If you can call them Chapters, this is number 2
If you can call them Chapters, then this is number 2.
Xander and Willow were both more than a little embarrassed that they hadn’t realized; when Amy’s dæmon had finally settled to be ‘just like’ her mother’s swan, Nelson; that it actually was her mother’s dæmon. That was almost as bad as urban legends that went around about people who used regular animals to hide the identity of their dæmon. As if someone couldn’t tell the difference between an animal and a dæmon at a glance.
Then again, no one really expected someone’s mother to inhabit their child’s body like that. But all-in-all, they were glad to see Amy’s dæmon flit between the form of a hummingbird and a sparrow hawk. Proof that she was really their friend.
Similarly, Xander was forgiven for being fooled by the substitute science teacher. The mantis she’d claimed was her dæmon, had turned out to be a demon. Which certainly wasn’t an ordinary animal and explained how it was able to fool them all.
Lance was sketching the monkeys in the monkey house when the Idiot Squad approached.
“Lance! How's it goin'?” Kyle asked if he cared. Kyle was more or less the leader of their group.
“Hey, Kyle.” Lance didn’t look up.
“So, is this like a, uh, family reunion?” Kyle asked.
Lance looked down at his dæmon, who was currently in the form of a squirrel, then at Kyle’s dæmon, who had settled as a baboon. “No.” he said, somewhat amused that Kyle didn’t get the irony of his own joke. Then again, this group kept their spot in the pecking order at school by being among the first to have their dæmons settle and by being mean. Intelligence hadn’t factored in at all.
“I think it's a family reunion. It's so... touching. Doesn't anybody have a camera?” His dæmon made a photo-taking gesture. “Whapish!” she said.
“Hey, does your mom still pick out your lice, or are you old enough to do that yourself now?” Rhonda distracted Lance while Tor stole his notebook.
“Quit it, huh? Hey! Guys, c'mon! It's got my notes in there!” Lance tried to grab it back. Tor’s german shepherd growled and kept Lance’s dæmon, Kelly, from trying anything.
“What's going on here? I've had it up to here with you four! What're you doing?” Mr Flutie and his cow dæmon, Betsy ambled over.
“Nothing.” Kyle denied.
“Did I ask you to speak?” Flutie asked. Besty nudged him to remind him that... “Okay, I guess I did, but I want the truth. Lance?” Mr Flutie turned to the victim, still surrounded and outnumbered by his tormentors. The answer was unsurprising really.
“They weren't doing anything. Really! We were just playin' around.” Lance declared.
Mr Flutie frowned, unaware of why
he could never get a witness to speak up against these four. “Alright. I'll be watching you.”
“You! Came through big time.” Kyle laughed. Marcia, his dæmon grabbed a peanut off the ground, shelled it and handed it to Kelly.
Rhonda smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “Way to go, Lance!”
“Flutie's been looking for a reason to come down on us.” Tor stated the obvious. That was about all he could do. He was the stupid one out of a pack of idiots.
“It's okay.” Lance assured them, just wanting to get away.
“Come on, we're gonna check out the Hyena House.” Kyle grinned evilly.
“...and when they came out, all five of their dæmons were hyenas.” Buffy finished her story.
“Buffy. A dæmon changing into the shape of something it saw at a zoo is hardly news. It’s one of the reasons early zoos were started after all. To give young dæmons access to more shapes they could take.” Giles said as he sipped his tea.
“Yeah, except that the four that took Lance in there, all their dæmons had already settled.” Buffy informed him and was rewarded with a perfect spit-take.
Giles tried wiping the tea off his shirt, the table, and the book in front of him. “You mean to tell me that their dæmons had settled and now they have changed? What about Nicole?”
“She hasn’t settled yet, but she was a hyena too.” Phillip answered.
“Sssoundss like it will be a late night of ressearch.” Tanya, Giles’ dæmon, hissed from inside his shirt. She liked to wrap herself around his waist and absorb his body heat. It had practically been necessary in England, it was more of a comforting habit for both of them now in California.
