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The Hell-er-Nator: Chaos Machine

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Hell-er-Nator: The Cordelia Chase Chronicles". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Naturally, the bratty little kid from next door swiped the last military style rifle out of the cheap barrel, leaving only a few weapons that weren't what he needed for his soldier costume. Fortunately, Xander was struck by a burst of inspiration... X/C

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Terminator
Multiple Crossings > Cordelia-Centered
(Current Donor)IronbearFR1841262,6523438973,90911 Oct 1318 Dec 13Yes

Look! Top 'o the World, Ma!

Chapter Twenty-four: Look! Top 'o the World, Ma!

Friday, October 31, 1997: Meandering Way near Revello, Sunnydale, Evening 8:05pm –

"Huh." Lucinda Gennerly, or, rather, the former Lucinda Gennerly, vampire, smiled broadly. So, the Slayer was out on the streets somewhere near here, and not in her right mind either? Spike was going to love hearing this, finally.

Adjusting and tugging up on the top of her red leather bustier, she stepped out from the shadows of the tree she'd been standing under, a few yards up from the one the pirates had laid siege from. As she had watched Angel's convertible pull away from the house, she'd pulled a TracFone from her pocket, frowning at the display.

Well, he would if she could ever get a signal, anyway. And if he had a signal... Lucinda supposed she'd probably have to go and find the jerk, physically. Crap.

What a pain in the ass. It was almost tempting to just hunt down the damned transformed Slayer herself, drain her, and then leave Sunnydale... she'd heard that Los Angeles was a seriously rocking place for people of the undead persuasion.

Almost tempted. Spike would probably come looking for her with that insane chick of his, and he was seriously dangerous when he was pissed off. More dangerous than Lucinda was, anyway.

Oh well.

Next damned time she was going to wear something other than high heeled boots if she was gonna have to hike all over Sunnydale.

And, just what the hell was up with that scary ghost girl, anyway? And that freak in the Iron Fist outfit?

Friday, October 31, 1997: North Osgood Street near Wilkins Blvd, Downtown Sunnydale, Evening 8:45pm –

"Are you sure this is worthwhile?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Spike, aka William the Bloody, turned and glared at Braggins, and snarled, "Will you stop asking me that?"

Actually, Spike was tempted to just tear the whinging arse's head off and watch the dust shower, but... he only had his original half a dozen minions left now. At least two of them were trapped inside of that little Ghost Buster bint's frigging ghost trap, several more were dead, and at least one had run screaming in another direction from where Spike's crew had taken off toward.

The pirate crew hadn't wanted anything more to do with him, either. Spike really couldn't blame them, not after he had grabbed one of the female pirates for a snack. That had turned into a right nice dustup, it had, even though those blasted pistols had hurt like bleedin' hell.

Come to think of it, even though he'd killed two of the male pirates, despite their swords, he never had gotten that snack. Bloody wench had gotten away in all the fighting.

Bloody hell. If not for those blasted kids...

Kids, hell. They were bloody demons in kid's clothing, that's what they were. Especially that little gray eyed bint with the wrist rocket. And that bloody Robin Hood wench with the bow...

Spike settled for dope slapping the minion upside the back of his idiotic head, resisting the urge to rub his arse cheek. That damned arrow had hurt coming out.

"I still say we should have followed that big monkey," another minion said. "Are you sure that wasn't your Slayer he was carrying?"

"Yes I'm sure," Spike said, rolling his eyes. "Even if she's all inside out like Dru said, the bloody Slayer wouldn't be screaming her head off like a bleedin' ninny, would she?"

Another minion dope slapped the one that had asked the question, saving Spike the trouble. "And would the Slayer be dressed like freaking Cinderella? Jeeze," the dope slapper said, looking disgusted. "Moron."

"'Guess not," the dope slapped said, rubbing the back of his head. "Ow."

"Oy, wot's this now?" Spike stopped at the corner where the side street they were on neared Osgood, and took out his Marlboros. He stuck one in the corner of his mouth and lit it, reflecting that he was going to need a fresh pack. Oh well. They were downtown now. 'ad to be a store here they could hit for a quick snack and some smokes...

