Crisis part 1
They’d gathered at the edge of the designated area, which included wasteland and some derelict warehouses.
“Everything set, Spike?” Xander was pretty sure that Bel Devan would keep up his end of the bargain but they wanted to make sure there were no surprises in their hunting grounds.
“No humans; Bel Devan’s perimeter guards are well set, shouldn’t have any innocent visitors.” Spike was itching to get on with it. He hadn’t had a good hunt since getting out of Sunnyhell.
“Abby, you still want to do this?” Xander was glad the slayer had said that she wanted to join in with the evening but didn’t want to push her into anything she wasn’t ready for.
“Yes. You and JD are right. I’m a slayer, I made a mistake but I have a duty to protect. And… and it’d be better for me to learn control than be caught by surprise again.” Abby sounded a little shaky but determined.
“I agree with the last part but Abby, the slaying, it’s not an obligation you have to carry. I will do everything in my power to keep you away from the need to slay if that’s what you want.” Xander hated the fact this young girl felt the same ties of duty he did.
“Okay. Spike call the others, let’s get this show on the road.” Xander sent up a silent prayer everything would go to plan.
Vin’s jeep pulled up and the three ATF agents climbed out to join them. Ezra had originally planned to come along but an opportunity had come up to cultivate a new source for their current case. Josiah and Nathan had been sent as his back up.
Buck still looked uncomfortable but JD was practically vibrating with excitement. Vin was the last to join them, carrying a pistol crossbow.
“Nice. May I?” Xander asked.
“Sure. I’d feel kinda nekkid without some kinda weapon and you said wood through the heart would kill a vampire so...” The weapon was clearly used but well cared for with a new quarrel of wooden bolts.
“You constantly surprise me, Bully.” Xander returned it with a smile. “Although I would have put you down as more of a bow and arrow kind of guy.”
Vin gave him a sheepish grin. “That’s in the jeep, thought this one was better suited to the terrain. And less conspicuous.”
Buck stared at his teammate. “Jesus, Junior, where do you keep your arsenal?”
“Keep this stuff at Chris’s place usually. Not much call for it in town. Used to compete back in Texas.” Vin replied as he ran through a last minute check of his equipment.
“Just keep it pointed away from me.” Spike had heard from Xander that this Vin fella was a skilled sharpshooter but having the means to kill him in the hands of an amateur made him a mite nervous.
“Keep ya fangs to yourself and it won’t be a problem.” Vin smirked at the blonde who flashed his fangs in response.
Buck’s hiss at the vampire’s comeback caused Xander to sigh. While Xander could understand Buck’s attitude to working with a vampire -- after all he’d had exactly the same reaction for the majority of the last 10 years -- only time would allow the man to accept that Spike was on their side. Of course, Spike’s attitude didn’t help.
“So, show and tell time.” Xander gestured them over to the staging area they’d set up, showing a map of the hunting zone. “This section has been cleared so anything you come across should be fair game. Spike and Abby, and to a lesser degree myself, will be able to tell for sure. If in doubt look to one of us, run and hide if necessary. I’d recommend locking your guns away; they’ll do more harm than good… probably to one of us.” JD nodded his agreement but Xander could see Buck’s objection. “A bullet won’t stop them, Buck, but these things will kick off a real primal instinct in you up close; that’s when we’re more dangerous to each other than them. Think about it after this first bit, alright?
“OK, crosses will work as a deterrent to the guys we’re releasing. They’re newbies with little control and instincts that will work to our favour. As you know they’re fast and strong, so be careful. Stake to the heart, and only the heart will kill them, miss the heart and you’re as good as dead. Spike.” Xander moved to stand between Buck and JD as Spike pulled out one of the vamps they’d hogtied for this purpose earlier.
Xander was a little uncomfortable with what they were doing this evening but it served several purposes and vamps weren’t exactly covered by the Geneva Convention.
After a few minutes of begging the agents to release him, proclaiming its humanity, the vampire in question finally vamped out after a particularly vicious kick from Spike. Buck automatically went for his gun, the move being halted by Xander’s firm grasp.
“And you’re dead.” Xander waited for Buck to look at him. “JD too. Neither of you went for your crosses, holy water or stakes. At best you may have slowed its approach for a second or two but more likely, if it were free, you would have caught one of us in the crossfire as you tried to follow its movements.”
