Author Notes: This is the second story in my series, with the prequel being ‘Let’s Hear It For the Monsters…Not!’. I’m sure you could just jump into this, but it would probably be easiest to understand how the Anita and Buffy universe has collided if you read the first story.
Summary: With JC dead & Anita in jail, the Slayers are no longer considered Terrorists and the Scoobies are setting up HQ in St. Louis. Unfortunately, Asher & Jason are intent on breaking Anita out… And Anita plans on getting revenge- And she’s not the only one.
Featured Characters: Buffy, Xander, Willow, Dawn, Spike, Asher, Jason, Anita, Edward, Bernardo, Nathaniel, Richard- for now…
Pairings: Willow/Sylvie… And likely more to come… Let me know if you have any suggestions ;) The last story didn’t have any romantic fun (‘cept the Epilogue) and I want a little bit in this
Beta: Thank you Greywizard for performing cool Beta duties for this new story!
Disclaimer: I am not fond of big hair or dark red lipstick, so no, I am not Laurelle K. Hamilton and I am only borrowing her Anita Blake characters : ) Likewise, I am not a man with a penchant for enjoying all things geeky-- Ok, actually only the former is true-- so I am not Joss Whedon and am only borrowing his Buffy characters. No money is being made from this, etc, etc, etc.
“So, when is this Scooby meeting getting started?” Dawn inquired idly as she lounged in a plush couch located in the living room of their current home.
“Whenever Buffy and Xander get back from their RPIT meeting, which should be any time now,” Willow answered as she sat cross-legged on the floor, magically leafing through a newly acquired leather-bound text on the Vampire Council.
“God, I can’t believe I’m at one of these bloody ‘Scooby’ meetings of yours, again,” scoffed Spike as he settled in next to Dawn.
“Oh shut up, Spike,” Dawn grinned as she punched him lightly in the shoulder. “You know you’ve missed them.”
“Oh right, that was the first thing I thought of after my resurrection -- When is the next Scooby meeting?” he drawled with a smirk.
“Whatever, you know at heart you’re one of us,” Dawn said with a knowing smile as Spike just rolled his eyes and scoffed again.
Although he would never admit it, his Lil’ Bit was more on target with her comments then he liked.
“Honey, we’re home!” Xander cried out as the front door opened. He and Buffy made their way to the living room and settled in opposite facing arm chairs.
“'Bout bloody time,” Spike growled. “You know, I’m a very important man. Got things to do, people to kill. It’s not proper to be so late.”
“Meeting ran long. And I needed caffeine. Hence, lateness. Besides,” Buffy said with a raised brow and a smirk, “who knew that the big bad Vampire Master of the City would throw a tantrum over being late?”
Spike scowled in her direction. "Only if forty-five minutes is what you call a little late. And yeah, I care about punctuality, what of it? You try overseeing a couple hundred bloody vampires who are mostly too stupid to even know their own name and then playing politics with them and those damn weres! I’ll tell you what -- makes the day much harder if every sodding person is late,” he said defensively.
“Whatever,” Buffy said with a roll of her eyes. “Ok, let’s get started, then. Who wants to go first?”
Dawn raised her hand eagerly.
“Dawnie, you do realize you don’t have to raise your hand, right?” Xander asked gently with a smile.
She gave him a dirty look. “Hey -- I’m excited, so bite me.”
“Careful, Niblet,” Spike interjected. “He might just do that, after the dog gets done humping the table leg.”
“Spike,” Xander growled in warning.
“Oh my God, could we please get through one meeting without either of you two bickering?” Buffy stated with glare.
“Thank you,” she sniffed haughtily.
“Anyways, back to me,” Dawn said as she placed her hands on her upper chest. “As your official Council U.S. Branch Director, I have been very busy getting HQ set up in town. I’ve found a good location out in the country -- near the werewolf lupinar actually -- where there used to be this huge twenty-five room inn with an even bigger yard and two barns that we could easily convert into weapons storage or training grounds. Plus, it gives off positive magic tinglies, so I think we could set up some wicked wards pretty easily.”
“Cost?” Xander, Mr. Perceptive Guy himself, asked with a wry grin.
“Now, don’t give me that cheapskate face. It’s a good deal.”
“Cost?” Xander repeated himself.
Dawn frowned. “Hey, I *am* the Council’s U.S. Branch Director. I know what I’m doing.”
“Isn’t that the title you came up with for yourself?” Buffy asked with an innocent look.
“Oh shut up,” Dawn grumbled. “Okay, the entire twelve acres with all those fun, fun buildings is valued at,” she lowered her voice, “$1.4 million.”
