Title: Welcome to Sunnydale
Timeline: BtVS season 2/pre-movie
Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS nor Fright Night. Written for fun, not profit!
Summary: It was just Peter Vincent's luck that he has to meet a potential buyer for one of his books in Sunnydale
A/N: It feels so long since I've written fic. Have some shenanigans! Reviews very appreciated :) (I may also have another idea where Peter is a Watcher. Any takers?)
"So who's this guy Giles is meeting?" Xander asked as the trio made their way down a darkened street. They were accompanying Buffy back from an early patrol. It had been a bit dead tonight - no pun intended. A quiet Sunnydale was never a good sign, so she would probably have to do a quick sweep later. The joys of being a Slayer.
"Dunno," Buffy shrugged, idly flipping a stake. "He didn't tell me much, just that we was meeting a potential seller - or was it buyer? - for some mystical doo-dah."
She hadn't been paying all that much attention when Giles had explained it to them. The only thing that had made a more lasting impression was Giles telling her they would have to postpone their usual training routine because he was meeting someone at the library tomorrow afternoon.
"Giles found someone willing to let him have a look at the complete Krivatch cycle. He's hoping he can persuade the guy to sell," Willow said, coming through with the info as always. Of course, that's because she was the only one usually listening.
"The whatnow cycle?"
"It's a series of ancient texts filled with prophecies. Extremely rare. Even rarer for someone to have the entire thing. I think there's like only 4 copies of the 3rd book left in the world," Willow explained, knowing that repeating the name wouldn't mean anything to the Xander. Or her.
"Wow. Guy must be rich to have them all," Buffy chipped in. Her full concentration wasn't on the conversation. She was still watching the streets for would be attackers. An having an idle fantasy about how many shoes she could buy with that kind of money. A girl could dream.
"Why come all the way to Sunnydale then?" Xander asked, bouncing up in front of the girls, "I mean, how much do we know about this guy? Do we need to sneak into the library and keep an eye on him for Giles?"
His eyes were sparkling with mischief more than any real worry. Willow just rolled her eyes with a smile.
Buffy grinned at him.
"What makes you think I wasn't just going to barge in there?"
When it came to her Watcher, she wasn't taking any chances. Even if the guy was some stuffy book dealer. But mostly it was just curiosity that urged her to be present at the meeting. Not that Giles would be very pleased with any of them.
"Buffy," Xander's smile widened, "Frontal attack - I do approve!"
"Wait, I thought Giles told us so we wouldn't
"Willow, Willow, Willow," Xander chided, putting a friendly arm around her, "You obviously have no concept of how we usually do this."
"Giles gives an order, we do the opposite. Easy."
"Also, when do these things ever go the way we planned?" Xander said, with an air of nonchalance.
"Xander!" Both Buffy and Willow rounded on him.
"Way to jin-" Buffy started, but was interrupted by a yell. The three exchanged quick glances and ran towards the disturbance.
"Fucking hell!" It was a man yelling.
Up ahead, scuffling and the sound of something clattering to the ground could be heard. Good, he was still alive.
"Right, suppose it would be too much to ask to have a last smoke and drink before you kill me?"
They were just nearing the alley entrance when a growl sounded. Buffy put on a burst of speed, fearing she'd get there too late. Instead, there was a strange whoosh
noise and a vampire stumbled out of the alley.
A vampire on fire
stumbled out of the alley. It barely missed her as she jerked to the side. Just as Xander and Willow neared, panting, it burst into ash.
"Ohhh," a figure reeking of alcohol stumbled out of the alley as well, "that's gonna leave a mark."
Wrinkling her nose, Buffy drew out her stake before realizing it was the same guy that had yelled. The British accent was a surprise as well. Could he be another Watcher? Though he didn't dress like one. Watchers seemed to be big on the suits and this guy was anything but. And Giles would have said something about any of them making a visit.
The three watched him lean against the alley wall, fumbling for something in the pockets of his leather jacket. He took out a cigarette to go with the lighter already in his hand. With shaking hands, he lit it and inhaled deeply.
"Are you all right, mister?" Willow inched nearer, indicating the trail of blood trickling from his temple. The guy seemed totally oblivious to it.
"Bastard knocked my fucking flask away," he ignored her, instead pointing indignantly at the pile of ash that used to be an undead bloodsucking fiend.
"Well, that's vampires for ya, eh?" he continued with a little giggle that was just this side of hysterical. Buffy frowned. He seemed a little too
unsurprised. Most people were usually panicking or running away by now.
