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by Eden Lee Raven

Notes: Sixth in the Crawling Darkness series. Sequel to Alpha.
Summary: What happens when the way to save a rogue is to never bring her home?


Two months. We've been in this sweat box called Virginia for two months. Chasing the same rogue Will called us about. And this one seems to have it all. Speed, smarts, combat skills.

The rest of the pack're at the apartment taking a break. It's just me and Kyra today. We drew the short straw.

And I've gotta say; I'm really not enjoying this chase.

We're running over the rooftops, jumping from building to building as we follow her. We've been doing this all damn day. And then it happens.

She runs down an alley that dead ends. Her first mistake.

It only takes one.


We jump down and hit the ground at a dead run. It might be a dead end, but it's not a short trip to the end of it. When we reach it she's just stood there looking at the brick wall in her way. Until she hears us behind her.

She spins around and gives us this smile. It's pretty damn evil. And then she pulls out a gun. But she doesn't point it at me. It's levelled right at Kyra. Which can only mean one thing. She's figured out how to kill the Amari and the bullets are silver.

She doesn't say a word. Pulls out a runed stone from her pocket and fires as she smashes it on the ground.

I have less than a second to think. So I don't.

I jump in front of Kyra and that bullet smacks into me so hard it takes my breath away. It tears through the muscle of my underarm and keeps going until I feel it sink into my heart.

Jesus that fucking hurts.



Kyra's examining the shards left on the floor, and I'm sat against the alley wall. I can feel my body pushing the bullet back out the way it came. Fuck me it hurts.

I hear Kyra's chuckle in my head and look over to her with a raised eyebrow.

"What?"she holds up a piece of shattered rock for me to see.

"Benadict'll be happy to see us."I roll my eyes and pull my vest out of the way as Kyra comes over. I hiss sharply as the bullet pushes free of my skin and drops to the floor with a tinkle of sound. With the bullet gone I heal in seconds. "Thanks.”

"S'ok. Don't say I never do anythin' for ya."She laughs as I pull out my cell to call Buffy.

"B, get the troops ready, we're goin' home."I don't know when we all started calling Martoth home, but it fits. It feels right, safe.

Just like a home should feel.



"You made three mistakes."Buffy's voice is low and gruff. Like she hasn't used it in a while. Guess she hasn't. We're in the desert and we've got the rogue surrounded. And by ‘we' I mean the shifters of Benedict's pack. "The first was making a jump without a way home. The second was jumping here."She gestures to all the animals surrounding her. "This' a world of shifters. Every animal you see here, has a human face. And the third was killing my wife.”

At her words I come forward. I've shifted so she can't tell it's me. I'm the big surprise. When I reach Buffy's side I shift and look the kid right in the eyes. Then I reach for the clothes draped over Buffy's shoulder and start pulling them on.

The kids mouth drops open as she stares at me. "But.. I shot you.”

"Yeah. And it stung like a bitch."I pull my boots on and zip them up, before reaching for my gun belt. "Thing is kid; ya can't kill me." I buckle the belt and secure the holsters around my thighs before grabbing my swords from Buffy. I slide the harness over my shoulders before looking at her as I clip the metal buckle closed. "Lucky for you.”

"How is that lucky? Having you keep chasing me isn't exactly my idea of luck.”

"It's lucky ya didn't actually take a life that wasn't yours to take."She gives me this look that I can't read and folds her arms over her chest. "Thing is kid, when ya take a life, no power in the world like it. An' sooner or later? Turns into a game. Just somethin' for ya to play with.”

"Maybe I like games.”

"Not this one. Feels good at first; all that power. But no matter how far ya bury the little voice that says it's wrong? It's gonna find it's way back, and it's gonna scream at ya. An' when it does, it's gonna hurt.”

"How would you know.”

"Only a killer can know what it feels like.”



She drops her arms to her sides and stares at me with her mouth open. "You.. you're a killer?”

"Yeah. Ask B. Did most of that shit tryin' to kill her."her eyes flicker to Buffy for a second before coming back to me. "Then the voice came back up. Hurt so much I turned myself in an' went to prison.”

"But.. you're here. Not in prison.”

I shrug. "World needed savin', I lent a hand. Spent the last fuck knows how many years chasin' rogues.”

"Like me.”

"Some. Some were too far gone to save."I leave the sentence hanging, knowing she'll get what I'm not saying.

"And me?"she looks terrified of the answer. I would be too if a killer were stood in front of me. Knowing the answer could mean life or death.

"You're not there yet. Keep playin' with the power like it's a toy though? Won't be too long.”

"I just woke up one day with this power. My life was a pile of shit, and suddenly I didn't have to be the bitch anymore.”

"The power you got? It's to save lives. Even if they don't deserve it.”

"Saved from what?”

"Everythin' that's evil. Vampires, demons, darkness."The look she gives me is penetrating. Like she's looking for the truth in my eyes. She must find it because her whole demeanour changes. She stands taller, her eyes get harder, her muscles tense.

"Show me.”



It's just me, Buffy and the kid. We're walking through the desert in silence. I hand her the sword Shimmer took off and gave me. I'm not worried she'll turn it on me.

"When we get there, when you see the demons destroyin', you're gonna feel somethin' inside, tryin' to take over."I look at her and give her a small smile. "Don't fight it. That's the slayer tryin' to take over. Let it. You think ya got power now? You have no idea.”

She just nods as she buckles the sword over her chest.

I look up and see the demons in the distance. The rumble in my chest lets me know my slayer sees it too. I feel as the animal merges with the slayer. I see the kid out the corner of my eye. Just a swift shudder as her muscles tense. And then our eyes meet for a moment. It makes me smile big.

