Disclaimer: Smallvile and Buffy are owned by other people. That’s a fact.
Seeing him at the door, Buffy knew she was in trouble. As he rushed toward her she was already pushing back from the table faster than either of his parents could react. By the time he reached the table she was already to her feet.
He grabbed for her, and he was fast but she was faster. Buffy had no doubt that he could have moved even faster yet, but he’d been used to fighting slower opponents.
For most vampires, Slayer strength and speed was all that she really needed to do what had to be done. The hours of training Giles had pressed on her had to deal with fighting the occasional demon or hellgod who was bigger and more powerful.
She’d been fighting Glory for months, and she knew how to deal with a stronger opponent.
Grabbing his arm as he reached for her, she turned and pulled him over her hip. Although he was strong, he hadn’t expected her to grab him, and so his feet left the ground.
He went flying across the kitchen to smash into the wall, leaving a broken spot in the sheetrock.
Moving faster, he was on his feet before she could speak.
He blurred faster than she could follow, and an instant later his hand was around her throat and she was off the ground.
“What are you doing here?” he demanded, shaking her. “You don’t threaten my family.”
“Clark!” Mrs. Kent said.
The sound of his mother’s voice and the sound of the front door opening seemed to reach him. He lowered her to the floor even as the sound of footsteps came to them.
“What happened?” the brunette girl entering the room stared incredulously at the destruction; the table knocked to the floor and the wall with the damaged sheetrock.
“Clark tripped,” Buffy said.
The girl looked at her and her lips pursed. “Usually he only stumbles around me.” She turned to look at Clark. “Who is this?”
“My name is Buffy,” Buffy said. “I’m a cousin from California.”
She had a cousin, and she was from California, so it wasn’t exactly a lie.
“We’re catching up on old times,” Martha Kent said. “Perhaps you could postpone your walk with Clark for another night.”
The girl’s expression curled into a sullen pout, and Buffy could see Clark’s expression glaze over.
“We won’t be in town long,” Buffy said. “Not much time to catch up.” All of it was hopefully true.
The girl scowled and said, “Call me as soon as you can, Clark.”
Clark Kent stood frozen, and his eyes glazed a little as he looked at her. For once his ability to stand supernaturally still failed him as he shifted uneasily from side to side.
Buffy waited until the door shut behind the girl before saying “Is that how you treat all your parent’s guests?”
“You aren’t a guest.”
Although they desperately needed his help, Buffy couldn’t help an urge to prick his ego. He was almost unbearably self-righteous and self centered.
She squashed the impulse. This was for Dawn.
“I need your help.” She said.
“Why should I have anything to do with you?” He asked.
“Because if you don’t, my sister will die,” Buffy said, looking him directly in the eye. “And if that happens, this town and everything in it likely won’t survive.”
He grabbed her arm. “Is that a threat?”
“It’s the truth,” Buffy said. “There’s a woman with powers like yours, and she’s trying to destroy the world.”
Midnight in the Smallville high school had a certain eerie atmosphere that earlier hours didn’t. The utter lack of sound followed by the occasional echo in the distance made Chloe uneasy.
She hadn’t felt entirely safe in the offices of the Torch since her high school coach had tried to burn her to death a few months before, and all the remodeling had done was cover the remembered smell of smoke.
It didn’t help that the entire rogue’s gallery had escaped from Belle Reve earlier in the evening.
She needed to get this research done, however, and needed to get the rest of the paper put to bed. She’d gotten so distracted doing the research on the visitors from earlier that she’d missed her deadline, and then the breakout at Belle Reve had given her even more work to add it to the next morning’s edition.
Although the hum of the computers cut through the silence, Chloe started a little as she heard something echoing in the distance.
Her gut clenched and she made her way cautiously toward the door. At this rate, her work ethic was going to be the death of her.
“Why should I believe anything you have to say? You’re the crazy one.”
“We were told to come here,” Buffy said. “An oracle told my friends that this was the only place on earth that we could find help. They said the one to help us was the last of his kind on earth.”
He stiffened at that, and his hand loosened on her wrist. Buffy pulled away gently.
“You met Dawn,” she said. “If you don’t help, she’s going to be dead, and you’ll have a homicidal woman in your town. If she succeeds in what she’s trying, it’ll be the end of everything.”
Clark shook his head. “You are the crazy one.”
“My friends are just down the road,” she said. “Let them convince you.”
He hesitated, and then glanced at his parents, who nodded. “Fine,” he said.
Buffy took a deep breath, and then stepped toward the door. She flipped the porch light on and off several times in succession.
Looking back at them she shrugged. “It was Willow’s idea.”
“I’m still not sure about this,” Clark said to his parents. “Maybe you guys should get out of here, head for a motel.”
“I wouldn’t go to the motel right now,” Buffy said, interrupting. “That’s the first place she’s going to come looking for us, and I doubt it’ll be safe for anyone else.”
“So you are just leaving the people there to get hurt?”
“What else can I do?” she snapped. “I can’t fight her. I’m not the one that’s stronger than a bus.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” he said, looking away.
“I’m at least ten times as strong as a man twice my size,” Buffy said. “And you outclass me by a lot. Don’t try to pretend you aren’t…whatever you are.”
“Chloe said you were in a psychiatric hospital,” Clark said.
Buffy flushed. “I tried to tell my parents the truth about what was out there, and they had me committed.”
“And burning down your school gym? Burning down your high school?”
“There are bad things out there,” Buffy said. “Things worse than the mutants you get around here. I was fighting to save people.”
“All I have is your word on that.”
“Her word and ours,” Giles said. The weakness he’d been showing earlier seemed entirely gone, and he entered the room with a confidence she hadn’t seen in him in a long time.
He was followed by Dawn, Willow, Anya and Xander.
