SIX SHARP CLAWS AND A MISTER POINTY

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Disclaimer: All familiar characters belong to their respective copyright owners and are being used without their permission. I am not in any way affiliated with any of the groups or organizations that hold rights over the characters that appear in this particular story and neither have I been authorized to write the following story. This is a non-profit fan based effort and no copyright infringement is intended. So, umm… please don't sue. The plot and particular storyline however belong to me. And so does the original characters unless otherwise specified. Any and all feedback will be much appreciated. Redistribution of this tale for profit is strictly prohibited. Please obtain my permission before archiving this story anywhere else on the net. Thank you very much. Happy Reading!

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Timeline:

BTVS: Season 4… after Episode 65 "Something Blue". Spoilers from Season 4.

Marvel/DC: An alternate world based on both the universes coexisting together from the beginning.

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Warning: This particular chapter includes spoilers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's season four episode of Hush.

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CHAPTER 12: Hush... Finale

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For the next few seconds, no one spoke.

The three of them merely stood where they were… staring at the corpses of the now permanently dead demons. Demons that had been the cause of all their headaches over the past forty-eight hours or so.

It was Buffy who finally broke the silence.

Turning to Riley, she asked, not trying to hide the confusion lacing her voice. "Riley… what are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing." Countered the soldier right away. Sounding just as perplexed as Buffy.

Buffy looked as though she was about to say something in response when her attention suddenly shifted from Riley to the one and only unknown someone in the room.

That unknown someone being the person garbed from head to toe in black.

Looking more confused (if it was even possible), she cocked her head to one side and inquired, "Wait… who're you again?"

Damn! Cursed X-23 freezing in her spot. She had been slowly and cautiously backing away towards the stairs. Thinking she could sneak away before one of them had a chance to ask her just that.

Well, so much for that!

"Well?" prompted the shorter blonde. Slight impatience evident in her tone and posture.

But X-23 didn't answer. In fact, for the next few seconds, she simply stood where she was and stared back at the petite blonde from behind the opaque lenses of her mask. Considering what to do next.

For one thing, she definitely wasn't about to respond to Buffy's question - for obvious reasons. She was in Sunnydale on a mission after all. And even if she wasn't, she didn't exactly go around revealing her identity to anyone just because he, she, or they decided to ask her that exact question.

True, there had been occasions in the past when she had revealed her true identity to certain individuals - individuals who had over time earned enough of her trust. But Buffy… she hadn't known the girl long enough to have trusted her. In fact, she was coming to the realization that considering what little has been revealed about the petite blonde over the course of the last ten minutes - ever since she had entered the clock tower… she hadn't known Buffy at all.

But then again - she hadn't exactly been honest with the petite blonde from the moment they had met either.

Nevertheless, in the end, Buffy was an unknown factor. And X-23 absolutely hated having to deal with unknown factors. Especially when they pop up in the middle of one of her missions.

As for what she was actually going to do that very moment… well, for one thing, she had seen Buffy in combat. The girl had displayed enhanced strength, agility, coordination and some impressive amount of speed that made Buffy fast, but not nearly as fast as herself. That said - she doubted the girl would be able to catch up with her if she suddenly decided to turn around and blur out of the clock tower at her top speeds.

So the question she had to ask herself was: did she gauge Buffy's speed correctly enough to risk it?

For a second, it seemed to her like this was as good a time as there will ever be to test it.

And then of course her acute hearing had to pick up the sound of something happening downstairs. She cocked her head slightly to listen to what sounded like… footsteps? Yes, footsteps… multiple footsteps to be exact - making their way into the clock tower.

She listened intently for a second or two - her sensitive hearing picking up minute details about the new arrivals.

There were four of them - she realized. Their movements methodical - their steps hushed to the point of being noiseless to most but her. And she knew - immediately knew that the four downstairs were soldiers belonging to the Demon Research Initiative. The very organization she had been sent to spy on.

As to why they were there at the clock tower: the Demon Research Initiative routinely sent out its troops in units of four to five. It was probable that one of those units had simply entered the clock tower in search of one of their own. More specifically, they had entered the clock tower looking for one Riley Finn.

