Part 4: Unexpected Allies
"Bloodlust is a powerful thing. Desire for revenge. The desire for control." -Ian Nottingham
"Sounds exciting" -Angel
The day was coming to an end, dusk was beginning to rise, the sky slowly growing black. The residents of the town were hurrying to their homes. The darkness was not a welcome time in the small Southern California town. Things that most people only thought were manifest in their worst nightmares was reality here. Monsters and demons were actually here, not fictional or creatures of lore and superstitions.
Most people saw it as a small town, but to the darker elements of life this was the big city. The Mecca for the things that moved around the fringes of society or dwelled in the darkness. This was the Mouth of Hell, better known as Sunnydale. There in the gray area was one small group keeping the dark things from the innocent people of Sunnydale. At the head of this group was a small petite girl with dishwater blonde hair, green eyes and a one hell of a roundhouse. She was the Slayer, the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to hunt the forces of evil. It was not a choice that she had in life it was her destiny, something that she had finally accepted a long time ago.
Buffy and the group, better nicknamed the "Scoobies" were out on patrol in one of the townís many graveyards. The activity had been steady, each of the group had been teamed in pairs of two, Buffy with her unexpected beau, Spike. He was a pale, tall, platinum blonde spiked out haphazardly, with pale blue eyes. Spike was dressed in a black leather duster, combat boots, a black cotton tee shirt over that a electric blue silk button up shirt, black denim jeans. He looked more like a punk than anything, what was hidden behind the human face was a vampire with golden eyes and protruding ridges above his eyes and a sharp set of fangs. He was calmly chatting with the young woman, blue gray smoke being exhaled from his nose. His true face hidden from the casual observer.
Just a few feet away was a older British man that the group often called by his surname, Giles. He had dull brown hair speckled with some gray hair, hazel eyes behind the neat gold framed glasses. He was dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a ivory cable knit sweater under a kaki green sport coat and a pair of mahogany colored dress shoes. He was with Buffyís sister, Dawn, the youngest member of the Scoobies. Her long dark brown hair was blunt cut, her pale skin was only made starker by the black shirt. Her youthful blue eyes trying desperately to pierce the veil of the night, keeping an eye out for anything. Dawn had hoped that she would have been teamed up with Xander or Willow, but that hadnít happened. Just the same she felt equally as safe with Giles. The once school librarian and watcher was like a father to both herself and Buffy.
No more than five feet away was Willow a red head young woman of Buffyís age in her early twenties. The green eyes of the red head were like Buffyís, keeping and eye out for anything that was likely to lunge out at them. Beside her was the young timid blonde, or so she appeared to be, the blonde young woman was at best a powerhouse when she and Willow teamed up, they were equally scary to any creature that dared attack them. They were witches and both very powerful. They also were in love, for lack of a better word, they had a bond that went beyond friendship, sisterhood, and had delved into something that both had no word for.
Further away from the pair of witches was a tall young man, dark hair and brow eyes that were like a commando, keeping an eye out for the unexpected. The shorter red head next to him often referred to him as Xander. He would smile and slip his arm around her shoulders, quietly reassuring her that she would be fine and that he would as well if anything. The second red head in the party was named Anya, a ex-demon excommunicated from DíHoffrynís inner circle, she was once the patron saint of scorned women everywhere. She had been called to reek vengeance upon the very man next to her, and odd twist of events had called them both to this point. Once the feared name of Anyayanka was whispered and her power was great, somewhere she had forgotten about reclaiming her powers and had settled into being a human once again.
Things had been quite tonight and the gang had preferred that the small town would be that way more often. However it was the mouth of hell and things just never were quiet for long. It wasnít long before the sounds of a fight had gotten the Slayerís attention, following the petite dishwater blonde. They soon found out that the fight was between to large dogs who had decided that they had score to settle with each other that could not wait another moment. Buffy turned to the platinum blonde next to her.
"Okay, I think this patrol has been over for a good ten minutes." she rolled her eyes. "Whadya think guys, call it a night?"
"Suffice to say I have to agree with you Buffy, its been a-a rather quite night." Giles addressed the small group.
"So Iíve wasted another Friday night?" Dawn rolled her eyes. "I could have been out with Jake and having a rather dull time versus being here and being bored out of my mind."
"Okay," Buffy began. "Next time you can stay at home with Xander and Anya. I just thought you might want to spend time with me."
