Rachel paced up and down the enclosure as she waited for the full moon to complete rising and the transformation that would follow it. In all honesty, she was dreading it. The idea of losing control so thoroughly was terrifying. To become one of the monsters she hunted and fought against . . . It was awful. The only upside to it all was that they knew in advance and had prepared this cage in one of the caves at the edge of town so there really wasn't any way she could get out and hurt someone.
But still. If that fucking moron Debbie wasn't already dead she'd hunt her down and bathe in her blood. It was all that stupid bitch's fault. If she hadn't interfered . . .
"Calm yourself, Rachel," said Giles from his seat on the others side of the bars, cutting through the rage that was building inside Rachel with his calm. "You won't help anything by getting worked up."
Rachel took a deep breath and slipped into a quick calming method she'd learned during her basic training as a Jedi long ago. When she'd finished she leaned the back of her head against the cool metal of the cage and closed her eyes. "You're right, of course," she said. "I just hate this."
"I don't think many werewolves like it, Rachel," said Giles. "You just have to deal with it as best you can."
After a moment of Rachel staying as she was she moved away from the bars and sat on the rough ground in a typical meditative position with her legs crossed and her back ramrod straight. "All these feelings . . . I know they're not really mine but they feel mine if that makes any sense. I feel like I should be preparing for a night's hunting with my pack but the other part of me, the human part, is repulsed by the idea."
"I'd like to help you, Rachel, but this is all as new to me as it is to you," said Giles, sounding very unhappy with himself. "Most werewolves just don't talk about that sort of thing with non-werewolves. Very little information is available on the condition really considering how long people have been afflicted with it."
"And Oz isn't exactly Mr. Talkative under normal circumstances," I said, cracking my neck to try and relieve some of the tension that was building up in my body. "I doubt he's even talked to Willow about this."
"Indeed, not that I blame him," said Giles, sounding vaguely reproachful. "It's not a pleasant to talk about, I imagine."
"I don't blame him either really, Giles. I'd just have liked a bit more warning on this stuff," I said trying not to sound as irritated as I really was with the whole situation. "I didn't think it would be anywhere near as bad as this from seeing what he was like."
Really Rachel felt she was entitled to be less than happy with the whole thing. Even vampires taught the people they turned the basics after they rose. If a soulless demon could manage it then Oz sure as hell should have been able to. And from the way Giles grunted in assent he must have felt something along the same lines even if he wouldn't admit because he was too British and proper or he'd argue it.
The next couple of minutes passed in silence as Rachel slipped into a light meditative state awaiting the transformation - and dreading it all the while - and Giles paged through the book on lycanthropy that he'd just gotten from the Watcher's Council deliver service. Better late than never, she supposed.
"The moon will complete its rise in a minute," said Giles.
"I can feel it."
With that, Rachel slipped into a deeper meditation, seeking the knowledge of just what the moon was doing to her. She quickly located the dark spot in her psyche that was the wolf and she observed. It was quite interesting to watch, in a morbid kind of way, as the spot of primal instinct and hunger grew, overtaking the rest of her piece by piece, slowly turning her into an animal. And then she rebelled against it. She would not just sit by and become a mindless beast. She was a Jedi Knight and she was not an animal. Slipping even deeper into the Force, she began to resist the spread of the beast within her and attempted to repel it from her psyche.
"The moon has risen," she heard distantly, as if Giles was a million miles away.
A bead of sweat appeared on her forehead as she fought the transformation. It was far from easy - the wolf had already gained quite the beachhead - but she's be damned if she gave in without a fight. The bead of sweat grew and multiplied as she waged a titanic internal battle. The wolf was strong and at this time of the cycle it was at its strongest but the power of a Jedi is not one to be underestimated under any circumstances and Rachel's will is powerful indeed. But it was futile. She was not in sufficient control of her powers and the wolf slipped through her defences and spread throughout her system reducing the light to a single small spot where the wolf used to reside in her psyche.
The last thing she would remember in the morning was the pain she experience as her muscles and bones broke and shifted into their new form and the feeling of her body sprouting fur.
"Good morning, Revan."
No. Bad dream. It just had to be. Rachel was in no way ready to confront Malak and just wanted it to all go away and let her wake up in her cage with Giles waiting for her.
"Don't rush to cover yourself, Revan. It's nothing I haven't seen before, after all," he said.
Now there was an image she didn't need at all and she soon scraped up the energy to lever herself up to her feet and stumble over to where she'd stashed her clothes. The entire situation was just so surreal that she didn't even think to wonder why Malak wasn't actually doing anything till after she was dressed and the fatigue had fallen away slightly.
