Curling her fist into a tight ball, Buffy spun on her feet to add extra force to the blow she dealt the female vampire, who stumbled a few steps back from it. Yet the cocky little grin remained on her lips, mocking Buffy as if to say 'is that all you got?' Determined to wipe that smile off her face, the slayer punched her again with a right cross followed with a left hook. Shelia's head popped back with each blow, taking the full strength of a slayer and not even making a move to defend herself as of yet.
In fact, the only thing Shelia was doing was laughing at her. God, what was wrong with vampires nowadays? They didn't even know that pain was supposed to-duh-hurt? You don't laugh at it. Not if you're normal anyway.
Shelia weaved a little bit as she took a few steps away from Buffy, who still hand her hands up to strike at any moment. Still grinning, the vampire looked down towards her lip that was dripping blood, ran two of her fingers across the wound, then proceeded to lick them clean again of the red liquid. "Loosing your touch, huh, Buffy? What? Getting harder to beat some little vampire in your old age?"
"I haven't even started to beat on you," the blonde snarled back.
"Oh, you're just holding back then?"
"Just like you," Buffy said, pointing out the fact that Shelia hadn't even slipped into game face; hadn't let her demon out. Fighting her now was like fighting only half of a vampire, someone who was stronger than a man, but nowhere near as strong as a slayer.
Shrugging slightly, the black-haired girl said, "You're right there. So what do you say that we quit playing?"
"What? You're actually going to try fighting back now? Gotta say, it's about time, cause I was getting kick of tired just kicking your ass all around the graveyard and you not doing a damn thing. I got a punching bag for that."
"Just remember, you asked for it," Shelia said, planting her feet in a fighting stance close to Buffy's.
"Oh, I'm so scared," Buffy bit sarcastically before launching her fist at the vampire's head yet again. This time, however, it did not make contact. Instead, in a quickness the slayer had not expected, Shelia twisted the top of her body to the side to avoid it. She then grabbed her extended arm, and, using Buffy's own force against her, threw her past her.
Tucking into a ball, the slayer rolled about the length of a yard before leaping to her feet again. She spun around to face the vampire, her fist raised and ready for a fight, but found that the dark-haired girl was gone. Straightening up, the slayer began to scan the area around her, knowing that Shelia was there, watching her, even if she couldn't see her. That is, until a balled up fist came flying in from the side and smacked her in the face.
Buffy stumbled back a bit from the force, as another punch was thrown at her. She caught it before it made contact and threw Shelia's arm to the side before landing her own punch square in the vampire's nose. As the dark-haired girl's head shot back, Buffy grabbed her shoulders and pulled her forward as the blonde brought up her own knee and launched it into Shelia's stomach. When the vampire doubled over, the slayer then locked her hands together as if to form one large fist, and slammed it down into her opponents back causing her to slam hard into the ground.
Shelia rolled onto her back and looked up to see that Buffy had readied one of her stakes for the kill shot. When the piece of wood descended on her, the vampire's arms shot up and grabbed the slayer's wrist that was just inches away from the demon's chest. Even with Buffy pushing with all her might, Shelia held the slayer's shaking hand and stake there in that spot. The vampire's dark eyes went from the stake above her, to the wielder, before she let go with one of her hands and punched Buffy in the face again.
Slightly dazed, Buffy's arm relaxed a little bit, giving Shelia control for the moment. Still holding Buffy's wrist with one hand, the vampire grabbed ahold of her shirt collar with the other, rolled on her back up towards her shoulders while bringing her foot up to Buffy's stomach, and did an ally-oop flip. Buffy suddenly found herself lying on the ground with Shelia on top of her with an evil grin. The slayer's hand began to frantically search for the stake that had slipped out in the flip, and could feel the piece of wood with her fingertips, but Shelia wasn't letting her any closer to the weapon as she sat on top of her.
"Well, well, well," Shelia said as Buffy struggled below her. "How will our little heroine ever get out of this one?"
Gritting her teeth, Buffy seethed beneath her, never once giving her the satisfaction of seeing fear in her eyes.
"What? No witty repartee from the soon to be very dead slayer? I thought that was what you were good at?"
"You want witty repartee? How 'bout this? Eat me," Buffy hissed defiantly.
"How about I just kill you," Shelia grinned back, reaching forward to break Buffy's neck.
With one last frantic grab with her fingertips, Buffy managed to cause the weapon to roll into her waiting hand. Locking her hand around it, she shot the weapon up towards Shelia's heart with lightening speed, slamming it into the vampire's chest. A small groan escaped from the dark-hired girl as she sat up and looked down at the piece of wood sticking out of her chest and then to the grinning slayer below her. The smile quickly faded though when, instead of turning to dust, Shelia reached up, wrapped her hand around the weapon, and jerked it out.
