Summary: Another bar, another town. Two reluctant heroes meet again. Buffy AU and post X2, sequel to Claws and Swords.Claws and Swords Part 2By: Ueshiba
It was mid-summer as Logan pulled up in front yet another bar in another of an endless series of small towns. The past few months had been hard, but that little run-in with the girl in Des Moines had helped put things into perspective. Sure, it was hard to lose someone like Jean, but he was not the only one to face that loss, and it would not be right to let it rule his life. There were still people out there who needed him, and to ignore them would be to ignore everything Jean had stood for. It was time to go back to the mansion and face the music, perhaps even join the Professor in yet another of his save the world crusades. That could come tomorrow, though. Tonight he could relax and kick back a few beers.
He knew as soon as he walked in the door that this was not your normal bar. The fact that he was one of the only normal looking humans in the room was his first clue. If he had been anyone else he would probably have left at once, but it was not as if he had never seen anything like these people before; half of them still looked closer to human than Mystique in one of her rare moments out of disguise. Turning toward the bar, he sat down on of the stools.
The barman leaned over.
“Ya sure ya want to be in here, human? You’re as likely to catch a taxi as get eaten when ya leave ya know.”
“I can handle myself, bub,” Wolverine replied with a growl. The comment about being eaten did disturb him a little, though. Were these mutants so far gone that they thought themselves to be another species? Ah well, this was a discussion for McCoy; all he wanted was a good strong drink. It was several drinks later that the door flew open with a bang and a cheerful voice floated through the door, silencing the conversation inside.
“Hi boys! Anybody want to buy me a drink?”
The bar’s inhabitants turned as one to the peppy little blonde that had just walked inside with a blonde man who looked more dangerous than she did. Logan knew better though. It had been a few months, but the events surrounding their first meeting had ingrained her face in his mind. It seemed that the other beings in the bar knew her too. The barman sidled over to Logan for another word.
“Now might be a good time to leave. We wouldn’t want a customer getting hurt in a fight he had nothing to do with.”
“Hey, like I said, I can take care of myself. But why is there going to be a fight? They just walked in the door!”
“Are ya kidding? That’s the slayer and her pet vamp. Some demon got a little too bold a year or so back and took out a few of her friends and she’s been offing every vamp and demon she can ever since. Of course it didn’t help that one of the friends was close to Spike there so he joined up with her little crusade. Bad for business, let me tell ya.”
“Really. So how’s this slayer gal any different from a normal mutant? We had a little tussle a while back and she just seemed a little faster and stronger than most.”
“Ya really are out of the loop, aren’t ya? The slayer lives to kill demons like what we got here.” The bartender gave him a penetrating look. “Ya didn’t think these were mutants or something didja, mate?”
“Umm, yeah, I sort of did at that. You mean these folks ain’t even human? I guess you learn something new every day.”
The barman just looked at him in something akin to disgust for his lack of self-preservation, and deciding he was not worth the effort, turned and walked away. Meanwhile, the confrontation at the door was heating up. It was obvious that several demons wanted to leave, but the two gatecrashers were forcing them to stay inside. Sighing, Logan stood up. It was not that he cared about the demons or whatever they were, but then again he was still one of the X-Men, and these so-called demons had not done anything to deserve their violent fate as far as he knew. Bracing himself for another fight he made his way to the door.
“Hey, Slayer, long time no see.”
The blonde looked at him in shock.
“Claw-guy? What are you doing here?”
“What’s with the name? Call me Wolverine if you need one, and I was here to get a drink. Why are you here?”
“I’m going to get rid of all these worthless demons. Well, me and Spike are actually. You gonna get in the way or will you leave?”
Logan sighed. On one hand, he had enough respect of the girl’s fighting skills to be wary of all but a friendly spar, and this Spike was probably just as good if the bartender’s worry was any indication. The irregularity of this bar was even more obvious now as the more inhuman creatures moved out of the shadows to face their challengers. It looked that no matter what he said this would not end well, and he could not just leave the two of them to an obviously outnumbered fight to the death. It was time to show that he really had the guts to fight the good fight again; turning the Slayer and her friend from their destructive path would have to wait until they were all out of mortal danger.
“Guess I’ll have to make sure you don’t die before I can convince you that this is a bad idea, won’t I?”
