Bad Eggs, part IV
A/N: Disclaimer, author’s notes, etc., are at the beginning of chapter 1; spoilers are through “Bad Eggs”.
There was no way anyone normal would have reacted in time, but Buffy was about as far from normal as you could get and still be a hottie. She ducked as she snapped up her arm in a block. The rod whizzed through the air, glanced off Buffy’s forearm like Buffy was made of steel, and flew out of Cordelia’s hands, hitting Xander right in the chest.
“Ow!” He staggered back a step, just as Willow picked up a big old microscope and tried to hit him in the head. He staggered backward another step, and she swung the heavy thing downward, missing his head by a good four inches. And hitting him right in the baby maker. “Aagh!”
Buffy came right up out of her crouch and punched Cordelia in the jaw, dropping Queen C like she got hit by a brick.
Willow tried to take another swing at him, but the microscope was so heavy she had to stop and lift it with both hands first.
Harmony and Aura were wielding steel rods too, as they closed in on Buffy on one side, while Giles and Mrs. Wigorski closed in on Buffy’s other side. Mrs. Wigorski had a hammer, and Giles had a big wooden mallet. Xander tried to yell out a warning, but after that shot to the junk from Willow, all he managed was a squeaky ‘nngh!’ noise.
Buffy dropped to the floor, landing with her hands under her chest. She spun her whole body like an airplane propeller, using her legs to knock Harmony and Aura off their feet. She was up again before the two girls hit the floor. Their steel rods hit the floor separately.
Willow lifted the microscope to bash Xander on the head, and he reacted. Or maybe over-reacted. He punched her in the face, rocking her backward. Oh God, he punched Willow in the face.
Buffy stomped on the end of one of the steel rods, and it flipped up into the air. She snagged it even though it was spinning dangerously, and she quickly moved so Mrs. Wigorski was between her and Giles. The teacher swung at her head with the hammer. Buffy easily blocked it with the rod and pivoted the rod around the attack to catch Mrs. Wigorski in the side of the head with the end of the rod. The biology teacher dropped like a marionette with no strings, folding at the knees and falling limply to the floor.
Willow dropped the microscope as she staggered back against the lab table, so she scrabbled behind her for a new weapon. Her hand found the scalpel. Xander felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
Harmony and Aura were both on hands and knees, trying to get back on their feet, so Buffy did a back somersault over them and slapped both of them hard on the back. There was a sickening squish noise from under both their blouses, and suddenly blue goo was staining their clothes all over their upper backs. From the inside. They both collapsed. Buffy hopped over them and kicked one of the steel rods that they had been wielding. It flew right over Mrs. Wigorski’s body and caught Giles across both shins. Giles staggered at the pain, and Buffy was already moving again. She grabbed his right wrist so he couldn’t hit her with the mallet, and she punched him in the jaw so he spun halfway around to his left. Then she stripped the mallet out of his hand and smashed the lump under his blazer. He collapsed bonelessly to the floor.
Willow held the scalpel in one hand and backed Xander up toward the window. He knew from his Xena memories that if he tried to grab her or hit her, he’d probably get stabbed or sliced. He also knew that if he kicked the scalpel out of her hand or blocked her attack with his arm, there was a serious chance that the scalpel would end up stabbing into Willow instead. He couldn’t take that risk. He took another step back and picked up a chair to use to keep her at bay.
Willow kept the scalpel pointing at Xander and reached down for one of the steel rods…
And Buffy smashed the thing on Willow’s back with Giles’ mallet. Willow’s eyes rolled up in her head and she fell to the floor.
Xander gasped, “One… more… creep.”
Buffy nodded and went over to Mrs. Wigorski. She slapped the teacher’s back.
There was no smoosh noise. Buffy quickly looked around the room. “Uh-oh.”
Xander spotted the thing crawling across the floor and making for the doorway. He used the chair he was still holding and threw it at the bottom of the door. It hit hard enough that it knocked the door completely closed, just a second before Evil Egg Baby would have made a dash into the hallway.
Buffy snatched up the scalpel and threw it so fast he couldn’t see it whooshing through the air. It sank into the middle of the hatchling, which went limp as it was pinned to the floor. Buffy leapt over, pulled out the scalpel, and used Harmony’s limp body to squish the thing. Xander would have laughed if he wasn’t in so much pain.
