Chapter 2: Troubled Night
Angel looked back from the impromptu skylight their visitor had made to look at Buffy. Her eyes were wide in shock still fixed on the point in space where the other girl had vanished from sight in the sky. The fact that Buffy had so quickly fixated on the fact the other woman looked similar to her worried him. As his memories from his time as Angelus slowly drifted back into his mind he remembered when Buffy had him dead to rights and let him go all because the monster wore his face. If this stranger was a threat, he would likely have to handle it himself to save her more psychological pressure.
"I wouldn't say she looked exactly like you," he offered, hoping to head off any doubts right away. "Your eyes are hazel, hers were blue."
Buffy blinked, slowly turning to face Angel. She looked like someone lost in a dream state to him for a moment before she quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Her eyes, they were blue. Yours aren't," he repeated to her again.
Buffy put her free hand on her hip and tilted her head to one side, "So because we have different eye colors she didn't look like me? Angel, come on. Can you honestly say she did not look like me at all?"
Angel ran a hand through his hair as he mulled over his answer. 'At least she isn't focusing on what he did,' he thought to himself. Letting his hand drop down to his side he finally nodded to her, "Yeah, okay, she looked like you. Probably a shape-shifter demon of some sort."
Buffy bit her lip and scrunched up her nose. The other girl hadn't felt like a demon to her. If it hadn't been for the strange light show or coming through a portal to a hell dimension she'd have sworn the other girl was human. The thought of her being a demon just didn't sit right with her for some reason; something she had said.
"I'll have to see what....," Buffy started then trailed off. Suddenly her eyes began to water and her face fell as she remembered her friends, her mentor, and ultimately her mother.
Seeing the teen's sudden descent into anguish Angel dropped the sword he had picked up and rushed to her side. Wrapping his arms around her trying to comfort her he made nonsense sounds as the tears spilled over. She sobbed into his chest when suddenly she pushed him away, anger spilling over onto her face as the tears continued to fall.
"No, no, don't touch me. Don't. This is all our fault. Giles and Willow are hurt, the police are after me, and mom... oh god, mom.... what do I do? What do I do?"
Buffy staggered away from him muttering over and over to herself. Angel, memories still blurred and hazed by his time as Angelus, took a few minutes to process what she was talking about. When it hit home he cursed loudly and turned to Buffy, "We'll figure it out. Together we can figure this out. You didn't kill Kendra, the police will ask the gang who attacked them and it will emphatically not be you. Giles and Willow, they... they will heal."
Buffy took a deep breath trying to calm herself. The apocalypse was averted, yay her, but she still had a life to live. Angel was right, the police would have to give up chasing her eventually. With their only witnesses and victims all clearing her name, what else could they do? It being the SPD she figured they would forget about the entire thing soon enough. Willow and Giles would heal. It was just a matter of time.
Her mom was a different story. She had made it clear that if she left she was never to come back. She had been locked up once already when she told her parents about vampires and all the things that went bump in the night. Buffy had no illusions that unless she managed to act quickly, such a fate had a high probability of occurring yet again. Sure her mom had seen a vampire, but this was Sunnydale. The land of the weird and unusual being repressed on a daily basis.
"Okay yea... healing of the good. And the cops getting off my back is all kinds of the good. Mom, though... I... when I left, to stop him, she said not to come back," Buffy finally said, carefully avoiding the name of Angel's alter ego.
"Come on Buffy, you know your mom would never do that, she loves you," Angel responded in disbelief.
Buffy shook her head turning back around to face Angel, "No, she would and did. Angel, I told her about being the Slayer. Last time... last time she had me locked up. Psyche ward. Never even came to visit me until I recanted and was being released. She was going to leave me in there Angel."
Tears started to fall again as the realization hit her. She had no one left. Her dad had barely called all year, even ditching her on her weekend to spend with him for her birthday. Now her mom had thrown her away as well. Angel took her back into his arms and held he gently for a moment. Then he lifted her up into a bridal carry and took her into the bedroom in the mansion. Gently he laid her down, sitting next to her as he ran a hand in soothing circles over her back.
"It's late, we can't do anything about any of it tonight. You're exhausted. So get some sleep and we can figure things out later," he said softly.
Buffy nodded as she curled herself into his cool body, her eyes fluttering shut, "Just promise you'll be here when I wake up. I almost lost you tonight. So promise you'll be right here when I wake up," she pleaded as sleep started to threaten her consciousness.
Angel ran one hand through her hair and nodded, "I'll be here Buffy, I promise."
Annalyse hung in the night sky looking out over the town she had found herself in. At first, she found it to be unremarkable. A small ocean side town in what appeared to be California if she was any judge of climate and terrain. She had grown up in L.A. herself until her Father had moved her to Metropolis two years ago and the climate here had a similar feel.
Then she started to really look at the town below her. She'd guess, based on the amount of residential areas she could
see that it was home to some were between 30 and 40 thousand people. Not particularly large in the age of cities having populations that measure in the hundreds of thousands. What was out of place though was the infrastructure of the town. The port handled large ships that she had seen in larger ports during her time with the Justice League. Ships that would make regular trips between here and Hawaii and Asia. Then there was the warehouse district which nearly rivaled Gotham for the amount space and overall look of decay. To add to the odd sense of incongruity the town had several rail lines coming into and out of town, only one of which appeared to service what looked like a passenger station. The airport added to the feeling of wrongness along with the fair sized military base she spotted just outside the city limits during her fly over.
"Way too much industry for such a small town," she said to no one in particular as she hung in the air.
