Chapter One: The Meaning of Pack
Hunter on the Hellmouth
Here it is! The first chapter in Book Two: Hunter on the Hellmouth. I hope that everyone enjoys. Just a fair warning, don’t expect any Winchester action in this book. It is unfortunate but necessary. The Winchester past proceeds status quo as it did in the series (or more accurately, as it is implied in the series since this is pre Sam fleeing to Stanford). You can most certainly expect heavy appearances of Bobby and maybe Ellen and Jo. Disclaimer:
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor do I own Supernatural. Any Buffy episodes used in a chapter will be listed at the beginning of each chapter, and anything taken directly from the dialogue will appear “*like so*
For the most part, any plot bit for Buffy Seasons 1-3 not mentioned in this book, generally happens the way it did in the series. If anything needs to be mentioned from an episode that I am not including, I’ll have a character reflect back on it, or include it in a brief author’s note.
I already have the rest of the chapters planned out in terms of the episodes that I am going to use and the major plot points, it just comes down to finding time to write it all out, which I unfortunately cannot guarantee.
Thanks for reading this one time – long winded note! Please enjoy!Episode:
01.06 “The Pack
”Chapter One: The Meaning of Pack
“So how is getting possessed by a Hyena spirit any better than the Praying Mantis?” Bobby asked his nephew incredulously. Uncle and nephew were having their weekly “Life on the Hellmouth” conversation, where Xander caught Bobby up on all of the dangerous, supernatural things he did and Bobby would listen and try not to interrupt in anger or get into his car and immediately drag Xander bodily back to South Dakota.
“Well, nothing tried to eat me, and in my world that already gives this experience a leg up,” Xander laughed. He really enjoyed their weekly conversations, conversations that Bobby had mandated after he’d received Xander’s message about Jesse. He was also under strict orders to call even if it wasn’t their usual time if anything was bothering him, or had happened, of if he needed help with something.
“Okay, I won’t comment on that, so how exactly did you get possessed by a Hyena spirit?”
“Well, you see our class was on a field trip to the Sunnydale Zoo…” ***
“*What is it with those guys?*
” Buffy asked as she stood with Xander and Willow. They had been watching Kyle and his band of merry thugs annoy, disturb and generally piss off everyone on the trip from teachers, to students to zoo patrons. Xander and Willow shared a shrug as they turned from watching the foursome approach Lance to face Buffy.
“They just kind of…are the way they are,” Willow offered in explanation. Xander gave her a nod and spoke,
“Seriously, they sort of come with the school package, creepy principal, Watcher librarian, and mean kids. I think it was a three for one sale.”
“Do you think I should save Lance before they get him expelled too?” Buffy said nodding toward the closed hyena exhibit that the group had just ushered Lance into. Xander followed her gaze but shook his head.
“Nah, I think I can handle it. No slaying required,” Xander said with a bright smile as he too ducked under the yellow caution tape and disappeared down the path to the hyena house.***
“Tell me you were at least armed,” Bobby interrupted half fearing Xander’s response. Xander rolled his eyes, even though his uncle couldn’t see the action and heaved a sigh.
“Yes! I always carry the blessed silver knife with me, and since we were going out of school, I added an extra blade in the ankle holster.”
“Good,” Bobby said with a nod, a relieved sigh escaping his lips.
“Now who is telling this story?”
“I beg pardon, do proceed,” Bobby snipped good naturedly, letting his nephew continue explaining his latest dangerous exploit.***
Xander used the two minutes it took to walk down the shaded concrete path to psyche himself up; he began to clear his head like his uncle had taught him. He ran his fingers along the handle of the knife in its sheath resting against his hip, his oversized shirt hiding the soft leather. It was a habitual movement that Xander often found himself doing when he was nervous or on high alert for danger.
It took Xander all of five seconds to assess the situation as soon as he entered the open door to the hyena habitat. Kyle and Tor had Lance pressed against the bars while Rhonda and Heidi stood by and laughed. Barely resisting the urge to roll his eyes he crossed his arms over his chest, knife drawn and hidden in the fold of his arms.
“*Ow! Stop it! It's not funny!*
” It was Lance’s panicked plea that finally spurred Xander into action. Moving fluidly to the unsuspecting group of bullies, Xander tapped Kyle on the shoulder,
“Oy! Why don’t you try hanging with your own species? I’m pretty sure the jackass pen is just down the way a bit,” Xander said with a sarcastic smile. Perhaps more from surprise than anything else, Kyle and Tor dropped Lance, Tor shoving him away from them so that he could face Xander head on. Kyle just cocked his head to the side, amusement shining in his eyes.