“Jeez, Dawn! You know Giles has us on a budget, plus we’ll still need to buy all the furniture and hire the interior designer,” Buffy groaned.
“Interior designer?” Spike said with a smirk.
“For once, I’m right there with ya, Captain Peroxide,” added Xander.
“Wait, I said its *valued* at $1.4 million. We’re only paying $500,000!”
The Scoobies all made noises of surprised disbelief.
“Damn, Niblet, how did you hustle that deal?” Spike said with a proud grin. Yes, he had taught her well, he congratulated himself. Lord knows none of those bleedin' A-Team members would have given the girl her hustler ways.
Dawn beamed and sat up straight at the others' reactions, then began her explanation.
“Well, I did some research on the couple selling it," she began, "and apparently, they have completely evaded the IRS for some twenty-odd years, plus they’ve been doing some definite off-shore account illegal action, and when I very innocently asked them about it they got all nervous.” She shrugged and smiled slyly. “Of course, they were more than pleased to sell at a reduced rate and then decide to retire, very quickly, in Uruguay.”
“It's days like today that I'm glad you are no longer mystical green energy and you’re my sister, Dawn,” Buffy said with a smile.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “No, Buffy, I will not haggle for you at the flea markets so you can get knockoff purses and perfume,” she firmly told her sister.
Buffy pouted and slumped further down in her chair.
“Anyways,” Dawn continued, “the sale will be finalized this week and Giles is working on determining which of his slayers they’ll send here. Until they arrive, I’ll be coordinating all the estate stuff, including,” her green eyes sparkled with mirth as they darted towards Buffy, “the interior designer.”
“Yay!” Buffy cheered. “Will? What have you got?”
Willow levitated the book she had been reading so everyone could see the cover. It read ‘A History of the Vampire Council’. “This is the book that Faith sent to us, care of Wicked and Truth.”
“They’re back?” Spike asked, surprised. “No one tells me a sodding thing, even though I‘m the bloody Master of the City,” he grumbled.
"They're just visiting for a little bit, they said," Willow shrugged. "Ever since the Watcher’s Council hired them on as supplementary support, they’ve been in Cleveland helping Faith with vamp and Hellmouth control -- they were very excited to see their first Hellmouth -- until one of their old friends told them about this book. As you know, we’ve had trouble getting our hands on any solid information about the background of the Vampire Council, its meeting places, and details on their members since throughout history, they’ve made it a policy of killing people who knew and burning any books that told anything about their secrets.”
“But now we have a shiny new book! Or rather, a crumbly-paged dusty book. Oh yeah, take that Vamp Council!” Dawn cheered.
“Yup, and it’s got a lot of really interesting info in it. So much that it might take some time to get everything. Doesn’t help that it’s in a language I’ve never seen before,” Willow said with a sigh.
“What, you mean the vamps couldn’t do your typical Ancient Sumerian or Greek or Egyptian? Those crazy cats just live to make our lives difficult,” Xander commented with a grin at his oldest friend.
Willow shrugged. “I’ve made some calls, plus I’ll keep working on translating it myself. Hopefully…” she trailed off with a shrug.
“Well, if there is a Will, there is a way,” Buffy said encouragingly while Spike, Dawn, and Xander all groaned.
“Buffy, you *do* realize that’s getting old, yeah?” Dawn grimaced.
“Yeah, Slayer, let Hyena Boy be the comic relief here.”
Xander looked confused. “Thanks… Spike?”
“No problem, mate. It's quite clear, judging by your neon green t-shirt and baggy-homeless guy jeans, you are the comic relief in this posse.”
Xander’s eyes narrowed as he glared at Spike. “Coming from someone who uses the word ’posse,’ I'm not all that impressed," he stated dryly.
“Oh bloody hell, I just got five new vampires in last night from the deep part of Texas and they wouldn’t bloody shut up,” Spike explained in annoyance.
“You have new vampires coming in? ’Splainy, please,” Buffy directed to the Master of St. Louis.
“Yeah, well now that the vampires know the Big Bad Boogeywomen are after them, a lot of them -- the law-abiding ones, anyways -- figure they’ll be safest here, on account of me being all friendly with you sorts. This past month, I’ve had at least fifty newbies come here, and nearly forty the previous month. “
Buffy’s eyes widened and she interrupted. “That sounds like a lot. You sure that’s smart?”
“Sure. It’s not really overcrowding the population, on account of me frying a good number of the previous population for being part of the Vampire Council bandwagon. Besides, the more minions I get who're loyal to me, the better off you slayers will be.”
Buffy frowned in thought as she took that in. “I suppose that will be all right. Xand?”
“Before I start, do any of you girls know where the Tylenol is? My killer headache just came back with a vengeance,” Xander asked with a wince.
