FIC: The Nightstalkers (15/?)
Recognising the tell-tale sound of a cavalry charge, Holtz melted into the shadows. irritated but not particularly dismayed when his companions didn’t immediately follow suit. Undisciplined rabble.
* * *
Heart racing, Faith grabbed Jonno by the collar and threw him forward and over the nearest hedge. Shit, Faith realised her mouth was dry and heart hammering like had never done before, caring for people was wicked hard, maybe even harder than not havin’ anyone.
Even as that realisation hit, the lead riders burst into sight, the first of them an ugly as sin thickly-built roughneck dressed in a battered Stetson and brown suede jacket. Seeing the vampire’s hand coming up from inside his jacket, a gun in hand, Faith dropped into a crouch, leather-clad ass practically touching the cold tarmac, before bounding up, powering through her legs.
Faith flew through the air, body shuddering slightly as she landed on the horse, facing the surprised vampire, legs wrapping around him. “Hey!” Faith greeted as she drove her head into the demon’s face, the impact knocking his head back long enough for her to dart out a stake and drive it towards his heart. “Like your ride!”
Except the demon replied with a headbutt of his own, almost knocking her clean off the damn horse. Seeing the demon’s gun beginning to turn towards her, she drove her stake down and through his forearm. “Aaaaaaah!” the demon grunted as her stake tore through flesh, gun dropped to the ground. “You bitch!”
Faith grunted as the demon’s free fist crashed into the side of her head. Ignoring the bludgeoning blow, she released her hold on her stake and jammed her thumb deep into the demon’s eye, ignoring her slight queasiness at the way his eye squished and squelched under her onslaught. While the demon writhed in agony, she snatched out another stake and drove it into her adversary’s heart. “Fuck you, asshole!” she victoriously shouted.
Then she belatedly realised she was sitting backwards on a horse with no actual idea how to ride. “Ah fuck!”
Suddenly the horse was leaping the hedge she’d thrown Jonathan behind, her rising boyfriend dropping back down as her horse’s hooves cleared the far side. “Shit! Shit!” Faith screamed as the out of control steed bolted across the city park, its frenzied panting and whinnying only adding to her concern. She was strictly a city girl, her idea of riding didn’t involve horses. Looking over her shoulder, she saw they were heading towards a tree with low-hanging branches and ducked, bending at the waist until her nose was practically touching horse ass.
And that wasn’t even close to the most embarassin’ position she’d managed to find herself in.
Her hands flew up to grab the branch and push off the horse before gliding into a 360 that would have made an Olympic gymnast green with envy before landing and charging back towards the fight, long legs eating up the distance and full mane flowing behind her.
* * *
Xander stared up at the charging horses and leapt at the nearest vampire only to catch a kick to the face that knocked him to the ground. The wind knocked out of him and his head ringing from the collision with the ground, he barely had enough left to roll out of the following horses’ hooves.
And then Holtz stepped out of the shadows, a disgusted look on his face. His pistol-crossbows came up, two vampires bursting into dust a half-second later. Then the legendary demon-hunter was unsheathing his sword, arcing it up in an impossibly graceful slash, blood spurting from the nearest horse’s neck as it reared up, pitching its rider to the ground.
In an instance Holtz was on the felled vampire, his blade slicing through its throat before it had chance to move. Holtz looked up through a dust-cloud, instinct sending him twisting out of the way of a leaping demon, his blade slicing up to likewise take that demon’s head too.
Another rider, discarding Xander as a threat, started to turn his horse to face Holtz. Leaving his back open to a flung stake to the heart.
And then that was it, the demons dead, their horses bolting up the road.
Xander’s relieved laugh died when he noticed Larry lying unmoving on the ground, his sightless eyes staring up at the dark sky. “Larry!” Xander raced over and knelt down by his friend’s corpse, wishing that he could deny the evidence of his eyes, the pale, bloodless sheen to his friend’s skin, the impossible angle at which his neck hung, and the dimness of his eyes. The pain of failure pressed down on his chest, making it nigh impossible to breathe.
”As I thought,” Holtz glared down at him, the night’s drizzle sliding off his leather trenchcoat and growling tone filled with scorn, “incompetent.” The vampire hunter shook his head and looked towards Wesley. “He I can understand, he is but a boy. But you are a Watcher! Does that mean nothing anymore?”
“Hey,” suddenly Faith was there, the Slayer’s eyes darker than death, “you can’t-.”
“Please Faith,” Welsey stepped between the advancing Slayer and her intended target, his shoulders slumping under defeat’s heavy weight, “now is not the time.”
