Chapter 16 – Who’s the Alpha? Part 2
I dunno when Cordelia got her car exactly or at what age she was driving it. The whole American permit/license thing is something we don’t have in Europe. Just a drivers license which you can get at the age of 18. However I know it’s different in the US, so I’m just saying that Cordy has her car and is allowed to drive. I dunno if its correct, but I’m not caring. It’s fan fiction so I can mess with it.Note2:
Yes this took forever. I've written this chapter about three times now. Each time something happened and I had to start over. But I've finally gotten though it. Even with my fickle muse.Note3:
Thanks to DreamOfStories for beta-ing this!Chapter 16 – Who’s the Alpha? Part 2California, Sunnydale, Sunnydale High
“OK, I realize that I don’t know Xander, Jesse or even Owen that well, but what was up with them on the bus ride back?” Buffy questioned Willow and Amy as they entered the library together.
“They were acting bizarre, since when does Owen hang out with Xander or Jesse?” Amy wanted to know.
“Maybe they bonded while rescuing Lance from those bullies?” Willow offered as an explanation while the group took seats around the table.
“Where is Giles?” Buffy inquired.
“Maybe he’s out with friends?” replied Willow as she looked around.
“Giles? Out with friends? As in…, not in the library.” Buffy said in a voice indicating she thought the situation highly unlikely.
“I know what you mean. It sometimes looks like he’s living here.” Amy told them.
“I’m not. Principal Flutie doesn’t allow it.” Giles’s dry tone of voice stated as he stood in the doorway of his office.
Buffy rolled her eyes, “Very funny Giles…. It was a joke, right?” she inquired half teasing, half serious.
“It was. Now, about the situation with the Master and Angelus. I have spoken with the Council and they discovered that the history between the two is rarely amiable.” Giles informed the others.
“Rarely amiable? What does that mean?” inquired Amy.
Willow was the first to answer, though it came out more as a question then an answer. “They don’t get along?”
Amy grinned at that as she formed her theory, “Well one has the face of an Angel and the other one shaped like a bat. I can’t really see them getting along. Batface is probably jealous of Angelus.”
“Quite the contrary, actually. Angelus’ cruelty is admired by The Master. The Master is very old and the older a vampire gets the more the demon characteristics show. His looking more like a bat, is something The Master would consider a sign of respect and strength. The problem lies with Angelus, he does not take orders from anyone.” Giles explained to them. Then he turned to Buffy before adding, “You two have that in common.”
Buffy pouted at her Watcher before saying, “I can’t help it that my way of doing things is more effective than your way. But hey, thanks for comparing me with a homicidal maniac, you really know how to make a girl feel special.”
“I never said your way of doing things was wrong. Merely that you have a problem with authority, not unlike Ange-” Giles started to defend himself but stopped suddenly when he noticed the look on his charge’s face, “Very funny.”
The library doors opened and Owen walked in, “Owen, what are you doing here?” asked Willow.
Owen looked at the group before replying, “I lost my Dickinson.”
“Maybe that’s a problem you need to see your doctor about.” Buffy suggested.
Everyone turned to look at her and give her a weird look. “What? Isn’t a Dickinson some sort of penis enlarger. I mean it’s in the name…, dick-in-son. Though I’m really weirded out by the last part, you’re not gay, are you Owen?”
Amy cracked up in a fit of giggles, Willow blushed bright red, Giles took off his glasses and began to clean them and Owen just stared at her, mouth open.
“Buffy, I think he means Emily Dickinson, she’s a famous poet.” Willow explained.
“Oh, well… whatever gets it up for you.” Buffy replied resulting in Owen turning red, Willow looking at Buffy with her mouth open and blushed an even deeper shade of red as she looked back at Owen. Giles cleaned his already clean glasses once more, this time with increased pressure and Amy went from giggles into a full out laughter.
The hyena inside Owen howled for vengeance against this person, but as it used Owen to look its new prey in the eyes, it looked past the mask the girl wore. This was no girl, there was a dark presence that hid inside of her, it caused a ripple of fear and excitement to go through the hyena.
“It’s just a book of poems, not a penis enlarger,” Willow finally managed to get out. Giles meanwhile, led the other male up the stairs to find his Dickinson.
“A guy looking for a book of poems? Cordelia really struck gold with this one…, unless he’s gay.” commented Buffy.