To see her slayer come out to play.



"Hey boys. Miss us?"I draw my swords as we get there. The grips feel warm in my hands. They're as eager for this as I am. I hear Buffy flick her knives free and the kid draw her sword. "Brought a friend.”

Buffy lets her knives fly free and a second later me and Kiddo jump in. Swords flying, blood rushing. I look over as I take a demons head clean off.

She did what I said; let the slayer take her. She's moving fast, not quite a blur but that'll come with time. She doesn't take a second between demons. The moment their head comes off, she's moving again, on to the next.

I can see even now that she's gonna be a damn good slayer. It's not a hope, it's a fact. It's in the way she's moving. Smooth, almost flawless. Her slayer's a little rusty after being locked away for so long. Certainly getting its feet back though.

You can tell by the screams.



Getmoz comes over to us afterwards. He's the Alpha whose pack we just saved from months of pain. But he knows not to talk too long. He's seen how the slayer is after a fight. Antsy, twitchy. Hungry, horny.

"Good to see you again. Thanks."We just nod, not saying anything back. He understands, nods and moves away.

Without talking the three of us start walking back the way we came. It's a while later that it's safe enough to talk.

"You should get a special someone. Someone strong enough to hold up against what your feeling now."I see her nod out the corner of my eye as Benedicts village comes into view. "Feels good, doesn't it?"I look right at her and she meets my gaze. She gets what I mean, but I say it out loud anyway. "To save those who need it.”

She nods and a smile curls up her lips.



We're sat around a fire eating. Just telling Kiddo about what it is that being a slayer means. And then she says it.

"My life back there sucked."She throws a rock at the fire as she stares at the flames. I get why she's avoiding my gaze so I take my eyes off her as she keeps talking. "I had to fight to get through every day. I don't wanna go back to that."How did I know that was coming? "A slayer protects but you want me to leave the shifters here for the demons? They need protecting too. I can't live my life knowing there're people in pain, and I could stop it.”

I don't say any anything for a few minutes as I take it in. If I make her go back she'll end up going down that road I've just pulled her off. And she's right; a slayer protects. Everyone here needs a slayer.

I nod. Now she's not running I don't think I can take her back to the place that started it off in the first place. Here I'm getting to see the real her. To see her relaxed when the demons aren't there. I never noticed how tense and ready her muscles always were back there.

But then, you gotta be ready to run at a moments notice, when the fire's licking at your boot heals.

I know exactly what that feels like.



"Few things ya gotta know, ‘cause Benedict's a dick an' won't tell ya before it happens."Benedict throws a rag at me and laughs. "What? B was pregnant before ya told us it could happen."Kiddo laughs and lays back, propping herself up on her elbow. "If ya like the fairer sex but don't want a kid? Be far away when it starts snowin'."

"Snow in the desert?”

"It's mystical."I don't have to explain more. She nods for me to continue. "An' you keep what you kill. Anythin' they're wearin' or carryin' ya can keep. Chances are one of em's got a mystical weapon."She nods again and smiles at Benedict. Her new Alpha. I knew he'd let her stay. Can't wait to see her face in a few. When I show her what kinda markings this pack has.

"B, strip off your top. Show Kiddo your markings."While she comes over I explain why I want my wife to strip. "You've gotta be marked by the pack you're with. Means another pack won't kill ya. It'll mean you're protected by Benedict. Hurtin' ya could start a war."I push Buffy's bra straps out the way so she can see it properly.

Her back's almost covered in the marks. We got a new section added for every year we were here. "Unlucky for you? This pack marks with a brandin' iron."Kiddo's face goes pale at the thought of the pain. "It gets easier after the first few times. But ya need ‘em."She nods as we all stand up and my pack comes to where we're standing. "The rules of this world are gonna apply to you now too. So the next time we meet? A hundred years'll have gone, but you won't have aged even a day. An' the next time we see ya? Ya better have a good handle with that slayer inside.”

She nods and smiles at me, as I open a portal behind me. "Oh, almost forgot."Mist comes over and takes her portal bracelets out of her pockets. It's time for her to start wearing her bigger ones. She doesn't need these ones anymore. "This one'll bring ya straight to us. This one brings ya back here. Don't be a stranger.”

"I won't."I give her a quick hug before the pack disappears through the portal. I give a grin before I follow. The last thing I see before I slip through is her smile. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. So happy.

So relieved. 



"Don't gotta worry about the rogue anymore Red."I'm on the phone to Willow the moment we get back.

"You're sending her here?”

"No. She's in Martoth. She jumped there without a way home. But she's stayin' there. Gonna be the slayer they need."There's silence for a few moments while Will takes it in. She's not coming back but she's not a rogue anymore either.

"That's.. I have no idea what to say right now.”

"Nothin' to say Red. She comes back here, I'm gonna end up killin' her. There? She's the slayer she's supposed to be.”

"As long as you think it's the right thing to do.”

"It is."The rest of the conversation doesn't last long. I'm not a big phone person. I sit on the sofa and put my feet up on the table. A cold bottle of beer floats into my line of sight as Buffy sits next to me and snuggles into my side.

"Next time we see her she's gonna be older than we are."I chuckle as I take a sip.

"Yup. But she'll still be pretty."Buffy swings herself into my lap and pushes my hair away from my face. She leans in and puts her lips millimetres from mine.

"Not too pretty I hope."A smile twitches my lips before I answer.

"Not a shade on you B."I close the short distance and give her the gentlest kiss I know how to give. When it breaks she's breathing heavily.

"Bedroom. Now."I smirk as she jumps off my lap and yanks me up. Dragging me across the apartment towards our room.

I smirk wider. Wouldn't wanna scar the kids.




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