“What, is loser Harris going to stop me?”
“Yeah, with a big shit eating grin on my face as I do,” Xander said, his trusted knife held firm in his hands, but down at his side and still out of sight. The tension in the room rose to just below the breaking point, Kyle and Tor stood, legs braced, leaning toward Xander, Rhonda and Heidi were also leaning forward, but stood behind the boys, wide grins on their faces. Xander’s gaze shifted to Lance, as he stood paralyzed with fear and awe, and he felt the overwhelming urge to protect
rise in him.
Just as Tor was opening his mouth, undoubtedly to say something stupid that would break the tension and tip the stand still into a fight, several growls pierced the silent room. Xander resisted the urge to turn and look at the hyena cage, keeping his eye on his enemies; the others were not so well trained.
Two beautiful beasts emerged from the foliage of their habitat, scrutinizing the humans that were invading their territory. Xander studied them out of the corner of his eye and gave an almost imperceptible nod in their direction. Then, their eyes flashed green and Xander felt his own widening in shock. He barely had time to take a step back, noticing the summoning and containing runic painted on the floor just before he felt the foreign presence pushing against his mind, demanding entrance.
He fought, with every bit of will and mind control he had, but it was no use, the beast was much stronger, and a part of Xander wanted to let her in. As soon as that chink revealed itself to his mind, his control broke like a flood rushed levee and he felt the hyena’s spirit flowing through him, poking, prodding, and judging. Whatever she found, she liked, and Xander felt, more than heard her words,
~Protect. Pack. Power.
~ Xander felt the hyena’s mind as it brushed against his, gently. This was much different than Xander’s previous experience with a demon. This was more merger than possession. The hyena liked the core bits that made up his person, and instead of banishing his sub-conscious she wrapped it in a warm, soft presence that Xander would swear felt like living pelts.
Lance stumbled in his hurry to escape the possessed teens and the five immediately turned, green eyes following Lance’s every move, their new animal instincts quickly assessing the teen and telling them that he was prey not threat.
Xander stepped forward, and just like that, the other four fell in behind him, showing solidarity and a closeness that felt so right
. None of them chased after Lance as the scared boy stumbled from the room. ***
“You didn’t,” Bobby said proud that only the barest hint of his anger and worry had crept into his voice. He heard his nephew heave a sigh and knew the teen was also rolling his eyes.
“Yes, I did. I’m sorry Uncle Bobby. I know better, but I really didn’t think that some crazy zookeeper was going to import hyenas possessed by Hyena spirits.”
“Of course not, but you should have seen the ruins and the summoning circle.”
“Well, I was a bit distracted by the thugs trying to feed poor Lance to the hyenas,” Xander countered. He heard his uncle sputtering on the other end of the line.
“Alexander Harris you…I taught you better than this, or at least I thought
I did. Perhaps I need to drag you back out here for some more lessons in observation and threat assessment.”
“I know, Uncle Bobby,” Xander said, some of his sarcastic wind leaving his sails, “I do
know better and I just let myself get over confident. I’m really sorry.” Bobby held back the rest of his recriminations as he sighed and pursed his lips.
“Just get on with the story,” Bobby said resigned to the fact that he had an idiot for a nephew. ***
Xander walked into The Bronze
for what felt like the first time. He had never felt so alive, the sights, the smells, everything was almost pleasurably overwhelming. He felt a shudder running down his spine as the hyena just sat back and took in everything around him. Unexpectedly, the hyena, after possessing him, had not attempted to control Xander. No, she was content to permeate every bit of his mind and soul, as she observed the world through his eyes.
As he scanned the crowd, he spotted his friends sitting at their usual table. Sauntering over to them, a fluid swagger to his step that even after his months of martial arts training he would have been unable to achieve alone, he gave them both a wicked smile.
“Ladies,” Xander said, hiding the awkward expression that was threatening to fill his face. He could smell his friends, and not just their perfume and shampoo either, he could smell their emotions. He had been trying to identify the things he had smelled all night, and he was pretty sure that his best friend Willow was feeling a bit of lust toward him.
