Chapter 2 by Razial
Written again by Razial and Hawklan
Note: This chapter isn't beta read again, so if we and Word missed a few things point them out nicely and we'll fix them.
Buffy sat curled on her bed still working through the rather shocking results of the conversation she had with Giles and Xander. Her mind was muddled and she was for once unsure on where she stood on several subjects. She let out a sigh as she heard a noise from in front of her, refocusing she looked up and noted her mother standing by the door looking at her with concern.
"Are you alright Buffy?" Joyce inquired as she moved to sit on the edge of her daughter's bed.
"I really don't know anymore Mom," Buffy admitted after a few minutes. "I had a real intense conversation today with Giles and Xander and it ended up shattering so many of my previously held beliefs," she explained as she looked her mother in the eye. "It made me start thinking about things I never really did before," she added with a frustrated shake of her head.
"What kind of things?" Joyce asked and was trying to work out what exactly had made her daughter have such deep thoughts.
Buffy looked away unsure how to explain the full measure of her new thoughts. As long as her mother remained unaware of her role as the Slayer and the roles her friends played in her life she couldn't really tell her the whole truth. Sometimes she felt like ignoring the need for secrets all together and to confess everything to her mother. The only thing that kept her from doing so was the fear of how her mother would react.
"Mainly if I was right to turn down Xander when he asked me out back during Spring Fling and if I have been fooling myself with my current boyfriend who I know is nothing more than a fantasy," Buffy finally answered. "I also began to sort of question Willow's support of my current boyfriend," she added.
"What do you mean?" Joyce asked gently as even though hearing her daughter actually admit to having a boyfriend caught her by surprise, she knew to keep herself in check as this was the first time in a while that she had seen her daughter willing to let her in.
"Willow has always fancied Xander and while before I never questioned her support of my boyfriend, now I can't help but think of it as a way of keeping me away from Xander. Who as you know has feelings for me or at least I think he still has them for me," Buffy responded. "I don't want to think Willow can be that petty and yet something inside me tells me it is possible that she would do it," she said, letting out another sigh and began to play with a strand of her hair.
Joyce frowned, unsure of how to really respond to this as she was truly fond of both Willow and Xander. Both had been good friends to her daughter since they had come here.
"Are you questioning whether you actually really do feel something for Xander more than friendship?" she asked carefully.
"I don't know," Buffy replied quickly. "I really don't, it's like all my emotions are in conflict," she explained as best she could. "I do know I am questioning if staying with my boyfriend is good for me. I'll deal with my other conflicting thoughts later on," she decided.
"Listen to your heart Buffy. When you next see Xander and Willow truly look at them and let it guide your choices," Joyce advised her. "As for your boyfriend, if he really is bad for you and you know that or at least are beginning to think that, then I suggest breaking up for the time being, while you sort out your feelings," she stated. "Sometimes pulling away from the source of your problem can give you a clearer perspective on it," she added with a smile as she ran her hand through her daughter's hair before getting up and leaving, hoping she had helped.
Buffy watched her go, feeling only slightly better than she had done before their talk, but maybe her mother was right. Maybe stepping away from Angel would allow her to focus more and work out what she should do. Shaking off those thoughts for now she decided it was time to start getting ready for patrol. She was looking forward to see what Xander could do now and she was certain tonight would be eventful.
Giles sat drinking from a glass of scotch while he looked at a book of photographs he had not seen in years. The images were moving unlike regular photos as they were magical. He had not looked at them since he had put them away. However Xander's admission had made him slightly reflective of that part of his life. It was not one of his favorite times to think of, and yet he had some good times as well. Finishing his drink he looked at the final photo which had been taken just before his father had removed him from Hogwarts. In it his younger self stood waving at the camera with his arm around a young woman he had fallen in love with.
