A/N I still have no proprietary claim to either BTVS or Criminal Minds.
Kevin looked up at the growl in Buffy’s voice and was not surprised to see a look of seething anger on her face. “Okay, I’m guessing that Amy is not your best friend.”
“You could say that,” Buffy replied tersely. Her emotions were surprisingly conflicted. Amy had been one of them, a survivor of Sunnydale and some of the things that they had gone through together had bonded them at one level. Buffy was still bothered that she had not been able to do more to help Amy when the girl had been a rat and that Buffy’s calling was indirectly responsible for Amy turning herself into a rat in the first place. But Amy had also attacked Willow in a fundamental way and that could neither be forgotten or forgiven.
“So who is she,” Kevin asked, looking for more information.
“We were in Sunnydale together,” Buffy replied distantly, her mind now looking through her memories. “We first got to know her because her mother, who was a witch, had switched minds with Amy so that she could re-live her glory days. Catherine, the mom; was destroyed by her own magic. After that, Amy was just around, someone you saw in the halls and said ‘hi’ to but really didn’t think about. Which was kind of stupid since she was a witch as well, and we certainly could have used the help on more than one occasion. Anyway, we had some demons come to town and start a witch hunt; believe it or not. Willow and Amy and I were actually being burned at the stake when Amy turned herself into a rat to escape. Willow and I got away, obviously; and found Amy, but neither she nor Giles could manage to undo what had been done. Willow kept her in a habitrail of all things and about two years later, managed to turn her back into a human. After she was a person again, she and Willow went on a little ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ together. They were both hooked on the power that magic gave them and had even started seeing this sleazy wizard named Rack who was kind of like this magic dealer. Amy disappeared after Rack got shut down, but then popped up again right before Sunnydale went subterranean. She was the head of this coven of wanna-be’s at UC Sunnydale and somehow managed to curse Willow. We haven’t seen or heard from her since the collapse and part of me hoped she was finally dealt with one way or another, but here she is again.”
“So do you think she’s involved in this or is it just a case of wrong place/wrong time,” Kevin asked.
“I’ve gotta think she’s involved. The question is, how deep? I mean is she in this for herself or is she just a middleman?”
“From what little you’ve told me about her, Amy couldn’t handle not being in power ever again, so if I’m betting, my money says that she’s in this for her. But wouldn’t this kind of thing, people trying to steal some magical dohicky, trip all of your guys’ mystical alarms?”
“You said she was using human thieves, right?” Seeing Kevin nod, Buffy continued. “Then she might not have shown up on our radar, despite what she was apparently looking for. If she’d been using demons or magic then she’d have put up a huge honkin’ flare, but by avoiding those areas then she would gain a lot of time to plan and organize.”
“So what do you think Buffy,” Kevin asked. “Is she doing this for herself or is she just a pawn for someone else?”
“I gotta believe that she’s in this for herself. Like you pointed out, being under Rack’s thumb really messed with her. And given that the next time she pops up it’s as the head of what little magic community was in Sunnydale.” She turned to Kevin, “herself, gotta be herself.”
“Alrighty then, since we’re agreed that Amy is in this for herself, then the real question is why, what’s her motivation. From what little I know, I’ve gotta think that it’s either power or revenge. Now earlier you said that someone would have to be nuts to try and actually control a hellmouth, do you think Amy is that nuts?”
“Nah, she’s not that crazy. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that she might not have all her tires on the pavement, but she knows too much about magic and how these things work to actually believe that she’d have either the power or the will to control a hellmouth. Or that all the different demon clans and other nasties would just sit back and let her get insanely powerful.”
“So that leaves us with revenge as the most likely option for why she’s doing this; and you guys as the most likely targets.”
“I suppose,” Buffy replied. She could see that Kevin was thinking hard about something. It was funny because Xander got the same look on his face when he was working through a problem. Finally he sat back and seemed to relax, but Buffy could still see the tension in his body. He whirled suddenly and started furiously typing away at the computer. Buffy silently watched as different screens full of information flashed up and were dismissed just as fast. She wanted to ask Kevin just what he was doing, but for now Buffy just sat back and watched. After several minutes Buffy could restrain herself no longer, “what are you looking for?”
