Chapter 51: Sweet & Low
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"Kelly." Doug said, sitting beside her bed. He had just come from his afternoon classes, as he normally did, to be beside his friend. Everything changed with one battle. Three Slayers died, Gemma had been ravaged, and now his best friend sat in a coma. He couldn't help but wonder if it was all worth it. They had saved the world, but did he really care? Was this not Hell?! Everyone around him was suffering from this and he'd been researching alternate methods, "I've been searching for ways to wake up, Kels." He chuckled, "Look, kid, you need to wake up, Cale is a wreck and, well, Austin...well, you know him."
Across town, in a graveyard...
"Duck!" I said, jumping over Lestat and kicking the vampire in the face and staking him! I panted, trying to catching my breath," Slow night."
"Ten vampires is a slow night?" Lestat asked.
"Yeah." I said.
"You took on around five at once." Lestat said, sighing, "Slayers."
I looked at him slowly.
"I know what you're doing." Lestat said.
"Oh yeah?" I asked, "What am I doing?"
"You're taking out your aggression on the vampires." Lestat said.
I shrugged, "Problem?" I asked.
"Just an observation." Lestat added.
"I should get going to the hospital." I said.
Lestat chuckled, "Off to see Captain Doo-Right?" he asked.
I stopped, "Careful, a smarter, more observant person would say you're jealous." I said.
"Jealous? I'm centuries old." Lestat said.
"Yeah, and brooding, yet very talkative...almost asinine." I said walking away.
"You will not win." An eerie, cynical voice said, "You have nothing."
I turned to him once again, "Lestat?" I asked.
"Wrong." Lestat said, his face had contorted past vampire and It took the shape of the Master's, "When I taste you, it'll be all the sweeter, Slayer."
"I'm not a newbie," I said, "You might have come back stronger and faster, but you were never better than a Slayer. Plus, your mouth is icky."
"Icky?" The Master said, cracking Lestat's neck, "I control him. I control them all...and when I break free of this prison, I will shred you, drinking in your blood and bathing in the smell..."
"Why don't you just say you're going to kill me?" I asked.
"I will have to break you." He smiled.
"Bite me." I spat, then smiled, "I'm very delicious."
As Lestat fought out of it, he fell to his knees and began to cry out in pain. I walked to him, trying to help in anyway I could. Finally, I punched him and slung him over my shoulder.
"So, is he...I mean, where is he?" Doug asked.
I stood in the Magic Store, pacing. I didn't know what to do, so I called in the gang, which seemed to be Doug and Grahm these days. They both looked up to me, but all I could do is look at them, thinking about the question. He's in a town, on top of a Hellmouth, and very much possessed. The Master was in possession of his...body? No, soul, so yeah, body. No soul...what am I doing, sheltering a vampire? He has no soul, but then against neither did Spike. But Spike is different...isn't he?
"And why isn't Cale here? We could use him." Grahm asked.
"I know." I snapped softly, "I know, it's just that since Kelly went into her deep sleep, he's not so brainy. He's mopes man."
"I think we all are." Doug said softly.
"Yeah. Yeah. Well, umm, we need a spell to keep the Master out of his head." I said, "Then we can mope."
"You mean, we...you not so much." Doug said.
"I mope. I mope with the best of 'em." I said, "What're you trying to say Mr. Passive Aggressive? That you're mourning more than me?"
"I didn't say that." Doug said.
"You meant it. And you're wrong; I just don't deal with it like you." I said angrily.
"Or at all." Doug added.
I was so angry. How could he insinuate that his pain was more intense or real than mine? I love her too. I didn't say anything else, I just walked away.
"Where are you going?" Grahm called after me.
"Home. I need to check on Lestat." I said, leaving.
"What's your issue?" Grahm asked.
"Nothing." Doug said, standing and walking over to a pile of books, "I need to get started on this."
"Look, I know you lost Gemma and Kelly..." Grahm said, gaining an angry stare from Doug, "And it's tough, but you need to stop blaming Austin."
"I'm not blaming Austin." Doug said defensively.
"You are." Grahm said, "And he can feel it. I can feel it."
"You're wrong." Doug said, slamming Grim Golock's Book of Shadows and walking to the display, "I just don't think he's thinking this through. He's pushing all his sadness back and keeping it inside and he should be mourning. He lost somebody really close to him and he should be mourning."
"He lost a lot of people." Grahm said, "Both of you did."
Doug looked at him oddly, "This isn't about me." He said.
"Are you sure?" Grahm asked.
"I need some wolfsbane, can you go to Austin's house and get Oz's brush?" Doug asked.
Grahm nodded and walked to the door as Doug gathered supplies.
