Only So Far...For Now.
Disclaimer: I still don’t own any of it. It is still in possession of Joss and Blizzard.
Chapter Title: Only so far…for now.
After everything said in the library was done, I waited for a few minutes before checking out the “Relic Crafting” book and making my way back to class. It gave me time to process this new information and to decide what would be the best way to move on with it.
The rest of the day throughout the classes I barely paid attention and used the time to consider all of the things I had learned about Buffy.
I took stock of my situation compared to hers and ran through the information that Uncle Rory had left me with before leaving.
From what he had said, the slayer was a warrior in the service of the Watchers Council and was last heard to be in Los Angeles dealing with a master vampire named Lothos. Her watcher at the time Merrick, had been killed by the same master vampire early on in her calling and she had been believed to have been hunting down the vampire menace in L.A. since. There had been no mention of her moving on to SunnyDale or of another watcher being assigned to her as of yet.
‘I guess that they found out about her dealings and waited for the move here before sending another watcher to guide her.’
I had found out through Willow later that the old man in the library was in fact the new librarian and that his name was Mr. Giles. She also told me that she had mentioned to Buffy about the “Bronze” night club, and Buffy had told her she would see her there.
‘Hmm, well I know that I am definitely attracted to her and the similar duties don’t exactly hurt the facts either. But I was also told that the order wanted me to remain anonymous and not to attach myself to anyone to extensively, something to do with the life expectancy and not being able to save everyone. Of course, they didn’t tell me or Rory about the slayer being stationed her either. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that they were unaware themselves of the slayers activities and what led her from L.A. to SunnyDale or that it would be her that I had wanted to form a bond with.’
However, her stating that she was retired puts a dampener on that information. If she refuses her calling, what kind of relationship could we have if I have a similar duty and she wants nothing to do with it?
Deciding to put off my thoughts on the situation, I continued on with the day at school before walking both Jesse and Willow home. I had told them that I would be there later on at the Bronze, but that I had some things to do at home before then.
Walking home after leaving Jesse’s house, I had started to wonder into my thoughts concerning Buffy once more and had come to no definite decisions. I guess that it will take some time to review the facts and what may be the best course of action from here.
But there was one really concerning piece of information that bothered me greatly.
Can a slayer retire?
Later that night.
As I walk down the street heading towards the address of the Bronze, I think back on the discussion that I had with my mother just a little while ago. Her coming to my room as I was trying to decide on what outfit that I would wear tonight, she wanted to mention her feelings on moving here and the friends I was making already.
She was happy to hear that I had in fact made a few today, and that one of them was a guy I was finding myself becoming attracted to.
Telling her the small stories from my run-ins with Xander through the day, her face brightened and she giggled some at the mention of his word bumbling whenever he tried to introduce himself or impress me.
She gave me some encouragement on my interests with him, but had also given small friendly warnings on the difficulties of trying to find a new relationship with someone, that sounded to her as far from different from Pike as could be.
But my thoughts were more on her issues about me falling into the wrong crowd as it was.
It wasn’t me falling into the wrong crowd really; it was my so called destiny of being the slayer. It had shifted my priorities a little too much, and I ended up hurting those around me because of that fact.
It had also put stress on both my social life and my parent’s marriage, which they ended up getting a divorce for just three months ago.
‘I know that it was due mostly to other reasons, but my troubles sure as hell didn’t help much either.’
It started to affect my home life most really, when Pike had left to hunt on his own and I got into a situation that came a little too close to home.
A nest of vamps had been feeding off of some of my old high schools populace and I had tried to take it out. I had succeeded for the most part, but two or three of the suckers tracked me back to my house and tried to ambush me in front of my own parents.
Well needless to say, it didn’t exactly go as I had planned, and I only ended up looking like a crazy person to my parents when I started to beat on the vamps with a wood baseball bat before they even tried attacked us. My folks just sat back for a while and watched as I did all of this.
After I was done scaring the vamps away, they just went off on me yelling their contempt for the situation.
I had thought that with the situation I would be able to tell them the truth about who I am, and given what they had seen it would be easy. But they just shook their heads and told me that it was crazy, and that I was acting the same way if I had truly believed it.