And once again, the Vampire Slayer made him feel like a pansy. In the time it took him to get pounded in the junk, she had kicked the snot out of five opponents. And an egg baby thing.
She looked at him and asked, “You okay?”
He nodded, even if it was a lie. And she knew it was a lie, because he was holding his crotch like his hands were welded to it. He groaned, “Sure. After this week, I wasn’t planning on making any Little Xanders ever again.”
She said, “Weird, though. Why knock us out with stuff? Why not kill us?”
He groaned, “Hello, scalpel!”
She said, “Yeah, but that was when you took out her main weapon. And Giles and Mrs. Wig-corset both went for the hammer to the head.” She walked around the room until she got to a tray with a thin aluminum lid that was sitting on the teacher’s desk. She lifted the lid… and then hastily slammed it back down. “Question answered.”
“What?” he squeaked. He was really trying not to squeak, but his man-parts weren’t cooperating. His Xena memories were telling him girls could get hurt with a kick in the crotch too, but pretty much not with a downward swipe with a blunt instrument like the microscope.
Buffy said, “A whole tray of eggs, on an egg tray.” She put her hand on the metal cover and pressed down hard. The thin metal cover was crushed downward like it was cardboard. The sound of a couple dozen eggs getting crushed made him wince again.
Buffy said, “Come on. You’re Research Guy as long as Giles and Willow are out for the count.”
“You,” she insisted. “I can’t read anything except the Ye Olde Englishe, and a little bit of Latin. And he always complains about my translations. And the Greek and Egyptian and Sumerian? Forget it. So it’s up to you. And those Xena memories.”
“Oh great,” he whispered. She still heard him. He said, “And we don’t know how many other people have little eggy Puppet Masters on their backs.”
“Puppet masters?” She looked down at the bluish-purple stain all over the back of Harmony’s once pastel green blouse. “Oh. Right.”
He said, “I told you that you oughta read more science fiction, but you were all ‘oh no, that’s too weird and what’s the point anyway’. Robert Heinlein wrote this book called ‘The Puppet Masters’ where these creepy slug-like things from space stick on people’s backs and take ‘em over. Lots of people have used the basic idea for everything from really creepy horror movies to ‘Stargate’. No one likes creepy slug aliens.”
Buffy looked back over at the crushed eggs in the damaged tray. “I’m voting no on the slimy creepy aliens.”
She said, “Okay, I help you to the library, and we tell people I’m taking you to the nurse’s office.”
He pointed out, “Which is totally the wrong direction.” She glared at him. “But what the hey, we’ll just say I’m confused.”
He limped down the hall, with Buffy hanging onto his arm like she was helping him just a little bit. They both knew she could pick him up like a baby and sprint to the library at forty miles an hour if she wanted to.
Aphrodesia and Debbie came over to them while they were halfway to the library. They both asked, “Have you seen Cordelia?”
Xander pointed down the hall behind the two girls. “Sure. I saw her not ten minutes ago thataway.”
Both of them turned and looked in the direction he was pointing, and Buffy slapped both of them hard on the back. There was a gross squishing noise under both their blouses, and they both collapsed.
“Teamwork yay!” he said with a grin, holding up a hand for a high five.
Buffy slapped his hand hard, nearly breaking his fingers. He winced and tucked his stinging hand under his armpit.
“Sorry. Got a little carried away,” she apologized.
They got to the library without any more trouble. Xander checked the clock, and it was still before first bell, so not every egg-possessed egghead was around the school yet. He hoped.
Buffy said, “First, we gotta find the right books. Giles said he was going to try to find something. And we know their name. Willow called them a mother bozo. No, not a bozo…”
Xander supplied, “A bezoar. Whatever that is.”
Buffy said, “Okay, so we find the books Giles already got out and look in them first.”
Xander noticed that the counter had three books open on it. He hadn’t paid attention to them before, because he’d been too busy freaking over the broken bits of eggshell he’d stepped on. He nervously checked behind the counter, in case the broken eggshell had brought friends.
Buffy pointed at the book on top. There was a drawing of a monster that looked like a round, fleshy flying saucer. With tentacles. Buffy started reading. “Okay. Bezoar. A pre-pre-historic parasite. The mother hibernates underground, laying eggs. The offspring then attach themselves to a host, taking control of their motor functions through neural clamping.”
