A/N: Chapter 2 of Bad Luck Charm, and I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I do writing it. For this chapter, there are some hints of darker themes. Need the angst! XD
Bad Luck Charm
Summary: Alana looked at the flames flickering in the fireplace, her golden eyes heavy with sorrow. "Did you know crows are a sign of bad luck? Old superstition. But there's a reason why I can turn into one."
Alana removed her claymore from its holster, gracefully spinning it around in her hands despite its bulk. "Okay firecracker. Are you ready?" The blonde was still waiting for Willow to finish up dinner, and if there was one thing Allyson inherited from her aunt, it was her lack of patience. Both were practically dying of hunger as the delicious smells wafted by in the air, and it was even worse for Alana. The vampire huntress hadn't eaten in about two days due to her self-loathing nature, preferring a 'liquid meal' instead. 'If there's one thing I hate almost as much as being forced to lie to my own daughter, it's missing Willow's cooking. Okay, maybe just missing Willow in general.'
Allyson stood opposite to her, a large scythe in hand, and the raven-haired girl nodded determinedly. In her first year of going to the same huntress academy as her mother and aunt, she had some skill in dealing with the undead. Not on the same level as either parent figure, but not exactly a pushover, either. All she needed was more study and constant practice; in this line of work, one mistake or lack of preparation meant death, and good people would die as a result of that failure. "I'm ready."
"Okay. This may be practice, but I won't go easy," Alana warned. "Being a vampire huntress is fraught with constant danger. One mistake, and you're dead. This round will be until whoever is disarmed first. Begin." 'Of all the friggin' weapons in the world to choose from, she picked the one that's even more unwieldy than a claymore. She really takes after you, Sash. Brute force and just charge in.'
Allyson ran forward, swinging her scythe, and Alana chuckled quietly to herself before spinning around, holding her sword across her back to block the strike and countering with a swipe of her own. Her niece ducked, and the blonde huntress spun back around to dish out a few more strikes, each barely blocked by the younger girl's scythe. "Your defensive work has improved since our last match. Clearly you do pay attention." 'She's gotten much better. Willow should be proud of her. Like mother, like daughter.'
"Well, you always insisted that I study defensive tactics first," Allyson gritted through her teeth. "And I think I understand why now." She pushed back, aiming for a low strike to take out Alana's legs, and the more experienced huntress jumped back, flipping over it and spinning her heavy sword in her hands to block two more strikes from the raven-haired girl.
"And what may that be?" Alana asked, feeling a sense of pride as she saw how many leaps and bounds her niece had taken since their last match over a month ago. 'I can't believe you thought your own daughter would be nothing more than a burden, Sash. Real father of the year material, brother.' Allyson's father (and Alana's twin brother) Aleksander left right after Willow gave birth to her, and for as long as either woman could remember, Allyson had an almost unhealthy obsession with trying to find him. She wanted to know why he left, and why he decided to use his skills to harm instead of using it to help those who couldn't help themselves like other hunters.
That obsession had very nearly gotten the girl killed when she was ten. Allyson snuck out of the house when Willow fell asleep, and with Alana out on one of her typical drinking nights, she made her way to an abandoned house only a few miles away. When the girl arrived, she found it to be overrun by vampires, and would have lost her life if it weren't for Alana coming to her rescue. For some reason, the blonde could always tell when her niece or daughter were in danger, and though it was still a mystery, she was glad that it did happen. Willow already lost her husband and in a way her oldest partner; losing her daughter would have probably been the final break. 'Some say it's instinctual to want to protect those one cares about. I don't know about that, but I know damn well it isn't just luck. I've never had it.'
"On the defensive, you can read your opponent's tactics and learn from them," Allyson replied, spinning her scythe around. The sharp blade met Alana's with a metallic clang, and she struggled to push back. "And if you are good enough, you can make a solid prediction about their next move." Alana allowed herself to smile for the first time in a few weeks, only for it to vanish as she felt her power start to activate. 'Ugh. It figures. I can't be around anyone else for more than ten minutes before my power goes haywire. And I hate it.'