“Why couldn't Xander be possessed by a puppy or, or some ducks?” Willow bemoaned.
Buffy frowned from where she was doing her own research. “That's assuming ‘possession’ is the right word.”
“Oh, I'll say it is.” Giles said as he came over from the book cage. “The Masai of the Serengeti have spoken of animal possession for generations. I should have remembered that.”
“So how does it work?” Buffy asked.
“Well, apparently there's a sect of animal worshipers known as Primals. They believe that dæmons are a perversion, a dilution of spirit. To them the animal state is holy. They are able, through trans-possession, to draw the spirit of certain animals into themselves and their dæmons. They gain power, though their dæmons lose all capability of speech.”
“And then they start acting like hyenas.” Buffy concluded.
“Well, only the most predatory of animals are of interest to the Primals, so, yes, that would fit.”
“So, what happens to the person once the spirit's in them?”
“If it goes unchecked...” Giles handed over a book opened to a page that showed a man with all his limbs torn off.
“I can speak again!” Nicole cried out and hugged Phillip. Very few of the humans had noticed that all the possessed students’ dæmons hadn’t spoken since the field trip. Then again, dæmons didn’t really talk to strangers. Mostly their own humans, dæmons they were friends with, and those dæmons’ humans; in that order.
The Slayerettes were walking up the steps to the school after Buffy told them about Angel being a vampire. “Angel's a vampire?” Willow repeated.
“I can't believe this is happening. One minute we were kissing, and the next minute...” she turned to Giles. “Can a vampire ever be a good person? Couldn't it happen?” Buffy begged for the answer she wanted to hear.
“A vampire isn't a person at all. It may have the movements, the, the memories, even the personality of the person that it took over, but i-it's still a demon at the core, there is no halfway.” Giles explained.
“So that'd be a no, huh?” Willow said.
“Well what about his dæmon? That was no ordinary pig. We talked.” Buffy pointed out.
“I bit her!” Phillip added. Around school, he mostly stayed in Chihuahua form. That form was very popular among dæmons of teenaged girls.
Buffy waved at her dæmon as if to say, ‘See?’. Out loud, she went on. “What was he doing, then? Why was he good to me? Was it all some part of the Master's plan? It doesn't make sense!”
The three teens sat down on a bench.
“Alright, uh... you have a problem, and it's not a small one. Let's take a breath and look at this calmly and objectively. Angel's a vampire. You're a Slayer. I think it's obvious what you have to do.” Xander broke out into a large grin at the thought of Angel’s demise. When Buffy doesn’t react, he looked to Giles for agreement.
“Uh, it is a Slayer's duty...” the watcher pointed out.
“I know you have feelings for this guy, but it's not like you're in love with him, right?” Xander tried.
Buffy just looked away.
“You're in love with a vampire?! What, are you outta your mind?!”
“What?!” Cordelia overheard.
“Not vampire...” Xander said to Cordelia then turned to Buffy. “How could you love an umpire? Everyone hates 'em!”
Nicole hid her face in shame at her human’s lame coverup while Cordelia pretended not to hear and instead berated one of her minions for wearing the same dress she had.
Angel entered his apartment and realized something was wrong. “Who's here?”
“A friend.” Darla walked out of the shadows wearing a Catholic schoolgirl outfit. “Hi. It's been a while.”
Mary dove under the bed. Darla wasn’t willing to risk killing her in case that took Angelus with her. The gypsies had told her that would happen if she killed the dæmon. But she wasn’t above aiming a kick in her direction.
“Or two, but who's counting?” Darla smiled.
“What's with the Catholic schoolgirl look? Last time I saw you it was kimonos.” Angel remembered.
“And last time I saw you it wasn't high school girls. Don't cha like? Remember Budapest? Turn of the century? You were such a bad boy during that earthquake.”
“You did some damage yourself.”
“Is there anything better than a natural disaster? The panic. The people lost in the streets. It's like picking fruit off the vine.” Darla reached the bed Mary was hiding under and bounced on it a couple times. “Nice! You're living above ground, like one of them. You and your new friend are attacking us, like one of them.” Darla got up and went to the window. “But guess what, precious? You're not one of them.” She ripped the blinds open, briefly bathing Angel in sunlight. He yelled then staggered out of it and back into the shadows. “Are you?” she finished.
