Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

in a Crossover Fan Fiction with

Dark Angel

by

STFarnham

Lancer47

Slaying in Seattle

Disclaimer:

I'm trespassing here, but not cashing in, so that makes it all right.

Spoilers:

If you haven't watched all of Buffy and all of Dark Angel, then you probably aren't reading this.

Rating:

T ( R ), mostly for language. I've been watching both The Sopranos and Deadwood recently; it's difficult to write dialog without using rude expletives anymore.

Author's Notes:

The events depicted here take place during an alternate version of the second season of Dark Angel.

In this DA verse, there are no nomilies, except for Joshua, if he should decide to wander through this tale. Also, the whole 'Familiars' idiocy is non-existent. If Ames White blunders into a scene, he will simply be a Federal Agent of some kind.

I kept the time-lines straight: it is now the year 2020, Buffy is thirty-nine years old (more or less) and still slaying vampires occasionally.

Prologue

Buffy was drawn to a sprawling cemetery that overlooked the Major Deegan Expressway. She found herself marveling at the vast expanse of graves in the moonlight; she thought about comparing the density of graves per density of population between New York and the much lamented Sunnydale, but after getting lost carrying numbers in her head she decided to leave it to Willow.

Walking between graves, and studying headstones, she came to the realization that they were burying people three, four, five and sometimes six deep. It made for a whole forest of granite slabs. There wasn't going to be a lot of fast running here.

Up a hill, beneath a large tree with the full moon shining through the branches, she spotted a group of people standing around, apparently having a service. A graveside service at midnight? she thought, that bears investigating.

When she got close enough to sense that these were vampires, she hid behind a tree and watched for a bit. Oddly, they were all dressed in black robes and were standing in two orderly rows, one on each side of a fresh grave, chanting in some language that wasn't English or Italian. Their leader had a red scarf and was standing at the foot of the grave. They had apparently tossed aside the headstones of the occupants below. Chillingly, there was a young woman in ripped clothes tied to a stake at the head end of the grave. She was moaning. Buffy figured she was to be a new vamps first meal.

When the dirt in the fresh grave stirred, Buffy stepped out and leaped into the air, coming down hands first onto the grave, staking the new vampire before he saw the light of the full moon. She instantly pushed off upwards and twisted around, kicking two vamps, and staking another as she found her footing. The chief vampire bellowed angrily and launched himself towards Buffy. She found herself fighting eight thoroughly pissed vamps, and truly, she thought, these were heavy odds. She was busy dusting them, ignoring the hits she was taking, when suddenly, the three behind her all poofed, one after another, and then there were none.

"Hey B, tryin' to hog all the fun, huh?"

"Faith, what brings you out on beautiful night like this?" Buffy asked, "not that I'm complaining."

"Same as you, I suppose, love of a good fight. Although you'd think, after all these years of slaying creatures of the night, that we'd get tired of it, wouldn't you?"

"Hey you! Over here! Give me a hand! Untie me!"

Buffy and Faith turned towards the intended sacrifice. "Sorry, we'll get you loose," said Buffy. When Faith got the knot undone, the girl punched Buffy in the nose and took off running, banging off stones and stumbling as she ran.

Faith laughed, "Ungrateful bitch!"

Buffy ruefully rubbed her nose, "She must have been terrified, and I don't blame her."

The two walked companionably along a path. "So Faith, when'd you get into town?"

"This AM, I slept most of the afternoon, jetlagged, I guess."

"How was London?"

"Still London, but you know, I don't think there's an England anymore. They gave up the changing of guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in favor a bunch of guys with guns and dark uniforms standing around staring suspiciously at everyone."

"I'll bet Giles isn't happy."

"You'd be right B. He spent most of the time drinking Guinness and staring out the window. Poor guy, he must be seventy or eighty now, and to watch the last of the country of his youth swirl down the drain after spending a lifetime of fighting evil—I think his heart might not be in it anymore."

"It can't be that bad, can it?" asked Buffy.

"Between you me, no, it isn't that bad. But he thinks it is. He's still bitterly complaining about how they took away his fox hunts."

"Urk," Buffy shivered, "barbaric sport."

"Hey," whispered Faith, "what's going on over there?"

Buffy looked down the long hill in front of them and saw some small lights bobbing about in the dark. "Well," she said, "that looks like some grave robbing. I think we should put a stop to it, dontcha' think?"

"Yeah," Faith replied, "nothing good could come of that, not at midnight anyway."

They captured three men in a well-coordinated attack, tying them up before they could offer any resistance. Buffy found a cell phone on one of the men and called 911, saying nothing. She wiped it off and place it in the hand of one of the grave robbers, with the operator getting louder and louder, demanding information. Faith tripped over a shovel and feel ass-backwards into the half dug grave.

"Don't laugh girlfriend, or I'll..." she growled in a low voice.

