By the Lady Sirona
with help from Dallas and Alpha reading done by Emryld Wing
Rating: M, B/R, B/A, B/? Nudity, graphic violence, swearing and alleged sexual activities
Summary: The nest of Demon and Vampires in Belize turns out to be more than the Army can deal with.
Spoilers: Into the Woods. The gift hasn't happened, or she came back, take your pick. I am not dealing with it! Anything in seasons 1-5 is fair game for the fight!
Dedication: to Bailey Chase who wondered at the PBP 2001 why I never really had Graham Miller in any story line more than just passing…
Disclaimer: not mine, Joss's and etc. No money being made
Belize, previously known as British Honduras, lies on the East coast of Central America in the heart of the Caribbean Basin, bordering on Mexico to the North, Guatemala to the West and South, and flanked by the Caribbean Sea to the East. It is supposed to be a Caribbean wonder vacation spot. For the men of the Special Hostile Forces Unit it was Hell. They arrived with the blessing of the Belize Government, and set up camp far from the tourist's spots on the coast because Belize has a problem: Demons and Vampires.
The central part of Belize consists of sandy soil that supports large savannas. Approximately thirty miles southwest of Belize City, the land begins to rise dramatically to between 1,500 and 3,680 feet above sea level in the enchanting Mountain Pine Ridge District and the Maya Mountains where the vampires have set up home in the mountains to plague the people.
Special Hostile Forces Unit [SHFU] came and set up camp at the base of the mountains, with the intention of wiping out the hostiles. No games this time with capturing or restraining, this should have been easy. It should have been a rout.
Well it was, of the SHFU. Of the 60 men who arrived, only 18 remained and they were captured stripped and kept in pens for midnight snacks. The vampires would drain them and the Aragari demons would then eat them, an ignominious death to some fine men.
Lieutenant Riley Finn squatted next to Graham and sighed. Graham's broken left leg and shattered knee bode ill for the man. His leg had been destroyed the night before and so he was next up on the menu that night. "I have looked I don't see anyway out. The Aragari Demons guard during the day, vampires in the night... and we still can't get free of these damned shackles!" Anger burned in him for the fate of his friend
"Don't worry about it Ry. It was eventually to be my time and at least the pain will stop tonight. I am glad at least Jefferson escaped." Riley nodded. Of all of the men captured, only Clyde Jefferson escaped. He was a friend from the Initiative days and Riley was more than willing to see one of the old guys make it. They knew he would not bring any help. They were a clandestine unit and no one would come rescue them.
"Enough of that defeatist talk men." the team commander Harrison said. They rolled their eyes. He was an idiot. He took over the team when Ellis died in the initial firefight and he had no idea what they were getting into. Riley and the remaining men thought he was the major reason their team was decimated. Dying was tolerable knowing an Aragari demon was going to eat his spleen.
"So you guys figure out who you will serve up tonight?" the grungy black haired Vampire smiled. "I was thinking of the broken one but if another wants to volunteer, then by all means speak up!" he laughed. Part of the fun of pets was to annoy them and making them pick each day that would die. It was delightful fun!
"No it will be me," Graham said between clenched teeth. He wasn't afraid to die, but HOW they made them die made him sick. Several had been tortured. Others were whipped until they were bloody and the vampires licked the running blood from the wounds. Ralbosh had been fucked unit he screamed and then drained as he screamed till died. Graham grimaced, wondering what method his would be. His inability to stand left a few of those options out, thank god.
There was a loud ruckus in the main room where their cages were situated. The vampires were meeting and the leader of the Aragari demon came in. He was a massive demon standing close to 7 feet tall and near 500 pounds. Dark eggplant purple skinned and scaly, he was a walking nightmare. His group was not to his size, most were in the 200-pound range and only 6-feet but they still could devastate a human male in one to one battles. They had used their automatic weapons on him and his buddies but to little avail. They had learned the hard way automatics were nearly useless against the vampires and the demons.
