BtVS by Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Written for Nerdgirl's "Were-Animals Xander didn't get bitten by" at Twisting the Hellmouth.

Thanks go to BuffyWorld dot com for their catalog of Shooting Scripts for the shows.


Magic Box, Sunnydale

November 2000, Episode: Shadow

As Buffy ran from the Magic Box on foot, Anya stood up and frowned at those who were just watching the Slayer leave. "Well, what are you all waiting for? Go after her!"

"Anya," Giles said sternly. "We're better off researching. This unknown woman's stronger than a Slayer by far. If she-"

Anya pressed her hands firmly on the table. "Look, we know she's performing some transmogrification ritual involving a Cobra blood stone. From what you said, she's probably too vain and strong enough already to apply it to herself. Off the top of my head, she could be summoning a strong lieutenant, a fast scout, a master planner, a host of minions or one of those small poisonous snakes that can eat, grow and split until there's thousands in a few hours. She's only had a few hours to set things up. What the aim is probably less important than getting out there and stopping it, or, if it's something that starts small and grows..."

"Right." Giles nodded. "Xander and Willow, grab your weapons. I don't want you fighting the monster-woman, or being seen by her if possible, but stopping the ritual or fighting individually weak enemies seems reasonable. Tara and Anya... We have no guarantee that we'll find the ritual site or even that it's being performed anytime soon, so any research you can put together will help."

As everyone gathered their things, Giles turned to Xander and Willow. "After I drop you off, I'll stay with the car. She only knows Buffy by sight as a threat so I should be able to tail her or her summons, at least for awhile. Worst case scenario, she's more than likely not immune to being flung a far distance when hit with a sufficiently large force. If only we knew where Buffy was heading! These items were made by worshipers of reptiles in general! Where are we going to find a place aspected towards... reptiles... in general..."

##

Sunnydale Zoo

Willow and Xander quietly entered the Reptile House as Buffy confronted the fashionable nameless woman. They had decided to stay mostly out of sight but they were quite curious about how the Slayer would fare against the blonde who was quickly shaping up to be the year's Big Bad.

Holding their weapons close to their chests they discussed the apparent strength of the monster-woman's minion and whether or not they wanted to try and plan an ambush assuming the short and scabby demon left in a different direction.

"Dreg," the blonde called imperiously as she decided to stop feigning defense and start wiping the floor with Buffy. "I'm not hearing chanting!"

"Yes, Glory," Dreg said and resumed where he'd left off.

Xander frowned, incensed that the minion was continuing the ritual in the middle of a fight scene while Buffy and the blonde they finally knew the name of were otherwise occupied. "That's cheating. I'm going in."

Before Willow could say anything, Xander charged in and, pushing Dreg away, shattered the ceremonial urn. "Augh!" He hopped away. "There's a snake in here!"

From a safe distance, Willow telekinetically formed some of the urn's fragments into a rough scoop and used them to push the hissing snake in the direction of the blonde's recovering minion. The smallish demon screamed and backed into a corner.

Hearing the interruption, Glory turned in time to see Xander pick up the newly-energized bloodstone.

"What, bringing your friends into a fight?" Glory sneered and, turning at a precise angle, backhanded Buffy with all the strength she could muster.

Buffy went flying directly into Xander. Together they smashed backwards through the glass of a cage. Xander's hand was still holding the stone fragment and, as the edges dug into his skin, he landed on top of one of the cage's residents, which bit him in self-defense.

A bright flash of light filled the room as Buffy scrambled to her feet.

Turning around, she saw that Xander had been turned into a giant were-chameleon, just before the large creature faded from view...

As Glory screamed in frustration, her back turned to the plight of her minion, Dreg broke and ran for it. He managed to make his way past the cobra unbitten but, in his hurry, failed to see that Willow was standing in shadow quite close to his intended path. Reacting quickly, the young witch hit Dreg hard in the back of his head, grabbed the incantation parchment and sprinted from the building.

"Argh," Glory screamed, pacing in frustration. "He's headed straight for my Key and there's no way I can track him if he's invisible! That's assuming the ritual progressed far enough to lace him with my intent!"

Quickly shoving the bloodstone into her leather jacket, Buffy scrambled from the chameleon tank, brushing glass from her clothes. "You're going to have to hit me a lot harder than that if you want me to stay down." Buffy charged forward. "Bitch."

Obligingly, Glory punched the Slayer across the room and into a wall. "Well," Glory said, resuming her pacing. "The stone has to be around here somewhere. Worst case scenario, we have the amulet and a snake now. We can always buy a new stone as long as we have that chant..."

"Glorificus," Dreg stammered weakly from the floor. "Your magnificent, magnanimous, opulent Glorificus..."

"As I've said, minion." Glory sneered as she turned her back on Buffy. "I want to be called 'Glory.' What is it?"

The battered and bleeding Slayer took the opportunity to rise to her feet and stumble from the Reptile House.

"The chant... Well, that could be a bit of a problem." As his boss loosed a high-pitched scream, Dreg took the opportunity to pass out.

##

Blinking at the daylight, Buffy weaved through the zoo until she reached one of the main exits. As she started in the direction of the hospital, her mind on her sick mother and available ice packs, Giles pulled up next to her. Willow hastily scrambled into one of the back seats to make way for the injured Slayer.

After carefully weaving through the streets until they were out of sight of the zoo, Giles parked in a shaded alley. "To review," he said, having been caught up by Willow on what she'd been there for. "Xander's been turned into a giant chameleon and he's invisible or, rather, camouflaged by magic or magic-enhanced biology."

"Oh." Willow nodded. "We need to see if Riley has any of those thermographic vision goggles."

Buffy shook her head. "Worse, Glory's ritual was meant to summon a bloodhound to help her find whatever she's in town for. We probably interrupted it enough so any specific directions were scrambled, but..."

Giles shared a glance with Buffy and sighed, knowing that the Slayer didn't want to mention that Dawn was the Key in front of Willow. "Hopefully he's restricted by searching until he finds a scent trail rather than operating off any sort of directional arrow. If you were Xander and you'd apparently been reduced to a basic animal mindset and asked to travel in an ever widening search pattern, what places would you hit first?"

His question was answered by loud screams from a few blocks away. After firmly clutching his forehead, Giles shifted the car into gear.

The screams quickly resolved themselves into cries of something gigantic and invisible in the ball pit.

As Giles and company parked in front of the massed and disorganized crowd in front of the doors of Noah's Arcade, Willow was the first onto the sidewalk.

Hands on her hips, back straight, the redhead yelled "Make way for the Ghostbusters!"

##

The crowd parted.

##

Magic Box

Anya broke off from dealing with a customer while trying to read the tome she was holding when Riley walked in the door to her store.

"Where's Buffy," he asked, not having seen her since he'd visited the Summers family at the hospital and given Dawn a ride to school, with a stop for ice cream along the way.

"Hopefully Xander, Willow and Giles caught up with her at the Reptile House. There may or may not be a ritual they need to interrupt. If it's not happening there, or at least not right now, we're doing research to find what, when, where and why." Anya froze, staring at a customer across the room. "And, no, you can't touch that." She started walking away. "Not without striking the bell next to it twice. Don't you read signs?"

Tara walked up, holding a book to her chest. "As you can see, we're a bit short-handed. Anything you can help us find before they get back would be much appreciated."

Riley nodded. "Thank you. This entire thing with Mrs. Summers? It's been weighing on me. On, well, all of us. I want to be there for my girlfriend and I know that helping her sister is helping her, but..."

"I know," Tara said, leading him to a table. "You want to be useful."

"Yeah." Riley smiled. "Where do I start?"