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
Kennedy opened her eyes at the same time as Elizabeth. She shot the vampath a grin and then scanned the room, easily spotting the Ssilligorth. Continuing to surveil the chamber, the slayer noted the cages containing the kids as well as the positions of the rest of her friends.
The vampath wasted no time in responding to Kennedy. A tug as sharp as a knife on her flesh flashed along her senses, drawing her toward the center of the room. Quickly, she moved through the flickering shadows, softly calling out her lover's name.
Out of a pocket, Kennedy withdrew a small flashlight and thumbed it to life. The pencil thin beam cut through the darkness, illuminating the shapes and forms of wrought iron candlesticks, torture devices and corpses.
Sickened, the slayer averted her eyes and sought the figure of her lover. Willow should've been nearby, but somehow, she had ended up almost at the other end of the room.
Taking her first step since waking, Kennedy nearly screamed in frustration when each movement seemed to take an eternity. Just the very act of turning her hips, lifting a foot and setting it in front of her was like moving through thick, gooey mud.
"Elizabeth!" she yelled. Or at least, she tried to. What came out was little more than a whisper that barely carried to her ears, much less to the vampath who was now almost five feet away.
Having her own troubles, Elizabeth fought the wild urge to brush away invisible cobwebs with each step she took. Just feet away, she could see Kate lying on the floor, thrashing about and crying in fear.
Step by step, the sensation that she was being touched, tickled and even, crawled on by thousands of tiny bugs caused the vampath to stop and shiver uncontrollably. Rubbing her hands together, she gritted her teeth, closed her eyes and kept going. Nothing was going to keep her from Kate's side.
Frustration nearly at boiling levels, Kennedy growled a soft, "Fuck this," and jumped. Catching hold of the bars of one of the cages suspended above, she smiled at the startled kids and said, "Hey kids we'll get you out, I promise. You just gotta be brave, okay?"
Most of the children just whimpered in fear, but three awe-filled faces smiled back. "Okay," they whispered.
Relieved that she could speak and be heard, Kennedy said, "Hey, when the doors open, you guys help make sure everyone gets out, okay?" They nodded. Smiling, the slayer said, "All right, see down there on the stairs? Those two guys? Yeah, I know one of 'em looks real scary, but he's here to help you, I promise. If they get you out, follow them."
"But what if they don't? What if he comes for us?" One little girl, perhaps five or six, asked in a fearful tone. "He's very mean. He hurts us when we don't do what he says."
Kennedy bit her lip. "I know you're all very scared, and heck, I'm scared too, but this is what I would do." They leaned in to listen, even the ones who were too afraid to speak, as she whispered out the beginnings to an escape.
"Leave you? Oh you foolish child, you sent her away." The speaker's voice was smooth and oily. A hand settled on Willow's head, petting her softly. "Come child, do you truly think that she would have stayed? That she would have been content to be in your shadow? Of course not. She was a witch, and she knew how powerful you were. Day by day, she would have come to hate you. Come to covet the very magick that drew you together. Until one day, it would have been too much." The voice continued to soothe even as the hands slowly drew Willow to her feet and into a warm embrace.
He was behind her. Tall and strongly built, he smelled of cookie dough and sandalwood and spring all the things that were like a favorite blanket to the witch. She smiled and leaned into him. He also smelled a little like Oz, which only made her smile grow into a grin.
But his words oh how they hurt. Each one was like a tiny stone flung against imperfect glass. Tiny chips began to spall off, leaving her feeling pitted and scarred.
Fingers sifted through the hair at the nape of her neck. Goosebumps skittered across her skin. Lips touched her throat and she felt the scrape of a five o'clock shadow on her flesh.
"It would never be too much for me, mio picolo ardente, my fiery one." He nuzzled her again and pulled her against him.
He was excited and she could feel it. For the briefest moment, she was tempted to turn and open her arms to this man whose voice was so provocatively depressing. Instead, she closed her eyes and said, "No. She forgave me. I wouldn't have lost her because of the magick."
The arms around her tightened into a fierce grip. "Lies do not become you, child. Avoiding the truth will not change your destiny, only prolong your pain. Accept what you know to be right and I will see that you are never alone again."
Each word wrapped around Willow like a length of rope, growing tighter and tighter until she could barely breathe. Gasping, the witch tore herself from his grasp and turned to face him. What she saw caused her to cover her mouth in shock.
"No," she cried. "No, you're dead."
The cold eyes of Warren Meers stared back at her. "Like that was ever a problem for us big evil bad guys? Death is only an inconvenience." He blew on his fingers and buffed his knuckles on his shirt. "After all, those of us who are evil have to stick together and honey, let me tell you, I've got some great friends now that I'm dead. Best thing you could have ever done for me. That's why I'm here, you know." He stepped closer and closer, reaching for her. As his hands closed over her arms, he said, "I just wanted to thank you. Give you a proper hug and all. Because if it wasn't for you " Suddenly, his flesh vanished, leaving behind the flayed, bleeding body that had been his corpse. "I wouldn't be where I am today." He pulled her against him and no matter how hard she struggled, she could not break free.
"Let me go you freak!"