The Tasers the men form the initiative brought had worked on the vampires, but had only annoyed the demons and the unit had fallen. All those who lived from the initial slaughter had been made prisoner. They had been stripped nude, chained and kept prisoner. One prisoner a day was taken and killed in front of them usually brutally. The men of the SHFU had emotionally given up. They had been told they would not be rescued. The government had no one to save them conventional forces couldn't go against them!
It would be a long wait until the night, when Graham would die.
The night didn't start with the usual gathering and harassment of the humans. The vampires and demons were running around as the lead vampire was ranting. "I need to know what the hell an awriyay is, and what the hell made it so important she would come here of all places?" the present demons and Vampires wracked the brains but none had heard of an awriyay. The leader was not pleased. "Well figure it out the bitch will be here soon, and trust me it is going to be hell if we can't appease her!" The soldiers sat in wonder. What would be coming that sent this group into a complete fluster when 60 armed soldiers with semi automatic weapons and flame-throwers just pissed them off?
The prisoners saw that the demonic encampment was in an uproar. The demons and minion vampires scurried around like cockroaches surprised by the late night snacker as they made defensive arrangements. When settled they started to wait. The prisoners sat with baited breath wanting to see what had the demons and the vampires nearly hysterical. They had laughed at the military attack. What was happening that had them completely freaked? The prisoners wondered what nefarious attack was coming to have the demons and the Vampires shaking in their shoes.
Then they waited in the heavy oppressive summer heat. They weren't too long waiting until the sounds of battle could be heard. The demons were in a flustered and they weren't fairing well. One large Aragari demon fell back into the chamber and died on the floor, his heart cut out. The prisoners didn't want to know what could do that!
"Slayer Slayer Slayer!" The demons screamed as they ran around retreating into the chamber. The vampires weren't any more interested in engaging the attacking forces. While most of the prisoners were confused, Riley and Graham knew just "who" was coming through that entrance.
She was magnificent. She strode into the chamber her hands twirling the quarterstaff. She looked around with a wicked smile evaluating the competition. There were now left only the two biggest two Aragari demons. A vampire attacked her only to meet its death on the quarterstaff and she was loss in her battle lust.
They watched as she spun and kicked the vampires away form her, giving her the room she needed to stake them with the sharpened ends of the quarterstaff. Where automatic weapons failed, the Vampire Slayer with a long wooden stick was decimating the vampires. The prisoners watched her in amazement. The Vampire Slayer was considered a myth, but the ones form the initiative had known her.
Giles followed her covering her back with a hand held cross bow. Willow and Tara and Anya entered running quickly over to the prisoners to prevent a demon from killing them in the battle. They set up force field protecting them as they tried to free them from the shackles without looking at their nude bodies. Young muscle bound men in chains gave Anya all sorts of ideas.
Riley always found watching her in full all out battle mode amazing. It made him feel incompetent and useless but she was magnificent. He watched in proud possessiveness until the rest showed up. Two men entered both with swords. One was Xander who was doing damage to whatever came near him and the other…
The other was a vampire deep in game face fighting the Aragari demons. He killed one, and while Buffy was killing the vampires, he went after the largest demon. The prisoners stared in amazement at the devastation to the group of demons and vampires that Riley knew was made by one Slayer, two witches, a retired librarian/Watcher turned shop keeper, an ex-vengeance demon and her geeky construction worker boyfriend.
But the most bone chilling of all was the vampire fighting at her side Angel. He backed her, protecting her. Riley's skin crawled to see the vampire so close to her and her allowing it. "She has her own pet vampire!" One of the soldiers commented. Riley didn't bother to figure out just who. He watched as Tara and Willow tried in vain to free the prisoners.
Soon the battle was ended. The diminutive blonde achieved what 60 military men could not: Total eradication. While Giles joined Willow and Tara to free the army men, Angel and Buffy did a search for any remaining vampires or demons. Riley watched her every move as she walked and hunted with Angel who had resumed his human face. Jealously burned in him. Was she back with the vampire?
Corporal Harrison looked Buffy and then to Angel. "You missed one."
She looked at him confused and then anger filled her eyes. "No… he's on our side."
Harrison growled. "No stinking vampire is on our side!"