It was a bit disconcerting. Not because he didn’t love Willow with all that he was, but it was almost as if any chance of them being more than friends had died with Jesse. “Sorry I am running late, but you know,” he said with a shrug, and they did.
“No big,” Buffy said with a smile, as she picked at her croissant.
“Hey, you still need me to go over the stuff for geometry tomorrow?” Willow asked, a bit of hopefulness in her voice.
“Sure,” Xander said distractedly, there was something off about Buffy’s scent that was throwing the hyena. Xander had a pretty good idea it was because of Buffy’s Slayer status, but the hyena was still trying to work it out in his head. Xander’s eyes roamed the club, taking in the throbbing throng of people. He felt his friend’s eyes on him and turned to face them. Both of his girls were looking at Xander as if he had suddenly sprouted fangs and a prominent brow ridge.
“Uh, are you okay?” Buffy asked; delicate eyebrows raised.
“Yeah, you seem…distracted.”
“Sorry, I’m just…I don’t know, fidgety.” Xander said with a shrug.
“You want to get out of here?” Willow asked, smiling shyly at her best friend. Xander however shook his head in the negative.
“I’m good,” Xander closed his eyes as he felt the hyena perking up, almost unfurling in his mind. It was an odd sensation that had him purring audibly. He soon found the reason for his hyena’s awareness, as Kyle and the rest of the pack entered The Bronze
. Their eyes immediately sought each other in a supernatural parody of those cheesy romance flicks.
Standing, his body moving of its own accord, Xander slid through the crowd toward the four teens. Buffy and Willow both followed his movements with their eyes, Xander could almost feel the shock and confusion coming from them as he parted the sea of people and met Kyle in the center of the dance floor. Tor, Heidi and Rhonda stood behind him, falling in rank.
“Harris,” Kyle said, with a nod. Xander didn’t speak, he sniffed. Moving in to Kyle’s personal space, he snuffled Kyle’s neck, running tongue and teeth over his pulse and tender jugular. Kyle resisted at first, a warning hissing in his throat. Xander responded with more pressure, his teeth barely puncturing the flesh. Kyle immediately whined and purred, throwing his head back and giving Xander full access.
Xander pulled back, placing a delicate kiss to the rapidly forming mark. A glance in his friends’ direction found them gapping open mouthed at him. Xander wanted to flush in embarrassment, and would have if what he had just done hadn’t felt so damn right. The rest of the pack circled him; heads bowed as they sniffed at him and whined in pleasure. Oh did this ever feel right. ***
“And how did your friends not exorcise you then and there? I would have,” Bobby thundered.
“Well, I explained it away. Told the girls that we had come to an understanding in the hyena house, and I was just reminding them of that understanding.”
“And they bought that?” Bobby blinked.
“Well, Buffy knew about me and Jesse, and I guess she just assumed…well whatever she assumed. And Willow, well I think she was in denial about what she saw. They both sort of passed it off that I had just been whispering threats in his ear or whatever, and moved on. Hey, even we jaded folks can have our moments of ignorance and denial.”
“So did Willow bring it up when you met for your study session?” Xander flushed and began,
“Well…no. I sort of blew her off. I woke up the next day and I realized that the hyena had been biding Her time. She was learning, and growing in strength as She fed from me, or my soul, or whatever. So the next day She was feeling pretty juiced. I didn’t want Her around Willow, and She agreed, Willow wasn’t pack and wasn’t what the hyena wanted.
“So you sought out the other kids who were possessed?”
“Yeah, turns out I didn’t have to search far; we all had gym together,”***
Buffy and Willow stood in the gym, listening to the rain pounding on the roof both wearing worried expressions on their faces. Their friend Xander was standing next to them, but his attention was firmly focused on Kyle, Tor, Heidi and Rhonda. Coach Harrold was rambling about the joys of dodge ball, but not even the hardcore jocks seemed to be paying him much mind.
The coach divided the large class up into two teams, Xander somehow dodging around Buffy and Willow in the count off so that he was on the opposing team. Coach Harrold set six balls along the line at half-court and with his arms, waved the two groups back away from the line. Standing along the sidelines, he put the whistle in his mouth and blew one short sharp sound.
Immediately the teens scrambled; some running up and grabbing for the balls, some staying back and alert on their toes. Kyle and Tor both grabbed balls and fell back to the rest of the pack. Five pair of eyes stayed alert as they ducked, dodged and attacked the students across the line. It didn’t take long before the teams were down to the pack and Lance, and on the opposite team, Buffy and Willow. Xander hurled the ball across the gym, striking Willow hard in the back as she instinctively turned away from the ball.