And were about to find Buffy and her along with him.

X-23 took in a breath, clenched her fists and suppressed the urge to let out a growl. First, her presence in Sunnydale is compromised. It happened the instant Buffy and Riley saw her. Literally nothing she could do to change that now.

As for the soldiers downstairs - the moment they come up, she herself would be compromised. And once that happened... her mission in Sunnydale would be as good as over. She had never failed a mission before and she was not about to let this one be the first.

Turning her head a little in Riley's direction, she furtively studied the two boarded up windows adorning the wall right behind him. As per her training, she had taken notice of all the exit points the moment she had come upstairs. Since going down and out the front door was not an option any longer; one of those windows would have to be her way out.

"Don't even think about it."

Slightly taken aback, she turned to see Riley shooting her a stern glare. A fleeting look in Buffy's direction told her that the blonde was busy shooting both her and him puzzled glances. Probably wondering what he was talking about.

X-23's face contorted into a frown as she returned her gaze to the soldier. Could he have figured out what she was planning to do? Maybe he'd had better training than she had previously given him credit for.

Didn't matter though. One way or another, she was still getting out.

Before that however, she had to decide this instant where she was going to go.

For one thing, she definitely couldn't go back to her dorm room… not directly from the clock tower anyways. She couldn't risk being followed and thus compromising her identity any further.

Miller's Woods - the name of the vast forested area popped up in her mind. According to the map of Sunnydale she had memorized, it was only about four miles east of her current position and covered a vast portion of Sunnydale's northeastern territory. All she had to do was make it to the wooded area and she was certain that she would easily be able to loose any and all pursuer she may pick up on the way there. It would be quite easy from there to reach her dorm rooms.

Sure, it would take her a little while (four miles east to Miller's Woods, five miles north after that, then another nine miles west into Breaker's Woods and finally UC Sunnydale campus) but she was more than willing to take that long a route if only to make certain no one followed.

That decided - she moved.

It was so fast that Riley, while he may have anticipated it - was still startled into raising his blaster gun to take aim at her. Forgetting for an instant there that his high-tech weapon was all out of 'juice'.

Buffy, startled at the sudden movement (if the expression on her face was any indication) was however much quicker to respond. A fraction of a second after X-23 had started towards one of the windows (the one on Riley's right); an expletive escaped Buffy's lips and she was on her tail.

But that fraction of a second lead was all X-23 had needed. Reaching the window, X-23 crossed her arms in front of her face and leaped; the small momentum she had gathered and the indestructible metal lacing her skeleton allowing her to smash her way through the planks that were used to barricade the windows like they were made of tissue paper.

Once outside, she was airborne for another fraction of a second before gravity took its hold on her and she fell to the ground a floor below. Rolling once to absorb the impact, she came up in a crouch and turned back to the window in time to see the silhouette of one Buffy Anne Summers descending upon her.

Startled, she dived off to the left so as to avoid Buffy landing on top of her. Which, (she gathered) considering her enhancements, would have hurt the petite blonde a lot more than it would have hurt her.

Scrambling back to her feet, she darted off towards Miller's Woods even as she heard Buffy cry out "WAIT!" and start after her.

"I just want to talk!" She heard the petite blonde plea. It sounded as though the young woman was only a few feet behind her. X-23 increased her pace in response and heard her pursuer let out another expletive as she was forced to increase her own pace to keep up.

And as they ran, not one of them noticed the eyes of one Agent Riley Finn of the Demon Research Initiative staring at their retreating forms from the same window they had just exited from.

A frown marring his normally handsome face.

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"Riley?"

At the sound of his name being called, Riley spun around from the window to have his eyes rest on the familiar features of a friend and associate of his peering up at him from the stairway.

"Forrest." He acknowledged with a nod as the soldier in response cautiously ascended the rest of the steps followed by another of his comrades - Agent Graham Miller. Their eyes widening at the sight of the many dead demons scattered about. Their weapons trained on them as though waiting for them to suddenly come back to life and start attacking.

"Damn man… what the hell happened here?" Asked a bewildered Forrest. His eyes suddenly snapped up to rest on his squad leader. "You OK?" he asked concernedly.

