Daniel led our way back to the Jeep. Anya and I were side by side for most of the trip.
"You said something earlier about hundreds of Slayers?"
"Oh, that's right. If you've been here for two years then you don't know about the First Evil returning."
It clicked. The thing that was imitating Willow a couple of months back when she visited. It was the First Evil that manifested itself to Willow and caused her to freak out like she did.
"Well," she paused, "the other Buffy got the idea to use this nifty axe/scythe type thing's power to activate all the potential Slayers throughout the world. So there could be tens, or hundreds of Slayers running around now."
"I was killed soon after Willow did the magical thing and I don't exactly know how it all turned out."
Talk about cliffhanging. Now I was even more anxious to find out if everything worked out.
I noticed Daniel stiffen when Anya mentioned Willow's name. There's more to his story that I'd like to know.
He looked back, not looking very friendly like. Anya waved him off.
"Don't worry about him. He's kind of a tight ass in this universe."
I needed to know. "Why?"
She didn't bother trying to lower her voice. With the werewolf hearing thing it would have been pointless. "Willow cursed him."
I stopped and starred. "She did what?"
"If I still had my vengeance powers she would have done more than that."
I urged her on. "Spill."
"They were both dating in college over in L.A. and he had an affair with this other werewolf. She went all vengeancey and cursed them both to never know love again. Except, Veruca, I think her name was, got a little revenge on her own. She ate Willow."
"Enough!" Yelled Daniel. "My personal life is no concern of yours."
His eyes glowed amber with anger. I let my sorrow wash over me.
"I'm sorry. Willow is my friend."
I could hear the rumbling growl deep in his chest. He turned and slammed his fist into a really thick tree, sending splinters everywhere.
"I was too late to save her," he spat. "All Veruca wanted was revenge. All I wanted to say was I'm sorry."
Anya snorted, "I bet you're sorry now. Cursed forever to never love another person..."
She didn't get to finish the sentence. Daniel was all over her, claws extended and slashing into her midsection. Anya screamed and transformed into that big-headed uber-vampire thing and I jumped on Daniel's back wrapping my arm around his throat.
Anya didn't have the leverage to push us both off, so I planted my foot onto the ground and heaved with everything I had. It was enough, barely. He came away with a mouth full of flesh from Anya's chest and blood sprayed.
The blood and anger was almost too much for me and I partially shifted, enough for my claws to find their way into Daniel's throat.
"Calm the hell down or I'll rip it out!"
My beast was fighting to get out of my body and complete the transformation so I tried something I didn't know would work. I let it flow out and into him. His beast responded and fought back with a fury.
We both screamed as we tore into one another, metaphysically. It was the first time I had been violent with the spiritual side of the animal. I had merged with Richard's beast a number of times and it had been glorious, but this was nothing but a dominance struggle and I had very little experience in fighting this way.
It was savage and spiritually bloody. Our claws tore at each other's bodies and our teeth fought to find purchase in metaphysical flesh. Hate and grief so powerful it hurt, poured off of him and into me.
Before I knew it several hands were pulling us apart. Screaming was the mainstay for the day.
"Buffy, let go!" "Daniel, release her!"
My vision cleared enough to see Verne pick up Daniel by the neck and repeatedly slam him into a nearby tree until he was unconscious. I tried to blink away my blurry vision until I realized it was blood in my eyes.
I tried to wipe it away. I heard Richard's shirt rip away and found it covering my forehead. I wasn't feeling too good.
"Buffy are you okay?"
It was full dark when I woke up. Every inch of my body hurt. I felt like I had been fighting Glory all over again. The scent of blood was strong in the air and ... Richard.
He was at my side dabbing at my forehead with a warm wet cloth.
"Richard I told you not to get the stitches wet." A female called out.
I felt him turn more than saw it.
"You need to take them out. She's healing too fast," he responded.
I heard a slow whistle.
"I've never seen this type of healing taken from another shapeshifter. She should have carried these stitches for another couple of days at least."
"I told you she not like the rest of us." Richard said.
I heard a number of snips and felt a slight tugging above my left eyebrow.
"Bring him in." Verne's voice came from the darkness.
Bloodsmell entered the room and I tried to sit up, but the sharp pain in the back of my head made that nearly impossible.
"Don't move, Buffy. You have a serious concussion. If you were human you'd probably be dead." Richard explained.
That's always nice to know.
"W-what happened?" I asked.
He leaned over and kissed me lightly. "Drink first and I'll explain. You need your strength."
"Do it." Verne commanded to somebody.
I heard a slight tearing and the bloodsmell hit me stronger than before. Seconds later something was pressed against my mouth and my instincts took it from there. The salty goodness trailed to the back of my mouth and my throat convulsed. I felt relief and energy course through my body. The pounding in my head eased down to a slight headache. That was when I noticed what I was sucking on had hair.
I reared back and my eyes snapped open. It was Daniel and he looked like someone had taken a hammer to his face.
"Oh my god!"
His blood sprayed out of my mouth and I nearly lost it right there. My stomach heaved.
"Buffy, no!" It was Richard. "You have to keep it down."
My eyes found his and I could tell by the shock on his face that my look wasn't pleasant.
Verne stepped in. "You must finish him, Buffy. It is pack law. It is his sentence for hurting you while under my protection."
I backed up on the bed, wiping the residue of Daniel's blood from my lips. "I don't eat people, Verne."
Over the last few months I had learned more than my share of pack law. "He's mine to do with what I will. And I say he lives."
Richard protested. "Buffy, he tried to kill you!"
I turned to him, "He's my friend, Richard. It doesn't matter that he's from a different universe than I am. He's still my friend and I don't eat my friends."
He pushed away in frustration. "Women!"
I looked back up at Verne. "Help him. Your pack owes me blood and I will take him in payment." Then I thought about it. "Alive. Make sure he's alive."