"Your friend here was most brave in your defence, Revan, but you always did inspire loyalty," he said.
Rachel span around to face Malak with fire in her eyes. "If you've hurt him I'll gut you like a fish, you worthless huttspawn."
"You wound me, Revan. Would I damage someone without good reason?" said Malak, putting on a mock-hurt air that had stopped working when they were all of about seven. Or when Revan and Malak had been seven.
"Yes, you would. And stop calling me that. Revan's dead and you probably should be filling a pyre somewhere too," said Rachel wearily.
"You still don't understand, do you?" said Malak, and he was actually chuckling as he said it, which freaked Rachel out no end. Malak stopped chuckling long before they found the Star Forge. "You might not have been born Revan but you are Revan now even if you don't want to admit it."
"You're delusional," said Rachel flatly. "I am Alexander Harris and when I find a way to get my manhood back I'll be taking that identity up again."
Malak just shook his head like a disappointed teacher. "You haven't even analysed your own aura, have you?"
Rachel just glared at him. If looks could kill . . . "Fine. I'll do it just to shut you up, you delusional, old, washed-up Sith."
"Now there's the Revan I know and love."
Rachel just closed her eyes and went to the task of analysing the distinctive swirls of energy that make up the closest analogue to the concept of the soul that the Jedi have. A moment later her eyes shot open. "This isn't possible."
Malak sighed and rolled his eyes. "How do you think you suddenly gained the ability to tap into the Force? Why do you think you switched gender? The spell didn't affect anyone else in that way, did it?"
"But I'm still me! I didn't turn into a Sith Lord."
"Oh you're still you, you're just more than you ever could have been before. You should be grateful really. You were just another primitive living on a backwater mudball who would have lived a meaningless life and died a meaningless death. Now . . . now, you have greatness within your grasp. You have a piece of the Dark Lord living within you. Many would kill for what you have been given."
"And you're telling me this out of the goodness of your heart, right?"
"I want to kill Revan not some idiot child only two steps removed the primates that spawned her species," said Malak with a maniacal glint in his eyes.
Oh joy, thought Rachel. He's insane. Not just twisted by the Dark Side, outright insane. Brilliant. She should have seen it before. He'd stand there and acknowledge that he wasn't really Revan and then turn around and call her Revan. Insane. Completely.
"Why do you want Revan dead so much?"
"She killed me."
Right. That settled it. She was going to buy a copy of the Knights of the Old Republic game and she was going to find out just what the hell happened after Malak blew her ship up because that was just bizarre. How can a dead person kill you? Well, barring growing forehead ridges and fangs, of course. This entire situation was just a gigantic mess as it was but having Malak stand there and tell her seriously that she'd killed him even though she knew for a fact that she was a corpse at the time was just one step too far for her.
"I think I'll leave you to your friend now, Revan," said Malak, breaking her out of her thoughts. "I must say that I didn't know your tastes ran to men so much older than you. That's a new addition, I think."
Rachel glared a hole in Malak's back as he swept out. Bastard. He always had known how to get under her skin and it wasn't reassuring to know that he still could. Oh well. With a quick burst of power she unlocked the cage's gate and was at Giles's side in a moment. He didn't look badly hurt - just a little roughed up and bruised - but you could never be too careful when Malak was involved. He'd turned into a real psycho when he went Sith. Sith are never exactly sweetness and light but Malak had been exceptionally brutal and bloodthirsty, to the point of wastefulness in fact.
She placed her fingers on Giles temples and took a quick reading of his health through her connection to the Force. Hmm. He'd been thoroughly beaten but there didn't seem to be any major damage. Just a lot of bruising really. Sure, he'd be sore for a few days, but there'd be no lasting effects. Surprisingly considerate for Malak. With that in mind she quickly jump started his systems with an infusion of Force energy and he promptly work up with a pained groan.
"Easy, Giles," she said. "You've had a busy day and you haven't even made it to work yet."
"That . . . Malak's here!" he started to struggle to his feet but Rachel's restraining hand stopped that.
"He's gone, Giles. Just wanted to talk to me apparently," she said. "I don't think he's quite sane."
"I think that's a given. Sane people don't do the things he's done. And raising people from the grave always has consequences," he said. "Now help me up. I'm not laying around in a cave all day just because someone gave me a beating."
"Your choice but you should be good to go in a couple of minutes either way," replied Rachel. "There's no real damage, just a lot of bruising."
"And I can feel every one of them. Help me up."