Buffy lent Faith a hand and they walked down the drive that the pickup must have taken. They rounded a corner and were surprised by three more guys, tougher then the ones digging, these had guns, apparently they were guarding the approach.

"Geronimo!" yelled Faith as she charged into action to the left, Buffy attacking to the right. The fight didn't last long; the slayers had some trouble dodging bullets, but they managed. But one that Faith thought was unconscious turned and stabbed her through the chest with an overlooked hunting knife.

Buffy screamed, "FAITH!" and kicked the knife wielder in the head, not caring whether or not she kicked too hard. Buffy sat down on the wet grass and cradled Faith's head in her lap, while pressing the wound shut with her left hand. With her right she had her cell phone out, frantically dialing 911. Since the police were already on their way to investigate the 911 on the grave robber's phone, it didn't take them long to add an Emergency Unit to the mix. So it was only about five minutes later that the EMT's arrived and took over for Buffy's first aid.

The ride to the hospital felt like an eternity to Buffy. She could only watch helplessly as the EMT's worked on Faith, stopping the bleeding, hooking up computer leads to transmit her vital signs to the doctor's at the ER, dripping some kind of solution into her veins. Buffy was distressed when they unceremoniously ripped off Faith's clothes and impersonally worked on saving her life. Buffy's thoughts veered off the here and now to where she could only think how pissed off Faith would be to be naked and not be fucking.

--- ---

Dawn ran into the ER, frantically looking for Buffy. "Buffy, there you are! What happened, is Faith all right?"

Buffy looked at her sister. "They're operating as we speak, right in the ER. They didn't have time to get her up to an operating room." she replied dully, with no spark to speak of.

"Buffy, Buffy, you got her here alive. You know by now that if you get a Slayer to the ER alive, that she's probably gonna live!"

Dawn looked through the glass walls and saw a huge commotion taking place behind curtains. She suddenly realized that that was the where Faith must be. They both heard 'Code Blue' announcements coming from the loudspeaker system and saw more doctors and nurses rushing into the curtained area.

It seemed like hours later, but surely it was only minutes, when they finally took Faith upstairs. She was strapped to a gurney, looking like hell, with a parade of doctors, medical technicians, and nurses accompanying her. But Buffy and Dawn took heart in the fact that they not wildly rushing, the doctors looked concerned, but not upset. It seemed a good omen that the mysterious medical machines sitting on the gurney with Faith were all happily chirping and the blinking lights were all green or yellow, but not red.

Eventually, and this time it was hours later, a doctor came out to talk to Buffy and Dawn. He smiled at them. "She made it though the operation just fine. We have her in intensive care, but I expect to put her in a room by morning. She seems unusually strong and healthy, considering the severity of her wound. We have her condition listed as 'Serious but Stable' and I think she will recover fine, just fine."

--- ---

The next morning found Dawn at NYC Slayer Central – a small but ridiculously expensive two bedroom apartment – sipping coffee when the phone rang.

"Hello, Giles," said Dawn, "how are you today?"

"Dawn, is Faith there?"

"How'd you find out so fast?" asked Dawn, surprised.

"Find out what?" Giles replied with concern.

"Faith is in the hospital, she got stabbed last night, but they operated and she's going to be fine. How'd you know? Why have you called? Isn't it like two in the morning in over there?"

"Yes, so Faith is alive?"

"Of course, I just talked to Buffy, she's been there all night long. They took Faith off the serious list just a little while ago. She's not awake yet, but she's stable, her vitals are excellent according to the doctors, and she should be fine. Especially with her Slayer healing, but the docs don't know about that."

"Well, good. When were you planning on calling me?"

"Actually, I was going to wait till six AM Greenwich time, so as not to disturb you unnecessarily."

"Yes, well, thank you for your courtesy. The reason I called is because I was awakened by Mrs. Harkness..."

"You sly old dog, you!" Dawn interrupted.

"...now, now, Dawn. She called to inform me that a new Slayer had been called."

"But, but," said Dawn, "that means..." she trailed off in thought. "But Giles, Faith isn't dead! The Slayer line does go through her, right?"

"As best we can determine."

"Oh," said Dawn, "I know. I remember now, they called a code blue on her while she was still in the ER. She must have been clinically dead for just long enough to activate a new slayer, like Buffy when she drowned. Wow, you know, this must be the first new Slayer in twenty years, come to think of it."

"Please call the hospital and check, Dawn. I want to be certain."

"Giles, think, I just talked to Buffy five minutes ago. Mrs. Harkness must have found out several hours before that; she and the Witches of Westbury must have spent time doing checks and things, they must double-check their spells and stuff, right?"

"Perhaps you are correct, Dawn," a now mollified Giles answered, "Still, keep me up to date. Umm, by the way, how did Faith come to be stabbed? She didn't get into a fight with Buffy did she?"

Dawn filled him in.

