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Destiny Rolled Snake Eyes

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Dracula's Gift". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Buffy's encounter with Dracula brings major changes to all of the Scoobies’ lives.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Vampire/Supernatural > DraculaGreywizardFR1819,3385277,0406 Aug 086 Aug 08Yes
Disclaimer: They all belong to Crack-Head Joss and ME. Deal with it. I have.

Category: Inspired by TTH Challenge #588.

PLEASE NOTE that the Dracula you’ll be seeing is based on Bram Stoker’s concept of vampires, which differs significantly in several areas from the standard Scooby-verse vampire you’re familiar with – most significantly, in that Stoker’s vampires can walk abroad in daylight without being destroyed. I’m going to be answering this challenge fully over the course of several stories, assuming my muse cooperates.

Time Frame: Beginning of Season 3, although there have also been a number of significant changes in the back story, so this is already an AU from the standard Joss-verse. Some details are noted below, and others will be fleshed out in the body of the story.

Summary: Buffy's encounter with Dracula brings major changes to all of the Scoobies’ lives.

Spoilers: Nope.

Character Bashing: None. Not even a little bit. Really!

Feedback: Of course!

Archiving: If you want to archive this, talk to me first, please.

Author’s Notes 1: First off, two things in this 'verse happened significantly differently from canon during Season Two:

a.) The Scoobies never recovered the floppy disk holding Jenny's translation of the re-souling spell because it was destroyed in the fire Angelus caused, so Willow never cast the spell and was never touched by the darkness that casting such a curse would involve and, thus, Xander never had to lie to Buffy about the attempt. Buffy eventually reconciled herself to the fact that Angel was irrevocably gone and had been replaced by Angelus, and that was who she sent to Hell.

b.) There was no fight with Joyce, and after stopping Acathla, Buffy didn't run away, but instead left to spend the summer with her father in L.A., just as she had done the previous year.

Author’s Notes 2: Many thanks to Lori Bush, Tim Joy, Bill Haden and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this for me.

Author's Notes 3: Some of the dialogue in the first couple early scenes is from the BtVS Episode Guide and transcripts site, http:::www.buffy-vs-angel.com/guide.shtml , from Season Three, Episode 35, "Anne."

"word" is normal speech

{ word } is a character's thoughts.

:: word :: is mental communication.

~~~

Sunnydale Bus Station
Wednesday
August 26, 1998


A petite blonde figure carrying a backpack walked slowly down the street, slight wisps of fog visible in the background behind her. Behind her, unseen, parts of the clouds of vapor slowly began coalescing into a pair of eyes and a nose.

Suddenly, as the young girl passed an unlighted section of the park, a yellow-eyed figure emerged from the shadows, heading towards her.

"Hey there, good-looking," the pseudo-man smirked. "Want to join me for dinner?"

"I see you guys are still just as lame as when I left," the blonde shook her head wearily as she turned to face the newcomer.

"Look, I’m really tired ‘cause I had to leave my Dad’s place two days early and take the bus home because of some unexpected business trip he had to go on and my Mom couldn’t pick me up at the station because she isn't even home because of some stupid business trip *she* had to take at the last minute, and all I want to do is go back to my house and go to bed, so can we just get this over with?" she complained with a put-upon expression on her face

The vamp was evidently surprised by his intended meal’s reply, but he grinned and said, "Okay, blondie. Sounds good to me. Foreplay’s overrated, anyway."

He darted forward towards her, only for a very brief expression of surprise to claim his face an instant before he suddenly transformed into a cloud of dust, as the young woman matter-of-factly drove a suddenly-appearing stake into his chest. The blonde had barely moved as the vamp had tried to attack her, not even bothering to drop her duffle bag during the almost nonexistent scuffle.

"So much for that one… Overrated, my ass," the girl commented to herself before turning to resume her trek homeward.

A short distance back, the mists coalesced into the shape of a man of medium height, very thin and pale, with long dark hair and wearing a long flowing cloak.

"Very impressive," he declared as he began walking forward towards the blonde, speaking with the faintest trace of an accent. "Such speed and power in one so young is impressive, indeed."

"It’s just another day on the job," Buffy replied as she turned to face the stranger, the vibes from her Slayer sense warning her of the truly impressive amount of arcane power the man radiated. "Not to be too rude or anything, but I’m tired and I just want to sleep in my own bed tonight, so do you mind telling me why you’re here and what you want?"

"I’d heard many speak with great admiration of the Slayer who had defeated not only Lothos, but the Master and Angelus as well, and wanted to meet such a powerful little girl," the man smiled at her as he stopped about ten feet away.

"The ‘little girl’ remark really isn’t getting you any brownie points here, buddy," Buffy gave him a low-level glare. "And why would you want to see me anyway? I only get involved with the kind of things that usually hide in the closet or under the bed.

"At least until they decide they want a snack, that is," she added.

"I apologize for any insult you might have taken, my dear young lady," the man smiled at her. "It was completely unintentional, I assure you, and was meant only in comparison with myself. It is quite unheard of in my circles for a Slayer to have managed to defeat three such formidable beings in as many years and still survive."

"And what circles are those?" Buffy asked. "The ones you mentioned?"

"The demonic ones, of course," he smiled at her again. "What other circles would be discussing the young woman who might currently be the most powerful Slayer in recorded history?"

Buffy looked intrigued at his words and looked him over again, in greater detail.

"Who exactly are you?"

The man’ eyes opened in surprise as he heard her question.

"I see I must apologize again for my familiarity. I had assumed you had recognized me," he replied. "I am Vladimir, Count Dracula."

Buffy's eyes widened and she looked surprised.

"You’re kidding!" she exclaimed, her response producing a small frown on the other’s face.

"I assure you, I am not," he replied, the tips of his fangs now visible as he spoke, although there was certainly no furrowed brow that she was so used to seeing.

"So, you just decided to drop by and say, ‘Hi’, huh?" she said, the least bit nervously as she unconsciously shifted into a defensive stance and let her duffle bag slip off her shoulder and drop to the ground. Her instincts were telling her that this guy really wasn’t joking – the aura of power she could feel pouring off him was greater than anything she’d experienced before this.

"No," Dracula shook his head negatively. "I’ve come to claim you as my bride."

The speed with which he moved was astonishing, a small part of Buffy’s mind noted. One moment he was speaking to her, the next he was atop her, his hands grasping her shoulders as he began leaning his head in towards her neck.

Reflexively, her right hand drove her stake upwards towards his heart as her right knee drove into his groin as she twisted away in an effort to escape.

The stake was deflected to the left as Dracula’s elbow knocked her aim off, but the master vampire doubled over in agony as her knee found its target, and Buffy tore herself free of his grip.

Taking advantage of her opponent’s momentary distraction, Buffy lunged forward again, her own focus concentrated on driving her stake into his heart, only to see him dissolve into mist a moment before she can touch him.

"No fair! That’s cheating!" she reflexively complained even as she spun around searching for Dracula.

Behind her, moving even faster than she could, the vampire solidified again, and his fist swung out to strike her head.

As blackness seemed to encompass her world, Buffy thought she heard him saying, "Humans have a saying, ‘All’s fair in love and war,’ my dear, most beautiful child. And this will be both."