So she did, and his only reaction was a restrained hiss of pain as his joints protested the requirement to move after being tossed around so much. After taking a moment to steady himself he seemed fine. Not a weak man, Giles, no matter the impression he gives at first glance.
"So what did the lunatic want with you?" he asked.
"Not much really. Just talking about how I got my powers and how there really is a piece of Revan in me," replied Rachel. "Nothing we didn't know before to be honest, it was just putting the pieces together and realising there's more left behind than I realised."
"Hmm," said Giles, looking distinctly tempted to start rubbing his glasses even though they were quite thoroughly broken. "It might still be worth going over what he said to see if there was anything useful to us in there."
Rachel just shrugged her shoulders. Fine by her. She repeated everything from the conversation right down to Malak's mannerisms and accent. Probably quite disturbing for Giles to hear a powerful male voice being thrown from his 'niece' but whatever.
"So he really was raised from the dead," said Giles, taking to himself more than anything. "This does not bode well."
"Means we have an enemy powerful enough to raise the dead," said Rachel. "Not something to be sniffed at really. Can't be any worse than Angelus with his obscure demons though. You can't really top sucking the world into hell. Or at least I hope not."
"No, you're right. That's a hard act to outdo," said Giles. "I can't think of any demons worse than Acathla or The Judge that we're likely to run into. The demons with powers greater than those two aren't capable of entering this dimension as a rule."
"Well, I'll take what I can get," said Rachel with a shrug of her shoulders. "I'll be able to handle Malak with a bit more training and necromancers die just as easy as any other human."
Rachel was performing a one-hand handstand in the library while slow circling a dozen pencils around her feet in a sort of sloppy halo when she felt the two Slayers approaching the library with a normal human in tow.
"We got incoming, Giles. Two Slayers and a normal," she said, all the while maintaining her position and keeping the pencils floating.
"I'll deal with them. You just concentrate on your training," said Giles reproachfully.
"Yes, mein fuhrer" muttered Rachel under her breath.
A minute later they came bursting through the library doors in a whirlwind of frustrated emotions that almost made Rachel lose her focus.
" I'm telling you, I don't need a new Watcher. No offense, lady," said Faith. It had to be Faith really. "I just have this problem with authority figures. They end up kind of dead."
"Duly noted, and, fortunately, it's not up to you," said a snooty female voice.
"That just had to be a Watcher," said Rachel. "She has the whole I'm English and better than you thing down pat. Just like how Giles acts when he's meeting someone new or wants to piss someone off."
"Yeah. Rachel, meet my supposed new Watcher, Gwen Post. And she's nowhere near as cool as the G-man."
"Charmed, I'm sure," quipped Rachel, as Giles muttered something about ungrateful children. At least that's what it sounded like to Rachel, it was kinda hard to tell.
"And what are you doing, young lady?" asked the snooty voice.
"Training for what exactly?"
"None of your bloody business, that's what," said Rachel. "The council knows about me right, Giles?"
"Yes, they do. They demanded to know what exactly had happened when I got in touch with them to arrange your new identity last year and I've had to keep them up to date with developments since as part of the agreement we made with them."
"Well, if they ain't seen fit to tell you, then you obviously aren't trustworthy enough to know, Ms. Post," said Rachel. "Sorry." Not sorry at all really but it was only polite to say it, she supposed.
She made a dismissive sound in the back of her throat as if it didn't really matter and Rachel heard her footsteps move around the lower area of the library for a little while before she spoke again. "Mr. Giles, where do you keep the rest of your books?"
That was going to rate a glasses-polishing.
"I-I'm sorry. The rest?" said Giles. Well it definitely sounded like he was going to from the tone of his voice.
Rachel toned out the conversation and focussed her senses on Ms. Post. Hmm. Ambition, lots of ambition leaking out. Bordering on lusting for power if not there already actually. She'd met Sith that were less ambitious. And deceit. Major deceit. Have to look into that. Definitely not a good thing. Her scent matched what her Force senses were telling her too. This woman was not good news. Rachel tuned back into the conversation going on around her.
"I have been sent by the council for a very important reason. Faith needs a Watcher. I am to act in that capacity and report back."
"Aren't you feeling lucky, Faith? I know I would be," quipped Rachel.
"Oh yeah. Feel the joy."
"The council wishes me to report on the entire situation here, including you," said little Ms. Snooty. Rachel assumed she was talking to Giles. Rachel decided that it was time to change things up a little and pushed off the ground with her right arm and landed using her left arm to keep the one-hand handstand going, all the while keeping all but two of the pencils afloat.
"Pretty impressive, Darth," drawled Faith.