Xander muttered, “Neural clamping. That sounds skippable.”
Buffy said, “So our people are taking orders from the mama bezoar. Which begs the question...”
Xander finished, “What does mama want?”
And that was when they heard someone screaming out in the hall. They peeked out through the windows of the library doors, and saw a couple football players slapping something on Larry’s back. Larry suddenly stopped screaming and struggling. The three guys abruptly turned and walked off down the hall.
Buffy looked at Xander and said, “I think I hear mommy calling.”
Xander said, “Yeah. Maybe if we give it that slack-jawed zombie look they won’t attack us.”
Buffy said, “That never works in zombie movies. Except ‘Shaun of the Dead’. And you know how that worked out.”
Xander said, “Okay, but I want that mallet Giles was swinging around.”
Buffy nodded. “Yeah, weapons could be of the good.”
They followed the three jocks, who walked to the door to the boiler room and walked in. Xander made a quick detour to the science lab and brought back two steel rods, the hammer, and the mallet. He looked around when he got back to the boiler room door, and Buffy was standing there looking blank. She winked at him, and he handed her the two steel rods. He shoved the hammer into his waistband and held the mallet in his right hand. She took one rod in each hand and led the way down the stairs into the boiler room.
Xander could hear a chipping, pounding noise. As they moved through the boiler room, it got louder. That was when he saw the hole someone had hacked in the concrete wall. That wasn’t of the good. Whoever did that probably had sledgehammers and crowbars and really big things that would make really big ouches.
They stepped through the hole and walked down a recently-dug tunnel to a room that was even deeper under the school. Stupid Hellmouth. Who designed this school building, anyway? Doctor Phibes?
The new room was two levels, and the lower level had half a dozen football players hammering on the floor with picks and sledgehammers and crowbars. The upper level had Mr. Whitmore guarding the opening and holding a box of wood shavings that had another half dozen eggs in it. One of the cheerleaders was kneeling at the hole in the floor, reaching in and pulling out another egg, which was covered in slime. And in the hole under the concrete floor was a big, pink, pulsing thing with a big tentacle sliding up out of the hole. The rest of the bezoar would be under the concrete.
And if that drawing in Giles’ book was right, it was going to be a really, really big pink thing with a lot more tentacles.
He exchanged looks with Buffy, but neither said anything. She pointed at him, then the box of eggs. He nodded.
Okay, he didn’t really know what to do. But he knew what Buffy needed. She needed him to clear out the whole place so she could go mano a icko with the mama bezoar. And that meant getting the football players with deadly weapons out of here.
He kept his face blank and walked over to take the egg from the cheerleader. Funny, but cheerleaders with slime all over them sounded better in his head than what he was looking at. He put out his left hand, and she carefully placed the egg in it. Then he got up, the mallet still in his right hand, and walked over to Mr. Whitmore.
Xander stood to the side, so Mr. Whitmore had to turn away from the hole in the wall. And Xander dropped the egg. It hit with an icky squish that made Mr. Whitmore look down. And Xander used the mallet to smash Mr. Whitmore on the back.
As the teacher collapsed limply, Xander grabbed the box out of his hands. Then Xander heaved the box as far as he could, onto the lower level, so every one of the eggs smashed.
The football players all looked up at him and suddenly came after him, weapons held high. He ran for it. He went as fast as he could, and made it out of the tunnel into the boiler room before he ran into anyone coming the other way. He was really hoping he could get out of the boiler room before he ran into more bezoared people.
No such luck. There was a student coming for him. Bob, from teen health class. Xander looked at the slack face and knew this guy was not going to be his friend. He pointed behind Bob and yelled, “Look out!”
The guy actually turned around. Xander couldn’t believe it! The guy turned around! Did neural clamping make you stupid? Xander whacked the guy on the back with his mallet and scooted past him as fast as he could.
And why was Bob all with the eggy obedience? Bob’s class partner Maura ought to be the one who got neurally clamped, what with Bob not being big on fatherly stuff unless the egg could shoot hoops.
Xander was already halfway up the stairs out of the boiler room before the football guys started coming out of the hole in the far wall. But there was someone at the top of the stairs. Even with the light behind her, Xander could see it was Maura.
