Suck on That!
An update for you all! Happy Memorial Day to our favorite fake Halloween'd soldier, Xander Harris ;)
Many thanks to PyretofSweden for reviewing past chapters and basically serving as a beta :) I fixed most things and hopefully will have time to buff up the last couple chapters, too
Xander took a deep breath as he leaned against Oz's van, enjoying the feel of the cool metal against his body. Adrenaline was still pumping through his veins, regardless of the fact that all the vampires who had been intent on attacking Willow, Cordelia, and Oz were now dead. His hand pressed softly against his heart, mentally ordering the organ to discontinue its heightened beating. Raising his head, he gave his friends a wry smile.
"Score one for Team Slayer," Xander joked.
Cordelia huffed and rolled her eyes as she walked towards Xander, her fingers wrapping around his wrist; one of the few signs she gave that told Xander she needed him sometimes. Although instead of saying anything sweet, like 'thank you', she snapped, "I for one am getting darn sick of this! All we were trying to do is take a little drive, then Oz's creepy van breaks down, and suddenly we're neck-deep in the undead. It's ridiculous!"
"Oz's van isn't creepy," Willow glowered in defense. "It's cool," she added as she preened at he boyfriend; Oz gave her a loving smile in return.
"Yeah." Buffy sighed. "This is kinda weird on the vamp part. Usually they don't attack groups of people. They're more of the 'dark alley' type."
"Yeah…except your evil ex-boyfriend probably gave them the head's up that we're 'Most Wanted' on the vamp hit list," Cordelia snorted.
Buffy visibly winced, and Xander's heart went out to her. He loved Buffy – she really was his best friend. He didn't envy the crappy situation she was put in…but she was put in it and now had to deal with it. The only problem was, she wasn't dealing with it – and now Angel was coming after all of them.
The realization of it made him sick – they were like sitting ducks.
Worst of all, they could have had help, but the stupid Norse trickster god who said he was his dad, hadn't done anythingto help. Loki talked a good talk, but it was clear he didn't actually care about Xander. Dammit, now Xander felt like an idiot for even approaching him a week ago. What had he been thinking? Clearly Loki wasn't his Father. Him thinking that Loki had been….well, that had been a clear sign of his desperation to get rid of Angel.
Yeah, that was it. Stupid Angel, for making him approach a crazy trickster god that thought he was Xander' dad – and who was responsible for killing Xander's realdad….
"I'm sorry Cordelia, okay?" Buffy asked in an exasperated voice as she threw her hands up in the air. "I screwed up. Geez, what do you want from me?" Her voice twisted, almost turning pleading, as she turned dark eyes towards her friends. "What's done is done," Buffy added in a detached voice. "I'll work on killing Angel…but you seem to forget that he's one of the deadliest vampires in the world," she finished bitterly.
"Maybe you do not have to kill him," a voice called out. Xander looked past the road and into the darkness, but his eyes searched in vain because no one could be seen in the thick shadows.
Instantly the Scoobies were on alert. After all, random voices in the dark were typically of the bad.
"Who's there?" Buffy called out, her body reflexively falling into a fighting form.
A woman emerged from the shadows. She was dark-skinned, Indian, maybe; with raven-black hair that fell to her shoulders. Beautiful brown eyes framed by dark eyelashes stared out at them, and a bright red mouth smiled secretly in greeting. Her apparel was composed of black and red – a red silky sleeveless shirt and a black skirt that showcased her stunning legs.
Sure, Cordelia was next to him, leaning against his shoulder, but he was definitely getting dumbfounded over the mysterious hot lady that had just shown up. Va va vooom; Xander thought with a grin.
Something smacked his arm, and Xander looked down to see Cordelia direct a glare towards him. Oops. Apparently Cordelia had seen that bit of drool a moment ago; he should probably be smoother than that. Tossing her a loving – and apologetic – smile, Xander turned back to the mysterious woman walking onto the road.
…and oh, holy crap, Loki was behind her.
The pagan god gave Xander a friendly wave, but Xander evaded eye contact. He had asked this maybe-father dude to killXander, not bring his hot girlfriend to meet Xander's friends!
"I am Kali," the woman greeted with a slight smile as her eyes passed over them before landed on Buffy. She seemed to savor the sight of the slayer, and her smile deepened.
"Kali?" Willow squeaked. Xander looked at his friend in concern and then back at Kali. Was she someone he was supposed to know?