Willow walked off the court, a mixture of pain and confusion showing on her face. Buffy looked at Xander is shock, “Xander, what the hell do you think you are doing?”
Xander and the rest of the pack studied Buffy, all of them sensing something off in her, something that had the pack questioning whether or not they wanted to challenge her. Feeling the delicious scent of fear coming from their own team had the entire group turning to face Lance. Kyle raised his hand with the ball, to strike at Lance, but Xander put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, shaking his head.
“Let’s go,” Xander said nodding toward the locker rooms. They all nodded at his command and together left the gym, heading for their designated locker rooms to change back into their school clothes. Coach Harrold began to open his mouth to argue that there was still ten minutes left before the bell rang to change, but was stopped by the dark look that Xander gave him. For just a moment, he could have sworn something flashed in the teen’s eyes and Coach Harrold felt that it was in his best interest, survival wise, to keep his mouth shut.
Once the pack was back in their street clothes, they roamed the hallway, a hunger they had never felt pulling at them.
“Food,” Rhonda whined from behind Xander and Tor. Xander turned to face her and sniffed her hair,
“I know, there has to be something edible around here.”
“Xander!” a familiar voice called to him, Xander turned and saw Willow fast approaching their group, Buffy hot on her heels.
“Yes?” Xander asked, head cocked to the side. Willow paused when she reached them, suddenly unsure of herself and what she wanted to say.
“What’s…what’s wrong with you?” Willow asked softly. Inside his head, Xander was screaming for the hyena not to hurt her, that she was a part of his
pack. Somehow, that logic worked on Her, and She held back the biting words that Xander had felt forming on his lips; words that he knew would have destroyed his best friend.
“Look, we’re just in different packs now, I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is,” Xander said with a shrug, turning and heading outside where the majority of the lunch crowd was gathered, it was such a nice day and most had escaped from the cage that was Sunnydale High School, albeit if only for a brief time.
“Something is seriously wrong with him,” Buffy said to Willow as they watched the pack walk away, “we need to talk to Giles.” The red head sniffed back her tears and nodded, dutifully following her friend to the library. ***
“Did you not have enough control to tell your friends? At least warn them that you were possessed?” Bobby interrupted.
“No, I had the control; I just didn’t want to tell them in front of the pack, I didn’t know how they would react. I was alpha, they listened to me, and I didn’t want to lose that. Besides, Uncle Bobby, it felt so damn good to be merged with Her, it was like both of us had been missing something before the possession."
“Both of you?” Bobby questioned.
“I know, She didn’t much like it either, but She wasn’t about to let me go without knowing why She felt that deep of a connection with me. Any thoughts of separating us had Her digging Her metaphysical claws in deeper, so I just let it go. I knew Buffy and Willow wouldn’t, and would figure it out eventually.” ***
Xander led his pack into the faculty room, the group ducking into the surprisingly empty room and closing the door behind them. Xander felt a wide grin pulling at his lips.
“Food,” he said waving his hand in the direction of the large animal cage sitting on the table. A bright pink squealing pig stirred restlessly in its’ cage as it eyed the five teens that had entered the room. The teens quickly surrounded the cage, sniffing and inhaling the glorious scent of prey-food.
Tor quickly grabbed the flimsy metal of the cage and ripped in two directions, creating a hole. The pig pressed itself against the far end of the cage, trying to get as far as it could from Tor. Kyle ripped open a hole in the side the pig was pressed against and grabbed the squealing, squirming animal in his right hand; holding the animal up, offering the first bite to Alpha.
Xander nuzzled Kyle’s neck in approval and tore a hunk of flesh from the tender underside of the pig’s belly with his teeth, blood running down the corners of his mouth, motioning with his head for the others to have their chance to feed as well. ***
“I get it!” Bobby said abruptly cutting Xander off. “Please, no more detail.”
“Alright,” Xander laughed, “I’ll spare your delicate sensitivities' and fast forward.”
“Thanks,” Bobby muttered sarcastically.
