"And Tubbs is still not over it. He's hissing at me like I drew the picture," Brittany said.
"I thought Quinn was going to meet us? " Sam said, looking down the hallway. The bell warning that there were five minutes until class, had rung four minutes ago.
"I think…I see her," Tina said pointing down the hall at bright pink hair that was fanned out in a five-spiked Mohawk.
"Whoa," said Artie.
Quinn stepped up to them and shrugged. "Sorry, I'm late, this took way longer than expected."
"It's so symmetric and straight…"Tina said, admiring, "How'd you do that?"
"The trick is to lie down and spread your hair out on the bed," Quinn said, "and add a thick but even layer of gel-"
"Never ever let bare skin touch hotel bedspreads," Artie whispered to Tina. "I saw a 20/20 special once where they used a blacklight and-"
The bell went off and everyone waved, turning to enter the classroom.
"Dudes?" Quinn said, "I just got here! Lame!"
"Some of us have to go to class, Quinn," Brittany said.
"Ditch," Quinn replied.
"What?" Tina said.
"It's so cute she doesn't even know what that means," Artie said.
As Quinn turned to head down the emptying hallway, there was the loud screech of a megaphone behind her.
"Hold it right there, Hello Kitty," Principal Roz called through the megaphone as students scurried into classrooms and out of her way... Quinn turned and pointed at herself, unsure who was being addressed. "That's right, you. Where do you think you're going?"
"Me?" Quinn said. "I don't go here. I'm just visiting."
"Oh, you just happen to be a teenager, in a high school, and you don't go here?" Principal Roz said, looking skeptical. Quinn nodded. "You've been watching too many Dangerous Minds reruns, Coolio. If you think this Spears-Lohan lovechild stuff is gonna scare me, you're taking a tricycle to the Tour de France, Enhance Armstrong. I taught in the ghett-o. I've seen the worst of Berlin, Amsterdam, Seattle, and Melbourne. The Tokyo Drift was invented to get away from my detention, you feel me, London Calling?"
Quinn shrugged as a student with a blanket pulled over their head pushed past her into the classroom where Brittany, Tina, Sam, and Artie were trying hard to overhear Principal Roz. Instead of sitting down the student went to the front of the classroom where even the teacher was listening to Principal Roz amused. The student threw off the blanket and as the sunlight from the window on the opposite wall hit her, she caught fire. The students in the classroom screamed. The teacher scrambled backwards to get away.
"Tonight, Slayer!" the student yelled, as she was consumed by flames. "The park at midnight. Be there or Sunnydale will suffer! Be there or you will suffer!" She let out a howl.
Principal Roz picked up the blanket the student had dropped and leaped forward, tackling her to smother the flames. When she hit the ground, she lifted the blanket and found only ashes underneath it. "How many times do we have to tell these children about sunblock?!" she said before standing up and leaving. Once in the hall, her megaphone sounded, "Clean up! Aisle 231!" Turning off the megaphone she muttered, "I blame that damn Cirque du Soleil and Lady Gaga for introducing these kids to performance art."
The other students quickly filed out of the classroom, while Brittany, Quinn, Tina, Artie, and Sam moved closer to the blanket covering the ashes. Artie used the tips of his fingers to toss the blanket aside.
"Jeez, doesn't she know about text messaging?" Tina asked.
"I think that was a vampire," Sam said.
"What gave it away? The sterno impression?" Quinn said leaning forward. She used a pencil to push the ashes around.
"I give Snixx points for knowing how to grab the viewers' attention," Artie said.
"Right? Flame on!" said Sam.
Quinn continued to stir the ashes when something shiny reflected the sunlight.
"What's that?" Tina asked.
Quinn retrieved the piece of metal and held it up. "It's a ring. Nice ring," she said.
"Hey, that looks like your ring, Brittany," Artie said.
"What?" Brittany said, her fingers instinctively feeling for the silver ring Santana had given her.
Quinn grabbed Brittany's hand and held the ring next to it. "Exact match," Quinn handed the ring to Brittany.
"Wow, I just got some serious douche chills," Artie said.
Tina reached to rub Brittany's shoulder as she sat staring at the ring in her hand. As she did so, the fire alarm and sprinklers went off, turning the ashes on the floor to mud.
"Man! And this is why I hate school! Can we ditch now?!" Quinn said holding an ineffectual hand up over her hair.
1753 Valencia, California
"Slow," April cooed as she stroked Santana's hair, "Slow. That's it. No need to hurry."
Santana tried her best to slow down, but the blood flowing into her mouth was intoxicating. It was better than the best mead or even wine she'd ever tasted in her life. Every cell in her body urged her to consume more, faster. But she fought the urge, as April commanded, and sucked slowly on the neck of the man she clutched to her chest, rivulets of blood streaming down her neck.
April looked around them, at the bodies that were strewn in the streets, and in the doorways of the main street of the village. "My, my, you are a thirsty girl," April said, again stroking Santana's raven hair that had become matted with blood and dirt in the last few hours as she hunted down and killed most of the members of her village. They'd started at the tavern where Santana had been thrown out and slowly marched their way down the main street, approaching the house on the hill that belonged to Santana's family.
Santana was only partially aware of April's words as she started to feel the world shift beneath her in a moment of vertigo. She stopped drinking and put a hand on the ground to assure herself she was not about to be tossed off the earth's surface. April gently pulled the spent man away from Santana, discarding him on the ground.
"Don't ever drink the dregs. You'll find yourself violently ill. Worse than any night of celebration has ever left you," April cautioned. "You'll learn to sense the very last second before you should stop drinking. There's plenty of time to learn that, though, forever, in fact."
