Smells Like Teen Spirit
Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction site, hence the below material being owned by Joss Whedon and Eric Kripke. Much of the dialogue comes from Buffy 1x03 The Witch
Warning: Spoilers for all seasons of Buffy and Supernatural.
Chapter 1: Smells Like Teen Spirit
“Giles didn’t approve, huh?”
Giles so didn’t approve. What was the big deal? It wasn’t like she could be The Slayer 24/7! She had school, and dates, and even homework to think about. Besides, cheerleading would only help her secret identity. It would totally give credit to the whole ‘normal girl living in a normal world’ vibe she wanted to give off. Plus the aerobicizing would only improve her cardio which had to help with the slaying. For Buffy it was a win win, and if cheerleading occasionally interfered with her Slayer duties, well, that wouldn’t be too bad either.
“He totally lost his water.” She replied to Willow. “We haven’t seen a vampire in over a week. I’d say he should get a girlfriend if he wasn’t so old.”
“Well we’re behind you.” said Willow. Xander nodded along importantly as he looked around the gym, eyes glazing slightly.
“People scoff at things like school spirit, but look at these girls giving their all like this! Ooo, stretchy! Where was I?”
Buffy took the time to stretch while she surveyed the competition. Girls all over the gym were warming up, some with more success than others. She could totally do the splits between two chairs too! Whether she actually wanted to was an entirely different matter.
“You were pretending that seeing scantily clad girls in revealing postures was a spiritual experience.” Xander raised his eyebrows in a playfully mocking way, as Buffy continued to scan the gym’s occupants. “Who said I was pretending?”
“Looks like you’re not the only one enjoying the spiritual experience.” She interjected, pointing at a guy who was a total eleven on the Buffy Scale of Attractiveness. He was currently giving smoochies to the squad leader, Joy. Xander and Willow followed where her finger was pointing, and then surprised her when they let out a synchronized sigh of exasperation. She gave her two friends a quizzical look.
“Um, okay. What’s with the exasperated exhales?” Willow was the first to rescue her from confusion.
“That’s Dean Winchester. He’s with a different girl every week.”
“Sometimes bi-weekly!” Xander added. Willow shook her head.
“Joy should really know better, but it’s kinda become a rite of passage to say you’ve hooked up with him.”
“Have you?” Buffy wondered, though Willows’ reddening face and subsequent babble answered her question.
“Me? O-oh no! I would never! And he tends to go for more uh, more um—”
“Pretty much anything in a skirt. Don’t worry Wills! I’ll protect your virtue from the nefarious Dean Winchester. Just let me know if he so much as looks at you wrong and I’ll send Buffy to beat him up.”
“My hero.” Grinned Willow brightly.
“Anyway,” Xander continued, “guys like Dean might get all the girls but he has absolutely no taste in women. Sure they may be hot on the outside, but on the inside most of them are very Cordelialike. Actually, I know for a fact he hooked up with the she-monster in seventh grade, well he was in grade eight but—” Xander stopped talking when he noticed Willow’s gloomy expression and a similar one crossed onto his face. Buffy knew they must have had a sudden reminder of their friend Jesse who had died the week before. Buffy had barely known him but she did recall that he had had a major crush on Cordelia Chase. She desperately tried to think of a change of subject while she simultaneously squashed the feelings of guilt rising in her abdomen. Perhaps Giles was right and this was a silly waste of time.
“Just look at that Amber. Who does she think she is, a Laker Girl?”
The she-monster herself had somehow butted her way into a conversation that in no way included her. But the three friends were grateful for once for the distraction it provided. Lowering herself into a leg stretch, Buffy once again found herself looking at the chair stretch girl, although now she was working on bending herself in half.
“I heard she turned them down.” Willow said with slight bewilderment as they watched Amber go seamlessly from a backbend to a handstand. Cordelia just scoffed.
“If she thinks her backbends are going to intimidate me she’s got another thing coming!” And just as quickly as she had come she left to rejoin her Cordettes in a gathering of girls not too far from Buffy, Willow, and Xander.
“Speaking of intimidation, Buffy, here’s a good luck thing for tryouts.” Xander said, now back to his goofy self, as he pulled a something from his pocket and handed it to Buffy.
“What’s this?” she asked, while Willow quickly followed with a “What’s that?” question.
Examining the something Xander gave her quickly revealed it to be a simple bracelet. Warmth spread through her chest. She had only known them for a week and they were already the closest friends she had ever had. Although since here old friends were very Cordelialike, or Pike, she wasn’t sure that was saying much.
“Oh— how sweet!” She exclaimed and read the inscription out loud “Yours Always”. She grinned up at Willow and Xander; it really was the sweetest thing anyone had given her lately. Xander started bumbling again and Willow got a sort of pinched look.
“I-I-it came that way, really, they all said that.” Xander explained while Willow let out another exaggerated exhale. Buffy grinned again. The two of them were so adorkable.
“Okay, listen up!” Joy had finally finished sucking face with the apparently infamous Dean Winchester. Her hair was slightly mussed and Dean was lounging in the stands with a very self-satisfied looking smirk on his face. Their eyes met for a few seconds and he gave a cocky wave in her direction. Buffy wasn’t sure whether to blush or try out that iron axe Giles wanted her to train with on him.
“Let’s begin with Amber Grove. If you’re not auditioning, move off the floor.” The three friends moved towards the stands, Xander sat in the front row while she and Willow elected to stand off to the side with some of the other girls who were trying out. Willow noticed someone she knew and called over to her.
“Amy! Hi!” Amy was a pretty girl in serious need of a trim and a professional styling. Buffy embarrassingly thought that a year ago she wouldn’t have given her a second thought.
“I didn’t know you wanted to be a cheerleader! You lost a lot of weight.”
“Had too.” Amy replied. Buffy noticed that her attention was more focused on Amber than the conversation. The poor girl was all jittery with nerves.
“Do you know Buffy?” Willow introduced. They both said hello in a polite manner each of theirs’ attention elsewhere, Amber’s audition was about to start and if what Willow had said about her was true it was bound to be impressive.
“Oh, how I hate this, let me count the ways.” Amy muttered. Poor girls’ nerves must’ve flown out the window today.
Amber Groves’ routine didn’t disappoint. Everyone watched in awe as she performed cartwheels, spins and flips with a perfect smile on her face.