Chapter I

Veronica Cross walked morosely across the wet cemetery, detouring around and over headstones. She was jittery because her mother's worthless new boyfriend had spent the evening trying to peek down her blouse and it made her feel sick to her stomach. She just knew that her useless mom would be, well, useless, and she would have to figure out what to do about the dirty old man herself.

It was midnight in Seattle. Veronica wasn't sure why she was wandering around this time of night. Even though it was raining and she was drenched, soaked to the skin, her hair plastered to her skull and neck in unpleasant wet tendrils, but she could not fight the urge to sneak out of the apartment. On top of her nightmares – monsters and such – she figured she probably couldn't sleep much anyway. She was surprised at how easy it was to swing out her fourth floor window and climb down the rain-slippery drainpipe. She wondered why she felt so strong and confident since the night before last. She wished there was someone to talk to, but she couldn't think of anyone that would believe her.

She wandered about for several hours, easily bypassing Sector Police checkpoints and patrols, avoiding groups of drunken louts, and in general just sneaking around. Still, she felt someone watching her. She was unable to identify her watcher, but she knew someone was out there, keeping track. She ended up back at her apartment just before dawn. She climbed in her window, stripped off her sodden garments, and dried off before putting her pajamas back on and pretended to go to sleep.

--- ---

Kendra woke up after her alarm went off and staggered out into the living room, only to find Max cleaning and de-watering her baby.

"Max!" she said, "you're getting water and mud all over the floor! What the heck are you doing!"

"Hey Kendra," she replied, "don't worry, I'll clean it up. I just need to finish tucking in the Ninja."

"But Max, you're soaking wet, you're dripping everywhere! What a mess!"

"Hey, I scored some French Roast last night. There's a fresh pot on the stove, and I'll be able to sell half for enough money to cover the rent/bribe this month."

"Oh, well, that makes it all right then, as long as you clean up your mess!"

--- ---

The next night found Veronica Cross stalking down a dark alley, thankfully not quite as wet as the night before, replaying in her head the scene with her mother's boyfriend from that afternoon. The look on his face when she caught his wandering hand and bent it back at the wrist was permanently engraved in her head. He did his best to pretend nothing had happened, but he walked wide around her the rest of the evening.

Veronica was thinking about how little it took to scare him off when a large figure loomed in her path.

"Hey little girl, what's your name?" she was startled when a very large stranger stepped out of the shadows into her path.

"I'm Veronica, what's your name?"

"Oh, my name isn't important Veronica dear. And isn't that a sweet name! How old are you?"

"Can't you tell? My mom and dad named me after their favorite TV character fifteen years ago. And why isn't your name important?"

"Because I'm just going to play with you tonight—you know, listen to you scream while I carve the devil out of your body."

"Why would you want to do that?"

"See, what it is, I like the screaming and the inflicting pain on the helpless. It really turns me on. You're lucky though, sex doesn't do much for me, what with all that complicated female plumbing, so I won't be defiling your sweet nubile body."

"It makes you feel like a man to beat up little girls? You're a sick fuck, you know that, right?"

"Well, aren't you a brave little one? Won't do you any good, though."

He stepped close to her, very threatening, with a creepy smile. Veronica thought this one might be harder to handle than her mom's worse half. She sucked in a lungful of air, paused in preparation, and savagely kicked his right kneecap. Veronica watched with satisfaction and some horror when his knee bent backwards and he fell to the ground, screaming in agony, clutching his leg.

"You broke my knee!" he screamed.

"Yes, she did," said an approving voice from the shadows. A young woman with dark hair and black clothes walked up to the screaming man. Veronica looked up in surprise. The stranger stopped, looked down and said, "You're very lucky. If you had propositioned me with your offer, I would have killed you."

"Christ! Call 911 already! Get me an ambulance! Don't just stand around like stupid bitches!"

The dark haired woman said, "Seattle's 9-1-1 system has been down for weeks. It seems someone sold the computer equipment that ran the call center, along with the telephones and furniture. But there's an emergency room down that way about four or five blocks. Just start crawling and you'll be there in no time. Of course, there will be about a six hour wait, but maybe you'll get some aspirin."

"Oh, that's cold, you fucking cunts, that's really cold."

"Oh yeah," remarked Veronica, "like that's really charming. Go fuck yourself!"

"Now you see why I don't like women?" he yelled as they walked away.

"Hi," said the dark one, "my name is Max."

"I'm Veronica Cross."

"Yes, I heard you before. Fifteen years old and wandering around dark alleys, breaking kneecaps. Manticore?"

"Whatta core?"

"You know," Max turned and brushed her hair aside.

"Ooh, that's a cool fuckin' tattoo! Where'd you get it?"

Max glanced at Veronica's neck and saw it was bare. "Uh, if I may ask, you seem unusually strong for a fifteen year old girl."

"Well, yes, I woke up all stronger a couple of days ago. I don't have a fucking clue why, except maybe the nightmares I've been having. All about fighting ugly fucking monsters."