What?! She hit the heart! She knew she had!
"Oww!" the young woman cried as the stake popped out. Turning her blazing eyes to Buffy, Shelia hissed, "God, do you have any idea how much that hurt?!"
Before the slayer could answer, the dark-haired girl turned the stake against its master and slammed it right through Buffy's shoulder. The blonde gave out a scream of agony that echoed throughout the empty cemetery as Shelia grinned again.
"Not so much fun when you're on the receiving end, huh?" she asked before starting to twist the stake to add to the slayers suffering. "No, not fun at all."
"That's enough, Ms. Johnson," a new voice said in a cool, yet almost sweet tone.
The two women looked up and found an older gentleman standing over them, his arms crossed and looking rather aggravated at Shelia's idea of fun. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Buffy thought that this guy looked familiar, but she couldn't remember where she had seen him. Whoever he was, it was ringing an alarm and she was more than certain he wasn't there to save her because he wanted to.
"Enough?" she practically hissed at him. "Look what she did! I have a hole in my chest!"
"And it will heal quickly," he pointed out. "Now leave the naughty little slayer alone. Do not forget that the Dark One wishes her alive."
"Yeah, for the moment," the dark-haired woman added before turning her attention back to the slayer beneath her. "Looks like you lucked out this time, honey. I was so going to kill you for the whole staking thing." Shelia then jerked the stake out of Buffy's shoulder, causing the slayer to whimper once more from the pain. "But I'm still really going to hurt you for it."
Grabbing ahold of the lapel of Buffy's jacket, Shelia lifted the slayer up as she rose to her feet, being sure to lift Buffy higher so she couldn't gain her footing.
"Be seeing you around, Summers," she said before throwing Buffy hard into a nearby praying angel statue. The monument crumbled onto the slayer like a stack of card from a wind gust, and soon buried the girl beneath the gray stone. Shelia laughed slightly from the sight, but it then turned to just a grin when she saw the look on Doc's face. "She'll live," the eternal teenager told the old man before they turned to head back home.
Shaking his head, Doc said the phrase that he pretty much always said whenever Shelia and her actions were concerned, "You young people really should learn some restraint."
When the heavy darkness fell around her, Faith heard the plastic tray smash on the linoleum floor and echo loudly throughout the crowded mess hall. Most of the women who sat at nearby tables looked up at the source of the noise. Even one of the gangs started to cheer for her like in high school. For the most part, however, the women ignored her and continued to eat their dinner while hers was scattered and splattered on the floor.
"Shit," Faith whispered to herself and began to gather up the still few eatable foods on her tray. She then began to try and clean up the rest before Lynda, one of the guards, saw what she had done and put her on kitchen duty for the next week.
As she reached for her apple, the slayer noticed her hand was trembling ever so slightly. Great, that was just what she needed the other prisoners to see, especially the ones that hated her. Snatching up the fruit, Faith stood up and hurried over to a nearby empty table. She drew in a deep breath and held it for a second, trying her best to calm her pounding heart.
What was that? A vision? But of who? And when?
It wasn't her, she knew that. It had to be one of those girls that she had been dreaming about, but this one was different from the other dreams. In those, she was watching from afar, an objective third party so to speak. In whatever she had just seen, it was her who was getting beaten by that-
Vamp? No that couldn't be right. She didn't dust. So, then, what was she? Or, more importantly, why hadn't she killed whoever it was she had beaten?
With a sigh, Faith turned back to what was left of her dinner, trying not to let those thoughts invade her mind anymore. Whatever it was, it wasn't her problem. Not anymore. At least, that's what she hoped.
Buffy groaned softly to herself as she slowly came back to consciousness. The slayer found herself in her own bed and, for a brief moment, she wondered if perhaps the day's events had been nothing but a nightmare. However, the sharp pain that was spreading from her shoulder revealed that indeed it had been real. Great, now she couldn't even pretend that whatever this was wasn't happening.
Slowly, Buffy sat up in bed, wincing for a moment at the pain, before pulling at the collar of the over-sized t-shirt someone had changed her into to inspect the painful injury. It had already been dressed on both sides of her shoulder were the stake had gone clean through, and, once she removed the white bandage for further inspection, she discovered that it was already starting to heal up. In probably no more than a few days, the stab wound would be nothing more than two tiny scars that would not match the one in her upper abdomen from a few years ago. But still, right now, it hurt like hell.