"I do try."
"Mm! Academic probation's not so funny today, huh, Giles?" said Buffy.
"The fact is, there is talk in the council that you have become a bit too . . . " said Post, taking a breath before she completed the sentence, "American."
"Me?" said the gobsmacked Giles
"Him?" said the even more gobsmacked Buffy.
Rachel had to work hard to repress the laughter that welled up inside her at that. She even dropped a couple of the pencils.
"A demon named Lagos is coming here to the Hellmouth," said Post. "Mr. Giles, an illustration of Lagos, if you please."
"Wait a minute," said Rachel. "Shouldn't you have some sort of proof of identity or something?"
Rachel had gained a lot from her possession by Revan and one of those things was an appreciation of operational security and how this just wasn't feeling right at all. The Council might not exactly be up to the standards of a real military force but they were better than this.
"Well, I have some documents, but they won't arrive for several days yet, not till I have my most of my possessions shipped through to the flat I'm planning on renting."
"That's not acceptable," said Rachel flatly. "For all we know you could be some sort of spy working for one of the local villains."
"That's not your decision to make, child," said the new Watcher in a rather cold tone of voice.
Post's tone of voice and air of authority would have probably intimidated the old Xander slightly but someone who was used to dealing with Sith . . . it was a laughable attempt. Rachel just flipped onto her feet and gave the arrogant woman the coldest glare she could muster, a glare that could have frozen a volcano if it had substance. "I am no child, woman, and you would do well to remember that," she said in a frosty tone of voice that sounded every bit as much upper-class English as Post's, the tone of voice used by Revan when she was pissed.
Post looked like she was about to let loose another scathing retort when Giles intervened. "Now, what you say is quite true, Rachel, and I will expect to see those documents within the week, but the Posts are an old Watcher family. My father went to the academy with several of them. Her story makes sense."
"The best lies make sense till you have proof otherwise. This woman is trouble, Giles. I can sense it. She lusts for power and stinks of deceit."
And with that Rachel turned on her heel and left. She had no patience for this sort of foolishness. Giles should know better than to be so trusting just because someone has the right name. Absolute nonsense.
Rachel ghosted through the cemetery the next night with most of her mind still focussed on how pissed she was at pretty much everyone for being stupid enough to just accept this new Watcher. But what did she know? She'd only been in command of armies and fleets fighting a galaxy-wide war and been winning. She wouldn't know a damned thing about things operational security, she was just a child, after all. Stupid Giles, stupid Slayers, stupid Watchers. Stupid humanity in general. When a Jedi tells you that someone is trouble you bloody well listen, you don't dismiss it.
Well at least they knew all about this demon glove thing now. That was why she was hunting through graveyards looking for Buffy. Ah the joys of working with the Slayer, nothing quite like spending the might hours creeping through a graveyard. Normally she'd find a few vampires to take frustrations out on - Jedi calm be damned - but she didn't have the time right now. Artefacts of ultimate demonic power take priority over vampire bashing, unfortunately.
With that thought firmly in mind Rachel stepped up her search. If only it wasn't for the Hellmouth she'd be able to find Buffy easily enough with her senses but no she had to live in the one place on Earth that rendered them near useless at anything other than point blank range. Bloody demons and bloody portals to their home dimension. It was times like this she wished she had HK-47 around. He'd love living here. Just send him after the demons and he'd be happy for the rest of eternity. And the carnage would be wonderful. He'd soon send those creatures scurrying for safety in their home dimensions.
She was jarred out of her fantasies of HK slaughtering every demon in a hundred mile radius when she heard a nose off to her left inside the crypt she was passing. She immediately wrapped the Force around her like a cloak to obscure her presence and took cover behind a nearby grave. She had the distinct feeling that something important was about to happen and she didn't want to miss it. Maybe something about that Watcher or the demon glove of doom they were looking for.
And then Angelus walked out of the crypt! Angelus! It was a gift from the gods. Now what should she start with: the mental or the physical tortures. Choices, choices. What's a girl to do? She was almost giddy with anticipation. Automatically, she dropped the hilt of her lightsabre down from the forearm holster she normally kept it in and held it in a relaxed ready position, unignited. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't even notice the rag-wrapped package he was carrying.
He took a quick glance around the cemetery and then began to cautiously move away from the crypt in the direction of the mansion he owned. Rachel followed a good distance behind. The creature was good, she had to give him that, he didn't make it easy to follow him and nearly caught her once, but she was just better. Vampires have supernatural senses but nothing like what a Jedi can have if they make proper use of their powers. Eventually they reached the mansion and Rachel settled into a shadowy alcove near the atrium to observe Angelus.