Spike and his much reduced gang had been wandering about since that... debacle, he didn't see any other word for it, with the pack of demon kids. No real point in heading anywhere in particular: one direction was as good as another. And it made sense that Summers would be wherever the thickest concentration of chaos and destruction was.

He had wondered a bit about the girl that the huge gorilla had been carrying. But he hadn't been able to get a good whiff. Too much smoke around here. Seemed like every arsehole with a match or Bic lighter was into arson these days, torching an abandoned car or trash bins or something... Still, Spike seriously doubted the Slayer would let herself get into a fix like that. Buffy Summers had been hellaciously fast, and a hell of a fighter when he'd crossed fists with her.

The female vampire he'd spotted, the one that had caused the 'Wot's this?' comment, raised an eyebrow and then glared at him. She shook her head, gripping a katana in one hand... looked like it maybe came from some of those dissolving ninjas Spike and his remaining crew had run into a bit earlier.

The other girl with her, a strawberry blonde teen about the same age as the vampiress and wearing an abbreviated black and gold witch outfit, glared at them, her hands starting to glow slightly.

"Piss off, Spike," the vampiress said. "I don't want anything to do with you or any more of your half assed ideas."

"Oy, now, Sheila, is that any way to be?" Spike snickered, amused at the bint's brass.

"Frankly? Yeah, it is," Sheila Martini said. "You nearly got my ass killed last time around."

"Well, actually, if you wanna be that way about it, who needs ya?" Spike said, shrugging. "Plenty 'o town here. You stay away from me, an' I won't bother you. 'ow's that?"


"You 'aven't 'appened to see the Summers gal around anywhere, 'ave ya?" Spike asked.

Sheila narrowed her eyes at him, and said, "What's it to ya?"

"Have a bit of a mind to have another go at her," Spike said.

Shelia grinned at him, snickering. Finally, after a moment, she pointed with her sword. "Yeah. She was headed thataway in the hand of King Kong. Best of luck on that."

Blast. Spike cursed vociferously for several minutes.

"Anything else?" Shelia eyed him suspiciously, once he'd wound down finally.

"Naw. Bloody hell." Spike shook his head, grimacing sourly. Just his frigging luck...

Shelia nodded, and said, "C'mon, Amy." The two of them cautiously backed into an alley, then turned and ran.

Some more roars and snarls came from a bit farther up, and Spike realized he'd been hearing them for awhile now during the conversation with Shelia. As he cocked his head, a pair of shots rang out, followed by another. Heavy caliber pistol, sounded like.

Spike grinned, and ambled that direction, tossing his smoke aside.

Well, well. Looky here. An SUV was stopped, turned partly back around where apparently the driver had made the turn from a side street a couple of blocks up, and then found his way blocked by a pair of wrecked and burning cars. And then had found it blocked from going elsewhere by a mob of costumed zombie monsters, who were currently now arrayed around and in back of the vehicle snarling. Even as he watched, several of them shoved at the SUV, rocking it on its wheels.

The driver, a dark haired and slender bloke, was looking around at the group with frank amazement. There was another fellow standing half out of the sun roof with a video camera, shooting footage for all he was worth.

Another shot rang out on the other side of the car, and the zombie creatures there scattered, briefly.

No need to find a store for snacks. And maybe one of the blokes would 'ave some ciggies...

"Hey! You lot!" Spike yelled, striding up with his minions trailing along. "Back the bloody 'ell off, now."

The crowd of zombie monsters backed away from the SUV, startled, and rounded on him, growling.

"Yeah, you! Get on now! Get!" Spike yelled, running up at them waving his arms and screaming. "Go on, take off! Go find some other prey to munch on."

Recognizing a much bigger – and far older and more dangerous – predator, with more of his kind, they scattered, slowly at first, and then turning in a mob to run back up the side street the SUV had evidently come down.

