Buffy was sitting back with a pout on her face. “Just because Xander writes for Star Trek, doesn't mean what we said isn't true.”
Anya was still giggling. “Of course not, but you haven't told me anything to show Xander as being anything other than what he is.”
Willow looked up from where she had poured another shot of Scotch. “Wha?!”
Anya looked at the red head who was going to have a huge hangover in the morning. “All you've done is prove that he knows the Doctor and Henchgirl, probably from the studio. As for Whistler, since when do you listen to anyone without checking it out yourself? What happened sounds more like a setup. He just happens to have those pendants, and pills to prevent you from getting drunk.”
“Hey! He was letting us do what we want!” Buffy shouted, even more annoyed that Anya, of all people, had noticed something she should have seen herself.
Anya laughed, “The Powers don't want you to go in, but he JUST happens to have items to help you go in and blend with the crowd. What sort of rumours did you hear?”
Willow snorted, “That he's Mr. Blacks brother, that he's responsible for the destruction of numerous beings, that he's been in several dozen wars, that he can't be killed, and that he destroyed Rome. They wouldn't tell us any more than that.”
“And I suppose that's how you know he's so old?” Anya replied sceptically. These two really couldn't get it into their heads that someone could be as good as or better than them at anything. Remembering how she was before she met and got to know Xander, she recognized the 'Power' syndrome. It was an old and rather annoying habit when dealing with the magical and supernatural.
When ordinary mortals had the saying 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely' this was not necessarily true with those of magical or supernatural nature. True, there were the oddball individuals who turned up from time to time, only to be put down and killed when someone finally got tired of them, but this was far from the norm. The saying among these communities was 'The more power, the less your friends and people who can understand you.'
The people afflicted with this tended to become bored with the plans of those who were of 'Lesser power' than those who had it. After all, they had the power, therefore they knew better what it could do than those who didn't. From the scraps of records left behind, this is what led to the downfall of the Old Ones. Then again, that could all be a lie as well as the scientific age of the planet was older than the supposed mystical nature of the planet.
Besides, only stupid people stopped looking for answers, or assumed that they had all the answers. This tended to be a recurring theme with a lot of vampires, demons, and 'gods'. As it turned out, this was one of the biggest advantages the humans had over the darker creatures. The ability to think, although these two were stretching that to the breaking point.
“Well...” Willow said as she realised how the two stories sounded so far, “There is more, but you have to keep an open mind about this.”
Anya sighed. Willow had a very good point. Leaning forward she said, “Okay. What else can you tell me.”
Willow started the story this time, “The next big clue turned up just before we faced Dracula...”
“How are we going to do this?” Buffy asked.
Willow shook her head, “I don't know. We could try to follow him everywhere, but he'd catch on quickly. I would try to scry on him, but with friends or family like he has, we either wouldn't get through, or we'd be caught even faster. We need some way of finding out what Xander's doing, but it would be almost impossible to do so.”
Yes, it was time for what had become an almost daily session of playing 'Who is Xander' since the night at the bar. This time, Willow and Buffy were disguising their talk as doing something that they rarely did. Watch television.
“Couldn't you like, you know, put some kind of recording thingy on him?” Buffy asked.
“How? Anything magical is likely to be found, and any electronic recorder he's sure to notice.” Willow sighed as she wondered what to do. “And suppose he changes clothes? We'd have to tag a lot of items and he'd notice for sure. Besides, I'm not sure there are enough recorders in the city to cover the number of Hawaiian shirts that he owns.”
“Well, what if we do a Bond?” Buffy asked as she noticed something in the TV Guide. “You know, bug him.”
Willow frowned. “And just how do you suggest we do that 'Q'?”
“I don't know. In his shoe?” was the reply.
Willow face puckered. She had to have been watching bad spy movies to come up with that. Still, it was a good idea and might work, but it would require more than simply adding a transmitter to him. Such things only worked in bad cartoons and movies, and in this town, being stupid enough to do things so amateurishly usually meant becoming a fledgling. “Think again.”
Buffy frowned, “His watch?”
“Blood flow” was the flat reply.
“There has to be someway to find out. Besides, we can't exactly lock him down anywhere, not with friends like those.”
Why did Xander always have to cause a problem? Demons scared of Xander was not normal. Demons more scared of Xander than the Slayer sent alarm bells off. Big ones. Willow sighed. If she didn't know better she'd almost say he did this on purpose.
Xander sighed as he made his way towards a mansion that was hidden to almost everyone's eyes. Xander was going there by invitation of one of his allies. He really was wondering what the old bat wanted since they last saw each other.
Sighing, he rang the doorbell, and was greeted by one of the young ladies that were off limits. “Hello Marya, how are you?”
The girl smiled, “Pretty good. How are you doing?”
“Same old, same old.”
Marya rolled her eyes as Xander came in the door. “Do you have to say that every time? God! You're as bad as my father!”
