Season 2 Episode 8
A/N: Thanks to Mike for his input. We don’t always agree (usually because I’m wrong apparently), but it’s always interesting.
FIC: Faith: The Series S2 Ep 8 (19/???)
“That’s the last of the costumes Mr. Rayne.”
Ethan nodded at the deliveryman. “Thank you my good man.” He looked around the massed array of costumes and smiled. Not for him the commonplace, the mundane. No his costumes were of sports and entertainment stars, historical individuals, mythical figures, comic book heroes, and movie and cartoon characters. “Oh,” he muttered. “The chaos.”
He looked up at the sound of the door opening. “I’m sorry, we’re not open ye-,” his voice trailed off as he recognised the interloper and sensed the power coming off him.
“Well gosh I know,” the newcomer replied with a smile that didn’t reach into his eyes. “But I’m always eager to meet businessmen new to my town. Especially,” the politician nodded to one of his aides who carried in a 17th century European noblewoman’s dress, “when he can help me with a little job. You see, I have a young lady who I think this dress would be just perfect for.”
Ethan smiled slowly as the public servant finished his explanation. “I can do that.” Indeed, he glanced at the dress, it would fit in perfectly with his plans.
“Excellent,” Wilkins beamed. “What a civic minded gentlemen!”
* * *
Seeing his girl-friend stood by her open locker, Xander hurried over. “Hey!” he exclaimed, Faith smiled back at him. “So what we doing tonight?” Xander asked with a grin. “A little patrolling maybe? Making out somewhere?”
“Actually,” Faith smirked at him. “Vamps and stuff take Halloween off remember?” Xander nodded, oh yeah he’d forgot. “So I was figuring that maybe you could come round, bring a vid, snuggle up on the couch.”
“Sounds good,” he leaned in for a kiss.
“Now there’ll be none of these public sex displays in my school!”
He groaned first at Snyder’s voice and then the glint in Faith’s eyes. “Oh boy,” he muttered. “Trouble.” With a capital T.
“That wasn’t sex sir,” Faith grinned. “We do the public displays of that ‘round the back don’t we X?” Xander winced.
“HUH!” He looked over to see Snyder’s face was beetroot red. “Halloween must be a big night for you. Tossing eggs, keying cars, one pathetic cry for help after another.”
Faith smirked. “However did you guess?” His girl-friend blinked when the principal grabbed her by the elbow. “What the he-, heck are ya doing?”
The pint-sized educator smirked at the Slayer as he lead her to the sign-up table for the volunteers to lead kids trick ‘n’ treating. “Well, not this year, missy. I’ve got just the thing to keep you out of trouble.”
Faith’s eyes grew saucer-sized. “You have got to be shit-.”
“I’ll pretend to ignore that swear word simply because if you’re in detention,” Snyder passed Faith a pen, “you can’t be guiding those brats around. HARRIS!” He froze in his retreat. “Come here and bring the rest of your gang with you!”
“Sir,” he moaned.
* * *
“I can’t believe that,” Faith pouted as she dropped into her boyfriend’s lap as he sat in the lounge. “My one day off a year and what happens? That jackass ropes me into baby-sitting duty!”
”Hey,” Xander ruffled her hair, something that only he could do without getting his hand ripped off. “Don’t be down. This has possibilities.”
“Oh yeah?” Faith looked her boyfriend full in the eyes. “Really not seeing them.”
“Jesse had an idea-.”
Faith groaned. “Boy are we fucked.”
Faith grinned at Jesse’s out-raged look before wriggling on Xan’s lap until she was facing Jesse. “Sorry Jess, spill.”
“Well I figured, we could all go as like a theme.”
“Oh yeah,” Faith cast Cordy a nervous look, going as a theme, sounded way geeky to her. “What theme? ‘Cause no way am I dressing up like Princess Leia, way too cold for a slave-girl outfit in this weather!” Seeing her comment had sent Jesse into a trance, she raised an eyebrow at Cordy.
Who promptly slapped her boyfriend across the back of the head. “Oww!” After a few seconds rubbing his head, the battered youth grinned at her. “No, that wasn’t the idea, although interesting visual,” Jesse gulped at Xander’s snarl from behind her. “Anyway, I thought we could go as Marvel characters!”
Jesse’s explanation was met with dead silence as Faith looked around the other girls to see her disdain mirrored in their expressions. “Just because I’m dating a geek doesn’t mean I want to be one!” screeched Cordy.
“No, no,” Jesse pulled a comic book out of his bag, “I was thinking you could go as her,” the teen hurriedly turned to a page in his comic. “Elektra.”
"Wow!” Faith groaned at Cordy’s excited screech. They were doomed. "I’d look so hot in that!" she exclaimed.