Riley couldn't help but ask himself the same question.

He had just watched the young woman he had an immense crush on beat the stuffing (literally and quite easily if he were to add) out of a bunch of demons - demons that had given him trouble. Then of course there had been that other girl… damn she had been fast. Half the time, all he saw was a blur of movement on her part and next thing he knew there were demons falling left and right. And what the heck was up with those knives coming out of her hands anyways? Come to think of it… they did kind of remind him of someone he had only heard rumors about through the underground military community grapevine. But who? If he could only remember.

"Riley?"

He looked up to see the eyes of both Forrest and Graham resting on him concernedly.

"You alright man?" Forrest asked again.

Riley sighed before nodding. "Yeah… I'm good," he assured. It wasn't a total lie. He was ok… kind of. Just very, very confused at the moment.

"You sure?"

Riley waved off any more of their concerns. He was still a soldier and while the night may have held some big surprises for him - it was time for him to put those behind him and get back to business. Looking around at the corpses of the dead demons, he said, "We need to get a clean-up crew…"

"Already called for one." Graham stated, cutting him off. "They are on the way."

Riley nodded. "Good. Then let's get back to base." Walking past them, he muttered. "Walsh will want to hear about tonight."

"Hear what about tonight?" Forrest asked, curious.

Riley stopped. He turned and simply stated, "I don't think we are the only people hunting demons in Sunnydale." With that, he turned back around and started towards the stairs.

Both Graham and Forrest shared a puzzled look with one another before following their squad leader downstairs.

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On any given day, X-23, on foot, could cover anywhere from a mile to a little more than that under a minute. This early morning, she found herself covering nearly three miles in less than two and a half minutes.

In the end, as she ran, she mused that covering that much distance hadn't really been the hard part. Ditching the blonde on the other hand… well, over the last two and a half minutes, X-23 had gained a lot of distance between herself and Buffy. It had been slow to gain but with each long stride she had managed it. But Buffy still remained on her tail.

While X-23 had been right in assuming she had been faster than the petite blonde (if only by a short margin), Buffy (she had to admit) for her part seemed to have a hell lot of endurance to fall back on.

Finally, she sighted the thickly forested area of Miller's Woods coming up in the distance. With a final burst of speed, she covered the gap and disappeared within the foliage.

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Buffy cursed for what seemed like the umpteenth time that night as she watched the young woman she had been trailing speed up (making her wonder exactly how fast this girl was) and disappear within the folds of the forest in the distance.

Some seconds later, she herself entered the thickly forested area and found to her dismay… nothing.

She looked around in all directions. Her eyes scanning everything she could see. But a girl garbed in black was nowhere to be found.

Closing her eyes, she listened to the many sounds the forest had to offer. Trying to see if she could pick up on the resonance of running footsteps.

There wasn't any to be heard.

Opening her eyes, she scanned the forest once again. And she came to the conclusion that she had absolutely no idea in which direction the girl had gone.

Shoulders slumping dejectedly, she whispered to no one in particular, "But… I just wanted to talk."

Crestfallen but not quite willing to give up - not yet anyways, she walked deeper into the forest. Hoping she may still be able to track down her quarry.

Not realizing as she passed a particularly large tree that the object of her hunt was peering down at her from her perch some twenty feet above. Her lithe form indistinguishable from the shadows enveloping her.

Turning Buffy's role of the tracker into that of the one being tracked.

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Beep-Beep!

One good eye turned from the document it had been busy scrutinizing to rest on the beeping mechanism laying on top of the table. A momentary look at the electronic table clock told him the time was 4:29 AM. That made him frown slightly in concern. While he had been waiting - even expecting to hear from her… he hadn't really thought she'd be calling him at this hour.

Leaning forward, he reached out to pick up the communicator as it beeped once more, flipped it open and placed it to his ear - all in one fluid motion.

"Tell me you got your voice back kid." He said into the device.

"Yeah… I did." Came the response.

That… didn't sound right - mused the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. as his frown deepened. He had just called her a kid and she hadn't given him an earful in return. Something definitely was up.

Never being one to beat around the bush, he asked, "What happened?"