Santana looked at April, her vision blurred, only half hearing her words. She glanced down the street looking for her next victim. As much as the taste of the blood itself was nectar to her, the feeling of her teeth pricking the skin of her victims, offering the same resistance as the skin of a fresh ripe apple, was the sensation she was craving at this moment.
Slowly, she stood, leering to one side. Even though the distance to her family's house was easily a mile away, she covered the distance in a dozen great bounds, enjoying the newfound speed and strength in her limbs. April landed next to her, the older, stronger vampire having covered the distance gracefully in two leaps. Santana stood breathing heavily on the doorstep of her family's home. She glanced at April. April shrugged.
With no further hesitation, Santana pushed the door open and felt the blast of a shotgun knock her sideways. She looked down at her bloodied shoulder and back at her father, back pressed against the fireplace, readying to fire another blast at her.
"Father," Santana grunted, her voice distorted by her teeth and strange to her newly powerful ears.
"Stay back! I will kill you!" her father shouted as she took another measured step towards him.
He raised his rifle again. "I wouldn't do that if-" April began. Before she could finish, Santana had leaped through the air, knocking the rifle to the side just as her father pulled the trigger, causing the rifle to fire in the direction of the staircase beside them. A woman's scream echoed in the house. Recognizing her mother's voice, Santana used the tip of her finger to slice her father's neck open. He gasped, eyes wide looking at her, and clutching at his neck. Santana smiled at him and in one bound was on the steps.
Santana looked curiously at her mother on the steps, holding her side, blood gushing from the shotgun blast gone astray. From underneath her, Santana saw her little sister stick her head out, relieved to see Santana.
"Santana!" the little girl screamed and put her arms around Santana's neck, somehow not noticing or caring about the blood dripping from every part of her. "You came to save us!"
"No! No! No!" cried her father from the floor below. Her mother shook her head violently and pushed weakly against Santana.
Santana looked at the girl, at once recognizing her and also seeing her as stranger to her new eyes. She tried to speak but felt her tongue odd in her mouth and instead of soothing words; a growl came from her lips. The girl startled and fell backwards down the steps, only to be caught gently by April.
"Oh, there, there, you precious thing. Your sister didn't mean to scare you," she said, cradling the child in her arms. "Well, actually, she did, but not yet. Now you come here and let Tia April tell you the best bedtime story ever…"
An hour later, Santana and April emerged from the silent house. Santana was drenched in blood from head to toe, while April, had barely soiled the hem of her dress.
"Dinner and a show for the first date," April said. "You are indeed something special. You're more angry, more violent, more relentless, more…anything than any vampire I've ever seen. I can't wait to see what we'll do next. You've shed the skin of Santana Lopez; been baptized in blood. You have a whole new side that deserves its own name. Snixx, I'll call you Snixx."
"I can't believe you of all people decided not to tell Holly about the vampire flambé this morning!" Quinn said excitedly as she and Brittany turned the corner on yet another cemetery.
"I think it's time we stop waiting to see what Santana is going to do and try to find her before she does it," Brittany said, as she adjusted the straps on her backpack that was heavy with wooden stakes.
"No, I totally agree, I'm just surprised you agree with me! And that you decided to sneak out without even telling the gang."
Brittany sighed. "I feel like I've put them, my mom, and Lord Tubbington in too much danger already. If Santana has an issue with me, then let her try and take it out on me, not them. And I'm tired of these vampires acting like they're not afraid of me. Respect due!" They stepped onto a small path that led through the cemetery with trees on either side of it.
"So why am I here then?"
"I thought you wanted to come…" Brittany started.
Quinn laughed, "I'm just kidding. Anytime we take the fight to them? I'm all about it. I don't know what's gotten into you lately, first you're all Julie Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy and the next you're rocking the JLo in Enough. It's like a Lifetime movie marathon up in here. I wouldn't miss it for the world." They both laughed. "Plus, we're Slayers, we stick together. Besides, if we're both here, who's Ms. H gonna yell at when she finds out?" Quinn held out her fist and Brittany bumped it with hers.
"Thanks for coming with me. Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," Quinn shrugged.
"Why'd you dye your hair back to pink?" Brittany asked.
"It's not a real deep backstory, B. I like it pink. I'm never gonna be a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade like you guys. Just better to let my freak show; be me," Quinn replied. Brittany nodded understanding. "Besides, if Snixx has a chip on her shoulder about you, I wanna make it damn clear which of us is which," Quinn laughed.
Brittany paused, holding a finger to her mouth to silence Quinn. She tilted her head slightly and then pointed to a tree closest to Quinn's side of the clearing while she jumped behind a tree on her side. Quinn started to speak, but Brittany silenced her again, listening to something in the distance. Brittany then gave a series of hand signals which Quinn squinted in the dark to make out.
"Did you just say you're a little teapot or an itsy bitsy spider?" Quinn whispered loudly.
"I just told you I hear four vamps up ahead talking about Snixx," Brittany whispered back.
"In what world was that anything other than you auditioning as a backup singer for The Temptations?" Quinn said, moving her hands fluidly as she swayed side to side.
"Nevermind!" Brittany said, stepping out from behind the tree. "I think they took off anyway."
Before Quinn could reply there was a scuffling of feet on the trail, they jumped back behind their respective trees and waited. Whistling could be heard as the footsteps approached. When the footsteps were nearly upon them, Brittany held up her hand, counting down from three. When she reached 'two', Quinn jumped out from behind the tree, screaming.
Quinn landed atop the figure and proceeded to land two punches to his face.
"Where is Snixx?" Quinn asked.
"I don't know!" shouted the vampire before Quinn fired two more shots to his face.
