FIC: The Nightstalkers (16/?)
As she approached the gym she could hear the sound of fist and foot hitting heavy bag, the breathless grunts of the exerciser, and the bag’s iron chain rattling as it swung. Faith peered through the doorway, a smile tugging on her lips as she saw her honey, before striding through, hips swinging saucily. “Hey, stud.”
Jonathan started at her deliberately huskily seductive purr. “Hey,” her boy-friend’s face reddened at her stalking approach, Faith grinning inwardly. Damn, he was so predictable, sweet though. “I figured I’d get some time on in the heavy bags,” he explained.
”Never can get enough trainin’,” Faith agreed as she came to a stop a few feet from Jonathan. There was somethin’ off about him, somethin’ different, cautious, no he was always cautious, the word was wary, yeah wary. “But I figured we could get our own sorta exercise,” Faith wriggled her eyebrows, “if you know what I mean?
“I thought we should maybe,” Jonathan momentarily looked down at his sneakers before glancing up, the short boy having trouble meeting her eyes, and not for the usual reason either, “slow down.”
“Slow down?” Faith’s ebony eyes narrowed. Guys always wanted, no expected, her to speed up, but Faith reminded herself that Jonathan wasn’t ‘xactly the usual sort she went for. But then he’d been reserved with her ever since the whole mess with the Deputy Mayor. “Look,” Faith tried for diplomatic, never a good look on her. Mainly ‘cause she was the shits at it. “I know it was a major thing killin’ Finch,” Jonathan half-flinched, “but he was a bad guy, a major part of why this town is the way it is. You can’t get hung up on that.”
”I…it’s not that,” Jonathan licked his lips, his eyes not meeting hers and not for the usual reason either, his eyes were strictly fixed on his feet.
Faith counted to five before continuing. ‘Kay it was the shyness thing, she could handle that. “Look, I know you ain’t ‘xactly experienced.” She resisted the urge to shake her head when Jonathan flinched again. All she’d said was the truth. “But that’s cool by me, I’ve got the experience for the both of us,” she tilted her head to one side and smirked, “I’ll steer you around the curves. After all, how many guys can say their first time was with a babe like me?”
“Ah,” Jonathan’s blushed deepened even more. “That’s not it. It’s….”
“Come on,” Faith prodded with a patience she didn’t feel, “I’m outta guesses.”
Faith’s brow furrowed as she took a moment to translate Jonathan’s nervous babble. “A girl like me?” she queried. “What the hell is that ‘posed to mean?” Before Jonathan could answer she continued, on a mother-fuckin’ tear she was. “Heh, that bitch might be the only gal whose seen more action than I have! She practically screams bimbo whore, but you think she should tell us if our relationship’s goin’ anywhere?” Faith’s temper snapped. “If you’re so dumb as to fall for whatever crap Harmony sells you, you ain’t the nice smart guy I thought I was gettin’!” Jonathan’s mouth opened, but she continued over him. “You can go to hell! Hey, you listen to cheerleaders so much, how about you try and get yourself one, ‘cause you are DUMPED!”
Faith spun on her heel and strode out, desperate to get away from Jonathan before her resolved mask cracked and the hurt poured out. She’d thought he was different, a sweet guy who could actually feel somethin’ for someone with her grubby past. Instead he was just like all the rest, another disappointment to add to the long list.
Faith forced back tears as she strode up the stairs leading from the gym and into the corridor leading to the living quarters. She wasn’t goin’ to cry, she promised fiercely. She didn’t do tears. ‘Specially not over a loser like Jonathan.
“Faith,” Harmony stepped out of one of the rooms to purr, eyes filled with malice, “I do hope you feel alright? You’re looking ill, I wouldn’t want you to come down with anything.”
Harmony jumped as Faith’s elbow snapped to the left, the blow denting and cracking the wall’s plaster. “Feelin’ a lot better now, Harm,” she lied. “But if I ever feel the need to hit somethin’ I’ll come looking for you, dealio?” Faith was past the paling cheerleader before she had chance to respond, out of the corridor and into her room.
It was only after the door slammed shut behind her she gave in and allowed the tears to flow.