~~~

St. Andrew’s Cemetery
Sunnydale
Thursday
August 27, 1998


A hand forced its way out of the freshly filled grave and clawed for solid ground in front of Andrew Hoelich's gravestone and the bouquet of fresh flowers there.

Slowly, the newly risen vampire pulled himself out of his grave, growling as his head cleared the earth, and continued to crawl out on his stomach. He scrabbled along the ground, pulling his legs out but then stopping when he saw a pair of wide-spread legs standing before him. He looked up to see who it was, to find a nervously smiling Willow Rosenberg.

"That's right, Big Boy. Come and get it," the redhead told him

The newly risen fledgling suddenly hopped to his feet and roared at her. Taken aback, Willow took a few quick uncertain steps backward. The vampire took two steps toward her and Xander suddenly appeared and grabbed him by the collar of his suit, pulling him back away from his oldest childhood friend and making the vampire lose his balance in the process.

"I got him! Go!" Xander shouted.

Oz jumped out from behind a bush and started to run toward them, but then hesitated a moment to get a stake from his jacket pocket where he’d stashed it.

"Any time now..." Xander yelled nervously as Andrew, having regained his balance and using Xander's grip to stabilize himself, kicked up with both legs and did a double pike snapping kick to Oz's face.

Oz stumbled backward and fell. Without pausing, Andrew leapt up to his feet again and did a back tuck over Xander's head. Xander rushed towards him, but Andrew used his momentum to deflect him into Willow. Both would-be demon hunters crashed to the ground as Andrew then ran away.

"He's getting away! And... Ow," Willow observed as she gingerly sat up.

Oz scrambled to his feet and picked up his stake, watching the demon running and holding his stake by the tip, preparing to throw it like a knife. As Andrew leaped over a rock, Oz threw his stake. It whistled through the air as it flew end over end, only to hit the rock, bouncing off of it with a loud thunk and ricocheting wildly.

"That really never works," Oz noted, shaking his head.

"Are you guys all right?" he asked, turning to Willow and Xander.

"First of all, what was with the acrobatics? How did that happen?" Xander asked, as he pushed himself up off the ground.

"Wasn't Andy Hoelich on the gymnastics team?" Oz asked, looking in the direction that Andrew had gone.

"That's right, he was! Cheater!" Xander turned and yelled after the now-departed fledgling.

Oz gave Xander a brief look that seemed to convey doubts about his sanity and then stared into the distance again, looking for Andrew.

"Okay, and the, uh, second problem I'm having – 'Come and get it, Big Boy'?" Xander repeated, looking at Willow with a questioning expression.

"Well..." the redhead began blushing and stammering. "W-well, the Slayer always says a pun or-or a witty play on words, and I think it throws the vampires off, and, and it makes them frightened because I'm wisecracking. Okay, I didn't really have a chance to work on that one, but *you* try it every time."

"Uh, how about: 'This time it's personal.' I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic," Oz suggested, giving her his classic minimalist smile of approval.

"Personally, I've been thinking we took Buffy's punning for granted," Xander said as he bent and picked up his bag. "It takes a lot more effort than I thought it did."

"Well, you can tell her that when you see her in school Monday," Willow told him. "It’s a shame Mrs. Summers had to go to Seattle. But Buffy’ll probably enjoy having the house to herself for a week after staying with her Dad and his being all super-attentive and overprotective of his ‘little girl’ while she was there with him.

"He wouldn’t even let her carry her own packages when they went out shopping," she grinned as she remembered the way her friend had complained over the phone at the constant coddling that had begun to wear on her after the first few days.

"I can't wait to see Cordelia when she comes back," Xander said, as he paused for a moment of thought. "I hope those doctors at Stanford can finally figure out what’s causing those headaches of hers."

"Yeah," Willow nodded her agreement. "The visions might have been a big help saving people, but I don’t think the mindnumbing pain she described was a very good tradeoff, though," she declared sympathetically.

The brunette’s somewhat loud and outraged, but nonetheless detailed, description of the visions she had experienced while in the throes of her ‘spells’ (as the brunette’s mother had euphemistically described the experiences) had provided the Scoobies with several opportunities to save people they would not normally have encountered in the usual course of their work.

