Chapter 29: Monsters are real.
Authors note: I sincerely do apologize for my lack of updates. As always real life must come first, but here is a chapter to tide you over. I want to thank my beta Sidura for her invaluable and continual help. And for my readers and reviewers- Thank you.
Chapter 29 Monsters are real
Unconsciously Buffy furrowed her brow.
“The Mayor is going to kill us all during graduation,”
Faith had announced. Buffy hadn’t met the Mayor, so why did he want to kill them? She looked around the room and she noted the shock and disbelief on everyone face.
“Does this happen all the time?” asked Daniel.
“What?” Buffy asked.
“That someone wants to kill you.”
Buffy shrugged. “It must me be Tuesday.”
“How can you be so blasé?” Sam asked in disbelief.
Buffy snorted. “If I thought about everybody who wanted me dead, I wouldn’t want to get out of bed.”
“You have that many enemies?” Daniel wondered.
“The longer you are here on this Earth, the more time you have to collect enemies,” Buffy admitted dryly.
“That’s kind of sad,” Joe muttered.
He frowned as he glanced towards his friends; for the first time, he got it. For years, he had been envious of Macleod, Methos and Amanda immortality, especially when his body would ache due to the ravages of time.
“But it’s true,” Adam agreed with a nod and a slight bitter smile on his face.
Buffy turned to Faith, who was gulping down a bottle of water. “What happened? Why are we on the Mayor’s shit list?” She frowned before dryly adding. “I assume he’s planning to kill the graduating class, rather than just us.”
Faith nodded. “I just finished patrolling, when I literally bumped into the Deputy Mayor, stinking drunk,” she remarked, wrinkling her nose as she remembered the sickly smell of booze and vomit. “…he could barely walk. Would‘ve been easy pickings for any vampires or demons, if I hadn’t come along, so I ‘escorted’ him home. Gave him a nice little talking to about the evils of drinking on the Hellmouth, not that I’m sure he’ll remember it, considering…”
“Faith, what has that got to do with the Mayor?” Buffy asked, cutting Faith off.
“Well, on the way he wouldn’t let up. Let me tell you, he’s one chatty drunk.”
“Faith?” Giles asked cleaning his glasses. “Are we to believe that the Mayor of Sunnydale is going to kill students?”
“Yep,” she replied.
“Are–you-sure?” he asked, spacing out his words as if he was talking to mentally defective person.
Faith rolled her eyes.
“It could be a hoax,” he continued.
“It could be, but…”
“You said this fellow had been drinking?”
Faith gave a nod.
“Giles!” she snapped. “I’ve lived with a drunk! I know when it’s the booze doing the thinking as well as the talking. The bourbon got to his tongue, but it wasn’t joining the dots in his brain if you get my drift. He wasn’t spinning me a tale for the fun of it, he really believed what he was telling me,” she said, her voice firm.
“Why graduation day?” Buffy wondered.
“What’s been going on here?” Buffy asked with a scowl. She sounded tired.
Faith looked at Buffy matching the other Slayer’s scowl perfectly. She wondered if Buffy was blaming her, as if she couldn’t take care of the Hellmouth for a couple of days.
Buffy sighed. “I am not blaming anyone,” she said, taking note of the young girl’s reaction. “I was just wondering where I was, or where ‘we’ were when all this happening.”
“You don’t think this couldn’t be a random event?” Daniel questioned with a look of surprise.
“No, nothing is random in this town,” Buffy said with a shake of her head.
“I can’t believe you all talking about your Mayor killing you,” Daniel continued.
“If you live in this town long enough, someone or some thing will try to kill or worse, said Giles.
“What’s worse?” Daniel questioned his eyes rounded, “Rape?” he asked in a whisper.
Buffy grinned. “Nope. How about world endage?
“That would definitely be worse,” Jack snorted.
Buffy turned back to Faith. “What happened?”
“Nothing much,” Faith replied with a frown as she tried to remember if something important had happened in the last three days. “Just the usual, slayed a couple of vamps,” she said with an indifferent shrug.
“I have my laptop with me,” Willow said quietly.
“What has that got to do with anything?” Sam wondered.
“I can check the newspaper archives, as well as the police and coroner reports,” Willow said.
“Isn’t that illegal?” asked Daniel, looking appalled.
There was no answer.
“What’s going on here?” asked Amanda.
“Sunnydale,” said Buffy bitterly.
“The town?” Amanda questioned, her eyebrow arched. “What about Sunnydale?” she asked, regarding Buffy with a quizzical frown. “It seems like any boring little town. That’s why I am puzzled to why Duncan, Joe and Adam are here, not to mention you, Belle.”
“Seemed’ is the operative word. Because as we all know, appearance’s can be misleading,” Buffy murmured. “Remember the old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’?”
“Oh yeah?” Amanda asked with a puzzle look.
