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
"All right, what's on deck for today?" Kate asked the group of people that had arrayed themselves around her desk. If any of them noticed that Elizabeth had positioned herself so that she was standing directly behind the detective, no one said anything.
Sharing the couch, Willow and Kennedy were quietly engaged in a game of trading pokes and tickles. Dersk was perched on a stool, both feet hooked around the legs, watching the witch and the slayer as their antics escalated into full contact wrestling.
Kate looked up at the vampath and said, "I think I need to get a whistle or something."
Smirking, Elizabeth said, "I could just kiss you. Perhaps that would get their attention."
The half-demon tore his gaze from Willow and Kennedy and stared at his boss. "Whoa, did I hear something about kissing? Like, maybe the kind where an enterprising fellow with a video camera could make a few bucks?" The comical leer that twisted his young face was anything but innocent.
"That was such a male thing to say that I'm not sure I even want to bother to interrupt this conversation except to say smoochies, I'm all for smoochies!" said Willow. The witch was currently attempting to poke Kennedy in the side, but the slayer had neatly captured both of Willow's hands, forcing her to tip her head to the side and use her teeth.
Kennedy grinned. "Ice cream. It works every single time." She punctuated each word with a move that ended with Willow trapped in her lap; belly exposed just enough for the slayer's fingers to wreak a path of tickle havoc from navel to ribs.
The witch's helpless laughter was broken by her breathless question. "Wait you were serious?" She struggled with Kennedy and managed to squirm free enough to sit up and give Elizabeth a long, questioning look.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" the vampath said teasingly.
Kate pursed her lips and tapped the desk with her cast, wincing when she struck the surface a little too forcefully. "All right, now that I have everyone's attention shall we commence with the plan?"
"Plan? There's a plan? Why wasn't I told about the plan?" Willow looked genuinely confused.
Fighting the urge to introduce her head to her palm, Kate said, "Not as of yet, there isn't. This is why we are here to plan. It's sort of what we in the detecting business do."
Kennedy frowned. "Plans are for wimps. Plans are for "
"Buffy." Willow jumped as her cell phone began to emit a particularly saccharine polyphonic ring tone.
The look on Kennedy's face could have melted steel. Grumbling under her breath she blew out a breath and focused on Kate. "Okay, so plan. Spill it, boss lady because I really don't want to end up dragging your bullet riddled girlfriend home again."
Kate opened her mouth to say something, but closed it with a snap. Licking her lips, she said, "Okay, fine. I would prefer not to see my 'girlfriend' riddled with bullets." She raised her eyebrows as if daring anyone to challenge her.
Leaning down, Elizabeth whispered, "Girlfriend, huh? I think I like you all possessive."
"Hush," Kate retorted sotto voce.
Willow closed her phone with a sad smile. Kennedy reached out and covered her lover's hand with her own and gave her a quirky grin. "Hey, didja hear that? Kate's got a girlfriend." When Willow didn't respond, the slayer bumped her knee against the witch's and added, "Toldja she was gay."
From his perch on the stool, Dersk sighed, crossed his arms and said, "Where's mine?"
Kate covered her face with her good hand and groaned.
Swarthy. That was the first word that came to mind when one encountered the personage of Vitmar Caruso. Dark skinned, dark haired, dark eyed, the stocky, muscular man was of average height, average looks and average personality. That was, until he opened his mouth and spoke.
Vitmar Caruso was gifted, blessed even, with a voice that would make angels weep. Smooth, melodic even when spouting off orders for decapitations, Vitmar had a tone that should have been devoted to the life of an opera virtuoso, or a rock star instead, the warlock's entire existence had been given to the cause of evil.
From birth, he had been dedicated to the darkest, most heinous of gods and it was his fondest wish to one day see words like happy and fluffy eradicated. Pain was his mistress and hatred his slave.
As a hobby, he perfected the art of flaying until he could peel the skin from a living being so slowly, so carefully that the creature was left both alive and in an exquisite state of agony. In his spare time, he had learned to speak in fifty different demonic languages just so that he could properly curse his enemies.
At the tender age of fifteen, Vitmar had faced a nest of vampires, a pack of hellhounds and one really pissed off demon. By the end of the encounter, the vampires were either dead, or pledge to his service, the hounds had come to his heel and the demon had granted him the power that led him to the position he currently held.
