DISCLAIMER: Angel the Series/Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy etc. Elizabeth Blaine and attendant characters belong to Wes Craven etc. I'm just playing. If, herein, other characters bear a certain resemblance to familiar faces, it's intentional and they, of course, belong to their various creators as well.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: 1. I write femslash. Therefore, there be f/f lovin' ahead. If you don't like it, find another 'ship. 2. Vampires and blood and stakes, oh my! This story is dark in places. Not all the time, and not forever, but there will be some points where things aren't pretty. If you are bothered by graphic descriptions of the evil that men do, you may wish to find something fluffy. 3. Some knowledge of the show, Angel and the movies Dracula II and III (Ascension and Legacy) are quite probably necessary, though not entirely so.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Resurrection is for the Unbelievers
By sHaYcH


Chapter Twenty-Three

Absence, they say, makes the heart fonder. If that were truly the case, Elizabeth thought that her heart ought to be desperately in love with the hunt. Instead, she found that there was a slight tinge of distaste in her mouth as she prowled the streets.

Casting her senses in a wide net, she encountered a myriad of emotions, most of which were of the harmless, "mid-tones" of human expression. Extremes, like love and hate, which usually manifested as peaks and valleys of bright, glaring flavors were not readily appearing. Rather, what the vampath found by sampling the stew of feelings was less like cayenne and closer to common black pepper.

The area was riddled with people whose lives were at once spicy and annoying which left her with the sensation of wanting to sneeze at inappropriate moments. Saints and sinners might exist in the world, but in this part of Chicago, the sidewalks and streets were rife with the lesser beasts of nice and mean.

Prostitutes offering cheap pleasure mingled with soup kitchen servitors as Elizabeth floated from block to block. The buildings in this part of town were so closely packed together that it allowed the vampath to leap from place to place without having to set foot upon the ground.

Dirty dealings in dingy alleyways drew her attention but briefly – she was not interested in cheap sex and cheaper drugs. She did, however, drop down once to kick a would-be mugger in the groin. He ran off howling and the elderly blind man she had rescued smiled his thanks.

"T'ain't too often in these days that ya meets a heroic type, ma'am," he said as he doffed his cap. "Saint's be with ye as you wander, I'm for my home."

Just to be sure that he made it safely; Elizabeth followed the old guy until he vanished into the shadow of a doorway. Then, she angled away from the district, thinking that better success might be found in another area of town.

"So Buffy and Faith, they got in this big, huge fight and now, slayer central isn't so central …" Willow said grinning shyly. "And so Kennedy and I, well, we decided that we wanted to travel and see places and…"

"Basically, neither of the top agents of vamp mayhem are good company," Kennedy finished as she yawned. "They should just screw and get it over with, but no… Miss 'I'm the first/best/only perfect slayer' squeals that she's straight and runs into the arms of the first boring boy she can find."

Kate smirked. "Could that be because she's straight?" She really shouldn't be baiting Willow's girlfriend – after all, Kennedy was a Slayer – but it was just so much fun. Elizabeth's going to have a field day with her. The vampath had demonstrated a fondness for poking fun at other's seriousness. At least once a day, Elizabeth seemed to make it her mission to punch holes in Kate's sour moods.

Pursing her lips, Kennedy said, "Oh right, she's so straight she makes goo-goo eyes at Faith when tall, dark and bad assed isn't looking. She's so straight that when broody, bitchy and grim went out on patrol, she followed her. Yeah, she's straight – straight as Lombard Street."

Willow looked at her girlfriend and said, "Honey, I love you but sometimes you get a little too attached to certain things." She patted the dark haired slayer on the arm and added, "Not everyone is gay."

"Hah! Give me two beers and a good song and I'll make anyone gay enough."

Burying her face in her hands, Willow groaned softly while Kate chuckled. Kennedy looked at the detective and said, "What? You don't believe me?" She grinned challengingly. "Point me toward the nearest straight woman and I'll prove it."

"Uh, honey, I think Kate is the nearest straight woman," Willow stage-whispered.

