Chapter 1: In which Hank gets introduced to vampires
Buffy was cleaning up in the bathroom when she heard a knock at the apartment door. She heard a bit of muffled conversation, and then her father saying “Come in.” He didn’t sound happy about it.
A couple of seconds later she heard a shriek from Dawn. “Buffy! Vampires! Three of them!
Dawn dashed past the open bathroom door and Buffy heard a bedroom door slam shut. A vampire ran past a second later and she heard it hit the door.
A second vampire followed the first, and it stopped by the bathroom door. It looked at Buffy and smiled, showing its fangs. Buffy kicked it in the face.
The vampire staggered back across the hall, into the entrance to the kitchen. Buffy kicked it again, driving it farther into the kitchen. She looked around for a weapon, and saw the knife block on the counter. She pulled out the largest knife available, a carving knife with a nine inch blade. The vampire smiled, believing itself safe from the steel weapon. It lunged toward her.
Buffy slashed at the vampire’s throat. Her father had good knives, and he kept them sharp. The vampire barely had time to look surprised as the knife sliced through its neck, separating its head from its body. The head and body dissolved into dust before either had a chance to hit the floor.
Buffy heard the bedroom door frame splinter behind her. She dashed back out into the hall, and saw the vampire after Dawn staggering back, holding a smoking face. Dawn had a cross in one hand, and a spray bottle of holy water in the other. She hit the vamp with another squirt.
Dawn grabbed a piece of the splintered door frame and tossed it over the vamp to her sister. Buffy caught it, and plunged it into the vampire’s back. Two down.
Buffy held up three fingers. “Three?” she asked silently.
Dawn echoed the gesture. “Three,” she mouthed back.
Buffy nodded, and indicated with some quick hand gestures what she wanted Dawn to do. Dawn had been accompanying Buffy on patrols for six months now, and they had learned an abbreviated form of sign language to communicate silently with each other. Dawn nodded understanding of what she was supposed to do. It was a familiar role. A lot of Sunnydale’s denizens of the dark had learned that it wasn’t a good idea to attack the helpless looking little blonde girl walking alone at night, so Dawn had sometimes taken over the role of “bait” while Buffy lurked hidden in the shadows, ready to kill anything that looked like it might be thinking of eating her.
Dawn ran out of the hallway into the apartment’s living room, and swerved right toward the door out of the apartment. She saw the vampire holding her father drop him, and move to cut her off. Dawn reversed directions. “Clear!
” she yelled.
Buffy stepped out of the hallway, with her knife at the ready. Dawn’s signal told her that her father was out of the line of fire. Her quick glance showed her father slumped on the floor by the wall, the vampire blocking the foyer, and Dawn heading in the other direction. The vampire was still watching Dawn, and hadn’t seen Buffy. She let the knife fly.
The carving knife wasn’t balanced for throwing, but Buffy had practiced with a large variety of knives, and this one was better than most. It struck home in the vampire’s throat, and drove straight through, severing its spinal column too.
Buffy was moving almost as fast as the knife, just in case she’d missed, but she hadn’t. The vampire was collapsing, and she reached it before it hit the floor. She made sure that it hit the floor hard.
Buffy didn’t really understand the magic that made vampires dust when staked or beheaded. She was sure that there was probably some obscure Watcher treatise on the subject, or a paper written by some dead Initiative scientist, but whatever it was, putting a knife through a vamp’s spinal column didn’t kill it. But vampires still relied on a lot of their host’s anatomy, and cutting their spinal columns paralyzed them as effectively as it did a human, for a while at least.
Buffy heard her father groaning, and looked toward him. Dawn was already giving him a quick check over. “No bites,” she reported. “Looks like he just had his head bashed.” She felt around the back of her father’s head.
“Ow!” said Hank.
Dawn pulled her hand away with blood on her fingertips. “Bit of a scalp wound.” She looked at her father’s eyes. “Pupils look good. How do you feel Dad? Who’s President? Any nausea?”
“My head hurts, Dubbya Bush, and no. What the hell just happened?”
Buffy and Dawn exchanged a look. “We’ll explain after Dawn gets you patched up,” said Buffy. She nodded her sister toward the bathroom, before she held out her hand toward her. “Holy water,” Buffy mouthed silently.
Dawn’s eyebrows went up, but she pulled her spray bottle out of her pocket and handed it over to Buffy as she helped her father get to his feet. She steered him back toward the bathroom.
