Actions & Consequences (15/19)
“No way!” Xander glared at him. “No fucking way!”
Angel resisted the temptation to roll his eyes. It was safe to say that Xander wasn’t happy. He opened his mouth to try and persuade the young man only for his ex to put both feet in it – as usual. “Xander, we’re only trying to keep you safe-.”
”SAFE!” Xander’s glare switched from him to Buffy in an instant. “I’ve had seven years of you trying to keep me safe and where has it got me?” suddenly Buffy was paling and backing away from her friend. Angel winced as the young man flipped up his eyepatch to reveal the hideous scarring beneath. “One eyed and girl-friendless! And what about my children? They’re not safe!” Just as suddenly as the young man’s rage had erupted it evaporated. “They’re not safe.” Suddenly Xander looked completely and utterly lost.
Angel saw Willow start towards Xander and moved forward himself. After all who else could better understand what Xander was going through?
Except a pale-faced Faith who grabbed Xander’s elbow, whispered something in his ear, and guided him into the inner office. Buffy and Willow started after the pair, he glanced at Wesley beside him and nodded. Together, they stepped in the Slayer and Witch’s path. “I believe they need to be alone, Miss Summers,” Angel hid a grin at Wes’ snooty tone, after all these years the former Watcher still had no idea how that English ‘tea and crumpets’ tone irritated the hell out of many Americans. Or maybe he did and these days just couldn’t give a shit.
“But,” Willow attempted to protest.
“Willow,” he smiled down at the red-head, sometimes it was hard to believe just how powerful she was. “Give her a chance to get through to him, please?”
“FINE!” he could tell from the look in Buffy’s eyes she was far from happy. He was suddenly very happy she was still cookie dough.
* * *
“X,” Faith forced her voice to remain steady. “I know it’s hard but you need to calm down, we both do-.”
“Yeah ‘cause we all know what happens when Slayers lose it don’t we-,” she flinched at the Sunnydaler’s words. Xander’s face fell. “Faith, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to…” the man’s voice trailed off.
Anxious to press the advantage the man’s contrition gave her, she squeezed his hand. “It’s five by five X, but I think you should give Fang’s plan a chance,” seeing the male Scooby’s remaining eye flash, she hurried on to head off another explosion. “Xman it makes sense. According to what Red’s spells have found out there’s close to forty of them, there’s six Slayers, one Wicca, Fang, and Connor, whatever the hell he is. We can’t carry mortals into this one Xan.” Again she hurried on at his opening mouth. “Besides, it’s only gonna be G, Wes, and Gunn going after Wood’s gang, they need extra muscle. And if we split up that doubles the chance of at least one of us making it out alive to look after our babies. They can’t lose both of us.”
After Xander nodded, his expression grudging. “Fine.” The man turned to leave, she grabbed his sleeve.
”X, if I die,” she swallowed. “You will tell our babies that I always loved them won’t you? Even though I gave them away that I never forgot them?”
“I’ll tell them that they had a beautiful mother who was brave and loved them very much, okay?” she nodded mutely, turning away to hide the tears burning her eyes. God, they had to be alright, they just had to be.
“X,” she grabbed the man’s arm as he moved to the office door. “If anything happens to you, I’ll tell ‘em that their daddy was the bravest and kindest man I ever knew and that they were real lucky that he was their pa and not some no-account loser.” Given the number of no-account losers she’d ‘known’, real lucky.
Xander smiled slightly. “Thanks Faith, but it isn’t going to matter because we’re both going to make it out of there, right?”
Faith grinned, enjoying the fact that she was finally connecting with Xander, if only slightly. “Damn straight.”
* * *
“Just you wait!” Lex screamed through the bars of the cell he and his sister were prisoner in. “When my mummy comes you’ll be sorry!”
“Yeah!” Hope screamed in tandem beside him. “My daddy and all his friends are coming too! You’re in big trouble!”
The vampire stood at the other side of the prison door growled at them. “Shut up you little shits!”
“No! You shut up you,” for a second Lex struggled for a word to say then he had it, his mommy had said it this morning, “you fuck!”
Hope giggled at his language. “You’re a stinky poop!”
The vampire growled. “I ought to rip your damn heads off.”
“Touch them and you’ll regret it.” Lex moved back against the far wall, dragging his sister with him. That voice belonged to the vampire boss, he was real scary, even the other vampires were frightened of him. “Now children,” the demon smiled through the cell door. “you’re going to be good from now on aren’t you?” Too scared to think of a smart reply, Lex nodded his head even as he clung to his whimpering sister’s hand. The demon’s smile widened. “There you go Andre, the carrot works much better than the stick. And Andre?”
“Hurt a hair on their head and I’ll have to make an example of you, are we understood?”
Lex heard the other vampire swallow. “Yes boss.”
The boss demon chuckled. “Always knew you were a smart boy Andre. I see real potential in you. Bye now children, be good.”
It was a long time before either Lex or his sister taunted the guard again.
* * *
Giles looked up to see his pale-faced son stood over him. Shoving the last of his equipment in his pack he straightened. “Yes son.”
”W..w,” Xander swallowed. “Why are my children so important?”
