Inca Mummy Girl, Part 2
Inca Mummy Girl, Part 2
A/N: Disclaimer's in the first chapter.
It was just as well that the Scoobies got to the bus stop just before dawn. There had been two vampires and a daylight-proof demon lurking in the area. These, fortunately, were easily dispatched. One of the two vampires was smart enough to run when he spotted the Scoobies, but that really didn't do the vamp much good. Buffy just shot him in the head with a crossbow, which was enough to slow him down so she could catch up and stake him properly.
The demon took a bit more effort, but not too much. The hardest part ended up being luring the demon into a nearby alley before killing it. It was the sort of demon that didn't go poof or turn into sludge instantly when killed, which meant that there'd be a body sprawled on the ground for the exchange students to see if they'd killed it out in the open. If they'd had a few hours to spare it wouldn't have been a problem as the body dissolved within a few hours, but as it was they made do.
That done, they stashed the crossbow and their other weapons out of sight. They then spread out around the bus stop. Jon, Xander and Willow stayed close to where the bus would stop when it arrived. Jon had elected to stay close because it was the epicenter of their concerns and staying there gave him the best overview of the immediate area senses-wise. Ranging around might have been wiser, given his senses - he'd have been able to cast a far wider net that way - but Jon was new enough to his senses to worry that he'd accidentally miss something if it happened on the far side of the station from where he was at. Buffy and Giles were the ones that did the ranging around instead.
Fortunately, not a one of the folks that showed up to pick up the exchange students was a demon. That was a load off of the Scoobies' minds, as trying to keep an exchange student from going with a demonic host would have been tricky. They had a contingency plan in place - namely Cordelia, as her folks' place was big enough to room several of the students if it had come to that. That wasn't the problem, though. Convincing someone to go somewhere other than where they'd been told they were going to go would have been the problem. Mostly because it wasn't like they could have told the students the truth.
Finally, just after dawn, the bus arrived. Things got more than slightly chaotic as close to two dozen people got off the bus - not all of them exchange students. Luggage was hauled out of the bus' belly and people milled around waiting to grab their stuff while meeting and greeting their hosts/friends/family.
Basically, for about half an hour, the place was a madhouse.
Willow plowed right into the insanity, trying to find her exchange student. She had, much to the Scoobies' disappointment, only managed to sign up for one. She eventually reappeared with a young man with really, really darkly tanned skin and dark hair. Xander was a little surprised that the kid wasn't wearing a turban and one of those dress-looking things (robes? Whatever they called them), given he was from Egypt. Aside from the dark tan, he looked more or less like any American teenager, as he was wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt and tennis shoes.
"Guys, this is Ampata. Ampata, this are my friends Xander and Jon." Willow said.
"Nice to meet you. Hope you enjoy your stay here." Xander said, offering a hand to shake.
Ampata returned the handshake and smiled. "As do I."
Xander mentally slapped himself. First he'd been expecting stereotypical dress, then he'd been expecting stereotypical broken, thickly accented English. Ampata definitely had an accent, but he wasn't at all hard to understand. It made sense that the kids who had been chosen to come to America would be able to speak the language well enough to not need an interpreter.
Jon settled for giving the kid a nod. He was a bit distracted at the moment. Ever since the bus had arrived, he'd been aware that something was off. What, he couldn't pin down in all the chaos, but something definitely was.
He signaled Xander, and they eased away from Willow and Ampata.
"What's up?" Xander asked.
"Something's wrong, but I can't pin it down." Jon told him.
"Right. What do you need me to do?" Xander said.
"Just stay close." Jon said.
He put a hand on Xander's shoulder, using that to anchor himself, then turned more of his attention to his senses, trying to sort through the chaos and figure out what was catching his attention. Finally, he tracked it down. Someone's heartbeat and breathing were slow. Slow enough to have tweaked his senses. Probably sick somehow. Still, it was bugging him so he tried to sort through the various scents and figure out who it was. He finally narrowed it down to one of three girls in a gaggle by the rear of the bus, and mentally tagged all three of them to be watched if they stayed in town. If they didn't, it wouldn't matter.
