Disclaimer: see previous chapters
Author's note: Sorry for this chapter taking so long! My co-auther was on vacation for the last several weeks, and he just got back a few days ago. So I hope you all enjoys this chapter!
Next Day at Dawn’s School at Lunch:
Dawn looks around the room while holding her tray of food until her eyes settle on the tables where the two potentials are sitting. She smiles and thinks, ‘This makes things easier. They’re sitting across from each other.’ The pre-teen girl walks between their two tables and glances between the two people. She smirks and let go of her tray, making it clatter onto the floor. “Oops,” she says calmly. “I guess I dropped my food. Kit, Carlos, get over here and help me clean it up please.” She bends down and starts putting the food back on the trays. Carlos takes one look at Dawn and quickly starts helping, his eyes trailing over to her more than at the food. Dawn smirks and stares up at Kit who is looking over her shoulder at the two. After a brief staring contest, Kit gets up from her table and starts helping Dawn.
“Thanks, guys,” Buffy’s little sister says amiably. She picks up her now reloaded tray and looks from one to the other. “Hey, what are you doing two days from now? Do you two have any plans?”
“Um…as far as I know, my schedule’s free,” Carlos says cautiously.
Kit shrugs, “Nothing as far as I know. Why do you ask? Hey, you’re Dawn right? I’ve seen you in class.”
“Yep, that’s where you saw me,” Dawn confirms. “Well, some friends of mine are hosting a martial arts demonstration in two days and I was wondering if you two were interested in coming along. It shouldn’t take too long.”
Carlos’ eyes light up at the mention of martial arts. “Sure! I’ll be there. Where is it?”
Dawn replies, “In the gym around six o’clock. Can you make it?”
“I can,” the boy nods.
Kit looks Dawn over slowly and thinks about it. “Well…martial arts isn’t really my thing.”
“Don’t worry,” Dawn smiles. “What’s the worse that can happen? You’re just watching a demonstration. Besides, I think you have a lot of potential if you put your mind to it.”
“I’ll think about it,” Kit answers slowly. “But I’m not making any promises.”
Dawn turns to walk away and says over her shoulder, “I didn’t expect you to.” She walks away, leaving her two classmates behind. She thinks, ‘That was easy. Now for the others to do their recruiting.’ She giggles when she thinks about Buffy’s potential situation.
Speaking of Buffy…
The ninja slayer glares across the school lawn past all the people eating their lunches on benches or around trees. Owen sits off by himself eating his lunch. Willow nudges Buffy’s side and whispers, “We need to recruit him, Buffy, or at least give him a chance to join. Go over and talk to him.”
“But he’ll say yes,” Buffy whines.
Willow smiles, “That’s what we want!”
“That’s what you want!” she retorts. “Not what I want! I already dumped this guy once to get rid of him. Now, you’re asking me to recruit him!”
“Circumstances changed and we need to recruit him,” argues Willow. “Besides, we’ve been over this. If you do, I’ll let you have my cupcake!” She holds up her cupcake.
Buffy stares at the cupcake for a long moment. “That’s chocolate with vanilla topping and sprinkles.”
“Yep, your favorite!” Willow grins.
Buffy glares at the cupcake harder than she was at Owen, “You planned this.”
“You betcha’!” Willow smiles. “Now, let’s go over there and recruit him for the sake of the cupcake!”
Buffy lets out a frustrated groan before grabbing Willow’s arm. “Fine! If you keep insisting that ‘we’re’ going to recruit him, you’re coming with me!” She yanks her arm as she stomps towards Owen.
“Not so hard or I’ll squish the cupcake!” Willow exclaims excitedly. Buffy loosens her grip for the sake of her delicious cupcake but continues dragging the redhead along.
Owen hears Willow’s quiet protests and looks up to see the two girls. “Oh, hi, Buffy! Hi…Buffy’s friend! Long time no see! How are you two doing?”