As she rose out of bed, the slayer ignored her body's screams of pains and headed into her bathroom. Just as she had expected, the mirror told her that she indeed looked as bad as she felt. God, how had Shelia managed to do such a number on her? She only actually hit her what-two? Three times at the most? Shelia had barely touched her, yet here she stood, looking like a stray dog who had just lost a fight to another over some scraps they'd found. Of course, that could have something to do with that statue fall on top of her.
Worse yet was the fact that Shelia had found a way around that whole 'a stake through the heart equals a dusty end' thing. How did she do that? Another ring? Buffy couldn't make herself believe that. Deep down inside of her, she knew it had to be much, much worse than that. With a final look in the mirror and a sigh, the slayer then headed out to see what her friends thought about all this.
"And you just left her when you knew that the vamps in this town are all going nuts?!" Xander's angry voice lifted out of the dinning room and up the stairs that Buffy was now descending. She paused halfway down, beginning to eavesdrop on the conversation going on. "Did that chip finally fry that part of your brain that actually works?"
"It wasn't like that, Harris," Spike hissed back. "I thought it'd be better if we split up to cover more ground. She's the slayer; she can take care of herself."
"Guys," Willow spoke up softly, but the two men were so locked on destroying one another that they didn't hear her.
"Well apparently not!" Xander snapped back. "She looks like she met up with the vampire Soprano family! God, it must have been a whole gang of them to do that to her."
"Buffy?" a voice said drawing her attention away from the fight that Spike and Xander were engaged in at the moment.
The slayer looked up to see Giles standing in the doorway between the living room and the foyer, a worried look on his face as he studied the girl on the stairwell. Her face drained for a moment as stared at the watcher, before she said, "Giles?"
She hurried down the stairs and threw herself into his arms, wrapping her own tightly around his waist. She was so glad to see him. In fact, his presences right then probably ranked right up there with him showing up in the whole Willow episode last summer. He might not always be there when you first wanted him, but Giles generally had impeccable timing.
"When did you get here?" she asked; the words sounded muffled from having her face pressed into his shoulder.
"Just awhile ago," he answered. "I ran into Anya and she told me what's been happening." Placing his hands on the upper part of her arms, he took a step back and looked at the battered woman before him. "Good Lord, Buffy. What happened?"
She began to open her mouth when another voice cut her off.
"Giles...Buffy!" Willow hurried to her friends, as if she were almost afraid that her standing on her own would cause more damage to her than had already been done. Before she realized it, the redhead was leading her into the dinning room where the others were waiting.
Both Anya and Dawn were seated at the table, but, as she had suspect, Xander and Spike were both on their feet and looked as if they were about ready to jump one another. Of course, the whole room seemed to pause the second she walked in, and the energy they had been directing at the fight the two men were having was suddenly turned on her.
"Buffy!" Dawn said, getting to her feet. Her face was as worried as Giles and Willow's had been when she had first seen them. All the others, beside Anya, mirrored it as well.
Xander and Spike both headed to her side at the same time, but the carpenter reached her first since he was closer. It was like they were afraid she would break if they weren't right by her side, and Buffy found herself not liking all this attention they were giving her. After all, she knew she had been hurt way worse than this before.
As they placed her in one of the seats around the table, Buffy suddenly became aware that Willow was speaking to her. "Are you alright? I mean, how are you feeling? Cause I know you're not alright, I mean, look at you. Not that you look awful or anything, just more beat up than usual. And-and I'm babbling again, aren't I?"
"It's alright, Wills," Buffy smiled weakly. "I'm alright, just really sore."
"Are you sure," the redhead continued on. "Because you really don't look alright. You look like-"
"A thousand pound statue feel onto you," Anya piped up causally, drawing stares from everyone in the room.
"That's because a thousand pound statue did fall onto me," Buffy said plainly.
"And you look like it too," the ex-demon quipped back, before turning back to her nails. Apparently, putting her mortal life in danger really brought out the bitchy side of Anya was the only thing that Buffy could contribute this little flash back to Queen C to.
Xander sent a scolding look over in Anya's direction, before turning his soft face back to Buffy. "So, what happened? You ran into a gang of them right? After the bleached wonder abandoned you."
Buffy caught the faint sound of a growl from Spike, who once again looked as if he were ready to push away any guilt he might feel from killing a human and destroy the brown-haired boy beside her. Clearing her throat as her warning to him, she then said, "Just one."
"One gang, right?" Xander pressed.
"No, one vampire. Real blast from the past too. You guys remember Shelia?"
