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A Day in the Death

 

Project Paranormal

Author: LisaP

Season 1

Part 10

 

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Summary: Slayers are people too.

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Not mine, this is just for fun.

 

 

**

 

A Day in the Death

 

Hi. My name’s Sadie, and until a couple of months ago I was a perfectly happy go lucky teenager living in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

 

I had a good, non-remarkable life. Great parents, kid brother who is a total pain in the you know what, great friends – even a boyfriend.

 

I was a sporty outdoors sort – everyone in Oz is – and I played tennis, scuba-dived and yep – even surfed a bit. I mean, I was always good at sports – great hand/eye co-ordination and all that stuff, and pretty strong for a girl. Chris (my boyfriend) always said it was like wrestling with a croc when we were messing around on the beach. Although how Chris would know that is anyone’s guess, as he’s a city boy through and through.

 

I was never going to win prizes at school, but was good enough to pass most of my exams – even if not with spectacular grades – and was looking forward to going to college, and thinking about doing the Oz thing of traveling in my gap year – maybe even Europe, the whole glamorous backpacking thing – working in bars to pay my way etc.

 

Didn’t turn out quite as I expected.

 

Oh, sure, here I am in Europe. England to be exact. But not a back pack in sight – nor Chris or any of my other friends. And as for working in London in bars and enjoying the city life. Huh.

 

Thing is, my whole life has gone to hell in a handbasket. And I’m not sure how I’m coping with it all – not that great I suspect. At least I’m not coping that great among a load of other girls who are also not coping to a greater or lesser degree. Well – would you?

 

I got home from a great day out shopping with the girls – blowing my allowance on a darling little sundress and some strappy sandals – to find my parents sitting on the edge of the sofa staring like rabbits in headlights at this weird looking guy who was draped over one of the other chairs in our living room.  Scrawny and dressed as though he was on some sort of safari – all he needed was a pith helmet to finish off the look. Anyway, my Mum took one look at me and burst into tears.

 

“Jeez, Mum, what’s happened? Is Keith OK?” ‘Cos, you know – I immediately thought that my brother had had some kind of accident.

 

“Keith’s fine. This – gentleman – has come to talk to us about you.” Dad sounded really odd, sort of as though someone was strangling him. Then the scrawny guy gets up and comes across to shake my hand.

 

“Hello, Sadie. My name is Andrew and I’ve come to explain how you will be leaving Australia and coming to England to follow your destiny. For you, young woman, are one of the Chosen ones. It used to be one girl in all the world – but now – following the spell of Willow – the most powerful of Wiccas – there are many girls in all the world. And you, my dear one, are the last of this generation who has been chosen. Welcome.”

 

I mean – Huh?

 

Give Andrew his due. There can’t be many people who can walk into an ordinary family’s house and announce that the daughter is a girl with supernatural powers that will help her to combat the forces of darkness and get away without her parents calling the police.  Well – actually my Dad did call the police, but somehow, between his calling them and their arriving someone persuaded them that Andrew was on the up and up and it was all a mistake. I know now that it must have been the Watcher’s Council – or more scarily – some influence from the Coven. Whatever.  Anyway, hardly surprising, my mum and dad told Andrew to get lost. That I wasn’t going anywhere with him – let alone England – and did he think that they were completely mad if they were going to believe such a ridiculous tale.

 

“It is true that Sadie is the weakest of our new Slayers – perhaps not even full formed – which is why we didn’t realize that one of our girls was still unaccounted for. However, I think that Sadie herself will demonstrate why she needs to come with me.”

 

And then Andrew asked me to stand at the bottom of the stairs and jump up to the landing.

 

It was just too stupid for words. I mean – I know I was athletic and all that, but this was nuts. Anyway, to prove him wrong I went to the bottom of the stairs, crouched down and leapt. And found myself on the landing.  A few more tests showed that suddenly I wasn’t me anymore. I mean – I was me, but a super improved version. I could pick up really heavy items of furniture without any effort. Run incredibly fast, jump really high. Far stronger and quicker than any human could possibly be.

