author: Lucinda

rating: pg 13

pairing: Faith/Blade

Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or from Blade.

Distribution: WLS, QPC, WWW, Bite Me, Serena, Twisting the Hellmouth anyone else just ask.

Dedicated to Steve, who always seems to want Faith.

note: AU all over the place. Faith never went to Sunnydale - Kakistos who? Her watcher is alive and well, and she hunts vampires and demons all over the East Coast. Faith is now 21, having been slaying five years. Post Blade the Movie.

note 2: Before anyone says 'but wait, there's Buffy' - why would Faith know about her? Why tell your 'Chosen one girl in all the world' umm, actually, your the second one girl in all the world, sorry for the confusion? Faith wasn't told about Buffy, so assume that Buffy is off in California, doing whatever makes your imagination happy.

"I found a lead on Elias." Talia's voice sounded cultured, with a clipped accent that brought up hazy impressions of wealth and politics. For the moment, it had a determined neutrality.

Faith knew that the neutrality was a lie. Talia Sutcliff was her watcher, the single constant in her life for the past eight years, five of which had been spent as the Slayer. Years where Talia had taken a surly ansgt ridden teenager and transformed her into a determined warrior. Elias Townsend had been the first powerful master vampire that she'd encountered, the British vampire having moved in and taken over the area, slaughtering all of his rivals and potential rivals, including Kakistos, Marius Donovan, and a pack of Fyarl demons. He'd then moved on to the consolidation phase. He'd slaughtered Faith's family, having somehow learned who the Slayer was. He'd also killed Talia's fiance, leaving parts of him on her doorstep.

Elias Townsend was a very bad vampire. They'd been trying to find him ever since he'd left Boston. Rumors had hinted that he sought some powerful relic, something called LaMagra that would give him god-like powers, according to some ancient legend in a long forgotten language. Really, was there any other sort of legend among the demons circles?

Faith was hopeful that she would be ready this time. She wasn't sixteen anymore, and she'd had time to deal with her family's death, to find purpose and strength in her destiny as the Slayer, the one girl in the world chosen to fight the demons and vampires and supernatural evils that threatened people. She was the Slayer, and she was damn good at it, having survived for five years now.

So, armed with the rumors that Talia had heard, she left for her patrol, fondly remembering the long ago easy nights - could it have been only five years ago? Things had been so easy when she was familair with the areas that she patrolled, when she knew where each alley and road went. But she was here, and since there were definitely vamps, even if she didn't see signs of Elias yet, she had a reason for being here. Vampires were dangerous, and that was why she killed them. She had an assortment of weapons, just to make sure that she was prepared for anything: a wooden stake, an iron dagger, and for added length, a steel sword alloyed with silver, and blessed by a Catholic Priest, a Druid, and this creepy dark woman they'd run into down in Georgia.

"Run! He's not going to be busy very long!" The voice was filled with fear.

Faith tensed, sword ready in one hand, the other ready to draw her stake. She felt vampires coming closer, and wondered if there was a pack chasing a victim. Concentrating, she tried to get an estimate... four?

She could hear the footsteps now, a thunderous noise, more concerned with speed than stealth, and the group of four frightened vampires were there, eyes feral and sharp teeth, clearly terrified of something behind them. Looking at her, one of them gave a low suggestive leer. "Hey, look what we found... Seems somebody thinks she can play."

Sighing as they attacked, she slipped into the near trancelike state of combat, where everything here was hyper intense, time seemed to slow, and the world beyond the fight seemed to blur away. These four weren't very good, clearly more used to depending on their strength than any sort of skill. But as the Slayer, her strength was a match for theirs, and her skill was far better. She took them down easily, allowing the last to fall into ashes at her feet.

That revealed the man looming in the alley. He was tall, a muscular black man dressed in black leather and gleaming weapons, sun glasses wrapped around his eyes despite the late hour, a few tattoos visible. There was just the faintest sign of his close-cropped hair. He was sleek, powerful looking, and put of this odd feeling, almost like a vampire, but different. The only things that she could be sure of was that this guy was dangerous, mighty fine looking, and ready for a fight.

"So, I'm going to make the guess that they were running from you. Care to explain why?" She let her eyes travel over him again, admiring the way the leather hugged his body. Oh, definitely worth taking a second look... or a third even.

"I'm Blade." His words were short, as if he felt the need to measure them out as carefully, as reluctantly as possible. "Who the hell are you?"

She grinned, her sword at rest but easily accessible if he turned threatening. They'd heard of this guy, if he was really who he claimed. He felt strong enough to be that Blade, the only other major threat to vampires. A traveling hunter, damn effective, skilled with weapons... although he only hunted vampires, not demons. "I'm Faith, the Vampire Slayer."

He made a small noise. "Thought the Slayer was some little blond in California."

"No, it's me. Why are you here, anyhow?" Faith felt a bit of annoyance. Some blonde? Huh, she was the Slayer.

He looked at her, as if measuring her. For a moment, Faith tried to think of herself the way he would see her - a dark haired girl with fair skin, dark wild eyes and make-up, leather pants and a little burgundy tank. Combat boots and a sword... She probably reminded him of some actress trying to play a part. "Elias Townsend."

"Is a miserable, despicable bastard of a vampire. Who deserves to die slowly and in great agony." Then, something clicked in her mind. "Oh, you're after him too?"

"You're after him, then. You think you're strong enough to have a chance?" He didn't sound like he was tring to insult her, just... assessing the odds.

"Yeah, I'm after him. I want to see him dead, and to dance on his ashes. As for am I strong enough... I've taken down older vamps than him. But there's one maybe complication." Faith tried to reign back the rage that always filled her at the thought of Elias and the things that he'd done.

He looked over, noting the way her muscled had tensed. "What complication?"

