Salem Fires

Author: Tenhawk tenhawk@sympatico.ca

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me.

Summary: A gathering of forces in Sunnydale presents a distinct challenge for Xander and his friends, while a growing threat outside of Sunnydale threatens to bring their secret war crashing down around their collective heads.

Warning: Crossovers ahead. (Yes Plural.)

Rating: PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content... in other words a bit more grown up then the series... but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.

*****

*****

Xander moved through the graveyard slowly, all his senses in high gear. There was nothing at all around him, no vampires, no demon, and nothing else. Xander was getting a weird feeling crawling along his spine as he walked.

Finally, halfway out into the graveyard, he stopped. He turned around and flipped through the different settings of his mask.

Thermal. Nothing.

Light amp. Nothing.

UV. Nothing.

Air pressure was worse then useless out in the open so he skipped past it. Same went for the high band radiation settings. Finally he shifted to a computer generated rendering of the ultrasonic vibrations around him.

Bingo.

Xander dropped into a crouch behind a gravestone and whispered. "Faith?"

"Yah?" her voice came back through the earpiece he was wearing.

"I'm surrounded."

"What!?"

"I've got multiple targets coming in on me... must be vamps, I couldn't see even a hint of them on thermal."

"Vamps?" Faith asked, "Where?"

Xander frowned, "Faith, there are two of them walking on the street below you."

Silence. Then her voice came back. "No way, boytoy. I got em in my sights, but they ain't vamps."

"How do you know?"

"Two reasons." Faith said, a tight grin in her voice. "First I ain't getting a buzz off 'em... Second... I ain't never seen vamps wearing space suits." "What!?"

"I'm serious boytoy. They're wearing baggy silver space suits..."

Xander's mind locked onto what she was describing. "Hazmat suits.... Heat shielded. What the hell?"

"I don't know, Lover... but they've got some wacky looking weapons too. Almost looks like... I don't know, you know those flame throwers you see in those shootem-up flicks of yours?"

"Yeah..."

"Looks like those... but a bit bigger."

Xander's mind raced as he looked at the bogeys approaching his position. "Shit. Call for backup."

Xander switched his mask back to light amplification mode and drew a Zat from his belt. He counted to ten and stood up. *****

Angel had the pedal to the floor as he passed the sign that read, Welcome to Sunnydale. He looked over at the lone passenger in his car. "Well?"

"What?" Doyle asked.

"Were now?"

"The Graveyard."

"Which one?"

"Huh?"

"Which graveyard?"

Doyle looked at Angel in confusion, "It's a small town... how many could there be!?"

Angel moaned and slammed his fist into the steering wheel. "This is the Hellmouth! Damnit... this is going to take all night!" ***** The soldier swung his heavy NO2 dispenser around as he marched through the graveyard. "Where the hell is it?"

"Keep your eyes peeled."

"No shit." He muttered, "I've seen what these things did to the group in L.A."

He continued to stalk through the graveyard, sweating with every step he made in his thermal insulated suit. As he approached a particularly large headstone his radio crackled to life.

"Unit five, he's right in front of you."

"Where?"

"Two feet, at two o'clock."

The soldier swivelled and aimed his weapon, "I don't see him!"

"Fire anyway goddamnit!"

He pulled the trigger, ejecting a white cloud of super-chilled gas into the air in front of him. He blinked as a form materialized within the mist, and raised its hand. He started to scream when he saw a weapon in its big fist.

"It's not working! The gas isn't...!"

A blue electrical light brought searing pain to his world and the soldier dropped in his tracks, falling and twitching on the ground. *****

"Five? Five! FIVE!?"

"He's gone."

The technician sighed, but nodded. "Units four, six, eight, and ten. Converge on sector 9 alpha. Repeat, 9 alpha. We've lost the signature on the UV motion sensors, be alert! He may not be using stealth now." *****

Xander was running. Stumbling, staggering, scrambling, but also running. As best as he could manage as he shivered and shook and tried to get his blood moving again.

"D-d-damn.... th-tha-that's c-c-cold..." he said into the microphone.

"Xander? What happened?" Faith's voice was anxious. "They used some kind of li... quid c-c-coolant system..." Xander muttered as he ran. "A... armor took the worst of it... b-b-but I'm f-f-f-fucking f- freezing..."

"I'm downstairs, Xander... I'll be there in a few seconds!"

"G-good." Xander said, his teeth chattering as he cranked up the armors thermostat. "The others?"

"B and Farm Boy are coming, Jeeves and the wicked wiccans aren't far behind."

"Ok..." Xander said, ducking behind another gravestone as he heard some others moving around him. "Damn... got some more c-c-coming... hang on a sec."

Xander pulled a second Zat from his belt and triggered the first level activation. He stood up, leveling both Zats at the source of the sound.