"Hmm," Max was curious, "so you've been wandering around in the night, looking for fights?"

"I guess."

"Finding any?"

"Not till tonight, but, this is only my second night out. I really don't know what the fuck is happening with me."

Max could hear Veronica's unspoken plea for help so she said, "If you want, we could spar and train together. I can show you a few moves, how to take advantage of your strength against larger opponents, where to find leverage and all. Although, if that was your first fight it was effective."

"I think it was luck. See, I was gonna kick him in the balls, but he was like three feet taller than me and halfway into my kick I realized I wasn't going to reach my fucking target without jumping around like an idiot, so I shifted to his knee. Honestly, I didn't realize the bones would break like that, the sound alone was sickening."

"Better him than you girl. That guy was truly a lowlife."

"Are there many fuckers like him out there?"

"Just a few, but that's a few too many," said Max, "but after all, we're in a dark alley after midnight, it's gonna be mostly lowlifes."

A solid thump announced a newcomer, "Hey Maxie, how ya doin'. Who's your new friend?"

Veronica jumped, Max sighed and said, "Speak of the devil, Veronica Cross, this is Alec. Don't trust him whatever you do."

"Why Max, I'm wounded," Alec said with an impudent grin and his hand over his heart, "how can you say such a thing after all we've been through together?"

Veronica was amused by this byplay until her senses went haywire. She started to look around and saw something stalking them. Two strange people were following their track up the alley. She noticed that her new friends were aware of the new arrivals too, they were flashing some kind of hand signals to each other. Suddenly, one of the newcomers attacked and Max replied with a series of ferocious kicks and punches. Veronica was both terrified and excited at the sound and fury of the fight. Alec jumped into the fray but the new guys kept coming back for more. All four were getting kicked and thrown around the alley like dolls, Veronica couldn't understand why they weren't all dead yet. Then she saw that the attackers had weird facial deformations, very similar to her recent nightmares. She noticed a heavy stick lying on the ground and, without giving it much thought, picked it up. When one of the monstrous figures stumbled backwards towards her, staggering from getting punched in the chest by Max, Veronica pointed her stick at him, just like in her dream, and he impaled himself on the stick. When he disappeared in a cloud of dust, Veronica shrieked in surprise—everyone else stopped in mid-punch. Then the surviving attacker turned and ran off.

Alec lifted his eyebrows and said, "Wowza, now that's not something you see everyday," as he stirred the dust with his toe.

"What'ja do girl?" asked Max. She took the stick from Veronica's hands and examined it with a critical eye. She shrugged and tossed it aside—it was just a piece of wood—and put her arm around the shaking Veronica.

Alec looked down the alley in the direction of the retreating thuds. He turned back and said, "That was timed very timely, Ronnie. Those guys were hopped up on something, they weren't feeling our punches. Frankly, they should have dropped like rocks. I don't know about you Maxie, but on my last couple of punches I stopped holding back, and it still wasn't enough."

"Yeah," replied Max, "they reminded me of those revved-up Reds."

Veronica whispered, "Merciful Christ on crutches, vampires ARE real. My nightmares are coming true!"

Max and Alec exchanged startled looks.

Chapter II

Buffy and Willow walked through Sea-Tac airport, carrying their bags. "Damn Willow, one suitcase of clothes can't possibly be enough! If we have to stay more than one day I'm going to be seriously short of outfits!"

Willow, continuing the friendly argument they'd been having all the way across the continent, smiled and said for the umpteenth time, "Geez Buffy, regressing much? Anyway, they have stores here, I'm sure of it. And we have an IWC credit card."

Buffy glanced at one of several flat screen TVs bolted to the walls of the concourse. An airhead newscaster droned on about some new government program that was guaranteed to lift Seattle out of the current depression. Buffy was in mid-snort when the screen went blank and an image of a pair of eyes came up. Buffy stopped Willow and said, "Hey, look at this."

An voice intoned over the TV eyes, "...will last exactly sixty seconds and cannot be traced and cannot be stopped and is the last free voice in Seattle.

The mayor of Seattle is bleating about another giveaway program, but you can be certain that the only recipients of taxpayer largess will be the mayor's cronies and supporters, and perhaps the mayor himself. But he is ignoring completely the recent spate of murder victims being found in allies, abandoned buildings, and parking garages all over Seattle. Victims that have been drained of their blood with savage wounds on their throats and sometimes signs of torture. What new manner of killing is this? If the police know, they aren't telling, but my sources say they aren't trying very hard. Why? Because most of the victims are not contributers to the mayor's re-election fund. And how do they know that? Because most of the victims are the city's poor and marginalized. Well, I'm here to turn up the heat. Mr. Mayor and Mr. Chief of Police, if you want to continue in your jobs, do your job! Peace, out."

"...and let the fun begin, said Mayor Jones at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new amusement park in this neighborhood..." the talking head continued over pictures of people in suits cutting a large ribbon with a giant pair of scissors.

