Disclaimers: See Part One
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"Lex!" Megan watched in horror as her friend caught the demon's kick full on. The blow lifted the Hunter clean off her feet and carried her over the Jeep and into the dumpster. Not even a groan was heard as the Hunter hit confirming Megan's suspicions that the girl had been knocked unconscious by the initial strike.
"Megan!" Brian yelled as his demon pushed him against the Jeep door. He crumpled like a doll and Megan winced as she heard something break. Megan ducked and rolled away from a blow, she reclaimed her tire iron and gave the oncoming demon a solid hit to the head. The demon stumbled and Megan used its distraction to run around the vehicle and take on Brian's demon which was about to kick the boy.
"Get over to the driver's side," she ordered as she forced the demon back. She heard a whistle from Lex's vicinity and spared a quick glance to see a slightly swaying warrior enticing the demons to come to her. She made a show of pulling Gideon's book from her backpack and tossing it into the air. Every demons' eyes focused on her and as one they moved on the Hunter oblivious of Megan and Brian. Using her moment of respite the blonde pushed to hood down as best she could and climbed into the vehicle and rolled down the windows. "She can't hold them for long," Megan commented as Brian struggled to start the Jeep. "Put it in neutral, press the pedal on the far left."
"Got it," the boy screamed in triumph as the engine sputtered to life. He put the car in gear and put the pedal to the floor, effectively stalling the Jeep.
"Use the clutch dumbass," Megan snapped. "The pedal on the far left Brian, come on we don't have time to screw around." Brian looked like a deer caught in headlights as he restarted the engine and stepped down on the clutch and pressed the gas pedal. The smell of a burning clutch invaded Megan's nose but the Jeep lurched forward none-the-less and picked up speed. He slammed on the brakes a few feet before the demons and the skid carried them into the large bodies. Lex tossed the book in before her as she jumped into the car through a window. She was half in half out as she ordered Brian to reverse.
"In case you haven't noticed, I can't drive a standard." Lex looked at him wide-eyed as the demons began to recover. Barely missing a beat Megan crawled over the stick and sat on his lap. He looked as surprised as Lex was as the green-eyed girl restarted the engine threw the Jeep into reverse and stepped on the gas pedal. The moment they were clear of the alley she stomped on the brakes and turned the wheel hard. Now facing down the street she put the vehicle in first and accelerated. The entire ordeal had felt like it had taken hours but as Lex checked the clock she realized it had taken no more than ten minutes between being attacked and their current escape. During the drive Brian managed to manoeuvre from under Megan and into his own seat, likely to both his and Megan's relief.
"Where are we going?" Megan asked finally once they were well away from the demons.
"Hospital, Brian's go to get his nose checked out and I have to see Athena. If they found me on patrol they'll have no trouble finding her," Lex replied rubbing her aching head. "I have to get her out of there."
"Will they go after her even though they know you have the book?"
"It's not just the book they're after, for Gideon it's personal."
"True. And not that this is the best time too be saying anything but you thick headed slay happy little sot. I told you to wait for me. What if we hadn't gotten to you huh? You'd be lying dead somewhere and the bad guys would have the book," Megan chided her voice annoyed.
"I know, for what it's worth I'm sorry," Lex apologized as she put the book back in her bag. She gazed out the window looking thoroughly miserable.
"Hey, I just don't want to see you get hurt," Megan said patting Lex's thigh. The girl offered a faint smile and sat back in the seat.
"Great," Brian said his voice muffled from having his hand over his nose. "Now that that's cleared up would someone mind telling me what the hell is going on?"
"Wow, it's quiet up here," Megan commented as she took an unconscious step toward the tall warrior. They'd dropped Brian off in the ER a few minutes ago and the reporter had demanded Lex allow her to go with the Hunter to visit Athena.
"Yeah, too quiet for my liking, where's the duty nurse?"
"Better yet what's that smell?" Megan asked as they rounded the corner to Athena's room. Lex caught sight of the remains before her friend and turned the older girl away before she could see. "Lex what are you doing?"
"Go back to the elevator," the Hunter ordered gently as she nudged the girl in the appropriate direction.
"Just go," with an aggravated sigh Megan walked away. Lex stepped slowly to what was left of the… Man? In this state it was nearly impossible to tell the gender of the victim. A touch to the charred flesh revealed that is was still warm. This body was fresh, likely no more than 30 minutes old. A small gasp pulled her from her thoughts. Lex turned to see Megan with her hand over her mouth. The Hunter rose from her knee and put an arm around her friend and guided her around the body.
"Meg, go check the desks around the hall okay?" Lex asked. If the girl had a task to keep her mind busy it might keep her from puking out her guts long enough for Lex to get her own job done.
"Okay," she answered slowly and went off by herself. Satisfied Lex walked quickly to Athena's room. Pausing at a fire extinguishing station, she broke the glass and pulled out an axe. She would not be caught unarmed again. Lex put her hands on the doorknob and turned it slowly. She was alarmed though not surprised to see the room empty and a good deal of damage done.
"She could have escaped, she's beat him before," Lex told herself as she left the room and sprinted down the corridor. A loud scream echoed through the halls and Lex put out an extra burst of speed, running toward Megan's voice. She found the distraught girl staring at two more corpses one of which was the man who had argued.
Neither nurse looked as though their deaths had been peaceful. Necks and backs were twisted at unnatural angles and a look of terror was frozen on their faces. Lex put a hand on the blonde's arm and led her from the disturbing scene. This would likely give the girl nightmares for years to come. "We have to go Megan, there's nothing we can do for them."