Bellatrix had been a wild yet passionate young woman who had drawn him in. He hadn't felt that way again until Jenny had come into his life. Looking at her he remembered that once he had been so very sure he would marry her one day. However that had not happened, even before he was pulled from Hogwarts he had noted he was losing her. The growing following of Voldemort had captured Bellatrix's interest for reasons he had never found out. Their last conversation had broken down into a massive argument and before he could apologize he had left with his father. He sometimes wondered what had become of her. Was she still alive or had she died in the war that had fallen on the Wizarding world thanks to Voldemort? Putting the book down he got up and decided it was time to prepare for the night ahead. He had to see how much Xander now knew and just what he could do with the magic he now possessed.
Xander watched as the sun finally began to fade and the night began. He felt slightly nervous about how the patrol would go and he prayed that he wouldn't make a fool out of himself, especially after how his conversation with Buffy and Giles had gone this morning. He hoped to finally prove his worth as a part of the group. He took a deep breath before he turned to head for the door to leave the house.
"You're going out Alex?" Jessica Harris inquired coming up behind him.
"Yeah Mom, I'm meeting Buffy and the others at the school before going to the Bronze," Xander answered, as he turned to face her and doing his best to ignore the snoring noises coming from the living room. Clearly his father was passed out already from too much drink, but both he and his mother preferred him to be like this than him being awake.
"Well, be careful, you know I don't like you being out at night for long," Jessica reminded him to which he nodded before he left.
Jessica watched him go with a sigh knowing her son would never turn down an opportunity to see his friends, especially the blond Buffy Summers. She was not blind to the fact that he had deeper feelings for Buffy than he had admitted to her and she hoped one day he would actually admit that love and if he did she wished him better luck than she had in that regard.
(Rexton Graveyard, an hour later)
Xander walked beside Buffy and as they moved through the graveyard, Giles was behind them with Willow and Oz. Cordelia had refused to come with them as she had a party to attend with her supposed friends. However Jenny Calendar had agreed to come with them after Giles's invitation. Xander couldn't help but chuckle as he watched Giles and Jenny continue to grow closer. It had been happening since the two had met and he was certain this time Giles would find true love.
His memories from Dumbledore clearly showed him the past relationship Giles had once had with Bellatrix Black. He wondered if he should tell Giles what his former lover had become after he had left the magical world. Somehow he doubted it would go down well. He surmised that no matter how much time had passed Giles still felt something for the woman.
"Any targets in range, Buffy?" Giles inquired, pausing his conversation with Jenny for a second.
"Not yet Giles, it's kinda strange as usually I can find them easily," Buffy responded, clearly annoyed at the lack of action. "Maybe they are having a quiet night for once," she suggested without any real belief.
"As if," Xander snorted, unable to help himself. "Maybe they are trying to stay out of our way or more specifically your way, Buffy," he mused aloud. "I mean they got to have noted they are getting their asses kicked since you got into town plus they lost the Master and the Annoying one as well," he pointed out with a smile at Buffy, which almost made her blush at his show of faith in her.
"While I see your point Xander, vampires are not really known for being smart," Giles responded. "Plus they always have the numeric advantage," he reminded them. "That alone makes them dangerous and more than willing to engage us in combat," he warned.
"It is also possible they have some kind of plan in the works to try and catch us off guard," Jenny suggested into the small silence that had fallen after Giles finished talking.
The others all stopped and turned to look at the techno pagan for a second or two before they continued onwards. Each knew she had made a very good point. The vamps could very well be up to no good and so Buffy tried to widen her senses, but still she could find no vamps in the general area much to her frustration.
"Maybe they are at a different graveyard?" Willow suggested. "I mean this town does have a lot of the bloody things," she pointed out.
"Yeah I think Wills has got a point," Xander stated as he ran a hand through his hair. "This place is dead, we should move on," he proposed.
The others agreed and they turned and headed out of Rexton and towards Wilson, the next graveyard over. Buffy kept a close eye out on their surroundings, but still she felt nothing.
