Feral Discovery: Part Two
Summary: The search for Buffy and Shalimar's parents is on, but with Weapon X getting involved, will they survive to discover the truth
AN: Greeting and Salutations. Welcome one and all, to the as promised sequel to Feral Discoveries. Thanks to everyone ho reviewed that one and a huge thanks, once again, to Manticore Gurl.
“Mr. Director, we have a situation.” The Soldier said as he walked in. The Director of Project Weapon X turned to face him.
“What kind of problem?” The Director asked.
“Project: Rebirth, sir.” He turned to face the other man. “I’ve had word from our colleagues in the GSA. The sisters have found each other.”
“The GSA were supposed to keep them separate until we were ready to collect them.” The Director said. “How did this happen?”
“Subject: Coyote made her way to Sunnydale.” The soldier said. “She reunited with Subject: Wildcat. We don’t know how much they know.” The Director looked out the window. HIS daughters had found each other, and it was only a matter of time until they reunited with their father. Unless, of course, he did something about it.
“Assemble our operatives.” He ordered. “Bring them in. Alive, if possible. If that’s not possible…” He let the order hang. The soldier nodded. He knew what it meant.
“This place is amazing!” Buffy couldn’t believe the turn her life had taken. A little over a year ago, she’d been an only child, and a perfectly normal one at that. All right, so a Vampire Slayer is pushing the ‘perfectly normal’ envelope a bit.
Now, however, she was a part of an underground movement formed to help people like her, not the Slayer like she’d thought, but a New Mutant, created through genetic manipulation with powers that set her a part from the norm, in her case, animal DNA mixed in with her own, giving her enhanced speed, strength and agility, as well as heightened senses. Angel, her soul mate, had been cured of his vampirism by the Powers That Be, and given abilities exactly like her own.
The biggest surprise, however, had been of the catalysts to this event. Shalimar, her twin sister, from whom she had been separated from birth, had arrived in Sunnydale in time to protect her from the GSA. It ended up in both of them, along with Buffy’s friends, laying serious smack down on the agent in question.
“It’s something special.” Shalimar said, grinning at her sister’s reaction to her new home. “You don’t have to worry about the GSA, so it’s a bonus.”
“That’s a bonus?” Buffy exclaimed. “This place is HUGE! What kind of training facilities do you guys have?” A grin spread across the former Slayers face, thinking of the sparring matches she, Shal and Angel could have through the halls.
“Adequate for three ferals.” Adam said, coming towards them. “At least, I hope so. I don’t think I can really expand on them.”
“Good thing Xand gave us those contact numbers.” Angel said with a grin.
“I don’t think that’s what he had in mind.” Adam said.
“Probably not.” Buffy muttered. “Any luck on…” Adam shook his head. In the year since she’d met Mutant X, Adam had been doing everything in his power to find the girls real parents, with no avail. Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to cover their tracks.
“We’ll find something.” Shalimar said, placing her hand on Buffy’s shoulder. “It’ll just take a while.”
“I know.” Buffy said. “I just…” Angel placed an arm around her.
“We’ll find them.” He stated with certainty while adding in his mind, dead or alive.
Extreme X-Men HQ
“Hmm, interesting.” Sage muttered.
“Whaddaya lookin’ at, Tessa?” Sam asked, walking in.
“Xander asked if I could look into their little mystery and try to find a lead to their parents.” Sage told him.
“Mystery?” Sam asked. “Ya mean Buffy an’ Shalimar’s missing parents?” Xander had filled them in on the situation concerning the New Mutants. Hard to believe that these man made mutants took the same name he and his friends had when they’d started out.
“Precisely.” She removed the ‘glasses’ from her face. “So far, I haven’t found any links.”
“Links with what?” Bishop asked, walking in.
“Xander’s mystery.” Sam said. Bishop nodded as Sam turned back to Sage. “Is there anything you haven’t tried yet?”
“I don’t believe so.”
“How about a DNA trace?” Bishop suggested. Sage looked up at the time lost X-Man.
“Lucas, I believe you just hit upon an idea.” She said, replacing her high-tech eyewear. I’ll start locally first, she thought, around the LA area. Then I’ll expand the search to state, then nationally…
“She’ll be at it a while.” Bishop said. “C’mon, rookie. Let’s get a beer.”
“As long as y’all remember not to call me ‘rookie’.” Sam said. “I’ve been doin’ this as long as you have.”
“Whatever you say, boy.”
“So, what do the rookies think?” Brannon said with a grin. Buffy glared at him.
“First of all, I’ve been doing this sort of thing longer than Adam, and Angel’s been around for more than two hundred years, so don’t call us rookies.” Buffy said. “Second of all, next time you spend a night on the town, have a shower. You now have three ferals, and Angel and me aren’t used to the cheap perfume. Got it, sparky?” Brannon glared at the girl. “I’m glad we had this talk.”
“Oh man, I’m glad you came here.” Jesse said. “Laughs are usually few and far between.” Buffy smiled.
“Remember, four years hanging with Xander.” Buffy said.
“Here’s hoping the sense of humour hasn’t rubbed off.” Angel said with a grin.
“Ye- Hey!” Buffy said.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Adam said. “but we have a problem.”
“What’s the sitch?” Buffy asked, slipping into Slayer mode.
“A New Mutant kidnapping.” Adam said, bring the file on screen. “Amy Watson. She’s an energy manipulator.”
“GSA?” Angel asked. These creeps were really starting to tick the former vampire off.
“Here’s where it gets confusing.” Adam said. “Witness reports describe a member of Homo Superior involved, a Mr Victor Creed.” Angel inhaled sharply.
“Problem?” Buffy asked.
“Had a run in with this creep years ago.” Angel said. “Before I hit LA. He’s a big man, deadly too. No qualms with hurting innocents, though he has some small honour. He doesn’t kill below his ‘legal limit’. He’s got some moves too. I’d say he might be more agile than any feral.”
“Finally.” Buffy muttered. Angel looked down at her. “I’m sorry, honey, but ever since my New Mutantcy came through, vampires just weren’t a challenge anymore. I’ve been looking for a reason to cut loose.”
“Let’s just be careful.” Angel said. “They don’t call this guy ‘Sabretooth’ for nothing.”
“Hey, old man. The kid still alive?”
“Can it, runt!” Sabretooth growled at Wild Child, his ‘partner’ for this mission. “Let’s just get this over with. Ya know where we gotta go?”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it.” Wild Child muttered. “I just hope these two aren’t as good as I’ve heard.”
“Oh come off it.” Sabretooth snorted. “Two little girls, man made mutants, what possible trouble could they be.” It was about that time that the van they were riding in turned into a sardine can. “What the hell was that? It felt like we hit a brick wall!” He ripped the door off the back of the van a jumped out. “You’d think the boss could hire someone who could drive properly.”
“Someone with brains would probably be a plus.” A voice said from behind him. Sabretooth turned around. “Hello, Victor. Long time no see.”
“Well, well, look who’s here?” Sabretooth chuckled, recognising the vamp who had interrupted one of his bar room brawls years ago. “Not so daytime challenged, I see?”
“I’ve been through some changes.” Angel said, flashing his cat’s eyes.
“No foolin’.” Sabretooth said, going low. He unsheathed his admantium claws, holding them in front of him. “I’m a little different myself.”
“Well, you couldn’t be any dumber, that’s for sure.” A female voice said as a pair of crashed into his side, below his admantium encased ribs. Sabretooth sprawled on the ground. “I thought this guy was supposed to be tough.
“The hell?” Sabretooth almost leapt to his feet, turning to face…
…A girl, maybe twenty years old, dressed in black to match the former vamp, her blonde hair flowing behind her. She looked at him with eyes that seemed older, eyes that had seen far too much for her young age.
“This is the big, bad Sabretooth?” She asked.
“Get outta here, girl.” Creed said. “Yer below my legal limit.”
“I, however, don’t have that problem.” Wild Child said, leaping out of the van. The girl’s eyes flashed gold cat’s eyes, then her arm flew out, smashing the mutant in the jaw. His momentum reversed, sending him back into the van.
“Stay out of this, rookie.” She said. “I’m looking for a challenge.” She looked back at Sabretooh. “We gonna go, or what?”
“You got guts, girl, I’ll say that much.” Sabretooth chuckled. “No wonder the boss wants you an’ yer sister.” The girls eyes narrowed.
“And here we go again.” She muttered. “You people need to come up with a better plan. It was really obvious.”
“Oh is that so?” Sabretooth said with a grin. “Well it got…” His words were cut off as he was hit with an emotion he didn’t have much experience with.
Pure, unbridled fear.
The large mutant fell to his knees, curling up in a fetal position.
“How long’s he going to be like that?” Buffy asked as Emma came from the other side of the van.
“As long as we need, I hope.” The telempath said. “His will is so strong.”
“Just keep him down, Em.” Angel said. “How’s Jesse?”
“Asking why he’s always the roadblock.” Shalimar told them as she helped the girl out of the van. “This was all about us?”
“Sounds like it.” Buffy said disgustedly. Whoever was pulling Sabretooth’s strings was after her and Shalimar, and they were willing to use an innocent to do it. “Why do we always get the creeps coming after us?” She muttered.
“Let’s get back to Sanctuary.” Shalimar said, carrying the unconscious girl gently in her arms. “We can figure it out there.”
Chapter Two - Brief Moment Of Piece
Extreme X-Men HQ
“How strange,” Sage muttered. Her search had brought up two possibilities, and neither of them were the fatherly type.
“You have something?” Storm, the team leader, asked as she walked in.
“Two rather impossible suspects,” Sage handed the glasses to Storm, who put them on to have a look.
“Goddess!” Storm exclaimed, “Either of those two…a father?”
“It would explain Buffy’s temper, if Xander is even halfway correct,” Sage mused.
“But even so, this…” Storm handed the glasses back to Sage, “Should we tell him?”
“That he may or may not have, not one, but two daughters?” Sage asked. “Until we’re certain, we keep this to ourselves,” Storm nodded.
“Very well,” she said, walking out. She turned to her teammate with a half smile that made it look like she’d spent way too much time around Xander, “But when he finds out on his own, you can tell him we already knew.”
“So this is about you two?” Adam asked. Buffy nodded.
“That’s what the hair ball said,” she confirmed, “And for some reason, I have a bad feeling it has to do with our parents. Don’t ask why, just…a feeling.”
“Unfortunately, your feelings are usually right,” Angel admitted. Buffy nodded.
“Alright,” Adam said, “I’ll start looking a little deeper.”
“I’m calling Xander,” Buffy said, “He said he was getting a friend to look in on it. Maybe she’s had better luck.”
Willow looked around the manor. Things had definitely changed since that first night she’d found out vampires were real. Back then, it had been Xander, herself, Giles and Buffy. A secret between the four of them. Now, she was dating a werewolf, Xander was Homo Sapien Superior and dating the current Slayer, and Buffy was nowhere in sight.
The red headed witch let out a sigh. That was the one thing she could never get used to. No more Buffy. Sure she could talk to her any time, as long as Adam didn’t have her on a mission.
“Thinking about Buffy?” Oz said, coming up behind her.
“Am I that transparent?” She asked as he wrapped his arms around her. Oz shrugged.
“Sometimes,” it was at that moment that her locket began to glow.
It was a simple thing, silver, but it was also enchanted. A spell to allow her to communicate with Buffy, to be exact. Willow pulled the locket out and opened it. The air above it shimmered a bit, before a small image of Buffy appeared.
“Hey Wills. How’s things?”
“Quiet,” Willow said, “The Initiative’s been really helpful keeping things down, and Faith’s gotten better too.”
“Nice to see I made the right decision,” Buffy said, “Xander around?”
“Out patrolling with Faith,” Willow informed her, “Is there a problem?”
“I was just checking up on his progress,” Buffy said. “We’ve got some additional problems,” She quickly summed up the fight against Sabretooth.
“Again?” Willow said, “What is it with these people?”
“Who knows?” Buffy replied, “But Adam thinks we can count the GSA out for once. Of course, that still leaves dozens of different agencies it could be.”
“I’ll let Xander know when he gets back,” Willow said, “Hey, Buff?”
“Take care. We don’t know who this is. They may not want you just alive,” Buffy grinned.
“If they can find us here, they deserve to catch us,” Buffy said confidently, “See ya later Wills.”
“Bye,” Willow watched as the image disappeared. She let out a long sigh. Buffy was in trouble again. Why was that not a surprise?
“So they failed?” The Director said evenly.
“Apparently they’ve teamed with more of there own kind,” the aide said, “Sabretooth was taken down by an empath of some description. Subject: Wildcat immobilized Wild Child, with ease, if Creed can be believed.”
“Interesting,” the Director said, “Tell Sabretooth and Wild Child to hold their positions and send Cane and Marrow to assist,” The aide saluted and turned to leave. “One more thing. Tell Sabretooth whose daughters they are. That should give him sufficient…motivation to complete his mission.”
“I wish I knew who those knuckleheads were working for,” Buffy muttered, “I don’t like fighting what I can’t see.”
“I know, love,” Angel muttered, “I know. We’ll get something.”
“Not to interrupt…” Brannon said walking into the lounge area.
“Too late,” Buffy muttered.
“…But your friends on the line.”
“Xander’s got worse timing than you do, sparky,” Buffy said, getting to her feet.
“Can you please do something about that?” Brannon begged Angel as Buffy walked passed him.
“What in particular would you like me to do?” Angel asked. “She’s her own woman, and I would prefer to sleep in the bed.”
“You sleep?” Brannon asked, as he and Angel caught up to Buffy.
“Couple of hours. If we’re lucky,” Buffy said with a grin.
“We’re here,” Buffy said as the three walked in, “Did you have to send sparky?”
“Sorry,” Adam said, “Shalimar and Emma are dropping the girl at a safe house, and Brannon volunteered.”
“And for some reason, that doesn’t surprise me,” Buffy said, “So, what’s up?”
“Sage gave me a call, Buff,” Xander’s voice came over the radio, “She’s got two possibilities on your father. Ones not too bad, the other one sucks more than if she’d said it was Spike.”
“And can I just say, eww?” Buffy interrupted, “So who is it?”
“Well, contestant number one’s an X-Man, decent guy. The other one…” Xander’s hesitation said it all. She didn’t want to know.
“Names, Xand Man,” Buffy said.
“You’re either Wolverine’s or Sabretooth’s,” Xander said. Buffy froze. An X-Man with homicidal tendencies, from Xander’s description, or a full-blown homicidal sociopath?
“Why are thing’s never easy?” She groaned, “Do we have anything positive?”
“Sorry, Buff. They’ve both had work done, so it’s hard to be certain.”
“Work done by who?” Adam asked.
“That, I can answer. Both of them have had run-ins with an organisation called Weapon X. Sabretooth works for them at the moment.”
“Weapon X?” Adam muttered, “I’ve heard of them. They do experiments on living subjects, mostly mutants of the natural persuasion. If they had a hand in the New Mutant project…”
“Things are starting to come into focus,” Buffy muttered, “Whoever our father is, these Weapon X guys are afraid we’ll find out.”
“Or they’re trying to bring you two in,” Angel added, silently vowing to kill anyone who attempted it.
