Part 5 - One of those days
In spite of what happens to her in the first section of this chapter, I really do like Alex's mom. I just needed a reason for her to go "special forces" without redesigning her character. The question of whether Alex will become a Slayerette is answered.
Barbara Mack had already had a perfectly horrible day. It began simply with a run in her pantyhose and the discovery she had left her emergency pair on her dresser. It escalated when her professor called her aside after class to tell her that she would have to redo a major assignment because she had badly misunderstood the question being posed. (Her instructor admitted the wording was ambiguous, but was only allowing the second chance because she had worked very hard on it.) In her next class she discovered that her partner in an important project that was due next week had completely forgotten to do her part of the research, so the planned quiet weekend at home with her family would instead be spent in the college library.
The end of the day brought no relief. As she was leaving the campus, her husband George called her on her cellular explaining that he would have to work late at the lab again
tonight, and asked her apologetically to get the groceries and dry cleaning from the local mall that he had forgotten to pick up the night before. She called home three times on her drive back to Sunnydale to ask Alex to do this chore for her, but the first two times there was no answer and the other time the line was busy. Finally, her car stalled on her way out of the mall, forcing her to endure five minutes of horn honking and name calling until she could get it started again.
As she hefted a bag of groceries in one arm and slammed the car door, she thought savagely, What ELSE can go wrong today!?!
When she turned around she got her answer. Two men and one woman wearing strange grotesque masks were suddenly blocking her path to the house. Startled, she dropped the bag and screamed.
The apparent leader of the group, a short dark-haired man with Gallic features immediately apologized. "Pardon moi, madame," he sneered with a strong French accent, "did we startle you?" He then smiled sinisterly showing a mouth full of sharp discolored teeth. Feeling a odd wetness about her feet, Barbara glanced down at what were once her favorite shoes, now soaking in broken eggs and milk from a leaking carton. At this final indignity, something inside her snapped, and with an inarticulate scream of rage she let loose a devastating karate side kick that caught the man unprepared and sent him crashing to the ground. Unfortunately, she slipped on the mess under her feet, and her momentum sent her slamming head first into her car knocking her unconscious. It was just "one of those days".
This was the sight that greeted the two girls as they looked out the window beside the front door; Alex's mother slumped against the car, a short vampire sitting on the ground shaking his head groggily, a much larger one trying to stifle his chuckles and a female vampire shaking her head sadly at both of her companions. "What are we going to do?" asked a frightened Alex.
Willow thought quickly. "Morph around the side of the house, then around the driveway until you are behind, then under the car. When I distract them, double-morph your mom back to house the way you came. Once you're inside you'll be safe."
"How will you distract them?"
"Don't worry, I'll think of something. Now, GO!" Seeing that none of the vampires were paying attention to their victim, Alex quickly morphed over to her, then waited as instructed.Ok, here's where we see what these powers can do.
With that thought, Willow concentrated on the bushes behind the vampires, causing them to rustle violently. All three turned to study them intently.
"I can't see anything," said the woman nervously. "Guido?"
The larger vampire shook his head. "Me neither. Must have been the wind?"
As he got to his feet, the short one protested, "But there WAS
no wind!" He turned to the car to finish the job he started, then cursed foully. While the three of them had been looking for a nonexistent ambush, Alex had taken her mother around the side of the house. By the time any of them realized she was gone, Alex's mother was already lying on the living room couch.
Willow chose this moment to make herself known. "Lose something?" she asked cheerfully as the vamps began looking in and around the car for some sign of their chosen prey. Holding a crucifix and large water pistol filled with holy water, she stood just inside the threshold, safe behind a barrier the uninvited could never cross.
The trio froze, then slowly turned to face the voice that addressed them, relaxing slightly when they realized the girl was not blond. "Well well, if it isn't the Slayer's pet hacker," said the short one attempting to recover his dignity. "I suppose she's
inside tending to her injured mother. I suppose you won't tell us how you managed the rescue? Very bad form, sending a lackey to do her work."
"What are you talking about?" Willow asked, getting confused.
"Come on now!" the woman said. "We find pretty boy over there watching the place, then a blond woman carrying groceries drives up who takes Pierre down with a single kick. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who lives here. I'm just surprised she isn't out here right now trying to take a crack at us."Dear God, they think this is Buffy's house!
"What have done with Angel?" she asked, knowing that he would have shown up by now if he could have.
"Don't worry," said the woman, "he still ... survives. The Anointed One has many interesting plans for the traitor. If the Slayer wants a chance to rescue him, see that she comes to the Bronze tonight after closing."
"Alone," added Guido. "No Watcher, no Slayerettes, no associated hangers-on. And of course, no cops. If we see anyone else, they had better bring a dust-buster." With this the three vampires vanished into the night.
"So your mother's okay?" Buffy asked Alex later at the library where they were having their council of war. Willow had immediately called Giles, who had called Buffy suggesting that they spend the time until the closing of the Bronze working out a plan of attack.
"Aside from a headache she was fine. We told her she was alone when we found her beside the car, and she figures the attack was just a hallucination brought on brought on by a very stressful day. My dad's with her now, and they went to bed early." She no longer had any doubts about joining the team. When the vampires had attacked her mother, they had made it personal.
"So how are we going to go after these slimeballs?"
," answered Buffy, "are doing nothing. This my fight."
"Don't tell me you are going to get all protective again," moaned Willow. "Every time you do this, you KNOW
"You heard what they said. If they see anyone else, Angel dies."
Willow and Alex looked at each other, a silent communication passing between them. "Then they won't see anyone," Alex answered with a grin, "but you aren't
Once again Giles was quick on the uptake. "If you're saying what I think you're saying..." He paused for a moment, as if marshaling objections, then said, "I think it's an EXCELLENT
"Huh?!?" the three girls responded, one in confusion, two in surprise.It's nice to be able to surprise them once in a while,
Giles thought smugly. "I'm not a stodgy old fool, you know! I can still recognize a pair of aces in the hole." Seeing Buffy's smile as she finally clued in, Giles continued. "The only thing I must insist on is that you refrain from any direct physical confrontation. Neither of you has Buffy's instincts, skills or strength. Leave the slaying to her. Instead, use your abilities to confuse, distract, and confound them, and most importantly, to rescue Angel." Turning to Alex, he said seriously, "If it is at all possible, try to avoid using that `double-morphing' trick you rescued your mother with. Angel is a vampire, and there is no telling what his condition has done to his molecular structure."
"I understand," replied Alex equally serious. "The last thing I want is to re-enact `The Fly' with a vampire. Look, none of them knows about me
yet. Why don't I go to this Bronze place before it closes and scout the territory. When it does, I can morph somewhere and wait for you to arrive."
"Ok," Buffy allowed hesitantly, "but be on your guard. At the first hint you've been made, get out of there as fast as possible."
Willow added, "And if you see Xander or Cordelia, tell them they have to get over here ASAP."
"Cordelia? You mean Cordelia Chase?" Alex asked incredulously. "Are you telling me the bitch queen of Sunnydale is a Slayerette?"
"More of an associated hanger-on," answered Willow with a grin. "She knows, but is trying very hard to forget. Has this deathly fear of associating with losers."
"Then why should she listen to me?"
"Don't worry. If she gives you a hard time, just suggest we want to thank her for her help, and if we can't do it privately we'll have to come to the Bronze and do it publicly. Then get out her way."
Giles shook his head and looked pointedly at his watch. "If you want to get there before closing you had better leave now."
"Right," agreed Alex, "I'll see you there then." Just as she reached the door, she turned around and asked sheepishly, "Does anyone have cab fare?"