 

Andrew asked me if I’d felt different in some way recently. Thinking about things I realized that I had felt strange tinglings in my arms and legs, but I’d put it down to growing pains – my mum’s catch all diagnosis for all things teenagery.

 

Anyhow – to cut a long and pretty traumatic story short – my parents eventually agreed that I needed to go to be trained so that I could understand my new powers. Bless them, they didn’t let me out of their sight until they’d spoken to the guy in England who was going to be responsible for me – Rupert Giles as it turned out. After talking to him at length on the phone, my dad seemed a lot happier about me going.

 

And so here I am. Sitting on the windowledge of the coldest, draughtiest old house that I’ve ever been inside, surrounded by girls of all shapes and sizes and from all over the world. We’ve nothing in common with each other except than that one day we woke up and discovered that we were Slayers.

 

-0-

 

I really hate it here. The cold just sinks into your bones and stays there. I mean – this is June for God’s sake – what the hell must England be like in the winter? And rain? I mean, I know we get really heavy rainstorms – tropical in some parts of Oz – but this relentless dripping rain. Ugh. Drizzle they call it over here. The English are like the Eskimos with a hundred words describing snow. They must have about the same number to describe rain. What makes things worse is it’s boring over here. Bright lights, shopping, big cities. Well, they’re all out there. Trouble is – we’re not. We’re sequestered (a Giles word – and one that describes it perfectly) here like nuns in a convent. A bloody big house, packed to the rafters with new Slayers, acres of wet countryside all around, a few cows and horses, and that’s about it. Well. Not quite. We do have a resident vampire on site.

 

Even after I’d arrived in Westbury and met Giles and the original chosen one – Buffy Summers (and how up herself is she?) – there was no way that I really believed all the tripe that Andrew had told me on the trip over. Eighteen hours of listening to him witter on endlessly about slayers and witches, vampires and demons. The man was demented. He’d not said anything about demons to my parents that’s for sure.

 

But Giles put me to rights about this whole other world that most people have no idea exists. And aren’t they the lucky ones. Still, even pictures in books don’t really have the impact that coming across a real demon, face to face has. And it happened to me less than a day after I’d arrived at Westbury.

 

I was all to hell with my body clock – awake in the middle of the night, asleep in the afternoons – you know the drill, and I decided to leave the dormitory and go downstairs for something to eat. Anyway, as I was coming down the stairs I felt this weird tingling in my spine – like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I saw the door to the room that had been tricked out as a gym was open, so I went to have a look. Something made me open the drawer of the hall table – I’d already been briefed about the whole staking thing, and grabbed a stake, although there’s no way that I thought that a vampire would actually be in the house. Evil they might be, but stupid? As I went into the gym I flicked on the light switch. Jesus, I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot! There was this thing – all yellow eyes and fangs – I still don’t remember what happened next, just that I screamed. And then wham. The next thing I remember was being back in my bed as though nothing at all had happened.

 

Anyway – this was the first bit of weirdness that I encountered being here, there’ve been plenty more since. And my first meeting (I think) with the vampire that Buffy Summers lives with – and how weird is that? I mean, we all know the story now. Vampire with a Soul, cursed by gypsies etc and so on. But living with a slayer? I mean, Angel is incredibly hot to look at, no doubting that for one minute what with the brooding and the tallness and the fantastic body and the face….but – hey, wait a minute – he’s a corpse! And a vampire. A real, live (if you get past the whole corpse bit) vampire. I mean, drinks blood? Burns up in sunlight? And is over 250 years old. That’s older than anywhere in modern Australia. It’s even older than this old house. And he’s eternal. When we’re all long gone he’ll still be knocking around the place, looking just the same as he does now. And Angel being around is starting not to be as weird as some of the other things that have happened to us since we all got together to train as slayers.