“Whatever’s going on is bigger than we thought,” Jesse said seriously, “We’d better warn Shalimar and Emma.”
“Already done,” Buffy said, “Shal’s been watching the whole thing through my eyes. They’ll be careful. In the mean time…Xand, can you let Wolverine know what’s going on?” There was a frightened noise from the other end.
“You want me to tell Logan that he may or may not have two New Mutant daughters, and that Weapon X is after them? Do I have to be in the same room, or can I just feel sorry for the furniture?” Buffy looked at the radio.
“Xander, what’s this Logan guy like?”
“Well…think about your very worst temper tantrum, times by about a million, then add a mutant healing factor, an adamantium plated skeleton and matching claws, and you’ve got him at his worst. Otherwise, he’s the exact opposite of Creed. Loyal to a fault, a real samurai. Kinda like Kwai Chang Cane, only with a violent streak.”
“Maybe you should tell him over the phone,” Buffy muttered, shocked. This was the best case scenario? “Shalimar and I’ll stop over Sunnydale…”
“No,” Angel said, “You and Shalimar are going to stay at Sanctuary until we figure out what the hell is going on.”
“No way,” Angel said firmly, “You two stay here, and that’s final.”
“I have to go with Angel on this one, Buff. Stay hidden.”
“You stay here,” Adam agreed firmly. Buffy exhaled sharply.
“Fine, we stay locked up like good little girls,” she said finally, “And can I just say, this stinks?”
Chapter Three - But Kicking! Mutant X Style or Hello, .....
Extreme X-Men HQ Location unknown
“I still do not believe this is wise,” Sage said, as she and Storm waited for Logan.
“I know, but the girls wish him to know that there is, at least, a chance,” Storm reminded her, “Perhaps we will get to the bottom of it all if he has some clue of what is happening.”
“So what is happening?” The X-Man in question asked as he walked in.
“Do you remember what we told you about Xander?” Sage began. Logan nodded.
“Sure, mutant that lives over a Hellmouth,” Logan recounted, still not believing that there was a Hellmouth in California, nor understanding how he knew what a Hellmouth was, “So?”
“One of his friends was found to be a New Mutant,” Sage continued, “They also recently discovered she had a sister, and that she was not who she thought she was. Xander asked for our assistance in discovering the identity of the girl’s parents. I have come up with two possibilities, but due to…circumstances, I can not be sure,” Logan felt a chill rum up his spine. He had a real bad feeling where this was leading.
“Well?” He asked impatiently.
“One of the possibilities was Sabretooth…” Logan took in a sharp breath. Creed? A father? Who’d let that homicidal psychopath contribute to the gene pool? “The other possibility was yourself,” Logan’s jaw hit the ground.
“Are you sayin’ I may or may not be a father?” He growled. Sage nodded, her face devoid of all emotion as usual, “And you were goin’ ta tell me when?”
“When we were more sure,” Ororo said, stepping into the conversation, “We did not want you doing something foolish because you felt responsible for two people who may or may not be your daughters.”
“So what changed yer minds?” Logan asked gruffly. What was it with people he trusted keeping secrets like this?
“Buffy, Xander’s friend,” Sage explained, “She wanted you involved in case you could shed some light on the situation. It seems that Weapon X may have been involved in their birth and wishes to reacquire their…property,” one of his hand’s touched the back of the other, where his claws came out. His entire skeleton was comprised of adamantium, claws included, and it had happened in the labs of Weapon X.
“Whether these two are mine or not doesn’t mean shit,” Logan said, an angry light shining in his eyes, “No one deserves ta go through whatever those creeps have planned. Tell Xander ta get in touch with his friends. I’m in.”
“I’m bored,” Buffy explained, staring at the roof, “We can only try those simulations so many times before they become repetitive.”
“Consider this all the holidays your owed from your Slayer gig,” Shalimar suggested.
“Shalimar, this is not a holiday,” Buffy told her, “Holiday’s are fun. You get to go out on holidays. This is us being locked up because of my overprotective boyfriend. This is…Arrgh!” She got up and started pacing, “This is so boring!”
“This should make things interesting, then,” Brannon said, walking in, “Angel just got back, with Wolverine,” Buffy shot past him with out a word, “Who should I feel sorry for?” He asked as he and Shalimar followed her.
“Weapon X,” Shalimar muttered.
“Angel!” Buffy screamed, running up to him.
“Oh crap,” Angel muttered.
“What took you so long?” Buffy demanded, “I’ve been bored out of mind. I couldn’t even think of anything to say to sparky.”
“It was the quietest she’s been since she got here,” Brannon said as he and Shalimar walked in.
“Besides telling us how bored she was,” Shalimar said dryly. Angel shrugged.
“Sorry. We ran into trouble,” he explained. The man next to him, who had silently watched them til now, chuckled.
“Best bar fight I’ve ever been in, an’ that’s a few,” he said. He looked at the other two feral’s, “I presume this is Buffy and Shalimar.”
“I’d suggest not making fun of the name,” Brannon warned.
“Can it, sparky,” Buffy snapped, looking over at the X-Man, “So you’re Logan? Thought you’d be taller.”
“Could say the same fer you,” Logan said. Time for a quick test, “There is still a chance yer Sabretooth’s, an’ he’s…” Logan didn’t get a chance to finish as Buffy drove him into a wall.
“Buffy!” Angel shouted.
“Listen here, old man,” Buffy hissed, her eyes flashing gold, “Listen real good. I am not now, nor am I ever going to be, related to that twisted bastard, and anyone who says different needs their heads read. Just remember, there’s just as good a chance Shal and me should be calling you ‘daddy’, so loose the attitude,” she let him go and began to walk out the door, “Oh and one more thing. As tests go, that one sucked. Way too obvious. You might want to work on that,” and with that, she left, Angel following quickly. Logan chuckled.
“Girl’s got brass,” he said, “I’ll give her that. Not many…”
“Give it rest,” Brannon suddenly snapped.
“You got a problem, boy?” Logan growled. Brannon glared at him.
“’Bout a year ago, the only creatures she hunted were vampires,” Brannon said softly, “She thought she was a Vampire Slayer, under the control of a Council that couldn’t give a shit whether she lived or die, who used tests of their own to see if she was ‘worthy’. She’s had quite possibly the worst life I know of, and now she’s got these Weapon X slime balls after her and Shalimar. Now, get off this ‘test’ trip. If you want to help, help. If not, piss off,” Logan stared at the boy, then to Shalimar, who nodded.
“Flamin’ hell,” he muttered, “How long…”
“’Bout five years,” Shalimar said, “Didn’t even know she existed til last year,” Logan shook his head, re-evaluating what he thought he knew about the girl from both Xander and Angel’s description.
“I think that flamin’ asshole at Weapon X needs his flamin’ head read,” Logan muttered, “I’ll have to remind him of that fact at a later date.”
“I’ll help,” Shalimar said. Logan looked over at her. Were these two his daughters? He didn’t know, but he didn’t care. They needed his help now, and he wasn’t going to bail on them. Not now.
“I can not believe the nerve of that…”
“Easy Buffy,” Angel said, running up behind here, “It’s just the way he is. Like the bar fight,” Buffy turned and looked at her beloved.
“What exactly is the deal with that?”
“We met in the Princess Bar in Madripoor, as agreed,” Angel said, “What wasn’t mentioned, and I am taking this up with Xander, is that it was one of Logan’s old haunts.”
“And?” Buffy asked.
“Some old ‘friends’ of his, a group of ninjas called ‘the Hand’ decided to drop in,” Angel explained.
“Any reason?” Buffy asked. Angel shrugged.
“I talked to a couple of the patrons before we left,” he said, “Where Wolverine’s concerned, the Hand needs neither contract or reason. He seriously pissed them off somewhere, and they take every opportunity to take him out.”
“And I thought I pissed people off easily,” Buffy whispered.
“I’ve seen a lot of fights,” Angel continued, “Caused a few of them. I’ve never seen anyone fight like that. Angelus would have been hard pressed to beat him.”
“He’s that strong?” Buffy asked. Angel shook his head.
“He’s that wild,” he said, “I don’t know how in control he was during the fight, but he went through those guys Giles through jam donuts,” Buffy thought on that moment.
“How bad was it?”
“Those that didn’t get away were either too injured to move, or they weren’t moving, period,” Angel told her.
“I really don’t like the sound of this,” Buffy muttered.
“Where the Hands concerned, it’s them or you, darlin’” Logan’s rough voice echoed down the corridor, “Thought ya might want yer boyfriend back in one piece,” Buffy turned to face him.
“Angel’s a big boy,” she said evenly. Logan chuckled.
“No foolin’,” he said, “Not many people that can out move a Hand ninja. I was impressed,” he looked down at the short Slayer- cum- feral, “’Course, got me wondering if yer as good as he is,” Buffy grinned up at him.
“That a challenge, old man?” She asked, her eyes flashing the golden cats eyes. Angel backed up a couple of steps, grinning all the way. This would be interesting.
“If yer up to it, darlin’,” the man know as Wolverine answered, a matching grin adorning his own face, “’Course, if ya aren’t sure…” he didn’t get a chance to finish as Buffy’s fist smashed into his gut. Logan doubled over, long enough for her foot to smash into the top of his head, sending him to the ground.
He looked up to see Buffy smiling at him, “I studied,” she said. Logan grinned back.
“So I noticed,” he said, coming to his feet quickly. He struck out with his fist, which Buffy dodged easily, then bringing his knee up, which grazed her side. Buffy answered with a roundhouse that bounced off his adamantium laced skull.
“Ow,” she complained, “Your skulls thicker than it looks. ‘Course, not a total surprise,” Logan grinned, dodging her next hook.
“You talk to much,” he grunted as her knee found his gut.
“Yeah, I’ve heard that,” Buffy said, propelling herself off a wall and into his legs, bringing him down, “’Course, the ones that complain about that are usually dust before they can appreciate my humour.”
“Yer worse than that flamin’ web head,” he muttered. Buffy thought a moment.
“We met a Praying Mantis Lady once. Does that count?” Logan grinned.
“Close enough,” he said, standing straight. He bowed respectfully you, “Not bad, darlin’,” Buffy obliged with a bow of her own.
“You weren’t so bad yourself old man,” she quipped, “Though you lead in with your head a bit.”
“You drop yer shoulder,” he retorted. Angel shook his head.
“Everyone tells her that,” he said, walking up beside her.
“Hey, I don’t have too many problems,” she muttered darkly.
“Does this include what happened with the Master?” Angel said teasingly.
“Whose side are you on?”
“Are you sure about this?” Sabretooth growled at Cane.
“Came for the Director himself,” the cyborg said, “They’re his,” Sabretooth licked his lips.
“Well, well,” he muttered, “Things just got interesting.”
“I don’t like this,” Buffy muttered.
“You an’ me both, darlin’,” Logan muttered as the jet sped towards they’re destination, “Somethin’ stinks ta high heaven,” one of Adam’s people had rung in a sighting on Sabretooth somewhere in LA. There were no New Mutants in that area, but Homo Superior numbers were in the hundreds.
“You’re the one that said he might be recruiting,” Brannon said.
“But no one else’s picked up on it,” Logan said, “Chuck would’ve sent a team by now if it was real. Storm would have called, Interpol, there are agencies and capes all over the world that are lookin’ for this freak, an’ I know some of ‘em. None of ‘em are bitin’.”
“Maybe they don’t have the resources,” Emma added. Logan looked at the telempath.
“You wanna go tell the head of S.H.E.I.L.D he don’t have the resources to track one mutant, be my guest,” he said.
“We have to check it out,” Shalimar said, “It’s the reason Buffy and me came along. We need answers and, like it or not, he may have them. We’ll just have to be careful,” Logan made a noise.
“Careful. Right,” he muttered, “The amount a’ firepower Weapon X can bring to bare, ‘careful’ is the very least of what you should be.”
“Give us an overview,” Buffy said. Logan took a breath.
“Sabretooth an’ Wild Child, you know about,” he began, “Basically the same powers; enhanced senses, healing, claws. Sabretooth has the skeleton like yours truly, laced with Adamantium. Wild Child’s physical mutation went a bit further, really doesn’t look good.”
“The gremlin I knocked out on our first meeting,” Buffy muttered. Logan nodded.
“Heard about that,” he said, “They’ll want some pay back. But they’re the least. There’s at least one other I know of they may have on board, an amputee with bionic limb implants that can become any weapon he needs called Cane.”
“That names popular,” Buffy muttered, thinking of her friend, a Shao Lin monk called Kwai Chang Cane, “These are the only ones you know of?”
“A couple of mutants’ve disappeared off of Charlie’s scopes,” Logan said, “Some that may join up with these guys for kicks, or power boosts, but these are the definite.”
“Suggestions?” Shalimar asked. Logan thought a moment.
“Sparky may be able to handle Cane if aims for his bionics,” he said after awhile, “Buffy’s shown she can handle Wild Child well enough. We’ll need some reserves, in case they have extra’s.”
“What about Sabretooth?” Jesse asked. Logan looked at him.
“I got a score ta settle with that freak,” he said, “He’s all mine.”
“They’re here,” Cane said as the jet containing their targets landed.
“About time,” Marrow complained, “I’m getting bored.”
“Looks like they’ve got the whole gang,” Cane informed them, “There are the targets…what the hell?”
“What is it, tin man?” Sabretooth demanded.
“Wolverine’s with them,” Cane said, “The hell’s he doing here?”
“Looks like they hooked up somewhere,” Sabretooth said, licking his lips. This was going to be fun.
“Let’s just get this over with,” Wild Child complained, “I got a score to settle with the blonde bitch.”
“Hold on,” Marrow snapped, “We weren’t told about him. They may have other connections with the X-Men.”
“Feeling home sick?” Sabretooth sneered.
“Can it, old man!” Marrow said, turning to him, “We were told to stay under the general radar. Taking on Logan is not my idea of staying under the radar.”
“Screw that,” Wild Child said as he moved off, “That bitch’s mine.”
“I’m with ugly on this one,” Sabretooth said, grin still in place as he followed the other mutant.
“Idiots,” Marrow muttered.
“Forget about them,” Cane said, “Just get ready. We’ll try and separate the targets from the others. If we can grab Wolverine as well, it’s a bonus.”
“Yeah,” Marrow said, bringing to bone blades from beneath her skin. She thought back on her days with the X-Men, on how Logan tried to take her under his wing…
No, she thought. I can’t think like that. I’m not that person anymore. I have a job to do, and I’m doing it.
“We got company,” Buffy muttered.
“The least those guys could do is get down wind,” Angel said, “When’s the last time they took a bath?”
“Who’ve we got, Logan?” Shalimar asked.
“Sabretooth and Wild Child,” Wolverine said, sniffing the air, “Cane and… What the hell!?”
“Something wrong?” Emma asked.
“Geez, bones,” Logan muttered, “How’d you get mixed up with these guys?”
“Bones?” Brannon asked.
“A Morlock,” Logan said, “Name o’ Marrow. Hung with the X-Men for a while, then disappeared. I haven’t heard anything from her in ages. Now I know why.”
“Powers?” Jesse asked.
“Her bones,” Logan said, “She can pull ’em out, use ‘em as blades. Any kind.”
