Actions & Consequences (16/19)
Xander smiled darkly as he felt the bracelet that Wood had given Faith heat up, a sure sign that the locater spell a heavily protesting Willow had put on it for him had worked. Sensing somebody ahead he stepped into the shadows and waited until the approaching figure drew with him before shooting out a fist and catching the unprepared man square in the throat. The guard’s mouth opened in a scream, but in an instant he had his palm over his victim’s mouth, muffling any sound. A half-second later and he’d driven his knee into the man’s groin, grabbed him around the scruff of his neck and driven him headfirst into the wall. He watched dispassionately as the bleeding body slumped soundlessly to the ground, unconscious. “Woodie, you might be as bald as a cueball, but in a few minutes you’re going to be screaming like a red-headed step-child.”
* * *
“Il Primo Vampiro,” Angel battled the demon inside him for control as he stared down at the monstrous demon beneath them.
“What is it?” Buffy demanded beside him.
Angel was unable to move his gaze from the terror stood below. “I recognise that from one of Wes’ books, it’s the pure-blood vampire that bit the last human before leaving this dimension. It’s what vampires look like in their unadulterated form.”
”Damn Fang,” Faith muttered from the opposite side to Buffy, “who’d have thought someone as pretty as you on the outside could look so ugly under the skin?” Faith’s voice turned business-like. “What’s the 411 on big and ugly?”
“He’s strong, much stronger than even the Master and heals any wound in seconds.” He heard Buffy’s sharp intake of breath. “He also has huge hypnotic powers, Will, you’ll have to block him.”
”On it,” the red-head whispered.
“Stakes through the heart won’t get it done. Fire, sunlight, and beheading are the only things that’ll work. And even then, he’s got more resistance than most to sunlight and beheading can only be done by a magical weapon.”
“Lucky I bought the Scythe then,” Buffy muttered.
Angel took an unneeded breath. Faith in particular wasn’t going to like what he said next. “When we grab the kids, I’ll have to help Connor get them out of here-.”
“What!” Faith hissed. Even as he opened his mouth to explain, the raven-haired Bostonian pulled him round to face her. “You’re going to just run out on us?”
Angel hid a wince at the look of pained betrayal in his protégée’s soulful eyes. “Faith, being so near to Il Primo is making control of my demon hard. In the heat of battle I might snap.”
After a second Faith nodded. “K, so what’s the plan?”
* * *
Lord Pain cast a wary look at the still imprisoned demon stood snarling in the pentagram. He hadn’t expected him to be quite that big. Looking down at the children tied on the altars flanking him, he smiled, but with their deaths, El Primo would be enthralled in servitude to him by rite of blood, and his age of supremacy over the vampire world would begin.
Chuckling slightly he spread his arms, raising his meat cleavers over the throats of the two quietly sobbing children. They had their parents’ nerve he had to give them that, they hadn’t broken down until Il Primo had arrived, but now it was time for them to die.
“I don’t think so,” suddenly his elbows were grabbed from behind.
”Uncle Angel!” yelled the boy brat.
Pain began turn towards his assailant only for his head to explode in pain when the Irish vampire smashed his forehead into his face, knocking him away from the children. “Connor!!” Angelus ducked under a meat cleaver aimed at his head and replied with a hook under his armpit. “Untie them and get out, I’ll follow you in a moment!”
“You won’t be following anyone!” Pain bellowed, his blood boiling. Already he could feel his control on Il Primo loosening. Soon, the demon would be free. He threw one of his cleavers at the younger vampire, but his adversary simply plucked the knife out of the air and flung it back at him. Cursing, he ducked, allowing the blade to fly over his shoulder and clatter into the wall behind him. He looked up in time to see the ensoulled vampire’s heel an instant before it collided with his head, knocking him on his ass. Eyes gleaming golden, the younger vampire took a step towards him before scowling and disappearing after his son.
Confused as to why the Scourge hadn’t followed up his advantage, he climbed to his feet and looked around. What he saw made him curse. Although heavily out-numbered, the Slayers that had accompanied Angelus and his spawn were cutting a swathe through his minions. Worse still, Il Primo was loosening from his metaphysical chains. All his work, his centuries of building the Brotherhood ruined. Angelus was going to pay. And those brats were going to be his playthings.
* * *
Andrew Lexington moved through the building’s corridors, his heart pounding. Oh bugger, he was in trouble. Just five minutes ago those two human cohorts of Angel had broken into the place and started taking out his agents. If he got away he could re-group the Order….
His heart skipped a beat when a man stepped out of the shadows before him. “Now tell me,” Rupert Giles demanded. “What sort of General runs out on his troops?”
Lexington swallowed, the Slayers might be infinitely more skilled than the Watcher, but he had little doubt who was the more ruthless. “Rupert, there are things you don’t -.”
He grunted as the younger man crashed a left hook into his face, shattering his orbital bone and knocking him to his knees. Before he had chance to rise, another blow to his temple knocked him on his back. A half second later, his fellow country-man had one knee across his chest, pinning him to the ground. “Bloody right there’s stuff I don’t understand,” Giles’ tone was cheerful, but Lexington couldn’t miss the steel behind it. “Like how you betray the Council by acting as a double agent? How could you betray your Slayer’s trust by brain-washing her child? And,” his fellow Englishman’s face darkened, “how could threaten two innocents, the father of whom is one of the finest people I have had the pleasure to know and their mother one of the bravest?”