Xander smirked, “What did he do this time? Try to play himself again?”
“Come on. You're never going to believe this one.” the young dark haired girl said.
“You're what?!” Xander exclaimed, not quite believing it.
“We've got to get the Slayer to know what she is. For the first time in over 300 years, we have a Slayer who realizes her own true power, but not the source of her power.”
“Vlad, not that I disagree, in fact I very much agree, but don't you think risking your own life to inform her of her true abilities is a bit much? She is making quite a bit of progress.”
“Xander,” Vlad said solemnly as he took a sip of his drink, “I've considered all the options available. I can't let this opportunity go and you know it.”
“Why the hell didn't you just stay as part of the Council. If you had, none of these problems would have happened!” came the frustrated reply.
“What about you? You keep going from battle to battle. Civilization to civilization. Do you think I like the fact that those idiots created the problem in the first place?”
“My brother took care of them. A long time ago.” Xander growled as he got up and paced. “Atlantis was destroyed for several reasons, the least of which is the creation of the demon vampires or condemning a girl to house a demon within her soul.”
“Look. We need to take the chance.”
“What about taking care of the Council. They're the real source of the problems.”
“There are some good people. If we could get rid of Travers and some of the other power hungry fools, it would be a force for good again. Besides, some member of the Order of the Dragon have already been working towards weakening Travers and his groups strangle-hold. We have an idea of what to do, and it definitely includes you.”
Xander sighed. “Now I know what Marya was talking about. I won't like this plan, will I?”
“I wouldn't say that. It won't be boring, if that's what you mean.”
“What's the plan.” said a resigned Xander.
“With Giles here, we've started working on increasing the prestige of his family and of course him. In the next few months, we plan for him to come across several books and prophecies that the main council either thinks they have the only copy or do not know about. We want you to become a 'Watcher in training' in order to join the organization and guide it back on the right track, which is they work for the Slayer, not the other way around.”
“I was right. I don't like it. Do you realize that Slayers have this tendency to be over-egotistical and think they are right because they have 'powers beyond mere mortals'?”
“Can't be avoided. She needs to take charge of them, in some way or fashion.” said the Vampire Lord.
“That's what led to the trouble after you left the Council, Tepees. We need the Slayers and Watcher to work together, not have a constantly changing power struggle.”
“I'm sure you can handle it. You're older than I am.”
“Yea, right!” Xander responded sarcastically. “What are you going to do to convince her to start looking in the right direction.”
“I figure the best thing to do is use Stokers book as a template for confronting her. Besides, it will piss off William.” Vlad chuckled.
“Why'd you allow that book to be published anyway?”
“I was bored and Stoker did fictionalize the whole thing to be used as a guidebook for ordinary people. Take a few diaries from here, a few newspaper articles from there, change a few names a dates and you have a good story for the masses.”
“But why use your name?”
“As I said, I was bored.”
Buffy looked confused as they listened to the conversation. Someone named Vlad who was a former member of the Watcher's council? An Order of the Dragon? Xander's brother destroying Atlantis? This didn't make sense.
Willows eyes opened wide as she heard Vlad's last name. Xander knew and was friends with Dracula! And how could he be older than a five hundred year old Vampire when she knew him from childhood? It wasn't logical, even magically logical.
Even worse, it seemed that Dracula had been a previous member of the Watchers Council and he was for strengthening the Slayer! Either this a joke because Xander found the electronic bug in the protection charm she insisted that he wear, or there was a lot more going on than they knew, and it was leaning towards the later.
“Buffy, I think I know what the next challenge is going to be.”
“Oh?” Buffy said as she tried to remember where she heard the name Stoker.
“Dracula's going to be in town for the next little while, and he's got some secrets to tell us. You have to make it look like you're trying without killing him.”
“But Dracula is like, the Big big bad. Isn't he?” Buffy said, now very confused.
“Awww! Come On! You really don't expect me to play Harker, do you?” Xander's voice was heard to shout from the receiver.
“Oh yes! I definitely think he's in town!” A wide eyed Willow stated.
“Well, you know the rest of it. Dracula came to town and he didn't kill anyone.” Buffy said.
Anya rolled her eyes. “Of course he was part of the Council! Didn't I tell you that?”
Willow and Buffy looked at each other, then at Anya, “WHAT!!!”
Anya squeegeed her ears with her little fingers then responded. “He provided a lot of the funding under the agreement that they start doing things properly. I always wondered why he left them.”
“ButthatmeansyouknewaboutXanderallalong!” Willow babbled.
Anya took a second to decipher that. “Oh no. Vlad's always like to play to the crowd. As an actor, he's quite the ham. He's played himself in several of the worlds theatres and also appeared in a few films about himself. He probably knew about the way you bugged Xander and asked for his help in the first place. He is more likely to listen than either of you.”
Buffy groaned. Was nothing getting through to Anya? It was like she was refusing to see the truth. Well, they would just have to make a more convincing argument.