Buffy turned her attention back to the vampire on the floor. Now that she had a chance to look at it, she recognised it as the vamp that had been in her father’s office earlier that day. “Now, I know you can’t talk with that knife in your throat, but before I pull it out, I want you to think about the advantages of cooperation.” She waved the bottle of holy water in front of its face. “You and your friends attacked my sister, and my father. Your friends got off easy. Their deaths were quick and painless. You get to live in pain until I learn why the hell you attacked us.” She squirted a little holy water into its face to make sure it got the message.
Buffy left the knife in place while she had a quick look for something to tie the vampire up with. She found a roll of duct tape in the section of the front closet that her father kept his meager supply of tools in. She used the entire roll, wrapping the vampire up like a grey mummy before she pulled the knife free.
“Now, I know that it’s going to take a minute or two before you can talk,” said Buffy, “so I’m going to tell you what I already know, before we get around to you answering my questions, just so that we understand each other a little better.
“You are a vampire. You work for Lilah Morgan. Lilah Morgan works for Wolfram and Hart, the law firm of choice for the Evil Dead. Unless I cut your head right off, I can’t kill you with this knife.” Buffy stabbed the knife into the vampire’s heart. “I can hurt you quite a bit with it though. What does Lilah Morgan want with my father?”
The vampire gasped in pain. “I don’t know.”
Buffy twisted the knife, and the vampire cried out in pain again. “I guess I wasn’t clear enough the first time. I know that you sat through a meeting between them. What was it that they discussed?”
“Ask him!” said the vampire.
Buffy grabbed the vampire by the hair, and bounced its head off the floor. “Oh, I will, just to make sure you aren’t lying before I let you die, but right now I’m asking you. What does Lilah Morgan want?” She held the spray bottle in front of the vampire’s face again.
“Harmon and Ross owns some property in Pasadena that Wolfram and Hart wants,” said the vampire. “I don’t know why!”
“See how much easier it is when you cooperate?” asked Buffy. “Let’s change subjects. Why did you come here tonight?”
“To persuade him to sell!”
“What, with your winning personalities?” asked Buffy. “How were you going to do that?”
The vampire didn’t say anything. Buffy reached up to her neck, and pulled the necklace she was wearing over her head. She dangled the cross over the vampire’s face. “How?”
The vampire still kept its mouth shut. Buffy grabbed its jaw, forced its mouth open, and dropped the cross in. She forced the vampire’s mouth closed, and held it as it struggled. “Now normally I don’t like torturing even soulless things like vampires, but you will live in pain until you answer my questions.” Buffy pulled the cross free. “Why did you attack us?”
“We were supposed to turn you!” gasped the vampire. “You and the other girl. Then use you to control your father!”
Buffy felt a cold fury building in her. Up until now she had mostly been acting, and seriously in danger of losing her dinner over what she had been doing to this vampire, but she stopped acting. She took the knife and cut one of the vampire’s ears off. It turned to dust in her hand. “My best friend flayed the guy who murdered her lover in an instant. I’m thinking he got off lucky. You were going to turn my sister!
” She put the knife behind its other ear.
“It was Morgan’s plan!” screamed the vampire. “She’s waiting out front for us to report back!”
Buffy sat back. “She’s waiting?” She glanced at the clock, it was 8:30. “How long?”
“I’m supposed to report by nine!” said the vampire.
Buffy stood up, and did a quick turn around the apartment. She saw her father and Dawn standing by the hallway entrance looking at her. They both looked like they wanted to throw up. Buffy glanced back toward the vampire trussed up on the floor. “How much of that did you see?”
“We came in at the ear, but we heard all of it,” said Dawn. “You weren’t exactly quiet.”
“So, was it telling the truth about Pasadena?” Buffy asked her dad.
Hank Summers was still looking a little dazed. “Um, yeah…Buffy. What is going on?”
Buffy closed her eyes. “God, you sound like Mom, when she found out.”
“What?” asked Hank.
“Never mind. Quick version.” Buffy pointed to the vampire on the floor. “That is a vampire. I am a Vampire Slayer. I have been a Vampire Slayer ever since my final year at Hemery. I burned down the gym to kill a whole mess of them.”
“Shit!” said the vamp on the floor. “You’re the Slayer! I’m gonna kill that Morgan bitch for sending me up against the Slayer without warning me!”
“You hadn’t figured that out?” asked Buffy. She looked back toward her father. “Vampires: not noted for their smarts.”