Faith didn't know who the hell Elektra was, but she sure as hell wasn’t going as anything so geeky. "No." She stated firmly, desperately racking her brain for a possible Halloween costume of her own. "No." She turned away as Cordelia held the comic up to show her. Now she glanced over at where Jesse was pointing at something in another comic to Xander. "I said 'No'." She stated firmly, "No. No. No and hell no." She repeated, striding over and snatching the comic off them. Waving the crumbled comic between Jesse and Cordelia she tried to explain. "This is my one night off... this is the night I don't have to be some sort of Supergirl. Tell them Xan."
She turned towards her boyfriend for support. Only to find he was staring at her with a glazed expression on his face. "What..?" She asked as it looked like he was beginning to drool.
* * *
Faith groaned as she looked up to see Larry approaching. “Great,” she muttered. “King Sleaze is in the house.” ‘Course he weren’t half as bad as some she’d dealt with, but he was a pain. “Yo Lar,” she crouched down to get her candy out of the vending machine.
And got her ass felt. Leaping upright, she spun around to face the grinning footballer. “What,” she jabbed a finger into his thick chest, “do you think you’re playing at?”
“It’s nice of you doing that charity work with Harris, but how about you trade up to a real man?”
“Oh yeah?” Faith slammed a knee into the boy’s groin. The moment her molester doubled up, she grabbed him by the ear and twisted. “Gee Lar, you wouldn’t know where there were any would ya? Only I don’t think ya qualify.” Releasing her grip, she leaned down until she was level with Larry’s face. “FYI, next time you touch me like that I’ll rip it off. And I don’t mean your ear.”
* * *
“And you young man?”
Scott Hope smiled uncertainly at the Englishman, there was something a little creepy about him. “Uh, I’d like to be a god maybe?”
“Ah,” the shop owner beamed. “Megalomania. I completely approve.” He opened his mouth to deny having a disease, he just thought it would be cool to maybe rule the world, but the Englishman grabbed him by the elbow and led him over to a rack of costumes. “Now, perhaps you’d like to be Thor, the god of thunder?”
Scott looked at the shop-owner. “Is he cool?”
“Is he cool?” Irritation flickered in the businessman’s eyes. “In Scandinavian mythology, Thor was the god of thunder, the eldest son of Odin, ruler of the gods. Thor was known as the strongest of the Aesir, the chief gods, whom he helped protect from their enemies, the giants. He had a magic hammer, which he threw with the aid of iron gloves and which always returned to him.” The Englishman flashed him a smile that didn’t quite reach into his eyes. “How ‘cool’ is that?”
“I’ll take it,” Scott replied.
* * *
“Yes, Attlia the Hun,” he nodded at the bulky youth’s question, wondering when they’d get here. The Mayor had said his contacts had induced for them to come. He smiled as the door opened and the Slayer, why she was even more breath-taking in the flesh, and her companions entered. “I’m sure you’ll look fine.” His customer glanced over his shoulder to see who’d entered. His face paling, the boy shoved the required cash in his hands and hurried away, taking a circuitous route away from the girl.
A smile on his face, he made his way over. “Hello, and how might I help you?”
“We’ve come to get some Halloween costumes!” exclaimed the youth with an arm around the Slayer’s shoulder.
“That would be why we’re in a costume shop dumbass!” growled the east coast native.
Ethan’s eyes narrowed. While her companions were in the Halloween mood, Ripper’s charge clearly wasn’t. Filing that information as potentially useful, he nodded. “Certainly, which costumes in particular are you interested in?”
* * *
Faith sighed as she looked around. Her friends were all getting sorted out with costumes, but she really wasn’t interested. She didn’t recognise most of the characters, and those she did were taken. “May I help you my dear?”
She glanced up to the shop’s owner. Ever since meeting G she’d always related the English accent with safety, but this Brit gave her the creeps in a major way. Concealing her disdain behind a bland expression, she shrugged. “Ain’t seeing nothing that gets me,” she admitted.
“No,” the shop owner nodded. “I don’t blame you. I have just the costume for you.”
Faith looked at the man. “Oh yeah?” she was kinda intrigued, but if he offered something sleazy she was breaking his jaw. “Like what?”
“Please,” the man smiled. Damn, he had an oily smile, kinda made her stomach curdle. “Follow me.”
Her breath caught at the red flowing gown. “Well shit,” she breathed. Man, she’d look the bomb in that.
“Quite,” agreed the transplanted Englishman. “It’s definitely you. The inner princess.”
“I don’t know,” Faith shook her head. “I couldn’t afford that.”
“I’m sure we can work something out.”
Faith’s head snapped towards the man, her gaze hot enough to scorch wallpaper. “I don’t know what you thin-.”
“No dear,” the suddenly pale-faced man shook his head. “I merely meant that having my costume on you would be the best advertisement my little business could have. Just promise you’ll tell any admirers that you got it from me.”