“Well, we couldn’t finish off the entire pig; our human teeth couldn’t chew through the bone to the deliciously sweet marrow, much to all of our animal’s chagrin. So, I told the others to go have some fun and I’d clean up lunch.”***
Xander heard movement outside of the hallway, and quickly ducked behind the door, stilling his breathing and crouching low, ready to pounce on whoever entered the room. Buffy walked into the room cautiously, she took in the carnage to the cage and shook her head, mumbling under her breath. Due to Xander’s newly sensitive hearing, he was able to easily discern what she said,
“*They are strong,*
” ‘Oh you have no idea, Slayer,’ Xander thought to himself as he tried to decide how he would proceed from here. The Hyena was tired of hiding and slinking back whenever Buffy was in the room, She did not want to retreat again.
“Oh ew,” Buffy said as her left shoe crunched on some of the bones that Xander hadn’t yet cleaned up. Xander moved away from the door, closing it behind him gently as he faced the Slayer, blocking the only exit from the room. Buffy, who had been kneeling down studying the remains, turned and stood, startled at Xander’s ‘sudden’ appearance, the part of Herbert’s rib she had been holding, clamoring to the floor.
“Buffy,” Xander replied, a wide smirk pulling at his lips. Moving closer, she tried to duck around him to get to the door, but he quickly mirrored her movements, shaking his head, ‘no’.
“What are we three?” Buffy said agitated, “come on, we need to talk.” But instead of talking, she lunged at him, tripping him with a foot sweep and landing on top of him. She sat on his pelvis, her knees on either side of his hips, hands pressing his shoulders firmly into the tile floor.
“This isn’t talking,” Xander said leaning forward with his upper body so that he could run his tongue down Buffy’s cheek, “this is foreplay.” Moving faster than his body had ever moved before, he bucked his hips and displaced Buffy enough that he could roll them, switching their positions. Pinning her arms above her head, he made sure to use his legs to keep her legs immobilized.
“I like foreplay,” he grinned, leaning down and placing gentle nibbles along her neck and collarbone. Buffy moaned her protests and twisted her head and body, trying to dislodge this much stronger version of her best friend.
“Xander, please stop. You aren’t yourself right now,” Buffy said looking imploringly up at her friend, trying to see something that was definitively Xander in his eyes.
“If I’m not me, who am I?” Xander asked amused.
“*You are infected with some hyena thing, it's like a demonic possession!*
” Xander laughed, a deep, throaty laugh that sounded eerily like a hyena cackle and for the first time, Buffy felt a very real, very powerful fear rip through her gut. She hoped it wasn’t too late to save her friend.
“Oh no, this is nothing
like a demonic possession, but I don’t expect you
to understand the difference,” Xander said resuming his kissing and licking of Buffy’s neck, throat and face. Finding a burst of strength, Buffy managed to throw Xander from her form and was able to scramble to her feet. She held her hands out in front of her,
“Xander, I don’t want to hurt you,” Xander’s eyes narrowed in fury, even possessed by a super-charged ancient spirit and she still thought she needed to protect him, that he was weaker than her. Xander could feel a deep, dark fury bubbling in the pit of his stomach, a fury he hadn’t felt since his initial possession at his uncle’s house.
Moving impossibly fast, he shoved her form against the vending machine in the room, her surprise at his actions stunned her enough that Xander could move into her space without resistance. Shoving her body hard against the machine, he pressed her shoulders painfully into the metal and plastic, lunging for her neck, sinking his teeth deep into her soft flesh.
Screaming in pain, Buffy reflexively slammed her fist into the tender part of Xander’s temple. He was momentarily stunned and backed away from her as he tried to blink the fuzzy feeling from his head. Not willing to take a second chance, Buffy brought her fist back and punched Xander square on the jaw, near his ear in that sweet spot that was always guaranteed to knock any man, no matter how strong, out cold.
Buffy was just glad that it worked on possessed-Xander, as she caught her now unconscious friend before he could hit his head on the tile flooring as well. She didn’t want to give him permanent brain damage after all. ***
“Ouch,” Bobby said in sympathy for his nephew. He couldn’t imagine taking two of Buffy’s supercharged fists to the head.
“Yeah, I was out of it for awhile, Hyena spirit or no,” Xander said with a grimace. “All I remember was waking up in Giles’ book cage in the library and it was dark outside…”***
Xander woke with only a mild headache, much to his overjoyed brain. He had not been looking forward to feeling those punches. Looking out the window that was in the cage, Xander saw that it was night. How much time had passed since Buffy had knocked him out? Sniffing the room, he could tell that Buffy and Giles’ scent, while lingering, were fading as if they had left hours ago. But where did they go?