“She trained with Benson.” Amy said. “He’s one of the best coaches money can buy.”
“They have cheerleading coaches?” Buffy dearly hoped Amber was the only one who did; otherwise Buffy’s chances of making the team were pretty much null and void.
“Oh, yeah! Don’t you have? I train with my mom, three hours in the morning, three at night.”
“Hmm, that much quality time with my mom would probably lead to some quality matricide.”
Which was a shame really. Buffy used to hang with her mom all the time. But then high school started and she got busy with friends and cheerleading. Then she got Called and she really didn’t want to think of the fiasco that followed.
“Oh, I know it’s hokey.” Amy continued. “But she’s really great.” Buffy nodded and turned back to watching Amber, not wanting Amy to see the jealousy smeared all over her face. Amber was a lean, mean, cheerleading machine that—smoked?
“That girl’s on fire!” Willow screamed.
“Enough of the hyperbole!” Cordelia said. But Cordelia had stopped watching Amber’s tryout. Amber’s hands had somehow caught fire and she was screaming and waving them in the air, probably in a lot of pain and freaked out. Buffy reacted on instinct. She ran to the nearest banner and pulled it down, then tackled Amber with it, squashing out the fire before it could spread anywhere else. Amber started crying and moaning in pain and Buffy did her best to comfort her.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re gonna be okay. God!” Vampires were one thing, but this! This was not normal. And the itch Buffy always felt but tried to ignore sparked and burned through her. Something had done this to Amber, and she was going to kill it.
“I’ve been slaying vampires for more than a year now, and I’ve seen some pretty cringe worthy things, but—nobody’s hands ever got toasted before.”
Willow’s eyes followed Buffy’s movements as she paced the room. She and Xander had wanted to wait for Buffy while she changed after the paramedics took Amber away, but she had insisted Giles needed to know what had happened right away. Willow figured Buffy needed a little time to get her bearings together, so she and Xander had dutifully followed Buffy’s instructions. Buffy seemed really wigged about what had happened. Buffy, who had seemed so confident and knowledgeable about vampires and, and…Willow was scared. Just a week ago she had been thrust into this supernatural world—vampires and monsters were REAL—and if Buffy, whose job it was to slay the scary monsters was wigged, Willow definitely was too.
Willow listened a little absently as Buffy and Mr. Giles conversed a little and only confirmed what she had suspected since seeing Buffy’s expression of fear earlier in the gym. That it wasn’t a vampire and that they had no idea what had caused it.
“Spontaneous human combustion is, is rare, and, and scientifically unexplainable, but there have been cases for hundreds of years. Usually all that’s left is a pile of ashes.”
Ashes. Willow felt her stomach flip.
“That’s all that would have been left if it hadn’t been for Buffy.”
“So, we have no idea what caused this. That’s a comfort.” Trust Xander to state the obvious, but she supposed someone had to say it, and at least Xander could put some snarky humor in it. Except nobody, not even Xander, found it funny, and Willow couldn’t bring herself to inwardly gush like she normally would over a Xander joke.
“But that’s the thrill of living on the Hellmouth!” Giles said from his perch on the edge of the table. “There’s a cornucopia of, of fiends and devils and, and ghouls to engage.”
Had Willow’s real life been a book or a TV show she might have agreed with that statement, but this was very real and she could end up very dead. Consequently, Willow couldn’t help but stare at Giles and his romanticized view of the real world, that Buffy and Xander were staring incredulously with her helped her feel vindicated. A thrill of excitement ran down her spine. She was openly disagreeing with a teacher, um, librarian—school official! How rebellious of her.
Seeing their combined disapproval Giles became slightly repentant of his statement.
“Pardon me for finding the glass half full.”
“Any common denominators in cases of spontaneous combustion?” Buffy proceeded.
“Uh, rage. In most cases the person who combusted was, was terribly angry, or, or upset.”
Willow thought that over. Unscientific was right. But it kinda made sense. Perhaps the Vulcans had it right. Xander of course took a different approach.
“So maybe Amber’s got this power to make herself be on fire. It’s like the human torch, only it hurts.” Willow let herself show a small smile at that.
“I need to get the skinny on Amber. Find out if she’s had any colorful episodes before.”
Willow focused on the spark of rebelliousness she had felt earlier to propel her. Research she could do.
“That means hacking illegally into the schools’ computer system. At last, something I can do.”
“I’ll ask around about her.” Xander added.
She and Xander got up to follow Buffy out the door, only to stop in their tracks when she turned around, a concerned look on her face.
“You guys don’t have to get involved.”
“What d’ya mean?” Xander said sounding a bit put off. “We’re a team!” He looked back at her for some assurance. “Aren’t we a team?”
Didn’t Buffy get it? They had to help. Buffy couldn’t just save their lives and tell them monsters were real and expect them to do nothing! She had talked it over with Xander after The Harvest at her house over caramelized popcorn and an Indian movie they didn’t really watch. Willow’s parents were out of town for most of the month and neither of them had wanted to be alone that night. They had verbally promised each other and Jesse that they would do all they could to help Buffy. Because even though it felt like they had been thrust into an entirely different world with entirely different rules and regulations, the hard truth was this seemingly new reality was exactly the same as the old boring reality. Willow reasoned it was like everyone was playing the same game and everyone knew the basics, but only a few knew the rules of the advanced version. Life version two point oh. Willow liked rules; they served a purpose and brought order. The more she understood about the world the less cause she had to fear it, and physical power wasn’t the only thing that came with great responsibility. Knowledge was power too, and it would just be—wrong to know the truth and do nothing.
“Yeah!” They are a team. “You’re the Slayer, and we’re, like, the Slayerettes!”
“I just don’t like putting you guys in danger.” That was understandable. Buffy had superpowers and they didn’t.
“Oh I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away.” In Xanderspeak that was like a promise to always look both ways before crossing the street.
Buffy still seemed unsure about them helping, but seemed to sense that they wouldn’t back down on the issue.
“Okay, just walk softly, at least until we know a little more. I mean, what if Amber isn’t the one causing these problems herself?”
Giles’ accent drifted across the library.
“Well, then we have to determine who or what did, and, uh, deal with it accordingly.”