I'm too late…Again.
"I know, I'm sorry I just… Oh God, did you see the way they looked? They were so terrified of him," Megan said sadly as she grabbed a fistful of Lex's coat.
"Don't worry, we'll stop him," the Hunter promised patting the girl's arm.
Oh Goddess please let me stop him.
"Yes we will," Megan said with a look of determination in her eyes. The pair walked slowly down the hall Megan maintaining her death grip on Lex's arm. "What's that?" The blonde asked pointing at the floor 15 meters away. Lex squinted to see what the girl was talking about.
"I don't think it's another body," Lex said with a small smile trying to cheer Megan up a bit.
"I thought you said no more bodies," Megan commented moments later as they identified the spot as drying blood.
"I guess Gideon missed the memo," Lex put her hand on the knob instinct telling her that she wasn't going to like what was behind the door.
"Oh no," Lex dropped to her knees beside her Dhaskalos cradling the woman's head in her lap. She rocked back and forth willing it not to be true. "No!" She howled tears overcoming her. "Athena wake up, c'mon wake up. Don't you leave me, god damn it Athena. Wake up!"
The Hunter felt blind rage possess her. Infuriating anger at Athena for daring to desert her, at Megan for rescuing her instead of letting her die as she should have. Most of her hate was directed at its proper source. Gideon.
She'd never felt such hate for any one being even for Max, the vampire who had killed her mother. Vampires were demons, they were meant to be evil. But Gideon, he was a human, one who'd allowed himself to be twisted and corrupted by his power until all that was left was evil.
I'll kill him for this, I swear by any god listening, I will spend the rest of my life hunting him down.
"Lex? Lexina! Get up! We have to go, the cops could be here any second." Megan said as she heard the elevator door open and close. The blonde pulled the girl to her feet fighting her own urge to re-experience everything she'd ever eaten.
"No, I have to stay," the Hunter argued illogically as she pulled away from her friend.
"You have to go, we have to go," Megan took the axe from the floor and wiped off the handle with her sleeve. She wiped the doorknob clean as well and grabbed her friend roughly by the coat forcibly pulling the girl from the room. "We'll take the stairs, c'mon." Lex's mind may have been paralyzed but evidently her body wasn't. Megan took her hand and led the girl through a crisscross of hallways desperately hoping she wasn't leading them both in a big circle. A stairwell finally came into view and the pair descended the steps quickly. Lex was still in a fog as she and Megan left the hospital and hailed a cab. The blonde's Jeep had died a few blocks away.
"Apartment building 1533 on Willowbrook," Megan said to the cabby. He nodded without sparing a glance for Lex whose skin was ashen and eyes were glazed. She looked like a junkie going through withdrawal. Megan felt for her friend, what the girl needed now was rest, unfortunately Megan knew that was impossible. The Hunter had to get away from the city as quickly as possible. The reporter only hoped that going to her own apartment rather than to Lexina's would buy the girl some time.
"C'mon Lex just a little further, c'mon Sweetie you can make it," Megan coached as she walked the Hunter down the hall. The girl was leaning heavily on her and both her and the brunette's injuries were catching up with them. Megan felt her legs begin to give way just as she reached her door, with a grunt she let her friend slide to the floor and collapsed beside her. The injury to Lex's eye had only been temporary but where the demon's blood had struck the area was irritated and swollen and the blonde sympathized with her.
The reporter probably felt as bad as her friend looked. With a grunt Megan got to her feet and fished in her pocket for her keys. Her fingers trembled as she worked the key into the lock and pushed the door open. The blonde took the Hunter by her shoulders and drug her into the living room, laid her on the floor and went to fetch a cloth. She dampened it with water and touched it to Lex's neck and face hoping to bring some life back to the girl. Slowly the vacant eye became more aware of its surroundings and after long moments Lex spoke.
"I think I'm going to be sick," she said as she turned onto her belly crawling hands and knees toward the bathroom. Megan grabbed her about the waist and pulled her to her feet. She guided the Hunter to the toilet and rubbed her back as she emptied her stomach. The reporter flushed the toilet and got the girl to her feet. She set the lid down and sat Lex on top leaning her against the tank to keep her from slipping off.
What am I going to do? I'm totally out of my depth here, Megan thought as she washed Lex's face and handed her a cup of mouthwash.
"Better?" Megan asked as Lex spit the minty liquid in the sink. A small nod was her only answer and her only warning as the Hunter's body went limp and the girl promptly passed out.
Megan huffed with effort as she half carried half drug Lex into her room and managed to get her onto the bed. She stripped the girl and changed her bandages before dressing her in one of her oversized nightshirts and covering her with a blanket. She took care of a few things and brought Lex's book bag into her room and placed it beside the Hunter. She doubted Lex would be able to keep any food down so she was now at a loss as to what she should do until her friend woke up. Megan didn't really want her friend to wake up alone in a strange place either. She'd gone through enough trauma to last a multitude of lifetimes and Megan wasn't about to add to the list. The blonde lay down beside Lexina keeping a respectable distance between so the Hunter wouldn't feel crowded. She closed her eyes intending only to rest for a few minutes, when she opened her eyes again it was morning.