To say she was surprised when Buffy showed up would be the understatement of the year and the rage that began to burn inside her when Buffy seemed to be unconcerned with Angelus's being there was considerable. When Buffy kissed the monster . . . It just seemed to explode. Every fibre of her being was filled with an overwhelming rage and hatred of what she saw in front of her. How dare she! How dare this idiot child give aid and comfort to the monster that killed Ms. Calender, that tortured Giles, that tortured her. The lightsabre seemed to hiss into life of its own accord as Rachel stepped out of the alcove. Some small part of her protested that this was wrong, of the Dark Side, but it was drowned out by the dark emotions that came to the fore.
"Angelus," hissed Rachel in the most rage-filled tone of voice you ever will hear.
She took great pleasure in the way the monster's eyes widened when he saw her with a lightsabre and the way his throat moved as he swallowed his nerves. "That's new," he said, in a surprisingly even tone of voice.
Buffy stepped in front of Angelus. "I won't let you hurt him," she cried.
"You mistake me for someone who cares what you think," stated Rachel evenly before hurling Buffy aside and bouncing her off the wall with a flick of her wrist.
Angelus growled and charged at Rachel in a rage, demonic face revealed, but found himself gagging in pain before he could even think to react as a red blade protruded from his back.
"You didn't think you could defeat me did you, Angelus?" asked Rachel as she kicked Angelus backwards, knocking him off-balance and to the ground. "Don't try that again."
"Why not?" he gasped, clutching at the neatly cauterised hole in his chest. "If my minions could take you . . . "
He was cut off by Rachel's foot slamming into his ribs so hard that he was lifted off the ground and thrown back several inches.
"Reminding me of then is not the best way to ensure your survival," she said impassively.
"Like you're going to let me leave here alive."
"Hmm. Maybe alive but certainly not in one piece. But the release of death will be a long time coming for you, I think."
"You're no better than me."
Rachel's smile was something terrible to behold. "Perhaps."
Before she could do anything a heavy weight slammed into her side and she was knocked rolling away across the floor, her lightsabre skittering away from her grasp. Instinctively she threw the weight off as she rolled onto her back and then used the momentum to bounce back onto her feet.
"I told you I wouldn't let you hurt him," said Buffy as she leapt back onto her feet and went into a combat stance. "Just stop this, Rachel. I don't want to have to hurt you."
Rachel's laughter was utterly devoid of any real humour. "Not a worry, Buffy. Not a worry."
"How about now?" asked Angel, standing shakily with the lightsabre held in an old-fashioned fencing stance.
"If you actually knew how to use that I might feel threatened."
"Doesn't seem to hard to me. Pointy end goes in the enemy. Easy."
Rachel just stared at him as if he was the biggest idiot on the face of the Earth. "It's your funeral."
She had to admit, they worked well together. If she was a normal opponent she'd never be able to defend herself from them both at the same time if they attacked with the way they moved to attack from such disparate angles. Of course, she wasn't a normal opponent, and they were reluctant to attack her. Fools. Moving so fast that she would have left after-images for anyone watching who wasn't mystically enhanced she lashed out at Buffy with a kick that would have snapped a normal person's sternum like a twig and lifted her clean off her feet.
Angelus's attacks were fairly well executed for an obvious amateur but she easily danced around them with the intoxicating power of the Dark Side filling her. No mere vampire would defeat a Sith Lord. Tiring of this dance, she lashed out with a palm strike to the chest that knocked the vampire off balance and then knocked him to the ground with a leg-sweep before kicking the lightsabre away. She didn't really need it anyway, not for this.
While Angelus recovered his balance, Buffy attacked in a remarkable display of the recuperative powers of the Slayer. Her attacks were crisp and fluid, her form without flaw, but her training had always concentrated entirely upon the hard martial arts that allowed her to deliver as much damage as possible as quickly as possible and her opponents were almost always fools who relied upon brute force. Rachel was able to deflect most of her attacks without harm and the few that landed she was able to twist in such a way that they did very little real damage. After a few moments of this Rachel caught Buffy's arm as she attempted a powerful straight punch and with a quick twist yanked it out of its socket before tossing Buffy aside.
"I tire of this," said Rachel. "I have no interest in you, Buffy, my quarrel is with the vampire. Leave now and I will allow you to go without further harm."
Buffy was already back on her feet. Impressive. She really didn't know when to give in, when she was completely out-matched. "I'm going nowhere," she said grimly, while popping her shoulder back into its socket.
