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.
“I don’t know why you called me this time of the morning.” Cordelia muttered as she drove her convertible through the quiet streets of Sunnydale. “I mean, what am I ‘mass transportation’?”
Sitting in the passenger seat Xander could think of at least five retorts/insults to Cordelia’s statement without trying but kept quiet. He was more concerned about his friend Buffy than scoring points in the ongoing verbal war he had with Cordy.
Finally the car pulled up in front of 1630 Rovello Drive and Xander opened his door. “You don’t have to come in if you don’t want Cordy.” He said as he got out of the car and quickly walked around the house to the backyard.
For a moment Cordy was tempted to just drive away and leave ‘Loser Harris’ to do whatever he wanted. It wasn’t like she was ‘BFF’ with Summers though she did owe her life to the Slayer. With a frustrated huff of breath she got out of her car and followed Xander into the backyard.
When she reached the backyard she blinked in surprise when she saw Xander fitting two slender pieces of steel into the door’s lock.
“Xander since when do you know how to pick locks?” She asked.
Xander looked up from where he was gently probing the door lock. “My uncle Rory taught me years ago.” He replied blandly before turning his attention to the lock. He didn’t mention that his uncle had only taught him how to pop padlocks not pick deadbolts like he was doing now. That knowledge came straight from Halloween.
Finally he felt something go ‘click’ and he grinned as he turned the door handle. “We’re in.” He said as the door swung open. “Mrs Summers? Buffy? Is anyone home?” He called out. Only silence answered him. “I’ll check upstairs, Buffy might be still asleep.”
As Xander left the kitchen Cordy couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “He’s such a dork!” She thought as she walked into the lounge room. Cordelia had only been in Buffy’s home once before and that had been on Halloween. Looking around she saw things that she’d missed that night, such as several lovely paintings hung on the walls and several figurines displayed to their best advantage. “Mrs Summers has taste.” She thought, though she shouldn’t have been surprised. Joyce ran a successful art gallery here in town.
She was closely examining a water colour of a field of flowers and thinking how nice something like it would look in her room when she heard a knock on the front door. Walking to the door she wondered what she’d say if it was one of the neighbours. Maybe a sleepover and Buffy and Joyce had gone to get breakfast?
Swinging open the door she found a mousy looking man in a cheap suit standing there.
“Good morning Miss.” He said cheerily. “I’m Norman Pfister and I represent the Blush Beauty Cosmetics Company.” He held up the sample case he was carrying. “And today as part of a special offer I’m offering free samples with every order.”
Cordy’s eyes lit up when she heard the offer of free make up. “Really? Please come in.” She said.
The man walked in and opened the case, displaying the contents to Cordelia’s avid gaze.
“$99.99 including tax.” He said as he looked around.
Cordy looked at the cosmetics. “Do you have anything in Raisin? I know you wouldn’t think so but I’m a both a Summer and a Winter.”
“$99.99 including tax. Are there any other ladies in the house?”
She looked at the salesman before returning to her perusal. “What about something from the Berry family?”
Upstairs Xander had just quietly opened the door to Buffy’s room. “Buffy? You in here?’ He looked around the room. The bed looked as though it hadn’t been slept in last night. Leaving the room he walked to the staircase, if Buffy hadn’t come home last night she must have stayed somewhere else, he just had to find her. Reaching the head of the stairs he could hear Cordy talking to someone downstairs.
“Look don’t take this the wrong way but I think you’d be better suited to selling Encyclopaedias’ instead of make up.”
Xander walked up behind Cordy who had taken a step back from the stranger.
“Who is this?” he asked.
“Just some salesman whose about to leave.” Cordelia said, then her eyes widened in disgust and horror as she saw a bug crawl out of the man’s hairline and disappear under his collar.
Xander had also seen the bug and realised that this wasn’t your everyday door-to-door salesman. He instinctively put himself between the man and Cordy. “We’re not interested in buying anything so you should go!”
The salesman just grinned at the two teenagers and carefully closed his case. As he turned his gaze towards the pair recoiled in horror as more bugs and maggots appeared.
Xander reacted and snapped a front kick at the being, hoping to force it back so he and Cordy could escape. But instead, his foot sank into Norman’s body, almost to the ankle and bugs started to spread.
Grabbing Cordy by the arm he dragged her to the only door he could get to, the basement. Slamming the door closed her put his weight against it.
“Cordy, find me something to seal the door!” He shouted as he saw the bugs start to crawl underneath the door.