“I don’t know about that. Some girls aren’t into all that mushy stuff.” Amy disagreed with the other blonde.
Buffy rolled her eyes, but a teasing smile formed on her lips. “Says the girl with a crush on a certain Hunter.”
“What is going on between the two of you?” Willow inquired.
“One could ask the same about your relationship with Xander.” countered Amy.
Blushing, Willow answered. “Xander and I are just friends.”
“For now,” Buffy decided to add after catching the sad look on her redheaded friend’s face and making the redhead blush once more.
Giles and Owen came back down the stairs just as Xander and Jesse entered the library.
“Hi,” the two guys greeted the three young women, their ‘pack member’ and the librarian.
Owen replied with a slightly stiff smile as he caught Xander leering at Buffy, who seemed oblivious to the attention and was instead talking to her female friends. Owen quickly went to check out his book, wanting to get out of there for some reason.
Jesse seemed to have picked up the same vibe as Owen. Seeing the other man ready to leave, he called out. “Hey Owen, wait up man.” Telling Xander and the girls he’d catch them later he quickly left the library with Owen.
Xander seemed to ignore the weird behavior of his friend and joined the women at the tables, though he seemed to ignore Amy and Willow and only stared at Buffy while Giles went back into his office.
“Ok, tell me, why are you and Jesse hanging out with Owen so much? Why is Owen risking it when he is dating Cordy who can’t stand either of you?” Buffy questioned the young man, trying to be nice and not slug the man for openly leering at her and the fact that he ignored his other two friends.
Xander laughed, “It’s nothing for you to worry about. You going to the Bronze tonight?”
“I’m going with Cordy, so best not to approach. Unless you enjoy being verbally abused…, I just hope she and Owen won’t be all… couply the entire time.” Buffy answered.
Willow decided she didn’t want to be at the Bronze with Xander lusting after Buffy the entire night and quickly said, “I’m going to skip and do some witch training tonight.”
“Yeah, I think I’m gonna stay in as well. I’ve that English book report to finish.” Amy told the others.
“You shouldn’t put everything off till the last minute.” scolded Willow.
“I forgot,” Amy answered while barely managing not to roll her eyes at the redhead.
“Cordy’s not going to be a bother, so I’ll see you tonight Buffy.” Xander let the woman in question know. Ignoring the conversation or looks from all three females for not acting like himself, Xander walked out of the library laughing a bit under his breath.
Buffy pointed after the swinging double doors and looked at her fellow amateur witches, “See what I mean? Far be it for me to say I know the guy, but he didn’t even acknowledge you two.”
“I agree, while Xander is obsessed with Buffy. I’ve never known him to ignore Willow in the process.” Amy responded.
“Maybe he would. I mean he’s a teenage guy and while I’ve known him my entire life, he does seem to be into you Buffy.” Willow voiced her doubts.
Buffy looked Willow in the eyes before saying, “You know him best out of all of us, does it seem like the Xander you know to act like he just did?”
“… no,” Willow decided after a while, though even with Buffy’s hearing she barely caught the word. “No!” Willow said louder and firmer, “the Xander I know wouldn’t act like he just did.”
“Okay then, now we’ve to figure out what happened at the zoo to make him this way… if indeed whatever happened to him occurred at the zoo,” Amy stated.
“Well Jesse was acting weird on the bus ride back too. Couple that with how he just left here with Owen, both in a hurry to leave, I’d say it must have occurred when they were in the hyena section.” stated Buffy logically.
Amy nodded in agreement and continued theorizing, “Which would mean Kyle and his friends would have, whatever it is too.”
“Okay, so we have eight teenagers at the hyena section and so far we know of three who are acting out of character.” Buffy summarized. “But Lance had been the only one that came running out.”
Amy thought for a moment, “Well he didn’t seem that different, but you’re right we shouldn’t discount him yet.”
Willow suddenly sprang to her feet, “Maybe the Zookeeper did something? Remember how he wouldn’t let us in.”
Buffy frowned, “But we can’t just jump to conclusions. We need to research this more, I doubt with the circumstantial evidence we’ve got so far even Giles will think it enough to look into further.”
“She’s right,” Amy spoke up.
The school bell went off signally the end of the period, “OK, so we’ll meet here tomorrow morning before class with the research each of us have done on this.”