Faith nodded. “It’s a dea-.”
“Oh Faith,” she groaned at X’s whining voice behind her. “I was thinking you could go as the She-Hulk.”
“Yeah, but,” she turned with the outfit. “Can you imagine how hot I’d look in this?”
After a second, Xander smiled. “I don’t want to just imagine,” the teen declared.
”Excellent!” the shop owner interrupted. “Now you’ve all chosen, how about I bill you all?”
* * *
Ethan hid his excitement as the teens left. The Slayer had her costume, everything would go as planned. It was just a shame the red-head had run back in and demanded a ghost costume instead, he’d hastily found a sheet but it wasn’t the same as her original costume, still it would have to do. “Wonderful,” he muttered. He turned to find himself being watched by a diminutive, purple-haired youth. Slightly off-put by the youth’s steady gaze it took him a few seconds to regain his composure. “And how I might help you young man?”
The youth stared at him for a few more seconds before replying. “Got any musical costumes?”
“A few,” he motioned for the youth to follow him. “So you’re a musician.”
”I can almost play ‘Rocking All Over The World’.”
Ethan chuckled at the youth’s deadpan reply. Ah humour that wasn’t slapstick, how delightful. And in a yank, how unusual. “I can see you’re a virtuoso. Now, what’s your poison? Singer? Guitarist? Pianist? Drummer?”
“Ah,” he pulled an Afro off a shelf. “Perhaps Hendrix?”
The teen looked doubtful. “He was a little wasteful with his guitars,” the boy commented.
Ethan gazed at the youth appraisingly. For some reason he wanted this teen’s costume to be perfect. He sensed this boy was quiet, his music perhaps the only thing he took seriously, not a showman but a technical perfectionist. Just like… He smiled. “How about,” he pulled a suit off a coat hanger, “George Harrison?”
The boy smiled slightly. “Gear.”
* * *
“Uh you promise not to laugh?”
Giles sighed wearily. His charge had hurried into his inner office muttering something about meeting the others here and having to change. “I promise.” For such a self-confident girl she had terrible bouts of doubt. As if he would ever laugh. He was far too attached to his arms for that.
“Coming.” His breath caught when his daughter walked out wearing a trailing red 17th century noblewoman’s dress. “What ya think?” Faith’s face fell when he failed to answer. “If you think this is bad you should've seen the skin-tight lycra Xander and Jesse wanted me to wear."
“You look wonderful.” Standing, he walked over to his girl and took her hands in his.
“No father could be prouder,” he replied.
Faith dazzled him with her smile. “Thanks -.”
The door flew open. Instantly Faith stepped backwards, unwilling as always to show what she perceived a second of weakness before others. “Well,” his Slayer spun around in a circle. “What do you think X?”
Xander’s jaw dropped open and his eyes bulged. “Wow, ooh, man, you look, wow.”
“I think he likes it,” Giles commented dryly. “Tell me, who are you all?”
Xander shook his head as if clearing it before speaking. “I’m,” the teen pointed at himself, indicating first his eyepatch, then his sidearm, and finally his combat fatigues. “Nick Fury.”
Xander’s eyes widened. “You don’t know? Nick Fury is Marvel Comics’,” Giles muffled a groan, he might have guessed, “answer to James Bond. He’s trained as a paratrooper, Ranger, demolitions expert and vehicle specialist. He’s completed Green and Black Beret Special Forces training, and has been an agent of the OSS and a liaison with MI5.”
“"Quite an impressive resume... what's more amazing is the fact you can remember all that but yet don't know who Joan of Arc was.",” he turned to a gi wearing Jesse. “And you?”
A grin on his face, Jesse bowed at his waist. “I am Shang-Chi, the world’s greatest Kung Fu champion, an expert in any number of martial arts. And also the expert in any number of weapons, including nunchukus.”
The grinning boy produced a pair and began to spin them over his head. Giles opened his mouth to warn the youth to be careful. Just as they cracked into the side of the teen’s head. “Idiot,” Giles muttered before turning to Jonathan who was wearing a purple and blue costume and mask with a longbow in his hand and a quiver on his back. “I suppose from the lack of green you’re not Robin Hood?”
“Uh no,” Johathan looked nonplussed rather than amused by his joke. Bloody yanks, no understanding of humour. “I’m Hawkeye. He trained himself to become an expert archer with near-perfect accuracy with extensive training as an aerialist and acrobat, and personal tutoring by Captain America in hand-to-hand combat.” The youth smiled. “I chose the costume because I like our archery lessons.”
Giles smiled at the youth. Jonathan was far from a natural athlete but he had a big heart. “And you Miss. Chase,” his eyes fairly boggled at the brunette beauty’s outfit of figure-hugging red PVC pants and bra top, “who are you?”
