Title: Outside Chance

Author: Gyrus

Rating: PG-13 (for adult language and violence)

Disclaimer: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANGEL, and associated characters are the creation of Joss Whedon and the property of Fox Television. But hey, if I owned them, there would be no illicit thrill in taking them out for a spin now and then.

Author notes: This story is the third and final installment in a trilogy that began with "Inside" and continued with "Fool Me Twice". I never meant to write a trilogy, but the muse made me.

In any case, the story contains spoilers for every BTVS up through "The Gift". Many thanks to HonorH, Dr. Tamwe, and the lovely DeathBunny for their editorial assistance.



The Bronze was as full of activity as it ever was. The jukebox blasted techno-industrial dance music as densely-packed male and female bodies twisted and writhed against one another on the dance floor. More crowded around the bar, shouting conversations over the music. A few settled in for make-out sessions in the darker corners, hands grasping hair or wandering over backs.

Only two things distinguished this night from others the Bronze had witnessed over the years. First, it was Sunday, when the Bronze was traditionally closed. Second, Peter Lefrovich, the high school kid who normally swept the place out on Sundays, was not scattering green sweeping powder over the floors as he normally would at this time. Rather, he lay on the bar, stripped to his shorts and held down by strong, cold hands as members of the crowd took turns drinking from his neck, wrists, and thighs.

Peter felt faint from blood loss, but the wooziness didn't take much of the edge off his terror. There were dozens of the yellow-eyed bloodsuckers here, and it looked like every one of them was going to get a turn with him before the night was over.

I'm a human buffet, he thought deliriously.

A man/thing walked up to him, tall, with long, raven hair. The ridges of his forehead intersected with a jagged diagonal scar. The man grabbed Peter's left wrist and bit into it like it was fresh fruit, taking a long, lusty drink. Peter's field of view turned a darker shade of gray.

The man dropped Peter's wrist and shouted to the crowd, "ARE WE HAVIN' FUN OR WHAT?" His voice sounded over the music, and Peter faintly realized that the man was wearing a lapel microphone.

"YEAH!" "WHOOO!" "HELL YES!" called various members of the crowd.

The man held his hand flat in front of his throat; the yellow-eyed thing that was spinning the music switched it off.

"For those of you who don't know me," the man called as he walked up onto the stage, "my name is Lorenzo DeSalva, and I'm the host of this party, which is being held in honor of a very special lady."

Behind DeSalva, two men carried an easel onto the stage, its top half covered with a black cloth. As soon as the two men put the easel down and scurried away, DeSalva yanked off the cloth to reveal a blown-up portrait of a pretty blonde girl. Although he was horizontal and growing ever dizzier, Peter vaguely recognized her; he'd been a freshman at Sunnydale High when this girl was a senior.

"Buffy Summers," DeSalva shouted. "Five years, she turned the Boca del Infierno, the place the hellgods made just for us, into a place for HUMANS. Making us hide in our crypts drinking pig's blood while she staked our children even as they climbed out of the grave. Making our lives a living Heaven.

"But those days are over! We're taking back the night, boys and girls, because Miss Summers here is..." He pulled his fist back and punched a hole through the photograph, right where Buffy's face was . "...out of the picture!"

The crowd went berserk. Screaming, high-fiving, jumping up in the air like maniacs.

"So, as this town's new master vampire, I'm throwing this little party in her honor." More cheering and shrieks of joy started, but someone shouted over them.

"Wait a minute!" yelled a vamp with a dirty-blonde crew cut and a body like a bank vault door. He climbed up onto the stage with DeSalva. "Who died and made you..." He stopped and selected a different phrasing. "I mean, who the hell are you? I don't know you. I bet nobody here knows you. What makes you think you can just walk in and take charge?"

"Well," said DeSalva, "If you don't think I'm qualified...." He raised his fists in invitation.

The big blonde vamp stepped forward and hooked a punch at DeSalva's head. DeSalva ducked as he traversed forward and right. Before the bigger man could recover from his own swing, DeSalva kneed him hard in the groin, then grabbed his hair in one hand and his chin in the other and twisted hard. Peter closed his eyes to the sight, but he still heard the sound, like four or five fresh carrots snapping at once. DeSalva's huge opponent fell to the floor.

"That won't kill ya, of course," DeSalva said, looking down at his fallen challenger. "But I do kinda wonder if anybody cares enough to feed you and scratch your nose for you for the next four months or so."

Then DeSalva looked up at the crowd. "Anybody else wanna look at my resume?" he shouted. Nobody spoke.

Then, from the other end of the room, there came the sound of a single person clapping very slowly. Heads turned; a slim, bleach-blonde vampire stood in the doorway, his long black coat fanning open behind him. Peter thought he looked like an acid-punk guitarist.

