Author’s note: This story makes passing references to things from my stories “Goodbye, Texas” and “A Horrible String of Stories” but they are not required reading for this to make sense.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all associated characters are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, United Paramount Network, and Fox Television. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is property of Judith Viorst. Characters and dialogue from At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft are now public domain. This work is not for profit, and no ownership of aforementioned copyrighted material implied, nor any infringement intended.
You can listen to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day here.
* * *
Headquarters of the International Council of Slayers and Watchers, Cleveland, Ohio. Xander and Vi’s quarters:
Vi passed out on the couch after patrol with vamp dust in her hair and woke up with some in her mouth. She tripped on her backup stake (left out on the floor) and when she went to brush her teeth, Vi knocked her toothbrush off the counter and into the toilet.
“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?”
“Mmm. Whazzat, babe,” Xander mumbled from the comfort of a clean, vamp-dust-free bed.
“Nothing. I’m borrowing your toothbrush. Go back to sleep.”
Vi stomped downstairs into the kitchen and frowned. Rona sat with an enormous bowl full of the last of the frosted flakes. Faith had the leftover pizza. Andrew smiled at Vi when she flopped into a chair at the island with a grunt. “Good morning, fellow warrior in the never-ceasing battle against the dark! I’ll whip up something Slayerific in a minute.”
It took ten minutes. The eggs were runny and the toast was burnt. Vi got an upset tummy.
After breakfast Vi went to talk to Giles. She wanted to ask him about the ring last night’s vampire pointed at her before she turned him into nasty-tasting dust. Giles was on the phone when she entered his office, but gestured it would only be a minute. While Vi waited for him to finish, she picked up an exotic-looking amulet from his desk. Giles covered the mouthpiece of phone with one hand and said, “Do be careful with that, we haven’t identified it yet.”
“Crap,” cried Vi as the cord broke. She stepped forward to pick it up, but ended up kicking it instead. The amulet slid across the floor and dropped through the grille into the heater duct. Vi looked up at Giles, mortified. “Sorry,” she whispered.
* * *
At morning training, Vi stood watching the newer Slayers take turns pretending to stake each other. The new Slayer from Texas had a reverse grip on the stake instead of the saber grip Vi had been demonstrating for a particular combination. “Sue, it will work better on that line of attack if you hold the stake like this.”
“Xander said I was doing it just fine, when we staked those bank robber vamps,” Sue said with a twangy air of defiance.
“And yet, Xander’s not here, running training this morning.” Vi could feel her color start to rise.
“I wish he was,” said one of the other new Slayers. Vi ground her teeth. She could tell it was going to be one of those days.
By the time Vi put away the weapons the newbies had left out and got to the shower the water was cold. She washed quickly, but was near the end of the line for lunch and watched as Sue took the last (double-sized) piece of Andrew’s fabulous chocolate cake. All that was left was the white cake that Xander said made good caulking.
“I’m going to slay her ass,” Vi mumbled as she glared at Sue, far down the table.
Faith settled into the next seat. “Who? Little miss rodeo?”
“Yeah, Sue the bitch took the last of the chocolate cake. And in training she’s all ‘Xander did this,’ and ‘Xander said I was holding my stake correctly.’ I’m gonna...”
“I dunno,” Faith said around a mouthful of her Dagwood. “Kid’s got spunk. Left her boyfriend to come here and learn what’s up.”
“And now she’s making cow eyes at my boyfriend.” Vi felt her pulse pounding.
“She did fine against the robber-vamps with Xander...Um, V?” Faith’s eyebrow rose significantly.
Vi looked down to see the fork and knife in her hands had deformed from her grip. A tiny drop of blood fell onto her chicken fried steak. She shoved her plate and mangled utensils away.
That afternoon the International Council of Slayers and Watchers held its weekly meeting. After they finished ‘old business’ Giles cleared his throat. “Please make note of the roster change. As it’s the beginning of the new quarter, Rona will take over the responsibilities of patrol leader.” Vi slumped. She looked over at Rona, who stuck her tongue out. Vi sat through the rest of the meeting in a funk.