“Let’s go back to the house,” Holtz sniffed. “I will learn nothing else here.”
* * *
Xander shook his head as he strode into the darkened bedroom he shared with Cordy, a deep depression crushing his chest, his mind filled with images of Larry’s corpse and of the others that Blaine had butchered. The corpses of all those he’d failed dating back to Jesse and Ms. Calendar soon joined them, a veritable crowd before him. “Maybe Holtz was right,” he mumbled.
“Oh please,” Cordelia spat, from behind him, the door slamming as his girl-friend back-heeled it, “you’re going to let Mr. Two Centuries Ago take the group away from you?”
Xnader turned to face his girl-friend. “Generally, he just answers to Holtz.”
Cordelia shook her head. “Don’t try your unfunny lines on me, Dweeb!” His girl-friend lowered her voice. “If ‘Holtz’ is this great hunter, why did he spend years chasing Angelus and fail, even with the Vatican behind him? And then, what does he do? He gives up and partners up with a demon!” Cordy sniffed. “He’s no great shakes.”
Xander looked at her, a half-smile on his weary face. “I’m better?”
Cordy held her thumb and forefinger about two inches apart and smirked. “About that much better.”
Xander’s smile widened slightly. “Always gotta come to you for the votes of confidence.” His smile died again as he recalled Holtz’s actions earlier. “But did you see him? He cut through the vampires like a knife through butter!”
“Oh grow up,” Cordelia’s dark eyes blazed with the sort of fury that had been known to scatter freshmen. “You’re the glue that’s held us together for years! You didn’t just lead the Nightstalkers, you started the Scooby Gang too! And we’ve had a lot more than just Angelus to deal with! You’re our leader, not some broody-boots! Get it together.”
* * *
“Ya gonna let him talk to ya like that?”
Wesley started at his Slayer’s unusually soft voice in the doorway behind him, but didn’t turn to face her. His Slayer? He chuckled dourly, only a twisted combination of nepotism, chance, and murder had caused that event to happen. Lord knows, he’d tried to live up to the task no matter the circumstances.
And lord knows how much he’d failed.
He curled up into a semi-ball as he sat on the edge of his bed, his father’s sneering face flashing before him. “Hey!” Faith snarled behind him. “Stop bitchin’ and turn and face me! Jesus,” the Slayer continued, “I thought your balls had finally dropped!”
Wesley turned to face the naggingly insistent brunette. “I can only,” he swallowed, choking back his tears, “only apologise for not being the Watcher you deserve. I’ll of course resign so that Holtz can take over.”
Pain and hurt flooded the dark-eyed bombshell’s orbs. “I thought we were a team,” the normally braggadocios Slayer sounded for all the world like a hurt child. “I thought you had my back.”
Wesley blinked. She still wanted him? “I…I do, but you should have the best Watcher-.”
“I..I,” for once the assured Slayer seemed lost for words. “I’ve never had a guy in my life who didn’t try to take advantage. I…I wouldn’t wanna lose that.”
“Then,” Wesley forced a smile. As always his Slayer had to come before his own concerns. “You shall not. I am as always at your service and shall endeavour to do my very best.”
”Jeez,” the Slayer smirked at him even as she theatrically rolled her eyes, “ no need to get all wordy ‘bout it!”
* * *
“Daddy’s dead!” Tara’s rage caused the vampire who’d brought the news to burst into flames. “I’ll kill them, I’ll kill them all!” the demoness screamed herself hoarse. “Dead! Dead! Dead!”
“Yes dear,” Giles murmured as he placed a comforting kiss on his paramour’s forehead. Already he was planning his next move, deciding which force to move into action against the remaining Nightstalkers next. “We’ll see them dead, but not before they’ve suffered a while.”
* * *
“Death’s Bastards dead?” Angelus began to chuckle, chest heaving with rare humour. Another obstacle to his eventual rise removed. This new bitch of a Slayer was having a most beneficial effect on the Nightstalkers. This didn’t mean he wouldn’t kill her of course, but as with most things it was simply a matter of timing.
And he’d always had the most immaculate timing.
His laugher continued to echo around the deserted room.
* * *
The convertible purred effortlessly through Sunnydale’s darkened streets, the city’s inhabitants too smart to be out after lights out. As a result the car was on its own, the interior deathly silent although drenched in the blood of the honeymooners he’d slaughtered to take possession of the car.
”Ah, the Hellmouth,” his nostrils flared as he took in a deep breath. A new land to conquer, to become hell’s guardian, what an honour.
But first he would have to see to the notorious Ripper.