So they decided that with my failing grades, my empty social life, my affiliation with Pike who they didn’t like all that much, and the fact that I had told them I was a vampire slayer, that it was either drugs or I was mentally ill. So their only option in their opinion was to really consider what health care institution to drop me off at.
Yep, I was in the Looney bin.
Thankfully, after about a month of being there I had finally convinced them that I was just depressed, and had stress induced borderline schizophrenia.
So they gave me some hypertension medication and sent me home. Back to a house that was breaking apart before I had even arrived.
After the divorce was finalized, my mother became depressed herself for awhile and had locked herself in her room for a week.
When she came out of the room, she had a look of grim determination on her face, went out and tried to fine some sort of stability. She ended up coming home with a job opportunity and a speech in which she told that me in no uncertain way that we were moving.
So after ten weeks of preparation at another art gallery owned by the same ones wanting to open up in SunnyDale, we packed up the house and moved.
So, here I am in SunnyDale, trying to make fresh start and trying to stay away from the elements that are present in the life of a slayer. Hence, the friends, and the new relationship interests, which are all a part of my plan to lead a more normal life.
Shaking my head to clear my thoughts on what my past was like, I cross a street and walk along side of a large brick building.
That’s when I start to get the feeling that someone is following me.
Being a slayer did give me some qualities that I was thankful for, main among them was the fact that I was trained to take care of myself and to prepare for most possibilities.
As soon as I see a break in the building indicating an alleyway, I turn into it and look around for what I could use to surprise this stalker.
Looking up I spot a bar running from one building to another, perfect.
I jump up and grasp the bar, beginning to swing like a gymnast. I come to the arc of my swing and stop with my feet pointing straight up, and wait.
Not a minute later I see a man walking into the alleyway from the same direction as I came in and I mentally prep myself for what I want to happen.
As the man walks under the bar I am using I swing down and kick him with both feet in the back causing him to flip forward onto his back.
Placing my hands on my hips I wait for him to come to his senses before I put a foot onto his chest.
“I’m sorry ma'am, is there a problem?” asks the stalker guy.
“Yes there is a problem, why are you following me?” I ask the stalker.
“I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry, I don’t bite.” said the stalker in a nervous voice.
I take a closer look at him and have to admit for a stalker, he is kinda cute. Deciding that his words are enough to peek my interest, I take my foot off his chest and allow him to stand.
“Truth is I thought that you would be taller or bigger muscles and all that. You’re pretty spry though.” said the stalker as he rubs the back of his neck to ease the pain from my attack.
“What do you want?” I ask the stalker.
“The same thing that you do.” says the stalker.
“Alright, I’m game, what do I want?” I ask the stalker.
“To kill them, to kill them all.” says the stalker.
“Sorry, that’s incorrect. But you do get this watch and the year supply of turtle wax. What I want is to be left alone.” I tell the stalker in an annoyed but determined voice.
I start to move past him and back the way I came, but his voice stops me.
“Do you really think that that is an option anymore, I mean I know that there are others, but come on? You’re standing on the mouth of hell and you don’t want to turn your back on this.” says the stalker.
The words that there is others, that there people doing this peeks my interest particularly.
I turn to look more intently at him.
“Hold on, what do you mean others?” I ask the stalker.
He looks at me for a moment with a confused face, and takes a small bag out of his pocket.
“Other Hunters, like the one that killed the Sker Loc demon yesterday night. I thought that your watcher would tell you about them.” says the stalker.
I think over what Giles was mentioning and what he hasn’t told me yet. It is possible that he does know about others that are out there but with my pig headedness, and me walking out before he finished his speech; I didn’t give him time to tell me much.
“I’m sure he just forgot to mention it.” I tell the stalker.
He tosses me the small bag and put a smirk onto his face.
“You’ve got to be ready.” the stalker tells me.
I look at the small bag and then bag up to him.
“What for?” I ask the stalker.
“The Harvest.” he tells me with a now annoyingly cute smile.
“Who are you?” I ask him.
“Let’s just say, I’m a friend.” says the stalker as he turns to walk away.
“Yeah, well maybe I don’t want a friend.” I tell him.
He turns and his smile gets a little more annoying.
“I didn’t say that I was yours.” he tells me as he walks backwards down the alleyway.
I look down at the small bag and empty the contents.
Inside is a traditional gold cross and chain.
I put decide to put the cross on and move opposite the way he left, back the way I had came.
