Disclaimers, etc., in chapter 1
“Dan, you know Blair is never going to go for this. She lives and breathes this city, and the only other place she'd even want to go is –”
“Yale, I know. But that's not an option for her anymore, and that's at least partly my fault.”
“She made her own bed, Dan.”
“Well, maybe,” Dan said. “But I helped. And I don't know if my cousin can help her out, or if she'd want it even if he could. But maybe, you know? And maybe a change of scene would be good for her.”
Serena sat back in her chair and sighed.
“Look, I know it's a long shot,” Dan said. “But all he's asking for at the moment is to sit down and talk. And maybe he can help.”
“I suppose it can't hurt,” Serena said. She pulled out her phone and hit the speed dial. “B, it's S. What are you doing? Uh huh. Well, listen, something... kind of odd is going on. Do you mind if I stop by? And... bring a few people? No, B, it's not an intervention. Just want to talk. I swear! Okay. See you in thirty.”
“We're in?” Dan asked.
“We're in,” Serena said, rolling her eyes.
“Now, I have to warn you about one thing.” Serena waited for him. Dan took a deep breath. “One of them… looks a lot like Georgina.”
“Looks like Georgina?”
“No, I’m pretty sure she’s not,” Dan said. “Like… 85% sure.” He waved at a corner of the restaurant. Five people stood up and walked toward them.
Dan laughed. “Serena van der Woodsen, I'd like you to meet my cousin, Xander Harris, and his friends and colleagues, Faith Lehane, Willow Rosenberg, and Buffy and Dawn Summers.”
Serena stared directly at Dawn, then turned to Dan. “Dan, you’re an idiot. That is clearly Georgina.”
“Uh, no,” Dawn said. “Not her, actually.”
“You are. You even sound like her.”
Dawn rolled her eyes.
“Look, I know she looks… scarily like Georgina,” Dan said. “But I know Georgina. Not as well as you, obviously, but I spent a lot of time with her. This? Is not Georgina.”
Serena looked them over and shook her head. “Look, even if I’m willing to believe you, Blair never will.” Serena looked at Dawn. “Sorry, I’m sure you’re a perfectly nice person, but if you’re there, you guys will be thrown out five seconds after she sees you.”
“I told you,” Dan said to Xander. “I told you that it wouldn’t work.”
“Yeah, but–” Xander started.
“It’s okay,” Dawn said. “I’m used to it. Story of my freaking life. Dawn’s too young, she can’t hear that. Dawn looks too much like some bitchy skank, she can’t be there. Dawn’s an amorphous blob of green energy, can’t let her stray too far.”
“Dawn’s a what?” Dan asked.
“Nothing,” Buffy said, shooting a look at her sister. “We’ll just go shopping. It’s fine.”
Dawn rolled her eyes and strutted out of the restaurant, Buffy trailing behind.
“Not Georgina?” Serena said.
“Pretty sure,” said Dan.
“Okay,” Xander said, clapping his hands together. “So me, Will and Faith, then. This okay?”
“Better,” Serena said. “And less overwhelming, too. So, how did you guys find out about Blair? And... why do you think you have a chance of drawing her away from Constance Billard?”
Xander smiled weakly. “We uh... we have a good pitch.”
* * * * *
“Seriously, S?” Blair said. She strutted down the stairs in high-cut skirt. “You tell me you need to see me, and you bring me a Humphrey?”
“And family, actually,” Dan said. “Blair, this is my cousin Xander, and his –”
Blair narrowed her eyes. “You,” she said. “With the red hair.”
“Uh, yes?” Willow asked nervously.
“I've seen you somewhere.”
“She looks a lot like Aaron Echolls's daughter,” Dan said.
“No, that's not it,” said Blair. She strode up to Willow and looked at her from the side. “Oh my God. You were one of the other girls in that picture.”
“What picture?” Serena asked.
Blair turned to her friend. “The one at the airport yesterday. With Georgina?”
“Does everybody see those things?” Xander asked.
