Rune Tobor: I usually answer reviews in PM but, as you reviewed as a guest, going to have to do it here.
Starway Man's story is the only other place I've seen Darla take Angel's place. Doesn;t mean others haven't done it, it's jsut the only place I've seen it. And it was after I'd started this story that i saw his.
Sorry you're disapointed about Jesse dying like in canon. Some of thsoe thigns you mentioned woudl be interesting, but, unfortunately, Jesse's death is kinda important to Xander's character growth. I do have to other stories starting at the start of Season One though. The Chosen Four and My Immortal. I have a kind of interesting idea, so he may survive one of thsoe two stories.
Your thoughts on a vampire using captive people as cattle are interesting, and there are probably vampires out there who would do that, but, remember, the Master needed the slaughter so he could be freed. And remember, he DoES soemthing like yo usaid in the alternate universe of The Wish.
We'll have to disagree about Cordelia. I think she found soemthing brave and at least mildy heroic in both herself and Xander in that scene.
Magic addiction may not have been brought up early in the series, but, Willow and Tara DID disagree about some of Willows magic use as early as season 5. It kidna makes sense to me that soemthing like magic woudl be addictive. And have a Dark Side that one could fall to like Willow did after Tara's death. Glad you liekd me having /Tara start Willow's,and Amy's, training.
Glad you're enjoying the story.
Chapter Twelve: Never Kill A Girl On The First Date Pt 2
The next morning, as Bill sat at a table in the library, a pile of books around him, Buffy sat ON the same table, studying the ring. It was a creepy looking thing, though, Buffy could not for the life of her identify what was creepy about it. She looked up as Giles made his way down to her from the stacks, leafing through a book.
"That symbol on the ring," he said without looking up."I believe it's the rune for fidelity, but, uh, it doesn't seem to connect with any of the sects I've studied."
"What about this?" asked Buffy, showing Giles the ring. On the inside band was anm engraving of a sun and three stars. "On the inside. Haven;t we seen that before?"
"Let me see," said Giles, taking the ring, frowning as he studied it. "No, I-I don't think this, um, represents anything."
"That's a little premature, G-man," said Bill, standing and holding out a book for both of them to see. "It's right here. Sun, three stars."
Buffy looked over his shoulder. "Yuck. Check those guys out," she said. She looekd to Giles. "Told you it looked familiar."
Giles took the book and read. "Oh. The Order of Aurelius. Yes, you're right," he somewhat grudgingly admitted. "And don't call me "G-Man"," he added to Bill.
Buffy gave Giles a cocky grin. "Ooooo. Two points for the Slayer, a point for the Half-Demon while the Watcher has yet to score!" Bill chuckled as Giles glared at her. All three looked up as they heard someone enter the library.
Buffy grinned as a girl named Shannon walked in. She was a really pretty girl with long, wavy brown hair, wearing tight black slacks and a white blouse. Buffy only knew her a little. She was a smart girl, but seemed to be a bit of an outsider. And she knew Bill liked her. she had just been teasing him a couple of nights ago. It was only fair after all the grief he gave her about Darla. The thing that confused Buffy was, Bill didn't lack confidence with girls, he'd dated Cordelia for crying out loud,but, he seemed really reluctant to ask Shannon out.
"Hey, Shannon," said Bill smiling.
"Hi Bill, Hi Buffy," she said, smilingback then giving them a smirk. "Study group?"
A bit flustered at being interrupted, Giles looked at Shannon. "What do you want?" he asked a touch rudely.
Shannon gave him a confused look. "Gee, maybe a book?" she said sarcastically, making Bill chuckle.
"See,"said Buffy sassily to Giles. "this is a school, and in America, schools have students, and the students come to the library and check out books, and then...they LEARN stuff!" Bill and Shannon both laughed.
Giles gave Buffy a hard glare. "I was beginning to suspect that was just a myth," he said sarcastically. He pointedly looked away from Buffy. "What can I help you find?" he asked her.
"I was looking for a book on Ancient Roman ceremonial weapons,' said Shannon. "I'm doing a report for history class."
Bill stepped in front of Giles. "Oh, I know where stuff like that is," he said. "C'mon, I'll show you. That's an interesting topic."
"Well, I've always liked swords and knives and stuff," said Shannon as they walked. "Mr. Collins said we could choose any subject we wanted, so long as it was in the time period."
"Cool," said Bill, finding the right section. He turned and glared at Buffy who was smirking at him. "I'm a little surprised though. I wouldn't have pegged you for a weapon lover."