“I’ll hold her,” Jesse said, “She can’t slice through me.”
“Shal, back him up,” Buffy said, “Use non lethal force on her, guys. She may be controlled.”
“Here comes the ugly squad,” Emma quipped as Wild Child and Sabretooh came towards them.
“We’re on, blondie,” Wolverine said, his claws sliding into position, “Ya ready?”
“I was born ready, old man,” she said with a grin, moving behind him, “I just hope you can keep up.”
“Be careful,” Angel whispered as they moved off.
“They will be,” Brannon said, “And I’ll help you kill Logan if she doesn’t come back in one piece. C’mon, let’s go keep the Tin Man company.”
“Hello, blondie,” Wild Child said as the girl moved closer.
“What’s with everyone calling me that?” Buffy asked.
“If the shoe fits…” Wild Child began. He didn’t get a chance to finish as Buffy’s fist slammed into his jaw.
“It’s nice to fight a guy whose bones I can break,” she quipped as he fell, “I don’t feel a fight’s over until I’ve at least cracked guys rib, y’know?”
“You’re going to pay for that!” Wild Child roared, leaping at her. Buffy dodged easily to one side, spinning to face him as she did. She crouched low as he spun to face him.
“Come on, ugly,” Buffy said, her eyes revealing the cats eyes momentarily, “Let’s play.”
Sabretooth chuckled as Buffy and Wild Child began round two, “She’s got spirit, I’ll give ‘er that.”
“An’ its stayin’ that way,” Wolverines said, getting ready.
“Haven’t we danced this dance before, runt?”
“This time, you aren’t walking away,” Sabretooth grinned.
“Heard it all before. Let’s just get this done.”
“The only thing we’ll ever agree on, bub,” Wolverine snarled as the two arch-nemeses charged each other.
“Damn,” Cane muttered, “Wild Child’s already engaged one of the targets.”
“So we’ll grab her after we grab her sister and get out of here before Wolverine notices,” Marrow said.
“Anyone would think you were afraid of him.”
“Terrified,” Marrow muttered, “He won’t think too much of traitor, and I’d prefer to stay alive long enough to get out on a real date.”
“Well then, get ready,” Cane said, popping a gun out of his arm, “’Cause here we go,” he fired, hitting the ground just to the left of the target, hoping to stun her.
“Shalimar, MOVE!” Emma screamed as she sensed the aggression of one of the hidden assailants.
Shalimar leapt to one side just as the ground left of where she had stood exploded.
“These guys are playing for keeps,” Angel growled, his eyes flashing yellow, “Our turn,” he moved forwards as Brannon released a stream of electricity from his hands, forcing the shooter behind cover. At the same time, Jesse and Shalimar moved off to the right. Emma kept an eye on the emotions of the two assailants. One was completely confident in his abilities, while the other was shaken by something, what she didn’t know. However, an image of an angry Wolverine kept invading her thoughts.
“Looks like Logan’s got someone’s attention,” she muttered, using her powers to solidify that image, and the fear behind it, into the subjects mind, “Sorry, but no one takes pot-shots at my friends.”
“EEYAAH!” Marrow screamed, curling into a ball.
“What the hell…?” Cane muttered.
“Keep him away,” she whispered, “Keep him away!”
“A telepath,” the cyborg muttered.
“Telempath, actually,” a voice said. Cane looked up, “Guess your partner couldn’t keep her emotions covered. You’re on your own.”
“Like that’s ever been a problem,” Cane muttered, bringing his gun up. The man leapt towards him before he could fire, throwing him through the wall.
“You’ve obviously never faced me before then,” the guy said, “’Course, I think I’d remember facing a cyborg.”
“Good work, Angel,” Cane spun to face on of his targets, “Looks like we have one.”
“Don’t count you chickens before they’re hatched girl,” Cane said, firing on gun hidden in his upper arm. The shot sliced through the girls shoulder before she could react.
And that’s when it all went to hell.
The first thing Buffy felt was a pain that went tearing through her shoulder, but there was no wound. She knew the pain came from Shalimar, but couldn’t understand it.
She looked over to see her sister fall, blood seeping from a bullet wound. Her eyes turned to slits as she focused on her sister’s heartbeat. It was slowing, but still strong.
“Looks like your sister’s down for the count,” Wild Child laughed, “But don’t worry, you’ll be joining her soon in the Weapon X labs. The Boss has some plans for you two,” Buffy glared at the little troll and something inside her snapped.
She dropped into a crouch, growling at him. Her eyes turned into the familiar cats eyes, only this time they didn’t fade away.
“Well, this is interesting,” Wild Child muttered, then got really worried when she started scratching her hands, “Time to finish this.”
Buffy leapt over him, throwing her fists into the back of his skull. Wild Child hit the ground hard, but was quickly to his feet. Buffy, however, was already moving towards Shalimar.
“Where’re you goin’, girl?” Wild Child growled, grabbing her jacket and jerking her back.
Buffy snarled as she hit the floor. This creature dared to keep her from her sister, dared to stop her from aiding her pack?
She got to her feet, the itching sensation in her hands now a sharp, piercing pain. She charged forward, slamming into Wild Child, this time he was ready, falling back and throwing her over him.
“You like that?” He said as she landed. Buffy was on her feet in an instant and was throwing herself forward with a roar. This time, however, Wild Child was too shocked to move.
For, as she charged, the red skin she had been scratching bulged, then tore, releasing six very sharp, very familiar, bone claws.
“What the…?” Wild Child’s stunned cry was cut off as Buffy’s new claws tore through his gut, dropping him like a ton of bricks.
All combat ceased as she let out a blood-curdling scream.
“My God…” Logan muttered as she moved over to Shalimar. The girl reached down carefully, checking on her. Then her attention turned to Cane.
“You,” she hissed, her gold eyes glaring at him, “You did this,” the cyborg brought his guns up.
“Don’t move, or you’ll follow her,” he warned. Buffy stepped over Shalimar, her glare never leaving his face. Cane fired, the bullet hitting the same place as he had with Shalimar.
It healed almost instantly.
“What are you?” He asked. Buffy gave a predatory grin.
“Death,” she hissed, “Death to all who endanger my pack.”
“What’s going on?” Angel asked. He’d never seen her like this. And those claws…
“Looks like its ‘like father, like daughter’,” Sabretooth chuckled. Logan turned to him.
“Thanks for confirmin’ that, bub,” Logan said, slamming his fist into Sabretooth’s jaw. The mutant dropped like a ton of bricks, “Asshole,” he muttered, then moved over to the girls he now knew, without a shadow of a doubt, to be his daughters. He first checked Shalimar, then turned his attention to Buffy. The girl was now within arms length of Cane, and ready to rip what organic parts remained on the cyborg.
“You will pay,” she growled.
“Hold on, darlin’,” Logan said, moving up next to her.
“Finally, the voice of reason,” Cane said. Logan gave him a cold, deadly grin.
“This is a family debt,” he said. Cane’s eyes went wide, “As yer father, I’m obligated to take this son of a bitch out.”
“She is my sister,” Buffy hissed. Her newly awakened instincts confirmed he was her father, “I must avenge her.”
“You want ta face me fer alpha, girl?” Logan knew what was happening. The animalistic rage he kept under control had exploded in her, merging with feral instincts to from a part animal, part human personality. Until she got it under control, he had to treat her as such.
“No,” Buffy said hesitantly.
“Then step aside,” Buffy nodded submissively, stepping back to Shalimar.
“What was that?” Brannon asked.
“Some kind of animal instinct,” Jesse said, looking over at Angel.
“Not a usual feral thing,” Angel said, moving beside Buffy, “She’s her father’s daughter, I’m guessing.”
“Most interesting,” a voice said in all their minds, “She has inherited Logan’s animal rage as well as his claws and healing. It seems to have merged with her own mind and innate feral instincts,” they all turned to face a floating, transparent man.
“Who are you?” Angel demanded. Buffy looked at the image curiously, half understanding what he was saying. If she did this…
“I’m Charles Xavier,” the image ‘said’, “I’m a friend of Logan’s.”
“Nice ta see ya, Chuck, but I’m busy,” he glared over at Cane, “’Less tin man wants ta turn himself in,” Cane answered by aiming a gun at Buffy.
“What’s faster, Logan?” He asked, “You, or my brain? Want to test the theory…” he doubled over in pain suddenly.
“Not necessary,” Emma said, walking over to them. Marrow was leaning heavily on her arms, “I convinced her to behave herself. Freed me up for that.”
“I’m sorry,” Marrow whispered, “They made me an offer, made me normal looking. I had to…”
“Not yer fault, darlin’,” Logan said.
“Shit,” Buffy whispered, suddenly sagging into Angel’s arms, “That was hard. Thanks for the tip, prof.”
“It will get easier,” Xavier assured her, “When I first met Logan… well, let’s just say he was like that nearly all the time. If you wish to come to my school…”
“No offense, cue ball, but I stay with my sister. And that means I stay with Mutant X,” Buffy said, kneeling next to Shalimar. The bullet wound was half way healed, “Looks like I’m not the only one with dad’s healing. At least she didn’t nearly kill someone to unlock it,” Wild Child let out a moan, assuring everyone he was still alive. Just trying to tuck his guts back in his body.
“If you change you’re mind, there is a place for you,” Xavier said, “Please, though. Refrain from calling me ‘cue ball’,” Buffy grinned.
“Whatever you say, Chuck,” she said, in a rather haunting similarity to her father.
“Now that’s just freaky,” Shalimar murmured weakly, “Never do that again, ‘kay sis?”
“You okay?” Buffy asked. Shalimar sat up.
“I will be soon as you tell me I heard right,” Shalimar said.
“’Fraid so, darlin’,” Logan said, “Hairy confirmed it.”
“And my dive into pre-historic me confirmed it too,” Buffy said, “My animal persona only answered to dad up there.”
“Guess that means a trip to Sunnydale,” Shalimar said, “Joyce’ll want to meet him.”
“Joyce?” Logan asked.
“Mom,” Buffy said, “Well, in the sense that she raised me. Not too sure about biological mom. Still looking,” she gazed up at her father hopefully.
“I didn’t even know you two existed,” he said, “I have no idea who yer mother might be.”
“At least now we’re sure we were conceived in Weapon X,” Buffy said, “So, we ask our resident hacker to check it out when we get back to Sunny D.”
“Resident hacker?” Logan asked. Shalimar grinned.
“If Red can’t find it on the Net, it doesn’t exist.”
“Maybe we should introduce her ta Shadowcat,” Logan said, “Sounds like they’d get along well.”
“If she can hack Langley, she’s got a friend for life,” Buffy said.
Chapter Four - Meeting Joyce
“So, he really is your father?” Willow asked the small image of Buffy.
“Yep,” the feral said, “We’re bringing him down to meet mom. Need a favour though, Wills. Looks like we were conceived in or created by Weapon X.”
“Buffy…” Willow began. Finding out you were a part of an experiment is one thing. The fact that her good friend thought she might have been created…
“We need you to see if you can find their computers and do what you do best,” Willow smiled.
“You want info or the full package?” Willow asked. Buffy grinned.
“Full package, Wills. Shut ‘em down and give us a location. I don’t care who they are, who they work for or what they think they’re doing. We stop them, permanently.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Willow said. She hadn’t seen Buffy like this since… well since never, “There’s something we need to tell you before you get here. It’s about…well, it’s about Dru.”
“Kind of,” Willow said slowly, “We think she had a run in with Weapon X.”
“Tell me you’re joking.”
“She got grabbed by a guy that sounds like Sabretooth in Mexico,” Willow said, “When we found her in LA, she had some kind of metal claws and a chip that kept her from hurting anyone without the proper commands. The Initiative managed to override some of them, but she can’t hurt any living creature. That was their idea,” Buffy exhaled sharply.
“How’s she taking things?”
“Not to well,” the red head said almost sadly, “She’s even crazier than she used to be. I don’t know what those creeps did to her, but whatever it was, it wasn’t a good thing. On the plus side, she’s made friend.”
“Yep,” Willow nodded, “A living, breathing, human friend. Vamps jumped one of the girls on campus, Tara Maclay. Believe it or not, Dru stepped in. Tara’s been keeping her on the straight and narrow. And she’s a witch to, so we have extra fire power in that respect.”
“Druscilla and another witch?” Buffy took a breath, “We just can’t do things normally, can we?”
“Wouldn’t be on the Hellmouth if we could,” Willow reasoned.
“Good point. All right, tell everyone we’re coming back and get on that Weapon X search. Get Xander’s friends to help. We’ll be there in about a month. Things to do.”
“See you then, then.”
“Well?” Angel asked.
“Willow’s going to see what she can find,” Buffy said. She took a breath. This was not going to be pretty, “Angel…”
“What is it, love?”
“It looks like Weapon X got to Dru,” Angel’s face became a mask.
“The gang were checking out something in LA,” Buffy began, “They found her there. She had some kind of claws and a chip that kept her under control. From what they could find out, she got grabbed by some guy matching the fur balls description.”
“How is she?” Angel asked, old feelings of protection for his former Child coming to the surface.
“Not good,” Buffy told him, “Whatever happened hasn’t helped her sanity. The Initiative managed to override the chip, but they left some of the systems active, so she can’t hurt living beings. On the upside, she’s fighting the good fight. Saved a girl at the university. According to Willow, the two have been fast friends ever since.”
“Well, that’s unexpected,” Dru, a hero? Definitely not what Angelus had planned for the girl. Angel was proud of her. No soul, but she was doing the right thing, “How could they have grabbed her though?”
“We’ll have to ask her,” Buffy said. Angel nodded. An unexpected twist indeed.
“So, let me get this straight,” Logan looked at his daughter’s lover, “Weapon X has turned their attention to the undead, an’ they grabbed your Child…”
“Former,” Angel said, “I’m not a vampire anymore.”
“You still think of her in the same way,” Logan pointed out, “That makes it current.”
“He’s got point, sweetie,” Buffy said, leaning against him.
“These guys are gettin’ out ‘a hand,” Logan growled.
“Willow and Xander are working on it,” Buffy said, “Possibly Sage as well. Hopefully they’ll find something.”
“I think I might up our chances a bit,” her father said, getting to his feet.
“Where are you going?” Shalimar asked.
“I got a call to make.”
“What?” Nick Fury, head of the Supreme Headquarters Espionage Law-enforcement Division, answered the phone gruffly.
“That any way ta talk ta an old friend, Fury?” the voice on the other end said, “By the way, ya still owe fifty from the last card game.”
“Logan? What do you want?”
“What, no ‘hello Logan’?” Wolverine said with a chuckle, “No ‘good to hear from ya’? I’m crushed.”
“You’ll get over it,” Fury said dryly, “What is it?”
“I need a favour, Fury,” Logan said. He quickly told fury what was happening.
“Flamin’ hell,” Fury breathed, “This is true?”
“Every flamin’ detail,” Logan confirmed, “Buffy’s got some friends looking, but we need to find these guys and shut them down. It ain’t gonna be pretty, or else I’d a’ called Chuck. Fact a’ the matter is, this is gonna be downright violent.”