“Pretty much,” Dan said. “Listen, the girl in that picture is not Georgina.”
“I'm pretty damn sure it is,” said Blair.
“Well, I met her last night, and I'm pretty damn sure it isn't,” said Dan. “Although... her uncanny resemblance to Georgina is the reason she's not here right now.”
“Her name is Dawn Summers,” Xander said. “I've known her since she was eleven, and I can tell you for certain that she was not here last year. In fact, this is her first time to the city.”
“And why should I believe you?” Blair asked.
“Because Dan is my cousin?” Xander tried.
Dan and Serena visibly winced. “Swing and a miss,” Dan muttered.
“S, why did you bring them here? What possible use could this have been?” Blair asked.
“I... was just told that they wanted to help,” Serena said.
“What am I, some charity case now?” Blair asked, sauntering up to Serena. “I lose my spot at Yale, and all of a sudden the great Serena van der Woodsen feels like she has to fix me? I am Blair effing Waldorf. I don't need anybody.”
Blair turned to look at Xander. “You all can leave, now.”
Xander and Willow stepped back to head toward the elevator, but Faith stood her ground.
“Faith?” Xander asked.
“Are you mentally deficient?” Blair asked. “I said leave.”
“Oh, I heard you,” Faith said. “But we ain't leavin' until you hear us out.”
“You think you can force your help on me?”
“I can force you to do a lot of things,” Faith said. “But the only thing I'm interested in making you do is listen.”
“They're kind of forceful for private school recruiters,” Serena whispered to Dan. Dan nodded in agreement.
“Listen?” Blair said. “To what a sub-literate wannabe biker tramp has to say? Why would I bother? I'm richer than you. I'm prettier than you, and I've got much, much better clothes. What could you possibly have that could help someone like me?”
“Dean Berube on speed dial,” Willow said softly.
Blair, Dan and Serena all looked up at this.
“Excuse me, what?” Dan asked. “You have the dean of Yale on speed dial?”
“Well, no,” Willow said. “He didn't quite make the speed dial cut. But I do have his personal number.”
“Still,” Blair said. “My dreams of Yale are over. They're done with me.”
“We know about your dreams,” Faith said. “Not Yale. The other ones. The ones that wake you up with the strong desire to go out and... hunt.”
Dan and Serena looked at her, puzzled, but Blair's eyes were wide with shock.
“Dan. Serena,” Blair said quietly. “Help yourselves to anything in the kitchen.”
“B, are you sure you –”
“I'm sure,” Blair said. She smiled, and took both of Serena's hands in her own. “Thank you.”
Serena nodded and led Dan into the kitchen. Blair led Willow, Faith and Xander over to the couch, and sat on the chaise lounge across from them.
“Tell me about the dreams,” Blair said.
“Well,” Xander said. “It probably –”
“Not you,” Blair snapped. She pointed to Faith. “Her.”
Xander shut up and sat back on the couch.
Faith swallowed. “Well, it's been a while for me,” she said. “But it's something like this: you start off as an African girl. Dirty, and barely clothed, but savage, brutal and beautiful. She goes out at night and she kills things. You move... through time, always a different girl, always fighting, sometimes dying.”
Faith paused for a second, collecting her thoughts. “It's different for most everyone who has it, but there are a few that tend to crop up at the end. A Chinese girl who gets her neck broke by a guy with white hair. A black lady in the subway in New York, back in the seventies. And a blonde girl. California cute. Jumping off a platform high in the sky.”
“Looks like this,” Willow said, holding up her phone with a picture of Buffy.
“Are they all... dead?” Blair asked.
“All but her,” Faith said, nodding at Willow's phone.
“Where is she?” Blair asked.
“Right now?” Willow said. “Probably Bergdorf's.”
Blair looked surprised. “Could I... could she...?”
“On it,” Xander said, standing up from the couch and dialing Buffy's cell phone.
“So what does it mean?” Blair asked.
“It means that you are one in a long line of girls who can seriously kick some ass,” Faith said.
