Marcie concentrated on not screaming. She'd given up on trying to keep her breathing quiet. If she could just keep from screaming she would count that as a major accomplishment.
She had spotted Willow and Jesse leaving the school after hours with another guy, Xander. She had always kind of liked Xander for the way he managed to hold his own against Cordelia.
She had decided to follow them. She had to know if Xander was a monster too, or if they were taking him out to do something to him, or what.
The way they were all dressed alike in hoodies and gloves was suspicious, but not proof of anything.
Marcie had kept her distance, and did her best to stay downwind of them. They'd already demonstrated that just because they couldn't see her didn't mean they couldn't find her. She had to hope that her precautions were enough.
Seriously? Playing ninja in a moonlight graveyard? she'd thought to herself when the pulled on ski masks before walking through the gate.
I guess it's hard to find a spooky forest or eerie cave to lurk in around here. They have to work with what's available.
Marcie had hung even further back at that point. They had seemed to be looking for something and she didn't want them to notice her by mistake. The way the three of them moved so quietly between the headstones, coordinating their movements without sound freaked her out. There was something inexpressibly predatory about them.
Without any other proof she became certain that whatever Willow and Jesse were, Xander was too.
She had dropped so far behind that they were just barely in sight when it happened. Xander shot sideways into one of the short stone house things. Mausoleums.
The sound of the impact didn't quite cover the huff of air being driven out of his lungs even at a distance.
There was someone else there and he was fighting them. It was all happening so fast, and she was so far away it was impossible to make out details, but whoever it was seemed to be winning.
Against her better instincts she moved closer.
She couldn't see his face or anything, but it had to be a guy with that build. The mystery man was big, like pro football player big. And he wasn't a normal human either.
Even as big as he was he shouldn't be strong enough to do the things he was doing. He was tossing her monsters around like they were made out of styrofoam. He even picked up one of them by the leg and started wacking him into the ground like an angry toddler with a teddy bear.
I really hope this guy is on my side.
There was no shouting or cursing, the only sounds were those of bodies colliding with each other and their surroundings. They just attacked each other with relentless, silent ferocity.
But you couldn't really call what was happening a fight. She didn't think her monsters had managed to so much as slap the guy. They were like stunt men attacking the lead in an action movie except for one thing.
They kept getting up.
No matter how hard he hit them, or how far he threw them, they just kept getting back up. She'd thought for sure that he'd finished Xander when he sent him flying into the headstone. She couldn't image anything surviving that when she'd heard the stone shatter and saw his slack face, the mask torn away.
She'd wished she was imagining things when she saw Xander start dragging himself across the ground with one hand, all fangs and yellow eyes, like some kind of hellishly fast crippled zombie.
She didn't notice the rock in his other hand until he swung it into the big guy's leg. That ugly, wet, crunching, popping sound wasn't like anything she'd ever heard before. He knocked Xander flying again, but that was the turning point.
The big guy was stronger, faster, and a much better fighter than her monsters, but he obviously wasn't as durable. As impressive as his power was (and it was seriously awesome) it was ultimately futile.
There was something darkly comedic about he way he kept fighting off their attacks while standing on one leg. He struck with crushing force even in that awkward stance.
The monsters just got up again. But when Willow grabbed his good leg and forced him down, he couldn't follow their lead.
Willow did some complicated looking contortion that locked her whole body around the big guy's right arm, while her legs went across his chest. She pulled his arm against her chest and strained backwards, pitting the strength of her entire body against his single arm.
Even then he might have overpowered her, but he was trying to fend off Xander with his stone hammer at the same time. With another one of those terrible wet pops, she broke his elbow.
The big guy managed to throw them off again and again, but the three of them wore him down, eventually smashing his other arm and leg. It was ugly and brutal.
Marcie concentrated on not screaming. Or throwing up.
When he was finally helpless, the tallest one, Jesse, stabbed him in the chest with something.
The big guy's body dissolved into dust and disappeared with a sigh.
Marcie curled in on herself and shivered.
How am I supposed to fight these things?
Jesse stood over the pile of dust that had been kicking his ass a few moments ago and strongly felt he should be panting for breath. The not needing to breathe thing always weirded him out after heavy exertion.
"Hey, guys? Why are we doing this again?" Willow asked hoarsely.
"Oh you know. Revenge and preventing the end of the world. Plus it's apparently a safer extra curricular than cheerleading," Jesse answered lightly while he gathered up his stakes and checked his vial of holy water.
It's hard to kill a vamp with this stuff, but you can damn sure mess one up with it, he reflected.
Willow coughed and spat a bloody something up with a grimace visible through her mask. "Splinter," she explained apologetically.
"But seriously. We're fighting way out of our league. Three on one and this guy wiped the floor with us. If we hadn't gotten lucky he would have killed us," she continued in a normal voice.
"Oh, give him his due, he did kill us. Like, three times each," Jesse acknowledged far more calmly than he'd felt while it was happening. "But you're forgetting the part where we won anyway."
