Author: Bastille Kain

Title: Riders on the Storm

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters depicted in this story. All are the property of other people: Joss Whedon, DC Comics(Whoever owns them), Marvel Comics(Whoever owns them), Whoever owns Justice League Unlimited aired on the Cartoon Network. Even the characters I created for this story can probably be claimed by one, any, or all of the above.

Spoilers: None that I can think of.

Summary: Lots of gratuitous violence, some sexual innuendoes, but no real plot.

Pairings: Not going to get started on this.

Rating: Teen.

Feedback: Is always appreciated. Just try to keep it constructive.

Email: Kain6639yahoo com

Archive: If you like it that much, sure. Just be sure to let me know where it's going, and give me the credit, good or bad, for my work.


List of Characters

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DC Comics

Based in the Justice League Unlimited Universe, so any character that's been shown in the series, plus any other DC character that hasn't and I decide to say lives in that universe. Far, far too many for me to actually list.

Helena Kyle—Huntress

Dinah Redmond Lance—

Barbara Gordon—Oracle

Terry McGinnis—Batman

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy Anne Summers—Pre-Season One Buffy

Dawn Summers—Post-Season Five Angel

Faith—Season Three Buffy just prior to "Bad Girls"

Spike—Season Four of Buffy "Harsh Light of Day" prior to fight with Buffy

Willow Rosenberg—Post-Season Five Angel

Tara Maclay—Post-Season Six Buffy

Kennedy—Post-Season Five Angel

Connor—Season Three Angel

Illyria/Fred—Post-Season Five Angel

Cordelia Chase—Post-Season Five Angel

Angel—Pre-Season One Buffy

Sahjhan—Season Five Angel

Gwen Raiden—Season Four Angel

Andrew Tucker—Post-Season Seven Angel

Marvel Comics

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Logan—Wolverine: Pre X-Men

Katherine "Kitty" Anne Pryde—Shadow Cat: Prior to Morlock Massacre

Kurt Wagner—Night Crawler: Prior to Morlock Massacre

Rachel Summers—Phoenix: Prior to Wolverine Stabbing her

Illyana Rasputin—Magik: Just after return from Limbo

Victor Creed—Sabertooth: Age of Apocalypse

Steve Rogers—Captain America: Post U.S. Agent and defeat of John Walker and the Red Skull

Dan Ketch—Ghost Rider: Prior to Zarathos and the Fallen

Johnny Blaze—: Prior to Zarathos and the Fallen

Michael Badilino—Vengeance: Prior to Zarathos and the fallen

Caretaker: Prior to Zarathos and the Fallen

Seer: Prior to Zarathos and the Fallen

Nick Fury: Undetermined

Frank (?) "Wade Wilson"—Dead Pool: Undetermined

Frank Castle—Punisher: Undetermined

Matthew Michael Murdock—Daredevil: Undetermined

Elektra Natchios—Elektra: Undetermined

Natalia Alianovna Romanova—Black Widow: Undetermined

Nate Gray—X Man: Just after his arrival on Earth 616

Sarah Rogers—American Dream: Departure from Beyonder world

Kendal Monroe—Torrent: Departure from Beyonder world

Balder: Departure from Beyonder world

May Parker—Spider-Girl: Undetermined

Peter Parker—Spider-Man: After Mary Jane's death

David Charles Haller—Legion: When he attempts to travel back in time

Miguel O'Hara—Spider-Man: Undetermined

Mystique: Undetermined

Laura Kinney—X-23: Undetermined

Thor: Undetermined

Hercules: Undetermined

Hulk: Savage Hulk/Stupid Hulk

Maya Lopez—Ronin: Undetermined

Original Characters

Future Generation of Marvel Heroes From Alternate Reality

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Rebecca Ross—Thunderbolt: Daughter of Bruce Banner(Hulk) and Betty Ross

Troy Creel—Absorbing Man: Son of Crusher Creel(Absorbing Man) and Mary MacPherran(Titania)

Rina Lopez—Risk: Daughter of Matthew Murdock(Daredevil) and Maya Lopez(Ronin)

Zane Walters—Juggernaut: Son of Cain Marko(Juggernaut) and Jennifer Walters(She-Hulk)

