Cassandra's Curse Ch. 03bysimply_cyn©
Raj was out and about again, finding solace in his alone time. The graveyard he prowled was eerie and quiet. There was even a little night mist wafting over the green close-cut grass. This place crawled with creatures of the dark when the moon came out. It always had. There was rumor that there was a Slayer around. One who went out looking for trouble to squander it and get rid of it. Raj hadn't met up with her yet and he rather hoped not to.
In the distance he heard a woman's scream and looked up rather casually until he saw the silhouette of Nisus in the direction of the scream. What could he be up to? Raj proceeded silently toward the scene to see what was up. He hadn't been noticed yet, which was a surprise. Nisus normally had a small army with him. What was he doing alone? Or was he alone? Raj's senses stood on edge and he looked around cautiously. As he drew nearer to the scene he heard the whimpering of a horrified girl that Nisus was clearly tormenting. She was bound to a headstone and gagged. Nisus was toying with her sadistically
Cassandra moved silently through the darkened streets of this rougher part of the city. She had completed the first part of her training and had begun her duty of ridding the mortal world of the deadly darkness that seemed to infest this city. Strange ... she had never really figured there were really this many evil creatures lurking about New York but she supposed it fit. True, she was a bit of a badass, living on the edge as she went out nightly to find trouble purposefully. Nigel worried that she was biting off more than she could chew so early on but she had proved that she could handle it. Her instincts were right on and her reflexes quick. She was in the best shape of her life and was eager to prove herself in this new life. Of course, she wasn't without fear ... she hadn't gone completely insane.
Raj crouched behind a larger headstone and watched the scene a moment, letting himself probe the area around to see who was around. He couldn't feel anything ... just Niusus as he danced around the terrified prey maniacally, teasing and poking at her with a stick to make her squirm. Raj could smell her fear as it seemed to permeate the air around him along with her sweat and trickling blood from cuts across her arms and chest. She was more than terrified. Nisus had been at it awhile ... sick bastard. Raj snorted softly and drew back again, watching the scene, waiting.
Cassie stilled as she approached the graveyard. She could feel it ... that sixth sense that she had been working on perfecting. Something evil was about and she had that feeling that it was in the process of no good. She urged her feet into a brisker walk, determined not to run headlong unprepared into trouble and her training taking over as she slipped undetected into the cemetery.
Following her senses, she came across the scene unfolding in front of her and with a catlike grace, was suddenly sitting on an opposite headstone with her legs crossed, one shapely one swinging back and forth as she took in the vampire and his obvious prey . It was clear that he hadn't done too much damage yet. "I swear," she began in a soft lilting voice, "Do you people ever pick on someone your own size?" she asked, tilting her head a bit to look at the vampire as he suddenly swung around to face her.
Nisus hissed as he turned to face the Slayer and he just grinned as he took her in. Raj drew deeper into the shadows, taking the chance of Nisus's distraction to get closer to the girl. He was going to set her free even if it did look like he was moving in for Nisus's kill. Nisus had yet to bother to sense him. Didn't the evil ones ever use common sense? Vampires were as bad as wolves ... fighting one another off each other's booty and territory.
Nisus's attention was on the Slayer and he licked his lips "So.... we finally meet, Slayer. I heard you were in town." he looked her over again. "Rather old for this work, aren't you?"
Cass rolled her eyes as she heard yet again a favorite pun of those she had already faced even as her slender fingers tapped impatiently on top of the headstone where she was perched. "You know what they say," she couldn't help but tease as jaded gaze met his with a flicker of amusement. "The older the violin, the sweeter the music," and kicking off the headstone was suddenly standing with her feet planted firmly shoulder width apart, her hands on her hips as raven hair flowed down her back in an inviting caress. There was that part of her that liked toying with them. She had come to appreciate her beauty ... it seemed to temporarily throw her prey off balance. "Been looking forward to this, huh?"
Nisus stood still, just watching her as she attempted to throw him off guard or intimidate him and he just grinned, his black eyes gleaming with the maniacal madness that seemed to seep in his mind, contrasting violently with his pale flesh and white hair. Yes, it was white ... he kept it that way, held back in a tight braid. It was his mark, the mark every one of his kind knew him by. Nisus had killed more of his own kind than most any other vampire and he had killed many more slayers than the next one down the line.
