Scenes 71 – 80
71: The Quinn Residence, 21 Quincy Street, Eastside, Sunnydale
“You have the right to remain silent” the police officer tallied off her Miranda rights as Faith held her wrists out to be handcuffed. “Anything you say can…”
The words faded into a thunder of whitewashed noise as Faith’s vision clouded. All she could see and hear was a replay of the events leading up to her arrest by the Sunnydale P.D. It was all a blur.
Out of nowhere, the demon broke into the house. They fought. She pulled out her knife, the one Wilkins had given her to put an end to the ring leader of the Bingo parlor debacle. He had wanted her to kill Beverly Quinn because she continued to embarrass him at every turn, even daring to organize a picket line in front of City Hall.
Now she was dead. Cor’s grandma was dead.
She looked down at Bev’s corpse, congealed blood spread thickly across the floor around her. Sunnydale’s CSIs were standing by ready to pull her prints from the dagger and try to make sense of what happened here tonight.
Faith laughed, momentarily distracting the officer’s required spiel. She was not the one to kill Bev. The demon had taken the knife from her hand and Bev had just gotten in the way. A tragic accident, but one that was not exactly easy to explain considering that the mayor was indirectly involved. Not to mention the now missing demon.
In the end, Faith supposed, it did not matter that it Bev’s death was the mayor’s idea or that the demon had actually done the killing.
“It’s my fault,” Faith looked toward Giles and the others. They were standing in a huddle where the police had told them to await questioning. Buffy and her two sidekicks were dumbstruck, standing there with looks of horror as she was cuffed.
For the first time, Faith noticed they were not alone. Some starch-necked guy in a blue suit and wearing a bow tie was standing with them. He stepped forward to caution her, “Faith, perhaps you should withhold further comments until you are provided with some appropriate council.”
“Do I know you?”
His identity came to her even as he started his introductions. “Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, your new—,” aware of the police officer listening, he balked at saying anything more.
“It’s time,” the officer cut in during the overly long pause in conversation. “We’ve got to take you downtown to book you.”
Faith gave Wesley a wry smile. “Guess I’ll have to take a rain check.”
She ignored the gaping-jawed, wide-eyed stares of her so-called friends. It was not their opinions she was concerned about. Giles, on the other hand, was a different matter. His expression was solemn, concerned and they both knew there was far more at risk than her facing life imprisonment.
Just as they got to the door, Faith jerked back on the cuffs before the police could haul her outside. Inwardly, she cringed at the disappointment Giles was trying to hide behind his supportive veneer. “Looks like I let you down after all.”
72: Kitten Poker Game, Willy’s Place, Central Sunnydale
“I’ll see your bet and raise you one tabby.” Spike reached into the burlap sack at his side. He pulled out a small orange and white fur-ball tossing the mewling kitten into the basket at the center of the table.
Clem glanced down at his cards and contemplated pulling out the ace hidden in one of his skin folds. The vampire actually had some poker skills, but he was still new to this game and Clem had not had a chance to pick up his tells. He was shifty eyed and cocky like any other vampire, but this one had a reputation.
Sticking to the game, Clem decided to hold off on his ace and play his hand. He wanted the Siamese he had lost in the first round and knew Spike was purposely holding it back just to piss him off. So, he decided to play it safe this time and try again with the next round. Adding another tabby to the mix, Clem called for a show of his hand.
The smirk on Spike’s face widened into a full grin as he flipped over his cards one by one: two queens and three nines. The Full House easily beat Clem’s hand and he was forced to grit his teeth when the vampire crowed his triumph, opening the squirming bag at his feet to stuff his winnings inside.
Spike’s true talent appeared to be gloating.
When the door silently swung open behind Spike to reveal a large, looming shadow, Clem held his tongue. There was no mistaking the newcomer’s identity and it was highly unlikely that he was here for a hand or two of kitten poker.
The poker game had already cost him and Clem considered that the fun was about to end. He picked up his snack bowl of candied beetles and tossed one into his mouth hoping that the crunching noise would drown out Spike’s gleeful cackling. It did not matter what the night had cost him because he had a ringside seat for what he hoped was Spike getting his ass kicked.
The look on Spike’s face when Angel hauled him out of his chair…priceless!
With his bowl full of beetles, Clem munched as he watched, flinching now and then until Angel managed to secure Spike facedown against the poker table. His arm was twisted up behind his back in a painful wristlock. He knew it had to hurt because Spike was gritting his teeth and growling, his golden eyes narrowed as he strained against it.
Angel was not exactly fooling around, either. He was vamped out and frankly as scary as Clem had ever seen him. Back when he got rid of the soul, he had been a cold bastard who would just as soon kill you for staring at him the wrong way, caring about nothing.
Seemingly, the soul changed things a lot, Clem noted with interest, continuing to watch as Angel leaned down to growl into Spike’s ear, “Tell me where to find Drusilla.”
“Why the hell would I tell you anything?” His growling increased as his arm was twisted back even further.
“Don’t play games with me. I’m in no mood for it,” Angel pushed Spike’s head back hard against the table.
One of them knocked over the woven basket in the center of the table. Clem’s horrified gasp followed as he realized the kittens were getting away. “Hey!” He started to point out that the pot of tabbies was now empty only to cringe when Angel turned his angry gaze on him.
One growl was all it took for Clem to settle back into his chair clutching his bowl of beetles to his chest.
“Oy! Get off you prat,” Spike tried to find the leverage to escape, but was pushed down again. “Dru’s at home having a little Girl’s Night, playing dress up with Miss Edith.”
“She was at Cordelia’s house.”
The name sparked Clem’s memory. The pretty human girl Angel had brought to the bar that night. That was what the vampire had called her: Cordelia. Clem had been sitting in his usual spot at the end of the bar, and had quite enjoyed watching their bar fight with those gravlock demons. Every now and then Willy’s place managed to have some actual entertainment.
In retrospect, Angel had been quite possessive of his little friend. It did not sound like he was pleased that his childe was visiting her house. Even Spike sounded surprised by the news.
“What’s she doing going there?”
“You don’t know?” Angel demanded the truth. “Dru told me about her vision.”
Spike made a grab for something to smash over the other vampire’s head only to have it knocked out of his hand. After another short growl, “All I know is that she was planning a bloody tea party. How the devil am I supposed to know she was inviting your pet?”
With a grunt of frustration, Angel stepped back and instantly hauled Spike to his feet, muscles rippling with fury. There was no trace of coldness now. Gripping his collar with both hands, he gave Spike one hard shake as if to get his attention. Anger thickened his voice, “Tell me where to find them,” and the underlying threat was all too clear.
