Disclaimer: To prevent spoilers, the disclaimer is at the end of this story.
Author’s Note: It’s totally a coincidence that I posted this on a Wednesday. (Snickers.) Now that it’s up, please don’t disturb me between the hours of 9 to 10 p.m. tonight.
Sometime after midnight, Xander Harris looked up from doing the monthly accounts at the kitchen table as the back door was shoved open and Faith Lehane stalked into the kitchen, carrying a limp body over her left shoulder.
Pushing aside the bills for the Cleveland Slayers House, the one-eyed Sunnydale survivor watched as Faith kicked away the other chair at the table and unceremoniously deposited a young man in it, with that person’s body slumping down in unconsciousness. As Faith then headed for the industrial-size refrigerator, she snarled, “YOU can patch up the geek, boytoy.”
Xander promptly got out of his chair and headed for the large medical kit attached to the far wall of the kitchen, identical to the others in every other room of the Slayers House (including the bathrooms). As he snapped open the latches of the kit, Xander worriedly asked, “How bad is Andrew, Faith?”
From the refrigerator where Faith’s upper body was now inside and flicking aside the sign taped over her personal section that read, “TOUCH THIS IF YOU WANT DEATH BY FAITH”, an irritated voice answered, “Just Level One for the idiot, I’d say.”
“Gotcha.” Xander now relaxed slightly, his actions purposeful but no longer as urgent as before, as he methodically chose bandages, disinfectant, and cotton pads for cleaning Andrew’s injuries, which Faith had confirmed were minor. Level One hurts, by the Scooby scale, were no worse that a school fistfight or a Slayer workout match among each other. Lots of bruising, maybe small cuts, a split lip, loose teeth, that kind of thing.
His arms full of medical supplies, Xander turned around and his jaw dropped as he got his first clear look at Andrew out cold in the kitchen chair. He dazedly stood there as Faith snickered into her Buckeye Hippie beer bottle she was quickly draining as she leaned against the now closed front door of the refrigerator.
Andrew Wells, current cook for the Cleveland Slayers, along with his other job of researcher of demons, vampires and other unearthly creatures from other dimensions, when he wasn’t running the Slayers House computer system and getting the highest score possible in Halo, gently bled into his outfit of khaki dress pants, a no-longer-pure white long-sleeved dress shirt, and a black beret that had managed to stay on his head throughout it all.
What really boggled Xander was Andrew’s face. Sometime earlier, the guy must have had a head-on collision with the world’s biggest dust bunny. Below his nose was attached a matted wad of light hair the size of a fist that contrasted horribly with the man’s dark hair. Xander knew quite well that Andrew had been clean-shaved this morning, and he numbly tried to figure out how his fellow Sunnydale survivor suddenly had on his face a mustache that looked like a handful of various customers’ hair grabbed from a barbershop’s floor and clumsily glued to his upper lip.
Edging closer to the kitchen table and putting his first-aid supplies on it, Xander dubiously considered the insensible man in the chair, and with a tone of utter bafflement, he inquired, “Uh, Faith….?”
Faith shrugged, the backs of her shoulders rubbing against the refrigerator she was still leaning against. “All I know, I was at the west graveyard tonight on my patrol. ‘Bout half an hour ago, I saw Andrew there sneakin’ around, lookin’ exactly like that.” Faith nodded at Andrew’s clothes, and went on. “I though maybe he had a message or somethin’ for me, so I went after him to ask what the hell was goin’ on. After a minute or so of watchin’ him, I knew he wasn’t there to find me. Xander….he was huntin’.”
Throughout Faith’s story, Xander had knelt by the chair occupied by Andrew, and he had gingerly examined the facial fungus worn by the seated man. Glad for the latex gloves he was wearing, the former carpenter gently tugged at the hair, a bit relieved that it had just been glued to Andrew’s upper lip and easily peeled off, to be disgustedly dropped into a napkin Xander had snagged off the kitchen table.
Right after that, Xander had looked up with shock at Faith’s last words. “Faith, you have GOT to be kidding me!”
“Honest Injun, Xander. Cross my heart and hope to die….a century from now, after beddin’ alla the straight guys from the Bolshoi ballet.”