"Freak, is it? What, don't you like what you made, Willow? Aren't you a fan of your own work? I am. God, I love the new me. Women respect the new me. They notice me. I'm not invisible anymore, thanks to you. Please, let me kiss you. Let me show you just how good a time a man with no flesh can give you!" His lips lowered toward hers.
"No!" All the anger, all the pain, all the frustration at being forced to relive the nightmare of losing Tara shattered Willow's control. White fire erupted from her, consuming Warren, the shadowy room and all within, including Tara's rapidly fading body.
Trapped with the fire of her own making, Willow sobbed uncontrollably. "I'm sorry," she cried. "I'm so sorry."
An ear splitting shriek echoing through the chamber brought Kennedy's peptalk to a halt. Looking away from the children, she watched as her lover was caught in a pillar of white fire, lifted into the air and then dropped like a broken rag doll.
"Willow!" Kennedy released the bars and dove for her lover. Somersaulting through the air, she landed within a foot of the witch's side. The air was filled with the scent of ozone and she could hear triumphant laughter come from the area around the altar.
"Look at you all. So pathetic. One by one you fall. Come, fools. Come and try to stop me!" Vitmar Caruso giggled madly and continued to paint runes on the wall.
Climbing a set of invisible stairs might seem relatively easy compared to what each of their companions was fighting, but to Dersk and Kangr, it was a Sisyphusian task of Herculean proportions. For one, the steps were not evenly spaced and for another, they were of disproportionate length. Some were many feet apart while others just mere inches away.
With each step up came the chance to fall, an event which had already occurred twice in their struggle to reach the platform. Then, when they did finally reach the platform, and saw the trouble that their friends were in, they had to decide whether to press on and rescue the kids, or return to the main floor and try to help everyone else.
It was truly a Solomon's choice.
Dersk finally said, "We get the kids. Then we help everyone else."
Kangr nodded. "Yeah, they're just kids."
The half-demon looked down at the writhing, screeching form of his mother and whispered, "Yeah, just kids. Come on, it's time to play hero."
Mired in layer after layer of spell, Elizabeth fought for every step. Waves of fear emanated from Kate, striping the vampath's psyche like a whip. The Tos symbiote within her was overflowing with the rampant emotions that zinged about the room like bullets. Fear, hate, pain, lust, love, anger, hate; every single shade and shape of human feeling battered against her. With every hit she staggered, but strove onward because through it all, the beacon that cried out to her so brightly was the siren's call of Kate's tears.
Drawing upon the strength of the Tos, Elizabeth broke through the wizard's spells, shredding the magick like tissue. One last, staggering step had her by Kate's side.
"I'm here, Kate. I'm here," she murmured, falling to her knees. Gently, she gathered the spasming body of her lover into her arms and held her. Rocking her slowly, she called her name and kissed her forehead. Hot tears streamed from her eyes, scalded her cheeks and spattered onto Kate's face.
The detective's eyelids fluttered, and then popped open. "Liz?" she whispered hoarsely. In a stronger voice, she said, "Elizabeth?" She tried to sit up but the vampath held her back.
"Hold still a bit, love. I don't know what happened to you."
Pushing the vampath's hands away, Kate stood and brushed herself off. "I'm fine, Doc." She smiled reassuringly. "Just some head games. I'll be okay. Really. Come on, we have a mad wizard to stop, some kids to rescue and a big assed boat to return to our dimension and why the hell do I sound like I'm in the middle of some college frat boy's Dungeons and Dragons game?"
Elizabeth's bark of laughter was almost enough to cover the sob of joy that she tried to hide as she stood and made ready to guard her lover's back.
In utter disbelief, Caruso watched his spells collapse. Screaming in frustrated anger, he tapped into the fear-fueled magick spilling off the boy on the altar and began to weave a new enchantment. Driven by rage, he pricked his own fingers and mixed his blood with the boy's, creating an inky black substance that seemed to glow with a ruddy light.
"Sosheval, Ballingus, Baal and Crom, darkness, absence, hatred and fear by death's cold offering, I call to thee. Taste of my body and grant thy power to me. Lashing, thrashing and smiting blow to blow, mine enemy is thine. In service do I pledge, my heart ever beating, my lungs ever breathing, death to death, for all of my soul."
Shouting the last few words, Vitmar Caruso raised his bloody hand and slammed it into the center of the pentagram.
Deep in the bowels of the ship, the low hum barely registered. As it traveled along the seams and bolts, vibrating the metallic skin of the large vessel, it grew in sound and fury until it burst into the former mess hall like a cacophonic fountain of sound.
Grabbing their ears, Kate and her friends were forced to their knees. The detective sobbed in agony. It felt like lava was flowing from the earth's core into her aural nerves.
Kennedy's guts heaved as she tried not to vomit from the pain.
"Willow," she gasped. "Come on baby, wake up." Weakly, she reached out and shook the redhead.
The witch barely registered the touch.
"Please, Willow. We need you." This time, the slayer did vomit.
The sound went on and on, rolling over them like an avalanche of boulders, pounding at their brains. Blood began to drip from their ears, eyes and noses.