Clem saw desperation amidst the anger and those riveting ochre eyes hinted at a trace of fear. He doubted Spike noticed being so close to those killer fangs.
The blond vampire looked angry rather than intimidated. Still, he coughed up the truth. “We moved.”
Angel did not seem pleased about the answer. His grip tightened on the leather jacket’s collar. “I already know that.”
“If you think I’m just going to tell you, you’ve got it wrong, mate,” Spike pushed at his chest and looked relieved when Angel released him to stand on his own. He had enough brains not to move, though.
Angel apparently understood, but it took Clem another moment for it to click to it as Spike added, “I’m not letting you get anywhere near Dru when you’re in such a black mood. She’s done nothing but yammer on about your hot little bint since we saw first her.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Angel demanded stepping forward to use his height to his advantage. He made Spike look rather scrawny, Clem stifled a laugh at the idea. “Dru told me about her vision. That Cordelia’s blood would spill before this was over. Blood and death will follow.”
Spike snapped back, “Since when do I know anything about the bleedin’ visions?”
“Stop stalling,” warned Angel curling his fists at his sides. “If you’re not going to tell me where to find Dru on my own, you’re going to take me there.”
Clem could tell that Spike was not happy about the idea. Finally, he agreed, “Fine.”
Spike started to follow Angel out the door toward the main section of the bar, but paused, obviously remembering that he had left his winnings behind. He bent down to pick up the burlap sack on the floor and Clem’s jowls trembled against the urge to laugh aloud at the look on his face. The sack was completely empty.
“What the—?” Outraged, Spike threw the sack on the table, leaning forward to stare into Clem’s eyes. “Where’d they go?”
The kittens had all escaped out the open door and had no doubt been snatched up by the other bar patrons by now. Free snacks. “I-I tried to warn you,” Clem pointed out that it was Angel’s fault. “He came in when you had the sack open.”
Spike looked like he was about to lunge across the table anyway and Clem was highly relieved when Angel called out, “Now, Spike!”
With a final glare, Spike pushed away from the table and turned on his heel, his leather duster swirling behind him. Pointing toward Angel who had already moved beyond Clem’s sightline, Spike swaggered after him with a grumpy whine, “Sod it all. I was winning. You owe me seven kittens.”
73: The Factory, Westside, Sunnydale
“The boys have arrived,” Drusilla clapped with delight. “Wait here,” she instructed and left Cordelia behind with Miss Edith as she ran from the room into another part of the factory.
Cordelia sat motionless for a moment more because she was letting Dru’s little secret sink in than compliance with her wishes. Then it hit her that Angel was really here. He had come for her.
She could hear his voice in the distance firmly demanding that Dru take him to her at once. Spike was there, too, shouting at Angel, telling him to back off. The three of them were all yelling at once until it got really quiet.
Suddenly, Angel appeared, his broad shoulders nearly filling the frame of the doorway, a look of concern and then contrasting relief on his handsome face as he caught sight of her. The tears she had been holding back for the last hour returned to sting her eyes. Bold strides carried him across the room as she shakily rose to her feet only to be wrapped up in his arms the moment he reached her.
“Cordy,” the sound of her name on his lips washed through her like a wave of heat. She leaned into him as Angel slid his hands up her spine and buried his face into the crook of her neck, rubbing his cheek there.
He lifted his head and gave her a funny look. “You smell like Dru.”
Tittering behind them as she walked in with Spike, Drusilla her arm draped through his.
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well you both seem to enjoy rubbing my neck. Vampire thing?”
Spike pulled out one of the chairs from the table and sat down, his legs sprawled in front of him, crossing his booted feet. He grabbed one of the cookies from the plate and sniffed at it. “Seeing as we’re all taking turns, I’ll have a go,” he offered cheekily, “and that’s not the only thing I’d like to rub.”
Ignoring him, Angel was too busy checking Cordelia out for scrapes and bruises. There were a few minor patches of skin that were already turning bluish-green, but nothing to indicate that she had been seriously injured. Sweeping his hands up and down her frame, he felt her taut flesh fill his palms beneath the soft barrier of the dress she wore just to prove to himself that she was okay.
He bent his head to press his mouth against the pulse point of her throat, rubbing softly, then opening up to scrape his blunt teeth there just resisting the urge to bite down. Angel let out a satisfied grunt when only his scent remained, kissing gently one more time before lifting his gaze to her overly bright eyes.
She kept her arms around him, needing his strength and touch to chase the tears away. Cordelia did not want to cry in front of Spike. That would be too humiliating. It was not his business.
“I want to leave,” she told Angel, her fingers at the nape of his neck, the pads of her fingers stroking at his hair. “Please, let’s go.”
Angel nodded, leaning in one more time, capturing her mouth with his, careless of the audience. Lips and hands clung to her as if he was afraid releasing her would make her disappear. His emotions were still running rampant. The fury he had felt, the fear, his demonic desire to kill anything in his path to get to Cordy, to protect her all swirled inside him. Add to that the untimely lust that made him want to bury his face in her tempting cleavage and Angel was having a hard time letting go.
Sliding his mouth up to her ear instead, he whispered, “Nice dress.”
He was rewarded for the compliment with a hard slap against his shoulder. “Look your fill, buddy, cos you won’t catch me in this get up again.”
Cordelia was actually grateful for the distraction, pushing back the urge to break down and cry. His big hand cupped her cheek, fingers spreading through her hair. She closed her eyes for a moment and just let herself be soothed by his touch, a sigh escaping.
“What is it, Dru?” asked Angel when he sensed her hovering nearby. He gently pulled Cordelia behind him into an instinctively protective stance threading his fingers through hers and clasping her hand.
Edging closer, Drusilla looked a little forlorn over the lack of attention. Angel recognized it instantly and caught Spike’s eye. Unfortunately, he only smirked in return, silently refusing to do anything to stop his sire from doing whatever she wanted.
Angel was not certain what to expect from Drusilla. In the past, she had been jealous to the point of murder taking delight in dealing with anyone that caught Spike’s eye. It was fortunate that Spike was quite loyal to her. Darla’s presence had also sparked jealousy, but his own sire took supremacy over his childe. And Angelus had never been one to let his women rule his existence or control his pleasure.
He wondered about her motives. Somewhere in her tangled web of thoughts and visions, Drusilla was up to something. Angel knew her actions had probably saved Cordy’s life tonight. Despite bringing her here to the one place that Cordelia probably never wanted to return, and dressing her up like one of her dolls, Cordy seemed no worse for it.
Yet, he remained suspicious.