“And those things that they were fighting... with the faces. They turned to dust?”
“Vampires,” Willow said. “And you are a vampire slayer.”
“Like me,” Faith said. “For ages and ages, there was only one slayer at a time. One died and the next one was called. She died, and another was called. Until Buffy.”
“Buffy?” Blair asked.
“The blonde,” Willow said. “She died, and another slayer was called, but Buffy didn't stay dead.”
“Xander, actually,” Willow said. “Buffy was drowned, and Xander did CPR. Brought her back.”
Blair turned to Faith, but Faith held up her hand. “Before you ask,” Faith said, “no. I wasn't next. There was a girl between Buffy and me. She died.”
“Anyway,” Willow said, “a few years ago, we changed some things, and now every girl who has the potential to be a slayer actually becomes a slayer.”
“Like me,” Blair said.
“Like you.” Faith nodded.
“Can I... can I tell people? I haven't told anybody, they'd think I'm a freak.”
“You can tell people,” Willow said. “We actually encourage telling the people... people who you can most count on in a pinch.
“So what do I do now?”
“What do you want to do?” Xander asked, returning to the room and sitting between Willow and Faith.
“What do you mean?” Blair asked.
“I mean what do you want to do?” Xander said. “Look, you're almost done with high school, so our little school out in Cleveland is of limited use, although we'd love for you to come out and meet some of the other girls. But you're young, rich, and you've got your whole life in front of you.”
Xander leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “We can teach you about all of this stuff, vampires, and demons, everything like that. We can teach you how to fight, and we can teach you to survive, or we can go away and never darken your doorstep again as long as you live. It's entirely up to you. What do you want to do?”
* * * * *
“My friends are going to think I’m a freak.”
“Maybe,” Buffy said. She sipped her coffee to warm herself up. “But you never know, maybe they'll think it's cool. Maybe... maybe you'll find out who your real friends are. Or maybe you already know, and they're the ones you tell.” She shrugged. “Or maybe you don't tell anybody. But I speak from experience when I say it's easier if you have people you can talk to. People who can help.”
“Like your friends?”
Buffy nodded. “Me and Willow and Xander go way back,” she said. “They knew about me before my family did. They, along with my sister, and my watcher, were there for me through the worst things I've ever been through. And the best. People like Serena and Dan can really be a help.”
Blair snorted. “Dan. He'd pour water on me if I was on fire, but more than that...” she shook her head.
“I don't know. If he's anything like his cousin, there's probably more there than you think.”
“Maybe,” Blair said. “So… all of this physical stuff. I am incredibly strong. I have to stop and think before opening a door when I’m angry. And I never get tired anymore! Not even when I’m working out. Is that all… normal?”
“I have a collection of busted doorknobs to prove it,” Buffy said. “Or I would if my hometown wasn’t at the bottom of a lake…”
“And the dreams?” Blair asked. “Are they… are they going to go away?”
Buffy nodded. “Not forever, but they won’t be nearly as numerous, and they’ll also change. Slayers have prophetic dreams. We’ve figured out that the ones you’ve been having, where you’re all these different girls… they’re kind of a mystical way of teaching you about who you are, what you can do. Nothing in depth, but once you accept that you are like the girls in your dreams, they fade away.”
“That has to suck for the girls you don’t get to,” Blair said.
“We get to them all, eventually. Some actually find us.”
“Listen,” Buffy said. “I know this is a lot to take in. We're gonna be in town for a couple of days. Take your time. You've got our numbers. Call us anytime.”
Buffy's phone beeped. She read the message quickly, then put the phone back in her pocket.
“And actually, call us anytime even if we're not in New York,” she said. “But I have to be honest with you, you're kind of a low priority case for us.”
“What?” Blair said. “Why?”
“Honestly? Because you're rich. I'm not saying you've got a great life or anything, I don't really know anything about you. But you've got options open to you that a lot of the other girls don't.”
“I have worked hard for everything I've ever gotten,” Blair said, almost defiantly.