"You have no idea who you're dealing with, my dear." His voice was silken and sweet, laced with a well-coated Russian accent. It was a voice that drew many prey to him with very little effort. Captivate them and draw them into the web ... it was always his trick. Then, he played if he wasn't very hungry ... played until they were nearly dead then sucked them dry.
Meanwhile Raj was still amazed at the whole fact that Nisus was oblivious to his presence or ... maybe Nisus knew and chose not to act. He couldn't be sure. Then, his foot came down on a dry branch that hadn't been picked up yet and it snapped with a loud crack almost as if to break the tension in the air. Nisus jumped to the side and hissed, glaring at Raj with fury and hatred.
Cassandra took the sudden opportunity presented to her to launch herself at the vampire with an ease of skill that had amazed her Watcher, her long use of the martial arts even more focused as her foot made contact with the unsuspecting vamp's stomach, sending him hurling across space at an accelerated speed until his flight was halted by the sudden appearance of a large statue and Cassandra's gaze quickly shifted to the other disturbance, a frown marring her features to see yet another vampire as he made his way towards the helpless girl bound at the headstone.
Nisus let out of growl as he connected with the statue and landed deftly on his feet when he came down, glaring at the Slayer. He glanced at Raj and just smirked at him "Have fun with the Slayer, old friend." and with that he turned and vanished into the shadows.
Raj froze and glanced at the Slayer. Wonderful; the coward had turned tail and run ... as usual. He could only imagine what it looked like in the Slayer's eyes as to what he intended to do ... even if what he really intended to do was the exact opposite.
Cassandra cursed as she caught the movement of the one vampire disappearing and then focused her energies once more on this second one as she took a defensive stance, emerald gaze glimmering with the job at hand as she addressed him. "I swear, how many of you does it take to attack a defenseless girl?" she sneered, her hatred glowing brightly in the flush in her cheeks and the snarl of her moist lips.
"I...." Raj glanced at the girl, then to the Slayer and shook his head. There was no point in trying to explain to the Slayer. He'd had experience in that and had failed miserably before ... it was no use at all. So instead of wasting his energies talking he took a defensive stance and prepared to fight, scanning her body for where she kept her weapons and stakes.
Cass saw him take his stance, his eyes sweeping over her form and she knew he was trying to figure out where she kept her weapons. She bounced some on her toes, her energy level beginning to top out as her training and instincts began to take over but as she started at him, she felt it ... something was different ... something was wrong.
Nigel had asked her when they first met if she had ever sensed when someone was just empty and that is how she read all of the demonic beings that she had sent back to hell in a cloud of dust but this one ... there was something different and just before her swinging leg made contact with his side, she hesitated. Something was off and she couldn't put her finger on it.
He took advantage of the slayer's hesitation and grabbed her ankle and twisted violently to topple her to the ground and advance on her to wrestle her down. He hadn't so much as blinked. It was all in a flash and he was atop her. He knew better than to up and run. She'd only tail him and kill him from behind. Unless he could miraculously out run her, she wouldn't rest.
Cassandra cried out in rage that she had been caught in her hesitation, quickly maneuvering to roll with the forward motion of his body as he managed to get atop her and twisted so that she was suddenly straddling his hips. Balling her hands into fists hand over hand, she slammed them down into his chest and then twisted her right elbow to catch him in the chin with a stunning blow. "You FUCK!" she howled in rage as one leg bent to place her boot near his side as her fingers plunged into it to retrieve one of her stakes hidden therein.
He grunted as he was suddenly thrown to his back and his head whipped aside when she hit him. Finally he managed to catch her hand just as she raised a stake and stopped her in a firm, powerful grasp. He wrenched her arm aside to pull her off balance and used her momentum to roll her over and pin her, grabbing her other hand above her head. His face had contorted grotesquely. He no longer looked the human man he had just a few short moments ago. Vicious fangs flashed as they seemed to simply sprout from the pre-existing k-9's.
