"What are you waiting for? This has gone wrong." Connor demanded, "I said run!"
She promised. Dawn Summers had promised him that if things went wrong she would run. Why was he trusting another girl with promises? He should probably stop doing that. The worm had doubled back and was going out of the woods and towards Wilkins Park at new speed. Connor could hear it tunneling and writhing just under the earth ahead of him. It wasn't a pretty sound and it infuriated him that some slimy no brained creature seemed to get ahead of him and trick him. It infuriated him as he had to stop and yell at Dawn.
"No, I can suck it into a Hell dimension. I perfected my power as The Key to open one up in a selected spot. I swear. I've been waiting to do it with something big," she said.
"Ya know," Connor grumbled, "I don't really think this power of yours to open up a Hell dimension is as controlled as you think it is. You're making my life Hell right now. Something isn't right. Get out of here, Dawn. "
"Really? Maybe if I slept with you first and then tried to kill you like that stuck up Ivy League slut from Boston that turned out to be a Vengeance Demon you'd trust my power."
She had her arms crossed over her chest as the steam of her breath came out of her mouth in the cool air. Connor could smell the cookies on her breath along with the adrenaline. He could do this as he still heard the worm movie further away and coming out of the earth. All this after the Dune junior worm had sprung smaller worms with teeth at them. They would have bit her if Connor hadn't hacked at them. When he chopped one up the mouth of one bit him and shrieked and died. There were benefits to not being human. Connor knew Dawn Summers was human whether she liked it or not.
"Is there where I'm supposed to freak out and call you a bitch and say something really mean about your dead cheerleader Slayer sister leaving you; and then I apologize and you get to risk your life on my watch?" Connor said, "Because that's not going to work."
"I swear I hate you!" she snapped.
Connor laughed. She almost stamped her foot like a little kid. He turned away from her and began running after the worm. It did seem like it was headed back towards The Sink Hole where it first came up. Wait, how had Dawn known it was headed toward the…No time. He had let the worm get too far ahead of him. He saw Faith in the distance. She had just killed the last of the vampires that seemed to be taking advantage of the chaos the worm had caused by the trash cans in the alley next to the bar. The worm was tunneling under her. She didn't know. Connor saw her take out her phone and look at it.
"Faith!" he called to her and ran as she looked like a far off figure.
"Faith, the worm doubled back and it's coming up here," by the time he said her name again he was right next to her.
He smiled. It was good to be Super Human most days. He could leave the days with the secret murderous demon girlfriends that pretended to love him. But, today wasn't one of those days. Today was just a fighting big dumb monster day. They could handle it.
"U-huh," she said.
She was looking at her phone and…
"You're shaking," he said and grabbed ahold of her arm, "What's wrong?"
"I—I think somebody is fucking with me—bad," she said, "And I can't. I just can't…"
"What is it?" he asked focused on nothing but her huge round pained eyes.
"I can't," she turned away from his gaze and held out her cell phone.
The only thing Faith ever said I can't about was talking. Talking about Reese or Spike being dead. Connor went to take her phone.
Then chaos erupted. The worm burst out of the asphalt right under them. He was thrown back hard and away from her. Shit. The thing hadn't seemed that strong. He thought it would borrow out slowly. It wasn't supposed to have a brain. Of course, he was thinking of non-demonic worms or the ones on Tremors.
As Connor was knocked through the air with bits of concrete in the yellow light of the alley he thought how he should have known more about the worm. He was never a biology guy. Linguistics and engineering and tech were his things. That and helping Faith and Kennedy with The Mission. He promised himself he'd stick to basics after the shit storm of trying to be in a relationship caused him. It wasn't that hard really. Reese had seemed like ages ago like his life in Q'ortoth or his fake memories. He knew he had really believed he loved her.
He knew the sex had been great, but it felt like it wasn't real. It seemed Reese had been more real to Faith who killed her and knew her before she was a demon. Connor sometimes briefly wondered what kind of person he really was, and decided always came back to sticking with basics. The last thing he needed was to get crazy again. So, he would just do basic things like kill this giant worm with The Vampire Slayer and go in and have a few beers with her and maybe the gay guy that had a crush on him.