Buffy and Willow resumed their trek down the concourse. "Well," said Buffy, "I guess that explains why a Slayer was called here."

"I wonder, just how sneaky are the Powers That Be?"

"What do you mean, Will?"

"Did the powers see to it that Faith died, even if only for a short time, just to get a slayer here? Or was that a fortuitous accident? Would one of the hundreds of current slayers have found herself here if you and Faith hadn't decided to go hunting without backup the other night?"

"I'll let you know if I get an answer," said Buffy, "but in my opinion, the Powers are fully capable of killing anyone to get their way."

As they stepped out of the terminal and took a good look around, Buffy said, "Are you sure about stores in Seattle? I can't see anything but Goodwill and thrift shops in a dump like this."

Willow was a little surprised at the dirt and lack of décor. "Wow, and here I thought grunge was a musical term."

They walked up to the first taxi in line. Willow frowned at the ugly and dirty interior and mumbled under her breath while she waved her hands in an intricate pattern. The taxi suddenly sparkled.

Buffy raised her eyebrows but got in the cab with Willow. "The Seattle Hotel, please."

--- ---

Buffy watched Willow chant in Sumerian over a map of Seattle. After a few minutes, the flaming candles around her spontaneously snuffed out. What remained was a single bright spark on the map, which Willow suddenly stamped out as it started to burn through to the carpet.

"So," asked Buffy, "we learn anything?"

"Goddess above," said Willow, "you'd think I would have learned my lesson from the ice into fire spell I did on my bed back way back when in Sunnydale. Oh well, at least I'm putting 'em out faster." Off Buffy's look, "Oh, you mean about..."

"Focus, Will, focus."

"Yeah Buffy, she's in that building," Willow pointed to the burnt spot on the map and peered closely, "it's called Fogle Towers. It's in a pretty good part of town: high rise condos, tall office buildings, that kind of thing."

"So, let's saddle up."

--- ---

"Hey Logan," yelled Max as she came in the front door for a change, "I want you to meet someone!"

"In the kitchen Max," Logan replied.

Logan was stirring a pot of marinara sauce, adding spices as Max and Veronica walked in. Max sat at the counter, Veronica stared around at the kitchen in amazement.

"Wow," said Veronica, "I didn't know anyone really lived like this."

"Haven't you watched TV?" asked Max.

"Sure, but I thought places like this were fantasies, like Xena or Harry Potter or something."

"You want to eat?" Logan asked.

He was greeted with a chorus of yeses. He prepared plates of ravioli with sides of eggplant Parmesan, tossed on some garlic bread and salad. Max dug in but Veronica looked at her plate, sniffing with an expression of ecstasy. She took a bite of ravioli and swallowed slowly, with her eyes closed. Finally, she asked, "What is this?"

"It's ravioli."

"Seriously? It looks kind of like what they call ravioli at the school cafeteria, but theirs tastes like wet cardboard cooked in rancid oil. But this, this is a slice of heaven!"

Logan smiled, "Thank you, cooking is my hobby, and I enjoy watching people eat." Logan wheeled himself to the table and poured the wine.

Alec let himself in and joined the others in the kitchen. "Alec," said Logan, "help yourself."

"Don't mind if I do," he replied, already piling food on a plate.

After dinner they retired to the living room. Max started by formally introducing Veronica, which duty she had somehow missed, what with all the food. Then she said, "I need a favor from you Logan."

"Why am I not surprised?"

"Hush, Veronica had an intriguing experience this week. In the space of one night, between going to bed and getting up, she became super-strong and super-tough. Oh yeah, and vampires are real."

"Ha ha ha. Very funny. No, really, why are you here?"

"Really," said Alec, "last night the three of us fought two vampires. Creatures supernaturally strong, with fangs and weird looking faces. Veronica stabbed one with a wooden stick, and it exploded into dust."

"You're serious?" Logan asked suspiciously. "You do realize that vampires are fictional?"

"That's what we thought," said Max, "until a couple of them tried to eat us. And what about Veronica here? A couple of days ago she was a normal kid, I guess, and then she wakes up after having nightmares about vampires and the next thing she knows, she fighting vampires. How do you explain that?"

"And you knew her before the change, and can attest to her before and after attributes?" Logan asked, as gently as he could.

"All right, I know where I'm not wanted. Fuck all of you!" snapped Veronica as she got up and headed for the door.

"Hey wait Ronnie," said Alec as he jumped in her path, "don't mind Logan, besides being an ass, he's also a professional skeptic. Seriously, don't storm off before you've taken up Max's offer to train with you."

Veronica allowed herself to be cajoled back to the couch. Truly, she did feel safe in Logan's condo, safer than she had felt in quite a long time. "So," she said, "anyone up for hunting vampires?"