Drusilla’s outstretched fingers came close to Cordelia’s hair, but did not actually touch it. At Angel’s curt warning, her hand paused mid-motion dropping back to her side. “Will you be happy now, my Angel?”
Though he wasn’t 100-percent certain of her meaning, Angel figured it had to do with Cordelia whose brown eyes he sensed were now focused on him. “You saved Cordy tonight. That deserves some thanks.”
“Yes,” Cordelia agreed. Despite the fact that Dru managed to scare the heck out of her at first, she soon realized that the vampiress had no intention of harming her. Not when it was apparently up to her to make Angel ‘happy’. Hooboy!
That was just something Cordy did not want to think about right now. She wanted to get out of here and find some place to scream for about twelve hours straight, or just let go the tears that were building up.
“Thanks for the rescue,” Cordelia moved so she could see Dru. “It’s been fun. We should hang out again sometime— say in thirty years or so. Angel, let’s go.”
Angel would have asked about the details of Drusilla’s vision just to confirm the fact that the blood she had seen was Bev’s blood, family blood, and not that of Cordelia herself. There was no telling if tonight was the night that Dru saw in her vision, or if the warning was intended for the future.
The firm tug on his hand told him that Cordy was not in the mood for delays. She had been through so much tonight, so Angel decided to let it drop for now. “I need your car keys,” he held out his other hand toward Spike.
“You’ve got a bloody lot of nerve, Peaches,” growled Spike as he reached into his back pocket to pull out the keys to his DeSoto. “I’ll do it because I want you out of here, but I expect it back without a scratch.”
Catching the keys, Angel let out a sarcastic grunt, “You could tell?”
“And we’ll talk about those kittens you owe me!” Spike folded his arms across his chest.
Drusilla pressed a hand to his chest, seemingly missing the entire conversation since her last question. “Don’t you want to be happy?”
Caught off-guard, Angel growled, “Of course I do.”
Spike let out a laugh, turning his attention to Cordelia, leering at the luscious curve of her breasts visible above the low-cut neckline of the dress. “Happiness would be easy with that warm little bit tucked into your bed.”
“Shut up, Spike.” He did not need any reminders of what he could not have. Angel had already been pushed to the limit tonight. Having another vampire’s attention on her right now was not making it any easier to control his instincts. The words just seemed to come out of nowhere, but he meant every one of them, “Just put your fucking eyes back in your head before I rip them out permanently.”
“Ooooh!” Spike laughed in the face of the threat, considering it an empty one. Angel was not about to start a fight here and now with his precious little pet being so vulnerable and in need of consolation. “Too bad your soul is such a stuffed shirt, Angelus. Guess it means you won’t be getting any anytime soon.”
A low rumble started to build up in Angel’s chest, but before it emerged into a growl, Cordelia tugged again at his hand. “Don’t even think about Angelus right now. It’s not an issue. Just get me out of here.”
Slowly, Angel reeled his anger back in. He nodded, “We’ll go.”
Cordelia sighed in relief. The last thing she needed right now was Angel getting into a brawl with Spike. She glanced at Drusilla who was watching her through the veil of her hair as she peeked out from between the shining black strands. The corners of Dru’s mouth curved upward into a secret smile, one that left Cordelia blushing.
74: The Factory, Westside Sunnydale
“Get ready for the world to be sucked into hell again,” Spike sneered at his grandsire’s back as he and his bit of human fluff left the building. That girl was all neck and curves. It did not take a genius to figure out the appeal. “Was that the plan all along: Peaches gets happy… Big Bad Daddy returns?”
Drusilla glanced at him over one shoulder. She had been staring after the departing couple except that her expression was wistful and dreamy-eyed in a way that gave Spike lusty shudders. He knew what that look meant. Watching anticipatorily as Drusilla crossed the space between them, he was fully prepared when she grabbed him by the shoulders to push him hard against the back of the chair.
She kissed him until his mouth was smeared with her bright red lipstick and he could hardly remember his own name. He felt her teeth tug playfully at his lower lip as he hauled her into his lap.
Leering, “Someone’s saucy tonight,” Spike muttered as Drusilla plucked open the buttons of his shirt one by one. He did not care that it was Angelus’ visit that sparked this sudden bout of lustiness as long as he reaped the benefits.
Sex with Dru was such a contradiction. There was the side of her that responded only to gentility, to the part of him she protected and coddled, that he showed only to her. Dru often let him be the aggressor, the dominant one despite her status as his sire, but every now and then, she reminded him.
Fluidly, she moved from his lap to the floor, the diaphanous layers of her gown pooling around her. Her red nails dug into the material of his jeans just enough to let him feel her scrape them down the inside of his spread thighs. “Rrrrowl,” she made a little sound at the back of her throat leaning in to rub her face against the bulge of his erection.
Drusilla lifted her head to look up at him, silently licking at her smudged lips. “I’m going to eat you up,” she warned playfully.
It took Spike less than three seconds to unbuckle his belt, unzip and give himself an eager squeeze of anticipation as he readied himself for the pleasure to come. He stared down at Drusilla, his nerves on edge, aching with it as he waited for her to take him into her mouth.
Only her attention was suddenly elsewhere.
“What the—?” Spike glanced in that direction to find the goggle-eyed china doll facing them on top of the table with her prim little mouth, taffeta dress and shiny black shoes just so.
He was about to fling the doll across the room when Dru’s flingers slid around his rampant flesh to grasp him tightly. Spike looked into her sparkling black eyes as she started to move her hand, helpless to find any words as he clutched at the arms of the chair.
With a wink, Dru purred, “Miss Edith likes to watch, the naughty girl.” And then Spike promptly forgot about his irritation over the voyeuristic dolly as Dru moved down to swallow him whole.
75: Outside The Factory, Westside, Sunnydale
“This is Spike’s car?” Cordelia’s face scrunched in disgust as she pointed out the beer bottles littered just inside the back window. “Gross! He’s disgusting.”
Angel kept his opinions about Spike to himself as he led her around to the other side of the car. Pausing at the passenger door, he decided that it was time to put a halt to her random comments about her dress, tea with Dru and Spike’s choice of transportation. She had not said a thing about her grandmother yet.
Maybe it was Cordy’s way of avoiding the pain, but Angel figured it was better to face the truth sooner than later. It occurred to him that she might not know what happened. Deciding that he could deal with her pain and the tears— if he had to, Angel touched her cheek so that she turned her face to his.
As gently as possible, Angel explained that Bev had died during the fight with the demon. Cordelia held on tight to her crossed arms as Angel’s hands rested on her shoulders. He could see her fighting the tears until finally the battle was lost. One tear streamed down her cheek, soon followed by another.
