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This is a X-Over with BtVS and the 'Daredevil' Movie
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I hear her screaming. Infact, to be honest, I can't understand how all of LA doesn't. A normal person would be trying to get some sleep. I should be in bed right now, wrestling with the sheets and beating my pillow into submission pretending it to being the face of a certain souled vampire. Unfortunately for me, and *very* fortunately for her – I'm NOT a normal person.
I knew this day would eventually come, his 'Return-Day'. But even I couldn't comprehend the pent-up aggression I would have when it finally arrived. It wasn't jealousy, even though I did feel a sting to my pride when I detected Fred and Cordelia's heart and respiration rate increase when Angel made his 'Oh-So-Dramatic-Return', which seems to be his 'thing'. I really should feel gratitude that he returned at all. But at present I just can't muster that up within me. That Vampire and I have too much of a history together ever to be actual 'chums'. Associates, sure. Friends? Very doubtful. It was because of this that I had to escape the Hotel. If I remained there a moment longer then I doubt I would have been able to have contained myself. Besides, there was a demon that smelled like over-ripe and burnt bananas that needed killing, and at that moment in time I could think of nothing I wanted to do more then kill something.
So when everyone gathered around the vampire to hear his stories and to receive assorted gifts from the 'Souled Ones' travels. I quietly slinked away unnoticed and went upstairs to my room to change. Sure, I might act the part and stumble around occasionally like a real blind man, but when the needs and circumstances are right, and with the aid of my heightened senses of course, I can be all but invisible to detection if I wanted to be.
I had already gotten into my 'Reds' and was sitting perched at my room's window sill about to jump out and join the activity of the night and of the city when I heard Cordelia call out my name from the foyer.
Typical, it took everyone five-minutes to even notice I was gone. It was understandable that she lost track of me, after all, Deadboy was back in town. What's Xander Harris compared to the Tragic Hero known as 'Angel'?
It was annoyance and disgust that prompted me to get out of that place, because no matter how big that Hotel was, it was still far too small for me and him at present. When she called out my name a second time it was joined by Fred. I could hear the worry and fear in their voices, and I then heard five pairs of feet dash up the stair and down the corridor to my room in a frantic appeal to see if I was within, all safe and sound.
I had locked my door. It was an extra barrier to my privacy as I made the transition to my 'second-personality'. The knob rattled with frustration and I heard Gunn yell out my name again along with some expletives. He was worried about me. I was touched. Then I head 'Overbite' tell him to step aside. I knew he was going to kick the door it, and suddenly I had no desire to remain in that room anymore. I cast out my adamantinum wire to buttress on the neighbouring building and let gravity and physics take me. I went sailing through the air as I hear my bedroom door splinter. I didn't even look back; I had places to be and a demon to kill after all.
The creature known to some as a Pre-tar was no more and no-less like any other evil thing I had faced, but tonight it became the focal point of the 'Devils' fury. And this fury lasted all of fifteen-seconds. This fight between man and beast was not frenzied; it was surgical, at least it was on my end. With every blow I expelled, my full strength went into the contact. In truth, the Pre-tar never stood a snowballs chance. It was clumsy and was more brawn then brains. But still, despite the hasty dispatching the demon was far more formidable then either Wesley or Gunn had led me too believe earlier that day.
The kill was a clean one, and it was what I needed. Sure it got in a couple of lucky swipes with its claws, but thanks to the 'Attributes' that cursed me and my life I would be nearly healed by this same time tomorrow. Hurting, but healed. All I needed to do was to make it back to the Hotel, take a couple of 'Happy Pills' and settle off to sleep in my analgesic fog, letting my body knit itself back together for another day of abuse.
But my luck always holds to form. And I was one-third home when I heard the yelp and cries of a Damsel in distress. As I got closer to the action, so did my ire. This was not a mugging, it was a rape.
Did I have the strength in me for this? I just crossed 10-miles of city to duke it out with a demon and just traversed back an easy 3-mile all in the span of 40-minutes. I was beaten and exhausted. These were the logical arguments for not getting involved; but all it took was one more holler from the girl to settle the matter in my mind and heart. This is what I do, and who I am – A Protector. Not a demon fighter or a Vampire Slayer. I protect those that need protecting. And as of this second there was only one person in my little world who needed me to keep to this pledge and responsibility - That nameless girl in the Alley.