"Oh, good, you're being difficult," said Quinn. "Do you know who I am? I'm the one who's gonna introduce you to the unhappy end of the nearest sharp object in about 30 seconds if you don't start talking!"
"I don't know, where she is! They don't tell me that! I'm nobody, I just got turned yesterday" the vampire yelled, hands raised in surrender. As he spoke one of his fangs protruded. "See? I don't even know how to work these things yet!"
Quinn looked up at Brittany and shrugged her shoulders. Brittany motioned for Quinn to move over so she could straddle the now shaking vampire. From her back pocket, Brittany pulled out the silver cross necklace she so often wore before discovering it singed Santana's flesh on contact. She held the cross above the vampire's face and spoke. "You may be new, but I think you know enough to be afraid, don't you?"
"Yeah, I know about crosses. But that's better than Pink and the stake," the vampire looked at Quinn who was twirling a stake between her fingers, glaring at him. "You can't kill me with that."
Without saying a word, Brittany leaned forward and let the cross drop into the vampire's mouth and used her free hand to hold his mouth shut. Smoke billowed from his mouth as he thrashed, squeaking instead of screaming with his mouth held shut. Quinn's jaw dropped.
Brittany released her hand and lifted the cross out of his mouth, keeping it only a few inches above him. "I know this can't kill you. This is just for fun." The vampire's eyes crossed trying to see which direction Brittany was moving the cross next. She shoved it in his mouth again and leaned back to avoid the smoke that rose from it.
"B?" Quinn said, placing a hand on Brittany's shoulder.
"What? We don't have all night and I need to know where Snixx is or is going," Brittany replied, removing the cross but brushing it past his cheek, which bubbled red on contact.
"Acathala!" the vampire shouted, trying as hard as he could to twist to the side away from the dangling cross.
"Speak up!" Brittany barked.
"Acathala! Snixx is escorting a piece of Acathala back to Manh- Rachel! Back to Rachel!" the vampire whined, pink tears running down his face.
Brittany glanced up at Quinn and smirked. "What else? Tell me what else you know," Brittany demanded.
"Nothing! Just the Acathala thing and…oh and she's gonna kidnap some really fat cat and-"
Before he could finish the sentence, Brittany had staked him. She stood up, fanning the ashes from her face and smiled at Quinn.
"Mother of Mercy," Quinn said looking at Brittany, blinking in disbelief. "Where the everloving fuck did that come from?"
"What? I told you, I'm tired of getting no respect. At home, at school, from Holly, from the Watcher's Council! I'm the Chosen One. I shouldn't have to wait to get approval from anyone but me, it's my life on the line. I'm the Slayer. If I want it, I should take it, and I should have it. No questions."
"Want, take, have," Quinn repeated,"a life philosophy that works for me."
Brittany stood up and stretched, popping her neck as she did so. Quinn just watched. "Let's see if we can catch up with any of the rest of them and find out where this piece of Agatha is," said Brittany. Quinn nodded and they proceeded quietly down the path through the cemetery.
After ten minutes had gone by, Quinn asked, "Am I the good Slayer now?"
"B, I'm down with getting the jump on Snixx, but we've been walking for almost three hours now," Quinn whined, stopping to lean against a tree and empty a few rocks out of her black combat boots.
Brittany turned her head in all directions, listening and hearing nothing, looked back at Quinn. "Fine, I guess we could break for some dinner."
"Or some more crystal meth pre-workout like you're on," Quinn answered.
"I don't know, I've just been eating a lot of red meat lately. I never believed in the whole paleo thing, but maybe it really does work, I feel like I have so much more energy and I'm faster, stronger-"
"You're a beast," Quinn offered. Brittany frowned. "Look, I'll scare us up some burgers- I'll make yours the caveman special, no bun, no fries. We've got plenty of time before you're supposed to high noon at midnight with Snixx."
"Okay, I'm going to take one more lap around the cemeteries and then I'll meet you back here in 20?" Brittany asked. Quinn nodded and jogged away.
Brittany began running, deciding to reverse the route they'd just taken. When she turned the corner a mile from where she started, she heard a woman giggling.
"Giggling in a cemetery…that's not suspicious at all…" Brittany said. She slowed down to listen, ducking behind a tree. Hearing more giggling in the distance, she peeked out from behind the tree to see a group of people all standing around a pit where it seemed as though several of them were digging. Brittany scanned the scene looking for the source of the giggling. Her ears pricked at the sound of a full throated laugh and her eyes focused in on a dark haired woman dressed in a flowing white silk shirt, standing very close to another woman in skin tight leather. Brittany squinted, "Santana?"
Santana leaned into the woman standing against the tree. The woman's dark brown hair was braided against her scalp and hung down past her shoulders. She smiled, her bright white fangs showing, and leaned into Santana for another kiss. The woman's long-lashed lids fluttered closed and her hands entangled in Santana's hair.
"Bitch," Brittany said under her breath, still far enough away to think she wouldn't be heard.
Santana tilted her head, opening her eyes to look directly at Brittany as she continued to kiss the woman in front of her. Brittany saw Santana's eyes glowing bright yellow; somehow smiling devilishly at her. She stepped out from behind the tree, realizing there was no point in hiding now.
Santana ended the kiss and looked over at Brittany. "BDSM and voyeurism…I'm re-thinking ditching you, Slayer. Maybe we could have some fun after all. If nothing else, you could watch and learn," Santana smirked. "You wouldn't mind that would you, Mina?" The woman responded by looking Brittany up and down and then turning back to Santana, shrugging. Brittany noticed several tattoos running up the woman's neck as she turned. "I know, I know. She's not really my type either, but she has potential…"
Brittany took several steps forward, tense, trying hard to watch everything around her. Behind Santana, the digging continued with no attention paid to Brittany.