Buffy walked over to the cage with the army in chains. "You don't have a lot to say on the matter do you?" she looked him up and down and then dismissed him. Her eyes searched the faces of the men and stopped on Riley. "Giles, we need to get these guys free and out of here. Our damned plane leaves in 4 hours!" Giles just snorted and continued to try spells of release. Corporal Harrison was trying to take control of the situation, and the scoobies just ignored him.
"I like the sight of men in Chains Xander, we need to try that!" Anya blurted, managing to embarrass them all. "There is a lot of fun things you can do with the man in chains." she all but purred. Giles continued to work on the situation ignoring her kinky sex life commentary. By the time they freed the men, they all knew more about Xander and Anya's sex life than any sane person would want to.
Graham watched all the activity and sighed. There was no way they could drag him though the jungle to make a flight from the nearest airport in less than four hours. They would have to nearly run through the bush and they couldn't carry him that far. He knew they all knew what he had to do and he avoided looking at anyone.
Xander brought the guys their clothes he found thrown in a storage room. The all gathered their clothing and started to dress. Buffy swallowed and walked over to "Riley we need to talk."
Riley nodded. He followed her to a small distance away from everyone. "Why did you bring HIM?"
Buffy was stunned that was the last thing she expected to be the first thing to say. "You're a fine one to talk! He came to save your ass! Why can't you say thank you!" she was appalled. She just rescued him and his team and he was more interested in getting into competition with Angel!
"Oh you bring him here and now I have to kiss his ass? Your back with him now?" Riley snapped. Just thinking of that THING touching her made his skin crawl. Riley looked at her. "Because you brought him here, you have no idea how it looks us getting saved by a vampire!"
"You're concerned with appearances? You were a midnight snack, bare assed naked, chained to the floor...and you're worried about appearances?" she was stunned.
Riley felt his anger increasing. "Well it don't look to hot either, that a girl come in and kicked ass."
"So want me to chain you back up and leave you here to rot? Your friend called me and told me you and your buddies were here. We dropped everything some thanks I get, I should have known better you always hated that I was stronger than you."
Riley looked at her feeling mocked and embarrassed in front of his team. "So you call him and bring him as well, or are you back with him?" jealously rose like bile in his throat.
"You know I can't be back with him. This was a large nest, I needed the back up and he was who I could call. I am not 'back with him' so don't be an ass." She snapped her anger flashing in her eyes like diamonds
Riley continued aware he was in dangerous territory. "Well you never truly were over him now are you... then Dracula came long... putting his bite on you...then you close me off so Think I have a right to be an ass as you put it"
"NO. No you don't. I was never over him, I LOVE him! Dracula just bedazzled me.. I am a Vampire Slayer. I risk vampire bites asshole. You closed yourself off. YOU didn't talk and YOU walked away so you have no right to be an asshole."
"So I told you I was leaving, you never showed, so I'm suppose to jump for joy now that you're here? I thank you for the help Slayer, but you can go away with your vampire pet now." Riley spit out letting his anger rule his tongue.
She looked at him not believing they were having this argument "I showed, but you left anyway. I stood there and watched your helicopter ride into the night... and he's NOT a pet!"
Riley snarled. "He comes when you call... what is he, if not a good little dog?"
"He is a friend unlike your sorry ass! He comes when I need him and he waits until *I* bare my soul, not give me ultimatums for me to open up and weaken myself! What I am is none of your damned business. *You* left me!" she hissed at him. It hurt to see him battered stripped and set for vamp food. Now he had the nerve to jump her about Angel?
"I left because you couldn't be bothered to share with me. To include me in your life… I was nothing to you!" Riley raised his voice as he towered over her. The fellow prisoners were staring at him in shock.
Was he insane? This woman ripped the beating heart out of mature Aragari demons!
"I came to the heliport. You left anyway! I was there within your ultimatum. But you left!" Her voice was ragged in pain. This was too much.
"Finn return to the ranks" Corporal Harrison called to him. It was out of line to have him the middle of a lover's spat in a demon lair.
"Oh shut up! If I want to hear an opinion from you I will beat it out you!" Buffy yelled at Corporal Harrison. Not a person in the area doubted she meant it.