Shannon picked two books and smirked at him. "So, you've given it soem thought?" she asked flirtatiously.
Bill grinned back. "Well, maybe a LITTLE," he said. "You know, when you're in math class, and the teacher is droning on, and yo usee a pretty girl two rows in front of you, you can't help but think about what she's like."
Shannon shook her head. "Not really," she said as they took her books and walked to the check out counter. "I don't get distracted by pretty girls too often."
"The important part is, you do soemthimes," Bill teased, making Shannon elbow him in the stomach.
"Shut up," she said playfully as Giles took her books.
"Yes," said Giles, scanning the books and Shannons card. "These should be very helpful."
"Thanks," said Shannon, taking the books and her card and smiling at Giles. She turned to Bill. "I'll see you in math. I'll try not to be TOO distracting."
"Don't bother on MY account," Bill quipped as Shannon left. She looekd over her shoulder, smield and waved.
"So," said Giels once she was gone, immediately returning to buisness. "The Order Of Aurelius is a very old and venerated sect. If they're here, it's for a good reason."
Buffy, totally ignoring Giles, moved closer to Bill. "You loooooove her," she singsonged.
"Shut up,"said Bill, a lot more seriously than Shannon had said it to her before.
"You're gonna maaaaaaaaarry her," Buffy continued.
"Look," said Bill, exasperatedly. "Yeah, I like her. But it was just a little flirting. I'm not going to be dating anybody right now."
"Just last night I decided to ask Darla out, and you encouraged me,"said Buffy, getting a little aggravated with him. "I may have been teasing yo ua little, but she's pretty and nice and you two get along. Ask her out for God's sake!"
"Darla?" asked Giles confused. "You're going on a date with Darla?"
Buffy mentally kicked herself. She hadn't meant to mention that in front of Giels just yet. Old people could be weird about that sort of stuff. "I haven't asked her yet,"said Buffy. She looked at Giles challengingly. "But yeah, I like her in a dating way. I like a girl in a dating way. Do you have a problem with that?"
Giles looked flustered. "W-well, no," he answered. "Not the fact that she's a girl. "But Buffy, you're the Slayer." He turned to Bill. "And the Powers That Be have charged you with helping Buffy. Niether of you can afford to let things like dating get in theway of your duties."
Bill looked at Giles. He was angry. "Look, G-Man," he said, pointedly calling Giles "G-Man". "You're Buffy's Watcher, not mine. So, I'll thank you to trust me to know my duty, and back off!"
"Ok, ok, you guys," said Buffy, trying to stem off the explosion. "Order Of Aurelius, Vampire. Time to concentrate."
Both glared at each other, but nodded and turned back to the books.
"Bill and Shannon Mosely?" asked Willow as she and Buffy waited in the lunch line to pay for their lunches.
"Well," answered Buffy. "it's not exactly a "Bill and Shannon" thing yet. They were just talking and flirting in the library earlier. But they were totally into each other. It was really kinda cute."
Willow smiled. "I'm glad," she said. "Xander and I weren't exactly friends with him when he and Cordelia were dating, but, I know he went into a funk after he broke up with her. I really don't think he's dated anyone since."
"Well, I imagine it's really hard to find out yoru father is a demon..." she broke off as she discovered she was next in line and that the lunch lady was staring at her.",,,,strator. For products at the mall. As his second job. Nobody likes to find out their Dad has a second job." The lunch lady just ignored Buffy and took firs hers then Willows money. The two started towards a table where Bill, Tara, Xander, and Cordy were sitting. "How are the magic lessons going?"
"Willow brightened immediately. "Oh, it's great," she said. "Amy knows more than I do, but Tara says I have more actual talent. She said Amy may not have managed the attraction spell with anybody else."
Buffy grinned at Willow's enthusiasm. "And with Tara herself?" She shook her head at Willows shocked look. "Oh come on, Will. The whole gang knows the spell affected the two of you."
"I know," said Willow, chewing her bottom lip. "It's just really new to me. Being attracted to girls. We talked about it, and she understands that I need tiem to figure things out." She paused. "Are you ok with all that?"
Buffy laughed out loud and shook her head. "Will,"she said softly. "I think you may be the only one who hasn't noticed, well, you and Giles, but, I've kinda been going through the same thing myself. With Darla."
Willow looked at her. "I wondered,"she said. "I thought there might be something there, but, I'm not exactly well versed at love, so thought it might be in my inagination."
"Well, it's not," said Buffy, smiling affectionately as she saw Cordelia roll her eyes at Bill and Xanders antics. "I've been trying to figure this stuff out for awhile now. Bill was really helpful last night."