As I got home, I swung the door open and threw the keys onto the end table by the door and shouted up the stairs for someone, but nobody answered. It felt weird having an empty house. I walked into the living room, and immediate noticed the pale figure sitting in my chair.
"Hello, lover." Charity smiled.
I stared at her, shock filling my face, "Hey, dead Slayer." I said, "What brings you here?" I asked.
Charity sniffed the air, "It's a kick. The vampire thing, you should try it." She said.
"I think I like not being a vampire." I said, "I think I'll settle for staking `em."
"So, how's Kelly?" she smiled.
My demeanor immediately changed, "Why're you here?" I asked.
Charity stood, "Just to let you know that we're taking over." She smiled, "The Master is going to do what he set out to do before, but on a much more massive scale. And I'm going to drink up."
"Not if I stop you." I said.
"Come on, say the next part, and If I don't, Buffy and the gang will. It's so predictable." Charity said, mocking me.
"I'm going to stop you. I'm going to stop him. Then I'm going to party." I said angrily.
"Come on, even Buffy died facing the Master...and you're no Buffy. Said it yourself. You're down a group of friends, you have no idea what you're up against, and you're going to die."
"It's time you wake up." I said, "This isn't the re-telling of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is a whole new chapter in the universe. You can let the Master know that I'm coming for him."
"When he walks on Earth, you can tell him yourself." Charity smirked.
I nodded, "I can't wait to stake you." I said.
"Oh boy, I'm going to miss that wit when you die." Charity chuckled as she left.
I sunk into the sofa and began to sob. I can't believe this is happening! How could things have gone so wrong so fast?! How could I have made such a monster of a mistake? I looked up when I heard the door.
"Hey." Grahm said, "What's wrong?"
"Slayer Vampire." I said, "Came to tell me how they're going to eat me."
Grahm stared at me.
"Literally." I said.
Grahm walked over and sat on the couch with me, "You going to be okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, I got Juno." I said, "I'm good."
"You know, when I lead troops into a fight, I'm always worried that they'll die. That I'm leading them into their deaths." Grahm said.
"Sorry." I said.
"No, I'm just saying, I know what it feels like." Grahm said.
"I'm not a leader." I said, "It was almost full proof before I screwed up. I took two girls into the Sunken Church and got them vamped out. Now they could be stronger than anything I've faced."
"But you killed a Hell Goddess, saved an alternate dimension and you've managed to do it while being hot." Grahm said, "You're a hero, face it."
"Everybody needs me and for the first time, I'm glad that I don't have time to stop because if I do...I will fall apart. I'm losing everyone around me." I said, beginning to sob again.
Grahm put his arms around my shoulders, "We're here, and you don't have to be afraid to fall apart. We're here to put you back together."
I smiled up at him, "Thank you." I said.
"I came to get Wolfsbane. We need it for the spell." Grahm said.
"Cabinet, third from the entrance." I said, pointing to the kitchen, "Umm, I'm going to get Lestat, you go ahead, I'll meet you guys."
"Ok." He called from the kitchen.
I got up and grabbed my keys, leaving the house.
Cale sat in the room with a comatose Kelly, staring at the curves of her face. He missed the way her eyes illuminated when she spoke and how her lips felt on his. He wished he could go back and save her, to do something besides watch the love of his life become a snack.
"Is she dead?" Giles asked from the door.
Cale turned to see Giles, "No." he said, "What're you doing here?"
"I came to check the progress. I heard the reports and I wished to see it for myself." Giles said, stepping into the room.
"Faith isn't with you?" Cale asked.
"Yes, but she is not with me here. We're on a special assignment." Giles explained.
"Big battle, some losses, some gains. Is that what you mean?" Cale asked.
Giles took off his glasses and began to clean them, "But you successfully defeated the Hell Goddess?" he asked.
"Not I, but yes." Cale said.
"What about your identity?" Giles asked.
Cale looked down at Kelly.
"They know?" Giles asked.
Cale nodded, "I stripped the Slayer, as it said in the Watcher Diaries, and they figured me out." He said.
"You did what?" Giles said, "No wonder...and they are..."
"Angry, but with the apocalypse, they seemed to forget." Cale said.
"Do they know about my part?" Giles asked.
"Yes." Cale nodded.
Giles sucked in air, "This new demon, what is it?" he asked.
"They didn't tell you?" Cale asked.
"No." Giles said.
"The Master." Cale said.
Giles looked at him, amazed, "You can't be serious. He's been dead for ages." He said.
"It is no joke. He came back with extra vampiric powers." Cale explained, "He can now possess vampires to do his bidding."
"Should I be readying the Slayers?" Giles asked.
