Chapter Two: Atlanta
Disclaimer: Xander, Buffy, and anyone or anything else that pertains to BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. Dracula belongs to the estate of Bram Stoker, or Francis Ford Coppola, or someone I think.
Larry Talbot, the Frankenstein Monster, and some others may belong to Universal Pictures.
OCs belong to me, and as always I remain…the man behind the curtain.
Chapter Two: Atlanta
The five travelers reappeared in a second silvery flash of light. They found themselves standing on the platform of an old burned out railway station…underground.
Xander looked around, and being nervous about everything that happened, he allowed his old smart-ass self, the one he had thought he had grown out of somewhat to come out to play. “Nice place you have here! Who’s your decorator?”
Mina didn’t miss a beat, “William Tecumseh Sherman and Company, I believe.” She smiled at him.
“Welcome to the Atlanta, Georgia that was before the American War Between the States!”
“This way please,” said the giant called Victor, “and watch your step the platform has been reinforced, but some of it is still shaky. As a rule of thumb, if a section holds me it will pretty much hold anyone else.” He grinned at them. They crossed the platform. The original wooden platform steps had been replaced with steps of concrete.
They walked along the tracks for a few hundred yards past burned and tumbled down wooden structures, and places where the whole place was filled with dirt, and rubble. Finally they crossed the tracks and walked between to huge concrete and red brick columns. Before them stood an old hotel. The building showed a few scorch marks, but was made of bricks and mortar, and was remarkably intact. No one had spoken since they left the railway station.
Buffy was uneasy. After the Fall of Sunnydale she was always uneasy in caves, and undergrounds.
Xander was pensive, and still a bit wary of their present company. The big guy was an enigma, and there was something about him that Xander thought he should know. Then it hit him. The guy’s size, his scars, Mina’s slip of the tongue about his origin. Victor was the Frankenstein Monster! Oh, man!
Victor holding the door for the other four, they entered the lobby of the hotel. Seated in an old fashioned cloth and wooden sofa was a single man. He wore a white shirt, and a red tie, and a pair of Black slacks a black suit coat in the fifties style wide lapels and all was draped over the back of the sofa. As they entered he swiftly rose.
“Mina you have returned. Have brought this slayer you spoke of?” he asked.
“Darling, I want you to meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and her mate Mr. Xander Mor...Harris,” she said with an amused look on her face.
The man’s eyebrow shot up. He looked with a keen eye at the tiny blonde beauty that his tiny brunette wife had brought home.
He bowed to her, saying, “Welcome Miss Buffy, I am Prince Vlad Dracula, Mina’s husband.”
Buffy smiled at him, warily.
“Xander,” she observed, “He doesn’t look much like the Dracula we encountered in Sunnydale does he.”
Xander, who had very bad memories of that vampire, shook his head.
“Nope,” he observed, “he looks more like the guy who played ‘Dorian Grey’ in that movie ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, but his hair is shorter, and he hasn’t got a beard.”
Ignoring their byplay, the vampire prince suggested, “Let us retire to the ballroom, we have set up a sort of conference room there. We can get to know one another better there.”
“Vlad, I believe that our guests are tired, they may wish to rest first.” Mina suggested.
“No,” said Xander, just a little too quickly, “Well not me anyway, maybe Buffy would. Myself I’d like to get the meet and greet, and the why’s and wherefores out of the way first,” he looked at Buffy.
“Much as I’d like to be in a room doing what I’d planned before we ran into Mina, and company. I agree with Xander, so on to the ballroom!”
The ballroom was dark as night as they entered. The prince snapped his fingers and one by one a multitude of candles began lighting themselves! The room was lined with floor length mirrors seven feet high and five feet wide, which reflected and intensified the light. A large oaken table that may have once graced the dining room of a plantation house sat in the middle of the room with twelve chairs placed around it. One chair sat off to the side, a huge throne-like affair painted gold, and set with obviously fake gems that had likely started life as an opera house prop. This one was immediately appropriated by Victor. Though he was seated Victor’s eyes constantly scanned the room, and particularly the velvet curtained windows at the far end.