Riley looked at her his anger almost overwhelming him "Whatever... lets just get out of here now." Riley walked back to where the others were unaware the team and the scoobies heard every word and that vampires can hear very well.
Giles had finished looking around and gathering whatever caught his fancy in the lair. "We need to go now Buffy you two can take this up on the way back." Both Buffy and Riley glared at the Watcher. "Angel if you would be so kind as to carry the one with the broken leg, we will be able to make the time necessary to reach our destination in enough time to catch the airplane." The team looked relived that they would be able to save Miller, but was glad it was not they that the vampire would haul thought the jungle.
Graham skin crawled as he learned Angel was the vampire. He tried to figure away but there was no other. Angel scooped him up and carried him effortlessly. "I won't bite" was all he said quietly to Graham who didn't believe him.
They walked in the jungle darkness, their way lit by fairy lights that Willow and Tara kept making. Angel walked with Giles with his burden. The Army men were appalled at the noise the others made, but none were going to say anything. They were going home and that was something they never thought would ever happen. Even if it was because of the weirdest group of fighters they had ever seen!
Angel looked at the man he carried so gently to prevent the injured leg from being jarred. "So what's with Buffy and Finn. What happened?
Graham was almost glad to have a distraction that a hostile was carrying him. "They had a falling out. He felt she didn't need him and they well grew apart and he rejoined the military. She wasn't needing him.. She was shutting him out when her mom got sick."
Angel nodded. "I see... what did they have a falling out about? That's normal behavior for her when she had a lot on her mind."
"Well he sought out others, and eventually told her she would either need to respond or he would leave and join us here. She didn't and so he did."
"Others what others? Angel growled. He had the nerve to cheat on her?
Graham realized that had been stupid to say. He shrugged. "I don't know. All I know is she found out and lost it. Which I understand."
Angel growled. "Low life son of a bitch. I left her to let her find a normal guy, and she has found nothing but losers."
Graham new agreeing was the best thing and it was easy because he did agree. He finally said what he felt. "She is too good for him" Graham sighed. "Riley never knew what to do with her being the Slayer. It bothered him she could kick his ass, and she did more in one night than our entire team did in two weeks."
"So it is not at all like she asked for it She has a birth right, a place in the world... she should have someone with her that can support her appreciate her and cherish her."
Graham nodded and bit his lip in pain. The pain meds were helping but making him talkative. "Someone who accepts her life and her needs not roll over with them with their own, someone who appreciated her, and will be there for her. Yeah someone who wont get all macho about her being stronger faster. Graham nodded. He would cherish her if she had been his but she wasn't and would never be. "I can't believe she came to save him... "
Angel-That's what she does...that's who she is
Graham nodded. Thanks for carrying me. This was a clandestine operation. I would have slowed the team down. I would have just gone down as KIA...
Angel nodded "Not a problem."
Graham shivered. "Why aren't you with her?"
Angel sighed and the pain burning a hole in his soul he told the whole thing to the young man he carried who seemed to understand. "I love her and she loves me but I was cursed with my soul. If I get a single moment of pure happiness, I lose it."
"So you can't be with her because she makes you happy." Graham saw it in a heartbeat. Angel nodded. "That sucks." They continued on companionable silence while Buffy and Riley argued and bickered like old hens sprayed with water. By the time the group reached the airfield, they knew more about Riley and Buffy's romance sex life and breakup than any of them needed to know. It was like being stuck in a bizarre soap opera with no escape.
Angel had enough eavesdropping on their lover's spat and it repeated arguments neither would listen to. He placed his burden down in the plane as he looked at Giles. "I will find my way back. It is too close to dawn for me."
Buffy heard him and shook her head. "No Angel they have a box to ship you in for when the sun rises.. You will travel with us." His impulse was to refuse, but it would take him months to get back to LA on his own. But to hear and watch Buffy and Riley argue their relationship was just about killing him. He growled and ignored the nearest soldiers jumping out of his way.
The plane was stocked with medical supplies food and bedding. "Welcome aboard guys settle in and we will be away. This everyone alive?" The co-pilot asked Corporal Harrison. All Harrison did was nod.