"Anyway," Santana said, bored, "what are you doing here? I'm kinda in the middle of something"
"You called me! The vamp-o-gram…"
Santana frowned, "Ah, did my messenger get the time and place wrong? Good help is so hard to find. I swear…next time I see her, she's fired," Santana said chuckling to herself. Santana looked at Brittany and tilted her head to the side. "Aww, pobrecita, why you look so unhappy? You have a case of the sads?"
Brittany reached into her pocket and pulled out the silver ring the vampire from school had worn, as well as her own. She threw them hard at Santana, who caught them both easily. Santana opened her hand and smiled upon seeing the rings. "The rings…" She turned and slid one on Mina's finger. Mina held up her hand to the moonlight to admire it. "Yeah, I give one of these to all of my slam pieces. Welcome to the cl-"
Santana's words were cut short by Brittany leaping into the air, feet first, intent on landing a kick to Santana's face. Santana swiftly stepped to the side allowing Brittany's blow to hit Mina, ripping her leather jacket. Mina growled. As Brittany regained her balance, Santana threw a hard punch to her jaw causing her to momentarily see stars. She fell hard to the ground at Santana's feet, dazed.
"That's the problem with kickboxers," Santana said, "they don't know how to take a punch. Settle down, Solange."
Mina frowned, muttering as she removed her badly torn jacket to reveal only a black lace bra underneath. She spoke in a language Brittany couldn't understand. Santana pulled off her own silk shirt, leaving her in a fitted tank, draping it over Mina's shoulders. "Compared to that, nudity is modest," Santana said laughing. Mina laughed and again said something to Santana. Santana nodded and smiled down at Brittany, "She's Dutch, from Haarlem. I don't understand a thing she says but I very much feel her, if you know what I mean."
Brittany grunted loudly and stood back up, throwing punches one after another at Santana, not pausing for even a split second. At first, Santana batted the blows away easily, but Brittany somehow punched harder. Mina spun to kick Brittany with her heel, but Brittany neatly backhanded her and lunged at Santana again. A flying knee to the stomach sent Santana stumbling backwards a step. "Nice, Ronda Rousey. Holly has stepped up your training…" Santana said, "although I was always partial to Gina Carano."
"Are you trying to make me jealous? With the rings? With her?" Brittany asked, aiming a kick at Santana's forehead.
"No. But if I were, how would I be doing?" Santana replied, ducking.
Brittany charged forward, grunting, and Santana caught her by the throat, easily lifting her off the ground. "My, my! I see my blood is having a good effect on you. That was just a few drops, imagine what a mouthful could do!" Brittany contorted and was able to kick Santana hard in the ribs, causing her to release her grip. Without pausing for even a breath, Brittany leaped forward to rain punches down on Santana.
From the pit behind them, a voice yelled, "Got it!"
Santana turned her head only slightly to see and then turned back to Brittany smiling. "As much as I would love to continue this lesson," Santana said, a hard left, then right to Brittany's face and side sending her reeling, "I have places to go, worlds to destroy."
"B!" Quinn's bright pink head came bounding out of the woods. As she ran full speed at Santana, she tossed a stake to Brittany. Mina fired a punch at Quinn's chin, knocking her to the ground, unconscious.
"My girl!" Santana chirped, turning away from Brittany to kiss Mina on the chin. Out of the corner of her eye, Santana saw Brittany spring to her feet, stake aimed and charging. Santana spun around moving Mina between herself and Brittany. The tip of the stake pierced Mina's chest and she screamed a few words a fraction of a second before she turned to ash between them.
"Fairly certain that meant 'ouch!'," Santana said as she turned to run towards the men behind her who had now pulled something out of the ground and were moving it away. "Steer clear of the carbs in those pity parties, blondie. Frumpy is no one's best look!"
Santana bounced down the stairs into the room holding the sixth piece of Acathala triumphantly over her head. "I brought you something, baby," she called to Sugar.
Sugar squealed, jumping up out of her seat and running to Santana's side as she placed the second to last piece of Acathala atop the other crates. Sugar hugged Santana, burying her nose in her shoulder. "You smell so good now that you don't reek of human soul anymore."
"I have you to thank for that, handling that meddlesome gypsy, thank you, love."
Sugar smiled then picked at a piece of dirt on Santana's tank top. "You got all dirty fetching that thing."
"No, actually, that was Mina," Santana replied.
"Mina fetched the piece?" Sugar asked,
"No, literally," Santana said, pulling another bit of dirt off her shirt, "that's Mina."
Sugar pouted. "But I just made Mina for you as a welcome home present! That Slayer has grown tiresome. She's zero fun."
Rachel stepped out from her room having overheard the conversation. "As much as I disliked her propensity for leather everything," Rachel shuddered, "I did like Mina."
"When they start making wearable textured vegetable jackets, I'll consider going vegan, Bilbo Baggins," until then, you'll have to pry the cold dead leather from my cold dead hands," Santana laughed.
"Seems a shame to have let the Slayer take another one of ours," Rachel continued. "We should either turn her or kill her…soon."
"Patience. Good things take time. You didn't develop that dark perverted fetish of a Japanese businessman look overnight did you?" Rachel sneered at Santana while Sugar clapped quietly, giggling. "These things take time. And the Slayer is just where I want her. Although I do admit that right now might be the perfect time to shake things up a bit. Are you game?"
