The Storm Gathers
Buffy walked up to Giles' door and knocked on it. The sun had just risen a few short hours ago...but sleep had evaded her last night. So instead of waiting Buffy had had gotten dressed. She pulled on a pair of brown, leather pants and a halter-top that left her midriff exposed. Grabbing a light jacket she had headed down to Giles' house, a feeling of nagging worry keeping her distracted... he door opened to reveal her slightly rumpled Watcher.
“Morning Giles!” Buffy said cheerfully as she stepped inside his townhouse.
A frown crossed his face, “Buffy, why are you here at...” Giles pulled a watch out of a pocket on his robe “at 7am in the morning?”
Turning around she replied, “I’m just here to get started. You're always saying there no time like the present!”
“Buffy,” Giles started as he took a closer look at the young woman he thought of as his own daughter. Behind the cheerful facade Giles could see the dark circles under her eyes and the worry lines “try again. And this time tell me the truth...I can see you're not all tea and scones this morning as you might have me believe...”
Her shoulders slumped as she realized she couldn't fool Giles, “I'm worried Giles, this isn't like them...or at least I don't think so,” Buffy sat down on the couch. “And something else is wrong, I don't know what but I have the feeling that things are going to get worse and I don't know what to do.”
“Worrying yourself like this will not help either Buffy.” Giles said, a mild yet reproachful tone in his voice.
“Lie down and rest for a few little while. I'll call the others and have them over here, ‘then’ we can work out what it is that happened and whatever else we might be facing.” Sitting down next to Buffy Giles put his arm around her and pulled her into a hug. “We've faced evil before and we'll do so again.”
Buffy let herself yawn as Giles stood up, a wave of exhaustion rolled over her as the last 36 hours and last night caught up with her. I'll just rest a minute, that's all... Lying down she snagged one of the little pillows on the couch and put it under her head as she stretched out.
“Yeah, just…a...minute,” Buffy mumbled. Dimly she was aware of Giles putting a light blanket over her as sleep finally caught up with her.
Giles looked down at Buffy [No one should have seen the evil she has. The only thing she should be worrying about is who to take out next Friday, not who will be alive. I pray she finds some happiness in this world...she deserves that much.]
Shaking off his dark thoughts Giles moved toward the kitchen and the phone, he had things to do and people to call.
In LA Faith woke with a scream from the nightmarish dream. She sat and shivered in reaction, as she slowly realized it was only a dream.
[No, not just a dream], Faith realized with growing fear, [Slayer Dream].
She came out of bed like she had been shot from a cannon, practically sprinting across the room to her weapon's chest. She jerked it open, and with frantic haste began piling weapons into the duffle bag next to the chest.
After she zips the bag closed, she stops just long enough to yank on her shoes and snatch up her black leather duster before she bolts out the door of her apartment and down the stairs.
As Faith came out of the first floor doors to the apartment complex, a six and a half foot tall biker drinking with his buddies in the parking lot looked up and slurred out, “Well lookie here boys, we got ourselves a little lady wanting to join the party!”
Faith looked over at the large biker that has stood up and is heading her way. [Fuck! I have no TIME to deal with a drunken, amorous biker and his posse.] “Sorry boys, I'm running late already, I got to get to a friend in a hurry.”
The bikers face turns red “You've got some ‘Friends’ right here! Now why don't you have a seat,” as he pats the spot next to where he had been sitting for emphasis. “And I can show you just much better a time you'll have right here!”
As his buddies laugh at their leaders ‘Suggestion’, Faith's eyes harden. “I won't say it again boozer, stay the fuck outta my way. I've got no time to bullshit with you.”
His friends avidly watch him roar in anger at her challenge, then charge the tall but slight girl, expecting to see him flatten her. Instead they watch as she easily ducks his fists and then brings her knee up with unbelievable force into his groin. His buddies all cringe in sympathy as they see Scar drop to his knees, bellowing his agony and clutching his injured manhood as he jackknifes forward, he runs right into an uppercut that sends him sprawling on his back.
As his friends watch in shocked silence, Faith considers her adversary speculatively [hmmm I need a ride, and he's got one. ]
Decision made, she fishes the keys to his bike out of his front vest pocket, then turns to guy's friends. “HEY! Which of those hogs is his?”
As one they all point to a large black, and obviously powerful Harley Davidson “Thanks!”
As if she'd rode one all her life, she climbed aboard, started it up, roaring off as the other bikers watched. “You think we should have stopped her?” asked one of the younger bikers.
The only response the others gave was to look at him like he was insane.