Jennifer Colson Grey: Living daughter of Vampire Wolverine and Vampire Jean Grey

Lucas Frost—Nemesis: Son of Emma Frost and Erik Magnus Lehnsherr(Magneto)

Nicholas Pryde—Wraith: Son of James Howlett and Katherine Anne Pryde

Adrian Guthrie—Scream: Son of Sam Guthrie(Cannonball) and Theresa Rourke Cassidy(Siryn)

Samantha Madrox—Legion: Daughter of Jennifer Walters(She-Hulk) and Jamie Madrox(Multiple Man)

Calypso: Daughter of Hercules and Sersi

Benjamin MacPherran—Sting: Son of Benjamin Reilly(Scarlet Spider) and Mary MacPherran(Titania)

Lucas Munroe—Caldron: Son of Ororo Munroe(Storm) and Bishop


Riders On The Storm

Red and blue light swirled, it flickered and pulsed, sparking purple arcs of electricity. It looked like it was trying to vomit something out. With a small childlike belch, a red, white and blue clad man shot out of the energy matrix.

Dazed and disoriented as he was, the living legend known best as Captain America twisted and turned, getting his feet under him and absorbed the impact against the wall with a small grunt. His legs bent from the force before he sprang back, propelling himself away.

He hit the floor gracefully, tucking into a tight shoulder roll before coming up in low crouch. His powder blue eyes took in his surroundings, searching for potential enemies, allies…

Anyone that might be able to tell him what just happened.

Only the room, the reception lobby of Wayne Industries, a company he had never heard of before, which wasn't that surprising since he was hardly a world-renowned business mogul, or super financier, was devoid of people. Beyond the glass doors and windows, darkness, broken by the evenly interspaced street lamps, was thick. In the distance, a city loomed, dominating the horizon.

The pieces of furniture decorating the lobby almost looked like they were plucked out of his childhood memories while still appearing to be on the cutting edge. They were extremely dark adding to the deep sense of foreboding filling his bones. He wondered what it would feel like under the warm light of day.

Nearly half a minute had passed, more than enough time for security to reach the area. His arrival should have raised a host of alarms and the lobby should have been crawling with armed personnel, only there wasn't a soul in sight.

He made quick search of the reception lobby, a few papers were out of place and the phone was out of its cradle, but otherwise everything was neat as a pin.

He had been at the Avengers Compound going through a series of intense drills. Now I'm here, wherever here is? The first thing he needed to do was contact the team, find out if any of the others have reported anything strange. An Avenger's communicator was a sophisticated piece of electronics; smaller than the average credit card but powerful enough to allow one Avenger the ability to talk with another over vast distances.

Tony Stark was a true genius, a marvel of innovation when it came to miniaturized electronics. Few people compared favorably with the founding Avenger in his specialized field.

"Captain America to Avenger's mansion. Captain America to Avenger's mansion. Avenger mansion come in."


Brackish green light suffused Titan Tower's rec-room, an extended pulse that stretched on for several heartbeats. The few Titans in the hall shielded their eyes, trying to protect themselves from the intense flare of light.

When it vanished, sucked back into where it had come from; Donna Troy, Cyborg, and Raven took in the strangers that appeared out of light. Four of them wore dark costumes that would fade into the shadows. A man with a scarred face, and dressed in an archaic looking brown cassock that had seen finer days carried a wickedly curved battle-ax. The other two were wearing ordinary street clothes – one, tall and thin as a reed, wore a T-shirt and a pair of faded blue jeans without any shoes, while the other, half a foot shorter but with a thicker build, was dressed in a casual business style; white turtleneck, black sports coat, black pants and dress boots.

All of them were as surprised as the Titans at their unexpected change in location.

"What the…" Victor was at a loss for words. These weren't the first intruders to breach the Tower, and each time it happened it grated on his nerves just that little bit more.

"Where is he?" Sahjhan demanded. His cruel rasp drowning out Cyborg's words. He didn't know, nor did he care about where he was. If Angel thought he could protect Connor be sending him away he was sadly mistaken. The only threat to him would be dead before nightfall.