Suddenly he had a horrible feeling that she was going to be going after his pack. The Hyena didn’t care how much Her host cared about the Slayer, if she harmed a single hair on their heads, he would gut the Slayer and enjoy every damn minute of it. Shifting his eyes around, he saw Willow sitting at the desk watching a video about hyenas.
“Hey Will,” Xander said in the best imitation of his own voice that he could manage whilst still trying to keep his growing panic and need/want/have pain of his missing pack down. Willow jumped in her seat and turned to look at him.
“Hey,” she said softly, “how are you feeling?”
“Like I got punched in the head by a Slayer,” Xander said the barest hint of sarcasm in his voice. “Why am I locked in the cage?” He asked, head cocked to the side. Willow sighed, a sad look on her face,
“It’s to protect you Xander.” Xander raised his eyebrows,
“And this protects me how?”
“Xander your sick,” Willow began, “trust me, you will thank us when you are back to being…well you.”
“Yeah, says you. I can protect myself, Will. Or don’t you trust me?” He asked, allowing his eyes to fill a bit with tears, just enough to tug at those heart strings he knew were already pulled taut in her heart. It worked, Willow’s face became even more pinched and the barely concealed pain flooded her face as her own eyes began to tear up.
“No! That’s not it,” Willow said moving closer to her friend. Xander hid the wide grin that was threatening to erupt on his face, barely.
“Yes it is, you don’t trust me anymore,”
“It’s not that, Buffy said,”
“I knew it!” Xander said accusingly, “I knew that you cared more about what Buffy thinks than about me, Willow we used to trust each other with everything.”
“No,” Willow said softly, stepping another foot closer to Xander’s cage. “I love you Xander, we both do,”
“Hah! That’s a laugh. Buffy doesn’t care about me, and neither do you.” Xander watched with hungry eyes as she moved another few steps closer, just another few feet and he could do something, could get free and find his pack. At that thought, the hyena began to whine in his mind, trying to urge him forward.
"Xander that’s not true, I stayed here for you, I wanted to see for myself,”
“See what?” he urged, leaning forward.
“I wanted to see…to know, if you were still….well you.”
“And?” Xander encourage.
“And…” Willow began moving another step closer. This time his hyena’s impatience finally beat out his will and he lunged forward to snag her arm. He just grabbed the sleeve of her shirt, unable to get a good grip on the material before Willow snatched her arm back and jumped several feet back. “And now I know,” she whispered sadly.
“Let me out!” Xander screamed, his hyena making a high pitched keening noise at the continued forced separation from Her pack. He began to furiously pace the small confines of his cage that only seemed to be growing smaller, and smaller in his mind with every passing moment. Every now and then, to his embarrassment, a soft whimper would escape his lips.
Soft tapping on glass alerted Xander, his head snapping up as he spotted his pack at the library windows. A wide grin pulling at his lips, he pushed against the bars as far as he could, trying to close the physical distance between them. Willow, busily engrossed in her film, and studiously ignoring Xander, didn’t hear anything until the glass windows shattered, the shards clattering noisily on the floor.
Kyle gracefully dropped into the room, Tor, Rhonda and Heidi right behind him. They all snarled and growled at Willow, she was keeping their Alpha and she was between them and pack; a very dangerous place to be. Willow, sensing the menace, turned and fled from the library. Consumed with the need for their leader, the group ignored her for the moment and rushed over to Xander.
Xander was kicking at the door trying to reach them. The four of them were soon helping him, tearing the cage door from the hinges after much grunting and struggling. Once the door was removed, Xander and the pack reunited with arms around each other as noses and tongues got reacquainted with their missing pack mate. Kyle was licking Xander’s throat, as Heidi snuggled into his chest. Tor held him from behind, kissing the opposite side of his neck as Kyle and Rhonda buried herself in the crook of his arm, her own arms wrapped around him as she whined.
“Let’s go,” Xander said, nodding his head in the direction that Willow had run, “it’s time to have a bit of fun.” Whopping and hollering, the pack spread out and fell back, flanking Xander as they paced through the halls, easily following Willow’s scent. Nodding toward a classroom, he motioned with his hands for the pack to spread out. Heidi followed Xander into the classroom, where Willow’s scent trail ended.