“I’m trying to figure out where she is.”
“Because wherever she is, that’s where Alexander will be,” Kevin replied without taking his eyes off the screen.
“You think he’s gonna try and talk to her or something,” Buffy asked.
“No, I think that Amy is going to have a fatal accident or just disappear.”
“And you think Xander’s going to try and protect her,” Buffy asked; not really understanding where Kevin was going with this.
“No,” Kevin replied. “I think that Alexander is going to arrange it. She’s a threat and he’s going to remove it.”
Buffy looked at Kevin as though he were insane. Her mouth worked for a few seconds as all the words she wanted to say seemed to get tangled together. Finally she took a deep breath and glared at the young man. “How could you even suggest such a thing,” Buffy asked; her voice indignant. “First of all, Xander wouldn’t be able to kill anyone, anyone human I mean,” she temporized. “You obviously don’t know him if you could think that about him. And there’s no way he’d attack someone so powerful by himself. I mean, Xander’s fray adjacent guy, not front line guy.”
Kevin paused in his search and turned to face Buffy. She was confused by the look on his face; it was an odd blend of incredulity, anger and pity. She said nothing as his eyes seemed to search her face for something, finally he sat back and his expression changed to one of bemusement. “What,” she asked.
“You’re really serious, aren’t you,” he asked quietly.
“Yeah,” Buffy replied, feeling a little lost as to where the conversation was headed
“You’ve know the guy for how many years and in so many ways you don’t have the first clue about what makes him tick,” he muttered. “Listen Buffy,” he said with more feeling. “Alexander is a great guy, and I’m glad he found me, but he can also be the scariest, most intense person I’ve ever known. How could you have been his friend all these years and not know this?”
Buffy sat back, a bit put out. Xander, scary and intense, try as she might, Buffy just could not apply those words to her best guy friend. She searched her memory, Xander had indeed been scary and intense when he was possessed, but that had been a onetime thing. Then something came to her. Talking about Amy earlier reminded Buffy of something, something that she’d obviously suppressed for some time. When they had been told that one of the ways to break a witch’s spell was to cut off her head, Xander had picked up an axe without one second of hesitation. That one memory triggered a series of images that flashed through her mind. Not things that she’d forgotten, but a new perspective on things that she’d seen. Xander as the soldier on Halloween; leading the students on Graduation Day and doing it while knowing that some of them would die; and when he promised what would happen if Willow was hurt at the beginning of Junior year. But mostly she remembered the gun.
When she and Dawn had gone up to Kingman’s bluff and found Xander holding Willow the two had run to their friends. Buffy had helped Willow to her feet and Dawn had helped Xander. As Dawn was helping Xander to his feet, his shirt had pulled up in the back and Buffy had been shocked to see the butt of a gun tucked there. She looked up with shocked eyes to see Xander staring at her with an intensity that almost made her drop Willow. Her brow quirked as she wondered why, and Xander; seeming to read her mind, flicked his eyes to Willow for an instant and then back. It was then that Buffy realized that if Xander had not been able to talk Willow down, that he had been prepared to protect the world by any means necessary. Up to and including, killing his best friend. Neither had ever mentioned it and over time Buffy had let it slip from her memory but now it was back in glorious Technicolor and Buffy finally realized what Kevin had already known; that Xander would always do whatever he had to do to keep everyone safe. Buffy glanced up from her musings and met Kevin’s eyes, so similar and yet so totally different, and realized that Amy Madison was going to die.
Silence descended on the room for a while as Buffy thought about what she’d discovered about her old friend and Kevin searched for where Amy might be. As Buffy was thinking, something came to her, something that Kevin had said earlier. “Kevin?”
“Earlier you said that you help Xander and that Xander helps you. Now I can understand how you help Xander, you know, information and all; but what does Xander do for you?”
Kevin glanced over at the diminutive blond and fervently wished that she hadn’t asked that.