"So, what do you think our first homework assignment's gonna be?" the hacker/apprentice witch then followed up her earlier statement with what sounded suspiciously like eagerness and enthusiasm.

Xander put his hands on his hips and just gave her a semi-disapproving look, while her boyfriend watched with his typical impassive expression, although he still managed to convey an air of disbelief to those who knew him well.

"Hey, everybody gets excited over different things, okay? We've all got issues," Willow replied a bit defensively in reaction to his reaction.

"Guess we should pack it in. Got practice, too," Oz noted in his usual laconic manner.

"Yeah, I guess you’re right."

"If you’re running late, Xander and I can walk back home, sweetie," Willow said, as they all headed towards the musician’s van. "It’s been a really slow past couple weeks, so I’m thinking everything will be fine."

"Yeah, Will’s right, Oh Great and Powerful One," Xander agreed, eliciting the barest hint of a smile from his friend at the Wizard of Oz reference. "You’ve been late getting to practice a lot lately because of helping out with the Slaying. Go on, go do your music thing."

"You sure?"

"Yes, we are. Now go."

"Yeah, you betcha. See ya later."

"OK. Later."

After watching the (currently) blue-haired guitarist drive off, the two turned and started on their way home, cutting through the outskirts of the cemetery they were in and heading off along the typically deserted streets of the town. At Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, they turned and cut through the mausoleum area on their way to the Rosenberg house.

"So, how worried are you about Cordy’s headaches?" Willow asked after walking together in silence for a few moments.

"Very," was the quiet response. "They’re getting worse with each week that goes by, and none of the doctors she’s seen have any idea what’s causing it."

"Have – have you given any thought to the fact that there might be something, you know, magical about them? Causing them, I mean?" she asked hesitantly, not wanting to possibly suggest something to make her friend worry even more than he was clearly doing now.

"It was the second thing to cross my mind," the tall brunet admitted. "Right after the idea of a brain tumor. After living here, how could something like that not occur to me?

"Anyway," he continued after a moment’s pause, "Giles and Ms. Calendar are looking into that angle, to see if they can find anything. But I haven’t said anything to Cordy about it yet, and she hasn’t brought the subject up, either, so please don’t say anything to her about it when you see her, okay?"

"No problem, Xand," Willow nodded her agreement. "I won’t say a word to her about it until you tell me to."

"Thanks, Will. I love her, ya know," he casually dropped that little nugget of information into the conversation. "That’s something I never thought I’d be saying, given everything that’s happened with us in the past. But I do. I love her as much as I love you – just in a different way. But you’re with Oz now, and I’m with Cordy. Who’da thunk, huh?

"I love Cordelia Chase. Even saying it sounds freaky," he commented reflectively.

"Yeah," Willow agreed, shaking her head in concurrence with his words. "And hearing it is just as freaky. Especially considering you were the Treasurer of the "We Hate Cordelia" Club when we were kids.

"But I kinda care for her, too," she admitted with the smallest bit of a grin. "Admittedly, she takes a lot of getting used to, but over the past few months, I’ve seen that she’s really a good person underneath all the camouflage."

The truth was, she had been shocked at seeing the other girl suffering pain so bad that she had been nearly in tears and forgoing completely any effort to put on her usual ‘Queen C’ persona in order to ensure that she could describe her visions in sufficient detail that the other Scoobies would be able to make the best use of them, and from that point on, she’d been more able to see her former nemesis as a person, and not just some nebulous image that was so easy to hate and despise.

"Just don’t ever ask me to repeat that, okay?" she added with a smile.

"Deal, Wills. Thanks for not freaking about this," he smiled at his friend gratefully.

"Yeah. Acting mature really sucks sometimes, ya know?"

"So I hear. I’m trying hard not to find out for myself."

"Why am I not surprised to hear that?"

"You’re just jealous that I'm better at it than you are, that's all."

Before Willow could come up with a response, they were interrupted by a laugh from off to one side.

"Man, I just love it when dinner delivers itself, don't you, Jimmy?"

Turning to where the voice was coming from, both teens gulped nervously when they saw the two yellow-eyed strangers smiling at them as they approached.

The seemingly young brunette woman was the one who had spoken, since the taller, heavyset blond-haired guy in biker leathers accompanying her certainly didn't look as though he was a candidate waiting to hear he'd been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.

"Great, it's Used-To-Be-A-Beauty and her Beast," Xander muttered at the sight of the two vamps before he turned to glance over at his friend.

"Will, get moving, okay? I’m gonna try to keep the gruesome twosome here occupied, so don’t bother wasting time arguing."

Xander’s voice was incredibly calm and matter-of-fact in tone, the detached, analytical part of Willow’s mind observing the situation noted, as though he had already accepted the fact that he was probably going to die at the hands – or more precisely, the fangs – of the demons casually walking towards them. At the same time, she also cursed the native intelligence that she had been born with, that could offer her no other alternatives to the plan her childhood friend was now attempting to put into play in order to provide her with the semblance of a chance at escaping his fate.

"I love you, Xander," Willow called as she turned and began running, tears already blurring her vision as she ran as fast as she could.

Behind her, she could hear her bestest childhood friend trying to sound nonchalant as he attempted to delay the demons behind her and the thought of the willing self-sacrifice he was making refilled her eyes with more tears.

"Oh good! A chase!" the brunette announced, a note of amusement coloring her voice. "Don't you just love how chasing them spices up their flavor, Jimmy?"

"Yeah," the other vamp answered for the first time. "It goes good with beer and pretzels."

"You go get the girl, baby, and I'll meet you at Willy's afterward, okay?" the female vamp said as the other broke into a slow trot after Willow.