“Well, Sunnydale is that book. On the surface you see a pretty little town, where you wanted to spend your life raising two point five kids, but what you don’t expect is the underbelly. Underneath, this town is really a cauldron of evil, waiting for the dark to eat you alive. This is where the monsters live.”
Nick nods his head knowledgeable. “I understand monster,” he said. “When I was a cop, I saw plenty of sick things that people had done to one another.”
“I don’t think you do,” Buffy said dryly, shaking her head. “I wasn’t just talking about human monsters.”
Nick frowned. “What do you mean? What other monsters are there?”
Buffy gave him a dry stare.
His mouth dropped open and he peered around the room in disbelief. “Oh come on,” he snorted. “You don’t actually believe that monster-monsters really existed? His eyes returned to Buffy’s face for a hint that she was kidding, but she looked intractable.
She spared him a look of pity.
“You really believed that…?” Nick asked, giving her a look of suspicious bewilderment. They were really talking about vampires. Vampires are a myth are they?
She nodded. “Monsters are real in every sense of the word,” Buffy replied.
“Amanda?” Nick questioned, knowing that the immortal wouldn’t lie once again to him. Several months before, Amanda had known he was pre-immortal and she hadn’t told him. When he had found out, he thought he could no longer trust her. But time and distance had made him see it was for his own good.
Now they were here at another impasse, and he knew she had to tell him the truth. Their relationship depended on it. If they cannot trust each other, what type of relationship can they have? None.
She sighed. “I promised to never lie to you again, and although you probably don’t want to hear this, but it is the truth. Monsters are real, as real as you and me,” Amanda said, before smirking. “And we have in our midst a super hero who fights them.”
“You are all nuts,” Nick said.
“No, we’re not,” said Buffy. “I understand it is a lot to take in. Everyone is a virgin until the first time.”
Buffy was suddenly the recipient of some strange looks.
“What?” she said, in reply to the stares.
“I know how you felt,” said Sam, to Nick sympathetically.
“You?” said Nick.
Sam nodded. “We were in the same boat as you,” she said encompassing the small group of her, Teal-c and Daniel. “Just like you, we doubted and I even doubted my sanity until Buffy killed a vampire in front of me.”
“Buffy?” asked Amanda. “Who’s Buffy? Is there another Slayer? I thought there can be only one.”
“Like an immortal?” Nick asked.
“As a matter of fact, there can be more than one Slayer,” answered Buffy. “Faith is one as well, and to answer your question. I’m Buffy.”
“Buffy?” asked Amanda, looking appalled. “You’ve picked some bad ones in the past but what kind of name is that?”
Amanda turned to the room at large. “I remember when we were in England in 1701, she called herself Iphigenia, after some English noblewoman,” she said with a shudder. “If that wasn’t bad enough back then, but Buffy?”
Buffy rolled her eyes in exasperation. “That’s enough,” she said firmly. “What you people have against my name?”
Adam smiled, “It’s weird.”
She gave him a stare, that say drop dead.
Adam shrugged and his smile widen.
“Jesus, Buffy,” Amanda muttered to herself. She took a deep breath and shook her head before turning to Nick, who still had a dumbfounded look on his face. “Everything you had heard and consider to be a myth is real. I may not be as old as Jack and Adam,” she said. “…but I’ve seen my fair share of monsters.”
Meanwhile, Willow had been working diligently on the computer on the other side of the room.
“Are you sure you know what you are doing?” Sam asked quietly, as she moved to stand behind Willow.
Willow jumped. “Major Carter,” she said. “I didn’t see you there.”
“Samantha or Sam,” she corrected.
“Okay Samantha,” Willow said, her fingers flying quickly over the keyboard.
“This must be a really weird place to grow up," Sam mused, trying to find a common ground with the young girl. She hadn’t been around too many teenagers, with the exception of Cassie, and Cassie... was well, Cassie. The girl in front of her had shown so many sides that Sam wasn’t sure, which was really Willow.
Willow nodded. "Yeah. If you can survive being a teenager in Sunnydale, you're ready to take on the world."
Sam eyebrows rose, as she watched Willow worked. She knew the girl was smart, hadn’t Willow helped her when they had to check the diagnostics on the gate. But watching her work now, Willow was showing a different type of confidence as she typed; it was almost as if she had done it a thousand times.
“I do this all the time,” Willow confessed as she saw the expression on Sam’s face.
Sam pursed her lips. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get caught?”
“There’s always a first time,” Willow admitted, giving the older woman a shy smile. “But so far I’ve been lucky,” she added, before tapping on the table she was working on, “Knock on wood.”
“Willow, have you found anything?” Giles asked.
Willow shook her head.
“Mr. Giles,” Daniel questioned. “Do you think it’s wise to allow a teenager to hack into government files?
“Allow?” Giles asked before snorting indelicately as he wiped his glasses. “I don’t allow anything.”
“Willow is the best,” Xander added, beaming proudly.