"Very well," said Rachel. "You leave me with little choice."
"Yeah, well, some of aren't psychos who turn on their friends at a moment's notice, you know," spat Buffy in voice full of venom.
"Your life is forfeit," finished Rachel as if she was telling someone the time of day. And with that she raised her and clenched her fist in a very recognisable gesture as Buffy began to gag and struggle to draw air.
"You have to stop this," said Angelus, tugging at Rachel's shirt sleeve. "You're killing her!"
"That is the point," said Rachel, her eyes glowing a sickly yellow.
"You don't want to do this, Rachel," said Angelus, looking very serious. "Buffy's your friend. You don't want to kill her, not really."
Rachel snarled at him after a moment's thought and hurled him across the room. "You're right. I want to kill you."
"Not quite what I was aiming for," said Angelus, "but it'll do."
And then Angelus stopped talking and started screaming as the lightning started. Revan had always had a special affinity for this particular aspect of the Dark Side and that had passed over to Rachel. She wasn't using the devastating powerful version she'd used to burn a vampire down to ashes during the mess with Acathla but it still had enough power behind it to kill a normal human in short order. Just enough to draw it out and make sure it would take a long time to be fatal to a vampire in other words.
In a remarkable display of willpower Angelus managed to force his way to his knees using the wall he'd been blasted against as leverage but Rachel just upped the power behind the lightning another step and he went back down. She held this attack for a few more seconds before pausing.
"So how do you like being on the receiving end, Angelus? Should I go find a chainsaw?"
"I'd rather you didn't. I'd never get the blood out of the carpets."
Rachel just shrugged and launched a low-powered volley of lightning at him as she contemplated other methods of inflicting pain. Lighting while effective does tend to be somewhat overused. It detracts from the effect when you throw it around too much. Hmm. Perhaps an endless cycle of his worst nightmares. That's always a good one to use when you want to break someone's will. Certainly amusing if nothing else.
While she made up her mind she fired off another volley of lightning absent-mindedly just to keep him in a great deal of pain. And at that point she felt a horrible burning pain in her chest and looked down to see a the end of a red lightsabre blade poking out of her chest far too close to her heart for comfort. Black spots danced in front of her eyes as she stumbled forwards a step and fell to her knees.
Her breath was coming short now as one lung was utterly useless. No! She would not die like this! Reaching deep into her hatred and rage she called upon one of the most terrible of the powers within the Dark Side and activated the 'Death Field' draining life from everything around her till her wound was healed in a storm of purple energy. With that done her energy faded and the world went black around her.
"You didn't see her, Giles. She was completely out of control." That sounded like Buffy. Damn but her head hurt.
"Oh and I wonder why, B? Could it be because you've been protecting Mr. Mass Murderer?" That sounded like Faith.
What . . . and then it all came rushing back to her. Complete loss of control and massive use of the Dark Side, getting drunk on the power like so many new Sith, and attacking Buffy - nearly killing her - only to be stopped when Buffy stabbed her through the chest from behind while she was completely focussed on Angelus to the exclusion of all else. Such a rookie mistake to make.
"Ugh. You know, Buffy, I wouldn't have attacked you if you'd just stayed out of the way," said Rachel haltingly.
"And that's supposed to be a good reason? You nearly killed us!"
"I lost control," said Rachel simply. "But that doesn't explain why you were protecting that creature."
"That creature has a soul! That's Angel, not Angelus. And you have him to thank for your still being alive."
Rachel swung her feet off the couch and stood on unsteady legs. "I have my powers to thank for being alive, you mean. I would have died from that gaping hole you left in my chest otherwise."
"What was I supposed to do? Just let you kill him?" yelled an irate Buffy.
"YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED HIM YOURSELF WHEN YOU FOUND OUT WHAT HE WAS," yelled Rachel with an impressive level of volume. "The only good vampire is one that's filling a hoover."
Before Buffy could retort Giles stepped in between the two irate females. "You both need to step back and calm down," he said.
"Calm down? She's been protecting a known enemy - one who came within minutes of destroying the world - and you tell me to calm down?"
"He's not Angelus!"
"Till the next time, you mean," said Rachel bitterly. "I saw you shoving your tongue down his throat, you stupid girl.
That had Giles polishing away at his glasses. "That puts a decidedly different complexion on things," he muttered while sitting down in a nearby chair.
"What? She saw me with Angel, and she went nuts. How does that make any difference?"
"Because it shows that you haven't learned a damn thing from what happened last year," retorted Rachel. "How many people will have to die this time?"