But, Connor could tell that this wasn't going to be a normal night by the sounds. He heard something, no more than one thing running faster than he could get up off the ground. One thing seemed to stop and fight something- a vampire Connor hadn't heard coming- while the other came closer. What things could do that? There was no time to find out. He had to slay the worm. He did.
"Seriously!" he spat.
Or at least he thought he did for a second. He sliced it in two and that only seemed to make it grow. One big half came towards him and it was way bigger than the original whole 7 footer. It writhed up over him like a undulating Washington Monument and the other half headed towards Faith who he couldn't see. Before he could call her name he heard her.
"Are—are you real?" her voice was trembling.
"Faith—" he began to say Faith, don't talk to it. I'm pretty sure it has no brain.
But, then the half he was dealing with shot out a bunch of smaller worm at him like spores. Only these spores had teeth and bit at his flesh.
"Yeah, it has no brain," he sighed, "It's coming back for seconds when my meat is deadly."
The smaller worms all screeched and died after biting him. He didn't know if he finished saying that before he heard Faith's scream.
"No! I can't!" she cried.
Connor sliced the worm in front of him and ran to her. He was not ready for what he saw.
Faith was on her knees with an unconscious body under her. She held her knife over it and brought it down on the body's chest.
"One went into his chest. I—I think its got his heart. He's not supposed to need his heart, but—but-He went down cold," Faith was slicing with the knife and it pained her like she was cutting her own chest.
But, it wasn't. It was Spike's chest. Spike was one of the things that was running in the alley and now he was down. It was Spike. Connor smelled him. He had a burnt leaves and lilac kind of smell. He felt him. Yep, there was a new creepy thing. Connor's dead evil girl friend didn't feel like anything, but Spike was taking up space in his senses in a way he didn't know how to put into words. Vampire blood ties. There were three words he didn't know how to place. Connor wasn't a vampire. Clearly. That worm spore had bore into Spike's chest and it wanted nothing to do with Connor.
"I—I gotta cut it out, right?" Faith pleaded as she was cutting it out.
Her trembling hands pulled the worm spore out as it hissed. It was pissed to leave its new home. It didn't look like a little worm spore anymore but an angry thing with a helmet like head.
"I gotta cut it—"
It slipped through Faith's trembling fingers and Connor could see it go towards her throat where it bit her. The next thing Connor saw was Spike awake springing forward crushing the vampire worm spore in his hands.
"Are you all right, love? l-" Connor heard Spike ask Faith.
A flash of bright blue came down on Faith so fast Connor barely had time to realize her shocked face was gone from his view. The next thing he saw was Faith lying on unconscious on the ground. Connor went towards her as Spike hit whatever hit her. Then he heard a familiar scream- Dawn Summers. Seriously? Why couldn't she just listen? He knew Spike would crush whatever knocked out Faith just as much as he knew she was alive and well because he could hear her heartbeat. Still he should be doing better than this.
He found Dawn Summers trying to wipe smelly liquid off of her sheer top with her brow furrowed eight different ways.
"It smiled me and it stinks!" she squealed.
"Faith is down and you had me run over here for stinky slime!" he grumbled.
He began hacking this worm up into little bits so it couldn't grow bigger.
"No one asked you to come over here. What does that smell like? It smells like something. Like fish and something. Why would a worm smell like this? I'm burning this top! Is Faith okay?"
"She's fine," he said, "Why do you always where all that sheer flowey stuff? It gets cold out here. I think its part of the worm's pheromones as well as its defense. Worms are pretty simple."
He was squishing the worm pieces.
"You're pretty simple! I'm sorry I dress like a person who live here in Southern California. I don't have 1,000 fashionable coats like—What is that smell? It stinks like something—something I've smelt before. It's like-"
"It stinks like sex," he said looking at her.
He had his sword by his side and was staring at her clinging slimed wet top with tank top under it. She opened her mouth wide and her sea-blue eyes got big. Was she really so easy to shock.
"Connor!" she gasped.