Buffy and Riley sat in the rear of the Plane. "Now what Buffy. I thought you didn't come, you came but not before 2400 when I left… is there something we can do? DO we have a chance? I said my piece you said yours. What are we going to do now?" he finally asked after they had been bickering for over 3 hours.
"Riley, You ran from me, you turned to ot… ot… other…" she stopped before she talked about him turning to *vampires* for some twisted emotional need. Let the other guys think he had cheated on her because in a way he had! "Before you went to others because I was emotionally unavailable for the while my mom was so sick. You're the damned Psyche TA you should have talked to me... you should have asked me for what you needed, said what you were feeling. I may be the Vampire Slayer but I am not a god damned mind reader!"
The guys in the team tried to appear they were not hanging on every word. This was the only entertainment in a long boring flight and it amazed them that Finn had the guts or the stupidity to cheat on her. Was he crazy? One doesn't cheat on a woman who can kick your ass and never mind taking a name! The general unvoiced consensus was Finn was an idiot; to walk away from her and to cheat on her. He was lucky she wasn't wearing his balls as earrings!
Riley looked at her. "I'm sorry, but you weren't there! You always locked me out...I didn't have sex with them Buffy! Look it's done and over with and nothing is going to make it right… lets just leave it
"You might as well have!" She shivered "That was their style of sex you ass. Right, you won't leave I needed space but I am suppose to leave you cheated?
Riley sighed. "We're over it, let's not rehash it."
She nodded "Your right... We're over" She got up and walked and sat with Graham, Angel and Giles not leaving Riley a place to sit. He sat there forlorn realizing he had blown it.
Angel looked at Buffy as she sat down. "Why didn't you tell me about him cheating on you and stuff leaving you like he did?"
She looked at him startled. "Why would I tell you Angel? You left me. You left me so I could find a normal guy and I did and got a normal asshole and headache."
Angel sighed. "Because it would have been nice to know… I was helping save an asshole…"
Buffy was exasperated, tired from her long fight with Riley, which had brought everything out and solved nothing, now Angel wanted to start? "I didn't come for just him. I came for Graham and the others too or they would have died. No matter how big of an asshole he was, I couldn't leave them all to die!"
Angel nodded "But I still wish I was in on the know."
She shrugged "You didn't tell me when you had your crises with miss slut. You never called me for help when you were off dealing with you psycho bitch sire."
Graham listened. There was so much pain between these two, he knew they would never get back together either. Giles was trying to look elsewhere and the nearest army guys were trying to not look like they were hanging on every word.
Angel stopped cold how did she know of his fiasco with Darla? "That was different...that was something I didn't want to call and tell you."
"So I have the same reason." She looked at him rage building. "I did it for all of them. Do you mean you would have refused because of it? I didn't expect to air my dirty laundry in front of GI Joe patrol"
Angel felt he was losing ground. "No I would have come, but it was a surprise to say the least." Angel looked at her. "Well sorry to brake it to you but you already have. Everyone heard your fight with Finn earlier."
"No kidding. Now the world knows I am a loser who picks unobtainable men and is useless." She snapped tears filling her eyes. She thought they were exhausted with her fight form Riley, but Angel could always make her cry.
Angel looked at her sad he had made her cry. "Buffy I didn't mean that...it was his own fault"
"No it was both our faults. You left me to find a normal guy and there is no way a 'normal' guy would want me with all my baggage." She hiccupped. "Face it Angel, I am going to be alone till I die which, as a Slayer, should be relatively soon. So there is no sweat. Just leave me alone. You just lost the right to judge my life when you left me."
Angel looked at her amazed. "Buffy you know we can't. I wanted you to find someone who would treat you good...and he is out there somewhere."
"Right Angel, and when do I search? When I am battling Hellspawn or maybe demons, or I know, maybe a vampire nest? I will ask a normal guy to sit with his finger up his nose while I save the world and not tell him why? Right, forget it Angel. Drop it." Angel just looked down as Graham did the only thing he could think of: he put his arm around the crying Slayer and looked into Angel's eyes. Angel's eyes widened and then he nodded.