Cassie grunted and then scowled as she felt him stop the downward motion of her hand holding the stake and then cried out in rage as she found herself on her back again. The elongating of his fangs took her by surprise for a moment ... it never failed. She just couldn't get used to that!
Her hips bucked up and a long flexible leg suddenly hit him in the back of the head and then wrapped around his neck to savagely pull him down to his back as she rolled forward and to her side, springing to her feet as she adjusted the stake in her hand.
He growled savagely as he was kicked and shoved aside and grunted as he hit the ground yet again. He tried to get his hands beneath him but toppled onto his back beneath her again. He swung with his foot at her ankles to knock her down again and pushed up from the ground to stand. "Would you stop to breathe a minute?!"
She saw the sweep of his leg and jumped high to clear them and slowly began to circle him as she tried to read what the hell was so different about him. Her raven hair was beginning to cling to the back of her neck from her exertion and her cheeks were flushed a soft rosy blush as her jaded gaze raked over him. "And give you a chance to regain your breath?" she hissed. "Never!" and with that she launched her attack again, moving quickly towards him and almost past to slam her elbow back towards his face, attempting to catch him off-guard before swinging around with the stake, hoping to slam it into the other side of his neck with the fluid movement.
He ducked to the side to avoid her attack and spun aside with her movement, his right hand sweeping out to catch her wrist to stop her and he met her eyes for a brief moment. "I have no breath, Slayer ... let's talk a minute." He saw her other hand move and watched it, coiling again, prepared to stop her.
Cassandra's eyebrows furrowed some. She didn't understand this at all ... and she kept getting the feeling that there was something different about this deity. As the swing of her free hand connected with the side of his neck in a hard karate chop, she quickly spun out of his grasp, adjusting the stake in her hand again as she put some distance between them. "What in the world would we have to talk about?" she managed to ask, drawing in a deep breath while she could, long strands of raven teasing over her flushed face. She blew at them to try to get it out of her face as she regarded him.
He grunted and let her go naturally at the hit and stumbled aside, reaching up to rub his neck. Finally; she had stopped long enough to give him a bit of space. He didn't want to fight her ... he had no desire whatsoever. Like any smart vampire he'd take the second he could to run away or outsmart her; fighting a Slayer was just suicide.
He watched her closely and spoke, his voice deep and rustic. It was an old English dialect accent ... sounding almost Roman but not quite. He regarded her warily as he spoke, "I'm not who you think I am." He knew it must've sounded rather dumb to the slayer considering he wore the mask of a vampire and had the fangs. "It's not really what it looks like."
Cass couldn't help it; the laugh erupted from her naturally. This was ridiculous and she suddenly felt transferred back in time when she had first begun her training beneath Nigel as a Slayer. She didn't believe in vampires even though she had been fascinated in them but she had learned to disregard her romantic version of what the undead was for the reality of what they truly were ... cold-blooded murderers that had no reason, no morals, no regrets.
And now ... now here was one claiming not to be what she thought! "You've got to be fucking kidding me," she said, mostly to herself as she regarded the vampire, her grasp on the stake never loosening but her wary regard never faltering.
He blinked. The shock registered even if he did expect the laughter and he rubbed the back of his neck. "No ... I'm not. Do you honestly think I would be talking to you if I wanted to kill you? I haven't killed in ages."
Cassie straightened her stance some, her fingers still tightly clutched around the stake as she shifted her gaze to the girl still bound at the headstone. She had lost a lot of blood and needed to be attended to. Stabbing the stake at the air towards the vampire, she hissed, "Back off then and let me get this girl some help" With that, she moved towards the girl, never taking her eyes off the vampire even as she approached the near lifeless body of the girl.
Raj flinched a bit as he saw the point of the stake flash toward him and he instinctively ducked aside as if she had thrown it at him, not willing to take a chance. When he found that she hadn't, he paused. Was she serious or was it a trick? Seeing her approach the girl he nodded and stepped back, giving the Slayer her space.