"What?" he said shrugging, "That's what it smells like."
He realized someone, or something was behind him and he turned with his sword. He saw three huge worms that were growing from the pieces he had just squashed. They seemed angry they hissed as they grew.
"Run for real now," Connor said as he chopped one of them in half, "I mean it!"
One of the worms threw spores at him but when the worm spores touched him they shrieked and skittered away. Connor began hacking at the actual worms but if he didn't squash the pieces in time they would grow bigger. What didn't help was one of the worms did seem to have a giant mouth with something like teeth. It had grown big enough to swallow him whole or at least try.
"Awesome, night," he grumbled, "Awesome."
Buffy found the culprit. The guy who had summoned the worms or created them or whatever. She didn't care. She found the worm guy. He was at the edge of the park with a sword, that he thought probably made him look cool, and he was making more worm demons by cutting the original one up. He had the nerve to complain about it.
"Really? Cutting up worms to make more worms to get revenge on a girl or whatever isn't as cool as you thought it would be?" Buffy said.
"Now what?" he grumbled.
"Look, I don't really care what you're motive was. Just tell me how to you're your insects that you clearly can't control and we'll have a little talk with my fists after," she said.
"A worm isn't an insect," he said, "And I don't respond well to threats, but at least you're direct."
He had sliced up the worm and seemed to get some of the slices to die, but more worms kept rising. She was in no mood for new geeks who wanted to take over the re-risen Hellmouth. She assumed that was what he was with his non-insect knowledge. He was scrawny.
"Great," Buffy grumbled, "Another geek. Let me guess you also like to invent things like jet packs…."
She had to jump up and do a couple of flips because the main worm shot those things at her that bit Spike and Faith. She felt really bad for hitting Faith but she how was she to know that Faith was cutting those things out of Spike and not staking him? She saw the geek stare at her, seeing his face clearly for the first time.
"So, you're one of those hipster boyish sex appeal geeks," she said, "If you have to make giant worms I'm guessing you still have issues with women."
"I only make things that kill things like you and I don't have women issues; I have demon issues," he said glowering.
"I'm not a demon," she said.
He hit her in the face. Wait. He hit her in the face. She had felt that so much so she cried out a little. They traded blows. He was hard to hit. He wouldn't keep still. The fact that they had those worm things to deal with every now and again didn't help. He actually got in a hit that would probably leave a mark. So, Buffy made sure she gave him a better one. He stumbled back and say "Ow!"
"But, clearly you are a demon," she said looking at him.
"I've heard this not too long ago," he said, "How I'm the demon me and my entire sex and how vengeance was wasted upon us men…' Not a good break up. So, I don't play games anymore. I won't have time to get to know before I kill you. You won't be able to use my body, my heart, and betray me."
They circled each other but they occasionally had to stop to slice a worm. There was something about the way his mouth smiled angrily that made Buffy wiggy.
"I wouldn't worry about it," Buffy said, "You look a little young for me, and I'll be the one doing the killing."
"That's never stopped me before. Why do you smell familiar? I know that smell. What are you?" he asked.
"Grossed out and homicidal and you?"
Suddenly, he pushed her making her step to the side.
"What are you doing?" Buffy demanded
"Saving your life," he said giving her an up and down glance that he looked too young to be doing.
She then saw that those gross bitey little worm things that come out of the big worm things had landed on him, but instead of biting him they screeched and slithered off.
What the what? Who was this not-quite-a-man-looking-boy-thing? A vampire.
"So, you're her?" he smiled now, and slashed a worm, "They said you were short, but I didn't think you would be so small. And I thought you would have a better reaction time."
She knew whoever he was she was too old for him. Even if he was 120 Buffy was too old for him at 25. She was too old for anyone. She had killed her last amazing man. She had been brought back here for a reason and that was to be The Slayer and close this damned Sunnydale Hellmouth once and for all. And.. it would all start by pinning this demon guy to the nearest tree by his scrawny neck.
