry me darlin’.” He looked towards Owen and then Oliver. “You wanna tell ‘em?”
“Faith’s a Vampire Slayer, a young girl bestowed with mystical powers that originate from a demon, giving her superhuman senses, strength, speed, endurance, agility, and healing in the fight against forces of darkness.”
“And you know this how?” challenged Devon.
“Because I dated the one before her,” Oliver replied.
”Buffy?” Theresa guessed, the room falling into silence at Oliver’s nod.
After a respectful second Doyle spoke. “That’s not the question you wanna be asking though.”
“What is?” Theresa took his bait.
”How you got your powers. How we all did.”
Their companions looked around, jaws dropping in shock. “Y…you know?” Lance gasped.
“Well if I’m right, you all got your costumes from Hero City like us, correct?” Doyle sunk back in his chair when the youngsters nodded as one. “I was right,” he muttered before raising his voice. “The owner of the shop or someone related to it, but I suspect the owner because of the access the caster would have to have to the shop, was a chaos worshipper and cast a spell invoking one of the chaos gods to cause us all to become possessed by our costumes for the night.” Doyle grimaced. “Now here’s where things get a little hazy. The spell should have been completely broken at dawn, leaving behind just a few residual memories. Instead it seems a number of the town’s citizens kept at least some of their abilities. Why that is, I have no firm idea, but best guess is some higher power hijacked the spell for their own use.”
”Higher power?” Michael interrupted.
“An Old One, a race of extremely-powerful, pure-blood demons that dominated earth before the rise of mankind. The Powers That Be, the first beings to exist in this dimension even before the Old Ones, and now supposedly guides to the forces of good. Or, the Chaos God that was invoked for the spell. An Ascendant, a human who has been ascended to a higher level. Why they did it I couldn’t say, but what you can say is who you are and will you join us?”
The kids, Doyle realised with a shock that was exactly what they are, exchanged looks. Then Devon nodded. “I went as Ares, I’m now seven times stronger than normal, way more durable than normal, and I can keep on going for almost a day before I have to rest.”
Doyle raised an eyebrow. That was fearsome. “And you?” he looked towards Scott.
Scott licked his lips before replying. “I went as the Iron Fist. I didn’t keep the Iron Fist, but I am the master of a almost dozen martial arts as well as being in peak physical condition.”
“A very handy lad to have in a fight,” Doyle looked towards Theresa, “and what about you wee lassie?”
“This wee lassie,” Theresa grinned at him, “went as Ms. Marvel and has the strength of seven normal men, super speed, super endurance and durability, and the ability to fly.”
Doyle glanced towards Larry. “And what about you lad?”
“I went as the Beast,” Larry replied. “As a result I’m about three times stronger than normal, and have super speed, super durability, and super agility as well as enhanced senses.”
“I went as Blade,” Lance put in. “I’m twice as strong as normal, super-fast, super-agile, and super durable, in addition I have vampire like senses.” The nerdy-looking kid grinned. “Oh, and I really don’t like vampires.”
“I went as the Vision,” Owen went next. “I’m five times stronger than normal. I can fly, am super-durable and have vampire-like reflexes. In addition I can control my density, go hard as steel and,” Doyle joined his companions in gasping when Owen put his hand into his own chest, “as intangible as air.”
”That’s quite a trick,” Doyle blinked and shook his head before looking towards Michael. “And you, I assume went as the Human Torch?”
“Yeah,” the goth agreed. “Yeah, I can’t flame on,” the goth half-grinned, “couldn’t afford the laundry bill anyway. I’m totally immune to heat as far as I can see, and can manipulate fire, throw fireballs, and make fire burst up or go out in a fifty feet radius.”
“You know about us, we know about you,” Owen said before nodding towards Harri and the others, “but what about them?”
Kate was first to speak. “I went as Elektra.” Her eyes narrowed at Devon’s wolf-whistle, the youth coming to an abruptly tuneless halt. “I’m an expert in five martial arts and am a world-class athlete.”
Oliver spoke up next. “I went as Ghost Rider. I’m five times stronger than normal, super durable and have super stamina. My shotgun has the power to destroy even reasonably old vampires and medium-power demons. I’m also an expert stunt rider.”
“I went as Black Cat,” Harri put in. “And now I’m an Olympic level athlete and gymnast as well as a skilled martial artist and expert thief and lockpick.”
“So you know who we are and we know who you are, question is. Are we gonna be one team or not?” Doyle queried.
Larry looked around his team before looking towards him. “Equal partners?”
“This is the land of the free,” Doyle smiled. “Democracy all the way.”
Larry stared at him for a second before nodding. “Then we’re in.”