--- ---

Willow worked a little mojo on the steel door in the office building across the street from Fogle Towers as Buffy stood by impatiently. Finally, she got the door open and they made their way to the roof. Buffy enjoyed the night sky, even the air seemed a little fresher this high above the streets. She walked over to the edge of the roof and nonchalantly sat on the four-foot tall parapet, her stylish boots dangling over the long drop to the pavement. Willow arrived on the roof a few minutes later, a little out of breath. It had always been difficult to keep up with Buffy, but Willow couldn't help but notice that she was slowing down while Buffy was as physically fit as always, maybe fitter. Willow noticed Buffy sitting on the parapet, "Buffy, don't do that!"

"What?"

"Sit on the edge like that. It makes me feel all ookie inside. I don't even want to get close to you for fear of accidentally knocking you off your perch."

Buffy had already composed a sarcastic rebuttal, but she noticed that Willow really was upset, so instead of opening her mouth, she leaned gracefully back towards the flat graveled roof, holding on the concrete edge of the parapet while she swung her legs over her head. She ended up standing on the safe side and smiled at Willow, "Is that better?"

"I'm glad you did that maneuver slowly. If you flipped off the edge fast, I think I would have had a heart attack. Although I suppose I could have magically slowed your fall, but using that much power isn't good for me. And besides, neither of us are teenagers anymore. Take it easy, at least when I'm with you."

"OK, OK," Buffy said pointing across empty space to the next building, "Fogle Towers. I can feel a Slayer over there, just barely from this distance, but she's there. What do you think we should do next? Break Fogle Tower security? They've got cameras all over the lobby and elevators, but I don't think there's anything heavy."

"You think the girl is rich? Cuz that's all we need, another fucking Kennedy," said Willow.

"Geez Will, it's been fifteen years. Hold a grudge much?"

"Yeah. Well, you don't know what she did."

"Are you ready to talk yet? Cry on my shoulder? Eat ice cream?"

"Already did all that, except the talking part, didn't work," Willow paused, then added, "Do you think she can feel your presence?"

"Umm, she's a fledgling slayer, she probably can't. Or, if she can, she doesn't know what she is feeling."

"Would it help if I performed more magic? I'd rather not, but, I will if you want."

"Nope, not necessary. Hey," said Buffy, "our girls on the move, I can feel her falling—in the elevator, I hope. Can you see the parking garage entrance? I'll keep an eye on the front door."

"Look, there she is, with two other people." Willow pointed down to the street.

--- ---

"You wantta go for a ride on my Ninja?" Max asked.

"What's a Ninja?"

"My baby, my motorcycle."

"You've got a motorcycle!" exclaimed Veronica, "fuck yeah, let's ride!"

"Don't worry about me, I'll just mosey along the sidewalk while you girls ride merrily away," Alec sulked.

"While we ride, Alec, you're gonna watch our backs."

"That's what I just said, isn't it?" said Alec.

"No, I mean look around and see if you can spot whoever is watching us."

"Huh?"

"Alec, you dolt, can't you feel it? Someone's out here, I've got an itch, I'm feeling like a target," said Max as she swung aboard her baby.

Alec frowned as he watched Max and Veronica zoom away. Then he faded back into a shadow and systematically looked around him, at low, medium, then high magnification. He spotted two figures on the roof of the building across the street almost immediately, but continued checking. After a few minutes he had determined the two on the roof were the probable suspects.

--- ---

"Well shit," Buffy said, "I guess we're not going to follow them tonight." She watched as the target slayer and a stranger sped down the street on a motorcycle.

Willow was watching the one left behind. "Buffy, can you still see the guy left behind?"

"Ummm," Buffy looked down, "oh yeah, there he is, standing just inside the doorway to the right. Damn, he's looking straight at us. Wait, now he's scanning everything, looks like. Will, can you do a simple little cloaking spell, a not-see-us spell? I get the feeling that he feels someone watching him. He acts like a soldier."

"You can see all that from here? We're nearly four hundred feet away, measured along the hypotenuse."

"Well, it's just a feeling. Maybe a Slayer thing, I don't know. Just hide us."

"Well, why don't we just duck down behind this solid concrete wall?"

"Because I want to watch him, our slayer might be back after her ride. How fast do you think we could get to street level?" Buffy asked.

"OK, it's a simple little glamour, not a biggie."

Willow chanted quietly and motioned with her hands. She said, "There we are, as long as you are next to me, we'll be very difficult to see. Not impossible, you understand, just difficult. But if you move away, you'll be suddenly noticed."

--- ---

Max gunned her bike down the street. She went ten blocks or so then cut left for one block then left again. Veronica squealed and laughed in delight as they leaned over with their feet almost touching the pavement on the high speed turns. This had become one of the best nights of her life.

After just a few minutes Max slowed and turned up an alley. She turned the engine off and they coasted silently towards the opposite end, finally stopping before they came into the light from the street lamps. Veronica started to ask a question, but Max held a gloved finger up to her lips. They just stood and watched and waited.

