On the Road
I should probably mention how close to the beginning of Season 3 this is set. The opening to the story (IE this chapter) is happening at most about a month and a half before the episode "Anne".Chapter I
On the RoadXander walked into the library of Sunnydale High to see a rather shocking site, Buffy was back and all of the Scoobies were gathered around grim-faced and glaring at him.
"What's the problem guys? Some new big bad comin' into town?" he asked, a trace of fear running through him as they continued to glare.
"You know what the problem is," Buffy hissed, her tone dripping venom and hatred.
"Why did you do it, Xander?" Willow asked, the face of his oldest and bestest friend filled with pain and a sense of betrayal, "You should have told Buffy that I was going to try and restore Angel's soul again. How could you betray me like that? How could you betray Buffy like that!?"
"Okay guys, what's the problem here?" Xander asked, gulping as his friends all got up from the table and began to close in on him, "So I lied about Wills trying to give Angel his soul back? What's the problem, if I hadn't done that Buffy would have died! She would have held back against Angelus, and he would have killed her!"
"I'm very disappointed in you, Xander," Giles said sadly as he removed his glasses from his face. The British librarian and Watcher looked the epitome of sorrow, "You should have been more concerned about Buffy's feelings than your own jealousy. Instead you callously held back and now Angel is in hell, be very ashamed, young man."
"Very bad form dude," Oz shook his head sadly.
"How could you be so heartless?" Cordelia demanded.
"You sent Angel to hell, Xander!" Buffy was practically screaming, there's only one thing we can do about that, "It's time for you to die!" Xander really felt the fear grip him this time as he started hastily backing away, the look on all the Scooby Gangs faces had become simply murderous.
"H-h-hey now, guys, can't we talk about this? I'm sure we can reach some solution that will satis-" his plea was cut off as Buffy landed the first blow on his face. He staggered back to the doors of the library and turned around to run through them when his movement was suddenly arrested as he ran into someone. He was beyond shocked to see Angel, the Vampire with a soul standing there, blood pouring from a sword wound to the chest and covered in burns and wounds from torture.
"Angel!" Xander exclaimed helplessly as the vampire grabbed him.
"Go to hell, Xander!" Angel snarled as he vamped out, "...I did." The Vampire sank his fangs into Xander's neck and he felt the life draining away.
Xander sat up with a gasp, cold sweat covering his body and breathing heavily. The dead panic slowly died away as he looked around and realized that he was still safe in his ratty motel room, it had all been a dream. He exhaled slowly and ran his hand through his short, dark hair as he tried to reassure himself 'C'mon, get a hold of yourself, Xander. No one knows about that lie, you're perfectly safe.'
He lay back down to try and get back to sleep but his mind just wouldn't settle down. "But they could find out he muttered." That was part of the whole reason that he had decided to leave and take a break from all the supernatural weirdness of Sunnydale and its Hellmouth. Ever since the night that Buffy had sent Angel to hell and sealed Acathla, Xander couldn't help but feel guilt over the whole thing. It was obvious that Buffy had run away, and Xander felt that a lot of it was his fault. The other reason he had decided to leave was take an active role in the search for Buffy, hopefully it would help assuage all the guilt he felt. It had been about four months since Buffy had disappeared and the Scoobies had been doing all that they possibly could to find her, but no matter what all leads they ever found seemed to lead absolutely nowhere. The gang's old strategy of waiting for news of Buffy hadn't been working, so Xander had finally stated that he was going to go on the road and look for Buffy that way, and so far his efforts had been equally as fruitless as the search had been in Sunnydale. Xander sighed as he got off the bed and walked over the chair his travel belongings were sitting in and pulled a shirt on. The sun was streaming in through the blinds across the window as dusk began to set in. In his travels he had started to take up sleeping habits similar to the undead population of the world, he figured that it would be a little easier and he'd be more likely to find Buffy's trail, if there was one to find, after dark; even if being out in the night was a little more dangerous than day light snooping and investigating.'I got a good feeling about tonight,'
Xander mused to himself as he gathered up his vampire slaying equipment. He certainly wasn't going to be hunting any of this town's undead menace, but it was better to be adequately prepared than to find yourself being killed by some demon or vampire. Over the past few days Xander had been hearing a lot of rumors going around amongst California's supernatural population recently that talked about a girl who had come into the area not too long ago. A girl that very much sounded like a Slayer...Xander only hoped it was Buffy, it could just as easily be no one or even the next Slayer that would have been called after Kendra's death. 'If this girl I've been hearing about isn't Buffy then I'm not sure what I should do. I suppose I could always bring her back to the Hellmouth if she's willing. We could use all the help we can get there, even if it is pretty quiet.'
Xander shut the door of his motel room and calmly, though cautiously, went out into the rapidly darkening streets. He kept on constant guard; staying in a seedier part of the town he figured that it was highly likely that it would probably have a higher concentration of vampires about or demons.
Xander decided he'd begin his search by making his way toward one of the seedier, the Bronze it certainly was not, local clubs he had pegged earlier on his way in as a likely spot to start his search for the night. As Xander continued on toward the club one of the side doors that led into one of the side alleys opened up. The thrashing and pounding music was unleashed into the night as two people staggered out drunkenly, laughing about something or other. One of them was a dark haired girl, a very hot, good looking girl, Xander added mentally to himself. The other was a rather tall guy that looked incredibly out of place and something just felt off about him. Xander narrowed his eyes and studied him closer, his fashion was utterly appalling, like he had just stepped out of the 60s or something, 'Oh God,'
Xander thought to himself in horror, 'Why on earth did I think, that? I've been spending far too much time with Cordelia.'