Angel is, and had to be a dead issue. I will think thoughts of him later. What matter's most at present is this nightmare that's about to play itself out. There is a person below me who about to have the worst night of her life unless I step in and step in hard.
I leap from one rooftop to another, following her faint gasps and soft pleas of mercy. Her efforts are doing nothing to sway the ears of the men dragging her. Finally I find myself standing atop of the despicable scene; the ledge is an easy 15-meter above and is barely able to support my weight. I try and get a sense of the environment below, and take a mental memory of where everything is. It's not easy; my mind is racing to follow the girl's quickened heart rate, and my body is doing it's best to violently resist an injury along my left side caused by the Pre-Tar a quarter of an hour earlier.
There are two of them, and neither of them is dealing with her the way true gentlemen should be towards a young lady. But they haven't hurt her - yet. They let the threat hang there though, and she knows even without them saying a word that if she tries to make an escape they will easily be able to stop her. Then they will be a damn sight rougher with her then they were initially planning to be. So for the sake for her own future well-being, it would be best if she just accepted what was going to happen and not resist their attentions.
She's either stupid or brave, because I can practically sniff her twitchiness even from three-stories up. Given half a chance and she'll bolt. She's got the faculty in her to try and flee. I can't help but admire the girl's survivalist spirit. Many in her position would be in shock at the thought of what they will be enduring in the next few minutes; she's keeping it together enough to not let any opportunity escape her. From her perspective that opportunity doesn't at present exist so she's playing the hapless victim. Like I said – admirable.
They're breathing heavily, and I mentally reel at the stench of alcohol that is wafting its way up to meet me. They're telling her to again shut-up for the fifth time, but she's deaf to their demands.
She's begging them. Asking them to let her go, and saying that she won't tell anybody. A small part of me prays that they do as she asks. As yet they haven't done anything except give her a scare, and maybe a scare is what she needs. To be on the streets alone at this time of night? It's just asking for trouble. But there is a darker part of me want's them both to go for their belts and their flies. This part needs another fight; this part needs to be unleashed once more. Killing and fighting demons and vamps is one thing, but not all evil is the same as the other. The Supernatural delve into dark practices because that's what they do. Do you hold a snake responsible for being a snake? People have a choice. There are rules and there are laws. If you chose not to live by them, then you shouldn't seek protection from them when things don't go your way.
Rape, in my mind is one of the darker breaches of trust in existence. I've counselled far too many girls who got caught up in somebodies 'Wilding' back in New York. You never recover from rape; that type of fear and mistrust will always stay with you. You will always look deeper into the night and shadows for someone who isn't there and you will always hold your lover at a distance because he's a man. And it was a 'Man' who defiled you, ergo - men can't be wholly trusted. Theft and even some murder I can accept and deal out with a level of professionalism. But Rape? To the 'Devil' that lives inside of me, it's like offering a raw T-bone steak to a hungry Alsatian. There is no excuse for this. Infact many of the men who have raped and beaten women often found themselves never doing such things again when Daredevil got involved. The last one 'accidentally' died when he got sliced by an approaching C-Train.
It sickens me that I feel I must wait; but I have to give these bastards the chance to change their minds. Sometimes the good in people comes out at the last moment, it's rare, but it happens. They're now starting to lay down the rules to the girl, but she's too frightened to hear them. It's the standard 'you co-operate, nothing bad will happen too you' crap. If they thought this would silence her, these idiots were wrong. It just makes her scream louder. I really shouldn't complain though, it was her screams that led me too her, and right now it is acting as a decent distracter as I jump down behind them. It wasn't that far - perhaps only a drop of thirty-five feet, the hard part was landing without a sound.
I merge with the shadows behind me, just waiting, giving them both one last chance to do the right thing. Then one of the girl's attacker's forcibly tears her shirt. That was it. The waiting was now officially over, and things were about to get serious. It was, as Foggy would say - 'Game On' Time.
I step out of the darkness, instructing them to back away from their prey.
They turn, look me up and down. Then they laugh. Just like everybody does at first. They see the Devil outfit with the helmet with the horns affixed and they think I'm an escaped loon. But they never laugh for long. I try not to laugh back; this will be over in seconds. I could have drawn out the Billy Club from my holster, but I want this to last. The 'Hyde' part of me wants to get down-and-dirty.
In these seconds that pass between us an unspoke challenge is made. And even in the dark and with their intoxicated high they both know that in order to have their moment with the terrified girl squatting behind them that they have to best me first.
