"Tales of D'Hoffryn…"

Disclaimer: Would Joss want his name associated with this? I think not...But anyway all BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...Though his brother Mort gets nothing...

Archived at the Cicelyverse page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, .com...

Summary: While saddled with the job of tending the discombobulated First Evil, the Lord of all Things Vengeful tells a few tales of his (well, his people's) exploits with some old friends…

"Sunset…"

Part X…

"Ronson?..." Wesley called, harsh whisper…Pulling in his collapsed chute… "Here, sir!" careful hiss…

Ronson, short, dark-haired in flight suit, night goggles, pulling at chute…

"Anyone else about?"

"I haven't seen anyone…We drifted a bit from the others, I think, Mr. Wyndham-Price."

Crack of shot…

"What was that?" Wesley looked over…

"Sounded like firecrackers or a gunshot, sir…"

Wesley felt a sudden vibration on his radio…Pulling it to ear… "Help! Any personnel! Shot! No…!" harsh female cry…Sound of shot on phone, echoed in the distance…

"Miss Collins?!" Wesley cried. No response…Ronsom holding his own phone now…

"Sir?" he eyed his team leader…

"Head toward the sound, but for God's sake keep low and quiet!" Wesley urged. Waving Ronson along…

"Mr. Giles…?" he tried Giles' number now…

"Wyndham-Price?" Giles' voice…

"Sir…Ronson and I have made contact, we're in the upper northeast quadrant of the drop zone. A bit off the mark…"

"All right, make you way to the rendezvous site. So far five of us are accounted for…We'll meet with you there…"

"Sir, Miss Collins may be down. She was calling, we heard shooting."

"Yes, I heard her call. Proceed to the rendezvous, we'll see if there's anything to be done for her later…"

"Sir? We're in range of her location…"

"Wesley…I need as many of us alive as possible in position immediately. Proceed to the rendezvous…That's an order, Wyndham-Price…"

"Sir…" he closed the phone…

Ronson eyeing him…

"Our orders are to proceed to the rendezvous. We will do so…" Wesley nodded grimly.

"Sir, Miss Collins…She might be wounded…"

"We will proceed to the rendezvous. By that way…" Wesley pointed. In the direction of the shooting…

"Sir? That's…"

"I consider it the safest way due to traffic obstacles and the likelihood of creatures in ambush along other routes. Do you question my orders, Mr. Ronson?"

"No, sir…" Ronson, faint smile. "I quite concur…"

"Let's lose these chutes and be about it…"

…..

"Now look, sweetheart…" vampiress Angela, commander of "Team Three" sighed at the squirming teenaged girl in her fellow teammate's grip. "No one's gonna hurt you. But we're not going to let you play target practice with those other kids…"

"F-ing bitch!" howl, twisting. "I'm the Mayor's daughter! I'll have you in jail for the rest of your life!"

"That would be a long time, honey…" Angela nodded. "But I want you to calm down and then I'll tell you where there's some really neat goodies no one else has got to yet…"

"Mr. Giles?..." a blonde, bespectacled woman in flight suit and goggles, armed with small crossbow, automatic pistol strapped to side, hissed to a Giles similarly outfitted but holding cross in one hand, crossbow hanging on opposite shoulder. Both watching the scene from behind an iron fence… "The creature is going to take that girl. Should I?"

"No…" Giles shook his head. "We can't risk detection. Lets be off…"

"Sir…"

"Either William the Bloody's fanciful tale of souled vampires is true and they are simply helping that child as the female claimed to her or not. In either case we can't help her. We're lucky our charms are working and they haven't detected us as yet. Lets continue…Left…" he gestured to the left. Moving off, two others concealed behind him following, as did the woman after a moment's hesitation…

They hurried across the dark street… Giles rushing for the shelter of an alleyway… "Goddamn you!" Harsh whisper to the woman just following the slower of the two men… "Move! These creatures may not be able to sense our souls but they're still expect night trackers and keenly sensitive to any movement…"

He pulled out cell phone… "Johannes? Have you reached the rendezvous point?"

"Maxwell and I are here, sir…" Johannes' reply. "But the site is heavily occupied by humans, all acting very strangely…"

"Not demonic? Vampiral?" Giles asked.

"Not a trace, sir…But there's definitely indications of soul removal. And they seem extremely violent and aggressive. Yet no signs of demonic occupation/possession…"

"All right, maintain your position, avoid confrontation, we're on our way. Wyndham-Price's team is coming your way as well. But be sure to check them and us before contact. If you're detected, try to retreat and contact us asap."

"Yes, sir…"

He closed phone and eyed the other three…

"All right, seven of eleven accounted for. We must assume the others are either incapacitated or unable to communicate and will join us. The rendezvous site is heavily occupied by humans who appear to be acting strangely, possibly soulless or otherwise occultly affected…"

"So William the Bloody may be telling us the truth…" the woman noted.

"Mrs. Caldwell, we've no time to waste considering the trustworthiness of a killer vampire. Our mission is to extract the Slayer intact if she is still alive. However we can if not… Now, ready yourselves and again, remember these creatures are deadly and any word to the contrary is to be ignored. This is no time to trust to the power of compassion and trust. Now, on my mark, move!...Go!" he raced down the street, keeping to the edges of fences and buildings, the others following…

"Dead?"Wesley eyed the body before him, Ronson kneeling by her, feeling for a pulse…

"Afraid so, sir. And definitely not a vampiral attack. She was shot through the heart and neck. Looks like they robbed her of her gear and personals…"

"A robbery?" Wesley shook his head…

Only in America, in the midst of the greatest concentration of occult power and its Undead spawn could one expect to find such a senseless death…

"Rather standard issue firearm I'd say…" Ronson eyed the wounds. "In fact, while I can't be sure, this is very likely police ordinance."

"Shot by a policeman?" Wesley stared.

"Not able to be definite, sir. But it does look rather…Sir!" Ronson backed away. Pulling at Wes' arm…

Two…He mouthed to Wes as they stood in the darkness of the building corner they'd raced for at Ronson's urging…

"Police…" he whispered. Peering down the street…Wesley adjusting his goggle for magnification…

Yes…Two policemen, guns out…And what looked like bags of…Booty?...On their shoulders. Moving down the wide street…About two blocks from the shopping center rendezvous point and five from the Slayer's home…

Wesley focused as one raised gun and began shooting. No warning…

A howl of pain…

"Sir?"

"Nothing we can do Ronson. If they are soulless or deranged in some other way, we aren't going to stop them and if they're merely shooting looters…"

"Miss Collins wasn't a looter, sir." grimly…

"I doubt it would matter to them but there's nothing we can do right now except try and get to the rendezvous point…"

"Sir! Activity…" Ronson held up a glowing crucifix. Specially blessed and charmed to detect vampiral presence…"

"Bow and cross! Stand ready!" Wesley hissed…

"Sir!" Ronson…

Wesley…Whirling to face…

"You gentlemen are from the Council?" Drusilla asked, anxiously. Holding Ronson's fired, caught arrow in one hand…"Thank Heaven you're here…" she gave them a gentle smile. Her other hand raised in peaceful gesture…