Summary: A new prophecy sends Willow and Faith to New York. Will they be able to prevent the ancient prediction from occurring?

Disclaimer: I don't own them; I just wish I did.

Spoilers: For BtVS…nothing except some minor references. Set post-Chosen with no ties to the S8 comic. For L&O:SVU…Begins with S9's "Alternate." I've used the character Chester Lake, with a few not-so-minor changes. There may be some references to canon episodes later.

Rating: NC-17, eventually

Feedback: Please. This is a new fandom. The muse and I would like to know how we're doing.

Archiving: By permission only


Footsteps pounded on the concrete path.

"Police! Stop!" a female voice shouted out of the poorly lit gloom.

Grabbing Willow, Faith ducked behind a stand of bushes. "Fuck. I thought you said no one came to the Park after dark."

The footsteps got louder, and a lone figure sprinted by.

"That's him," Willow hissed.

"I know that, Red. I'm a Slayer, remember?" Faith pulled a stake from her pocket and crept forward.

More footsteps sounded.

Freezing in place, Faith glanced up. Two more people ran down the path, slowing as they reached the area illuminated by the single light pole.

"Do you see him?" the shorter woman inquired. She breathed in ragged pants, right hand gripping the butt of her gun.

The second woman was less winded. "No. But there aren't any branching paths. He has to be ahead of us."

As they talked, Faith's senses pinged. Their prey was doubling back and getting close. The wood dug into her hand as she clutched the stake.

"Damn it. I can't believe he got away." The shorter woman pulled a radio unit from her belt. "Dispatch, this is Benson. Be advised the suspect is on foot in Central Park between the 100th and 97th Street exits." She jammed the bulky piece back into place. "Stay here, Lake. I'll see if I can flush him out."

Still hidden in the bushes, Faith wanted to growl. The cops were making this much harder than it needed to be. If they'd just been a few steps slower… She watched the cop jog down the path and scanned the darkened area on the other side of the path.

The vampire was close. Too close.

The remaining officer paced restlessly, hand going to her gun and then her side.

A branch snapped, the sound unbelievably loud.

"Police! Come out where I can see you; hands up." The gun cleared the holster as the woman spun to face the noise.

Faith looked in that direction, too. The cop was about to get taken down. She tried to see or feel the approaching vampire. There had to be a way to dust him without alerting the woman to their presence in the park.

Before she could come up with a plan, though, Benson came back. "Nothing. Not a sign of him. It's like he vanished."

A grim smile twisted Faith's lips. No, she thought. Not yet. Give me a minute and a clear shot.

Lake slowly relaxed and holstered her weapon. "You sure? I thought I heard something over here."

"That why you were about to shoot a tree, rookie?" There was an edge of patronizing humor in Benson's voice as she moved closer. "The Captain hates filing paperwork when we kill the flora."

Watching the byplay, Faith almost missed the increased cramping in her senses.

She realized what was happening just as a dark shape stepped onto the path behind Benson.

Willow's soft whisper sounded in her ear, and the light over the path exploded and went out.

"What the fuck?" Benson demanded.

Faith didn't wait for her to grab a flashlight. Standing from her crouched position, she threw the stake at the vampire. Only her enhanced sight allowed her to see his yellow eyes widen in surprise when the wood embedded itself in his chest. He dropped to the ground in tiny particles of ash.

Ducking back into the bushes, Faith squirmed toward Willow and waited.

A click broke the silence, and a narrow beam of light cut the darkness. "Where did he go this time?" Benson demanded. She panned the path with her flashlight. "I saw him right there." The illumination paused on the spot the vampire had been standing. "You saw him, too, didn't you?"

"As much as I'd like to say you imagined it…" Lake turned on her own light and pinpointed the same area. "He was right there, and we were about to get our asses kicked."

"We had guns. He didn't." Benson didn't seem nearly as concerned about the near attack. "Fuck. Cragen's going to kill us. We just let a murder suspect get away."