"Look," Buffy said, "I've had my head messed with more than you can imagine, and I'm talking this month alone. Really, some inter-dimensional ethereal angel thing tried to mystically take apart my head to destroy my soul. She killed my amazing and actually sweet boyfriend while I was making love to him and then imprisoned me in the darkness of my own mind. I only made it out because I have friends, scary powerful friends, who know my darkness. So, you aren't going to make a dent in head-messing-department and trying to kill me won't work either. Did I mention I died after that thing messed with my head? But, dying never works out for me; I'm better at the killing. "
"You think you're pretty special, huh?" he said, "They tell me you are, and you're strong and I wouldn't say ridiculously hot, but cute. I'll give you that. But, you think you're the only one that's had your head split open and your life rearranged one or twice. I wanna know why does the world stop when you don't know who you are?"
"I know exactly who I am!" Buffy said, "Who the fuck are you? You know what? I don't-"
Buffy was going to say: You know what? I don't care. And then the plan was to kill him or make him explain why he saved her life. She didn't know. She didn't remember because Buffy heard a voice. Dawn. Dawnie.
"He's Connor and he's on our side," Dawn said.
"Dawn!" Buffy gasped, "Dawn, look out! The worms!"
Buffy had forgotten about the worms the main large one was lumbering right toward her sister. Dawn turned to it and a green light seemed to come from under the worm and the ground gave way with a rumble to a green glow without time for a struggle the worm fell into the ground below and the green glow was replaced by the regular ground again. All the other worms feel over with a wet sound and remained lifeless.
"How? Wha—what happened? What did you do?" she said turning to the guy, "Did you make it go back to the core of the earth? Are you some insect summoner?"
"Worms aren't insects," he said.
"He didn't do that," Dawn said, "I did. Connor, this is my sister, Buffy. Buffy this is Connor. Connor is Angel's son."
"Dawnie—" Buffy went to approach her and she moved away.
Okay, Buffy had been expecting this but not…
"Connor is Angel's son and I don't mean a vampire. I mean, Angel had sex with Darla, and not 20 years ago, but after he was with you. Connor spent time in another dimension where time moved faster and now he's 20, almost 21, like I'm almost 18. But, time just moved regularly here while you were in England and we thought you were in some other dimension—"
"Did Willow and Spike die for you?" Dawn demanded, "Did they die to save your soul so you could come back here and be some place you don't want to be? Some place where they wanted to be. I know what Spike tried to do to you before, and I thought I would never forgive him. But, Spike stayed here. He stayed here twice. This time Spike was with Faith. He loved her. She gave up everything for him. She would have given up her life-Willow—Willow is like a mom to me. She-"
"They're alive," Buffy said tearfully, "I didn't know what they were doing. I couldn't of—I never would have let them-"
Buffy couldn't finish the rest. Dawn was so angry, so angry. Buffy didn't know she could be so angry and say things so coldly. When mom had died Dawn still had sadness in her voice when she said cruel things.
"If they're alive where are they? Why aren't they here? Don't lie to me and say they're in another dimension or I might just open the ground up and put you in a Hell one. It's what I do now," Dawn's voice began to break a bit.
"How do you? I-I'm not lying. Dawn, I love you—"
"Where are they?" she went back to being cold.
"They're here," Buffy said, "They're here."
"It's true," the guy said.
When he spoke Buffy winced. She had forgotten he was there. Who he was. Or she wanted to.
"I saw Spike, anyway," he said, "He was with Faith when she got knocked out by—It was you. You knocked Faith out!"
"You knocked Faith out!" Dawn spat, "She's—"
"I didn't know it was her!" Buffy yelled.
She couldn't take anymore.
"I saw someone cutting into Spike's chest, maybe staking him and there were these worms all around. So, I hit what was hurting Spike as hard as I could. She—she might have got knocked out anyway with that worm thing biting her. Where did those worms come from? Do we know who sent them?"
"'We'" Dawn spat, "'We' don't know anything. 'We' don't do anything. It's me who took care of those worms. And it was Faith, Kennedy, Connor, Xander, and me who have been on this Hellmouth for four months! We used to have Willow and Spike but something screwed that up. So, that brings me back to my question: Where's Willow and Spike? Where's Faith?"