Lex awoke with a start. This bed wasn't hers, the mattress was considerably firmer and the blankets smelled like sandalwood incense rather then cheap laundry detergent. Sometime during the night her arms had wrapped around something warm which had an annoying habit of moving every now and again. Lex slowly opened her eyes nearly having a coronary as she met Megan's sleeping face. The girl was within inches of her and Lex nearly fell out of bed trying to put some distance between them. It wasn't bad enough she'd nearly gotten them caught at the hospital and puked herself unconscious, no, now she was using the poor girl as a teddy bear.
Once she was sure her movements hadn't woken her friend Lex slipped out of bed her bare feet touching the cool floor.
Megan must've undressed me last night, she had no recollection of removing her clothes herself. Lex went over to the chair where Megan had neatly folded all her clothing and stripped off the nightshirt. Her bandage had been changed as well and Lex reminded herself to thank Megan for her help.
The Hunter looked up as Megan shifted positions in bed and slowly green eyes appeared. Megan groaned as the sunlight hit her eyes. Why did the morning have to be so god damned bright?
"Morning," Lex said as she put on her tank top.
"Mmm, morning, how'd you sleep?" Megan stretched as she spoke and sat up in bed.
"Not bad, mattress is kind of hard," she answered with a small smile.
"Yeah, it's good for your back," Megan got out of bed and pulled some jeans from a drawer. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm not really sure," Lex answered honestly as she turned away so Megan could change. "I'm trying not to think about it. If I start crying I might not be able to stop, I'll mourn Athena when the book is safe." Megan tapped her on the shoulder to indicate she was fully clothed and Lex turned to face her friend. The shorter woman had traded her nightshirt for low cut baggy jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. She matched her color tone to Lex using only black.
She felt it appropriate considering her mentor had been killed. The woman deserved to have someone mourn her.
Siobhan, I wish you were here. We could use some healing right now. Megan swallowed her tears, Lex was right, her emotional breakdown would have to wait.
"Where is safe?"
"England, I guess, I'll take it to the Dhaskalos' Tribunal HQ, I'm not sure if it's really the right thing to do but I'm quickly running out of options and they were the ones who wanted the damn book in the first place." Lex said as followed Megan into the kitchen. The blonde pulled out two bowls and a box of generic brand corn flakes.
"Not as good as Froot Loops but with some sugar I'm sure you can choke them down," Megan said handing the box to her friend. Lex smiled half-heartedly and poured her breakfast into the bowl. "How are you going to get there? Do you have the money for a plane ticket?"
"The Tribunal should arrange everything, but I have to get a hold of them. The numbers to all the other Hunters are in my apartment."
"Is it a good idea to go back there with Gideon around?"
"Probably not no, but I don't have much choice." Lex said around a mouthful of cereal. The girl cocked her head as though something had just occurred to her and finally looked over at Megan. "What happened to Brian?"
"I called his cell phone last night after you went to bed. I told him to rest up and you'd call him if you needed him."
"Great, I wish you'd just told him to fuck off."
"Umm…" Megan looked at her inquiringly and the Hunter shook her head.
"There's some bad blood between us, but he did give me a hand last night so I guess I should try to play nice." Lex put her empty bowl in the dishwasher and took her coat from the closet. "Look Meg you've already done more than I could've hoped for and I don't want to ask but…"
"I'll keep an eye on the book while you're out," Megan said with a nod of understanding. "Just hurry back, I don't want to be alone with this thing too long. It gives me the creeps."
"Thanks Meg, for everything," Lex said as the blonde followed her to the door. Megan smiled at the taller girl before standing on her tiptoes and placing a chaste kiss on her lips.
"No problem, be careful okay?" Lexina looked surprised at the gesture but it quickly gave way to a shy smile.
"I promise," Lex said with a tiny smile giving Meg a sketchy salute.
"Get out of here you goof."
"I'll be back as soon as I can."
Lex walked up the stairs to her apartment, she could hear voices at the end of the hall long before she reached the top step. Cocking her head to hear better she was able to make out the conversation.
"You think she did it?" A man asked. Lex recognized his voice as one of the police officers that had been in the apartment the night of Athena's attack.
"I don't know, she was so scared for her Aunt." A female voice answered. Doucette.
"Come on Doucette, you were there when we found the kid, then the woman turns up dead and her precious little niece was seen in the hospital twice last night. Tell me that's all coincidence."
"I just don't think she has it in her."
Damn it, these stupid cops thought she'd killed Athena and unfortunately she didn't have the time to waste trying to convince them otherwise. Lex turned and headed back down the stairs jumping the third flight entirely because of its distinctive creak. The elevator was out of service. Again.
Though I guess I should be grateful, if I hadn't taken the stairs they would've seen me for sure. The Hunter made her way down the steps and pushed the door that led to the lobby and from there went outside into the sunshine.
"Sunuvabitch," she cursed once she was out in the open. She desperately needed to get to those numbers but she couldn't risk taking on two cops. Not only would it cement their suspicions that she was a killer but bullets tended to be considerably more difficult to dodge than even the fastest demon.
Lex's head jerked up in surprise as she heard something being thrown through a window. She stepped to the side to avoid being flattened by a hefty looking bowling trophy. Yelling could now be heard coming from an apartment and Lex let a small smile cross her lips as an idea hatched. She pulled her cell phone from her pocket and called the police station as she walked up to the fourth floor and hid herself around a corner from the loud apartment.
"Yes, I'd like to report a domestic disturbance."