Dean’s hands sifted through the Impala’s contents, pushing aside knives, rosaries, and lambs’ blood so he could reach his witchfinding potion. His fingers clasped around a thick vial and he held it up to the street light for proper examination. The solution was slightly crystalized, and the liquid noticeably thicker than the last time he had done a full check on his hunting supplies two weeks ago. He would have to reheat it in one of the science labs before school tomorrow. He put the vial in his jacket pocket, grabbed the consecrated iron chain, stuffed it in the black duffel, replaced the trunk’s false bottom, and then locked the Impala. Stealthily he went round to the back of the house, making sure to keep in the house’s shadow. When he came to the open window he gently tossed the duffel in then climbed through himself, glad not for the first time that his room was on the first floor.
He took extra care to enter his room quietly. He’d learned the hard way his first few months in Sunnydale that “Nana” Nina was liable to call the SunnyD PD at the slightest sign of something hinky, whether it be from one of the Hellmouth’s many freaks or one of the kids the state of California put in her charge.
After hiding the duffel under his bed, next to his more favored and often used weapons, Dean checked the salt line duct taped to the windowsill. Unbroken. Good. Heading to his desk he pulled out his dad’s journal and a list of all the cheerleaders and wannabe’s that he’d swiped from Joy earlier that day.
Dean hated witches. They were always trying to off people and spilling body fluids. He knew witchcraft when he saw it that was usually the easy part of a witch hunt. The hard part was figuring out who the bitch was. He contemplated bugging Sam to help but dismissed it. Kid was asleep and he’d said something about a Spanish test tomorrow and Dean really didn’t wanna listen to the bitch fest that would be sure to come. It didn’t matter anyway. Witches were one of the few supernatural topics Dean knew more about than Sam. Pagan, Wiccan, Hoodoo, and Demonic were the more common types of witches in North America. He could probably rule out hoodoo, it was pretty rare outside the south. Wiccans were usually altruistic, but the line between Wicca and Pagan witchcraft was pretty thin. The only real difference, since they were both technically pagan, was the types of deities they worshipped and the witch’s own conscience. The demonic kind were a whole nother can of nasty. They were people who didn’t have any mojo of their own who knowingly or unknowingly sold their soul in exchange for power. They usually used hex bags as a conduit for their borrowed powers, but on the Hellmouth they were probably unneeded. The whole town was just that tainted with dark energy.
He glanced down at his list of suspects. Twenty-seven names and he only had one vial. He could cross Amber out. She was the victim. He could probably cross off the four who were already cheerleaders, which left the wannabes. The blonde chick that snuffed Amber out could be ruled out too. He’d have to find out her name so he could cross her off the list. Twenty-one names and he probably only had enough for six or seven tests. He shook his head as he pulled out last year’s yearbook, wishing he’d thought ahead and picked up some coffee and Tylenol. It was going be a long night. A witch that wanted to be a cheerleader was the most likely motive, as crazy as it sounded. Girls were most definitely a different species.
Tryouts resumed the next morning before school. Thankfully there were no repeats of yesterdays’ incident with the fire and the screaming, which left her in an almost unreasonably good mood. Buffy thought she had done well, and that the only thing that could keep her from making the team was her popularity, more specifically her lack of it. Amy had done surprisingly well until the cartwheel when she knocked Cordelia over.
As she left the girls locker room she noticed Amy, still in her mom’s old cheerleading wear, staring into the trophy case. Amy, noticing her nearby, smiled and pointed to a cheerleading trophy.
“That’s my mom.”
Buffy leaned a little closer to read the inscription.
“Catherine Madison. Get down with your bad self!” She was listed as squad leader, and nearby there was a picture of a cheer team with championship dates that matched Catherine Madison’s time at Sunnydale High.
“Her nickname was ‘Catherine the Great’. She took that team and made them tri-county champions. Y’know, no one's ever done that before, or since. She and my dad were Homecoming King and Queen. They got married right after graduation.”
“That’s kinda romantic.”
“Well, he was a big loser. Never made any money. Ran off with Miss Trailer Trash when I was twelve.”
“Okay, that part's less romantic. My folks split up, too.” She often wondered if it was her fault that happened. Sure, they had fights before she burned down Hemery High School’s gymnasium, but she secretly thought they blamed each other for Buffy turning into a problem child.
“Drag, huh? Uh, he left my mom with nothing. She put herself through cosmetology school. Bought me everything I ever wanted, and never once gained a single pound.”
Inferiority complex much? Buffy was starting to think she didn’t have much reason to be jealous of Amy and her mom.
“Uh, she sounds really great, Amy, but, um-” Buffy paused, trying to think of the best way to say this. “It doesn’t mean you need to lock step as far as this cheerleading thing.”
“Ladies.” Buffy and Amy turned around, both surprised to see Dean Winchester checking them both out. Seeing him up close only confirmed that he was one of the most attractive male specimens she had seen since, well, ever. But between him and the mysterious Angel, Angel won. He was tall, around six feet, lithe, and slightly lanky. Buffy figured the old leather jacket he was wearing was to make his feminine face look more butch and his frame more muscular. The guy was clearly built for speed and not power.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything, but I just wanted to wish you two luck.”
“Luck?” Amy replied somewhat scathingly. “The tryouts are already over and I klutzed up major.”
“Yeah, but at least you didn’t catch on fire.” Dean said as he moved behind Amy. He put his hand on her shoulder and leaned down by her ear. “And I took a peek at Joy’s list and you, Amy Madison, are in the top ten.” The intimacy of the moment left Buffy feeling like a third wheel. Though she instantly forgave Dean for barging in when she saw a hopeful look appear on Amy’s face at Dean’s words.
“Did you really see my name on the list?” She said, turning to face Dean. “Sure did. That your mom?” Dean nodded toward the statue.
“Catherine the Great. She was the best. Thanks Dean, I’m gonna get changed.”
Buffy and Dean watched Amy walk toward the locker room, her spirits lifted, before turning to face each other.
“Hey, aren’t you that new girl that saved Amber? That was pretty impressive, the way you tackled her to the ground.”
Buffy looked down, slightly embarrassed. It really wasn’t that big a deal, though it was nice to get some recognition for once.
“Guilty as charged.” She looked back up to find Dean staring intently at her. She was once again reminded of Angel, though his dark eyes gave off more of a sexy, smoldering, mysterious kind of look. Dean’s gaze was sexy, by all means, but she could detect a sort of falseness in his green eyes that led her to believe that his flirting, while proliferate, wasn’t quite sincere.
