A/N: I just had to write this. Possible Xander/Buffy pairing. No promises for a happy ending either!! Hope you like but please don't sue. I own nothing except the story idea. Reviews and critiques are craved. :-)
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The ringer on her cell phone went off, and Buffy snatched it out of her pocket. It was Giles' emergency number, and that always meant trouble.
"Giles, what is it?" Buffy's voice was taut with worry.
"Buffy, thank goodness I reached you. Six blocks east of you, there's a spot of trouble. Xander-" Giles' voice broke then, and Buffy's already frayed nerves stretched even tighter. She turned east, and broke into a run, though she kept the phone close to her ear.
"What about Xander? Is he alright?" People stopped to turn and stare at the seemingly slight girl sprinting down the street while still talking into her phone.
Giles recovered his voice, but it was heavy when he spoke his next words. "We've lost contact, actually."
Buffy felt a swoop of sick fear in the pit of her stomach, but it only made her run faster. "Damn it, Giles, I've told him over and over not to go patrolling alone."
"He wasn't alone," Giles assured her. "Two of the new slayers went out with him."
"Only two?" Buffy was outraged. She'd already covered three city blocks, and wasn't even breathing hard. That was saying something; they were in New York, and the city blocks here were pretty long.
"Buffy, you know how thin our resources have been stretched. The outbreak of undead here in New York has to be contained, and we're obligated to do everything within our power-" Buffy clicked her phone off. She didn't need to hear Giles' pedantic speech about how they all had to give their best to fight evil. She'd heard it too many times before, and just now, with Xander in trouble, she didn't have the patience for it.
Six blocks east of her, he'd said. Buffy stopped in front of a thoroughly disreputable alley. It was nearly eleven pm, and there was no moon out tonight. If it hadn't been for the flickering street lamps, Buffy would have been in pitch black darkness. As it was, the weak lamps cast shadows over the alley that stretched out in front of her. The smell of the alley was much like the rest of the city, in Buffy's opinion - hot garbage, oil and urine - but underlying that was a scent that the Slayer knew all too well. Blood.
Concern for Xander made her want to rush in and find him immediately, but Buffy had been doing this exact sort of thing for too long to go in blind. She took cautious steps into the alleyway, letting her preternatural senses guide her. She was listening, but the alley was oddly quiet compared to the sound of traffic behind her. Her green gaze darted all around, but aside from broken blacktop, the usual graffiti and grease-limned puddles of what she hoped was water, there wasn't much to see. Buffy concentrated on her Slayer sense, reaching out mentally and emotionally to detect vampires, but if there had been any here, they were gone now. A few more steps, and she was in the shadows, even the dimmed street lights behind her.
Her eyes adjusted, and then she saw the scene in its full horror. Two young girls were sprawled on the filthy ground, their limbs and necks at odd angles, sightless eyes staring upward. Buffy choked, resisting the urge to run, and hurried forward. She knelt beside the first girl. Even in the dim lighting, Buffy could see that the girl's throat had been torn out. Worse, Buffy recognized her; it was Brandy, one of the new slayers. She'd been pretty, with curly brown hair and eyes, round cheeks, and a dimpled chin. Buffy swallowed back her tears. There would be time enough to mourn once she'd rescued Xander.
She checked the other girl. No doubt this was the second recruit Xander had been patrolling with, but Buffy didn't recognize her. Her throat had been torn out too, and both girls had been drained of blood. Buffy got to her feet after her quick examinations, and moved past the girls to search for Xander.
The alley ended several feet away at a chain link fence. There was a beaten up dumpster there, and Buffy wasted no time in checking it, but Xander wasn't there. She looked back over at the girls, and this time studied the scene with a critical eye. There were definitely signs of a fight, and blood spattered the brick walls on either side. Buffy even found a couple of piles of ash and dust that she recognized as being vampire remains. She nodded grimly. At least they'd taken a few of the bastards with them.