"Yes!" Rachel said, moving to sit next to Santana and pulling a rolled up piece of paper from her pocket and spreading it across the table. "I have a rather modest plan that I believe will scare her-"
"Scare her? Abominable Headband, have you been listening at all? Trying to scare the Slayer is a losing proposition. We need to hurt her. Hurt her so badly that she runs to being turned to escape the pain. "
"I am sure if you give me overnight I can come up with a plan to hurt-"
"To hurt her, exquisitely, intimately, you have to love her," said Santana. "And I'm all over that."
"Don't scream…" Santana said, looking up at the woman in the doorway. The woman had gone ghostly pale at the sight of Santana, Sugar, and Rachel feasting on her neighbors.
The woman took a deep breath, which Santana first took as a sign she wouldn't scream; however, the scream that rattled her eardrums half a second later said otherwise.
"Does it ever work when you tell them not to scream?" Rachel asked as they pushed past the screaming woman.
"No," Sugar answered for Santana, "it never ever does. Run!"
Santana could still taste the combination of red wine and blood in her mouth. As she ran, the warm night air whipped through her hair, and she pictured herself galloping like the raven black Friesians of Holland. "This, my friends, is the blessing that life everlasting affords you!" The sound of her laughter rang out in the night air, seeming to fuel the fury of the mob of men chasing them through the dark woods. Santana smiled back over her shoulder at them as they ran their hardest to keep up with her. Sugar was only a dozen steps behind her, but Rachel, the much younger vampire, lagged behind.
Santana's ears perked up at a tiny sound a great distance away; she smiled. "Have fun with them," Santana said to Sugar, "but don't lead them back to April or our home." Sugar nodded understanding. "And don't lose your hatchling," Santana said pointing at Rachel. "I've got something I want to investigate. I may not be back before sunrise." With not a word more, she leapt into the air over the men pursuing them, back towards the village they'd just escaped.
When Santana stepped into the middle of the town square, she paused, trying to locate the sound she'd heard again. The soft crying of a baby tickled her ears again and she smiled as she walked in its unfortunate direction. Santana felt her mouth water as she contemplated the ease with which her teeth would sink into the velvet soft flesh and how pure and unadulterated the blood would taste as it filled her mouth. She stopped at a brightly painted house that sat slightly to the outside of the town square. Another cry from inside beckoned her in and Santana place a hand on the pine green door and pushed.
The blaze of the fireplace revealed a simply furnished room. Past the small table with benches on either side, was a small cot, upon which, a woman sat with her back to the door. Santana raked her eyes over the hennaed ringlets that fell upon the woman's shoulders, which were covered by a dark hooded cloak. Another tiny cry echoed in the small room. The woman rocked back and forth, apparently trying to quiet the child. Santana smiled.
"My lady," Santana began, "I couldn't help but hear your baby crying from outside." The woman continued to rock, not turning at the sound of Santana's voice. "I have a way with babies, perhaps I could help?" The woman continued to rock. Santana stepped forward until she was within arm's reach of the woman. "Could I try?" Santana touched the woman on the shoulder.
The woman twirled around, her cloak flying. Santana barely had time to leap backwards to avoid the wooden stake the woman aimed at her chest. Santana smiled as she looked at what she could now see was a young girl of maybe only 12-13 years. The tiny cry rang out again and Santana tilted her head to see an orange and white striped kitten peering back at her from the bed. While she was disappointed not to be having newborn blood as her digestif, her curiosity about the situation was piqued. She looked back at the tall skinny girl who stood still next to the bed, arms behind her back, and covered by her cloak.
"Very clever to have fooled me, but I don't think you're going to like the prize." Santana paused and added, "Don't scream, my dear, let's just keep this between us." Santana felt her eyes blaze yellow and she bared her fangs, growling. The girl held Santana's gaze, unflinching. "Of course no one is around when that actually works," she muttered to herself. "Did your mother not warn you to beware of vampir?"
"My mother," the girl's strong, thickly accented, voice began, "taught me was better to kill vampir than to fear them."
"Your mother is not fond of you then. No mother would wish her daughter to die at the hands of one such as m-"
The girl leapt through the air, stake raised, and landed on Santana aiming again at her chest. Santana stumbled backwards but held the girl's arm out to the side, away from her. She was shocked at the strength she felt in the limbs of this child. The girl's face was inches from her own. Santana knew this view could cause men ten times the girl's size to mess themselves and yet this girl was unimpressed. Instead, the girl struggled trying to pull the trajectory of her arm back towards Santana's chest. Santana threw her backward and watched as instead of slamming into the wall, the girl acrobatically landed in front of her again, shrugging off her cloak and smiling.
"Who…what are you, girl?" Santana asked.
"I am called Ales, I am Slayer. I am your death, vampir," Ales said as she somersaulted through the air, her heels making hard contact with the side of Santana's head.
"Ales," Santana said, shaking her head, "my death will not be at the hands of a little girl whose mother has sent her as sacrifice."
Ales shouted as she pounced, stakes in either hand and landed on Santana again. Again Santana threw her off, but Ales kept pushing forward, delivering blow after blow. They stepped backward and forward, arms flailing, grunting and grimacing. Santana delivered a punch to Ales that stunned her from moving for a moment. She picked her up and threw her against the door of the house, which gave way, depositing Ales into the dirt outside.
Santana stepped outside the house, amused to see that the torch-bearing men that had pursued her earlier were milling about the town square. Santana smiled and lifted Ales over her head, throwing her so that the girl landed in the center of the square. Santana leapt into the air and landed in the dirt next to Ales. The men gasped, stunned. Ales stirred. Santana smiled and lifted her up over her head. "It doesn't speak well of your people that the bravest amongst you is a little girl. Your people will not be long for this earth." As her words drifted through the night air, Santana forcefully brought Ales' body, spine first, down upon her knee. A sickening crack echoed in the square. Santana let go of the body and stepped back. "A shame, I'm sure her blood would have been the best I've ever tasted." She looked at the faces of the men in the crowd, most with mouth agape. None of them made a move to challenge her.