Lex checked around the corner to be sure Doucette and her partner had gone to break up the lovers quarrel. There was no sign of either of them and Lex mentally patted herself on the back as she moved quickly to her apartment. She'd have to be fast, the cops could return at any moment and she'd be trapped. Lex closed the office door behind her and pulled Athena's address book from the desk drawer. Aside from the current number for the Tribunal HQ there were a number of Dhaskalos and suppliers in the book including one referencing a leather supplier. Lex forced the image of Athena in a kinky leather suit from her mind with a shudder and continued to browse through the book. Satisfied she had what she need she shoved the book into one of her extra backpacks.
Using her boot knife she ripped open the casing on Siobhan's computer and unhooked the hard drive. There was no telling how useful it would be, she wasn't sure Megan could even get it to run on another computer but she was loathe to let the police find such a comprehensive database. If Megan could crack it, the PD would be able to as well.
The Hunter went into the weapons lock up and pulled out her light crossbow and a quiver full of arrows, a six inch dagger, her sais, her throwing knives and belted her sword across her shoulder. When she closed her coat the weapon was completely concealed aside from the hilt and with a small nod of satisfaction the Hunter walked into her room. She took a hollowed book from her shelf and took out the small roll of bills. It wasn't much but it would be enough to sustain her until she got to London.
Lex took a look around the room making sure she didn't miss anything. Her small pocket charm book caught her eye, it was the first spell book Athena had given her. The Hunter took it and put it into her bookbag as well as taking her small silver cross from her nightstand. The necklace was the only jewellery she wore nowadays and it was a rare occasion to wear even that. She preferred relying on her own skill rather than religious trinkets to get the job done.
However, she didn't know if she'd ever be able to come back to the city let alone the apartment. Anything that meant anything to her would have to be taken now if she wanted to be able to keep it.
She tossed a picture of her and her mother in her bag along with a change of clothes and some toiletries. She went back into the office and grabbed Athena's reference book. Each one of Athena's texts had been gone been over with a fine tooth comb and had it's own index pages in the book indicating what it contained, the author and other various information.
She ripped through the shelves to find the books that had a reference to Gideon specifically or the town he destroyed and grabbed them from the shelves putting them in the bag with the rest of her things. In all the collection of the items had taken no more than 15 minutes. Lex cracked open the door to the hallway, letting out a sight of relief, it was empty. She strolled soundlessly down the hall and mentally flipped the fates the finger as she heard Doucette's voice coming her way. She looked around, the exit to the roof was only three meters away from the stairs. The Hunter sprinted for the door and pushed it in just as she caught sight of the Doucette. There was no way in Hell the other woman hadn't seen her. Lex ran up the steps skipping two and three at a time.
She heard the door open as she touched the top of the stairs. Lex stopped dead as she caught sight of the door, it had been chain locked, likely to keep young vandals off the roof. "Damn it," Lex grabbed onto the lock and gave it a sharp tug using her Hunter Strength. The metal came free with a snap and Lex unlinked the chains and pushed the door open just as the officers reached the top steps pistols in hand.
The Hunter slammed the door behind her as she sprinted to the edge of the roof. She looked down, it was a long way to the ground. Lex backed up a few steps Doucette's orders to halt ringing in her ears. The buildings were fairly close together and her natural athleticism along with her Powers allowed Lex to take the first jump with ease. Still, her stomach roiled at the height.
"She's armed," she heard McKail call out.
What? What the hell is he talking about? Gun vs. sheathed sword, yeah those are fair odds. The brunette heard the crack of the gunshot milliseconds before hot metal glanced against her thigh.
Motherfucker is shooting at me! And I thought I had an itchy trigger finger.
The pain was enough to cause her to stumble and the officers gained on her. Lex ducked down low as a second bullet shot past her some landing in the roof of the building and spraying up shards of cement. The Hunter thought she heard Doucette yelling at her partner to stop firing but she couldn't be sure.
Lex stepped off to the right as she felt the wind of one bullet whip past her temple ruffling her hair. The Hunter and her pursuers made it over three buildings before McKhail landed a solid shot. The bullet passed through her coat and into the flesh of her bicep and out the other side. Lex thanked the goddess that the cop wasn't a crack shot or an automatic pistol.
Still, by mere probability one of his bullets was due to land a fatal shot sooner or later. The Hunter's eyes widened as she caught sight of the next building. This one was a full floor higher than the one she was currently on. If she missed the jump it was an uncomfortably long way down. Pulling energy from reserves she didn't realize she had Lex put on a final burst of speed a few metres before the edge of the roof. She took off from both feet tucking them beneath her as her power carried her as high as the next roof and then some.
Lex's knees buckled as she landed and the Hunter steadied herself with her hands. She should be safe, fatass wouldn't have a chance in hell of making the jump and she doubted Doucette had the ability either.
Or I could be wrong.
Lex thought as she heard the grunt of Doucette as she jumped for the building. She didn't quite jump high enough, she had enough height to grab onto the ledge but her grip was tenuous at best. Lex debated for all of half a second before she quickly made her way to the ledge. Her reflexes weren't fast enough as Doucette's hands slipped from the edge. The Hunter dove off the ledge and grabbed the cop by her Kevlar vest shooting out a hand to grab the ledge. Lex groaned as she fought to hold them both by one arm. Doucette holstered her pistol and grabbed on to Lex's arm with both hands.
"Doucette you okay?" Her partner screamed from his building.
"I'm fine, just figured I'd hang around for a little while," she replied her justifiable fear poorly masked by her light tone. Lex was holding the woman by her injured arm and she was slowly but surely losing her grip on the building. "You can't hold us like this forever Lexina," Doucette commented as Lex lost her grip completely on the cop's vest. Doucette's hands slid down Lex's arm and it wasn't long before Lex only had one hand on the woman.