"At least I won't be the one doing the killing," snapped Buffy. "You think I don't remember you telling Angel, 'that's the point,' when he told you that you were killing me. Or you telling me that my life was forfeit?"
"You shouldn't have stuck your bloody nose in if you don't want to get hurt," said Rachel, utterly pissed and far beyond any sort of caring. "You were the one who decided that it would be a good idea to turn it into some sort of pissing match."
"I'm not going to let you hurt Angel."
"You couldn't stop me."
"I managed to stop you this time, didn't I?"
"More luck than skill. It won't happen again."
"That's enough," snapped Giles. "Save your aggression for the demons, Buffy, and you, Rachel, are supposed to be a Jedi. You're supposed to be better than this sort of bickering and loss of control."
"A Jedi? Have you all gone completely insane?"
Rachel span around and with a burst of power she not so gently knocked Post on her backside without actually touching her. "If you are at all attached to your life it would be best for you to not draw my attention."
"Mr. Giles, this is intolerable-"
"No, no, you don't get to talk now," said Rachel, circling Post like a predator circling a particularly juicy piece of prey. "No, I want some answers from you. Why are you here?" she asked, the power in her voice so great that the people in the room felt like they could almost touch it.
" The glove of Myhnegon," she said, in a trance, completely subdued by Rachel's power.
"And what do you want with this . . . glove?"
"I want its power."
"Hmm. The Council has no idea you're here, do they?"
"None at all."
"Bitch!" cried an extremely angry looking Faith. "So what are we going to do with her?"
"I say we tie to her to a tree in the cemetery with a free-food sign taped to her chest," said Rachel.
The others gave her some very strange looks at that. As if they weren't thinking the same damn thing.
"I'll have to get on touch with the Council," said Giles. "But there's no way we can hold her till they arrive here."
"So break her legs. She won't get far then," said Faith, still looking deeply pissed off. She definitely did not appreciate being lied to.
Giles looked seriously tempted for a moment but in the end, "no. We will not lower ourselves to her level."
Considering that the woman was currently sprawled out on the floor looking like a village idiot high on mind-bending drugs, that was something Rachel could go along with.
"So what? We're just going to let the bitch go?" asked Faith.
"We don't have a choice in the matter," said Giles. "We are not common hoodlums and the council will soon catch up with her should she try to flee."
"This is foolish. Leaving an enemy is your back is tantamount to suicide," said Rachel flatly. "We need to take steps to keep her from being a danger to our operations until the Council takes her."
"Are you going to kill her too?" asked Buffy snidely.
Rachel turned an arctic-cold gaze onto Buffy. "Perhaps."
"I can't deal with this," said Buffy, throwing up her hands. "She's gone completely round the twist."
And with that she stormed out of the apartment in a right huff. Could she be anymore stereotypically teenage?
"I don't think so," sighed Giles. Oops, she hadn't meant to say that out loud. "But that does not even come close to excusing your own behaviour, Rachel. I can understand attacking Angel - I would have probably done so myself - but Buffy?"
"I think this is my cue to leave," said Faith. "See you all later."
"Yeah, Faith. Later," said Rachel as the door closed behind her. "It's not like I was really trying to kill her Giles. I hit her with disabling blows twice to try and get her out of the fight but she just wouldn't butt out and disabling a Slayer is easier said than done."
"Listen to yourself, Rachel. Since when do you attack first and ask questions later like this? Buffy is supposed to be your friend. If nothing else, she is your ally."
"Some ally! It was bad enough last time, we don't need another run-through this particular mess," snarled Rachel. "You didn't see them, Giles. It was like she'd completely forgotten everything that happened before."
"And you of course listened to their explanations?"
"You're joking, right?"
"You completely lost control when you saw Angel, didn't you?" said Giles. "You need to get a grip, Rachel. This is dangerous. If you start using the Dark Side on the hellmouth . . . the consequences could be dire."
Rachel took a deep, steadying breath. "I know, Giles. I know. I've been a very naughty little girl. I shouldn't have lost control. Believe me, I know," she said. "I can feel it now, you know. The call of the Dark Side. I can even feel the hellmouth offering me power." She shook her head. "It's almost as bad as the Star Forge and I'm nowhere near as sensitive to it as I was then."
And that sent Giles into glasses-rubbing mode. "That isn't good at all," he said. "But I really don't have the first idea how to help you. I never was a Star Wars fan really and I doubt that help much with the reality anyway."
"There's nothing you can do," said Rachel. "I just have to deal with it. It's not like it's ever going to go away with me being who I am."