”Elektra, former girl-friend of Daredevil and a bounty hunter and assassin. Expert at a number of martial arts and,” the young woman produced a pair of sai blades, “expert with these.”
“Splendid.” He turned to an entirely-dressed in black Amy. “And you?”
“I’m the Black Widow, a former KGB agent who now works for SHIELD.”
Giles smiled to himself, it was good to see them being children and not warriors for once. “Well you all look very nice,” he squinted as he realised one of Faith’s group was missing. “Where’s Willow?”
“Uh here,” the red-head sneaked in wearing a white sheet with ‘BOO!’ written on it.
“Which Marvel character are you?” he demanded
“Just a ghost.”
Xander glared at the red-head. “Someone chickened out.”
“Ah,” sensing tension he changed the subject. “So why are none of you are Dan Dare?”
”Who?” asked Xander, a look of confusion on his face.
He sighed and shook his head. “Never mind.”
* * *
“This could be fun,” Xander commented.
”Fun?” Faith muttered as she regarded the kids milling by the tables with their parents. “Fuckin’ baby-sitting, are you like brain-dead?”
“Now what do we have here?” he groaned at Snyder’s voice. “You think I’m going to let you go as a couple?” the teacher snorted. “I don’t think so. You two will be too busy making-out to notice the brat-, children. McNally! You’re with Giles! Rosenberg with Harris! Chase, you go with Madison and Levinson!” The principal smiled. “That should cut into any fun you were planning. Now, collect your kids and have them back for seven.”
* * *
“Oh the stars, the stars, they’re singing to me!”
Spike looked at his grand-sire, his eyebrow raised. Since their run-in with the Slayer a fortnight ago, they’d been lying low, licking their wounds. They’d done all too much of that since coming to Sunnydale in his opinion. “Oh yeah luv?” he turned to his dancing sire. “What they saying to you princess?”
The insane seer got a sly look in her eyes. “They’re singing. Telling me about magic in the air.”
“What magic Dru?” Angelus growled impatiently.
His sire whimpered at the Irish vampire’s tone. “The Slayer’s gonna change, become a lost little proper lady, like I was before Daddy came and found me."
“Is that right?” Spike looked across to his suddenly grinning grand-sire. The Irish vampire rose. “Shelia! Get the troops together we’re having a party!” Angelus grabbed him by the shoulders and stared into his eyes. “Every one of her friends dies.”
* * *
“The world that denies thee, thou inhabit.” Ethan dabbed the blood from his left hand with his right middle finger and smeared it over his right eyelid, even as he continued to stare at the half-male, half-female profile of Janus. “The peace that ignores thee,...”
He dabbed the blood from his right hand with his left middle finger and smeared it over his left eyelid. “Thou corrupt.” He dabbed the blood from his left hand with his right middle finger again and smeared a cross onto his forehead. “Chaos. I remain, as ever, thy faithful, degenerate son.”
* * *
“I can’t believe you Will,” Willow rolled her eyes at Xander’s head shake as they led the kids up to the front of one of the houses. “I mean chickening out like this-.”
“Hey!” Willow defended. “There was no chickening out. You never accused Faith of chickening out.”
Xander snorted. “You’ve met my girl-friend right?”
Willow opened her mouth to reply. And then it all went black.
* * *
Willow looked up, her head ringing. “Xander?” she quavered. Forcing herself to stand, she looked around. “Oh not good.” All around her demons were running about, vandalising property and fighting amongst themselves. She looked down to find her sheet had fallen off. She reached down to pick it up.
“EEP!” She squealed as her hand passed through it. “Oh this is not good,” she muttered. “I’m a ghost.”
* * *
Nick Fury looked around, his brow furrowed in confusion. Last thing he remembered he was in a briefing at SHIELD HQ. Now he was, where exactly? Seeing something that resembled a werewolf tearing up a tree, he drew his gun, readied it and aimed. “Don’t Xander!”
He blinked when a young red-head stepped in front of him. “Move aside miss,” he ordered.
“No, listen to me Xander.”
”Name’s Fury mam,” he sighted his gun again
“No it isn’t!” The red-head shouted. He blinked. For a shy-looking thing she had pitch. “You’re my best friend Xander Harris! Me, you, and Jesse have been friends for like forever and we hang around in a gang. With your girl-friend and everything,” the girl’s face paled, “who’s right now running around screaming her head off on account of the noblewoman costume she was wearing. Oh crap.”
“Okay,” Nick pulled up his gun. It was crazy, and yet in his time he’d heard, met, and done crazier. “So you’re saying it’s Halloween, and everyone’s,” he cast a cautious glance around, “been turned into their costumes?” the red-head nodded. “So how come you haven’t?”
“I have,” the girl looked scared. “I’m a ghost.”