He turned to the crowd of menacing demons just as the first of them jumped into the fray. An impossibly long spike was flying from the first attacker’s forearm directly at his face. A quick swipe of Logan’s own claws sent the demon howling away dripping ichor, but another was there to take its place. This one almost looked human, but suddenly his face changed, the forehead protruding and canines growing right in front of his eyes. The eyes showed obvious bloodlust – the identity of this attacker was obvious. It had to be a vampire. A fist caught Logan in the jaw. He staggered back in surprise; this creature was fast! Of course, Wolverine had never met someone who could beat him – even Sabretooth only fought him to a standstill. He rolled with the force of the blow, letting it send him into a high flip. Landing on his feet like a cat he spun in a back kick, striking the vampire in the face. He continued the spin, letting his claws flash out through the neck of his opponent. To his surprise the body crumbled to dust before his eyes. He had no time to wonder, however. The Slayer was falling under the combined blows of three demons armed with swords. A quick thrust from both his hands through the backs took out the two closest to him, and the Slayer quickly beheaded her remaining opponent. When no one else moved in to attack, Logan looked around the bar. The bartender was huddled in the corner terrified out of his mind, and about seven bodies and some scattered dust littered the floor. Logan was sure there had been more, but they must have run at the first sign the conflict was not going their way. Sighing in relief he settled back onto one of the stools.
The blonde man, Spike, turned to him.
“Why’d you help?”
“Couldn’t let you die I guess. That all right with you, bub?”
Spike turned away with a noncommittal shrug to check on the Slayer’s condition. They were both a bit worse for wear, but while the girl was moving slowly, Spike just seemed to be in pain with no other ill effects. Taking a suspicious sniff with his keen nose Logan realized why. The bartender’s words finally sunk in – ‘pet vamp’ was right. This Spike was as dead as a doornail. Of course, this was none of his concern. They had enough problems without him killing one of them for a slight lack of a heartbeat.
“So why are you doing this?” he asked.
The Slayer turned to him.
“This. This attacking random demons night after night, throwing yourselves into the face of death with no rewards. Why?”
“Because these demons killed everything I love, that’s why. My whole family is dead or gone, my friends dead or evil all because of these demons, and you ask why we do this?”
“Well, that’s your excuse, but what about your vampire here? What’s his?”
“You think a vampire can’t have friends? Her people were my people, mutant, and they didn’t deserve what happened to them, especially when it was just a two-bit poof trying to be a big bad.” Spike replied.
“Well, I don’t know what happened, and I won’t pretend to understand what you all went through. But at the same time, don’t you see what this is doing to you? When we first met we were both on the downside, but I got myself out. You’re just digging yourself a hole that just gets bigger. Death grows on you, and you just get closer and closer till someday you fall in. Trust me, I was there, but I had people to get me out. The Prof, Jean, they helped me, got me away from the death. You can get away, ya know. Maybe I can’t help you, but there are people who can.”
The two blondes just stared at him, tears welling up in the Slayer’s eyes. The vampire put his arm around her in a protective fashion, lips curling in a snarl when Logan started to move forward. For several minutes they sat there in the quiet bar, the only sounds the Slayer’s muffled sobs. Finally Logan stood.
“I’m going back to fight the good fight. I figure I’ve been away from it long enough. There’s a school in New York that helps people like me. I know you two aren’t mutants, but there would be a place there if you want to help; there are never too many good guys.”
The Slayer just nodded while the vampire stared.
“Maybe he’s right, Spike. Maybe we can do the good stuff again. Whaddaya think?”
“I don’t know, pet. This guy may be okay, but I can’t trust his people. I think we’re better on our own. Besides, I’m still the big bad – I’m only in it to get back at the wankers who offed Red and Little Bit.”
“I guess you’re right. Thanks, Wolverine, but no thanks. Maybe we’ll see you again someday, but you aren’t fighting the same fight as us, and too many people would die without us there. We’ll see you around I’m sure.”
“If that’s the way you want it, that’s the way it’ll be. Just look up Professor Charles Xavier if you want to find me. I hope life treats you well.”
With that he turned and walked out the door into the endless night. Maybe he had helped them, maybe he had not, but one thing was for sure. He was back in the fight, and he would not be stopped.