“Buffy, vampires aren’t real,” said Hank. “They’re the stuff of bad movies.”
“People like to think that, but they are real. Just take a look at this guy’s face.” Buffy pointed at the vamp on the floor, but saw that it had reverted back to its human form. She held up the bottle of holy water. “Ah, ah, show him your fangs, or I’ll have to show him some of the more painful differences between people and vamps…painful for you that is.”
The vampire snarled, and transformed back into its demonic form. It bared its fangs.
Buffy smiled down at it. “Good boy. Stay.” She glanced back at the clock, she only had twenty five minutes left. She went for her purse.
Buffy held up a hand to stop her father. “Just give me a couple of minutes, and then I’m yours to ask all the questions you want.” She pulled out her cell phone and hit the redial button.
“Angel Investigations. We—”
“Get me Angel. Now!”
Cordelia knew not to argue with that tone of voice. Buffy heard a slightly muffled “It’s her again,” before Angel came on the phone a couple of seconds later.
“Buffy. What’s up?”
Buffy gave Angel her father’s address. “Can you get here by nine?”
“It’ll be close, but I should be able to,” said Angel, “but you still haven’t told me what’s up.”
“Get moving,” said Buffy. “Have you got a cell phone? … Okay.” She gave Angel her cell number. “Call me back when you’re on your way. I’ll explain then.” She closed her phone and looked back toward her father.
“You’re promising to explain a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I still haven’t heard much of any sort of explanation from you,” said Hank.
Buffy sighed. “We really need Giles. He’s much better at the explanation thing… Okay, here we go: Vampires are demons, or rather human corpses animated by a demonic soul. They are, with maybe one or two extraordinary exceptions Evil
, with a capital ‘E’. For as long as there have been vampires there has been the Slayer. A Chosen One. One girl in all the world, with the strength and skill to stop the spread of their evil blah blah blah. I’m the girl who got the short straw last time the choosing got done. I have no idea how or why that happened, but it did, and there is no way for me to become unchosen.
“I have been the Slayer for seven years now. In that time I have fought and killed hundreds, maybe even a thousand or so vampires, and other assorted demons. I stopped counting at a hundred, and that was about six years ago. Mom and Dawn found out about it four years ago.”
Buffy prodded the vampire on the floor with her toe. “This is a vampire. It is an animated corpse. It has no pulse, it doesn’t need to breathe.” She looked at her sister. “I have a mirror in my bag, would you please get it?” Dawn left, and Buffy returned to her lecture. “When she gets back we’ll show you that it has no reflection.
“Vampires feed off people. When this thing looks at you, it’s probably thinking ‘lunch.’ One vamp I know referred to us as ‘happy meals with legs.’
“Vampires don’t age, they will live forever if nothing comes along to kill them. They can be killed by a wooden stake through the heart, beheading, fire, or exposure to sunlight. They are burned by holy water, and crosses, and are seriously allergic to garlic. Other than that, not much will do permanent injury to one. You can cut off pieces, and they take a long time coming back, but a vamp will heal most wounds pretty quickly. This guy has pretty much recovered from having a knife through its throat, and its heart.”
Buffy was interrupted by her cell phone. “I’ll just give you some time to think about that while I talk with Angel.” She saw that Dawn was coming back. “Dawn can answer your questions, and show you the mirror thing.”
Buffy opened up her phone. “Angel? … Okay, here’s what’s going on…” Buffy told him about the attack by the three vampires, and what she’d learned from the vampire she’d captured. “Here’s what I want you to do: this Morgan person is supposed to be waiting out front for a report from her pet vampire that’s due by nine. We still have fifteen minutes till he’s late. I want you to make the report instead. I don’t want her to know that Dawn and I took these guys out. … No she didn’t actually get a kill tonight, but she got two major assists. Anyway, Morgan pretty clearly has no idea about who I am, and I want to keep it that way. The more she underestimates me the more I like it, so I want her to think that you were here all along, and that you took these guys out yourself.
“We know that she wants to get her hands on a piece of property in Pasadena, but we don’t know why
, so that’s the other thing I want to see if you can learn for me, think you can?”
Buffy listened to Angel’s answer. While he didn’t come right out and say it, she had the impression that he and Morgan knew each other pretty well. Well enough that he knew that she’d know that any actual physical threats from him would be mostly bluff. He didn’t expect to learn anything useful from her. That was okay with Buffy, as long as the first goal, of keeping her identity a secret was attained.