"No, really?" Kennedy looked like she'd just swallowed a fly, and it buzzed. Gazing from the blonde detective to the redheaded witch and back, the slayer shrugged and said, "Could've fooled me." She licked her lips and turned her gaze back to Kate. "So – which is it? Lads or lasses? Inquiring minds wanna know."

Different section of down - different emotional smorgasbord. Elizabeth skimmed the surface, sampling the wares of quiet despair, the ennui of the dying and the occasional bright flare of desire birthing in the houses that lined the empty streets. No one was around, so the vampath walked along the sidewalks openly. Passing like a shadow under the glare of the streetlights, even the neighborhood dogs seemed reluctant to announce her presence.

Yet something here drew her onward, like a bee to a brilliantly toned scarlet flower. Following the pull, Elizabeth allowed the emotional leash to lead her to its destination.

Kate blinked and said, "I hardly think that's information worthy of stopping the presses."

Intrigued, Willow cocked her head and said, "Now you've got me curious and that's a bad thing because, you know, hacker?" She softened her words with an elfin smile.

"Sorry, Willow. You're just going to have to go unsatisfied tonight," Kate replied.

"That's what you think," muttered Kennedy softly as she twined her fingers with the witch's.

"So do you have a place to stay? It's not exactly the Ritz, but you're welcome to crash on the couch," said Kate as she was caught by a thick yawn.

Willow stood and drew Kennedy up beside her. "No, we've got a place. Kennedy's family keeps an apartment downtown and they let us use it."

"Really?" One of Kate's eyebrows rose.

Kennedy actually blushed. "Yeah, I don't like to, um," she scuffed one foot on Kate's floor. "I don't like to advertise, but –"

"My honey's trying to say that her family's got the big bucks. Don't let her modest impersonation fool you, Kate – she loves her privileges and silver spoons almost as much as she loves slaying."

Kennedy glared at her lover and said, "Babe, couch – not exactly a cozy place to sleep, you know?"

The kicked puppy look that Willow returned melted the slayer's dark expression almost instantaneously.

"Okay you two, before I need to find an all night dentist – get out so I can sleep." Kate's second yawn was followed by a tiny sound of pain. "Damn. I hate this. I can't wait until I can open my damned mouth properly."

Kennedy went to say something, but what came out was a squeak as Willow quite deliberately stepped on her girlfriend's foot.

"Honey, why don't we go home and um, compare the astral coefficient of slayer plus witch?"

Kate rolled her eyes as Kennedy replied, "Oo, I love it when you talk witchy to me."

"Out, out!" Kate waved at the two lovers frantically.

Laughing, Willow and Kennedy made their exit.

As they made their way to their car, Kennedy turned to Willow and said, "Just so you know – we're sticking around."

Willow nodded. "Oh yeah – did you think otherwise?" The witch grinned and it was not a pleasant expression. Hearing about what that scum sucking sludge beast Bizby had done had left the witch with a familiar and somewhat frightening desire to do horrible things in the name of vengeance. Instead, she appeased that need with a silent promise to stay and make sure that those who were responsible for Kate's hurts paid for their crimes, one way or another.

Kennedy shivered. When the dark side of her lover played peek-a-boo it always left her feeling more than a little edgy.

"Someone tried to rearrange parts of a good friend. I don't take well to that kind of behavior."

The slayer tried not to stare as Willow's eyes shaded from their normal hazel to almost solid black.


Chapter Twenty-Four

It was one of those plain, tract houses that come in three colors – plain, boring and really awful. This one had been repainted in a lovely shade of puce, topped with an artful pattern of stucco that gave the home the appearance of a slightly rotten avocado. Brickwork covered half of the structure, which only added to the house's overall effect, making Elizabeth think of a strange little cartoon character in a kilt and carrying an instrument that had been drawn to resemble a tortured octopus.

There was one yellowed light glaring on the porch, otherwise the home was pitch black. Curtains grayed with dust blocked the view of passerby and thick iron bars on the screen door and all of the windows discouraged criminal entrance.