The driver rolled down his window, and leaned his arm on the frame. "Thanks. We're pretty happy to see you, mister."

"No problem, mate," Spike said, "Happy to help. I was getting a mite peckish, I was." Looking in past the man, and the camera man's legs, he saw that the passenger was an attractive black girl in her mid to late twenties. Even better. Dinner and a show.

"Carl Kolchak, L.A. Beacon," the driver was saying. "Not sure exactly what we'd have done if you hadn't come along... "

"Oh, I know," Spike said. "Same thing you're about to do now. Die." He reached over and grabbed a fistful of the man's jacket front in preparation for yanking him out of the window and throwing him to the minions. He wanted the black bird for himself –

– And there was a screech of tires as another car came around the corner behind them, and slid to a halt sideways. Spike let go of the man, turning about to see what that was all about.

He saw a very familiar figure in long black coat jumping out of the driver's side to land balanced on his feet there, glaring at Spike and his small group. Bugger.

A tall, at least as tall as the first man, and very well muscled, male jumped from the passenger side, landing in some sort of martial artsy stance, holding a katana like sword. He was wearing... Spike blinked. A skin tight green and gold outfit with a high collar, front open almost to his navel and displaying a large, curving, elaborate black dragon tattoo. And a gold mask over half his face.

Two others climbed and jumped out of the back: a pair of cappuccino colored black girls in their late teens, one holding a stake and a short sword, the other gripping a... bloody hell. Gripping an HK sub-machinegun of all things.

The driver of the SUV didn't waste any time in putting it into reverse and backing away as Spike grinned from ear to ear and said, "Well, 'ello, Angelus. Fancy meeting you here."

Friday, October 31, 1997: North Osgood Street near Wilkins Blvd, Downtown Sunnydale, Evening 8:45pm –

They had been driving around slowly in more or less circles, or at least rounded ovals, for what seemed like forever now. Aura said as much, and Angel turned to the back seat with a rueful and somewhat sheepish expression.

"I'm sorry, I really am. There's just been too much smoke and gasoline fumes for me to catch a good scent after the last time that I lost it," Angel said, sighing.

"Ah." Aura waved it off. "I'm willing to buy that it's not your fault. So... if you were a giant gorilla, where would you take a blonde in a Princess dress?"

"The Empire State Building," Danny said, shrugging.

Aura tapped her nose and pointed to him as Angel smiled slightly. "Unfortunately," she said, "In Sunnydale? Tallest buildings we have are the old Clock tower and the Sunnydale Arms, and we've driven past them both at least a half a dozen times now. No monkey."

Kendra sighed, also. "I am not unsympathetic," she said. "And I am willing to concede, vumpire, dat you have made an admirable effort, and have even been helpful in combat. But dis is not getting us anywhere, and as you have seen, dere are many more innocents that are being harmed, and shall continue to be, if we do not stop this."

"You're right," Angel said, nodding.

Kendra blinked at him, obviously expecting an argument. She said, "Beg pardon?"

"I said, you're right," Angel repeated, putting the convertible into gear. He stepped on the accelerator, turning to head east on across street. "We're not accomplishing anything useful here, and people are getting hurt. I can always go back to searching for Buffy after I take you to Giles and we explain the situation, while you search for answers to this mess."

"Dat is... surprisingly logical," Kendra said, nodding.

Daniel sighed as well, as did Aura. "I really hate to leave that girl on the street like she is," Danny said, "But we're not finding her this way. And I don't like seeing all of this," he waved, "And not doing anything about it."

Angel opened his mouth to speak, and then a pair of large caliber shots rang out, followed by another. Angel scowled and stepped on the gas, rounding the corner onto Osgood.

They came up the street just in time to see a slender and very blonde man in the process of pulling a man out of the driver's side window of a vehicle. He let the driver go and turned as they came roaring up, and Danny could see that his forehead was ridged with protruding brow shelves, and his face was demonic with yellow glowing eyes.

So were those of the other men around him, some of them transforming even as he watched.