“Dean Winchester.” He introduced, with an offered hand she took within her own and shook once, but it surprised her slightly when he didn’t let go.
“Well, Buffy, if my ass ever needs saving you’re more than welcome to come to my rescue.” He tugged her hand and pulled her body closer to his and leaned close to her ear. Normally she would be embarrassed by such actions, but for that one moment it felt like she and Dean were the only two people in the world.
“And,” he whispered, “I’ll reward you in kind.” Oh God! Bad thoughts! Bad thoughts! Bad thoughts!
Dean let go of her and stepped back, giving her space to breathe. There was another self-satisfied smirk on his features, and once again, Buffy was unsure whether to be flattered by his attention or insulted by his womanizing ways. She’d be insulted later, she decided. Right now she was going to focus on that warm and fuzzy feeling in her stomach.
“I’ll see you around…Buffy.” She stood in a kind of stupor for a few seconds as she watched him walk away.
“Hey Buffy, I saw you talking with Dean and Amy.”
“Willow! When did you get here?” Seriously, how did her spidey senses not notice Willow standing right next to her?”
“Just now, while you were off in La La Land.” Willow gave her a concerned look. “You should really be careful with Dean, he’s got a bad reputation, and it’s not just for his flirting.”
“Really? What kind of reputation?”
“Oh, it’s nothing like Jack O’Toole’s, but Dean’s considered to be a pretty scary guy. He cuts class, and people say he does some pretty shady things after school, like stealing cars and selling organs on the black market.”
“Organ theft? Really?” Buffy said, as they started walking down the hall toward their first class.
“Well, that one’s probably just a rumor. But I do know he was booted from his middle school in LA for bringing a weapon to school. Principal Flutie has to check him every day.”
“Wow.” Buffy was pretty good at reading people, but she didn’t get the sense that he was bad. Maybe a little dangerous, but this was the Hellmouth, she’d been getting that sense from almost everyone here, even Willow.
“Well, like I said, it’s nothing like Jack O’Toole’s or Sheila Martini’s, but he’s not the most straitlaced guy around.” Buffy nodded in understanding.
“Hey, Amy was talking about her mom earlier, and I was wondering if she was kinda, um…”
“Yeah, Mrs. Madison is um…”
“Heil. If she gains an ounce she padlocks the fridge and won’t eat anything but broth.”
Wow, now Buffy knew she really didn’t have any reason to be jealous of Amy and her mom.
“So, mommy dearest is really…Mommy Dearest?” Willow nodded a bit somberly.
“There’s a bitter streak. But Amy’s nice, we used to hang in junior high. When her mom would go on a broth kick, Amy would come over to my house and we’d stuff ourselves with brownies!”
“Hey, any word on Amber?”
“Nothing thrilling. Average student, got detention once for smoking. Regular smoking—with a cigarette, not, like, being smoky.”
Willow was right, nothing too thrilling about that. Maybe they’d jumped the gun on this. Nothing else had happened and there had been plenty of opportunity.
“I told Buffy about Amber.” Xander heard Willow say as they were walking through the quad during lunch.
“Cool! Was she wearin’ it? The bracelet, she was wearin’ it right? Pretty much like we’re going out.” He’d given her a bracelet and she’d accepted it. That had to mean something about their romantic prospects. Buffy seemed like the slow and steady kind of girl, and you gave jewelry to girls you wanted to go steady with. That’s how it worked in Bye Bye Birdie with the pins.
“Except without the hugging or kissing, or her knowing about it.” Willow unwelcomely reminded him.
“So I’m just a figure of fun. I should ask her out, right?”
“You won’t know till you ask.”
“That’s why you’re so cool! You’re like a guy! You’re my guy friend that knows about girl stuff!” That really was how Xander thought of best friend Willow. And unfortunately for him, that was the most tactful way he could think of to tell Willow that he just didn’t see her that way. He was more than aware of Willow’s not so subtle crush on him. Jesse had often tried to egg him into asking her out and he’d seriously considered it last year for homecoming, but no matter how hard he tried he just could not see her that way. She was his little sister and it would be very incesty if they went out.
“Oh great. I’m a guy.” Not wanting to dwell on Willow’s despondency, Xander decided to focus on the large mass of people by the bulletin board on the other end of the quad.
“Oh, hey! They’re posting the list!”
He ran toward the single piece of paper Joy had just posted, gently pushing past Buffy and Amy and fighting his way to the front.
Squad Captain- Joy Table
Base- Cordelia Chase, Lisa Green, Rachel Heller, Susan Lewis, Iris DeFleur, Krystal Kurtz
Fliers- Lishanne Davis, Dahlia Black, Megan Martinez
First Alternate- Buffy Summers
Second Alternate- Libby Holstadt
Third Alternate- Amy Madison
He made his way back to Buffy, Amy, and Willow while heroically ducking flailing and pushing limbs.
“One of those girls hit me really hard! You should test for steroids.” He gave the girls a wide grin, before continuing with the good news. “Okay, not only did you make the team, but you, Miss Summers, are the first alternate, and Amy’s number three.”
Would Buffy kiss him as a thank you? Would this be the right time to ask her out?
“And what a better way to celebrate than with a romantic drive through…” Okay, something was wrong. Amy looked very disappointed before she ran toward the south entrance and Buffy wasn’t looking too excited either. He looked at Willow hoping she’d explain where he had gone wrong.
“Xander, alternates are the ones who didn’t make the team, they only fill in if something happens to the ones who did.”
“Excuse me.” Buffy said as she ran in the direction Amy went.
Okay, him bearer of good news, not so much.
“For I am Xander, King of Cretins, may all lesser cretins bow before me.” Willow put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“It’s not so bad Xander, they would have found out anyway. It’s just Amy really wanted to be a cheerleader. For her mom, you know?”
They walked over to where Buffy was standing by the edge of the quad.
“Amy is really upset guys. I don’t know how to cheer her up.”
“We could invite her to eat brownies, my parents are out of town, we can make as many as we want.” Buffy shook her head.
“I already asked her, she didn’t want to.” Okay, now he was feeling really guilty. An Amy that refused brownies was a depressed Amy. He didn’t know her nearly as well as Willow, but he did know that much.
“Look, I’m really sorrow about the way I spat that out. I really did think alternate was a special position like flier or linebacker.”