Not much scared Vitmar Caruso.
The shrouded form standing before him at the present made him wish he had remembered to put on a diaper, though.
Innigst Finsternis was a figure of legend among the walkers of the dark path and for some reason, Mr. Finster had chosen to invest a great deal of time and money into Vitmar Caruso's little piece of the Earthly pie. Everything had gone smoothly until the Lockley woman and her associates had started poking around his businesses. Add to that their penchant for murdering his clientele and he was not amused. Neither, it appeared, was his investor.
"I am not happy, Vitmar." The voice that caressed the words was hollow and laced with acid. Each syllable was tainted with a broken glass edge that cut into Caruso like a thousand spiked whips, leaving him feeling like one of his peeled pets. "Business is not good. There are too many ripples in the current."
"Yes, Mr. Finster, I understand." The warlock kept his gaze pinned to the floor. Once, and only once had he made the mistake of looking into the hooded features of Finsternis. There were some pits even Hell avoided and Innigst Finsternis used two of them to view the world.
"Fix it, or I will." The shrouded figure turned and then said, "You may have them all, save one. Iscariot's child is mine."
"Yes, master. It shall be as you request."
As soon as the shrouded figure had left, Caruso pulled out a cell phone and made a call.
"Operation: Fuck Them All is a go."
Overnight, it got quiet in Chicago. Oh, the city was still riddled with murder, rape and the occasional average ass kicking, but in matters dark and occult, not even a Satanist stirred.
Kate didn't like it. Yet the silence did give her fledgling business the time it needed to work cases that would actually pay the bills. Any plans she might have made went by the wayside as she and her friends got down to the grind of photographing cheating lovers, finding lost dogs and, in one long day's worth of phone calls, tracking down an heir to a two-dollar and forty-six cent inheritance.
There was a sense of waiting that pervaded everything they did, as though the air around them was holding its collective breath. The only thing that made it bearable was spending time with Elizabeth.
Three days into their budding relationship, she traded the too small twin for a much larger queen bed. The purchase necessitated several hours of redesigning her living space, but the result was well worth it.
Mornings were given to lazy hours of lying in the new bed, exchanging languid touches and slow kisses that left them both breathless. This contact sustained her during the long hours and often, she would find herself staring at her computer monitor, unable to remember what she was doing because her mind would have just presented her with the memory of one of Elizabeth's heart stopping kisses.
Little by little, they learned how far they could push the symbiote. Elizabeth spent a lot of time with Kennedy, going out at night to troll for the stray vampire or would-be mugger. There were more of the latter than the former, which left the slayer with little more to do other than comment on the vampath's technique.
"Do you have to bite them?" Kennedy asked as she watched the vampath drop the listless body of yet another junkie. A line of drool spilled from the vacant-eyed man's lips and spattered on the ground next to her sneaker and she grimaced.
"Yeah, I think so."
"But you're not sure?"
Elizabeth shrugged. "It's what feels natural. I guess I never considered it. I mean one minute, I'm your friendly neighborhood medical student involved in a torrid affair with her crippled professor, the next I'm a blood sucking fiend whose only purpose is to feed. Then I was dead and then I wasn't. I'm afraid I didn't have a whole lot of opportunity to attend Way-Out Willie's School of All that is Odd and Unusual."
The vampath shoved her hands into her back pockets and watched as Kennedy picked up the pipe-head and deposited him on a park bench. In the morning, he would wake and find that his craving for drugs had been replaced by an equal repugnance. With luck and courage, he would be able to throw off the shackles of his addiction and live a more productive life. If not, well Elizabeth wasn't planning on going anywhere.
Kennedy wrinkled her nose as the junkie pissed himself. "Have you tried I don't know, shaking their hands or something a little less vampiric?" She rubbed her arms and sighed. "It's just a little disconcerting, you know? Me slayer, you biting things but not a vampire. It makes my head all crazy."
The vampath laughed. "I'll try that next time," she said, though her eyes sparkled mischievously.
Sticking her tongue out, Kennedy said, "You do that." She looked around the park. Without vampires looking for an easy meal, there were actually a few signs that people were enjoying moonlit strolls through the autumn foliage, which was what drew those like their would-be mugger. "So what's next?"
The vampath shrugged. "I dunno. Are you hungry? I could do with something to wash the taste of crack head from my mouth."