And all the while, on the way to Sunnydale Faith thought Just let me get there in time.
ADAM accessed the files on The Slayer and Buffy Summers and started sifting thru what was known. The file on the Slayer was rather brief and if it could be said ADAM doubted it was entirely accurate as to her full capabilities. He frowned, though it could only be said that ADAM's face moved only minutely from its normal impassive appearance. ADAM reviewed the information that was backed up by some sort of data and discarded everything else. Enhanced strength and speed; possibly enhanced healing which would indicate either a mutation at the genetic level or a careful manipulation of DNA. “Interesting, but nonetheless hardly useful information Mother. Let us see what is in the file of Buffy Summers.”
[Born on September 13, 1982 Elizabeth Ann Summers aka Buffy Summers, to Hank and Joyce Summers…useless. Bypass non-essential personal information; expand search parameters to include odd behavior and occurrences…
1997 - LAPD reported finding her out in cemeteries on several occasions. A final entry indicates she was considered a primary suspect in the arson case of her school gym burning down…20 students went missing from the prom after being attacked by a gang of PCP users…
1998 - Summers moved to Sunnydale, CA. Police reports and school records for the next 3 years indicate she was found at or near the scene of multiple odd occurrences, most likely demons.
By all records this Slayer is headstrong and rash. Such behavior indicates a weak mind and one not prone to looking for the subtle or hidden clues. This also makes her a potential threat. Her threat level is low due to her simple mind, but unlike Mother I will not allow her to interfere with my plans. Since she acts rashly, that is a weakness that can be exploited. However her DNA may be of use, I will have her corpse returned back to the laboratory for further analysis.]
Setting his search parameters ADAM quickly found what he was looking for. “The Omega Project…” ADAM murmured. Getting up he walked down to the secured laboratory of OMEGA. Walking in ADAM moved to the door he wanted, a titanium door 10" thick. There was a small window to allow a view of the creature inside and written on the door, “HOSTILE 225”. ADAM smiled as the creature within raised its head to stare at ADAM with unblinking eyes, “Yes, this shall remove the Slayer from my way….”
Buffy frowned as she thought about the meeting this morning. Not much got solved other than they’ll all stay more alert. But then not much they ‘can’ do I guess.
She turned towards the rear exit of the Rosefield Cemetery, Damn this has been a bust tonight, I haven’t seen a vamp anywhere, it’s almost like they’d all gone elsewhere.
Buffy’s Slayer sense went haywire right as something slammed into her back throwing her forward and slamming her into a tree. Bouncing up off the ground Buffy landed in a crouch looking around she saw a creature that seemed to be a mix of demon, machine and human standing about 10 feet away. It was easily six and a half feet tall and just as wide.
“What the hell are you?? A bad example of mix and match parts?” Buffy quipped but her right side was throbbing, she was pretty sure she had cracked a rib.
“Ahh! Humor…yes? An unusual concept among many that humans have developed.”
Buffy charged the creature and ducked under the arm that swung at her. Her leg swept out to knock the thing on the ground, but when her leg hit the creature it felt like she had just hit steel. Dodging to her left Buffy avoided the fist that punched down where her head was a moment ago. Buffy came up and launched a series of kicks knocking the creature back, stepping in close she switched attacks and landed blow after blow to the things head, only to see her attack did nothing. A skewer popped out of the creature’s right arm and Buffy barely sidestepped it, she felt the blade rip her shirt and jacket open and cut her stomach. Jumping up Buffy kicked out with both feet on the creature’s chest and used the momentum to push her backwards and away from it.
Landing on her feet she moved into a crouch, breathing heavily. What the hell is this thing??? Nothing I do even makes a dent on it! I have to get clear of this thing, find out how to kill it.
“Slayer, is that the best you are capable of?? I wonder why Mother was so concerned about you. It will be of no consequence shortly.”
Buffy watched as the creature started to walk towards her and suddenly stopped. “Interesting. Let us see what this variable will do to the equation.” Just as the creature finished talking she heard a soft “thump” sound and a small object landed near her and started spewing gray smoke obscuring her vision.
“GO! GO! GO!” came voices from the smoke.
Oh shit!! Not now!! Buffy moved to her right as a tazer beam slashed out of the smoke and struck where she had just been standing.
A commando rose out of the smoke just off to her left, Buffy dove towards him, tackling him. Two quick blows to his head knocked him out. As she slowly got to her feet, she could see dim shapes moving thru the smoke.