And so she told him.

Everything.

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Seventeen Minutes and a long explanation later…

"Hmm."

"Hmm?"

"Hmm."

"Is that a good 'hmm' or a bad 'hmm'?" asked Laura. Not bothering to hide the hopeful tone in her voice.

"You compromised your presence kid." She heard Fury state. His tone emanating his disappointment. "Of course it's a bad 'Hmm'."

"Well… would it help if I said I didn't mean to - you know? Compromise my presence that is?"

Fury only grumbled unintelligibly in reply.

Laura sighed. "Ok, whatever's happened has happened. Now just… just tell me how you want me to proceed. Carry on with the mission? You know I can still complete it."

"Now that this Riley Finn has seen you… you know they'll be on the lookout for you." He said.

"I can be careful… if I don't want them to find me, they won't find me." Stated Laura with confidence.

"Don't get too cocky." Reprimanded Fury. "If they are good enough to sneak up on demons and vampires and catch them unawares, they'll be good enough to capture even you." A pause followed. "Plus, while I'm concerned about them, right now, I'm more concerned about this Buffy character. Now, you sure she's not a mutant?"

"Yeah," assured Laura. "Definitely not a mutant - I would've been able to tell. I'd say she's more along the lines of a Meta. Not sure about which category she'd fall under though. As far as I can tell, she's got enhanced speed; strength… might actually be stronger than me… and agility. Might have enhanced senses as well. Not sure on that front. While I was following her back to the student halls, she seem to realize a few times she was being followed. But then she seemed to shrug it off. Not trained enough in the use of her senses I guess."

"Hmm… you think what… she's Sunnydale's resident superhero?"

"Could be… she sure seemed to know how to take out those Joker demons."

"Alright … I'll try and dig up what I can about this Summers kid." Said Fury. "In the mean time - watch out for her. And try and stay indoors for at least one week."

"I told you I can be careful." Stated Laura somewhat crossly.

"I'm sure… but why take the risk. Just stay in for one week. Let the Demon Research Initiative go looking for you. They'll abandon their search once they realize you're nowhere to be found. Probably will think you were in town for one night and that you skipped it soon after. Once the week is up, you can go about completing your mission."

Laura paused… considering.

"Ya know I'm right," she heard him state. He was… and she hated him for being so. She didn't enjoy being cooped up inside when she knew she could be out there saving lives - making a difference.

"X," he started again. "Don't forget that the only reason you are in that town is because I sent you there on a mission. With your presence being compromised - I could'a easily ordered you to pull out. But I'm not going to do that. Thing is, I want these guys shut down… and for that to happen, I need you to complete this mission. So that means no going out there and playing hero and drawing unwanted attention from anyone," he finished. "Got it?"

"Alright… I'll stay in." She agreed reluctantly. "But only for a week." She quickly added.

"That's all I'm asking for." Stated Fury over the line. "Now, go get some rest. Ya earned it."

"I will," Laura stated.

"I'll get back to you on that Summers kid sometime later on today."

With that, Fury closed the connection and Laura placed the communicator on top of her table.

She spent the subsequent few minutes taking off her uniform. Piece by piece. Once she was finished, she proceeded to deposit everything back into the hidden compartment of her suitcase from where she had originally retrieved the uniform.

Slipping into something comfortable, she literally fell on top of her bed. Pulling the covers over her head, she closed her eyes and willed herself to forget about her mission, forget about the last two nights and the few people she had been unable to save.

She willed herself to relax… to sleep.

Content in the knowledge that the nightmare that had lasted a better part of the last three days was finally over.

To Be Continued…

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Author's Notes:

The last few lines of Chapter 11 went through some minor changes.

The name of the last chapter was changed from Hush: Finale to Rumble in the Clock Tower. I thought the former was a much fitting title for this chapter since this wraps up the events of Hush for Six Sharp Claws and a Mister Pointy.

And now… the real fun begins.

Don't forget to tune in the next time around as a certain peroxide haired vampire makes his very first Six Sharp Claws debut.

As always, I would appreciate any comments, criticisms, suggestions you may be willing to send my way. So please… REVIEW!