"Who are you?" Raven inquired calmly. The strangers were as confused as her and her teammates. If she could just keep the situation stabilized, keep it from exploding, not an easy task. The smartly dressed man had a feral nature that he held on a tight leash; still it practically rolled off him. Two of the others radiated power. The one with the horribly scarred face and ashen complexion was consumed with dark eldritch magic. The other felt old but nascent, as if the girl was newly come to her heritage. It was a very odd mixture.

Benjamin eyes were cold as he took in his change of scenery. The last thing he needed was… this. He had a date with Calypso tonight and he wasn't about to let anything get in his way. He didn't care if the Avengers called saying they needed his help to save the universe. The fact his sixth sense was a simmering hum wasn't a surprise; a blind man could tell these strangers were dangerous, and his eyes worked perfectly fine. "Where am I?"

"Where the frak have you brought me?" Miguel demanded. He didn't know who was responsible for bringing him here though he was nominally sure it wasn't any of the five people, who, like him, were backed into the corner of the lounge. That left the three jerks facing them down. It didn't take someone with his I.Q. to realize two-to-one odds against didn't make a lot of sense when attempting a kidnapping.

"I suggest all of you stand down until everything gets sorted out," Donna suggested diplomatically.

Sahjhan snorted at her. "Once I've attended to a bit of unfinished business," he leered at her openly, "then maybe, you could attend to some of my personal business."

"That tears it!" Victor growled protectively as he raised his arm and released a high yield force beam at the scarred miscreant. He didn't care if the beam left the man as a quivering puddle of goo. Nobody talked that way to any of his teammates, current or former, and walk away.

Benjamin's sixth sense flared and he reacted instinctively leaping to the ceiling, adhering to it as few others could. His shoulder length, feather light brown hair flopped lazily as he somersaulted through the air.

An instant before the beam struck, Sahjhan faded to an insubstantial mass before he disappeared altogether leaving the beam to do nothing more then pulverize a section of the wall.

Miguel fired a pair of globs of webbing as he said, "If that's how you want to play it?"

"Stop!" Natasha shouted, but it was too late.

Nicholas jump into the fray. It seemed to him that he had spent his entire life training, preparing for a moment like this. His parents made sure he received the best education available to him, and with his parents, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. James Howlett, and one of the world's top scientific minds, Katherine Pryde, a name mentioned a breath or two after Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom, there was definitely nothing unavailable to him.

He studied under the best fighters in the world. Shang-Chi was like an uncle to him. He lapped up every sneaky, dirty, and underhanded trick an old warhorse, his father's predecessor, Nick Fury had tucked up his sleeve. By sixteen, Charles Xavier, Professor X, had given him an Ivy League education and taught him two dozen languages, most were spoken on Earth, but a few were the more common languages spoken amongst the aliens spread throughout their sector of space. The two people he had learnt the most from were his own parents. His father taught him how to be a man, do the right thing, never back down, never give up; while his mother taught him to take responsibility when he was wrong, and not to be ashamed to admit that he was wrong, that he had made a mistake.

Nicholas didn't know if this was a mistake or not, but his blood burned for it. The dark haired girl was a warrior, he sensed it deep in his bones.

Seer didn't know what was going on, she could feel everyone's confusion and uncertainty, which added to her own. Still, she wasn't about to play target for anyone. Her tattooed left eye glowed, an incandescent white as she retaliated, firing off a pair of bluish white mystical energy beams. One went wide of its mark, shards of concrete cascaded outward where it hit the wall. The other was swallowed by a patch of darkness.

Donna's fist smashed into Nicholas' stomach at the same moment his connected with her jaw. Neither gave any indication that the others' punch was anything more then a minor irritation. She used a fraction more strength with her next punch, a left hook, connected with the other side of his head forcing him to the side a step. A right jab snapped his head back, a left cross quickly followed, but was met with a sharp knife hand strike that bite deep into her bicep, numbing the muscle as his palm heel slammed into her chest with the force of a runaway bullet train. At the same time, his right foot nudged hers back half an inch disrupting her balance.

Bart Allen, who easily outdistanced the rest of the Titans, barged through the emergency exit at the far end of the hall in a blur. It took him a fraction of a fraction, of a fraction of a second to absorb the chaos that had descended upon the rec-room. A little on the thin side, but still, gotta say, she's a hottie. Too bad she's a bad guy… He surged ahead, moving so fast he didn't even blur, his punch to the back of Seer's head seemed to come out of nowhere.

