Title: A Simple Twist of Fate

Author: Jane McCartney

Disclaimer: Despite numerous attempts to make it otherwise, none of them are mine. Joss and UPN and ME own 'em all.

Feedback: Don't make me beg for it. Oh hell, whatever: pleeeease? Pretty please? It'll just take a sec from ya!

Acknowledgments: Everyone who reviews and helps me. And my beta-reader, Stairway Man. You rules, T!

Author's note: AU. This chapter is practically a rewrite of many scenes from "Welcome To The Hellmouth", with some changes and characters mixed in the way. The storyline will be more diverted in the following chapters.

Summary: For Buffy Summers, it took only a single glance to fall in love with the new student at Sunnydale High, Xander Harris. And since that moment, she'd forever seal her fate as the Slayer.

***

In every generation there is a Chosen One. He alone will stand against the vampires, demons and forces of darkness. He is the Slayer.

***

"Buffy? Buffy? Come on, sleepyhead, wake up," a gentle voice was calling to her, and the blond-haired girl slowly opened her eyes to find her mother's face staring down at her.

"Just five more tiny minutes," Buffy groaned groggily, slamming her head onto her pillow and shifting slightly on the bed.

Joyce walked over to the other side of the room, opening the curtains and letting the strong daylight enter. "Come on, Buffy. You don't wanna be late for the first day of school..."

Buffy flinched at the sudden hostile light, and eventually got into a sitting position on her bed. "No...wouldn't want that," she whispered crankily, rubbing her eyes viciously with an extensive yawn.

Joyce, now in the kitchen, yelled out to confirm her teen daughter had in fact left the bed. "Buffy?!"

"I'm up, mom!" Buffy replied loudly, as the final vestiges of slumber were only now beginning to fade away from her mind.

Unexpectedly, Joyce's head popped through the doorframe. "One or two eggs?"

"Eggs?" a still-groggy Buffy repeated, a little confused at the sudden reappearance of her mother in her room.

"I'd better make it two. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," the middle-aged woman thought out loud.

"You know, you really have to stop watching Brady Bunch reruns," the blonde girl retorted with a sly grin.

Joyce only threw a pillow at her and announced, "We're leaving in fifteen minutes. I'll drop you off at school, and then I'll head to the gallery."

"Hey!" Buffy, left alone in the room, cried out. But the only answer forthcoming was the distant giggle of her mother, walking away down the hall.

***

Joyce pulled up at the school in her Jeep, and dropped off her only daughter. "Okay, here we are. Excited for your first day?"

"Mom, unless you're Willow, it's humanly wrong to be excited 'cause of school," Buffy answered with a perky grin.

The middle-aged woman sighed, and smiled too. "Have a good time, honey. I'll pick you up at four?"

"Oh no, don't bother, Jesse and Wills will walk me home. You can get in your Buffy-less time, and do something nice. Maybe buy a goldfish? Or organize that big wild orgy, when your innocent teenage daughter isn't at home?"

"I'll keep that in mind," Joyce replied, scowling at Buffy, who only smiled innocently in reply.

"And honey?" the older woman called one last time, making the youth spin and turn back to her. "Mr. Flutie called yesterday. He said you should pass by his office, before your first class begins. So I said I'd drop you off ten minutes earlier."

Joyce revved the engine of the Jeep and sped away to the gallery, leaving Buffy to stand alone in the front of Sunnydale High's exterior. "Peachy," the girl almost snarled with sarcasm, spinning around and heading to the principal's office.

***

"Ah, Buffy, come in," Mr. Flutie motioned to the student with a wave of his hand.

Miss Summers stepped into the office, and closed the door behind her. "Am I in trouble? 'Cause I really just arrived at school a few minutes ago, for the first time in weeks. I'd have, like, broken a record or something, but I'm really sure I didn't do whatever it was this time."

The petite girl paused for a fleeting instant, and frowned confusedly. "Did I?"

"Oh, no, no, absolutely not," the principal quickly replied, but his smile died on his lips when he said, in a suddenly darker voice, the following words: "Not yet, anyway."

Shifting himself in his chair, Mr. Flutie then said in a steady way, "Well, now, Ms. Summers, both of us know how you've gotten yourself into trouble in the past. I was just hoping for us to have this conversation and for me to say that, I hope we can run problem-free this year."

"It wasn't all that bad last year," Buffy said tentatively.

"You burned the school mascot's head at last year's senior prom," he retorted dismally.

"Okay, that was so an accident!" Buffy hurried to defend herself. "You're really missing the big picture here - I mean, it was a really ugly costume anyway, and the doctors said Jamie's hair will start to grow back again in a couple of months..."

Principal Flutie cleared his throat loudly, and then smiled in a coldly placid way that made Buffy's neck rise up in goosebumps. "Now, you see Buffy, any other school might say 'watch your step', or 'we'll be watching you...' - but, that's just not the way we work here."

Buffy was confused. "Yay?" she offered weakly.

The principal smiled one of his fearsome smirks again and continued, seemingly unaware of the girl's brief interruption. "I'm willing to, you know, just let that incident pass and leave it out of your permanent record, if you'll do the school and the Sunnydale community a little favor. It's actually a meritorious duty, and you shouldn't, by any means, look at it as a punishment of any sort..."