Willow smiled. "Good,' she said. "he's really a lot smarter than everybody thinks he is."
"I think he's smarter than HE thinks he is," Buffy chuckled. The two approached the table and greeted everybody. Buffy sat next to Bill and Willow sat next to Tara.
Xander held up his fork. "Has anybody given any thought as to what thsi green stuff is?" he asked, pondering the complexities of school cafeteria food.
"I'm MAJORLY avoiding the subject," said Cordelia, wrinkling her nose. Tara nodded in agreement.
"I'm going with kale," said Xander. he thought a moment. "Or possibly string cheese." Cordelia laughed and nudged his arm with her elbow. The two really seemed to be boardering on boyfriend/girlfriend territory. Xander turned to Buffy and Bill. "So, how'd it go last night?"
"It went fine, thank you," said Buffy. "Looks like there's soem new hoidy toidy vampire sect in town."
"But it keeps us from getting bored, and brings in the much needed tourist dollar," Bill put in. "So, it's all good." They all chuckled lightly.
"Buffy," said Willow. "Look over there."
Buffy turned, and saw Darla standing there, almost in the shadows, smiling at her. She smiled. "Excuse me guys," she said, getting up and walking over.
She saw Darla smirk as she got closer. "Hey Slayer," she said.
"I didn't think you went to school here," said Buffy, teasingly.
Darla laughed lightly. "Nah, I'm a tiny bit older than you," she said. "I came by to see you. And to tell you something."
"What's up?" asked Buffy, a little disapointed that seeing her was not the only reason.
"Don't pout," Darla gently teased. "What I have to say COULD have waited, but I couldn't wait to see you." She guided Buffy over to a table in the corner and they sat down, next to each other, their backs to everybody else in the cafeteria. Buffy rested her hands on the table and Darla rested one of her hands on top of Buffy's. Buffy felt a thrill go through her as their skin touchedos barely noticing that Darla seemed tobe one of those people who always had cold hands. "I jsut wanted to tell you, I think something is up. Could be something big. There haven't been any incidents, just a feeling I have."
"Yeah, I took out a vamp last night that seems to be part of some sect or something," she said. "Giles is in full reasearch mode."
"Good," said Darla, her thumb tracing little circles on Buffy's hand. Buffy made a contented sigh. "You and Bill both have my number if you need any help."
"Yeah,"said Buffy, a little dreamily. She reached down and plucked up some courage. "Darla?" she said.
"Yeah?" said Darla just as dreamily.
"I think I've figured out what I want," said Buffy. "About us."
"Yeah?" said Darla, obviously suddenly nervous.
"I want us to have a date and see where thigns go from there," said Buffy. "Bronze, tonight?"
Darla smiled. "I'd love to, Buffy," she said. "Meet you there at eight?"
"Eight is perfect,"said Buffy. "Want to come over and sit with my friends and I?"
"No thank you," said Darla. "I have some errands to run, then i have to go home and get ready. I have this big date tonight I want to look perfect for." Both girls laughed softly and leaned closer together. To msot observers, it just looked like the two pretty blondes were whispering to each other.
"Ok,"said Buffy, she quickly, softly kissed Darla, this time full on the lps, then looked to make sure nobody saw her. "Bye, Darla. See you tonight."
"Bye, Slayer," said Darla, then she got up and left. Buffy stood and made her way back to the rest of the Scoobies.
"Who's that?" asked Tara as Buffy and Darla sat down.
"That's Darla,"said Bill with a smile. "The one we told you about."
Cordelia and Xander exchanged a glance as the two girls sat close to each other. "Do you think...?" she asked.
"I think," said Bill, Willow and Xander smiling. Tara watched the two and got the message.
A year ago, Cordelia would have been apalled. Even now, she didn't understand the whole gay thing, but, between observing Buffy and Darla, then Willow and Tara during the whole spell fiasco, she found she was becoming more tolerant. Buffy and Willow were becoming her friends, and she just wanted them to be happy. "Good," she said. "Good for her."
Bill looked around the table. Everybody was paired off it seemed. Buffy had just asked Darla out, Xander and Cordy were doing well, and even though he was pretty sure Willow was trying to figure things out, she and Tara were clearly into each other. Even Oz and Amy had been out on a few dates. Bill looked over and saw Shannon sitting by herself. "Excuse me guys," he said and got up and walked over to her. "Hey you," he said to her. "Mind if I sit down?"