"You know wha-" that was as far as Buffy got before she had to catch the man as he fainted dead away. For all his height, he didn't weigh much. It was more awkward holding him up than anything.
"Well, that was completely not-weird," Xander observed after a long pause. xxx
"Ugh, my head," Peter groaned, blinked blearily and then squeezed his eyes shut from the bright light that flooded the room.
"That would be the concussion talking," a wry voice chirped at him. It was too fucking early for this shit.
"No, that would be the hangover," he muttered, lifting a hand to rub his face. He frowned when he felt something snag. Squinting, he noticed it was an IV line attached to his hand. What the hell had he been up to last night? Oh right. Traveled to this piss post of a town, found a bar, gotten wasted, attacked by a vampire. Business as usual then. Except for that last bit.
"That too," the cheerful voice continued. It seemed to be moving. Peter groaned again.
"What, no sympathy for -" someone who's been attacked by a vampire?
Right, they'd cart him off to the loony bin for that one. A part of his mind kept insisting that it couldn't have been a vampire. The other part, the part he kept trying to drown in alcohol was screaming at him victoriously that oh god, oh god, it was real, really real, they exist and one of them MURDERED -
"It's alright if you don't remember what happened, sir," the voice continued. He blinked up at the owner and realized it was a nurse. Pretty thing, young, red-haired. Shame that he was in anything but the mood to flirt, "Common with head injuries. You were mugged. Luckily, some kids chased the guy off before he could do more than whack you on the head. They brought you here."
"Mugging. Yeah," he sighed, grateful the nurse had taken his hesitation for a gap in his memory. Truthfully, the whole incident was burned into his mind, despite the slight haze the alcohol tinted everything in: bumping into that stranger on the street, the inhumanly strong push into the alley, the blazing yellow eyes, deformed face and the teeth, the teeth
, babbling and swearing in a panic, but with still enough of his addled wits about him to come up with a plan, because if he was good at one thing, it was surviving and the sudden blaze of heat as he lit the vampire on fire. It was a trick he'd always wanted to try. It was never one he'd thought would save his life.
It had only been pure luck that the vampire was stupid enough to pause to let him get out his lighter and flask. Probably overconfidence. By the time it had realized what he was up to and knocked the flask away, it was too late. That had actually just given him a better target.
The rest of the evening was a bit fuzzy. The vampire's last shove had been enough to almost knock him senseless. He had a vague recollection of yellow, brown, red and cigarette smoke before everything went blank.
Ignoring the nurse's cheerful chatter, he relaxed back onto the bed. He fucking hated this town. It was just supposed to be a simple meetup over some books. The only reason he'd even come in person was because he'd heard the guy had quite a collection of his own. Fuck it all. Apparently, not even a simple opportunity to geek out over a bunch of musty words on a page ever seemed to go right for him.
Now he'd had his whole world ripped apart again after he'd so painstakingly put it together after the first time. He could ignore it again (in fact, he planned to), but he couldn't really pretend to forget.
His head was pounding from his swirling thoughts and head injury. God, he needed a drink. xxx
It was just nearing the end of the school day when the library doors were swung open. Giles turned, expecting Buffy, Willow and Xander as usual. Instead, he was met with a tall, lanky chap swaggering through (and looking a bit unsteady), with a box in his hands. It was an unusual enough sight that it nonplussed him for a moment. Too old to be a student and not a teacher.
"Excuse me, what are you doing?" he managed to ask after collecting himself.
"The fuck does it look like I'm doing? Carrying around a box of priceless books just so I can wipe my arse with them? Fuck off!"
The accent was as jarring as it was familiar. But he was even more taken aback by the hostility. As far as Giles could recall, he'd done nothing to warrant it. His expression must have shown on his face, because the man grimaced.
"Sorry. Bit of a rough night. Hasn't left me in the best mood. And this school is really fucking creepy."
Yes, that's rather what you get from having it situated on the Hellmouth, Giles wanted to say. He was a tiny bit impressed and quite a bit interested that the man had picked up on it so quickly, however.
Then the comment about the box caught up to him.
"Y-you're Peter Vincent?" Giles stuttered through a hurried wiping of his glasses.
Needless to say, this man was not what he had expected when he'd arranged this meeting. He hadn't actually ever talked with the man, only his assistant and the few sporadic emails Willow had helped him with. For a good look at the books, he was willing to brave the perils of technology.