The cheerleader looked around the basement and realised that it had been set up a laundry. She quickly snatched up a towel from a hamper and shoved it into Xander’s hands. Xander stuffed the towel into the gap at the base of the door and quickly stomped the bugs and maggots that had gotten in.
Taking a deep breath he realised he realised his mistake. Unlike the basement in his home the Summers’ basement didn’t have an outside door and the windows were too narrow for either himself or Cordy to fit through. They were trapped!
“This all your fault Harris!” Cordy snarled as Xander looked for something that could deal with the ‘Bug Demon’ or at least distract it long enough for them to escape.
“What are you talking about Cordy?” Xander said, shaking a half empty bottle of Tide. If he had time he knew that he could make a crude bomb but he doubted that either Buffy or Mrs Summers would be impressed if he blew up half their house. “I wasn’t the one who invited a demon assassin into the house!”
“He looked normal!”
“What did you expect? Him to have ‘Assassin!’ tattooed on his forehead or maybe hand out a business card?” Xander glared at Cordelia. “All he had to do was mention make up and you were ready to lick his hand like a dammed dog!”
“At least I didn’t drag us into the basement with no way out!” Cordy snapped back and unconsciously took a step closer to Xander.
“Like I had a choice!” Xander also took a step closer. “He was between us and the door!”
“Whatever loser! I knew I shouldn’t’ ve have listened to you this morning!”
“Hey! At least I care if one of my friends might be in trouble!”
“Like you could do anything to help that freak Summers!” Cordy said at the same time taking another step closer
“Don’t call her a freak!”
“I’ll call whoever whatever I like Loser!” by now the two teens were almost nose to nose.
“I hate you!”
“I hate you too!”
Suddenly for no reason that Xander could fathom Cordy was kissing him. For a split second he was stunned till his hormones took over and her was kissing right back and he just revelled in the moment.
After nearly a minute Xander reluctantly broke the kiss and took a deep breath at the same time Cordy unwrapped the leg that was around Xander’s waist.
“We’ve got to get out of here.” Xander breathed and Cordy nodded in agreement, a little short of breath herself. Without thinking about it he took her hand and led her up to the door.
“Okay, once I open this door we make a run for your car?”
“But what if that disgusting thing is still here?” Cordy asked and found herself squeezing Xander’s hand.
“If we’re lucky he’s realised that Buffy’s not home and left. But if he is still here just run and don’t stop for anything!” Xander placed his free hand on the door knob.
Cordy nodded and as quietly as possible Xander turned the knob as slowly opened the door. The room looked clear and the pair eased their way in. They had just made it halfway across the room and Xander thought that the assassin had left when he heard a skittering sound above him.
He looked up just in time to see that the ceiling was covered in a moving mass of bugs. Without thought he grabbed Cordy by the scruff of her neck and tried to drag out of the way. With his enhanced speed and reflexes he was quick enough to get Cordy free of most of the bugs but some still landed on her.
“Gaah! They’re in my hair! They’re in my hair!” She screeched as he dragged out of the house.
Once outside Xander spotted a hose and immediately raced over and turned on the tap. Spraying Cordy with water he watched as bugs and maggots were washed away.
“Turn round.” He snapped as he plied the hose, trying to ignore that the water had now turned Cordy’s blouse see-through and that she was wearing a lacy blue bra. Cordy didn’t say a word, just turned around and let Xander finish hosing her off. But by the look on her face Xander knew that Cordelia wouldn’t be letting him forget what he had done any time soon.
“There, that looks like all of them.” He said, turning off the hose and the two ran to Cordy’s car.
As they got in Cordy realised the state of her clothes. “Oh my God, this is going to ruin my upholstery!”
Giles hung up the phone and walked out of his office. In the main room of the library Buffy and Willow were waiting with a dark skinned girl, maybe a year younger than them who called herself ‘Kendra’ and claimed to be ‘The Slayer’. Buffy was glaring daggers at the new girl, not just because she claimed the title that she thought of as hers but also because Kendra had tried to bury an axe in her head while she slept in Angel’s apartment.
“Well I just spoke to Samuel Zabuto. He confirms that Kendra was called in May.”
“How is that possible Giles? You always said that I was ‘The Only Girl in the World!’ remember?”
Giles quickly removed his glasses to give them a polish. “I honestly don’t know....” He paused as realisation hit him. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed. “When you faced The Master, you... You died!”
Buffy shuddered as she remembered that night. The pain of The Master’s fangs biting into her neck and how cold the pool of water was when she was thrown into it after he finished feeding. Then there was blackness until she felt a hot breath being forced into her lungs and she opened her eyes to see the concern and fear on the face of her friend Xander turn to joy as she coughed and gasped.