"Of course not," said Shannon. "And Hey back. How are you?"
"Doing good," said Bill. "You?"
"I'm good," said Shannon. "Those books are already a big help."
"Good," said Bill, fidgiting a bit. "God, it's been SO long since I've done this." Shannon just looked at him, raising an eyebrow. Bill took a deep breath. "I haven't dated anybody since Cordelia," said Bill. "Mostly because my life's gone through a lot of changes lately. But, I look at you, and then we had our conversation this morning, and all I can think is "I want to take this girl out." On a date. Not mobster "take her out". But you probably got that, huh?" She shook hsi head at himself. "Told you it had been a long time."
Shannon sat there and chuckled softly. She'd always thought of Bill as very confident and together, but, him being so nervous right now, well, she found it endearing. "And yet, with al lthe stumbling, you're doing it pretty well. And yes, I'd love to go out with you."
Bill gave her a big dopey grin. "Tonight?" he asked. "Bronze?"
"I'm afraid my grandparents are coming over tonight," said Shannon, rolling her eyes. "It's not always the most thrilling of evenings, and Gramps does smell of moth balls,but they're sweet. Tomorrow night? And how about dinner rather than the Bronze?"
"That works for me," said Bill. "And thank yo ufor not running and hiding at my gooberness."
"It was very sweet," said Shannon smiling. She looekd at the clock. "Oops, I need to meet my councillor before my next class. See you tomorrow night, if not before."
"Bye, Shannon," said Bill as she stood and left. Wow. He'd done it. He had a date tomorrow night.
Everybody split off as lunch ended, Buffy and Willow stil ltalking about Buffy's date as Bill walked along behind.
"It's really not that big of a deal," said Buffy, totally unconvincingly. "It's just the Bronze."
"It's TOTALLY a big deal!" argued Willow. The two went into a round of "is not" "Is too" for a few when Willow saw Giles coming towards them. "Tell her, Giles!"
"I'm afraid it's very big," said Giles grimly.
"Thank you," said Willow, smiling victoriously. Then she stopped. "Wait, what?"she said. Giles turned towards the library, the other three following him.
"What are yo utalking about?" asked Willow, pretty sure Giles had been referring to somethign completely dfferent.
Giles looked at her, frowning. "What are YOU talking about?" he asked.
"Buffy's date," said Willow and Bill together.
"Giles rolled his eyes. "Well, I'M talking about trouble," he said. "A violent and disturbing prophecy is about to be fulfilled."
"They're ALL violent and disturbing," said Bill, rolling his eyes.
"The Order Of Aurelius," concluded Buffy.
Giles nodded. "You were spot on about the connection," he said walking over towards a table. "I've looked at the writings of Aurelius himself, and he, he prophesied that the bretheren of his order would come to the Master and bring him the Annointed One."
Bil lfrowned. "And who's THAT?" he asked.
Giles looked stumped. Well, I-I don't know, exactly. A-a-a-a-a warrior, but-but it says he will arise from the ashes of the Seven, on the evening of thousandth day after the Advent of Septus."
"Well," said Buffy ,exchanging a confident nod with Bill. "We'llbe ready. Whenever that is."
"Which is tonight," concluded Giles.
Buffy nodded. "Ok, tonight," she said, then her eyes went wide as she realized what they were saying. "NO! Not okay! It CAN'T be tonight!"
Giles looked a little affronted. "I assure you, my calculations are precise."
Buffy contineud to argue. "Nuh! They're bad calculations Bad!"
"Buffy has plans," said Willow.
"With Darla!" said Buffy imploringly.
Giles rolled his eyes. "Ok," he said. "I'll just jump in my time machine and go back to the twelfth century and ask the nice vampires to postpone their prophecy for a few days while you take in dinner and a show."
Buffy gave Bill a death glare as Bill laughed at Giles. "Ok,." she grumped. "At THIS point you're abusing sarcasm!"
Giles took a breath. "Buffy," he said. "this is no ordinairy vampire. We HAVE to stop him before he reaches The Master."
Buffy contineud to protest. "But, first date! First date EVER with a girl!"
"Which will just have to be put on hold!" said Giles. "The dark forces are aligning against us and we have a chance to beat them back!"
"Plus, with both of us there," said Bill. "We'll probably be able to take him out in plenty of time for you to make your date."
Giles nodded. "Tonight, we go into battle!"
Later that night, Buffy, Bill and Giles all three sat in a graveyard. Buffy was sitting on a large tombstone, drinking from a 7-11 cup. Bill leaned against another one, cleaning his fingernails with a large knife as Giles paced.