"Yeah, see ya later, Ashley," he growled before disappearing into the shadows

"Look, I, uh, I, I can pay you, lady," Xander quavered, his face a mask of fear and desperation as he frantically shoved his hands into his jacket pocket as though searching for something. "If you promise to not eat me, I can get you lots of money!"

"Sorry, kid, I'm not interested," the brunette smirked at the obviously terrified youth as she continued slowly walking towards her next meal. "And I can just take whatever I find from your corpse, anyway, so why should I let you get away?"

~~~

Willow was running across the well-tended cemetery grounds as fast has her legs could move, which was actually a significant improvement on her speed prior to the beginning of the summer, since she, Xander and Oz had all begun a much more earnest physical training program shortly after Buffy had left to stay with her father for the summer – Cordelia's ever-worsening headaches having prevented her from participating in the training along with them.

Nonetheless, she was only minimally surprised when she felt a sudden shove send her crashing to the ground. Turning her fall into a somersault the way Xander and Oz had shown her, she managed to avoid smashing against the closest headstone, and was trying to regain her feet when she felt her shoulder grabbed from behind and she was lifted into the air.

She suddenly found herself staring into the yellow eyes of the hulking biker-type vampire she had first seen only a few moments before as her feet dangled nearly a foot above the ground.

"Put me down!" she demanded as she simultaneously swung her foot up between her assailant's legs and caught him squarely in the groin. Her attack succeeded only in making Biker-Guy sway slightly and then growl angrily, though, as he swung her around and threw her roughly to the ground.

"You're gonna pay for that, bitch," he rumbled as he began advancing on her, as she frantically tried to scramble backwards, away from the menacing form.

"Let her alone."

The low growl, sounding much like that of a newly risen fledgling, came from the direction of a group of mausoleums set off to one side and they both whirled to see a petite golden-haired figure heading their way.

"Buffy?" The relief in Willow's voice was plain to hear the moment she laid eyes on the diminutive blonde heading towards them at a determined pace. "When did you get back from your Dad's?"

"Who the hell do you think you are, bitch?" Jimmy snarled, his voice a mixture of irritation and what someone smarter might best describe as a niggling of disquiet at the fluid tread of the newcomer.

"Buffy?" The redhead’s voice was a bit higher pitched and a good deal more worried than it normally was as she repeated her tentative identification, since the Slayer hadn’t made any response to her call, but had merely continued walking towards them, a curious, disconcerting familiarity to her movements beginning to permeate the redhead's mind.

The faint golden glow that seemed to illuminate the blonde’s eyes merely served to further confirm her supposition that the Slayer was far from her normal self, especially since the predatory manner in which she moved was more reminiscent of her normal quarry than it was of the redhead's best friend’s usual bouncy walk. Although she was lacking the deformed, ridged demonic forehead that marked Sunnydale's usual denizens of the night, Willow noticed.

The redhead blinked in surprise as, suddenly, Buffy was atop the vamp before he had even realized she had moved. If anything, she was moving even faster than she could before, Willow realized with a jolt of surprise and dismay. One, two, three blows, almost faster than the apprentice witch could follow, and the petite blonde was ripping her opponent apart – quite literally.

As the former biker's body transformed to dust as his head was ripped from his shoulders, Willow realized that the low-voiced growl she was hearing was coming from her friend, and a small pulse of fear surged down her spine.

She had barely managed to turn around and begin running before she felt herself being knocked to the ground and blackness replaced everything in her sight.

~~~

{ Oh man, I can't believe she actually fell for that 'Let me get some money out so you won't bite me' ploy, } Xander thought to himself as he ran pell-mell through the cemetery grounds searching for his oldest friend and the demon who had left in pursuit of her, stake in his hand and alert for any signs of trouble.

{ Not that I'm complaining, mind you, } he added a mental memorandum to any possible deities that might be listening in on his thoughts. { I'm exceptionally grateful that I ran into a really stupid and/or overconfident bloodsucker. I'm just hoping that the one after Wills isn't any smarter! }

In the distance, he could see a familiar looking blonde kneeling on the ground, bent over their friend, and he gave a silent prayer of thanks even as a thread of worry that Willow had been hurt snaked through his stomach as he headed towards the pair.

"Oh man! You don't know how glad I am to see you're back, Buff!" he called to her in a relieved voice, causing the tiny beauty to look up and back over her shoulder at the interruption.

"Oh shit!" he exclaimed upon seeing the blood dripping down the oh-so-familiar lips and chin of the adolescent beauty he'd almost literally fallen head over heels for in high school. That and her slightly glowing golden eyes marked her unmistakably as one of the former Chosen One's foes, despite the lack of the bumpy forehead that every other vamp they'd ever encountered had possessed.

A look of resigned resolution immediately took possession of his face as he saw his former flame drop Willow's still-bleeding body to the ground and flow to her feet with a superhuman grace he could never hope to equal and he let the other stake in his sleeve drop into his left palm as he continued moving towards her.

"I'm sorry, Buff," he apologized as he lunged forward, his right stake driving towards the blonde vampire's heart.

As expected, she easily brushed the stake away from its intended trajectory and reached out to grab him, allowing him the hoped-for opportunity to bring the second, hidden stake up in an underhand strike out of Buffy-vamp's line of sight. His brief moment of regretful triumph was short-lived as she negligently batted the stake in that hand aside, too, at the same time her fist slammed against his jaw, and Xander saw a meteor shower’s worth of falling stars as he fought to remain conscious even as he fell to the ground.