“I’m so sorry,” he choked on the words as she flung her arms around his waist to press her moist cheek against his chest.
Tears dripped onto his shirt as Cordelia sobbed, “Bev’s dead because of me. She didn’t deserve this. She only got in the way to save me.”
Angel wrapped his arms around her holding her close. He pressed his lips to her hair, one hand soothing as she stifled the tears, the other anchoring her to him. All the while, he felt his anger stirring again. Cordelia had been through so much already. Someone was going to pay for this and he did not care what had to be done to make it happen.
He continued to hold Cordelia even after the tears had stopped, for his own sake as well as hers. It struck him that he thought he had lost her tonight. That if not for Dru’s interference, the crosathnam would have taken her back to be a sacrifice for some demon god whose identity was still a mystery. The chances of discovering their base of operations and getting to Cordy in time had not been good.
They had become friends, gotten close, ventured into doing things together, and to each other, that for everyone’s sake could go no further. He felt things for her that he should not. For that reason, he would not put a name to his feelings. They were all tangled up with his wants and fears.
Just thinking of his desires made him taut with tension. Those lustful thoughts had no place being in his head right now, not with Cordy being so vulnerable, aching with loss and traumatized by the events of the night. Angel lectured himself against thinking with his cock and not focusing on the situation.
He needed to contact Giles with the news that he had found Cordelia. The others would be worried and waiting to hear about the outcome of his search. There was the business of ensuring Cordy’s safety to deal with, something he had to do even when all he wanted was to wrap her up in his arms, or spread her out beneath him.
Cordelia obviously sensed his conflicted emotions. “What?”
One look at her puffy, red eyes and stained cheeks and Angel wanted to erase all traces of her tears. His dark gaze dropped to her parted lips wanting them under his. Yes, his mouth on her, everywhere, the thought lit fire to his groin making him hard. Tasting her tears, her inner heat, her sorrow, were almost too tempting to resist, and Angel had no intention of taking advantage of Cordelia just to sate his demon’s need to taste her pain.
“Get in the car,” his clipped words sounded almost harsh.
76: Back at the Factory. . .
Spike’s head lolled back against the chair, “That was brilliant.” He ran his hand through Drusilla’s soft black hair as she rested her cheek against his thigh.
Licking at her lips, Drusilla savored the taste of her lover. “Will you be as happy as my Angel when I am gone?”
“Bloody poof,” Spike began only to catch that last part of the question. “Gone!”
Drusilla rose to her feet, forcing Spike to crane his neck to see that a dark glint had replaced the sexy spark in her eyes. She snatched Miss Edith off the table and turned dismissively, walking away at a casual pace. Spike stumbled out of the chair and tucked himself back into place, only half-zipping his jeans before following.
Before he could catch up, she was already inside their makeshift bedroom having slammed the door in his face. Spike jammed his hands onto his hips as he stared at the door trying to figure out how best to handle this.
Anger and frustration roared inside as Spike grappled with his feelings recalling that he had just followed her all the way to Brazil and back. Hell if he was going to just let her say something like that without an explanation. She was in one of her moods now and that took careful dealing if he wanted to get anything out of it.
Hitching up his pants as they rode low on his hips, Spike reached up to rap his knuckles lightly against the door. “Dru, baby, let me in.”
77: Bev’s House, 21 Quincy Street, Eastside, Sunnydale
The body was gone, but the blood spot remained. Buffy tore her eyes away from it for the hundredth time. She could not sit and wait like the others. The need to go patrolling was making her antsy.
Giles and that new guy were playing grown-ups, standing off in the corner talking about it all as if they actually had control over the situation. Talking about Faith’s arrest, Giles commented, “I should stop by the station tonight.”
“Perhaps I should do that,” the new Watcher stressed. “It is my duty.”
The nod that followed came reluctantly and Buffy could tell that Giles was having a hard time relinquishing his own sense of responsibility over Faith. How was he to know she would turn into a grandma-killer? Even as she thought it, Buffy felt a strange sense of wrongness. Faith might have confessed to killing Bev, but it was an accident.
Trying to put herself into Faith’s shoes, Buffy imagined how terrible she would feel. She actually felt sorry for both Faith and Cordelia, one hauled off to the hoosegow and the other missing.
“I should be doing something,” Buffy’s loud interruption of the somber discussion taking place. She looked toward Willow and Xander for support, but they both sat staring back as if she was acting out at a funeral.
Xander stood slowly, releasing his hold on Willow’s hand. “You don’t think I feel the same way? We all do.”
It was not the same at all, Buffy wanted to argue. “Angel left me behind. I should have been with him, stopping the demon, or Dru, or whoever it is that’s behind all of this.”
Holding his arms open, Xander offered her a hug that she gratefully accepted. Willow joined in, “Hey, I need some huggage, too.”
Waiting for their little group to break apart, Giles commented, “This has been a difficult evening for all of us. I suggest that you three—”
The sound of the phone cut off his words. Being closest, the newcomer picked up the receiver, “Wyndam-Pryce here.”
Wesley! That was his name, she recalled as soon as she heard the rest of it. Buffy held her breath as she listened to the one-sided end of the conversation.
“Excellent,” Wesley nodded. “Might I inquire— oh, I’ll inform the others. Yes, that is a relief.”
Giles was holding his hand out for the phone while Buffy leaned closer to ask, “Was that Angel?”
“Did he find Cordelia?” Xander bumped into her on his way forward.
Continuing on, Wesley gestured a thumbs-up to Xander. “Yes. No, I’m afraid the police decided to press charges….The city morgue, I’m afraid…No, Mr. Giles is right here….Oh? Oh! Certainly.”
Wesley handed the phone over to Giles. “For you.”
“That was Angel, right?” Buffy grabbed his elbow to get his attention. Giles had told them that he had given Angel his cell phone with instructions to call when he had news. What was unclear was whether Giles knew Angel planned to leave without her.
“Yes, that was Angelu— Angel,” confirmed Wesley while brushing out the wrinkle she had made on his suit jacket. His chin hitched up a notch. “Your friend is alive and well.”
Xander let out a, “Whoot!” Willow squealed and Buffy simply sighed in relief. Then she noticed Giles was putting the phone down. She had completely missed out on his part of the conversation.
“Oh no!” Willow gasped before Buffy could question him.
Giles asked, “What is it, Willow?”
“Cordelia can’t come home to a big blood stain,” she pointed out the nasty spot of congealed blood. “We’ve got to clean it up. Quick! We need Comet or Ajax or—”
“Donner and Blitzen?” Xander quipped feeling too relieved about Cordelia to let that one slip by.
