Roanapur Knights: Dance of Death - A BL & BTVS x-over
Author: B.H. Ramsay
Disclaimer: Characters appearing here belong to Mutant Enemy & Funimation Entertainment
Spoilers: many, mainly for El Baile de la Muerte
Dedicated to: The Shrine of Heroes...may she endure forever. Greydon Creed & Amigodude for the awesome beta reading assist. likewise the gang over at the Black Lagoon Forums who are just spiffy & those who nominated this for a COA and of course those who voted for it.
Summary: A Brutal Act sets off a cycle of violence and retribution that will swallow the lives of many, including the Slayer Army and Two of the Scoobies that find themselves on opposing sides as The Unstoppable Chambermaid goes on the rampage.
Nights in Venezuela are always hot so the sheets of steam billowing out of the shower were not entirely out of place.
Yet it was not sweat and grime that the woman under the spray was trying to wash away. Indeed, the water's heat cascading over her body was at almost scalding temperature. Anyone else would be howling in pain. She barely acknowledged the hot water on her skin. Her mind had long ago learned to compartmentalize pain, filing it away in distant parts of her mind.
The woman's name as far as the world was concerned was Roberta. A maid in the Lovelace household and loyal guardian of the scion to the Lovelace fortune, Garcia Fernando Lovelace. There had been another name a long time ago. Another name in another life, a life she had been saved from by the noble and kind hearted Diego Lovelace, Garcia's father.
Maybe that had been the problem, Lovelace was too noble, too kind hearted. Men like that do not survive long in such a world as this. A world that allowed base creatures like her and those she now hated with a burning passion to exist. Roberta included herself because she was at fault. She had been too happy, too proud of her new life -- her peaceful life. Pride was a sin and there was a reason it was among the seven deadly sins. Was it not pride that had led the greatest of angels to finally fall and take a third of heaven with him in his plunge into hell?
To be sure Diego had carved his own tombstone. giving money and support openly to men who rallied the people to finally throw off the corruption that had enslaved them for so long. Diego had called for change. An end to governments that openly traded with Cartel thugs. An end to a system that allowed both the Cartels and the Government to be used by foreigners, especially the Puppet Masters in Washington.
Garcia had childishly asked why his father had to die. What the men responsible could have been thinking. Roberta had tried, as she always did to shield him from the truth of things. But Roberta knew only too well, for men who killed and maimed in the name of ideals and principles, no reason was ever needed. Only an order given and a task performed.
Even now, days later Roberta could smell the too familiar scent as the the flames had climbed high to the sky. The bomb blast had been sudden and precise. While others had screamed or fled in horror, a part of Roberta she had worked to suppress came alive in the chaos. Her eyes instantly caught sight of her prey. A girl hanging around the stage. Their eyes had met only briefly but there was fear and something more familiar. Roberta had sprinted after her even as the police cordoned off the plaza and firemen moved into douse the flames.
The girl had started sprinting, moving quickly but the crowd had mutated into a fearful mob, screaming, crying and wailing. A seething mass of fear and panic that formed a blockade as effective as any fence. To shove against that blockade was to call attention to oneself and that was the last thing that anyone wanted.
Roberta had long ago learned to move in even the thickest crowd. She slipped unerringly through the mass of bodies, tracking her prey. Both women eventually broke free of the crowd and started sprinting. Roberta knew how fast she was. In another world, another life she might have been a champion runner yet she found herself barely keeping up with the young woman fleeing in front of her as both crossed the plaza and darted down a side street. The girl was fleeing toward a high cul-de-sac formed by three high walls. Two of them bordered large haciendas, and in the fashion of many houses in the area, broken cerveza bottles had been strewn across the top of the walls to form a barrier against the poor and simple.
The girl did not slow as she sprinted down the garbage can strewn alleyway. As she approached the wall, she increased her speed and jumped atop one of the cans using it to give her the height and momentum she needed to vault over the wall. Roberta had done such things herself and was surprised to find another whose physical abilities matched her own. Roberta made her own athletic leap over the wall, scooping a bottle as she passed over the barrier. As she touched down, she hurled the bottle with force at the girl's head. The bottle whirled through the air and smacked into the girl's palm as the girl turned on a dime and caught the bottle in her fist, crushing it as she did so.