"I realize that Officer Doucette, thank you. Can you grab my waist? I need to get a better grip on the building," Lex said her hand slipping ever so slightly. Doucette did as she was told taking a firm grasp of Lex's belt and wrapping her arms around the girl's muscular mid section.
The Hunter used her newly freed hand to put on the building and allowed herself a small rest to mentally prepare herself for the next task. Normally lifting the extra weight wouldn't be a problem but like it or not she wasn't in top condition and Doucette's presence was fast becoming a problem.
Lex inhaled a few deep breaths and let out a yell of effort as she pulled herself level with roof. She continued through the push though her arms felt as if battery acid was being pumped through them and her lungs burned. Gravity worked its invisible force on her trying to keep the Hunter down as she locked her elbows. She could have cried with relief as Doucette let go of her and grabbed onto the ledge.
Without the excess weight Lex pushed herself onto the roof with considerably more ease. She grabbed Doucette firmly by her vest and hauled the woman over the edge and onto the roof. Totally spent Lex dropped to the cement beside the woman sucking in huge lungfulls of air.
"You are one strong kid," Doucette choked out between breaths.
"I drink my milk and take my vitamins," Lex answered wryly as she rolled onto her stomach. She crawled away from the edge to make sure she didn't give Doucette's gun happy partner a clear shot and slowly got to her feet dusting off her knees.
"FYI you're wanted as a suspect in your Aunt's murder," Doucette said as she got up.
"Yeah so I hear, you think I did it?" Lex asked.
"Doesn't matter, you have to come in for questioning," Doucette answered pulling her gun from its holster and aiming it at Lex. "I'm sorry kid but you're going to have to come with us."
"I'm sorry too." Lex snapped out a crescent kick knocking the gun from Doucette's hands and over the ledge. She cracked a fist against the woman's jaw making sure to pull the punch so she didn't badly hurt the woman. The cop shook her head and stumbled backward. Lex grabbed her before she could take another fall off the ledge and pulled the woman to her.
"You okay?" She received a small nod in answer. "I didn't kill her and for your own sake I hope you never have to deal with the man who did." Lex pulled the cop behind her as she took a small run at the edge, she released her grip of the woman as she pushed her forward.
"Tuck and roll," she yelled as Doucette went through the air. The woman did as instructed landing roughly on the roof and rolling into her partner. Satisfied that she hadn't hurt herself Lex beat a hasty retreat.
The Hunter jumped two more buildings as a precaution and pulled on the door that led from the roof to the other floors. The heavy steel door didn't move and Lex cursed when several harsh tugs did nothing. The Hunter was at a loss, the next building was the one across the street and her only other option was to backtrack to the building behind, no good choices. She heard the faint wailing of a siren above the din of the regular traffic and Lex let out a frustrated sigh. The entire block would be crawling with cops within moments: she had to leave. Now.
Lex looked over the edge, the nearest protrusion was a flagpole four stories down, from there the lamp post was another six stories. The Hunter took her belt from her pants and wrapped the ends around her hands. She tightened the straps on her backpack to be sure she wouldn't lose it and sent a prayer up to whatever deity was listening.
This stunt definitely rated odds somewhere between suicidal and 'a snowballs chance in hell'. The flagpole might not be able to support her, or her belt could very well snap from the weight and leave her a grease spot on the pavement. Lex shook her head, cleared her mind of all thoughts and jumped from the ledge. She kept her body vertical and as she passed the tip she hooked her belt on the pole. The metal bent with her weight and Lex let out a scream as she slipped off and the rod snapped back into place. The Hunter flailed her arms as she felt herself fall and her hands thankfully found purchase on the flag.
She took one wide eyed deep breath as she assessed her situation. From her position there was no way she could reach the lamp post below and the smooth glass walls of the building left her with nothing to hold onto.
She was in effect, screwed. What the hell is with this cheap nylon material crap? This flag is gonna rip right off the pole. No one cares about quality anymore. Her thought had no sooner registered that Lex heard the tell tale sound of fabric ripping.
Oh shit, this is gonna hurt. Damn haughty Fortune 500 companies and their fashionable slippery glass walls. Wait a sec, glass walls. Reinforced glass to be sure but glass none the less, Lex freed one hand from the flag and pulled her sword from its sheath.
C'mon you son of a bitch.
She struck at the glass causing small chips to fly at her. The Hunter pushed the tip into the window but the resistance pushed her back and caused her to swing, ripping the flag a little more. "So much for that thought, I've really got to plan my escapes better." Lex said to the air as she tried to figure out how to get down. She could break through the glass, she had no doubt of that, it was just a question of getting enough force behind the blow. If she let gravity do the work for her she might have a chance.
Or so I tell myself.
Without giving herself time to reconsider Lex let go of the flag. She raised her sword overhead and as she approached the lower floors she pushed down with all her strength. Her momentum and her powers pushed the blade into the hilt and as the glass shattered she used a hand to grab onto the exposed floor.
The fall had left her dangling three stories above ground, an unpleasant jump to be sure but manageable. Lex put her feet to the next glass panel and kicked off, as she fell she tucked herself into a ball and allowed her body to roll with the impact rather than fighting against it. The Hunter got to her feet feeling exhilarated and exhausted all at once. The feat was the likes of which she'd never accomplished before or hoped to ever have to repeat again. Free falling nearly 13 stories really wasn't her idea of a good time. With a silent thanks to whoever was looking out for her Lex set off to Megan's apartment.
