Well, That Was Unexpected
A Buffy: the Vampire Slayer/MacGyver
Email: Sirius@wolf-walker.net; firstname.lastname@example.org in case wolf-walker decides to be a pain.
Rating: Umm… PG for now. It might go up later
Disclaimer: If you recognize the characters (property of whoever currently owns Buffy and MacGyver), they don’t belong to me… I only own a few minions and random uglies.
Archive: For now, just sirius_writings and XanderZone. I’ll post it to my site when it’s finished – or, at least, closer than it is now.
Summary: A school blew up, and the news stopped at Sunnydale city limits? I don’t think so.
Author’s Note: This story takes place shortly after Graduation in the B:tVS timeline. Since I’m not sure when Xander got his own place, as far as this story is concerned, he is still living in his parents’ basement. As the school is now non-existent and The Magic Box has not yet been “born,” so to speak, the Scoobies have decided to meet (when necessary) either at Giles’ house or at the Rosenberg residence, since Willow’s parents are never home.
MacGyver timeline: I’m messing with things a bit, and making it so that the series only ended five years ago (thus, Sam would be twenty-four). Everything else will be revealed in the course of the story.
As for relationships… well, Angel did
leave town… so did Wesley and Cordy. Oz is still there, Xander hasn’t yet left for his cross-country trip and Anya never came back from wherever it was she went so as to avoid the possibility of dying at graduation. All that being said… on with the fic.
As always, ~~~~ indicates a mid-scene change in POV.
Prologue: Sunnydale Syndrome? Never Heard of It.
Almost noon, the day after Graduation:
The black motorcycle made its way down city streets, heading without hesitation to the site of the city’s most recent tragedy – though some would have called it a miracle, depending on each person’s point of view.
The bike braked to a stop in front of the still-smoldering ruin of Sunnydale High School, and its rider stood in silence. When did California – outside of LA – turn into a war-zone?
Strong hands came up and removed the helmet, revealing the face of a young man. His hair was short and dark, and his eyes spoke of spending the greater portion of his life depending on no one other than himself… but they were eyes that showed compassion. He was independent, but not hardened.
Setting the helmet on the seat of his bike, he removed his favorite camera from the saddlebag. He secured his bike, then maneuvered around the building, always staying outside of the police tape. He didn’t want to annoy them, after all… just get something more in the way of visual documentation than the locals had cared to provide on the news. Of course, there hadn’t been much news, either. A story like this should have traveled farther than L.A.
There were firefighters on the scene, but police officers were scarce. Fire investigators probably have jurisdiction at the moment… but I’d think there would at least be one or two detectives on the scene. What’s up with the patrolmen?
No one came over to ask him why he was taking pictures – just one of many things about this town that was starting to make his hair stand on end. He hadn’t felt this edgy since he was nine, and hiking his way across Mainland China. Something’s just not right here.
Going back to his bike, he dug to the bottom of the saddlebag for his notebook. Granted, notebooks usually weren’t his thing, but in this case – and because Pete had asked – he had made an exception. Opening it, he read the headlines – all articles that he had clipped last night. There hadn’t been anything in this morning’s paper… or online, for that matter. High School Explodes During Graduation CeremonyTwenty-Eight Confirmed Dead, Principal and Mayor Among the MissingExplosion Said to be Drug-Related.
In the end, the headlines didn’t tell him much. No one had offered anything more than conjecture on what had actually caused the school to explode. There really hadn’t been time for anyone to come to any airtight conclusions since it had happened, but the theories had been interesting. He could see where dynamite or C-4 could have been at fault – but then, the question became ‘where did they get it?’ That, of course, was in addition to ‘who are they
?’ If it was some freak electrical malfunction near the boiler, then he couldn’t see how it could possibly be tied to drugs.
Then again, the way this town was starting to freak him out, anything was possible.
Xander couldn’t resist the thought of going past his old high school… more as a memorial than to get in a bit of gloating. Too many people had died to kill that Hell-spawned snake. Was it only yesterday?
Willow and Buffy were going to deal with the effects of this mess by getting ready for college, and Xander… well, he was just going to deal with his nightmares somewhere far, far away from here, preferably where no one would be able to hear him.
Reaching what was left of the school, he parked on a side street and got out for one last look.
The school had been well and truly gutted. Xander was certain that parts of it still smoldered, but thankfully, all the bodies had been recovered. Still… it was almost noon, on a summer day in Southern California… and Xander shivered. There were fewer deaths than there would have been had we not involved the entire Senior class… but it was still too many.
For a supposed crime scene anywhere else, I would think there were far too few cops and arson investigators. For Sunnydale… it’s just about right. There might even be a few more of our Keystone Kops than usual. Hey, who’s the guy with the camera? Never seen him before.
He was tempted to do nothing more than hop in the car and leave… probably would have if the guy hadn’t noticed him. Xander gave the other man a quick, analyzing look, knowing full well that he was also on the receiving end of one from the photographer. Dark hair, but I can’t make out eye color from here, 20-25, looks to be a couple inches shorter than me and in good shape. Given the camera and his attitude while snapping pictures, I’d say he’s a professional, but what the hell do I know?
The photographer in question – one S. A. Malloy, otherwise known as Sam – matched the younger man stare for stare. Sam had always been a good judge of people; he’d never really had any other choice, and he would lay odds that this guy knew exactly what had happened at the graduation ceremony.
A muttered, “What the hell,” and Sam made his way over to the – apparently younger – man. Up close, he could see that the eyes were dark – and he was right, the guy was just a little taller than him. About the same height as Dad. And he doesn’t look too happy to see me here. Is it such a strange concept in this town that someone would want to take photos of something like this? You have to admit, it’s not every day that a high school blows up in this country, but for some odd reason, no national network has picked it up. That’s just not right. If this had happened in L.A or Denver – or anywhere else in the U.S., actually – it would have been front-page news. So… why not now?
“Xander Harris. Nice camera.”
TBC with Chapter 1: Didn’t See a Thing