Clearing his throat, Giles told them, “We can’t touch anything. This is technically a crime scene. Frankly, I’m surprised the police allowed us to remain here.”
“Probably thought it was a cut and dried case,” Buffy shrugged. Besides, this was the Sunnydale P.D. they were talking about.
“No matter, we won’t have to be concerned about Cordelia returning tonight,” he informed them. Buffy sensed he was about the say something she would not like. “It has been decided that it would be safer if she remained at Angel’s place rather than come home.”
Buffy did not think that was necessary. “What about my house?” The crazy offer caused ringing gongs to sound in her head, but it was better than the alternative.
Hedging a bit, Giles tugged at his suddenly too tight tie. “I suggested that option, but Angel tells me that Cordelia feels more comfortable about remaining at the mansion.”
“Oh?” Buffy’s voice went down an octave. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Without knowing any of the dynamics involved, Wesley offered a suggestion, “Perhaps she preferred not to place your own family in danger considering what has happened to her grandmother.”
True, Buffy had not thought of that. She certainly did not want some big ugly demon barging in on her mom in the middle of the night. She suspected something different in Cor’s motives, though. Wesley Hyphenated Watcher had a lot to learn about Cordelia Chase if he believed she was not thinking about herself when that decision was made.
“I think I should patrol,” Buffy turned to Giles again. “Y’know, go see what’s happening …around town. Maybe I can sniff out a clue or something.”
“Rather than patrol,” Giles had other ideas, “I was hoping you three would gather some of Cordelia’s belongings and drop them off at the mansion.”
How convenient. Buffy answered so swiftly, “Okay,” that Giles barely had time to finish speaking.
78: The Crawford Street Mansion, Central Sunnydale
Cordelia waited for Angel to end the phone call before asking, “What’s wrong with Buffy’s house?”
Not that she wanted to stay there. She just found it very interesting that Angel would tell Giles she preferred to stay at the mansion without actually asking her preference on the matter. The muscle at his jaw twitched, his hands curling around the steering wheel a little tighter before he glanced in her direction.
Though she was expecting one of his adorable stuttering responses that proved he actually had an inner dork, Angel’s intense gaze foreshadowed what was to come. “I’m not letting you out of my sight tonight.” Cordelia raised an eyebrow as he ground out, “Maybe not until this is over.”
Since she couldn’t face the thought of going back to Bev’s place anytime soon, it was hardly necessary to argue about it. Angel seemed strangely tense and a little growlier than she was used to. The creepy mansion was not exactly the lap of luxury, but Angel would be there. That made all the difference.
Changing the subject, she asked about Faith, having overheard the conversation, or at least his side of it. When he gave her a brief explanation, Cordelia was not sure what she felt, if anything. Faith had taken the blame for Bev’s death.
Numbly, she stared out the window at the rows of houses along Oak Park Street. “Faith was arrested?”
“Apparently, she confessed.” Angel heard the confusion in her voice and tried to keep his steady. “The police took her into custody.”
She said nothing until Angel turned the DeSoto onto the circular driveway leading up to the mansion. “This sucks,” Cordy muttered as the car came to a halt. Her eyes glitterd in the moonlight. “When did I get sucked into hell? I don’t deserve such a crappy life.”
Having no answer for her, Angel had to watch as she scrambled blindly for the car door handle, pushing it open to escape onto the drive. He shared her turmoil, felt helpless against her tears, and that only riled him up again. Pocketing the car keys, Angel followed as she ran barefoot toward the front steps, her hair and long skirt billowing behind her.
Reaching the door, Cordelia pressed her hand against it, leaning into it until her forehead touched its solid surface. Even on the cobblestone drive, she could not hear Angel’s approach, but the weight of his stare fell heavily just the same. It forced her to pull herself together. No way was she going to act like a whining ninny. Her little outburst just then— there would be no repeats.
“You hurt your feet.” She barely noticed the sting of the pebbles cutting into her skin, but it was apparently enough to draw blood.
Cordelia glanced down, but saw nothing except her bare toes peeking out under the gown. “It’s nothing.”
Nevertheless, it was not long before she was seated on the edge of Angel’s bed with the vampire crouching in front of her. With a soft wet cloth, he gently wiped the surface of her foot washing away traces of the factory floor and cleaning the tiny cuts made by the broken cobblestones. Cordelia leaned back, watching as he set the foot down and moved his attention to the other.
The massaging motions of his thumb while rubbing her foot started to seem a lot less like cleaning with every passing second. Angel was not even looking up at her, just attending to his task. The tingles his touch created left her hot and flushed.
“That’s good,” Cordelia almost moaned and pulled her foot out of Angel’s grasp. Quickly correcting, “Um, that’s enough. I’m sure I won’t get gangrene.”
Angel walked over to the open bathroom door. He tossed the washcloth into a small basket hidden behind a cabinet door and then turned to the sink to wash his hands. Suddenly intrigued by such a mundane task, Cordelia walked over to lean against the doorframe, watching him.
She leaned in further when she caught sight of the mirror, noticing his lack of reflection. He stood there drying his hands on a small towel that seemed to be floating in midair in the mirror. Intrigued, having never really paid attention to it before, Cordelia stepped up beside him turning so her bottom rested against the edge of the counter.
Cordelia traced her fingers across his jaw noting the smooth skin beneath her fingertips. “How do you shave without a reflection?”
He caught her roving fingers bringing them to his mouth for a lingering kiss that did more to distract her than her own curiosity. Every little touch seemed to make her simmer and the way he looked at her made Cordy shudder with want. Only it was bad to think about having his hands on her again. Right now was not the time. She felt guilty about how easily he could turn her on even at a time like this.
Angel seemed to be of the same mind. Though he leaned in close, releasing her fingers to let his own travel across her wrist to follow the line of her arm, he did not claim her mouth. “I’ve had years of practice.”
“Was that your sexy voice again?” Cordelia teased and turned back toward the mirror. Only this time, she noticed her own reflection. “Ack! Earlier, when I asked if I looked like I’d been crying, and you actually told me yes, you failed to mention that I also looked like Cruella de Vil.”
Most of the swelling had gone now and there were only a few visible tearstains. “Who?” Angel stood by to hand her the towel as she rinsed her face.
“Never mind,” Cordelia muttered something about puppy killers into the towel, which she tossed into the sink. “I feel crappy and grungy and want to take a shower.”
Angel started to back out of the bathroom. “The towels—,” he pointed toward a cabinet.
“I’ll find them.”