“It’s alright Xander, it’s really more of a popularity contest after a point, and I haven’t made much headway into the popular crowd in the week I’ve been here.”
“Well,” Xander started, hoping to lighten the mood, “that just goes to show that cheerleading isn’t an actual sport. Good ol’e American meritocracy is the way to go. This is the chance for revolution people! Show off some Slayer backflips or something, show those aristocrats their proper place.” Buffy gave him a small, but beautiful, smile, and his stomach flip flopped when he saw her wearing the bracelet he gave her when she moved some loose strands of golden hair behind her ear.
“Nah, that’s okay. Hey, can you tell Giles I’m skipping training today since nothing weird has happened. I promised my mom I’d help her unload stuff for her gallery after school.”
“Sure thing.” He’d been meaning to catch the British librarian alone anyway.
The rest of the day passed in a blur of boredom and insults. The insults being from Larry and Cordelia, who both failed yet again to add originality to their verbal, and in Larry’s case very physical, slanders. When the Bell of Freedom finally rang at three, Xander and Willow parted ways. Willow heading toward computer club, and himself to the library. He found Giles in the back room of the tier sorting through mounds of books. He contemplated knocking but dismissed it when he figured the verbal approach would be much more satisfying. He was proven correct when Giles stumbled forward, barely catching himself, at the sound of his name. Xander watched Giles stand back up and straighten his glasses, inwardly guffawing at the tweed clad cliché.
“Xander, what, what can I do for you?”
“Got a message from Buffy. She’s heading home to help her mom since nothings turned up on the Amber front.”
Giles cleaned his glasses unnecessarily before resuming his task of stacking books, though this time the books landed with an angry thump instead of a gentle pap.
“That is the third time this week! Buffy is the Slayer, she has certain responsibilities that she must take seriously. She could at least tell me this information in person so I could try and dissuade her instead of sending a lackey.”
“Hey!” Lackey? Now that was offending.
Giles, seemingly remembering he was not the only one in the room looked suitably chastised.
“I’m sorry Xander, that was very rude of me and out of line. It’s just been a very trying day, and I too have not found any more helpful information on spontaneous combustion.” Giles let out a long sigh. “Thank you for telling me Xander, you can go.”
“Actually, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you Mr. Giles.”
“You’ve been teaching Buffy how to use weapons and such right? Well,” Xander hesitated for just a moment. This was it. He made sure to look Giles straight in the eyes to show him just how serious he was. “I was wondering if you could teach me too.”
Giles was silent for a long moment, staring at Xander, and Xander made sure to not look away. He’d been thinking long and hard about this. He was next to useless at research, and he certainly didn’t have superpowers, but he could still fight. He’d even settle for playing bait once in a while if it meant he was contributing to the group. Xander had promised himself a long time ago that useless was one thing he would never let himself be. He’d seen first hand what that was like and his insides shuddered at the thought of becoming just like Tony Harris.
“Xander, the support you and Willow have been offering Buffy since you’ve found out the truth is very helpful, and much appreciated, but I cannot condone letting you get further involved.”
“It is Buffy’s responsibility to fight evil alone, and I, I am afraid her having to watch out for you on the battlefield would only get you both killed. Now, even if I did think training you was a good idea, I still wouldn’t. My responsibility is training the Slayer and recording her life for future generations of Watchers and Slayers. I simply do not have the time to train anyone other than Buffy adequately in the ways of combat.”
It was hard to believe that just adding hair to a heated solution of mercury and nitric acid would make a witchfinding potion. It made no logical sense in terms of chemistry but just like… like magic it worked. Willow was both horrified and amazed at the magic she had seen the day before. Giles had deducted that they were dealing with a witch when Cordelia’s eyes turned an opaque white during her Driver’s Ed lesson, effectively blinding her and almost killing everyone in the car. A few hours later, Lishanne Davis’ mouth completely disappeared during chem class. Willow suppressed a shudder, she’d seen that one happen, and she knew the nightmares she’d been having since Jesse died would now be filled with mouthless faces. It was difficult to believe that sweet, kind, brownie eating Amy was the witch that had done all these horrible things. But the evidence was stacked against her, the potion turned blue when Buffy spilled it on Amy, unless it was a false positive. Could false positives even happen with magic potions?
Buffy said she would meet with her and Xander between cheer practice and the basketball game that night, but they had decided to come early and have Buffy’s back since she might be the next victim now that she was on the team. It was a decision she quickly became glad of, for when she and Xander entered the gymnasium they noticed Buffy was acting a little…off.
“Willow! Xander! My buds are here! I love my buds! Hi!” A gleeful Buffy was bouncing excitedly and waving her poms, and receiving no love from her fellow spirit leaders.
“Is it me, or is Buffy a little looped?” Willow shared a worried glance with Xander.
“We’d better get her out of there!”
But Willow could not for the life of her figure out a plausible excuse to give Joy as to why they needed Buffy to leave. Unfortunately Buffy provided the excuse for them. The super powered Slayer accidently overthrew Joy across the room and into the padded gym wall while practicing an assisted cartwheel.
“Did I do that?” Buffy asked.
Willow was almost afraid Joy would catch on fire the way she was looking at the loopy Buffy.
“You are so out of here!” Joy exclaimed as she pushed Buffy back toward her and Xander who managed to catch her before she hit the floor.
“It’s not her fault!” This was so unfair. Cheerleading was something Buffy really wanted to do and Amy was taking that away!
“She’s on medication!” Xander added.
“What?” Buffy asked confusedly. But Joy was not convinced by their feeble excuses for Buffy’s bizarre behavior.
“Well obviously not enough. Who’s our next alternate!” She shouted. They watched Joy spin around to find Amy, poms ready, and oh so conveniently there. “Oh. Amy, you just made cheerleader.”
“No, no, no!” Buffy butt in. “You don’t want her, she’s a wi-”
“A wise choice indeed.” Xander finished, covering Buffy’s mouth with his hand. Together they pushed and pulled Buffy out of the gym and into the hallway, supporting her as her steps became more unstable. They needed to get Buffy to the library quick. The other victims were attacked in a physical way, maybe the spell on Buffy would be easier to reverse.
“She’s a witchy!” Buffy said to them, probably wanting them to agree with her.
“I just got kicked off the team, didn’t I?” She asked them.
“I don’t think it was your fault.” Xander said, trying to assure her.
Buffy gave him a wide smile in response and leaned closer to him, putting most of her weight on him, and out of Willow’s arms.