 

Rumours are starting to go around the girls. Giles isn’t saying anything, and Buffy is as tight lipped as usual when she’s around us, but it’s being said that all these demons and weirdnesses that have been happening have got worse and worse recently. We know that Buffy came from a Hellmouth in California, and we’re starting to wonder if a new Hellmouth is beginning to appear right here under our feet. And now, today we’ve been called together because yet another weirdness has started up and once again, we’re being told we have to fight it.

 

It’s at times like this that I want to stand up and scream “But I’m Sadie Anderson. I’m seventeen years old and just an ordinary girl from Sydney. Get me out of here!” But no celebrity duo are going to rescue me from this particular jungle. So instead, I’m sitting with the others listening to Giles telling us that a crack in the ground has appeared in the centre of  an old Anglo Saxon encampment near Bristol and strange groans and noises – not to mention smells – are coming up from this crack, so Angel and Buffy are going there tonight (of course – no daytime trips for the vampire), and they want two volunteers. Giles then turns to me and checks his files. “When I say volunteers…Sadie, you’ve not been out recently, it would be good practice for you to go along, don’t you think?”

 

Like – Noooooo! But like a complete spineless creature, I sort of nod my head and mumble a bit. So here I am ‘volunteered’ for investigating a demonic crack in the ground. At night. On a spooky old encampment.  At least Hoshi has taken pity and volunteered to be the other slayer on duty. Bless her. My only real friend here. Hoshi couldn’t have come from a more different background to me, she’s a sweet Japanese girl, brought up in a place where there were more mountains than people, so she says. But she is lovely with a wicked sense of humour, which lots of the girls don’t get because she’s so deadpan, but I think she’s hysterical.

 

-0-

 

OK, now this is seriously not my idea of a fun-filled night out. For a start it’s raining – what a surprise – secondly it’s pitch dark up on this hill, and so misty that any nighttime lights of the towns on either side of the hill are completely obscured. Thirdly it’s completely creepy.  Buffy, Hoshi and I are all armed with flashlights, but Angel is wandering about somewhere, and not needing artificial light to see his way, none of us have a clue where he is until he just turns up right behind me.

 

“Jeee-eez! Can’t you cough or something?” God, he scared me half to death.

 

“Sorry, but I don’t cough.”

 

Of course not. Still, it’s not his fault I suppose that he’s got the whole lurking thing down to a fine art, but even so, not the wisest way to be with trigger happy slayers armed with stakes.

 

“Over here”

 

That’s Buffy’s voice – sounds like she’s found something. As we make our way over to her, I can’t see anything, but bloody hell, I sure can smell something. It reeks like something dead for a couple of weeks in a hot room. I mean, Uuuuugh.

 

And then everything starts to happen at once. Suddenly there’s a sort of massive, well I suppose burp would be the closest description – and the whole top of the hill seems to explode. I’m thrown off my feet and I can hear Hoshi shouting something, then this – thing – looms right over me. My flashlight catches it, its face all oozing slime and what looks like pus. Next second it’s gone as something hurls it away from me. Angel. He grabs my hand and yanks me to my, somewhat unsteady, feet.

 

“Zombies” he says grimly. “Cut their heads off – it’s the only way to stop them.”

 

It’s all a blur after that. Even though I know that I’m shrieking with fear almost continuously while I’m fighting, the old slayer instincts don’t let me down, not to mention the relentless training that we’ve endured since arriving in England. For the first time I’m truly grateful for Buffy and Giles’ rigid insistence on daily training routines. There are awful groans from the zombies, interspersed with yells from Buffy and Hoshi, and the occasional heart stopping growl which I guess must be Angel. Then, as it seems like it’s all coming to an end – with decomposing bodies scattered all over the hill – there is a terrible scream, and I know in my gut that it’s Hoshi.

 

I run over to her, fighting off and beheading one of the last of the zombies before I get to her. It’s awful. Hoshi has been impaled on her own sword, and there’s blood running from her mouth as well as from the wound in her chest.