As he lost his battle stay awake, he felt twin pinpricks bite into his neck and he prayed to a deity he wasn’t even sure he truly believed in that he would never awake again.

~~~

As the overpoweringly mind-numbing hunger faded, allowing her full awareness to finally assert itself, Buffy looked down at the unfamiliar weight currently filling her lap and was horrified to see her best guy friend sprawled limply across her legs, two trails of blood oozing from the twin puncture marks in his neck.

Her horror redoubled as she then noticed the body of her best girl friend slumped on the grass a few feet away, the pale, graceful curve of her neck also adorned with the hated marks indicating an attack by bloodsucking demons, only to then increase exponentially as her tongue alerted her to the still-prominent twin fangs in her mouth and she recognized the warmth running down her chin as her friends' blood.

Panic and self-revulsion immediately filled her mind.

{ Ohmigod! Ohmigod! } she thought to herself. { I'm a vampire! I killed them! Xander and Willow are dead because of me! }

Jumbled memories of her battle with a being introducing himself as Dracula came back to her in a confusing blur and she could vaguely recall feeling the sensation of her blood being drained from her body and then the insistent direction that she drink from the wrist being held against her mouth. Despite her normal, reflexive refusal, she'd felt an overwhelming urge to do as instructed, and she apparently had done so, only to then later awaken and attack her friends, judging by the evidence surrounding her.

As she tried to sort though the horrified confusion filling her mind, Buffy managed to calm herself slightly as she noticed that the chests of both of her friends were still moving, although with ever-weakening effort, providing the faintest indications that they were still alive.

As she continued staring at the two of them, the daunting realization hit her that, had she not managed to rouse herself from the state of confusion she'd experienced earlier upon awakening, *she* would have been the person responsible for her friends’ deaths.

{ No! I can't lose them! I've already given up too much in my life! I can't let them die! I *won't* let them die! I need them! } she thought to herself even while admitting the selfishness of her thoughts, and a desperate, panicked plan to offset that possibility took form in her mind.

"Xand! Wake up! Xand! Can you hear me? Wake up!" she said, looking down at him and roughly patting his cheek as he lay in her lap. "Xand, you have to wake up!"

"Huh? Wazzamatter, Buff?" Xander slurred as he barely managed to open his eyes and look up at her with a puzzled expression.

"Here, you have to drink," Buffy ordered him, as she lifted her wrist and slit it open with a sharp claw-like fingernail she only noticed in passing, before pressing it against his mouth.

"Wha? Uh-uh – 'm no' thirsty," he mumbled dully.

"Come on, Xand! Drink!" Buffy insisted desperately, willing him to obey her, the thought of not having him or Willow in her life terrifying her more than anything else she could conceive of. Oddly enough, once Xander looked up and met her eyes as she frantically stared down at him, his protests ceased and he nodded and obediently began drinking from her wrist.

Calming further as she saw him accede to her instructions, Buffy allowed him to swallow what she hoped would be a sufficient amount of her blood before pulling away and repeating the same sequence of events with Willow.

Once each of her friends had consumed what she anxiously hoped would be an adequate quantity to sustain their lives, both lapsed into what resembled some type of hibernation coma. Ignoring the slight lightheadedness that she was experiencing from the blood loss, Buffy easily lifted the two of them and slung them over her shoulders to carry them back to the luxuriously-equipped, castle-like mansion where she'd awoken earlier that evening. Once there, she did her best to make them comfortable in one of the opulently outfitted bedrooms, then settled back to try and make some kind of plan for how to best prepare for her friends' eventual awakening and their (hopefully) continued future together.

After checking and assuring herself of the fact that it appeared that the two would maintain their coma-like slumber for at least several more hours, Buffy made a hurried trip to her home, where she gathered up some toiletries and several outfits she could change into, as well the spare changes of clothing both of her friends maintained there, in case they needed to change outfits because of either damage or demonic stains. She also noted with some puzzlement, as well as relief, that she could still see her reflection in the bathroom mirror, complete with the gold cross she usually wore around her neck, as she grabbed her bottles of shampoo and conditioner from the cabinet.

She next broke into the butcher's shop where she used to pick up Angel's blood supplies and after first assuaging her own minor hunger pangs, collected several gallons of both pig and cattle blood, recalling the irresistible craving that had taken control of her upon her awakening and which had led her outside and to her eventual, almost fatal, confrontations with her two friends.

With all of the necessary supplies and preparations she could think of readied for any emergency that might occur, Buffy settled back on the luxurious and supremely comfortable couch lining one side of the room and waited for her friends to wake.

She didn't think she felt any different, she found herself reflecting as the hours passed.

She had no inclination to go out and hunt down, torture and kill any of her friends or associates from her former life, she decided, both pleased and very relieved at that realization.

She still cared for her mother and father – and not in any 'I want to eviscerate them slowly over a low fire' sense that the typical undead citizen of their town normally did when they awoke – she was happy to note. And she had no desire to hunt down and kill her former Watcher or any of her former teachers or schoolmates, either. Well, at least not any more than she’d had all of this past year, as far as Snyder was concerned.

So from everything she’d been able to determine, it seemed that, for some currently unknown reason, she still had her soul! That was incredibly good news!

At least when you compared it to the news that she was now a vampire, she supposed. The thought of her being a bloodsucking demon *with* a soul was to be much preferred over the idea of becoming a bloodsucking demon without one. There was absolutely no question about that, at all!

Although, she was most definitely going to do her best to locate and then incinerate that god-awful hat Mrs. Birdwell, her Social Studies teacher, had found (most likely at the bottom of some municipal garbage dump, she figured), she resolved as she sat and waited for her friends to awaken from their (hopefully temporary) comas. That was one thing there was absolutely no question about – that hat was an abomination and an affront to any sort of style, anywhere, and it needed to be destroyed!

But that could wait until Xander and Willow had reawakened and they had all worked all of their issues out properly.

Would they wait long enough for her to show them that she apparently still had her soul, or were they going to try to stake her right away?