Truthfully, he'd expected someone much older than the man before him. And definitely someone much more dignified. Especially with what little things he'd heard about Peter Vincent. He was a relatively new name to the scene and not much was known about him or where he came from. Only two things were known with any certainty - he was filthy rich, and he had an interest in the occult. The spreading talk about the size of his collection were what had prompted Giles to contact him in the first place.
"Unless someone's been pulling the unfunniest prank on me ever, then yeah," Peter said after he'd unceremoniously thumped the box on the table. He whirled around, looking at the library with an appreciative gleam in his eye. He patted his jacket with the air of a habitual smoker, but stopped the motion with another grimace. At least he wasn't totally clueless about how to behave around books, Giles mused.
He noticed the small flinch when Peter saw the obviously used weapons stored in the cage. Interesting. However, he covered it up well and turned to face Giles with a smile.
"Rupert Giles, right?"
"Indeed. I must admit I wasn't expecting someone quite so -"
"Drunk, loud, vulgar, uncouth?"Yes
"No! Well...um, I was going to say young."
Luckily, Peter didn't take offence and merely smirked. Before he could reply, the doors to the library swung open again.
"Giles, you will not
believe what happened on patrol last night!"
Giles winced. As ever, Buffy's timing was anything but impeccable. Willow and Xander trailed in after her, Willow's eyes widening when she noticed their guest. Xander also paused in surprise. Baffled, Giles wondered at their recognition of the man. Rough night, Peter had said. Giles felt a sinking sensation that often came with Sunnydale and its many frustrating quirks. One of them being - there was no such thing as a coincidence.
"No way!" Buffy said when she saw Peter. The appreciative gleam in her eye did not go unnoticed either, judging by Peter's smirk.
She noticed the box on the table, "This is the guy you're meeting?"
"We'd already established that," Peter drawled, now looking slightly uncomfortable. He leaned back against the table and crossed his arms.
"And who are you lot?"
"I'm Buffy, the - "
"A student here," Giles shot a glare in her direction. Just because Peter collected mystical books did not mean he actually believed in the supernatural. Granted, the vast majority of them did, but unless specifically stated, it was always safer to assume otherwise. And even if he did after whatever incident had prompted him to meet the gang, telling him Buffy was the Slayer was neither required nor recommended.
Peter shot the rest of them a look, obviously aware something
was being communicated he was not privy to.
"I'm Willow," the girl grinned nervously. But it blessedly distracted Peter from the awkward moment.
"Xander," Xander waved before plomping down on a chair at the table. Giles suppressed a sigh. He'd rather hoped they'd all have the good sense to leave once they noticed he was not alone. Alas, good sense and these three rarely went hand in hand.
"Peter Vincent," he replied, looking a bit confused at the three. It was a normal reaction.
"Right, yeah. How's the noggin'?" Xander grinned at Peter, joker air on at full force.
Reflexively, Peter brushed a hand over a bruise and cut at his temple Giles hadn't noticed before. He'd been rather distracted by the man's unconventional entrance and manner.
"Still attached, so there's a plus. You're the lot that brought me to the hospital then?"
"Well, me, Xander and Wills. Couldn't just leave you out there on the street after you passed out. Even though you woke up a minute later and told all of us we smelled really nice."
"And I can't even believe I'm saying this, but that was actually not the creepiest way someone has ever said that to me," Xander said. Giles suppressed a smirk at the memory of Xander ranting about a man at a bus stop.
"Ah..." Peter rubbed the back of his neck, "Don't remember that bit. Everything's a bit blurry after I got out of the alley, to tell the truth."
"I-It wasn't that
bad. I-I mean, you were concussed and I think you were a bit drunk. And okay, there was the smell of cigarettes and alcohol and the burning and I think I should stop talking now," Willow pattered off to a stop, her tenuous thread of logic lost.
Peter chuckled, despite himself.
"Oh, you're adorable! Aww, and look at that blush, bless."
"As happy as I am that we're all getting along, could anyone bother to explain exactly what
happened last night," Giles interjected before the meeting descended into a round of quips and snark. Much to his consternation, he had a feeling the four of them would get along famously.
Buffy and Peter turned and glared at each other. Buffy was almost right in his face. If he had been in a jollier mood, Giles might have sniggered a bit at the height difference.
Instead, he was watching Peter's expression carefully. There was something brittle about the anger in his eyes. The suddenly hunched in shoulders, the clenched jaw - his whole posture was just screaming at them to drop the subject. That was not the anger of a man who'd just been called a liar.