Spike had averted his eyes from the argument between the sisters for just a brief second, when a movement of two women across the street caught his attention. Both women were tall, one with auburn hair, light colored eyes, she was dressed in a rather fitted pair of jeans, a short gray shirt and a black leather waist length jacket with a pair of heavy boots. The glimpse of gun holster and the nine millimeter was enough to know that this woman was in some sort of law enforcement. The other woman was younger than the first, she had dark black hair and light eyes, she was dressed in a pair of flared jeans, heavy boots as well, her top was a navy blue tank and she wore a duster not unlike his own. Spike had seen the younger womanís duster hung lower on one side.
Turning his attention back to the group he nudged Buffy and nodded to the retreating form of the two women. Buffy turned and looked at them, her brow furrowed as Spike explained what he had seen.
"So why are they out at this time of night, alone and unarmed?" Xander posed the question.
"Because their not from here," Spike folded his arms across his chest. "I heard the older one mention something about New York and the younger one mention Seacover."
"Seacover is in Washington state," Willow provided. "I remember that there was a case of ritual beheadings there about four years ago."
"I seem to remember something about that." Giles furrowed his brow. "It was a cult, they thought that they would achieve Immortality by fighting and cutting off their opponentís head."
"Okay way too wiggy for me." Dawn smiled throwing up her hands. "Its cold, Iím in the mood for hot chocolate."
"That makes two of us." Spike smirked. "Come on, Iíll take her home," he spoke with Buffy. "Do some investigating on these two."
"Not with out you," Buffy smiled. "it can wait until tomorrow." she rolled her eyes. "I have a feeling that weíll see them again."
"Well," Giles smiled. "if you all find anything let me know."
"Will do Giles," Buffy nodded. "Tell Jenny we said hello."
"I will. Good night." he nodded before heading off.
The Scoobies were breaking up for the evening, they would reconvene tomorrow before dusk to discuss any new developments. The Magic Box was now the newest meeting place since Jenny Calendar had moved into Gilesí apartment. The once computer teacher had left shortly before Angel had went all Darth Vader and started tormenting all of the Scoobies. It had been a good thing that she had, Angel would have used her somehow to torture Giles. Things could have gone worse, it would have crushed the watcher to see the woman that he loved die. Buffyís mind flashed to an image of Giles coming home to find Ms. Calendarís body in his bed and the sheer anger when he found Angelus had been the reason for her death. It had seemed so real and a sense of de javu had come over her, that image should be very real.
Pushing it out of her mind she walked on, Spike put his arm around her waist, his other arm draped around Dawnís shoulders hugging her to his side. They were all so focused on getting home that they hadnít noticed the brooding dark figure lurking on the front steps of one of the passing houses. The long dark hair had been pulled back, his light beard neatly trimmed. Hazel eyes keeping and eye on the passing trio as they proceeded on. Black leather gloves serving a dual purpose to protect his hands against the cold and from contact with Sarah Pezzini. The silver ring had a dull glint on his gloved hand. His watchful eyes never leaving the form of the petite blonde. The girl turned to look over her shoulder, she felt like someone was watching her, it had caused her to shiver. Seeing no one she shrugged it off and turned her attention back to her walk home with Spike and her sister.
Gabriel Bowman had come to Sunnydale before, he knew what lurked beneath the quite exterior of the small California town. He had come for two reasons, one was because Sarah Pezzini had called him to meet her there, the second was because David Oswald had finally comeback to nest in his hometown. He and Oz had become better friends over the years, even though Gabriel had moved away before they had begun high school. He was excited to see his friend, he waited at the airport for the familiar face.
"Bowman?" Oz smiled approaching his taller friend. "Suddenly I feel short."
"Oz," Gabriel smirked embracing his friend. "How are you man?"
"Iím good being a werewolf and all." Oz joked picking up one of his friendís bags.
"Yeah," Gabriel walked with Oz to the parking garage. "Think everyone in this town has been effected by the weirdness."
"Thatís a given." Oz grinned loading Gabrielís bags into his van.
"Nice." Gabriel smirked climbing into the passenger seat on the left side. "Where did you find this?"
"This guy had it brought in from New Zealand, it was white, I had it done for the band." Oz smiled climbing into the driverís seat on the right. "I like the oddity of driving on the right."
"It suits you man." Gabriel smirked. "Howís your girlfriend, whatís her name, Willow?"
"We split," he sounded disappointed. "I had to find the inner wolf, she had to find the inner witch and so we are null and void now."
"I bet she was happy to hear that you were back in town again." Gabriel smiled.
"She doesnít exactly know Iím back," Oz glanced over at Gabriel. "It was a tough break up."
"Ah," he nodded. "Kinda rough. Are you going to see her?"
"I donít know," Oz stopped at the stop sign. "Thatís her!" he saw Willow crossing the street with the blonde girl.
"Whoís the blonde?" Gabriel wondered aloud.
"Willow!" Oz shouted out the window.