‘Note to self. Stop jinxing yourself. Dork!’ He kept running up the stairs, and he pointed behind her. “Look out!”
Rats. This time, it didn’t work. She lifted a metal pipe in both hands and raised it over her head to whack him a good one as he came up the stairs. So he threw the mallet at her face.
The mallet head caught her right on the forehead, and she toppled over backward. Three for three! Go Xan-man!
He turned and looked at the football players running across the boiler room floor. The first one stepped right on Bob without slowing down. Ouch. The second one tripped over Bob and fell. The third one fell over them. No one else came after him. He figured that meant that Buffy had clobbered three, maybe four football jocks, plus one cheerleader, and had the place to herself so she could deal with Big, Pink, and Ugly.
He shouldn’t have stopped and turned. Maura grabbed him around the legs, and he nearly fell down the steps. Which would be extra badness.
She was facing up at him. He fell down on top of her and grabbed her by the shoulders. Then he slammed her back against the floor. There was a sickening squish noise under her, and she collapsed.
Xander grabbed the mallet off the floor and waited until the first football player was maybe three quarters of the way up the stairs. The guy had a crowbar in one hand and the railing in the other hand. So no hands for self-defense. Xander threw the mallet again.
The mallet head caught the jock squarely in the face, and the guy went backwards down the stairs, taking out both of the other jocks. But all three staggered to their hands and knees, then tried to get up to come after him.
He ran. He slammed the boiler room door and took off toward the library. It was too bad he couldn’t get into the book cage without Giles’ keys, because there were some great weapons there. Like a crossbow. What he wouldn’t give for a good excuse to put a few crossbow bolts into some of the school bullies. But he wasn’t aiming for the book cage. He was aiming for an escape route that wouldn’t be blocked by half a dozen eggs-a-cutioners.
He heard a bunch of footsteps way behind him down the hall, so he kept going. He got to the big intersection to the library before it got blocked off. But there were about eight girls who had teen health class, who were all carrying pipes and bats and shovels. Ouch. All he had was a hammer.
“If I had a hammer, I’d ru-un in the morning…” He didn’t sing it out loud, because he was trying to save on oxygen. He ran past the girls, who all took off after him.
He was faster than any of the girls. Not that that was saying a lot, since all but two of them were wearing heels. But the crowd behind the girls was going to catch up with them pretty soon, and maybe the girls would be in the way. He cut into the library, jumped up to the book level, cut through the stacks, and made for the big window at the back. It was easy to go through, and it was what he used to get into the library the back way when he needed an excuse slip from Giles. And only Willow and Giles knew about it, and they were both egg-free now. He opened the window, clambered out, and quietly closed it. Maybe none of his pursuers would realize he’d gotten out of the building, and they’d just hunt through the stacks for a while.
He got all the way to the far corner of the building before more students came after him. They must have seen him while they were guarding the exit doors at the far end of the school. Rats. Okay, he just had to outrun five or six egg-possessed students when he already had a lead on them. And once he got far enough away, he could try to lose them in the shops east of the school.
At least, that was his plan, right up until they all stopped running. A couple fell over, and the rest just came to a halt and wandered around aimlessly. He was pretty sure he knew what that meant, but just in case, he didn’t put the hammer down yet.
He walked back to the group, who were looking totally confused, and were trying to get the two klutzes back on their feet. One of them looked at Xander and said, “Hey! Umm… Harris, right? What happened?”
Xander said, “I dunno. I was in the school, and then… I’m out here. Maybe it was… umm… a gas leak. We’d better call the fire department and the city utility guys.”
The guy said, “Uhh… What? Oh, right, call the firemen…” He wandered off toward a payphone.
Xander helped get another of them on his feet. He clapped the guy on the back and said, “You okay now?”
“Yeah, I guess so…”
But Xander didn’t really care if the guy was all right. He just wanted to make sure the hatchling on the guy’s back wasn’t still doing that neural clampy thing. It wasn’t. As Xander watched, a dead little hatchling fell out of the guy’s untucked shirt and shriveled up on the ground.
Xander ran back to the school. He was out of breath, but he figured he needed to check on Buffy. She might have killed mommy, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t be seriously injured, or maybe be partly trapped under the concrete, or maybe something worse.