Giving his pack mate a smirk, he nodded his head toward the exit. Catching on, Heidi left the room, the door closing behind her. Counting to twenty, Xander was rewarded when Willow popped out from behind the desk. Turning around she screamed when she saw him. Lunging for her, purposefully missing, his swipe clumsy, Xander laughed as Willow dodged and ran from the room, only to run straight into Heidi who had stayed at the exit.
“Chase me, catch me,” Heidi said in a sing-song voice, as she wrapped Willow in a bone crushing bear hug. Xander left the room just in time to see Buffy swinging a fire extinguisher at Heidi.
“No!” He exclaimed rushing to stop her, but it was too late. Heidi was down and Buffy was dragging Willow over to the other end of the hall where Giles was standing. A low, deep, growl rumbled from the base of his throat. “Hurt. Pack.” He hissed out, his eyes glowing green. The three non-possessed people stepped back in fear,
” Giles shouted, pushing the girls from the hallway, the three tearing off toward the exit. They had a decent head start as the pack surrounded their fallen member, nudging her until she slowly, groggily lumbered to her feet.
“Hunt,” Xander growled out. His pack did not need to be told twice as they stalked from the school, easily tracking the scent of their prey. No one hurt his pack, and Buffy would find that out the painfully difficult way.
If Xander would have been more in control of his body, or if the Hyena had listened to him, he would have stopped tracking the Scoobies as soon as he realized that the scent was one continuous trail. They were heading somewhere, on purpose. Knowing Giles, there was a plan that would involve a trap, but he couldn’t get Her to see reason, She was too incensed about the treatment of Her pack.
If Xander weren’t already suspicious, meeting Buffy alone in the middle of the street would have been enough stop him in his tracks. As it was, he lunged at her, landing a solid punch across her jaw. His pack bounced on their heels behind him; energy bursting from their very pours at the thrill of the chase. Calling out cheers and jeers, they mostly stayed out of the fray as he and the Slayer began the new game, ‘punch me, kick me.’***
“Buffy was stall and bait wasn’t she?”
“Yup, you nailed it in one. I knew it, and I tried to tell Her as much, but at that point She was on pure, animal, animal instincts.”
“Why were you trying to help Her?”
“I have no idea, I asked myself that as I was helping, and I’ve been asking it since She left. The nearest I can figure is that our emotions synched; totally and completely. So while I logically knew that what Buffy and the others were doing was for the best, I was just so…enraged that the people that were mine to protect were hurt, that I lost it.
“I understand exactly how She felt, which didn’t help. She wasn’t out for world domination, or hell on earth or anything that prodigious. She just wanted to protect Her family and carve out a little territory for them to be happy on. How can you fault that?”
“You really can’t,” Bobby agreed.
“So, needless to say, about twenty minutes into our slug vest, Buffy turned tail and ran,”***
Whooping, the pack followed after the Slayer’s retreating form. She was favoring her left shoulder that Xander had dislocated, her faced marred with bruises and cuts. Xander hadn’t emerged unscathed either. His right hand was broken, the knuckles swollen and red. His left eye was swollen shut, and his lip was busted and bleeding.
However, even through all of that, he had never felt more alive. He could already feel the bones in his hand righting themselves, healing a fraction with every lick from the tongue of a pack mate. They nearly lost her scent when she hopped the fence to the zoo. Landing gracefully, all five possessed teens sniffed the air, trying to find out where their little toy was hiding.
“There,” Rhonda said, pointing west. Xander walked over to her, catching the same breeze she had and nodding his agreement.
“I want everyone to be careful, there is no telling where she went or what she has, or thinks she has, planned.” Jogging after the delectable scent of strength and innocence, Xander spotted Buffy’s blonde head a few hundred feet ahead of them. “There!” He called out, their pace increasing as they neared the hyena enclosure.
Trotting into the hyena house, Xander saw Buffy’s stopped form, and didn’t hesitate, not caring why she was stopped, as he tackled her to the ground. She screamed in pain as her shoulder came into contact with the hard cement. The others were close on his heels, staying back from Buffy’s prone form, heeding their leader’s command.
“*Yu ba ya sa na!*
” a deep voice projected through the room. The pack immediately turned green, glowing eyes on the zookeeper, growls rumbling from their throats. Soon, the zookeeper was emulating those growls, and the pack slowly began to blink the green from their eyes. One by one, they collapsed, falling unconscious.
All except Xander, who, stared harshly at the zookeeper that was holding his best friend. He quickly took in the image of the zookeeper holding a knife held at her throat and his glowing eyes. Threat assessed, Xander leapt up from his crouched position and charged the man.
