Dusk was coming; Janis had been an gone. Xander was just getting ready to suggest leaving when Hendrix began. One look at Mestral's fascinated expression and he knew it was hopeless.
"I'm going to do a quick patrol, Messie," said Xander standing.
Mestral glanced away from the man playing. Pulling herself away from memories of master ka'athyra players. "Remember Sandar," she said primly.
Xander rolled his eyes. They had this arguement once a year. He remembered the very first time they'd had it.~*~
Mestral stared up at the building, then glanced over at Sandar. The neighborhood was a little rundown and the local law enforcement was rarely seen in the vicinity. She had to agree with her brother this would be a good place to 'lay low'.
Mestral turned to tell him that and stilled. Something itched along her senses. It wasn't human. It hadn't taken her long to get accustomed to the feel of them. For the most part they were background noise now and unless she touched one or purposely used her abilities they stayed that way. She glanced over to see Sandar in conversation with the landlord and rather than bother him decided to seek out the source first.
Mestral entered the alley cautiously. Her senses open and searching. It didn't take her long to spot the aberration lurking in the shadows. She frowned; it looked human. But it clearly was not. It had no heartbeat. No heat emitted from it. The scent of old blood hung thick in the air around the creature. Mestral allowed her telepathy to reach out for the creature. She winced as her mind came into contact with the creatures surface thoughts. If they could be called that. There was really nothing more than a wild thirst, a feral corruptness that knew nothing more than feed and reproduce.
She thought it better to retreat than approach the unknown. Before she'd retreated more than a few feet the creature honed in on her. With a animal roar it launched itself at her.
Mestral was perplexed as she stared down at the creature. There hadn't been much of a battle. First, she'd tried to disable it. But it had shrugged off all the non-lethal measures. Seeing as the creature obviously couldn't be reasoned with she'd then tried to kill it. Tried being the operative word. The blow to the sternum while cracking its chest had only slowed it down. She'd then snapped its neck and finally the spine. However, the creature was still alive. She realized it must be an e’shua. It would be prudent to alert Sandar.
Xander paused mid-word as Mestral's familiar presence brushed his mind. He glanced around surprised she'd slipped away without his noticing. ~What's wrong, Messie? Where'd you go?~
Mestral's thoughts came through calm and steady as always. ~I have a problem, Sandar. There's an e’shua--~
Xander was moving before Mestral had finished her thought. Honing in on her with his empathy; he flew down the alley. All ready cursing himself for letting this happen.
Mestral glanced up as Sandar appeared in the alley's entrance way, her eyebrow quirking. She could feel the worry and panic emanating from him like it hadn't in a years. As if he were a first year student again, though anyone looking at him wouldn't be able to tell. His outward appearance was the very definition of calm. "Sandar, calm down," she said as he strode over to her.
"Calm. Messie, you were attacked by a demon," snapped Xander.
"That is not totally correct, Sandar. I intruded upon the creature's lair," said Mestral. "If you were to step in a viper's nest, it would react much the same way."
Xander glanced down and snorted. As far as he was concerned vipers had more redeeming value and a greater right to be on the planet than any vampire. "I can't believe I let this happen. What was I thinking? We've been here almost two years now... I don't have a stake. I haven't even thought about carrying a cross. Oekon
," he spat. "You could have been killed."
Mestral sniffed. "Not likely. Really, Sandar. You are overreacting."
"Mestral, there's a vampire lying on the ground in front of you," growled Xander.
"Exactly. He is incapacitated. I am not," she said gesturing at the slowly rejuvenating vampire. "My only problem was not knowing how to kill it."
Xander forced himself into his breathing lessons. He had been unbelievably irresponsible. He knew the Vulcan's had long since vanquished the demons from their world. Only ancient texts were left to tell of their presence. While most of Vulcan society knew and accepted such things only the Healers or Scholars were knowledgeable about the specifics of the demon world. Even if Mestral had, had a stake she wouldn't have known where to stick it. If she had died it would have been his fault.
"Sandar," snapped Mestral. She could feel the waves of guilt and anger flowing off her brother. It was illogical. "If you must sink into self-pity, first tell me how to dispose of this vampire."
"A wooden stake through the heart," sighed Xander.
Mestral glanced around and spotted a boarded up window. She walked over, quickly breaking off a sliver. Back beside Xander, she crouched down over the vampire. "Here," she asked, placing the stake at the far left of the creatures chest.
