So, I had a quote for this one, but then I changed parts of the story and the quote no longer fit. I tried to find a new one, but you'll see for yourself, the chapter doesn't really have a singular theme and I wasn't going to try to find a quote for each different theme.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Don't forget to review!
"Okay. That's it. We need to set some ground rules."
Angel and Kegan both rolled their eyes at me.
"You really think setting ground rules is going to change anything?" asked Angel. "She's an evil demon."
"Neutral!" Kegan snapped, her eyes flaring.
"Would you two shut up for two seconds and behave?" I asked frustratedly. "I'm serious. You have completely stripped me of all good nature!"
Angel snorted and Kegan raised an eyebrow at me.
"I always behave," she said smoothly.
"And you didn't have any good nature to begin with," said Angel.
"Okay, let me put it a different way," I growled, "SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN!"
Angel and Kegan both sat.
"Now this feels like home," Kegan muttered.
"Your father practice his torturing skills on you before he moved on to the world?" asked Angel frostily.
"Hey, you shut up about my father. You have not earned the right to talk about him," Kegan growled.
"What are you gonna do? You kill me, you lose your house for-"
"I SAID SHUT UP!" I all but screamed at them.
They fell silent abruptly.
"Okay, first off, when I want to talk to the two of you, you don't complain, you don't brush me off, you sit and you listen without a word," I growled. "Not only do I have the ability to throw both of you back out on the street, I also have the capability to kill you both. You're both going to live for a very, very long time, so I don't think that a ten minute talk is going to cause you much inconvenience."
"Care to test that?" asked Kegan.
I stood my ground, glaring at her and she shut up, rolling her eyes.
"Alright, look, I have tolerated you both for the past fortnight because I thought you might have still been going through some sort of 'settling into a new place' period, but I have had enough," I said simply. "I'm setting these ground rules, and if they are broken outside of a serious emergency, I will kill one or both of you. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes," they both muttered.
"Good. Firstly, my dog is not to be experimented on."
"But-" started Kegan.
"DO NOT TOUCH MY DOG!" I yelled at her. "If you need a dog to test on, there are plenty of strays out there. Just don't tell me and don't bloody well invite me to watch while you cut out their eyeballs!"
"I thought you might enjoy watching proper science at work," said Kegan coolly. "Not that crap your kindergartner does in that lab."
"Jason has three PhD's," I said.
"Then you'd think that he'd know how to perform a proper science experiment," said Kegan simply.
"Moving on," said Angel pointedly.
"Thank you," I said. "Moving on, I don't get woken up before 9, and trust me, I am being very generous here."
"Oh I know," said Angel. "I've seen you sleep for two days straight."
"Okay, don't sass me," I said, "and don't wake me up at five thirty in the morning ever again."
"That was only because-"
"I don't care!" I snapped. "Just don't do it. And thirdly, and probably most importantly if you both want to see your next birthdays or deathdays or whatever, if you two don't need to talk to each other, don't! Because I always end up replacing burnt furniture and bent weapons. Not to mention I'm sick and tired of walking in on you pressing up against my boyfriend."
"Jealous?" asked Kegan, tongue held between her teeth, silently begging me to deny it.
"YES! Leave him alone!" I snarled. "And while we're on the subject of you leaving my stuff alone, stop cooking my steak!"
"Sorry. I like my food medium-well," said Kegan, smirking. "Unlike you, I'm not an animal."
I growled at her and Angel was on his feet at once, a firm hand on my chest, back to Kegan.
"She wants you to do it," he muttered in my ear.
"Is there anything else, your majesty?" asked Kegan, getting to her feet.
I bit back my retort and her smirk broadened.
"Catch you round Wolverine," she muttered, walking away.
"Wolverine's cool!" I snapped after her.
"Not if you have a life," Kegan commented as she disappeared around a corner.
I snarled frustratedly and turned away from Angel.
"You know, I thought I liked her, but I don't. I want her gone!"
"You want me gone too," said Angel.
"Yeah," I said pointedly. "You're almost as bad as her! Just because you live here now does not mean you have the right to live here!"