Or kept those within trapped. Despair poured, no… flowed like a river races to the sea… from the house. Slowly, inexorably, someone had slipped from the light of humanity into the darkness of hell.

Elizabeth could taste the cancer that ate at the person's soul like it was a canker on her tongue. It was dark, hard and painful to touch, yet so irresistible that the vampath had to physically restrain herself from bursting into the place and draining the cause of such evil dry.

Instead, she slipped into a shadow and began to trace the perimeter of the house. At the fence, she paused. Closing her eyes, she sniffed the air. The night was heavy with the scent of earth, jasmine and the animal odors of domestic pets. What the vampath was seeking, though, was the telltale sign that this home employed the use of a dog to guard its yard.

Distantly, she heard the sound of engines. The freeway was not too far off – maybe two or three miles to the west. Closer, she could sense the thrum of televisions as they droned on with the evening news.

A scent tickled her nose. It was canine, but not fresh. Drawing in a deep breath, Elizabeth held it in her lungs, tasting it, feeling it, searching it for the answer she needed.

As she exhaled, she knew that it would be safe to hop the fence. Putting one foot against the brickwork, she leapt, easily clearing the six foot gate. She landed with a soft thump and immediately sought the cover of the shadows.

With eyes closed and breath held, she waited. Her heart slowed to single beats that drummed out the seconds. Thump. Wait. Thump. Listen. Thump. Wait. Wait. Wait. Nothing.

Breathing in, she continued her exploration.

The god-awful color scheme continued around to the back of the house where she discovered a weed garden that would make any brown thumb proud. Careful not to step on something that would break and give away her location, Elizabeth pressed up against window and put her hand on the glass.

It was cold, almost icy. The sensation prickled along her skin, leaving the pit of her stomach dry with a hint of fear. Her breath misted the glass, and as the white frost spread, tiny runes painted on the surface blazed into life.

"What the?" she whispered. The scrawled letters, familiar only because of her passing interest in the works of Tolkien as a child, seemed to writhe with lifelike movements as they were made visible.

Inside the house, a light came on and Elizabeth heard the sound of footsteps heading for the back door. Pressing herself against the wall, she waited to see what would emerge from the strange domicile.

Most nights, Dersk enjoyed his work. Occasionally, he envisioned himself doing something more mundane, like working as a doctor, or slinging burgers at a local greasy spoon, but usually those thoughts were followed by a quick look in a mirror to remind himself why he stuck to running errands for the dark and dastardly of the demonic underworld.

The night that he had delivered a sack of fresh pig's blood to the Black Lake Inn had changed his life. He had figured it for a routine delivery of appetizers to a group of vegan vamps, but when the fully human woman had taken the sack with seeming nonchalance, he had been intrigued.

So much so that when she called him, he willingly went to see what she wanted.

Finding out that she was associated with the Big A at Wolfram and Hart had only cemented his decision to stand beside Kate Lockley come heaven or hot fires.

However, there were certain nights when he questioned his sanity.

Tonight was such a night. Standing hip deep in raw sewage as he questioned a Refuse Eater was not high on his list of Things He Wished to Accomplish, Ever.

"Bizby? Naw, naw, ain't heard nothin' bout that green floater in a dog's age," the demon said.

Dersk flared his nostrils and tried to breathe shallowly. The stench was unavoidably awful, but it was better for him to smell it than taste it. The snake-scale patterning to his hide was indicative of more than just his stunning good looks. Opening his mouth was an effort of will that had to be buffered by silent promises of treating himself to a thick, juicy cut of prime rib later.

Gritting his teeth, Dersk said, "How about those kids – you hear anything about what made such a mess?"

The demon paled slightly. Shuddering, he said, "Not a meal I wanted to try." He scooped up a handful of the slop they stood in and slurped at it. "I'll stick with the plain stuff, thanks."

The half-demon suppressed a shudder. "Come on Pollatrix, you've got to have heard something – I know you like to eavesdrop on the daylighters."