The three got up and gathered their stuff before making their wait towards the double doors.
“Are you sure we can wait that long?” questioned Willow.
Buffy nodded, “I think so, but I’ll be keeping an eye on Xander and the others just in case.”
“I’ll look into the zookeeper and anything about the zoo.” Willow informed the others.
“I’ll check out possessions or other magical means to influence behavior.” declared Amy.
Buffy nodded in agreement, “And I’ll hit the demon community for information. On both the zoo and anyone into possessions or any other magic that could be responsible.”
“Sounds like a plan, I’ll see you guys later.” Amy informed them turning right into another hallway.
Waving goodbye to their friend – who went to a different class than they were – Buffy and Willow continued on to their class.
***California, Sunnydale, Bronze
After an eventful day at school, Buffy and Cordelia strolled into the Bronze together.
“And then he tells me to just shut up already! I mean he told me to shut up! Me!” Cordelia continued to rant to her blonde friend. Buffy had been listening to this ever since Cordelia picked her up.
Apparently, things between Cordelia and Owen were over now. Owen had been caught by one of the Cordette’s talking with Jesse. Said faithful Cordette reported this to Cordelia, who in turn went to investigate. To make a long story short; Cordelia found him with not only Jesse, but also Xander. Cordelia began to insult Xander, as per usual and Xander had shot her down hard. To the point where he growled and loudly told her to shut up. Owen meanwhile had done nothing to stand up for his ‘girlfriend’ and had actually walked away from her with Jesse and Xander. Cordelia had been embarrassed to have backed down from Xander. She was so angry at both herself and Xander that she had been in ranting mode, with Xander being the main subject of her wrath ever since.
While Buffy agreed that Owen – as Cordelia’s boyfriend – was in the wrong not standing up for her. She also knew something was wrong with him, Xander Jesse and even the bullies Kyle, Rhonda, Lars and Heidi were more aggressive and mean than usual. Lance was the only one who seemed to act like himself, according to Willow that was.
Cordelia’s voice brought Buffy out of her reflecting of today, “and then he sa- Owen.”
“Owen?” Buffy questioned, then spotted said teen standing in front of them. Buffy turned to Cordelia, “You want to talk to him or is he leaving?”
“I’m not here to talk to her, I’m here to talk to you Buffy.” Owen spoke up.
“Me?” questioned Buffy, not liking where this conversation seemed to be going. “I’ve got nothing to say to you. Nor do I plan to get between you and my friend. So just skedaddle.” Buffy then proceeded to wave him off.
“Don’t make this more difficult than it has to be Buffy. If you become my mate, nobody will be able to stop us.” Owen declared.
Buffy’s eyes widened as Cordelia anger finally seemed to snap, “Mate? You want to be her mate!?”
“What a classy guy. Why sure Owen, I’ll screw over my friend and become someone for you to show off to your new friends and lay on my back while you have your way with me.” Buffy’s voiced with heavy sarcasm. In a sweet voice with hidden danger she added, “Beat it or I’m gonna start beating on you.”
Owen growled slightly, but seeing the eyes of the blonde he did as she ordered.
“Un-fucking-believable,” Cordelia let out, “the nerve of him!”
“Men suck,” Buffy agreed as they walked over to a table, “you can’t trust any of them, they’ll just screw you over in the end.”
Cordelia looked at Buffy with uncertainty, “They can’t all be bad.”
“No, some are worse. Some you trust so completely, until one moment when you need them the most they’ll show you how wrong you were to place that trust in them in the first place.” Buffy retorted, then checked her surroundings, feeling like she’s being watched.
“Speaking from experience?” inquired Cordelia.
Buffy let out a deep sigh, “let’s just say that every guy in my life, be it boyfriend, friend or father figure. All have let me down.”
“What about your brother, was he the type of person who let you down?” Cordelia asked her friend, feeling the need to break her out of her guy cynicism.
Buffy stopped in her tracks.“No, Charlie’s a great kid. If anything I let him down by not protecting him from…”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be that blunt about it. It’s just that, who’s to say there aren’t more guys out there who could have been like your brother if he had lived to grow up.” Cordelia tried to explain herself.
“Thanks, now I can safely say I’ll never date again. Cause every guy who may be okay, will now be seen as my little brother.” Buffy stated with faked enthusiasm.