He finally gave his head a shake. "Just someone with a serious illness, I think." He said. "Heart and breathing slower than they ought to be, but I'm not smelling anything demonic." He glanced around. "Not that I would, right about now."
Xander rolled his eyes. "You're better than that and you know it." Yeah, Jon still had (and would for a while to come) issues with picking up on one particular smell in a smell-heavy environment like this, but it wasn't like demon smells were exactly subtle. Vampires aside, they tended towards the rank-and-nasty end of the smell spectrum.
Jon snorted, but was secretly amused that Xander had caught on to Jon's 'dumb' act incredibly quickly. It had taken more than one of Jack's superiors embarrassingly long periods of time to figure it out - and more than one of them had never actually figured it out, which was just plain sad. That had ended up being part of why Jack had gotten on so well with Hammond. Hammond had seen straight through the dumb act in about ten seconds - but unlike most of his other superiors, he didn't call Jack on it in public. He let Jack keep the act going with others, but made it clear in private that he knew better.
Though to be fair, Jon had a feeling Xander had an unfair advantage in catching on to the dumb act. Jon had a feeling that Xander played dumb too - certainly, he had more brains than some folks seemed to think. Though Giles and Buffy, who hadn't known Xander for years, were catching a clue now that things had changed so dramatically.
It said volumes, Jon knew, that he was able to think about Jack - about that life at all - without getting so tangled up in emotions he couldn't see straight. He wasn't dumb enough to think that the resentment and anger and everything else wouldn't crop up ever again, but the fact it wasn't a constant anymore was a vast improvement.
It continually surprised him that he'd fallen into what was really a very easy friendship with Xander. It probably shouldn't surprise him, given Jack's friendship with Skarra. There was a fairly similar age gap involved in the two friendships, though it was wider in Xander's case by more than Jack would ever have admitted to, and Jon could pretend didn't exist. Still, it surprised him pretty often.
Introductions done, Willow headed off with Ampata, and Giles and Buffy headed for the airport to patrol and meet the first of the arrivals coming by plane.
Jon made due mental note that all three of the girls he'd mentally tagged were staying in Sunnydale. One of them was an exchange student, as she was met by a family that Xander knew didn't have a daughter that age. The other two, both in their late teens, seemed to be moving into Sunnydale to start their adult lives.
Idiots. Jon couldn't help thinking that, despite knowing the two girls had no way of knowing how dangerous Sunnydale was. The worst part was, there was a damn good chance that both girls would be alive, married, and have kids two or three years from now.
Jon had noticed that native females and out-of-town males made up the bulk of the victims in Sunnydale. It made a certain amount of rather horrifying sense. The demons of Sunnydale needed a continuous supply of victims. The problem was, they hunted pretty regularly, which sort of thinned the potential suppliers of the next generation down pretty far. And if you bred from a bottlenecked population like that long enough, there started being problems with the ... well, with the herd. So new blood needed to be drawn in to keep that from happening.
So, somehow, new blood was drawn in. And who got to stay and 'breed' was kept pretty controlled in a horrifying but ultimately fairly sensible way. The chances of out-of-town males having some sort of capability at self defense - or even possessing the simple aggression to want to fight back if they were attacked - was really high. Most guys participated in some sort of aggressive sport or ... well, something, to burn off their energy. Girls were far less likely to do so. Some girls participated in aggressive sports or learned some form of self defense, of course, but nowhere near as many as the boys.
Meanwhile, in Sunnydale, the sports teams were few, and rather pathetic. Football, basketball, and swimming were pretty much it. None of which did a person much good in the 'surviving the nightlife' stakes. Worse, there were no dojos, boxing rings, or the like anywhere in town. Between that and the fact that they'd grown up soaked in Sunnydale's mojo all their lives, the in-town boys were far more likely to just let things be than their out-of-town counterparts. Pairing them with oblivious and mostly defenseless out of town females meant a minimum of trouble in keeping the populace from starting trouble for the demons while they bred the next generation of victims.