“Well, you see,” Buffy begins reluctantly. “Willow has something to tell you!” She pushes Willow in front of her quickly.
Willow stares blankly at Owen and glances down at the cupcake. “Cupcake?”
“That’s mine!” Buffy snaps, grabbing for the cupcake over Willow’s shoulder. Willow passes the cupcake to her right hand and rotates counterclockwise, pushing Buffy back. Buffy counters with a spin and grabs onto her hand, pulling her forward and grabbing for the cupcake. Willow throws the cupcake up in the air, Buffy’s eyes following its ascent. The redheaded ninja drops into a horse riding stance. She reaches around and wraps her arm around Buffy’s neck, pulling her down over her hip. Buffy pulls her down after her and lands on top, pinning her down. She glances up and reaches out, barely catching the cupcake in time. “My cupcake!” she practically growls.
“I didn’t really want the cupcake all that much,” Owen says slowly, still trying to figure out what just happened.
Buffy and Willow look over at him and then back at each other. “You tell him,” Buffy states.
“You tell him! It’s your job!” Willow protests.
Buffy quickly hops out of her reach with the cupcake and grins, “I have the cupcake. You tell him.”
“I’ll tell your mom,” Willow warns.
Buffy scowls before smiling again, “But I still have the cupcake until then.”
“Wuppty dooo, you were going to get it anyways,” Willow frowns.
Buffy grins, “And now I have it, so you tell him.”
“Tell me what!?” Owen says loudly.
Willow looks over at him and says, “What are you doing in two days?”
Owen thinks about it, “I’m not really sure…”
Buffy marches up to him and leans close, pointing a finger in his face. “Two days, gym, martial arts demonstration, 6 pm. Be there!” She grabs onto Willow’s wrist and drags her away with a huff.
Owen stares at the two girls in confusion for a few seconds before calling after them with a wave, “I’ll see you then!”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” grumbles Buffy under her breath.
At the Library:
Xander walks into the room with a strange look on his face. Giles recognizes his chakra signature and calls from the bookcases, “Did you invite them?”
He thinks back.
Xander approaches the group nervously and says, “Hey, guys! How’re you doing?” He gives them a smile. He gets nothing but cold stares in return. “Well, I was wondering if you guys were busy in two days.” They continue to stare at him silently. “There’s a martial arts demonstration at the gym around six that night,” he continues with a smile, still receiving no response. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, reopens his eyes, and snaps with killer intent radiating around him. “You will be there!”
The group takes a few steps back and looks at their self-appointed leader Kyle. Kyle glances around at everyone and smiles nervously, “Sure! We’ll be there!”
“Good,” Xander grins while the killer intent dissipates. “I’ll see you then!” He walks away quickly.
The group members exchange glances. One of them asks, “What just happened?” The others shrug in confusion.
Xander replies coolly, “Yeah, they’re coming.” He smirks and whispers, “Oh yeah, I’ve still got it.” He ignores the audible snort coming from the bookcases.
Two Days Later at the Demonstration:
The first of the recruits to arrive are Carlos and Kit. They stroll into the room and Dawn is waiting. “Oh, I’m glad you guys could make it!” she exclaims. They look around slowly and see a rack of weapons, several wooden training dummies, targets, and a few people standing around.
Carlos mentally identifies each person. ‘Dawn, her sister Buffy, some high schoolers, the supervising librarian, Dawn’s mom…Dawn’s mom?!’ he thinks. Out loud, he says, “Hey, Dawn, isn’t that your mom?”
“Yeah, it is,” Dawn replies coolly. “You can stop drooling now.” He instinctively wipes his face with his arm and apologizes quickly while Kit smirks at how bright his face gets.
Buffy walks up to them and smiles, “Have a seat. Once everyone arrives, we’ll begin.” Her sister and the two friends walk past to take their seats. Her smile falters when Owen walks in the door. The smile reforms into something more sinister. “Hello, Owen. Please have a seat. We will begin soon.”