As Santana turned to leave, she heard a woman's voice speaking quietly behind her. She didn't understand the words, but assumed it was a prayer attempting to save the soul of the misguided girl she'd just killed. She shook her head as she continued to walk slowly away. She'd almost reached the edge of the woods when she felt a sharp pain in her stomach that caused her to double over. Her eyes widened and she fell to her knees. She reached behind her trying to find the offending weapon, but felt nothing. She turned to see the chanting woman and a man approaching her. She struggled to stand again.
"Vampir, you have taken from us a beloved daughter," said the man. "Without a soul, you cannot feel the grief of a thousand Romani people weeping for our lost daughter." The woman's chanting grew louder and she raised a large glowing sphere above her head into the night sky. "Tonight, we grant you a human soul, vampir, and with it, every second of pain you've cause on this earth."
The woman screamed, and as she did, the light from within the sphere buzzed and crackled before escaping and flying through the air to hit Santana squarely in the chest. Santana gasped as if she'd been run through with a sword. The faces and screams of every human she'd ever killed raced past her eyes and echoed in her ears. She howled trying to drown out the noise. She scratched at her eyes trying to not see their faces. Her body was racked with pain and she twisted and contorted until, finally, she fell to her knees.
"I hate gypsies," she said before falling over in the dirt.
"So we tracked the gypsy woman to a store in Oxnard and she bought a bunch of bones, some candles, some incense, some salt…oh, and an 'Orb of Th- Thesula'. Whatever that is," the vampire said struggling to make out something written on the piece of paper he was holding.
Rachel tried to hide a smile. Sugar groaned and looked at Santana.
"I hate gypsies," said Santana, rolling her eyes.
"That means something to you? Orb of Th-" he was cut off by Sugar pouncing upon him and pushing her hand through his chest.
"We heard you the first time," said Sugar as she tossed his heart to the ground. It bounced as it landed in the pile of his fresh ashes.
Rachel coughed. "The gypsy is the girlfriend of your ex-girlfriend's Watcher, is she not?" Kurt covered the grin on his face with his hand.
Santana rolled her eyes and retrieved her nail file," Yeah, Shelby."
"This seems like a personal problem, but I fear that it may interfere with your plan to turn The Slayer, so perhaps I could help? We would not want to disappoint the Master..."
"It's fine. I'll take care of it," Santana said matter-of-factly.
"But I know that turning the Slayer, which must be a weighty task, is your number one priority," Rachel said. "A shame to have a hundred year old curse getting in your way, again…"
Santana stood up quickly. "I'll handle it, Sasquatch," she growled and stormed out.
Holly sighed as she moved her ornate skirt out of the way to sit down at her desk. She slowly slid the fake gold rings off her finger and loosened the tight braid of her hair. The phone rang.
"Library," she answered.
"Is this that hot librarian I saw dressed as Queen Anjou today?" Shelby whispered.
Holly smiled, despite herself, "You may be the only one who recognized me."
"When you told them who you were, did they get it?"
"They asked if I was a good queen or a bad queen and did they name the pears after me," Holly sighed, wedging the phone between her ear and her shoulder as she struggled to undo the skirt of her costume.
"Well the good queen, obviously, those pears are delicious!" said Shelby. "They'd have named the gritty ones after her if she was a bad queen."
"The pears were about 400 years later…but, I guess it's close enough," said Holly. She sank into her chair wearing just a pair of men's boxers having freed herself of the stiff skirt.
"Did you tell them she's the basis for Cersei on Game of Thrones?"
"What's Game of Thrones?" Holly asked.
"Nevermind," Shelby chuckled. "So what are you doing tonight?"
"I don't know, I figured I'd make some photocopies of the few Watcher Council texts I haven't memorized yet as I probably won't have access to them much longer…that or alphabetize…something…"
"Why don't you come home tonight? I bet some bubbles in your bath and some vino in your glass will make you feel a lot better," Shelby said hopefully.
"Shelby, I don't know if I'm ready to…you lied to me about who you are. You had information that could have meant the difference between life and death to Brittany. You put her and this entire town, this planet, in peril. I just don't know if I'm ready to forgive you for all that just yet."
Shelby sighed. "It's not complete absolution for you to just have dinner with me. We can just talk. I'll run the bath and massage your shoulders or just wait for you downstairs if you want. I just want you to come home, Holly."
"I really do have a lot to photocopy…" said Holly.
"Okay, I tried," Shelby exhaled. "There's dinner ready for you. I guess I'll go run some errands or go to the movies…or…something."
"Shelby, I want to forgive you. I just…I don't think I can that fast. I'm losing my place on the Watcher Council, the most important thing I've ever been a part of."
"I always thought our relationship was the most important thing you'd ever been a part of," Shelby replied.
"It's okay. Dinner will keep warm in the oven. Just don't wait too long or it'll dry out, okay? Happy photocopying."
"Good night, Shelby."
"I love you," Shelby said, her voice lilting up at the end to solicit a similar response from Holly. Instead, Shelby heard the phone click in her ear.
Brittany paced back and forth in her room, holding an ice pack to her face. "Quinn's fine. Her pride is a little hurt, I think. She just keeps saying 'at least I didn't die'. She's going to stay with us a few days until she's feeling better or Tubbs kills her for messing with his catnip."
"I wish you'd told us where you guys were going," said Tina over the phone.
"I just didn't want you guys in the-"
"In the way?" Tina offered.