“Hmm! I know you don’t! That’s cause you’re my friend! You’re my Xander-shaped friend!” Willow had to make a small effort to squash the jealousy that rose up in her when Buffy leaned her head on her Xander’s shoulder. What kind of person did it make her, to be jealous over a Buffy that wasn’t in her right mind? “Do you have any idea while I love you so Xander?”
Ok. This had to stop.
“We gotta get her to a-” But Xander stopped her with a held hand.
“Let her speak!”
“I’ll tell you! You’re not like other boys at all!” Willow’s stomach clenched harshly. Buffy wouldn’t. She knew how much she liked Xander.
“Well-” Xander started bashfully, only to be cut off by Buffy.
“You are totally and completely one of the girls!” The Slayer turned back to Willow happily. “I’m that comfy with him.” Willow couldn’t help giving Buffy a wide smile, the tension easing from her body. And though she didn’t want to admit it, she felt quite pleased with this turnaround for Xander. It was the comeuppance he deserved for calling her a guy.
“That’s great.” Despondence seeped from Xander’s tone.
“Any other guy,” Buffy continued, “who’d give me a bracelet, they’d” she paused her speech to make her face grimace, “wanna date me. And be like a…Oh, I don’t feel so good.” Without a pause she collapsed against them both, and the sudden clamminess of her skin increased Willow’s worry.
Together they carried the unconscious girl toward the library, grateful it was a Saturday and the hallways were empty of students and staff. They carefully laid her in an armchair when they reached their destination and quickly called for Giles, who was in the backroom.
“My goodness! What happened?”
“Amy put Buffy under a spell!” Willow quickly explained Buffy’s symptoms to him as he checked her over, and let out a sigh of relief when he managed to rouse her.
“Her bracelet is gone.” Xander whispered.
“The bracelet I gave Buffy for luck with the tryouts is gone.”
“Yes, um, Amy must have stolen it to use in her spell.”
“Uhh. Why is it so hot?” Willow reached over to feel Buffy’s forehead but quickly retracted her hand at the intense heat and sweat she felt. “Buffy, you’re burning up!”
“Xander, there are some cloths under the sink in the bathroom, can you soak it with cold water please and bring it here?” Giles asked as he continued to check his charge over, occasionally checking one of his books and matching symptoms.
“We gotta get her to a hospital!” Willow said, after Xander came back.
“They can’t help her. This is a bloodstone vengeance spell. Hits the body hard like a, a quart of alcohol, and then it e-eradicates the, uh, immune system.”
“A vengeance spell, like she’s trying to get even with Buffy?” Xander questioned.
“Cause she knows I know she’s a witch.” Buffy explained, sounding exhausted.
“The others she just wanted out of the running.” Giles stated. “You she intends to, um…”
“Kill?” Buffy finished, though she didn’t seem as surprised as Willow was at the idea. No! She knew Amy, she wasn’t a killer! The other spells were nasty and scary but, like Giles had said, they were meant to get them out of the way! Though thinking it over, she realized that all three of the previous spells cast against Amber, Cordelia, and Lishanne could have easily resulted in death if it hadn’t been for chance and circumstance. She didn’t want Buffy to die. She was her friend and she’d already lost one far too recently. She didn’t want to lose anyone ever again.
“How much time do we have?” She asked Giles, trying to keep the shake out of her voice.
“Oh, uh, I’m sure..”
“Truth.” Buffy said. “Please.”
Giles refused to look at the three friends as he answered. “Couple of hours, three at most.”
A deadly silence followed his words for a moment, before Xander slammed his hand on the table.
“Well how do we reverse the spell?!”
“Well I, I’ve been researching that, and uh, we can reverse all the spells if um, we can just lay our hand on, on Amy’s book.” A book? All of this could be reversed with a book? That almost seemed too simple to be real.
“And if we can’t get ahold of it?” Willow was almost too afraid to ask.
“Well, the other way is to cut the witch’s head off.”
A vivid image of Amy’s severed head rolling away from her body filled her mind and left bile in the back of her throat. She never thought she’d grow up to be a murderer, though, Willow tried to reason, Amy wasn’t exactly an innocent party in this. Was killing alright if it was for the greater good? Xander seemed to be all for the idea, and Willow supposed she’d be alright with it too, but only as a last resort. Buffy however, was surprisingly against it, given that it was her Calling to kill, which relieved Willow a bit. If Buffy was hesitant to kill, then there must be a good chance that Amy was still redeemable. She hadn’t killed yet, and she was under a lot of parental pressure. There was a whole chapter devoted to how damaging parental pressure could be in one of the books her mother wrote about raising adolescents.
Buffy and Giles soon decided to head over to Amy’s house and interrogate Mrs. Madison about Amy and to find the spellbook, telling herself and Xander to both stay safe and to keep an eye on Amy. She wanted to protest, being away from Amy would be the safest, she wanted to see what a witch’s lair was like, she needed to keep Buffy in her sight to make sure she was okay. But she and Xander silently accepted their role. It was an unwanted duty, but it was necessary, and the sooner the Slayer and her Watcher came back, the sooner Buffy could be cured.
Giles inwardly cursed himself for his obtuseness. It had taken him three days and two victims to realize a witch was misusing their powers. His inner Ripper was surely laughing at him for not recognizing the dark arts he had once practiced. A youthful Ripper would have found the idea of a mother switching bodies with her daughter so she could relive her glory days as a cheerleader amusing and quite pathetic, but an older and much wiser Rupert found it pathetic and disgusting.
Catherine Madison was a vile and vain person, capable of performing the darkest of rituals if given the proper manuals and guidance, but thankfully she was entirely unaware of the raw power she held within her. The spellbook he’d found in her “sacred” space was middle grade, the spells in it were not permanently binding and it was a boon he was quite grateful for, it made reversing the spells much easier, only requiring an incantation instead of a potion for each of the victims and several days of observing rituals and complex incantations.
As he set up the few ingredients he needed for the incantation in the science lab he observed Amy, the real Amy, caring for a gradually worsening Buffy. His Slayer only had an hour more at most and the thought of losing her so soon was distressing, and he was determined to ensure her survival. His determination was mostly an effort to prove the Council wrong, but Buffy had also started to worm his way into his heart with her frustrating stubbornness and American colloquialisms. As an outcast among his fellow Watchers, due to wild youth as Ripper, he had been assigned to one of the few Slayers that had not been found and trained by the Council before her Calling. These untrained Slayers usually had a life expectancy’s shorter than the average three years, and since Buffy Summers already had a year under her belt her expiration date was expected to happen sometime this year, perhaps a few months since she was stationed on an active hellmouth.