“Buffy, what’s really going on here?” the boy questions, dressed in casual clothes.
Buffy keeps the smile on her face, “You’ll see.” She turns around so her face is hidden and frowns. “Unfortunately,” she mutters. Owen takes his seat. The four semi-popular high schoolers that Xander invited arrive and take their seats quietly when they notice the teacher there.
Giles walks over to Amy and whispers, “Is everything set up?”
Amy nods and responds quietly, “The genjutsu is in place. Nobody will interrupt our event here.” He nods and walks in front of the seated students.
The librarian states, “Thank you for coming to our martial arts demonstration. We will demonstrate the weapons skills and hand to hand combat training that you will receive if you wish for it. Miss Chase, I leave this part to you.” Cordelia nods and stands in front of the small crowd.
She glances over her shoulder at Warren who is beside the weapons stand. “Remember what I said,” she murmurs. The dark haired young man nods in acknowledgement. She smiles at the crowd and announces, “This will be the weapons demonstration.” Warren tosses a sheathed katana to her and she catches it smoothly. She unsheathes it and lays the sheath to the side. She sits on the ground with her head bowed and her arm outstretched with the blade facing out. Her other arm supports her with one leg folded under another. She almost looks like a samurai from her stance. She rises to her feet gracefully and begins a slow, flowing dance. Her sword slices through the air audibly as she begins to go faster, the hilt shifting in her grip and weaves back and forth through the air in a dangerous yet precise pattern. The crowd watches in awe. She brings the dance to an abrupt stop and throws the katana straight at Warren. He dodges it and catches it by the hilt. He tosses her an eight foot long chain with a heavy metal ball on one end and a blade on the other.
Cordelia steps into the incoming weapon and catches it and kicks the sheath to him which he promptly puts onto the katana before placing it back on the rack. She spins the chain as she moves and flips through the air and along the floor, wrapping the chain around her body, arms, and legs tightly. She lands with the blade in hand and the ball hanging from her other arm. The brunette launches the blade at the crowd and yanks it back at the last minute, unwrapping the chain from around her with each movement. The ball flies about her person as if intercepting any incoming attacks while the blade retreats to its owner who swings it around with deadly precision. She catches the blade and ball together in one hand with the chain in the other and tosses it to Warren while he tosses her dual two foot long sticks. She catches them and spins them around her hands in a blur. She spins in a small circle while lashing out with the sticks before putting them back into motion, adding a well placed kick here and there before she flips the sticks into her palms and launches them at her helper. Warren grabs a bo staff from the rack and stops the two sticks with it before tossing it to her and replacing the wooden sticks on the rack. She grunts, “Keep up with me!”
She catches the bo staff and immediately becomes a blur of motion once again. The wooden pole jabs on either side of her, flips over her back to be caught by the other hand and jabbed at a nearby spot in the air before spinning it in her hands to stab at another imaginary victim. She lunges to the side with the staff and brings it back so quickly that there is a snap in the air. She continues her lunges and jabs, leaving no weaknesses in her defenses for anyone or anything to get past her staff. She plants the far end of her staff on the ground and launches herself into the air. In midair, she pulls the staff back up quickly and jabs to her front, to the back, flips it over her head and slaps it out to her left and then jabs it to her right. Her feet still are a foot or two off the ground when her pole reconnects with the ground and she pushes herself higher into the air with both hands on the staff. When she is completely vertical with the gym floor with her staff still connecting with the ground, Cordelia does the splits, performs a front flip, and lands with her staff thrusting forward and stopping a few inches from Carlos’ face with a yell. The air snaps around the edge of the staff, making Carlos jump. She pulls the bo staff back and tosses it to Warren who puts it back on the rack. She bows to the crowd at the waist and walks away from the center of the room to where the others are standing. She murmurs, “Well, there goes my popular image. Oh well.”
