Disclaimer: Same as previous three chapters.
Author's Note: Some people have asked exactly where Willow got pierced. If I get enough reviews asking that I'll say in a later story so if you want to know leave me a review!
Xander left the library and was at a loss for where to go. He certainly wasn't going to head home and his usual two alternates, Willow's house and Buffy's house, were out as well. He asked himself what Lamont Cranston would do and then he smiled. With a whistle and a spring in his step he headed off towards City Hall.
Arriving out the building, he took care to veil his appearance in shadow so only his eyes were showing. It would be easier if he dressed in his black trench coat and fedora but he could still do it. He was amused when the guards gave him directions to the real estate department and property tax assessor's office without so much as a spare glance but then he decided that in Sunnydale they probably saw weirder.
A judicious use of psychic powers got him in to see the head title clerk without an appointment. He had made a stop first, to have himself declared an emancipated minor and to have notice sent to his parents that they no longer had custody of him. In the clerk's office he made the man tell him which residential properties had owners who died but were never inherited, sold, or foreclosed. The man just nodded and provided him with a list. He checked and the man was under orders not to attempt to sell or foreclose on certain properties and he got that list as well in case it was different. Seeing a house near Buffy's that was on both lists he decided he'd better investigate. He looked in the man's mind for the reason why no effort was made to assess taxes or anything else. He found out the Mayor had set that policy. That made him blink. He decided he'd tell Giles later made sure he had the right address then left.
Xander was glad no one could see his face because it would totally give him away. The Mayor was in on things up to his neck it seemed. He'd tell Giles about this later but first he needed to make sure Buffy and her mom were safe. The list would also help a lot when planning future stakings. He wanted to race right over but although he had some stakes on him his guns were empty and he wasn't sure how well his powers worked on vampires. He decided that he'd use his powers to get more bullets but wouldn't cheat an honest store owner. He knew just the guy to ask about black market ammo and maybe the encounter would also answer his question about whether or not his powers worked on non-humans.
First he went home and got his “costume” on. He didn't even need his powers to remain unseen there, tequila had done the job for him. He pulled the hat down and headed off to Willy's.
Reaching the undead and demon bar he made sure to shadow his face and presence. Entering he walked right up to Willy at the bar. If Willy could see through the mental mojo he'd know it soon.
“Hey stranger,” Willy said. “Welcome to Willy's the only full service demon and vamp bar in all of Sunnydale. What can I get you and more importantly, how are you paying?”
Xander did a mental Scooby dance, then altering his voice to be deep and echoing he said, “I need ammo and a knife. Forty-five caliber and silver alloyed.”
“I can probably find you a smith,” Willy said agreeably, “if you can pay. While I go check how about you pay me first?”
Xander read his weaselly little mind and grabbed the info. In the same voice as before Xander repeated it back to him and said a sarcastic thanks.
“Hey!” Willy screeched. “Telepathy is cheating!”
Xander made it seem that he disappeared entirely then walked out the door. 'Well that was easier than expected', Xander thought. He made his way to the black market smith. It was a demon and he was alone so early in the day. Xander smiled rather grimly, 'Perfect!'
The demon never saw him. He poured holy water all over it and watched it dissolve. Then he loaded both guns and filled the pockets of his trenchcoat and jeans with as much ammunition as he could cram in. He also grabbed a dagger with a silver and steel alloy and stuck it in his belt. He destroyed the ad for “Anti-Slayer Weapons” and scattered the merchandise. He found a bag big enough for carrying rifles and filled it with as much of everything as he could carry. He made a mental note to tell Giles about this place too. Then he hefted the bag and made his way to the house entirely too close to the Summers residence that he suspected of harboring vampires.
Reaching the back door of the house he hid the bag under a bush, then picked the lock and slid silently in stake in hand. Shortly thereafter he dumped a bucket of dust in the garden hoping it wouldn't kill the plants. He stored the bag of guns and ammo in the basement then left making sure to lock the door behind him. He now had money in his pocket and there was a lot of stuff in the basement to sell once Giles had gone over and checked for bad mojo. He decided it was time to tell Giles about all the things he'd found out so he headed off to the library.
“Giles, I've found out some disturbing things while out,” Xander said. He showed the older man his lists and told him about the Mayor's involvement, and the Black Market gunsmith with the anti-slayer displays.
“We'll need to tell Buffy about this place right away,” Giles said. “Do you think you can find this store again?”
“I'm sure I can,” Xander said. “Why don't we all meet at my new house? You can check the doodads and gold for mojo and we can all gear up before heading to the gun shop.”
Giles raised an eyebrow, “New house?”
Xander raised a piece of paper, “I have the title and I'm now an emancipated minor. Don't worry Giles, it was really for the best. With Cranston's reflexes in my head the next time the old man swung a bottle at my head it would have been the last thing he ever did. This is much safer for all.”
Giles was shocked. He'd known Xander's home life wasn't happy but he'd not expected it was quite that bad, “Well as long as you are responsible about it I'm sure it will be fine. Perhaps we could use it as an alternate meeting place when the library would be too conspicuous?”
“Sure G-man, you're welcome anytime, along with Buffy, Willow, and even Cordelia,” Xander replied.
“Thank you,” Giles said. “Now why don't you call the young ladies while I gather the proper tomes and equipment to identify those suspect, er, 'doodads' you found.”
As he dialed Xander hoped Cordelia was finished. It really wouldn't do to have her surprised by the phone ringing while she was removing Willow's new … jewelry.