Disclaimer: Btvs characters are owned by J. Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Damon Lathe and ‘Blackcollar’ are owned by Timothy Zahn and Baen publishing. I own nothing but ideas caused by sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
Buffy, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts adjusted one of the straps on the gloves she was wearing and looked over to her friend Xander.
“You look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man!” She smirked.
Xander, who in addition to the Kick-boxing gloves and boots was wearing a padded chest protector and a Boxer’s helmet. “Ha-ha Missy. Just remember that not all of us have super duper healing.” Xander said before slipping in a mouth guard.
In the library with them was Giles, who was overseeing this sparring session. “Now remember Buffy this is just a sparring session.” The Englishman said. Next to him Willow was fiddling with a camcorder on a tripod, the Watcher was hoping that the footage from the match would be useful in training his Slayer.
“Of course I remember Giles.” Buffy said as she raised her arms above her head and stretched, shirt riding up to expose a few inches of her well toned abs. “You told me three times already. You’d think I had no self control.”
Across the room near the stacks Cordelia just snorted. She remembered what had happened in the mall when Buffy had found out about a shoe sale last month and the near riot that occurred. The socialite had come to the library to return a book and when she found out that Buffy and Xander were going to have a match she decided to stick around.
Giles looked at Willow who nodded in readiness. “Very well, if you’re both ready?”
Xander nodded and dropped into a basic fighting stance while Buffy just stood there. Giles knew that Buffy was perfectly set to punch or kick in an instant.
At Giles’ command Buffy shot forward, intending to simply touch Xander’s face and remind him that she was ‘The Slayer!’ and a better fighter despite whatever was left over from Halloween. She was surprised when, instead of gently slapping Xander’s cheek, her hand was deflected by Xander’s forearm as he leant away from the blow.
Immediately Xander launched a right jab towards Buffy’s face with a speed that surprised her and she barely got a hand up in time to block it. With a half skip she got some distance between her and Xander before attacking again. This time with a jab-cross combo aimed at Xander’s torso where most of the padding was. And once again Xander was able to deflect and dodge Buffy’s attack. But this time instead of trying to hit Buffy he reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling her off balance.
Buffy stumbled for a second and knew that she was at a disadvantage. Immediately she lashed out with a kick but Xander had already moved out of range. Recovering Buffy went on the attack, unleashing a barrage of kicks and punches which forced Xander back across the floor.
Giles could only watch in amazement as the pair sparred, moving faster till their limbs were little more than a blur. He winced in sympathy as Buffy powered through Xander’s block and landed a blow to his chest that knocked him back several feet. Before he could call on them to stop Buffy launched a kick at Xander. Giles blinked in surprise as Xander trapped the leg and swept the other leg out from underneath the Slayer.
With a thud Buffy hit the floor but was immediately back on her feet, face flushed with embarrassment. With a snarl she launched herself at Xander and the fight continued.
Finally Buffy gained the upper hand by first feinting towards Xander’s face before dropping to the ground and sweeping his legs out from underneath him. Within seconds she had her knee in the small of his back and his arm twisted back between his shoulder blades.
“Ok Ok I give!” Xander gasped as he slapped the mat with his free hand.
“Yes winner and still champion!” Buffy crowed before helping Xander to his feet.
Xander carefully reached up and removed his helmet before spitting out his mouthguard. “Owie!” he whimpered.
“Xander are you Ok?” Buffy asked. Now that the fight was over she was worried that she might have actually hurt Xander.
“I’m fine Buffy.” Xander said, as he unstrapped the chest guard and took a cautious, deep breath. He relaxed when he realised that his ribs were bruised not broken as he’d feared. “Though I think I’ll be giving patrolling a miss tonight.”
He quickly shed the gloves and boots before stretching. He grimaced when he felt his shoulder click and pop before picking up a towel to wipe his face.
“So G-man what’s the verdict?” He asked.
“Well obviously your skills have developed greatly since Halloween.” Giles said, beside him Willow nodded in enthusiastic agreement. “The fact that you lasted nearly five minutes against Buffy is, in itself, extraordinary!”