Benjamin surveyed the battle heating up below, studied its ebb and flow. He wasn't sure if it was his instincts telling him not to get involved in the fray below or the voices of his parents. Either way, he had no intention of allowing himself to be dragged into the fight. Other then the Black Widow he didn't recognize anybody else. One man reminded him of Spider-Man, his powers were similar to the Wall Crawler's, much like his own, but the costume didn't scan with any outfit his biological father had worn during his crime-fighting career.

Neither of his parents, the infamous duo Crusher Creel and Mary MacPherran – better known to the world as The Absorbing Man and Titania – wanted him following in their larcenous footsteps. Nor did they want him taking up Spider-Man's crusade against crime. It had been a test for them, but they did give up their criminal ways; it had taken some time, but eventually mainstream heroes like Captain America, Spider-Man, even Thor came to accept them. Others though, She-Hulk and Wasp always held a grudge against his mom. He had tried to find out why, but nobody was talking, not even Jennifer. They did a lot of freelance work for the Guardsmen and S.H.I.E.L.D. Even giving the Avengers a hand from time to time; all in an attempt to give him the life they felt he deserved.

Bart was surprised she had managed to avoid all but a glancing blow; most people never even saw his punch coming, much less react to it. Somehow she had sense it.

Seer was just as surprised to find her head still attached to her shoulders. Caretaker, and some of the others might not flinch at participating in this sort of battle royal, but she had far better things to be doing on a Saturday night. Seer flipped him a little wave as she said, "Bye."

A quizzical expression creased Bart's face as he mimicked her with a questioning, "Bye?"

An incandescent blue light flared around him. When it vanished, Kid Flash was gone.

"Bart!" Koriand'r shouted as she and the rest of the Titans jostled and banged their way into the rec-room. As soon as she was clear of the doorway, she blasted past her friends and teammates heading directly for the lithe, dark haired youth that had dispatched Bart.

Tim Drake, the current Robin and leader of the Teen Titans. Dick Grayson, Nightwing, the original Robin and founding member of the Titans, in town to simply touch base with some old friends. Kon-El, Superboy, the combined clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. Garfield Logan, Beast Boy – Changeling, the incorrigible shape shifter. Cassandra Sandsmark, the daughter of Zeus, the current Wonder Girl.

And Mia Dearden, Speedy. She drew a bead on the red-haired woman in the blackish grey bodysuit, An electrified net should be enough to put her down.

"Pick your targets people," Dick shouted as he threw himself into the maelstrom, "and take these jokers down!"

Donna muscled her way through the disruption, but a sharp palm heel to the right side of her head caused her ears to ring. With a growl, she ignored the hit, wrapping her left arm around his right, and used her superior height to leverage him onto his toes. Her right forearm smashed into his chest; once, twice, she pulled back for a third…

Nicholas right hand darted forward, a spear-hand poke lanced into her throat. Donna choked, his fingers felt hard as steel, her grip on his arm loosening. He twisted his arm forward, snaking it around her shoulder, pressing her head to the side and back. His right hand smashed into the exposed ribs with two lightening quick leopard paw strikes before slipping down the side of Donna's body. Reaching the crook of her knee, lifted her up, spun her over, and slammed her face first into the floor.

The insistent buzz informed Natasha that one of her fellow Avengers was attempting to contact her. She ignored it, whoever it was would understand, circumstances being what they were. She spun, her Widow Bite lashing out to incinerate the specialized arrow. It was reminiscent of Clint, but the archer was a girl not much older then Logan's new sidekick, Jubilation Lee.

Cassandra saw her predecessor slammed to the floor and knew who her target was. She launched herself at him, he didn't look like much, but he had taken Donna down with a combination of skill, grace, power, and determination. She reached him in a long heartbeat determined to take him out quickly.

She was surprised he turned to face her, Cassandra had thought she was going to take him unaware, be able to end the fight before it truly began. Nicholas caught her as he turned, he twisted and slammed her head first into the floor. He rolled away coming to his feet as both girls, light and dark haired, quickly climbed back to theirs.