"Not in the way, in the middle. This is between me and Santana. She made me believe she loved me and then she went out of her way to make me feel like nothing. This is personal," said Brittany, walking down the stairs to get another ice pack.
"Have you talked to Ms. Holliday?"
"More like listened to her screech," Brittany said, waving at Quinn as she crossed the living room into the kitchen.
"At least I didn't die! Not even for a second!" Quinn shouted at Brittany, before wincing and replacing the icepacks on her head, lip, and jaw.
"Anyway…it's not like we tried to get her in trouble, but I guess that's where it ended up anyway," said Brittany replacing her warm icepack with a cold one.
"I can't believe The Watcher Council is thinking of letting her go. Ms. Holliday is the best Watcher out there," sighed Tina.
"Yeah, she is. She's the best. I'm gonna try and talk to her tonight. I really wish she'd let me talk to the Council and tell them what happened. It wasn't her fault at all."
"Want me to come?" Tina asked.
"Nah, I need to get out of the house and away from my mom and Quinn watching a Mob Wives marathon. And I need to apologize to Holz."
"Okay, good luck, with The Council I mean. Not with Holly. She loves you as much as you love her."
"I guess we're about to test that theory."
"Hey, Brittany?" Tina asked.
"Sorry I'm about to get yelled at, again?"
"No, I'm sorry that it turned out this way. I'm sorry that Santana is Snixx again and I'm sorry everyone had to find out that the reason she turned was 'cause you guys…ya know…"
"Yeah, it's kinda traumatic when you stop and think about it…which is why I've been trying not to stop and think about it," said Brittany.
"Oh," Tina replied. "Well, there's one bright spot."
"That Lord Tubbington started taking his workout and diet more seriously?"
"Well, that, and now you don't have to be sad about the prophecy anymore. You're the one they say is gonna kill her and, that's a good thing, now…"
"Right, there's that."
Holly adjusted the rearview mirror so that she could see her face. She used her fingertips to smudge off a little of the face paint she'd used for her costume earlier. Tucking a wayward blonde strand behind her ear, she muttered to herself. "Holly Holiday, you're a fucking idiot sometimes. She is the best thing you were ever a part of. She's the best part of you." Grabbing the flowers and bottle of Jameson off the passenger seat, she jumped out of the car and bounded up the stairs. She'd called Shelby to tell her she'd changed her mind before she left, so it wasn't a surprise, but she still couldn't wait to see the look on her face.
She got to the door and before trying to juggle the flowers and bottle to pull out her keys, she tried the knob. The door was unlocked and she heard music playing upstairs. She laughed out loud as she recognized the voice of Barry Manilow singing "Mandy" coming through the speakers. Shelby always apologized with Manilow and passionate sex. Holly grinned.
Setting the bottle down on the counter and tossing the flowers on the couch, she headed upstairs to the bedroom. On the stairs she saw one of Shelby's socks. "Cheesy music and a strip tease?!" As she reached the top of the stairs, she could see candlelight flickering in the bedroom and saw Shelby reclining on the bed. "Mandy" started over again and Holly realized that Shelby must have had it on repeat, waiting for her; always staging a dramatic moment.
"I missed you so much. I was being an idiot. Whether it's school or The Council, work is work and you're everything else," said Holly. Shelby didn't respond. She took a step forward and sat on the bed, avoiding looking Shelby in the eye.
"Okay. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. This isn't all my fault, though. You owe me an apology, too. But, yes, I'm sorry. Your turn." Holly smiled waiting for Shelby to reply. She turned towards Shelby, meeting her eyes. Her smile melted. For a moment, Holly didn't speak, she just recounted the star points of gold in Shelby's green eyes. Then, without another word, she reached for the phone.
"Hello, 911, what's your emergency?"
"My…my…girlfriend. She's…she's…you should come." A single tear ran down her face. She sank to the floor next to the bed.
After giving the police the address and promising she wouldn't leave, she stood up to hang up the phone then sat down on the bed next to Shelby. The bed shifted slightly under her weight and Shelby's head fell to the side, revealing two dark red holes in the side of her neck.
Artie screeched the van to a halt in front of Holly and Shelby's house. "You guys go ahead, it'll take me a bit to get up the stairs in my chair."
Brittany was talking on Tina's cell phone and motioned '1 minute' to everyone looking at her. "Quinn, where is my mom? Ice cream? Are you serious? Just go find her and get her back to the house, okay? Lock up tight and don't let anyone in. Promise? Say it! Okay. Thanks." She handed the phone back to Tina. She looked out the window at the police going in and out of Holly's condo and the flash of multiple cameras going off in the bedroom upstairs.
"Should we all go?" Sam asked. Mercedes squeezed his hand.
Tina replied, "Yeah, maybe all of us at once would be overwhelming. Brittany?"
Brittany shook her head and looked up, dazed. "What?"
"Should we all go or do you want to…" Tina started.
"Yeah, I'll go." She pulled open the van door, got out and took a few steps away before turning back. "What do I say? Lord Tubbington usually tells me what to write in cards, but we've never sent a card for someone dy…I don't know what to say."
Everyone in the van was silent.
Mercedes leaned forward. "Just tell her that you're here for her. That we're all here for her and that we'll do our best to help her through this."
Brittany nodded and turned to leave again. When she reached the front door, she saw Holly sitting just inside the door. "Ms. Holliday?"
Holly looked up and smiled weakly.
Brittany sat down next to her. They sat for a long time without saying a word.
The doorknob rattled and then there was a knock at the door. Quinn jogged to the front door. "Two scoops of the Chunky Monkey and one of the Wavy Gravy!" she called out to Ms. Pierce over her shoulder before opening the door.