Those who decided to enroll in one of the many vampire huntress schools tended to have some sort of special ability they could call on in battle. Willow was gifted with her command of the forces of magic, Sasha was capable of creating a portal to those he was close to, Layla could soothe wild beasts, and Alana was just unlucky. She brought misfortune to anyone who got too close to her, and it was a curse in her eyes. Most people had to go under years of training to learn how to use their powers, whereas she didn't. Alana had no control over it, or who was affected. It was always there, always watching. She was a bad luck charm, in every sense of the word.
"You've gotten better, but you're still off-balance," the older blonde said quietly, not wanting to alarm her niece. The only ones who knew about Alana's bad luck were Willow and her brother, and she preferred it stayed that way for now. 'After all this time, it's still noticeable that you favor the right side of your body. It makes you easy to knock down.'
"Wait, what?" Allyson looked down at the position her feet were, and that momentary lapse was just enough time for Alana to swipe her to the ground and send her scythe spinning away. The raven-haired girl grumbled in frustration as she dusted her pants off, getting to her feet. "Dammit. I definitely messed up. Why is this so difficult for me?"
"Because you're predictable. And stubborn. And definitely a little boneheaded," Alana answered dryly, taking a swig from her flask. Whiskey wasn't usually her first choice of alcohol, but it served its purpose when it came to getting her drunk as quickly as possible. "You act the same as your father in battle. You both act like the easiest way past an obstacle is through it; that strength is all that matters in a fight. But if you take a second look, you find there's a way around it as well. But you need to calm down to take that second look. A fiery attitude will only get you so far. Passion is a great thing to have, but you mustn't let it control you."
She crouched down next to her niece, ruffling her hair. "You always burned brighter than anyone else. I haven't forgotten your first haircut." The event happened over fifteen years ago, but the memory of Allyson running around trying to find her hair still brought a smile to the broody blonde and rolled eyes from the guilty party. 'Sorry kiddo, but I'm never going to let you forget it.'
Alana gave her niece a hug, messing with her hair. "Come on firecracker. Your mom already complains about me being too rough with you. I don't want her to start accusing me of keeping you from eating." 'Damn, and it's starting to waft outside.' Her stomach growled angrily, and the pale huntress rolled her golden eyes as she placed her claymore in its holster across her lower back. 'Never been one for eating a lot, but goddamn I could use a decent meal.'
The two headed inside, and just in time. Willow was already setting the table, and she had a glass of wine set out for herself. "I was just about to call you in. The alcoholic who is the self-proclaimed 'Aunt of the Year' didn't go too rough with you, did she?"
"Woah woah, what do you mean by 'self-proclaimed'? I am the aunt of the year," Alana smirked, taking her seat next to her old flame. "I'm the one teaching your eldest to fight vampires." 'Ugh. This lie hurts me so much. I want to tell her. I want to tell Layla I'm her mother. But I don't want Willow to be hated because of my mistake. She did the best job she could, despite Sasha running out on her. If anyone deserves to be hated for it, it's me.'
"Didn't you quit teaching at Starlight Academy?"
"I quit because it was impossible to be a successful huntress and teacher at the same time. Plus your mom hated how I taught students while drunk," the blonde corrected, taking a swig from her flask again. Willow rolled her eyes and smiled as Layla bounced into the kitchen happily. She took a deep sniff of the food, and another pang of sorrow pierced Alana's heart. 'Poor girl is so happy. Can I really do this to her?
'No. I cannot let Willow take the blame for my actions. If Layla wants nothing to do with me after, then I can accept that fate. But I won't stand for them hating her.' Alana felt queasy at the mere thought of confessing the truth to her daughter, but her stomach growled in protest as she milled about skipping dinner and going for a liquid meal instead. 'Looks like I have to eat, regardless. Plus I doubt Willow will let me skip.' "It smells good."
Dinner was a mostly quiet affair, apart from small talk about the upcoming tournament at the end of the year. Starlight Academy held a tournament to see who had made the most progress towards becoming a successful huntress, and when Alana and Willow were still students, they were favorites to win from the time they were just first year students.
With dinner now over, Alana felt her phone vibrate in her jacket pocket, and she pulled it out to see a message from one of her contacts flash across the screen. "The Queen has pawns in place. Keep low and don't do anything rash." The blonde sighed, and she was about to head to the nearest bar when a pair of arms wrapped around her waist. "I guess you're in the mood now they aren't around?"
