She hadn’t patrolled for a while. It turned out that trying to rebuild a globe-spanning organisation, that was responsible for locating, training and arming the guardians of the world, from the ground up was surprisingly time and labour intensive. Which meant she didn’t have as much time for the hands-on side of things than she used to. However once in a while it felt good to get back out onto the street, defending people from the things that went; bump, ooze, crawl, slither and various other gross things in the night.
She’d been based in Manhattan for the past three months, ever since being called in to recruit that Macready girl, she stayed to help set up a local office. As well as scouting out the local area; getting the lay of the supernatural land, so to speak. Buffy had to admit though, patrolling New York City was nothing like how it was in Sunnydale. On the Hellmouth it had been relatively easy to spot a supernatural nasty stalking the streets. But here among the throng it was easier for things to hide their true selves; as well as the garden-all-variety of strictly human villains to contend with on top of that. After being here, she’d got a good sense for what Angel must have had to contend with in LA.
She walked further down the street, passing a strange man in a trenchcoat that was muttering under his breath about someone called Sebastian and arranging matches. She kept her senses alert for any form of disturbance. There was a scuffle and muffled shout and scream from somewhere to her left. She turned, noticing an alley a few feet in front of her. Buffy rolled her eyes; okay, maybe not totally different from Sunnydale then. She slipped into a sprint as the noises became more frantic.
As her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the alley she saw three figures struggling against a fire escape. One was shoved roughly against the wall, sinking to their knees as the other two figures crowded in.
Increasing her speed, she launched herself at them hitting one with a foot to the face before pivoting on her heel and catching the other in the chest with a palm strike; catapulting him down the alley.
She glanced at the woman who was slumped against the wall, her face buried in her hands. Her body shaking with terrified sobs.
Hurriedly gathering the contents of her purse that had scattered across the floor, she staggered hurriedly back to at his the street.
Pulling out the stake she had secured in the sleeve of her jacket, she turned to face one of the figures.
She ducked under a punch that he clumsily thrown at her head. She grabbed his arm and launched a knee at his stomach. The wind left him with a surprised ‘whuff’, with a final elbow to the back, he fell to the ground.
He desperately scrabbled on the ground to turn over, as she raised the stake to strike. To find herself staring into a scared face.
A scared human face.
She froze. A terrified face from so many years ago swimming before her eyes; her own panicked voice ringing in her ears. “Faith! No!”
Her moment of indecision cost her.
The thug lashed out blindly, catching her under her chin. Staggering her. He scrambled to his feet and ran down the alley towards the street.
The sound of his pounding feet broke her from her trance; banishing the ghosts of the past.
Gathering herself, she hefted her stake and hurled it at the retreating figure. Despite her distracted state, her timing held true. The blunt end of the stake impacting at the base of his skull. He collapsed bonelessly to the ground.
She turned as she heard the other man finally get to his feet. He stared wide-eyed at his partner slumped on the ground, before turning his stare on her.
He charged forward, attempting to barrel past her. Instead he collided with her extended arm. The effect was much akin to running headfirst into a steel bar.
His legs whipped out from under him, catapulting him onto the floor. His head impacted on the concrete with a thud, knocking him out cold.
She knelt down next to their prone forms, checking for a pulse. She felt a faint beat beneath her fingers; still alive, thankfully.
She heard the shuffling of feet behind her, excited whispers, the sound of pictures being hastily taken on phones. She winced. Their prospective victim must have gone running for help.
There was no chance to slip away anonymously now. There had been too many witnesses, she needed to get away before she became a trending topic on Twitter.
A memory flashed through her head. That weirdo in a wetsuit who had fended off some gang bangers near here.
That might actually work.
Before the onlookers got any closer, she quickly tore a thin strip of material from one of the guy’s shirts and ripped two holes in it, making a rudimentary mask. She put it on, tying it behind her head and arranging it so it covered the majority of her face. Finally she pulled up the hood of her sweatshirt.
Someone finally stepped forward, a combination of fear and awe in their voice. “Who are you?”
Buffy sighed. She hoped Andrew or Xander never found out about this, otherwise she’d never live it down.
She turned to face the crowd of people. “I’m Slayer.”