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Fan Fiction: The New Seer
Chapter Four: Rescue?
"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
Wes approached the alleyway cautiously, flanked by Fred and Gunn. The foot traffic in the area had slowed considerably, but not enough that they could risk carrying their weapons at the ready. Early detection would be key. If the vampires had chased -- would chase -- Connor and Justine here on foot, then there was plenty of time to conceal themselves and wait to be of assistance. If, however, the vampires had sprung a trap --
"Intend to spring a trap," he muttered irritably, under his breath. The English language wasn't really equipped to discuss the prevention of events that were destined to happen in the future.
Gunn heard him. He turned his head a little to aim a frown in Wes' direction, then went back to scanning for suspicious movement. "So you think it's a trap?" he muttered back.
"Possibly," Wes replied shortly, rather than try to explain.
"It makes sense," Fred whispered, nervously. "I mean, you said *several* vampires, right? I'm pretty sure there aren't any nests in this area. We patrol around here pretty often."
"Shhhhh," Gunn hissed. "You want 'em to know we're here?"
Fred shot him an apologetic look. "Sorry," she mouthed at him, nervously fingering the stake tucked into her pocket.
Wes ignored their byplay and entered the alley itself. The geometry of the place, the lines of the walls and the shadowed heaps of garbage, made his nerves vibrate with an overpowering sense of deja vu. For a moment, he could almost see the shapes of the vampires surrounding Connor, and the body on the ground; then he blinked, and the moment was lost.
"Damn," Gunn said quietly, from behind him. "No place to hide. What now? Go back out to the street, and wait for the violence to start?"
Wes frowned, staring down the length of the narrow corridor while running options through his mind. He had no way of knowing how quickly Justine was - would be - killed, and if they waited on the street they might not be able to save her. On the other hand, if they stood here they would almost certainly be seen before the battle got underway, and they might end up taking on the group of vampires alone, rather than assisting the two fugitives. The odds were not in their favor, either way. "Perhaps ..." he began, still not quite certain what to say.
"Wait!" Fred interrupted him, wrapping fingers around his forearm. "Do you hear that?"
The rhythmic slap of sole on pavement echoed up the alley, still faint, but approaching at a high rate of speed. "They're coming," Wes said, unnecessarily, and drew his sword. "Get ready."
Gunn unshipped his hubcap axe from its homemade sheath beneath his jacket, hanging by the haft between his shoulderblades, and moved to point. Behind them both, Fred fumbled in the bag she was carrying for the crossbow, and quickly loaded it. Her aim wasn't quite as good as Wes', but she wasn't hampered by a vision headache, either. They were as ready as they were going to get.
The footfalls drew closer. There wasn't much light in the alleyway, but there was enough to see that this encounter wasn't at all what they'd expected; the *vampires* were the ones being chased, six of them, and as they approached Wes could see why. The leader of the group had Justine draped over one shoulder, struggling wildly, and from behind the pack they could hear Connor, yelling in rage. The vampires didn't seem fearful; on the contrary, they looked as though they were enjoying themselves.
"Wes?" Gunn growled. "I thought you said ..."
"Later," Wes snapped back. Why couldn't Gunn have been the one to get the visions? he wondered, irritably. It wasn't as though there was any sort of guidebook on 'How to Interpret Mind-Splitting Announcements from the Powers-That-Be,' any more than there were codebooks on deciphering major prophecies.
The vampires were much closer now, and Fred let loose with a bolt from the crossbow. It flew true, aimed straight at the heart of the vampire to the leader's left, but it was slapped out of the way at the last second. Her second bolt was even less successful, bouncing off the alley wall to clatter to the ground. There wasn't time for another, and she dropped it to the ground before pulling out a stake and a cross to fill her hands.
The lead vampire grinned maliciously as he approached them, then suddenly lifted Justine from his shoulder and threw her bodily at them. The alleyway was narrow enough that there was no room to get out of the way, and all four humans went down in a heap. Wes heard Justine's head crack against the wall as she fell, and swore as he struggled to get back up. Hopefully, the blow hadn't killed her; her death was what they were here to prevent, no matter what his feelings on the subject were.