Spike stood at the doorstep. “Don’t suppose any of you lot would invite a mate in?”
“Why don’t you just walk on in like the rest of them?” Clark asked sullenly.
Grinning, Spike attempted to swagger in, and then grimaced as he stopped at the door. “Bloody hell. Has to be a human.”
“Won’t you come in?” Martha asked weakly.
Spike smiled. “Don’t mind if I do.”
Outside the Torch, the hallways were dark and quiet. Normally, even as late as seven there were sounds from janitors and other people staying late to finish their work. But at this time of night there was nothing.
A few steps from the doorway and even the hum of the computers and the lights inside the Torch faded away to almost nothing.
The usual subtle roar of the air conditioning and the hum of the lights was gone. There were no traffic sounds. Even the sounds of crickets was missing from outside.
Chloe blinked, trying to allow her eyes to adjust to the darkness. The only light came from the doorway behind her. It took her a moment to realize what was wrong.
It was too dark. The street lights from outside should have shone through windows and provided at least a dim illumination, and yet there was nothing.
She glanced back at the office behind her. The lights were still on, so it wasn’t a blackout. Her sense of uneasiness grew.
With her eyes still blinded by the light it was hard to tell, but she thought she saw something moving in the darkness.
“So you are saying magic is real,” Clark said flatly. “I’m supposed to believe that?”
“You live in the middle of a town where people turn into bugs and eat the fat off of people’s bones. What makes magic so hard to believe?” Buffy asked.
“Because that’s real. This you’re talking about is make-believe.”
Willow gestured and glittering lights filled the air. “Magic.”
“Mutant power,” Clark said. “All this talk about vampires and demons is just a smoke screen. Why are you really here?”
“Don’t believe in vampires,” Spike said.
“Spike,” Buffy said, glancing sharply at him.
“Doubting Thomas here isn’t going to believe until he sees,” Spike said. “And we don’t have all night to play twenty questions.”
Spike stepped forward and his face shifted into something bestial and monstrous.
Clark grabbed him and gritted his teeth. “You are just another meteor freak.”
Inwardly he was less sure. Most of the meteor freaks he saw hadn’t changed all that much physically, except for the shape changing girl.
He brightened. There was a way to prove that he was lying. He narrowed his vision and stared at Spike’s chest.
He faltered a moment later and set Spike down. Spike’s heart wasn’t beating and his lungs weren’t pumping. No blood was circulating through his veins.
“Check out the mirror, sport,” Spike said.
Turning to the mirror, Clark saw that he was alone even though the vampire was standing directly in front of him.
His face morphing seamlessly back into that of a human, Spike said, “Right, then. Magic is real and we’ve got a hell goddess on our trail. It was our problem, and now it’s your problem.”
“So magic is real,” Clark said numbly.
“I told you he was slow,’ he heard Dawn whisper to her sister.
He was silent for a long moment and no one spoke. They all jumped a little a moment later when the telephone rang.
“Pick up the phone, Clark. Pick up the phone,” Chloe muttered to herself.
She couldn’t even be sure why it was Clark she was calling. He lived miles outside of town and there were other people who were closer. But somehow, Clark Kent always showed up in the nick of time, like a miracle.
She gasped in relief as she heard the receiver on the other end pick up.
“Clark,” she said. “Something’s wrong.”
“I’m at the Torch,” she said. She opened her mouth to say more, but the line went dead suddenly.
“It’s a little late to be making phone calls at this hour,” the woman standing behind her with her finger on the receiver button. She pushed a little harder and the telephone cracked beneath her hand.
Chloe dropped the receiver and stepped back quickly.
“What do you want from me?” she asked.
Glancing at the wall of weird, the woman smiled. “I’m beginning to see the potential of this town. I’ve been wondering why the Slayer bothered to come here, but this explains a lot.”
Backing away even further, Chloe stumbled against her chair. Chloe said “The slayer? I don’t know who that is.”
“Height challenged little blonde bimbo?” the woman said. “Comes with a sister as cute as a button and a red haired witch.”
“I..” Chloe looked behind her for anything she could use as a weapon and she realized that there wasn’t anything she could use.
“You looked them up on your computer over there,” Glory said. “So I know you’ve met them.”
“Why are you looking for a crazy woman?” Chloe asked.
The woman slammed her fist on the heavy desk beside her and it collapsed. “Who are you calling crazy?” she asked.
Chloe was suddenly very afraid.
“What do you want?” she asked. “I’m sure I can help you.”
“Where have they taken her?”
“The Key…the…girl, Dawn.” The woman looked confused for a moment then said “Did you hear that? The sounds of little insect legs…. .”
A moment later the woman had her hand on her throat and was lifting her in the air. “If you don’t tell me, I’m going to kill you, or worse.”
“There’s only one motel in town,” Chloe said. “They rented two rooms.”
She disliked giving out information like this to a psychopathic meteor freak, but she wasn’t about o get into a confrontation between a murderer and her gang and another gang.
“They didn’t tell you what they were looking for, did they?” the woman asked. At the look in Chloe’s eyes, she said, “Pity.”
She caressed Chloe’s face with her other hand and said, “I suppose I have no other use for you….well, one more use.”
Chloe began to scream and the woman laughed.
“There’s nobody out there to hear you, and even if we were in the middle of a crowded room, nobody would be able to do a thing to stop me.”
“Put her down.” His voice rang out in the air.
Chloe gasped as she was released, falling to the floor. She stared up at Clark, appearing before her like a miracle.
”Well, well well,” the woman said. “I guess we have our home grown heroes. One hundred percent pure American beefcake.”
Clark stared at the woman, uncertain. “I’m going to stop you.”
The woman grinned manically. “This is going to be fun.”