Roberta might have been surprised at this, had she intended the bottle to stop the girl. Instead the purpose of the missile had been to distract the girl, make her look away for a second from her forward progress. The girl screamed as she pitched over a garbage can left in the sun with a loud squawk. She was climbing quickly back to her feet even as Roberta increased her speed and managed to tackle the girl, throwing her to the ground.
"Please I know nothing. I was just there I was scared." The Mystery Girl pleaded too loudly and too quickly.
"Liar," Roberta hissed "I can smell the lie on you. Now tell me who ordered Lovelace killed."
Instead of answering, The Girl had directed a kick at Roberta's head. The kick was clumsy and easily caught but there was a power to it. Roberta barely managed to halt the blow and she was unprepared for the power behind the kick which managed to shove her backward. The woman sprang off the ground and dove at Roberta. The Maid managed to block the power behind the first blow that would have taken her head off had it connected but not the follow up punch that drove the air from her lungs. "Contact with subject, proceeding with neutralization." The Girl whispered with her hand at her ear.
Roberta came off the ground and launched a blistering attack. By all rights, the Girl should have been a smear on the ground in seconds but she was matching Roberta blow for blow and hers were so strong and they seemed to be getting stronger. Roberta's strongest advantage was being able to outlast and overpower any opponent but against this girl, that ability deserted her here. The Girl was stronger then her, faster then her and soon Roberta found herself fighting defensively and then finally, inevitably, a battle just to stay alive. Trying to avoid powerful hammer blow after powerful hammer blow that rained down on her body, battering her fiercely.
"What's wrong with you?" The Mystery Girl screamed, "I saw you, You are the strong one, the dangerous one You're supposed to be the one who can kill me."
"Stop it!" The command was issued in perfect Spanish.
"Stay out of this it's none of your business." The woman called out dismissive before looking up and gasping in shocked recognition.
"I don't know what happened and I don't care. You are better then this, you may not know it but you are." The voice of the gringo was pleading and yet forceful all at once.
"Who are you, what are you doing here?" The Girl asked fearfully "You are ... Xander. I have dreamed you before."
"Slayer Dreams, those visions connect you with the history of a hundred girls who fight and died to protect the world. Your history, your heritage, if you want to be a part of it."
"You're lying, they said you would kill me, use me like men always use and hurt..."
"I can only imagine what you were told. Come with me, leave her alone and come with me. I can answer all the questions that have kept you awake at night. you will know who you are at last. What you were meant to be."
Suddenly the woman's eyes narrowed "Target not neutralized, civilian witness ..." she whispered. The response was final and quick in coming. "understood." the woman hissed with an almost lethal glee.
"No Witnesses huh?" the one-eyed gringo sighed
"No Witnesses," The Girl smiled wolfishly at him
Roberta used her distraction to launch a palm strike to the woman's mid section. the spot was one of many soft targets on a normal person and by rights the woman should have dropped to the ground in a curled ball of pain and agony. Instead the blow made the woman grunt painfully. She snarled and backhanded Roberta sending the Maid crashing into several more cans. Roberta groaned in pain, yet she had some cause for sadistic joy as the girl clutched her side. The Mystery Girl was strong but not as unaffected by Roberta's attack as she had seemed.
The girl turned to the man and stalked toward him. He held his ground though unmoving.
"If you kill me you'll never know why you are driven to go out at night and hunt the demons you see in those dreams of yours."
"I think I'll choke you, I saw my hands around your throat once. I have always wondered if I would ever have the chance."
"There is so much you don't know about yourself, so much I could teach you." The gringo said softly even as he reached into his pocket.
The Girl rushed him and the gringo dodged to the side, pulling something from his pocket. The girl came at him and then stopped, spasming. He was wielding a taser and had hit her with a charge.
"I'm betting you're shocked at this, no pun intended " The gringo said "What they didn't tell you, what they didn't know is that Slayers are just as human as the rest of us, just way stronger, you have soft spots on your body and you drop just like anyone else when you get electrocuted. Of course the level of charge that effects Slayers is high, really high, but it does the trick anyway."
The woman dropped to the ground rolled backward. her hand went to the ear-piece. "I can complete the mission, I just need..." She was cut off by whoever was on the other end of the line. She rose and fled with the One-Eyed Gringo watching her leave.