A large group of vampires numbering at least twenty waited in the shadows for their scout to return, they had waited weeks to put their plan into motion. A plan to finally kill not only the Slayer, but also her meddling friends, they had scouted the group week after week to learn their patrol routes and to also see what kind of abilities and powers they were truly up against. They were confident they could win with the numbers they now possessed. They would show the so called legendary William the Bloody and his insane girlfriend how it was done. They would succeed where they had failed.
"Look here comes Vincent," one of the vampires said, alerting them to the incoming vampire.
"At last, it seems our plan can finally go ahead and soon we'll be legends in our own right," the leader of the group mused with a wicked smile on his face.
"You don't know if our plan will work Toran," one of the other vampires argued. "The Slayer killed the Master and has beaten Spike and Drusilla at every turn. They have also killed some of the most deadly demons as well," he pointed out.
Toran growled low in his throat before he rammed his hand through the underling's chest and dusted him. He glared at the other vampires who warily looked at him.
"I will not accept any cowardice from any of you. If you dare to doubt my plan then you better leave or I will kill you too," Toran warned them all, but none of the others dared to say anything much to his satisfaction.
"The Slayer and her friends come," Vincent reported once he reached them and stopped anything else from happening. "But the busty Cheerleader is not with them, it is the Gypsy bitch instead," he continued. "Plus there is no sign of Angelus," he finished.
"Without her friends the Cheerleader should be easy pray and as for the coward Angel, well he will be dealt with in time," Toran snarled, not really caring which members of the group were actually present when they attacked. "Take your positions," he ordered.
Buffy paused just as she reached the gateway into the Wilson graveyard, her eyes narrowed as she pulled a stake out of her back pocket. However Angel's sudden appearance made her relax somewhat, clearly not an enemy and yet she felt uncomfortable as he neared her. Her new found thoughts on him made her back away slightly. Angel seemed to notice her hesitation and stopped.
"Is something wrong, Buffy?" he inquired not used to her being so hesitant around him.
"I'm just on edge a little, thanks to the patrol been mostly silent," Buffy lied half heartedly. "We've seen no vamps yet," she added with a shrug of her shoulders.
"Well then I guess it is a good thing I noted a group of them move into an ambush position ahead of you, isn't it?" Angel responded. "I was coming to find you anyway and I noted a runner, I followed him and noted the group he met up with," he explained.
"How many?" Buffy asked, thankful for not only a distraction about her new nervousness around Angel but also for the chance to work off her building frustration.
"Seventeen or more, at least that is how many I managed to count without getting to close to them and alerting them to my presence," Angel answered.
"That's a lot of vampires," Oz mused. "Too many for us to take on," he pointed out.
"Usually I would agree Oz, but Xander has gained some new abilities that may help us," Giles cut in before anyone could say anything else. "I suggest we break up into groups, Buffy and Xander will head into the graveyard first, while we maneuver around them to hit them from the sides," he suggested. "If we hit them from three different sides and ensure each one has a magic user than it should give us an edge," he stated to which Buffy and Jenny nodded in agreement.
Xander shifted a little unsure how to feel about this, but he was determined not to let them down. Angel wanted to protest the idea of Buffy being paired with Xander of all people, but it seemed his girlfriend had already agreed to the plan. Quickly they were split up into three groups. Giles and Jenny made one group, while Angel was paired with Willow and Oz. Of course the final group was Buffy and Xander, who had already pulled his wand and tried to remember every useful spell he could think of that would be good against vampires.
"You ready for this Xan?" Buffy inquired glancing at him, just as Angel moved off having failed to catch Buffy's eyes to question her choice of partner.
"As I'll ever be, don't worry Buffy I won't let your down," Xander swore with as much confidence as he could muster before they both began to walk into the graveyard.
"I know," Buffy responded with a small smile before her senses went haywire, alerting her to the vampires Angel had said were close by. "Heads up, we're about to have company," she warned him as she pulled another stake out and readied her two weapons for the fight ahead.