"You can't go around changing what's hanging on my walls or all my preset radio stations in my cars or what gets taped on my TV!" I snapped. "The least you could do is ask me first! There's no reason why I would say 'no' except that nobody in their right minds would tape reruns of Days of Our Lives."
"That is a timeless classic," Angel defended.
"You hunt demons for a living!" I pointed out frustratedly. "You're the butchest guy I know and you watch soap operas like they're going out of fashion! They were never in fashion and Days of Our Lives was never, and will never, be a timeless classic! It's tear filled crap!"
"I like it," Angel muttered defensively. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't think it would bother you."
"Well it does. And what's worse is that the stuff that you're doing doesn't bother me, it's that you don't consult me first. I'm glad you can think this place is your home, really I am, but that doesn't mean you can just do whatever you want with it."
"I'm sorry," Angel repeated sincerely, wrapping his arms around my waist. "Let me make it up to you."
"God, vampires," I muttered, turning to face him and pulling his arms off me. "I don't want you to 'make it up to me' Angel, I want you to start treating me and my house like you used to. You can't just come back here after going demon hunting and expect me to be at your beck and call. You actually got angry when I said I was too busy to get you a beer! I mean for heaven's sake Angel, this isn't the seventeen hundreds any more!"
Angel looked seriously ashamed, as he damn well should.
"Mirany I...don't know how many times I have to say I'm sorry, but I'll keep saying it until you believe I am," he said quietly. "I didn't even realise I was doing that stuff. It's just...bad habits."
"Yeah well, if they don't die soon, you will," I said simply.
"Okay, you win. I officially can't feel my head anymore," I groaned, splaying out on my back on the floor. "Congratulations."
"Get up," Farthington said, rolling his eyes and dropping the basketball onto my stomach. "You can do this. It's not difficult."
"I think you underestimate how hard it is to catch a ball blindfolded when you don't know where the other person is throwing from!" I snapped.
"That's why I'm here," said Angel pointedly.
"I notice you haven't helped yet," I growled.
"You weren't paying any attention at all when I told you what you were supposed to do, were you?" asked Farthington, frowning at me. "You are supposed to look through his mind. You're supposed to be able to see through his eyes."
"Well let me cut to the chase for you, okay? I can't! I suck! I always have, I always will!"
I pulled myself to my feet, pushing roughly past Farthington and out of the gym, fuming at myself more than anyone else. Farthington was right. It wasn't supposed to be difficult. Angel and I had had a psychic link for two years now. Angel had been able to look through my eyes since the moment I'd first tasted his blood. Now we had the Warrior's bond too. Surely it only got easier the stronger the bond. I should be able to do it without even thinking. But apparently I couldn't.
So absorbed in my anger, I was paying no attention to where I was going, that is, until I ran head first into Kegan.
"Shit! Sorry, I didn't mean to bowl you over," I said as I staggered away from her.
"No problem. You were well immersed in your mutterings," she said, sounding amused. "Something about Angel being able to do things better than you. I missed the finer details though."
"No, that about sums it up," I said darkly.
"Well, I can't help you with that, but if you want to let go of some of that anger in a healthy, killing vampires kinda way, I got wind of a nest downtown that has a large collection of rare demonic artifacts," said Kegan, her eyes sparkling at the idea of causing death and destruction. That look of evil excitement on the nineteen-year-old body was plain scary. "You can come along if you'd like."
"It's the middle of the day," I pointed out.
"And therein lies out advantage," said Kegan pointedly. "Vampires tend to sleep during the day, remember? Jeez, what did your parents teach you?"
"I'm aware of that," I said coolly. "It's just that because I've been patrolling with Angel for so long I'm used to only going out at night."
"Well, that's why I'm here," said Kegan, grinning as she swung her arm around my neck and steered me in the opposite direction. "Now, let's go pick you a weapon."
"I can't believe you would choose a long bow over a crossbow," said Kegan.
"More control," I said simply, pulling up outside some sort of abandoned warehouse. "Why is it that vampires are always in these places on electrical tunnels? You'd think they could have a little more originality."