 

“Hoshi! Oh, God, Hoshi.”

 

But it’s too late for her. Already her eyes are beginning to glaze over and with a wretched gurgling sound she dies right in front of me. A seventeen year old Japanese girl lying dead on a dark, damp hill, surrounded by decomposing monsters. Now I’m crying so much that at first I don’t register that neither Angel or Buffy has come to see what’s happened. For a moment I wonder if I’m the only one that has survived the battle, but then, as I beam my flashlight around the hill I see Angel cradling Buffy in his arms. Even though I don’t want to leave poor Hoshi, I run over to them.

 

“Is she….?”

 

“No. But I don’t know what’s happening to her.” Angel sounds strained with anxiety.

 

“One moment she was OK, the next, she just collapsed. Now it’s like she’s having some kind of seizure.”

 

It’s true. Buffy is twitching and flinching, and although quite obviously unconscious she looks to be in a lot of pain.

 

“We’ve got to get her back to Westbury.” Angel picks Buffy up. She looks tiny in his arms, like a little doll.

 

“What about Hoshi…she’s…she didn’t make it” I can’t bring myself to say that Hoshi is dead.

 

Angel looks me squarely in the face. “Can you carry her?”

 

I just nod. I think shock has really kicked in now, as I’m feeling completely numb. I carry my dead friend back to the car and somehow we make the nightmare journey back to Giles’ house.

 

-0-

 

Buffy wakes up just as we are pulling up at the front porch of the house. She seems completely disorientated and complains of a splitting headache. Angel had telephoned Giles when we had got back to the car, so he and the other slayers are waiting for us. Angel just sweeps past them all with Buffy in his arms and takes her straight up to the garage flat, leaving us to carry Hoshi’s body into the house.

 

I guess that’s when it really hits me that she is really dead. Crazy, I suppose, when she had died right in front of my eyes. But seeing her in the familiar surroundings of the place where we have all lived, ate and slept for the past weeks and months is just too much for me.

 

Mrs Fletcher gives me something to help me sleep, and two of the girls – I think it’s  Elaine and Laura, get me upstairs and help to wash the battlestains off me. They stay with me after they put me into my bed, and  I suppose that eventually I must drop off from sheer nervous exhaustion.

 

-0-

 

I’ve never felt anything like I do now. I thought that leaving my family and friends was bad. That was nothing. At least I know they’re alive and safe in Sydney. Even thinking about how Hoshi’s parents must be feeling makes me break down in floods of tears. Some of it’s selfish – it’s all too easy to imagine how my parents and brother would be feeling if the news of my death reached them. And now I know just how likely a possibility that might be. It could just have easily been me lying there with my lifeblood pouring out of me as it was Hoshi.

 

It’s not just me that’s been affected by Hoshi’s violent death. All the girls are upset and I guess we’re all frightened too. Giles has done his best to be kind and reassuring, but we can see that he’s upset as well. After all, he was the one who had to telephone Hoshi’s parents with the news. Buffy hasn’t been able to do her normal sergeant major rallying round act either. She’s pale and strained looking, and is still getting bad headaches that she’s doing her best to shrug off. Something’s definitely going on there. Angel is never far from her side, and even during the day we can see him standing in the shadow of the window of the flat, keeping watch over her.

 

A group of the girls went to Giles telling him that they were leaving Westbury and going back to their homes. I don’t know what he said to them, but they’re all still here. Not happy though. I want my mum and dad so much. I want to wake up and find that I’m at home in my bed. That I wasn’t a Slayer – and had no idea of the supernatural world that I’m now living in. But I know it’s not going to happen and somehow I have to stick it out.

 

-0-

 

We’re back training now. Buffy says she’s better, but she still looks not altogether well. Angel is still watching her like a hawk. It’d be scary if he wasn’t so gorgeous, but I don’t think Buffy minds – or possibly even notices.

 

Things seem to be settling back to normal – whatever you can call normal around here, but now I know it’s only a matter of time before something awful happens again.