"Where is she?" Brian asked impatiently as he paced around Megan's living room.
"I don't know, I'm sure she's fine," Megan said with more confidence than she felt. The boy had shown up at her apartment shortly after Lex had left demanding answers for last night's activities. She'd done her best to try and get rid of him but his stubbornness nearly paralleled Lexina's so she'd eventually relented and let him in. The reporter had filled him in as best she could but she still had the suspicion that Brian didn't quite believe her despite all he'd seen.
"Did she tell you when she was going to be back?" Brian asked continuing his pacing.
"No she didn't, now would you please sit down? Not only are you going to wear a hole in my carpet but you're also making me dizzy." Megan said indicating for her ex to take a seat. He sat next to her on the couch and crossed his arms, Megan leaned back and closed her eyes to clear her thoughts. "Stop tapping your foot dammit," she snapped.
"Lex can handle herself," Megan comforted as much for her benefit as for Brian's.
"Yeah, well I'll still feel better when she's standing in front of me."
Book in hand. Those weren't the bosses demons last night, there's a new player in the game. I've gotta get my hands on that book.
"Megan?" Lex asked as she pressed the intercom button. She was surprised by the speedy reply.
"Lex, yeah come on up," Megan's voice cheerful but Lex could sense the concern in her friend's voice. It was strangely comforting. The Hunter pushed open the lobby door and got into the elevator. Megan was waiting for her as the doors opened and the blonde nearly knocked her over as she gave her a hug. "We saw the news, your face is plastered on every local channel, we were worried." Lex patted her back and waited for Megan to let her go.
"Brian's here, I explained most of the stuff, but I vagued up a lot of it. I didn't tell him the book was here, but he's been asking about it. Guess he's wondering why the demons wanted it so bad." Megan said as she took the Hunter's bag from her shoulders and led the girl to the apartment. Lex leaned down to take off her shoes grimacing as her wounded thigh protested. Megan mistook the pain for weariness and she rubbed the Hunter's arm to comfort her. She narrowed her eyes as she noticed the blood on her hand and shook her head at the Hunter.
"Now what have you done to yourself?" She asked as she closed the door behind them.
"You sound like Athena," Lex said as she dropped gracelessly onto the couch.
"Lex, are you okay?" Brian asked as he looked the girl over.
"Does she look okay? Get me the first aid kit from my bathroom," Megan ordered and knelt down in front of Lex. "Where are you hit?"
"Took a bullet in my arm but it went clean through and one glanced off my thigh," Lex said before sheepishly holding her hands palm up for Megan to inspect.
"Holy Christ, what the hell did you do?" The blonde asked looking at the raw palms, a few hardy pieces of skin hung loosely but otherwise the first layer had been taken off.
"You really don't want to know," the Hunter answered.
"You're right I probably don't. Thanks Brian," she said as he handed her the small kit. "Boil me some water as well please I need to sterilize something to wrap her hands in. How badly does it hurt? Do you want something for the pain?"
"No I can handle it," Lex smiled at her friend to reassure her and leaned back into the soft cushions of the couch. Megan put her hand on the girl's cheek leaning forward and kissing her forehead.
"Tough girl." Lex leaned into the touch soaking in as much of the comfort as possible. She needed it to stay afloat.
"I managed to get hold of the Tribunal HQ, they're sending a private plane ready tomorrow morning at nine at the flight school just outside the city."
"Good that'll save us trying to get you through security at the commercial airport. Now all we have to do is get through tonight."
"Water's boiling," Brian said from in the kitchen.
"I'll be right back," Megan said as she stood up and gave the Hunter's uninjured thigh a squeeze.
"It says Gideon destroyed the town by calling down a meteor shower," Megan said hours later as she and the others munched on microwave meals. "He killed everyone down to the last child and went on to three more towns before the Tribunal was able to bind him."
"He doesn't sound like a friendly guy," Brian said as he looked up from his own book. "Apparently he was also responsible for a string of mysterious deaths years before his coven actually discovered that he was using forbidden magics."
"How 'bout you Lex? What've you got?" Megan asked.
"Not really sure, half of these languages I don't know and the spells that are written in a common language are mostly ones Athena taught me. Except for this one," Lex stood and pointed the page out to Megan, Brian looked over to get a better view. "I've seen something like it but I can't remember where."
"Let me check my books, I've got a couple on translations, might be of some help." Megan got up and went over to her bookcase. She looked over the titles, sending up a silent 'thank you' to Siobhan when she came across the book the woman had given her months ago.
"It's Sumerian," Megan said as she handed the book to the young warrior.
"That's it, I remember now, I've worked with the language a little before, I should be able to translate most of it." Lex said smiling at Megan in thanks. The blonde smiled back sitting next to the brunette on the couch and leaning into her.
"Siobhan always said that to learn magic you had to learn language." Lex saw the sadness in the green eyes and reached over to squeeze the reporter's hand in understanding. The book had cost both of them their mentors. With a half-hearted smile the blonde went back to her book.
"I can't find anything on his weaknesses," Brian said finally as he tossed his book on to the floor
"Me either." Megan agreed closing her book.
"He's just a regular guy," Lex answered, "it's not killing him that'll be the problem, I don't think. It's going to be getting close enough to make the strike. Hopefully I won't have to worry about that until I get to the others, I can't take him on right now."