He ran down the boiler room steps, down the tunnel, and into the bezoar room. Up on the upper level, near Mr. Whitmore’s unconscious body, were four unconscious football players and one out-cold cheerleader. And there was Buffy, standing at a big hole she had chipped in the concrete in the middle of the lower level. She had a sledgehammer, and she had driven half a dozen really long pieces of rebar down through mama bezoar. There was slime squirted all over her legs, and dust all over her.
And there was a pair of cowboy boots at the other hole, where the cheerleader was lying unconscious.
Oh crap. He looked around carefully and asked, “The Gorches?”
She sighed, “Yep. Mommy got Tector Gorch, and for some weird reason, Lyle figured it was my
He said, “I take it Lyle’s not going to be a problem anymore?”
She said, “Only for whoever has to do the dusting down here.”
But the fun didn’t stop then. He had to help Buffy get the football players and the cheerleader and Mr. Whitmore upstairs. He had to go around telling everyone it was a gas leak. He had to ignore the way his crotch and his chest still hurt.
And he had to deal with the big bruise forming on Willow’s face. Okay, she wasn’t the only one he had clobbered, but she was the one who mattered the most to him.
Once he and Buffy were outside the school, he had to play ‘hall monitor’ too. Giles was at it as well, even if the guy looked pretty loopy.
He watched as Giles explained to several teachers, “Yes, i-it was a… a gas leak, I’m afraid. Just stay out of the building until the fire department says it’s safe, and… and get a… good night’s rest. These things… will happen.”
Giles staggered over to Xander and asked, “Wh-what was it? Really?”
Xander said, “A full-grown bezoar, hatching like crazy. That, and Buffy punching your lights out.”
Giles looked around nervously and said, “Good lord. A full-grown bezoar? It could have enslaved the entire town in a matter of days.”
Buffy asked, “So does this count as an apocalypse too? Maybe one of those not-the-whole-world ones?”
Giles looked like it was too hard for him to work that one out. “I-I am not really sure. I’ll need to call London and discuss it.”
Buffy asked, “Do I get any perks for nipping an extra apocalypse in the bud?”
Xander grinned, “Yeah! How about Frequent Slayer miles? Discounts at Builder’s Emporium on wood for stakes?”
Cordelia wobbled over and said, “Didn’t you guys hit me? A bunch?”
Buffy smiled excitedly, “Just me!”
Willow frowned, “And didn’t you punch me in the face? I’m pretty sure you hit me!”
He complained angrily, “Will! You hit me in the daddy parts with a twenty pound lump of metal!”
Cordelia checked, “Did I hit you too?”
Xander sighed, “Yes, everyone hit me. Except Harmony and Giles.”
Cordelia nodded, “Good. I didn't wanna be left out.”
Buffy said, “I’m just glad I can clean up and be all Secret Identity Girl in the library before my mom comes to pick me up.”
Giles said, “Except that school will probably be closed for the rest of the day because of the gas leak.”
She groaned and said, “Well, at least I don’t have to go hunting Gorches again. They came and found me. And mommy bezoar took care of one of them for me.”
Willow glared at Xander, “I can’t believe you hit me!”
“Look Willow, I’m really sorry, but you were attacking me with a big old microscope! And then a scalpel! A real scalpel!”
“Don’t talk to me! I’m really, really mad at you. And I’m going home to make some fake eggs for me and Buffy using a red gel pen just like Mr. Whitmore bought using Snyder’s school supplies spreadsheet, and you are not welcome, and you have lost all visitation rights to see Eyren!” Willow stormed off, one hand painfully held over the bruise forming on the side of her face.
Xander looked over at Buffy and asked, “Why does this stuff always happen to me? Do I have a big sign over my head that says ‘KICK ME’ or something?”
Buffy grinned, “Yup. After today, we’ll change it to ‘kick me in the daddy parts’.”
“Thaaaaaaanks.” He figured it would probably take Willow at least the rest of the week to get over her mad-on. Maybe until the bruise on her face went away.
He figured it would take a lot longer for it to stop bothering him. He actually hit Willow. His Willow. In the face. What if he really was going to turn into his father someday? He shuddered at the thought.to be continued in ‘Surprise’