“Okay,” he put his hand through her. “Weird. I’ll have to call Doc. Strange-,” he winced. “Oh hell, can’t.” He looked at the girl again. He wasn’t used to ceding control to anyone, least of all a high schooler, but at least she knew what she was going on. “What do you suggest Willow?” He grimaced, what sort of parent named their kid after foliage anyhow?
* * *
Shang-Chi executed a flawless judo throw, flinging the five hundred pound scale-covered monster headfirst into a tree. The tree shook with the impact, but ultimately won the battle, while it stayed upright, the demon slumped to the ground. Turning around, he shook his head when he saw the beautiful noblewoman he’d been with running in the other direction. “It’s women like her meditation was made to deal with,” he muttered before chasing after her.
Even as he approached the woman, her high heels making her escape difficult, a trio figures stepped out in front of her. She promptly fainted. Again. Quelling his dismay, he stepped over the woman’s body and looked at the three newcomers, a striking brunette, a short bowman, and a pretty black-clad blonde. “I can’t allow you to hurt her,” he said calmly.
“They’re not going to hurt anyone.” He didn’t turn at the voice behind him, just concentrated. Two behind him. “Jesse we’re on the same side.”
“Who’s Jesse?” he asked.
He blinked as a young red-head stepped through him. “I want everyone to calm down.” He listened to the young woman talk, hearing tales of Hellmouths, vampires, and magic. But the really far-fetched thing was, he glanced down at the wakening woman at his feet, she was supposed to save the world? “I believe we’re all doomed,” he muttered before helping her to her feet. “Miss,” he kept his tone low so not to scare her, “what year is it?”
“1775, I believe,” the girl looked around. “ I-I don't understand. Who are you?”
“We're friends,” the Willow girl replied. The red-head looked around. “I suggest we get inside before we come across anything...”
Suddenly the woman began screaming. “A DEMON! A DEMON! A DEMON!” she jumped behind him as a SUV came driving down the street with its headlights on.
Willow sighed. “That's not a demon. It's a car.”
The man Willow had introduced as Nick Fury spoke. “Where’s nearest?”
“What? Oh,” Willow pouted in thought. “Follow me.”
* * *
“All clear!” Nick hurried in. Once the rest of his companions had followed him, he slammed the door shut.
“Where are we?” the girl called Faith demanded. Nick ground his teeth together. God, but she was useless.
“Your place.” Willow replied. “Now we just need to...”
“Oh goodness!” He glanced over to see that Faith had lifted a picture off the table of, he glanced at his companions, them all with a middle-aged guy. Well that about clinched it, Willow was telling the truth. “This... this could be me.” The brunette shook her head. “NO! I would never wear such low apparel! I don't like this place, and I don't like you, and I just wanna go home!”
“You *are* home!” The so-called Slayer burst into tears. Willow turned to him. “Why couldn’t she go as Xena?”
“Who?” Nick glanced out of the window, catching a glimpse of Elektra out of the corner of his eye. Just great, he knew Black Widow well enough, and Shang-Chi and Hawkeye by reputation. But Elektra? Woman was deadly like a rattler. He didn’t need her at his back while he dealt with whatever was going down.
“Okay. You guys stay here while I get some help. If something tries to get in, just fight it off.”
“Well, i-it's not our place to fight. Uh, surely some men will protect us. And,” Faith sniffed at him. “What sort of man are you to take orders off a woman.”
Nick stared at the noblewoman. “A man with a gun. So shut up.” The moment the ghost had walked through the wall, he began shouting orders. “You,” he looked at Elektra, “check upstairs. Make sure everything's locked up.”
“And,” Elektra growled at him. “Who made you boss?”
”Listen,” he replied, his even tone hiding his anger. “I get you’re a bad-ass bitch, now can we move past my obvious terror of you and accept I know tactics?”
“Fine!” The woman scowled at him before upstairs.
Nick glared after her. Between the Greek assassin and the noblewoman he was sure he was ending the day with an ulcer. His eyes widened as it caught the photo from before. “ She must be right. We must have some kind of amnesia.“
Faith bristled. “I don't know what that is, but I'm certain I don't have it. I bathe quite often!”
“How do you explain this?” he demanded.
“I don't! I was brought up a proper lady. I-I wasn't meant to understand things. I'm just meant to look pretty, and then someone nice will marry me. Possibly a Baron.”
“Oh brother,” Nick groaned. “This ain't no tea party, princess. Sooner or later you're gonna have to fight!”
“Fight these low creatures? I'd sooner die.”
Nick opened his mouth to reply. “Can we help?”
He glanced at Shang-Chi and Hawkeye. “Yeah, check the back.”
“I’m going with these men,” the noblewoman sniffed. “You have no breeding!”