"A handshake, Doc. I'm telling you, it's all in the handshake." Kennedy linked her arm with Elizabeth's and the two headed off toward the slayer's car.
"Yeah, but how'm I suppose to eat if I'm shaking their hands?"
"You eat them?" The words came out in a strangled tone.
"Well, not exactly it's more like a quick smoothie. Chock full of vitamins and good stuff for parts inside of you that you don't really think about all the time. That's what the emotions are to the symbiote. You read that book of Kate's right?"
"Not really," Kennedy said. The slayer grimaced. "I hate studying for anything and unless you're about to give me a pop quiz, I didn't think it was necessary."
Elizabeth's snort of laughter elicited a similar chuckle from Kennedy. "No, there won't be any pop quizzes here. The book isn't exactly the best source of information anyway. Gray's Anatomy of the Tos ki'Dren it isn't."
They reached the car. As they got in, Kennedy said, "So you were telling me about the symbiote? God, why do I feel like I'm in an episode of Star Trek?"
"Too much Jadzia Dax?"
"No you can never have too much of the lovely Jadzia. Ezri on the other hand "
"Don't get me started," Elizabeth said warningly. "But the comparison may be valid. I wish I knew more, but what I have learned so far is that the thing inside of me, the creature that gave me life requires emotions to survive in the same way that I need to breathe oxygenated air. To some extent, it can even sustain my life with those emotions, but like any single food diet, can cause more harm than good."
"Thus the love of pizza and beer?"
"Exactly. Plus what's not to love about pizza and beer?"
"Nothing. Why don't we grab some and head back to the office?"
When Kennedy and Elizabeth walked into the office, the utter silence they were met with caused them no little alarm. It was only the fact that Willow, Dersk and Kate were all present and apparently unharmed that kept both women from chucking their packages and racing into the room to see what the trouble was.
Instead, they entered, set their burdens on the desk and said, "What's up?"
Dersk was the first to answer. The half-demon was in his serpentine guise, though he was so pale that it took a moment to realize it. "I got an interesting tip today," he said slowly.
"Oh?" Kennedy pulled out one of the bottles of Sam Adams, opened it and handed it to the young man.
He took a long swig, wiped his mouth and said, "Yes. An old buddy of mine congratulated me. It seems that my mother is going to marry into a rather powerful family."
"Cool?" Elizabeth ventured as she slipped around to Kate's side of the desk and gave her a quick kiss.
"Only if you consider having Vitmar Caruso as your stepfather, 'cool'," replied Dersk dryly.
"Your mother is aware of the fact that Caruso is a murdering bastard who doesn't confine his atrocities to those of a homo sapiens bend, right?" Kennedy asked conversationally.
Dersk shrugged. "Who knows what my mother knows. What I'm more curious about is how the warlock thinks he can avoid undergoing the Rite of Devouring."
"There goes that eating thing again," Kennedy muttered, causing Elizabeth to shoot a raised eyebrow smirk at her.
"Tell us about this ritual," Kate said. The detective's gaze was locked on her associate. Her face was devoid of emotion, though her eyes seemed to be a shade darker than normal, glittering cerulean in the glow of the office lights.
Dersk shifted uncomfortably. "I can't. It's " He kind of shrugged and shrank back. "A secret."
Willow made a face. "You know, just once it would be nice if there could be a ritual that wasn't all secrety and ooo and scary. I mean how bad could it be to share the great and glorious goings on with everyone else?"
"The bride eats the groom after copulation," Dersk said flatly.
Willow stared at him with open shock and then smiled thinly. "Like a praying mantis?" she said, interjecting a ton of cheer into her tone.
"Well, no usually there's a sauce, and a platoon of cooks and " As everyone's faces grew whiter with Dersk's description, he trailed off and finally sighed. "Look, I don't go griping about rice and tin cans and throwing bundles of dead flowers, do I?"
Kate picked up a pen and began to nervously twist it between her fingers. Something about the situation stank. "You've seen Caruso, right Dersk?"
"Yeah, once or twice, a long time back. Scary dude. All with the muscles and the eyes of death and a voice of an angel. Creepy. I prefer my evil dudes to be of the demonic and scaly variety."
"Would you say that he would be the kind of man that your mother would be attracted to?"