Carlos sits in his seat in stunned silence. Kit shakes him. “Carlos! Carlos, are you okay?”
“That—“, he begins. “Was so cool!” Kit sweat drops and then smacks him on the head.
“You idiot!” she screeches. Kit huffs and slumps back in her chair. She mumbles, “And to think I was worried about the doofus. Of course he’d enjoy almost getting smacked in the face by a crazy woman with a stick!”
Cordelia turns around to gauge her audience’s responses. The general response is that of mouths hanging open. Owen raises an eyebrow and applauds. He shoots a curious look at Buffy who ignores him. He shrugs and stops applauding when he is the only one that is clapping.
Willow turns to Buffy and asks, “Do you know how many times she practiced for this?”
Buffy shrugs and answers, “Actually, I think she made it up on the spur of the moment.”
“What,” deadpans the red-head.
Buffy smirks. “Wills, this is Tenten that we’re talking about. Knowing her, that was probably just a light workout.”
Willow nods understandingly, “Good point. I should have thought of that.”
Giles smiles appreciatively at Cordelia for her cooperation and announces, “Next, we will demonstrate marksmanship. Xander, please take over.”
Xander Harris nods and gets into a ready position. He stares at the targets on the other side of the room in front of the crowd. Xander starts running towards the targets and does a somersault. In mid somersault, it morphs into a series of three back flips. As he is finishing the final back flip, the black-haired ninja twists his body around while drawing four kunai from his weapons pouch and launches them at the targets. Each blade hits the bulls eye on the targets. “That was the throwing knives,” calls out Giles. “Now, for the demonstration with throwing stars.” Cordelia walks to the targets and yanks out the kunai. Xander breaks into a run for the side wall opposite of where the audience sits and takes a few steps up it before pushing off into the air. He does a back flip and pulls four shuriken from his weapons pouch while twisting his body away from the targets. When he finishes the turn, right when his eyes meets the target, he launches the throwing stars at them. Meanwhile, Cordelia starts walking towards the potentials on the same side of the room that they are on and draws four specially made senbon needles in the shapes of the letter L. When the throwing stars are airborne, she throws the needles across without taking her eyes off the audience. The crooked senbon needles fly into the holes in the center of each shuriken and snags them. The weapons impact on the center of each target on the far wall, the shuriken spinning a few times before coming to a stop. The audience looks on in surprise and start murmuring about what happened. They look closer and see the senbon needles pinning the shuriken to the targets and stare at Cordelia. She is leaning against the wall with a smirk on her face.
“Thank you, Xander and Cordelia, for that demonstration. Now we will get into hand to hand combat,” the librarian informs them. Faith and Angel stroll casually to the center of the room.
Buffy whines to her Watcher, “Why wasn’t I picked for the fighting?”
Giles responds, “Buffy, you’re a Slayer. You don’t know how to hold back. Neither does Temari.”
“And those two do?” she protests.
Her mother smirks as she says, “Technically, those two are better than you in skills and rank.” Buffy frowns and huffs quietly.
Angel has his hands in his pockets with his mask up over his face. Faith frowns, “You’re not going to take me seriously?”
“How serious do you want me to take you?” the ex-vampire replies in a bored tone. Faith lunges forward and he barely dodges. “Hey!” He redirects her punch and counters, which she also blocks. The audience watches the two fighter’s hands and legs quickly becoming blurs of motion as they dodge and attack each other. Neither can land a significant strike on the other. They weave in and out of each other’s attacks, still unable to gain ground. The potentials in the crowd can barely follow their movements.
Dawn says slowly, “I think this is beginning to get a little out of hand.”
Kit nods to her quickly, “Yeah, just a little.”
Kyle pokes Dawn’s shoulder and asks, “How long can they keep this up?”
“At this slow pace, they could be at it all day,” she responds. Kyle stares at her, dumbfounded. Giles notices a gleam in Faith’s eye and her hand drifts towards her weapons pouch.