* * *
He gasped and wheezed as he raced through the park, conscious of the demons trailing him, one behind, one to the left, and one to the right. Sweat beaded down his face as he staggered, stumbled and righted himself, arms wildly wind-milling as he lost all semblance of a running style in his ragged, exhausted state. He intuitively knew with the prey’s instinct that his hunters were herding him and when they had him where they wanted, they’d take him.
Knew but was helpless to do anything about it.
Suddenly he heard a strangled cry from the monster to his left, heard a screech and a pop.
Then a leather-clad goddess swept past and behind him. Parker tried to turn to see what was happening, but his blazing with lactic acid legs chose exactly that moment to betray him, pitching him to the ground in an ungainly heap.
What he saw was definitely worth the fall. The girl was about five five with a curves in all the right places body encased in a dark as the night silk blouse and matching skin-tight leather pants. Layered midnight tresses bounced as the brunette beauty danced in and out of her two attackers’ blows, the previously sublimely graceful monsters now seeming clumsy in comparison.
And then she was ducking left and right, a piece of wood slamming into the chest of the demon to her right as her cowboy-booted foot snapped out to the left, doubling up the vampire stood there. In the same, gracefully effortless move, the woman spun around and drove her weapon through the back of the demon, it following the others into dust.
His heart caught as she spun to face him, her glossly locks contrasting wildly with her flawless, milk-white skin, dark eyes so luminous, and full, red lips parted in a smirk. “Hey,” she husked, sticking her hand, “saw you were having problems. I’m Faith, you?”
He grinned as the girl pulled him to his feet. His night was looking up already. “Parker, Park Abrams. Thanks for that. Say,” he affected a helpless look, “I don’t suppose you’ve somewhere I can stay?”
* * *
Holtz waited until the ‘Nightstalkers’, he sniffed disdainfully at the childish name, before creeping down to their gym, picking the lock to the gun cabinet with pathetic ease. He stared with interest at the guns racked there. Although a former soldier, the guns of his time had been far less sophisticated in his days. “Let’s see how you like these, Angelus,” he chuckled before lifting out one of the shotguns, fingers dancing lovingly over its polished finish, “bullets might not kill you, but they’ll hurt you yes. They’ll hurt so very much.”
”Hey, what are you doing in here?” Holtz glowered at the voice. Placing the shotgun down, he turned to face the interloper, a guileless smile replacing the scowl as he nodded at the young man he recognised as ‘Larry’. “I am merely inspecting the weapons, not to mention marvelling at this time’s ingenuity.”
“Well,” the burly youth ambled over to him, “Xander doesn’t like people messing with the-, ahhh!” the boy’s lecture turned to a gurgle when Holtz drove the point of his elbow into his throat. His face purpling, the boy doubled-up into a face-lock, Holtz cinching his arm tightly around the boy’s neck and holding the youth there until his struggles died out. Then Holtz released his hold, the unconscious youth slumping to the gym floor. Holtz grabbed his shotgun and stepped over the youth’s motionless body. He had a holy mission, a mission given to him from God, and no one was going to get in his way.
Tonight, Angelus died.
* * *
“The Bronze,” he muttered as he pulled his purloined car to a halt outside the former club. “Ripper’s headquarters.” He smiled at the music roaring out of the club. “Sounds like quite a party, I always like crashing them.”
* * *
Ripper stiffened as the door opened and a man strode in, the club falling instantly silent, dancers stopping, and even feeding pausing. The man who’d entered looked to be in his mid forties, a short but thickly muscled man with brown skin and straggly, shoulder-length grey hair, his predatory grey eyes flanking a hooked nose.
Of course it wasn’t a man, that much was immediately obviously, the amount of power crackling off the jeans and t-shirt wearing vampire was enough to make the hairs on the back of Ripper’s neck prickle.
“An old one,” Tara licked at his ear lobe, “a strong one, from times long long ago.”
”Yeah, I know,” Ripper rose from the upper floor couch he, Tara, and Joyce had been ‘enjoying’ themselves on with a languid grace, concealing his worry, “always a pleasure to have guests,” he greeted as he strode down the stairwell and onto the hushed dance floor, “even uninvited ones.” He paused. “Now my name’s Ripper, and this,” he looked around the club, “is my gaff.” His gaze returned to the shorter vampire. “What’s your name, mate?”
The vampire flashed him a sly smile that just got his hackles to rise. “I’ve had many names, but you can call me Sekhmet.”