“Almost there,” Willow called out.
“Danny is right,” Jack said with a frown on his face, “I am not sure; I like Willow messing into Government property.”
Buffy shrugged. “She’s done it before.”
“What!” Jack exclaimed.
“Jack,” Buffy drawled. “…don’t worry she knows what she’s doing.”
“What she’s looking for anyway?” Joe asked.
“I found something,” Willow yelled, causing everyone in the large room to look at her.
“That,” Buffy murmured.
“What?” Jack asked as he moved towards where Willow was seated.
“This,” she said, turning the monitor around for everyone to see.
“Isn’t that the Mayor?” Giles asked, looking at a picture of an innocuous looking man. “He doesn’t seem like the devils incarnate,” he mused.
“Yes,” Buffy said. “I haven’t met him before, but I have seen pictures.”
Everyone looked at the picture on the screen which had legend written underneath, “Richard Wilkins III: Mayor of Sunnydale. Richard Wilkins the third, is the grandson of the founding father Richard Wilkins, the first.”
Willow tapped a few keys on the keyboard, and several pictures pop up. Each picture showed the same face, but underneath each picture were captions that stated that these pictures were of the current Mayor’s parents and grandparents.
“Isn’t it weird that the Mayor looks exactly likes his father and grandfather,” Buffy observe, with a frown, as she took note of the similarities between the men .
“What’s weird about that?” Xander asked.
She shrugged. “It’s not weird per se’,” she admitted. “But everything about him, right now, is suspect.”
“Do you think he could possibly be an immortal?” Adam asked.
Buffy shrugged again. “It’s possible,” she said, her eyes narrowing in thought.
The webpage went on to list the current Mayor’s achievements and those of his ancestors.
“That’s it?” Buffy asked with a scowl.
Willow nodded. “I can’t find anything else.”
“What’s he is hiding?” Buffy wondered aloud.
“Why do you think he’s hiding something?” Sam asked as she tried to follow the logic of Buffy’s thoughts.
“Yes, Buffy it’s not everyone who likes this infernal machine,” Giles said gesturing to the computer.
“Uh?” Sam asked. “What does not liking computers have to do with the information that we don’t have?’
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Prejudice,” she snorted. “Giles,” Buffy said, with a smile. “Everyone is not a techno-phobe like you. But back to the Mayor…something is off about him, and I aim to find out what it is.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t much help,” Willow commented.
“Don’t worry,” Buffy said, soothing the girl. “You’ll probably get to help sooner than you think.”
“On to other news,” Buffy murmured her eyes alight with mischief. “Faith, guess what,” she said, making no effort to hide her grin. “You have a new Watcher.”
“You mean us,” Faith asked, with a frown.
“No, I mean you,” Buffy counted. “I don’t need a stinking Watcher,” she sneered, even though her eyes were alight with laughter.
Giles sighed. “Buffy.”
“Oh, kill me now,” Faith groaned.
“He might do just that,” said Giles dryly.
“Really?” said Buffy, her tone grew chilly. She didn’t like to hear someone might kill her friends.
“Yes, apparently he might be evil,” Giles said.
“Really?” Buffy repeated, this time her grin was feral.
“Aren’t you worried about anything?” Carter asked her tone frustrated.
Buffy grinned. “I thrived on chaos.”
“Relax Carter,” Jack counseled. “We’ve been in worse situations than this and come out alive.”
“Yes sir, but by the skin of our teeth,” Samantha agreed.
“Well,” said Buffy. “I think with this situation, I think we’ll manage to get away by more than the skin of our teeth.”
“Tomorrow’s prom,” Xander suddenly announced.
Everyone turned to look at him.
“What!” he exclaimed, noting the stares. “Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean we can’t party, does it?”
Giles sighed. “Is this important to you?”
“Yeah,” Xander said with a sigh. He pushed his hands into the pockets of his baggy corduroy tan pants. “You know, for the last few years, I’ve sacrificed my youth and other things for this town. If we’re going to die on graduation, I don’t want the prom to be another thing that I didn’t get to do because I was saving the world.”
There was a small uncomfortable silence.
“Besides,” he said a huge grin. “It’s a right of passage. It’s like drinking on your twenty-first birthday or a birthday spanking.”
“No to birthday spankings,” squealed Willow.
Everyone turned to look at her.
She blushed. “My birthday is in two weeks,” she admitted. “I’ll be eighteen.”
“Okay,” Buffy agreed. “Birthday spanking aside, I think we can find at least one hour to party.”
“Buffy!” Giles scolded.
Buffy sighed and shook her head with a frown. “What I’m saying is that once in a while we all need a break,” she said noting the looks on everyone face. Since they found out that the Stargate had been re-opened they hadn’t had any time to stop and think. “Go to the prom,” she said. “Tomorrow is enough time to find the Goa’uld.”
“Robert’s Watcher is dead,” Joe Dawson announced abruptly.
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