I wait for one of them to make the first move; thankfully I don't have to wait too long. I was starting to get bord.
"Get 'em!" Is all that is said as one of the men starts to charge at me? I realise just how close he is by the beer-soaked onion breath. My left fist connects perfectly square to his jaw, driving him back into the arms of the other man, who'd just them began his own progression towards me. The impact causing both of them to fall the alleyway ground. If I could see, I bet I would be laughing my ass off at the scene. Drunks are not the most graceful of fighter's, but what they lack in co-ordination they make up in tenacity. It doesn't take either of them long to regroup. I could have ended it whilst they were both wrestling with one another to stand back up. But my 'Hyde' wanted to draw this out.
Like insightless elephants the pair charges at me again as one, thinking that their bulk and pure force would win them this battle. But as they are about to reach where I was standing I leap to the side - landing atop of a dumpster that was sitting idol to my right. Before their eyes can focus on my new location, I flip off of it landing protectively infront of the now totally stunned girl.
"Don't worry. You'll be fine." I offer my reassurances to her safety, but even I know that from her panicky perspective they are only empty words. Her heart's racing, and I can tell by the was she shied away deeper into the wall in which she was pinned earlier that she feels no safer with me then these two thugs a few seconds before.
Dweedle-dum and Dweedle-dumber have once more gotten their baring on me and proceed back in the direction of their original prize. One of them steps back, giving the lead to the largest of the pair. I spent enough times on the streets of Hell's Kitchen to know a suicide charge in the making. The big guy is supposed to distract me, and the smaller one then follows through with a blow a second later. Very predictable.
I guess I better end this now.
My right leg sweeps across and gains altitude allowing my foot to collide the front- man's face. I can hear the cracking of teeth and the gurgling of spit and blood as it flies out of his mouth, as well as a loud *thunk* of his tail bone as he again hits the concrete ground.
The girl see's this as an opportunity to try and make a break for it. I applaud the notion, but in a battle like this I needed no variables to get in the way of my senses. I need to know she's out of harms way and safe, not scampering out on the asphalt battlefield. "Stay behind me!" The chill of my command causes her to freeze in her place. I allowed myself to get distracted by her for only a second.
A rookie mistake.
People can die in a second.
My head violently jerks to the right and I try not to pass out as a two-by-four slam's into the side of my face; fortunately my adamantinum helmet took the brunt of it. I try to fight the question which is now prominent, 'Where the Hell did this Dick get a club?' Then I detect a small heap of broken pieces of wooden frames and other things sitting besides the dumpster I had jumped off a second earlier. With this query now answered, I have something else racing through my mind. The desire to fight unconsciousness. The girl needs me. She doesn't need me collapsing to the ground. I won't let anything happen to her - I can't. The ironic taste of my own blood as it saturates my mouth is alarming. But if I let this distract me then I will taste a lot more of it before this night is through.
I have to stay focused.
I fake a stumble backwards, letting 'onion breath' think he's got me on the ropes and that I'm dazed. I sway to the left, then to the right. I lead him to believe my next movement; I lull my head down imitating a person on the verge of falling down.
Thankfully, I don't need eyes to see. My radar senses him raising the makeshift club above his head. He's getting ready to 'lay-me-down' with a coup-de-gra. Unfortunately for him, in making this movement he's left his sides open and vulnerable.
My fist's rise up with a will of their very own. Punches rain into him so fast that I cannot count to keep up. The wooden weapon slips from his grasp as he also slips to the alleyway floor beside his unconscious friend. The pair joining as one in a peace few this night will have, by tomorrow they will both be sporting bruises and injuries that they probably won't be able to account for and headaches that would stun a rhino.
As the excitement in my body eases, my left side goes numb and my head becomes enflamed with pain. I land to my knees. Having super-sharp senses is the 'bomb' on a normal day, but when you're in pain those sense, especially the 'touch' one becomes more inverted and intense. It's like an 'S & M' free-for-all in my nervous system.
The injury I sustained at the claws of the Pre-tar fifteen minutes earlier finally takes its toll on me. I can feel the wound burn in my side. I guess Gunn was right. Sometimes a Street-Fighter can't turn their back on a good fight. *Any* fight. Not when it's the fight that defines them.
I hear the girl kneel besides me, her breathing is erratic. The adrenaline of the moment and of her rescue takes over her body as the fear sheds itself away. She doesn't know what to do. Should she help her saviour, or run out of the alley hailing the first cab that is about to pass her?