"I did miss you, you know," Willow returned, spinning her around to plant a kiss on her lips. "Any news regarding Sasha?"
"Not a damn thing. I know he's out there somewhere, but I don't know where. It's driving me to drink even heavier. I'm so sorry...I'm nothing but a failure to you."
"Don't say that about yourself. You aren't a failure; you've just have had a streak of bad luck."
Alana sucked her teeth bitterly, her golden eyes watering. "Yeah, and who's the one who causes it? Me! I've done nothing but bring you pain, from the time we fucking met! You'd be better off without me around." She wrenched herself free and stormed out, tears streaming down her face. She heard Willow try and call her back, but the redhead's attempts were in vain. The blonde activated another part of her power and transformed into a crow, flapping her wings harder than she should have and didn't stop until she reached a tiny little tavern over an hour away.
Her cheeks had lines of tears down them, and the blonde wiped her eyes as she took an seat at an empty table, her head hung in sorrow. 'Layla doesn't deserve me to be her mother. All I do is bring harm to the people I love.'
'You know you shouldn't have said that shit to Willow, genius.'
Alana was brought out of her mental angst by the sound of a glass hitting the table, and she looked up to see the face of a young barmaid. "I didn't order anything."
"From the man upstairs. Golden eyes. Said you wouldn't mind bottom shelf."
The blonde huntress looked towards the second floor of the tavern before sinking her head down again. "Thanks..."
"But, I went ahead and gave you top. Aren't you a lucky girl?" the girl smirked to herself before going to deal with another patron. Alana watched the shake of her hips before scoffing at the mention of luck, stalking her way upstairs to deal with someone she was hoping to not run into.
Sasha was waiting for her, a smirk on his face as he saw his twin. "Why, hello sister. It's certainly been a long time since we last had the pleasure of making conversation."
Alana rolled her eyes, taking a seat across from him. "Sasha. What the hell do you want?"
"A lad can't catch up with his family?"
"He can, but you're not. So how about we get on with it?" Alana took a sip of her drink, the familiar burn of straight rum burning the back of her throat. "Unless you plan on keeping these coming."
She placed the glass down, her finger tracing circles around the rim, and Sasha broke the uneasy silence. "Does Selena have it?"
"Did you know I had to save Allyson from vampires?"
"That's not what I asked."
"Rhetorical question. I know damn well you know! It's just obnoxious that you would bring up family and carry on like your own fucking daughter doesn't even exist," the blonde hissed. She may have not been around for the girl like Willow, but Sasha didn't even acknowledge his own daughter's existence. 'Fucking asshole. You know that Allyson nearly died looking for you, and you pretend nothing happened.'
"Like you're in a position to lecture me. Dumped your daughter on your best friend. Does Layla even know that you're her mother?" Sasha returned, his golden eyes livid. His spiky brown hair was sticking up at ridiculous angles, and the blonde winced at the mention of her daughter.
"Now, don't make me ask you again. Does. Selena. Have it?"
"I thought you weren't interested in all of this."
"If you don't know where the damn Dagger of Night is, then this conversation is over," Sasha growled, standing up to leave.
Alana grabbed his wrist, her breathing calm despite her emotions going haywire. "I don't know where the Dawn's Mistress is, either. But if you do, I need you to tell me."
"And why should I tell you that?" her twin sneered, yanking his hand away.
The blonde didn't bite, and she swallowed slowly. "Because without her, we're all going to die."
"Hmph. Which we are you referring to?" With that last rhetorical question, Sasha created a portal, walking into it. Alana heard a horrified gasp behind her, and the blonde saw the barmaid from earlier standing with a terrified expression on her face, as though she expected the huntress to attack.
Alana held her glass out to her, sighing as her brother disappeared into the portal. It was going to be a long night for her, and she wasn't planning on spending it sober. 'I really fucking hate him.'
"Make this one a double."
A/N: And that wraps up Chapter 2. I promise to have more mature content next (keeping it rated M, not MA), and more dark themes such as minor self harm. I'll see you soon!