"Well, when you're trying to avoid bursting into flames, there aren't a lot of options," said Kegan.
Where are you, and why are you with Kegan?
I'm doing my job.
What's the catch?
I have to kill things and let her keep the spoils.
There are artifacts or something in there.
Oh Mirany. This could end very badly.
Don't watch then.
"Are you coming?"
I blinked and looked up. Kegan was already out of the car and several yards away.
I jumped over my car door and grabbed my bow and a quiver of arrows from the trunk.
"Aren't you gonna take in anything?" I asked Kegan. "I have plenty of stuff in here."
Kegan's hands set a light.
"I got weapons," she said simply.
"Right," I muttered, slinging the quiver over my shoulder and hooking an arrow onto the bow. "Scary fire chick."
Kegan smirked and led the way into the warehouse. I winced as she pushed the huge metal sheet of a door to the side, every squeak and scrape magnified by ten from my paranoia at waking the vampires. If they did wake up, we'd be severely outnumbered. But someone was smiling on us, because nothing moved inside the warehouse as we slipped through the crack we'd made.
Kegan gestured me on forwards while she mounted the stairs and I continued into the darkened building. The first one I saw was hanging out of his home-made hammock, with just his hips and legs inside the material. As I got closer he moved slightly, and began to sniff a little. I pulled another arrow from my quiver and stabbed the vampire before he could wake up and alert someone that I was here. The aim of this game was kill swiftly and silently. I felt like some sort of master assassin as I slipped under the hammock and through the cloud of dust the vampire had created, hooking the other arrow onto the bow as well and pulling the string back at the ready.
I'd let my eyes change to compensate for the darkness, but they were still adjusting slightly and before I could catch myself, I bumped into a small table. A small table which, unfortunately, had glassware on it. The glass teetered for a moment before falling to the ground and smashing at my feet. Instantly, I heard the sounds of at least ten vampires, probably more, rousing at once.
I saw the first three vampires coming at me from my left, and another two from my right. I lined up the arrows and loosed the string. The two shafts met their mark, hitting one on my right and one on my left. The first to dive through the dust at me was one of the two on my left. I swung at it with the bow and hit it hard over the head before chopping down on it's shoulder and pulling out another arrow, stabbing it in the back. I spun around and threw the arrow at the vampire coming at my back, hitting my mark. The last one on my left caught me off guard. As I regained my balance it swept out my feet and I face planted into the ground.
I grabbed hold of the arrow I'd just thrown, which was now lying just within my reach on the floor and slashed at it's face as it bore down on me. It hissed and recoiled. I kicked out at it's chest, sending it flying off me and into two more that were coming at me. Scrambling to my feet, I tore back towards the door and the sunlight. Only one of them was stupid enough to take the bait. Stopping just before the sunlight, I grabbed it around the neck as it went to tackle me and threw it bodily out of the warehouse, taking a moment to sadistically enjoy its yells of pain as it burnt to dust.
Stepping carefully into the doorway, framing myself in the middle of the sun's rays, I hooked an arrow into the bow and carefully took aim at the only vampire I could see with a weapon as they all skirted around nearby, trying to decide whether or not it was worth risking tackling me out of the light. Just as I was about to loose the arrow, one of them dared and I swore as the arrow soared past the vampire, flying into the darkness. Now I was in trouble. Six vampires bore down on me, all with varying looks of glee on their faces for cornering their meal. Or so they thought.
As the one that had tackled me moved in for the kill, I drew the cross hidden under my shirt out of my belt and slammed it straight into it's face. It screamed in pain as it drew away at once, a cross-shaped burn marring it's features. The rest of the vampires drew back at once. The sight of the cross didn't hurt them, but the threat of my using it scared them enough to move away. I struggled to my feet and pulled out another arrow, brandishing the cross at any that dared get closer. My bow was lying ten feet away, back in the sunlight where I'd dropped it. Wasn't going to do me much good right now.