So ... here was the legendary Slayer whose reputation had spread like wildfire through the city amongst all the undead. Her name had been contorted from mouth to mouth, but here she was all the same. He could see why many were afraid of her; she meant business and had a no nonsense way about her. He admired that about her. Here was the One he'd been waiting for.
Cassandra saw him step back and even as she wondered about him, she was more concerned at the moment about the girl. No telling where that other prick had run off to or when he would be back with a pack of friends that were more interested in a feeding frenzy than common sense. Keeping one eye on the vampire that had given her room to work, she lifted her booted heel to the headstone, shoving the stake back into the high leather and pulled out a dagger which she promptly used to cut through the girl's bindings, holding her close as the girl began to sob, clinging to her. "Just hold on, I'll get you some help," she said quietly.
Raj's features had begun to return to normal, back to the ruggedly handsome man he was. He felt his heart ache for the girl in the Slayer's arms; she was horrified and would probably need a lot of therapy and care. Nisus wasn't any kind of nice creature to deal with; he was sadistic and cruel. He liked to toy and kill slowly ... like he enjoyed the scent of fear on a human. At least when Raj had been a Hunter he killed quickly but that had been ages ago.
He actually didn't remember the last time he'd killed. He did ... but it was buried somewhere. He watched as the Slayer worked, giving her room. He didn't offer to help as he didn't know how she'd take it exactly, even if he was honest at the idea.
Looping the girl's arm around her shoulder, Cassandra glanced at the vampire once more as she started to help the girl move away from the headstone and towards a large oak tree, trying to block out the girl's sobs as her concentration returned to her surroundings. She hated when other humans were involved ... it just interfered with her concentration and having this other vampire or whatever the hell he was near was not helping at all. She was still on high alert ... expecting him to attack while she was tending to the girl and she helped ease the girl down to the ground to lean against the tree as she pulled her small flip phone out of her other boot and speed dialed Nigel's number, her gaze never leaving the vampire.
Raj let his left shoulder come to rest on a nearby headstone and stuffed his hands into his pockets. He seemed normal enough now, even if he was dressed all in black. His hair was dark and long enough to be pulled back into a ponytail at the back of his head. He seemed a man from a storybook. He sensed the Slayer's stiffness and wariness of him. It wasn't fear ... it was more of a protective motherly sense about her; she was out to save the world. It was her job. He spoke gently as she raised the phone to her ear, "Would you like me to leave?"
Cass just looked at him a moment as the phone rang and then when she heard Nigel's voice, she simply stated, "I've got a girl here ... she needs attention quickly ... Old City Cemetery" and then flipped down the phone and shoved it back into her boot as she glanced at the girl a moment. "Help's on the way," she assured her a moment before she straightened back up and turned her attention to the vampire even though she kept her senses wary for any others coming up when she least expected it. "What's your story?" she finally asked, curious about what it was she sensed in him.
"My story? It's too long to start." Raj stood up straight and shrugged his shoulders back to shed his trench coat. His attention was on the girl against the tree. She was freezing and trembling with the cold and terror. He tossed the jacket to the Slayer and nodded toward the girl, "Cover her up ... she's freezing. I'll just terrify her."
Her hand shot out reflexively, catching the jacket and searching it, she finally stooped some to cover the girl, running a hand over her head momentarily as if to soothe her and then turned her attention back to the vampire. "I don't get you" she said suddenly, her brows furrowing some as she looked at him and then looked around. "Who was the other one ... he called you an old friend" she asked in an accusing tone as jaded eyes narrowed on him once more.
Raj grimaced a bit at the term and tone she used and he reached up to rub the back of his neck again, shaking his head. "That was Nisus. I'm more like an old enemy, actually ... long story between us. We ... don't get along very well. I'm Larajie but friends call me Raj."
Cassandra couldn't help but regard him warily as she straightened back up and then glanced over his shoulder to see headlights pull up into the cemetery and fall upon them, taking a deep breath as she saw Nigel suddenly step out of the car, his stance wary. She could see it from the distance. He had never seen her standing with a vampire and not fighting it and she wasn't sure she could explain why the vampire wasn't dead but she stooped down, helping the girl to her feet as he approached. "Nigel, thank god ... I was starting to wonder if you forgot how to get here."