Four of them. He thought as he triggered both weapons in rapid fire sequence. *****

"Sir, we just lost four more units!"

"Lost?"

"All their comm gear just went down. Heart monitors stopped transmitting."

"So they're dead."

"Either that or all their electronics chose this moment to go on the fritz, Sir."

Greene didn't bother to respond to that comment. *****

"Xander?" Faith asked anxiously, "You ok?"

"Four up, four down." Xander's voice crackled back over the radio.

Faith breathed a sigh of relief. "Who are these guys?"

"Alien hunters."

"What!?"

"They must be following up on some sightings of me in armor... they think I'm a Yautja."

"A what-cha?" "Yautja, that's the name of the species that uses this type of armor."

"Oh..." Faith said, "Oh! So they're not after you?"

"Not knowingly. They think I'm an alien here on a safari."

"So get out of there and ditch the armor!" "That's the plan." Xander confirmed as he started moving. *****

Angel slowed the car as he passed their sixth cemetery of the night. "What the hell?"

Doyle looked over and his eyes widened. "Well... that's something you don't see every day..."

The two demon detectives stared as an armored form came running at full speed out of the darkness, pursued by six silver suited men wielding extremely weird weapons.

"That's him!" Doyle said excitedly, "That's the demon!"

Angel shook his head to clear it, and opened the drivers side door. "Ok. Wait here."

"You don't have to tell me twice." *****

Xander pumped his legs and pushed off the ground in a powerful a leap as he could manage. He hit the ground in a tucked roll and came to a crouching halt behind the low brick wall that separated the sidewalk form the cemetery.

He activated both Zats and waited.

His six pursuers rolled around the corner at full runs, and ran straight into a rapid fire discharge of Zat fire.

Xander stood up and approached the silver masses on the ground, shaking his head under his mask. Damn. I hope that's the last of them.

"Step away from them, Demon!"

Wha?" Xander turned around in time to see a fist plow into his mask. *****

"We just lost six more!"

"God dammit!" Greene cursed. "Do we have anyone else in the area?" "Three more units... about three minutes away... and Dutch and the Cop Sir..."

"Shit." *****

Dutch hit the brakes as he skidded the Ford van into a stop at the corner of the graveyard. "From here, we walk."

Harrington hefted his shotgun in one hand, "Oh yeah." The two got out of the vehicle and looked around. Dutch looked back inside and looked pointedly at his wife. "Sally, stay with the car... we may need to make a very fast getaway."

She looked about to refuse but Harrington nodded. "He's right ma'am. This thing is dangerous... we might have to hit the road in a hurry."

Finally she nodded. "All right... But you'd better be ok!" Dutch smiled and nodded. "Yes, dear."

Harrington shook his head, a toothy smile on his face. "Ah, marital bliss."

As the two warriors walked into the graveyard, Dutch looked over, "You ever been married?"

"Yep."

"Didn't like it?"

"I liked it fine. My ex-wife, she had problems with it."

Dutch nodded. "You need to find a woman who lives like you do."

"Are you nuts?" Harrington grinned, "I couldn't live with someone like me..."

The two warriors chuckled quietly and then turned all of their attention toward the area ahead of them. *****

"Faster!" Buffy urged as Riley gunned the motor.

Riley didn't say anything, just pushed the pedal down.

"How long?" Riley looked at the houses as they whipped by and grimaced. "If the roads are clear? Seven minutes. Maybe ten."

Buffy actually cursed. "And Giles and the others?"

Riley shook his head, "Even longer." *****

"Can't you get this heap to go any faster, Giles?" Willow glared across the at the older man form the passenger seat.

Giles gritted his teeth and put the pedal down, the old car protesting loudly as its overdrive kicked in and the car accelerated. "I'm trying."

"Try harder." This time it was a voice form the back seat, as filled with concern as Willow's was.

Willow glanced back at Tara, "We'll make it, Tara... Xander's strong... he can hold on." *****

Xander staggered to his feet, his vision obscured by random flashes of light. As he managed to shake his head clear he saw what, who, had hit him.

A few feet away a recognizable figure stood, obviously preparing for a follow-up blow.

Angel? Xander managed to think as the ensouled vampire charged him. He opened his mouth to speak.

"Ang-oooof!" He grunted out as the vampire hit him solidly, blasting him off his feet and back into the cement wall.

"Your days of killing women are over, Demon!" Angel yelled as he pushed the fight again. *****

Xander rolled clear as Angel's foot slammed into the bricks hard enough to raise a cloud of mortar dust. He desperately tried to get his breath back to speak but before he could do more then draw in a shuddering breath, Angel was upon him again.

Angel threw two hard punches to his head, and Xander slipped under both of them. Oh shit! He thinks I'm a demon! Fuck fuck fuck! I don't have any non- lethals that would work on a vamp!