Xander’s half-amused grunt at that trailed off as he went back to his doctoring. The man only needed part of his attention for his fingers to move in their familiar efforts as he cleaned and bandaged Andrew’s face and the other parts of his body that needed this. The main part of Xander‘s awareness was devoted to the incomprehensibility of his patient’s actions.
As long as Andrew Wells had been working at the Cleveland House, he had flatly refused to participate directly in what Faith had sardonically dubbed their “ash work.” He was more than willing to support the Slayers and the Watchers, keeping them all fed with nourishing meals and helping out in the research against the various Big Bads and other villains, but he wouldn’t go into the field.
Xander, Faith, and the other survivors from Sunnydale had accepted this without comment, but others weren’t so forgiving. It had all come to a head a few months ago when one of the new Slayers from the Northeast, who had been created by Willow’s spell with the Scythe but hadn’t been there in Sunndyale with the rest of the Scoobies, the Potentials, and their allies, joined the Cleveland House and started to pick on Andrew. After a rough patrol, the new warrior woman had erupted at the man, accusing him of being a coward and hiding behind girls who were fighting and dying for jerks like him.
Andrew had just stood there then, a stricken expression on his face. Two other people there in the same room at that time weren’t so forbearing.
Dawn, who had been visiting from England, verbally tore into the impolite girl, telling her exactly what it had been like in Sunnydale High School against the assault of the Bringers and the First Evil’s other minions, and how Andrew had acted then. Once Buffy’s younger sister had finished delivering a true Summers scolding that made everyone’s ears bleed, it was Faith’s turn.
The dark Slayer had picked up the now-horrified girl by her throat and slammed her against the nearest wall. Every few words into her speech, as the Boston native had calmly expressed her opinion, Faith had pounded the baby Slayer’s head once against the wall.
“Lissen, and lissen good, ya li’l bitch.” BANG! “Andy was there when things got mean and nasty.” BANG! “He was ready to crap his pants every second of that time.” BANG! “But he stood his ground, an’ he done his job.” BANG! “I’ll take him to guard my back any day.” BANG! “Ya ever raise your voice to him again, yer gonna pay.” BANG!
At the last thump, Faith had opened her hand and dropped the half-unconscious girl to sprawl onto the floor. The older Slayer had then walked over to Andrew, hugged him, and with an arm still around him, steadily spoke while looking into the man’s eyes, “C’mon, Andy, me and Dawnie will share some chocolate ice cream with ya.”
The trio had then walked off to the kitchen. Three things happened soon after that.
One, the baby Slayer had promptly transferred to another Slayers House as far away as possible.
Two, Xander hadn’t complained the slightest when fixing the dent in the drywall the size of someone’s head.
Finally, nobody ever bothered Andrew Wells again.
Remembering all this, Xander looked down at the bandaged face of the young man with his eyes closed slumped in the chair. The former member of the Scooby Gang frowned, thinking of a possible reason for it all, and looked at Faith. “Did somebody hassle Andrew again?”
Faith glowered into the distance, her fierce face showing what would happen to anybody who dared that, and then she reluctantly shook her head. “Haven’t seen or heard anythin’ like that. An’ you know how fast stuff like that gets passed ’round the house. Ya haven’t picked anythin’ up?”
“Nothing that would explain this.” Xander looked at Andrew again in bafflement. “I take it he actually got lucky? Well, if you can call it that,” amending his statement with a nod of his head at the seated man’s injuries.
Faith gave a wry chuckle. “He managed to stumble ’cross a fledgling right after she clawed her way out, which is why he lasted more than a coupla seconds. He was pretty pitiful, didn’t even stake her with his first strike, and after that he was gettin’ the shit kicked outta him, until I got there.”
Xander sighed, and said thoughtfully, “I think we better step up our self-defense classes for the Watchers and the support staff. Even if they don’t want to use it, or never have to, it’s a good idea for them to get better at it.”
“Damn straight,” nodded Faith. She frowned then, and dug into her jacket pocket, coming out with an object that she tossed to Xander. “There was somethin’ funny ‘bout Andy’s stake. I used my own stake on the vamp, it got poofed with her, and I picked up what Andrew was tryin’ to use. Looked kinda weird, so I brought it back. That’s it, right there.”