“Well if there are indeed that few of them I need to eliminate the competition so I can land one myself.” Cordelia responded with a smile.
Buffy laughed and was about to thank her friend when another member of the weird behavior club showed up.
“Cordelia, Buffy.” Jesse greeted the two.
“Oh great it’s my stalker!” Cordelia complained under her breath, yet loud enough to hear.
“And mine’s with yours,” Buffy added, annoyed that when she and Cordy were interrupted for what could only become unpleasant.
“Buffy, you wanna dance?” asked Xander.
“That’d be a no,” Buffy responded then noticed Xander getting closer and invading her personal space.
Xander sniffed her, “You smell amazing. I’ve been watching you.”
Buffy’s eyes widened briefly as she placed her earlier feeling to being watched and connected it to Xander watching her. “You really are a stalker. And could you be any more disgusting, smelling me. Without my permission!” Buffy stood and watched Cordelia slap Jesse across the face, no doubt for having said something wildly inappropriate to her.
“This place suddenly stinks, you wanna go Cordy?” Buffy queried.
“Yeah, I think I’ve had about enough for the evening.” Cordelia agreed.
“You’re not going anywhere, we haven’t danced yet.” Xander said and grabbed Buffy’s arm. Buffy glared at the arm, then at the guy connected to it.
Xander dropped his arm, “Come on Buff, you know you want to.”
“What I want is something you can’t handle.” Buffy retorted, namely beating you up. Your body won’t be able to handle my beating you so I’d probably end up either killing you or having to take you to the hospital.
Giving the boys no time to respond to that, Buffy linked her arm with Cordelia and headed for the exit. Knowing she still had to do a patrol, Buffy said, “I think I’ll walk home. All that testosterone really pissed me off and I need the walk to calm down.”
“You sure? It’s dark. What if some psycho on PCP attacks you? It happens a lot around here.” Cordelia told her.
“Yeah, I’m sure.” Buffy responded and watched Cordelia get into her car. Buffy waved as she drove off.
***California, Sunnydale, Restfield cemetery
Buffy grunted as her back impacted with the mausoleum wall. Falling to the ground after the collision, Buffy tried to get back to her feet. The vampire she had been fighting lifted her off the ground by the throat.
Buffy’s vampire growled out, “This is the Slayer? I’m disappointed.”
Buffy kicked him in the leg, making him drop her. She then proceeded to jab a punch to his face, following it out with a roundhouse kick. The kick hit nothing but air and Buffy glared at the intruder.
“You shouldn’t touch what isn’t yours,” Xander growled out before kneeing the vampire in the gut. The vampire growled and punched Xander, making him stagger backwards. The vampire was about to lunge at the man, before he felt himself lifted off the ground and tossed into the mausoleum wall he had thrown the Slayer against previously.
“Get home Xander! I’ve got this!” Buffy shouted before ducking under a kick from the vampire, jabbed her fist into his groin. As he doubled over, she pulled out a stake from the back of her pants and shoved it through the vampire’s back straight through the heart. Pulling the stake back out she turned and glared at Xander, who still hadn’t left. No, in fact he was walking towards her.
“Xander, you really need to get home. Something’s wrong with you and if you do anything. You’re gonna regret it.” Buffy warned him.
“Wrong? I’ve never felt better Buffy. Besides, I saved your life back there. You obviously need my help.” Xander stated.
Buffy clenched her balled fists, trying to restrain herself from injuring the young man. “I am the Slayer, Xander. I don’t need your help - you need my help. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you or any other man saving me like some damsel in distress!”
Xander stepped closer into her personal space, “Come on Buff, I know you like a little danger in your men. You’d make a good mate.”
It happened in a flash, Buffy looked at the groaning man on the ground before her. “You’re lucky I didn’t hit you will all of my strength.” Buffy informed him then proceeded to let out a deep sigh as Xander got on all fours and growled at her. She kicked him against the head, knocking him out cold.
“Buffy?” Buffy turned around and saw Lindsey approach her.
“Hi, great timing. Xander is possessed or something. I need you to take him to Giles’s. Tell him to meet me at the library early tomorrow. Thanks again for doing this, I really don’t want to get grounded.” Buffy then proceeded to run off at full slayer speed before Lindsey could even mutter a protest.
Buffy would have just enough time to do some homework before it was time for round two of patrol.