Dawn jumped up and retrieved the painkillers from the bathroom. “Here ya go big guy. What’s the headache from? Full moon?”
Xander swallowed the pills with some water and nodded. “Yeah, it was pretty intense last night.”
“Oh yeah, we didn’t even get a chance to talk about it! What was your third full moon like? I know the last two you had issues with changing. Was it like Oz where you got all ‘grr’ and wanted to eat people? Or-”
Xander stopped her with a raised hand. “Please, do not talk about eating, Will.”
Buffy grimaced. “Ew! Xander, did you eat someone?”
“No, no!” he answered fervently. “There was no eating of the people! But there was maybe some slight eating of the deer.”
“Oh my God, did you eat Bambi?” Dawn said, a shocked and horrified expression on her face.
Xander pursed his lips and winced again. “Raised voices? Not helping with the headache, ladies.” Buffy and Dawn issued apologies and he continued. “And yeah- I ate a deer,” he noted. He shrugged at the disgusted looks of Willow, Buffy, and Dawn. “It *is* what weres do, remember? And it's a whole lot better than eating people!”
“Ew, no more information, please Xander,” Buffy pleaded as she wrinkled her nose with disgust.
“Anyways, it really wasn’t that bad this time. The pack and I have been spending a lot of time figuring out what exactly does it mean that the essence of the Hyena Primal Spirit is still in me. Obviously, it’s made me the most dominant of the Hyenas and of the majority of other weres," Xander explained.
"When I tap into the power, I get the extra strength, speed, and healing -- which is majorly of the cool, I must admit," he added with a grin. "And I’ve been progressing with my shifting control, too. I mean, at first I couldn’t shift at all until the full moon, but now, I can do partial shifts sometimes and I can also force it so I don’t have to shift during the moon."
“Well, that’s great, Xand,” commented Buffy in a supportive tone of voice, although she was still slightly uneasy at the thought of her best friend becoming an hyena and eating cute little animals. She'd really liked 'Bambi,' the first time she'd seen the movie as a child, and she *really* hoped Xander and his pack hadn't also eaten Thumper, Flower, Faline or the Great Prince when they'd shifted and done their run through the forest.
“Do you think if you left again, you could still have these capabilities?” Willow asked. “We never did experiment more on that.”
“Not one for being the guinea pig, Will,” Xander said with a grimace. “One experiment was enough for me.”
Two months ago, he had traveled to Cleveland to help Faith and Robin, only to end up in a demon fight. Xander had assumed he still possessed his new powers but, after being without the presence of a large group of weres for two weeks, his pack specifically, he quickly realized he could no longer tap into the Primal Spirit. Needless to say, he had spent the next week in the hospital and quickly headed back to St. Louis to figure out what was going on with his new abilities.
“So what’s the scoop with all the wereanimals in town?” Dawn asked.
Xander smiled, since he knew what she really meant was, ‘how are the Leopards doing?’ He and the other Scoobies all thought it was cute how she had become rather attached to their new leader and his group. Since Nathaniel had assisted Anita in the battle, he had been charged with attempted murder, but Dawn had almost immediately stepped in and cleared him, by saying that Anita had mind-controlled him.
He still wasn’t quite sure why she did that, considering that Nathaniel had tried to help kill Buffy, but he assumed she had her reasons, and he was personally keeping an eye on the younger were and his packmates. Nathaniel and Dawn weren't actually dating yet, so he and Buffy hadn't felt it necessary to give the other were the 'Shovel speech' yet, but he had a garden shovel that he'd had silver-plated, specifically for that occasion, stored in the tool storage section of his pickup.
“We have a general meeting coming up next week," he informed the others. "Enough time has passed that the weres who weren’t involved in the massacre are beginning to believe that Buffy and Spike really don’t plan on killing all of them. Mostly, we have Rafael and Richard to thank for doing a lot of the reassuring.
"The Leopards are doing a lot better, too, now that they’ve officially made Nathaniel their Nimir-Raj," he said, "and I’ve ordered the other groups to back off the Leopards and let them alone to work things out on their own -- some of the wolves were interested in returning to the old ways.”
“Oh my God, that’s awful! Nathaniel never told me that! I oughta turn them into living room rugs!” cried an indignant Dawn. “Do you even know what some of those sadists used to do to the Leopards?”
“Chill, Dawnie,” Xander said reassuringly. “Richard forbade it and so did I, and I made it clear that I'd personally rip out the throats of anyone who tried to do that, so everything seems to be hunky-dory, for the moment. Anyways, there are still some power plays going on in town, but things are mostly calm.”