His gaze dropped down to her bosom as it bounced just a tiny bit as she moved toward him. “What about—?”
“Things are a little too breezy under this dress,” Cordelia cut in. “So I hope you don’t mind if I rifle through your drawers. There has to be something I can wear to bed.” Not that she imagined being able to sleep for the next… maybe, ever.
Cordelia was thinking along the lines of grabbing one of Angel’s shirts, or a t-shirt and some boxer shorts. That is if he owned any. They had not actually gotten to the point that she knew those details. Boxers, briefs, or—
“Hey, buster, eyes in,” Cordelia poked at his chest as she forced him to move out of the bathroom. Just because she had implied she was not wearing any panties did not mean Angel had to be such a guy about it and try out the old x-ray vision routine.
He did not go far. Angel cupped her chin in his hand before planting a soft smooch on her lips when she least expected it. “Take what you want,” he dropped his hand, but did not move away. “There’s a bathrobe behind the door. I’ll just go check—”
“No, don’t,” Cordelia hastily grasped his wrist to stop him from leaving. “Wait here. It’s stupid, but I’ve got these creepy slasher movie thoughts going on in my head.”
Angel pointed out the lack of windows in the bathroom. “There’s no way anyone can get in there. You’re safe.”
“I know,” she shrugged. “I told you it was stupid.”
“It’s not. You’ve been through a lot tonight,” Angel took her in his arms again for a moment trying to sooth her frazzled nerves while hoping that having her there would serve to quiet his own.
Ever since he had found her safe at the factory, it was all Angel could do not to imprint himself on every inch of her. She had been threatened, and taken from him— even if it turned out that his own childe had managed to steal her from harm’s way. Cordelia was bereft, in need of some tenderness and understanding, comfort that he badly wanted to be able to provide.
Each touch demanded more. He wanted to protect her, cherish her and show her that she was not alone in this evil world, but those tender feelings were in a tug of war with the possessive, sexual urges tethered within. The last thing she needed right now was to be touched by the deep-rooted instincts that ate at his soul.
Unwilling to reveal his inner struggles, and wanting to shield her from it, too, Angel took a step back, forcing himself to let go of her warm body. A little sound emerged from her throat in protest. Angel summoned up a promise from the depths of his heart. “I’m here for you, Cordy.”
“Then why are you so far away?”
Angel did not have much of an answer to that. Telling her that he was getting aroused by the scent of her tears and traces of spattered blood on her skin would probably not make her feel at ease around him. He wanted her to trust him, needed her to feel safe.
Confused, she reached out a hand to reel him back into her space. The simple action made him sweat a little. Touching her hand made him think of other touchable parts draped in soft pink chiffon. He wanted to rip it away. Enjoy the sound of it tearing as he revealed those temptingly soft curves and hidden valleys. From there it was all too easy to imagine what else he wanted that had nothing to do with his promise in her hospital room to keep her safe.
Kiss. Taste. Possess.
What he wanted was dangerous and he knew it, but could not stop his desire any more than he could have prevented that meteor from falling from the sky. Angel let her hand slide across his palm, enjoying the gentle squeeze as she threaded her fingers with his.
“Want to know something crazy?” she asked erasing the distance between them. Angel already felt like he had gone a little mad after the events of the night, and needed some distraction from the lustful turn of his thoughts. He gave his assent with a nod.
“Tonight has been hell. The worst. But all I can think about right now is you.” Standing on her bare tiptoes, her soft lips brushing against the edge of his jaw, Cordelia whispered a startling confession into his ear. “You make me so horny, Angel. I want you so much.”
That was his Cordelia without a doubt, giving nothing less than the unvarnished truth no matter how inappropriate. Those same desires pulsed straight to his groin, causing him to breathe raggedly in some kind of reflexive way. Somehow, he managed to speak, in spite of the croak in his throat, “That’s not crazy. I want you, too.”
The soft lips he wanted to kiss formed a circle of surprise, as if she never expected him to say it. A brilliant smile lit her face for a moment before some stray thought got in the way. “Too bad our timing really sucks, huh?”
The words echoed: horny, want you, sucks.
Angel nearly lost it as the image flashed through his head in colorful detail of Cordelia on her knees at his feet, one warm hand on his bare thigh, the other gently squeezing his balls as she enthusiastically sucked him off. Just as quickly, he tried to scrub the image away, reminding himself that she was a virgin and he was cursed.
Raking his hand across his mouth only brought Cordelia’s scent where he could taste it. He stared at her intensely, his jaw muscle twitching, saying nothing in response to her rhetorical question that was not all too obvious.
Backing toward the bathroom door, Cordelia kept watching him, staring boldly into his eyes, and making him wonder at her thoughts. As if the minx knew something that he did not and was teasing him with it. That was a dangerous tactic, but he liked it even if it pissed him off.
One step away, Angel pressed his hands into the doorframe instead of taking hold of her. Gazing down at her from his taller vantage point, he focused first on the mouth he wanted to plunder. Watching as the pink tip of her tongue scraped along the seam of it, he subconsciously mimicked the action, licking his lips. Jesus, he wanted to tangle his fingers in her hair, fisting it tight in his grasp, and drag her to her toes.
Before he could act on the impulse, Cordelia flashed him another grin, saying, “Later,” just as she shut the door in his face.
79: Meanwhile . . .
“This isn’t the way to the police station,” Faith noticed that the cop passed the turn-off continuing on down State Street. They hung a left at Maple Court leaving her no idea where they were headed. “You guys got a craving for donuts?”
The driver snapped, “Shut your trap.”
Faith knew she had hit a raw nerve and bet it had nothing to do with donuts. The guy’s partner glared at her through the thick mesh divider. Giving her the once-over, his leer accompanied a look of disgust.
“You got friends in high places.” He said it in a way that shed doubt on it.
Flexing her sore jaw, she glared back. “Maybe,” she shrugged casually wondering how he knew that. “What’s it to you?”
A casual shrug followed. “It ain’t my job to ask questions.”
The conversation was over. Faith turned her attention back to the window where she saw that they had driven past the mall. They entered a maze of alleyways that connected several old warehouses and came to a halt a few yards away from a black limousine.
Somehow, its presence did not surprise her. There was only one person it could be. Faith did not struggle when the cop hauled her out of the car and led her to the open door of the limo. The familiar face of Mayor Richard Wilkins smiled back at her from within.
“Good evening, Faith,” he gave her a cheerful greeting that seemed at odds with the whole situation. Glancing at her handcuffs, he teased, “Is this a new fashion statement?” chuckling.
