This story has a prequel, "Alone in an Alley, a Slayer is Born." Reading it is not necessary to understand this story, but may be interesting. The prequel is about Kagome coming to terms with being a slayer on her own, without Inuyasha for backup.
If you have previously read the first few chapters of Slayer of Nightmares I invite you to read them again -- as I noted, Nightmares was something I'd had on my hard drive for awhile and was posting to see if there was interest in reading it. There seems to be some (though it's obviously not as popular as my Swordsmen 'verse stories) so I have rewritten the first few chapters. I've added some exposition, a few extra scenes, fixed a few inconsistencies, and found and corrected a number of punctuation errors!
For people who are just finding this story, it is a Buffy/Inuyasha crossover. However, all you really need to know about Inuyasha is that it's an anime series with a strong "Beauty and the Beast" theme -- Kagome, a Japanese teenager, travels through a magica. well into the past where she is recovering shards of the Shikon jewel. (Which she accidentally broke.) She is very much in love with Inuyasha, the half dog-demon "hanyou" Inuyasha -- a character with more snark than Spike, and a heart of pure gold.Spuffy and InuKag, eventually. (Also, this story eventually contains non-explicit s-e-x between consenting adult characters. I "don't do plumbing" in fanfiction but I do create scenes of romance on occasion ...)
Los Angeles' darker alleyways had significantly more dark in them these days. There were leftovers of a night three years ago, when the gates of hell themselves had opened.
Spike padded silently past a stinky puddle of water draining from a Dumpster, stepped over a bum whose scent was too vile even for the lowest vampire to consider as a meal, and slipped down a two-foot-wide space between two large buildings. The trash was ankle deep here, and rats skittered out of the way.
It was cold -- not bitter cold, but the sort of winter damp that settled over the southern California during a wet spell. They were between storms, but the weatherman promised another rain tonight. The news was full of reports of houses sliding down hillsides or hillsides sliding down onto houses; he'd watched for a moment before flipping over to a sports station. Not his problem if some fool planted a house where it was likely to be destroyed.
A shout, ahead.
He snapped to attention. The shout had been human, and loud, and close.
"HIYAAA!" The shout came again, and then a muffled boom.
Spike broke into a run, lean predatory grace, heading for the rescue. As always. Some damn fool had wandered down here into the worst slums in the worst part of the city and he needed to play hero. Well, that was why he was out here tonight, of course -- patrolling for trouble. But it didn't mean he wasn't annoyed at the idiots who kept wandering into trouble. You'd think they'd collectively learn ... but no, they never did.
Idiots are job security. Too bad the benefits suck, Spike thought -- then realized there were multiple puns he could make of "the benefits suck" and filed the thought away for use later when he needed a good snark.
The fight was in the middle of a dark, deserted street. He pulled up short when he saw the "victim" -- he realized after a moment's observation that little of his assistance was likely to be needed here, and the four demons surrounding the girl were the ones who were in trouble, not their quarry. She was fighting with efficient grace, and no fear, and a great deal of power in her blows.
A Slayer. Nobody I know. Pretty, though. I might introduce myself when she's done here. See what she's about.
Spike figured the Slayer could either be an ally -- and sure he wasn't adverse to having the local Slayer on his side, particularly one so good looking -- or a mortal enemy. Either way, it was good to know where he stood with her.
The Slayer was armed with a crossbow, which didn't surprise him. What did surprise him was what happened when she kicked a demon away from her and out into shooting range, then leveled the crossbow at it and fired. The arrow lit with a pinkish flame, hit the demon, and the demon went kerblooey. Demon bits rained down all around, spattering and smoking on the street.
He lifted an eyebrow in appreciation. Nice -- she had some sort of ju-ju beyond the usual Slayer strength. Either the crossbow was enchanted or she was throwing a bit of magic around.
No reason a Slayer can't be a witch. They just don't usually bother. Hit Hard Until Dead -- that's the Slayer motto.
The other demons bolted and scattered; she slipped a longbow off her shoulder and took them out one-two-three. Her shots had been sure and calm, unafraid. Boom, boom, boom. Spike guessed that meant that the magic was her own, and not an enchanted weapon -- unless both crossbow and longbow were magicked.
Show over, Spike applauded.
She whirled, and he found himself staring at the business end of a knocked arrow. He wasn't surprised by this and he only quirked an eyebrow at it. "Ooh, pointy. But if you kill me you'll never know what I want."
Uncertainty crossed dark eyes. He padded closer, and she tensed and hissed something in a foreign language. He didn't need to speak her language to recognize the word for vampire.
"Yeah, I'm a vampire. I'm a good vampire. With a soul. Name's Spike."
The arrow wavered, a bit.
"You speak English, woman?"
She blinked at that. He asked calmly, "Buffy ever figure out I'm alive?"
"Blond girl, 'bout your height?"
"I don't know a Buffy."