Xander looked down in puzzlement at what he had caught and was turning over in his fingers. It was shaped like any other stake, a foot-long cylindrical object with a sharp pointed end and a gripping surface at the other end. That, however, was all that was familiar with it. It was the palest color that Xander had ever seen for a stake, even for white ash wood, and it was easy for the man to feel what was the really odd thing about the stake. It was very light, virtually weightless compared to any wooden stake Xander had ever lifted.
The Scooby Gang member flipped up the stake, to grab it by its end and strike with it, his right hand thrusting out in a blur to leave his arm fully extended at his opponent’s chest level.
“Not bad,” casually commented Faith, once again leaning against the refrigerator.
There wasn’t the slightest reaction to her not-so-mocking praise to someone who probably had the highest vampire kill ratio of any normal human currently alive in the world. She looked in surprise at Xander’s face and was startled at what was there.
Revelation. Amusement. Irritation. Disgust. Annoyance. Exasperation.
“Well, I see ya been havin’ an Andy moment. Care to spill the beans?”
At Faith’s question, Xander only groaned and shifted the stake to his left hand and brought up his right hand to rub against his forehead in a sign of a sudden onset of a severe headache. After a few moments of this, a now deeply curious Faith saw Xander squeeze his eyes shut and bring down his right arm to blindly wave that at Andrew in his chair. “The answer’s sitting right there, Faith. Here’s a hint: what have we been doing for the last couple of months on Wednesday nights?”
Faith looked in puzzlement at Xander, and then her gaze shifted to Andrew to stare intently at him, until after a few seconds, her jaw dropped as she finally got it.
Two voices simultaneously chorused: “Mythbusters.”
Several months ago, an enthusiastic Andrew had bounced into the TV room in the evening before the Slayers went on patrol, saying, “Change the channel! You really want to watch this!”
“But it’s the O.C.!” came a simultaneous wail from several girls.
As if it was the Ten Commandments, Andrew brandished his copy of the schedule list. Sure enough, his name was written on the 8 p.m. block, giving him free reign on what the room would watch then. A few of the girls had grumblingly left the room to find another television to watch their program, but most had stayed, including Xander and Faith, curious to find out what their resident geek was so excited about. Beaming, Andrew had grabbed the remote, plunked himself down on one of the couches, and changed the channel to the Discovery Channel.
An hour later, everybody in the entire room was a fan of the “Mythbusters” television show. A popular-science show that tested the validity of various urban myths, legends, and news stories of American culture, the show set out to see if these really did or could happen. Such as, “If you shoot at and hit a diver’s air tank stuck in the corner of a great white shark’s mouth while it’s swimming towards you to devour your unfortunate butt, will the bullet make the air tank explode and blow up the shark?”
Answers to questions like that were accomplished by building and testing various equipment and running through experiments until three results were achieved:
Busted -- Unable to accomplish the described myth, due to physical impossibility, expense, or possible harm or damage to experimenters.
Plausible -- Able to accomplish parts of the myth, but not all of it. Believable and capable of being true.
Confirmed -- It was indeed possible for the myth to take place, and it was recreated on the television program.
(The above shark example was ‘Busted’ due to the same kind of rifle used in the movie unable to shoot through the air tank, and when other efforts penetrated the tank, it didn’t blow up.)
It was all totally entertaining to the residents of the Cleveland Slayers House. The baby Slayers enjoyed the fact there was a young woman on the show proposing and helping research myths, and Xander watched with interest the construction work setting up the experiments.
Faith liked the explosions.
Everyone was also amused by the two hosts of the television show, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, both of whom had years of experience in special effects in movies and television. The first named man had a gleeful face with thinning reddish hair, a fringe beard, and geeky glasses. He resembled Santa Claus’ weirdest elf, from whose workplace would come maniac cackling, strange smells, and nerve-racking bangs. In his enthusiasm, Savage was the comic relief.
The straight man of the pair, Hyneman, was a bit more dour and serious. He always wore on the show dress pants, a white long-sleeved dress shirt, and a black beret hiding his baldness. The most striking feature of that man’s face, covering all the lower half, was a thick, lush mustache that any member of the Odobenidae family would have bowed before in awe, convinced that this being was the absolute Alpha walrus.
Back in the kitchen in the Cleveland Slayers House, Xander and Faith had their eyes meet over the man dressed exactly like Jamie Hyneman, and she dryly said, “Okay, what exactly set him off, anyway? He wouldn’t dress and act like he did tonight, includin’ that freaky fake mustache, if he didn’t have a reason. Well, some kinda reason. I think.”