“Willow!” Holding his right hand out, he pushed the man away from Willow by his face. The momentum was against the possessed man, strength or not, and he fell to the ground, his head bouncing off the concrete. Continuing his body’s forward movement Xander shifted just slightly so that he could deliver a swift, hard roundhouse kick to the man’s face as the zookeeper raised his torso up from the ground. His head snaps back again, this time careening into the metal bar of the feeding pen.
His skull immediately splits open, a superficial wound, but it begins to bleed profusely. Xander’s heaved, in and out, trying to catch his breath as he stood between the unconscious man and Willow.
“Xander,” Willow questioned nervously, not sure if the spell worked and there was still some hyena left in him. Xander turned to face her, giving her a soft smile. Kneeling down to her level, he held her face in his hands, his eyes searching hers.
“You okay Willow-girl?”
“Yes! It is you Xander!” She sobbed, throwing her arms around his neck and squeezing as if her life depended on this hug. Two soft growls had the pair breaking apart, their attention firmly focused on the hyena pen. Buffy walked over to them, her right hand pressed against her left shoulder.
“What was…” Buffy was interrupted as a large hyena emerged from the foliage of the enclosure and clamped her large, powerful jaws around the soft tissue of the zookeeper’s neck. Dragging him further into the pen, she quickly disappeared. Another beast stood, looking at the teens, its’ inky eyes reflecting far more intelligence than a normal hyena. The three Scoobies would swear that she winked at them before she too disappeared into the thick brush.
“Uh, my head,” Giles said emerging from the back room, rubbing at his neck. Looking around the room, Giles took in the scene that he walked into, at the four unconscious teens still slumped on the floor, at Buffy, Xander and Willow as they stood staring into the hyena enclosure, and at the puddle of blood near said enclosure. “So did I miss anything?”
They couldn’t help it, all three began to laugh. ***
“That was a fairly simple incantation,” Bobby commented.
“Yeah, well there were some pretty complicated symbols drawn on the ground. Apparently they were needed as well as the predatory act, hence the zookeeper holding a knife at my Willow. The whole him actually wanting to kill her thing was him being a nefarious villain.”
“So, how did your friend’s take it? Your possession, that is.”
“Rather well, probably because I lied my ass off,” ***
“So, you are sure
that I didn’t partake in…” Xander paused to gulp audibly, “cannibalistic acts?” The girls laughed and pat him on the back.
“No we’re sure, you only ate the mascot.”
“Oh, well that’s alright then,” Xander smiled. “Wait…he was cooked right?” His only answer was more laughter. “Very funny, mock the poor amnesiac formally possessed boy.”
“We’re sorry,” Buffy said.
“Did I do anything else that I should know about?” Xander asked warily. He wondered if Buffy would comment about the near rape. He wanted to apologize to her about it, but wouldn’t unless she brought it up. He wanted to keep his memories of his experience closely guarded. Buffy and Willow shared a look.
“Not really,” Buffy finally said.
“At least that we are aware of,” Willow said with a smile, softening the seriousness of Buffy’s statement.
“Well, I apologize anyway, for whatever I may or may not have done,” Xander said. Giving him quick hugs, the girls waved their goodbyes as they headed off to their shared class. Xander watched them go, releasing a deep sigh and turned around to stare down at the kids milling about in the courtyard.
“*I've been reading up on my, uh, animal possession, and I cannot find anything anywhere about memory loss afterwards.*
” Giles said from behind Xander, as he was busily polishing his glasses.
“You going to tell them?” Xander asked calmly, the barest hint of steel in his words.
“I don’t see a reason to, do you?” Giles said, his hand resting on Xander’s shoulder. Xander nodded his thanks, never once having looked at Giles. Giles gave the teen a contemplative look, eyes shifting to Xander’s wrist before shaking his head and walking away.
Xander stood against the balcony wall, hands resting lightly on the flat surface. He hadn’t looked at Giles, because during the entire conversation he had been staring down at Kyle, who was returning his dark, provocative look with one of his own. TBC!That's all for now folks! I’m not sure if I want to flush out this Xander / Kyle thing that wormed its way into my story or leave it be. IF anything were to happen, it would be a minor fling, because I have major plot involving the cannon couples Xander/Cordy and Xander/Faith…I don’t know…let me know what you think…