"Yes," Kali smiled. "And you, Willow Rosenberg, are a witch with great power."
"P-power? Me? Oh, no," Willow denied with a violent shake of her head. "I'm power free."
"And you are the Slayer," Kali murmured as she turned towards Buffy; her voice seemed to caress the final word. "It is an honor to meet one of your kind again."
Buffy's eyes widened and she backed up slightly as a perplexed expression marred her face. "Um, hi?"
"What are you doing here, Loki?" Xander spoke up, his voice laden with irritation.
Lips twisted into a smirk, Loki's amber eyes gave him a wink. "Doing just what you asked, kiddo."
"Xander? What's he talking about?" Buffy inquired, her voice soft and curious as she stared at the two intruders.
"Um, well…" Xander didn't exactly know how to tell Buffy that he asked his maybe-dad to kill her evil ex-boyfriend because he didn't think she had the heart to get it done. No, scratch that – because she had toomuch heart to get it done.
"We're here to help you with your soulless ex-boyfriend," Loki answered cheerfully. "After all, even gods need a break from smiting every once in a while."
"Smiting?" Willow squeaked.
"No worries, Red. You're on the good girl list," Loki winked salaciously.
Oz's typically passive expression hardened just slightly and he wrapped his arm around Willow's slim waist protectively.
"Werewolves," Loki scoffed with a roll of his eyes. "Always so possessive. Gotta piss over everything to mark their territory."
"Who are you?" Oz asked calmly; nothing really fazed the senior student.
"He's my—" Xander's voice cracked and he discovered it was impossible to speak.
"Xander and his friends here have been the latest victims of some of my pranks," Loki filled in smoothly with twinkling eyes. He blew a kiss towards Cordelia. "Gotta say, I definitely prefer you being visible." He whistled appreciatively.
Eyebrows arching, Cordelia gave him a finely tuned 'screw you' Chase look.
Buffy, who had been staring at Kali with a guarded expression ever since she stepped into the street, turned the conversation back to what mattered. "So what's this about you helping us with Angel—Angelus?" she quickly added.
Kali gave the slayer an enigmatic smile. "I am always here to help those who ask for me." Her gaze flittered towards Willow. "And with this one here, I imagine that we can accomplish great things." She held out her hand and fire erupted from her palm, causing all of the Scoobies to jump back. When the flame flickered and died it left a smoking roll of ancient parchment that was burnt around the edges. "Take this, young witch. It holds the key to giving the vampire's soul back to him. Perform the spell and all will be right."
"Serious?" Buffy asked. Her eyes were eager but Xander could see that she was struggling to hold herself back, worried about accepting something from a pagan god.
Willow gingerly lifted the spell out of Kali's hands, flinching when they made skin contract, and quickly pulling her hand back against her chest. "Th-thank you," Willow murmured, unable to break eye contact with Kali as the goddess smiled serenely at her.
"Will this…will it really work?" Xander asked.
Kali glanced at him like he was a bug beneath her foot. "Of course," she replied sharply. "I am many things, but never a liar."
Xander noticed how she stole a look at Loki when she said that. He wondered what exactly his maybe-dad's relationship was with the goddess.
Then, remembering how perverted Loki could be, Xander decided that he did not want to know.
"Farewell witch and slayer. May our paths cross again soon." Kali smiled and suddenly her body was ablaze with orange and yellow flames. As the flames flickered out so did she, disappearing entirely.
"That was different," Oz observed.
Loki's lips stretched into an ear-to-ear smile. "So, looks like I came through after all, didn't I, kiddo? Just like you asked."
Xander flushed as his friends looked at him in surprise; he hadn't even told Willow or Cordelia about seeking out Loki. Plus, he realized that Loki had actually helped him just like he promised, and Xander really didn't know how he felt about that. Sure, he was thankful…but he also wasn't used to parental-type figures keeping their promises and doing nice things for him. It was a bit discombobulating, to be honest.
"Yeah, thanks," Xander nodded, his eyes not quite reaching Loki's gaze – causing him to miss the wounded expression that flashed across the pagan god's face.
A second later Loki was gone.
The Scoobies – Buffy, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, and Oz – drove Oz's van immediately back to the high school. Buffy used Cordelia's cell phone to inform Giles about the spell and he promised to meet them there. He added that he had the spell's key component on his desk; apparently the Orb of Thesulah made an excellent paperweight.