Giles missed the exchange. Angel went and laid down in the shipping crate to get away from seeing Riley, knowing that man had touched his mate. Angel however was livid about what Riley did to her. This was more than he had guessed at, and it enraged him to hear the pain in her voice as she talked of him. He had left Buffy to find a 'normal guy' and here she ended up with captain corncob and he had devastated her, cheated on her and then left her? He was sitting in the box they had him for shipping in, imagining some of Angelus's more entertaining and painful tortures that would have done Hannibal Lector proud. He would make sure the asshole never touched her again. Captain corncob was going to go missing. In 257 years he knew how to hide a body!
Giles went over to talk to Willow and Tara to discuss things as well as get away from the tension between Buffy and her beaus. Buffy found herself alone with Graham tucked under his arm and enjoying the undemanding warmth. She had always liked Graham, but found the silence disturbing. "Well now I have done it the whole team knows what kind of loser I am" she told him quietly as she inspected her nails. She needed a manicure after this slaying. Ripping demon hearts out of the chest was hell on the nails.
Graham looked at her. "I don't think you are, if anyone, is it's Riley who is the losers here, not you."
She looked at him startled he even paid attention. "How so? He with the team, and has all his friends. I am the solitary one she sighed. All I want is a normal guy to love me and accept me as me. Is that too much to ask? Am I that much of a loser?"
Graham looked at her. "If it had been me, I could never be that stupid."
She sighed. "Bet your better with your girlfriend than Riley is with me."
Graham nodded hugging her close. He never dreamed he would ever be holding the woman who had haunted his dreams. "If I had one, yes, I would be...Riley has been a jerk top you.'
She sighed, relaxing in his embrace. "You're single too?" She bit her lip. Even Riley's friend said he was an idiot, that made her feel better.
Graham- "Yeah. I think you're pretty special, at least in my eyes and they are both fools. I mean in a way, I understand Angel's part of it. You know the curse. He told me about it. But Riley has no cause. Riley I don't get"
She sighed. "I didn't either." She sat there quietly just absorbing the quiet companionship and warm feeling from the arm around her shoulder.
They arrived at the military base. It was still dark, and the van they drove to the base in was still there. Buffy looked around and sighed. This was hell having both Angel and Riley fighting over her like a child's toy.
Angel looked at Riley. Being this close to the boy was driving him nuts. He wanted to rip his head off. "You know for someone who went to college you sure can be dumb." He snarled.
Riley looked at him "Well for some who has seen a bicentennial, you're an idiot."
Angel "I had no choice in my leaving. It was the only way...you on the hand cheated on her and gave her that 'tell me now or I leave' bit."
"I had to choose to stay or join the mission. The time line wasn't mine, but she was so damned pathetic." Tile spit out at his nesferatu nemesis.
Angel vamped and stared at him with yellow eyes. "Pathetic I'll show you pathetic...I should whip your ass and send you to her as parcel post!"
Rile felt his stomach flip as he looked at the enraged hostile. He shrugged. "So do it. Think she will thank you for it?"
Angel laughed. "I would feel better for it...I don't care if she thanks me or not."
Buffy heard the stalked over "What the hell is your two problem? Can you two stop the pissing contest now? You're both asking for it. You both left me, so shove it. I am not coming back to either one of you! You Angel, because I don't trust you not to get all altruistic again and make my decisions for me and leave again... and You Riley, I am leaving because you're unfaithful and an ass to me when I needed space. You gave me ultimatums, which I couldn't meet even when I wanted to because of my slaying, and that pretty much sums it up. So stop playing one-ups between the two of you. Neither one will win".
Angel started to say something but saw the look in her eyes that no sane vampire would mess with the Vampire Slayer with that look. Riley looked at her and then didn't say nothing
"I may have found a man, who accepts that I am stronger, knows of my slaying, can give me space when I need it and WON'T make decisions for me. So you both can go make your lives because I am going to try to make mine with a 'normal' guy who can meet my needs without the bullshit!" With that she turned and walked over to Graham on the gurney and taking his hand. Walking off with him as he was taken to the hospital, leaving the two of them dumb struck on the tarmac