Pollatrix smiled a broad grin that displayed the demon's complete lack of anything resembling teeth. Instead, its mouth was studded with tiny suction cups that wriggled with epicurean delight. Standing at barely three feet in height, the Refuse Demon had only to flex the stub knobs on its legs to lower itself to the level of the sewage, which he did as Dersk tried not to add to the disgusting soup.

Sucking up a mouthful, Pollatrix's mouth worked in pseudo chewing motions as he considered Dersk's question. As he swallowed he said, "Well, I didn't exactly hear anything, but down about four blocks that-a-way I had to relocate because the stew had been fouled." One slimy finger pointed down a grime coated pathway.

What would foul a Refuse Demon's dinner? A variety of images popped into Dersk's head and suddenly, he decided that he didn't want to know. "Thanks. Um… I noticed that the treatment center on St. Lytle hasn't locked the gate to tank five in a few days."

Pollatrix's eyes lit up – turning a ghastly shade of peach and emitting a soft, phosphorescent glow. "All right! That's some high class shit in that tank!" He began to trundle off down an adjacent tunnel.

Once the Refuse Demon was completely gone, Dersk took a shallow breath and headed toward the "fouled" tunnel.

The mild mannered man who cautiously poked his head out of the door was so unexpected that Elizabeth nearly choked on a laugh. A balding, mousy and built like a pencil pushing CPA who hadn't seen the inside of a gym since high school was not what she had been anticipating.

The wicked looking dagger in his hand seemed almost pasted on, by comparison. The wavy blade appeared to be slick with something, and when the wind shifted, the vampath knew exactly what the darkly glittering substance was.

Blood. Thick, crimson and still ruby fresh.

The coppery tang carried with it the flavor of pain, inciting the symbiote within her to rouse from its sleep. Gnawing into her gut, hunger rose, hard and angular, like the spiked head of a mace. Her fangs were pricking her lips and her feet were carrying her toward the man before she could put any thought into a plan.

Wrapping her hands around his head, she pulled the man into the yard and slammed him against the wall of the house. With her eyes closed, she leaned her head against his and breathed deeply.

"Death… you smell like one of his shadows." Pulling back, she allowed him to see her fangs. "I like that." Her jaw dropped, unhinged just enough so that she could get a hard purchase on his throat and she dove in, biting deep into the muscles of his neck.

As she established the rapport, she heard a sound not unlike the ringing of a phone. The chiming nature of it was almost distracting, but she refused to be deterred. Her mouth was flooded by the brackish, sickly sweet taste of blood.

"Drink of me, child. Feast upon my body, my flesh is thine. Soothe thy hunger, quench thy thirst – all that ye wish shall be thine." His voice was hollow, empty and seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once.

With her mouth full of his blood, Elizabeth did something she had not done since awaking from her vampiric death – she swallowed. In the very moment that the liquid hit her stomach, the man plunged his dagger deep into her side. The blade was so long that it passed through her and into him.

The agony she felt was trebled into infinity. Locked into the psychic feedback, she felt his pain, his delight, his pleasure as it mixed with her pain, her hunger and her fear. Tearing her mouth free, she tried to pull away, but was stopped when he wrapped his arms around her in a mockery of a lover's embrace.

"Nay, my pretty one – stay thou shalt. To break the breath and taste the depths of all's blackest we shall bond in blood under Luna's smile."

He cradled her face in his hands. Gazing into her eyes, he smiled tenderly. Blood dripped from her lips and he brushed it away gently, almost lovingly.

Elizabeth felt light headed and weak, like a kitten that has just spent an hour chasing dust motes in the sun. "Who… who are you?" she whispered dazedly.

Cold lips claimed hers in a kiss that washed over her like a rain of icicles. Fingers touched her eyes, stroking the lids until they shut.

Falling. She was falling into snow. As the wintry chill claimed her, she heard him say, "I am all that is dark and foul, I am the bane of innocence and the devourer of white lies – I am Noctoross and I am thy mate, my sweetest love."

Part 25

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