After I got home, I got a quick bite to eat and had a shower. Once done with that, I chose an outfit that would both be good for a night at the Bronze and for my patrol that I had planned on doing afterwards.
Just a deep red shirt and a pair of black jeans, along with my duster and I would be well protected for my plans for later.
As I pull on my battle harness and check over my sword, I start to think of Buffy and what she uses or had used I guess when she went out on patrol.
‘As a slayer I suppose the prerequisite would of course be stakes, but what else was she good at using. I was trained to use a variety of weapons, mostly bladed, but is she the type that would use a gun or a crossbow if needed, or was she just trained with the basics and used them for the most part? I guess that I may never find out.’
Heading out of my home fully prepared and equipped for anything that I may run across, I head for the Bronze.
It only being a few blocks away was pretty nice to me, it was easy to get back home if I needed and it was close enough for nights like this when I would go have a good time then leave for patrol.
I was only about two blocks away from the club when the feeling of bubble gum and chewing tobacco came back.
I remember yesterday when I had felt this particular feeling and had went to search for it, that it had just disappeared. That kinda irritated me somewhat, and I decided that if this was another shot at finding out what it was. I would not pass up the opportunity.
Walking along side of one of the docking warehouses, I sensed that the BG&CT was nearby and possibly in the upcoming alleyway.
So taking initiative I moved to intercept it.
When I came to the alleyway I saw that it was walled off with a collection of tin sheets, one of which acted as a door, a door that was now opening.
I had only a moment to react and when the door fully opened I saw a man dressed in a black trench coat stepping out onto the sidewalk.
Taking stock of the man I saw, I pushed passed the feeling of BG&CT and instantly recognized him as a vampire.
Moving quickly before he could defend himself properly, I surprised him by kicking him with as much power as I could in the chest.
Launching him back into the alleyway, and out of the visage of any passerby’s.
I stepped through the doorway and closed it behind me, making sure no one could see what would be happening.
Centering my focus on the vampire, I tossed up my aura and mentally prepared myself for the fighting I am sure will be happening.
I watched him as he began to roll over onto his knees attempting to stand, and rushed forward to take as much of an advantage as I could to his situation.
I only got to within a few feet of him before he looked up to see me coming.
‘Maybe I will be too late to catch him on the ground, but I’ll be damned if he will get out of this alley without a fight.’
Coming to a stop in front of him, I move automatically into a fighting stance.
But even so, I set myself with a look of determination and voiced out an intimidating remark, hoping to at the least off balance him.
“Dude, you would have just been better off staying on the ground and taking the stake. But no, you gotta be a dumbass suck head and get up. Man am I gonna fuck you up for your mistake before I make you dust.” I tell the vamp.
He just puts a scowl up and assumes a defensive posture, preparing for an attack.
“Look hunter, you got the wrong idea. I’m not your enemy, I am trying to help.” he tells me.
I take in his words and only let them distract me for a moment, before I move to attack.
Launching at him with a quick jab, he bats it aside and strikes with a left roundhouse kick to catch me in the ribs. I grunt at the attack and drop my right arm down to snare his foot in my grasp and pull him backwards off balance.
Taking the advantage of it, I strike out with a left punch and catch him in the temple, before I follow up with a right cross swing to his chin. He in return blinks at my attack as if he is momentarily surprised and rolls back across the alleyway onto his feet.
‘I guess he wasn’t expecting to be fighting someone with triple the capabilities of a normal guy in my condition.’
Using his movement to further my advantage, I take quick steps and give him another full powered kick to the center of his chest as he comes to his feet. Launching him across the alleyway to hit the wall of the nearest building hard.
I watch as he grimaces from the strike and the damage done to him from the wall, but he quickly recovers and strikes out at me with a straight right hand strike.
Catching the wrist of his right hand, I pull on his arm, forcing his body to turn making his back face me.
Taking cue of the movement, he swings out with a left backhand and hits nothing but air as I duck underneath. I then strike out with a right kidney shot, followed by a left uppercut to his jaw stunning him.
As he is stunned, I grip onto the back of his collar and palm strike his chest again, giving me the sound of ribs breaking and using the momentum to throw him sideways back into the wall yet again.
As he bounces off the wall, I reach for a stake off my harness and prep myself to dust him.