Speaking of Victor’s eyes, Buffy had noted that one was an almost aquamarine blue while the other was a soft brown.
Buffy and Xander were given seats near the center of the table Vlad and Mina took the seats opposite them. ‘Shade” Farrell remained near the door and though he stood in a relaxed almost slouched position, it was obvious that he was on guard duty. He played with a silver-plated motorcycle chain, and a brace of dagger handles stuck out of his snakeskin boots.
“First as Mr. Morris…” began Dracula.
“Harris,” said Xander tersely, “Xander Harris, H-A-double R-I-S, HARRIS.” Xander’s face was slightly angry. “Who the Hell is this Morris!”
“His name was Quincy Morris, he was a hero,” said Mina gently. “He was a wealthy American rancher, a cowboy actually who was one of Lucy Westenra’s suitors. He died in our pursuit of Dracula. Except for the eye-patch your resemblance to him is remarkable. Mr. Stoker’s book, and yes I have read that jumped up theatre hanger-on’s book gets many things wrong. Quincy was the man that actually won Lucy’s heart. True, she would have married Arthur Lord Holmewood, but only because he had paid off all of her aunt’s considerable debts, with the understanding that Lucy would be his. Quincy died not defending my honor, but avenging her’s!”
Xander said nothing. It had been a long time since he seen the movie ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ and a longer time still that he had read the book. Realizing, and feeling quite foolish, that his mouth was hanging open he closed it audibly.
“As Mr. Harris put it to get the meet and greet out of the way. You know who Mina and I are. Victor is the creation of a mad genius named Doctor Baron Victor von Frankenstein. Victor was frozen in the ice near the North Pole when he was offered redemption by the Living Light. Indeed he was offered a soul. He chose to accept eagerly and was sent to Poenari Fortress and to the Lady as he calls Mina. We spoke to him and welcomed him, and made him part of our little family. Mina gave him the surname Mann to remind him that he was now more man than monster. He often calls her Little Mother,” the Prince paused.
A tall, beautiful woman with long brilliant red hair streaked with black entered the room carrying a tray with two goblets, two glasses of water, and two mugs on it. She place a goblet in front of Mina, and one in front of Vlad. She placed steaming mugs of coffee on the table for Xander and Buffy. Victor received the largest water glass, and taking a seat at the far end of the table she appropriated the other glass for herself.
“Felicia Vanderhagen,” she said by way of introduction.
“Dear Felicia is one of our shapeshifters,” announced Mina.
Felicia looked at Buffy then seemed stunned by Xander, who she eyed with apparent interest. Finally after a long pause she bowed her head to him. “I am a Bengal Tigress, and though I am one of the pack’s Alpha’s, I bow to one who is at least my equal, regardless of their species.”
Buffy looked at her, then back at Xander surprise written on her face.
“Giles swore that that damned hyena spirit was gone!” she whispered to him.
“He was wrong,” her would be mate spoke softly, “the beast was not just a possession like it was with the other kids, she was a Primal Spirit, more of a Dire Hyena, leader of the pack so to speak, something like the Spirit of the First Slayer. Giles couldn't completely remove her so he subdued her, and masked her presence. Hey, I don’t turn furry at home, but my senses, reflexes and strength are enhanced a bit. I guess that’s how I survived Sunnydale without dying.”
“What about here? Will you be a were-hyena here?” she asked.
Xander simply shrugged, a smile creased his face.
“Another thing I learned in Sunnydale, ‘Kay Sera Sera’! What’s gonna happen is gonna happen. If I can’t stop it I gotta go with the flow. I do know that I will be in control this time. I don’t know how I know, but I know,” he said brightly.
Buffy smiled back a bit uncertainly and just said, “I sure as Hell hope so! Wait a second, SHE! You said SHE, the spirit is FEMALE?”
Xander just grinned sheepishly, “Hyena’s are matriarchal,” he mumbled.
Xander the Alpha Were-Hyena? Who knows what …um…and all that…just the man behind the curtain, Mmwoohahaha!
Side Note:And yes I know that Kay Sera Sera is not the correct spelling, but that is because Xander pronounced it that way, so please no flames about the spelling!