"Alright," I muttered, spinning the arrow in my fingers. "You guys wanna play hard ball? We can play hard ball."
I flung the cross at the armed vampire and dived, taking advantage of his momentary distraction and stabbing at it, but it moved just before I could bring the arrow home and I ended up stabbing the arrow through it's side.
"Missed," he hissed.
I ducked as it swung the knife it had grabbed at my face and hit it hard in the solar plexus, kicking out behind me at the vampire that was trying to take me by surprise. Pulling out another arrow, I blocked the next knife swing and slammed the new arrow straight into the vampire's chest. Snatching the knife out of the air as it fell, I spun and tossed it right into the eye of the next brave undead. Howling in pain, it staggered away from me and I took my one opportunity as the others moved towards me and dove for my bow. Unlucky. I was a foot away from it when a vampire I hadn't even known was there whacked me right across the face with some form of brick-like object.
Reeling and completely unable to defend myself as stars popped up in my vision, I was suddenly beyond glad that I had brought Kegan rather than Angel. Angel couldn't have dragged my attacker straight into the sun, nor could he have lit up the next one as it tried to take advantage of the stun.
"You looked like you could do with some help," Kegan commented as my vision began to clear.
"Nice timing," I said, scooping up my bow and shooting two vampires at once. "Do you know how many?"
"Eleven left," said Kegan, dodging a kick and sucker punching her attacker before lighting his head on fire and watching with sadistic amusement as he ran screaming. "Make that ten."
Whacking an approaching vampire with my bow and kneeing it in the mouth as it doubled over, I couldn't help but notice that the vampires were getting more organised.
"I think they've got a plan forming," I warned Kegan as I dusted the vampire.
"I know," she said, eyes gleaming.
I watched in curious amazement as she transformed, turning into a tall demon with red-brown skin, a cat-like face, yellow eyes and long, pointed ears. Fire flared in her hair and along glowing red lines on her skin, and ridges grew down her spine, growing into vicious looking points with the glowing red 'veins' running through them as well. She looked a fair bit more dangerous than Angel had described.
"I'd find cover if I were you," she warned me.
I took her advice at once and took off towards the other end of the warehouse, finding a large, wide metal column and slipping in behind that, holding out my foot and tripping up the vampire that followed me before shoving an arrow through it's chest.
The warehouse was suddenly lit brightly by orange light, which could mean only one thing. There was a fire, and a big one. The light died down quickly, but the heat remained. An almost unbearable heat which seared at my lungs as I breathed it in. I gave it two minutes before I came out from behind the column. Kegan was back in her human form, brushing vampire dust off her arms and legs.
"Well, that was exciting," she said brightly.
I stared around the warehouse. Anything that had been unprotected was now charred and blackened, and there were a few spot fires where material or wood had been toasted.
"What did you do?"
"Let them see what real power is," said Kegan simply.
"Remind me to not get on your bad side," I said.
"And me, you," said Kegan. "You pulled some impressive moves there."
"Thanks," I muttered, taking off the quiver and counting out my arrows. I'd done fairly well considering. I still had about half my arrows left. "So, you looting the place or something? What could vampires have that's so valuable anyway?"
Kegan gestured me up the stairs.
"Come and see this."
I noticed that she limped up the stairs in front of me, and seemed to be close to exhaustion.
"Not really," she muttered. "Lot of energy to do that."
Kegan smiled slightly.
"It's not that bad," she said. "Just a scratch."
The demon on her jeans was blackened in one area. A rather large area. I could smell her blood, more powerful than anything I'd smelt before, and more potent, and all I could think was that it was something akin to lava.
"Will you be alright?"
Kegan frowned slightly.
"Of course I will," she grunted. "Just need it to heal, is all. I don't suppose you'd be willing to offer up a litre of your blood?"
"I'm kinda using it," I said. "Sorry."
Kegan raised an eyebrow at me and her hand lit up. I watched as she held it to the wound and slowly the smell of her blood faded away. She was healed by fire. That was new.
"There," she muttered, taking her hand away and examining her leg. "Much better. Now, valuables. There's a sheet of metal over there, move it aside."