When they arrived at the school there was only one car left in the parking lot but no one to be seen. Each of them walked surreptitiously into the building, carefully surveying the surrounding area. It was a given that Sunnydale High was a dangerzone of demons, so they didn't trust that the rest of the night would be easy.
Fortunately, they got to the library without seeing anyone, and Willow went to work preparing the spell. Oz assisted her, Cordelia sat around looking bored, and Buffy frantically paced the length of the room. As for Xander, he watched Willow without really seeing her, his mind stuck on the idea that maybe Loki wasn't so bad after all. Of course, if he 'wasn't so bad' then that mad Xander feel terrible for thinking that the man who murdered his father was alright.
"Willow, what are we waiting for? Can't you, you know, just start the spell?" Buffy asked impatiently.
"Well, um, shouldn't I wait for Giles? I mean…Kali said I was a witch but I've never done any spells before. I mean, okay, maybe I've read a little and possibly even borrowed a couple of Giles' books without asking, and one time I think I turned on the lights with a spell, but I don't really know…" Willow's face was lined with tension and she toyed absentmindedly with the hem of Oz's shirt. He rubbed her back reassuringly in response.
Xander stood up suddenly; he just needed a moment alone. "I'm going to the bathroom. Be right back, guys."
No one paid him much mind but Cordelia, who watched him exit the room with blatant suspicion.
Xander made it ten feet down the hallway before Cordelia hurried up to him, her high heels clacking against the tiled floor.
"Xander, you didn't tell me you asked Loki for help. Why would you?" Cordelia asked in a huff.
"I thought you were the one who told me to think about reconsidering his bid for fatherhood," Xander scowled.
Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Yeah, to explain your freaky ability to kill the demon that possessed me," she hissed. "But to ask him to help with Angel? And have some mysterious creepy goddess give us a spell? Xanderyou know how much spells and you do not work out."
Xander cringed as he remembered Amy's love spell. "Yeah, well we needed something."
"I know," Cordelia sighed. "Buffy's being all clingy with the undead jerk who screwed her and she's too afraid to kill him before he screws all of us."
"So you admit what I did was right?" Xander asked, his eyes glittering with amusement.
"No!" Cordelia denied sharply as she crossed her arms. "But maybe…maybe it will work out."
A scream sounded down the hallway, in the opposite direction of the library, and the two teenagers stared at each other in dread.
"Why," Xander cried in frustration as he threw his arms up, "did you have to say that?"
Cordelia let out an irritable noise. "I hatethis school."
Xander began running down the hallway, wishing fervently that he had brought a weapon with him, and listened to Cordelia's clack against the floor in time with his heartbeat. They turned a corner, and then ran straight into Ms. Calendar.
"Xander! Cordelia!" Jenny gasped as she tried to climb out of the tangle of limbs. "Angelus is back there!"
"Back there?" A thick voice drenched with wickedness and derision spoke from the darkness. "Or right here?"
Jenny was yanked backwards by the scruff of her neck, dangling helplessly. In Angelus' grip. An overhead flickering fluorescent light illuminated Angelus' malevolent smile as he stepped forward. He shook Jenny twice like a rag doll.
Horror filled Xander like acid, burning him from within. The full force of Angelus' actions and his future actions struck Xander like a Mach truck, driving home the point that ...die. Starting with Ms. Calendar.
Xander was sick and tired of death. Ever since Jesse had died a dark hole of vengeance had started to carve out his insides; he wanted each and every demon dead so no onwould have to suffer like Jesse had. Then his father—Tony….
Adrenaline coursed through his body, sending his muscles shaking as he stared Angelus down. "Leave her alone!" Xander growled dangerously.
Angelus laughed outright. "Come on boy, you don't frighten me." He smirked. "Your hatred, I admit, is amusing. Tell me, how much does it bother you knowing that I got to fuck the slayer first?"
Clenching his fists, Xander was suddenly very aware of Cordelia's presence behind him. He really cared for Cordelia – maybe even loved her, he didn't know – and he knew that she was insecure about his feelings for Buffy.
"What bothers me," Xander snapped, "is that you're still alive."
"Xander, run," Jenny whimpered. Angelus clenched her throat tighter in response and the teacher began choking.
"Oh crap, we need Buffy," Cordelia muttered as she backed slowly away. "BUFFY!" she shouted down the hallway.
"Not. Yet." Angelus threw Jenny to the ground; her head hit the floor to loud for Xander's liking, and then Angelus reached past Xander to grab Cordelia.
Except he didn't get that chance.