Angel slewed the car to an angled stop as the SUV the man had been yanking someone out of backed up in a hurry. It stopped about fifteen yards away from the intersection, with a man still in the skylight, filming the whole scene. Angel jumped out of the car, followed by Danny, Aura, and Kendra.

The blonde man looked at them and his mouth widened into a smirking kind of grin that was filled with long teeth. "Well, 'ello, Angelus," he said. "Fancy meeting you here."

"Spike," Angel said, drawing a wooden stake. "Can't say I'm surprised to find you, however. Wherever there's misery and bloodshed... "

"Aww. You say the sweetest things, Poncey," Spike drawled as the rest of his fellows spread out a bit, facing them.

"He's dangerous," Angel said to Kendra, not taking his eyes off of the blonde vampire, Spike. "William the Bloody, if that means anything to you."

Kendra nodded. "De Slayer of Slayers."

"Nice to see my rep has gotten around," Spike said. "And you would be?"

"Kendra. De Vumpire Slayer."

"Oh, bloody hell. Another one? Wot, is the Watcher's Council breeding the things now?" Spike looked disgusted, as a few of his felllows began to look a bit nervous.

"How do you, uh... " Danny shrugged, slightly, not relaxing his stance.

"Decapitation," Kendra said, flicking her eyes to his sword. "Or wood to de heart. Your weapon will not harm dem," she said to Aura. "You should withdraw."

Aura gulped. "Good plan. I'll do that." She started backing away around the rear of the convertible.

"I hate to do this, but... " Angel sighed. "Take off, Spike. I really don't have time to want to deal with you right now."

"Wot, and not renew Aulde Lang Syne? I'm hurt," Spike said, stalking forward with his coat flaring behind him. "And, naw. Just not in the mood, Poofter. OK, take him," he said, pointing to Angel, "And the other. The Slayer is mine."

The group of vampires charged forward, snarling, as Spike took a short running step and launched himself in a leaping kick aimed at Kendra's head.

Once again, Danny Rand submerged as his costumed personae came to the fore, and Iron Fist, Warrior of K'un-L'un found himself in the midst of deadly combat.

Friday, October 31, 1997: Del Mar Way, Waterfront, Sunnydale, Evening 8:45pm –

Aura had not been exactly correct when she had said that the old Clock Tower was the highest point – or structure – in Sunnydale. Tallest building, perhaps, and perhaps also the tallest point she had been able to think of at the moment, but not the tallest structure.

The pyramidal roofed, brick water tower and standpipe at Gunnery Hill, out near the wealthy Shooter's Hill area where Aura and Cordelia lived, was much taller.

As was the slightly newer concrete and brick water tower and standpipe of Altimeeras Towers off of Del Mar, on a small hillside in the waterfront district, near the new water recycling and desalination plant.

Which was where not-quite-yet-a-Princess Cinderella, the former Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer currently found herself: some one hundred and fifty feet up, at the very top of that structure.

With a very large, male, silver-back gorilla currently about three feet away from her and doing its very best to groom her for ticks, or fleas, or whatever it was that gorillas did with each other when they were doing that.

"Stop it," Cinderella said, slapping the large hand away. "I am quite certain that I do not have any of whatever it is that you are searching for on me, and you are quite ruining my already disheveled hairdo, you- you, you... monkey." She stamped her bare foot, glaring at him.

The gorilla drew back, eying her with a hurt expression. Well, at least it was no longer fifteen feet tall, Cinderella thought. It had shrunk down to more normal proportions after they had climbed up on top of this... thing. Tower. Whatever.

"Oh, stop looking at me like that," she said, folding her arms over her chest. "I am sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, but I do not like being pawed at."

Sighing, she reached over and patted her companion's hand in apology. Sigh. Well, he hadn't tried to harm her, merely carried her off despite her protestations. Then again, she supposed that gorillas didn't speak the King's English, and she certainly didn't speak, umm, Gorilla-ese? And she also supposed that he had saved her from those pirates and brigands. Upon reflection, she decided she probably wouldn't have enjoyed being 'properly broken in and trained', whatever that might be.