"No," said Xander, moving beside her to correct her positioning. "The human heart is just off center of the chest," he explained. Mestral was right. There was plenty of time to go over his failures later.
Mestral gave a quick thrust downward then a cough as dust wafted up into the air. "Fascinating," she murmured as she stared at the spot the creature had been occupying.
Xander rolled his eyes and tugged her to her feet. "Let's go. I still have to sign for the new place. Then we have much to discuss."
Mestral watched as Sandar slid another stake onto his person. He'd spent the last few days, as they were moving into their new place, explaining what he could remember of the demons of this world to her. As the days had gone by he'd grown increasingly agitated and nothing she'd said about the situation had been able to assuage him of his misplaced guilt. "What do you intend to do?" she asked. "Declare war against the vampires. It is illogical."
Xander paused. "Declare war, no. But I do intend to clean the vermin from our territory," he said firmly.
"And the consequences," Mestral said.
"Consequences. What? Lives saved. Dead, deader vamps," answered Xander. "Not seeing a bad."
Mestral sighed. This had obviously unsettled her friend. He was not thinking logically. "We are in your past, Sandar. What happens if you remove a vampire that originally was part of some major event in your future? You might irrevocably alter the world as you know it. Alter so much that you are never conceived. Time travel is fraught with paradoxes. We must beware of them," she insisted.
"And how do we know, I haven't done this before," countered Xander. "That this is just a repeat of what I've all ready done. That by not dusting the vampires, I'm failing to do what I once did."
Mestral paused, Sandar was correct. And thus was the time paradox. This was why her people only conducted theoretical study of the time continuum. There were too many chances to wreak chaos. "I concede the point. But you must also take into account those you have mentioned," said Mestral.
"What?" asked Xander, momentarily thrown.
"You have mentioned encounters with certain vampires though your memories of them are vague," said Mestral. "If you encounter those from your future here in the past, you can not remove them."
"Why not," muttered Xander, a hint of sullen in his voice, though he knew why.
Mestral merely lifted an eyebrow.
Xander sighed. "Fine. But I can only do what I feel is right in any given situation. And if I alter the future that is just something I'll have to deal with. What is. Is."
Mestral gave a nod of acknowledgement, if this was what Sandar felt he must do then so be it. "Be careful," she said.
"Always," said Xander heading for the door. ~*~
Xander headed off into the crowd, the stake he always carried tucked in his back pocket. Ever since that night, he was never without one. He also made sure to either have a stake or a faul
on his person somewhere.
Surprisingly enough there weren't as many vampires around as he'd thought there'd be, what with the human buffet just there for the taking. Still, there were enough to keep him busy.
Hendrix was just finishing 'Purple Haze' and Xander was turning to head back to Mestral when he felt a vampire close by. He'd stake this one, then head in. He moved toward it, stake heading for the heart when the creature turned. Xander froze in surprise. There was something very familiar about this one. Why? After a moment it came to him.
Mestral stood still, head cocked to the side as she took in the sight before her. Sandar was standing before a blonde vampire, who for lack of better word was 'stoned'. The creature's movements were sluggish and clumsy. It's attempts to attack Sandar were easily thwarted. She suspected that it would have been the case with anyone. She glanced over at Sandar, who had just the barest hint of a grin on his face. He seemed to be highly amused by his endeavor. "Sandar, it is beneath you to tease the animals."
Xander looked over at Mestral as if she'd just spoiled the most fun he'd had all year. "But, Mestral... Spike."
Mestral cocked on eyebrow. Obviously, the name meant something to Xander. "Ah, you know this vampire. So you can not stake him."
"Right, so at least let me play with him," said Xander, waving his cut finger in front of Spike's vamped out face again. The vampire snapped at the wiggling digit but couldn't seem to pull himself more than a couple feet off the ground.
Mestral sighed. "Sandar, such behavior is beneath us. And since you can not stake it, let us move on."
He hesitated hand clenching and unclenching around the stake. Mestral lifted one brow. Xander frowned but nodded. He flicked his finger at Spike one last time. Snickering as the vampire's repeated lunges missed him by like a foot. "You're right. Let's go," he said moving to her side.
With one last dismissive look at Spike, Xander and Mestral headed home.
(Translations:stringed musical instrument like an electric harp, The Supreme Being, sacred stone)