“That long?” Buffy asked, while at the same time gently touching her face where one of the few blows that she hadn’t been able to block had gotten through. Giles nodded and showed her the stopwatch. Normally when Buffy faced a vampire the fight was over quickly, with the vampire either dust or fleeing after trading a few punches and quips.
The only long fights she had with vampires had been against The Master on the roof of the library last year and the occasional spar with Angel.
“Though of course if Buffy had been using her full strength the fight would have finished much sooner.” Giles added, handing them both bottles of water. Buffy couldn’t help but feel her face flush slightly. Towards the end of the match she had used her strength against Xander.
“Well, if tonight’s entertainment is over I’ll be going.” Cordelia said, collecting her bag. She paused and looked at the group. “There isn’t going to be anything ‘wiggy’ happening tonight?” She asked.
“No Miss Chase it appears that the Hellmouth is quiet at the moment.” Giles assured her, surreptitiously tapping his knuckles against the table. “Though of course it would be wise to take precautions.”
Cordelia nodded and patted her bag where she kept a crucifix and bottle of Holy Water in case of vampires before leaving the library to spend the evening with her friends.
“So a quiet night hey Giles?” Buffy asked, wondering if she could get home at a decent hour for once.
“Yes Buffy, thanks to Willow’s ‘hacking’ we now have access to the Coroner’s office.” Giles said as he polished his glasses. “There have been no ‘animal attacks’ or ‘accidents with BBQ forks’ for several days. I think a short patrol through a few of the graveyards should be sufficient.”
Buffy nodded and the teenagers left the library. Buffy to shower and change before her patrol, Willow to go to her Computer Club meeting and Xander home to soak in a hot bath to ease his sore muscles.
Alone in the library Giles rewound the tape of the sparring match and watched it again. The speed that Xander displayed was truly extraordinary, matched only by his fighting technique.
Yes Buffy was faster and stronger but basically she was a brawler with a few showy moves that involved leaps and cartwheels to distract her opponents. He wondered how much more effective Buffy would be if she’d received training in the martial arts before she was called.
Putting that thought aside he tidied up. Giles had his own plans for the night. It seemed that Jenny was finally willing to forgive him for the whole ‘Eyghon Incident’ and had accepted his invitation for a quiet dinner.
Finished he switched off the lights and headed out to his car, looking forward to an intimate evening with the woman he was falling in love with.
Spike’s Lair, later that night
Spike looked at the golden crucifix resting on the velvet cushion. “So this is it?” He asked Dalton.
“Yes Boss.” Dalton said, nervously fiddling with his glasses.
Drusilla wandered over and looked at the cross. “Oohh! It burns and hums.” She cooed.
“Yes luv it does and it’s what we need to make you strong again.” Spike said, gently patting her rump. Drusilla smiled at him and walked back to the table where she had been dealing her Tarot cards. He turned to Dalton. “What happened to the rest of you?” He demanded.
“Umm, the Slayer turned up while we were getting the cross.” Dalton confessed.
“And you ran and left your mates to get dusted?” Spike snarled. “The Bloody Slayer! Everywhere I go she’s there! She’s the stench at my meals! The grit in my eyes! The bloody thorn in my side!!” He ranted.
He took several unneeded breaths in an effort to calm himself. “Well no more ‘Mr Nice Guy’. I’m sending for the Terakan’s!”
Dalton swallowed. “The assassins?”
“No you Pillock the Little League team. Of course the assassins. I’m too close to my goal to let that Californian airhead ruin it now!”
“They’re coming to my party.” Drusilla said, as she turned over several cards. “The Cyclops, the Panther and the Faceless One.”
“That’s right Princess. They’ll take care of the Slayer and once you’re well we’ll have a parade down main street and drown this town in a river of blood.” Spike promised his Sire before leaving to contact the order of assassins.
Alone in the lair Drusilla concentrated on her Tarot and dealt another card, ‘The Page of Swords’. “Poor Spike. He looks but does not see.” She said sadly.
Another card was turned, ‘The Fool’. “The warrior in Jester’s motley grows stronger with every day that passes and the Lord of Change cackles in glee.”
She dealt the third and final card. The Grim Reaper.
“But who will you collect, Old Man Death?” She asked with a pleasant shudder at the thought of the mayhem that was to come.