--- ---

Buffy said, "I was right, they circled around and now they're in the alley, watching the street. Apparently they are unaware of how well Slayers can see."

"Why would they think another Slayer is out here? They probably have no idea of what they are dealing with, they probably don't even know the capabilities of their own Slayer, or even that is what she is, or that Slayers exist..."

"OK, Willow! You've made your point. But let's go down to street level now, I'm sensing vampire activity somewhere down there. They're not nearby, but you can bet they soon will be."

--- ---

Veronica was startled when Alec appeared behind them, although she hid it well. Max turned and the two of them started in with the incomprehensible hand signals again. At Veronica's look of exasperation, Max whispered in her ear, "He says there were two people watching from across the street, from the top of that office building. They're not there now, but I bet I know how they got up there. We're going to cross the street and hide in a position to watch a delivery entrance door that I just happen to know about."

They got across and were starting down the alley when they heard the whisper of a door closing. They weren't in position to see yet, but they were in a perfect position for an ambush. Max waited with a feral grin.

Veronica was feeling antsy, or something. She wasn't sure what it was, she could only describe it as a tingling sensation in her head and her stomach. She looked around and couldn't see anyone, but she thought she saw someone in the corner of her eyes. But when she looked straight at it, there was nothing there. She started to say something, but at her almost infinitesimal movement, Max squeezed her arm in warning.

Then there was a heavy footfall from behind them, from the street. "Ah shit!" exclaimed Alec, "behind us!"

Max and Veronica turned to find four vampires All three immediately attacked, punching and kicking for all they were worth. Only Veronica had the presence of mind to look for a sharp wooden object, but there wasn't any wood in sight. Just as they were beginning to feel overwhelmed, a small blond woman charged through and struck one of the vampires in the chest with a stake. He immediately turned to dust. She kicked another with her right boot-heel, her heel wasn't sharp but it penetrated the vampire's chest with a sickening thunk—then he too turned to dust. She leaped up, came down on the third one that was engaged in pummeling Alec, and wrapped her legs around the vampire's neck. She flipped herself backwards and the vamp had no choice but to follow. As they flipped through the air, Buffy rammed her stake through his chest and he dusted in mid-twirl. Buffy landed on her feet. The fourth vampire was running away at high speed. Buffy threw her stake at him; it seared through the air almost too fast to follow and the fourth exploded in a shower of dust.

Max looked at the newcomer with her right eyebrow raised, Veronica looked in undisguised awe, and Alec couldn't help but think about trying to impregnat her.

"Hi, my name is Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. And you are?"

--- ---

"So you've been, ah, slaying, ah, vampires, for twenty-four years now? Pardon me if I seem skeptical," said Logan.

Everyone was sitting around Logan's dining room table, eating what Logan referred to as a midnight snack. Veronica thought it qualified as a full meal.

"You've got excellent upper body strength Logan," said Buffy, "would it prove anything to you if we arm wrestled?"

"Perhaps," Logan answered, "but it would be far more instructive if you wrestled with Max."

Buffy thought he was kidding until she noticed satisfied smirks from both Alec and Max. Buffy wondered what they thought would happen, "Sure, let's do it."

They sat across from each other at the dining room table and grasped palms. Logan said, "Three, two, one, go!"

Buffy was surprised when she immediately lost half her distance, but then it was Max's turn to be surprised when Buffy stopped the motion and started to push back. When their fists were back at the starting point, both contestants were looking each other in the eye with new respect. But when Buffy slowly increased her pressure and Max had to give ground, even Alec expressed shock.

"Hell Maxie," Alec said, "isn't the the first time you've ever lost to a norm?"

Only Veronica was not amazed by Buffy's show of strength, but only because she didn't have a baseline for comparison.

"Norm?" asked Willow, "what do you mean by that?"

Max exchanged glances with Logan and Alec. All three looked like they would rather be elsewhere. Finally, Max asked Buffy, "How good are you at keeping secrets?"

"Very good, if there is a good reason."

"Yeah, well, if you spill our secrets, you will condemn us to slavery, and anyone who knows us will be tortured and killed," said Max.

Willow's eyes narrowed, "Who by?"

"By our very own government, or at least a little known military branch."

Now it was Buffy and Willow's turn to exchange suspicious glances, "It's not the Initiative, is it?"

"Initiative? No, I don't think so. At least, I never heard of them," said Alec.

"I have," said Logan, "very secretive, possibly even more secretive than Manticore, if you can believe that. The Initiative disbanded all their stateside bases, except for administrative work, back in 2001 or 2002. Now they operate only in other countries, usually in jungles. I've never been able to find out exactly what they do."

Buffy smiled and said, "Well, they're involved in the same kind of thing that we are involved in."

"Really? Then it's possible I know more than I thought, because I do have information that includes terms like vampire and demon—I just assumed those were code words."