On the platform, Dersk and Kangr had already fallen, knocked senseless by the wall of sound. Above them, the captive children screamed and cried as their bodies were buffeted by the waves of sound.
Weeping now, Kennedy grabbed for Willow. Pulling the witch into her arms, she cried, "Willow, wake up!"
There was no response.
With every ounce of strength she possessed, Kennedy fought to ignore the horrible sound and looked down at her lover. Limp and near lifeless, Willow's chest barely rose and fell as her lungs struggled to draw breath.
Suddenly completely focused, everything faded as Kennedy gently laid her lover out and checked for injury. Finding none, she pressed soft kisses to cold, unresponsive lips.
Anger like a waterfall of wildfire washed away any remaining trace of the banshee-like spell's effects. Slowly, Kenned rose, curling her hands into fists.
"Vitmar Caruso!" she yelled and the wizard looked at her.
"What do you want, little slayer junior?"
"Your head on a silver platter, but I'll settle for your corpse cold on a morgue slab." Taking three running steps, the slayer leaped into the air, flipped over the altar and grabbed hold of Caruso's collar.
He barely had time to register the hold before he was slammed into the wall, punched several times in the head, chest and gut and then thrown across the room. Staggering to his feet, he fired two weak bolts of energy at the slayer, but neither hit their target, fizzling out when they bounced harmlessly off the walls.
Kennedy grabbed a nearby candle sconce and swung it like a baseball bat, connecting solidly with Caruso's left leg. The crunch of bone brought a satisfied smirk to the slayer's face.
Going to one knee, the wizard growled in pain and lashed out by hitting Kennedy with a ball of lightning that lifted her up and hurled her across the room. Landing with a soft thump, she staggered to her feet and ran back toward the altar.
Without Caruso's full attention, the spell fueling the horrible noise abated. Kate was one of the first to come to her senses. Staggering to her feet, she pulled out her flashlight and flicked it on, trying to make sense of the scene before her.
Kennedy and Caruso were trading blows. Both wizard and slayer were badly bloodied. Above them, the children screamed and cried to be saved, while below Willow, Elizabeth and Tiatitania were out of commission. On the platform Kate could see the bodies of Dersk and Kangr though she couldn't tell if they were dead or alive.
The detective took a few staggering steps toward the altar, intending to free the poor boy chained to the basalt block, and tripped over Elizabeth. She landed in a tangled heap next to her lover and groaned. The flashlight spun away, tumbling and bouncing through the room, scattering oddly broken shafts of light throughout the chamber.
Startled awake by the sudden weight of Kate's body, Elizabeth sprang to her feet. Fangs out, symbiote working itself into a frenzy, the vampath took one look at the fight between Kennedy and Caruso and leaped into the fray. Grabbing the wizard, she headbutted him and was blasted into the altar.
Kennedy launched herself at the wizard, grappled with him and brought him to his knees. He flipped her over his head and lashed her with a whip that sprang to life with a few hastily chanted words.
The slayer reached for another candle sconce and swung it at the wizard. Caruso's whip flickered out and coiled around the sconce. A sizzling sound was heard as the magickal weapon burned through the metal. Kennedy pulled her makeshift blade back and came up with a short, broken rod.
Grinning at the now manageably sized weapon, the slayer spun it from hand to hand experimentally. Elizabeth used the momentary distraction to push herself off the altar and launch herself at Caruso's back, but he turned in time to knock her away again.
Kate staggered to her feet. From the corner of her eye, she saw Tiatitania crawl to her knees and then stand. The Ssilligorth female took three shuffling steps and then collapsed against the wall, but not before slamming her hand down on a slightly discolored section of the wall.
Lights came on, briefly blinding everyone.
As she blinked to clear her eyes, Kate drew her gun, cocked it and took aim just as Kennedy and Elizabeth attacked Caruso. The wizard had both arms raised, and a swirl of charged energy crackled back and forth between his hands.
"Die, you'll all die! Die! Die! Die!" He cackled madly, his lips pulled back in a rictus that lacked anything resembling sanity.
Kate would remember the events as a series of ticking moments.
Heartbeat. Elizabeth grabbed Caruso. Heartbeat. She looked up as her fangs exploded out and met Kate's gaze. There was nothing human in the vampath's eyes, only an angry, hate-filled hunger. Heartbeat. Kennedy's weapon arm began its killing descent. Heartbeat. Caruso pulled his hands apart, and brought the lighting down on himself and his attackers. Heartbeat. A voice, screaming one word.
The retort of the gun was like a single pair of hands clapping in an empty arena. Kate never felt her weapon buck as she emptied the clip into Caruso's chest. Blood, bone, flesh and fabric were torn away as each lead, holy water and silver bullet tore into the wizard. He jerked this way and that, like a puppet whose master had suddenly developed a tic.
Kennedy's blow hit a dead man. Elizabeth's Tos-fed fury abated as her symbiote found nothing upon which to feed. Caruso's magicks fizzled as he stumbled, then dropped to his knees and finally, collapsed on the floor.
A flood of crimson stained the gray slate.
Then, like a switch had been thrown, everything went dark.
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