On the other side of the group of vampires, Connor had caught up to them at last, and the three hindmost turned to deal with him. Angel's son was supernaturally fast, skilled and strong from years of fighting demons in the Quar-Toth dimension, but the vampires were much larger than he, and equally gifted. These weren't the usual run-of-the-mill minions. They had the look of masters or childer, vampires favored by those who had sired them and given training and privilege over the years. Angel had left several such behind, but most vampires were not given to the practice until they were several decades old, at least. This did not bode well.
Gunn struggled to his feet first, swinging the axe at the lead vampire in a swift arc, but it did not connect. The vampire jumped back, grinning, then lunged for his shoulder with a meaty fist. Gunn grunted and flew backward over the others, knocking Fred back down as he went.
"Jacob," Wes snarled, as he got to his feet and readied his sword. He'd heard about a new Master in town, drawn to L.A. from his lair in Vegas after the rumors of Angel's demise had spread. Tall, built like a linebacker, dark eyes, light brown hair; the descriptions matched. If this truly was he, then their chances of survival were slim indeed.
The vampire cocked his head to one side, studying Wes. The sounds of fighting still came thick and fast behind him as Connor struggled to fight off his attackers, but he paid them no attention. "You've heard of me, I see," Jacob said, amused. "You're Angelus' pet humans, aren't you? Too bad he's not around to protect you anymore."
"Fuck Angelus," a gravelly voice came from behind Wes. "And fuck you. We took him down, we'll get you too."
Jacob's face registered irritation, then surprise as a glass object came flying over Wes' shoulder to impact on the vampire's cheek. The vial of holy water shattered, spraying over the exposed skin like acid, and Jacob roared in fury as he stumbled backward. The two vampires flanking him took umbrage at that and broke the standoff, drawing knives as they lunged forward.
Abruptly, the narrowness of the alley began to work in favor of the humans, rather than against them. One vampire could have dodged the swing of Wes' blade, but two side by side presented a much easier target; they were in each other's way. The one on the left fell to its knees almost immediately, clutching at a slashed groin, and Gunn stepped quickly into the space next to Wes, aiming his axe at the one on the right. It hadn't been expecting the attack and fell to the ground in two pieces, an expression of shock on its face before it crumbled into dust.
Beyond them, one of Connor's attackers lost his balance on a stack of debris, and quickly fell as Connor took advantage with a thrust of his stake. The remaining two snarled and dodged backward, standing closer to their master. The enemy had gone from six to four, only two of whom were uninjured; the odds were looking up.
"Bitch," Jacob snarled, recovering his balance and staring past Wes. The burns stood out on his face, red and angry, contrasting with his pale skin, but there was more cunning in his eyes than rage. "I was planning to kill you quickly, but now I'm angry."
Justine laughed. "You'll have to go through the good guys first," she said. The sound of feet slapping on pavement started up again, but Wes didn't dare take his eyes off Jacob to see where she was going.
Fred, however, was still behind he and Gunn and free to act. "Oh no you don't," she said. "I heard you say you got Angel, you aren't running 'till we know where you put him." Without further ado, she ran after the woman. Wes couldn't see what she did, but a few moments later Justine hit the pavement again with a cry.
"You go, girl," Gunn said, under his breath.
There was another whoosh of dust in the alley behind Jacob; Connor had only one opponent, now. His face was a mask of anger, and he glared over at the Angel Investigations crew between trading punches and kicks with the vampire. "What did you do to her!" he yelled.
Jacob looked startled, then amused. "Ah, now I see," he addressed Wes. "You're not after *me*, you're after my prey." He laughed. "You fight well, for humans. I think I'll save your deaths for another day." Without further ado, he leapt straight up the side of the building, disappearing easily over the edge of the roof. The wounded vampire followed quickly, just as the last of Connor's opponents fell before his stake.
"Well, that was ... interesting," Gunn said, slowly, lowering his axe.
"It's not over yet," Connor said, dropping into fighting stance again as he turned to face them. "You hurt Justine."
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