“Hold!” he shouts. They freeze with Faith having her right leg forward, bending forward, her left hand blocking Angel’s punch. Her hand is almost touching her pouch. Angel is frozen in place with his right leg in midair for the beginning of a round house kick and his left fist off to the side due to Faith’s block. “Bow,” he orders. They retract their limbs and bow politely to each other. They move back to their group.
Faith whispers, “I would’ve won.”
“Only if you broke out of the taijutsu only rules,” smirks Angel. He grunts from a sharp nudge from Faith in the ribs.
Giles approaches the crowd and smiles. “Thank you all for coming. If you are interested in learning this and much more, than please show up tomorrow to the park nearest to the high school at 8am. If you show up, clear your Saturday. We’re going to be busy. You are all dismissed.” The group starts to file out the doors with the exception of Owen.
Owen approaches Buffy and says bluntly, “How did you all do that? A month or two ago, you all couldn’t do anything like that, even as a Slayer.”
Buffy chuckles nervously, “You know Halloween and all the craziness that went on there?”
“Yeah, it was pretty weird. I have some vague memories,” Owen admits.
Buffy explains, “We sort of became our costumes. It never wore off.” Owen’s eyes practically bulge out of his skull. “And to answer your next question, we went as ninjas.”
Two poofs of smoke appear behind Buffy and Spike and Drusilla appear as the smoke fades fully clothed in their Zabuza/Haku attire, including the massive blade on Spike’s back. Buffy frowns when she senses their presences and says over her shoulder, “What are you two doing here?”
“We were just checking out the potentials. I wonder how many will make it,” Drusilla says absently.
Spike looks Owen up and down and grunts, “I guess he’ll have to do.” They both vanish in a shunshin.
Buffy sighs, “I thought I felt an extra pair of eyes.”
Owen slowly turns back to Buffy and says nervously, “What kind of ninjas did you go as exactly?”
“Have you ever watched an anime called Naruto?” Buffy inquires. Owen pales. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Late that Night at the Docks:
A group of four vampires and two demons standing guard. Two vampires are loading a crate onto a truck and are about to get into the truck. A vampire pauses and throws a kunai into a shadowy area of the docks. The kunai lands against a crate with a thump. “We know you’re there. Come out,” the vampire growls.
A man comes out with his hands up. “Hey, man! Don’t hurt me! I’m one of you!” His skin instinctively turns into a stone-like substance.
“What’re you doing here?” the other vampire growls.
The half humanized demon stammers, “I-I was just out for a walk! I live around here!”
“Get out of here and mind your own business,” a demon snarls. The creature takes off into a run.
A demon snaps, “Let’s hurry and get this to James before the Slayer or those ninja arrive! We don’t know how long the distractions will work!” They pile into the truck and drive away.
The man that they terrorized earlier, back in his human appearance, step out from behind a stack of boxes. He walks off. A few minutes later, he arrives at one of the many Sunnydale graveyards near the fence. He walks up to the fence near a street light and leans against a brick wall connecting to the fence. The brick wall comes up three feet before outcropping slightly outside the fence. On top of that is metal fence that goes up about four feet. He has his hands in his pockets and pulls out a pack of cigarettes in his left hand. He shakes it to bring one out while his right hand reaches back near his waist and shoves a small piece of paper into a small cubbyhole that is there. He lights the cigarette, takes a few puffs, flips it onto the ground, and stomps it out. He casually kicks a rock aside as he walks away.
Thirty minutes later, a woman jogs up to the graveyard and notices the moved rock and cigarette. She begins to start stretches. She stretches out her legs and then reaches back to the brick to stretch out her arms. Her fingers capture the piece of paper and slip it into her jogging short’s pocket. She jogs to a convenience store to buy a bottle of water. She hands over the money and the piece of paper at the counter. The store clerk takes the exact amount of money for the water and puts it into the register, palming the piece of paper and carefully slipping it into a small space underneath the counter ledge. He presses a hidden button next to it and waits.