“I could do without the jewelry.” Faith held her hands out toward the cop who was still standing there, but the mayor waved him off.
When they were alone, Wilkins looked her over, tut-tutting as he went from head to toe taking in the numerous bloody scrapes and dark bruises. “What have you been up to tonight? Surely the old biddy didn’t put up that much of a fight. I don’t like seeing my girl hurt.”
Faith told him it was nothing, “Just a demon,” but her clipped explanation roused his interest.
“Slayers do seem to attract them.” He paused, hands propped on his knees as he gave her an expectant look, waiting for more.
Faith could not tell him why the demon had busted into Bev’s house without telling him about the prophecy, only that he did. “Guess so. He must’ve been after… something.”
The mayor frowned in a way he rarely ever did. Even when he was angry he managed to keep smiling. Doing so now told Faith that he was not buying her bullshit explanation. “Beverly Quinn didn’t have two cents to rub together.”
“Maybe he just had a thing for old ladies.”
Wilkins pulled out a manila folder from a seat pocket flipping through the pages. Faith caught sight of some glossy photographs: a black & white one of Bev and her husband, a recent photo, and one of Cordelia. The latter seemed to draw the mayor’s interest.
“Now where have I seen that girl before?” Suddenly, it occurred to her that he already had the answers. The mayor was testing her and Faith recognized the fact instantly.
“That’s Cordelia Chase,” she said as nonchalantly as possible. Adding, “Buffy’s friend,” she failed to point out that Cor was her friend, too.
Nodding, Wilkins let out a slow, “Ahhh. Now I see why Miss Summers and the gang were at the scene. Tell me, Faithy… were they there for you or Cordelia?”
Faith sat stunned by the implication as if an electric current shocked her into silence. Both of us, she wanted to say— and Bev, but she was forced to say nothing as he spun his web of lies and doubts. “It was her, wasn’t it? Yet here you are beaten and battered. Did they defend you when the police came?”
“No,” the word came out harshly. Faith remembered the accusing looks sent her way by Buffy and her pair of slack-jawed sidekicks. For a moment, she forgot the reason for this clandestine meeting and that the mayor had countless ulterior motives.
“They may not believe it,” he chuckled, “but it’s a good thing that demon crashed our little party. You can pin the rap on him. As far as the police are concerned, it was just a burglar.”
She could see the set up coming a mile away pointing out, “The cops have the dagger with my fingerprints on it.”
“Things go missing everyday,” Wilkins shrugged, “but just to be safe, I’ll make sure that the evidence comes to me. I wouldn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.”
Faith licked at a clotted cut on her lower lip. There was a threat to his words, but that was not what was making her nervous. She did not want him to see the truth. That she had not killed Beverly Quinn as instructed. It was her assignment, the first serious task he had given her, one where loyalty was the key. All because Bev pissed him off by picketing City Hall over the damn bingo parlor, and someone suggested she should run for mayor at the next election.
“You’re the real power in this town,” Faith told him trying to stroke his ego. “Why would I want anyone else watching my back?”
Relaxed and smiling again, Wilkins laughed. “You don’t think I’d let my Faithy rot in a prison cell. You’ve got too much potential. Far too much to waste behind bars.”
He sounded so utterly sincere that Faith’s stomach twisted up in knots. Wilkins never let the façade slip. She wondered what things would be like if she had not caught on to the fact that he was trying to put a wedge between her and the others. The attention he had given her had been nice at first, but Wilkins grew covetous of her time, questioning her about her whereabouts and whether she was a friend or rival of Buffy Summers.
If she hadn’t gotten to know Giles during the past few weeks as they had teamed up to search for signs of the prophecy, Faith might not have trusted him enough to mention her suspicions. Wilkins was up to something serious that had nothing to do with politics.
She had been easy prey for the friendly mayor with his seemingly harmless attention and ways of making her feel like she was worth something. He treated her with respect, not as a sex object or an incompetent troublemaker. When he told her that he knew she was a Slayer and what that meant, Faith thought she had found someone to open up to, like Buffy with Giles.
Though she would never admit it to their faces, Faith envied their close relationship. It was the close kind of thing she had never had. Not with her last Watcher who had got herself killed and certainly not with her drunk mother or deadbeat dad.
Now it looked like she had been assigned a new Watcher. A dark laugh escaped at the thought of their first meeting. Not exactly a way to start off on the right foot, was it? The nerdy guy looked like he had not seen the outside of a study hall in the past ten years, so it wasn’t likely to be what she had imagined anyway.
As for Mayor Wilkins, she now knew that he had ulterior motives for befriending her. The reason for it was still up in the air, but he had fixed it so she would be under his thumb. Nobody played her and got away with it. Nobody. Considering what she was taking the heat for just to please him— the mayor was going down. Now that he was arranging her release, she would not have to do it from jail.
“Y’know, it’s nice I’ve got you looking out for me,” Faith’s dimpled smile appeared despite that her split lip stung with the effort. Finally, he grinned back. Both of them understood that he had control of the situation.
“When the going gets tough,” Wilkins clapped his hands together and held them in a show of mutual support, “we can always count on each other. Isn’t that right, Faithy?”
Trying not to grind her teeth at the annoying nickname, Faith nodded agreeably. “About these handcuffs.”
80: A Cavern, Subterranean Sunnydale
A perpetual slime clung to the stalactites on the vaulted natural ceiling of the lair. Below, riven forces had shaped the rocky surface of the limestone cavern creating the Altar of Amolon. Shimmering upon the wall behind it, a vertical pool of incandescent light shone. Its constant glow provided the only light necessary in the chamber.
Only the importance of this gathering induced Nicolau Cibran to come to this intolerable place. Dank caves were better suited to the lowest of Amolon’s many followers, not for a vampire prince of his exalted status. He could feel the thick air seep into his formal suit, handcrafted by a dozen Galician tailors, and resisted the urge to sneer.
Standing motionless as Amolon’s high priestess made her opening statements, Nicolau made an effort to listen, but he had heard the same fodder from his sire many times over during the past two hundred years. Coming from Kalesh herself made it trivially more palatable. Although, her habit of pausing for a breath every second or third word irritated him to the extreme.
“Thousands of years have passed since Amolon became attuned to the powers of this Earth, since the elements responded to his whims,” announced the golden-robed high priestess standing between the stone altar and the glimmering light.
Kalesh was outwardly withered and wrinkled with her untold years. She looked human despite her demonic origins, an old hag whose diminutive body stooped with age. Yet, she radiated power. No one in her presence could consider her a weak target. Even the sound of her voice left palpable tremors along their nerves.