 

It comes sooner than even I expected.

 

We’re out on what I guess the army would call manoeuvres. Giles feels that we need to get used to patrolling at night, as obviously we’re going to end up as night workers. Another wonderful perk of being a slayer. Not. Now three of us, plus Buffy, Angel and Giles are scrambling around on the downs at one O’clock in the morning, with nothing but the light of the moon to guide us. Well, me and my two fellow newbies are scrambling around. Giles is sitting on a picnic blanket somewhere and we’re meant to find him, and Buffy and Angel are ambushing us relentlessly. It’s scary enough when Buffy jumps out on one of us – I mean, we’re on downs for goodness’s sakes, where does she hide? But it’s downright terrifying when Angel suddenly materializes in front of us. For a start he’s huge, and he’s let his demon face out for an airing. I know that we’re slayers and all that, but all the same – not a fun thing to have to cope with in the dark, on your own. Especially as not all of us quite have the trust thing down with him.

 

Anyway, here I am, trying to walk silently, straining every sense in an attempt to detect where Giles might be, while at the same time keeping everything alert in order not to be surprised by the ambushers. Just as I see the masked light of Giles’ torch, there’s a shout from Angel. We all rush to where Angel is helping Buffy to her feet. Buffy’s shaking her head and brushing off Angel’s concern, but even in this darkness we can see she’s pale. Giles comes up looking anxious.

 

“What’s the matter? Buffy, are you OK?” There’s no mistaking his feelings for Buffy – he sounds just like my dad did when I’d fallen down and hurt myself.

 

“I’m fine – fine. I just tripped”.

 

Well – OK, but the way Angel’s looking at her, he doesn’t buy that for one second. Neither does Giles, it seems, as he turns his torch onto his watch and calls it a night. Me and the other girls heave a collective sigh of relief, we’ll be glad to get back to our beds – who knows, we might even get a bit of a lie-in.

 

Should have known better. We’re nearly back where we left the cars and then there’s this weird noise coming from the left of where we are. It’s a sort of gurgling sound, like water going down a plughole. Except that it’s definitely not that. Angel’s gone stock still – he looks almost as if he’s scenting something on the air.

 

“It smells like those creatures that were chasing Benny –  anthropophagi?”

 

Ugh. Don’t know what’s more creepy – the thought of those awful things still lurking around, or the fact that Angel can smell them. I find myself walking faster towards the cars. “Surely we killed them…even if we didn’t then can’t we come back tomorrow when it’s light?” I sound scared – even to myself. Those things were gross – and I was covered in their demon goo – which stung and the smell was almost impossible to scrub off.

 

But Angel’s disappeared. And then he’s back. I wonder just how fast he really can move when he puts his mind to it, and not for the first time it crosses my mind that even a slayer might find she’d bitten off more than she could chew if it came down to a fight between her and this particular vampire. Good thing he’s on our side then.

 

“They’re down a sinkhole about 100 yards from here. Sounded like there were at least three of the things.” He looks to Giles as if waiting for him to make a decision. Giles is chewing his lip, and then nods in the direction of all of us.

 

“This isn’t going to wait until tomorrow. We know the damage anthropophagi can do. Buffy, are you up to taking the girls to sort these things out?”

 

Buffy’s nodding, but Angel is shaking his head. “No. I’m not happy that Buffy’s up to her full strength.” Buffy’s glaring at him, so Angel must be right. “I’ll go with the girls. You get Buffy home.”

 

Now Buffy’s pulling herself away from Angel.

 

“There’s no way I’m not going with you. Giles – you need to stay up here. Laura can stay with you. Angel – don’t even bother to argue with me.”

 

This is all interesting stuff – there’s something going on between all three of them, but I’m more bothered about going down a sinkhole to face yet more of those gross creatures, and wish that Buffy had selected me to stay up top with Giles. However, everyone else seems keen enough to get with the programme, and I’m too much of a wimp to refuse to go with them. So now we’re traipsing off behind Angel and Buffy trying to look like hardened demon killers.