"I agree. Our main concern should be about getting you to the plane," Megan said. "How's that spell coming?"
"Near as I can tell, this is the meteor incantation or else a recipe for some nasty soup."
"What do you need to make it?"
Lex handed the list she'd written down to Megan who scanned it quickly. "I have everything but the belladonna."
Lex pulled a small satchel from her coat pocket and dumped the contents on the table. There was a vial of holy water, a silver cross, an evil eye pendant and small capsule of a brown powder.
"Aren't we the resourceful one?" Megan said as she picked up the capsule to examine it. "Out of curiosity, why do you have this?"
"It's easier carrying people around when they're unconscious," Lex said absently as she continued to scribble on her notepad. Brian raised an eyebrow at Megan who shrugged in response.
"Okay… Not going to touch that one. Will this be enough?"
"Should be, I'm only going to use the spell as a last defence, I certainly don't want to destroy a town, just Gideon."
"Will you be able to control the spell that well?" Megan asked uncertainly, these were some powerful magics her friend wanted to deal with.
"Guess we'll have to hope so," Lex stood and took the belladonna from Megan. "C'mon, let's make some trouble."
"Uh, is this safe?" Brian asked as he watched Megan pour the mixture of ingredients into a small bottle.
"Probably not," the girls answered in unison as Lex capped the bottle.
"But it needs the incantation thing to work right?" He asked nervously as Lex put the bottle in her pocket.
"Theoretically but it has been awhile since anyone has used this spell so we can't really be sure," Lex answered as she helped Megan clean up.
"Great," Brian answered with a thin smile.
"Look Brian if you don't want anything to do with this feel free to leave," Lex said eyeing him narrowly. She didn't want him here in the first place and if he was going to be troublesome she had no quarrel with getting rid of him now.
"I'm just saying we should be careful, it's not like we're not in enough danger already you two gotta go messing around with stuff you only half understand."
"You don't like it there's the door," Megan said pointing toward the hallway.
"So you guys would just prefer if I kept my mouth shut then?" He asked incredulously.
"Yes!" The girls said together as they walked out of the kitchen.
Lex yawned as she watched Megan flip through the TV channels. Brian had fallen asleep sprawled on the couch leaving the Hunter and the reporter next to each other on the loveseat.
"Anything in particular you want to watch?" Lex shook her head before resting it on the blonde's shoulder.
"Daytime television sucks." Megan laughed and finally turned off the TV.
"I think five thirty counts as evening."
"Want to take a nap?" Megan asked. Lex considered, she was incredibly tired but she didn't know if going to sleep was safe. Evidently guessing her thoughts Megan spoke again.
"I'll stay up and keep an eye on things," the blonde reassured as she nudged the dark head from her shoulder and stood from the couch. "C'mon." She grabbed the book in one hand and the Hunter's arm in the other and pulled her to her feet. Leading the girl into her room, she put the book on the night stand and pulled back the covers.
"Get in," the reporter ordered. Lex smiled and acquiesced slipping under the covers. Megan moved to go back into the living room but a hand on her wrist stopped her.
"Um, would you stick around for a bit? The book is here with us so it's safe…"
"Sure," Megan said halting the brunette's explanation. The blonde lay down next to the Slayer taking the younger teen's hand in hers. Lex smiled and dropped her head onto the reporter's shoulder sighing as she felt Megan's other hand run through her hair.
"Mmm, when this is all said and done, I'm gonna owe you a huge thank you dinner," Lex murmured. Megan laughed.
"Well the 'thank you' isn't necessary but I'll take the dinner." Lex turned and looked up at the older girl raising an eyebrow in question. Before she could put voice to her confusion the blonde leant down pressing soft lips to the Hunter's. The pressure was light enough for it to be almost non-existent but it made the young warrior smile anyway.
"Dinner then." The brunette said reaching up to pull the reporter down for a second kiss. She twisted in place to get a better position touching a gentle hand to the blonde's cheek.
The pressure of the second kiss was greater than the first and Megan felt Lex shift her body for a more comfortable position.
Feeling slightly more confident, now that she knew Lex was willing, the blonde ventured to find a place to rest her hands. Every part of the brunette was new and enticing to the blonde and she eventually decided she couldn't settle on one place.
Her hands moved at random resting for extended periods of time wherever Lex was particularly responsive. Before she knew it Lex had switched positions again, rolling over and taking Megan with her. She lay on top of the brunette supporting herself by her arms as she explored the warrior's mouth.
She jerked back when she heard a pained gasp and realized she's grazed Lex's injured thigh.
"Shit Lex, sorry."
"S'Okay, my fault. I should know better than to let people shoot me." The blonde smiled down at her friend.
"Yeah, I'm sure you were a willing target." The brunette shrugged beneath her sitting up to place a light kiss on Megan's nose. "You need to rest," the blonde said.
"We were resting."
"Ha, I don't know about you but I was getting worked up, not calmed down." Lex rolled her eye and tugged the blonde down. Megan rested her head on the Shadow Hunter's shoulder.
"Was that okay?" Megan asked a few minutes later.
"Huh? Was what okay?" Lex asked, the sound of her voice indicating she'd been very near sleep.
"This," Megan said indicating their position. "I mean… this probably isn't the best time for getting involved."
"No…" Lex conceded. "Probably not." Lex tightened her grip on the blonde resting her head against the reporter's. "But you're the best thing to happen to me in a long time. You're the only person I have left and I'm not willing to just let this, whatever it is, go by." Lex admitted quietly. Megan smiled turning her head and kissing her friend's shoulder.