She gently cups my chin and she smears abit of my blood off my cheek. Though I can't see her expression, I can feel her tenderness in her touch. Without implication, I know she feels the overwhelming urge to thank me. She's studying my face, or rather what she can see of it and I know she is imagining what the rest of my features could be like under the mask I wear. I have felt this type of electricity before, many times actually, in the next few seconds she's going to try and kiss me. Why does every young woman I rescue from a rape or a mugging feel they need to kiss me for doing the decent thing? I suppose it's just a way of extending their appreciation. But if that was so, then why didn't Buffy or Willow ever extend me this same courtesy when we were still doing the slaying thing together in Sunny HELL? I mean I must have saved Buff's life a dozen times and Will nearly twice that number. But none of them ever tried to smooch me in gratitude.
I guess I'm only desirable when nobody knows who I am or what I look like. Well, that's not true, Cordy liked me. Same goes for Elektra. Faith also I think * - no, don't go there. Not now. But even I have to admit that it's hard not to think of Faith at present, not after the reaming I got from Foggy a couple of hours earlier.
I've heard Foggy, angry, frustrated, annoyed, but this tone was one I had never heard him use on me before – disappointment. With Angel back, my solo priority must now be her. No more excuses or distractions. I came to LA to deal with Deadboy's slack and to get the Slayer back on the straight and narrow towards parole. After tonight, Faith Williams is my priority.
It took the briefest of seconds to commit to this decision, in that briefness I heard the girl lightly swallow and detect the tip of her tongue wet her lips. After the night I've had I'm almost tempted to surrender to her. But I can't, it would be taking advantage of a person who was in a vulnerable state. And I can't do that. Like I told Foggy earlier, that's not the kind of person I want to be. Not to Faith, and certainly not to 'nameless' here.
Via my radar sense I 'feel' her face slowly angle and move towards mine. When I've decide that she's moved close enough I let my lips part with three words, hoping it will be enough to stall her, yet not offend. "Are you alright?"
The question catches her off guard, but it is still enough for her to stop and answer me. "I'm fine - now. Now that you're here, that is. I guess 'Thanks' is in order, huh?"
"If you think a 'thanks' is what I deserve, then I'll happily accept it."
I plant my hand on the alley wall to steady myself and to focus on my tactile surroundings. Slowly I start to place a musculare pressure on my calves as I ready myself to stand up.
"Are - are you some kind of superhero, like that Spiderman guy the Bugle writes about?"
I freeze in place. Do I look like that teenage glory hound? "Superhero? Me? No, Miss. I'm just a loon who likes to play dress up and beat down on drunks, that's all."
She pauses for a moment trying to assess what it looks like I'm trying to do. She then slings my right arm over her shoulders, bracing me as I try to stand back up on my feet. Her perfume is intoxicating and then I hear her laugh in a very polite fashion at what I said as she struggles to support my extra weight. "That's all? Mister, take it from me. In this day and age it's enough. At least it's enough for me."
I smile at what she say's. I can't help myself. Typically I try and remain grim and intimidating for the rubes. But tonight has released a lot of personal demon's, and I am grateful for her validation.
"So, umm, what do you call yourself?"
For a moment I'm in shock, in Hell's Kitchen I never had to introduce myself. It was only when I relocated to LA to fight side-by-side with the Fang Gang that I kept secret my Daredevil name. If Cordy, Wes, Fred and Gunn after all knew that I called myself 'Daredevil' they would have easily tracked the name's origin back to Hell's Kitchen in New York. And two guy's from 'The Kitchen' rocking into town at the same time? Please, people can be dim but not stupid. And I didn't want the chance of losing my precious duality, so I let them call me what they liked. Fortunately, they preferred to call me 'Devil'.
Yet for some reason, I didn't want to be anomous anymore. I wanted to be known, even if it was for just one night and by one person. I wanted someone to speak my name, like Cordy spoke Angel's name earlier tonight. I want to hear the flush in their voice, the awe and the respect.
"Daredevil. You can call me, Daredevil."
Her body relaxes under me towards my admission. "Daredevil, huh? It suits you. My name's Anne. Anne Steele."
I could tell straight away she was lying. Her name wasn't Anne, or Steele either for that matter. The hitch in her heart rate and light pitch in her voice as she said it told me so. But still, the name flowed off her lips with ease so it was obviously one she felt comfortable using. Who am I to judge someone for keeping secrets, not when I have more then my fair share.