Taking in the mayhem around him though Benjamin knew this was what he had been born to do, no matter how much he or his parents didn't want to admit it. His body quivered with anticipation as he released his grip on the ceiling and dropped down upon the long, curly haired woman with the orange complexion. The girl was the very definition of sultry voluptuousness.

He landed lightly on Koriand'r's back, the added weight surprising her greatly. "Guess who?" He quipped playfully as he wrapped his forearm in front of her eyes.

"I'm going to blast you into space!" The Tamaran Princess vowed with a menacing growl. She grabbed hold of his forearm and squeezed, trying to pull the limb from in front of her eyes, but was unable to budge the arm as it stayed in place.

The fight was being overrun by heavy hitters Natasha had never seen before. For the non super-powered types like herself and the archer, surviving this melee was going to become incrementally more difficult the longer it continued. That realization didn't faze her in the slightest. Once she had been the Avenger's field leader, and nobody ever accused their enemies of being lightweights.

Now all she had to do was bring this fight to a grinding halt.

"Just like old times," Garfield observed as he and Dick closed on Miguel together.

Dick hurled a pair of Bat-a-rangs at the dark clad stranger wearing the stylized Death Head costume as he said, "So it seems."

Miguel easily avoided both weapons, twisting in the air like no normal human. "You're gonna have to do better then that."

In less then a heartbeat Garfield's body transformed, the green skin young man vanished and in his place stood a twelve-foot tall green gorilla. The creature beat his chest and roared as Miguel landed in front of him, crouched low as Garfield brought both hands down, planning to smash the intruder.

Miguel faced the threat with a calm he wouldn't have thought himself capable of possessing a handful of years ago. So much had happened to him though, things he couldn't have imagined before becoming Spider-Man, that facing off against a green gorilla was almost common place. He caught the two massive arms with steel cable like muscles covered in thick hair, and held them in place with little effort. He was extremely careful to keep his claws retracted, he had no desire to kill anyone accidentally. He swept his legs upward landing a solid blow to the side of Garfield's head, then swung around, planted his feet squarely in Garfield's back and pushed him toward Dick.

Dick easily avoided the stumbling Garfield. He knew a few things about the stranger he hadn't just a few seconds ago, none of which boded well for him. He had a natural speed and agility advantage and was stronger then a twelve-foot tall gorilla. Dick knew it wouldn't be the last time he would face these kinds of odds and he wasn't about to start backing away now.

"Son of a bitch," Victor snarled as he tore the rest of the extremely tough goop from his mechanical arm, enough of it so he wasn't concerned with it mucking up his systems. The man who had fired it was giving Dick a run for his money in a close quarter tussle. He would love to give the jerk a little back, but the pair were hopping about too much, like bullfrogs on a red-hot skillet, to take the risk, and Garfield was right there.

Koriand'r though looked like she could use a hand. A long distance hand. He took careful aim, leading him… A high yield force beam leapt from his right arm. In a heartbeat the beam struck…

Benjamin waited until the last possible instant before violently shifting, pulling back on Koriand'r's head and twisting her body in mid flight.

…Koriand'r square in the stomach.

Her powers are nearly a mirror of my own. The thought troubled Raven a little as a dark portal enveloped Seer's energy blast.

Seer formed another eldritch shield as a pair of intense heat beams lanced toward her. Energy cascaded in a shower of sparks as Kon-El streaked past her. He didn't have time to focus his full attention on her right now. Titans were in need of his help.

What in the name of the lower abyss am I still doing here? The young Blood asked herself for the umpteenth time since first getting involved in this conflict. I should've scat, when the scatting was good.

Again, Benjamin waited to the last possible second. Suddenly, with no warning he flipped over Koriand'r, swung around, and drove his feet into her already bruised stomach. The move drove her away while providing him with the momentum to launch himself at Kon-El.

The move took the cloned Kryptonian by surprise. The man showed no hesitation, as if he didn't know whom he was attacking. Kon-El reacted quickly, pulling up and throwing a heavy right hand… That missed, not by much. It whisked past his head just grazing his hair. Somehow, he had anticipated the punch. But how? Was the question floating through Kon-El's mind.

