Title: Protecting a Protector
Author: Allison (aecflower)
Summary: Cleo, an up-and-coming witch, is contacted by a Watcher who is concerned about the safety of his Slayer. She is enlisted to help and ends up meeting a woman who quickly becomes a friend and a young boy who will remind her that life is truly unfair.
Disclaimer: Some of the characters are mine while others aren’t. I, of course, am only taking credit for my characters and the events that I’ve thrown them into.
Final Word Count: 3,100
Part 2 – Lightning’s Strike
Three Months Later…
“Cleo, can I have a word with you?” Carl asked as he emerged from the back room of the store, walking down one of the aisles and heading in her direction.
“Yeah, what’s up?” she asked as she put away the last of the books she was holding.
“Is everything okay with you?” he asked. “You look like you haven’t slept in weeks, and you’ve been a lot quieter than normal.”
“I just have a lot on my mind,” she answered, shrugging. “I haven’t been sleeping as much as usual, but I’m fine. Really.”
“That doesn’t explain why you’ve been buying out most of my supply of witchcraft books,” he pointed out, and she sighed before looking down.
“I’ve been reading up on stuff,” she replied. “There’s no harm in that, is there?”
“No, but when you’re studying stuff like that, I can’t help but worry,” he said. “I don’t want to find out one day that you’ve fallen in with the wrong crowd and are in trouble.”
“Trust me, my crowd is anything but wrong.” She raised her eyes to his and crossed her arms. “I’ve been helping out my friends, okay? There’s stuff going on around here that most people are too blind to notice, and we’ve been trying to change things.”
“Just don’t mess around with things that might be dangerous,” he said. “I’d miss having you around here.” She smiled slightly and looked away. “I’m going to head home. Will you be alright here by yourself?”
“I should be,” she answered, watching him nod before he walked to the front door and left.
A few minutes later, she was flipping through a magazine behind the main counter when Nikki walked in, looking worried and fidgeting a little. Cleo noticed her friend’s expression and frowned.
“Hey,” she said, putting the magazine away. “Were we supposed to be meeting up tonight?”
“No,” Nikki answered, looking outside and shaking. “Something has come up.”
“What’s going on?” Cleo asked, walking out from behind the cash register and following Nikki’s gaze. “I can’t believe it’s raining again. It seems like all it ever does now is pour.”
“Do you see anyone out there?” Nikki asked. “A man?”
“No.” Cleo raised an eyebrow at the random question. “Should I?”
“I ran into a vampire tonight,” she said quietly, looking at Cleo. “I was out walking with Robin in the park, and he came out of nowhere. We fought, he left, and I took Robin to
“Well, he probably realized he couldn’t take you and opted to hide out somewhere,” Cleo replied.
“No, I really don’t think that’s the case,” she said. “I could sense how powerful he is. He’s not a fledgling, Cleo – he’s a tough fighter. If he is who I think he is based on his appearance and his accent, he isn’t a vampire to be taken lightly.”
“What’s the plan, then?” Cleo asked. “I don’t get off of work until after nine, but I might be able to do some spells here without anyone noticing that something’s off.”
“You know those protection spells we’ve talked about that I’ve been afraid of allowing?” the other woman asked. “I mean, you’ve gotten really good at spell casting, but I still have my reservations.”
“I know,” Cleo replied. “So do I.”
“I’d like you to do one on Robin,” Nikki said. “I trust you with him, and I want to know that he’ll be safe, even if I’m not.”
“I can do one on you, too, right now,” Cleo said, but Nikki shook her head and walked to the door. “Why not? It’ll help you.”
“I can’t run forever,” Nikki replied, managing a small smile. “And I have a feeling that no amount of protection will help in the next fight.”
“No,” Nikki interrupted. “Just please do this for me. I’m going to go out patrolling, and I’ll check in once the bad guy is gone, alright?”
“Are you absolutely sure you don’t want me to help you?” Cleo asked. “Because I’m sure I can-”
“Don’t worry about me,” Nikki cut in, opening the door. “I can take care of myself. Please do the spell on Robin, though, and
“Don’t go out again tonight,” Cleo said in a hushed tone as a customer walked to the counter. “Something bad is going to happen. I can feel it, Nikki.”
“I’ll be fine,” Nikki replied, a brave smile forming on her lips. “You’ve been a good friend, Cleo. I’m very lucky to have you on my side.”
Before she could respond, Nikki walked outside and into the rain, walking across the street and returning to the park.
Cleo watched her until she disappeared into the night before whispering a brief incantation in Latin, hoping it would prove effective in keeping Nikki safe, at least for the night.
* * * * *
After closing up the store, Cleo hailed a cab and went to
“Have you heard from her yet?” she asked as she stepped in, looking around the place that had become like a second home to her after a few short months.
“She called me on a payphone about ten minutes ago,” he answered, closing the door. “She said she’s on her way here. She didn’t see the vampire and doesn’t want to catch a cold from being out in the rain too long. A sick Slayer isn’t exactly helpful.” He looked at his watch. “She shouldn’t be too much longer now. She said she was going to take the subway.”
“Where’s Robin?” she asked, looking around.
“He’s asleep on my bed,” he said, walking in the direction of his room and stopping to stand in the doorway. “Nikki said you’d do a spell to protect him.”
“I’m going to try,” she replied, walking into the room and kneeling down beside the bed, watching the young boy sleep as she opened the bag she had brought with her and extracting a small book, a vial of holy water, and a pink crystal. “I’m not sure if this will work or not.”
“Doesn’t hurt to try,” he said, studying her as she opened the book and began to recite some phrases in Latin, her hand hovering over Robin’s body as she spoke. He whispered to himself, “Let’s hope it’ll help.”
She opened the vial and poured a couple of drops on Robin’s forehead, grateful that he didn’t stir. She made the sign of the cross on his skin before pouring half of the vial on the crystal and placing it over his heart, closing her eyes and saying more of the spell.
As she finished, she stood up and packed her things up. “I guess we won’t know if it works or not until he’s in danger.”
“And for his sake, I hope he’s never put into situations of that sort,”
“I’m worried,” Cleo admitted, and he looked down at his feet.
“She’s a strong woman,” he replied. “But I’m a little worried, too.”
They sat down at his kitchen table and continued to wait for Nikki, making idle conversation. Neither of them expected a phone call from the police twenty minutes later, informing them of the Slayer’s murder.
Before a distraught
* * * * *
Cleo trudged home after a couple of hours of sitting in the police station and looking through papers, tired of rereading the same details over and over again. Only a few people had witnessed Nikki get onto the subway, along with a man who had platinum-blonde hair. From the reports, it had seemed as if he followed her into a subway car and sat a few rows away from her, acting nonchalant before approaching her and sitting beside her. After that, details became fuzzy, mainly because Nikki told everyone in the subway car to go into a different one and to stay away from them.
One woman claimed she heard a lot of fighting in the car, and a man said he had heard the blonde man scream at one point, but other than that, no one heard what words were exchanged between the two.
The report of what happened to Nikki was clear, and the details of what her killer looked like were even clearer. She left the station and felt compelled to hunt him down, but by the time she got out of there, the sun was close to being up.
She went to her apartment and called
As she wrapped up the spell, she shut the book and closed her eyes, biting back the tears that threatened to spill over.
“May Nikki’s killer never know what true friendship is.”