~~~

Dracula's mansion
Friday
August 28, 1998


:: You know, I never realized just how enjoyable getting staked could be, :: Buffy reflected to herself as she purred contentedly, projecting her thoughts to her companions as she snuggled up under Xander's right arm while Willow mimicked her actions on the other side of their friend's body.

The ravening hunger that she had been able to feel through whatever sort of empathic bond that they seemed to share had almost overwhelmed her with its intensity when Xander had awoken approximately twenty-four hours after she had forced him to drink her blood, but she had somehow retained enough presence of mind and strength of will to force him to accept the cow and pig blood she'd had the foresight to acquire the day before.

It was the equally powerful, almost animalistic desire for her that had replaced it once her friend's hunger for nourishment had been sated that had taken Buffy by surprise, and she had found herself staring at the tall brunet in a situation highly reminiscent of the one that had occurred the previous year when he had possessed by a Primal Spirit.

Unlike on that occasion, however, Buffy had almost immediately found herself locked in a passionate embrace with Xander as she was possessed by an equally powerful feeling of lust and desire for him. They had almost literally torn each other's clothes off in their frantic haste to couple and she later decided that it had only been the fact that they had been standing by the bed when their emotions had taken over that had let them end up on it, rather than the floor or any other convenient surface.

{ Foreplay is so NOT overrated, } she thought to herself, remembering some of the oh-so-wonderful things Xander had done with his *very* talented tongue.

Once their more carnal impulses had been satiated, Xander's intellect had apparently taken full control again and, after realizing what had taken place, he had started to panic and had been attempting to apologize for what he had evidently believed had been his subconscious' refusal to take 'No' for an answer when they had been interrupted by Willow's return to a partial state of consciousness.

The young redhead had behaved in almost exactly the same manner as Xander had a short while previously, although this time it had been both Scoobies who felt the almost irresistible lust and attraction that she had felt for both of them upon her satisfying her thirst for blood and their own matching desires had quickly flared brightly again upon feeling the redhead's mental touch and her own overwhelming lust.

Once full rationality had again regained control, after all three teens' raging hormones had been satisfied, they had been amazed to discover that they now shared a mental bond which allowed them all to both communicate wordlessly and feel each other's emotions.

:: That's 'cause you never took advantage of the Xand-man's offers before this, Buff, :: Xander 'told' her with a pleased smile in response to her mental comment as he curled his arms around both of 'his' girls.

:: Pig! :: Buffy replied with a smirk as she lightly smacked him on the shoulder. :: Is sex all that you think about? ::

:: No, :: he shook his head with his own pleased and proud smirk. :: Sometimes, I think about food, or how good you look in those tights you wear when you're working out in the library, or how good Wills here looked in her Halloween costume last year. The rest of the time is when I think about sex. ::

:: Uh, I'm not trying to upset you guys or anything, :: Willow chimed into her lovers' mental chit-chat, :: but don't either of you think it seems just a little strange about how easily we've accepted everything that's happened to us? :: she asked, as she waved her hand to indicate the three of them lying naked except for a fine layer of sweat and casually tangled together in the bed they currently occupied.

:: Actually, Wills, on a scale of one to ten, :: Xander replied as Buffy shifted so she could rest her head on Xander's chest and look directly at the redhead, :: I'd say this rates about a seventy-three on the weirdness meter, but that's about average for this town. ::

:: Yeah, I'm kinda inclined to agree with Xand on that, Will, :: Buffy noted. :: This whole thing is definitely weird, but for some reason, I'm not feeling all 'Ohmigod, this is awful!' or anything like that. And I've never really been interested in girls before, but I'm not at all freaked out that you and I have gotten *really* close. Or that I got involved in a threesome with both of you guys at the same time. ::

:: In fact, being able to feel the two of you in my head is actually kinda reassuring, 'cause now I know, without any doubt whatsoever, exactly how both of you guys feel about me, :: she told them, as she projected her own feelings about the two of them back along the same channels.

:: And I can't begin to tell you how much you both mean to me, :: she told them as she felt tears beginning to form in her eyes.

:: Exact-a-mundo, Buffster! :: Xander agreed. :: I trust you two guys completely, more than anyone else in the world, and I can feel that you both feel the same way about me, too, :: he thought, giving her a quick kiss on the top of her head.

:: Of course, the fact that we just had some really incredible, mind-blowing sex probably helps mellow things out a lot, too, :: he grinned mentally and physically, then pretended to wince when both girls punched him.