A pity she hadn't been able to rescue the captives, but, she supposed that that might not have been possible, anyway. A shame, though.

Given the way he'd been acting, and the shy, almost courteous – for a gorilla – manner of him, she guessed that all of those stories about gorillas carrying off young maids in the Dark Continent to ravish them were just that: stories.

Sigh. Almost disappointing. Cinderella had never actually been ravished. She thought she might find it quite enjoyable. Well, perhaps not at the hands of a gorilla...

She perked up, smiling broadly. It had certainly been quite an adventure, though, all things considered. The entire evening, as a matter of fact, from the time she had appeared all bewildered and then had been rescued by the handsome warrior in the dragon costume, and that dusky warrior maid. Warrior maids, actually. She supposed that Lady Aura qualified – she was certainly brave enough, attacking that beast man with nothing but a container lid. She turned into the breeze, letting it blow her hair back from her face as she looked out over the harbour. And oh, my – what a view she had from up here!

The tower had a reasonably broad ledge around the sides, with a few protrusions, and above that, there was a blue, flattened pyramid shaped rooftop, with a smaller open sided, two story cupola on top of that. They were currently in the cupola. There was a door leading inward and down, but having already tried it, she had discovered it to be locked and unable to be opened.

She was looking out now upon a small, obviously man made harbour with wharves, a waterfront area, and a number of docks of various lengths extending outward into the resulting man made bay. There were a number of ships at the various docks, with several of them being currently on fire and burning. As she watched, one gave a great gurgle and an explosion of bubbles, and the rear part, the stern she supposed, began to slide under the surface as it rolled over toward the shore. A dark slick of some sort of fluid with a rainbow sheen spread outward from it, looking very pretty in the firelight.

And out farther in the bay, there was a fully two hundred or more foot fifty gun and fully rigged frigate flying a skull and crossbones, of all things. Cinderella supposed that that was where the pirates had landed from – they had to come from a ship, after all, didn't they? The frigate, while much taller, looked positively shrunken compared to the ships that it had fired upon and sunken.

Another sailing vessel, this one steel hulled and longer, and with more cannon, lay off to one side a few hundred yards from the frigate. It was also periodically firing bombardments into the waterfront area along the shorefront.

A smaller vessel, a white one with no sails – my, how odd – sped around very fast by the frigate, firing some sort of rapid fire cannon at the larger vessel that made a deep, chattering noise not unlike Aura's machine-gun. A greatly magnified voice blared out from it, shouting something that Cinderella couldn't quite make out. As it did, the frigate suddenly belched out flames and white smoke from that side, firing a full broadside.

Great gouts of water shot up from all around the small, fast ship. The smaller, white vessel immediately wallowed and slowed, beginning to heel over on its side, and sinking noticeably at the front. Men either jumped from the sides, tiny figures at this distance, or struggled to launch bright orange boats of some kind from the listing sides.

Back toward the north and east, she could see tall flames and vast clouds of smoke coming from somewhere. On occasion, she had seen the lights and shapes of winged things that Aura had stated were not dragons descending slowly in that area. There was another one of those, but much smaller, with rounded, whirling, fan like wings on top, circling the nautical battle. It had something on the sides that read something like "KTTV" and "NEWS" with smaller lettering below, and numbers on the tail. More flames and smoke came from elsewhere about the township.

She supposed that this place must be under a siege of some sort, truly. By the pirates, no doubt, or perhaps whatever "Dark Forces and Powers" it was that Warrior Kendra had mentioned.

Off to the west, down two of the strangely cobbled roads this land had, were a long line of firefly like lights, with, farther up, brilliant red and white and blue flashing and strobing lights.

My. What a strange and truly wondrous place she had found herself in. It was almost enough to make her stop being sad for missing the Prince's Grand Ball.


The flying conveyance with the whirling wings left the scene of the nautical fight, sweeping outward and on a course taking it past their tower. It slowed suddenly as it came abreast of their roost, hovering as the small men inside gazed upon her and her companion and pointed.