“It was only for a little while.” She said in a small voice.
“Excuse me Mr Giles.” Kendra said diffidently. “But what do you mean dat she died?”
Giles looked at Buffy for a moment before he answered. “Last May, the night that you were called, Buffy faced a vampire named Nest, also known as ‘The Master’.”
Kendra nodded, Nest was considered one of the most powerful and brutal vampires ever to stalk the Earth. Giles continued his explanation.
“He was at first able to defeat Buffy but thanks to the actions of two of her friends.” He decided that he wouldn’t say that one of them was a vampire. “They were able to revive her and she then went on to stop The Master from opening the Hellmouth and vanquished Nest in the process.”
“See, we already have a Slayer in town so you can just leave.” Buffy said.
“Calm down Buffy.” Giles said as he laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Kendra hasn’t told us why she is here in town. Kendra, would you care to enlighten us?”
The newest Slayer nodded. “Me Watcher, Mr Zabuto said dat a ‘Dark Power’ was rising and he sent me here to stop it.”
“And you thought you’d do that by attacking the first person you saw? A swing and a miss by the newbie.” Buffy snarked.
Giles was about to say something to defuse the situation when the door to the library swung open to admit Xander who had a concerned look on his face.
“Intruder!!” Kendra yelled and launched herself towards the young man. Buffy tried to grab her but she was a fraction too slow. Kendra didn’t want to hurt the stranger, just immobilise him till Mr Giles told what to do with him.
She was more than surprised when the boy dodged her attack and somehow, managed to throw her over his hip. Kendra was a skilled fighter and she rolled immediately to her feet only to find Buffy standing between her and the boy.
“Whoa there Pink Ranger, calm down. This is my friend Xander.” The blonde Slayer said.
“You know, amigo, buddy! Someone you don’t attack as soon as you see them.” Buffy was more than a little exasperated. And not just because Kendra had arrived in town and tried to kill her. She had and ancient order of Assassins after her, Spike and his minions were running around up to who knew what, Angel had never returned to his apartment last night, her Mom was asking why she was out all night and this ‘Career’s Fair’ that Principal Snyder was making sure she attended blowed big time.
“Uhmm. Can someone explain to me what’s going on?” Xander asked as he relaxed out the fighting stance he’d dropped into.
Giles quickly explained who Kendra was and why she was in town. Xander blinked in surprise at the news that Buffy was no longer the only Slayer in the world.
He turned to Kendra. “So you’re a Slayer?” He asked.
Kendra mumbled yes and shyly averted her eyes. She wasn’t used to talking to a boy.
Xander grinned and turned his attention to Buffy. “Hah! I knew that the whole ‘I’m the only one! I’m the only one!’ was just a con!”
Despite herself Buffy found herself grinning at her ‘Guy Friend’s’ antics. No matter what she knew that Xander could get her to smile.
“So Xander what brings you to the library in such a hurry?” Giles asked once everyone had calmed down.
“I think I ran into one of the assassins this morning at Buffy’s house.”
“What? They were in my home?!” Buffy shrieked.
Xander nodded. “It was a disgusting Bug demon pretending to be a salesman. Me and Cordy managed to get out of there but it might be an idea to buy a ‘Bug Bomb’ on your way home.”
“Is Miss Chase alright?” Giles asked, knowing that Xander had asked the cheerleader for a ride this morning.
“Yeah she’s fine. Grossed out but fine. She said she was going home to shower and change clothes.”
Buffy and Willow shared a look. Trust Xander to somehow get attacked by another Bug Demon!
Buffy turned her attention back to Kendra. “So why did you attack me?” She asked.
“I thought you were a demon. It be me duty to destroy demons where ever I find dem!” Kendra stated simply.
“Why would you think I was a demon? I mean, do I have horns or scales or something?”
“I saw you kissing a vampire. What was I supposed to think?”
“Buffy would never kiss a vampire.” Willow said, coming to her friends defence. “Except for Angel I guess.”
Buffy blushed as she remembered the kiss she’d shared with Angel at the ice rink just before she was attacked by the assassin.
“Who is dis Angel?” Kendra asked. In the last few hours her world had been turned upside down. Her Watcher had never even hinted that the previous Slayer was still alive yet here she was. Also she had friends who knew about her calling and seemed to help her.
Angel is the only vampire who has a soul.” Giles said. “Over a hundred years ago the demon fed on a Gypsy girl and as punishment and as punishment the demon was cursed with a soul.”