Unfortunately, he had recovered quick enough to take advantage of the moment and jumps at me, hitting me in the chest with a front kick.
Staggering back, I take stock of the power he used behind the attack, and my mind comes to the conclusion that this is no fledgling, that this vamp must be at the least a hundred.
Taking additional caution at the discovery, I move back into a defensive stance.
He strikes out with another kick trying to catch me at my knee, to which I just lift my leg to dodge, but then follows up with grab at my shirt to flip me over onto my back.
Grunting once again at the impact of another of his moves, I see him standing over me, looking to bend down for either another attack or a quick kill.
I quickly take action kipping back to spring from my shoulders; I kick up with both feet to catch him in the jaw.
Sending him onto his back and me onto my feet with a twist.
I turn quickly and watch as he kips up from the ground, but I use this to my advantage as well. Stepping forward at the same time as his back arches off the ground; I wait for his face to come into view.
Using my right elbow for a strike that takes merely a split second to execute, I strike down into his diaphragm.
The result, breaking his ribs further and indenting his chest, bending him in half mid air.
Then letting the strength of the strike force him onto the ground once again.
Seeing him spit out blood, I place my booted heel onto the now indented chest cavity and push down.
“You know I told you that it would have just been easier to just get dusted and save yourself the pain. But no, the suck head had to push his luck. You know, the only reason I even found you is because you give off a strange feeling for a dead guy, and I wanted to know what the hell it was. So I guess before I dust you, I might as well ask. What is with you exactly? Why do you give of a feeling of bubblegum and chewing tobacco to me?” I ask him as he tries to get his bearings.
I look into his eyes and try to reach out further with my senses delving into the body of the vamp with them. After a few moments of feeling through the sense of chewing tobacco, I determine that it is possibly the blood demon that has infested this body and has somehow become displaced.
‘What the heck is that about?’
I move on to the feeling of the bubble gum, and as I feel through that sensation for a minute, I start to get the inclination that it is somehow familiar. After a few more moments trying to place it, I become shocked at the discovery and take a step back, taking my foot off his chest.
‘What the hell? A soul?’
“What the fuck is going on here? Why do you have a fucking soul? The demon is supposed to have destroyed that before it takes up residence. What the…?” I yell out at the vamp and then finish with a low confused voice.
I watch as he comes to his knees and pull out my cross and another stake for precaution.
After another minute he looks up at me and stares directly into my eyes.
“I tried to tell you that you had the wrong idea, that I am trying to help, that I was different. I know that I am a vampire, but I am kinda different from that as the fact that I have a soul shows it. I got cursed a while back and I was given my soul in order to be punished for all the transgressions and evil that the demon did. Now, I try to help out here and there, trying to make up in some way for all the stuff that I caused. I was told to come here and to help the slayer.” the vamp tells me.
As I work through the information just given to me, I start to come up with questions for the vamp and try to work through all my training to not forsake the soul and stake him anyway.
‘He said he was sent here to help Buffy, is he aware that she thinks that she is retired? That she wants nothing to do with this life anymore? And just who the hell sent him anyway?’
After a few moments of silence I finally come to terms with the information and rein in on my instincts.
“Okay, that just fine and fucking dandy. So, you got a soul. Fine, my main problems now are simple to figure out after I consider all the information you just gave me. One. You said that you were sent here to help the slayer. I want to know by who and why I should allow it to happen. Two. How would you help the slayer? You’re a vamp, and I doubt if she knew that that she would trust you. And finally, three. Who are you, and why do you want to help?” I inform the vampire.
After a moment, the vamp nods his head and stands to his full height.
“I’ll tell you what, how about a compromise? You answer three of my questions and I will answer yours. Deal?” the vamp says.
I work through his suggestion and come to the decision that it is an equal compromise, and if I wanted the information to further my agenda to defend the hellmouth, as well as try to protect Buffy, I would have to compromise. But I also must not let him know who I am, if it by some way reaches any of my friends, my life will certainly become interesting.
“Fine, but I have a term that must be included or no deal.” I inform the vamp.
He nods and motions for me to continue.
“You cannot know my name, for one I don’t trust you and I certainly don’t know if you are what you say you are or not yet.” I tell him.
“Fine by me, we can even alternate between us on the questions. Agreed?” he asks.