Cinderella gave them her best and brightest smile and waved at them. One of the men waved back, a bit hesitantly, looking somewhat astounded. After a moment, the gorilla waved over as well.

My, yes indeed. What a strange and wonderful place. And she was able to read the smaller print now: it said “Action News Santa Barbara.” She wondered where that might be...

Cinderella nudged her companion with an elbow. "You know, if you would simply carry me back down, we could both go about together and see more of this rather interesting land and have even more adventures."


"Oh, never mind."

Friday, October 31, 1997: Bubba Gump's, Stearn's Warf, Santa Barbara, Evening 9:05pm –

Excellent, truly excellent meal, Joyce Summers thought, finishing off the last of her Shrimp Alfredo. She signaled the waiter, pointing to her glass and her empty for another beer. Smiling as the man nodded and hurried off, she tuned back in to her companions dinner conversation.

The Gallery Party had gone quite well this evening, also, she reflected, listening to fellow gallery owner Drego Garcia as he launched into another of his droll little Hollywood stories. She had made a number of contacts, and shared a few dances here and there. Even, she smiled to herself, collected a few male phone numbers and invitations to various assignations. Then as the party started to flag a bit, a number of them had decided to make a quick trip out to Stearns for food and drinks before heading back to the costume event.

The screen of the large, flat screen television at the corner nearest them caught Joyce's eye, and she frowned. Why, she could have sworn that said... the scroll went across again and confirmed her suspicions.

"Shhh!" Joyce said, raising a hand peremptorily. Her companions stopped talking, looking at her in curiosity or surprise. "I want to hear this: it's about Sunnydale."

"Oh, you don't often see your town in the news," one of the women said, frowning.

The voice over came on a moment later with a male anchor saying...

"And this is Steve Perling from KTTV Santa Barbara bringing you a special report from our own Dale Evans and Bill Rutherford in our roving news chopper." He turned his head and said to someone off to the side, lower, "Are we getting sound and feed yet?"

The screen behind him suddenly went to a scene that looked vaguely like Sunnydale Harbor, except that Joyce had never before seen the Harbor on fire and with a large, white sailed vessel in the middle of it. And several other ships, burning merrily away.

"Oh, my. That almost looks like Brackman Lee Walker's sailing yacht," Joyce said. "He's the father of one of my daughter's classmates... Oh! And that looks like Gregory Kendall's ship! He's also a father of a student there... "

"Is that a Jolly Roger it's flying?"

"Shh. I want to hear this now, too," Drego said. "I know Brackman Lee."

"– yes, are we on yet? We have sound? Ah, good," a male voice came on and a camera view cut to a windblown, handsome male face over a dark blue KTTV windbreaker. "And this is KTTV Dale Evans bringing you a breaking news report from Sunnydale California, only thirty minutes down the coast from our own Santa Barbara. We're on a slight delay here – all of this was shot several minutes ago, actually – as there seems to be some unexplained difficulty with radio and other transmissions out of Sunnydale tonight. Cell phones and land lines seem to also be completely affected, with spotty to nearly non-existent service at times. We had to fly five minutes out of the area before we could transmit. We're switching you now to our studio monitors while I provide narration for the scenes you'll be viewing – "

The screen shifted again, suddenly, back to the harbor scene from before, only with an earlier time stamp.

"– As you can see here, and I can hardly believe it myself in this day and age, there appears to be a full blown nautical engagement going on between a Sunnydale Harbor Patrol vessel and a pair of actual, fully rigged pirate ships. You can see the Jolly Roger flying from the flag masts even as we zoom in... "

The ship on the screen suddenly belched white smoke and everyone at the table started and gasped as the Harbor Patrol vessel lurched, wallowed, and began to list.

"... as you can see, the one pirate ship just fired a full broadside, sinking the Harbor Patrol ship. We're going to leave this scene briefly – I promise we'll return, but there's a lot going on that's newsworthy in Sunnydale tonight and only one of us – and go to the scene of a massive police investigation now underway at a small club known locally as The Bronze - "

"Oh, gods," Joyce said. "My daughter and her friends hang out there. There was a party there this evening they were going to!"