Willow and Tara had been enjoying one of their comfortable silences of late when the sound of her name caught her attention. Looking for the person who had called out her name she found a familiar face behind the wheel of a zebra stripped van. Oz.
"Oz?" she asked in disbelief. "I thought that you were gone for good."
"I was," Oz smirked. "but now Iím back. Big things brewing?" he nodded to the cemetery.
"Nope." Willow shook her head. "So whoís your friend?" she nodded to Gabriel.
"I was going to ask you the same thing." Oz nodded to Tara. "Hey, Iím Oz and this is Gabriel." he extended his hand to Tara.
"Oz this is Tara."
"Gabriel Bowman," he extended his hand to Willow. "Nice to finally meet you, Oz still talks endlessly about you." his brown eyes meeting Taraís blue ones. "You have the most beautiful pale blue eyes that Iíve ever seen."
"Really?" Tara was flattered. "Thanks." she was trying not to blush but didnít quite make it.
"Where are you two off to?" Oz asked.
"Home," Willow nodded toward the campus of Sunnydale University. "Thinking the Bronze?"
"I-I donít know Willow, its been really quite lately." Tara stuttered out.
"One drink?" Willow arched her brow nudging Tara.
"Sure." Tara had reverted to her nervousness and stuttering, like when Willow first met her.
Shea had shed her duster and left it at the table where Methos sat nursing his third beer. She was dancing with Iolaus and they were very close at the moment catching their breath after dancing a few fast songs that the live band had played. It had been a long time since Shea had danced with anyone, but it was so easy to slip into the comfort of the moment. Both of them entwined and at this point were swaying to the music. Iolaus and herself had not said more than five words all night, they were just simply enjoying each otherís company and touch. Shea sighed and relished the moment, the thought of what was coming was more than enough to think about at the moment.
Richie was keeping a respectable distance from Owsyn, but at least they were talking. Shea had observed Sarah and Methos speaking, Ian was lurking in a corner watching Sarah he longed to be with her, Sarah had told Shea that she was not ready for that, yet. The second slow song started and Richie and Owsyn headed back to the table leaving Iolaus and Shea out on the floor along with all the other couples in the Bonze that night. As they turned a slow circle her blue-violet eyes noticed there were four more people joining the group, Sarah had told them that she had called Gabriel in New York and that he was coming out to join them in their research. Sarah had been enjoying her first beer when Gabriel called that earlier that night to say that he would be staying at a friendís house in town. Apparently his friend had brought more friends along with them. As Iolaus and herself continued to turn he noticed and asked her.
"The more the merrier?" Iolaus pulled back his brow arching.
"You think?" Shea smirked. "So much for this being a quite little party."
"When has one of your parties ever been quiet?" Iolaus asked with a small smile on his face.
"Your point?" Shea grinned. "Thatís how I like them loud and unpredictable."
"What say we go introduce ourselves?" he asked holding her hand in his.
"Sounds like a brilliant idea." She dropped a kiss on his cheek.
Approaching the table Richie got up and grabbed another set of stools from an empty table nearby. Shea sat and Iolaus next to her, as the introductions went round the table. They spoke with each other the conversation was pleasant and normal, both sides avoiding the mention of the supernatural and occult. Afraid the other side would think they were the crazy ones. Oz and Gabriel excused themselves to take the girls back to the dorm. Leaving the Immortals and Mortals at the table.
"Any plans on this evening?" Methos raised a brow after taking a drink.
"Other than going to bed no." Shea eyed each of them. "Anybody get a feeling that those two girls were hiding something?"
Sarah nodded. "Like they were avoiding the topic all together." she looked over at Shealti. "Every time one of us even got to the faintest hint of weird they would try to change the topic."
"Pez," Richie looked over at the older woman next to him "You said that Gabriel was born and raised here?"
"He said that he was born here and his family lived here until he was twelve or thirteen before they moved to New York." Sarah saw Ian lurking in the shadows. "I wish he would just come and sit with us."
"Does he lurk often, or just around you?" Iolaus looked over at Ian then back to Sarah.
"I think he does that all the time." Sarah chuckled. "I think Iím going to talk to Oz, see what he knows, or is willing to reveal."
"Do a bit of snooping around?" Owsyn eyed her. "Iím thinking the Slayer is a solo act, and if there is an ensemble players, theyíll be a bit suspicious of outsiders."
"Well, letís worry about it tomorrow," Shea suggested. "I have a feeling that weíll find out more in the next few days. IĎm just hoping that Oz will talk, we need something."