"No. No, carry on with the special missions. I shall stay." Cale said.
Giles nodded and turned to leave, "Do tell Austin I said hello." He smiled.
Cale nodded, "Yes, sir." He said.
Giles continued out of the room.
Lestat lay on top of a casket in the crypt where he stayed. He made himself stay in these crypts for Austin, to be closer to him. He would much rather be living as he was accustomed to. He loved humans and had spent years at a time as a hermit, just to be in their world. He wondered how in the world he could stop it, to stop it all. It seemed clear to him.
"End it." Gemma said. Her leather pants and dark red spaghetti strap glistened in the dark light.
"Where'd you come from?" Lestat asked.
"You could stop it, the pull the Master has on you. With you by his side, Austin's not safe." Gemma smiled.
"Aren't you dead?" Lestat asked.
"Aren't you?" Gemma asked.
"Been a long time since I saw you..." Lestat chuckled, "Not since the Blonde Slayer sacked your army."
Gemma turned into Charity, "You know, you'd think you'd have honed your listening skills after hundreds of years." She said.
"What do you want?" Lestat asked.
"For you to die. Look at you, suffering for humans. Mere mortals." Charity smiled, "Apathy helps."
"You should leave, "Lestat said, "I do not fall for your trickery."
"Spoiled sport. But it's enough to just watch your total meltdown. To see the Master control you and makes you his bitch." The First smiled, "Even if they do find a cure for it, how long do you think it'll take before the slayer stakes you? If comes down to it, he'll kill you. Without thought."
"I'll let him." Lestat said, "And I'll laugh. I'll laugh in your face."
"Does no one have a sense of danger anymore?" The First asked.
"You can't hurt me." Lestat said.
"Who are you talking to?" I asked.
Lestat sat up, looking off into the distance, "The First."
"Ignore him." I said, "It. Ignore it."
"I am." Lestat said.
"I'll be back." The First said, disappearing.
"What brings you to my crypt?" Lestat asked.
"Get up, you're going with me." I said.
Lestat just sat on the crypt, "Go away, I'm dangerous."
I grabbed the crypt and flipped him to the floor, "I'm trying to help you! Now get the fuck up!" I said angrily.
Lestat stood, "Why are you helping me?! Shouldn't you be trying to wake Sleeping Beauty?" he asked.
"I'm trying!" I shouted, "You are such an asshole! I'm here, trying to save you when a supped up vampire is around...I need you!"
"You need me?" Lestat spat.
"I do." I said softly, "You've helped me..."
"I almost killed your friend." Lestat said.
"The Master almost killed her!" I shouted.
Lestat picked up his blanket and smiled, "I'll meet you there." He said, sprinting out the door.
I smiled and followed behind him.
Doug stood in the middle of a circular symbol and chanted. Grahm stood by, watching curiously as wind began to pick up...inside the Arcanum. Doug began to shake a little.
"You okay?" Grahm asked.
Doug ignored him and kept up his chant. Grahm looked behind him and noticed that the sun was going down. Grahm felt nervous about this. This had all the signs of a bad idea. Just then, Lestat burst through the door along with me.
"Does he have to be here?" Grahm sneered.
"I'm the guest of honor." Lestat smirked, "How far into this is he?"
"Almost there. Feel any different?" Grahm asked.
"I feel like my fingernails have grown a bit and I'm a bit more bored, but that's it." Lestat said casually.
I chuckled, "He's in the zone." I said.
"I don't have a good feeling about this." Grahm said.
"Could you please shut up?" Lestat said.
"I'm getting pretty tired of your mouth, dead guy." Grahm said angrily
"Look, no fighting until we do the spell to keep the Master out of here." I said.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Help me." Kelly's voice came through him.
"Kelly?" I asked.
"Help...AHHH!" she screamed.
"Kels." I said, touching Doug's shoulder.
Doug turned to me, "Slayer, your touch is comforting." The Master's voice came through him.
"Oh shit." Lestat said.
"Can't keep me away forever..." the Master smirked, "It's coming."
"What is?" I asked.
Doug began to laugh darkly and suddenly he was thrown back against the wall! I was pushed, by the same force, to the floor!
Grahm ran over to me, "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Check Doug." I said quickly.
Lestat ran to Doug, who was trying to stand, "That happens every time!" he groaned.
"Sorry." I said.
"Wasn't you...but did you hear?" Doug asked.
"Yeah, I did." I said, "She's alive."
"We gotta help her." Doug said.
"How?" I asked.
"I'm close." He said, "What about you?" he asked Lestat, "Feel any different?"
"Nope." Lestat said.
"Good, If you did, that'd be bad." Doug said
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Thank you for reading.