“I understand, friend,” Fury said, “Fact is, we’ve been getting’ reports of mutant kidnappin’s all over the place. I’ll get the brains right on it.”
“Thanks, bub,” Logan said, “One thing, though. Ya can’t nuke the place. We want ta know who the mother is, and the info’ll be there.”
“Got it,” Fury said, “I’ll let ya know if we get anything. Logan…?”
“Watch yer back,” Fury said earnestly, “They’re kickin’ inta high gear for somethin’.”
“No need ta worry,” Logan said with a chuckle, “We got Shal’s friends watchin’ our back, an’ Buffy’s boyfriend too. Buffy herself…well, let’s just say she takes after her old man.”
“Holy shit,” Fury muttered, trying to imagine two Wolverines. He had a feeling what he had in mind fell well short of the actual damage the two would cause.
“See ya ‘round, Fury,” Logan said, hanging up. Nick looked at the phone, then grinned.
“This I gotta see.”
Hellmouth, sweet Hellmouth.
One month later.
“So this is Sunnydale?” Logan said as they drove into town.
“Nice to see it’s in one piece,” Buffy said, “Think they’ve started rebuilding the high school yet?”
“Probably not,” Angel said distantly. Buffy placed a hand on his leg.
“No,” he said truthfully, “I don’t know how Dru’s going to handle seeing us. After Spike…” he didn’t need to say anymore. The Scooby’s had dusted Dru’s Child the year before. Well, Oz had. She, Shalimar, Faith, Angel and Xander had been handling a GSA agent at the time.
“It’s not like she can really hurt us at the moment,” Buffy said. Angel gave her a withering look, “Sorry. I didn’t mean…”
“It’s alright,” Angel said soothingly, wrapping an arm around her, “Considering the history you two share, I won’t be surprised if you say anything harsh. Just try to give her the benefit of the doubt.”
“I’ll try,” Buffy said, cuddling up to him, “Can’t guarantee anything, but I’ll try.”
“That’s all I’m asking for.”
“I don’t want to see her,” Dru said. She and the gang were waiting at the manor on Crawford. So many horrible memories and she was about to meet the one she had truly hurt all over again, “I can’t. She’ll kill me. I deserve it, but I don’t want to die.”
“I-I’m sure you’re over reacting, Dru,” Tara said nervously. She knew her vampiric friend wasn’t over reacting at all, but she hated seeing Dru like this.
“Yeah, D, relax,” Faith said. She’d felt an odd kinship with the seer. Not a surprise, both them had made, or been forced into, some bad decisions in the past. Faith had promised herself she would not let the vampire wallow in self-pity. She just couldn’t understand why she seemed so… Angel-esque, “C’mon, vision girl. Use that gift of yours. You know what’ll happen. You’re just not looking.”
“I don’t want to know,” Dru whispered, “I’m dust and I deserve it.”
“You don’t know that,” Faith said, “Maybe you deserve it for what you’ve done, but you’ve made good. If it weren’t for you, Tara’d be dead, or worse. Face it, Vision Girl, you’re a hero now.”
“Listen,” Faith said, “If B can forgive me, than you’ve got a chance at least. Besides, maybe you can pay her back for the stuff you did wrong. You’re the only person we know that can deliver those Weapon X bastards on a silver platter.”
“I guess…” Dru stopped, a shudder running through her body, “They’re here, outside. The Twins, their father and…him,” her panic receded a bit, “Daddy’s here. Live but here.”
“Maybe I should go in alone first,” Angel said, stepping in front of them as they got out of the car, “Just in case.”
“Probably a good idea,” Logan said, “You can calm ‘er down.”
“And we’ve got to introduce dad to mom and that really sounded weird,” Buffy said. She gave Angel a quick kiss, “Call when you’re ready.”
“I will,” he said, “Be careful.”
“We’ll keep her in one piece, Angel,” Shalimar said as they got back in the car, Logan driving.
“Home, James,” Buffy said with a giggle.
“Very flamin’ funny,” Angel watched as they drove off. Once out of sight, he took a breath and walked up to the door, opening it.
The first sight he saw was Dru, shivering in fear.
“Dru,” he breathed. The seer looked up at him, and what Angel saw in those eyes scared him to death. He couldn’t blame the others for not knowing. None of them had looked into her eyes; none of them knew her like he did.
“You have your soul,” Faith and the unknown blonde gasped, looking over at Dru.
“Is that why it hurts?” Dru asked, “When I think of what I’ve done? Is that why I hoped you’d bring her, so I could take the punishment I deserved? Is that why I want to die? Is this what it was like for you? I don’t want to move, but it only helps when I help people. Why does it hurt?” Angel could say nothing, merely moving to her side and embracing her like a father would his injured child.
“You sure you want to do this?” Buffy asked as they got out of the car.
“I should thank the woman that raised one of my daughters,” Logan said, still shocked at how easily he had gotten used to it.
“Just try to behave yourself,” Buffy said as they walked up to the front door.
“That’s my line,” Logan muttered. The girls giggled as Buffy opened the door.
“Mom, we’re home!” she called out. A couple of minutes later, Joyce appeared at the top of the stairs.
“Buffy,” Joyce moved down the stairs and wrapped her daughter in a tight embrace, “How are you?”
“Alive,” Buffy said, “Weirding out a bit, but still here.”
“Hi, Mrs Summers,” Shalimar said. Joyce turned to her.
“Shalimar Fox, how many times have told you,” she said sternly, “Joyce or mom will do. Not even Xander calls me ‘Mrs Summers’ any more,” her eyes travelled to the rather unkept looking man standing behind them, “And who’s this? Shalimar, are you following Buffy’s example and chasing older men?”
“Eww!” Buffy exploded, “Mom, this is our father.”
“Logan,” he said, holding his hand out. Joyce looked at him a moment, then slapped him across the face.
“Mom!” Buffy yelled, “What was that for?”
“For leaving the two of you in the hands of that… albino monster,” Joyce said angrily, shaking her hand.
“It’s alright, Buffy,” Logan said, rubbing his cheek. He looked at Joyce, “That’s quite a slap ya got on ya, darlin’,” Joyce glared at him, “Look, I didn’t even know the girls existed til Sage told me about them, an’ we only confirmed they’re mine a month ago. Believe me, if I’d known what was going on, I would have turned the world upside down lookin’ for ‘em. An’ don’t ask how I couldn’t know, it’s complicated.”
“Look, mister,” Joyce said, “I’ve been the mother of a Vampire Slayer for the past five years, only to find out she’s actually a New Mutant and not even mine. I think I can handle complicated.”
“I was experimented on by a top secret organisations that implanted a metal onto my entire skeleton,” Logan said, “That includes the claws that’re a part of my powers. Buffy and Shalimar were conceived- or created- in those labs. We have no idea who the mother is,” Joyce blinked a couple of times, then looked at Buffy.
“It runs in the family, doesn’t it?” She asked.
“Looks like it,” Buffy said. She looked at Joyce sheepishly, rubbing the back of her hands, “Mom… if I show you one more thing, do you promise not to wig?”
“I’ll do my best, hon,” Joyce said, “I doubt there’s anything you can show me now that could surprise…” Buffy popped a set of claws out, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?”
“So much for that idea,” Shalimar muttered.
“Mom, calm down, please,” Buffy said desperately, “It’s just a little something from dad’s side. This is what his claws would look like if he didn’t have the metal,” Joyce looked down at the girl who, no matter what happened, would be her daughter.
“It’s alright,” Buffy said, sliding her claws back in. Joyce watched as the wound healed right over, “I heal fast. Faster than a Slayer. Dad’s claws look better, but mine add a natural look to it all,” Joyce looked up at Logan. He nodded, popping his own claws. Joyce gasped as metal blades slid out of his knuckles, in the same spot as Buffy’s bone ones.
“Does that hurt?” Joyce breathed.
“Like hell,” Logan said with a smile, retracting his claws, “You get used to it,” Joyce looked at Shalimar.
“Not yet,” the feral said.
“Not ever, hopefully,” Buffy said, her voice shaking, “I don’t want you to go through that.”
“I nearly killed someone,” Buffy said, tears starting to leak from her eyes, “Alright, he’s a total jerk, but…” She ran through the story, Logan draping his arm over her shoulder.
“Buffy…” Joyce wrapped her daughter in her arms, “It’s alright, hon. You just…lost control a bit.”
“What if it happens again?” Buffy sobbed, “What if I hurt you or Willow or Xander? What if someone dies?”
“Yer strong, darlin’” Logan said, “You can control it. Hell, if I can, anyone can. We’re all here to help ya.”
“Thankyou,” Buffy whispered. Logan smiled.
“Not a problem,” he whispered. He suddenly looked up at Joyce as if remembering something, “Summers? You wouldn’t happen ta know a Scott Summers, would ya?”
“Hank had a cousin named Scott,” Joyce said. Buffy looked up.
“Uncle Red Eye?” She asked, “The one that works at the school in…” something dawned on her, “Wasn’t he a mutant?”
“Oh dear,” Joyce said, “You know him, don’t you?” Logan grinned.
“Me an’ Slim work together,” he said, “Sort of a ‘love- hate’ relationship,” Buffy tried, and failed, to keep herself from bursting into hysterics.
“I have to be there when you tell him,” she said, “Please, dad. I always thought he was a bit stiff.”
“Yeah, he is,” Logan chuckled, “But he’s got his reasons for. Facin’ end of the world every other week, bein’ unable ta control his mutant power. Sure, he’s got a bug up his ass, but I trust that bug with my life. ‘Course,” he said with a mischievous grin, “doesn’t mean I have to make it easy on him.”
“Amen to that,” Buffy said with an equal grin, “And all I got off him was trouble off Hank.”
“Buffy…” Joyce started.
“I’m sorry, mom,” Buffy muttered, “but I haven’t thought of him as my father since he ran off to Spain with his secretary, and you can’t expect me to call him that now.”
“Alright,” Joyce said, “I understand. Now, let’s sit down, and you three can explain everything.”
“Is there ice cream involved?” Buffy asked.
“Ice cream?” Logan asked.
“Not old enough for whisky,” Shalimar said.
“Whisky?” Joyce asked, looking at him. Logan shrugged.
“I am old enough.”
Chapter Five - Talks, Revelations and Forgiveness
“How did this happen?” Angel muttered. Tara had taken Dru upstairs to bed, leaving Faith and Angel to discuss this latest development, “How the hell did she get a soul?”
“Beats me,” Faith said, “We found her like that.”
“What were you guys doing in LA anyway?” Angel asked.
“Xander and Oz were the ones that found her,” Faith explained, “Botoy had to pick something up from a former X-Man that lived there and Wolf Boy tagged along. They found Dru, almost totally shut down. They brought her here and the Initiative reprogrammed the chip. No one had any idea she got souled.”
“I’m going to rip that bastards lungs out when I get my hands on him,” Angel growled, “How dare he get her involved?”
“Probably looking for a new science experiment,” Faith said bitterly, “Cuttin’ up mutants must’ve gotten boring.”
“That’s something else I owe him for,” Angel muttered. His look soured even more, “I probably won’t even get a chance at him. If Logan doesn’t kill him, Buffy probably will.”
“B?” Faith said, surprised, “Didn’t think she had that in her.”
“Like father like daughter,” Angel said, explaining what had happened to Wild Child, “He’s lucky he has a healing factor. I doubt he would have survived long enough to get his guts back in if he didn’t.”
“Damn,” Faith muttered, “I thought I was the hot head. Did she really grow claws?”
“Six of them,” Angel confirmed, “Three on each hand.”
“Yeah, that’s one way of putting it,” Angel said. His eyes wandered to the stairs, “How did this happen?”
“Let me get this straight,” Buffy said, “You actually met Dracula?”
“More like a collision,” Logan said, “A near fatal one, too. If it hadn’t been for Lilith, you’d be down a dad.”
“Or worse,” Shalimar said, “Something else to take care of?”
“Nah,” Buffy said, “I’m done chasing vamps. Now, if we ‘happen’ cross paths, well, that’s an entirely different story.”
“Buffy Ann Summers, don’t even think about going after him,” Joyce said sternly, “He’s got quite enough to deal with in Lilith.”
“His own daughter,” Buffy muttered, “Good thing they don’t get along, huh?”
“Ya got that right,” Logan muttered, “Still can’t believe ya haven’t run into any mutants.”
“Beamer count?” Buffy asked, referring to the GSA agent that had come after her.
“I’d count that as good thing,” Shalimar said, “Can you imagine what might have happened if Sabretooth had found her first and recognised dad on her?” A cold shiver ran up her spine, “We may never have found her.”
“Or else found her too late,” Logan muttered darkly.
“Hey, no frownies,” Buffy said cheerily, “I’m here, alive and non evil type. That’s all that counts, right?”
“Ya got that right, darlin’,” Logan said, “And yer stayin’ that way. Both of ya.”
“Well, as fun as this was, I think its time for us to get some sleep,” Joyce said, “Buffy, your room’s exactly as you left it. Shalimar, I have the guest room set up for you. Mr Logan…”
“Just Logan, darlin’,” the X-Man said, “And I’m fine on the couch.”
“As long as you remember my name is ‘Joyce’,” she said, “Not ‘darlin’’. You’re lucky you’re her father, or you wouldn’t get away with it with Buffy. I’ll get some sheets.”
“I’ll get them,” Buffy said, “You get some sleep. I’ll probably wait for Angel anyway. He’s still checking on Dru.”
“Alright, hon. Goodnight.”
“You should probably call Buffy,” Faith said. Angel slapped himself on the forehead.
“Damn, I forgot,” Angel said, “She’s waiting for the all clear.”
“Hey, she’ll forgive ya,” Faith said, “She thinks the world of you. ‘Sides, this is big.”
“Yeah,” Angel said, getting up and walking over to the phone, “But she should know before tomorrow,” he dialled the number, waiting as the phone rang, “Shalimar, put Buffy on. No, things aren’t fine. It’s a little more complicated than we though. Thanks,” there was a brief wait, then, “Buffy. I’m staying here the night. Might not be the best idea right now. She has her soul. Yes, you heard me right,” he grinned at a comment she made, “Very funny. No, I’m not all right. Tell Logan I’m going to be right beside him when he gets his hand on this bastard. Yeah, I want leftovers. All right. I’ll see you tomorrow. I love you too,” he hung up, shaking his head, “Like father, like daughter.”
“Summers’ residence,” Shalimar said, “Is everything alright? I’ll get Buffy.”
“What’s up?” Her sister asked. Shalimar shrugged.
“All he told me was that things had gotten more complicated,” she said, handing her the phone.
“Angel, what’s up?” There was a moments break, “You want me to come by? Not the best idea? Why…? I’m sorry; I think there must be something wrong with the phone. I thought I just heard you say Dru’s got a soul. I… you wanna talk about ‘like father, like daughter’… Are you all right, sweetie? You want the leftovers, huh? You and everyone else on the planet. I’ll let dad and Shal know. Tomorrow then. I love you,” she sighed as she hung up the phone.
“What’s up?” Logan asked, walking in from the lounge room.
“Angel wants the leftovers from this creep,” Buffy said, “It seems Dru somehow got her soul along with everything else.”
“Flamin’…” Logan made his way out to the backyard. Moments later there was a crash.