Deciding that it needed looking into she resolved to solve two problems at once. She needed somewhere to stay for the next few days while she figured out what she was going to do. She was decent with computers and with a few trips up to L.A. she should be able to find someone who could forge some papers for her. A little hacking and she should be able to get most of her paperwork 'legitimized'. Until then, however, the warehouse district would provide a chance to look around at one of the oddities of the city and hopefully find somewhere she could bed down for the night.
Flying lower Annalyse headed for the warehouse's, seeking out the area that looked to be the oldest and least used. The odds of finding something abandoned here would be higher after all. Trying to decide which building she should check out she heard a scream from nearby.
Without a thought Annalyse turned in the direction of the scream and took off, quickly zeroing in on the sound of a group of young women crying. Silently she thanked her mother for her Kryptonian heritage as she dropped down to a window that looked in on the floor of one of the warehouses. If it hadn't been for her better than human senses she'd likely have lost were the first scream had come from.
Inside Annalyse saw a group of three girls, no older than herself if she had to guess, surrounded by twice as many men. The women were huddled together obviously terrified as the men circled closer to them. From where she was she could make out the face of only one of the men and what she saw she didn't like.
"Demons," she muttered. "Figures what with an inter-dimensional portal opening up in this place."
Not wasting time Annalyse stiffened the shield around her body that her ring perpetually generated while it was active and powered through the window. The demon things started looking up at her as the women screamed again.
Lowering herself down to the floor Annalyse smiled brightly as she waved at the demons and women alike, "Hi, and welcome to tonight's game. Great prizes and cash rewards could be yours. But I'm sad to say only the boys can play," she gave the women a pout, "Sorry ladies, why don't you go on and skedaddle."
One of the strange yellow eyed demons growled, "Oh they can play. Same as you. We got our own game, though, so why don't you come down here and we'll teach it to you."
Annalyse put one finger to her chin and scrunched up her nose giving a look of serious thought and consideration to
the offer. Finally, she shrugged, "Okay, sounds fun," she said, dropping to the ground. Without letting the yellow-eyed bumpy faced demons react she grinned and let her heat vision activate catching the one closest to the women in the chest.
His friends blinked as he turned to dust then howled in rage. Annalyse only smiled as she formed a blade of violet energy with her ring. Her Father had teased her about watching too many Star Wars movies when he had first seen her preferred close in light-construct. That had ended quickly when he had seen the skill she had managed to acquire with it.
"Self-cleaning demons, neat. They don't do that back home," Annalyse said lightly as she lifted her energy blade up and back, her free hand held out in front of her.
Two of the demons sprung forward at her, their mouths twisted in snarls of rage. She side stepped the first, bringing her knee up to catch him in the stomach, and spun with her own momentum to bring her around and slamming her elbow into the face of the second demon.
After having watched her cousin and mother hold back on their strength when fighting for so long Annalyse had decided when she joined the fight against Brainiac she would not do any such thing. She did not fight against normal baseline humans. She fought individuals who chose to use their abilities, either training or meta-powers, for their own gain. They sought to deprive others of the light, life, and love of the world just to make their own lives a little less dark. To Annalyse, a member of the Star Sapphires, such a thing was an abomination. So when she struck the first two vampires that she still thought of as demons it became a lesson in why Kryptonians are amongst the most feared individuals in her home universe.
Her knee slammed into the first vampire snapping his spine clean in half. His limp, broken form shot backward and slammed into a stack of old pallets that had been left against the far wall. The pallets turned to dust as he drove through them, but managed to slow his speed enough that when he slammed into the outer corrugated metal wall of the warehouse he merely bent it outwards instead of ripping through it.
The second vampire went ass over end as her elbow connected, driving home clean through pulping his skull and what passed for his brains. As his body flipped into the air feet up and head down he dusted and fell to the ground no longer a threat. Annalyse just smiled at the other three and twirled her energy blade in her hand.
"So, how am I doing? Did I get the rules right," she asked with a perky voice.
The remaining vampires looked to each other and suddenly got a clue. This small slip of a girl had just decimated three of their number so quick and no one had even managed to lay a finger on her. Two of them started to make a break for it, running in opposite directions. The third grabbed up one of the girls by the throat, holding her in front of himself.
Annalyse sighed, "Now that's no fair. No running away."
With a look at the vampire running left she let her eyes light up with crimson light yet again, turning him to ash. Without sparing the now dusty vampire a second glance she took off to her right. She was nowhere near as fast as Kal-El or her mother, but she was still faster over land than any human or vampire. In a blink, she was standing in front of the terrified creature. With a bright smile on her face, he turned to dust as she lashed out with her blade separating his head from the rest of his body.
"And then there was one," she chirped turning to look at the last standing vampire.
"Back off or I'll kill her," the vampire said, trying to keep his voice steady.
Annalyse tilted her head to the side in consideration, then tilted it the other way. "Way I see it if I do nothing you will kill her anyways, demon," she said in a matter of fact tone. "So tell me why I should let you walk away with her?"
The vampire seemed stumped on that one. That one moment of distraction when his brain froze up was all she needed to cross the twenty or so feet between them. Her hand wrapped around the vampire's throat and squeezed. With her Kryptonian strength his trachea collapsed into a spray of blood and in shock, he dropped the girl. Not sparing a moment's thought Annalyse brought her energy blade around and removed the vampires head.
As the dust settled from the five dead vampires and the whimpering sounds from the sixth echoed through the building Annalyse turned to look at the three girls. With a bright smile, she gave them a little wave, "Hi, and thanks for playing."
The women turned white and ran out into the night, never looking back. After a few minutes, she heard the sounds of a car starting and the tires squealing against the pavement. Satisfied that they would get home safely she turned and walked over to broken vampire still imprinted into the wall.
"So, let's have a little chat, why don't we," she said to him, still smiling brightly.