Benjamin knew he had to be careful, he didn't have huge, bulging muscles, most people called him a skinny twerp, and he let them, but he had never meant anyone as strong as him. Growing up his parents hadn't allowed him to play with the other kids because of the fear he might accidentally hurt them, or worse. Mom was always stressing being careful, and normally he'd follow her advice, but this guy looked like he could take a punch, plus he seemed the type that needed to be taken down a peg or two every so often.

His sharp uppercut rocked Kon-El's head back. It was a strong punch, but not that strong. It was more of a surprise especially coming from such a skinny arm. Kon-El retaliated in kind, and missed again. No more then a hair's breadth, but again the man was able to move at just the right time.

A quick glance was all Natasha needed to know that out of everybody involved in this little fight she recognized exactly two people, both from Avenger's files. Seer, the girl had some connection to Ghost Rider, but what that was none of the Avengers knew, and if Strange had any idea he wasn't talking.

The other was Spider-Man, not the Spider-Man from her time, but a future version of the hero from the year twenty ninety-nine; Spidey had run across him when he had been flung into the future. What he learnt about the future hero, not much as it turned out, had been stored in the Avenger's computers.

Neither of them would be able to help her and everybody else was an unknown. Still, she had to try.

"Anybody ever inform you that daydreaming in the middle of a fight is a good way to lose it?" Tim citied with a cocky twist to his lips as he landed in front of her. She had a couple of inches on him he noted with a touch of frustration over his diminutive stature.

Natasha blocked his straight cross with ease while driving a palm heel into his short ribs. Tim gasped for breath trying to ignore the pain. Natasha though moved with the ease and fluidity graced upon her since birth, honed and amplified by more then fifty years of intense training. She twisted under his arm, flipping him up and over. Tim crashed to the floor hard. What little oxygen that had remained in his lungs exploded outward with the force of the impact. She kept one arm twisted while she pinned the other with her foot. "When your skill matches your enthusiasm, you will truly be a worthy opponent." Her accent, while distinctive and noticeable, wasn't as thick as it once had been. "Goodnight little one," she finished with a measured blow to his forehead. She didn't like hitting children, but he had made a choice, had put on the costume and decided to play hero.


­

Spike slammed into the wall, as if he were shot from a cannon, bounced off and crashed to the floor. He lay there for a moment grumbling to himself.

That had not been part of his plan. First there was going to be taunting of the Slayer, then he'd commence with the beating her senseless.

After that, it got a little muddled. He wasn't sure where to go from there. He had been toying with the idea of letting her stake him, just to see the look on her face when he didn't fall to dust.

When she realized today was going to be the day she died.

Kill her?

Turn her?

Killing her, while it would be immeasurably pleasurable—intoxicating—after all the trouble she's caused him over the years, seemed a waste beyond words. There was that hot, tight, lithe body she sported to think of. It would be such a shame to let it rot in the ground when it could be doing so much more.

People clogged the corridor—most gaping at his arrival—but the Slayer wasn't among them. As far as he could tell, she had never set foot in this hall. He pushed himself slowly to his feet, a menacing scowl smeared over his face, snarling, "Where's the Slayer?"

Once he reached his feet, he looked everywhere, trying to see everything at once as he bellowed, "Where the bloody hell is she," causing those nearby to jump away. He whirled around in the sunlight, black duster flaring as he spun. He grabbed a dark haired boy, who just happened to be standing there, by the throat and lifted him into the air with ease. His feet dangled inches above the floor.

Spike knew it for some kind of spell, he had been outside, brilliant California sunshine washing over him as he crossed the campus green. Now he was in the wide hallway of some unknown high rise.

It reeked of magic, which meant Buffy's redheaded playmate—the one named after the tree or a flower, he wasn't sure and couldn't care less which—was dipping her little toes in the big pond.

Where there were things to strip the flesh from her bones.

The young man made a gurgling sound as Spike tightened his grip. "Having a bit of a problem understanding you mate. If I'm here, means she's gotta be here?" He knew his logic didn't make sense, but at the same time, he didn't really care. He wanted his fight with the slayer and he was going to get it. The only question was how many people he had to kill to draw her out. "And if the Slayer's too much of a coward to face me like a real man… I'll just have to give her a reason to come out and play. Even if it means killing the entire lot of yous."