Buck grimaced, before acknowledging the point, noting that Vin had the crossbow pointed at the thing’s chest.
“Vin, you wanna do the honours?” Xander waved Spike back.
“Stake or bolt?” Vin asked, not taking his eyes off the creature writhing on the floor, trying to free itself.
“Your choice.” Xander nodded to Abby, as Vin lowered the weapon.
“Well, while he’s tied up I’ll give up close and personal a go.” Vin waited for the slayer to come closer before approaching the vampire.
As Vin knelt to get a good aim, the vampire managed to gain enough leverage to attack the longhaired man. Vin was thrown back, dropping his stake, and had to scrabble backwards as it snapped at his ankles. Abby swiftly pinned it one-handed, its legs still kicking.
“Are you alright, Vin?” The slayer asked as she appeared to hold the restrained vampire down effortlessly.
“Damn, I know you said strong but…” Vin dusted himself off and picked up the stake again.
“Vin,” Buck was getting a better appreciation for exactly what Abby and Xander faced, and it was horrifying.
“Don’t fret, Bucklin. Abby and Spike have got me covered.” Vin nodded to the blond who had shifted into a better position. Vin moved in again, this time successfully driving the stake into the vampires heart.
As the vampire and stake crumbled into dust, the ATF agents were left staring in shock.
“Sorry, my bad, should have reminded you to remove the stake if possible.” Xander broke into the silence that had fallen. “It’s why I always have plenty of spares. Without the slayer speed and strength it’s harder to do the quick in and out… aaaand that sounded way pervier than intended.”
“Why’d it do that?” JD was the first to speak up.
“Honestly, never thought to ask. Makes clean up easier, at least, no awkward questions over corpses in the streets.” Xander shrugged.
“No kidding.” Vin brushed his pants off.
“Right then, kiddies. Show and tell’s over. Let’s have ourselves a little hunt. I’m in the mood for a bit o’ sport so I’m gonna let this fella,” Spike thumped the lid of one of the crates. “have a 3 minute head start. You lot can deal with the rest.”
“What if it gets away?” Buck frowned at the vampire.
“First, no snot-nosed fledge is going to be able to evade me.” Spike ground out. “Second, the Pup here has it covered.”
JD beamed at Spike before turning to Buck. “I’ve got a friend who has come up with some disposable trackers and needed them trialed so I said I could help. We tagged them all and we can keep track with this app.” JD showed Buck his phone.
“Also, Dad gave me these to help us normal humans.” Xander tossed Buck a thermal imaging unit.
Buck whistled. “Careful, one of these babies will set you back several thousand dollars.”
Xander looked surprised, then worried. “Seriously? Damn, I’ve been treating them like a toy.”
“Don’t fret, Ez can afford it. Plus he’d rather have you safe than cash in the bank.” Buck reassured the one-eyed man.
“Alright,” Xander passed out more stakes. “Everyone's kitted out – crosses, holy water and stakes? Okay, let’s get this show on the road.”
Spike had gone chasing off after the vamp that he’d released earlier. Vin and Abby had separated from them to do a little hunting of their own leaving the others to trail along after them. Xander and JD were chatting, slightly ahead of Buck.
“It’s still a human body so it’s not easy to penetrate the chest cavity or hit the right spot. You don’t have the time to count up to the intercostal space between the third and forth rib or whatever. For people like me and you, it’s a lot of luck. Mainly it’s about their momentum to get enough oomph to drive the stake in. Just remember, if it’s a case of them pouncing on you when you’re prone on the floor – close your eyes and hold your breath. That stuff tastes nasty.” Xander unconsciously wiped his mouth as JD gagged a little.
Buck spoke up from behind them. “Don’t you think you’re selling yourself a little short, kid?”
“I’m serious, Buck. Most of my slayage has occurred simply through trying to stay alive long enough for someone to come save me. I’ve got the theory, and some experience, but I can’t come close to their strength and speed.” Xander wanted to make sure that they understood the true danger in these situations.
JD’s phone buzzed. “Vin and Abby have got two more. That leaves three.”
“That include the one Spike’s toying with?” Xander knew that Spike was likely to draw out the hunt with his prey.
“Yeah. He’s on the far side of the zone.” JD flashed the screen at the other pair. “Vin and Abby are right on the tail of the other two”
They all froze as the sound of a dumpster crashing against a wall came from close by.
“Then what the hell is that?”