“– but first we'll detour slightly and do a fly over the docks where a small unit of the badly outnumbered Sunnydale Police Department tactical officers, a couple of Sunnydale County Deputies, and a few Harbor security officers are engaged in a gunfight with an apparently land bound group of pirates...”

“Good lord,” another one of the art buyers said, “What on earth is going on in that town?”

"... Good Lord! Are you seeing this too, Bill?"

"Oh, hell, I mean, heck yeah. You're not alone, Dale."

"I'm sorry to sound like I might be drunk or hallucinating, but I swear, atop the Altameeras Water Tower, a Sunnydale Landmark, there is what appears to be an adult male silverback gorilla! And a girl in a princess gown. Our pilot is taking us in for a closer look... "

The camera view swung and panned, and then zoomed in. There was indeed, a large adult gorilla standing on its feet and knuckles in the cupola on top of the tower, next to a disheveled blonde girl in a blue and gold and white ball gown. Even as the narration came back, she gave the camera – or the chopper – a bright smile and waved cheerfully. The gorilla waved also.

"Well, she certainly seems to be in good spirits, Dale. And she doesn't look to be harmed. Oh, look – the gorilla is waving too... "

“Wave back,” Dale suggested.

“Why, hey there, Mr. Gorilla...”

Joyce blinked, and sat back in her chair. Gratefully, she accepted her fresh beer from the waiter, and immediately chugged back a third of it.

"What's wrong, Joyce?" Drego asked, his voice sounding slightly concerned. "You look a bit pale."

"That's... that's my daughter. Buffy. Up there with the gorilla."

"Um, what is your daughter doing with a gorilla, Joyce?" Drego's wife, Katherine asked, frowning.

"oh... I'm sure I don't know, but these days? With Buffy? I'm less and less surprised lately... Oh no! My other daughter is out there in all of that!" Joyce said, her hand going to her mouth as she realized that Dawn might still be out with her friends, and Carlos' father...

Friday, October 31, 1997: North Osgood Street near Wilkins Blvd, Downtown Sunnydale, Evening 8:50pm –

My, oh my. This one was good, Spike thought. As good as, no – better – a fighter than Buffy Summers, even. And fast, at least as fast as he was.

Leaping into the air, Spike threw a spinning jump back kick at the chocolate Slayer's head, using his momentum to bring him on around in an immediate flying hook kick before he even touched the ground again. The mocha skinned girl leaned back away from the first kick like a woman bending under a samba bar, and dropped into an immediate squat as the second, lower kick spun by just barely over her head. She lunged in with the stake, long braid flying behind her, simultaneously cutting in a looping slash at Spike's legs with that wicked looking short-sword.

He skipped back and away from both attacks, slapping aside the stake and twirling his leading shin back and away from the sword point, grinning from ear to ear and laughing like a loon.

Spike was having the time of his life.

He swore: collecting this one to complete his hat trick was going to be the cap on his career, no matter how many slayers he killed later on.

His spinning, whirling, constantly moving style of combat gave him occasional glimpses of the rest of the combat and his surroundings. Angelus was holding his own against the three minions that had rushed him, as was the green and gold clad man. Bloody hell, the tights clad figure was an even better hand to hand fighter and martial artist than this Slayer he was fighting. And fast enough and skilled enough to hold his own against three vampires, which most human fighters couldn't do, even with a sword and the skill to use it.

Even as he was whirling past, he saw Green-suit strike a decapitating blow, neatly dusting one minion. The remaining two jumped back hastily, cursing...

Spike's next backhand strike and missed blow brought him around again, briefly, in time to see the green man decapitate one of the other minions with the sword, and nearly take a hand off of the remaining one. Damn.

The other black girl, the one with the firearm, was crouched over the back of Angel's idiotic convertible, frantically trying to dial her cell phone. No telling who she thought she could call that would help...