"Come on! You set a guy on fire and watched him turn into ash!"
is none of your fucking business," Peter snapped out.
This could get ugly very quickly, Giles knew. He sighed and cleaned his glasses again.
"Actually, it is."
Something in his voice must have made an impact. Peter whirled to glare at him, but there was fear in his eyes as well. Giles frowned. Peter's reactions so far were not very consistent with any Giles had seen. He seemed entirely - and very defensively - intent on deliberately blinding himself to the truth. Nothing like the almost unconscious obscuring Sunnydale natives did.
In a great huff of breath, all the fight seemed to leave Peter. He suddenly looked very, very weary.
"Fuck," he breathed and pulled out a chair to slump in it.
"Just my bloody luck I manage to stumble into a group of vampire hunters," he muttered. "I'm entirely too sober to deal with this."
Giles bit the reprimand that was on the tip of his tongue when he saw Peter take out a flask and take a long drink from it. Peter was hardly one of his students to be chastisized for drinking on school grounds.
"Vampires I get, but how'd you make the leap to vampire hunters?" Xander asked. Good question, all things considered.
Peter didn't look up, but merely waved a finger in a lazy circle at the weapons cage.
"And this," he shifted in his seat and pulled out a stake.
Buffy jerked and patted a pocket.
"Hey, that's mine!"
"Cool," Xander grinned.
"How'd you do that?" Willow seemed intrigued.
"Same way I win all my poker games," Peter waggled his fingers, "Magic." He clicked the last syllable in a mocking tone and tossed the stake to Buffy.
"So what's a little slip of a girl like you doing with a stake?"
Buffy frowned, crossed her arms, a mulish expression overtaking her face. Giles knew that look.
"Now he's in trouble," Xander stage whispered. Willow ducked her head to hide a grin.
"I slay. Vampires. Sometimes demons. Might make an exception for you," she added sweetly.
"Piss off," Peter said, seemingly more at ease now. He took another long drag out of his flask.
"God, I hate this town," Peter he groaned and slumped even further into his seat.
"Not to sound like a five year old, but we hated it first. Hellmouth and all," Xander said.
"Ah," Giles ventured, "If we have quite finished this posturing?"
"I'm good!" Peter said, his head now resting on his arms. He looked to be half asleep and fascinated by the sunlight reflected on the table and the dust motes in the air.
"Are you on any pain meds?" Willow asked, concerned.
"Naw," he frowned, "Don't think I am. Didn't take any pills. Then again, I only got out of the hospital two hours ago."
He took another swig.
"Are you really sure you should be -"
," he balefully glared at her from the circle of his arms. With only one eye actually visible, the glare was not very effective. It actually rendered his expression more akin to a pouting child's.
"About the books - " Giles began again.
"Knock yourself out. Though not literally. I've discovered it to be very
," he rolled the word into something far too long, "painful."
The cheeky grin that followed just completed the ensemble.
"Are you drunk already?" Buffy asked, with an air of disbelief.
"Might be, yeah," Peter sniffed. He shook the flask, the liquid inside sloshing faintly. Giles took it out of his hands, ignoring the yelp and the grumbling.
He took a sniff and had to pull away quickly, eyes watering.
"Good lord. What are you drinking, rubbing alcohol?"
"Eh, close enough," he calmed once he realized no one else would be drinking, "absinthe. Prefer Midori, but it's not like that little flask'll have enough of it to have any effect on me."
"Oh my god, he's a human version of Spike. Minus the bleach," Xander said, staring at Peter.
"Fuck that! I'm nothing like him," Peter squinted at the Scoobies looking on at him in fascinated horror, "Wait, who's Spike?"
"The bane of our existence," Giles interjected quickly before they could get even more off topic, "Now, if we could get back to the matter at hand?"
With a shrug, Peter indicated the box.
The rest of the Scoobies leaned closer for a look as Giles carefully lifted the lid off of the box. Giles breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Peter's whole appearance and demeanor hadn't given him much confidence the books would be properly taken care of.
Instead, carefully nestled inside the box, were four safely padded books bound in green leather, obviously part of a series.
His fingers gripped the lid more tightly.
"Four?" he looked at Peter in amazement.
Peter merely grinned and took another swig of the flask he'd liberated from Giles without him even noticing. Bloody pickpocket.
"Knew that'd throw you for a loop."