That meant that the out of town males got hunted pretty much as soon as they arrived by the nightlife. Out of town males had a lifespan of less than a year - most, from what Jon had learned from Xander and Willow, lasted less than six months. A rare few wised up to the danger in town and managed to escape before they were killed. In the meantime, those born in Sunnydale rarely if ever left town at all, and if they did, it was mostly day trips to L.A. The number of native Sunnydalians that left and stayed gone that Willow and Xander knew of could be counted on one hand - and two of those were Willow's parents, who rarely spent more than a week in town before bugging out again.
Eventually, the last bus that had an exchange student on it finally arrived shortly after lunch. Their protection duty done, Jon and Xander headed back to Buffy's house for lunch.
Giles and Buffy had beaten them back. There'd only been two flights with exchange students on them, both expected to arrive within an hour of each other, so it hadn't taken long to deal with that end of the arrivals.
"So, anything hinky on your end?" Buffy asked.
"Just that one girl who was really sick." Jon said. "Nothing showed up to eat the new arrivals, and the folks picking the students up were all human."
"We didn't have anyone hinky on our end at all." Buffy said. "Which I was kind of surprised about. You'd think the airport would be a prime hunting ground."
"Maybe not. I mean, it's mostly staffed by out-of-towners, isn't it? Especially in the tower?" Jon pointed out. "And it's just outside of the hellmouth's sphere of influence, which means the chances of deaths or 'kidnappings' there being reported and listened to is a lot higher."
Buffy thought about that for a second, then nodded. "You've got a point there." She said.
At that point, the phone rang. Joyce answered. It proved to be Willow, calling to 'ask' (read: warn them) about coming over with Ampata.
By the time Willow and Ampata arrived, Giles, Buffy, Joyce, Jon and Xander were in a spirited and legitimate debate over what to have for dinner in order to introduce Ampata to American fare, and what movie to watch afterward. Willow jumped right in with her own opinions on the subject when they arrived. Ampata mostly watched them with a distinctly amused expression on his face.
Eventually, they settled on homemade cheeseburgers and Rice-A-Roni, in a (at least by Jon's reckoning) pathetic nod to Ampata's probable preference for rice as a part of a meal. The movie debate, however, raged all through the meal, with everyone flinging out multiple possibilities to be considered and mocking or nixing one or more of the other options. Eventually even Ampata got drawn into that debate, pointing out whether or not he'd seen a particular movie before. They finally settled on a Star Trek movie, though it took considerable arguing before Wrath of Khan was chosen as the one to watch. Willow had been of the opinion that you had to watch all of them in order. Xander had rather emphatically stated that the first movie would put an insomniac to sleep, and really didn't need to be watched to understand the second movie.
Jon had been far too busy laughing at the irony of watching a movie about mucking around in space to contribute much to that part of the debate, though he had agreed that the second movie was far better than the first, and the best movie in the series to start with if you wanted to hook someone on Star Trek. It had all the good stuff - lots of action, a charismatic and clever (if bugfuck nuts) baddie, drama and, well, the works. Giles really hadn't cared much either way - he wasn't as much into television as the younger set was. Buffy agreed with Xander, and so did Joyce, so Wrath of Khan finally won the toss.
Jon cringed and muttered darkly about the eels when that part happened. He'd forgotten about that part entirely. Probably in self defense, given what Jack had been dealing with the last seven years. Fucking mind-control snakes that ate your brain. Jesus. Sometimes, Hollywood hit entirely too close to shit Jack had had to deal with for real. There was a *reason* Jack (and Jon) preferred the Simpsons.
On the other side of town, the erstwhile Incan mummy girl was now going by the name of Dominga, who hailed from Peru. She had been wise enough to not drain either of her hosts' life forces. They would, she knew, form a first, if somewhat inept, line of defense between her and her erstwhile bodyguard, if he found her before she was able to make good her escape from Sunnydale.
She would have to find someone to drain in the morning - the day's events had been taxing and she could feel herself slowing down faster than she would have liked. She would then need to learn all she could of this strange new world so that she would not stand out too much. So much had changed since she had been forced to sacrifice herself! Modes of transportation, the language, everything. It was all so fascinating! She wanted to stay alive, to learn about and live in this new world.