I obeyed out of curiousity and found myself staring at an old wooden chest, something that looked like it had been built in medieval times. It looked worn, but it was still obviously very solid. The lock on it had been broken, and was serving no other purpose than keeping the lid closed now, preventing the latch from flipping upwards. Kegan's eyes sparkled at the sight of it and she crouched in front of it, rubbing her hands together greedily.
"Now, what are you hiding?" she asked quietly, tossing the lock into a corner.
I peered over her shoulder as she opened the chest, but while Kegan cackled with delight at the find, I was somewhat disappointed. There were a couple of old looking books and an ornate looking knife, but everything else in there seemed to be nothing more than horns or claws from other demons.
"I guess they hold more value if you have some clue of what they are," I commented.
"Waenork horns," said Kegan, holding up one. "Ornhaio claws, Br'tine fangs. These things have very specific magical properties. Not to mention that if you use them as a weapon they can have all sorts of colourful effects on your foes."
"So, we just dusted like, thirty vampires so that you could get your hands on a chestful of demon parts?" I asked.
Kegan held the knife up to me.
"You can have this."
I caught Kegan's smirked at how easily satiable I was, but I didn't care. I'd just come out of a fifteen to one fight with barely more than a bruise, and an awesome looking knife. I was pretty happy right about now.
Are you okay?
Yes Angel, I'm fine.
Alive and kicking.
Farthington's pissed off at you.
What else is new?
He doesn't trust Kegan. He has good reason.
So if I had done this with anyone else, he'd have been alright with it?
To a point.
Well, you can tell him that if it wasn't for the demon, I'd be dead right now.
"Alright, this is good. I'm very happy with this," said Kegan, lifting the chest as she straightened up. "We can go."
"How did you hear about this place?" I asked.
"I keep my ear to the demon underground. On occasion, something good comes out of it," said Kegan simply. "Is the vampire pissed off?"
"Not as much as the Watcher apparently."
"Yes well, I've never found Watcher's to be particularly tolerant of any demon, good or bad," said Kegan.
"You know, I've been wondering, how did you even hear about me?" I asked.
"Well, it's very simple. I heard the words 'rich Slayer' and I immediately started digging," said Kegan.
"No you didn't."
"No I didn't," she agreed. "I actually heard about your family from a business associate of your father's. At the time, your parents were still alive and I wasn't all too keen on the idea of standing up to two Watchers and a Slayer. Not to mention, Angel wasn't exactly happy about my poking my nose in either."
"Mmm, your sister said you didn't remember," said Kegan.
"The lawyer, yeah," said Kegan. "Man, she knew how to work a deal. She couldn't have been long out of law school but she still managed to get me."
"She was evil like that," I said. "What about Angel and my not remembering?"
"England. You were...seven I think she said. Got in a fight with your dad, ran out of the house at night, got cornered by vampires. Angel rescued you. Haven't you ever wondered how he and your parents got to be friends?"
"Well, yeah but...I guess I didn't think about it that much," I said, straining my brain to remember back to when I was seven years old, but for the life of me I couldn't remember anything like it. I must have blocked it out or something.
You and I need to talk.
What's she told you now?
How you met my parents.
There was silence from Angel, accompanied with a sort of sinking feeling in my stomach that I put down to being Angel's sense of dread at the conversation I was going to force him to have with me later.
"So how'd she get you?"
"She gave me an offer that I was too quick to take up," said Kegan simply. "I don't think Angel ever trusted me per say, but when she made me give up my end of the deal...well, he's certainly never going to trust me again."
Kegan frowned at me.
"You ask too many questions."
"You know, for the life of me, I can't remember you ever being in England," I said, sitting down beside Angel, frowning.
Angel was silent and I kicked him in the shins.
"Now it's your turn to speak," I said pointedly.
"What do you want me to say?" asked Angel.
"Well...tell me!" I said. "What happened?"