A glob of sticky goop splattered across his face, solidifying almost instantly. "Sodding—" He growled dropping his hostage. His fingers tore at the hard yet pliable substance clinging to his face.

"Hey! Eighties Retro boy," May called out as she streaked towards Spike. "If you want a fight, all you had to do was ask." She covered the distance to him in a single bound.

Her first order of business was to get him away from the bystanders, his casual comment about killing everyone made that a priority.

Her second order of business, after surviving her first order of business, was finding out where she was, how she got here. And, of slightly more importance, how she was going to get back home. That last was probably going to include a very expensive phone call to her parents and an even more taxing explanation on why she was web-slinging through the city in the first place.

That was a laugh riot she could spend a lifetime avoiding.

Right now, she had a serious problem at hand to deal with. Rather, a serious problem at foot.

The soles of her feet slammed into Spike's chest driving him through the plaster wall. He staggered back, flipping over a recently abandoned desk,

Knocking the monitor, phone, ink blotter, and a whole host of paraphernalia off the heavy piece of dark oak. A 5'2", red haired ad space salesman, was frantically scrambling away from the chaos. With a bellow that sounded more like a raucous guffaw, the vampire jumped back to his feet.

That quickly May attacked again. Landing on the desk, she struck with a left jab followed by a hard right cross. She flipped backwards, kicking Spike squarely under the chin.

He stumbled back as she landed on the other side of the desk, but managed to stay on his feet. His lips blossomed into an eager smile, his face beamed triumphantly. Her Spider-Sense ratcheted up like she was in the crosshairs.

The man, Brain O'Shale, according to the placard on the floor by Spike's foot, hung close to the wall as he skirted across the room on hands and knees racing for the door. Spike didn't care about him, he was aware of him the way a blind man is aware of the sun on his face, his fight was here. She wasn't the Slayer, but in a pinch, Spike figured she would do.

"Feisty little chit." His voice was approving, almost encouraging. "Bit of oomph to your wallop." Scintillating blue eyes took her in from head to toe as he leered at her lithe form. "Went and raided yourself a costume shop."

"Father Daughter tradition," she answered. Her body felt like a compressed spring as she waited for him to make his move.

Spike smirked at her; his leer was much more open, more suggestive as he said, "Must look a sight better on you. Filled out in all the right places as it were."

May's face scrunched up under her mask; eyes narrowed on Spike. With speed that nearly matched hers, Spike leapt over the desk, May darted under.

Her Spider-Sense was buzzing like a nest of mad hornets she had just punted. It was as if he was nothing but danger. Still, there was an arc, a sort of static shock just before he struck. If not for that she never would have moved in time. Her father, with his years of experience, might have been comfortable fighting under such conditions.

May however, wasn't.

She kicked out behind her, catching Spike in his left hip. Then quickly pulled her foot back as he snatched at it. With a whirlwind spin to the right Spike brought his left hand down across the desk and split it in twain.

May barely managed not to be there as the hammer blow fell. Her feet slammed into his face as she swung down from the prefab ceiling. Spike staggered back as May landed back on the floor in a low crouch. She reached out—hands striking like a pair of vipers—and grabbed Spike around his ankles. With a sharp jerk, she pulled his legs out from under him.

As Spike hit the floor with a resounding thud, May landed halfway up the wall. Deftly she shot out several strands of webbing securely fastening Spike to the floor.

Spike laughed uproariously as he lay on his back. May glared at him through her mask. "Now that there was a right little donnybrook."

A crowd had begun to gather at the hole in the wall. A murmur began to rise from them. The sound of cameras began to pop and flashbulbs went off.

"In case this hasn't sunk into that peroxide blonde head of yours, you're caught." Spike could just about see the self-indulgent little smile under her mask. "Just one strand of that webbing can hold—"

"Lois Lane," an inquisitive, bright-eyed brunette with sharp features and winning smile said into a microphone as she stepped partway into the recently remolded office.

"Blah, blah, blah," Spike grumbled derisively.