Buffy’s previous Watcher, Merrick (God rest his soul!) had been something of a mentor to him after his reformation, treating him with kindness and gently keeping him on the right path toward his destiny, and making him perform penance for the dark deeds done in his youth. Together they had spent hours going over the Council’s rules, with him explaining their importance and the reasoning behind each and every one of the guidelines he had chafed under as an adolescent. And although he was still wary of some of the old traditions, he understood that rules existed for a reason, and that many times they saved innocent lives from carelessness and foolhardiness.
‘Buffy is nothing like Merrick.’ He thought. But he recalled the last conversation he had had with the man before his murder. He’d said there was something special about Buffy, that she may last longer than any other Slayer in recorded history. That she was smart, creative, insightful, and most importantly she could think on her feet. Giles had seen some of her insightfulness and creativity in the field, but had yet to truly see what his old friend had seen in her, and perhaps he did want to see all these grand things supposedly hidden away in his Slayer, but that would be impossible if she didn’t survive the hour.
“Right, here we go.” And he started the invocation.
Dean had been waiting all day for a chance to grab Amy, but girls tended to travel in packs for a reason, and that was to deter predators. What these girls didn’t realize was Amy Madison was the true wolf and they were all the sheep, Dean was just the friendly neighborhood hunter.
“GO SUNNYDALE! GO! GO SUNNYDALE! GO!”
Dean shifted uneasily in the corner of the filled gym, absently checking to make sure his Colt 1911 wasn’t visible to any of the students. The Razorbacks were up by four shots but it was still the first half and anybody’s game. He didn’t go to games too often, preferring to work extra shifts at the garage if his time wasn’t taken up with a hunt. School events were always too loud, too crowded, and too pointless to grab his attention for long.
He mentally went over his supplies again. Iron chain to suppress her magic, iron rounds to go in each limb if she escaped from the chain or he failed to secure her, and three stakes for extra protection from any vampires he may run into along the way. Dean hoped this could be resolved without a bullet ending up in Amy’s head, she hadn’t killed anyone yet and he was hoping he could persuade her to undue all her spells (which would be a whole lot easier if he’d found where she’d stashed her spellbook). But he wasn’t putting much money on a happy ending, the witch was probably too far gone to care about anyone other than herself. Dean ignored the knot that had been growing in his stomach since Amy tested positive for magic. He had never killed a human before. Vampires, crazed werewolves, and mutant cats sure, but never a witch. His father had been hunting a witch when the police raided their motel room. Come with us, they said. Put the shotgun down Dean. Put the knife away Sam. Your father can’t hurt you anymore… Dad was rotting in Chino because of a witch, Amber’s hands were almost too damaged to use anymore, Cordelia would never see again, Lishanne could no longer eat or breathe through her mouth, and then there was whatever she had done to Buffy. Tonight wasn’t going to end with murder, it would end with justice. Burn, witch, burn.
“FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT! SUNNYDALE! SUNNYDALE! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”
Three of the cheerleaders were now lifting the witch into the air, further rousing the crowd into louder shouts and jeers toward the other team. God! The amount of school spirit was nauseating. He glanced toward the scoreboard to see how long till half time and instantly regretted it. Gasps rang through the gym, and when Dean looked toward the Sunnydale cheerleaders he saw that the witch had lost her balance during the lift and fell. Her face was dark and tense, something had pissed her off.
“Damnnit!” He’d placed himself by the girls locker room, betting she’d be the last to leave after the game, the perfect opportunity to get her alone. But the witch was currently running in the opposite direction, toward the school. Grabbing his duffel, he took a shortcut under the stands, deftly avoiding a horny couple, and reaching the gym doors shortly after Amy passed through.
“W-wait! I-I-I need to talk to you, I-I can help you!” Shit! Wimpy Rosenberg. The redheaded girl couldn’t have picked a worse time to be nice to a sociopathic witch.
“Help me? With what?” The sorceress scathingly replied, starting to move around Willow. Dean unzipped his duffel, grabbing the iron chain, a plan forming in his mind.
“Uh, well, y’know, all your witchcraft! I, I know this really good cauldron!”
Wait, what? Wimpy Willow Rosenberg knew Amy was a witch? Too late did he notice Xander Harris sneeking behind the witch, probably intending to grab and pin her. Everyone knew Xander and Willow were friends which meant Willow was trying to stall so Xander could… Shit! Shit! Shit! They knew the truth but they had no idea how to deal with it.
“Do you actually ride a broom?” Willow continued, but her stalling was useless. The witch knew Harris was behind her and she attacked him with a Darth Vader Choke Hold. Running as fast as he could, chain in both hands, Dean tackled the witch and pinned her to the floor.
“That’s solid iron, you bitch! Try using your magic now.”
“You!” she spat, as she struggled against his weight. “Let me go!”
“Dean! What?” The apparently Not-So-Wimpy Willow was helping Harris back up, and looking at him confusedly.
“Iron blocks magic, and here’s a hint— if you want to do a witch hunt, don’t half ass it! This bitch was about to kill you!”
“Well sorry Mr. Expert,” Xander huffed, “we were just stalling so Giles and Buffy had time to undo her spells!”
“Buffy and who—OW! Son of a Bitch!” The witch, while flailing beneath him, had managed to knee him uncomfortably close to his private area. The moment of pain caused him to let go, which was all the opportunity she needed to wiggle free of the chain and run down the hall and around the corner.
“Sympathies, man.” Xander said as he helped him up.
“Come on!” Willow urged. “Amy’s heading to the science lab!” The three of them ran as fast as they could toward the lab, and Dean was surprised Willow and Xander were mostly keeping up with him. They found Amy cutting through the door with the fire axe, chopping away with an unnatural strength. Dean pulled his gun from his waistband (ignoring Willow’s muffled “eep!” when she saw the weapon) flicked the safety off and pushed the hammer down. The witch paused when she realized a fire arm was pointed her.
“Didn’t you’re daddy ever teach you not to play with guns? Oh, that’s right, he’s in jail! Another perfect example of why men are all losers!”