* * *
“I’m so out of here,” Vi mumbled that evening. She stomped upstairs to the apartment. “Xand, I’m going out for a little solo patrol. Have you seen my purple hoodie?”
Xander looked up from the building blueprints he was considering. “Um, yeah. Pretty sure it’s in the hamper. Did you forget...”
“Yes, I forgot it was my week to do laundry.” Vi sighed and got out her red hoodie that she hated, then put her boots on. “I swear, if one person makes a fucking ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ comment...”
Vi headed west towards Cleveland’s ‘gentrification belt’ that had stalled out leaving a vampire’s wonderland of half-gutted, half reconstructed buildings. After dark the area was shunned by normal citizens and police alike. It was a frustrated Slayer’s best bet for finding something to help work off some aggression.
The lone vampire Vi slew was no challenge, although she left her stake in the vampire too long and it dusted along with the vamp. “Stupid rookie move,” Vi grumbled as she continued her patrol. As she passed outside a crumbling abandoned building, Vi heard a faint sound that raised the hairs on her neck.
Vi eased into the building. “I’m just gonna take a peek. Just one little peek at what it is. If it’s as bad as I think, I’ll just call for backup.” The Slayer picked her way across the floor, trying to avoid debris from the partially-collapsed ceiling.
The cry came again, louder. “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!”
Vi stepped forward, and shrieked when the floor collapsed beneath her, dropping her into the basement.
It was a shoggoth in the basement. Of course it would be. Vi hated shoggoths more than anything except Turok-han, mostly because of Andrew’s over-enthusiastic lectures, but also because she’d puked the only other time she saw one.
Vi suppressed her gag reflex as she looked at the slightly glowing creature of ooze and eyes and mouths. She reached for her knife only to realize she’d left it on her dresser at home. “This is gonna suck!” The shoggoth towered above her and Vi drew her last small stake.
Before she got another quip in, the Slayer had been swallowed whole. Vi got scrunched. And she got smushed. She thought she might be sick. But she punched and staked and she pulled and punctured from within the creature. By the time she was finished she was drenched in slime, and her manicure and backup stake would never be the same.
“I ‘W’ word that someone would take me on vacation to Australia,” Vi mumbled as she staggered to her feet. She made her way up to street level, and quickly got her bearings. She pulled out her cellphone and saw the screen had cracked. “Xander, please come pick me up, I’m near the abandoned apartments on Cesko.” Vi looked down at herself. “And bring a towel and my most trashed set of warm-ups for me to change into.”
Vi filled in Xander on the drive home. The couple literally bumped into Giles as they made their way back into their quarters in the housing wing. “Sorry, Giles,” Xander said as he helped the older man up from his collision with the Slayer. Vi looked like she might die of embarrassment.
Giles polished his glasses and then peered at her. “Is that slime from a shoggoth?”
Xander answered before Vi could even open her mouth. “She’ll have a full report on your desk by tomorrow afternoon, Giles.”
“That’s fine. I actually came up here looking for Violet; I believe I discovered the purpose of the ring from last night’s vampire. It enspells a victim with bad luck for one day, 24 hours to be more precise.”
The Slayer perked up. “My bad luck started at the end of patrol last night,” she said. “So tomorrow I’ll be back to normal?”
Giles smiled. “I believe so.”
“Thanks a bunch, G-man,” Xander said.
Vi rested her head on her boyfriend’s shoulder. “I just want to go to bed and start tomorrow with a clean slate.”
* * *
Vi opened her eyes. She felt wonderfully refreshed. She looked over at the nightstand, and saw she’d slept for an uninterrupted ten hours. She hadn’t slept that long in years. The were some mysterious noises from the direction of the kitchenette. “Xander?”
“Coming, babe.” Xander entered with a bed-tray of scrambled eggs and hash browns, with bacon done just the way Vi liked it—perfect balance of chewy and crunchy. The glass of orange juice was beaded with condensation.
“Oh, wow,” she said, and rearranged the pillows behind her so she could sit comfortably. Xander carefully set down the tray. He left the room briefly and returned with a sheet of paper covered with his blocky writing.
Xander waited until Vi had settled into her meal before he cleared his throat in a mock-serious fashion. “Vi and the terrible, horrible, very bad, no good slay,” he began.