The group filed out of the club, and back to the bed and breakfast house that they had rented out. Shea had changed into her pajamas and had laid down. Sleep was just not taking her body over, sighing when she slipped out of bed she padded downstairs and outside. Shea sat out on the front steps, she had her blade out beside her when Iolaus came out, both dressed in their pajamas. He sat down next to her.
"Youíve been staying up rather late the last few days." he looked down at his bare feet for a moment then looked over at her. "Its it getting stronger?"
"Yeah," she nodded looking across the street then turned to look at him. "not sure if the nervousness or the townís bringing it out."
"Iím voting for the town." he shifted closer putting his arm around her. "Just promise that you wonít bite too hard." he smiled.
"I thought you liked it when I play rough with you." Shea winked. "Couldnít sleep?"
"No." he lied. "just a bout of insomnia." he folded his arms. "Its freezing out here. Are you cold?"
"Not really." she smiled. "I can imagine that you are though." she pulled out a blanket out of a small wicker chest under one of the windows. "Here." she tossed it at him.
Iolaus wrapped it around himself and then enveloped Shea in his arms as she sat a step below him this time. They sat that way for a long time, nothing but the cool autumn wind blowing. Shea felt herself beginning to drift off and suggest that they go inside. They both moved into the house and stretched out on the couch. Shea soon found sleep claiming her fame, Iolaus was not too far behind.
Methos had lounged around in bed long enough that morning, heading downstairs he passed through the living room and into the kitchen. Emerging from the kitchen he had planned on planting himself in front of the television to watch the local news. The couch was occupied by two sleeping Immortals.
"Hey!" he said with a harsh shout. "Move over." he shook Sheaís shoulders, doing so he soon found a sword at his neck.
"Methos," she groaned. "What are you doing here?"
"Eating breakfast," he nodded to the bowl of cereal in hand. "Iolaus," he spoke up.
"Curley," Shea nudged him with her elbow. "You can stop pretending your asleep."
"Damn," Iolaus whispered. "how do you know when Iím not sleeping?"
"Your not snoring." she winked sitting up. "besides, Iím going to go with Pez, see what Oz can tell us."
"Go with me where?" Sarah asked eyeing the immortal woman.
"Thought I could tag along, see if Oz might tell something." Shea smirked noticing Sarahís brief grimace. ĎThinking that you might have better luck?"
"Kinda," Sarah sat in an over stuffed armchair. "Might be willing to talk with one stranger. Two might make it difficult."
"You have a point." Shea nodded. "Iím thinking research at the newspaper office with Owsyn. See what we can turn up in the last five years."
"Research?" Owsyn smirked as she descended the stairs. "itís a bit early."
"Its eight a.m.," Methos looked over at the Watcher. "Besides the four of us can give you a hand."
"Man," Iolaus groaned. "I hate research."
"That makes two of us." Richie eyed Shealti and Owsyn. "Anything else we can do?"
"No, likewise it will speed the process up," Shea smirked. "I can do a bit of reconnaissance around dark."
"Weíre sidekicks?" Iolaus asked.
"You wonít be when you see what this town has to offer in the way of weirdness." Owsyn smirked.
After a late breakfast the group went their separate ways, the Immortals and Owsyn went to the Sunnydale Gazetteís offices to pull up more recent things. They were then referred to the Sunnydale University Library by a clerk. When asked why they wanted to look over the microfiches, Methos came up with a good explanation. The group soon spread out to the three viewers and began their research.
Sarah had left and after about an hour of talking with Gabriel and Oz as they reminisced, Oz soon began to open up. He was letting Sarah and Gabriel in on a few of the stories that he had while with the Scoobies. Hours passed and the sun was beginning to wan in the sky, dusk was coming fast. Sarah was about to head out when Oz handed her a wooden stake. She looked down at the offering from the young man.
"Your going to need this?" Oz handed the stake to Sarah.
"I thought sunlight was the only thing to kill vampires off." Sarah eyed Gabriel.
"There are lots of things rumored to work, but the only thing that I know of is a wooden stake." the brown eyed young man.
"You and your friends," Oz began. "You believe in this prophecy thatís coming?"
"Iím not sure if I do," Sarah rolled her eyes. "But Shea does and sheís pretty firm in it."
"I think I know someone who might be a help to your friends," Oz grinned "At least more than I can. IĎm a pretty small fish in this tank. You think your friend Shea would be willing to talk to him?" he arched his brow.
"Iím not sure, Iíll ask her, call Gabriel and let you know." Sarah smiled taking the stake from Oz. "Thank you Oz, for all your help so far."
"Your welcome, I did realize I had helped you out." Oz gave a small smile.
"You have." Sarah grinned. "Iíve got to go." She rushed out of the apartment.
What was beginning in the cemetery would be the start of a chain reaction that would bind three women together for all their days.