Xander brought his wand up as the vampires began to appear, some jumped out of nearby trees, while others came out of the bushes. He quickly shouted "Incendio" a few times and watched in satisfaction as five of the rapidly approaching vampires were roasted. Their screams echoed in the night before the fire turned them to dust. Buffy was amazed at the power Xander had shown, but before she could say or do anything she was forced into combat by two of the vampires.
Giles and Jenny made their appearance from behind, both struck out with a much weaker flame spell than Xander's, yet it did enough to dust another three of the vampires. Angel rushed out and took down another with a stake from behind before two more attacked him. Willow and Oz tried to find a target for their crossbows, but had to be careful not to hit any of their friends. Buffy ducked the wild swings from what she guessed was the leader of this particular group.
He was strong, she would give him that, but he was reckless in his attacks. She lashed out with a back kick and knocked him backwards. Quickly turning around she slammed one of her stakes into his follower. Her aim was true and the vamp instantly dusted, turning back she barely missed the return strike of the leader. Lashing out again, this time her attack was countered and she was forced back. Xander unleashed another Incendio before following up with a silently cast spell. The Incendio, but the second spell hit three more vamps freezing them where they stood.
Willow and Oz quickly moved to shatter the three now frozen vampires, while Angel did his best to cover them with help from Giles and Jenny, who's magic did just as much damage as Xander's did. Another two vampires were turned to dust by their flame spells. Angel staked another as Willow and Oz smashed the three frozen vampires. This left only seven vampires who began to hesitate in their attacks. This allowed Xander to roast another while Buffy flung one of her stakes and caught another unaware as it tried to attack Angel.
Buffy however paid for her act as the leader came back and knocked her down with a road house kick. She rolled back to her feet and thrust her foot out in a sweeping kick which knocked the vampire back down and she quickly followed it up by staking him. As soon as he dusted the other vampires ran, having seen their leader killed clearly had broken their spirits.
"Well that was fun," Buffy quipped with a smile, feeling much better now that she had managed to work off her frustration. "Good plan Giles," she added to which Giles nodded in response, pleased his strategy had worked.
"Since when can you do magic, Xander?" Willow hissed as she moved to her friend's side, annoyed at seeing Xander being able to do something she could not.
"Ever since Halloween, although this was my first time using it during patrol," Xander answered barely repressing a sigh. He should have guessed his red headed friend might be pissed by his new talent.
"This is not the place to have this conversation. We'll return to the library and go over what we have learned," Giles interceded before this could go any farther.
"Nice flame spells Xander," Jenny said as they began to head out. "I was surprised when Giles told me about your new ability and slightly concerned you might not be able to control it," she admitted. "However you seem to have a firm grasp on it," she added.
"Maybe, I am still unsure if I have full control or not," Xander told her. "That's why I asked Giles for help," he explained. Jenny nodded before going silent. Buffy moved to Xander's side before Angel could corner her, this left him to talk to Willow who glowered at Xander's back.
(Sunnydale High, Library)
They had reached the library without meeting any more problems a while later. Each time Angel tried to talk to Buffy on the way she was either talking with Giles or Xander and so he gave up a bit frustrated not knowing what was up. Normally Buffy had only eyes for him as soon as he appeared and so this change confused him.
While Giles and Jenny stored the weapons in their locker the others sat down at their ‘research' table. In quite an annoyed tone Willow burst out, "So Xander care to tell me why you never told me you could do magic since Halloween?"
Xander only shrugged his shoulders and ignored Willows tone. "We haven't seen each other a lot since then and when we did it somehow never came up."
"It never came up?" Willow said a bit enraged than before. "You...you..." she started to continue, but was interrupted by Giles who just got back to the table together with Jenny.
"That's quite enough for now Willow. It's late and you can talk about it later with Xander. For now Xander you have done well. It seems like that you can use the gained knowledge quite well, even in a combat situation. Using Incendio on the vampires was a good idea, but I was surprised by the second spell you used silently. The vampires looked like they were frozen and I have never seen something like that before. Also it is good to see that the training on silent casting you did worked out quite well."