"Lovely, mate, just lovely," the vampire said with a smile. "I s'pose next you're gonna tell us that great story about how you did the same thing to Davy Crockett at the Alamo back when you were human."

"Damn right I did," said DeSalva. "What of it?"

"Well, you always leave out part where you explain how you killed Crockett in 1836, even though you didn't get turned until 1958."

"Shut up, Spike," DeSalva snarled. "Nobody believes your bullshit, you human-loving freak."

"Well, nobody else here has met – what was her name? Trixie? – the little blood-whore who turned you for thirty dollars and a carton of Marlboros. Real classy, that. Don't know why you tell everybody that Davy Crockett story when the real one's so compelling."

"You're dust," DeSalva spat. He took a big step down from the stage and strode towards Spike.

"Funny you should put it that way."

Spike took a big step to the left. Behind the place where he had stood, more than a dozen stakes hung in the air, arranged in a neat vertical formation that had been concealed easily behind Spike's coat.

A young, red-haired woman stepped into the entranceway. She waved her hand, and the stakes rearranged themselves into a fan-like horizontal pattern. Her eyes were solid black.

"Madre de dios," DeSalva whispered.

"Vóle!" the girl shouted. The stakes shot forward. Six vampires were struck through the heart and instantly burst into dust; the rest of the stakes missed their primary targets but hit shoulders, stomachs, throats, sending up screams all over the room. One stake even took DeSalva through the thigh; the man fell to the floor and was trampled by the large chunk of the crowd that began to surge towards Spike.

The black-clad vampire plunged in and attacked the first enemy within reach. He jabbed to the face, then kicked to the stomach, pulled a stake from his jacket, and slammed it home. "Who's next?" he shouted gleefully.

A vampire behind Spike broke off a piece of bar rail and prepared to shove it through Spike's back. Before he could strike, the red-headed woman shouted "Ignis incente!" The vampire burst into flames and took off at a run, shrieking. Other vampires knocked one another over trying to keep away from him.

Another human, blonde and female, came in behind the first. She raised her hand; white smoke spewed forth from it and began to fill the room.

Several vamps ran for the back door and pulled it open, only to find themselves staring straight at the points of three loaded crossbow bolts. The vampires at the front of the group were dusted before they even made it through the door. The vamps behind them fell in a heap at the doorway, where a wire had been stretched across it at ankle-height. Before they could get up, the three crossbow-wielders, two men and a woman, fell upon them with stakes.

Inside, most of the vampires were now in a panic. Several tried to run past the witches who stood in the entranceway but struck an invisible barrier and fell back, dazed. Spike staked them all before they could even turn around.

In the smoke and chaos, DeSalva was finally able to get to his feet. While others ran for the doors, he headed for the men's room, with a couple of his followers close behind. With all their strength, they crashed through the frosted-glass window and the grate behind it, falling into the alleyway behind the club. From there, they ran out to the street, down the block, and around the back of the Sun Theater. They huddled behind a Dumpster, looking around nervously to make sure they hadn't been followed.

"Dude, like, who WERE those guys?" one of the hench-vamps asked.

"The dead Slayer's minions," the other one said.

"Whoa, those were some bad-ass minions. No wonder it took a god to finish her off."

"I heard she offed herself."

"Really? Huh. Kinda makes sense, though; I mean, being a Slayer must be totally stressful. You know, like being a cop or a dentist or something."

"A dentist? What are you talking about?"

"No, really, man, I read this article that said being a dentist is like totally-"

"Could you both SHUT UP!" DeSalva shouted. "We have important shit to talk about, here."

"Oh, right."


"Now," DeSalva said, "tonight was a goddamn disaster. Not only did all our potential followers get dusted, but we don't have a snowball's chance of finding any vampire in this town who'll work with us now. We're gonna have to make our own minions."


"Good idea."

"Okay, then. Now what I want you boys to do is-"

"Excuse me," a new voice called.

The three vamps turned to see another vampire, game face on, strolling up to them. She was medium height, with long brown hair, and she wore jeans and a dark blue jacket that might once have been a man's sport coat, though it fit her slim trunk fairly well.

She walked up to DeSalva and asked politely, "Who is the master vampire in this town?"

DeSalva smiled ferally. "You're lookin' at him," he said.

The man's head fell off.

Neither of DeSalva's hench vamps actually saw the woman behead their leader. One moment he was talking to her; the next moment, she had a short sword in her hand, and he was headless.

His body crumbled to dust as they stared, shocked. Finally, one of them regained the power of speech.


The woman looked up and walked over to him, as casually as when she had first approached their leader.

"Who is the master vampire in this town?" she asked, her tone as polite as before.

He gulped. "Um, you are?"

She smiled.