"What's the big?" Buffy looked up from the books. As ever, she was not one to dwell on them much.
"No one's even read
the fourth one," Willow breathed, utterly fascinated, "There were just rumours it existed.
"How?" Giles was at a loss for words. If tonight went well, they might very well have a valuable source of information if Peter could acquire seemingly impossible books.
Peter just kept grinning and didn't answer.
Giles turned back to the series and carefully extracted the fourth volume. This was momentous, this was extraordinary! To have the chance to set eyes on something few even knew existed -
"Should we give the two of you a moment?" Xander's voice broke the silence. It was quickly followed by a round of giggles from all of them, even Peter.
"Oh, do shut up, Xander," Giles said and quickly took a chair himself. He carefully cracked open the book, that unique smell of dust, old paper and leather drifting upwards. He was only vaguely aware of the rest of them beginning their own conversation.
"So how'd your little Scooby Gang even get into the vampire hunting gig?"
"He is so
"Xander," Willow chided.
"Sacred, mystical destiny."
"Nooooo, you're joshing me? You're
"How'd you - "
. You're in most of the vampire lore books."
"That's me. Beating down the forces of evil for your reading pleasure."
"And I thought my life was a shithole."
It was rather late by the time Peter left the library. He'd had a better time than he'd expected, especially considering his headache and the fact that that little Scooby Gang was crazy enough to go around looking for trouble.
He'd gotten a good gander at some of Giles' books too. Fascinating stuff, if all the more terrifying now that he'd discovered all of it was real. Crazy or not, hats off to the little blighters for dealing with this stuff every day.
Stopping to light a cigarette - would have been a crime
to smoke in there - he chuckled when he remembered the look on Giles' face when he told him he could keep the set. There was a lot of stammering and a lot of profusely British thanking. It had almost made him nostalgic. So did the tea Giles had insisted on making after a certain point.
Besides, wasn't as if he had much use for the books. They were just collecting dust with him, being occasionally looked at by some scholars even stuffier than Giles. At least this way, they might prove to be of some use to the world. He rather liked living in it and by all accounts, those kids were responsible for that.
Taking a long drag and exhaling it in a rush of smoke, he stiffened. The hairs on the back of his neck were raising and he had the distinct feeling he was not alone.
He took out his lighter again. If it had worked once, it might work again.
Slowly, he studied the deepening shadows around him. Fuck.
He should have left this town the moment he got wind of how kooky it was.
"Your heart is racing like a jackhammer," a voice came out from a shadow he'd already passed over. Peter jumped and turned to face it.
"Who the fuck are you?" the previous one hadn't exactly stopped to chat. That didn't really bode well. It was the older ones who usually had the sense to try something other than a grab and run.
A tall, handsome figure stepped out of the shadow, careful not to go into the last patches of sunlight still lingering in the deepening evening. Apart from his skin, everything about him was dark, dark hair, dark eyes, dark clothes.
Peter's breath stuttered in his throat, but there was also a bit of relief mingled there. Not the same one.
"Angel," the vampire didn't come closer. Peter noticed it looking warily at the lighter in his hand. Smarter than the other one at least.
"What the bloody hell do you want?"
"Just to give you a warning?"
"Oh, very polite. Do you always do that before you rip someone's throat out?"
Baiting the vampire was probably not the smartest thing to do, a small, hysterical corner of his mind was yelling at him. Especially when the muscle twitching in its cheek indicated he'd hit a nerve.
"If I'd have wanted you dead, we wouldn't be having this conversation," it said through gritted teeth.
"Yeah?" he felt a recklessness fill him, "Then give me the warning and fucking piss off!"
"Fine. You're marked, kid."
Peter faltered, bravado draining out of him, dread replacing it.
"It's...it's all over your scent. One of us - an old one by the feel - has marked you."
"N-no, that...that was -"
No, he'd hid. He'd hid
when that monster had come. It hadn't -
"He'll look for you. One day, he'll find you."
"Why do you care?"Shit
. He felt like everything he'd ever eaten in his life was trying to crawl out of his throat.
"I don't. Not really. But you don't deserve to die."
A mocking snort escaped him. He blinked and the vampire was gone. His fear spiked before he realized he was alone.
"How would you know?" Peter muttered. Shaking, he let the wall behind him support his suddenly weak legs.
Fuck, he hated this town. Maybe he'd go to New York next. Or Las Vegas. Las Vegas sounded good. END