Huh. That was unusual. And her confusion was honest; she wasn't playing games. "What are they teaching you bints in Slayer School these days?"
"... Slayer School?" The woman said, then said, with a bit of a grin, "I'm afraid I must have skipped class for the lessons on Slayers. Let's try this from the beginning -- who are you , what do you want, and why would a vampire have a soul?" So she did speak English -- her words were accented, but clear enough that he thought she'd been speaking English for awhile. She was Japanese, he thought, judging by her appearance and her accent.
He quirked one eyebrow, very high, and asked "You don't know what a Slayer is?"
"I've been called it before. Generally, I don't get a chance to pursue the subject because the demon doing the name-calling ends up dead." She tossed her hair back and studied him, curiously.
"Tell you what," Spike offered, eying her weapons with continuing wariness. "Put the sharp pointy wooden arrow away and I'll tell you what you need to know."
She hesitated, then said, "Fine, but answer my questions about who, what, and why first."
"Right. Like I said, name's Spike. Ask around and most of the good guys and bad guys alike know who I am. I don't want nothing from you, I was just being curious 'n all. As far as the soul goes -- well, I wanted it and earned it fair and square. I needed to impress a girl, see." He shrugged and grinned.
She laughed, which he'd intended -- the I got it to impress a girl line was both true (at least partly) and believable -- and it seemed to work better than anything else for convincing strange good guys that he was on their side. She shook her head, apparently in disbelief, put the arrow back in her quiver, and said, "My name's Kagome."
"You old enough to drink?" He asked, "I'll buy you a beer if you are."
"I'm twenty." She said, shrugging. The tension and wariness was leaving her frame; her eyes were clear and only curious now. Still, he was actually pleased by her street-smarts when she added, "And I'm not inclined to drink around strange demons anyway. How about a cappuccino?""
Spike's warm British accent washed over Kagome as she sipped her cappuccino and watched the man with interest.
Vampires had fascinated her since the day she'd run into her first one living (unliving?) in the modern world -- it had been a vampire that had taught her that the modern world was, in fact, not void of magic and demons of varying descriptions. They'd just gotten better at blending in.
Very shortly after that she'd gotten swept up in the worst fight of her life. Sometimes, she still woke screaming. She'd been alone when the alley had filled with demons, and for most of that fight she'd had no help, no friends, nobody to save her butt. She'd had to save herself -- and she'd done it. And to this day, she had no explanation regarding where the demons had come from, or why there had been so many of them.
She'd had been barely eighteen. That had been a desperate fight, and she could have died.
But back to vampires ... vampires intrigued her.
In a way, they were hanyou too, like Inuyasha, half demon and half human. Other demons often despised them; humans feared them. She'd felt sorry for them at first -- and in truth she had tried to befriend a few. She had the scars to prove what a disastrous idea that was. The essential difference between hanyou like Inuyasha and vampires was that vampires lacked a human soul.
She was 100 certain Inuyasha had a soul.
This Spike claimed to own a soul too. Earned it fair and square, he said.
She believed him. Oh, she wasn't fool enough to trust him, but she believed him.
Now, the story he was spinning about Slayers and vampires, gods, demons, powerful magic and terrible prices paid ... it all sounded pretty familiar, actually. Given her own past, she was willing to believe it -- except, maybe, the whole Vampire Slayer bit. That was just too weird. Except I've had demons call me that before, just before I slay them.
Spike himself was amusing; she'd actually liked him from that first snarky, "You speak English, woman?"
comment. And she was honest enough to admit to herself that it was because he reminded her quite a bit of a certain dog-boy who said woman! in the exact same exasperated tone of voice. Her instincts were telling her, despite his very obvious rough edges, that this vampire was on the side of the light.
It felt so strange to have a name for what she had unexpectedly become, a little more than three years ago. She repeated, "So you're saying I'm one of these Slayers?"
"You haven't noticed how hard you can hit things and how quickly you heal?" He lifted an eyebrow at her.
"Well ..." She hesitated, unwilling to simply accept what he was telling her without any questions. "I'm a miko -- it's kindof like a white witch, I think you would say here in the America. I thought it might have had something to do with that. And a friend sort've hit me with some mojo awhile back ... right after that, I found out I was so strong, so fast ... it was very weird. Kinda cool, but weird. -- Is this when Willow did her spell?"
Spike snorted a laugh. "Yes. And you really need to meet the other Slayers, Chibi, if only so you know who all the players are. I can give you some names to look up -- Rupert Giles should be in the phone book in Britain, he'd be the place to start. Can't say as I actually like the wanker, but he's useful. And you don't have to join their little tea party if you don't want to, but you might want to let them give you the orientation so's you know who's who and what's what. There's quite a few girls operating freelance, so to speak."
Chibi. She bit back a laugh and didn't protest the nickname. I think being tagged with a nickname by this man's probably a compliment. I can live with 'Chibi' ... And she'd take his comment about not joining up under advisement. There was something haunted in this man's eyes. She was 100 percent certain he hadn't told her the whole story about his involvement with this group.