Angel dusted one, and then another of the minions in quick succession, a stake in each hand. The third and remaining one backed up hastily.

The dark girl threw a low kick that glanced off of Spike's knee, and he cursed, retaliating with a back fist to her jaw that sent her staggering back a few steps. Wot he got for woolgathering in a fight for his life, he supposed. He leapt at her, coming down on his right foot and snapping his left leg out high at her head. She ducked under and –

– Bloody hell, that smarts. Bloody bitch cut him along the trailing thigh with that damned sword.

Not enough to really damage him, but it could slow him, and possibly make him stumble later. He knocked another sword blow aside with the flat of his right palm as he spun back on the sliced leg, and roundhouse punched her across the jaw. She lurched backward, stumbling and going to one knee.

Grinning, Spike moved in, intending to finish it with a kick under her jaw, and then his teeth in her throat. No neck breaking here: he was gonna drain this one and –

– And the bloody other bitch lit him up with that damned Heckler and Koch on full bleedin' automatic. Ow! Son of a bleedin' bitch!

No bleeding nifty three round bursts for this one. No, she just clamped down on the damned trigger with the muzzle trained on his crotch and kept firing as he staggered back and the muzzle climbed up, stitching him with rounds from bollocks to gizzard.

"Kendra!" the bitch yelled, finally pulling up and away on that damned gun. Spike shook his head, trying desperately to shake off the pain and recover his bearings before the slayer bitch could recover and move in...

There was a sudden, sharp hot pain across his throat –

She was dancing, at the top of her game, finally, for the very first time this long evening.

Her Watcher would be proud of her, Kendra thought. Not only was she at her top form, fighting better than she ever had before, even in practice, but she was doing it against the Slayer of Slayers, killer of Nikki Wood and Xin Rong.

She ducked low, snapping out a kick that glanced off the killer's knee, and he cursed, spinning back and then his fist struck her along the jaw as she straightened into it. She shook it off, bending her knees to drop under a high snapping side kick and sliced him along the inside of his weight bearing thigh. William the Bloody stumbled slightly, but recovered almost immediately.

Sacre bleu, but he was good. Better than any other vampire she had ever fought, or even seen. No wonder he had slain two slayers that the Council knew of.

She saw an opening and stepped in, thrusting the sword into his midsection. If she could run him through and twist on the way out, she could slow him and set him up for the stake or a decapitating blow –

– He slapped the blade away with his open palm. The opening had been a ruse, and he smashed a hay-maker punch across her jaw with his other fist as he spun away on the cut leg in that insane, spinning, eclectic fighting style of his.

She staggered back and went down to one knee, expecting to die.

William the Bloody stepped in, she saw him preparing the kick with a shift of his weight, and willed herself to roll away from it and to the side.

And Aura opened up on him with that automatic weapon of hers, on full auto. Kendra saw William the Bloody stagger back, his arms flailing as the rounds stitched up along him from the lower abdomen. They struck so fast, at such a high rate of fire, that he actually jittered in place under the impacts as he stumbled back.

"Kendra!" Aura shouted, letting up on the trigger.

Kendra didn't need another prompt, or even that one. She was already up on both feet, and she was moving in fast before the word had even fully left Aura's lips. Her sword came across, level and even and swift –

– And William the Bloody's head parted neatly from his shoulders, a shocked and surprised look still on his wide eyed face as his head tumbled from his neck, and his body began to crumble into dust.

She heard a soft, padding impact on the street behind her even as Aura's shocked, terrified scream hit her ears.

And then a massive, slashing diagonally upward blow caught her across the side and back even as she started to turn, ripping across her like hot swords and sending her tumbling, flying away to one side to land broken and bleeding and shocked on the sidewalk ten feet away.

Darkness closed in around the edges of her vision. She thought, vaguely, that she heard a growling, guttural voice rumble out, "Thought I'd find you sooner or later, Fisty Boy. Let's fucking dance."

Then Kendra knew no more.

Darkness came up and swallowed her whole, and it did not spit her back out.

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