"Wasn't really too hard Giles, as you know all the knowledge is there and normally I only need to try the things a few times until I can do them quite well. I only train them more to get a grip on the energy I spent on the casting and to answer your question in regards of the spell. Dumbledore played a bit with the Incendio years ago and created spells to use the other elements in the same regard as Incendio. He just never shared them like he did with a lot of things."
Giles nodded at that and said, "It really looks like the Headmaster never shared a lot of things. What are your plans now?"
Before Xander good answer that Willow spoke up. "Created spells? Dumbledore? Headmaster? What are you talking about?"
"I'll tell you later Will," Xander replied to his old friend.
Willow glared at Xander and huffed, "Fine... don't tell me anything. Why should you? After all I'm just your oldest friend and not that important." With tears in her eyes she jumped up and rushed out of the library.
"What was that?" Buffy asked as she jumped up to follow the red head.
"Oz, please go after her to see nothing happens to her," Xander quickly said and after Oz went after his girlfriend Xander turned to Buffy. "Buffy, that was a pathetic try to try to guilt me into rushing after her. Let me tell you, with the memories from someone who is a master in the art of manipulating people into doing what he wants, this was a really pathetic and amusing attempt."
"Willow wouldn't do that," Buffy protested, even if she had doubts about Willow herself not too long ago.
"Wouldn't she?" Xander asked rhetorical. "If I look back with what I know now, I see that she does it quite a lot. Mostly she does it without noticing herself, but like now theres a quite lot of instance where she does it on purpose."
Buffy looked shocked at Xander and asked in a quiet tone, "But why?"
"To not be alone, she tries to keep us close this way out of fear that we would abandon her if she can't control us, just like her parents did. I only can blame them for always abandoning her to go on their travels," Xander said in an angry tone, which was directed on Will's parents.
"So what now?" Buffy asked.
Xander shrugged. "Let Oz handle it. He is her boyfriend after all. I'll try to explain the whole thing to her tomorrow."
After they were silent for the moment Jenny said, "So you still didn't answer Giles question on what you plan now."
Xander nodded. "Yep, sorry about that. Until school ends for the summer I'll keep on trying to improve my control and keep on patrolling with Buffy and the others."
Buffy looked at her friend and had to ask, "And then, Xander?"
"Then I plan to go to England and try to find and help that Harry Potter guy," Xander replied.
Buffy looked a bit confused about who this Harry guy was and she felt a bit let down that Xander planned to leave her, ahhem them and said, "Oh... ok... understandable, but don't forget about us then."
Xander smiled a bit at seeing Buffy's disappointed face and then said, "I won't, because I hope you will all join me, at least until school starts up again. Harry can use all the help he can get."
"Who is this Harry Potter?" Angel asked, but was ignored for the moment as Buffy rushed over to Xander and gave him a hug. Annoyed Angel noted that the hug went on longer than really needed.
After a few moments he asked again, this time a bit louder. "Who is this guy?"
Xander and Buffy let go off each other quite reluctantly and Xander needed a moment to get his senses back together after feeling the very nicely curves of one Buffy Summers pressed against him. He took a deep breath and then quickly told the sad tale of Harry Potter again. While he told it he noted that Jenny wasn't quite as surprised about what was told as she should be.
‘Was there more to Jenny Calendar then they knew?' he wondered silently. He knew she was a techno pagan, but was that all?
(Outside the library)
Oz quickly ran out of the library to get to Willow. He couldn't believe she had ran out like that in the middle of the night alone. She knew what dangers waited outside and so he was relieved as he saw her sitting on one of the banks in the hallway.
As he came near her he saw that she was crying and so he rushed to her and took her in his arms, where she started to sob even harder and he was shocked as his heightened sense heard her silently mumble. "I lost him...I lost my Xander."
He was hurt by that statement quite a lot, but still kept her in his arms. At least for now, tomorrow he would see.