“I don’t think I’m climbing down that tree anymore,” Buffy muttered sourly.
“What was that?” Joyce asked, appearing at the top of the stairs.
“It appears Weapon X has been dabbling,” Shalimar said, “Dru’s got a soul. Buffy told dad and I guess he’s taking it out on your trees.”
“Those things needed trimming anyway,” Joyce muttered shakily.
“I’ll…” Buffy began.
“I’ll talk to him,” Shalimar said, “You two get some sleep.”
“Slayer for five years,” Buffy reminded her, “I don’t need more than four hours sleep.”
“Believe me, I know,” Shalimar said, thankful she was about to get the first full nights sleep she’d had in a while, “But I think we need to keep a cool head, especially dealing with dad. And you have not got a cool head.”
“What are you…?” Buffy began.
“Look at your hands,” Shalimar said, “Your claws are about to pop, you’re barely in control. I’ll handle dad. Get some rest,” Buffy looked down at her hands, not really needing to. She could feel the bone blades pushing against her flesh, threatening to burst out.
“Alright,” she said, taking a calming breath, “You’re right. I’ll head to bed.”
“Thankyou,” Shalimar said. She didn’t really understand why Buffy was so angry. She didn’t even like this Druscilla, “I’ll talk to dad.”
“Take a stake,” Buffy advised, “You don’t have claws, and we are back in Sunnydale.”
“Already covered,” Shalimar said, pulling a piece of wood out of her jacket, “Never leave Sanctuary without it.”
“G’night, sis,” Buffy said with a grin, leading Joyce back to her room.
“Sweet dreams,” Shalimar whispered, knowing her sister rarely, if ever, had such a thing.
“You done taking your frustration out on the poor trees?” Shalimar asked as she walked out the back.
“Went on to some vamps that were trying to sneak past,” Logan muttered.
“You alright?” Logan sniffed at the question, “I’ll take that as ‘no’.”
“What’s this Dru like?”
“I haven’t had the misfortune to meet her yet,” Shalimar began, “But from the descriptions I did get, totally insane, with a hint homicidal tendencies in there for good measure.”
“So gettin’ her soul isn’t goin’ ta help things?” he muttered. Although he had no love for vampires in general, he found this experimentation impossible to forgive, mostly because he’d experienced it before.
“I doubt she’s much for conversation,” Shalimar said, “But she seems to have made some friends. Her, Faith and this Tara girl have been near inseparable from what Willow told Buffy.”
“A kindred spirit and an innocent,” Logan muttered.
“Yeah, suppose so,” Shalimar said, “But we’re getting off subject. I was asking about you,” Logan sighed.
“I keep thinkin’…” he said, “I had him once. The Director. Had him right where I coulda nailed him. But I disfigured his face a little and let him go.”
“So now you’re wondering if you should’ve finished him there and then?” Shalimar asked, “Dad… doesn’t matter what you did. They would’ve just found someone else.”
“I know,” Logan muttered, “Guess hearing what they did to her… they wanted me ta find her. The adamantium, the claws… it’s too close. An’ after the attacks on you two, I get the feeling they’re tryin’ ta get my attention.”
“If I didn’t think for a moment Creed told them he’d let slip, I’d say you were paranoid,” Shalimar said, “But that sack of shit would have told them and enjoyed the look on their faces. Thing is, the guys found her before Sabretooth could’ve told them. So that leaves two options. One, it was luck, or two…”
“They got wind of the suspicions,” Logan said, “That means we got a spy.”
Dru walked down the stairs cautiously. She could hear Angel, Faith and Tara.
She could also hear Buffy.
Every survival instinct she had screamed for her to run, to lock herself in her room and never come out.
Her guilt was trying to drive her in there, so she could get what she deserved. Death.
The demon was trying to tell her to kill them all, that things would be better after they were gone. But with all these voices, there was one she could trust. Her constant companion throughout the years.
“Go to them,” her oldest friend whispered, “Beg her forgiveness. She accepted Angel, even after what Angelus did. She will accept you.”
And so she went, her knees shaking. When she walked out among them, she almost collapsed. She felt so alone. But a look around her showed her otherwise.
There was Angel, alive, looking at her reassuringly. Even though he was no longer a vampire, he cared for her, as if he were still her Sire.
Faith was sitting off to one side, smiling at her encouragingly. Even Tara, wonderful, shy Tara, was looking at her unashamedly.
Then, there was Buffy. She was unsure, memories warring with what she had been told, “Go on,” Ms Edith whispered.
“Sla… Buffy,” she whispered, trying to keep her voice steady. She fell to her knees sobbing, “I’m sorry. What I did, I deserve to die. Kill me, please,” no, she hadn’t wanted to say that.
“I should,” Buffy whispered, “I should dust you now. But if there’s anything I know,” she gave Angel and Faith a look, “it’s that people deserve another chance, if they want it,” she bent down, taking the sobbing vampire by her hands and helping her up, “Welcome to the Scoobies, Dru. Stay clean,” the seer wrapped her arms around the feral, sobbing into her shoulder, “Easy there, girl. This jacket’s ‘dry clean only’.”
Chapter Six - The Hacking Team Supreme
Willow sighed angrily. Nothing. Not a Goddess damned thing. She reached for the phone, wishing she had better news.
“Buffy?” She said as her friend answered, “Bad news, I’m afraid. I’ve tried everything I could think of. Nothing. I’m sorry,” she listened as Buffy conferred with someone, “Backup? What kind of… Two days? All right. Where are you? The manor? I’ll get the rest of the gang. See you soon.”
Katherine Pryde got of the plane uneasily. She’d thought she’d left this life behind, jetting around to save the world.
No, she thought, this wasn’t saving the world. This was helping a friend. One of her best, she added, seeing Logan across the airport. One of the few still alive.
“Hey there, bub,” she said, as she got close.
“Hey,” Logan nodded. The two embraced fiercely, “Missed ya.”
“Same here,” Kitty said, “So, what is it this time? Magneto claim to be your father?” Logan chuckled.
“Actually, I’m the surprised father,” he said. Kitty nearly stopped breathing.
“Say what!?” She managed to gasp, “You’re a… How? When?”
“Weapon X,” Logan said sourly. Kitty recovered immediately, “I’m not dragging ya there for answers, darlin’. I know ya don’t want anythin’ ta do with that life. But we need info.”
“What kind of info?” Kitty asked. Despite Logan’s assurances, she had every intention of helping track those creeps down so she could make them pay or Logan’s pain.
“Where they are,” Logan started, “What they’re up to. Who the girls mother is?”
“Can I cause their computers to self destruct?” Kitty asked darkly.
“Kinda the prerequisite,” Logan chuckled, “Ya’ve even got a partner. Hacker friend of my daughters…”
“And that just sounded really weird,” Kitty interrupted. Logan chuckled before continuing, his voice low.
“Ever hear of WiccaRed?” He asked.
“Are you SERIOUS?” Kitty barely managed not to shout, “The guy that Hacked S.H.E.I.L.D’s data base for info on the GSA?”
“She hacked Fury’s computers?” Logan grinned again, “No wonder she was so pissed she couldn’t find them. How’d you know about that?” Kitty shrugged.
“Nick asked me in to try and track her down,” she said, “Got as far as Langley before the trail went all over the place.”
“Oh I gotta hear this story,” Logan muttered.
“You never told me you went through S.H.E.I.L.D!” Buffy gasped. Willow looked at her, face red.
“Well, you wanted any info that might help against GSA,” Willow said defensively, “I thought it’d be the best bet to find it there. If they don’t know about it, who does? How’d you think we’ve kept them off our back? I found more than enough blackmail info there.”
“But still, S.H.E.I.L.D?” Buffy said again.
“How far did you get?” Xander asked Kitty, “Before you lost her?”
“CIA computers at Langley,” Kitty said calmly. Buffy nearly choked on her tongue at that one, “After that it bounced off so many satellites I gave up. Nick’s still looking for her.”
“Why?” Shalimar asked.
“To offer her a job,” Kitty said simply. Logan chuckled.
“Damn, Red,” he said, “Can’t believe you couldn’t find Weapon X,” Willow scowled.
“I don’t understand it,” she said, “I’ve checked every database I could think of, tried every back door I’ve ever thrown together and I still couldn’t find anything.”
“Well, then, let’s get hacking,” Kitty said eagerly, “I can’t wait to find out what you can do,” Buffy looked at Willow suspiciously.
“Wills, what didn’t you try?” Willow looked at her, surprised, then bowed her head.
“Sorry,” the red headed Wicca/hacker said, “Guess I got distracted,” she looked over at Oz.
“So there’s still some thing’s you haven’t tried?” Kitty asked, her grin widening, “Oh this is going to be fun.”
“Mind if I tag along?” Xander asked, reaching for his ‘glasses’.
“Just remember your priorities, Boytoy,” she said teasingly, “Wouldn’t want me catchin’ cold now, would ya?” Xander looked up at her calmly.
“Highly unlikely, Faith,” he said, “Maybe a small chill, but nothing that extreme.”
“Damn,” the Slayer muttered, “That cold, calculating side of you spoils all my fun.”
“That’s not what you said last night when we…” Xander started before stopping, as shocked as the rest of them, as Faith turned bright red, “He shoots, he scores!” He crowed.
“You’ll get yours, X,” Faith muttered.
“Is that a promise?” The mutant teased.
“Get outta here,” she said, “’Fore I change my mind and lock you in our room.”
“Choices, choices,” Xander muttered before Willow dragged him out the door. Buffy giggled.
“You two always like that?” She asked. Faith shook her head.
“Sometimes they’re worse,” Giles said dryly.
“I don’t get it,” Willow muttered, “Nothing.”
“Let’s just get this sucker hooked up,” Kitty muttered, pugging the last cables into Willows computer.
“What is that, exactly?” Xander asked. Kitty stood up, looking at the thin machine.
“A booster,” she said, “We get a clearer signal from the military satellites, plus it increases the capacity of the CPU. Has a direct link to those,” she pointed to Xander’s glasses, “and my lap top. A little something I picked up off Forge on the way here.”
“So, we get to track down Weapon X, shut them down and play with a new toy?” Willow asked eagerly, “Can I play with it a bit first? See if I can’t get a little something extra out of it?”
“Oh, this I have to see,” Xander said, almost pleadingly, “Forge’s inventions with a little ‘coaxing’ from Willow?” Kitty grinned.
“Go for it,” Willow grinned, pulling the cover off.
“Oh, nice,” she muttered, “This things got satellite boosters out the wazoo. If I do this…” she fiddled with n gizmo in particular, the replaced the cover and moved to the software, “Locked,” she muttered. She typed for a few moments, “Unlocked. Now, this goes here, that goes there…” the booster beeped a few times, earning a “Oh hush,” from Willow.
“Done,” she declared happily. Kitty looked over her shoulder.
“You hacked a Kree spy satellite?” She gasped, “That thing’s orbiting Pluto! This doesn’t have that much power.”
“My friend the genius,” Xander said.
“It had plenty of power,” Willow said, “It just wasn’t scanning anything other than terrestrial frequencies. Now, if I do this,” she pressed some buttons, bringing up a world map with strange, alien markings around it, “Damn. I was hoping for English.”
“I got it,” Kitty said, typing on her laptop. The language on their screens changed to English.
“Cool,” Willow said, “Now, I scan for mutants…” the map lit up, showing everyone with the X-Factor gene, “Whoops. Too general.”
“Try restricting it to mutants with some type of work done to them,” Xander suggested, “Use Logan or Marrow as template for the search. They should have the same general markings.”
“Oh, right,” Willow said, homing in on Logan. A few seconds later, several dots appeared, one larger than any of the others.
“That’s it,” Kitty said, “Weapon X.”
“Think we can hack in using this thing?” Willow asked. A grin spread across Kitty’s face.
“Let’s rock,” she said, typing furiously. The clicking of Willow’s computer soon joined hers as two of the world’s best hackers began working on the most secure computer system in the world. Xander sat back to watch them work.
“Damn,” he muttered as they slipped past the firewall and roving sentries with ease, “Watch for decoys guys.”
“Please,” Willow snorted, “I already disarmed ten of them.”
“This is it?” Kitty snorted, “Please. I programmed better security when I was fourteen.”
“I know,” Willow agreed, “Hang on. Here’s something. Hm…”
“Looks like S.H.E.I.L.D’s Aegis 15 security sensors,” Kitty muttered, “Nice. Too bad I helped design them… Damn! Back door’s closed.”
“Side door’s not,” Willow said happily as she used the same codes she used to hack S.H.E.I.L.D’s computers, “We’re in. What do we look for?”
“Wolverine,” Kitty said, “Try Buffy and Shalimar’s name’s as well, see if anything comes up. I’m going to scan mission data see if I get any hits. Anything else Xander?”
“Genomex,” he suggested, his mind running through possibilities, “Research data. Also, try synonyms for Rebirth.”
“Under way,” Willow said, “Watch our backs, Xand Man.”
“All over it, Willmeister,” Xander muttered, looking at Weapon X’s data stream through his glasses, “They don’t even know you’re there.”
“Hits,” Kitty said, “Targets, something called Project: Rebirth.”
“Download,” Xander said.
“Half way done,” Kitty answered.
“I’ve got some thing’s coming too,” Willow said, “A Project: Speedfreak, gene maps for them, all sorts of interesting things.”
“Better hurry up,” Xander said, “They’re on to us.”
“One more thing…” Kitty muttered, “I’m done and out.”
“Ditto,” Willow said, shutting the link down, “Easy as. And they should be feeling the effects pretty soon.”
“What did you do?” Kitty asked. Willow grinned.
“E-mail’s to every major law enforcement agency in the world detailing their operations,” Willow said, “You?”
“Total system meltdown,” Kitty said, “Emergency system encrypted to prevent them being able to do anything about it. And they won’t break it.”
“Why not?” Xander asked. Kitty smiled at them both.
“’Cause I used the Kree programming code from that satellite we used to break in,” she explained. The three burst into laughter.
Weapon X (Meltdown in progress).
“What is going on?” The Director demanded.
“Systems are going down all over the place,” a technician said.
“We’ve been hacked,” another shouted out, “They’ve shut down everything, we’re locked out of the emergency systems…”
“Lock down! We’re in lock down!”
“Oh shit, we’re e-mailing! All our mission data, our location, everything!”
“What the hell did they do? Emergency systems are coming up with screen loads of crap!”
“Abandon the complex!” The Director ordered. Technicians began abandoning their posts as he looked around. This was all HIS fault, him and his little bitches. Well, he’d get his revenge, “And send Speedfreak after them. Give her extermination orders,” yes. Revenge would be sweet.
“They are going down!” Kitty crowed, “Hard!”
“That was so awesome,” Willow bubbled excitedly, “They didn’t stand a chance. Everyone knows about them now, from the CIA to the Mossad and there’s not a thing they can do about it.”
“Willow, calm down,” Buffy managed, “Now, slowly, what did you do?”
“Hacked their computers,” Willow said, “Then set their systems to e-mail everything on their hard drives to every major law enforcement agency in the world. Then Kitty got involved,” Logan gave the mutant a look.