"Years ago," said Buffy, "the Initiative did experiments on demonic creatures. They had a big experiment going, but their creation turned on them and they suffered forty percent loss of personal at their research facility. After that, they dropped the experimenting part of the program and concentrated on fighting demons around the world, mostly in out of the way locations: jungles, desert, wasteland, that sort of place. They usually leave the major cities of the world to me and my crew. The thing is, I wouldn't be terribly shocked to find that some of the surviving technicians and scientists who worked at the old Initiative labs managed a transfer over to your secret branch. If I'm reading between the lines correctly.

"I think you are," said Max, "Manticore experiments with human and animal DNA in order to breed a superior soldier."

"HAH!" exclaimed Buffy, "exactly the same but without the demonic influence. I'll eat my hat if they didn't share data at the very least."

"Alec and I are genetically engineered killing machines. Except that we, and ten others, didn't like what they were doing to us so we escaped from the facility in 2009."

"2009? How old were you?" asked Willow.

"We were nine," Max said.

Buffy said, "I guess I can finally stop complaining about being called at fifteen."

Logan ignored that and asked, "So what brings you to Seattle? I don't believe I've heard of you before now, and I think that if you were operating here, I would've heard something."

"Oh, you see, we found out a new Slayer had been called. That hasn't happened in twenty years, since a new Slayer is normally called only when the old one dies."

"So who died?" Logan asked sympathetically.

"No one," said Willow, "except that Faith was clinically dead just long enough. She was in the hospital with a knife wound. The coven in England let us know, and here we are."

"Yeah," added Buffy, "and judging by the 'Eye's Only' report I saw this morning, we know why Veronica was called here. You have a vampire problem."

"Wait," asked Veronica, "you mean in the last twenty years no slayer has died?"

"No unfortunately, only that Faith has survived. You see, for untold millenia there was only one girl in all the world, one called to fight the vampires. When she died, another was called. But back in 1998, I drowned. A very dear friend saved my life with CPR, but I was dead long enough for Kendra to be called. She was killed by a powerful vampire the next year, and was replaced by Faith. Then Willow was able to empower all potential Slayers to help us fight a major problem. That was successful, but now we had a hundred and fifty-two slayers. So, we set up training camps and schools for slayers. We also instituted teamwork, usually a foreign idea for Slayers. We've pretty much wiped out most of the major demonic influences on the earth. There were deaths though. A quarter of the Slayers have died in twenty years. But the Slayer line goes through Faith, and now it goes through you. You are The Chosen One. OK, one of many chosen, but still, there won't be any new slayers until you die. And with our new teamwork approach, you stand a good chance of survival to a ripe old age, a much better chance than I did, and the slayers before me."

Logan said, looking at Veronica, "Odds are that you will eventually outlive all the other Slayers. Veronica, you will someday be alone in the fight against creatures of the night. Your training had better reflect that possibility."

Buffy gazed expressionlessly at Logan.

Willow said, "Good job rich-boy. You've just predicted Buffy's death."

Buffy said, "Don't worry about it, we're all gonna die—eventually. And Logan's right, we'd better look up some of the more traditional Watchers for Veronica. The next youngest slayer is thirty-two. The truth is, historically, Veronica is the only Slayer in the traditional age group. The rest of us are past time to retire, way past."

"There aren't any traditional Watchers left alive. And I think that's a good thing," said Willow.

"What about Giles?"

"He's not traditional. He's the original rebel. But we'll go to him for advice on this."

Veronica asked, "What's a Watcher?"

"The Watcher's Council is made up of people who understand the demonic underworld. People who know how to fight evil. We don't actually know who was the first watcher, or how long they've been around. But it's been a long time. The council identifies potential slayers and when they find find them, they train them. Although the council had deteriorated by my time, today it's been rebuilt to my standards. Anyway, we will find someone to fight with you, and train you in the art of slaying, and teach you to understand the different types of demons."

"How about Max?" asked Veronica.

"Max what?" puzzled Buffy.

"Max! She can train me! She can fuckin' fight!"

Buffy frowned. "Well, maybe in martial arts. But Max, what do you know of demons?"

"Not a damn thing. But I can learn."

"Veronica, you can certainly train with Max. That actually sounds like a good idea. But, Max has certain, ah, problems, that would tend to get in the way over the long term."

"Like what?"

"Like rogue military busybodies trying to track her down. We've had problems with the military ourselves, but the problem got solved and today we have an uneasy truce with them. Mostly, they don't ask and we mostly don't tell. But in fact, if we need a little official favor, we can get it. Although I don't like to ask. But Max here is a whole 'nother ball game. I'll get a couple of Slayers to move here to back you up and I will find you a true Watcher, someone with an English accent who's steeped in the lore of the vampire. You'll grow to appreciate whoever I find for you, trust me."

The End

Author's Note: There will be a Part Two one day, but I have a number of other stories to finish before I return to Seattle.