Running For Our Lives




Chapter III: Hiding Out

A week after their talk, it happened. The vision hit Cordelia with the force of a battering ram. It wasn't painful, but it did knock her off her feet, her back sliding up the wall of the lobby as a force more powerful than she was took hold of her. Suspended twelve feet off the ground she kept eerily quiet about the things she saw, her eyes unfocused and far away.

Not one of the companions dared to breathe as they waited for the vision to stop. When she got to the last scene, she suddenly collapsed, whatever demony power in her system shutting down completely and leaving her with no strings attached. Angel caught her with ease and she took a steadying breath, head buried against his shoulder.

"Well that was new." Gunn said, his eyebrows looking like they would slide to the back of his head if they went up much further. Fred shushed him with a hand to his chest and peered at Cordelia from under a curtain of thick brown hair.

"Are you okay?" Angel asked her, wincing as she shot him a deadly glare, teeth gritted as she rubbed at her burned backside. Angel set her down and lifted the back of her shirt with no sense of propriety, one grave-cold hand soothing the wall-burn and the other holding her steady. "What did you see?"

"There was a girl running down an alley. Dark hair and she was bleeding. Vampires, two of them." Cordelia told them, grimacing as she shook her head. "She's near Elysian Park...about a block west."

"Let's saddle up people." Gunn said, rubbing his hands together and walking toward the weapons cabinet. Lorne suddenly stepped into his path, stopping him from going any further.

"Just Wesley." Was all the lounge singer said, his blood red eyes seriously sober as he glanced over at the former boss of Angel Investigations. Wesley looked up from his notes, his shadowed eyes and stubbled cheeks sunken in from too many sleepless nights.

"What are you talking about?" Wesley croaked out, avoiding the stare of the others as they turned their questioning gazes toward him. His hand rose to his throat in a newly acquired habit, tracing the slash wound unconsciously.

"I mean, this vision was meant for Wesley. Just him." Lorne said, glancing over at Cordelia. She furrowed her brow and nodded, realizing that she had gotten the same impression, only not as strong.

"Sorry, doesn't work that way." Angel said in a stony voice, not taking his hands away from Cordelia, his eyes focused just to the right of Wesley's face.

"Why? I can handle two vampires surely. If it was meant for me, then I will take it." Wesley asked, standing up from the little corner he had made his own and had been hiding out in. His gaze shifted from Lorne to Angel, seeking approval perhaps; he didn't know.

"Yes, but I'm not sure you can handle it Wesley. I'd rather not risk another inno--I'd rather not risk it." Angel choked off the last word, eyes lighting on the ceiling and staying there, as if he was asking for strength from some higher being.

"I'm going." Wesley said with a force he didn't realize he possessed. He pushed past Lorne and Gunn and grabbed two stakes and a sword from the cabinet. Without a backward glance, he walked out of the hotel, jaw set and eyes blazing. He was only too glad to get of there.

"Wes!" Lorne's voice was persistent and Wesley stopped, turning back to face the green anagogic demon with a face schooled to a mask of indifference.


"This vision, be careful. And don't overreact, bro. This girl needs you, even though she thinks she doesn't. And you need her; in a big way." Lorne said in his usual cryptic manner, tilting his spiky head at the Englishman. Wesley's eyes narrowed and he shook his head.

"What do you mean?" Wes asked, thoughts jumbled into a vortex of confusion at his words.

"You'll find out. Watcher." Was all Lorne said as he turned on his heel and headed back into the hotel, the front door slamming behind him. Wes watched him go and then turned and headed back to his motorcycle. Whatever Lorne had been talking about, he would soon find out.

As he rumbled down the street, wind whipping around his body, he prayed it didn't present more problems than he already had to deal with; he didn't think he could handle anymore surprises.


"Come out, come out wherever you are!" Came the rasping, growl-filled voice of one of her followers. Faith rolled her eyes and felt pain spider across her neck, where a puncture wound was sluggishly seeping blood. Dirt and other refuse stuck to her sweaty skin and she tried not to breathe in too deeply. She jumped as the vampire kicked at the Dumpster, the thump echoing through the metal container. She winced and wished he'd walk away long enough for her to recover. She flashed back to how she'd gotten here in the first place and groaned in her mind.

A routine patrol had turned into her finding a nest of vampires, one that had noticed the sudden increase in dusted vampires around the city in the last few weeks. Ones that were looking for someone just like her. When several of their brethren had spotted the lone girl walking through the streets where she had no business being, they had devised a plan and ambushed her.