“Shut down their systems,” she explained, “Everything. And locked them out of the emergency systems with a Kree computer code.”
“And you got a Kree code how?” Logan asked. Xander smiled.
“Willow gave the device Kitty brought with her a once over,” he explained, “They hacked a Kree spy sat hiding around Pluto.”
“Willow did most of the work there,” Kitty said, “I just translated it.”
“You’re the one that recognised the security they had,” Willow said.
“You broke in there though,” Kitty added. Buffy shook her head.
“See, this is why we don’t let Willow make friends,” she said in mock disappointed, “Everything they say goes right over our heads.”
“They made bad place go boom,” Dru muttered, “But now they send Her. You must be careful.”
“Who are they sending, Dru?” Angel said softly.
“Buffy’s mummy,” Dru muttered, “Must be careful,” Buffy and Shalimar looked at each other. Their mother had still been there? And now she was being sent against them?
“Faith, warn the Initiative,” Buffy said, “Xander, try and track her. I want a warning before she gets here,” Buffy looked at Logan, “Any ideas?”
“No,” Logan said, “I’m sorry, I just can’t…”
“It’s okay, dad,” Shalimar said, “It’s not your fault. We’ll just have to hope we can get through to her without hurting her.”
“When I get my hands on that bastard…” Buffy muttered. Angel placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“It’s alright, love,” he said, pulling her close, “It’s alright,” Dru looked at them. This wasn’t fair. Even she knew that. There had to be something she could do. What though?
“Help them,” Miss Edith whispered gently into her mind. Dru nodded, closing her eyes.
“Moving so fast,” she whispered, “Coming so quickly. Here so soon.”
“How soon Dru?” Angel asked.
“When Speedfreak comes, vengance be done,” Dru sang softly, “He will pay, what he did. Leaving, running, no escape now, no, no, no.”
“Dru,” Angel said, slightly firmer, “How long?”
“Weeks, months, days,” the seer sang, “Her daughter makes the pain go away. Doesn’t know they’re here yet, soon she will.”
“I don’t think we’ll get much better than that,” Angel said ruefully. Buffy walked over to Dru, bending down so she could look at the vampire, who was sitting on a chair.
“Dru,” she whispered, “We need to know. How long til she gets here?” Druscilla opened her eyes, looking at Buffy. Had to prove her worth, here and now. This is the moment.
“Two weeks,” Dru whispered, “Shalimar must meet her, alone, or else the Bad Place will keep her. Only Her Daughter can help. The Wild Slayer and Her Father will only make things worse,” Buffy smiled gently.
“Thankyou,” she whispered, straitening. Dru grinned. She’d done it.
“Knew you could,” Miss Edith whispered.
“Why only Shalimar?” Faith asked, “And why’s Shal the only one that gets called ‘Her Daughter’?”
“Buffy’s her father’s daughter,” Xander said, “The claws, the attitude… she takes after Logan more than her mother. I’m guessing Shal’s more a mommy’s little girl.”
“Good call,” Buffy said, “Got anything?” Xander grinned as he looked through his ‘glasses’.
“Used the gene maps in the Project: Speedfreak file,” he said, “Dru’s right on. Two weeks, tops. Her current trajectory brings her entering Sunnydale via Rosehill Cemetery, exactly two weeks from now.”
“Two weeks to prepare?” Buffy grimaced, “We’ve had less time.”
Chapter Seven - Reunion
Speedfreak roared down the highway, the enhancements done to her serving her well. Soon, so soon, she would find him. Find the one who had betrayed her, left her to the ‘mercy’ of the Weapon X doctors. Find him and make him pay.
“Time to pay the piper, ‘darling’,” she muttered into the wind.
Two weeks later.
Shalimar walked through the cemetery, her enhanced senses on full alert. Their mother should arrive soon. She just hoped Dru was right.
“I’m right here, sis,” Buffy sent down their link.
“I know,” Shalimar muttered. She was nervous. All this waiting…
There. A shift in the wind. Something coming towards her, something moving fast, “Gotta be her,” she muttered, getting into position.
Speedfreak moved into Sunnydale. I’ll have you soon, Wolverine. Very soon, you will pay for taking my daughter’s and leaving me.
She moved quickly, easily covering half the cemetery in seconds, to find someone in her way. For a reason she didn’t understand, she stopped.
“Hi,” the young woman before her asked.
“Move,” Speedfreak said harshly.
“I can’t do that,” the girl said, “Not until we talk.”
“What do we have to talk about?” The speedster asked, “Who are you?”
“My name is Shalimar Fox,” she said, “and we need to talk about why you’re here.”
“Vengeance,” Speedfreak said simply, “Against the man who stole my daughters, the man who lied to me and left me for dead.”
“How do you know he left you?” Shalimar asked.
“How do I know!?” Speedfreak exploded, “One moment he was there, the next gone, and he took my daughters with him.”
“How do you know it was him that took them?” Shal said, “How do you know he left of his own will?”
“They told me,” she said, “Showed me the tapes.”
“Tapes can be doctored,” Shalimar said, “A mans word can be false.”
“He left me alone,” Speedfreak whispered, “They tortured me, operated, made me more of freak than I already was.”
“You were never a freak,” Shalimar said, “You’re special, gifted, but never a freak. My friends found some information on what happened to him and you. Your daughters… we already knew that.”
“What?” Speedfreak looked at the girl. What was going on here? “How could you know this? Why would you even look? Who are you? Really.”
“Because Wolverine is my father,” Speedfreak gasped. It couldn’t be, “He and my sister are waiting for us. He was robbed of his memory, couldn’t remember you. Didn’t even know we existed.”
“It can’t be,” Speedfreak breathed, “It simply… can’t be.”
“It’s true,” Shalimar said.
“Prove it,” Speedfreak took off at top speed.
“Shit,” Shalimar said, racing off after her. There was no way she was going to catch her like this. She was going to loose her mother before even knowing her.
Something inside her snapped and suddenly Sunnydale was moving past Shalimar’s peripheral vision in a blur. Ahead of her, Speedfreak’s racing form began to come closer.
“Go for it, sister mine,” Buffy said, egging her on. Shalimar grinned and, if anyone could have seen her eyes, they would have seen the golden cats eyes lock themselves in place.
Speedfreak looked behind her to see the girl claiming to be her daughter closing behind her.
“That’s impossible,” she whispered, “No one’s as fast as me,” she increased to her maximum speed. Shalimar noticed this and followed suit, her feral abilities increasing to take the strain. Within moments, the two of them were side by side.
“So you’re fast,” Speedfreak said, “Let’s see if you can keep the pace.”
“I was about to say the same to you,” Shalimar said.
The two raced through Sunnydale, moving out of the city limits within seconds, running to an unknown destination. They both shared the same, single thought.
“Holy shit,” Buffy muttered.
“What is it?” Logan asked. Buffy looked up at him.
“It looks like the files weren’t kidding about our mothers speed,” Buffy said, “They just left Sunnydale and are heading for LA. From the wrong direction,” Logan chuckled.
“Diedre always was a speed demon,” he said. His laughter was immediately cut off.
“Dad?” Buffy said, “Did you just…?”
“That was her name,” Logan whispered, “Diedre. We were both grabbed after our mutations showed themselves. We were running when Weapon X grabbed…”
“It’s started,” Dru muttered, “The power is rising, the walls are falling. All will be right, and the Unknown Weapon will be no more,” Logan paid no attention to the seers mad ramblings as a single realization swept through him.
Shalimar smiled as she looked over at Speedfreak. This was how it was meant to be. As much as fighting alongside their father was right for Buffy this, running alongside their mother, hitting speeds no normal person even dreamed of… this was right for her. She could feel it.
And so could Speedfreak. In her heart of hearts, the speedster knew this girl was her daughter.
They finally slowed to a stop a stones throw from LA, both grinning madly.
“I’ve never run like that before in my life,” Shalimar said, slightly winded. Only slightly.
“You’ll get used to it,” Speedfreak said gently, “Given time, a short run like that will be nothing for you,” she looked back the way they had just come, “I haven’t run like that since the day you were all taken from me,” Shalimar looked over at her.
“You just said that we were taken without mentioning dad as the bad guy,” Speedfreak looked over at her.
“What…?” Images came to her mind, “They took you, all of you. Logan refused to give up. They tazered him and dragged him off. You and your sister, you were screaming… God, you were so scared. They were holding me back, I couldn’t…” she fell to her knees sobbing, “They brainwashed me. All these years hating him, and the memories weren’t even real.”
“Mom,” Shalimar whispered. What could she say in a situation like this?
“Shal, dad’s started to remember!” Buffy ‘shouted’ excitedly.
“Same on this end,” Shalimar sent back, “She just remembered the day we were taken.”
“Oh God. What a way to start.”
“Yeah,” Shalimar said, kneeling next to her mother, “How’s dad taking it?”
“He’s wigging,” Buffy said, “Hasn’t said much since he remembered her name.”
“What’s going on, Buffy?” Shalimar asked, “All these years, suddenly Weapon X’s conditioning just… stops working? It doesn’t make sense.”
“Definitely something going on here,” Buffy said, “Dru said something, but it doesn’t really make much sense. Bring her in, Shal. It’s time for a family reunion,” Shalimar nodded, touching Speedfreak’s shoulder gently.
“Mom,” she whispered. Diedre looked up at her, “Come on. They’re waiting.”
“Dad and Buffy,” Shalimar said.
“Buffy?” Diedre asked. Shalimar gave a grin.
“It’s what she prefers,” she explained, “I don’t know why.”
“It annoys the crap out of Uncle Red Eye,” Buffy sent.
“Will he… want to see me?” Diedre said nervously, “I came to kill him…”
“Dad’s pretty forgiving,” Shalimar said, helping her up, “Unless you go after people he cares for. Besides, he knows what Weapon X can do to a person, first hand. They erased you from his memory completely, up until a few seconds ago. Buffy just told me he’s starting to remember.”
“She… told you?” Diedre looked at her daughter, confused.
“We’ve got some twin link going,” Shalimar explained, “We feel each others emotions, what we’re feeling, even share thoughts. We just had a conversation. Dad’s remembered a few things, including your name,” she tilted her head, like she was listening to something, “Diedre, right?”
“Y-yes,” Diedre said, “That was my name, before…”
“It’s okay,” Shalimar whispered, “He loves you. He just…couldn’t remember you for a while,” she made a disgusted face, “Those Weapon X creeps have a lot to answer for when we get our hands on them.”
“More than a lot,” Diedre growled softly, “They took Logan, my daughters, my life! They will not get away with that.”
“No,” Shalimr agreed, “They won’t. We’ve got a lot of friends, and dad’s not exactly unknown in the super hero or intelligence communities,” this got Speedfreak’s attention.
“A super hero?” She gasped, “My Logan?”
“Alpha Flight, the X-Men, hell, dad was even a member of the Fantastic Four for a while when they disappeared once,” Shalimar listed proudly, “He’s also a friend of Nick Fury’s and Captain America. Even teamed with Spiderman a couple of times,” Diedre was lost for words.
“This is… I never would have suspected,” she whispered.
“Come on,” Shalimar said, “Let’s head back. I’ll fill you in on what I know on the way back.”
Xavier Institute of Higher Learning
“You wanted to see me, Professor?” Scott asked walking in to Professor Xavier’s office.
“Yes Scott,” Xavier said calmly. “We just got an interesting E-Mail from Kitty and a couple of others.”
“It appears they found a way to hack Weapon X’s computers,” Xavier said.
“They?” Scott asked.
“Yes,” Professor said. “She’s marked out two partners. A Willow Rosenberg and Alexander Harris.”
“Those are Buffy’s friends,” Scott said, thinking of his cousin Hank’s delinquent daughter.
“Yes,” Xavier said. “They are helping Logan find his remaining family…”
“They’re what?” Scott demanded. “What the hell is Logan thinking getting my family involved in this?”
“Professor, I’d like to lead the team going to help them,” Scott volunteered. And give Logan a piece of my mind.
“I understand, Scott, but there is something…” Xavier didn’t have time to finish as Cyclops stormed of, lining up his team mentally. Charles Xavier shook his head.
“We’ve got problems,” Buffy said, a dark look on her face.
“What’s up, sis?” Shalimar asked as Logan and Diedre came from upstairs. They’re reunion the night before had brought the remainder of their memories flooding back, and had spent the night just enjoying being back together.
“Cyclops’ on his way here,” Buffy said. “Professor X gave us a call. He didn’t give Chuck a chance to explain what was going on. All my ‘dear uncle’ could think about was that his ‘delinquent niece’ had gotten herself in trouble and that ‘irresponsible wild man’ had gotten his family involved in something that wasn’t my business. I’ll give him irresponsible…”
“Easy, Buffy,” Shalimar said, soothingly, hand on Buffy’s shoulder.
“I wish Angel was here,” Buffy muttered. The former vampire had gone with Drusilla to pick up some back up. Who, the two hadn’t revealed. It did slightly worry Buffy, considering their past, but she trusted them.
“Don’t worry about Slim,” Logan said. “We’ll deal with him when he gets here. Did you make that call?” Buffy grinned.
“Fury didn’t believe me until I told him to ‘get his lazy ass down here before I come and take the other eye’,” she said with a laugh. “He’s making those calls now. Of course, I didn’t ever think you’d call Spider-Man in.”
“We may not agree on everything, but he’s a good guy,” Logan said. “Someone you can definitely rely on in a scrape.”
“We need all the backup we can get.”
“Are you sure about this, Dru?” Angel asked.
“Yes,” the seer said. “He’s right in here. Darkness and power and rage bundled up loosely, waiting to explode. He will be needed, but it is very dangerous. He may go either way, we must be cautious.”
“That’s why Oz and Willow went to Chinatown,” Angel reminded her.
“The Calm Warrior,” Dru whispered. “His Wayward Son and the Mysterious Companion.”
“Let’s just get this one,” Angel muttered. All these nick names got his head spinning, but his Childe was finally getting her life together.
“We must be careful,” Dru said. “The Green One doesn’t like Buffy’s Daddy.”
“Terrific,” Angel groaned as they mounted the stairs. “I really don’t think Sunnydale’s ready for a throw down grudge match between Wolverine and the Hulk,” Dru giggled.
“What’s about adding Buffy into the mix?” Dru asked. Angel hesitated.
“Now I really don’t like this,” he muttered as she stopped at a door.
“In here,” she said, knocking.
“Who’s there?” A voice asked.
“Doctor Banner?” Angel asked.
“Not here,” the voice said.
“Doctor Banner, we need to talk,” Angel said. “We may have a way to help you,” there was a sound of shuffling before the door opened moments later, showing a scruffy, dark haired man with glasses.
“You can’t help me,” Bruce Banner said. “No one can help me.”
“What if I said I knew someone who could?” Angel offered. “A Shao Lin monk who had already helped a werewolf gain control of his inner beast.”
“I’d say you were nuts,” Banner said. “Goodbye.”
“Darkness gathers,” Dru said suddenly. “A force that has already destroyed many families because they did not match their thoughts on humanity,” Dru unsheathed the claws Weapon X had given her. “They have already hurt me, made me feel. So long I wanted to die, to…” the vampire burst into tears as Angel hugged her close.