"Mom?" Willow asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Think more along the lines of Snyder doing his version of the Hustle when he found out she wouldn't be attending school any longer," Buffy answered.
"Oh, that Shelia," Willow said softly before making a face of confusion. "But I thought she was just like a little 'grr arg,' not Big Bad material."
"Well, she's definitely stepped up from the minors, that's for sure," the slayer sighed. "And it gets better, what with her finding out the secret to stopping that whole calling a shot vac home for the rest of eternity."
"What?!" Xander exclaimed.
"Are you sure?" Willow said at the exact same time.
"Oh, yeah, I'm sure."
"Oh, dear," Giles' timid, calm voice said from near by. The tone was what caught Buffy, sounding almost as if he expected her to say it, but was hoping she wouldn't. She turned in her seat to face the watcher, who looked even more troubled than before.
"What is it, Giles?"
The middle-aged man looked up once he realized that the others were now watching him. Drawing in a deep breath, he reached up, pulled off his glass, and began to polish the glass lenses with small circles. Okay, that was never a good sign. Whenever Giles was upset because he knew something bad that the rest of them didn't, he would polish those damn glasses. Buffy had found herself on more than one occasion wishing that she could just rip them from him and demand to know what he knew instead of him stretching it out by the little ritual. And she knew it had to be really bad this time because if he polished his glasses any harder, he would be left with nothing but a little pile of sand.
"Tell me, Buffy," he said, still rubbing the lenses. "Did you see Shelia retrieve anything?"
The slayer swallowed hard before nodding her head. "Yeah. Tony's bowling bag."
"What?!" Xander shouted once again as Willow's face paled.
Spike and Anya exchanged a confused look and Dawn asked, "What's so scary about a bowling bag? And who's Tony?"
"My dad," Xander answered with tone that sounded like a mixture between fright and anger. "I'll give you a clue as to why it's so scary. There's the head of a big, blue demon that meet the wrong end of a bazooka inside of it."
"The Judge," Spike spoke up, suddenly understanding the paleness that the others had. He glanced over to Buffy, who only nodded her head slightly. Xander was a bit more blunt thought.
"Well it sure as hell ain't Papa Smurf." The carpenter then turned his full energy back on the vampire. "This is all your fault!"
"Yeah, you! You're the one that brought big blue here in the first place! You and that crazy girlfriend of yours! And, if I remember correctly, you're the one that killed and sired Shelia, who almost killed Buffy tonight!"
"What are you talkin' about?! I don't know this Shelia chit!"
Buffy cleared her throat awkwardly, then offered, "Um, yeah, you do." At his confusion, she clarified, "Parent/Teacher Night. The Goth girl with a bad attitude and smelled like cigarettes and booze…even more than you."
Spike faced paled even more so than usual as he figured out who she was. Dropping his eyes away from Buffy, he explained, "I didn't kill her or sire the bint. That was Dru. I just brought her to her."
"Well, it's still your fault! This whole thing!" Xander continued to yell.
"That's enough, Xander," Buffy spoke up, in a low, warning tone.
"No, it's not, Buffy," he shot back, surprising her and the whole group that he had turned the fury on her. "Everything is connected to him some how. The Judge, Shelia, you being alone when you fought her. Hell, he was even the one that said the whole raining blood thing sounded like something out of the Bible! There is something going on, and I'm willing to bet my hail damaged car that he's got something to do with it!"
"Calm down, Xander," Giles said, in even more of a warning tone than Buffy herself had used. The group looked up at him, surprised that the watcher would take any kind of stand for Spike. He quickly added, "It is probably just a coincidence that there are these connections to Spike. After all, we knew Shelia as well, before and after she died, and we were present at the Judge's defeat. I also believe that none of the rest of you went with Buffy on patrol tonight, leaving her just as alone as Spike did."
"I did not-!"
"However," Giles cut the vampire off before he could finish the protest. "I believe the best course of action as of right now is to locate the other pieces of the Judge, else we might find ourselves in more trouble than we already are."
As he turned to leave out of the dinning room, Buffy called, "It's an apocalypse again, isn't it, Giles?"
He paused in the door way, his back to the group of young folks. Licking his lips, he said, "No, it's not an apocalypse."
"Oh, thank God," Xander sighed deeply. "You had me worried there for a minute, G-man."
Giles turned around, his face just a serious as before. "It's not an apocalypse," he repeated solemnly. He dropped his head so he could meet their gaze for a moment, then lifted it back up. "I afraid that it may be something much worse."