At least twenty vampires had been dusted in the ten minute fight in a darkened alleyway, no few of those finding a vulnerable spot on her and taking advantage. She had to give them credit, they knew how to work as a team, not even killing the presumed leader had broken up the band of ragtag vamps. But it had served her time to escape, left shoulder bleeding and limbs bruised so much she didn't know how she was going to explain it away at work the next morning. Assuming she was even going to make it to the next morning.

So here she was, the Slayer, hiding out in a Dumpster. All she wanted was to get of there. Faith seethed with anger at the turn of events; anger she quickly turned into adrenaline. As the vamp went to raise the lid of the dumpster, the scent of blood tickling his senses, she leapt out at him.

He was pulled, kicking and screaming, into the refuse filled dumpster. His mouth met her fist several times, the knuckles beneath the sharp teeth splitting open upon impact after impact.

"No. One. Makes. Me. Afraid." She grunted with each successive hit, enjoying the pain-filled yellow eyes that stared up at her from atop the pile of garbage. A rat scampered across the vamp's blood belly and back into the recesses of the trash. Disgust crossed her features and she spat out a mouthful of blood. "Time to die."

With those three words, she shoved the stake into the vampire's chest and felt the almost orgasmic surge as he turned to dust, the wind of his passing pushing her blood-clumped hair from her face. She swayed on her feet for a moment and bit her lip, adrenaline surging to her brain in spiky waves.

Suddenly she was grabbed from behind and hauled out of the dumpster before she could resist. She hit the pavement, foot twisting under her as two vampires grinned ferally down at her. The stake was kicked out of her fingers and she watched it roll across the broken ground.

"What have we here?" One of them said, sneer twisting his pierced lip as he wrapped one clawed hand in her hair. She winced and tried to move, foot protesting loudly in the form of a pain-filled surge up and down her leg.

"You've got one pissed off Slayer, asshole. I've killed about twenty of you fuckers; care to make it twenty-two?" She said boldly through gritted teeth, one hand sneaking to the back of her pants, where an extra stake was tucked into the waistband of her panties. She ignored her fear as she found the stake had fallen out in the battle, unnoticed until now. In the distance, she faintly caught the sounds of a motorcycle rumbling along.

"The Slayer, eh? They said you were blonde!" The second one said, peering down at her quizzically, thick football player neck riddled with blue-green veins. At his words, Faith felt a stab go through her heart and she welcomed the pain, turning it into much needed adrenaline. She broke free of their grip, wincing as a clump of hair was left behind, clutched in Pierced's pale fist. Her twisted ankle screamed at her, but she ignored it, half-running down the alley, blood streaming from the wound on her neck.

Pierced and Football quickly recovered and followed her, legs much fresher, lungs not needing the air Faith was frantically dragging into her lungs. She knew they'd have her soon and she'd better think of some drastic tactics soon.

As she turned the corner, foot splashing into something she'd best not think about, the sounds of the motorcycle came closer and she watched as it rushed past her, a blur in the corner of her eye.

"Fuck!" She cursed and turned, knowing the rider was about to get a very nasty surprise as soon as he rounded the corner. She brushed a strand of bloody hair from her face and called after the rider, eyes widening at the sight of the two vamps standing in the bend of the buildings, waiting on the cyclist.

To her surprise, she saw a sword flash as it caught the light, the rider holding it aloft as he steered the motorcycle straight at the vamps. Football ducked out of reach, but Pierced was caught in the backswing, head toppling off his shoulders with the sickening sound of wet meat hitting steel. Pierced dusted, but the rider was already focusing on Football-neck.

Football, seeing the odds against him were stacked at best, charged Faith, fear and his hunger overcoming any good sense he possessed. Faith met his charge with a booted heel to his chin, hearing and feeling bone crunching beneath the steel soles. The vamp reeled backward, but recovered, blood streaming from his between his teeth. He reached once more for Faith, nails slicing through the thin cotton tank top and snagging her belly. She cried out and punched him, but he kicked the side of her head, sending her toppling to the ground.

She landed and looked up at the beast, her belly on fire as blood stained the white tank, her fingers flexing and unflexing as pain crashed against the barricades in her mind. She waited for him to leap on her. He did, but the weight atop her was double what it should be and she realized the cyclist had leapt from his bike onto the back of the vamp, stake finding its mark with ease.

She looked up into the vampire's face and smiled.

"Fuck." Football-neck said before his lips crumbled to ash. The cyclist suddenly fell on top of her, filling the space the vampire left behind.

Silence stretched between them as Faith tried and failed to find words. Finally, he broke the silence, voice soft, as if he wasn't sure he was really seeing what he was seeing.

"Faith?" He said, blue eyes imploring as he searched her face over, the smell of vanilla and cinnamon assaulting his senses.


Chapter 4