Sekhmet. Ripper forced away the icy finger sliding up his backbone. Sekhmet was one of Il Primo Helluos, one of the legendary vampires that pre-dated even the likes of Lothos, the Master, and Kakistos. According to all the records that he’d been able to find, Sekhmet even pre-dated the ancient Egyptians, putting his age at at least five thousand years. “No aging?” Ripper commented for wont of anything else to say.
Sekhmet smiled. “A simple glamour,” the vampire explained. “Allows me to move around the cattle without them realising.” The Egyptian vampire chuckled. “As for this being your gaff, well you’ve built a fine operation here, and what you did to Wolfram & Hart, sheer genius.” The vampire suddenly vamped out. “But I’m the senior vampire here now boy.”
Ripper didn’t bother with an answer, leaping at his challenger. He gasped as the demon grabbed his arms as the elbows and twisted at the waist and flung him into a near-by pillar. Ripper grunted as his back crashed into the unyielding stone support, the force of the collision cracking it.
Ripper gasped as pain roared through his spine, but sucked it up in time to kick out at Sekhmet as he swooped in. The Egyptian vampire sidestepped his attack, but gave Ripper the split-second he needed to reach his feet.
Grasping a bottle off a near-by table, Ripper slammed it into the side of his rival’s head. Sekhmet stumbled back a step then charged back in, his knee coming up to catch Ripper in the ribs.
Ripper grunted as the blow connected, ignoring the resulting pain to hook an arm around the leg, holding it to his body as he rammed a trio of fast right hooks into his rival’s face, his adversary’s head snapping to the side after each blow. Sekhmet fell away as Ripper threw a fourth hook, hitting the ground on his shoulders and rolling up.
Ripper met the demon with a thrust kick to the chest that the middle- eastern demon swayed around. Ripper gasped as the demon grabbed his ankle, but reacted instantly, swinging his grounded leg up to kick the demon in the chest.
Sekhmet released his grounded foot as he stumbled forward, leaving Ripper to crash to the ground and roll up, right into a straight right to the jaw. Ripper growled as he tasted his own blood, ducking under the Egyptian’s spin-kick and leaping forward, attempting a wrestling takedown.
“Arrrgh!” He growled when Sekhmet drove an elbow between his shoulder-blades, pain flaring through his arms as he crashed into the smaller vampire. Sekhmet grabbed him under his arms and flung him from him, Ripper hitting the dusty ground on his back, and rolling away from the Egyptian’s attempted stomp. The moment he reached his feet Ripper charged back into the fight, leading with a flurry of fists, elbows, knees, and feet that occasionally contacted, but all too often found air.
And then Sekhmet grabbed his wrist and judo-threw him face-first into a pillar. “Oh bollocks,” Ripper groaned as his opponent followed that up with a knee to the back. Feeling his adversary’s arm curling around his neck, probably in an attempt to snap his neck for an easy staking, Ripper pushed off the pillar.
Sekhmet stumbled back a step, adjusted, and flung Ripper from him. Ripper grunted as he fell onto the green-baized pool table, but rolled with it, allowing momentum to carry him to the pool cue stand. Grabbing a cue, he twisted to face Sekhmet, and flung the cue through the ancient vampire’s chest, smirking slightly as he burst to dust.
“Any one else got a problem with my leadership?” Ripper growled as he looked truculently around, hiding his weary pain behind bravado. He smirked when no-one moved. If Angelus was here, it might be different, that bastard would be in like Flynn, but the rest of these cowards….
He swayed slightly as he turned to the steps and started back to where his women were. Time for a little fun now.
* * *
Angelus chuckled as he watched life pass by from the shadows. The hurrying humans desperate to be out of the darkness, to be safe, not knowing that at any moment he could strike. It was just a case of finding one that caught his fancy for whatever reason – be it attractiveness, potential as a childe, or best of all, sweet innocence. But at the moment the pickings were thin, perhaps it would be wise to move to somewhere else. The hospital, he smiled, one could always find a pretty nurse to while a few hours away with.
He started through the town, glorying in his senses. Life on the Hellmouth was so vibrant and full of flavour. Soon he was striding past the Expresso Pump, the shop having closed long ago as most businesses did these days.