Thirty minutes later, Giles shows up. “Hello, Mr. Giles. You couldn’t sleep again?” the store clerk inquires in a friendly fashion.
“Afraid not,” Giles replies with a smile. ‘What I wouldn’t give for some good sake about now,’ he thinks. He shakes his head and mutters, “Stupid Jiraiya and his habits.” He picks up a bag of chips and a soda. He hands the man at the counter several dollar bills. The man gives back the change with the piece of paper. Giles puts both into his wallet and walks away with a wave.
Upon arriving at his house, he steps into the building and closes the door behind him. He pulls out his wallet and removes the piece of paper. He opens it, glances over it, and murmurs, “That’s interesting.”
Buffy pulls Willow down but looses her grip on her. Willow stumbles forward and falls face first on top of Owen. Owen’s eyes go wide as their lips connect. Willow freezes up when she realizes what is going on and quickly falls backwards. “What, How, Huh!?” she gasps loudly. Owen sits up and stares at her dumbly, fairly mind blown from the kiss.
Willow’s eyes glaze over and suddenly Buffy and Owen feels waves of killer intent flowing off of her. She turns around slowly and the blonde slayer could have sworn she sees a dark aura around her friend. “Buffy,” she grinds out slowly. “You made me kiss Owen!” Her head whips back around and she focuses on the poor boy in front of her. “You stole my first kiss! That was supposed to be for Xander! How Dare You!!” she roars, the dark aura visibly clouding the air around her.
Oblivious to the situation, Xander walks up and puts his hand on Willow’s shoulder. “Hey, Wills. What’s up?” he says. He raises an eyebrow when her head very slowly and jerkily turns towards him and her eyes are full of terror.
“X-Xander! You! Him! She! Ahhh!!” she shouts before falling, having fainted.
The dark haired Scooby looks over at Buffy, “What happened to Willow?”
“That’s a funny story actually,” Buffy chuckles nervously, scratching the back of her head.
His eyes darken and Xander turns to tower over Owen who is still dumbstruck. “Did you hurt Willow Rosenburg, you toad?” he growls.
“H-Huh?” he says dumbly.
Xander hauls him up by the shirt and glares into his eyes, the Sharingan whirling ominously. “You will tell me exactly what you did to her. Now.” Owen pales from the amount of killer intent around him.
“B-but…she…Buffy…” he gasps, having trouble breathing. He looks into Xander’s eyes fearfully before realizing something. “W-What happened to your eyes?”
“Do not change the subject,” Xander says in a sinisterly calm tone. “You will tell me what you did to her, or I will do things to you that will frighten you beyond your imagination.”
“You’ll dump me in a pool of sharks?” Owen guesses.
Xander grins mysteriously, “Not quite…”
Willow jumps up to her feet in a panic and shouts, “It’s not what it looks like!” Xander turns around quickly, accidentally crashing into her with the extra weight of Owen in his hand to throw him off balance. His hand slips from Owen’s shirt to his throat as he tries to grab onto something to stop his fall. He falls on top of her and she suddenly gets a sense of déjà vu. Xander gets off of her quickly.
“Oh! I’m sorry, Willow! You startled me. Are you okay?” he says quickly, his hand still not having released Owen’s throat. The boy gasps for air, to which Xander is completely oblivious.
Willow’s face gets as red as her hair and she says slowly, “Xander…Xander…you just…” She turns slowly around to Buffy who is staring at the group, trying not to laugh. “He just…did he..?” Buffy nods slowly. Willow’s eyes roll to the back of her head and she hits the ground unconscious once more.
Xander refocuses on Owen and growls, “Enough distractions. Tell me what you did to her before I lose my patience!” Owen stares at him incredulously, still gasping for breath.
Buffy surveys the scene and mutters to herself, crossing her arms over her chest, “Where’s a camera when you need one?”