***

"Punishment? Why would I ever look at this as a punishment?" Buffy snorted sarcastically, eyeing some students pointing at her and laughing, nudging the person by their side and giggling helplessly.

Balancing herself a little clumsily on a pair of rollerblades, Buffy just kept wheeling along Sunnydale High's courtyard with a cranky expression. As she was dressed in a white blouse that, in phosphorescent red letters, had the legend 'Safe sex is cool' written thereon.

And, in smaller letters beneath that, the message 'To be cool too, wear condoms'. Plus, as if all that wasn't enough, there was a matching red cap.

In the midst of her thoughts of just digging a big hole in the ground and diving into it headfirst to end the humiliation, Buffy suddenly realized that she no longer had any control over her blades. She started to flail about helplessly, while the crowd of students smartly got out of her way.

In the hope of avoiding a bump into a more distracted unfortunate student, the blond-haired girl started to shout, "'Scuse me, comin' through, pardon me, 'scuse me, whoa! 'Scuse me, not sure how to stop! Please move, whoa, 'scuse me..."

And that was when she saw him for the first time.

Wow, Buffy thought, equally mesmerized and taken aback by the new boy's unexpected mighty effect upon her; as she felt, from head to toe, her whole body being enveloped by a strong shiver.

It wasn't like he was exceptionally handsome, but he was undeniably cute, and plus, there was surely something special about him. His longish brunette hair was scattered all over his head in a slightly disordered way, with a few locks charmingly hanging over his face.

The boy's body was lanky but, even covered by the long-sleeved black shirt and jeans, easily seen to be well-developed. To complete his cool, slightly 'rebel-without-a-cause' look, he had a red backpack coolly hanging loose on one of his shoulders.

His eyes, however, were what had really drawn her into him. Many shades of brown colored the intense warm orbs, and for an instant Buffy felt the need to suppress a shiver.

He seems like someone who's seen too much, she thought vaguely, and somehow a sudden sadness overwhelmed the blonde during that millisecond.

For some odd reason that was beyond anything the suddenly confused girl had felt before, Buffy simply knew she had fallen head over heels in love with the mysterious newcomer - and the subsequent crash, causing a worried twist in her heart, was a pretty hard one.

It was in this short-lived moment that Buffy failed to notice that she was heading directly for the stair railing, ungracefully crashing into it and falling beneath it, grunting in pain.

A red-haired girl walked up to her, and had to step high to avoid tripping over her legs.

"I'm okay. I don't feel like shooting myself right now," Buffy groaned, but felt her heart do a loop-the-loop when the new student looked at her and smiled.

For a second, it seemed that the boy would walk over to help her, but another hand was stretched out first and Buffy accepted it, getting up.

"Willow!" Buffy chirped, almost gasping in relief for the sight of her childhood best friend. "You're so much the person I wanted to see."

"Me?" Willow cringed in response. "Why? You saw me yesterday. And the day before. You didn't see me the day before the day before yesterday, 'cause you had that thing to do with your mom in the gallery, but you saw me-"

"Will? I really got the point," Buffy announced, cocking an eyebrow at her petite friend.

"Oh," Willow blurted out gloomily, but grinned when the realization hit her. "Oh, oh - gotcha! I was babbling again, wasn't I?"

"I'll stick with talking too fast to be humanly comprehensible," Buffy opted neutrally, offering one of her perky grins to the redhead.

It was then that Willow really noticed the blond-haired friend for the first time, eyeing her upside down.

"Don't ask," Buffy advised, as they walked to recline over at a nearby tree. Buffy's steps, due to the heavy rollerblades attached to her feet, were high and somehow awkward, and she had to push her legs to make it through to the next step.

Willow nodded. "It could've been worse," the redhead offered tentatively, in her typical shy voice. "You could've missed Mr. Sandman's first English class, or, or missed the math test or something."

Buffy Summers just stared at Willow Rosenberg.

"Sometimes I'm odd and strange," Willow frowned under Buffy's blank look. "Uh, but, that would be like, second on the list. Really," the petite redhead amended, and her friend sighed deeply, already lacing up her tennis sneakers that she had taken out of her backpack.

Removing the cap and blouse and holding the heavy rollerblades in her hand while they got up and started walking toward Sunnydale High's classrooms, Buffy looked over her shoulder when a cheery voice called behind the two girls.

"Hey, hey!"

"Hey Jess, what's what?" Buffy replied equally cheerily, while the three friends entered the academic halls.

"Don't ya know? There's a new dude in town!" the brunette youth said happily.

"Yeah, I saw him," the blonde replied, slightly absent-mindedly. Quickly snapping out of her trance, she turned to Willow with a conspiratory smile. "Pretty much a hottie."

Jesse rolled his eyes with a loud snort, and Willow giggled before adding, "I heard someone was transferring..."

"So?" Buffy asked, a little more eagerly than her intention.

"So?" Jesse, confused, retorted.

"What's the sitch, what do ya know about this new kid on the block?" she said, now purposefully looking more detached.

The tall youth shrugged. "New dude."

"Well, you're certainly a font of nothing," Buffy snorted, as the three friends walked in for the first class of the year.

***

Okay, it'll most likely be a three-chapter thing, and really, the summary makes sense. It'll soon. Well, what do ya think about it? Let me know and review!