"Yes, well, if you can think of any way that I can help then you only need to ask," said Giles. He cast an eye over to Post who was staring at the light reflecting off the television as if the meaning of life could be discerned from it. "Is she going to recover from this?"
"As soon as I release her. She's getting rather panicky right now, I can tell you. She doesn't like not being in control."
"I don't think anyone would like being caged inside their own mind like that."
"True, I suppose."
"Doesn't it strain you to hold her like this?"
"Not really. Her mind is remarkably weak and lacking in the discipline required to fight this sort of invasion," said Rachel, her voice contemptuous. "For someone who likes to play with demonic artefacts and the dark arts she's rather weak."
"The weak are second only to the powerful in how much they are tempted by that sort of thing," said Giles. "Now I think you should release her before any permanent damage is done."
"As you wish," said Rachel, and with a nod of her head Post was freed.
Post immediately scrambled backwards, away from Rachel and towards the door, shaking in terror. "You . . . you're a monster! Stay away from me!"
"Who was the one hunting down demonic artefacts again?" sneered Rachel. "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, lady."
"I think you should just leave, Ms. Post," said Giles with a sort of vicious glee. "There's nothing for you here now."
Obviously the stuffy old Brit doesn't appreciate some newcomer pulling the 'more Brit than thou' act. Anyway, Post seemed to think this was a real good idea and scrambled for the door, making good her escape while she still could. Honestly the utter terror she radiated would have been amusing if it wasn't so disturbing. Not that there wasn't a part of Rachel that didn't enjoy knowing she'd spooked someone so badly, and that disturbed her more than anything. She could almost accept coming close to killing people in battle - even when those people were allies and the battle unneeded - but torture like that? That was something else altogether. She felt something give inside her as she watched the grown woman scurry away from her and flee like a wounded animal.
"I really need to do something about this, don't I?" she asked Giles, sounding much younger than she had since before Halloween.
"I'm sure an apology . . . "
"No. I went too far but Buffy can't expect to pull something like that and get away with it," said Rachel. "I mean about the Dark Side."
"Well, it would probably be advisable," said Giles in a carefully measured tone of voice. "I do not like the idea of you becoming a Sith Lord."
"You and me both, G-man," said Rachel. "You and me both. What I wouldn't give for a holocron or a Jedi Master about now."
"Well, you just have to find a substitute, then," said Giles.
"And where am I going to find a Jedi Master on this planet?" asked Rachel in the most bitingly sarcastic tone of voice she could muster.
"You already have the knowledge, do you not?" asked Giles. "It's just a matter of applying it."
"I have the knowledge of a Jedi who became a Sith Lord before she was twenty-five years old," said Rachel. "Not exactly the greatest indicator of a great Jedi."
"I know it all ended," said Giles, "but wasn't Revan the greatest of her generation before she turned?"
"Yeah for all of the the three years she spent as a Knight," grumped Rachel. "Why couldn't I have dressed up as Luke Skywalker or someone like that?"
"Complaining won't get you anywhere," chided Giles. "You have to work with the situation as it is."
Rachel rubbed at her eyes, suddenly feeling very tired. "Well, what do you suggest then?"
"A training trip," said Giles simply. "Take some time away from the hellmouth and spend some time centring yourself."
"And you think that will work?!" asked Rachel with a look of utter disbelief on her face.
Giles shrugged. "It can't hurt, can it? Some time away from the hellmouth will do you a world of good, I think, and you'll never get anywhere if you're being constantly distracted by demons and vampires and the other nonsense that goes on here."
"Hmm. It might work. I have some places I wanted to visit that might hold potential cures for my gender problem," said Rachel thoughtfully. "But Snyder would never go for it."
"Leave Snyder to me," said Giles with a positively feral grin. "He won't be an issue. You're not legally an American citizen anyway in this form so he has much less control over you than he has over the girls."
Rachel thought about if for a couple of minutes weighing it up in her mind. A training trip might be able to help her - or at least remove her from disruptive influences for a while - but did she want to just leave? Remembering the looks Buffy had been giving her just now and the way Willow hadn't even showed up - couldn't face her, perhaps? - it was perhaps less of a sacrifice than it could be. And she had a nice, fat bank balance these days courtesy of the patents she'd released from her new-found knowledge of ridiculously advanced technology so she could afford to do pretty much whatever the hell she wanted. She didn't even really need high school these days - the GED was one exam away after all.
And she didn't really want to risk killing any of her friends in a Dark Side induced killing rage again. But that went without saying really.
"I think I'll do it, Giles," she said. "If nothing else it'll be a vacation from this crap."