“Agreed, ask your first question.” I tell him.
“I saw you take out a Sker Loc yesterday night and from our fight I can tell you aren’t a normal human. So my question is, what are you?” he asks.
I nod my head at his question that was certainly one I was expecting.
“I am of the “Order of Vallius” and no I am not a normal human. In fact if you want to get technical, I am more human than 99.9% of the rest of the world’s human population. My lineage ties all the way back to the descendants of the race of man that was first on this plane, the humans that had pushed out the old ones. Because of the lineage, I am gifted with certain qualities that allow me to become stronger, faster, and more durable than that of a normal human.” I inform him.
I see him nod at this information and I motion for him to answer one of mine.
“I was sent here by a balance demon that goes by the name of Whistler. He is a for lack of better term, a messenger for the Powers That Be, which from what he has told me, are a group of ascended beings that try to safe guard life on the mortal planes. Mostly by making sure certain stuff happens or certain people help to do certain things, you know big picture stuff.” He informs me.
I take in the information and mentally file it for research later.
“Why are you here?” he asks me.
Yet another question that I was expecting from him.
“I was directed here by the “Order” to defend the stability of the hellmouth and to insure its level of dormancy that it is currently at, if not, seal it if I can.” I tell him.
He stares at me for a moment with a look of deep consideration, and then rolls into my next question.
“I would help the slayer by gathering needed information within the demonic underworld and by being a guide to her if she wanted. That was what I was told I should do, when Whistler told me to come here.” He tells me.
I take a moment to bolster myself for his final question, so far they have all been expected questions, but with my luck, I have a tendency for people to ask me something vital at an inopportune time.
“I just got done talking to the slayer right before you attacked me; I informed her that I had seen you kill the Sker Loc last night. She seemed to not know that you were here, or what you were doing here. So my question is do you want her to continue to not know that you are doing what you are doing under her nose?” he asks me with a slight smirk.
‘Yep, there is the shoe dropping. I knew it was only a matter of time.’
“At this time I don’t want her to know about me. In time maybe, but I was given strict instructions from the order to not let anyone outside of the demonic circles know about me. If she knew, it might spread to some others that I would really prefer not know. So the answer to your question is, yes. I want her to be left in the dark about me and what I am doing.” I tell him.
I see his smirk drop and a look of clarity come over his face.
“Then I won’t tell her anymore beyond what she already knows, and until you feel comfortable with her knowing, I will take it with me until my final death.” He tells me.
Listening to his declaration, my trust and respect levels just jumped up a degree. If he keeps to his word and no one finds out about me until I am ready, I could get to like this guy. Vampire or not.
“Thanks, that is really honorable of you. I may get to a level of respect to where I can trust you yet.” I tell him.
“For your final question, I can only tell you that my name is Angel, and that I want to help. Not only to make up for the things that my demon did, but also to seek forgiveness for the stupidity that I used that allowed it to come into this world in the first place.” Says Angel.
I nod at his words and my levels of respect jump even further for the vamp.
In a show of it, I put away my cross and stake and extend my hand.
He seems slightly taken back at my action and looks at me quizzically before he grasps it to reciprocate.
“I just want to tell you something, to make it clear on what my stance is. You are a vampire, and unless you wake up one day suddenly human again, you will always be a vampire. So don’t expect me to ever trust you fully, but what you just did, you earned some trust and a small deal of respect from me. If you hold to it, and maybe work at it more, then maybe one day I could trust you enough to know who I am.” I inform him with a hope filled look on my face.
I see him smile slightly and nod once at my declaration.
“But, if you turn on me or try to harm others, it won’t be god that will damn you. I will come and claim that right.” I tell him in no uncertain terms as I squeeze his hand almost to the point of pain for him.
I see him look into my eyes and nod more stiffly at these words.
“Well it was definitely…interesting to meet you Angel. But I got a group of people that I have to go and meet. You take care now.” I tell him as I turn to walk down the alleyway toward the tin door.
“Yeah, it was definitely interesting.” I hear him say softly, as I exit through the doorway and out onto the sidewalk.
I quickly look at my watch and realize that I am nearly a half an hour late at getting to the Bronze and I pick up the pace.
‘I hope that Buffy didn’t find anyone else to dance with.’
End of Chapter 4