Xander sighed. “It’s my fault, Faith. Last week -- you weren’t here then, right? -- I had to say no to his idea of contacting the show and having them doing an episode about our work.”
Faith boggled at Xander, who was half-smiling while remembering how Andrew had really gotten into the idea, babbling a description of the start of the planned episode, with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman dressed up as Victorian vampire hunters in the style of the 1960’s Hammer films, clutching stakes and mallets and standing in a sham graveyard, with fake gravestones and man-made ground fog, both chorusing, “Mythbusters -- the Slayers episode!”
Xander had felt really bad then at having to put Andrew so firmly down. Still, no matter how amusing it would have been, there was just no way the whole thing was going to happen. It would have meant exposing too many secrets of their lives in the dark side of the world.
Andrew had thoroughly sulked for the next hour, seemingly not paying the slightest bit of attention to the new episode playing on the television, or even when after that the baby Slayers started discussing myths about their profession.
Xander groaned again, causing Faith to ask with raised eyebrows, “Somethin’ else painin’ ya, boytoy?”
“Yeah. I just figured out exactly why he was out tonight, and with this.” At that, Xander held up the peculiar stake Faith had given him after taking it from Andrew.
Faith stared at the weapon, and shrugged. “Looks like it’ll do the job, least if it’s used by someone who knows what the hell to do with it.”
“That’s the point, Faith. It might or might not have worked.”
The Slayer gave Xander the fish-eye, and spoke with authority. “Lissen, boytoy, you’ve damn well got enough experience to know things ain’t like the films. Yeah, they use stakes alla time in them dumb vamp movies, but they don’t know that those pointy pieces of wood ain’t necessary. It’s magic, Xander, with its own rules.”
Faith took a few steps away from the refrigerator to hop backwards onto the kitchen counter, and while seated there, she looked intently at the fascinated man listening with total attention. The woman continued, “Alla ya need is somethin’ that’s sharp enough to punch through the chest, long enough to reach the heart to disrupt the magic there that keeps vamps in solid form, and strong enough so’s it don’t break or shatter while doin’ alla that.”
Xander was deprecatingly nodding his head, knowing all this, but letting Faith get it off her chest. She shrugged, “Hell, Buffy’s done it with a stiletto heel. Me, I was in a graveyard last winter, got attacked, yanked an icicle offa a mausoleum’s side, and shoved it where the heart don’t beat. Worked like a charm.”
“Yeah, you told us that. Repeatedly.” Xander muttered the last under his breath, his wry grin directed at a woman he knew could hear him quite well.
Faith folded her arms over her chest, and huffed disdainfully. “See if I share any more stories with ya all, ya bastard. Anyways, what’s so damn strange ’bout that stake?”
Xander rolled his remaining eye. “Maybe you should have given that lecture a few weeks ago. See, right after I told Andrew to forget about a Mythbusters show, the girls started talking about their lives and potential myths about them, and well, they got in a really big argument that Andrew didn’t join in, but he must have been listening, and decided to do something--”
“What the hell are ya talkin’ ’bout?”
The one-eyed man held up the pale, light stake. “One of the girls wondered why they had to use wood stakes, and another of the Slayers had an idea, only to be shot down by the others, who pointed out it was a grass, not a wood--”
“Get to the damn point!” Faith snapped.
Xander tapped his thumb on the tip of the stake, as if obeying her unintended instructions, and gave the Slayer a cool look, before replying, “Faith, this is a bamboo stake.”
Andrew Wells opened his eyes just after blurting out this at the top of his lungs, becoming fully conscious then and staring right into the startled faces of Xander Harris and Faith Lehane. The young man took only a few seconds to realize how much trouble he was in, offering the pair now glowering at him a weak smile and a tentative, “Uh, hi….”
Xander said in a voice of weary patience, “Andrew, there’s a damn good reason for the warning said by the Mythbuster guys at the start of every episode.”
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All rights to Mythbusters and Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters mentioned here belong to their proper owners.
Author’s Note: I came up with this when I seemed to be running afoul of this site’s rules against writing about real people. However, a plot bunny hopped into my mind and wiggled its cute pink nose at me until I figured out how to present it as fiction.
Yeah, I’m a fan of the show, as you might have guessed.