* * *
“Wonderful,” Shang-Chi muttered as the prattling noblewoman followed them. In this world she was a fearsome warrior? The world was in trouble in his opinion. He squinted as he realised the back door was open. “Hawkeye, stay with her.”
He stepped towards the door. “Argh!” Spinning round he saw a duo of demons bursting out of the basement. One of them levelled Hawkeye with a punch to the side of the head, the other grabbed Faith. Leaping into the air, he caught the demon full in the face with a dropkick, knocking him flying over the kitchen table. Hearing the woman run out of the door, he turned to yell at her to stay but was cut off by a right to the mouth.
Stunned, he stumbled backwards. Catching the demon’s follow-up right cross, he flung it over the kitchen counter. Seeing the other demon rising, he caught it with a spinning backfist that knocked it into the wall. Its eyes dazed, the demon stumbled towards him. In a second he was behind it, applying an aikido hold to its head and neck that despite its greater strength the monster was helpless to resist.
Even as it dropped to the floor and Hawkeye struggled to his feet, Fury and the two women hurried in. “Where’s the girl?”
He pointed out of the door. “She ran off.”
”Damn it!” the SHIELD agent growled. “We best catch up.”
* * *
Willow blinked and stopped as she saw Harmony as Madonna ‘entertaining’ a crowd outside one of Sunnydale’s many fast food establishments. Shaking her head, she continued on her way. “Like a Virgin?” she snorted. “Yeah, like she’d remember.”
* * *
Faith looked around, her heart pounding, tears rolling down her face. Where was her father to protect her now? Lifting her skirt, she started to walk only to stop when a man dressed in a cloak and unwashed loin-cloth stepped out in front of her, waving a sword and revealing a smile that displayed his rotting teeth. He growled something vaguely Germanic.
Turning, she ran away, conscious of the man chasing her. She attempted to increase her pace only to fall over her skirt. She screamed when the barbarian grabbed her by her shoulders as she stood and shoved her into the wall before spinning her around and moving in to kiss her. Suddenly the soldier was there, driving a knee into her assailant’s stomach.
The barbarian grunted before drawing his sword and slashing downwards at her rescuer. The soldier swayed away from the attack before kicking the man’s wrist, knocking his sword in the air. Before her assailant had chance to react, the soldier had slammed a straight right into his jaw, knocking him onto him into the rubbish. The ruffian attempted to rise but caught a foot to his face, ending his struggles.
Seeing a chance, Faith ran into the arms of Shang-Chi. “It’s alright,” the strangely-attired man patted her on the back.
* * *
Angelus grinned as he looked at the fights and destruction going on around them. Windows smashed, cars vandalised, and fences knocked down. And that wasn’t even counting the fires. “This is bloody magic!” he declared.
“Aye,” Spike commented from beside him. They watched as a Sunnydale High School student dressed as Thor flung a trash can through an electronics shop’s window setting off another alarm to join those already blaring out. “If I met the bastard who caused all this I might not even kill him.”
Angelus chuckled before ruffling his grand-childe’s hair. “You think too small. We should turn him! An eternity of havoc!” He turned to their minions. “Remember people there’s a helpless Slayer out there!”
* * *
“A night off from Slaying and training,” Giles chuckled as he began to go through his index card system. “Heaven.” He adored his Slayer with all his heart, but a night off from her and her friends was sheer bliss. He looked up at the sound of the library door opening. His good mood dissipated at the sight of Jenny walking in, dressed in a pair of figure hugging shorts, a tight-fitting spandex top, and two guns fastened to her back. She looked absolutely ravishing, and yet she was the last person in the world he wanted to see. “Miss Calendar,” he nodded curtly. “And how might I help you? I wasn’t aware you had any books out?”
The computer teacher’s face fell. “Rupert-.”
”Mr Giles please,” he interrupted. “Our relationship is strictly professional now.” He turned away and continued with his cataloguing, unwilling to allow the teacher to see his pain.
“Rup-, Mr. Giles I understand you feel betrayed.”
“Yes,” he turned back to the teacher, his face hard. “That’s an unfortunate consequence of betrayal. You manipulated my feelings,” seeing the gypsy’s mouth open he continued on, “but far more importantly, you withheld information that put my daughter and her friends’ lives in danger.”
“Rupert, I never lied about my feeli-.”
“GAH!” Giles jumped up, his cards flying into the air, when Willow walked through the library wall. “You’re a ghost!”
“No,” Willow raised an eyebrow. “Really?” The ghost turned to Jenny. “Oh, Lara Croft, really cool, I like the new game.” The red head shook her head. “Anyway, your name’s not Lara, it’s Jenny Calendar, and you teach computers at the local high school while also spying on the Slayer for your gypsy tribe.”