Distant sirens had Buffy glancing up sharply. They were getting closer. She took one last look at the dead bodies of the slayers, her sisters in spirit if not by birth. Then the Slayer turned back to the end of the alley, and with a starting run, easily scaled the fence. She was consumed with worry over Xander, but still held hope that he had escaped. At least she hadn't found his dead body alongside the other two. Still, she had no intention of returning to the Watcher's Guild office that Giles had set up while they were in New York. Xander was still out there somewhere, and Buffy intended to find him. She pulled her cell phone from her pocket again and dialed Giles' number.
"Okay, what do we got?" Detective Elliot Stabler walked up to take a position beside his long-time partner, Olivia Benson, his long coat flapping in the faint evening breeze.
"Two vics, both young girls," Benson replied. "Both of them dead on arrival. Lots of blood...whoever did this wasn't being precise or careful."
"They working girls?" Stabler asked, one brow lifting. The entire alley was brightly lit with flood lights, and the department's forensic team was already going over the crime scene. The two girls lay as they had been found while pictures were being taken from every possible angle.
"Don't think so," a third detective answered. This man was thin and lanky, his hair graying. Cynicism lined the wrinkles under his eyes and around his mouth. "They're not exactly dressed the part."
Benson glanced over at Munch, a wry smirk curving her lips. "You'd know best, John."
"Ha ha, very funny," John Munch said dryly. "In any case, it looks like they put up a helluva fight. We might be able to get some DNA from under their fingernails."
Stabler walked slowly over to look down at the nearest girl. Christ, she couldn't have been more than sixteen or seventeen. Munch was right though. She definitely wasn't dressed like the prostitutes they'd been finding in more and more scenes like this over the past couple of months. Stabler looked back over to Benson. "Any ID on the bodies?"
"None," Benson replied. "We'll run their prints back at the station, see if we can find a match."
"What kind of sick fuck does this to a couple of kids?" Stabler asked rhetorically, kneeling down beside the dead girl. He took a pencil out of his jacket pocket and used the end of it to turn her head slightly, so that he could get a better view of the throat injury that had undoubtedly been the cause of death. The edges of the wound were torn and ragged, but despite the blood spatters on the wall, the blood here was minimal. Stabler wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Am I seeing this right? Does it look like she's been chewed on?"
Munch moved to kneel beside Stabler, and adopted a similar expression of revulsion. "The perversion of people never ceases to amaze me. I wish it would."
Benson was already kneeling beside the other dead girl, examining her neck too. "Same thing over here. Are we saying these wounds are actually bite marks?"
"No way. Not initially, anyway. Who could take a chunk out of someone like that?" Munch said in disbelief.
The fourth detective in their group, Fin Tutuola, came walking up from the street. "Let's wrap it up, boys and girl. Cragen wants us back home. Forensics can clean this mess up."
The other three detectives stood and fell into step with each other, heading for the street. "This has to be connected with the other girls we've been finding," Benson said.
"It might not be," Munch replied. "The other girls we found were pros. These two obviously aren't."
"But think about it," Benson insisted. "We've got at least six attacks that we know of. All dead, all with severe neck trauma. The vics fit a pattern...all young girls."
"Except for a few glaring inconsistencies, Liv," Stabler protested. "All of our previous vics were prostitutes. These two aren't. And signs at the scene showed that our two vics put up a serious fight. None of the other vics did."
"And there was one more thing," Munch added. The other three detectives looked at him. "There were ashes here."
"What?" Benson said blankly. Stabler and Fin both looked similarly baffled.
"Didn't you notice those piles of ashes and dust that were scattered around? Two, at least. They were sort of clumped together. Nothing like that was reported at any of the other crime scenes." Munch shrugged slightly. "It might be nothing, but it could be something."
Benson and Stabler exchanged a glance, while Fin shook his head. "Leave it to my luck to get the weirdest partner on the damn force," he muttered under his breath.