Xander grabbed Angelus' left extended arm and yanked back ferociously until he heard a cracking sound that reverberated through the hallway. Angelus howled in response and a sense of serenity came over Xander as he saw the demon in pain.
"You stupid boy!" Angelus spat. His right fist flew through the air at Xander, but he dodged it, grinning when Angelus' fist smashed into the concrete wall
"Who's the dumb one now?" Xander laughed humorlessly. He raised his leg up to kicked Angelus as hard as he could, but his eyes widened in shock as Angelus grabbed his leg and pulled him to the floor. Suddenly Angelus was over Xander, pinning his arms. His demonic visage smiled in satisfaction.
"God, I'm going to enjoy this," Angelus snarled. His teeth sank into Xander's neck, forcing the teenager to gasp in pain. Xander could feel his blood traveling swiftly through his body as Angelus swallowed loudly.
"Get off! Get off him!" Cordelia shouted as she hit Angelus repeatedly with the pointed bottoms of her high heels, but he ignored her.
And then, after two mouthfuls of Xander's blood, Angelus began screaming and rubbing his mouth, neck, and chest.
"Nooo," Angelus groaned. He fell to the floor and began writhing uncontrollably.
Xander had no idea what just happened, but he sure was glad. "Yeah, suck on that," he mumbled, feeling light-headed from the ordeal.
"Xander? Cordelia?" Buffy's voice called. They could hear her running down the hall, probably in response to Cordelia's scream just moments ago.
Cordelia rushed to Xander's side. "Take off your shirt," she demanded.
Confused by everything that was happening, he found her words most out of place. "But this is a hallway, not a closet, Cordelia," Xander stated weakly.
Cordelia rolled her eyes in exasperation and then pulled off Xander's shirt, being careful not to hit his neck. She subsequently pressed the shirt against Xander's bleeding neck.
"What?" Cordelia snapped at his baffled look. "Just because I don't want you to die doesn't mean I want blood all over my clothes."
His lips turned up into a smile. "You just like me with my shirt off." He hadstarted working out ever since he began running around with Buffy and his abs were actually pretty nice at this point.
Cordelia actually blushed and that only made Xander smile more.
"Xander? Cor—Angel?" Buffy gasped as she rounded the hallway corner. Her eyes took in the sight of Jenny Calendar lying unconscious on the ground, Cordelia pressing a bloody shirt against Xander's chest, and Angelus whimpering in pain.
"He's not—" Xander started to remind her that Angel wasn't her boyfriend anymore and that he was actually a vicious killer, but then sheer power filled the hallway like an ocean. Its pressure made Buffy's legs buckle and the others tremble. Xander looked up and saw a shining substance, like molten silver, hover in the air before pouring itself into Angelus. The vampire screamed again, one long syllable that pained their eardrums, and white light flashed in his eyes.
"Angel? Angel?" Buffy whispered frantically as she pulled the still-ill vampire into her lap. His body jerked around involuntarily and the sounds of a dying man emitted from his throat.
"Buffy, he's not Angel. He just tried to kill Ms. Calendar." Xander winced as he looked at the teacher's still form. "And maybe he did. Cordy, go check her."
Cordelia, never one for taking orders, did as he requested. She actually liked Ms. Calendar and really hoped she didn't die tonight.
"Buffy?" Angelus moaned weakly. Buffy stared into his eyes and lovingly ran her hand through his hair.
"No, he's not!" Buffy cried out, tears beginning to fall down her face as she held Angelus tighter against her. "Willow is doing the spell – she was almost done when I heard Cordelia. And-and-and," she stuttered from the force of her choked sobs, "didn't you see his eyes? His soul is back, I know it. I just…I just don't understand. Why is he…why is he in so much pain? And he feels so warm…"
"Burning," Angel rasps. "It burns."
"What burns? What burns?" Buffy demanded, to both Angel and her friends.
"Well tall dark and psychotic started drinking Xander's blood and then he just started to spaz out," Cordelia answered. Her hand checked for Ms. Calendar's pulse and then relief flooded her face.
Angel let out another agonizing scream as he clawed at his own chest, tearing his black button-up silk shirt open. "Buffy! Help!"
"Help? Help what? Help how?" Buffy pleaded as she looked at her lover helplessly.
Tranquility swept over Angel and he gave her a loving look. "I love you, Buffy."
Angel's chest lit up as if from within and his skin burned red like a sunburn. Heat radiated from him and Buffy involuntarily scooted back before she was burned. Flames erupted from Angel's chest and swiftly engulfed his entire body, leaving nothing but ashes within seconds.