Lake chuckled. "I'm gonna be glad you're the ranking detective. You can explain how he was there one minute and gone the next. Poof." She started back up the path, Benson at her shoulder.

When they were out of earshot, Faith and Willow climbed out of their hiding place.

"A little close, weren't you?" Willow griped, brushing off her pants and shirt.

The question had Faith grinding her teeth. "You said we had to protect her. She's still breathing, ain't she?"

She watched Willow purse her lips. "Yes, but-"

"But nothing, Red. The cop's alive; the vamp is dead. I say we did a good night's work." Faith spun and stalked up the path.

"What if they'd seen something, Faith? How were you going to explain being in the park with a nice pointy object?" Willow wasn't giving up. She trotted alongside Faith and fired off more questions. "Did you think they wouldn't check out the armed ex-con in the bushes? Better yet: what if they'd seen the vamp get dusted? Maybe I could have waved and said: 'Don't worry; he was already dead.'"

If Faith had had any other way back to their hotel, she would have taken off. "Stupid fucking prophecy," she mumbled. Why couldn't Giles' book have mentioned Buffy? Why her? Head pounding in frustration, she marched to the rental car they'd left at a meter. "Get in," she snapped, pressing the key remote.

Green eyes narrowed. "You aren't driving." Willow held out her hands for the keys.

"Red…" Faith drawled the word warningly. Push just a little more. Come on, she dared silently. The remote creaked in protest at her grip.

"Fine." Willow stalked past her and yanked open the passenger door. "Just don't get pulled over. I still haven't gotten your records cleared. One traffic stop, and you'll be back in a jumpsuit and handcuffs."

Like she was likely to forget that. Faith fired the engine with a more enthusiasm than necessary, and the roar echoed the one deep inside. "You ever gonna get to that? I mean, Sunnydale's been a hole for almost six months now."

She saw Willow frown out of the corner of her eye. "I'm working on it."

"You're a fucking genius, Red." Faith pulled the car onto Central Park West and headed toward their Midtown hotel. "How hard can it be? Hack the California Department of Corrections and delete my name." She risked a quick glance across the interior of the car. "Or…are you trying to say you don't want to?"

Willow didn't say anything. She simply shifted in the seat and looked out the window.

Chelsea Lake shifted uncomfortably in her chair and listened to the intense conversation between her new partner and her new boss.

"Damn it, Olivia. You had him. What the hell happened?" Cragen slammed a hand onto his desk, and the pencil cup toppled. No one moved to pick up the rain of sharpened writing tools as they cascaded to the floor.

Glaring back, Olivia threw up her hands. "I don't know."

It was the wrong answer.

Trying to meld with the cheap faux-leather under her, Chelsea held her breath. The captain's face was red, and he looked ready to explode.

"He was there. Lake and I saw him. Then the damned light went out, and when we got our flashlights out, he was gone. No trace." Olivia seemed to dare Cragen to comment, hands dropping to her hips.

Afraid to blink, Chelsea waited.

"All right." Cragen slumped back into his chair. "Where do we go from here?"

"We can try running down McLaren's old contacts." Shrugging, Olivia looked at Cragen. "I just don't think they're going to be much help. He was declared dead over thirty years ago. Nothing we found the first time indicated anyone in his circle of lowlife cronies even knew he was alive."

Still not convinced it was a good idea to get involved in the conversation, Chelsea tentatively cleared her throat. Two pairs of eyes immediately looked her way.

"You have something to say, Detective Lake?" Cragen regarded her with raised eyebrows.

Praying her darker skin hid the blush she could feel burning her cheeks, Chelsea nodded. "You know, the perp we chased into the park…when he came out of the bushes, he didn't look like a fifty-year old man."

The eyebrows got closer to Cragen's missing hairline. "What did he look like?"

Saying anything had definitely been a bad decision. "He looked like he did in the original crime scene photos," Chelsea forced herself to say. She flashed back to the brief glimpse she'd gotten of McLaren's face in the park. "Young. Healthy." Flicking a look at Olivia, Chelsea added, "He sure as hell didn't run like an old man, either."