"Perhaps I miscalculated," Giles reluctantly conceded.
"I'm thinking yes,"said Buffy, draining her drink, looking irritated.
"Well," said Giles. "You know what they say. Ninety percent of the vampire slaying game is waiting."
Bill rolled his eyes. "WHO says that?" he asked. " Who are these damned "they" everybody keeps quoting?"
Buffy sighed. "You couldn't have told me that ninety percent ago?" she asked.
Giles sighed. "Well," he said, eager to be rid of the two bored and grumpy teenagers. "We've waited around here long enough."
"Besides," said Bill. "No fresh graves. Who's gonna rise?"
"Apparently, no one," answered Giles.
Buffy hopped off the tombstone excitedly. " Then I can bail? Go to the Bronze and find Darla?"
"Fine," said Giles. "Follow your teenage hormones if you wish. But remember..." he broke off as Bill pointed out Buffy was already gone.
Buffy made a bee line straight to The Bronze, but Darla was nowhere in sight, so she decided to do a quick patrol before heading home, hoping to find a vampire or demon to take out her frustrations on. She didn't find any, but, she ran into Darla when she got to her house. "Hey," she said, shyly."
"Lose your watch?" asked Darla, a bit sarcastically. "I waited for awhile, then got worried about you!"
"I'm sorry,"said Buffy, looking at the ground. "Giles thought there was something going down tonight, and I thought Bill and I could handle it in time for our date. Turns out, nothing was going on."
Darla sighed. "Buffy," she said. "Why didn't you call me? I'm not some kid at your school who doesn't understand what's going on! I could have helped."
"I'm sorry," said Buffy. "I really am. It's just, I'm the Slayer, Bill is half demon. We have powers. I just...I don't want you getting hurt."
Darla sighed again. "That's sweet," she said. " but I did petty well in the sewers, then helping you stop the Harvest. I think I've proven I can handle myself."
"I know," said Buffy, looking for all the world like a scolded child. "Have I screwed things up too much for a rain check?"
Darla smiled. "No," she said. "I'm not giving up on us over this. How about I take you out to dinner tomorrow night. Maybe a movie after?"
Buffy beamed. "That woudl be great!" she answered.
"Good," said Darla. Then she put a forefinger under Buffy's chin, making sure Buffy was looking her in the eyes. "But understand this, Slayer. No more secrets like that one. If you have to bail on a date because of your duty jsut tell me. I'll understand."
"I promise,"said Buffy, sincerely.
"Good," said Darla. "Because if thsi happens again, YOU are in a heap of crazy trouble!" Darla leaned in and gave her a kiss, and the two said their goodnights.
At that moment, a bus pulled through town, the passengers riding in silence. A small boy turned to the passenger next to him. "I went on a plane," the boy announced.
The man grunted. he was a large, scruffy, dangerous looking man. "A pale horse emerged with Death as it's rider," he said. "You wil lbe judged. You wil lbe judged." He stood and started walking up anddown the aisle. He stopped by the boy and his mother. "That day's gonna bring fire. Fire comin down! Judgement! Don't think you're ready. Ready to look upon him. If there's sin in there, there's sin all around. It's liquid!" All of the other passengers watched him nervously, afraid he'd pull out a gun and start shooting everybody or something. Onm that day,there won't be anybody tellin us what to do, or why we're doin it! Yo ucan;t prepare. On that day..."
The bus driver, a stocky black man, got tired of his ramblings and interrupted him. "Look, Buddy," he said, you gotta sit down!"
The man looked at him, his eyes, well, crazy. "Are you willing to stand with the rightous?"
Suddenly, the driver slammed on his brakes as a man stepped out in front of the bus. The bus slammed into him, then went skidding off and ramming into a lamp post, stopping the bus and sending the crazy man flying.
"Is everybody ok?" the bus driver asked the passengers. Everybody seemed ok so he went to check on the victim. "Are you all right?" he asked, kneelign down next to the man. Suddenly, an arm grabbed him by the throat and started choking him. It was the man who'd been run down,but, soemthign was wrong with his face.
Other men and women came towards the wrecked bus. One punched through a window and grabbed the crazy guy and pulled him out the window, and bit him on the neck. People screamed as more of the deformed men entered the bus.
Harrietwithtea: Sorry, didn't get to the Buffy/Darla date this chapter. But, I hope you got enough B and D this chapter (Ok, those are very unfortunate initials!) to hold you over until the date.
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed the chapter. Let me know what you thought!