"You're, um, hurt."
"I've been worse." I try to sound glib but I think she suspects its all bravado because she just holds onto me tighter.
The next words that exit 'Anne's mouth surprise me, rarely does anyone ever offer to save me in return for saving them. "I run a Homeless and Youth Shelter a couple of blocks away. That's why I was out and about. I was told by a couple of guys that they saw a 'Homeless Tribe' camping out in this area. I guess they've moved on now. The street's can be pretty dangerous at night so I was going to try and find them and take them back to the Shelter. Not the brainiest thing to do on your own I know, but then again I've never been accused of ever being too bright. Still, the Shelter isn't much. But it's safe and it's clean. And people see it as one of the best this side of the city for a warm meal and a comfy cot. I've got some medical supplies there waiting if you're interested. Bare First Aid stuff. But only if you like, we can see if we can get you patched up a bit. C'mon, 'Darey' it's the least I can do for you."
I release a dry laugh at her gratitude and familiarity. She's talking to me like she's known me for years and not just minutes. I like her, I like her a lot. She reminds me a little bit of certain 'Father' in Clinton, NY who would listen to my confessions.
I countered her words with a bit of Xanderish-wisdom that I'm famous for in the Kitchen. "Wrong, Miss Steele. The least you can do for me, or anybody, is 'nothing'. And as to doing what you were doing, your right it wasn't to smart, but it was incredibly decent and charitable of you to try. I have to say, Anne, I admire that. The easiest thing in the world is to deny that a problem exists. It takes someone very special to try and make things right for strangers. So don't be so hard on yourself."
She rocks my body into her side so that both our hips are touching one another and I can almost feel the heat in her rise. She's blushing. "Yeah, well I - I, c'mon, you're hurt because of me. Let me give you a bandaid or something, I wouldn't feel right if you went on you way without doing at least that."
I hear the genuine concern for me in her voice and her embarrassment. Even without my senses telling me so I know for a fact this young woman is a carer. But I don't like being anyone's burden. "Its okay, Anne, I'm fine, really. I can heal real quickly."
And again for the second time in thirty seconds she surprises me. "What do you mean you heal quickly? You part Vampire, or something?"
I try to keep my voice level but even I can't fight the stagger in my response. "And how do you know about Vampires?"
She chuckles. But there is no joy escaping in the laugh. It's sorrowful and full of personal resentment. "That's a long story."
I can tell that this is a story I want to hear, and even though my injuries will heal themselves on their own I decide to bargain for the pleasure of hearing it. Besides, I could sense that this is a story she might need to off-load herself. The Xander Harris side of me feels a need to help her once more. "Is it a good story?"
She laughs once more, and this laugh is once more remiss of genuine happiness. "What constitutes a good story these days?"
I untangle myself from her grasp, standing tall on my own two feet. In the night's light I try and strike a pondering pose and reply. "A car chase and Ninja's. A truly good story has Ninja's in them."
The sound that welcomes my heightened ears this time is not devoid of happiness any longer. This time her laugh has cheer in it. "Ninja's? Does your life story have ninja's?"
I force a smile, the memory and pain is still very much raw. But for Anne I try not to let her see my sorrow. "Ninja. Singular. And she was hot."
Anne laughs again and she takes my elbow in an effort to guide me to her Shelter. "Well it doesn't exactly have ninja's, but there is plenty of fighting in it." When we reach the foot path she takes a deep breath and begins to unload her soul to me. "I guess it started four years ago when I met a guy who seemed pretty cool at first called Ford. He had this ambition that eventually, and very briefly, became my ambition as well. That ambition was to become a Vamp. We even started a Cult and made a pilgrimage to a Hellmouth all in the hopes of being 'turned'. That was the plan, but my life never goes according to plan."
The masked man smiled to himself as they walked, he knew this story but kept silent as it was recounted to him. The pair walked down the street, arm-in-arm. Unaware that across from them, four flights up, and on the roof of the building stood a motionless man. A man who saw everything that happened in the Alley. A man who did not breathe, nor had a heart that beat.
With these discrepancies of activity, he was all but invisible to the heightened senses of the blind vigilante walking below him. The only thing that gave him away would have been if he was standing down wind from the hero, which in this circumstance he was not. But if he was standing down wind there would have been carried in the breeze a very distinct smell of hair gel.
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