“Who did this?” Banner asked, recognising the claws.
“Weapon X,” Angel said. “Same guys that worked Wolverine over.”
“That might be dangerous,” Banner said. “The Hulk doesn’t like him too much.”
“Logan’s finally found the family that was stolen from him,” Angel said. “His daughters, his wife, all stolen by Weapon X. He isn’t sitting aside. Can you?”
“No,” Banner said without hesitation. “No, I can’t. I’m in.”
“Hello, Parker,” the gruff voice on the other end of the line said. Peter Parker, high school science teacher, gave out a groan. “Is that anyway ta treat an old friend?”
“The last time you called me in for something, Fury, I ended up going all around the world chasing some guy that you paid to find a way to kill me,” Parker said darkly. “Did you know you made me late for Sunday roast with my aunt?”
“Take it off my tab.”
“I’d rather take it out of your hide.”
“Now that’s not nice,” Fury said. “Ya’ve gone and hurt my feelings.”
“You’ll live,” Peter said dryly. “Now, is there an actual reason you called, or are you just out to annoy me?”
“Actually, I’m asking a favour for a mutual friend,” Fury said. “Logan.”
“What’s he gotten into this time?” Peter asked.
“He tell ya about Weapon X?”
“The guys that turned him into every security guards worst nightmare?” Peter remarked. “He might have mentioned them between gunshots.”
“It seems like they stole more than his life,” Nick said. “He had an entire family, wife and twin girls, taken away from him. Completely wiped from his memory. Now he’s found ‘em, and you can guess the family trait.”
“They’re going after Weapon X,” Peter guessed. “Should I bring a mop and bucket, ‘cause if they’re half as bad as Logan, that’s what you’re going to need.”
“Tell me about it,” Nick grumbled. “One a’ the girls told me she was coming ta take my other eye if I didn’t get down there.”
“Gee, I like her already,” Peter said with a smile.
“She also nearly gutted a guy that tried to stop her helping her sister.”
“Definitely Logan’s,” Peter said. “I’m going to regret this but… tell Logan I’m on my way.”
“Had a feeling ya’d say that, Petey,” Nick said.
“Look out the window,” Peter complied to see Nick Fury waving back at him with a mobile phone in hand.
“Have I told you how much I hate you lately?”
“Not within the last two seconds.”
“I hate you, Fury.”
“Yer just sayin’ that ta make me feel better.”
“This is it,” Bobby said as the cars stopped. He looked up at the manor. “Who lived here before Logan? Count Dracula?”
“Not funny,” Kurt said, checking his image inducer. “Tell me again, mein freund, why Scott insisted we get here so quickly?”
“To save his cousins ‘delinquent daughter’ from Logan’s ‘irresponsible behaviour’ in getting her involved in this,” Bobby said. “Not that the girl needs help, from what I remember about his near weekly grumblings.”
“And we needed basically three whole teams because?” Kurt looked back at the three cars and one van (Cain insisted on coming).
“Kind of obvious,” Jubilee muttered in disgust. “Scott plans on phasing Buffy and her friends out of it.”
“You realise, of course, that Logan’s daughters may object?” Kurt said, looking at the girl. Jubilee grinned. She had been given a message for Scott, regarding Buffy’s real parentage. One she had, due to Scott’s current state of mind and hurry to get to Sunnydale, been so far unable to deliver.
“Probably,” Jubilee said. “Can’t wait to see it.”
“Buffy,” Xander called up the stairs. “Did you call the leather brigade?”
“Scott’s here,” Logan said as the gang, plus Bruce Banner, joined the young man at the door.
“What’s with all the back up?” Faith asked. Buffy glared as the visored leader of the X-Men walked up to the door.
“Oh I do not think so, Slim,” she muttered darkly, letting Shalimar know of her suspicions. Xander, however, had already come to the same conclusions, and he was just as pleased.
“Cyclops’ going to try and keep us out,” he said coldly as they watched the equipment being brought in. “Limit our involvement at first, then cut the so called ‘civilians’ or lesser experienced ones out completely.”
“Oh hell no,” Faith growled.
“But, we’re the ones that found Weapon X,” Willow said, confused. “And we’ve organised our own back up.”
“What is it with you?” Buffy growled storming out. “I need you, you don’t show. I don’t want to see you; you come and try a take over? Time for a wake call, ‘uncle Scotty’.”
“What the hell’s she talking about?” Logan muttered.
“I got a half image,” Shalimar said. “Not a whole but… we’d better get out there before Cyclops gets himself killed.”
Scott didn’t even get a chance knock before the door was flung open.
“What are you doing?” Buffy demanded.
“I thought Logan would need some help,” Scott said carefully, not mentioning his other plans. “Can we…?”
“We didn’t call for your help,” Buffy hissed. “I wouldn’t let you anywhere near Sunnydale, my family or me if the world was ending.”
“Buffy,” Scott began as her friends and Logan came behind her.
“I called for your help once before,” Buffy screamed. “Where were you then? Where were you, Scott, when your cousin was putting me in a mental institution for telling the truth?” There was a cold silence as Buffy stormed inside, Shalimar and Angel going after her. Logan stood there, glaring at Scott in a way reserved only for those he hated with a passion.
“What’s she talking about, Summers?” Logan said coldly.
“I don’t think I need to tell you, Logan,” Scott said. “What the hell were you thinking anyway, getting my family into this?”
“Scott,” Jubilee said, “there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Not now Jubilee,” Scott snapped.
“Well, if you want to get shredded for someone that isn’t really related to you, that’s fine by me,” the young LA native snapped back. Scott stared at her in shock. “The Professor filled me in, gave me a message for you, only you’ve been so damn busy imagining the worst, I haven’t had a chance to tell you. Buffy isn’t Hank Summers daughter. She’s Logan’s.”
“What?” Scott looked at Logan in shock, understanding now the coldness of his gaze.
“What happened?” Logan growled.
“She told Hank and Joyce she’d been hunting vampires on a nightly basis,” Scott said. “Hank thought she was going crazy and insisted she get help. Joyce tried to fight it, but Hank wouldn’t listen. Buffy ended up in a mental home for a couple of months. By the time I found out…”
“Where were you?” Logan demanded.
“Off saving the world,” Scott said dryly. “It was during Operation: Zero Tolerance. Whatever it was that gave Buffy these Slayer powers she was trying to convince us she had, it wasn’t an active X Factor, so she wasn’t on the Sentinals target scanners.”
“So while you were fighting for yer life, my daughter was stuck in some facility trying to prove her sanity?” Logan said. “An’ don’t even ask where I was, Slim, ‘cause one, thanks to Weapon X I didn’t even know she existed and two, I was busy savin’ yer hide.”
“Looks like neither of us were where we should have been,” Scott said dryly. Logan merely stared at him.
“Ya ain’t phasin’ ‘em out of this, Scott,” Logan said. “For three years, Buffy was fightin’ off vampires. Xander, Willow an’ Oz have been her back an’ Giles taught her near everything she knows. Faith’s the current Slayer, so you won’t be able to keep her out of it.”
“Damn straight, four eyes,” Faith growled, cracking her knuckles.
“I still don’t…” Scott began, feeling he was quickly looking control of the situation.
“Something Logan forgot to mention,” Xander said coolly. “I’m Sage’s apprentice.”
“Sages apprentice?” Scott managed weakly as Xander turned to Logan.
“Storm’s team’s on there way in,” he said. “ETA, two days. Added to the rest of the back up coming, we aren’t going to have enough room to keep everyone.”
“Fury can keep them on Helicarrier,” Logan said, turning to Scott. “Get your ass in here, Summers. We’ve got work to do.”
Later that night.
“What’s with all the cars?” Peter asked as they pulled up. Kermit looked at the cars as they passed.
“Looks like someone called in an army of some description,” the former mercenary said.
“I’ll say,” Peter muttered. “You sure this is the right place, pop?”
“This is Angel’s home,” Kway Chang Cane said. “Given what they told us, it would make sense they would have… back up.”
“That’s what worries me,” Kermit said as they got out of the car. “I met Logan in his old secret agent days for the Canadian government. There’s no telling what kind of back up there’ve got.”
“Well, we’re about to find out,” Peter said as the doors opened.
“Okay so that’s five orders of fried rice, six lemon chickens, four honey chickens, six honey prawn, five sweat and sour porks…” the young man listed as he came out. He stopped short, looking at the three new arrivals. “Oh, hi Cane. Bye Cane.”
“And that was?” Peter asked.
“Xander,” Cane said with a chuckle. “He is a rather… energetic youth.”
“No kidding,” Peter said as they walked in. “Whoa.”
“Alright, who’s got the cola?”
“Jubilee had it.”
“Tabitha had it.”
“Peter had it.”
“In the fridge.”
“Damn it, Parker. Did you have to cover it in webs?”
“What? I had to grab it before Meltdown drank it all. It’ll revert to its liquid form in about… an hour and a half.”
“Put the damn safety on those web shooters of yours on.”
“They don’t have a safety.”
“Um, excuse me?” Peter yelled over the ruckus. “It’s worse than the precinct house in here.”
“Cane,” a blonde squealed, wrapping her arms around the Shao Lin. “How are you?”
“I am well, Buffy,” Cane said with a smile. The young feral had not lost any of her energy it appeared. “And you?”
“Getting better,” Buffy said with a grin. “So, intros?”
“Of course. This is my son, Peter, and his friend, Kermit.”
“Someone mention the Muppets?” A red head said. “Cane!”
“Hello, Willow,” Cane smiled.
“We weren’t sure if you would get the message in time. I mean, it’s a long way to Torronto and back. We hoped you would, ‘cause we need all the help we can get.”
“Muppets?” Kermit said sadly.
“You’re going to get that a lot, I’m afraid,” Buffy said. “Excuse me a minute. I have to make a phone call.”
“Another one?” Willow said. Buffy shrugged.
“Someone I meant to call earlier, but didn’t,” she explained, heading for the phone.
“Honestly, Buffy… oh, introductions!” Willow grabbed Cane’s hands, dragging him off. Peter and Kermit shrugged and followed.
The next day.
“So, when’s this friend of yours getting here?” Angel asked.
“Should get here soon,” Buffy said.
“And we called him why?”
“Well, it just wouldn’t feel right without him here. You know, the whole breaking into a top secret military facility?”
“Why does that worry me?” Angel muttered. Buffy cuddled up to him.
“Relax,” she assured him. “He’s… oh, that’s him,” Angel watched as the black van came towards them.
“So what’s this guys name again?” Angel asked.
“Everyone just calls Hondo,” Buffy said as the man got out of the car.
“Well look at you,” Hondo said with a smile. “You look good, Buffy.”
“Yeah well, I eat right, kick gratuitous amounts of undead ass,” she said with a grin, embracing her old friend. “Good to see you, Hondo.”
“Good to be seen,” Hondo said. “And this is?”
“This is Angel,” Buffy said. “My boyfriend.”
“Nice to meet you,” Angel said.
“You better be lookin’ after her boy, or I might have to kick your ass,” Hondo threatened playfully. “Come on Buffy. Help me unload.”
“You brought toys?” Buffy said excitedly. “Cool.”
“Toys?” Angel asked as they move to the back of the van.
“Oh right,” Buffy said. “I forgot to mention. Hondo’s one of the best SWAT officers in LA.”
“SWAT… holy shit,” Angel stared at the amount of equipment Hondo had brought.
“Well, don’t just stand there,” Hondo said, handing him an ammo case. “Let’s get this stuff inside.”
“Um, okay,” Angel said weakly.
“Hey, Angel,” Xander said as the vampire-cum-feral entered. “Where’s… what’s with the ammo case?”
“Buffy’s friend brought it,” Angel said in a daze. “There’s more to come.”
“More…” Xander stopped as Hondo and Buffy walked in laughing, carrying large amounts of SWAT issue equipment in their arms. Xander catalogued the stuff mentally, before looking at Hondo. “SWAT?”
“Suspended,” Hondo admitted. “Which is a good thing, because it sounds like Buffy has once again landed herself in all colours of shit.”
“Hey,” Buffy said. “What’s with this ‘once again’?”
“The docks about two months after you burnt the gym down?” Hondo reminded her.
“Hey I had that under control until you showed up,” Buffy said defensively.
“The Wolfram & Hart tower?”
“That was a favour for you, remember?”
“How was I supposed to know it was full of Fyarl? My snitch told me it was just a vamp nest.”
“That’s a lot of trouble, darlin’,” Logan said, walking in.
“Trouble I had to dig her out of. I’m Hondo.”
“Logan. I’m her father.”
“Better than that Summers jerk,” Hondo said.
“Both of them,” Buffy growled.
“Sounds like trouble,” Hondo said. “What happened this time?”
“This is it?” Scott asked, looking at the map. Kitty nodded.
“Hacking and S.H.I.E.L.D satellite confirm it,” she said. “This is where they ran to.”
“Hang on,” Kitty said. “Shouldn’t Buffy and the others be here?”
“I’m not involving them in this.”
“What?! Scott, if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t have this information.”
“This isn’t a bunch vampires,” Scott said. “These are human beings. They aren’t ready for this.”
“Screw you,” Kitty snarled. “This entire situation wouldn’t even be possible if it weren’t for Willow, she’s the one that found them. You want to do this, do it without me,” with that she stormed out.
“You have a way with the ladies, I see?” Scott turned to see a man in a LAPD SWAT jacket at the door.
“I don’t think this has anything to do with you.”
“Buffy’s a friend of mine so this has everything to do with me,” the guy said. “Hondo Harrelson, Lieutenant, LA SWAT. Suspended. You aren’t fazing her out of this.”
“They aren’t ready…”
“Then make them ready,” Hondo said. “Buffy has more reason to do this than you’ll ever understand and from what I can see, that means her friend are involved too. You try to keep them out, you’ll find them running the joint before you can even blink.”
“I doubt it,” Scott said. “They have…”
“One of the most gifted siege specialists I’ve ever seen outside of a SWAT squad,” Hondo interrupted. “Now I taught Buffy how to handle things like this, but she takes it to a whole new level. This,” he pointed at the map, “she could pull down with what she’s got. What she’s got is more resources than you could ever pull together. Now, if you want in on this, I suggest you work with her. Otherwise, you might find yourself asking her permission to go inside.”
“He said what?” Buffy growled.
“I’m not exactly happy with it either,” Kitty said, borrowing Willow’s laptop and pulling the map she had shown Scott up, as well as blueprints for the instillation. “This is where they are. They’ve got some kind of prison camp up back, no telling how many mutants in there. The primary operatives are in this part here.”
“We need to keep them out of it,” Buffy mused, looking over the blue prints. “Two exits, but they have the power to knock a wall down. Hm. How many of the X-Men can we count on?”
“I don’t know about the ones Scott brought,” Xander said, “but Storm and company should be here soon.”
“Alpha’ll meet us at the border,” Logan said. “Already got the all clear.”
“Sasquatch could hold with back up,” Buffy muttered, thinking over what her father had told her about his former teammates. “But if we can collapse this hallway here, that’ll leave the external entrance. Easier to keep them occupied.”
“Rachel’s with Storm,” Kitty said. “She might be able to help in that respect.”
