Buffy walked along the sidewalk, her book-bag and purse wobbling at her side. Nobody needed to know about the stakes in both, or the spray bottle of Holy Water. Willow kept suggesting that she add a touch of perfume or some of that scented oil to the Holy Water, but she hadn't. Buffy wasn't sure if it would still work against the vampires, and that wasn't the sort of thing that it was smart to test in an emergency. Vampires were bitey nasty pests, and if it didn't work, then you'd have fangs where they shouldn't go... which was anywhere, not just certain places.
Her mind kept going back to Michael. He was cute, and had been trying to help her with patrols, and hadn't freaked out. He was fun to talk to and didn't try to repress everything. Giles and Xander seemed to like him.
He'd almost been turned into a vampire. He said it was still a possible problem.
Cute, not freaking out boy... another round of vampire-fueled angst and drama. She didn't want to see if it would balance out. Except maybe part of her did want to find out.
Come to think of it, she hadn't seen him for a while. Not since she'd freaked out at him in the park.
It was bad not to see people for a while in Sunnydale. Too many people had bad, awful, often fatal things happen. Especially if they were assumed to be connected to her, the Slayer. Which totally sucked and wasn't fair, but demons and vampires generally weren't of the fair natured sort.
Buffy blinked, realizing that she was in front of the Magic Box. "Huh. Since I'm here, maybe I should ask Giles if he and Michael have made any progress on that nasty issue?"
Buffy ducked into the building, hoping that Anya hadn't tried to overcrowd the shelves again. She didn't need her bag knocking things onto the floor, especially since she had no intention of buying any of the... whatever that stuff was. Drums and carved chunks of wood and big hoop things with feathers and threads and beads.
Anya was at the cash register, as usual, and glared at Buffy when she saw her. That part was different. Buffy just hoped Anya wasn't trying to blame her for cutting into her sex time again by whatever twisted Anya-logic the demon girl was going to use this time. She still had no idea what Xander saw in Anya.
"Is Giles in?" Buffy tried to be polite, figuring she owed Xander that much.
"Giles is in the back," Anya was still glaring at Buffy. "Talking with Xander."
“Cool,” Buffy headed towards the back. If Xander was back there, Giles couldn’t be too deep into the big demon books, and Xander generally made things less stress and awful. It was one of his best features, as far as Buffy was concerned.
Seeing her Watcher and her friend, Buffy smiled, “Hey guys. I was wondering if you’ve got anywhere on that problem Michael was having?”
“Now you care?” Xander was glaring at her. “A bit late now, isn’t it?”
Buffy blinked, “What?”
“Where was your concern last week, when you pretty much told Michael you thought he was a monster? When you told him he wasn’t worth taking a little time to help?” Xander was glaring.
“Michael came to me in hopes of finding a thorough, proper solution to a horrible problem. One that has seldom been faced, as few can remain among the living when subjected to a more subtle method of turning. They find themselves unable to resist the temptations of the blood-lust and the increased abilities. Or they fear what is happening and kill themselves. I’ve only been able to find a few other cases of anyone resisting the blood for more than a few months. His own events… it took place several years ago. The traditional Watcher response was not a good choice, as it was to kill the afflicted as a probable vampire and burn the body,” Giles was polishing his glasses. “We were hoping to find a kinder, less fatal option.”
Buffy blinked, a sound that didn’t manage to be words at all emerging.
“You freaked out. As good as called him a vampire.” Xander was still glaring. “He’s got as many issues with the fang set as I do. He decided that he was done trying to wait for a smart solution and when you freaked out, he figured he didn’t have anything else to lose and went with the fast and dumb plan.”
“Fast and dumb?” Buffy could feel herself going cold at the angry words.
“Go find David and fight him. Either the vampire gets killed and the problem’s solved, or Michael gets killed and doesn’t have to worry about it anymore anyhow. Either way, problem solved. Great job, Buffy,” Xander almost growled.
“But he shouldn’t be fighting a vampire on his own!” Buffy protested. She hadn’t... it hadn’t been like that, had it? Michael wouldn’t really go off and face probable death because she freaked out… would he?
“He wasn’t on his own.” Xander’s words were ice cold. “We went with him. Fought David and David’s pal.”
“What happened?” Buffy wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“Willow and Oz took out the buddy vamp. David went for Michael. It was a big, nasty messy fight.” Xander sat down, his eyes closing.
“Did you guys win?” Buffy hoped the answer was yes. Teamwork could help a bunch.
“Michael said he’d rather die than wind up a vampire. He also wanted David dead more than he cared about getting out of the mess alive.” Xander paused, swallowed hard and whispered, “Michael staked David through the heart with a broken mirror frame.”
“That’s great news!” Buffy smiled. Her smile faltered when Xander didn’t grin back. “It’s good news, right? Right?”
“David had his teeth in Michael’s shoulder at the time. He staked David, and the vamp’s dusted for real this time, but it also went right through his own chest.” Xander was giving her this flat, cold look.
“Michael said he’d rather die than wind up like David. You made it so he didn’t think he had time to keep looking for a smart plan. Michael meant it.”
“Oh my God…” Buffy gasped. “He wasn’t… I didn’t… nobody was supposed to get killed.”
“David’s dead, you don’t have the drama of another boyfriend with fangs, isn’t that what you wanted, Buffy?” Xander was still glaring.
“Not like that!” Buffy protested.
“You weren’t the only one who suffered. You aren’t the only one with vampire issues. You can’t just freak out and not bother to care about anybody else freaking out or having problems.” Xander sighed, and shook his head. “Just… just go elsewhere. Anya and I still think he wouldn’t have decided to go with the fast and dumb plan if you hadn’t stomped on him like that and ditched him. Willow and Oz are kind of freaked out by someone stabbing himself in the chest to get rid of a vampire. We’re trying to cope ourselves, and can’t help you get over the problem that you’re freaked out because you kind of liked another guy that was having fang issues.”
Buffy left the Magic Box, her eyes stinging with tears. She’d never thought about what her reactions could do to someone else. And as mean as Xander’s words had felt, he raised a point. She hadn’t been the only one hurt.
He probably wouldn’t have wanted to hurt her if he wasn’t upset by his new friend doing suicide by vampire. No, maybe not suicide by vampire, more like the take your enemy with you. Maybe Michael couldn’t win, but he made sure David lost.
It hurt to think of Michael dead. Hurt more to think that she’d upset him enough to do that to himself.
Maybe she could talk with her mom about this?
End Lost Boy 9: Lost Opportunities.