“Rupert,” Lexington wheezed. The weight on his chest close to unbearable. “The children don’t have to be hurt. We can work something out where we have custody but the parents are -.”
Suddenly the Watcher shook his head. “You know the questions I asked? I really don’t think you have the answers I need, because I could never understand what makes a man like you tick.” His eyes widened as the younger man pulled a knife out from inside his jacket. A second later there was only pain as Giles thrust the dagger through his throat.
* * *
”And for that,” Giles dispassionately wiped his knife clean before returning it to its place inside his jacket, “I thank god.” After checking the corpse for a pulse he nodded and stood. The unpleasant taste in his mouth and churning in his belly was worth it if it kept his grand-children safe, Lexington wouldn’t have stopped coming. “Cut off a snake’s head and it stops,” he muttered.
* * *
Faith ducked beneath a clumsy right, coming up inside her assailant’s guard with a stake to the heart. Despite the seriousness of the sitch, she couldn’t help but smile. After the Turok-huns, taking down normal vamps was, feeling a hand on her shoulder, she drove her head backwards, spun around and staked, like shooting fish in a barrel. Even better she’d seen Fang grab her babies and get them out. If nothing else they were safe. Even if she didn’t make it out, X would look after them.
Suddenly an ear-splitting howl tore through the air, momentarily causing a halt in hostilities. Faith’s smirk withered and died as Il Primo turned towards her, her legs turning to jelly and her stomach hollowing in fear. If this was how the monster’s whammy felt with Red up on the balcony blocking most of it, she was wicked glad the witch was here to stop them from being hit by its full power. “Come get some,” she muttered through trembling lips.
“Always eager to get in on with the ugly.” Faith’s smile returned as Buffy stepped in beside her. “I’d have thought you’d have worked out a stricter admissions policy by now.”
“Hey, I’m not the one with a record of humping things that go bump in the night,” Faith pointed out.
“You know you’re going to pay for that remark next training session?”
“All talk Summers, you always were,” Faith’s tone hardened. “We taking him down?”
Dropping her stake and drawing her broadsword in one smooth motion, Faith charged the beast’s right side, Buffy did the same on the left. Sidestepping an uplifted knee that would have shattered her pretty little face, Faith thrust her sword into the beast’s hip, even as she saw Buffy send the Scythe into the monster’s side.
Faith’s eyes widened when the creature’s only response was to grunt and send a hard right cannoning into her forehead. Dazed, she only just managed to duck under the huge hand grabbing for her throat. “Fuck!” her mouth dropped when she realised that already the wounds that both her and Buffy had caused had healed. This was not of the good.
Quelling her fears, she leapt into a one-footed drop-kick that smashed into the demon’s chest a half-second before his backhanded slap exploded against her jaw knocking her to the ground. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the monster’s heel hurtling towards her face and rolled out of the way, even as she saw the giant vampire backhand her blonde counterpart into the far wall.
Groaning slightly at the pain moving caused her, Faith stood. In time to catch a foot to the stomach that flung her into the near wall. Head ringing, she saw that the monster was moving towards the exit Angel had used. “No fucking way,” spitting out a mouthful of blood, she staggered into the monster’s path. If it ended here it ended, but there was no way this bastard was getting her babies.
Her eyes not shifting from the demonic juggernaut charging her, her hand flew up to grab the Scythe her sister Slayer had thrown to her. Faith grinned through the pain as she felt power from the Scythe race through her. Taking a breath, she stepped in front of the doorway. She’d only done one untainted thing her entire life and the only way this fucker was getting to her babies was over her hot little corpse. “You want some of this?” she began to twirl her weapon over her head. “Come get some!”
* * *
Xander grinned as the bracelet heated up some more. It was almost burning him, but more importantly it meant the bastard was near-. Suddenly a clubbing fist smashed into his face on his blind side, knocking him into the wall opposite. Turning, he caught a glimpse of Wood before his world exploded in pain as a foot slammed into his groin, sending him to his knees. “Just think,” he heard the former principal’s scornful voice through the wind roaring through his ears, “a beautiful girl like Faith could have chosen any man in the world to father her children –they’d be lining round the block for a chance with her.” Xander groaned as a foot crashed into his ribs. “And instead she ended up dropping two brats to a loser like you. Women, not very bright are they? But then again Harris, neither are you.”
* * *
Angel cursed under his breath as he hurried away from the battle. “Uncle Angel! That’s a naughty word!” shouted a scandalised Hoppy.
“Mommy used that word yesterday,” put in Lex. “Did you teach it her?”
Somehow he thought it was probably more likely he learnt it from her. “No I didn’t,” he replied, a reluctant smile tugging at his lips. Inwardly though he seethed. He’d felt Angelus growing stronger and knew the act of killing Lord Pain would have cost him control. So he’d had to flee, leaving the bastard alive.
Suddenly he tensed. “Fu-, fungus,” he amended what he’d been about to say before placing his precious cargo down, his eyes fixed warily on the shadows ahead. “Look kids I want you to go with Connor,” he thumbed at his son stood behind them.
Lex looked up at Connor. “Who the hell is he anyway?” the toddler demanded suspiciously.
Three years old and he was already talking like his mother. There was no hope. “He’s my son,” Angel explained, realising he should have done the introductions earlier. “And I trust him to look after you.”
”Why can’t you?” Hoppy pouted, her bottom lip quivering and tears forming in her eyes.
“I rather think I’m the reason,” Lord Pain stepped out of the shadows ahead, a vicious grin firmly in place.