"So," Spike sipped his own coffee, and then asked, "if you're not here on Slayer business, what brings you to LA?"
"College, partly, but I'm trying to find an old friend who might be in trouble." She reached into the inner pocket of her jacket and pulled out an envelope with a letter and a photograph. She seriously doubted Spike could read the letter, but she showed him the photograph. It couldn't possibly be as easy as, "Oh, hey, I know that guy! He lives on Elm Street!" After three years of searching. But she had to try.
"This your friend?" Spike frowned at the picture. "He's either not human or somebody did a good job on special effects."
"He's half-demon -- a hanyou." She confirmed, still bemused by the picture after looking at it for years. In it, Inuyasha looked much as he always had -- save he was dressed in thoroughly modern blue jeans and a bright red t-shirt. Still likes red. His fire-rat haori was nowhere in sight, but she knew he would have had to give it up eventually because it would have been very conspicuous in the modern world. He could wear a hat to cover his ears, and contact lenses might even change his eyes, if he needed to blend in. If he still has the fire-rat outfit he can put it on before a fight, I guess.
It was impossible to tell where the photograph had been taken; she could see trees in the background, and part of a house. No real clues there. "His name's Inuyasha. And he's a very good friend."
To her, he looked wonderful in that picture. She'd never expected to see him again -- now, she had evidence that he'd at least survived into the modern world, attitude and all. Somehow. Some way. "He grows on you, trust me," Kagome indicated the letter. "This came three years ago, with the photograph. It says that if I'm reading this Inuyasha needs me, here in LA. No details and no signature. There's an address for an house in Malibu but nobody had lived there for six months and the landlord said the woman renting it had died and he'd never seen Inuyasha there."
"You don't know who sent it?"
"Nope." She sighed. "I said my goodbyes to Inuyasha five hundred years ago ..."
That got Spike's attention. "I thought you said you were twenty."
"Well, yeah," she shrugged easily. "Time travel was involved."
"I see." He blinked, contemplated that, scratched his head, and said, "You really need to meet the Scoobies."
His easy acceptance of time travel made her almost smile -- she hadn't met many people whose history came close to matching hers in the number and variety of adventures. However, Spike's past seemed to be every bit as colorful as hers. Maybe moreso. He's older, she thought, with some amusement. Give me a few more decades and we'll see how we compare then!
"Err. I said my goodbyes to Inuyasha three -- no, four -- years ago my time. I thought that was it, you know? I thought I'd never see dog-boy again. Then the letter comes, a month later."
"You loved him." Spike said this with his head tilted to one side and with an intent, curious expression on his face.
"Well, yeah. But for a variety of reasons, he couldn't come forward to my time. And I ... I didn't want to stay in the past. He knew this ... and he made a wish on the magic jewel that was the object of our quest. It was for me to go home and be happy -- and to make as much of a difference in my time as I did in his." It still felt like a betrayal, deep down, that he'd sent her away. It hurt. She understood why he'd done it -- it had been utterly selfless, he only wanted her to be happy, and she was still stunned that Inuyasha had made a wish that very selfless. But he had, and she was equal parts pissed that he hadn't talked to her about it first -- and impressed that he'd been so very self-sacrificing.
Because, at the end, he'd loved her too. And she'd known it.
"You have no idea who sent the letter?"
She shook her head in a negative. "It's obviously someone who knows about Inuyasha and me. But otherwise I don't know. It's been three years -- he could be dead, for all I know."
"Mm." Spike said, thoughtfully.
"Anyway, I figured if Inuyasha was here, I should find a reason to come here -- I got accepted to a college here. I'm a history major. On an athletic scholarship, for archery and track," she explained.
Spike snorted. "How much do you hold back?"
She grinned slyly. "I don't."
He lifted an eyebrow. A Slayer in college athletics was unprecedented. He asked, with a smile that matched hers, and a great deal of amusement, "Break any track records yet?"
"A few school records." She lifted an eyebrow. "What? Half my competitors are on 'roids. At least I don't have facial hair. It's not cheating if I'm using what fate gave me."
"Chibi, I like you," Spike breathed, with a laugh of open amusement.
"Oh, good. So you're not going to eat me later?" She blinked innocently at him.
He barked a startled laugh. "God, no."
She sighed, suddenly, sobering, and said, "Inuyasha's trail's three years cold -- not that it was much of a trail to start with. I don't know if he's even still alive.."
Spike blew a short, sharp breath out. "I've got some contacts you probably don't. Want me to see what I can turn up? Demons will talk to me what won't talk to a Slayer or a human."
"I'd welcome any help. I've had a hard time getting information out of the local demons, you're right. The fight you saw? Was a double cross. Somebody said they knew about Inuyasha but when I showed up for a rendezvous they ambushed me." Kagome huffed a sigh of aggravation. "Ah, well. I should know to expect that from demons now ..."