***California, Sunnydale, Sunnydale High
Buffy yawned as she entered the library and spotted Willow working the computer, no doubt researching more on the zookeeper or something else connected to Xander’s weird behavior. Amy was beside her.
“Morning Buffy,” Amy greeted her causing Willow to notice her as well and greeted her with a quick smile before turning back to her research.
“You guys find anything?” Buffy questioned as she sat herself down in a chair on the other side of Willow.
“Willow found out the zookeeper has ties in Africa. Apparently he’s been studying their magic. Specifically animal possession. I checked it with a simple spell on Xander this morning and it looks like that’s what we’ve got here. What we think happened is that the zookeeper used a pentagram along with some herbs and cast a powerful spell causing the hyena spirits to possess anyone who was looking at them. So now we’re looking for a safe way to remove the hyena spirit without harming the host. But whatever we find, we’ll need to do it back at the zoo so we can put the hyena spirits back where they belong.” Amy updated Buffy.
“How long have you been at this?” inquired Buffy.
“We caught Giles about 40 minutes ago. He’s been looking into this as well ever since you had Lindsey deliver Xander to his doorstep.” Amy answered.
Buffy frowned, “How’d he know what to look for?”
Willow blushed, “Uhm, that’s my fault. I was researching the zookeeper after school and Giles wanted to know why I was researching him. I told him of our theory and he seemed to brush it off as you predicted. After he dropped Xander off, he was forced to look again.”
“Speaking of Giles, where is he?” Buffy asked looking around and not seeing him anywhere.
“He and Lindsey went to get the zookeeper.” Willow told her.
Buffy looked at her two fellow witches, “Are you sure they can handle him by themselves?”
“From what I found out about the zookeeper is that he is not an accomplished Warlock. He’s just a man who for some reason made Xander and the others be possessed by hyena spirits. They should be okay.” Willow informed the Slayer.
“Besides we need you to get the other hyena possessed teenager. Apparently some of them ate Herbert yesterday after school.” Amy made a face as she told the Slayer this.
Dr. Gregory entered the library and watched Buffy Summers sit with two other girls, “Buffy?”
“Dr. Gregory, what are you doing here?” Buffy inquired as she got up and headed over to the older man.
“Well, I don’t know if you’re on this or not yet. But yesterday after school Principal Flutie called in four suspects into the… eating of Herbert. After that… well the official theory is that wild dogs broke into his office and ate him, but I think it was those kids he called into his office.” Dr. Gregory told the blonde Slayer.
“They ate Principal Flutie?” inquired Willow, her face white as a sheet.
“If it’s four then it’s not Xander, Jesse or Owen. Most likely Kyle and his friends. Damn it, I should have been watching them.” Buffy cursed.
“Don’t blame yourself Buffy, it’s not your fault,” Willow told her.
Buffy looked at her and shook her head in disagreement, “It is, I said I’d keep an eye on them and I did while I was at school But while I was investigating I should have asked Giles to keep an eye on them. I shouldn’t have just assumed they wouldn’t do anything too bad. I screwed up.”
Dr. Gregory looked at the short blonde, “I know I’m not an expert on this supernatural stuff. But I do know that people make mistakes. You’re only what, 15? You’re allowed to make a mistake. And yes it seems horrible that someone can die when you do, but it’s how you learn not to make the same one next time. Just because you’re the Slayer doesn’t mean you’ve automatically got all the knowledge and wisdom to handle every situation. Just keep trying and you’ll grow better at it.”
Buffy looked him in the eyes and could see there was no blame and that he was sincere. She gave him a nod. “Okay, I’d better get the others here before they do any more damage. If any of them come in here. Use the stun gun on them.”
Buffy headed for the double doors towards the exit, all of the sudden she saw a white light and her knees buckled. She crashed forwards on her hands and gasped for breath.
“Buffy!” Willow and Amy shouted as they headed over to her.
“I’m okay,” Buffy replied and got back to her feet, “someone just drained all my magical power.”
“How?” Amy inquired while Willow asked “Who?”
Buffy shook her head, “I don’t know, there was this white flash and then… I don’t have time for this. I’ve still got my Slayer strength and that’s all I need to take them down.”
“Are you sure it’s safe for you to go after what just happened? What if it happens again?” Dr. Gregory asked.
“I’ll be fine,” Buffy replied before dashing out the library, ignoring the looks of her worried friends.