Dersk considered the question and then slowly nodded. "Yeah, probably. She goes for the guys with the good genes where do you think I get my looks?" He shifted to human form to display proof of his good breeding.
"Right. Okay, then we should assume that the rumor is true and that your mother is about to join the enemy. Now Caruso isn't stupid so he must have some way to avoid this rite you mentioned. Is there any way you know of that he could do this?"
The half-demon shook his head. "No. Mom's a stickler for rituals. Especially when it's something like the Rite. She would have made that an iron clad part of any marriage contract."
"Oo, I know what this means," Willow piped up cheerfully.
Kennedy groaned and echoed her lover as she crowed, "Research party!"
Wic's Haven was typical of shops of its kind. In fact, it was so like the Magic Box that Willow felt the surge of nostalgia that was usually followed by a lingering sense of sadness each time she walked into such a place. Every corner seemed to hold ghosts of the past, and it wasn't hard for the witch to imagine that Tara was hiding just around the next set of shelves, or somewhere in another part of the store, happily digging around in the bins of crystals, herbs and other essential Wiccan paraphernalia.
Just when the melancholy had reached the point of wetting Willow's eyes with tears, she felt a warm hand slip into hers.
"She musta been something else to put up with these stinky old stores," Kennedy murmured softly while squeezing her lover's hand.
Cracking a smile, Willow retorted, "Are you kidding? She loved these places. Come on, the section on demonic lore is back this way." The witch led her lover through the store until they reached a dimly lit section of shelves that occupied the back half of the shop.
Quickly skimming the titles, Willow ran her fingers over the spines of the books, occasionally pulling one out only to shove it back in when it didn't meet her needs.
Kennedy sneezed. "Almost makes me wish for Giles' library. At least he dusted once in a millennium."
Chuckling, Willow said, "I could call him."
"And have Buffy and the Slayerettes come and ruin my fun? No way." Kennedy scowled. "We're good enough to handle this guy on our own we don't need 'Miss I'm the First Born Bitchy Bad Ass and Don't You Forget It' to come along and banish us all to the kiddie pool."
"So that's a vote in the 'no' column, got it," Willow said. She continued to peruse the books until she came upon one that was bound in thick, teal colored leather. Sliding it out, she opened it, skimmed it and said, "This is it. Let's see what " She checked the author's name and said, "Borongsworthix Bregondarius has to say about Ssilligorthic mating rituals."
They paid for the book and headed back to their apartment.
"Miss Lockley, I can't really see as how this is ready to come off yet." The doctor tapped Kate's cast while loading a series of X-rays onto a light panel. "You've still got at least a we-" She came to a halt as she examined the films. The breaks had mended cleanly and evenly, leaving no sign of trauma. "Well," she said, turning to face Kate. "I guess you heal fast."
Kate grinned, but didn't rise to the challenge in the doctor's tone. Shrugging, she said, "I always have. Guess its good DNA."
Hazel eyes twinkled merrily. "I guess so. Well, since you seem to be all better, let's get that thing off, shall we?" She picked up a saw and began the laborious process of cutting through the fiberglass.
In ten minutes, Kate was finally allowed to see the skin of her left arm for the first time in weeks. With a moan of sheer pleasure, she began to vigorously scratch and rub the skin.
"Stop that," Elizabeth said sternly as she grabbed Kate's hand and pulled it away from her arm.
Outraged, the detective glared up at the vampath. "It itches!"
Smirking, Elizabeth took the wet gauze the doctor handed her and began to scrub at Kate's arm. "Of course it does, but if you scratch any harder, you'll cut yourself." Gently, the vampath cleaned the detective's arm, removing all traces of the cast. As she worked, a small, satisfied smile touched her lips.
"You've got the touch," the doctor noted as she watched Elizabeth work. "You sure you don't want to get back into medicine?"
Elizabeth looked up at the older woman and grinned. "What and give up my exciting life as a secretary?"
Eyeing the vampath's lean form and the casual way she had positioned herself to keep her gaze on the door at all times, the doctor could only chuckle. "Uh huh. And do you take dictation with those muscles or are they just for show?"
Cheekily, Elizabeth flexed her arms and, in an affected tone said, "Ugh, me got, big, strong muscles so me can lift-um big heavy boxes."