:: PIG! :: they declared in unison, making him laugh out loud at the perfect synchronicity of their actions, before things degenerated into a friendly semi-brawl that quickly shifted into a much more fun-filled and intimate free-for-all.

~~~

It was some time later, after they had finished exploring the extent of all of their recuperative abilities and had finally made it out of bed, showered and then dressed in the clothes Buffy had retrieved from her mother's house the previous evening, before they got around to discussing exactly what had happened to the petite blonde upon her return to Sunnydale two nights previously and which had led to their current circumstances.

"You mean the real, honest-to-god, 'I vant to suck your blud' Dracula?" Xander reflexively exclaimed in surprise upon hearing the identity of Buffy's assailant, sitting up in surprise from where he had he stretched out full length on the couch occupying one wall of the rec room in which they were currently seated.

"No, Xand, I was talking about Christopher Lee when he was dressed up in one of his costumes," Buffy snapped snarkily. "Who else would I be talking about when I said I met THE Vlad Dracula?"

"Okay, Buffster, just calm down and relax, okay?" Xander replied as he held up his hands in a gesture of non-aggression. "I believe you. You just surprised me a little when you said that, that's all."

"Sorry, Xand," the tiny blonde immediately apologized, her contrition at speaking to him so harshly clearly evident to both him and Willow through their link. "I guess I'm still a little upset about him beating me. I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that."

"Well, you weren't expecting someone who could turn into mist like you said he did," Willow pointed out, immediately speaking up in her lover's defense. "You thought he would be just like the other vamps you've been fighting, and not cheat the way he did."

"Yeah, I did, Will," Buffy agreed ruefully, "and look where that got us."

"Okay, so you fought and you lost," Xander agreed, then quickly added, after seeing the hurt expression on his lover's face at his words, "but only because he cheated and attacked you from behind!"

"Otherwise, you would have taken him easy!" he declared forcefully, hoping to make up for his faux pas.

"Brown-noser," Buffy grinned at him, feeling his sincere regret at his unfortunate choice of words across their link. "You're just trying to suck up to me so I won't be mad at you."

"You bet I am!" he agreed firmly with an earnest smile. "Is it doing any good?"

Before Buffy could respond, all three of the teens could suddenly feel an incredibly powerful presence approaching them, and they all reflexively turned to face the front door of the house.

"Damn! What the hell do you think that is, guys?" Xander asked as he reflexively reached for the stake he carried in his back pocket, already feeling through their connection both girls' own reflexive preparations to confront the unexpected visitor and their acknowledgement of his question.

"Ah, you're awake, my dear!" they heard an accented voice declare as a pale, smiling stranger all three recognized from Buffy's memories entered the room.

"And you've already made your own pets," he added with amusement as he glanced over Xander and Willow. "I hadn't expected you to have awoken this soon, or I would have made it a point to have been here earlier.

"But, no matter – I can always use more minions. Although I would have much preferred you had found yet another beauty such as this ravishing young thing, rather than the ruffian you did choose, my pet," he added indifferently, casting a disdainful look at Xander.

Buffy's eyes had instantly narrowed at both the intruder's appearance and words, and his overbearing attitude of casual arrogance and superiority did nothing whatsoever to improve her opinion of him in the least.

Willow had noted the aura of power that seemed to permeate the newcomer as he had approached them, and she had reflexively begun weaving a binding spell to hold him fast and give the three of them time to organize a response to his appearance.

:: Danger! Enemy! :: a heretofore unrecognized and unacknowledged aspect of Xander's mind growled a warning to the two girls as the stranger made his way, uninvited, into the room and invaded his Pack's territory, and the tall brunet instinctively flowed off the couch and onto his feet, the better to confront the trespasser who seemed to think that he could lay claim to his mates.

"Ah! You would seek to resist me, my pet?" the man exclaimed with surprise as he looked over at Buffy and saw her reaction to his words. "Oh well, better for you to learn who is the Master, here and now, than at a later time, when it might not be as convenient to teach you your place.

"And your toys need to learn their proper place, too," he smirked as he glanced dismissively in Xander and Willow's direction, clearly not considering them as any sort of potential threat to his authority.

"I am Vladimir, Count Dracula, and you will submit to me, my dear, or cease to exist!"

An instant later, Buffy – and through their link with her, Willow and Xander, too – felt an almost overpowering compulsion to submit to the stranger's will, to kneel and abase herself before him, begging his forgiveness for even daring to think of not conforming to his will.

Buffy's Slayer aspect snarled its surprise and rage at the foe who thought they could control her, and she fought off the impulse to submit to her assailant's bidding, her eyes now glowing a brilliant cerulean blue as she immediately initiated her own mental assault, demanding her assailant to submit to *her* will, while Willow and Xander both simultaneously attacked the enemy who had dared to attack them and their loved ones.

Like Buffy, Willow's eyes shone a luminous azure color as she focused her magic and threw the binding spell she'd reflexively conjured at the being who had dared to try and command her packmate, surprising him not only by the fact that she had resisted his mental command, but with the quickness she'd cast the spell and the amount of sheer raw power it contained.

Xander had launched himself at their putative 'Master' a half-instant after the compulsion to submit had been felt and he crossed the room at an eye-blurring speed, his eyes also shining a brilliant cobalt as he slammed both fists into his enemy's face, and a fierce snarl of triumph escaped his lips as he saw his opponent fly backwards through the air the length of the room and slam back against the far wall, only to then slump to the floor, unconscious.

Acting on instinct, the three teens immediately clustered around their fallen foe and began feeding on him, both girls burying their fangs in Dracula's throat while Xander fastened his in the vampire's wrist.

It took only a few moments for the three of them to drain him completely, the Count's body growing more withered and desiccated with each passing moment, until at last only a shriveled corpse remained, looking like a long-dead body stolen from its graveyard plot.

"Whoa!" Xander exclaimed as he finally pulled away, a trickle of their enemy/would-be master/ victim's blood running down his chin. "What a head rush! Do you guys feel like Giles just dumped half the school library into your brain?" he asked, a bewildered expression on his face as he looked over at his Packmates.

Both girls looked back at him with equally bemused faces, as what felt like endless centuries of memories unfolded in all of their minds, providing them with seemingly infinite realms of experience of every conceivable type.

"Yeah, Xand," Buffy nodded her agreement with his statement, the dazed and wondering look on her face mirroring the one on Willow's, as they contemplated the vast amounts of knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom they'd just gained. "That’s almost exactly what it feels like. Except I never felt like I was gonna barf after reading anything in the library.

"Well, not including that time Giles had us read ‘The Malleus Maleficarum,’" she qualified her previous statement.

" ‘Cause that thing was simply ‘Yuck!’" she noted with a small shudder.

"Gotcha on that, Buff," he agreed with an enthusiastic nod of his head.

"Wow! Can you imagine what Giles is gonna say when we tell him about all of the historical stuff we know about, now?" Willow asked, almost seeming to bubble with enthusiasm as she contemplated the myriad facts of history now whirling through her head from her newly gained memories.

"Uh, would that be before or after we tell him that we're vampires, Will?" Xander asked, clearly dubious about the idea.

" ‘Cause I’m thinking that, after going through the whole Angel/Angelus thing this past spring, he’s not gonna be all that happy with us after we tell him we’re bloodsucking demons," he said with a small frown.

"But we’re not the soulless blood demon vampires we’ve been fighting the past two years, Xand," Willow protested. "We're a completely different type of demon, just like Dracula was – one that transforms their victims into demons just like them, but without needing to have the victims die," she pointed out, holding her wrist out towards Xander. "See, we’ve all still got a pulse!"

"I think that Xand’s probably right, Will. As far as the Council’s concerned, that’s one of those ‘You say poe-tay-toe, I say poe-tah-toe’ things," Buffy chimed in with her opinion to the discussion. "The words ‘bloodsucking demon’ and 'drinking blood' are probably the only words they’re really gonna hear."

"Oh. Yeah. You’re probably right, guys," Willow reluctantly nodded her agreement with her Packmates’ analysis of the situation after a moment's consideration.

"Uh, not wanting to sound overly homicidal or anything, guys," Xander spoke up a few moments later, "but I think we better finish the job we started on Gramps, here. Don’t you?"

"Huh?" Willow asked, her face a mask of puzzlement for a moment, before the more relevant memories floating around her mind clued her in to what Xander was referring.

"Oh, yeah, you’re right, Xand," she concurred. "Leaving him lying around like that is just asking for trouble. It’ll probably take a lot of time, maybe even a year or so, but if we leave him alone, he’ll recover from that eventually, and he’ll definitely come looking for us.

"So, what do you think the best way to take care of him is, Buff?" she turned to their ostensible leader.

"Well, according to the memories I have, I’m thinking that we should play it safe, and stake him through the heart to make sure he doesn’t wake up while we're working, then chop off his head and dismember the body, too," Buffy answered thoughtfully.

"Why don’t we play it real safe, and dissolve the remains with acid, too?" Xander suggested, a thoughtful expression on his face.

"I'm pretty sure we can probably get either hydrochloric or nitric acid from the school labs and, personally, I wanna make sure that there's nothing left for anyone to try to use in any kind of resurrection thing.-y like the Master’s followers did last year," he added. "Sound good to you guys?"

"Yeah, that works for me, Xand," Buffy nodded, a small flare of embarrassment flashing through her mind as she remembered her practically pole dancing against him the previous year.

Well, she’d definitely apologize to him for that later, she decided as she glanced over at him to see if he’d noticed anything. Thankfully, it appeared that those thoughts still remained private. Once they took care of disposing of Vlad’s remains and they got back here, she’d apologize to both of her packmates for the completely bitchy way she’d acted towards both of them last year.

She unconsciously licked her lips as she recalled their – interpersonal relations – earlier this evening, and decided that she certainly needed to apologize to each of them. Probably several times, she thought to herself, so that they’d both know how very sorry she was and how much she needed each of them in her life.

Once she'd made sure that each of them realized exactly how much they meant to her, then they'd figure out how best to contact Giles and let him know what had happened and try to figure out how best to proceed.

After all, they were all still Scoobies and she was still the Slayer, right? And the changes the three of them had gone through in the past couple days just meant that now Willow and Xander were even better equipped to help her fight any bad guys that might come around looking to mess with the Hellmouth – not that they hadn't been a tremendous help even before Dracula had shown up, mind you!

Yep, with the new, augmented strength and durability and healing they'd all gained, they'd be able to stomp on things even harder and faster than they could before.

She'd never really thought before that being a bloodsucking demon could make her life so much better than it had been, but there was absolutely no question about that being true.

As she followed Xander down to the basement, Dracula's desiccated body slung across his shoulder, so that they could properly dispose of their progenitor, she reflected, with a small smile on her lips, on some of the other possible interpretations that the words 'Life Sucks!' might possibly have.