 

The sinkhole is about three foot wide. Angel drops down it like he’s in an elevator, Buffy is nearly as agile. Vi and I are a bit more circumspect, and scrabble down it trying not to make too much noise – and failing dismally. We finally reach the bottom, and it’s a surprise to find ourselves in something that’s almost big enough to call a cavern. We’re swishing torches around and the light bounces off high walls and a ceiling covered in sticky down things. There are sticky up things coming up off the floor as well. Sometimes they meet in the middle. Something from my geography lessons bubbles up in my mind. Stalagmites and Stalactites. Although which is which – who knows?

 

More important to the job in hand – the anthropophagi. We can all smell them now. And worse – hear them. But not see them. Then Angel growls.

 

-0-

 

It’s so much worse than the first time we had to fight these gruesome creatures. Then, at least we were in Giles’ house – and could at least see what we were fighting. Now it’s electric light beams swinging crazily, offering only glimpses of our adversaries. I’m not even sure how many of them there are. For about the first five minutes it looks like we’re getting the best of things. The groans and moans of the fallen anthropophagi are reassuring in an awful sort of way. Then it all goes horribly wrong.

 

Like some terrible case of déjà vu I hear Vi scream. I’m seventeen years old – and already I know when a scream like that means someone has been mortally wounded. I can’t see what’s happened, but I just know Vi is dead. And then there is another scream – it’s not me – so it has to be Buffy. I run like hell to where she is lying on the ground. It looks like she’s having some sort of fit, but I don’t have time to help her as the remaining anthropophagi are circling like sharks. They’re not getting close though, as Angel is standing over Buffy – demon face to the fore and he’s hacking expertly at anything that gets remotely within his reach. He sees me, and somehow opens a space for me to leap behind him so we’re back to back, cutting and slashing at the anthropophagi. My world has contracted to this – cut, slash, dodge, thrust, but now I have Angel’s reassuring bulk at my back and my confidence is growing.

 

Finally, finally…the monsters are gone – defeated. Gasping for breath, covered in sweat and gore I’m overcome with a sort of wild elation. An elation that lasts only seconds as I remember that Vi is lying dead somewhere in the cavern, and Buffy is unconscious at our feet. Angel is kneeling down now and gathering her up into his arms. A sound…more monsters? No. This is a rumble that shakes the very ground we stand on.

 

“Wha….?”

 

“Earthquake” Angel says tersely. And then quicker than my eye can follow, Angel’s pulled me down and I’m lying half on top of Buffy and he’s covered us both with his big body.

 

The noise is indescribable. A kind of subterranean roar that engulfs us completely, combined with a terrible creaking and cracking of rock that nobody should ever have to hear. I’m flattened under Angel, and for the longest moment I think that the very life is going to be crushed out of me as his weight increases a hundredfold. Then, groaning, he somehow lifts his weight a fraction so at least Buffy and I have space to expand our ribs slightly.

 

It’s only a moment later that I realize that Angel is gasping my name. “Sadie…there’s space…get Buffy and you out….”

 

He’s right, the rockfall is localized, and there’s a gap where I can roll Buffy and myself back into the open cavern. And there’s a torch beam still lighting the floor. Thank God.

I get us out from under Angel – and only then do I see that he’s saved us from being crushed to death under a massive pile of fallen rocks. How on earth did he support that weight on his back to stop us from being completely squashed? But as soon as Angel feels that we’ve got to safety his strength fails him, and with a defeated grunt he collapses and the rocks shift slightly as they press down onto his frame. Frantically, I start to pull boulders and huge rocks away – only dimly aware that this might cause another landslide. We’re lucky – nothing else shifts. There’s one last big rock covering Angel, but as I try to pull it off him, it’s as though he sticks to its underside. God – this one’s even heavier than the others – but I keep pulling at it anyway. As it finally rolls off Angel he comes with it – and then I see that he’s impaled on a spiky growth that is attached to the rock. Its one of those stalactite things and he’s stuck like a butterfly pinned to a board.