He and Jenny exchanged puzzled glances. “Willow,” he asked slowly. “Miss. Calendar knows who she is. What are you talking about?”
“It’s chaos out there Giles,” the trainee Wicca explained. “Everyone’s turned into their costumes.”
“Ah,” he nodded in understanding. “So you’re saying Faith’s been turned into a 17th century noblewoman?” Giles had to fight the urge to laugh. On one hand it was the funniest thing he’d heard, but on the other…
”Yes,” Willow nodded. ”But how?”
A very good question. Giles glanced around. Eyes widening in realisation, he returned his gaze returned to Jenny Calendar. “Miss. Calendar, you’re in costume correct?”
“Yes,” his former girl-friend nodded.
“And yet, you still retain your identity.” Giles tapped his fingers on the desk for a few seconds. So that meant not every one in the town had been affected by whatever, the question was why? “Miss Calendar, where did you get your outfit from?”
“And you Miss Rosenberg?”
“We all went to Ethan’s.”
”WHAT!” Even in her non-corporeal state, Willow joined Jenny in retreating at his rage. Forcing himself under control, he spoke. “Where is his shop?” Willow told him. He nodded. “Willow go back to the others. I’ll deal with this Ethan.”
The red-head looked at him. “Perhaps-.”
“Do as I say!” Oh Ethan was going to pay.
“I’ll come with you-.”
“No,” he shook his head. He didn’t want Miss. Calendar to see what he was about to do. “And you can’t go with Willow either, in her state she can’t be hurt. You can. Stay here!”
* * *
“No it isn’t,” Willow declared as she entered the alley where the others were congregated, her heart pounding. “We really need to get somewhere safe,” she cast a worried glance behind her, the vampires were closing fast.
Nick nodded. “You know the area, where do you suggest madam?”
Willow nodded to an opening to the right. “I guess there’s some warehouses this way.”
Nick nodded. “Good enough.” Her boyhood friend glanced towards Jesse who was holding a fainted Faith in his arms. “Got her?” Jesse nodded. “Then we’ll go Hawkeye with Willow first, you second, Elektra and Black Widow, and myself last. Move people!”
* * *
“Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me.”
Giles stopped his car, his mouth dropping open in disbelief at the sight of a student he vaguely recognised as Daniel Osborne from discussion they’d had about the best guitarists dressed as George Harrison serenading a bunch of watching demons with one of the Beatles’ compositions. “Only in Sunnydale,” he muttered. Shaking his head he started off again. He only hoped for young ‘Oz’s’ sake he got to Ethan before the student started on ‘My Sweet Lord’ – then there would be murder.
* * *
Willow hurried on ahead of the others. Seeing an open warehouse, she turned and waved to the others. “Over here!”
Hawkeye pushed the door aside and the others followed him inside. Nick let out a shout as he tailed the others in, sliding the door shut behind him. “Check if there are any other ways in!” Looking around, the SHIELD commander grabbed a large crate and shoved it in front of the door even as the vampires began banging on it. “How many hostiles are there ma’am?”
“Uh, about ten,” she replied, surprised at the force in Xander’s voice.
”But these we can kill?” Shang-Chi had pulled out his nunchukus and was whipping them around his head with practiced ease.
She nodded even as Nick put another crate against the door, drew his gun, and stepped back. “Good. That makes things simpler. How do we kill vampires?”
“Uh decapitation or staking through the heart.”
Nick smiled coldly. “I’ll shoot their knees off and then,” she gulped when Nick produced a huge knife from his ankle-sheath. “Chop their heads off.”
“Great.” She smiled weakly. She was starting to wonder who was the most dangerous, Nick or the vampires. Suddenly a fist exploded through the door. “Guess that answers that,” she muttered.
* * *
Ethan looked up at the sound of his shop’s front door being kicked in. Knowing that the wards he’d made would be enough to ensure most magical beasts would instinctively avoid his shop, he stood and made his way through to the front of the shop to investigate. He swallowed at the terrifying sight that greeted him. Forcing a smile, he spoke. “Hello Ripper.”
“What have you done Ethan?” his former best friend demanded. “What have you done you miserable piece of shit?”
“You know what I’ve done,” he replied. “I’ve served our master.”
* * *
The moment the vampires burst through Nick was firing. His first three shots put two vampires down, howling in pain. But even as he sighted on his third, the gun was snatched from him by a white-haired punk. Spinning round, he caught the demon with a backfist to the mouth
The demon didn’t even flinch before driving his head into his face. His head pounding, he staggered backwards. Seeing the demon advancing, he slid away from its head-long charge and kicked its knee away from beneath it. The monster stumbled, he scooped up a piece of wood from the dusty floor and jabbed at its chest.
The monster knocked his attack away with his forearm, knocking the wood splinter to the ground. “Ain’t polite mate,” his assailant taunted before throwing a right he just managed to block on his shoulder, causing pain to shoot through his arm.