~~~

Sunnydale High School
The athletic field
Saturday, August 29
Lunch time


Giles smiled with relief as he parked his Citroen in the faculty parking lot when he noticed his Slayer and the two adolescents who'd chosen to help her in her sacred duties clearly enjoying the sun as they sat at one of the picnic tables bordering the school's baseball field.

He'd been growing increasingly concerned with his inability to contact any of them over the course of the past few days, but had chalked it up to the teens' desire to enjoy the last few days of summer remaining to them before they were forced to resume their studies the following week, and their call earlier this morning, requesting his presence at the ball field at lunchtime, had reassured him immensely as to their safety.

The teens' greetings "Hey, Giles," "Hi, Giles," and "What's up, Watcher Guy?" echoed across the grass as he joined the children, but he noticed that all three teens seemed more than a bit nervous, and he wondered with a slowly growing sense of apprehension whether they might have, perhaps, inadvertently stumbled across possible indications of impending demonic activities in the course of enjoying their last few days of summer.

A thread of anxiety and worry flared up in his stomach, despite the warmth and sun-drenched cheerfulness of their surroundings, as his Slayer, her hands tightly clenched around those of her two friends (who were sitting extremely close to her on the bench they occupied, he belatedly noticed), smiled up at him tremulously from her position across the table and announced, "Uh, Giles, some really freaky things have happened over the past couple days and we need to talk to you about them…"


FIN

The End

You have reached the end of "Destiny Rolled Snake Eyes". This story is complete.

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