Kendra blinked. “Angel? You mean Angelus? I read about him in me studies! He be a monster!”
“Angel’s not like that anymore!” Buffy said in defence of her soul mate. “He’s a good man!”
The Jamaican Slayer shook her head. “No! He be a vampire, that is all. I would have finished him earlier except that I thought you be a demon and more powerful than it and wanted to deal with you.”
“You fought Angel?” Buffy asked incredulously. Next to her Willow gently laid her hand on her friends shoulder.”What did you do to him?” She asked in a dangerous tone. Nearby Xander set himself just in case Buffy tried to attack Kendra.
“I forced him into a cage and locked de door.”
“Where? I’ll go let him out.” Buffy said rising to her feet.
“You can’t!” Willow said with wide eyes. “Principal Snyder is looking for you. If he thinks you cut class, no matter what the reason, he’ll suspend you and try to have you expelled!”
Buffy shrugged, not really caring about the petty power plays done by Snyder. Her man was in trouble and needed her help. It was Xander who spoke next.
“Willow’s right Buff, Herr Snyder is looking for any excuse to make your life miserable.” He paused and looked at Kendra. “If Kendra’s willing I’ll go. I’ve got a free period first up so no one will be looking for me for a couple of hours.”
“A good idea Xander.” Giles said.
“But Giles!” Buffy began.
“No Buffy, you have assassins after you now. To help keep you safe you need to remain in public places. Xander and Kendra can release Angel if he is still trapped just as well as you can.”
Buffy was about to argue but realised that her Watcher was correct. With poor grace she nodded her assent and left the library with Willow on her heels. Giles turned to Xander and the latest Slayer.
“Go make sure that Angel is alright Xander. I’ll keep researching the ritual, hopefully I should have some more information by the time you two get back.”
Xander nodded. “Well Kendra, it looks like it’s just you and me.” He said to the dark skinned girl. The only reaction he got was that Kendra looked down at her feet and refused to meet his eyes before walking out the door.
Xander just shrugged his shoulders and followed her.
Willy, owner, bartender and chief bottle washer of the only demon bar in Sunnydale stood in the back room of his bar and tried not to move. He found it fairly easy since the slender, dark skinned girl who had come into his bar several hours earlier and taken on the vampire Angel was back and she now had him in a arm lock that threatened to tear his shoulder out of its socket.
Across from him he watched as a kid he knew was one of the hangers on of the Slayer ran a finger through the dust on the floor of the cage he kept in the room. Rubbing his fingers together the kid rose to his feet and regarded the human who had thrown his lot in with the demons that infested this town.
“It’s not vampire dust.” He said, brushing his hands clean. “So Willy, what did you do with Angel?”
“Me? I didn’t do nothing to my old buddy Angel!” Willy stammered. “Once the girl left I let him out of the cage and he was gone.”
Xander nodded as if he understood and Kendra relaxed her grip.
“So you let him out and he just went on his way?” Xander asked, thrusting his hands into his pockets.
Willy nodded and suddenly felt a shiver of fear run down his spine.
Without any warning Xander slammed the bartender against the wall and Willy felt something small and sharp at his groin.
“Ok Willy how about the truth this time?” Xander asked in a calm tone. “And if I don’t like the answer they’ll start calling ‘No Balls’!” He increased the pressure of the knife he was holding against Willy’s groin.
For a second Willy was about to repeat his story but he decided that he liked his balls attached to him and not bouncing on the floor. He swallowed nervously.
“Less than a hour after he fought the girl here Spike and some of his minions turned up and took him away!” He babbled.
Xander took a step back and calmly pocketed the knife. “Thanks Willy, that’s all I needed to know.”
Willy gently massaged his throat and was about to say something when Xander punched him in the face, knocking him out.
“C’mon Kendra, we need to get back to the library.” He said and headed for the door.
Outside Xander took a deep breath, the air the bar had been foul and it felt good to breath the usual pollution. Behind him Kendra exited the bar and looked at the youth that had accompanied her on this task. She hadn’t had to do much, just make sure the bartender didn’t try to run.
“How did you know?” She asked.
“How did I know that Willy was lying? When you fought Deadboy did he know you were a Slayer?”
Kendra nodded, her shyness disappearing, the tone this ‘Xander’ used reminded her of Mr Zabuto when he quizzed her on her lessons. “Yes I told him.”
“So Angel, knowing that there is a new Slayer, and knowing that the only way a Slayer is called is when the previous Slayer dies, the first thing he would have done if he was free was to find Buffy and make sure she’s alright.” Even though Xander didn’t like Angel he was willing to admit that the vampire with a soul genuinely cared for Buffy.