He chose not to reply, concentrating on smashing a trio of rights into the beast’s stomach. “Ach William,” he began to turn at the strongly accented voice to his back, “what I be telling ya about playing with your food?” Suddenly an anvil seemed to crash into his head, knocking him to the ground and unconsciousness.
* * *
“No,” Ethan backed off when his compatriot advanced, a dangerous glint in the now school librarian’s eyes. “You’ve placed my family, some young people I hold dear, into danger.”
“Ah yes,” despite the internal alarms that were telling him pushing Ripper further was an act of monumental stupidity, he couldn’t resist a leer. “I’ve seen that Slayer of yours, most supple. I might have become a Watcher if I’d have known tarts like her came as part -, oof!” he grunted when his former friend kneed him in the groin. “Bloody hell Ripper,” he wheezed. “You hit harder than that-,” he screamed as his friend punched him in the kidneys, sending him crashing to the ground.
“Now,” his blood chilled at the dispassionate note in his old drinking buddy’s voice. “Perhaps you could tell me how to break the spell. And another word about Faith and I will break something.”
“Keeping her for yourself? Most wise-, oh crap!” he screamed as Ripper, true to his word, planted a foot in his side, cracking two ribs. “Oh bloody hell,” he moaned as pain coursed through his side.
“Now,” he groaned as the Watcher lifted his head by his hair. “Talk.”
“Perhaps you could try ‘Open Sesame’?”
His friend slammed his face into the carpet before lifting his head again. “I grow impatient,” he warned.
“The statue of Janus,” he gasped, blood dripping from his nose. “Smash it.”
“If this is a bloody trick Ethan,” Ripper warned, “they’ll be burying you in the morning.” He heard the sound of a crash and winced as the fury of his god at having his fun interrupted hit him. He’d definitely have to make that up to him. Scrabbling to his feet he headed out of the door. “Oh bugger!” To his relief his fellow countryman didn’t pursue him. “Come back to this town and it’ll go badly for you Rayne!”
* * *
“Please,” the girl whimpered at his approach, struggling to no avail in Spike and Dru’s arms. “My father has money.”
Angelus beamed, he was enjoying this, it might have cost him five minions but so what? He had his prize. “It’s not ya money I’ll be after lassie.” He stroked her face, enjoying her whimpers, a far cry from the belligerent girl who’d defied him on their first meeting. “It’s ya blood. And other things.” He grabbed her hair, meaning to lift her off her feet and tear her dress off before starting the fun only for her blonde wig to come off in his hand. “What the-.”
“Hey Fang.” He looked on in horror when the Slayer threw off his surprised childes. “The bitch,” he grunted when she kicked him in the balls, doubling him up, and grabbed a lead pipe, slamming it into the side of his head, “is back!”
Dazed, he fell onto his side and rolled up to his feet. Grabbing a surprised minion, he flung the female vampire to the Slayer’s less than tender mercies. “This isn’t over lassie!” he blustered before retreating, his childe and grand-childe in hot pursuit.
“Is this it?” his subordinate nodded nervously. He beamed. “Excellent, you can go.” Once the man had gone he picked up the book and chuckled. “’Survivors of The Ascended‘.” He began to laugh as he leafed through the book he’d had delivered during the previous night’s chaos. His diversion had worked a treat, that dratted Slayer and her companions hadn’t had a clue about his package.
Over the past three thousand years there had been a dozen attempts at ascension, four of which had succeeded. In the book, he turned its yellowed pages, eagerly reading its contents, lay the accounts of four people who’d lived through said ascensions. Information that would be very valuable to his rivals, but, turning in his chair to face the open fire burning behind him, he flung it into the fire, he watched the book burn for a few seconds before turning away, information they would never get.
* * *
“You’re telling me you remember things from your possessions?” Giles openly gaped at the children, after a second he stopping rubbing his glasses and put them back. "And your skills Xander?"
"Uh, I kinda know tons of military stuff. Tactics, strategy, and procedures."
Giles resisted temptation to shake his head. "Fascinating, Jesse?"
"I'm way better at martial arts."
"My archery skills have improved a lot," the short boy proudly declared.
“Amazing,” he turned to the cheerleader. "Cordelia?"
"I know a hundred ways to kill a man without weapons. Three hundred with."
Giles gulped. That was just the world needed, a more deadly Miss. Chase. “Of course you do. Amy?"
"I'm great at counter-intelligence techniques and tactics."
This was fascinating. Already his mind was working over-time on a program that could make the children both retain their memories and also share them with the others. "This could all could come in handy. Faith?" The Slayer didn’t answer. He turned towards her. “Faith?”
His daughter looked up, her face red. "Anyone want a tapestry?"