“My dad’s in jail because he killed a witch. Looks like I’m about to do the same tonight. Like father, like son I guess.”
The witch sneered at him, glancing back and forth between the damaged door and his gun. Seemingly making her decision, she turned back to the door and raised her axe high.
“Like bullets can harm me—” A bright white light enveloped the girl, and when the light receded a confused look appeared upon her face.
“What? Oh my God! You have a gun!”
“Stop screwing around, Amy!” Xander shouted. “Those bullets will kill a witch just as quickly as they’d kill me.” Xander, seeming to second guess himself, moved closer to Dean and quietly asked. “They will kill her right? You’re not bluffing?”
“No! I’m not a witch! It’s my mom! She did a spell to switch our bodies! Mr. Giles just undid it!” Amy’s mom pulled a Freaky Friday? It would explain the white light.
Several thuds sounded from within the science room, drawing everyone’s attention. Amy let out a sharp gasp.
“My mom’s in there with Giles and Buffy!” That wasn’t good.
Together, Xander and Dean knocked the rest of the door to the science lab down, and found the room trashed and Buffy wrestling on the floor with an older woman. A man Dean vaguely recognized as the school librarian was passed out behind Dr. Gregory’s desk.
“Willow! Check on, Giles was it?” The redhead gave a short nod and maneuvered her way around the debris toward the unconscious man.
The cat fight was interrupted when the woman, Amy’s mom probably, and Buffy heard his directive.
“You!” Shouted the witch, the real witch, upon seeing her daughter in the doorway. “You brat!”
Dean and Xander moved slightly in front of Amy, Dean with his gun raised and Xander armed with a table leg he’d just picked up. Amy raised the axe still in her hands in a threatening motion.
“Mom! Please!” The witch raised her hand and the axe flew from Amy’s hands, nearly hitting the boys protecting her, into the witch’s own grip.
“How dare you raise your hand to your mother! I gave you birth! I gave up my life so you could drag that worthless carcass around and call it living!” The witch swung the axe down hard on the closest standing lab table. “You’ve never been anything but trouble. I’m going to put you where you can’t make trouble again!”
“Hey!” Buffy shouted. And Dean watched, amazed, as she pushed the witch across the room with a single punch. “Why don’t you grow up Ms. Has Been?”
The witch, upon picking herself up, started the spell she had earlier threatened, her eyes turning black as she chanted.
“I shall look upon my enemy! I shall look upon her, and the dark place will have her soul!”
Awesome. They were all going to die via magic spell. What a great thing for Sammy to put on his tombstone! He desperately tried to rack his brains for a solution, but the only plan that seemed plausible to him was shooting her, which was a bad idea. Interrupting a spell before it was finished, especially when it was evil mojo like this, tended to result in bad side effects, and a lotta death.
“Corsheth, take her!” The spell flew from the witch’s hands straight toward Buffy, Dean, Amy, and Xander. Buffy suddenly kicked high and hooked her leg, knocking down a pole that was supporting a dissecting mirror above their heads. The spell hit the mirror and rebounded, hitting its caster, who gave a final scream of terror before disappearing.
The group, barring Amy, gathered in the library after Giles woke up. The poor girl was shaken up over the ordeal her mother had put her through and thought it best that she report her mother’s “disappearance” to the police as soon as possible.
Buffy was relieved Catherine Madison hadn’t seriously injured any of her friends, and was surprised to find out this was partly due to Dean Winchester’s intervention outside the gym. Needless to say she was dying of curiosity.
“How’d you know that Amy, er, Mrs. Madison was a witch?”
“Cause I’m a hunter.” Dean said, making eye contact with her. “And I’m guessing you’re the Slayer.”
“What! No! I’m not the Slayer, I don’t even know what a Slayer is.”
“You’ve got super strength, mad kung fu skills, and this is the Hellmouth. You’re either Xena or the Slayer.”
Great. Secret identity not so secret it seemed. Dean was like the fifth person to figure it out since she moved to Sunnydale. The Masters’ lackey’s so didn’t count.
“Fine, I’m the Vampire Slayer. She who has no social life! And I still don’t understand how a deer hunter knows about witches and slayers.”
“I, I believe he means demon hunting.” Giles clarified, Buffy pitied him a little as he winced slightly at the ice pack he was holding to his head.
“Hunters are a rather crude and reclusive bunch, ah, no offence meant Dean.” Dean didn’t seem too bothered at all by the insult though, he just shrugged in response as if saying ‘Hey! You’re right. We are crude, what with our big guns and big ego’s.’ “Though,” her Watch continued, “some are rather e-effective in, um, policing the demon populace in an area without a slayer. But I must say that you’re rather young to be a hunter.”
“It’s kind of the family business. My dad’s a hunter, so I am too.”
“So you’re just a regular guy that fights supernatural monsters. They left that job out of the flier last career day.” Xander quipped.
“Yeah, well, the job should be easier now that the Slayer’s in town. I’ve been wondering why the vamp activity’s been so quiet this week, seems you’ve really put the fear of you into this town. Kinda reminds me of the bedtime stories my dad used to tell my little brother about you to help him sleep.” Willow perked up a little at this.
“Do you really think the monsters will stay away now that Buffy’s here?”
“Hell no! The fuglies are probl’y just regrouping, if anything there’ll be more monsters to kill.” There was much enthusiasm in Dean’s tone, which baffled Buffy a bit. Was he genuinely excited about more monsters?
“You don’t seem too frightened by that idea.” Xander stated.
“Why should I be? With a different monster every week and plenty of jobs in town, Sunnydale is like a hunter’s paradise!” Xander grimaced and Giles started cleaning his glasses ferociously while Willow just groaned and laid her head down on the table. It was a sentiment Buffy shared.
“What?” Dean said. “I’m a glass half full kinda guy.”
“Sammy! You’ve got to hear about the girl I met today!”
“It’s Sam, Dean. And I’m really not in the mood to hear about another one of your conquests.”
“Naw, man! It’s not like that. This girl’s The Slayer.”
“Is there any other kind?”
“The Slayer’s in Sunnydale! Wow! What’s she like?”
“Hot, blonde, and kickass.”
“Okay, alright! She’s fifteen, a sophomore, and she just transferred from LA.”
“Are you gonna be hunting with her form now on?”
“Yeah, Sammy. I think I am.”