“I'm sure you have,” Buffy said. “But it doesn't change the fact that if you don't come to Cleveland, if you don't live in our dorms, if you don't go to our school, you'll be well taken care of. Some of our girls we've picked up off the streets, or out of abusive homes, or after they got out of rehab. You're not exactly needy.”
“True enough, I guess,” Blair said. Her phone buzzed, but she ignored it. “How did you do it? How did you handle all of this when you were just one girl?”
“I trained hard, I... often listened to people who knew more than I did, though not as often as I should have, and I had the people I love to help me out when I needed it,” she said. She thought about it for a moment. “Plus, I'm kind of awesome.”
Blair laughed. “Well I guess I have to think about some things. I do think I'll probably want to come see your place in Cleveland this summer.”
“We do a wicked 4th of July cook out,” Buffy said.
“Why – do you mind if I ask, why Cleveland?”
“Oh, it’s the site of the mouth of Hell,” Buffy said, very matter-of-factly. “Just a young one, though. Not as bad as Sunnydale.”
Blair shivered slightly, and sipped from her coffee.
“Check your phone,” Buffy said, taking another sip of her own.
Blair frowned, but pulled her phone out of her pocket and flipped it open.
“Oh my God!” she yelled. “You guys can actually do that?” She threw her arms around Buffy and hugged her, making sure not to spill her drink. “Thank you so much! I can't believe you got me back into Yale!”
Buffy smiled and hugged Blair back, somewhat awkwardly.
“This is a one-time thing,” Buffy said. “You were qualified academically, and our headmaster is very well respected. But you're on a short leash, Blair. Dean Berube expects you to be on your best behavior, and to maintain a high GPA. You have basically zero room for screw up. Understood?”
Blair nodded quickly. She hugged Buffy again. “I have to go tell Serena. I will call you.”
“Good,” Buffy said.
“And please, tell your friends and your headmaster thank you for me,” Blair said.
Buffy nodded, and Blair hurried off back toward her home. Buffy walked over to a bench and sat down. A few minutes later, Xander and Willow sat down next to her.
“She could be trouble,” Buffy said.
“You have no idea,” Xander said.
Willow nodded. “We spent the last few hours talking to Xander's family, and their friends. That girl is one serious piece of work.
“I've fought the end of the world beside capital 'H' Heroes and I've fought my own demons alone in the dark,” Xander said. “I have gone up against the evilest evil that walks this, or any other dimension, and God help me, I dated Cordelia. But in all that time, I have never, ever met or heard of someone as devious or backstabbing as Blair Waldorf. If what Dan says is true, she makes the Mayor seem like a short-term planner.”
“So what do we do about her?” Buffy asked.
“Dan thinks getting her out of the city might help, but I remember that Rory said that Yale can be basically just a less personal, more vicious form of high school, and I’m not sure that’s going to work so well,” Xander said.
“Do we have anybody at Yale right now?” Buffy asked. “Someone who could ride herd on her?”
“One Watcher candidate who’s PhD’ing it,” Xander said. “But I wouldn’t bet he could rein her in.”
“I could send Dawn to Yale,” Buffy said. “She wants to do some doctoral something or other, right?”
“Buffy, you know I love Dawn like she’s my own sister, but Dawnie? Would be toast,” Willow said. “Blair is vicious, vindictive, and torments people just for fun, and Dawn looks just like her sworn enemy. She wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“If Dan and Jenny are right, I wouldn’t even have bet on Cordelia,” Xander said. “Although, that would have fun to watch.”
“I’m a little scared about what we’ve unleashed on the world now,” Buffy said. “I guess we’re going to have to keep an eye on her.”
The three of them stood up and started walking.
“Anya would go down in a second,” Xander said, shaking his head. “Graham would just… he’d die.”
“I might put some money on Angelus,” Willow said, linking her arm with Xander’s.
“No, his weakness was fake blondes,” Xander said.
“Hey!” Buffy said. She tossed her coffee cup into a trashcan, and then linked arms with Xander, too, and the three of them walked together back to their hotel.