Giles hid a sigh. He’d been dreading this question since this began. “Many rituals require a blood sacrifice, the rarer the blood, often the more powerful. Also creatures that drink blood, such as vampires often seek rarer blood, like a vintage wine. Such creatures prize a Slayer above all others, your children would be even more sought after. Then there’s their destiny, according to the prophecy they are to be twined Slayers, warriors for good or evil, they could be very useful to organisation such as Wolfram & Hart.”
Xander looked even more scared. “Even after today they’re going to keep coming aren’t they?”
”Xander,” he squeezed his son’s shoulder. “You’re going to have the full resources of the Council to help you protect them. Okay?” his son nodded. Giles forced a smile. “Excellent, now I believe the others are waiting?”
* * *
“This the place?” Wesley nodded at his question. Xander gritted his teeth as he stared at the office block, one thing was for sure - either he or Wood weren’t leaving this building alive. “Shall we go then?”
“Wait,” Xander sighed impatiently as he turned to Giles. “Willow was good enough to download the building plans from the inter-thingy,” he snorted at Giles’ techno-babble. “Oh do shut up Xander,” the Englishman huffed. “It appears the buildings on this business estate are all serviced by the same series of workmen’s tunnels, I propose breaking into one of the near-by empty buildings and using the tunnels to get into the building.”
Wesley nodded. “Most ingenious Mr. Giles. Xander?”
Xander jolted when he realised they were all looking to him for approval. “Yeah,” he muttered. “I guess that works for me.” Wood was going, the bastard was going to understand what it meant to threaten his children.
* * *
“Hi guys.” The moment the two vampires standing guard outside the magically located Brotherhood headquarters started to turn towards him, Angel’s broadsword swung left and right, taking their heads from their shoulders. Seconds later only dust remained. “Coast’s clear.”
“To kill an enemy from behind is dishonourable,” intoned Connor, his tone disapproving as he stepped out of the shadows.
”Ain’t he quaint,” Faith muttered half-heartedly, the smirk that usually accompanied her jibes missing, in its place was a thin hard line. “Lesson to you kid, in this game we don’t get to worry about honour, that’s for the innocents we protect. You wanna play with the big boys Con, learn to play by the big boys’ rules. Otherwise…”
“Otherwise what?” his son demanded, his face petulant.
“Don’t plan on lasting long,” Faith looked toward Willow. “All mojoed up Red?”
The Wicca nodded. “Door’s unlocked,” the witch reported.
“Wicked.” Faith stepped forward but he stepped in her path.
”Faith, I know you’re anxious but we need to stay calm.” He took an unneeded breath at the momentary flash in her eyes. “If we rush in there half-cocked we could get ourselves or them hurt.” Or killed, he added silently.
After a second Faith took a heaving breath and nodded. “Five by five, big guy. You and nose boy,” she nodded towards Connor, “gonna lead the way?”
“That’s the plan,” he confirmed. “Willow, keep your eyes out for any magical defences okay?” he smiled at the red-head’s nod. He squeezed Faith’s shoulder. “They’ll be fine Faith.”
* * *
“This the service exit?” Gunn muttered. He wondered if it was a symptom of hanging around with Angel for so long that he hardly noticed the sewer’s stench any more. Although he still worried about the rats.
”It is,” Wesley confirmed with a nod. “And I’ve done a spell that confirms there aren’t any men in the basement above us, so, all we need now is to fashion a way in -.”
“In that case,” the older of the two Englishman interrupted, a glint in his eyes convincing Gunn that the guy was nuts, not that he needed much convincing, not after some of the tales he heard recently, “it’s lucky I brought this.”
Gunn’s eyes widened when the Englishman produced what looked like…. “Is that a bomb?” he croaked.
He cringed when the Watcher began juggling said object. “I prefer to call it an explosives device. Don’t worry,” the middle-aged man beamed at their increasingly ashen faces. “It’s perfectly harmless without the detonator.”
“H..how do you know to use explosives?” Xander gasped.
“During my wild phase I did a couple of works safes with a former army demolitions expert.” Gunn’s jaw hit the ground, Giles had done safes? “Shall we?”
In just a couple of minutes they were inside the basement, a cold dingy place with absolutely no redeeming features except for its emptiness. The older Englishman smiled. “Just the right amount, enough to ‘blow the bloody doors off’ as Michael Caine might say, but not enough to alert our hosts. Now Wesley, you go with Xan-,” the Englishman’s face fell. “Oh bollocks, where has that boy got to now?”
* * *
“Oh shit,” Faith muttered, the blood draining from her face as she stared down on the sight beneath her. Connor’s tracking skills had lead them to a cavernous underground chamber, the sides of which were lined with fifty or so vampires which made for crappy odds even by her shitty maths. Worse still, her heart caught, was the pentagram in the centre of the floor and the two side-by-side altars with her babies on them and the massive vampire stood between them intoning in some ancient mumbo-jumbo. Her lips bared in a snarl. “Pain.”
But what really frightening, absolutely fucking terrifying was the eight foot, muscle-bound, red-skinned turok-hun with two curved horns sticking out of its forehead stood in the centre of the pentagram. “What the fuck is that?” she muttered