“Bishop could keep them occupied,” Xander suggested. “I’ve made a couple of other calls too. People who could hold the doors fairly easily.”
“Fury said he’s picking up more back up,” Spiderman said. “Not sure who, but it might pay to wait until it arrives.”
“Um, we might be able to lock down their security protocols,” Willow said.
“M- maybe not just that,” Tara said timidly. “T-they might be able t-to handle manpower, b-but if we could scramble t-they’re systems with m-magic…”
“They couldn’t counter it,” Buffy finished.
“Good idea, Glinda,” Faith said. Tara blushed at her praise.
“How’s Bruce going with Cane?” Angel asked.
“Almost there,” Oz answered.
“Pop said his own desperation to control this thing’s a problem, but he’s gettin’ there,” Peter said. “Give him another week.”
“Sasquatch and the Hulk could hold the super powered back up,” Buffy muttered. “But there’s still a hell of a lot of non-powered personnel.”
“That’s what S.H.I.E.L.D’s for, kiddo,” Logan said reassuringly. “And we aren’t exactly helpless.”
“I know,” Buffy sighed. “I just can’t help but think we’re missing something.”
“Sounds like one hell of plan to me,” Hondo said, walking in. “Are there any other exits or entrances?”
“Kitty?” Buffy said.
“Power and sewage are all internal,” Kitty said. “We might be able to get someone in via ventilation, but it’s a tight squeeze.”
“I could get in,” Marrow said. “I owe it to the people I took in there to help shut them down.”
“There’s an external ventilation fan about five clicks from the main base,” Kitty said. “One or two guards, should be easy to get some people in to cause some damage from the inside.”
“What other security measures are we looking at?” Hondo said. Buffy sat back, letting the SWAT officer do work his magic.
“Standard patrols, cameras, infrared sensors,” Kitty said. “Retinal pattern security locks on the really top secret stuff. Shape shifter would be nice, but we don’t have one.”
“Maybe we do,” Xander mused. Faith looked at him.
“Little girl Blue?” She asked. Xander nodded.
“She does owe us one,” Xander said. “She’d be demon fodder if you hadn’t saved her.”
“Who?” Buffy asked.
“Mystique,” Xander answered. “Not the most trustworthy of people, but she’ll repay a debt.”
“Great,” Logan muttered. “You gonna invite Sinister too, kid?”
“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, dad,” Shalimar said. “We need every advantage we can get.”
“Whatever,” Logan snorted. “Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.”
“Dammit, something’s missing,” Buffy muttered. “I can’t put my finger on it, but… Kitty, can you run through the list of ‘assets’ again?”
“Sure thing,” Kitty said, bringing the list up. “What are you looking for?”
“That,” Buffy said, pointing to the one file that was still encrypted. “What is it?”
“Not sure,” Kitty muttered. “We haven’t gotten to de-encrypting it. Why?”
“Bad feeling,” Buffy said. “Something that might tip the scale.”
“How long will it take to crack that code?” Hondo asked.
“Not sure,” Willow said, checking the code on her spare. “It’s real heavy encryption.”
“Buffy’s bad feelings usually pay off,” Hondo said. “Let’s see what’s in there, before we make any more plans.”
“Xander, how long til Storm gets here?” Buffy asked.
“Tomorrow morning, five sharp,” Xander said. “Not counting any unforeseen incidents.”
“We’ll adjourn til then,” Buffy said. “Everyone get some rest. I get a feeling we aren’t going to get much of that for a while.”
Scott leaned against the door, listening to the planning in the other room. He couldn’t believe the differences in attitude. It was like she had a completely different persona she used for these situations. And yet, for all that, she was just barely an adult, no matter what the others said. It wasn’t right for her to go after Weapon X, no matter her experience.
“If you had let me explain, Scott, maybe you would have been better prepared,” Professor Xavier said in his mind.
“They shouldn’t be involved in this, Professor.”
“You were much younger than they are now when you first faced off against Magneto,” Xavier reminded him. “At least they have the benefit of prior experience and not just vampires. Weapon X has already made on move against Buffy and Shalimar and they fared rather well, though Buffy proved herself her fathers daughter in that instance.”
“I don’t think I want to know,” Scott said. “It’s just… hard to believe. Although, it does explain her attitude towards authority.”
“Perhaps you should let her handle it her way,” Xavier suggested. “Give her the benefit of your experience when needed. Just don’t try and take over.”
“You’re right,” Scott muttered. He leaned against the doorframe tiredly, wishing Jean were here. She always knew how to handle Buffy. Come to think of it, she always had a way with Logan too.
Scott thought back, slowly seeing so many similarities between Buffy and Logan. Looking back like this, it was obvious.
“All right, Buffy,” he whispered. “We’ll play your way.”
“Hey there, blue girl.”
“Faith,” Mystique said coolly. “Is there something I can do for you?”
“Just callin’ in that favour,” Faith said. “We need a shapshifter. You’re the only one that fits the description.”
“And what, pray tell, is the job?” Mystique asked.
“Weapon X,” Faith said. “Bozo’s hurt some friends of mine, separated their entire family. They got back together recently and guess what?”
“They want some payback,” Mystique said. “Anyone I know?”
“Wolverine,” Mystique sat straight, a small smile on her face.
“Well now,” she chuckled. “How interesting.”
“I thought you’d like it,” Faith said. “See ya soon?”
“You can count on it,” Mystique said. Logan always was the most fun out of Xavier’s goody-goodies. This could be most interesting.
The next day.
“Nice place,” Sam said as the group appeared on the front lawn thanks to Lila Cheney’s mutant teleporter ability.
“A lot of cars,” Bishop noted. “Look’s like Cyclops really wanted them out.”
“May not be easy,” Sage said. “There is a S.H.I.E.L.D transport two minutes away, with the Helicarrier not an hour behind.”
“You will never change, my friend,” Storm muttered with a grin. “The concept of ‘overkill’ still escapes you.”
“Here comes that transport,” Rachel said, pointing into the distance.
“Ya think its Fury?” Sam asked.
“There’s multiple mental signatures,” Rachel said. “Not sure who they are though,” the group watch as transport landed and opened, revealing its cargo.
“Whoa,” Lila gasped.
“Storm,” Captain America walked up to them, followed by the Falcon and Warbird.
“Captain,” Storm said. “Fury called you in, I presume?”
“Yeah,” Falcon answered. “Sounds like the runt’s in over his head again.”
“You say that like its news, Falcon,” Warbird said dryly. “When isn’t Wolverine in over his head?”
“A good point, Warbird,” Ororo agreed. “It is good to see you again.”
“Same here,” Warbird said. “Well, let’s go see what Logan’s got himself in to this time.”
“Carol,” Logan gasped as he game down the stairs. “The hell are ya doin’ here, girl?”
“Fury called us in,” Warbird said, removing her mask. “I take it we don’t need secrets here?”
“Not with what’s already flyin’ around, darlin’,” Logan admitted as the others walked. “Cap, Falcon.”
“Logan,” Captain America nodded. “Good to see you again.”
“What trouble have you gotten yourself into this time?” Falcon asked. Logan smiled.
“Two daughters, a wife and Weapon X ta take down,” Wolverine said with a smile. “An’ I’m not sure which one’s more of a handful.”
“Did you say you were sleeping on the lounge, Logan?” Diedre said as she walked down the steps. “Honestly, if you people can’t keep the noise down…”
“Steady there, darlin’,” Logan said, wrapping his arms around his wife. “It’s not their fault Fury’s got all the subtlety of a nuke.”
“I presume this is yer lady,” Sam drawled. “I’ll say this, Logan, you’ve always had good taste.”
“I think Sam’s joining Logan on that lounge,” Lila muttered. Cannonball winced a bit.
“What Ah meant was…” Sam began weakly.
“Just give up, tell her how much ya love her and hope she doesn’t hold a grudge,” Logan advised. “Best way ta handle the situation.”
“We gonna get introductions or not?” Rachel asked. Logan looked at her, then smiled slightly.
“Yer as impatient as the father of yers,” he said. “I just hope ya can reign him in before Buffy shreds him. Everyone, this is Diedre. Babe, some of the few people I call friend in this world.”
“Why does it seem you have more female friends than male?” Diedre asked. Logan shrugged.
“Beats me,” he admitted.
“Perhaps it is his ‘knight in slightly rusted armour’ personality,” Storm suggested. “Ororo Munroe.”
“Ah, so you’re Storm,” Diedre said. “I’ve heard a lot about you, and all good.”
“Okay, as much as I’d like to hang around,” Rachel interrupted. “Someone better point me in Cyclops’ direction before he gets himself killed.”
“Maybe ya should wait until he gets up,” Logan suggested. “He’s been a bit highly strung since he got here. I think findin’ out Buffy ain’t related to him, added to the fact she acts more mature than he does sometimes, blew his common sense out his ass.”
“Nice image,” Sage muttered as Xander walked in. “Alexander.”
“Sage,” Xander said in a matching tone. “You’re a minute late. That’s not like you.”
“I see you haven’t done anything about your sense of humour,” Sage said dryly.
“Wouldn’t be me if I did,” Xander’s tone matched hers perfectly.
“What’s the racket?” Faith mumbled.
“Storm’s here,” Xander said. Faith looked at the group.
“Well no wonder you liked hangin’ with these guys, Boytoy,” she said with a grin. “All that spandex and supermodels.”
“I’ve got my supermodel right here,” Xander said, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Why would I need to hang out with a group that looks like them?”
“Ah never noticed that he was a smooth talker like that,” Sam muttered.
“Does that mean I have to buy spandex?” Faith asked wickedly.
“I wouldn’t complain,” Xander muttered. “So, who wants breakfast?”
“Wow,” Buffy gasped, looking up at the hovering Helicarrier. “Looks like Fury decided to show.”
“Kind of obvious,” Angel remarked.
“Damn impressive though,” Buffy noted as they walked into chaos.
“Hand it over!”
“What is going on?” Buffy yelled over the mayhem.
“She took my glasses,” Xander accused, pointing at Willow.
“I just want to look at them,” Willow said. “He’s been a greedy brat! I’m allowed to try them out at least, aren’t I?”
“Not getting into it,” Buffy said, walking past them to where Logan and Scott were glaring at each other with a strange red head trying (and failing) to get between them. “And what’s going on here?”
“They’ve been arguing since dad got up,” the red head said.
“’Dad’?” Buffy asked. “No offence but one; you’re a bit old and two; who the hell let Slim contribute to the gene pool?”
“It’s official,” the young woman groaned. “You’re Logan’s. Alright, my name’s Rachel, I’m from an alternate time line.”
“Okay, now that’s settled, pretty much matching the Summers’ family tradition of weirdness, why are these two arguing?” Buffy asked smoothly.
“I don’t think you should be front line,” Scott said.
“Give one good reason why she shouldn’t,” Logan growled. “Face it, Slim, ya just can’t hack she’s a better leader than you.”
“She is the leader of this little party,” Scott agreed. “Therefore, she shouldn’t be where she might get injured.”
“An’ how many times have you jumped to the front lines ‘fearless leader’?” Logan sneered. “This is just…”
“Would you two grow up?” Buffy screamed. All movement ceased. Willow tossed Xander’s glasses back at him. “God, I can’t believe either of you has ever saved the world at the moment. You’re acting like two year olds. I don’t know what your problems are, but get over them, otherwise I leave both of you here,” with that she stormed into the main area where Kitty was.
“Have fun?” Kitty asked.
“An absolute ball,” Buffy drawled. “Well?”
“Got that file decrypted,” Kitty said as Hondo, Angel, Adam and Shalimar joined them. Iceman followed closely behind, as a representative of the X-Men, since Scott was ‘busy’ with Logan. “Your feeling was right on the money. His name’s Madison Jeffries, aka Box. He was with Alpha Flight til a while ago, when he got brainwashed by a group called the Zodiac.”
“Weapon X must have ‘rescued’ him,” Buffy surmised. “What does he do?”
“Plays with metal,” Kitty said. “Any kind of metal. One touch and he can transmute its form into whatever he needs within size restrictions. He can also phase into the metal, which is why his main weapon was always a giant armoured robot suit he’d jump into. That’s been rebuilt too, by the way.”
“You never cease to amaze me,” Hondo chuckled, looking at Buffy. “Always one step ahead, whether you know it not.”
“Definitely,” Buffy said, walking to the door. “Scott, we’re borrowing Polaris.”
“And Polaris does…?” Hondo asked.
“Think Magneto,” Bobby said. “Only sane, and with a better body.”
“Girl you are just of surprises,” Hondo said. Buffy smiled.
“You think that’s good,” she said with a wicked grin. “Wait til Cane’s finished with Banner.”
The mind of Bruce Banner.
Bruce looked around the Hulk’s private space; a huge jungle scene with no sign of human life.
‘You’re not the monster we all think you are, are you?’ Banner muttered, enjoying the peace and tranquillity.
‘Puny Banner,’ a low, threatening voice growled. ‘Why you in Hulk’s home?’ For the first time in memory, Bruce Banner turned and came face to face with the Incredible Hulk.
‘We need to talk,’ Bruce said. Hulk snorted.
‘Talk is for puny humans,’ the Jade Goliath said. ‘Hulk not human. Hulk strongest one there is.’
‘We can’t keep sharing this body the way we have been,’ Banner continued. ‘Every time you go on a rampage, someone gets hurt. Or worse.’
‘It not matter…’
‘It does matter!’ Banner snapped. ‘It matters to me! Every time you hurt someone, I have to live with the guilt. Because I created you, you’re me!’
‘Don’t yell at Hulk,’ Hulk growled.
‘How many children have you hurt?’ Banner continued. ‘Innocents that would have tried to befriend you if you gave them half a chance? How many people have died?’
‘Then they should stay away from Hulk!’ Hulk roared.
‘You feel it too, don’t you?’ Banner said suddenly. ‘The guilt.’
‘They were children,’ Hulk whispered. ‘They were in way, but…’
‘There’s a way we can both make up for it,’ Banner said. ‘By merging completely. Not my brain in your body, not this half and half existence we have now, but a merger. You would still exist, like you always have, inside of me, my rage, my fury. But I’d have the ability to summon your power at will.’
‘Why?’ Hulk asked.
‘There are some people, twins,’ Bruce said hesitantly. ‘Wolverine’s daughters.’
‘The Little Man?’ Hulk growled. ‘With shiny knives? Why Hulk help Little Man? Little Man cut Hulk, try to hurt Hulk.’
‘But his daughters haven’t,’ Bruce said. ‘They were separated from there families, hidden from their father, their mother taken and almost turned against them. Not alone, but never truly where they belong.’
‘Like Hulk,’ the mountainous creature said quietly. ‘All those people, but no one like Hulk. Very well puny Banner. Hulk will…merge.’
Bruce walked into the room where Buffy and the others were planning, a small smile on his face.
Bruce walked through the cemetery alone. Given what he knew about Sunnydale, that was dangerous. But he just had to…
“Well, looky here,” Bruce turned to face the vampires, five of them. “You look tasty.”
“You’ve bitten off a lot more than you can chew,” Bruce said coldly. Mentally, he reached into the back of his mind, and flipped a ‘latch’.
Suddenly, he began to grow, turning green.