The First, who was currently in the form of Glory, grinned widely as the minion held the bag open for her to see inside. "Oh, this is great," she beamed, nodding her head to tell him to close the bag and set it with the other boxes she had already collected. "It's like Santa came early this year and I'm getting all the presents I asked for."
"Of course, your most scrumptioness," Doc said, bending down low in a bow, smiling like a guy who had just dropped some of the good stuff.
From her corner, Shelia rolled her eyes. "Ugh, you are such a suck-up," the dark-haired woman said. "Yes, Oh Great Dark One. Of course, Most Unholy Prince. Can I lick your boots, Master Of My Black Heart?"
As she scoffed, both Doc and Glory shot the young woman a look. The form of the blonde goddess then shook her head. "Well, I guess I should accept such snide remarks from a pathetic street urchin like yourself," she said as she shifted forms from Glory to Snyder. The bald man narrowed his eyes in on the teen. "You always were one to make fun of others' enthusiasm."
Shelia rolled her eyes again. She was really getting tired of the whole going from Glory to Snyder back to Glory thing. "Yeah, whatever."
"Didn't that hollower monkey you called 'Mother' ever teach you any manners?" he bit coldly at her, but with still little affect on her. "Or that Master of yours," he asked, shifted into Drusilla. "Oh, the naughty man meant Mistress."
This presence did cause Shelia to stiffen. It wasn't that she didn't know that she really wasn't her sire, or even the fact that she could take her sire now if she wanted, but it was still the fact that she looked like Drusilla, and she had the presence of her.
The black-haired woman swayed on her feet, causing the black dress she wore to swish against the dirt floor. She looked so childlike, so innocent, that it was hard to believe sometimes that this was actually a stone cold killer. Of course, one really only had to look into her eyes to see what she really was. To look into those dark pools was to see someone who was truly crazy; but there was such a method to her madness that Shelia also believed that Drusilla was actually crazy like a fox. There was more going on in that vampiress' brain than anyone ever believed, even that love-sick boyfriend of hers. Maybe that was what made her so dangerous, even to their own kind.
"Little girls like you shouldn't make fun of things they don't understand," Drusilla warned, her red lips turned up in a devilish smile. "Only leads to there being one less plate set for my party."
Shelia swallowed, knowing a threat when she heard one. It never really occurred to the young woman that there wasn't much that the First itself could do to her, considering that it had no definite form; or that she was still needed for the time being. But to hear those words come out the crazy vampire's mouth was enough to make anyone stop and take the threat seriously.
"Yeah," she squeaked softly. "Sure."
Drusilla continued to smile at the young woman, her eyes sparkling with mischief and danger, before turning her attention back to the old man. He was smirking at Shelia like a sibling does when the oldest gets in trouble with their parents. Of course, he stopped the moment Drusilla turned her attention to him and morphed back into Glory.
"Now, when will the last piece be arriving?" she asked, sounding casual while she looked down at her perfectly manicured nails. "And this sentence better contain the word 'now' in it."
From over in a corner, a group of the minions who were working under Doc began exchange a panicked look. They whispered among one another, before the group pushed forward the closest one as their spokesperson. Glory raised an eyebrow at their jittery movement, and the minion looked as if he were ready to run for the hills at any second.
"Well, um, you see Your Most Precious Dark One, um..." He looked over his shoulder to his buddies, but they were leaving him out to dry and deliver this obviously bad news. "You see, we've, ah, kind of hit a little snafu."
"Snafu?" Glory repeated with a hint of anger. "You've hit a snafu? What kind of snafu?"
"Well, um, you see, the, er um, right hand, the missing piece, is well, ah, sort of...missing."
"Missing? What do you mean 'missing'?" The minion began to back away in almost a panic as she came towards them, her fist clinching at her side. Her eyes began to blaze with anger as she exclaimed, "Where is my HAND?!!!"
Lilah smiled as she looked down at the little wooden box before her. The lid was lifted, showing off the meaty blue hand that rested inside. Ah, yes, this was just what she needed.
From off to the side, Gavin straightened up to peer over into the box and see what was making his boss so happy at the moment.
"What are you going to do with that?" he asked.
Lilah was in such a good mood at having it in her possession, she answered honestly, "Make a deal."
(Sorry it took so long to get this part out guys, but school has just been killing me lately. If I can just make it through the week, hopefully I'll be able to start to get updates out quicker, for both this and my other story, Sweet Child *shameless plug.* Also, guys, keep in mind that, even though this is already chapter six, this story is really just beginning. Oh, yeah, this is going to be my long non-series story.)