Dozens of questions bubbled at the tip of her tongue. Who was the Peroxide blonde in the black duster? What was his name? Who was this Slayer he had wanted to kill? Who was the girl clinging to the wall in the outlandish red and blue costume with the spider effigy emblazoned on the chest? If she didn't already have a moniker, Spidergirl would be perfect, but the Crimson Spider, or Scarlet Spider, would be more perfect. Both have more pizzazz.

Lois stopped looking down at Spike. The man didn't look captured.

"If you dolts fought as much as you prattled on, you twits would have conquered the world years…" He stopped, seeming to remember something of importance. "Right, that should be your line. If I was all that interested in world conquering."

May shook her head as she said, "You say I talk too much?"

The girl sounded like an indignant teenager. Lois held out her microphone deciding it might be best to just let the two metahumans banter back and forth for a little while.

"Point is Platelet, your stringy stuff might be able to stop a charging rhino in its tracks… You've overlooked one, very important fact," Spike said placing extra emphases on the very. He sounded so very full of himself.

Lois could hear the huff in the girl's voice as she asked, "And that would be?"

Spike heaved, ripping out sections of the tile as he leapt to his feet with a shout of, "I'm the Big Bad!"

"Get out of here!" May shouted at the crowd. It began to scatter. With a muttered curse, she leapt forward, her foot lightly touching the top of Spike's head.

Lois knew she was never going to get out of the way in time. She knew it deep down, in her bones. Like the person who watched the bullet speed toward their head, she knew she was going to die.

May knew it as well, her Spider-Sense screamed in her skull as she bounced toward the hole, nothing more then a red and blue streak. Her arm wrapped around Lois' thin waist as she twisted through the opening at breakneck speeds. She held her hand down to the floor and concentrated, suddenly she vaulted upward as half the desk followed her through the opening, shattering against the wall. "Hold on tight," May hit the ceiling and bounded down the hall. She couldn't just leave the reporter there. Odds were better then even that that sociopath would kill her out of hand. "You're in for one wild ride."

Spike stormed out after her, tearing chunks of tile from himself. "You aren't gonna duck and run on me? Not after all the good times we've had."

His voice mingled with Lois' ear shattering wail that trailed May down the corridor. Even after she ducked around the corner. Spike grumbled incoherently as he stalked after her; unaware of the buxom blonde that stared after him.

"Spike," Tara whispered in confusion. She had just spent a magical night, and morning, making love to her Willow; the first night of what she hoped would be many to come. It had been so long, too long and she wished they would never have to spend an instant away from each other, not even a single heartbeat, not for any reason.

There was blood on her shirt, a lot of blood. She hoped that Willow was all right, but she didn't know. She couldn't feel her. It didn't mean anything though. Willow just might be out of town, maybe even the entire state.

Spike was chasing after a female demon that was wearing a Spider-Man costume that he'd been fighting. The demon had taken an innocent bystander hostage and had fled in the opposite direction.

In a blink Tara made her decision; Spike was going to need her help, whether he admitted it or not. It would also give her the opportunity to help him smooth out his approach with Buffy. That the two of them loved each other was unquestionable. That neither knew how to act toward the other wasn't in question either, both of them were in serious need of psychological help. Less then a year ago she had been ripped out of heaven and the only stable relationship Spike had been in was with an insane vampire with precognitive powers; a relationship that had lasted more then a hundred years.

What possible chance could they have. Maybe it wouldn't work out; there was certainly enough baggage between the two of them. But, maybe it would.

From everything Buffy told her, the Slayer certainly hoped it would. She was terrified it wouldn't, more terrified it would. That she didn't deserve to be happy. That she came back wrong. That her destiny was to be buried in the darkness. That she craved it; that she would thrive in it, become strong in it, with it.

Tara wasn't sure how to help Buffy, but she knew she had to. Her participation in Buffy's resurrection saw that she did.

Step one, was to get Spike to lay off the whole came back wrong angle that he had been working recently. That if he could hit Buffy, and only Buffy without giving himself a migraine it was because, deep down, on some buried, sub conscious level he wasn't going to hurt her.

That was because he loved her.

If she tried hard enough she might even be able to convince herself of that.

Now all she had to do was keep up with him. Convince him of her theory, and hope he didn't scoff in her face and continue on the way he had been.

Hiking up her skirts, she darted off after him.