Buffy was quickly surrounded by 4 of the commandoes, folding her arms casually, “You really don’t want to do this guys. Why don’t you just go home? Shooo!” Buffy made shooing gestures with her hands.
The leader spoke to one of the ones behind her, “Hans, cuff her. We’ll take her back to the backup HQ for questioning.”
The commando to her left started to walk towards her and pulled out a pair of metal handcuffs. Buffy watched as he tossed them towards the one standing behind her. As the cuffs reached the high point in their arc, NOW!!!! Buffy said in her mind as everything around her began to slow down.
Her left arm shot up inside the arm of the commando facing her with the pistol, shoving it away, her right hand snapped out, her knuckles slamming into the commando’s throat hard enough make breathing difficult. While the her first victim dropped his weapon and went to his knees holding his injured throat, she grabbed him by his shoulders and threw him at the one, ‘Hans’, who was behind her.
Running for the trees Buffy zigzag’s to avoid the taser fire from the last 2 commandos’. Glancing over her shoulder Buffy saw one of them right behind, chasing her. As she neared a set of trees Buffy leapt up towards the tree and as she touched it she pushed off and used the momentum to carry her over the charging commando. As she landed she pulled out one of her stakes and threw it at the commando’s head, hitting him hard enough with the blunt end to knock him cold.
Before she could react Buffy screamed as the electrical charges of two taser blasts hit her in the back. She collapsed to her knees as the two standing commandos fired a second volley. Rolling over out of the way she tried to avoid being hit, but to no avail as the taser blasts continued to overload her body. Struggling to her feet Buffy staggered several steps and collapsed behind a tree, her body twitching from the electrical blasts. No! I have…to…get…aw…a…y… were her last thoughts as she passed out.
Gabrielle had watched the Slayer deal with the sudden attack by the commando’s, Hmmm; she’s doing quite well. I’ll just stay back then and just make sure she gets away.
The grey mist clouded her sight for several seconds and she lost sight of the Slayer, until she heard her screaming. Rushing out of her hiding place Gabrielle moved quickly through the trees to where she heard the scream. Damn! Something’s gone wrong!!
Her night vision finally adapted to the mist and Gabrielle saw 2 humans standing by a third that was lying on the ground. Abandoning any thought of stealth she smiled savagely as she felt her claws slide out. Roaring she leapt from above at the closest human. Gabrielle’s claws raked the commando from his shoulder to his stomach and bounded back into the trees before he had even seen his attacker. She left him to scream his last few seconds of life away, as he tried to put his intestines back inside.
The other commando whirled at the sound of his teammate’s scream, and gagged at the sight of his partner’s injuries. He leaped backward to put his back against a tree, so as to protect his back while he radioed in for back up.
The second human was reaching for something at his belt as she dropped on him from above, breaking both his arms. Her fangs sank into his neck and Gabrielle drained him dry. Finished with him she let his body drop to the ground before she walks over to the Slayer to check on her injuries.
Other than those rifle blasts, she seems fine. I guess we’ll have to interfere sooner than expected, Xena won’t be too thrilled with that but there’s nothing that can be done about it. Lifting the Slayer into her arms she moved quickly thru Sunnydale to the Slayer’s home.
After taking a quick look to see if anyone had spotted her then realizing there was no one to see her, Gabrielle sped forward to lay the Slayer down on the porch near the front door. Just as she reached the shadows across the street, Gabrielle stopped as she heard a motorcycle roar down the street to stop in the Slayers driveway. With a shock, Gabrielle recognized the brunette that was getting off as the second Slayer [what is she doing here? I better stick around a minute, as Xena will want as much information as we can get.]
Unaware that she was being watched, Faith walked quickly towards the front door hoping that Buffy was back from patrol when she saw the limp form lying in front of the door. Dropping her duffle bag and leaping forward, the fear she had been feeling since she woke up from the dream squeezing her heart like a fist made of ice. When Faith turned the body onto its back her heart almost stopped when she saw it was Buffy, her fear that she had been too late threatening to choke her [Oh god no!!! I’m too late!]
But as she watched, Faith realized that the blonde Slayer was still breathing, if too shallowly for her liking, “Always knew you were one tough cookie, B.” Faith quickly opened the front door, then picked up the fallen Slayer and carried her inside, kicking the door shut when she was inside.
Across the street, Gabrielle smiled [So she cares more for the other Slayer than she shows. Good, very good.] As she disappeared into the night heading for the lair, Gabrielle thinks about the two Slayers [There is no destiny that fate can throw at someone, that cannot be borne, as long as you keep the ones you love close at your side.]
End Chapter 4