 

I don’t know how – but he’s still conscious and I’m crying with shock as I try to lever him off the rock spike without hurting him further, but it’s impossible and he’s quivering with the pain. I do it though, and then Angel is lying in a boneless sort of way near Buffy – who is starting to slowly come round from her weird fit. As I flash the torch over Angel it’s clear that he’s been severely injured. If he’d been human – even a slayer – he’d be dead, and so would we. As it is, it looks like every bone in Angel’s body has been broken, and the gaping wound in his back means that the stalactite must have destroyed many of his ribs, and surely must have punctured both lungs, and done God knows what other damage. I mean, I know he’s a vampire, but these kind of injuries are beyond anything you could possibly imagine, and still he’s conscious.

 

“Sadie….can you get out?” it’s a bare whisper, but I hear him, and although the last thing I want to do is leave him and Buffy, I know I’m going to have to get help.

 

“No worries – I’ll be back in a tick”. It’s amazing how we say the most daft things isn’t it, but somehow Angel manages the ghost of a smile as I give his shoulder a tiny pat of reassurance.

 

Then I’m off, scrambling up the fallen rockpile, climbing higher and higher into the darkness and hoping like hell that this is going to lead back up to the entrance. I refuse to even contemplate that the earthquake has collapsed the entrance so that we’re trapped, but at least Laura and Giles are still above the ground, and they’ll have felt the ‘quake too, so they’ll know something bad has happened to us.

 

I’m nearly at the top of the fallen pile when I see the most wonderful thing above me – stars. The mist must have cleared and now the night is bright with moonlight, and it’s only a matter of climbing a few more feet until I’m going to be out of this underground hellhole. And then the entrance is blocked by a dense, ugly shadow. Crap. It’s another anthropophagi. I’m about six feet below him when I see the shadow get suddenly more enormous as the monster picks up a massive boulder….

 

-0-

 

Strange. It doesn’t hurt at all. You’d think that falling twenty feet and then lying pinned under a boulder would hurt at least a bit, but it doesn’t.

 

I can’t move at all. And I know that even if the boulder was lifted from me, I still wouldn’t be able to move. I know that I’m all broken inside, and I’m dying. Strange how the knowledge that soon I’m not going to exist doesn’t bother me a bit. Then I remember my mum and dad. And suddenly it matters.

 

I can hear something scuffling way above me – guess it must be the anthropophagi. And then there’s something crawling painfully up to my side. Angel.

He doesn’t speak, but gets hold of my hand and squeezes it gently. Now I’m just a young girl from Oz – who found herself, through no fault of her own – to be something extraordinary. It’s that extraordinariness that makes me sure of what I need to tell Angel.

“Drink me.” It’s the faintest of croaks, but it’s the best I can do under the circumstances. “Slayer blood – strong…you need it.”

 

I feel Angel’s hand gently stroke my cheek, and a splash of something lands on my face – where it’s already wet from my own tears. There’s no argument – none is needed. Gently, oh so gently, he tips my head to one side.

 

-0-

 

The blood of a slayer – even that of one not fully formed – is full of magic and power. It gave Angel the strength to dispose of the one remaining anthropophagi, roll the boulder that had crushed Sadie so cruelly, and carry her corpse up into the soft night. Buffy followed him slowly. She’d seemed to want to lapse back into unconsciousness at one point when the young Australian girl had been dying, but had rallied enough to make her own way up to the entrance to the cavern.  Neither of them spoke of what Angel had done. Both knew it had been necessary, but Angel hadn’t yet told Buffy that Sadie had insisted with her last breath that Angel drain her, so that he and Buffy could survive. The tell-tale puncture wounds on Sadie’s white neck would tell their own story to the others who were anxiously waiting for them on the downs. And Angel’s tear-streaked face would be enough to fill in the gaps.

 



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