"It was late," said Angel, sitting back and frowning as he recalled the memory. "'Bout mid-November. I was about a block away from your house and I heard someone yell and then a door slam. I didn't really think much of it until I heard the scream. You were in a park nearby, and you were cornered by four vampires. I just remember thinking that you were...different. I don't really know how to describe it. You were just...there was something about the way you held yourself or something. Even though these big guys with twisted faces were two seconds away from ripping your throat out you still seemed...confident or something. I don't know. Anyway, one of them came at you and you hit them right in the groin."
"Bravest seven year old I've ever seen," he said. "You tried to run but obviously you didn't get far. That was when I reached you. After kicking their asses all the way back to hell, I was sure you wouldn't be able to utter a word. I had no idea how I was going to get you home. You were seven, it's not as if you were going to have a phone. But you surprised me again. You told me your name, told me where you lived, told me what happened. Sure, you were a little shaken but...you were fine. It was the strangest thing. Anyway, I took you back home. Your parents were beyond relieved that you were safe, but I swear they nearly had a heart attack when I confessed that I was a vampire. But they'd kept up with their reading. I told them who I was and after a very quick spell just to check, they invited me in and your mum took you to bed while I told your dad what happened. When your mum came back down she said you wouldn't remember anything. She'd put a spell on you or something. It was a good idea at the time. It wasn't as if they could have predicted you'd be the Slayer."
"That's why I don't remember?"
"Probably. I mean, I don't actually know for sure. She didn't just come out and say 'I put a forgetting spell on her'. But she seemed pretty sure you wouldn't remember so I guess so."
"Why didn't you tell me this when we met?" I asked.
"Would you have believed me?" asked Angel pointedly.
"Guess not," I muttered.
"I can show you, if you want," Angel offered, but I shook my head, getting to my feet to get a beer.
"I can take your word for it," I said. "I don't need to check."
"I would have told you," said Angel sincerely, "if I thought it would have helped. Or if you had asked how I met your parents. I just didn't think it really bothered you."
"It didn't," I said. "But it did bother me that Kegan knew what happened before I did."
"That wasn't my fault," he said.
"No. I can blame my sister for that," I muttered.
"Don't you blame her for anything that goes badly?"
"No. Generally I blame you," I said casually, handing him a bottle as I sat down again.
"Alright. Let's get this over with," I muttered, pulling on the blindfold. I was exhausted. I just wanted Farthington to leave. I'd been beaten by his stick, cut by his sword and almost speared by his crossbow, and now I had to do this stupid exercise again. Not to mention, Angel had woken me up before nine. So far, Kegan was following my rules better than he was. I had expected it to be the other way around.
"Concentrate," said Farthington.
I closed my eyes and concentrated. I had to empty my mind, then I had to focus on Angel's. I couldn't decide which was harder. But when I was just about to give up, suddenly I could see. I could myself standing in the middle of the gym, and I could see Farthington throwing the ball to my right. I watched, completely amazed at this weird new way of seeing, as my body threw up it's hands to catch the ball, then, just as suddenly as it had come, my vision was gone, and I was thrown back into black, only now I had a ball in my arms.
"I did it," I said, pulling off the blindfold. "Man that was weird."
"You get used to it," said Angel, smirking.
"I thought I would have to hit my head against all your mind walls again," I said. The last time I remembered trying to get into Angel's head, I had had the unpleasant experience of slamming my head against a brick wall several times as I tried to access his memories. That had been just before we'd taken the Warrior's oath.
"I told you it's much easier to do now."
Farthington looked pleased.
"Good job," he said. "I think we're done for the day."
"Oh thank God," I breathed, collapsing on the floor. "Goodbye."
"I'll be back tomorrow," Farthington warned.
"I know. And I'll have my thinking brain on," I said dully. Farthington had decided we would alternate between physical and theoretical training. I was sick to death of listening to his history of Slayers, but at least I didn't have to work too hard in or theory sessions. "Goodbye!"
Farthington left the gym, but before the door could close, Maia came running in, yelping. I sat up at once. She was covered in soot.
"KEGAN!" I yelled at the top of my lungs as Maia tried to fit herself inside me in an attempt to hide. "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"