"Hello, fine neighbor of Sunnydale," said Rachel. Kurt stood close behind her, waving.
"Hello yourself, "Quinn said, stepping back and raising her fists, ready to fight.
"Oh, no need for that, we cannot come in unless you invite us. Pesky spell," Rachel said poking at the air in the doorway.
"So what do you want?" Quinn said suspiciously. She craned her neck to see over them, checking to see if anyone else was with them.
"We'd like to talk to the Slayer," Kurt said. "We'll wait." Kurt leaned against the porch rail and Rachel clasped her hands behind her, rocking back and forth in plaid maryjanes that matched her skirt and headband.
Quinn smirked, "I'm the Slayer."
Kurt and Rachel looked at each other and laughed. "No, the real Slayer. If she's not home, just let us know when she'll be back and we'll try then," said Kurt.
Quinn frowned. "I am the real Slayer."
Kurt chuckled and looked at Rachel.
"No offense, but we mean Brittany, the Chosen One," Rachel said curtly. "I have grown tired of having to kowtow to Snixx. I want her out of Sunnydale, away from the Hellmouth so that I can once again run things the way I see fit."
"You mean the way the Master sees fit…" Kurt offered.
Rachel sneered at him, but quickly smiled brightly for Quinn. "I know the Slayer, Brittany, wants to get rid of Snixx just as badly as I do and I have a way for us both to get what we want."
"What is it?" Quinn asked.
"I would really rather keep this between Brittany and myself," Rachel said. "She is really the only one who can pull it off." Rachel shot a wink at Kurt.
"I can do anything Brittany can do."
Rachel and Kurt both laughed loudly. Quinn fumed.
"I'm sorry," Kurt said. "It's just we heard you were knocked out cold the last time you tried to fight Snixx."
"It was Mina who knocked her out, not even Snixx," Rachel corrected.
Quinn shot Rachel a deadly look. "She got in a lucky punch. I let my guard down because I thought Brittany had my flank."
Rachel and Kurt raised their eyebrows as if this was new and important information they hadn't considered previously.
"It was Brittany who messed up. And at least I didn't die!"
Rachel and Kurt looked at each other and considered what Quinn had said. "She has a good point, " Kurt said. "Maybe she is the one we should be talking to?"
Rachel pretended to look Quinn up and down. She then motioned for Kurt to step away from the door with her. They whispered animatedly and then both shook their heads vigorously before turning back around to face Quinn.
"We have discussed it, and you are absolutely correct. You are the Slayer," Rachel said. "Brittany has already failed. You may have taken an unfair punch." Rachel leaned towards Quinn and whispered, "I never liked Mina much at all."
"Me neither, hated her," Kurt added.
"We would like to ask you to join us in returning things at the Hellmouth to their natural order. Me as HVIC and you as…The Slayer."
"I'm listening," Quinn said, leaning against the door jamb.
"Oh! No, no, no, no! We simply could not talk about this out in the open. Maybe we could meet at our lair?" Rachel asked.
"Lair? Are you cracked?" Quinn asked.
"We could meet somewhere neutral," Kurt offered.
"Certainly, perhaps the movie theater in 15minutes?" Rachel asked. Kurt shook his head enthusiastically and they turned to leave.
Quinn looked over her shoulder at Ms. Pierce in the kitchen. "I…I can't leave. Promised I wouldn't."
Kurt and Rachel stopped and turned to face her. They whispered to each other. "Perhaps we were correct the first time," Rachel replied, looking apologetic. "We need to speak to Brittany and we need to speak to her tonight. We have information about Snixx that can only be acted upon tonight."
"Anything Brittany can do, I can do!" Quinn sneered. She looked over her shoulder again and then back at Kurt and Rachel. "We can meet in here. I could take you both easy if you get out of line."
"That you could, Quinn," Rachel said smiling sweetly. "I have no doubt."
The sun was rising as Artie's van pulled to a stop outside Brittany's house. Brittany stepped out wearily.
"Are you sure you and Tina don't mind missing first and second period to watch, Ms. Holiday? It's not like me missing the whole day of school would be at all unusual," Brittany said.
"Nah, it's fine. Tina has two self-study classes those periods and…I never pay attention in class anyway," Artie replied.
"Mercedes and I'll bring her lunch and stay until 3," Sam said nodding to Mercedes.
"Thanks guys. Between Quinn, my mom, and me, I think we can cover dinner and overnight," Brittany said. "Try and convince her to come stay with us or get a hotel room?"
"Yeah, we'll try," Artie said. "Rest up."
Brittany saluted as the van pulled away from the curb. As she walked up the front steps, she noticed Lord Tubbington sitting outside on the porch.
"Tubbs! You've overcome your agoraphobia! Oh my god! I can't wait to take you on walks to the park! There's a new family of ducks that just hatched and…." Brittany noticed the front door was ajar. She frowned and stood up. Tubbington meowed. She walked through the front door and called, "Mom! Quinn!" Then she realized the time. "Probably sleeping," she said to herself. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her mom sitting on the couch.
Quinn sat under a tree in the backyard, rocking back and forth. "It was an accident. It was an accident. It was an accident," she chanted. The sound of Brittany's scream startled her awake. She jumped to her feet, dropped the stake, and wiped her bloody hands off in the grass. She looked back at the house, leapt over the fence, and ran as fast as she could, for as long as she could.
A/N: Aaaaaand that's it for Book 2. Hate me? LOL Come yell at me. Book 3 will begin soon.
Thanks for the love and support on this one. Shout out to Nayabenelux (best fan account out there).
Thank you to the lilttle monkeyrat who has been dropping links for me- much appreciated.
Thank you for the late night editing, Lady Bim! *mmmmmuah*