The search is on. I finally gave in and started writing the sequel fic to Family:Blood Calls to Blood.
My thanks to bogwitch for the super-fast beta, and calove for agreeing to help me out with characters I've never written before.
Disclaimer: The usual - none of the characters is mine.
Rating:PG for language.
The alley behind the Hyperion Hotel was awash with freshly spilled blood, the rain sluicing it into the gutter in torrents. And still they came; wave after wave of seemingly unstoppable demons bent on destroying the pitifully small band of figures fighting with their backs to the wall. As each line fell, another replaced it; a never ending horde clamouring for annihilation.
In the sky above, the dragon screamed, its jaws peeling back revealing a deep maw containing neither flesh nor bone, but pure darkness. With a roar, the thing that had assumed the dragon’s form, spewed forth, fracturing into three parts, each rolling away from the battle and up into the storm that accompanied it. As they did so, a figure plummeted to the pavement, still clutching the sword that had dealt the dragon the mortal blow. Crumpled on the gore soaked ground, Angel raised his head briefly and blinked the blood from his eyes before losing consciousness.
Above the rooftops, three clouds, blacker than the rainstorm that had heralded the beginning of the conflict, billowed and grew, changing shape, reforming and finally solidifying in the forms of a wolf, a ram, and a hart. The rain stopped. Something worse replaced the storm. Fog, rolling in from the direction of the bay, bringing with it the faint metallic odour of dark magic. As the fog thickened, it grew colder, blacker, and foul-smelling, turning rapidly into smog, the kind that conceals, smothers, binds and kills.
Gunn was the first to fall, unable to hold off the attackers he could no longer see. Illyria was next; cursing the loss of powers she once had to sense and anticipate the enemy. Spike continued to fight on a while longer, his heightened vampire senses guiding his moves. But he was alone and eventually, overcome by the sheer numbers, he too fell and was buried under a mass of blood-hungry demons.
He knew she was there before he saw her, sensed her before he caught her scent above the acrid smell of the corpses that pinned him to the sodden pavement. Before she grasped his arm and hauled him to his feet, he could taste her fiery anger punching its way through the suffocating clouds.
Spike opened his swollen eyes and grinned at her. "The Big Poof had a plan after all then." He scanned the alley for signs of the others. "Did he make it?" he asked her anxiously, still searching the battleground. “Where is he?”
Spike turned back to face the slayer but she had thrown herself into the fight before she'd heard his question. There were other girls fighting alongside her, skilful and strong, slicing heads from bodies with apparent ease. Illyria was with them but, even so, they were outnumbered. As quickly as they sent a demon to its death, another took its place.
Spike gazed at them in awe, feeling as if he'd died and gone to heaven. He rubbed his face, feeling the blood welling from fresh wounds, wincing in pain as he gathered his strength to fling himself back into the fray. "Not heaven then," he muttered.
As he turned to join them, a sudden blast of power threw him to the ground; the heat singeing his coat, adding further to the damage it had suffered from the dragon’s fire. He watched with amazement as the demons stopped their attack, responding to some unheard call to retreat. He saw Illyria turn her attention to the Slayer who had led the counter-attack. She held out her leather-clad arm towards her and pulled it back rapidly as it drew sparks from the power-shield that surrounded her. The demons silently disappeared into the fog, which quickly turned back into mist before dissipating altogether. The rain returned, a fine drizzle at first, then gathering strength, cascading in icy sheets, from a sky that gradually brightened with dawn’s imminent arrival.
Spike lurched painfully to his feet. "Where’s Angel?" he shouted. "We have to find cover."
Illyria continued her scrutiny of the woman who had earlier pulled Spike to his feet. "Your leader is there," she said. Without changing the direction of her gaze, she pointed at a battered figure slumped in the Hyperion’s rear entrance, cradling Gunn’s head, shielding him from the worst of the rain.
Spike strode over shrugging his singed duster off his shoulders as he did so. He held it out to Angel. "Here, use this," he said softly. "Is he going to be OK?" Not waiting for an answer, Spike’s eyes swept the alley once more. "How’d you pull this off?" he asked, indicated the girls standing before them. "Put out a 911 call while you were airborne, did you?"
Angel frowned and glanced beyond Spike at the slayer who held Illyria's attention and was running towards them "Buffy . . .she . . ."
Spike never heard the rest of Angel’s explanation. Strong hands gripped his shoulder and swung him round. He was pulled into an embrace that would have done serious damage to a human body and his lips were assaulted by a passionate kiss. His blood sang in response and he leaned in, opening his mouth, welcoming the tongue that caressed his. The soft moan that greeted his response shocked him into breaking the embrace. His eyes flew open and stared into the green ones of the slight figure that continued to grip his arms like a drowning woman clutching at her rescuer.
"Bloody Hell, Slayer," Spike gasped. "What’d you do that for?" He glanced over his shoulder at Angel. "You saw that, right? She kissed me. You really should keep a closer eye on your bird, mate. She’s loopier than Dru ever was."