Buffy's sobs were heartbreaking…but if Xander were honest with himself, he had to say that he didn't really care. Angel got his just deserts.
All the same…he was also incredibly curious as to what was in his blood…
A powerful creature in the guise of a woman with long blond hair bound back partially at the crown of her head, stalked the halls of Heaven. Bright blue eyes burned with anger underneath black cat-eyed spectacles and she loosened the color of her white dress shirt.. She burned with fury and suddenly wished that God had assigned her a different role in the Beginning. Her current role was too damn stressful.
The Hellmouth screwed everythingup.
Two angels stood at the door entrance; seeing her they cowered at her wrathful look and quickly let her pass though.
She entered the hall of Heaven that was ruled by those assigned to watch over Earth, who were known to the mortals as "The Powers That Be". At the end of the hall was Raphael, the archangel assigned to this order, and Balthazar, one of his lieutenants who was a damn pain in her ass.
"Atropos," Raphael greeted her in a deep voice. He wore the visage of his vessel on earth, a man of African origins with an oval face and piercing eyes. Balthazar also wore the likeness of his vessel, a man of Western European origin who was a former forty-year old rock star.
She sniffed. Ever since Balthazar had taken that vessel it seemed that he was influenced more and more by the depravity of his vessel's former lifestyle. For an angel he sure drank a lot.
"Raphael." Atropos bowed, as was the custom. She was of the lower heavenly beings, the third of the Fates, and he ranked far above her.
"What bothers you, Atropos? You appear discontented." Raphael stared at her with interest.
"Discontented?" Balthazar scoffed. "Old 'A' looks like she's ready to make heads roll."
"I'll start with you if you don't shut up," Atropos snapped. Balthazar had always loved to push her buttons but it was only lately, since his reassignment from Uriel's garrison to the PTB, that she saw him frequently.
Balthazar smirked in satisfaction, but Raphael saved him from responding.
She sighed heavily, stamping her foot in anger. "It's that ridiculous Hellmouth! Everything was fineuntil that Slayer got sent there!"
"Hmm, indeed," Raphael mused, a secretive smile playing on his face.
"Buffy Anne Summers was supposed to dielast year, but somehow she survived!"
"Well technically," Balthazar interrupted, his voice smooth and accented with an English twinge like his vessel. "She did die. She was just revived using CPR."
"And in the process another slayer was called! Do you realize how chaotic that is?" Atropos didn't let them finish. Sure, perhaps she was supposed to show the higher angels deference but she was spitting mad. "And nowthe vampire with the soul, Angel, has been killed!"
Raphael jerked in his seat. "The vampire with the soul? When?" Concern flashed through his eyes, although Atropos was sure it was not for the vampire's well-being but for what role he was supposed to play in the battle against Hell.
"Just now!" Atropos snapped. "And, once again, my plans are completelyscrewed up."
"But who?" Raphael pondered out loud. "One of the cupids struck the slayer with a temporary love arrow, just enough to ensure she never killed him. And none of the other humans on the Hellmouth are strong enough."
Atropos rolled her eyes at the mention of cupids. They were even lower than her on the angelic food chain and the whole lot of them were a bunch of simpering fools. "Somehow Alexander LaVelle Harris burned the vampire."
Raphael's eyes narrowed. "Was he not also the one responsible for the slayer's resurrection?"
"Yes," Atropos growled.
Raphael sat in great thought as he went over this troublesome matter. Finally he waved his hand at Atropos. "Go investigate this boy." He gestured towards the other angel. "Balthazar, accompany her." Raphael's gaze became very cold and Atropos suddenly felt her Grace chill from his look. "You have failed me twice now, Atropos. Balthazar will ensure you do not fail again."
Atropos nodded and kept her eyes downcast.
"For if you do fail again, I will have your two sisters to carry on the job. You are not required to see this world through to the Apocalypse," Raphael reminded her calmly.
Atropos nodded again, not trusting her voice (she loved her job! And certainly didn't want to die!), and began to walk out of the hall. She was aware of Balthazar following her but she didn't bother to look at him.
And perhaps Balthazar wasn't as much of an ass as she thought, because he was thoughtfully quiet during their travels from Heaven down to Earth – all the way to the Hellmouth.
Reviews are lovely things. Thank you for reading and reviewing!
...Hopefully no one will hate me for having Angel burn…