“Since no one’s seen him he either didn’t get out of the cage before the sunlight hit him, and there wasn’t enough dust there so he wasn’t dust. Or he was captured.” Xander explained as he led Kendra back towards the school.
“And why did you knock out Willy?”
“From what I’ve been told Willy is a slimy piece of crap who’d sell out his own mother if he knew who she was. If I hadn’t knocked him out he would have let Spike know that we know that he has Angel.” Xander picked up the pace, Giles needed to know this latest development. He hoped the Watcher would be able to use this information to work out Spike’s plan, while he didn’t like Angel he didn’t want him to remain captured by Spike and Drusilla any longer than was necessary.
Drusilla smiled at the half-naked figure that was bound to the table in front of her. She carefully tipped the cup in her hand and let several drops fall.
“Say Uncle.” She cooed.
Angel clenched his teeth in pain as the Holy Water hissed and spat as it landed on his skin.
“Oh that’s right, you killed my Uncle.” Drusilla continued, stopping the flow of water. “And my Aunt, and my Mummy, even my Daddy. Then you became my new Daddy” She let a few more drops of water fall on her Sire. “Do you remember how they screamed Angelus? I do. Now I want you to scream the same way!” The smile on her face turned feral.
Angel grit his teeth, not game to open his mouth while the blessed water burned him. It had not been the best of days for the vampire with a soul. It had started out alright, when he had taken Buffy to the ice rink. The Slayer had looked so happy as she glided across the ice, revelling in a simple pleasure that she hadn’t experienced in years.
Then a six foot six bruiser had turned up and tried to choke the life out of her. Angel had attacked him but had been knocked aside as if he was nothing more than a child. Buffy had been able to defeat the attacker by kicking him in the throat with her skates. It was only then that Angel had seen the ring the man had been wearing. A ring that identified him as a member of the Order of Teraka, an Assassin!
After Buffy had gone to the Library to tell her Watcher what had happened Angel had roamed the town searching for any information about anything targeting Buffy. It wasn’t until he arrived at ‘Willy’s Alibi’, the demon bar in Sunnydale that he found anything. The moment that he’d stepped into the seedy bar he knew that he was onto something.
He barely had time to question Willy when he was attacked by a slender girl with dark skin and eyes. And she was good! After the first few blows she started driving him back across the bar room. Several times he could have killed her but he could sense that she wasn’t a demon, she almost felt like Buffy, but that was impossible. There was only ever one Slayer!
Finally the fight was over when she drove him into the cage that Willy kept in the back room and locked the door, trapping him there with no way out and a window that faced east. He had been huddled in a corner, trying to avoid the sunbeam as it made its way across the floor when Spike and his minions arrived. His Grandchilde’s minions had quickly knocked him out and he had woken up in this room, strapped down with Drusilla ready to play.
The insane vampire seer wandered over to a small box and retrieved a Crucifix on a chain. Walking back to her captive she quickly straddled his hips and dangled the cross in front of his face.
“My poor, poor Daddy. All alone with no one to help. The Fluffy Tuffy Slayer won’t find you in time and the ‘Jesting Warrior’ does not care if you live or die!” Dru carolled as she straddled his waist. “Spike says that you must be in one piece for the ‘Ritual’! But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun!” Dru dipped the cross in the Holy water, before tracing across Angel’s bare chest, causing his skin to blister and burn.
Angel grunted in pain. He hoped that Buffy would be able to save him before whatever it was that his demonic offspring had planned occurred.
In the main room Spike looked at Dalton. “So we’ve got the cross and the sacrifice. When can we do this?”
Dalton nervously looked through his books. “Umm it needs to be done when the new moon is at its zenith and...”
“And what?” Spike snapped. If Dalton wasn’t so useful he would have dusted the poor excuse for a vampire when he first met him.
“And you have to be in a church to conduct the ritual.”
Spike just glared at the scholarly vampire. “Well don’t just sit there! Find me one where we won’t be disturbed or else I’ll let Dru play with you for a while!” From the back room there came a below of pain followed by insane giggling and Dalton hurried to do Spike’s bidding.
Spike smirked and lit another cigarette. He thought about joining Dru in her games but decided that his ‘Princess’ deserved a little ‘Fun Time’ before he dealt with his poof of a Grandsire once and for all. Once Dru was healed they’d shake the dust of this town off their feet and go for a grand tour around the world and relive the glory days when they were feared as ‘The Scourge of Europe’.