Kate nearly fell off the bed trying not to laugh at the doctor's expression.
"I don't like this," Kate said softly as she and Willow hugged the rough brick facing of the warehouse.
The witch grimaced. "Me either, but they're all with the grr and the pow-kick-bite-pow and I've got fizzies."
Kate didn't know whether to laugh or growl. "I was a cop not exactly lacking in the pow department here."
Willow smiled knowingly. "Ah, but you are a) recently off the injured list and b) recently added to the 'girlfriend' list. And in all cases, B trumps A. Remember that it's important."
"Should I take notes?" Kate said sardonically, causing Willow to grin.
"Sure you can benefit from my years of 'in the trenches' experience." The witch buffed her nails on her shirt and winked comically.
What Willow and Kennedy had learned was what had brought them to the warehouse. There was indeed, a way for Caruso to avoid the inevitable conclusion to copulation with a Ssilligorthic female kill her first. The clan would still honor the marriage, which would increase Vitmar's arsenal and give him unprecedented access to the magickal knowledge of an entire race of demonkind.
Everyone was agreed that they had to stop the wedding, no one more so than Dersk. The half-demon had made his feelings clear.
"I may have my issues with my mom, but there's no way I'm gonna let her be worm bait for that slimebag Caruso."
It took three hours to find out where the ceremony was being held, and then another hour to get there. Kennedy and Elizabeth planned a frontal assault while Kate, Willow and Dersk would sneak in and spirit Tiatitania away.
So far, the plan was working. From inside the warehouse, Kate could hear the sounds of combat. As they worked their way around to the back, she kept her eye out for any sign of guards while Willow and Dersk looked for the door.
"Here," Dersk whispered. He pointed around a corner. Set less than three feet from the edge they could see a doorway that was guarded by one vampire. Armed with a sword, he seemed more bored than anything.
Occasionally, he would look over his shoulder into the warehouse, but he never made a move to abandon his post.
Kate grinned. "Mine," she said. Drawing her gun, she stepped around the corner, fired twice and then just as quickly, returned to Willow and Dersk's sides.
They waited. Dersk peered around the brickwork and then said, "All clear."
A pile of dust swirled around the base of the doorway. Before either Dersk or Kate could touch the handle, Willow said, "I think this one is mine."
Muttering softly under her breath, she reached out toward the handle. An arc of bluish-green energy leapt from her into the lock. There was a soft click and then the door popped open.
"I think this is where I step up and check for traps," Dersk said jovially. "Thank all the holies of holies that I actually paid attention to Pit and Snare Making 101." He stepped forward, carefully searching the lintel and stoop for signs of trouble.
Three feet inside the door, he waved to the others. "Come on, it's clear. Let's go find mom."
Elizabeth was almost one hundred percent certain that Kate was going to kill her. Two of her wounds had popped stitches and she had a lovely collection of new cuts, bruises and for variety's sake, acid burns to add to the tapestry of half-healed injuries and fresh scars that she had already earned in the detective's service.
Even Kennedy was bleeding from several small gashes. They had fought for every foothold in the warehouse, leaving behind them several bodies and countless piles of ash.
Reaching the center of the building, they found themselves in a mockery of a chapel. Decorated in black and red, with sigils and signs painted, carved and incised on every surface, the entire place radiated an impending sense of doom.
Standing in the center of the room was the warlock himself, as well as twenty of the biggest, nastiest looking half-demons Elizabeth had ever seen. Arrayed along the sides of the room were dozens of vampires some so newly made that their clothes were still peppered with the earth of the grave.
Kennedy looked around, licked her lips and stage whispered, "I wonder if I shoulda given Faith a call "
"Well, it's never too late " replied Elizabeth. "You've got a cell phone. Just dial 1-800-Save Our Butts."
Seeming to just notice their arrival, Vitmar Caruso stepped toward them and said, "Ah, welcome ladies. So good of you to attend this most festive of days." He looked around. "A shame, then, that my beautiful bride's beloved boy could not be here as well." He shook his head. "Ah well. Things must progress as they will. Please, enjoy the entertainment while I inform my intended that the nuptials are imminent."
"Is he crazy, or does he think he's clever?" Kennedy said as she readied her stake.
As her fangs erupted, Elizabeth said, "I'll let you know."
Vitmar vanished as his minions advanced on the women.
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