“No. But I'm not exactly one of you either.” Angel said, with those words, Mary trotted out from under the bed and into the sunlight. It didn’t hurt her any, and she was safer from Darla in the sunlight than under the bed.
Darla looked at her in disgust.
Angel had learned centuries ago not to underestimate teenage boys. They hadn’t known about testosterone back then by name, but for untold generations, teenaged boys went out and did stupid stuff. Stuff that should have killed them. Stuff that often did kill them, but they got lucky and survived more often than not. That was why the most dangerous duelists were untrained teenagers. They didn’t know any better so they performed moves that should have gotten them killed. Instead, opponents not ready for a move that should have resulted in an easy kill for them, couldn’t get up a defense in time.
That was part of the reason that Angel feared Xander. Xander reminded him of those inexperienced duelists and he knew that in a fight, somehow his experience would actually work against him. And secondly, Xander’s dæmon was currently in the form of a huge
hyena. It had glared at Mary and drooled until she had hidden under the bed again. And now it was eying him like he
was going to be lunch. And somehow Angel didn’t think that the taboo about dæmons touching people was going to stop Xander or Nicole from killing him.
“You're in love with her.” Angel said.
“Aren't you?” Xander and Nicole said as one.
Angel had expected Nicole to shrink or transform or something after he’d agreed to guide them to the Master. Instead, she’d stayed incredibly huge. Angel was lost in thought as they got to an intersection and he forgot where he was and which way to turn. He was forced to stop and think for a moment. “This way.” he remembered and led the way. Xander was giving him an odd look. “What?”
“You were looking at my neck.” Xander claimed.
“You were checking out my neck! I saw that!” the human said.
“No, I wasn't!” Angel denied. He had much more important things to think about right now. Such as what he was going to do about Xander and Nicole when they found Buffy dead. Run or fight?
“Just keep your distance, pal.” Xander ordered.
“I wasn't looking at your neck!” he scowled.
“I told you to eat before we left.”
“Stop it, Xander.” Nicole ordered seriously. Honestly, her human could be so... She sniffed the air ahead of them. “We’re close.”
“She's dead!” Angel said when they found Buffy’s body in the puddle in the Master’s cave.
“No. She's not dead.” Xander denied. He and Nicole raced to her side.
“She's not breathing. Phillip’s gone.” Angel pointed out.
“But if she drowned, there's a shot! CPR!” Xander hoped. CPR had been around more or less since the second World War. Doctors still didn’t know how
it brought dæmons back into being after they’d faded into Dust, but they knew it worked. And that was what mattered.
“You have to do it. I have no breath.” Angel claimed. The truth was, he feared Xander would dust him if he failed to revive Buffy and he had no idea how long she had been dead. Long enough that they hadn’t run into the Master or any of his minions on the way here. Turning his back on Xander was not making his to-do list anytime soon.
“Buffy.” Xander said as she coughed up a couple lungfuls of water.
“Welcome back.” Xander said as he got to his feet. He then reached down and helped Buffy to hers. “Easy. Easy.” Nearby, Nicole was giving Phillip’ new form a good licking. To dry him off, and to remove any stray Dust.
“The Master?” Buffy asked.
“He's gone up.” Angel answered.
Phillip started for the tunnel with Nicole by his side. Buffy was right behind them.
“No. You're still weak.” Xander said, trying to stop her.
“No. No, I feel strong. I feel different. Let's go!” Buffy said.
“What form is Phillip in?” Angel asked as they exited the cave. “Some kind of badger?”
It was Phillip who stopped and turned to address Angel. “Honey Badger don’t give a shit.”
To say the Master was surprised when a small dæmon clamped onto his balls would be an understatement. The beast positively would not
let go. When a giant, black tiger leapt from the shadows and hit him in the chest, he fell backwards through the skylight. Sans testicles.