"Great Work Harris, bang-up job. you lost the girl and worse you let her ..." The Gringo looked at Roberta. "I'm sorry about your Master lady, I really am. If I had been faster, or smarter...anyway, you don't need to hear this. Just know that I will make this right somehow. I promise."
With that he had vanished. No doubt he thought himself unremarkable and quickly forgotten but Roberta had spent a lifetime leaning how to track unremarkable men. Those who could be surprisingly capable.
As Roberta stood under the scalding spray of water she knew a few things she did not before. the Assassination of Diego Lovelace was no act of untrained unskilled revolutionaries as the police had stated. There had been purpose and skill behind the act. Such skill would, by itself, aid in tracking the individuals involved.
She knew that The Girl was with them. She and another girl had arrived by plane in Caracas a month previously. They had been met at the airport by a man who was one of several who had been working in the plaza the day of the bomb blast.
She had also learned who Xander Harris was. He had arrived a week or so before the assassination. He had spent the better part of that week asking questions and showing pictures of various people including The Girl, around town. She also had a receipt from a shop on the far side of the plaza. The slip of paper had fallen from The Gringo's pocket during the fight. It was from a shop known for selling new age accessories to the foolish. Rumors still persisted however that the old lady within had access to the real thing. Roberta would know the truth of that soon enough.
Diego Lovelace was more then a master. He had saved her life. Saved her from a darkness that she now found swirling around her, calling to her, whispering promises of retribution. Before there had been the meek maid Roberta, there had been another, a soldier named Rosarita Cisnaros, the Bloodhound of Florencia they had called her.
She had done things as the Bloodhound that had stained her hands beyond the ability of any shower to wash clean and yet in the adoring eyes of the Garcia and the steady smile of Diego she had felt the blood fading away and her hands coming clean.
Soon she began to foolishly dream that the perfect world, the perfect life she lived now might go on and continue. That she might forget forever that there had ever been a time, a place, a world, that allowed such a base thing as Rosarita Cisnaros to live and breath. She had believed that God would forgive her for her past allow her some small measure of happiness. That dream was gone now but the howling beast The Bloodhound was still there. Its jaws slavered at the thought of the hunt to come.
These men who dealt in Death would learn what a true artisan of death could do.
This bitch who called herself Slayer would learn that calling yourself a killer did not make you one and it certainly did not make you skilled at bringing death to others.
As for this Harris, this Xander, she would learn what part he had played in the death of her master and if he and those behind him had been part of it, then heaven itself would not provide a safe refuge for this Xander from her wrath and vengeance.
She finally stepped from the shower. it was useless anyway the many sins she had committed still clung to her and the latest in the long line was the lie she had told to her beloved young master. He was worried for her, worried because he knew what she was capable of and what was stirring in her heart. He had pleaded with her to let go of the rage, the desire for vengeance. Roberta had sighed and told him what he wanted to hear, that his Roberta would always be with him and it was true. Roberta was in this house and her life was here.
Rosarita on the other hand, she had things to do and She had no place in the Lovelace mansion. She dressed quietly and then slipped out of the house. She took only one other thing from the house. An old black powder rifle that was part of the proud legacy of the Lovelace family. Rosarita had already decided that the men responsible for Diego's death would die by her hand with this weapon but as for The Girl, If what she had heard this Harris say was true, Rosarita was hunting something that was more then human. That was fine. If it could feel pain, then it could bleed and die.
Garcia would have protection including the young maid Fabiola. The girl was young and inexperienced but she was fiercely protective of Garcia as protective as Roberta herself was. Garcia would be fine while Roberta dealt with this matter.
She slipped out of the house and into the night. her first stop would be a bar on the outskirts of the poor section. Gentle inquires had placed one of the men she sought at this place and she was confident she would find him. Later when she had scouted the location, she would go to the new age shop and find out from the woman who ran the place what this Xander Harris had been doing in her shop.
After that, the hunt would begin in earnest.
Deep in the night A blood curdling howl sounded and every creature that could sense danger hunched down and prayed that the danger would pass quickly but Gods can be capricious and sometimes they do not answer the prayers of the men and beasts who plead with them.
The Bloodhound was on the hunt.