"Rumor is that he's trying to find something called LaMagra and get himself scary god-like power. I have no idea what this LaMagra is, but... it can't be good."

"Fuck." He practically snarled the word.

Faith had a bad feeling. "So... you know what this LaMagra is? And it's that bad?"

"Ancient vampire blood-god. There's a ritual to enable the vampire to become the vessel for LaMagra, to enable him to manifest and create chaos here. Makes things a hell of a lot more complicated." He was scowling, the sort that hinted at ugly memories and long burning anger.

Faith gave a low whistle. "Ouch... this just keeps getting... more so." Looking over at him, she came to a decision. "Maybe we should work together on this one. I might be able to take him, you might be able to take him... together, we can kick his ass."

With a nod, he held out one hand, roughened slightly by calluses. "Sounds good. He goes down."

Faith took his hand, feeling the power in his grip. He definitely wasn't quite human. "Going to be a pleasure working with you, Blade." After a moments pause, she grinned at him. "Remind me to introduce you to the pleasures of post-slayage. You look like you could use it."

His only response was a raised eyebrow.

They continued their hunting, killing dozens of minions, so many that Faith was forced to raise the question - "Where are they all coming from? This is ridiculous."

"When they want to make a move... they start recruiting. The runaways, the hopeless singles, soemtimes the homeless. Just more bodies to hurl at their enemies." Blade was frowning, wiping at a bit of something stuck on his sword. He just seemed too serious.

Faith had to do something about that. He was this incredible hunk of man, absolutely delectable, and just... brooding. And she was caught up in the whole after slaying urges - for some reason, slaying always left her hungry and horny. And he looked like just the sort of person to be able to help her out with that problem. All she had to do was drag him back to her hotel room...

Much later, after several rounds of 'persuasion', he admitted that he liked her methods of unwinding from a night of hunting. They slept, exhausted, sated, their limbs entwined together.

She woke first, bumped by his arm as some unpleasant dream tormented him. He tossed his head, scowling, his lips moving as if in speech. She pulled back, making certain he wouldn't hit her by accident in his dream. He came awake, gasping a ragged breath as if to shout, his teeth just a bit sharper than they'd been before, almost looking like fangs, his eyes wild with all the emotions that he'd been supressing last night.

"What... no, it wasn't real. Just another dream." He wiped his hand over his face, collecting tiny droplets of sweat from his face, looking at them with dismayed disgust.

Faith tugged at his arm, a hint of a smile on her face. "You'll feel better after a nice shower. Promise. I'll even help you wash your back."

It was several hours later that they left the hotel room, Faith's hair still damp, and a mark on the right side of her neck, right over her pulse, having a small new scab over the tiny tear in her skin. Apparently, Blade bit when things got really intense. Faith could deal with that.

Again, they went hunting together, killing minions, even a couple demons, which left Blade feeling a bit unsettled - not ill, but disturbed by the gaps in his knowledge. He'd never even known that demons were real... They worked well together, their styles of fighting complementing each other, and neither one completely in need of rescuing.

Talia had found out about their little partnership, and had a set to her eyes that said she didn't quite approve, but had no firm arguments. Talia had come through, discovering a location that was being prepared for 'something big', some sort of powerful, mystical ritual. It had to be the site where Elias intended to invoke LaMagra. Blade had frowned, fingering the hilt of his sword, as if lost in his thoughts.

Then, he'd insisted they get there before sunset, armed for hordes of vampires. Apparently, the last time someone had tried to summon LaMagra, it had involved the ritual sacrifice of a number of vampires, requiring an equal number to hold the not-so-willing sacrifices down long enough for the ritual to work. So, lots of vampires, most of whom would be furious already.

It hadn't looked like much, just an empty field in the middle of relative nowhere, the earth above it ravaged and torn, bits of wood and concrete sticking out like something trying to emerge from an early grave. She coud feel the place, like a cold thickness in the air, an almost slimy sensation. "Ugh... evil rituals for a thousand, Alex."

"You feel it. We have to stop it before they get it started." Blade sounded alls serious again, as if the few signs of emotion, of life had been erased, or had never existed.

Faith shivered, her whole body tense from the evil and expectancy in the air. They found the access, a slow mechanical lift that took them under the ground. The moved quickly, hoping to kill the vampires, to prevent the ritual. To kick Elais Townsend's ass once and for all.

As it happened, their timing was just barely fast enough to stop the ritual, to prevent the invocaion of LaMagra. The mystical energies swirled about, the backlash causing some of Elias' followers to ignite, and one just crumpled to the ground, whimpering in agony as his limbs curled in a way that bones should have prevented. That left just them and Elias.

Elias had done something to make himself stronger, his blows hurting far more than they should have. But there were two of them, and only one of him. Slowly, Faith and Blade wore the vampire down, taking bruises and scrapes from being kicked or flung into the wall as acceptable payment for the injuries to Elias. Finally, Blade lunged from behind, going low, his attack nearly severing the vampire's legs in an effort to cut the hamstrings. Faith's attack was only heartbeats behind, a sweeping move that sent Elias' head sailing through the air, smacking into the floor with a sound almost like an unripened melon.

Several long moments passed as Faith stood there, her muscles now aching, quivering with the after effects of adrenalin and fear, her energy spent. It almost seemed impossible that he was dead, but he was. More dead, no longer able to hurt anyone. With a slow smile, she kicked her foot into the ribs of Elias Townsend's now shriveled corpse.

Blade and Faith leaned on each other the whole trip out, exhaustion erasing a measure of their pride. They had won, the bad guy was dead... huzzah for them. They collapsed into an exhausted tangle of limbs in Faith's bed, to tired to do more than drop the weapons and remove their boots.

There would be time to sort everything else out in the morning... or afternoon.

end Hunting Partner.