"Good 'cause neither am I." Megan wiggled to get herself comfortable and closed her eyes. "Get some sleep Lex, we'll figure everything out later."
The Hunter awoke a few hours later oddly disappointed to find out she was alone in the bed. She stretched with a yawn and got up taking the book with her as she headed for the living room.
"Hey you," Megan greeted kissing the Hunter on the cheek. "Good sleep?"
"Yeah, it was nice," the brunette answered with a smile. "Where's Brian?"
"Puttering around in the kitchen, making a mess I expect." Lex laughed and tossed the book on to the coffee table collapsing onto the couch in a heap. Megan sat next to her putting her bare feet under the Hunter's thighs as she opened another of Siobhan's texts.
"Kripes woman, your feet are blocks of ice, what kind of circula…"
"Lex what's wrong?" Megan asked as the Hunter stopped mid-rant and a disturbed look came into her eyes.
"Ssh," she ordered as she stood from the couch and took the book from the table handing it to Megan. "Get your jacket," she said as she strapped her sword over her shoulder and tossed on her duster. She stepped quietly to the door already knowing it was too late. Her instinct hadn't kicked in time and now she and the others were trapped.
"What's going on?" Brian asked as he walked out of the kitchen sandwich in hand. Lex barely had time to shield herself as a powerful energy ball ripped the door off the hinges knocking Brian off his feet and depositing him on top of Lex. The Hunter scrambled out from underneath the unconscious form pushing him out of the way. She was barely to her feet before she felt herself leave the ground again thrown back by a second wave of energy.
"Shadow Hunter I presume," he said taking a step across the threshold.
"Gideon," Lex spat out blood trickling from the side of her mouth. Lex slipped her throwing knives from her boots and whipped them at the approaching warlock. Only one was faster than his reflexes and he scowled as he stared at the blade protruding from his chest. Lex ran at him and drop kicked him in the chest forcing the blade deeper and pushing Gideon out of the doorway. Megan already had the backpack on her shoulders, the book assumedly tucked safely away inside of it. The Hunter grabbed the reporter by the hand and pulled her from the apartment.
"Wait, what about Brian?" Megan asked as they sprinted down the hall Gideon close behind, Lex's knife in hand. Lex concentrated on raising a barrier between her and the warlock before answering her friend. It wasn't much, it would only take a few of Gideon's powerful strikes to bring it down completely but it would protect them until Lex could do something better out in the open.
"There's nothing we can do for him, he'll only slow us down and get us all killed. Besides, it's us Gideon wants now," Lex said flinging open the door that led to the ground floor. There wasn't time to wait for the elevator.
She let Megan precede her on the descent always keeping herself between the reporter and Gideon. The Hunter wished she could say that the main reason was for Megan's protection but the truth was she wanted the most distance between the warlock and the book as possible even if only it was an extra meter.
"Give me the book when we get to the bottom of the stairs," Lex said. "It must be how he's tracking us," Lex said as she jumped a flight of stair. She was thrown forward into the wall as Gideon tossed a firebolt at her shields.
"My shields can't take much more of this," Lex screamed as they pushed open the doors to the lobby. Megan didn't stop but ran into the open night and down the crowded street. She slipped the bag off as she ran and tossed it to Lex who caught it and put it on her back without missing a step.
"What now?" Megan asked as they crossed a street narrowly missing a bus. The pair ran down the steps toward the subway and jumped the gate. Two security guards were immediately on their tails and Megan pulled garbage cans and magazine stands down behind her to slow them down. She and Lex barely made the train the Hunter having to force the door open to get them in.
"We split up," Lex said simply as she sat down on a seat panting heavily. Her thigh was not appreciating this work out at all. Megan noticed the blood seeping through the bandages and pulled a roll of gauze from the side pouch of Lex's back pack.
"Split up? Are you deficient?" Megan asked as she wrapped the gauze around the Hunter's leg and tied it tightly. She felt the brunette flinch and looked up into a troubled blue eye.
"I told you he's tracking the book, I'm going to get it and myself as far away from you as possible," the Hunter said with a sigh. She looked over at the blonde praying the girl would understand it was for her own good.
"I'm not going to leave you," Megan said fiercely with a shake of her head. "Not after all this." The train began to slow and Lex stood up pulling the girl with her. She looked down into sea green eyes and placed a hand on the girl's cheek. Lex pulled the blonde to her kissing the reporter with all the emotion she felt for the young woman.
"I'll contact you when I'm safe, be careful and stay away from your apartment." Lex said as the train came to a stop.
"Lex wait please don't do this," Megan pleaded. "You can't beat him."
"I know, I have to run and you'll only slow me down," the bare harsh truth. The girl had done everything she could and now she was more of a hindrance than a help.
I'm sorry Megan, you'll understand one day.
"I can help," the doors began to close. Lex gave her a gentle but firm shove out the door. Megan banged on the glass as the train began to move.
"Lexina! Don't do this." Megan followed beside the train as it moved from the station. "Payton you son of a bitch!" She screamed as the train moved into the tunnel leaving Megan tired, dejected and utterly alone.
Brian awoke with a groan to stare into the most disturbing set of eyes he'd ever seen. He crawled backward only to bump into a familiar looking demon.
"Please no," he begged as the warlock grabbed him by the throat and threw him into the wall. He slid bonelessly to floor fear written across his boyish face.
"Leave him, he may be of use," Gideon ordered as he regarded the boy.
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