Xander threw out a hard punch of his own, nailing Angel in the stomach, then followed through with a knee aimed at the vampire's face.

Angel intercepted the knee, grabbing it with both hands and powering it up into the air. Xander was thrown off his feet and flipped in mid air, landing on his stomach after a full flip. This had the unfortunate effect of knocking even more air from Xander's lungs. He twisted and rolled just clear of a stomping attack by Angel, wheezing and shuddering as he struggled to pull air into his lungs. He struggled to his feet as quickly as he could, dropping his Zats to the ground and tugging Elan from the canvas sheath riding on his hip. He staggered around to face Angel, still gasping for breath as the vampire closed on him.

Activate

The silver staff bucked in his hand and the foot long cylinder was replaced by a seven foot battle staff. He held it between him and the vampire like a talisman against evil.

Angel took a step back. "You think that's going to stop me?"

Xander drew another painful, ragged breath and shook his head.

"You've got that right." Angel took another menacing step forward.

Xander glanced around and backed away from the vampire, shaking his head and holding up his free hand, still trying to draw in that sweet air.

Angel paused. This wasn't going as expected. Demons usually fought like... well, like demons. This one certainly wasn't acting like the unholy terror Doyle described him as. So Angel did the one thing he could think of.

He stopped.

Xander looked at Angel for a moment, and saw that the vampire had stopped. He nodded his head and bent down, bracing himself on his knees, pulling in deep breaths as quickly as he could.

Damn it. I HATE it when I have to fight someone who's trying to kill me and I can't kill them.

Finally he raised his head and opened his mouth to speak.

"There he is! Get him!"

Bullets ripped through the ground around his feet and Xander dove in a hurry for the closest cover. He could feel bullets ricocheting off his armor and see the spouts of dirt fly up from ones that dug into the soft ground.

Behind him he could hear Angel let out a curse and run for cover of his own. *****

Dutch and Harrigan charged the creature as it stood there, their M-16 rifles blazing.

"We can't let it activate it's bomb!" Dutch yelled.

"I know, man! I know!" The two warriors cursed simultaneously as the creature ducked for cover. Dutch looked over at Harrigan and motioned him to go around the wall. Dutch took a running leap and went over it. *****

Xander hunkered down behind the wall, breathing heavily now that he had managed to get his breath back and cursing the fact that he had dropped the Zats. "Shit. Shit. Shit."

His radio crackled to life. "What is it Xander?"

"Faith!?" he seized on her voice like ti was a lifeline. "I've got two maniacs trying to fill me full of lead, and Angel just showed up thinking I'm some kind of super-demon!" To his everlasting annoying, Faith laughed out loud. "Jeeez, loverboy... you're having a bad night."

"No shit! Help?"

"I'm a few seconds away, Xan. Your fight took you across the graveyard... I'm coming through now."

Thank you god. Xander thought as he glanced up at the sky.

What he saw wasn't a sign from the almighty. He hoped. It was a two hundred and fifty pound mountain jumping clean over the section of wall he was hiding behind.

"Uh.. Faith?"

"Yeah?"

Xander watched the man land and turn his M-16 around.

"Hurry." *****

Dutch turned his weapon on the crouching hunter and quickly squeezed the trigger.

The stream of bullets chewed into the wall where the creature had been a few moments earlier, but the thing had ducked low and was charging him.

No! Dutch screamed internally, Don't let him get close with those claws!

He tried to bring the bucking assault rifle down but the thing moved too fast, plowing into him in a classic tackle that lifted him clean off his feet. The M-16 pointed skyward as the two figures tumbled to the ground. *****

Harrigan burst around the corner, his M-16 searching for a target, only to see the alien plow into Dutch like a linebacker for the Rams. "Shit."

The two figures were too closely entangled for him to do much with his rifle so he lifted the muzzle and ran into help. He hadn't take three steps when a figure burst form the graveyard, moving faster then he had ever seen, and plowed into him.

He was lifted up and thrown a dozen feet, landing square on his back with his rifle a dozen more feet beyond. He felt a weight land on his chest and he looked up.

"Ohh... you're a big one...." The small brunette grinned at him, "Just so you know... no one hurts my friends." Harrigan tried to say something, Anything, that would either explain that he was the good guy or maybe ask who her friend was... but the girl cold cocked him in the next instant and the lights went out. *****

"How much longer?"

Riley cursed under his breath, "Five minutes. Maybe six." Buffy's knuckles turned white were she was gripping the armrest on the door. A few seconds later the plastic and vinyl construction crumpled and crumbled into pieces of foam and plastic that used to have a shape. *****

"The three units are almost on target, Sir."

"Tell them to capture the creature at all costs."

"What if someone gets in the way?" He asked, leaving little doubt who he meant.

Greene muttered coldly, "They have guns don't they?"

"Yessir."

"Tell them to use them."

*****

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