Shivering a bit at what he had just thought Xander looked back at the couple as they made their way into the alley. Shrugging off his odd thoughts about fashion, which he still had no idea where they came from, Xander cautiously slunk after them, He was pretty sure the guy was a vampire, only they could look so out of place. If the guy was a vamp then that girl probably had no idea what she had gotten into and would find herself being a quick meal, possibly worse, if he didn't do anything about it.
His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden crash and a female voice calling out "Oh come on! Is that the best you got?" He pulled his stake out and ran forward at a breakneck speed into the alley and was rather shocked at the sight that confronted him. His suspicions that the guy was a vampire were confirmed, but what had surprised him was that the girl he had taken for an unwitting victim was holding her own against the vampire and in fact seemed to almost be playing with him! Xander was brought to a complete stop and found himself just staring, watching the girl and her opponent trade blows.
"I know ya got better in you than that, ya stupid fang-face," the girl said, a feral grin spreading across her face, "Come on, it's rude ta promise a girl good time an' then not pull through with it." She let out a silent 'oomph' as the vamp slammed her against the wall causing her to drop her stake and then threw the dazed girl toward Xander. The two fell to the ground in a tangle of limbs. Xander landed painfully with the girl on top of him. "Hmm, heya, Stud," the girl purred sexily, then reached for Xander's stake, "Mind if I borrow that? Thanks." The vampire came charging at the two of them growling like a vicious jungle cat. The brunette girl leapt almost instantly to her feet and drove the stake home into the vamp's chest. It collapsed into dust seconds later with quite a shocked look on its face as it crumbled away into nothing. Xander lay on the ground staring up at the girl, she really was quite a sight to see. Her dark eyes sparkled with an almost secret mirth and just shown with joy at being alive. 'Man, if I wasn't dating Cordy...' he mused to himself. Her accent, East Coast perhaps, he couldn't exactly tell, gave away the fact that she definitely wasn't from around the area of Sunnydale or even from California.
"Well, I guess you didn't need any help after all," Xander muttered from the ground.
"Huh? What was that?" the girl asked, looked up from rummaging around where her stake had fallen. Letting out an 'aha' as she found what she was looking for she walked back over to Xander, obviously putting on a show and deliberately showing off her body. "C'mon, buy me a drink." She said as she gripped Xander's arm in a very firm grasp and pulled him back to his feet with ease 'She has to be the current Slayer, no way an ordinary girl could take on a vamp like that and be that strong.'
, "Name's Faith, you?" She turned back and started walking back down the alley toward the entrance to the club.
"Uh, X-x-x-Xander," he managed to stammer out, "Xander Harris."
"Well, Xander Harris, come on and buy me a drink, a girl gets thirsty after a good Slay ya know? And maaaybe afterward we can go somewhere else, if you know what I mean, and I can really make this night worth yer whole while."
"Well, I definitely wouldn't mind buying you a drink, 'cause you are definitely drink worthy" 'Oh God, I sound like such a dork'
Xander mentally kicked himself, "But uh, see, I already have a, uh, girlfriend...and I, yeah, you see."
"Yeah, sure, whatever," Faith shrugged tossing her dark hair back, "Yer loss, coulda been fun, but oh well." The two of them had reached the entrance to the club now, "So, what're you doing out here so late at night, I take it from the stake you know about the 'night life'."
Xander mulled it over for a moment and decided to be completely honest with her, it helped the matter of his decision that she was the Slayer, there couldn't be any doubt about it from her strength and how she had handled the vampire, "To be completely honest, I'm looking for a friend of the mine, the Slayer, she ran out on us about four months back. I decided to go out and search for her, we need a Slayer on the Hellmouth."
"Well you found one at least," Faith smirked devilishly, "I may not be the one you're looking for, but I am the Slayer. I thought your name sounded a little familiar, my Watcher talked a bit about the Slayer before the last one, thought she'd be dead though, seein' as how I'm standin' here now and all."
"Buffy did die, she was drowned by the Master, 'til I revived her. She was dead long enough for the next Slayer to be called, the one before you," Xander replied. Faith merely grunted in response and turned out to face the dance floor. Her eyes suddenly narrowed and she inhaled quickly, the sudden fear she was exhibiting was almost palpable in the air.
"I-Ii-I, uh g-gotta get going...like, er, now" the change in the girl was almost unbelievable, gone was any trace of the blatant sexuality or bravado oozing out of every poor, all that Faith had seemed before was completely gone and a timid and absolutely terrified girl seemed to be left to in her place. Xander followed her gaze across the room to try and determine what had gotten her so worked up. He saw a very well-dressed black man sitting across the way with a couple of thugs around him. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary at first, but on closer inspection it became obvious that at least one of the men at that table was a vampire.
Xander's musings however were interrupted by a cold voice "Leaving so soon, Faithy? But the party hasn't even started."
"Kenny!" Faith's voice came in a strangled whisper, "Oh God!"