“Well then, looks like everything is just peaches and cream, kids. So glad we had this little chat, but I need to be getting back to the Circus,” Spike stated sarcastically as he stood up.
“Sit down, Spike,” Buffy sighed. “I have yet to give my report, and sadly, there are neither peaches nor cream here.” She gave each of them a long look, dreading her coming report. It would just make things too damn real.
“I had a dream --”
“Aw, man. Buff, I really hate your dreams,” Xander whined, knowing that cryptic bad news was on its way.
“Yeah, me too,” she grumbled. “Anyways, Whistler came to visit me.”
“The smelly guy who can’t dress?” Dawn inquired.
“That’s the one,” Buffy said with a faint smile. She really hoped his balance demon ass was watching and listening in right now, so that the could see just how much everyone here appreciated him.
“He basically said that the Vampire Council is regrouping to figure out how to take us out and hinted that there are ‘others’ after us.”
“Well, duh!” Xander said, a bit scornfully. “There are always people after us and, clearly, the Vampire Council is gonna come gunning for us since we’re trying to figure out how to exterminate them. You could have gotten more information from a crystal ball.”
“Hey,” Willow interjected defensively. “You do realize that with the proper person using it, a crystal ball can be quite informative?”
Xander sighed and nodded obligingly. “Yes, Willow,” he said in a monotone voice.
“Okay, good point to keep in mind, Xand," Buffy noted. "But Whistler also mentioned something else. A very cryptic something else -- ‘What was done will be undone,’” she quoted.
“What was done will be undone?” Willow repeated to herself as her researcher self began pondering.
“Bloody helpful that is! Could be any bloody thing. Maybe that poof Jean-Claude will be resurrected by Two-Face. Or Anita will get her powers back. Or who knows what else!” Spike exclaimed, frustrated with those damn Powers That Be.
“Or maybe I’ll no longer be a hyena,” Xander said softly, a bit confused on whether that would be a good or bad thing.
“Well, jeez, it could be anything. It could even mean I’ll get turned back into a ball of energy,” Dawn said lightly. Upon seeing the outraged looks of her friends and family, she quickly backpedaled. “Although I’m sure that’s not it, so please don’t freak out and get worried.”
Buffy’s gut twisted at that thought -- She would literally do whatever she could to destroy the Powers if they took Dawn from her, and she knew she could depend on the other Scoobies to back her up. But no -- she didn’t feel like that was the source of Whistler’s meaning.
“Well,” Buffy said hesitantly, “he did say one other thing.”
“C’mon, out with it Slayer,” Spike urged when she paused.
“I don’t really get what it means, but Whistler said that one of my solutions lies with --and I quote -- ‘you, the Hyena Oba, and the Master of St. Louis, if you wanna beat this thing.’
"Anybody have a clue about this?” she asked uncertainly.
Spike sighed deeply. As soon as the Slayer began speaking, a tingle of déjà vu had rippled through him.
“I had the same bleeding dream, although I had no idea who the homeless-looking bloke in the hat was," he announced, "and he didn’t talk about all that stuff to me. Just said that if I wanted to win, then I needed you and Hyena Boy here.”
“Really?” Buffy asked, surprised.
“Hey, stop calling me Hyena Boy, Dead Boy, Jr.” Xander remarked.
Spike sneered. He hated being compared to Angel. Especially in any capacity where he was known as ‘junior’.
“Unfortunately,” Xander continued, “I had the same dream, with the demon dude and the cryptic talk. I originally thought it was maybe some random dream from my crazy hyena time when I woke up, but I'm guessing not, after hearing you guys had it, too."
There was a moment of silence as they all contemplated just what it meant that Buffy, Spike, and Xander had the same dream, and what they could do to help take out their current threats.
“Okay, so the solution lies with Spike, Buffy, and Xander,” Dawn began earnestly. “And obviously, it’s because of your status.” Off their confused looks she clarified. “You know, that Xander is the Oba, Spike is the Master of the City, and probably because Buffy is the Slayer.”
“So what the heck is a were, a vampire, and a vampire slayer going to do against the vampire council?” Buffy muttered. She hated this part of vampire slaying. Trying to figure out prophecies and dreams was better left to someone else; give her a stake and a vampire any day, thank you.”
“Oh bloody hell. I can’t believe that’s what they meant,” she heard Spike mutter a moment later under his breath.
“Make with the talky, Spike,” Buffy ordered sternly. "What do you think our dreams mean?"
Spike raised his head and made eye contact with the Slayer and Hyena Boy.
“I think the bloke meant we need to form a triumvirate.”
I love feedback, it’s what inspires me. So help a sista out with some inspiration!
And… Keep an open mind, folks. I know some readers may not like the T-word but things will not occur as you may expect…