Addressing the gathering of three, the old demoness gestured grandly, “He wanders the abyss, but reaches out to you across the dimensions.”
There was something timeless in her gaze at it connected with his, and a feeling of being swallowed up by it. Almost as if their demon god was staring back through her eyes.
Under his cool veneer, Nicolau was imagining a number of ways to put the demoness to death. Something he would never do, for he was truly a follower, and understood her position as the god’s right-hand of power. It merely amused him to contemplate what it might take to kill such a being.
“The great one has granted you a taste of wealth, of power, a stake in this world. Terror shall follow in his wake,” Kalesh promised. “Those who do not bow down to him shall perish.” Then she pointed her overly long finger in their direction. “Amid the chaos only the loyal shall attain power and prominence.”
The pre-ritual gatherings were a bore, just as he had predicted. Nicolau would much rather be back home in Galicia than in this backwater excuse for a town. Hellmouth or no, it was hardly the place for a vampire of his standing. As a master vampire of the House of Solaris, he found it quite vexing to be placed at the same level as these two walking blood bags.
He flicked a glance to his left where the muscle-bound biker stood cross-armed and legs braced as if he was making an effort to look tough. Garbed in leather with metal studs, Mike Mooney reminded him of a collared bulldog. Known as ‘The Undertaker’ he ran a gang in nearby Los Angeles.
“Those who prove their loyalty when Amolon crosses from his dimension into ours shall know his true power,” Kalesh droned on forcing Nicolau to consider the rest of the competition.
With the casual flip of his formal great cloak over his right shoulder, Nicolau afforded himself the opportunity to peruse the other human in his midst. This one, at the least, appeared civilized dressed in grey Armani, Italian leather shoes and accessories, and wore a Rolex glinting from his wrist. Unlike their biker comrade, Jake Devries was just an underling, a lowly middleman representing the Senior Partners at Wolfram & Hart.
Now they were worthy adversaries, Nicolau conceded. Though in this case, at least for the moment, they were technically not his rivals, but also followers of Amolon. The law firm was positioning itself for the eventual arrival of Amolon and obviously knew what would happen if the god looked upon them and their Senior Partners with disfavor.
Nicolau detested such falsehood, but he knew he would say nothing to Kalesh. Devries might only be a workhorse for his superiors, but he brought with him their influence & real world knowledge. The Hellmouth and its environs were new to all of them. For the Rites of Tavrok to open the dimensional gate and bring Amolon to Earth, all necessary elements were required.
It was to discuss the details of that particular necessity that Kalesh had called them together. Kneeling before the altar, head hanging low and arms open in supplication was the crosathnam mercenary assigned to recover the human sacrifices described by Kalesh as the Varstrae, the Pure Ones. He was battered from a fight with dried blood, both human and his own, covering his clothes. Once again, his prey had eluded him.
Kalesh’s breathy voice grated as she turned her attention to the demon at the base of the altar. “You have failed to bring the next sacrifice. The Rites of Tavrok cannot succeed unless the Varstrae stand as one. They alone can unlock the gate,” she gestured toward the lights shimmering on the wall.
“The girl is special, my priestess,” the demon prostrated himself even lower on the floor. “The one who guards her is a Slayer.”
“A Slayer?” That finally caught Nicolau’s attention. Perhaps this meeting was not going to be such a bore after all. “You are still alive. Did you kill this Slayer?”
The crosathnam demon kept his eyes on the ground knowing better than to look in his direction. “No, I was forced to leave before finishing her off.”
Nicolau sneered until his fangs showed. He glared at the lawyer, Devries, blaming him. “This incompetent fool was your idea.”
“It was not known that we would be dealing with a Slayer,” Devries defended harshly, while still looking a little nervous.
“What’s a slayer?” asked Mike ‘The Undertaker’ Mooney with a shrug. “We got demons out the wazoo in LA, but I ain’t never heard of slayers. Unless you’re talking ‘bout that gang o’ street kids.”
Oh, the degradation of it all. Nicolau felt like he had found the cesspool of the world and it was swallowing him whole. If it were not for the power granted the leaders of his clan by Amolon, he would be delighted to be rid of them all.
Turning his attention back to the crosathnam mercenary, Nicolau demanded to know what possessed him to leave an injured Slayer behind. The answer came swiftly, “The Pure One was taken.”
“Taken?” Kalesh herself posed the question, a sense of alarm setting in. The air itself seemed to crackle.
“Yes, priestess,” he nodded shamefully. “It was a vampiress.”
All eyes in the chamber suddenly turned toward Nicolau who pressed widespread fingers against his chest. “Why do you stare?” He morphed back into the softer human features that drew the envy of men and the sighs of women. Knowing his pleasing looks provided added charisma, he used them to his advantage.
“Kalesh, my priestess,” he bowed graciously. “The House of Solaris is not involved in this abduction. I assure you that my entourage remains ensconced within our quarters.”
At Nicolau’s insistence, the crosathnam provided a description of the one who dared to steal his prey. Afterward, there was silence as the master vampire let his words sink in. “Pale as moonlight,” he mused. That could describe anyone. As did ‘long hair dark as the night’, although Nicolau had to admit, “You’re rather poetic for a demon assassin.”
It was not until he pictured the dress the demon described in surprising detail— not bad considering that he was in the middle of a fight when he caught sight of the female vampire absconding with their sacrifice— that it struck a chord. For a moment, Nicolau forgot about the others, a sound of malicious delight pouring forth from his chest reverberating around the cavern.
“Sunnydale must be ripe for some attractive new faces. I think it is high time my childe and I made ourselves known to the community.” A wicked smile spread across his face. “Leave your missing sacrifice to me, Kalesh. It will be my honor to recover her for you.”
Kalesh nodded. “This you may do, Nicolau Cibran, but first there is one thing I wish you to handle.”
Their eyes connected, the image of the priestess’ wishes made instantly clear as she shared the powerful thought. Even before the crosathnam could fully sense the danger, Nicolau was behind him using his speed and strength to wrap an arm around his neck. Two powerful sharp twists cracked his neck. Releasing him just as quickly, the demon fell lifeless across the stone altar.
“Hey,” Mike Mooney walked closer to point out, “he’s supposed to be looking for the other Pure Ones. Whose gonna do that now?”
There were five sacrifices required by the Ritual of Tavrok. This troublesome one had managed to elude capture, but it would be done. Others remained as yet unidentified.
“That is your problem, human,” Nicolau had already reached his limit of tolerance. Now that he had killed, he was starting to get hungry and damned if the Bulldog did not look tasty. “I shall get mine. You two can play with the rest of them.”