He'd heard that all teenagers think they're immortal.
How cool is it that when we think that we're right?
"Besides, if we don't do this, who will?" Xander argued. "Whoever Mr. Giles was waiting for didn't show. I don't think we really have a choice. As much as I liked Mad Max, I don't really want to live in a post-apocolyptic world."
"Yeah, you're right," Willow admitted after a long pause. She shook her head,"Sorry for wimping out, guys. I guess we'd better head back."
"It went bad is how it went. Very, very, very, very bad," Xander answered Mr. Giles while walking over with his friends to slump into a chair at the library's main table.
"Bad on an epic scale," Jesse elaborated.
"You didn't find any vampires?" Mr. Giles asked with a frown.
"Ha!" Willow barked hollowly. "We wish."
"Technically we didn't find any vampires," Jesse corrected. "One found us. You remember that Vessel guy from the Harvest?"
Mr. Giles blinked.
Impressive how much meaning the old dude can pack into a single syllable that isn't even a word, Xander noted.
"Yeah, I learned my lesson there. Always, always, ALWAYS finish the kill. Dad told me that when we used to go hunting. You never let something crawl away wounded," Jesse stated.
"Or it'll come back later to beat you to death with your own limbs," Xander agreed. He didn't want to think about what Luke would have done to Jesse if he'd caught him alone.
"I trust that's just a colorful turn of phrase?" Mr. Giles asked worriedly.
"We're okay. I just got a chance to see how often I could get my spine broken in the course of a single fight. My new record is four times," Xander added with a touch of pride mixed with his embarrassment.
On the one hand I took four crippling injuries in one fight. On the other hand I took four crippling injuries and I'm fine now. We even won.
"If we could be beaten to death, Luke would have definitely done it," Jesse agreed. "Unlucky for him, we're pretty much invincible."
"Hey, unkillable isn't even close to being the same thing as invincible. Remember what happened to that Judge guy the Notebook mentioned? Brrr!" Willow shivered.
The thought of being hacked up and stuffed into a bunch of different boxes while I'm still alive is majorly creepy, Xander admitted to himself. Even immortality had some downsides but, he mentally shrugged, it beats the alternatives.
"You were so right not to let us carry anything sharp, Mr. Giles," Willow said fervently. "He'd have taken a sword or axe away from us and cut us to pieces. Even if we can survive that, we'd be helpless."
"And headless. And limbless. And..." Jesse broke off as Xander swatted him on the back of the head.
"That's the kind of funny that isn't," Xander told him. And you're starting to creep me out again.
Mr. Giles turned back into his office and emerged with three large glasses and a gallon jar filled with a dark substance. He set a glass in front of each of the gang.
Xander took a breath through his nose to check the scent.
Not that he'd really thought it'd be Kool-aid. He'd been faintly smelling blood since shortly after they got back to the library.
"You've had a trying day, and an even more trying night. I imagine you need this by now," Mr. Giles told them as he filled the glasses one after the other.
Willow gazed at her glass without enthusiasm.
"Ugh, pig's blood. It's a good thing I wasn't raised orthodox, 'cause this would be giving me some major problems." With a faint grimace of distaste she took a drink.
"It is probably about as far from kosher as you can get," Jesse cheerfully observed before taking a swig.
Xander shrugged. "Tastes pretty good to me. I imagine that's because of the whole vampire thing I've got going." He was still unhappy about how undeath had stolen his sweet tooth. As good as blood tasted now it was as good as chocolate used to be. And twinkies...
Concentrate on what you've got, not on what you've lost, he reminded himself.
"Have you ever wondered why it's pig's blood," Jesse asked suddenly. "Why not cow's blood? Or, I dunno... chicken's?"
Xander shook his head, admitting ignorance.
Mr. Giles offered a little diffidently, "A-ah cannibals on the Marquesa Islands referred to human flesh as 'long pig.'" He cleared his throat. "I take that to mean that it tastes rather like pork. That being the case..."he trailed off suggestively.
"Ick," Willow said, pushing her empty glass away. "I didn't want to know that."
"Makes sense thought," Jesse said, after nodding his agreement with her. "Probably smart to make our people juice substitute taste as much like the real thing as possible. It was the old guy's idea right?"
"Where is Gramps anyway?" Xander asked. They could have really used his help with their plus sized playmate.
"He has...personal matters to attend to. He said he would be back in a few days," Mr. Giles assured them.
And that's not evasive at all, Xander noted dryly.
Because Old Girl Lost asked for it, here is Chapter 7. Sorry I spaced out about posting it. It's kind of choppy but not completely terrible.
Chapter 8 won't get posted till at least a month from now. Maybe sometime in Febuary. Like I mentioned before I really need to overhaul this story, but I'm afraid that's taking a back seat to updating Who Isn't Crazy? and finishing my one-shot answer to Dany le fou "Falling into the Abyss" challenge. And sadly, both those things must take a back seat to work.
Some reviews for this story might make me reorganize my priorities.
Just a thought.